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Warning-Hitch Hikers May Be Escaping Convicts: Chapter 4
Posted By: Spartan 034<zack_034@hotmail.com>
Date: 29 October 2005, 5:52 pm

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      Sorah awoke groggily. His hands reached out for a weapon, but he had been stripped of all of his. He could finally see at least. The sound of plasma fire made him jolt with surprise. He looked to his right and saw an Unggoy clad in green armor firing a portable plasma turret. An elite in crimson armor stood next to him, firing a plasma rifle. Sorah tried to rise but was knocked down by an unseen being. An elite spoke. "Leader, it has awoken."

      The red elite turned and looked Sorah over. "Who are you?" He asked over the continuous firing from the grunt.

      "I am the Leader of the Slave Guard, commander of holding of Holding Chamber Seven." He said rising to his feet. He stood strait up, and noticed that he was a little taller than the red elite. That might be in his favor. The red elite grunted and turned back to the door. Sorah looked at the elite who had knocked him down. He was a minor elite, covered in blue armor. In his arms was cradled a carbine. Sorah looked the room over. It was small, and had a gravlift in the center. The only door was covered partially with crates, with only a small opening that the plasma turret was seated in. The blue elite followed Sorah's gaze to the gravlift. "It leads to the upper districts." He said. The blue soldier then walked to a small opening at the other side of the room. He came back with Sorah's plasma pistol, whip, and shield.

      "Here." He said, gruffly dropping the gear into Sorah's arms.

      "Where is my Carbine?" he asked. As soon as the words left his maw, he realized his mistake. The soldier sent a blow to Sorah's head, toppling him to the ground.

      "You are lucky we did not kill you just for possessing it. And now you ask for it back?" he fumed. Sorah collected his things and backed away. He guessed the blue elite held his weapon.

      "Where is the Elite I was with? The Spec-Ops soldier?" Sorah asked trying to change the subject.

      'Inka bellowed a war cry as the wave of Flood fell on him. He slashed at them with his sword, swatted them away with his hand free hand, and even went so far as to bite one that got close enough to his jaws. He felt one slide it's tentacle into his spine. He would not die like this. The warrior saw a plasma rifle lying across the room. He ripped the parasite from his neck and dove for the weapon.

      The warrior solemnly pointed out the door. Sorah walked over and stood behind the Grunt on the turret. The hallway was almost completely filled with flood. Hundreds of rangers and dozens of combat forms all melted under the fire from the turret, but it seemed that for every one that fell with two more came to replace it. "Leader, we will be overrun. We must retreat." The blue soldier said. The red elite backed away from the door, still firing over the grunts head.

      "Go. We will seal it off from the top." he said. The blue elite stepped into the lift, followed by the red one. The grunt looked back in terror.

      "Me no want die! Help!" he cried at Sorah. The guard fixed his shield onto his arm, clipped his weapons to his waist, and stepped into the lift. The grunt hesitated, then dove for the gravlift, letting off on the turret's trigger. A thick tentacle wrapped around his leg and pulled him into the mass off flood.

      It seemed that Sorah would never stop ascending. When he finally reached the top, the two Elites nearly shot him. He was in another small room, with no idea where he was in the city. The blue elite shoved him out of the way. "Back." He warned. He primed a plasma grenade and dropped it on top of the closed hatch. It fused the hatch closed, and melted a good chunk of the bulkhead around it. The molten metal rose up in a bubble before it cooled, the force of the gravlift acting on it. Sorah thought about the Spec-Ops elite. He was surely dead, now a vile combat form. The guard turned away and followed his new companions.

      'Inka burned every one of the monsters that stood to oppose him. A combat form reared an arm back, tentacles outstretched. The elite burned off its arm, and then vaporized the body. He fired the rifle so feverishly that the front began to glow white-hot. Panels on the side popped open and the excess heat vented out. A new wave of somewhat dead-like creatures came at him. 'Inka tossed the rifle away and ignited his sword. He attacked with renewed vigor; killing everything he laid eyes on. Suddenly, the flood stopped coming. It was as if someone had turned off a switch. 'Inka's eyes darted to every dark corner, searching for anything to vent his frenzy on. The whole room suddenly shook under his feet. A loud bang came from the wall at the far side of the room. The room shook again, and the wall bent in towards the elite. 'Inka grabbed the last plasma grenade from his belt and held it at the ready. The wall thumped again. 'Inka wasn't going to wait. He activated the explosive and tossed it against the wall. It bounced off and landed on the ground, its light growing in intensity. A rumbling growl vibrated the fine hairs in 'Inka's 'ears'. The grenade went off, vaporizing a large portion of the wall and the numerous bodies that were plastered to it. The soldier cautiously advanced on the hole. A gigantic shadow suddenly burst from the darkness. It was bigger than even a Lekgolo. The huge being squeezed out of the hole and swatted 'Inka away with a massive tentacle. The soldier slammed against a wall and slid to the floor. He looked up at it.

      It was Flood, but none like 'Inka had ever seen nor heard of. It resembled a carrier form in shape. Several stalks of sensory tentacles protruded from a hole in the middle of its body, the same kind found on combat forms. It stood with a hunch but was still over 10 feet tall. A huge pair of tentacles sprouted from the front, extending almost eight feet before they sprouted into four smaller cilia that spread out like hands. It stood using them and a thick pair of legs. The joints on the legs were extended almost six inches out of their sockets, beyond where they looked like they should be on any sort of creature. The body was large and bulbous in the torso, and thinned out as it neared the waist. 'Inka noticed a peculiar skull protruding from the front of the creature, and ragged tuffs of hair covering the back. It was a Brute, horribly twisted by the parasite.

