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Halo 2: Defense and Offense - Chapter 1
Posted By: Dagorath<hoyinshan@gmail.com>
Date: 26 July 2005, 4:52 am

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Foreword: This is an ambitious new project: a complete novelization of Halo 2. This is not going to be in Eric Nyland's style, as I don't like the shouting, reloading, and using of the assault rifle. I will be able to add a lot more extra stuff.

Ninth Age of Reclamation, Step of SilenceCovenant Holy City "High Charity"

A Covenant cruiser glided past the still-smouldering ruins of Halo, its lights glinting like the ancient language of some forgotten race.
      Next to the moon Basis was an enormous structure, shaped like a mushroom with a long stem. Lights also winked on it, revealing a cold, austere beauty, like something spawned by artificial means, as opposed to the gentle hand of Nature.
      An enormous armada of Covenant cruisers made slow patrols across the space around High Charity. Computer scans swept the surrounding area, analyzing every single piece of rubble or wreckage with the utmost scrutiny. The number amounted to more than two hundred powerful cruisers, with many thousands spread around the massive empire.
      Two Banshees swooped into formation with several others outside a platform protruding from the mighty Sanctum of the Hierarchs. This seemed to be some kind of pedestal for displaying, as there were many tiers of balconies beneath it. Several thousand people could easily fit on those tiers.
       "There was only one ship."
      Inside the building was a lofty hall. Purplish light filtered onto a semicircular dais inside, where a single Elite in golden armour stood. A short distance in front of him was a much higher dais, where three Prophets floated on their levitating seats, one of which was a hologram.
      Around where the Elite stood were several tiers of seats, on which was seated the Council: Minor Prophets in much smaller headdresses than the three on the taller dais on one side, hulking Councilor Elites in deep blue armour whispering amongst themselves on the other. The Brute Chieftain Tartarus stood with his arms crossed in a satisfied fashion somewhere behind the Elite. The floor was lined with Elite Honour Guards in orange and red armour with long ceremonial spears.
       "One? Are you sure?" asked one of the Prophets on the taller dais, who floated behind the other two.
       "Yes. They called it….Pillar of Autumn," said the Elite.
       "Why was it not destroyed, with the rest of their fleet?" demanded the Prophet on the dais who hovered in front, next to the hologram one.
       "It fled, as we set fire to their planet," the Elite replied. "But I followed with all the ships at my command."
       "When you first saw Halo, were you blinded by its majesty?" asked one of the Prophets, a little mockingly.
       "Blinded?" asked the Elite.
       "Paralyzed? Dumbstruck?"
      The hologram Prophet spoke. "Yet the humans were able to evade your ships," here he spread his arms, each hand with three long, tapering fingers, "land on the Sacred Ring, and desecrate it with their filthy footsteps!"
       "Noble Hierarchs," said the Elite quickly, "surely you understand that once the Parasite attacked - "
      The roars of disapproval from the crowd on the stands drowned out his voice.
      The Prophet next to the holographic one pounded his fist on the arm of his floating chair. "There will be order in this Council!" he said loudly.
       "You were right to concentrate your attention on the Flood," said the Prophet at the back, now moving to the forefront between his fellows. "But this Demon, this 'Master Chief'…."
       "By the time I learned of the Demon's intent, there was nothing I could do," said the Elite.
      There was a collective roar from the Council on the stands as the Minor Prophets stood up and shouted, gesturing with their thin limbs. The congregated Elites in blue whispered again. The Elite in the central dais was confronted by a sea of accusing mouths, pouring abuse upon him. At the back, the Brute Tartarus chuckled softly.
       "Prophet of Truth," the holographic Prophet whispered to the one who had moved forwards, leaning closer, "this has gone on long enough. Make an example of this bungler. The Council demands it."
      Truth raised his hand, halting the other's words. "You are one of our most cherished instruments." His face seemed to loom up in the Elite's field of vision, obscuring all else. "Long have you led your fleet with honour and distinction, but your inability to safeguard Halo was a colossal failure."
      A Minor Prophet on the stands stood up and raised a fist, saying, "Nay, it was heresy!"
      There were renewed shouts from the Council. The Elite could discern the words "heretic", "traitor", and "filth" among them.
       "I will continue my campaign against the humans," said the Elite decisively, silencing the shouts.
       "No! You will not," said Truth, looking at Tartarus. The Brute gestured at two of his fellows, who walked forwards and made to pull the Elite off the dais, but when he turned, they backed off. The Prophet continued.
       "Soon the Great Journey shall begin." The two Brutes walked to either side of the Elite as he was led out of the chamber. "But when it does, the weight of your heresy will stay your feet, and you shall be left behind."

1056 hours, October 20, 2552 (Military Calendar)Sol system, Earth Defense Platform "Cairo", planet Earth

Light years away, the opposite end of the spectrum to the Covenant was preparing for the inevitable assault against Earth. The enormous Earth Defense Platforms were evolved versions of the Super MAC gun placements on Reach, except there were a lot more of them. Ever since the fall of Reach, Earth's defences had been geared up. Each platform could fire a super-dense ferric tungsten shell, weighing four, not three, thousand tons at amazing speeds with astounding accuracy. If the emplacements at Reach were pistols, then the platforms in orbit around Earth were SPNKR rocket launchers.
      Inside Cairo Station, the Master Chief, survivor of Halo, victor of a hundred battles and slayer of many thousands Covenant, from Grunts to Jackals to Hunters to Elites to Brutes, was being told off by a Marine.
       "The plating was about to fail, there's viscosity throughout the gel layer," said the Marine, pointing to the Chief's battered Mark V armour lying on the floor with all its scratches and bloodstains.
      He placed an odd-looking rectangular object on the table. "Optics, totally fried." He picked a long cylindrical battery pack. "And let's not even talk about the power supply." He waved it at the Master Chief. "You know how expensive this gear is, son?"
       What, one month of fighting and you expect mint condition? The Chief felt slightly annoyed.
      The Master Chief picked his new helmet up. The responses from his new armour was not a lot stronger from the old friend he wore on Halo 04, but the movement was a lot smoother and, in the childish part of the Chief's mind, it was a lot cooler. There were more armour plates, including one on the back of each hand that he could use to swipe with, as well as a thin layer of gold on the visor to block radiation.
      The helmet hissed on, closing the vacuum seal. "Tell that to the Covenant."