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Survival, Chapter Two: Strength and Honor
Posted By: Agent Shade<shadow_agent13@hotmail.com>
Date: 18 September 2003, 2:45 AM

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Survival, Chapter Two: Strength and Honor

"Battle alert"

"Activating defense shield, charging pulse canons and MAC guns"

"Pushing engines to one hundred fifty percent"

"All ahead one third; lure that bastard away from the Starport." Captain Malcolm Savard gripped his command chair tightly as the Hybrid swung around and roared off in the opposite direction to the Covenant war cruiser barring down on them.

"They're following, no sign of weapon activation, but their shields are up" reported Lieutenant Hayes.

"Weapons status?" asked Savard.

"MAC guns and pulse canons set to go sir" Lieutenant Bishop replied, looking up from his console.

"Target their weapons systems and shield generator. Let's try and disable her" ordered Savard. Lieutenant Bishop nodded.

"Locked on sir"

"Captain! Their powering their forward pulse laser arrays!" cried out Lieutenant Hayes. Savard watched as four strobes of white light shot out from the front of the Covenant ship and flew at them.

"Polarize the armor! All hands, brace for impact!" yelled Savard, holding his chair even tighter. The white balls of energy continued to advance on them.

"Five seconds" said Lieutenant Hayes, before she held onto her console. The energy balls hit the shield surrounding the Hybrid and disappeared. Not a single explosion rocked the ship, and Savard raised an eyebrow.

"Damage report?" he asked his engineering officer.

"Nothing sir. Shields fully charged no casualties" Lieutenant Yu answered. Savard stared at the screen as the Covenant ship continued to advance on them.

"Sir, they're preparing another volley" Lieutenant Hayes said. Savard nodded at Lieutenant Bishop.

"Fire at will Lieutenant" he ordered. Bishop nodded and pressed a single button.

The Hybrid shook violently as all four of her MAC guns fired huge uranium shells at their enemy. The pulse canon turrets let loose a controlled burst of plasma fire as well. The Hybrid's attack salvo took out the shields instantly, and ripped through several decks. She listed to port, flames engulfing most of the ship. A huge hole were her docking bay had been, remained.

"Direct hit sir"

"They're firing!" Sure enough, four additional white energy balls flew out from the crippled vessel and hit the Hybrid. They received the same reaction as last time. Nothing. Savard watched as the Covenant ship slowly began to float lifelessly in space.

"Hack into their systems, retrieve whatever data you can. Lieutenant Bishop, prepare another round, MAC guns only." ordered Savard. Because the Hybrid wasn't equipped with an AI system yet, Savard would have to rely on his crew to calculate appropriate battle calculations and Slip Stream coordinates. It wouldn't be too hard, since Slip Stream travel had improved a lot over the course of a century.

"I got what I could sir" Lieutenant Hayes said.

"Lieutenant Bishop"


"Send them to Hades, fire!" Not all of the shots fired by the Hybrid struck the Covenant ship, since it exploded once the first two MAC rounds hit it. The Covenant warship disintegrated into space, becoming nothing but flaming rubble and space dust. Savard leaned back in his chair, sighing deeply. Hybrid's first kill...

"Analysis of the download?" he asked. Hayes looked up from her console.

"From what I've gathered, the ship's name was Strength and Honor and had been part of a cleansing team over in the Ragas V system. That's all we have so far, the translation is going a little slow" she reported. Savard nodded, and then turned to Lieutenant Yu.

"Whereabouts did those white lights hit us?" he asked her.

"Well sir, they didn't really hit us, but they were directed at the engine room" she said.

"And the ship took no damage?"

"None at all sir. Whatever that weapon was, the shields on this ship stopped it cold" Savard nodded. It still didn't make any sense. The Covenant wouldn't invent some sort of weapon that wouldn't do anything to weaken the enemy ship. It was all power behind their space fleet. So why didn't this weapon do anything? Maybe Lieutenant Yu was right. Maybe the shields on the Hybrid were really powerful. Savard shook his head.

"Sir, control tower is requesting an explanation" Lieutenant Hayes reported. Savard nodded.

"Patch us through Lieutenant." A second later, Vice Admiral Avery's worried face filled the screen in front of Captain Savard.

"What's going on Malcolm? We're detecting fragments of a Covenant ship floating out there" he asked.

"A Covenant warship by the name of Strength and Honor entered this system as we were leaving the docking bay sir. We managed to lure it away from the Starport and destroy it" Savard said.

"Any damage or casualties?" Avery asked.

"No sir, nothing at all. We are completely fine" Savard said. Avery sighed.

"Thank god. Strength and Honor sounds like a powerful name. They didn't do any damage to you?" asked Avery.

"No sir, they fired some sort of white energy ball at us, but it was stopped by our shields we believe. The shields didn't even take any damage" Captain Savard explained. He could tell by Avery's expression he wasn't sure what was going on.

"We'll worry about that later. The ship is fine?"

