Halo: Forerunner - Section 1 Ch 20
Posted By: Joshua M. Uda<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 1 October 2010, 5:07 pm
Crystalline shards of ice sheared from the polymer window and began to slowly drift away as a sudden tremor reverberated through the silent chamber. The frosted viewport flushed with radiant, blue light and then faded back into the shadows. Reinforced titanium walls in the sealed pod groaned, shifting slightly under a gradual increase in pressure on structural stress points. A loud thud echoed through the darkness, accentuated by the hiss of chilled atmosphere equalizing near the entry hatch. The meter-thick, octagonal door shuddered and then began to open slowly, ushering in a blinding wash of white light, followed by the shadowy silhouette of a Tureen space suit.
Two wide spotlights burst from the sides of the figure's helmet, piercing through the foggy chamber as they swept from corner to corner until they settled on a lifeless body, curled into the fetal position, and suspended in the center of the pod. The bright spotlights reflected off the frosted window, illuminating the astonished face of the boarding officer. He keyed his radio and pushed off gently from the hatch, drifting gracefully toward the body.
"He's here! We found the Admiral!"
A surprised voice came over the com channel.
you have eyes on Admiral Perok?"
The officer carefully examined the uniform as he moved within reach of the body.
Admiral Perok is here," he whispered.
The officer gently placed a gloved hand on Perok's head and tried to examine the Admiral's face. Perok showed no signs of life. His skin was pallid, and his lips were blue. A white crust of frost covered his eyes, and frozen mucous glistened under his nose and mouth. He was dead.
"Status..? Trehvo, what is the Admiral's condition?"
Trehvo stared blankly at the corpse. He heard the transmission, but he didn't want to say it out loud.
"Prepare the medical bay," he said quietly.
"He's alive? Prepare for what?"
Trehvo clenched his teach and latched a tether to the Admiral's harness.
"Trehvo, prepare for what? What is his condition?"
"For cryo-resuscitation," Trehvo muttered reluctantly.
There was no response. He keyed the com again.
"Just get it ready, Kohra."
A moment passed, and then a broken and distant voice responded, "Acknowledged
Trehvo checked the tether to make sure it was secure. He looped it around the Admiral's waist and then stopped. His eyes fixed on Perok's hands. They were tucked tightly against his chest. In one of them was a small shard of broken metal. Frozen red spheres of blood drifted near the other.
He reached out cautiously with one glove and grabbed the blood-stained hand, pulling it gently from Perok's chest while the other glove pushed the body away. There were no cuts on the wrist. Trehvo placed both gloves on the clenched fist and clumsily pried it open. He gasped as he revealed a bloody palm covered in deep lacerations. It was writing
carved into his own hand.
Trehvo tried to decipher the glyphs, but his excited breathing had begun to fog up his visor. He noticed a blinking green light on his transparent heads-up display and reached up to release a latch at the top of his helmet. A biting chill rushed toward his face and stung his eyes as his visor retracted into his helmet. He struggled to inhale, choking and gasping for a moment until he finally forced his lungs to accept the frozen air. There was still enough oxygen in the atmosphere to support life, but the temperature was unbearable.
Finally, he managed to inhale through his nose. His nostrils clung together. His eyes stuck each time he blinked and his skin was beginning to burn as if it were on fire. He quickly turned his attention to the Admiral's hand to read the message carved in his flesh:
Beware White Demon Lives
A puzzled expression settled over Trehvo's face as he closed his visor. The visor was clear, now that both sides had chilled. It would fog up again as soon as the atmosphere in his helmet stabilized. Trehvo paused at that thought. He looked up to the frosted viewport. A single bloody handprint stained the frost in the center of the window. The young officer pushed off and floated over to the mark with the Admiral's corpse in tow. He placed his gloved hand over the print, and his eyes filled with terror as he brushed it away, revealing a stain
the ashy print of a large, five-fingered hand
on the other side of the window.