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Warning-Hitch Hikers May Be Escaping Convicts: Chapter 3
Posted By: Spartan 034<zack_034@hotmail.com>
Date: 19 October 2005, 11:25 pm

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      Sorah scrambled up the makeshift rope just as the slaves overcame their fear of him and rushed in for the meat. He unraveled his whip from the walkway and followed his new acquaintance. The warrior's jet-black armor made him look almost invisible in the dim light. The Spec-Ops soldier turned around.

      "Why do you follow me?" he asked.

      "You saved my life, my lord." Sorah said as he bowed to the high-ranking Elite. "I am at your service." Disgraced or not, Sorah respected the chain of command. Elites of this stature were near-divine.

      The warrior eyed Sorah over with disapproval. "You saved my life as well. We owe each other nothing." He said.
His eyes fell to Sorah's feeble weapons. "Besides, you are no warrior. You will die at my side, if you follow me." He turned and began to walk away. "Your life is not mine to command. The Prophets sent you here. It is their will that you guard this filth." he said without looking at Sorah, gesturing to the creatures below them.

      "What is happening? Why have the Brutes betrayed us?" He asked.

      The Elite sighed and turned.

      "I will not be rid of you until one of us is dead, will I?" he asked himself. "Follow me if you wish, but I will not stick out my neck to protect yours." With that he continued on his way. Sorah noticed he was walking away from the exit.

      "Where are you going? The exit is that way. In the hub." Sorah told the Elite.

      "If I did not know that, how do you think I came in?" the warrior said without looking back.

      "There is no other way in. Unless you came in through the loading docks." Sorah joked.

      The Elite only grunted. Sorah stared at him in disbelief.

      "Things are not as calm as they seem. Follow me and I will show you."

      Sorah followed him as he was told. There was a hole melted into the wall at the end of the walkway big enough for a Sangheili to squeeze through. It had gone through several feet of alloy. The Elite must have had heavy weapons. He ducked though it, and Sorah followed.

      On the other side of the wall Sorah expected to see several rows of large cigar shaped transports, used to ferry the slaves to worksites. Instead he saw a huge melted crater and a 4-meter wide hole in the wall covered by energy shielding. A crashed Seraph fighter lay a dozen meters away from the opening. Sorah guessed that was how the Elite had come in. He slowly walked around the crater to the hole. His eyes grew wide as he saw the destruction that lay before him.

      At least a hundred ships lay dead in space. Hundreds more fired lances of blue flame at each other that streaked past as if in slow motion, ripping through shielding and hulls and casting the atoms of crewmen into the void. Huge swarms of Seraph fighters weaved in and around the burning hulks of starships, snapping flashes of plasma at each other.

      Sorah looked back at the Spec-Ops warrior. He stood atop the Seraph fighter that lay bent a twisted on the deck, also gazing at the battle.

      He spoke softly "The fleet is tearing itself apart at the seams. The Brutes…" His hands curled into tight fists. "They are slaughtering Elites on almost all of our ships. I was stationed on the carrier Reverence when the Brutes attacked. I saw my leader die at the hands of the beasts…" he began to tell his story...

      "My unit was in the loading area of the ship, disembarking from our Phantoms. We were to be sent after the demon, reinforcements to Noble Regret's troops. But we were recalled. Not long after that we received news that the Prophet of Regret had been slain. Then the airlocks opened. My commander and only three of my comrades were able to escape. We were headed for the command deck when a pack of Brutes ambushed us. My commander fought valiantly, but there were too many. He ordered us to get to High Charity, and warn the Prophets of this rebellion. We could not make it to the drop pods, so we went to the fighter bays. We were each able to take a fighter, but the ship fired on us…I do not know whether the last of my comrades survived or not."

      He paused, looking through the stars as if searching for them.

      "How can the Prophets allow this?" Sorah asked.

      "The Prophets, in all their wisdom, were deceived. They have been showing the Brutes two much favor as of late. The beasts have become filled with greed." He said, turning to the fighter's hatch

      "I have lost all those dear to me as well." Sorah said softly. "Perhaps we may work together to-."