"Ship's fine sir"

"Well, continue on with your mission, but I'll expect a detailed explanation in your report" Avery ordered. Savard nodded and saluted. "Good luck Hybrid." And with that, Vice Admiral Avery's face disappeared. Savard sighed.

"Well, you heard the man, let's continue with our mission. Helm, lay in a Slip Stream course for Ragas V" he ordered. Lieutenant Dela Cruz nodded and typed at this control pad in front of him. Ragas V was exactly one trillion light years away. Taking the Slip Stream hole would lower their original distance time by eight hours. Savard leaned back in his chair.

"Course ready sir" Dela Cruz said.

"Engage the engines, open the hole" Savard ordered. The Hybrid's engines exploded with power and the ship shot forward. The hole to the Slip Stream opened and the massive ship disappeared into it.

Tech Officer Bryan Kerr yawned out loud and nearly fell over in the elevator he rode down to the engine room. His shift started half an hour ago. The Chief wouldn't be happy. The door to the elevator opened and the young man slouched into the Hybrid's massive engine room. Normally, the huge room would be bustling with movement, but today, Kerr spotted a few technicians doing simple system checks and listening to loud roar of the engines as they sped through the Slip Stream. Bryan climbed up a ramp and stood near Tech Chief James Elliott, who was chatting with his Senior Officer, Tech Chief Todd Cassell. The two of them turned and glared at Bryan, who rolled his eyes.

"Watch it Kerr, you shouldn't be rolling your eyes like that. We did warn you what would happen if you would be late" Elliott growled.

"Yeah, but that's only if it becomes a habit. This is my first real shift onboard the Hybrid Chief, it won't happen again" Kerr said, shrugging. Cassell chuckled.

"First or last, you can't be late man" he said. Kerr finally just shook his head and walked away.

"Whatever, I'm here now and want to do some work" he mumbled, and then walked through an access door, which lead up to the maintenance level of the engine room. All it was was a huge catwalk that surrounded the engines. The odd control console stood out of the ground, which was were most technicians stood. Kerr stepped through another access door and onto the massive catwalk. Tech Officer Hal Jacobs nodded at his friend.

"Morning Bryan" he said. Kerr grunted and his friend laughed.

"Slept in?" he asked. Kerr merely nodded and grabbed a nearby data pad. Before he could read it, Jacobs pointed to the other side of the catwalk behind them.

"They're doing a check of the halls that lead to and from the external access junctions, just in case there's some internal damage we missed" Jacobs said. Kerr nodded and walked over to a small group of technicians who were gathered around a single console. Tech Officer Earl Bernard smiled at Kerr.

"Hey Bryan, we need your help" he said. Bryan nodded and spread his arms out.

"That's what I'm here for man. What's up?"

"We're afraid that when the Covenant attacked us, they might've done some damage. I just need you and the other guys here to check the external hatches and elevators" said Bernard. Kerr nodded.

"Not a problem." And without another word, Bryan slouched off through another door, which led into a few hallways. He passed two other technicians in there, and then reached the external elevator. It came to a stop and the huge titanium doors parted, allowing the single human to walk on the elevator. It was designed to hold military vehicles and large repair crews, but since the ship had just left the star base, it wasn't used a lot.

As the elevator continued to ascend, Bryan noticed that the temperature levels began to climb. Even with the somewhat large amounts of wind hitting him from the elevator, he was still sweating. He activated his radio.

"Hey Jacobs" he said. No answer. Kerr raised an eyebrow and tried again. He banged his radio a few times, and tried. Still nothing. Muttering curses, he pocketed the radio away and watched the elevator stop. The doors opened and led into a dimly light hall. Kerr walked down it and activated his flashlight. He scanned the walls and ceiling, looking for any signs of damage. Nothing. As he continued on through the hall, he could hear the steady sound of water dripping. This confused Bryan, since water wasn't used at all in the engines of UNSC vessels. He pressed on, keeping his eyes and ears open for the source. He rounded a corner and walked into a somewhat large room, whose lights weren't giving off enough light. Bryan scanned the room. There were a few consoles which were offline and some repair crates, but nothing special.

Suddenly, the sound of water dripping could be heard again. Bryan turned around and looked up at the ceiling. Along the wall was what looked like some sort of blood, but it was a greenish color. A large puddle of it was formed in the corner. The dripping was coming from the ceiling. As Kerr squinted to get a better look, he could hear a squishy noise behind him. He whirled around and aimed the flashlight around. A shadow moved near the offline consoles. Bryan look at is, but saw nothing. His heart was hammering and his sweat coming down his face didn't help. It was so hot. The squishy noise returned. Bryan's hand shook as he aimed his flashlight around. Suddenly, the dripping behind him increased. Kerr watched it come down a lot more forcefully and the puddle expanded. Bryan had to get out of here. He began to back out of the room, still aiming his flashlight around. He finally turned and almost ran into a shadowy figure blocking the hall. Bryan grinned.

