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Halo Alliances: Chapter Three
Posted By: ChibiHalo<ssvaltinson@msn.com>
Date: 15 January 2007, 8:29 pm

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(Half-Jaw fans, look away.)

      The Gravemind belched another hollow laugh. It laughed at the Human and Sangheili as they fought to break it's grip as it grabbed them. It laughed at the glowing
AI that was forced to control this ship. It laughed at the Prophet Truth. It laughed at the Covenant. It laughed at all of the destruction this decades-long war had brought. It
laughed at the face of death.

      "Why do you bring us here, Abomination?" the Arbiter demanded.
      "To witness the destruction of life, you must take a hand in that destruction. I, my dear brothers, plan to take every opportunity in that destruction."
      "What do you mean by that?!"
      "The 'Sacred Rings' your precious Forerunners built. I plan to use them." The plant-like Flood laughed again.
      "You dare laugh at the Forerunners?!! The holy beings that may have very well created your existance?!" the Arbiter yelled. "Such impudence! Such malice! And for what?"
      "Why do you feel hatred toward the very Humans who helped you break free of the lies you once believed?!" the Gravemind bellowed.
      The Chief stared at the Elite. He had such constancy and creed in something that may never had existed. It amazed him somewhat.
      The insults the monster spewed infuriated the Arbiter. He stood for everything the Sangheili had believed for millennia. Hope. Faith. Respect.Honor. And this... this creature danced upon them with such disdain.
      "I only hate the Humans because they are the cause of what I am today!" he retorted. "You Flood bastards are all just mindless pieces of used flesh!"
      The Gravemind slammed the Elite to the ground, released him and turned his attention back to the Chief. "What about you, Human? Do you wish to spout religious nonsense such as he did?"
      "I have no religion, therefore I answer to no one. Especially you."
      The Flood heaved a low growl. It continued to question the Master Chief, not noticing the Arbiter.
      The Arbiter pushed himself up off the cold floor. He looked over at the AI called "Cortana." If she could control High Charity, then surely she could get the generators to reach critical point...

      Cortana looked over at an Elite clad in strange armor as he crept over to her.
      "What the hell do you want?" she snapped.
      "Shh! Do you wish us both killed?"
      Cortana rolled her eyes.
      "Can you by any chance get the Slipspace Generators to over load and discharge?"
      "I can. Why?"
      "Do you wish the Human to live?" he questioned with a hint of pleasure.
      Cortana looked over at the Chief. "Fine."

      The Chief looked over at Cortana and the Arbiter. If he had any idea what they were doing, it would be that she was going to cause the generators to explode. That -if
successful- would kill the Gravemind, all the Flood aboard, and Truth's chance of reclaiming this wretched place.

      Cortana's interface flashed red for a moment as she gained access to the workings of High Charity. "Accessing... Got it! Pull my chip out when I tell you to. I'm going to send this place far enough away so that it will not cause any damage to War Angel."
      The Arbiter nodded.

      The Gravemind flinched as an alarm blared. "What is this?!" it yelled. It turned its massive head and saw the Elite as he pulled the AI out of the pedestal. "You!" It
grabbed the Arbiter. "You have caused me enough trouble that you worth!" A sudden explosion beneath the Gravemind caused it to drop the two.
      The Chief immediately got up and moved away from the Flood. The Arbiter, however, was once again caught.
      "If I die, so will you!" it hissed.
      The Arbiter grabbed the edge of the floor as the Gravemind began to fall, but was pulled down with it. He yelled as a tentacle was swiped against his head knocking his helmet off, causing him to bleed.
      The Chief ran to the hole and tried to grab the Arbiter's hand, realizing he had Cortana's chip, but only caught his battered helmet. He sat on his knees as the alarm
continued to screech warnings in foreign tongues. He had no choice. It was either move
on and possibly escape, or sit there and die. He looked to his left and saw one open door.
His one possible escape.

      Rtas squinted as he reached the exit of the hole. With out any power, every hall
was as dark as night. This hole lead to what looked to be the next deck of the Human cruiser. "Do you even know how to how to get to the main power grid?" he inquired
as he hefted himself out of the hole.
      "Of course I do!" Johnson said as he climbed out of the hole along with his troops and 'Vadumee's. "What do I look like to you? Stupid?"
      A few of the Elite soldiers looked at each other while some whispered their own opinions.
      The Commander smiled but said nothing.
      "So, where are the Flood?" Johnson asked. "I smell 'em all right."
      "As do I. But..." He paused and pulled out a second sword. Something was wrong. It was just too quiet and still all of a sudden.
      Nervous whispers and chatter broke out among the soldiers. The Elites also activated their own swords and grouped together.
      "Huh! What a bunch of cowards." the Sarge said.
      "Hardly. Merely the smartest." 'Vadumee replied. "Something is not right. It is just too quiet." He looked around. "Why must you Humans always had so many unnecessary objects in the way?!" he growled referring to the vending machines, benches and other things.
      "Unlike you uptight Covenant bastards, we enjoy lounging around from time to time."
      "That is probably why we were able to win this war for so long." It may not have been proper etiquette, but Rtas allowed his rude opinions slide out from time to time.
      Johnson glared at him. "Why don't we just focus on finding the damn Flood?" Just as he said that, a sickening roar pierced through the dark.

