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Battle for the Norah: Part 1
Posted By: Agent Shade<silent_shadow13@hotmail.com>
Date: 12 May 2003, 6:49 PM

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Battle for the Norah: Part 1

      "Fancy a look?" the AI construct named Cortanna said to John, who sat in the Longsword's command chair. Reluctantly, the Spartan stood and walked to the window that ran along the cockpit of the attack vessel. He watched horrified as a chunk of Halo blew apart from the rest of it and went spinning out of control into the other side of Halo. Slowly, the big ring world began to fall apart in space, each chunk of it exploding with a large force. John lowered his head.
      "Did anyone else make it?" he asked.
      "Scanning" Cortanna said. It took her a whole two seconds to come up with her answer.
      "Just dust and echoes...we're all that's left" she said.
      As the Longsword fighter glided out of the system on the propulsion from its take off, Halo continued to break apart. The large chunks burned up in the atmosphere of the nearby gas giant, while others headed towards the large sun that shone light into the system. Near the edge of the uncharted area, where no light from this sun could reach, a small object moved quickly, spinning out of control. As if aided by an invisible planet's orbit, the piece of wreckage slowly stabilized itself and continued to drift out of the system and into the next. Light penetrated the emptiness of the space that surrounded this piece of garbage and revealed what it truly was.
      A somewhat large piece of Halo, which had been blasted away from the ring world itself, floated continuously towards the galaxies not yet explored by the humans or Covenant. The surface of it was similar to that of the Halo it came from. Lush vegetation dotted the large hills, and various signal outposts sat upon some of these hills, inoperable. The surface of this piece of Halo was a box canyon, which was filled with large, rolling hills and the odd tree and rock cluster. A system of rivers also flowed towards the ocean that was no longer there. The oddest thing that gave this canyon suspicion was the large Covenant cruiser that lay upon three large hills, completely offline.
      The cruiser was called the Norah, and had been in the area to pick up a large team of Covenant forces, who were fighting off the Flood. However, when the Pillar of Autumn's engines ignited and the nuclear shock wave spread across Halo, it knocked out the systems of Norah, and the ship plummeted to the ground, crushing a large majority of the Covenant forces waiting to get off Halo. Those few crew members that survived the crash were then killed by the Flood, who boarded the ship immediately after it, fell. The remaining Covenant forces then retreated, firing wildly at the reinforced Flood. Luckily for them, the Flood did not pursue. Unknown to both of those races, the main contingent of Marine forces had been stationed on the other side of the box canyon and had taken refuge inside a large cave. This is the story of the Battle for the Norah.

