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Pillar of Autumn Fanfic
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<hockyfreak5@yahoo.com>
Date: 24 May 2004, 1:09 AM

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Author's Note: This is a fanfic I wrote a looooong way back, so don't get mad at me, cuz it may very well suck. I tried to write it in the gory detail that William Deitz used in Halo: The Flood. If you want to insult, criticize, or correct me, certainly do so. My email is hockyfreak5@yahoo.com.

PS: And I found out about that "code" people were bitching about, so that way you guys don't have to complain and flame me in the "comments" section.

      The Chief sprinted through The Pillar of Autumn with disregard for anything in his way. He bulled through a file of Grunts and shot past a trio of Elites. He couldn't help defend humanity till he got his hands on a weapon.
      The Autumn was falling apart, and he had been told to report to Captain Keyes after he got a quick thaw-out in Cryo Bay 2. I'm getting too old to be flash-frozen and shot through the galaxy at light-speed, he thought to himself.
      He rounded a corner and a crew member fell dead into his arms. The terrified expression could still be seen through the plasma burns that had been etched onto his face. John swore and ducked back around the corner as an Elite spotted him gave a throaty roar.
      The Spartan knew he was toast if the Covenant called others to his position. He jumped around the corner and dodged the single plasma bolt the Elite could send off, then leapt into a flying tackle and brought the Elite to the floor in the adjacent corridor. He hammered its shields twice; they flared cobalt and died. Then three crosses cracked the armored helmet and splattered what was inside across the bulkhead.
      He made it to the bridge after that without incident. The Captain greeted him warmly. "Glad to have you back, Chief. I see you got a nice nap."
       "No thanks to your driving," the Spartan replied sourly.
      A chain explosion rattled thru the deckplates, and the Chief grabbed Keyes' arm, remaining rock-solid. Cortana's holographic image swirled onto the holopanel. "It must have been one of their boarding parties! My guess is an antimatter charge." The Captain steadied himself and began to speak, but Cortana cut him off. "Warning! Plasma turrets firing. Sixteen Covenant plasma torpedoes inbound. Calculating available options." She brought her hand up to her head and closed her eyes momentarily. John marveled at the fact that though she could think and multitask better than anyone alive, she acted so human, even in body language. "Sir, this ship's internal structure is severely compromised. The Autumn won't withstand these hits. The only option we have is to vent the atmosphere in decks five thru seven."
      Keyes pondered this for a second. "Do it," he growled. "But Cortana, those shots better miss. Human lives are getting shot into space."
       "Affirmative. Calculating...done." The Chief lowered his eyes to the deckplates. Was it right to just throw away all those lives? Half the quarters for the Marines were in those decks. He dismissed the thought. CPO Mendez had always said that in times of war, lives must be sacrificed for the greater good. It was either lose the ship, or lose those men. He still saluted, however, as a hundred voices cried out, then were extinguished.
       "All plasma torpedoes missed, sir," Cortana said somberly. "Sealing hatches."
      Captain Keyes turned to the Spartan. "That does it. We're abandoning the Autumn. Cortana, write a subroutine and copy it into the shipboard computer. Then we're bugging out." The Chief caught the Captain again as a more severe blast sent shockwaves through the battered ship. The hull creaked and groaned in sympathy.
       "Alert! Seraph fighters are concentrating their attacks on our bridge." Cortana accessed the COM channels. "Cortana to Longsword Team Zulu. The bridge is under heavy attack by Covenant single ships. Requesting assistance."
       "Roger, ma'am. Longswords inbound. Alright, Zulu. You heard the lady, haul ass to bridge, formation Alpha!"
      Keyes tapped a few commands into his console. "Time to leave, Cortana." The transparent AI looked around the ship. In many ways, it was her body.
       "Yank me." The Captain pulled a glowing memory cube from the holopanel and handed it to the Chief. He inserted it into his armor, and an ice-cold mercury flashed through his brain. "Hmm...still plenty of room in here. Miss me?"
       "The way I miss intestinal flu".
      The Autumn shuddered again, and a bulkhead stressed, bent, and snapped. A shard of titanium-A flew through the air and nailed a crewman to the ground. The Spartan dove and covered Keyes, who had fallen to the ground. A chunk of metal pinged off his shields, and the bar on his HUD drooped to half. The Captain struggled up and punched the COM button. "Zulu Squadron, where the hell are you? We need backup NOW!"
       "Keep your pants on, and hold onto your hats. The cavalry has arrived." Two Longswords spun into view from below, Chainguns blazing. Three Seraph's shields sputtered and died; missiles flashed through space and detonated on their hulls. They blossomed into fireballs, and their blips faded from the tactical display. "Yeehah!" cried an exuberant pilot. The Master Chief turned to exit the bridge with the Captain.
      The next thing happened so fast John barely had time to react. A crewman screamed "INCOMING!" and he wheeled around in time to see a Longsword spinning out of control towards the viewport. He grabbed Keyes and sprinted towards the door just as the wrecked fighter hit.

