Posted By: Amzer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 26 June 2010, 11:38 am
In Cryo 2 of the Achilles, a Halcyon class battle cruiser, stirred a young marine as the techs worked to thaw him out. As the process was complete the marine began to cough, clearing the bronchial surfactant from his throat. Looking about, the marine climbed from the cryopod, naked, as was the procedure.
"Hey! Lee, had to thaw you quickly. You overslept, and we have many other weary marines waiting." The tech's voice buzzed over the intercom.
Lee looked up to the observation deck, and then shouted at the tech. "Oh, sure, I overslept, maybe you should stay at your station for longer periods of time." The tech chuckled at the comment, as Lee moved toward his locker not far from the cryopod. Lee quickly grabbed his fatigues, and combat armor, and began to put both on. He finished quickly, holding his helmet in one hand, and his rucksack in the other.
Lee shouted up at the observation deck again. "Hey, I'm gonna head to the bridge. As I recall, I had the next shift. See you in a few, Michaels." The intercom buzzed, as the tech responded with a similar goodbye, and Lee then proceeded to walk to the Bridge. The Achilles was one of the Halcyon class battle cruisers with an experimental frame. This was one of the remaining few, since the Pillar of Autumn was destroyed, and Halo with it. The ship was fully stocked with all 24 missiles in each of the ships Archer Missile Pods. The ship had not seen combat in some time, but only had 3 Magnetic Acceleration Cannon rounds.
The crew was rather jumpy, since their travel in space seemed void of combat, making the marines, and captain on edge. The AI, Sonya, was the only thing keeping Captain Guinthar sane. The captain, like his crew, were paranoid since they had heard how the Autumn had been over run, and abandoned to crash on the ring world. Sonya took the image of a long haired woman wearing a toga on the holotank, and was talking with the captain when Lee walked in.
Sonya turned as the marine walked in, and looked Lee up and down. "You must be the Marine that was supposed to start the bridge shift an hour ago."
"Sorry, the...Tech wasn't as observant as we all would've expected. He didn't thaw me out until a few moments ago, ma'am." Lee spoke to the AI in a rather serious tone. "Anything happen during my resting time, Sonya?" He then saluted, and greeted the captain.
Sonya's avatar rubbed her temple as she spoke. "No, just more bland emptiness of space." The bridge crew seemed rather busy monitoring the weapons, and navigation systems. On a view screen behind Lee was a flashing error message of the ships radar systems. They were blind for now. The screen read:
Radar/Error Occurred/Primary systems shutting down. [System Malfunction*]
Lee turned, as a small beep came from a speaker connected to the system. "Well, captain, looks like radar's down. We're blind, for the moment." One of the Bridge crewmen turned his head from the monitor of his station, motioning another crewman over. The standing crewman pointed out several things, as the other furiously punched buttons.
Suddenly, the Comm officer turned to the captain. "Sir, there are reports that Miranda Keyes has found another ring world, like Halo." Suddenly, the ship was impacted by something, causing most everyone in the bridge to lose balance. Lee fell into a kneel position, as the Captain used the holotank for support. The first one to speak was Lee. "What the hell was that? That had to be an impact!" While climbing back up onto his feet, Lee also pulled out his MA5B Assault Rifle. After a moment of looking around, he checked the Assault rifle's clip, and then made sure it was cocked. "I'm going to go investigate. Whatever hit is is definitely not friendly." The Captain, and Sonya watched as he went, wished him luck, then continued to speak to one another.
Lee walked through several corridors. The blast doors hadn't sealed yet, which is interesting considering there was a major impact. After walking through a few more corridors, he heard a scream, and the clatter of Marine armor hitting the floor. Lee turned toward the sound. It came from the next corridor over. It was locked behind a secure hatch. The light at the top of the door's keypad was red. The marine quickly punched in the code, and waited for the hatch to fully open. In the next corridor, sure enough, was a body.
It was obvious enough to Lee that he was dead, since the amount of blood that soaked the corpse's body armor, and the floor panels around him was too much to live through losing. The chest-plate on the corpse was split, his insides looked rather scrambled, and his jaw locked in a scream of anguish. Lee looked around, his assault rifle raised to his eye. After several seconds of looking around, he activated his radio. "Captain Guinthar, sir, we have a possible alien life form on board. I found one of ours KIA in the corridor leading to Docking Bay Alpha. I request that you lock down the blast doors in the Bridge's area." Lee then turned it off, noticing an odd fluid-like sound coming from almost everywhere around him. He then reactivated his radio. "Sir, be advised, we are dealing with flood infection forms from the looks of this corpse, and from what I'm hearing..."
"Affirmative." The captains voice crackled over the radio, then over the intercom. "All combat personal be advised, we have flood infection forms aboard. Remain vigilant, and report to priority one combat stations. Prepare to evacuate on my command." Several sirens began their constant drone, and Lee began to press forward to the docking bay. The first sign of a problem was the fact that the security doors, which were made from a thick material, as seen in the engine room, were offline, stuck open.
Looking about, deciding he had no other choice, Lee stepped in to find several Pilot, and Crewman bodies grouped in the corners. Several fleshy pods were also formed, most likely Command Forms. Lee stepped in, looking about, until he noticed the crashed dropship in the Docking bay. It had hammered in before the bay doors closed, and crash landed. Surely this was only one of few, for the ship shaking would've only been caused by a direct impact.
