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Purity: A Halo Novel Pt. 4
Posted By: Jason Rieger<j.rieger@bigpond.com>
Date: 31 December 2009, 12:12 pm

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Matter transport is always a kick… a kick in the guts. I shimmered on top of a mountain peak. A great mountain range that curved off in all directions, below the massive peaks clouds brewed, stormy and dark. The orange-tinged dark blue sky beheld a large orb, from my previous history class, it was the planet Chu'ot.
"This is pretty, my love," Cortana teased. "Maybe we could return on our next holiday…"
On the horizon the Halo peeked over, check.
"This way, Demon," stated Arbiter. "We are easy targets here." He began lopping along a ledge, a Brute Shot cradled in his arm. "The Banshee factory is not far…"
Banshees? Huh? We're on the Jackals' homeworld… home of pirates and the flightless birds! We'll I suppose oceans could be below those clouds and I suppose the Kig-Yar would away yearn for their lost flight.
"Just another glance at the equality within the Covenant." Cortana was beginning a sermon. "The Unggoy develop plasma technology and then the Plasma Rifle and the Sangheili prohibit them on religious grounds; the Kig-Yar built Banshees and the Sangheili ban them from flight. No wonder the 'lesser' races despise the taller races, not to mention the pacifistic Huragok advances in understanding of the Forerunners and Yanme'e antigravity discoveries."
Her voice droned on as a wife's would and I looked at the rocky range, jogging.
The mottled slopes of the metal-ore rich peaks beheld many nooks and crannies, ample hiding spots for the Jackals. Little saplings eked their way out of the ore thick ground near the dense clouds, these branchless trunks probably suck their moisture from the fog, straggling for sunlight, and larger trunks thrust out further in the mist, better established and most like what the Kig-Yar would make their pirate boats from.
Tiny little furballs darted between the main feature, which was rocks. Pale, yellow tinged jagged boulders; mottle green stones; orange flecked with purple rocks… and this one just turned suddenly to dust… I then hear the 'psst-yeow' of a Particle Beam Rifle!
I turned my head, raising my M6G Magnum pistol and enhancing the scope until I saw a Jackal lying on its stomach, an arm angled so its personal energy shield cover its top half and the rifle sticking out from under the half-dome.
I considered switching to the Sniper Rifle that Guilty Spark supplied me with but I would be hard pressed to find a weak point in the Jackals placement. I blinked and the Jackal was gone, it must have slipped back into crevice… this could get annoying.
"There is no point stopping. Your shield will protect you, Demon," Arbiter told me. "It is highly unlikely that two beams will hit you before your recharge." He suddenly dropped to his knees and thrust his arm into a gap in the rocks and dragged out a thrashing Kig-Yar. The thing was holding a Plasma Pistol in its three finger talon; I could hear the pistol hum as the Jackal overcharged it, batting Arbiter with its energy shield as a distraction. I think the Sangheili was trying to force his Brute Shot's barrel into the Kig-Yar's beak.
I stepped forward to yell a warning about the overcharging pistol when Arbiter flexed his arm, snapping the Jackal's neck and then tossing the corpse off the cliff into the clouds below. The pistol discharged harmlessly into the air.
"Ha ha, Neeka, may the Prophet take you," called Arbiter and spat blue-tinged phlegm after the Kig-Yar. Gee, I love hanging with a psychopath!

A few more 'pings' from hidden Jackal, even the occasional 'phhe-ting' from some Carbine Rifle. The standard Plasma Pistol shots didn't bother us but overcharged Plasma Pistol were our main concern, these meant that a Jackal was close and a full charge might blast us off the mountain! While scanning all direction I also watched the Halo lifting higher in the sky as we traveled.
We soon came around a peak of a precipice and we saw a leveled section. Steel girder platforms spanned a high basin. Buildings were haphazardly placed on the decking, energy shield roof, doors and the occasional wall hummed. Snipers bunker pocked the surrounding peaks.
We hear the whine as we saw a Banshee descending out of the dark sky. It was smaller then the standard Sangheili Banshee but I could see the bones of what it would become. Five more quickly swooped into towards us and began firing, twin Plasma Pistols mounted on each arm. Ducking back, I blasted with my Magnum.