      The Master Chief found himself in a Flood-less room that absolutely reeked of Brute. He had encountered very little Flood since the Gravemind had fallen. Perhaps
because the creature had partial control them that, if killed, the Flood would group to where it had fallen.
      He looked around the corridor. Bulbous masses of dead flesh hung off the violet walls. Thick "fog" prevented any light from passing through and would have made it
difficult to breath had it not been for the purification system in his suit. He could hear the whir of a broken door attempting to slide shut and headed that way. Another short wall blocked his view at the entry. He crawled under the broken door and proceeded.

      The Arbiter watched as deck after deck of High Charity shot up wards as he fell with the howling Gravemind. Image after image flashed through his mind one last time. Memories of his comrades, close friends, a shameful mark. Family.
      He didn't struggle as the tentacles wrapped around him and squeezed. The ceremonial armor ment to protect him stabbed through the under-armor suit and dug into his flesh.
      "Heh heh. Lost all hope in living have we?"
      "It is my duty as the Arbiter to die." he said solemnly. "I might as well just accept
the truth that I will die today."
      "Imprudent to the end." The Gravemind flung the Arbiter away.
      The Arbiter wasn't sure if he was just hallucinating or he really was seeing what he
saw. He began to laugh as he flew toward an open hangar bay that held multiple Seraph fighters. Mabey, just mabey, he wouldn't die, not yet.
      He groaned as he slammed into the wall. He was lucky something didn't break with all the abuse he had been through within those three hours.
      "Praise the Forerunners." he said wearily as he stood up. Pain and suffering had been his life since his branding. He looked up at the fighters. They both appeared to have sustained no damage during the time that the Flood had taken over High Charity. He was about to board one when he heard the loud clanking of heavy metal against the floor. He tried to activate his optical camouflage but it would not respond.
      "Damn." he cursed aloud.

      The Master Chief pulled himself into a Seraph fighters cockpit. It wasn't that much different from a Longsword Fighter. He thumbed the controls and maneuvered it to face the shielded exit.

      The Arbiter jumped into a separate Seraph as he saw the shield deactivating. Who or what was in the other Fighter? Was it a Flood? Or could it have been some of his men? He didn't know but he decided to wait until it left for him to get back to the Human Cruiser. He didn't know where this "Master Chief" had gone nor did he care. His main objective now was to get out of High Charity alive. He tried to start the ship's systems but the holo pannel remained dark. He growled in displeasure and crawled out of the Seraph as the other left. He had mabey 15 cycles left before the generators discharged then... kaboom. "Damn it!" he yelled.

      "What hell is that?!!" Johnson yelled as a monstrous mass of pail rotting flesh jumped out from the shadows.
      "What does it look like?! Kill it!" he ordered. Everyone opened fire or threw grenades at the hissing beast as it made a grab for the Sarge and Commander. 'Vadumee grabbed its arm and tried sliced through it with one of his swords. The blade crackled and flashed as it was forced against the creature's arm. It would not penitrate despite how soft and fragile the skin looked. Rtas faltered for a split second and the "Flood" socked him in the side. The sharp spines on its knuckles broke his shield and stabed into his ribs. As he regained his compusure, he was kicked in the jaw and sent flying. There was a chorous of worried "Exellency!"s from his warriors and he smashed into the wall behind him and as rubble from the abused ship fell ontop of him.
      "Exellency! Hurry get him out!" ordered a Zealot.
       As the group rushed up to him, the Commander shoved debris out of his way. His eyes seemed to glow angrily and his men recoiled out of fear. His remaining mandibles clicked furiously as a sign of severe anger. He kicked himself up and slowly advanced toward the monster.
      Johnson looked behind him as the half-jawed Elite charged at the Flood and rammed both both swords clean through the seemingly impenitrable skin.
      The animal fell to the ground and Rtas 'Vadumee backed away, fists clenched so tight they bled.
      "What the hell is with you?" Johnson asked.
      The Commander did not answer.
      The Sarge shrugged and began to lead the troop onward.

      The monster's eyes snapped back open and it pulled out the swords. It heaved itself back up and ran at the Elite.
      Rtas whirled around just in time to see the creature stab him through the chest and stomach. A disgusting sneer slid across its demented face and neon yellow slime dripped from its fangs..
      Rtas yelled and tried to pull himself free but to no avail. He heard the Sarge shout something then heard the annoying sounds of gun fire. He tried not to, but coughed up purple blood. The things he could see now were fading fast.