Chapter One: The Dream
Posted By: Ace<email@example.com>
Date: 10 May 2003, 2:36 AM
Chapter 1: The Dream
August 23, 2555, 0427 Earth Time, UNSC Destroyer The Phoenix
Master Chief Sean Hawke saw the Phoenix advancing through space towards the Covenant ship, the Covenant firing blast after blast of plasma. He watched as each volley bounced harmlessly off the Phoenix's hull. When Captain Mendez finished laughing, he ordered Sean to take a few SPARTANs through the, by now routine, board and recover operation. Sean quickly snapped a salute and left the bridge.
He walked down the corridors leading to the SPARTAN barracks, realized the urgency of the situation, and began to jog. After all, he thought, the Covenant could run away. When he reached the barracks, he decided to take a few of his green soldiers to get a bit of true battle experience. He walked down the row of bunks, tapping soldiers on the shoulders along the way. Each one he tapped fell into line behind him, and when he had five, he walked back to the door of the barracks.
He announced to all his soldiers that he and the five he had chosen were going on a BAROP, Immediately every soldier broke into laughter, roaring with it, and the rumbling could be heard through five decks. When he and the five cadets he had chosen left for the air lock, they were all still laughing. They reached the air lock, and all stepped into it, sealing the hatch behind them. It was a bit crowded with the six of them, and they were all huddled close to each other. "Now all of you take off your MJOLNIRs and your clothes underneath," said Sean. "Sir," asked ensign Danielle Henderson.
Sean said, "You heard me soldiers, get it all off!" After that all six of them went to work. Sean opened the back hatch, and tossed all their armor and clothes into the waiting arms of a few grinning soldiers. It seemed they were in on the Master Chief's little joke as well. Then they resealed the hatch, and were gone from sight. It took all of Sean's professionalism not to look at Danielle's beautiful naked form.
He reached behind her head and untied the knot that held her long blonde hair in its tight bun, saying, "No need for that now that you're out of your armor." Everyone noticed the vague innuendos between him and Henderson, and had known about their two-month relationship since the time she had come aboard, but none of them really cared. The five cadets all started for the small armory, but Sean stopped them. "We go without weapons," he said, and they all understood that, yes, that was the right way to do it.
He punched in the code to open the airlock and they were all sucked into the eerie blackness of space. "Breathe normally," yelled Sean, and again, everyone realized he was right, what were they thinking, of course humans could breathe in space, of course they could all simply walk up to the Covenant ship, it was how it was always done. They all clustered about four feet away from the ship's hull, gathered on the shield.
Sean drew back his fist and delivered a blow to the shield that would have killed a Hunter with ten feet of Titanium A armor plating around him. The shield shimmered, flickered, died. The six of them walked to the hull, and this time ensign Valdez delivered a kick to it, creating a hole miraculously the exact size for six average humans to fit through. They walked inside, and met a horde of hundreds of Grunts ready for them in a large room that seemed to be a barracks.
Sean did a quick count as the Grunts all scrambled to get into a firing position. Four hundred and twenty seven of them, he thought, and all charging plasma pistols. It will be a massacre. As soon as every Grunt was in a position to get a good shot, the leader shouted, or more appropriately, barked out strange squeals to his soldiers. All of them released the triggers at the same time, and bolts of brightest green flew towards the SPARTANs from all directions.
A few of the Grunts' plasma pistols exploded because of how long their triggers had been held down. The plasma bolts hit the SPARTANs one after another, all of them bouncing off, burning holes into the walls, the floor, the ceiling, even a few Grunts. When the commotion stopped, the SPARTANs raised their hands. Every single Grunt flopped to the floor, dead. The six lone humans walked through a door into a corridor.
Awaiting them were fifty-three Jackals, all somehow packed into the corridor. They all held fire, reluctant to fire on the unstoppable ones. Three Jackals threw plasma grenades. Two fell in the middle of the six humans, and one stuck to ensign Jones. Sean looked at the glowing blue balls, enthralled by the glow, and began to count down out loud, "Three...two...one..." BOOOM! BOOOOM! BOOOOOOM! All three grenades went off in quick succession, and the shockwave passed through all the humans. However, it was a much larger shockwave than grenades are truly capable of producing, and it killed every Jackal standing, throwing them all back five feet.