      The 4-inch transparasteel shattered like blown glass. Every loose object and person was ejected into space as explosive decompression rattle thru the bridge-save two. Time stood still as the Chief held onto Keyes and struggled towards the emergency airlock. He threw the Captain through and swung himself inside just in time-the blast door snapped shut with less than a centimeter to spare between it and the noncom's foot. Keyes picked himself up and dusted off his uniform. "I told them that that damn bridge wasn't worth the view." He turned to the Spartan. "Looks like its just you, me, and Cortana, Chief. Let's find a lifeboat and hope Cortana's subroutine can land the Autumn."
      With no weapon but his reflexes, John had no choice but to put the Captain behind him as they jogged down hallways and corridors.
      The Chief suddenly pulled Keyes with him around a corner. He had spotted three blips on his motion tracker, which his FOF tagged as Covenant Grunts. They clattered down the hall noisily, with one wearing a bandolier of a Marine's equipment Pancho-Villa style. He waited until they got closer, then sprang into action.
      Maybe the Grunts weren't expecting company, or maybe the sight of a giant in luminescent green armor made them fill their pants. Either way, the Spartan didn't wait for a reaction. He ripped of two of their methane rigs. They fell to the deck wheezing and flopping like fish. The last one remained frozen, unsure of what to do, until John kicked it in the face, crushing its soft skull. Blue ichor splattered on the wall.
      The Captain moved in and grabbed a plasma pistol out of a fallen Grunt's grasp. The Chief favored the assault rifle and frag grenades clipped on the equipment belt the Grunt had been carrying. He also scavenged two plasma grenades out of their satchels.
      Now better armed, they proceeded towards the lifeboats. As they entered the mess hall, a Marine fireteam held off a clutch of Grunts and two Elites. "Those Marines could use some help Chief," said Cortana. "Do what you do best."
      Keyes fired a plasma bolt that sizzled across the room and hit a Grunt in his face, ignite it's methane tank. It popped like a balloon. The Spartan fired a trio of bursts at three more, which fell dead. He primed a frag grenade, counted to three, and let it fly. The screams and flying corpses told him he had probably hit his mark. The fireteam, now encouraged by the reinforcements, ran in with guns blazing and slaughtered what was left.
       "Captain, the lifeboats are leaving. I suggest we haul ass off this ship ASAP, sir!" shouted a Marine.
       "Amen to that, soldier," replied Keyes. "Form up and move out."
      Now that John and the Captain were complemented with a handful of veteran jarheads, they moved through the ship extremely quickly. Grunts littered the floor in their wake, and Elites wilted and tore apart under a hail of 7.62 mm armor piercing bullets. The Chief had also acquired two pistols.
      The noncom and his followers jogged down a corridor and were greeted by a staccato of automatic fire. "Covenant!" shouted a Marine. "On the landing above us!"
      Three Elites and a few Grunts were busy harassing some sorely wounded Marines below. Two of the leathernecks were strewn about on the floor, one was under the stairs clutching his stomach, and seven more were desperately trying to force their way up to the threat.
      The Chief decided to deal with the soft targets first. He used his rifle in controlled bursts, slowly advancing up the stairs. Then the real trouble came.
      Reinforcements began arriving and proceeded to drop grenades down to the first level. The Spartan yelled, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" tried his best to shield the Captain from any debris that might be thrown by the blast. Plasma blasts seared white and blue, and the majority of the jarheads were slaughtered. He turned and saw an Elite charging down the stairs at full tilt, plasma rifle blazing with energy. The Chief's assault rifle spat two bullets, and then the reload sign appeared on his HUD. He sidearmed the weapon at the Elite and hit it low in the knees. The alien tripped and came skidding to a halt at the Petty Officers feet. He brought his boot down and cracked it's skull, then shook the gore off his heels.
      A Marine's scream brought his attention. He looked down and saw the last one-or at least part of him-on the floor, and an Elite with his plasma rifle advancing on the Captain. The Chief ran along the deck and dove off the landing, drawing both his HE Pistols. The noncom plummeted eight meters and hit the Elite in the back. They both went down.
      The Spartan got up first and squeezed the triggers of his pistols. Then he got a better look at them; he had gripped them so hard during the fall, he had crushed the plastasteel into a twisted wreck, destroying the firing mechanism. "Or not," he muttered, and dropped them to the deck with a clatter. The Covenant was back up and dove for his fallen weapon, but the Chief did a flying kick and knocked the alien away.
      The angry creature roared and slammed the noncom into a bulkhead, then slammed it's fist repeatedly into his gut. The Spartan braced against the steel and threw both feet out. The Elite doubled over, and the Chief slipped out.
      Keyes, now having a clear shot, fired his plasma pistol. The Elite dropped to the floor-and found his weapon. It fired, and a bolt of hot plasma seared across the Captain's arm.
      The Chief dove to the left as a foot-wide section of Titanium-A boiled away. He scrambled across the floor and hid under the landing. The Spartan's mind raced; he couldn't throw a grenade...the Captain was out there. Likewise, he couldn't just stay under the stairwell. Unacceptable. He had to even the odds. He scanned the area he could see, and spotted an assault rifle laying on the other side of the room. His muscles and tendons tensed like springs and he prayed that the weapon was loaded.

      The Spartan sprang out of his hiding place before the Elite could pull the trigger. He willed his muscles to go as fast as they could go, pounding his feet into the deckplates. A few plasma bolts caught his shields, and the alarm shrilled in his head. He dove for the rifle and rolled over; the ammo counter read 54.
      Tuka 'Nodomee stepped over the fallen enemy and grinned. He lowered his weapon and said a prayer: "For the prophets...for the Gods." Then the human rolled over...with a weapon in hand.
      The Chief unloaded the entire clip into the Elite's belly.
       "NO!" cried 'Nodomee. His shields flared, overloaded, and failed. He squeezed his rifles handle, but it was too late...He felt his spinal cord sever, and keeled over. Tuka smiled, and waited for his first glimpse of paradise.

      Keyes got up, panting, and managed a shaky grin. "C'mon, Chief. Our lifeboat's just up ahead."
      The pair continued on and destroyed any opposition left...mostly Grunts. A Marine Corporal saluted the pair, and Keyes put him at ease. "Enough with the protocols, son. Let's get off this wreck."
       "Sir, yes sir!" replied the Marine. They hopped in the boat and sincerely hoped they could get too the surface-before the Covenant.