"Jacobs, thank god" he said. Bryan aimed his flashlight up. What stood in front of him made his voice disappear as he tried to scream. Without warning, a smaller figure appeared at the large grotesque's feet and latched onto Bryan's neck. His voice returned and he screamed as he tried to get the thing off. A tendril of some sort entered the tech officer's neck and found his brain stem. Without warning, Bryan Kerr blacked out.

"Jacobs to Kerr, come in Kerr"

"Tech Officer Bryan Kerr, this is Tech Chief Elliott, please respond." Hal Jacobs lowered his radio.

"The area he's in should allow radio communication" he said. Elliott nodded.

"Did he take his radio?"

"Of course sir, he always does" Jacobs answered. Elliott nodded again.

"Okay, Jacobs, Bernard, you're with me. The rest of you, keep working" Elliott ordered. Hal Jacobs fastened his radio to his belt and also made sure his M6D pistol was there. He looked up at Elliott.

"Bryan didn't have his pistol sir, he didn't have it on him" he said. Elliott looked up from his own pistol, and then slowly nodded. Bernard stood waiting by the access elevator, looking up and calling Bryan's name. Jacobs and Elliott joined him.

"No answer, just my echo" Bernard said. Elliott smirked, and then climbed onto the elevator. The huge catwalk trembled as it slowly began to ascend into the external access junction. Bernard wiped his forehead.

"Is it just me, or is it hot up here?" he asked. Jacobs nodded. He too had suddenly become very hot. The elevator came to a stop and lead into a dimly light hallway. Elliott led the way, Jacobs right behind him and Bernard bringing up the rear. They walked slowly through the hall, listening hard for any noises. Elliott had his flashlight out and came to a corner. He stood frozen to the spot.

"Oh god" he whispered. Jacobs rounded the corner as well and stared at the floor. A huge buddle of green and red blood blocked their path. The green blood was slowly consuming the human red blood, as if infecting it. Suddenly, a series of bangs echoed throughout the hall. Elliott turned around.

"Bernard, will you....Bernard?" Jacobs turned and suddenly realized that Tech Officer Bernard was gone.

"Bernard!" called Jacobs. No answer. Jacobs looked at Elliott, who took out his pistol and cocked it. Jacobs did the same. They began walking back to the elevator, pistols up at the ready. They reached it and the two of them nearly vomited at what lay on the titanium catwalk.

It was Bernard, or at least, half of him. His body from the waist up lay on the elevator, his intestines and other vital organs hanging out. Bernard was still alive, but barely. He looked up the two technicians, but was shaking too much to talk. His mouth moved.

"What?" asked Elliott, leaned in closer. Bernard coughed and blood went flying. Jacobs suddenly realized that Bernard was covered in some sort of green fungus, and it was still growing. Elliott didn't notice however, he was trying to get an answer out of the nearly dead technician. Jacobs leaned closer as well. Bernard looked at them.

"Run" he whispered. Without warning, the elevator let out a bang and began to drop to the ground. Bernard screamed widely and reached for help. Elliott was about to fall, but Jacobs caught him and held him back. The elevator disappeared, Bernard still screaming.

Following the huge bang from the elevator smashing into the ground below, the air was filled with barks and gurgles noises. Jacobs and Elliott both turned around and pointed their pistols into the hallway they had been in. Jacobs could make out movement, but couldn't see what it was. Suddenly, a single figure appeared into the light off the elevator hall. What had been a human was now a dead human corpse, dug up from its grave after being left in it for a few years. Jacobs stared into the glazed over eyes of Bryan Kerr. He was sort of limping towards them; his one arm was some sort of long tentacle. In fact, his whole body was sprouting tentacles. That green fungus that had been on Bernard's body had totally covered Bryan. His head wasn't even on straight. It hung off to the side, held together by a few strands of flesh.

"Bryan?" asked Elliott beside Jacobs. Without warning, Bryan charged forward, raising his tentacle arm and flinging it at Elliott. Like a whip, the tip of the tentacle hit Elliott in the face and beheaded him. The Tech Chief's corpse fell backwards and disappeared down the elevator hole. Jacobs screamed and fired off several pistol rounds. They struck Bryan in his stomach area and the grotesque being fell over. Jacobs was breathing hard and was about to scream for help, when Bryan's body began to shift. He suddenly stood up completely and even more pissed. Jacobs raised his pistol, but Bryan smashed it away, breaking Jacobs's wrist in the process. The technician screamed, and then punched Bryan with his other hand. His fist met completely hardened flesh and Jacobs felt several bones in his fingers snap. He howled with pain. The last thing he saw was a little ball with tiny tentacle legs rush forward and latch onto Hal's face. The technician screamed and tried to get it off, but the little thing inserted a tendril and Hal blacked out.

As the Hybrid continued through the Slip Stream hole to its destination, the engine room was slowly being taken over by an enemy known as the Flood. The white balls of energy had actually been Covenant boarding ships, but had a special shield that glowed white and allowed the ship to breach the shields and latch onto the hull of the enemy ship. Soon, the entire crew company of the Hybrid would be fighting for their lives onboard their own ship.

By: Agent Shade