The SPARTANs continued down the hallway, and turning the corner came upon seven silver-suited Elites, the best of the best, the Covenant's most intelligent and nearly their most physically imposing soldiers. All of them raised their plasma rifles to bear on the humans, and fired. Bolt after bolt of blue plasma shot for them, and just as with the plasma pistols, they bounced around in the hall. Danielle ran straight into the pack of Elites, fists and feet flying.
Sean could but stare; mesmerized by the primal beauty of her naked body flying amongst the Elites, delivering killing blows wherever they landed, and when she finally ceased moving, and all the Elites lay dead on the floor, he could only stare even more at the slight sheen of sweat covering her body. They looked into each other's eyes, and had only a moment to connect as, from opposite ends of the hall, a rumbling was heard. Hunters appeared on either side of them.
The huge blue bodies, with their spots of orange, represented the most feared of all Covenant troops. Their fuel rod cannons began to glow, and with that, they began lumbering towards the cluster of human soldiers, surprisingly fast, their huge metal shields scraping against the walls, creating sparks. In the instant before they released their death-dealing blast of plasma, all the SPARTANs ducked as one.
The heat of the cannon-fire singed their backs as they passed overhead. When the humans stood up again, the Hunters were at their respective ends of the hall, dead or dying. The six of them jogged the rest of the way to the bridge. They entered, and every alien only got to stand up before dropping back down into their seats, dead. Sean got to work on the auto-pilot, and Danielle set up the homing beam, so there would not be a panic when a Covenant ship flew itself into Reach II's orbit. When he finished working on the autopilot programming, he turned around to find that he could not see his cadets. "Soldiers," he called aloud questioningly.
That's when through the door walked—no, floated--an alien Sean had never encountered before. It had a foot-long, thin neck that supported a small head. Sean could see no legs beneath the piles of robes. It had delicate arms that ended in four-fingered hands. And its eyes! Two tiny, black eyes, like a shark's, only smaller, and not soulless. They were the most piercing eyes Sean had ever seen.
It also wore a huge ornamental headdress. "What have you done with the others," Sean yelled. The creature was silent. It looked into his eyes, and ideas began to form in his head. He knew it was speaking to him, not aloud, not even words, but in its way, it was speaking to him. Sean roared, put up his hands. The creature in front of him would not die. He ran to it, and up close he saw it was not floating by its own power, but by a hover-chair. He punched it harder than he had punched the shield of the Covenant ship. The creature didn't even waver.
Sean suddenly felt an unfamiliar sensation in the middle of his spine. When it slowly intensified, he began to realize it was pain. He dropped to his knees, trying to scream, but only whimpering. The creature looked down at him, sneered with its lipless mouth.
Master Chief Sean Hawke jerked awake in a cold sweat, throwing glances around his quarters. He had always slept in the nude, but now, after the dream, he felt as though without his MJOLNIR II on, he was missing a vital organ. He looked to his bedside clock: 0428. It was much too early to visit Danielle, she'd be asleep.
He thought of the way she'd looked in his dream, so beautiful. Ever since she had been assigned to the Phoenix, he'd been entranced with her. But he could never show his affections in front of his men, the way he had in his dream. They'd had rendezvous, but it was never enough for him. Damn the Covenant, and damn this war! He sighed, knowing he shouldn't be thinking like that.
He thought he might go to the gym. He pulled his crisp military uniform out of his locker, and quickly got dressed. He wanted to be alone, so he opted out of putting on his MJOLNIR armor, not really wanting to hear Tyger's voice. He ran full sprint to the ship's onboard gym, hoping to work up a sweat to warm up, but no deal. He moved to the double gravity section of the gym, and quickly searched out the SPARTANs personal training equipment. He lifted the five-hundred pound bar with ease, and added all the heaviest weight plates.
He did some quick math, and all told his load came to two tons, accounting for the double gravity. As he expected, he found absolutely no difficulty in any of this, and when he dropped the weights in exasperation, he sighed to himself as he watched the bar drop slowly, to his senses, to the deck. "What are you even doing here," he asked himself. He saw two marines in the boxing ring, probably settling a bet; otherwise they might have come in the day. He watched for a bit, back in the shadows, but the action was much too slow for him.
He had already sized up the two of them, and through only a few minutes of watching, he knew who would win the match. The taller one, with the brown hair had much better technique, and was noticeably less fatigued than the shorter blond-haired one. The taller would win, he was sure of it. Sean turned to walk out of the gym, and smiled to himself when he heard the voice cry out from the ring, "Jesus man, I give!" He was so sure of himself that he did not turn around to see the shorter man standing over the taller, who was flat on his rear, holding his hands up in defense.