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Chapter 1: Battle Plans
Posted By: Mizbehavin<mizbehavincy@gmail.com>
Date: 20 April 2007, 6:13 am

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"For a world that spawned the Devil's legion it can be beautiful." thought Sgt. Johnson as he looked out upon the world from his perch outside the control room. "Late, again" said Johnson while he scanned the horizon for the Phantom that was supposed to come and pick him up for his meeting with Commander Keyes. He still didn't know what the Commander wanted to meet about since they just meet two days ago for a meeting about boarding the Covenant Ship hovering over the ocean by the control room. "At last." He said as he saw the Phantom round the corner of the canyon in the distance. In a few seconds the Phantom was activating its gravity lift so Sarge could board it and so passengers could exit. The ship's passengers ranged from Marines to Hunters, Johnson could tell by the expressions of relief on the marines faces that they still hadn't gotten used to traveling with their former enemies. "They better get used to it if they want to get off this ring alive." Sarge thought to himself. After everyone had disembarked the ship Johnson boarded following Keyes instructions to the letter, he was not to sit in the cockpit but near the grav lift in case there was some emergency. He looked towards the cockpit and saw that there was an elite and a marine in it instead of two elites. "Looks like the Commander is getting the elites to teach us how to fly these hunks of metal. Lucky them." he commented under his breath.

The ride up to the Epicenter was smooth due to the fact that the elite was piloting and not the marine. "Please disembark using the grav lift and please don't fall on your ass on the way out." said the marine as Sarge got ready to leave. Sarge chuckled at this not because it was funny but because the elite was not amused by the marine's witty banter. As he descended he was shocked to see that the exterior of the Epicenter was empty. He proceeded to enter further into the complex to see the same as he did outside, no one. He entered the hallway where the Commander's Office had been set up and finally saw to marines standing outside of her door guarding it. They recognized him on the spot at stepped aside so he could enter Keyes office. The doors separated and he entered to find the Commander sitting at her makeshift desk with Spec Ops Commander Rtas 'Vadumee or Half-Jaw for short, due to his missing mandibles after his first encounter with the Flood. Keyes motioned him to have a seat. He walked over to the table and sat on the stone bench beside Half-Jaw. "So why have we gathered here?"asked Half-Jaw. "Please wait all of your questions will be answered when the rest of us arrive." "Rest of us?" As Johnson said this the door opened yet again this time giving passage to Corporal Cross and The Arbiter. Cpl.Cross was a giant of a man towering a foot over Johnson with a nice scar across the side of his cheek from a light brush with a energy sword wielding elite from back when the Elites were enemies. The Arbiter was one of the only reasons that they were all still alive, he had killed the Brute Chieftain that had activated Halo and helped Keyes retrieve the Index before Halo could fire.

When they were all seated the Commander stood and began to speak,"I'm glad that you were all able to make it, now let's get down to business. First off as you all now know we are going to board the Covenant Vessel to get out of here now we need to decide who is going to lead the soldiers on the vessel." "I will lead us to victory."said Lock-Jaw "Count me in" said Sgt. Johnson as well. "Good, now we have another problem. We sent Sgt.Mueller's squad up to High Charity yesterday to try and find a ship that would be able to infiltrate the Covenant vessel we assumed that they were unsuccessful. That is until we received a camera feed from Corporal Ryan Anderson showing Sgt.Mueller shooting him in the chest multiple times. Then 3 hours later Cpl.Anderson stands up." "Do you think he was wearing a bulletproof vest?"asked Cpl.Cross "No, I believe that he was infected by the Flood which let him survive the bullets. The feed then takes us through High Charity and finally into this large tower here." "That is the Chamber of the Hierarch's." stated The Arbiter. "It is where I stood my trial." "Then you know the area well?" asked Miranda "Yes, I do." "Then you and Cpl.Cross here will lead your squad to this area and destroy this creature show here." Everyone was amazed except the Arbiter remembering his first encounter with the Gravemind and what it could do. "Commander we will not be able to destroy this creature here with simple weapons we must use something much larger." "Like a fuel rod cannon or rocket launcher?" "No, like a bomb. The weapons hangar on the Covenant vessel is full of them, we will have to capture the vessel before we can go destroy the Gravemind." "Okay then we'll keep it the same but Arbiter you, Cpl.Cross, and your squad will provide artillery support for them, understood." The group let out a chorus of yes ma'ams and stood up to leave. "Johnson you stay I need to speak to you."

