Zanzibar: The Waterworks-Chapter 7
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 18 June 2004, 5:53 AM
Author's Note: Once again, I find the quality of my work a little worse. I reprioritized the outline though, so trust me, the plot will be kickass. If you want to swear at me or my family, post a comment, or email me at email@example.com.
I hope the 343GS dealio didn't disappoint-that was my best work (Halo story-wise). If you thought it was no good, I should probably stop writing.
Last bit of junk I'm gonna put you through-read "Halo Catycalysm-Nexus". Kickass, man. And no, I didn't write it.
Time slowed and blurred as John raced towards his fallen friend. The Brute raised it's blade triumphantly and brought it down hard.
Kelly's speed didn't disappoint. Despite a gash on her left side, she rolled and narrowly avoided the shining weapon. It crashed down into the concrete, leaving a foot deep scoring in the solid rock. The beast raised it's weapon again and was about to slam it into the MJOLNIR armor when a blue glowing point erupted through it's chest. It keened, then kneeled to the floor as the energy blade sawed through it's muscular body. It finally fell with a thud onto Kelly.
John raised his sword and scanned the area. "No more targets detected. Area clear?" he whispered into the COM.
"Confirmed." John swiveled to the elevator shaft as Fred clambered off the cables and onto the instacrete. He looked beat, but he flashed a two-fingered smile across his faceplate. John returned it.
Kelly managed to get to her feet, using the wall for support. She peeled off her helmet, panting. "Did we get 'em?" The gash in her side bubbled with hydrostatic gel, and her mouth leaked blood from the corner.
John nodded and motioned his team to assume a defensive position in the rubble of the tunnel. The hallway was a mess, so Fred and Linda both took advantage of the cover and used some of the concrete slabs to form a barrier against any attackers. Then he had Kelly disengage her left-side armor plating.
The wound was worse than he thought. The MJOLNIR had taken most of the blow, but the razor-sharp melee weapon on the Brute's high velocity slugthrower had cut across her whole side, starting at the sternum and going all the way back to the shoulderblade. Kelly grinned weakly, then nearly fainted. John administered five milliliters of pseudopolymorphine to stave off the pain and shock. Then he went to work. He first filled her with biofoam, and disinfected the wound. Then he cauterized the skin back together and hoped his medical skills could keep Kelly on her feet. He prayed that her Spartan resilience would keep her at top shape.
Kelly resealed her armor and headed down the corridor with Fred and Will. John, Grace, and Linda began trekking the opposite way.
Cortana scanned the immediate area for more enemies and tracked a few in adjacent corridors. They all were startled by the rumbling, but that was about it. She continued to monitor their progress, but dedicated her runtime to something else.
Why in the world hadn't the UNSC ordered the Spartans to defend the Forerunner reactor? Cortana could only wonder and try and dig up more info on the artifact. It was dubbed "Waterworks" by most of the ONI spooks for the many streams and brooks that coursed around it: even an underground river passed through the cavern. The UNSC had been using it to power the orbital platforms. Not many people knew about Waterworks either; only the Admiralty and some of the top ONI agents were actually informed of it when it was first discovered.
The AI hoped she had told the Chief to do the right thing. Going against orders and assigning other missions wasn't exactly her job.
The Chief halted and held up a fist-the Spartan signal to stop. The chainguns were just around the corner. He pulled a frag and armed it, then whirled around the corner, arm cocked back-
And he stopped. The servo lines that controlled the guns were severed, and the weapons themselves dangled limply from the ceilings. He noted that the crucial power wires had been snipped.
"Cortana, have the Covenant been around here while you were watching something else?"
"I can't say that for sure, Chief. The cameras were blanked a few minutes ago. Sorry I didn't notify you; I didn't think it was that important," replied the AI.
John motioned his team forward and allowed them a brief respite.
"Covenant couldn't have known exactly which line to cut," mused Linda. "And look...There are bulletholes where the guns fired at whoever disabled them, but why bulletholes behind them?"
John curiously inspected both areas. Grace remained silent in the corner.
"Cortana, did you see anything before the cameras went out?"
Cortana paused. "Actually, yes. This is the last two seconds of the recording." She played the vid on Johns HUD. Something moved in the shadows, and then a black, five-fingered hand moved in front of the lense. Then the whole picture dissolved into static.
"A human? That's impossible. We weren't briefed on any other teams in the facility," said Linda.
"Just because we weren't informed doesn't mean there weren't others. This is the ONI we work for." Cortana gave a laugh. "They don't even tell each other what is going on." John remembered Colonel Ackerson and a flash of anger coursed through his system. His secret had caused all of REACH, and most of his Spartans, to be destroyed.
"Cortana, check all ONI black ops mission logs in the past day."
"Give me a minute to hack into their systems...got it." She swore. "Section Three gave the order eight hours ago. A NavSpecWar team snuck in here somehow and infiltrated the Waterworks facility.
"Shit. That means Ackerson was involved. He never trusted Spartans."
John smiled, despite their situation. Why Cortana swore was a mystery to him-it seemed like a waste of processing power. He supposed it was one of the things one had to deal with when working with "smart" AIs.
The moment quickly vanished, and caused John to dislike Ackerson even more. The Colonel had sent in a less suitable team, and now something extremely valuable was at risk. Damn that ass and his political games.
"Chief, I'm picking up movement-only traces," Warned Linda. "Looks like active camo." Grace continued her silent vigil.
The Chief raised his rifle and crouched behind a piece of concrete. A shimmering mirage crept forward in the darkness, and his finger tightened on the trigger.