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Survival, Chapter Nine
Posted By: Agent Shade<shadow_agent13@hotmail.com>
Date: 10 October 2003, 3:03 AM

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Survival, Chapter Nine

      Captain Savard looked around at the group of humans clustering around him and the three marines. Sergeant Fitzgerald stood in the back, amazed at how the Captain was standing there with, alive. Major Anderson had also had the same reaction as the Sergeants. He was able to snap out of it however and pushed his way through the marines.

      "Move, coming through, excuse me" he growled. He eventually stood in front of Savard. He saluted and the Captain returned it. Savard smiled.

      "Hello Major, I know you must feel quite confused right now?" he asked. Major Anderson nodded. Fitzgerald could see that his left hand was positioned near his M6D pistol holstered on his gun belt. The Captain noticed this too.

      "I assure you Major, this is Captain Malcolm Savard, commander in chief of the UNSC Hybrid" he said. Anderson nodded again, but did not move. Savard sighed. "The Flood force came through the access tubes killed First Sergeant Evans and went about killing everyone else. Many of the marines standing guard at the blockade barrier attempted to help, but another Flood attack force came and blew the barrier away with two Jackhammer rocket shots. By then, the Flood was moving into the bridge. The Lieutenants were trying to hide me in the small armory station in the bridge, but those damn bastards moved too fast. All the crewmembers were killed instantly. Many were even infected. The Flood killed all my Lieutenants and then grabbed hold of me. All I remember was a single Flood form standing over me. It knocked me unconscious. I can only assume that I was being dragged to the engine room, when these marines here found me" Savard said, gesturing to the three marines behind him. Anderson looked at them.

      "Name, ranks?" he asked. The marines saluted.

      "Private Taylor"

      "Private McConnell"

      "Corporal Lawley" Anderson nodded at each of them. Savard looked back at the Major.

      "These three marines were part of Security Team Beta-C, a team of marines not rescued. They had been hiding in the access tubes on E deck. They found a group of Flood forms dragging me and another marine in the hall. They ambushed them, killing over half. The one marine prisoner awoke, but was killed by its captor. The remaining Flood forms were then killed and I was brought awake by them. With my help, we made it back here undetected" he finished. Major Anderson slowly began moving his hand away from his pistol and smiled.

      "Good to have you back sir" he said.

      "Major Anderson! This is a fake! God damnit soldier, don't listen to him!" The words Malcolm Savard wanted to scream weren't coming out of his mouth. He was trapped in an empty black void, watching these scenes through his own eyes, but unable to control his body at all. It was if his body was gone, but his soul remained. He did not know why he was alive. He tried to think, but couldn't.

      "Would you please try and stop talking Malcolm" the Flood said. Malcolm looked around him. He couldn't say anything.

      "If you're wondering why you are still alive, I shall tell you. I only ripped out half of your brain Malcolm. The body cannot survive without a full brain; therefore, I only took out half. The half of the brain that held the information about this ship, its crew and your home world and its capabilities, is now being dispersed throughout my minions. The other half that is here with me, is a mere useless part of your brain that I need to ensure that you survive." the Flood explained. Malcolm wanted to scream in anger, but couldn't. He watched as Major Anderson led his body over to a table, where he began explaining the battle plan.

      "Hmmm, this Major of yours is quite a tactician, his plan would definitely be a crucial blow to us" the Flood mused. Savard tried to listen, but it was if someone hated muted the scene. "Would you like me to describe it for you?" the Flood asked.

      "YES!" he suddenly screamed. Malcolm froze. Did he just speak?

      "Ha-ha, speak freely as you wish Malcolm, I've already memorized what the Major's plan is and I already know how to counter it. There's nothing you can do except scream at me" the Flood said, laughing.

      "What is the plan?" Malcolm asked.

      "Oh it's quite simple. Whoever invented your first star vessel was smart to construct these access tubes. You see Malcolm, when my minions detect an enemy, they'll alert all the other minions around them and come attacking. Major Anderson plans to have all of his marine forces start a full front assault, forcing all of my minions to come running. While this is happening, your Orbital Drop Shock Troopers will be moving through the access tubes around the engine room. Once all my minions are gone, they move out and pincer what's left of my Flood forms" he explained.

      "Quite impressive" Malcolm whispered.

      "It is isn't it? Sadly, it will not work. I've already had groups of my minions search out the tubes and remain there. Those Orbital Drop Shock Troopers will receive a big surprise" the Flood said, laughing again. Savard growled viciously.

      "What will you do for now?" he asked.

      "I think it's time that we do what you and your crew set out to do originally. Destroy the Covenant assault force at the second Halo ring world. Rally more Flood minions to my cause, then attack your home world" the Flood said.

      "What have you done with the bridge Major?" Captain Savard asked. Anderson looked up from his data map.

      "For the time being sir, I sealed it off, mainly because the only bridge crew member who is alive, is Lieutenant Bishop" Anderson said. Savard nodded.