As always Arbiter was more direct, raising his Brute Shot he exploded the half dozen from the sky, and I think he only fired four shots!
We leaped down the cliff face, pouncing onto the metal platform. Swarms of Kig-Yar came pouring out, defending their facility of flight. The Kig-Yar maybe cowards but this facility most likely was the only way they could become airborne, the reclaim their flight.
Arbiter was just swinging the Brute Shot's massive blade on its butt, dismembering any Jackals that got within his elongated arms reach. Occasionally he would blast a shot when he heard the whine off a Plasma Pistol charging. I followed in his wake, loosening a shot at a Jackal that Arbiter had decided as no threat. He had a single Energy Sword strapped to his back – either 343 Guilty Spark couldn't get another sword or Arbiter was rubbing in the fact that I had lost the other - but he would rather decapitate the Jackals with the thick blade.
We tread over the corpses and came to a door that was just an energy shield. Arbiter slapped a Plasma Grenade to the domed door and slightly turned - he even slightly slowed his step as it exploded. In through the doorway, we jumped over a balcony, landing amongst the assemble line of the Banshees. A group of Banshee 'scientists' looked up at us.
"What is this?" said a scientist; purple tattoos marking the Kig-Yar's face and arms. "First your great ring transmits these blueprints for this magnificent flying vessel and now you want to destroy them and us!"
Arbiter paced forward, bored, he raised his arm, ready to snap another neck.
I didn't pause to think I just struck the Sangheili from behind, my shoulder driving him into a half assembled frame, it must have had an electrical current running through it because he flashed with lightning and was thrown backwards. He then collapsed in a smoldering lump.
"I will not attack the unarmed." I stated, just as three simultaneous overcharged pistol shots hit me and I hit blackness.

My awakening were not a good one. I was suspended above a chasm in a cage of thin metal bars and the floor of a molecule thick energy shield. No, not the best, nor was the fact that I shared it with Arbiter, slumped and luckily still unconscious.
"I wouldn't like to be you, Master Chief," joked Cortana, "when Arbiter wakes."
Hopefully the energy field would be switch off the before then!
"Oh, by the way," continue Cortana, "I can't reach Sparky, must be the proximity of Banshee assembly line causing interference. You know, all that machinery and what not. I can't imagine how the Kig-Yar are able to cope with the Forerunners technology. Most of the Covenants great advances have been stolen, or sent perhaps, from the Forerunners. Why do you think names like Banshee, Wraith and Ghost are chosen? It's some bad pun from an invisible race.
"Anyway, I hope I can reach Sparky before we fall too far…"
OK, time to escape. I grabbed the bars and was jolted back. Nope not that way! Unfortunately the jolt had also woken up Arbiter.
"DEMON!" Arbiter does a good King-Spud-as-a- zombie impersonation (see previous chapter). He sprang to his feet, bashing his head against the ceiling and jolting himself. Eek, from bad to worse.
Luckily he was interrupted by a voice shouting at us. "Please explain, Aliens." A xenophobic Kig-Yar stood a few metres from us on a cliff edge, bellowing. It held Particle Beam Rifle traced on us, its personal force shield covering most of its form – partially shielded with us in a cage, this must be a brave Jackal! "Tell us of the band in the sky, why is it that you give us our greatest wish to fly then descend to slay us? We will never submit to a hierarchy, no matter how advanced, we are Kig-Yar."
"Cortana," muttered Arbiter, "do what you do."
"No probs, Oppressor," quipped Cortana. Arbiter growled. 'Don't poke the bear', I muttered, the Sangheili glared into my golden visor. Best I keep silent…
Cortana materialized beside the Jackal and several things happen at once. Firstly the force field beneath us vanished and be began our plummet; also several sniper rounds blurred through Cortana; and the air instantly filled with a score of Banshees.
I grabbed a bar, my arm spasmed with the current but I held on, my other hand grabbed Arbiter foot and I swung him - inverted - towards to ledge. My hand was slipping down to the bottom of the bar (it felt like a one-handed contest on a baseball bat to see who bats first), I got to the pointy end and my hand came loose. For a split second we were going sideways instead of down.