      The sensory buds on the front of the monster probed the room, searching for prey. 'Inka stood, slowly. It turned towards him, all probes aimed right at him. The beast emitted a low rumble then swung a tentacle in a wide arc, intent of smashing the elite. 'Inka rolled to safety, missing the blow by mere inches. It slammed into the wall, leaving a long indentation. The warrior noticed a pair of arms dangling out between the tentacles. They both held plasma rifles. He rolled to his right and picked up a dead combat form to use as shield. Plasma burned the limp corpse, vaporizing the extremities. 'Inka charged the monster holding the body before him. Plasma still hit his legs, but his shielding took the brunt of it. The beast swung a tentacle low to the ground. The black-clad elite hopped gracefully over the attack and swung his sword below his legs, lopping off the appendage. It fell to the ground; twitching and squirming like a worm. The monster screamed in anger. It reared up at its full height, almost fourteen feet tall. The soldier dashed at its legs but it leapt away with incredible agility. It turned around and leveled the plasma rifles in 'Inka's general direction, filling the room with super-heated gas.

      'Inka was a proud warrior, but he knew when he was in over his head. He ran for a nearby door and fled. The elite ran down several hallways and large rooms, cutting down anything that stood in his way. The monster pursued him, smashing through other flood forms to get at the warrior. 'Inka found himself in a hallway covered in burn marks and filled with bodies. It had only one exit at the end, partially sealed off with crates. Someone had made a stand here. He charged through the door and slid into the gravlift. A tentacle grabbed his ankle. It was strong. Strong enough to pull him down against the flow of the gravlift. "You will not kill me!" he shouted. He lifted up his leg and lashed out at it with the sword. The released tension shot him up like a bullet.

      He heaved a sigh of relief. The warrior, trained to be the best, was fatigued. He'd been fighting in hand-to-hand combat for hours, and after fighting that beast…something made him look up. Instinct perhaps. His head slammed into a closed hatch. He pushed against it, fighting to keep his distance. He ignited his much used sword and pressed it against the bubble that had been the hatch. It burned a hole in the middle of it, but the opening was too small for the elite to get through. The warm glow of the metal spread towards 'Inka's hand. It sent burning pain through it as the metal began to melt again. He pressed his armored forearm against it. 'Inka shifted his arm again when it began to mesh with the bubble. He moved the sword around, burning a bigger swath in the metal. The air grew hot and began to condense. Drops of water formed in the air and on the Elites body, only to evaporate into steam from the intense heat. 'Inka breathed heavily. He wouldn't last much longer. Finally the bubble of alloy burst, and the elite rose up. He floated in the lift for a second before his center of gravity shifted, then collapsed to the ground. His sword fell from his grip, and the failsafe kicked in, vaporizing the handle. He nearly passed out, but pure will kept him going. He rose to his hooves and was about to leave the small room when he noticed the end of the tentacle still grasping his leg. He pried it off and continued on his way. "I need a weapon." He said. He felt a sense of irony but didn't know why.

      Sorah fired his plasma pistol as accurately as he could. The shot rang true, and a Kig-Yar fell to the ground. 'Leader' as the red elite demanded to be called, clubbed an Unggoy to death with a plasma rifle. The blue elite, Bora, exterminated a group of Kig-Yar from atop a crate. "Come. We must continue." Leader ordered. They were headed for a gravlift that would lead them to the main city. But Brute-led forces stood in their way. Leader walked without caution at the head of their small group. He was a blind fool. A frenzied brute leapt from a pile of bodies and pounced on him, sinking its claws deep into the unarmored area between the elite's chest plates. Leader's chest split open, spilling his organs all over the place. He screamed his last outcry as the brute tore his lungs out. Bora slammed the butt of his carbine into the beast's rump. It snarled at him and replied with a backhand to the face. Sorah cracked his whip over the brute's back, drawing blood. It roared at him before it rose from the dead elite and charged at Sorah. He rolled out of its path and scrambled away. The Brute slid into a wall and turned to pursue his meal. Suddenly it screamed in pain. Sorah looked over his shoulder and saw its head rise high into the air and its eyes roll back into their sockets. There was a sucking sound and the beast slumped over. A black armored Sangheili stood in the doorway holding a brute shot with the bayonet out.

      Sorah dropped to his knees. Bora walked over to see the incident. One of his mandibles was bent at an odd angle, clearly broken. He cast a forlorn look at his commander before he saw the elite. He too bowed in the presence of the Spec-Ops soldier. "Excellency." He said. Sorah was in awe. That this being had survived the Flood, and spontaneously arrived here to his rescue, proved to him that the warrior must certainly be divine.

      "What areas do our enemies control? How did the parasite arrive here?" the exalted one questioned Bora. He stood.

      "The Brutes control most of the upper districts, and the Flood have captured and spread quickly through the lower ones." Bora replied. "It was the human ship that had followed Noble Regret's carrier. It was taken by the Flood. The ship arrived inside the city and spread the parasite."

      "We must reach the Prophets. The Honor Guard is many, but I fear that many may have been slain. You will both follow me." 'Inka ordered. The group continued on the path that Leader had led them, and arrived at the gravlift with minimal opposition. 'Inka ascended first, followed by Bora, then Sorah. They arrived in another small room. Sorah followed the two warriors out the door. Outside was the main city. Sorah gazed in wonder at it all. He had not set foot here for years. The Forerunner tower stood in the center of the city, shining in ambience. "We must continue." 'Inka ordered.

The Guard's Hub sat empty. The mangled bodies that filled it lay motionless. Small insects nibbled on them, then scattered at the sound of the gravlift's activation. A single flood carrier form arrived at the bottom. It probed the room for food but found nothing. But outside it sensed food. Lots of food. It fell to the ground and began to swell.