"Yes ma'am." Johnson said after the others had left "Look at this for me." she told him as she started the feed again. "Look here." she paused the video "Now look you see that black shape the Flood is talking to?" "Barely." "Well if I turn the feed to thermal it shows that this figure is living and is not infected." "My god it's one of the soldiers we sent up, why isn't he dead?" "I don't know, but watch the rest. Did you see what it did to him?" "I think it teleported him somewhere ma'am" "What about what he gave our man?" "I did see that." "Then you know what he gave him?" "Not what ma'am but who." "You mean..." "Yes he gave him Cortana."

Pvt. Bill Hudson was laying face down in a pile of sand when he awoke. "I've got to find the Commander and Sarge." said Pvt.Hudson as he hopped up and hitched a ride going to the Epicenter. He reached into his survival pack to see if the construct was still there and was relived when he felt the cold steel against his bare hand. He asked the driver of the warthog once more that he was going to the Epicenter before lying back and falling asleep. He awoke up on a cold examination table stark naked meaning one thing, he didn't have the A.I. anymore."Oh god, where is it? If I don't find it then he'll kill everyone." Hudson looked around for some protection if "he" came right now or if the person who had the A.I. came in again. After finding a saw and getting some scalpels he positioned himself on top of some cabinets ready to pounce on the next thing to enter the room. Human or Flood.

"So Doc does he check out?" asked Commander Keyes. "Yes, but we found this in his survival pack." The doctor held up a A.I. disc which of course both Johnson and Keyes knew was Cortana. "I was going to send it to the engineers but i wanted to run it by you first and see if that's what you wanted me to do." "You know what I'm gonna take this and examine it before I send down to the tech guys. Just to see what's on it." "Anyway the pa..." The table where Pvt.Hudson was lay empty and the room was missing surgical equipment such as scalpels and a saw. Suddenly Hudson jumped down from on top of some cabinets and grabbed the doctor, and had the saw against her throat when he saw Commander Keyes and more importantly what she was holding. He dropped the saw and looked to the Commander and lunged for the A.I. when Sgt.Johnson tackled him to the ground."Sarge."said Commander Keyes "Yes ma'am." "Tie his hands then lead him to my office." "Yes ma'am." grunted Sarge as Keyes left the room.

The door opened and Sarge and Pvt.Hudson stepped in. "Please, have seat." Keyes gestured as they both sat down. "Now I'm going to be straight with you, we need to know what this Gravemind said to you. "He said that I must deliver the A.I. to the Master Chief or we will all die." "I haven't heard from the Chief in a few days now so he could be dead for all we kno..." "No he said he was at the Epicenter, this is the Epicenter still right?" "Yes but the Chief isn't here. Lets see if Cortana knows where he is." The Commander inserted Cortana's A.I. disc in to a pedestal that they took from High Charity. The pedestal flickered to life and Cortana's image appeared on it. "Commander?" Cortana sounded surprised by the sound of her voice, but with her you could never tell. "Commander how did I get away from the Gravemind last thing I remember is answering some simple questions and then coming back online here."
"I don't know, we were hoping you had some answers." "Not one. Do you at least know why the Gravemind let me go." "Yes, he wants Pvt.Hudson here to take you to the Chief." "Do you know where the chief is?" asked Pvt.Hudson franticly as he jumped out of his seat. "Yes I do, the Chief is going to Earth with the Prophet of Truth."