Arbiter tips of the fingers clipped the edge of the ledge and we pivoted downwards, slamming into the cliff's metal face. I quickly used Arbiter as a ladder and got myself up and over, spinning and pulling him with me. The Snipers were now using us for target practice, my shield was nothing and the particles were boring through me. Arbiter took a few hits and his purple blood was spattering onto the deck.
Cortana had flared into a bright red Mgalekgolo, drawing fire as she did her best hulking Hunter impression, a giant bipedal spikey terror.
A thought then occurred to me… with my friends' skills maybe I could go into a holodrama business… then another thought occurred… I must be losing a lot of blood.
We managed to slug our way to some shelter and Cortana beamed back inside my head.
"I've done an extensive scan and I know where your weapons are located," she told us. "I didn't spend my time sleeping like you guys." Arbiter growled.
She signaled the local and we sped off. Luckily the path was mostly shielded by buildings and after some quick dashes and some more sniper hits, I really didn't mind that Arbiter snapped a few necks along the way.

We eventually came to a Market. Yes, a market. The entire Kig-Yar militia was chasing us, and we had to stop to shop. Well, technically we were tourists.
Our position was elevated so we perused into the streets. The Kig-Yars were packed in thick, haggling. Everything you could think of was on display and a few things you could think of too!
We walked down into the throng as wares were flung into our view. We may have been aliens straight out of a war zone but commerce did not judge.
Old crone Jackals shook their strange fruits or furballs on metal skewers at passerbys. Hunched forms tinkered with small objects, vast arrays of jewelry or trinkets displayed on boards in front of them. Soldiers stood on street corners, eyeing everyone, strangely with small purple flags in each hand, yet unstrangely Plasma Pistol at their waists. Unplumed Kig-Yars danced on tall crates, a leash and chain around their necks and attached to a pudgy sleaseball.
"Most of your weapons are over at that junk shop," stated Cortana. "We will obtain them and then focus on the acquisition of your Sniper Rifle, Master Chief. We'll definitely need it when we assault the Eayn Halo."
The junk shop had a bargain bin of hand guns in front of it. Plasma pistols of many shapes and sizes; hand crossbows; ballistic guns with plasma explosion mechanism; sawn-off Carbine Rifles with enlarged barrels; and my M6G Magnum pistol. I suppose once the rounds ran out it would only be a lump of alloyed titanium… I picked it up, puzzling why was it still loaded. Wasn't the shop owner worried about theft? I looked around and saw various glints of snipers positioned in advantageous points, then I realized that none of the Kig-Yars had their personal shield on. The shields must be banned from the market and a would-be thief would never know when a sniper bead was trained on him. An effective anti-theft procedure.
The owner came out already talking his sales pitch, he was absently twirling a small bright purple flag, brighter then his vibrant yellow plumes. "Yes, yes, very good choice. Very fine for a great warrior as you. You kill many with this fine piece. Yes, new to my shop, very new. New innovation, one of a kind, very rare. Yes, good price for you, very good. You do have money, no?" It plumes stood up at this question, an imitating of a question mark.
I stood there stunned trying to decipher his question, wondering why his small flag was waving so close to the side of my head. Arbiter smoothly slid between us.
"I have money, Neeka," Arbiter spat. "I will purchase the toy gun for my companion. I will also require the large canon and sword of plasma that you would have obtained in the same purchase."
"Tut, tut," the Kig-yar replied. "The pistol may be purchased for a good fee now but the other two you mentioned are collector items. They will be auction at my next available chance. If you leave your contact details and, say, a deposit of 100 granars I will be able to inform you of the schedule for the afore mentioned auction."
Arbiter hands clenched. His last speech must have been the most he's ever 'negotiated' in his life, it went way beyond anything the Sangheili culture every allowed. Were my scruples wearing off on Arbiter? Fat chance!
The Kig-Yar merchant flag waving had slowed close to Arbiter's head, almost stopping their flutter. That bothered me.
Arbiter breathed. "Perhaps, we could discuss it within your shop. We are pressed for time, perhaps you have seen the giant Halo encircling your sky. The canon we can compensate for, I imagine it would not be that sort after and the sword can be overlook." Arbiter bit his tongue and waited. Did they have valium for Sangheili? Had he taken the whole box?