      "Bah! Do you know who I am?" He said as he leapt back on top of the fighter. "I am one of the Prophet's blessed! When they order strike teams to destroy this insurrection, I will be in the front!" the Elite cried out. "You will be in the back, the one to burn the bodies." He calmed down slightly. "But until the Prophets call us to order, you will assist me." Sorah should have known better. The Elite would never ask for help. But he certainly would 'allow' it.

      The warrior's features softened. "My name is 'Inka Tuolumee. What can I call you?" he asked.

      Sorah was taken back by the huge social gesture the soldier had shown him. "I am Sorah." He said. 'Inka certainly changed moods quickly.

      "Well then, Sorah, be ready for battle!" 'Inka said with vigor. He reached inside the fighter and tossed Sorah a laser Carbine. Sorah held the weapon with awe. His kind was forbidden from weapons such as this.

      "I cannot, if- "

      "Do you want to avenge your hoard or not?" he said, holding one of the weapons himself. He slid in a fresh energy cell, and then tossed Sorah a few of them. "You do know how use this weapon, do you not?" Sorah shifted his shoulders, the Sangheili counterpart to a nod.

      "Good. Then let us hunt!" he exclaimed.

      The two Sangheili stood in the Guards Hub. 'Inka gazed up at the gravlift. Sorah tried to keep his eyes away from the horror that surrounded him.

      "What is the area above the gravlift like?" 'Inka asked.

      "It has been years since I was up there. When I was last there, it was a small room with only a pair of Sangheili sent there from below. They were replaced with Brutes before this." Sorah said.

      "Let us ascend." 'Inka said. He stepped into the gravlift and was whisked away. Sorah took one last look around and wished he hadn't. He followed the Elite.

      'Inka eased to a stop at the end of the lift. A pair of Brutes turned toward him. "Fools." 'Inka thought. He tossed away his carbine and brandished his sword.

      When Sorah arrived at the top, 'Inka greeted him by tossing a severed Brute head at his feet. "They were not the fighters they thought they are!" he exclaimed. He was exuberant.

      'Inka retrieved his carbine before the two exited the small room. They were now in a brightly lit room 'Inka realised with shock that the lights were normal. It was his eyes. What he hadn't realised was how dark the slave chambers were.

      "I have not been in the light for years." Sorah muttered. "It…hurts." 'Inka also realized for the first time the discoloration of Sorah's skin. The lights in this area seemed like a sun compared to the ones in the chamber. Sorah blinked his eyes for several seconds. "I cannot see!" he cried.

      "I am sure that it will return to you with time." 'Inka replied. "Stay. I will secure the area." He said as he left the room.

      Sorah knocked over a crate. He tripped over it and fell to the floor. He bristled when he heard the doors open again. A foul scent filled his nostrils. He rolled over on his back and pushed himself against a wall with his legs. "'Inka? Is that you?" he asked cautiously. The stench was horrible, and yet slightly familiar. Cold realization hit Sorah like a stone. It was the smell of humans, but with something different. Sorah heard a growl-like gurgling. It was not from any creature of the Covenant, but something else. A fear filled him. An instinctual fear.

      "Die, parasite!" a Sangheili called out. Sorah came to his senses and snapped on his shield. There was the whine of a plasma rifle, then a soft thud. Sorah's eyes widened.

      "Who is there?" he asked.

      "Bah. Over so soon?" an Elite complained.

      "Who is that?" Sorah asked. He managed to stand. His sight was slowly returning, but it was not clear. He could make out a dim shape in front of him. He leveled his carbine at it, squinting. Before he could speak, the shape leapt in front of him. It grabbed the barrel of the carbine and jerked it from Sorah's hands. It clubbed him upside the head with it, and Sorah went unconscious.

      'Inka lashed out with his sword, slicing a Combat Form in half. It slumped to the floor with a slurping thud. A burst from a human weapon curved up his back. 'Inka swung around with his sword out, lashing off the arm of a former Elite. The limb fell to the ground with the finger on the trigger, the recoil causing it to spin sending rounds flying everywhere. Tentacles sprouted from the wrist of the creature's remaining arm and lashed at the Elite. 'Inka's remaining shields flared out. He grabbed the monster's wrist and snarled at it before he cut it in half at the waist. A door opened, and hundreds of Infection Forms poured in.