Before Lee could investigate the dropship, he heard a grunt from an overturned warthog, most likely flipped by the crash. Lee walked over to it, noticing the severe damage and blood. Another marine laid, struggle to get free from under the 'hog. The Marine then looked up at Lee. "Sir...They got all of them...Crew, my friends...Pilots. I just know they'll convert them...Please help, for this hog is crushing...me." The marine began to cough up blood. Lee turned away, and in that moment, an infection form sliced its way into the marine. He began to scream, and spasm under the 'hog. Lee turned to watch the bulbous creature crawl beneath the mans skin, and replace his remaining blood with a greenish fluid, that now oozed from his wounds. After a few seconds of this, the marine made one last gag, and pain spasm, then died. The infection form still inside of him.
In one quick smooth movement, Lee turned, with his assault rifle up to his eye. "Come out, you stupid bastards..." Almost instantly after Lee spoke, a combat form jumped down from an above catwalk. The host was, sure enough, a fresh marine. Lee sprayed it down with his MA5B, but he only managed to shoot out the stomach, which exploded in a gush of greenish fluid. He then shot more towards the arms, shooting most of the tissue away from the mutated claw arm. The combat form jerked in response, as it seemed it would've already been in much pain. Lee managed to get somewhat lucky, as it seems he killed the infection form inside. The tendrils sticking out of the combat form's chest cavity dispersed, and the host's body dropped to the deck, motionless.
"Marines, Security! We have a problem in engineering! We've tried to lock down the doors but...they just...Broke through...Wait, whats that sound?@ No! Please! Do--" The rest of the message broke into static, but before it ended, there was a scream heard. Lee activated his radio once again. "Captain, sir, I would find it a very wise idea to abandon ship while we still can. Please command the crew to abandon ship through the intercom." Then, the Captains voice crackled over the intercom. "All Crewmen and marines, report to your evacuation groups, and prepare to abandon ship." Then the Captain spoke to Lee through the radio. "What are you going to do? We can't let them take the ship freely. I'm guessing you have a plan?" Lee answered simply. "Yes, sir, activate the self destruct sequence. If they deactivate it, somehow, then we could always impair the engines so they can't exactly go anywhere."
The Captain had agreed to this, and the ship was sending automated warnings to the entire ship. Lee looked about to find an unattended engineering terminal in the corridor near the Docking Bay. He began to access the schematics to look for the closest escape pod, but, the screen simply read:
Achilles/System Warning: Self Destruct Active.
[15 minutes to minimum safe distance]
[System will not allow access of schematics while countdown is active.]
Lee cursed, as he slammed a fist into the screen of the terminal. While walking down the corridors looking, the countdown timer announced that it only had 5 minutes remaining, before deactivating. The marine cursed again, and scanned the area, quickly, before continuing. Lee thought for a moment about how to make the engine of no use to them, but then remembered the Shiva Nukes. Three should be good to eradicate the infestation. By this time, most of the crew was off the ship. Lee only hoped to find a pilot.
In a matter of seconds, Lee saw what he feared most - A carrier form. He reloaded, then fired several bursts at it, before running in the opposite direction. Attempting to run to the bridge to activate the Shiva's would be difficult. Lee then sprinted in the other way. If his theory was correct, there was another route to the bridge. Lee continued to sprint, until he reached it. Abandoned, and somewhat infested. He noticed several Command forms on the floor, and in the seats. "God...Dammit..." The weapons control station was empty. He lobbed a quick grenade into the bridge, and waited for the successive explosion. Lee saw he cleared the room, while damaging many consoles. The Weapons station remained undamaged. Lee began to type commands into the system, and several messages popped up:
Achilles Shiva stock pile armed.[System Error/Nukes not launched.] Command overwritten: Password ********* Prohibits system interference. [Arming Stockpile]
[Timed console activated.]
Running system self destruction scripts/ Scripts loaded.
[Shiva Nukes 1-3 armed. Time to reach minimum safe distance: 4 minutes, 59 seconds.]
[SYSTEM WARNING: SHUTTING DOWN PRIMARY UNITS**]
[Engine temperature reaching critical levels*]
[Engine Coolant system deactivated***]
[Engine unable to shut down.]
WARNING: WARNING: SHIP [Halcyon Class Battle Cruiser Achilles] IS IN SELF DESTRUCT MODE: OTHER PROBLEMS DIRECT INABILITY TO DISABLE SELF DESTRUCT.
[System Error. Shutting down.]
Lee quickly dashed out of the bridge, hurrying to the nearest unused life pod. He got lucky, as there was still one relatively close to the bridge. For a moment he stood at the airlock, expecting it to open, but when he looked at the keypad, he realized he needed to enter the proper emergency code. The system's screen showed it. Lee cursed, and entered what he believed to be the code, only to be wrong. He slammed his fist against the keypad, and laid his head on his arm. After a minute, he heard the pnuemonic hiss of the airlock opening. With renewed hope, Lee hurriedly hopped into the Bunblebee lifepod's pilot seat, and flipped several switches. These switches sealed the hatch doors, and opened the blast doors in front of the pod. The lifepod coasted free of the ship, Lee relaxing in the seat. He then radio's to see if any UNSC personal were nearby, and simply waited. In the distance, behind the pod, he heard the Achilles explode, with tremendous force.