      Staff Sergeant Jacob Strom kept his eyes closed, even though the heat of the bright light which had blinded them was gone. He knew he wasn't dead, since he could feel his entire body tingling. Finally, after a few seconds of him moving a few limbs around, he opened his eyes. At first, all he saw was dirt, but then he raised his head and could see the large outline of the cave he was in. He looked around him and could see his fellow marines all slowly coming conscious. Jacob sat up, rubbing his head which was still throbbing with pain. He tried to remember what had happened, but couldn't. His mind just kept replaying back a large bright light.
      Shrugging his shoulders, he stood, stumbled a little, and then regained his balance. The entire Marine division he had been with lay scattered all over the cave. He was quite happy that they were all alive and moving. He walked over to a few, trying to help them up, but they were all tough and were able to do it themselves. Jacob let them do what they wished, then went and found the CO.
      Lieutenant Commander Paul Cunningham was sitting along the cave wall, his head in his hands. He looked up as Jacob approached.
      "Jesus Christ Strom, what happened?" he asked, looking bewildered. Jacob shook his head.
      "I have no idea sir, but we gotta get out of here. This cave offers no protection from possible attack" he said. Jacob felt that he was always alert and ready for battle and he was right. The cave had no individual boulders inside, which meant no cover. A well placed grenade or rocket would finish them all off. The Lieutenant smiled.
      "You're right, let's get these men moving. We need to establish a base of operations" he said, standing and straightening his combat uniform. Jacob turned to look at the men, who all seemed to be recovering nicely.
      "C'mon ladies, get your asses up. Find whatever weapons you can carry and prepare to move out, this ain't no ice cream social" Jacob barked. The men didn't question him and went about, looking for their weapons. Jacob found his. He was a sniper and a damn good one too. He grabbed his SRS99C-S2AM sniper rifle, and picked up a random pistol, slapping in a fresh magazine. The marines salvaged everything, and then awaited new orders. The Lieutenant was standing near the cave entrance. Jacob walked over to him
      "Where the hell did we leave our vehicles?" Paul asked, turned to look at the Sergeant. Jacob suddenly remembered. They had four M12 LRVs (Warthogs) and two M808B Scorpion MBT tanks parked and camouflaged in a cluster of trees and boulders. Jacob raised his sniper rifle and looked through the Oracle scope. He carefully scanned a small canyon made out of two large hills and spotted them.
      "I see them sir. They're about a few clicks away...looks like the men we left with them are alive as well" he said, watching a few marines stand out in the open to look around. The Lieutenant nodded, and then turned.
      "All right, let's get our sorry asses out of this cave. Follow me and the Sergeant to that cluster of trees and rocks" he ordered. Immediately afterwards, Jacob and the Lieutenant began jogging towards their vehicles. As a precaution, Jacob had his rifle up, in case they ran into trouble. Luckily, they didn't and slowed down to a walk as they approached the tree and rock cluster. The marines they left with the vehicles walked towards them too. First Sergeant Andrew Barnes saluted quickly, and then grinned.
      "Thank god you guys are still alive Lieutenant. We thought we were the only ones that survived" he said.
      "Any idea what that explosion was Sergeant?" inquired the Lieutenant. Barnes nodded.
      "Yes sir, it was the Pillar of Autumn sir. The Master Chief went and blew up the engines on that bird. The resulting explosion wiped out everything" he said. Jacob raised an eyebrow.
      "Wiped out everything? We are still alive, and this sure as hell looks and feels like we are still on Halo" he said. The Lieutenant looked up and his mouth dropped into a frown.
      "That planet which Halo orbited is gone. Look, there's nothing near us, nothing bur stars" he said. This caused everyone to look up. The Lieutenant was right. There were no planets nearby or asteroids, there was nothing. Only fast moving stars that crossed their vision. Paul finally lowered his head.
      "We will figure out what happened later, right now, we need a command post. Jacob, post yourself on top of this hill here, look for a possible HQ, we will refit the vehicles" the Lieutenant ordered, gesturing to the hill near them and the tree cluster. Jacob nodded and ran up the steep slope. He reached the top within seconds, and crouched low, looking into his scope. He started from the east and scanned westwards.
      At first, he saw nothing but rolling hills and a few of the signal outposts which had blasted lances of energy into the sky. Obviously, they weren't working. As Jacob continued to scan, he suddenly noticed a large outline of some sort, near the other side of the canyon. He zoomed in to 10x and his mouth dropped. A Covenant cruiser lay against the cliff wall of the canyon, supported by three huge hills. It looked like it was still in good condition, but it was completely offline.
      "What are the odds of that happening?" he asked himself. He suddenly saw some sort of movement and activated the night vision on the scope. What he saw made his entire body freeze. Two Flood combat forms stood on one of the hills near the ship, looking up at the cruiser. They looked like infected Covenant Elites, and were holding plasma rifles. Suddenly, another Flood form joined them. The three grotesques looked at each other for several seconds, and then ran down the hill. Jacob swore. As he looked for more hostiles, Sergeant Barnes joined him.
      "Any luck there Jake?" he asked. Jacob didn't answer. Instead, he watched a handful of Flood forms post themselves on the same hill and start firing their weapons at something. Jacob stood to see what they were firing at and froze again.
      A handful of Covenant troops were moving along the base of the hill, firing their weapons at the Flood. There was a huge battle taking place there.
      "Must be the crew" he whispered to himself. Barnes looked at him.
      "What?" he asked. Jacob gave him his rifle and pointed.
      "Look near that large outline at the other side of the canyon." Barnes did as Jacob told him. After a few seconds of him fiddling with the rifle, he froze, his mouth dropped open, and the cigar in his mouth dropped to the ground.
      "Good god" he said, then handed the rifle back. The two of them looked at each other, and then slide back down the hill to the Lieutenant, who was trying to piece together a map that his marines had worked on. Paul turned to look at them.
      "Anything?" he asked. Barnes motioned for Jacob to explain. Strom took in a deep breath.
      "Sir, there is a Covenant cruiser that seems to have crash landed near the other side of this box canyon. It seems to be offline at the moment, but it isn't empty" he began. The Lieutenant put the map down and faced the Sergeant.
      "Go on" he said.
      "At closer observation, there are Flood and Covenant troops all over that area, fighting" he said. At that moment, all conversations surrounding them stopped. Everyone looked at Jacob and the Lieutenant. Paul merely stared at Jacob, before turned to look in the direction of the cruiser. He couldn't see it naturally, but knew it was there.
      "Fuck" he said out loud. He took a few more seconds to sort of let out his anger, which was him merely kicking the dirt and saying a few insults to the Flood and Covenant. He finally, turned to look at the Sergeant again.
      "All right, but did you find a possible HQ?" he asked, hoping that he did. Jacob did not disappoint him.
      "Yes sir. Due west of our position is an installation that seems to be built into the wall of the canyon. There is a large entrance, and above it, looks like some sort of control tower" he said. This made the Lieutenant happy. He immediately jumped into the side seat of the nearest Warthog and looked at his men.
      "Saddle up men. If there isn't room in a vehicle, run after us. Sergeant Strom, drive this 'Hog to our new HQ" he said. There was a small cheer of approval from the men, as they moved to get into the vehicles. Strom jumped into the drivers' seat and turned the key of the jeep. The engine started and various readouts scrolled across the data screens. Good, he thought these things are loaded on fuel. Once he made sure everyone was ready, he revved the engine and sped off.....
By: Agent Shade (Battle of the Norah: Part 2, coming soon)