The Jackal held the moment just to be dramatic enough then said, "As you wish, Elite." He turned and re-entered his shop.
Arbiter paused at the title. Coincidence? I wonder. Maybe it has a different meaning for the Kig-Yar…
I flipped my Magnum and we entered the shop.
Any thoughts for an ambush on the shop owner were quickly dashed. (Maybe that's why Arbiter was being so subtle.) The only difference between outside and inside was that inside had less cover. No roof, spaced out benches, and no throng of the shoppers. They must switch on a force field roof for when it rains! If it rains…
Old Yellow Plume led to a small shielded box, he phased it off and pulled out Arbiter's Brute Shot. Our grenades also lay in the there and Arbiter nodded at those. The merchant complied and packed them onto bench with one hand, his other still fluttering the flag lazily - did have a nervous twitch?
Arbiter then unhooked a small pouch that was attached to his waist and placed it in front of the merchant. The merchant nodded then the flag stopped right in front of Arbiter's face.
'Psst-yeow' sounded in triplicate. Arbiter was already under a bench when the Sniper shot ricocheted of my helmet. I dropped and Arbiter tipped the table over as beams burn into it. The Brute Shot clumped into the ground while the grenades just rolled everywhere.
"Cortana," yelled Arbiter. "Where is my Glory?"
"Behind the back wall," she replied, "but considering - "She was interrupted as the back wall was blaster out by Brute Shot and Arbiter leaping through the dust.
I charged after Arbiter, skimming up what grenades I could along the way. We dove into the back room as soldiers were bursting in the front. The room was adorning with swords, ceremonial and functional. Metal broad blades hung with the needle-point crystalline stilettos; curved force shield based polearms were mounted with a harden-ceramic, holed and canister hilted flame cudgel; a modified Particle Beam Rifle with a barrel that resembled a groove sat along side Arbiter's Energy Sword. Pay dirt!
Milliseconds later, Arbiter strapped on his 'Glory' and blasted out the next back wall, which led to a steep cliff face, down.
Now I had fallen quite a few times in my years (most ended in a quick respawn (try not to think of that in a story format, it will mess with yer head)) but that drop through the clouds would have more then just my arms flailing.
I turned back and grabbed the modified Particle Beam Rifle off the wall just as the owner came through the hole flanked by many soldiers overcharging their Plasma Pistols. The Jackal merchant hissed at me, his plumage erect and angry. I flipped the switch on the clunky rifle and a beam shot out into the merchant's gut, no, not a shot but a continuous blade. The energy blade thrummed, bucking as if alive. I swept left trying to control it and the beam burnt a line in the wall and beyond. I swung right and scorched another line. The unusual weapon then shut off, it was out of charge. I dropped it and walked back into the shop, Magnum leading, and for some reason I found my self humming a bars from Ray Parker Jnr classic 'Ghostbusters' or was it Huey Lewis and the News song 'I Want A New Drug' (now you can't possibly get a more obscure pop-culture reference then that!) .
The owner and soldiers were sliced in half, smoldering messes on the floor. The shop front was scarred and burnt.
I walk out into the street and all the shoppers were dead, likewise sliced and diced (like a Ginsu Knife (well, possibly more obscure)). Buildings burnt spasmodically, probably where something flammable was struck. The occasional dancing girl writhed on the ground, her crate being tall enough to save her body but not her legs. A black line could be traced along the mountain face where the beam blade had sliced it.
The carnage look like Godzilla had just battle Mothra… and Gigan… and Megalon… (and now I'm just reading names of the internet in my quest for obscurity, hey, hang on! I already have that!)
Arbiter brushed past my numb form. "Good work, Demon," he complimented. "It's good working with a psychopath." He chuckled. "A few less Neeka."

We walked silently. No Snipers fired upon us, perhaps our omnipotent wrath had scared them…
Cortana told us that my Sniper Rifle was back at the Banshee Assembly. We walked uninhibited into the compound. My rifle was on a bench, various drawing had been taken from it. I pick it up, unconcerned with the drawings.
Arbiter had chosen two of the largest Banshees and was placing a mask over his face.
I slumped into one of them, hit the on switch and powered out the flight bay, hooking up towards the Halo.