      "When you get a chance, I'd like to return there. I will also need Lieutenant Bishop to be transferred over to me, I'm going to need his help" he said. Major Anderson stood straight and raised an eyebrow.

      "Why?" he asked.

      "Lieutenant Yu, the engineering bridge officer and Lieutenant Hayes, my communications officer were successful in creating a hacking program, which would basically switch the main computer system here on the Hybrid, with a fake one. The Flood would gain access of that and assume everything is normal, but it isn't. Majority of the main systems here on the ship were destroyed, however, once the hack is put into place, we can have control over the engines again. We could head back to Earth and have this ship completely neutralized of Flood forms" he said. Major Anderson's eyes went wide with pleasure and he nodded.

      "Of course sir, I'll have Sergeant Fitzgerald and a team of marines go with you to unlock it now" he said. Captain Savard turned to look at the First Sergeant, who was standing in the back. Fitzgerald saluted and Savard returned it.

      "I would like to leave as soon as possible Sergeant" he said. Fitzgerald nodded.

      "Let me just get Lieutenant Bishop up here sir" he said, and then rushed off to a small radio set. Captain Savard sat down and waited. Major Anderson walked over to Fitzgerald.

      "What are you thinking?" Anderson asked. Fitzgerald glared over at the Captain.

      "Something's not right sir. Look at him and the marines. Not a single scratch or blood mark, nothing. Had the Captain been knocked out, there would be some sort of bump or bruise on his head. And three marines taking out a Flood force using just MA5B assault rifles, that's impossible. The rifles are good, but only when used by a dozen or so marines. I dunno sir, I just don't know" Fitzgerald said. Anderson observed the Captain.

      "Yet his knowledge about us and the ship and its capabilities remain the same, I think we should just leave it for now. If anything goes wrong while you're up there, let me know okay?" the Major said. Fitzgerald held up the radio earpiece.

      "Got it sir" he said, then spoke into his microphone. "Café Marine to Armory" he said. There was a moment of static, and then Lieutenant Bishop's voice came.

      "Yes Café, what can I do for you?" he asked.

      "The Captain is alive Lieutenant and is requesting that the bridge be unlocked. He needs you to help install some sort of hack program two of the bridge officers created. Any knowledge of that?" Fitzgerald said.

      "Hmm, a hack program. I don't remember Yu or Hayes creating anything" he said.

      "Well, Major Anderson trusts him, but I'm going with you to the bridge, just to make sure" Fitzgerald said again.

      "Roger that Sergeant let the Captain know I'll meet him up there" Bishop replied.

      "Ten four Armory, out" Fitzgerald put his radio set away and walked back to the Captain.

      "He'll meet us there, let's get rolling" he said to the Captain. Savard stood.

      "I'll have these three marines here come. I think maybe three others will do?" Savard asked. Fitzgerald glanced at the marines who had apparently rescued the Captain. He glanced over at Major Anderson quickly, who nodded. Fitzgerald nodded as well.

      "Very well Captain. Walker, Lafleur and Reynolds. Saddle up and let's get ready to move" he ordered. The three marine privates saluted and gathered their gear. Fitzgerald still had his shotgun slung over his shoulder, and still had enough ammo to last a long battle. They gathered around the access tube entrance. Major Anderson walked with them.

      "While you guys get this thing going, I'll start putting my plan into action. When we get to Earth, we might not have to worry about the clean up" he said. Captain Savard nodded and saluted the Major.

      "Good luck Anderson" he said. Major Anderson returned the salute, and then walked back to his marines. Fitzgerald nodded at Captain Savard, who followed the other marines into the tube. Fitzgerald brought up the rear, his finger on his shotgun trigger.

      Weapons officer, Lieutenant Bishop and two of his marines from the armory station crawled through the long access tube that would lead them to their destination, which was the bridge. The news of the Captain being alive was a surprise to the Lieutenant and a very unexpected one. The rumor was, he was dead and quite frankly, he should be dead. The Flood usually never took prisoners. He merely assumed today was different. He carried all of his gear, since he assumed that he would be with the Captain for the duration of the time left on the Hybrid. He had his shotgun strapped to his equipment pack which was over both shoulders. Private Graham and Corporal Dennis flanked him as they went through the cramped tube. Graham was a tall marine and grunted every time he made an uncomfortable move. Regardless, he moved on, the Lieutenant and the Corporal bringing up the rear. They reached the access hatch a few minutes later.

      The private opened it and poked his head out. A pair of hands appeared and helped him up. The same hands came down and hauled Lieutenant Bishop up. He stood face to face with First Sergeant Fitzgerald. The two men nodded, and then Fitzgerald helped Corporal Dennis out of the tube. Bishop turned to see Captain Savard walk over to him. The two men saluted to each other. Bishop pretended to smile.

      "Glad you're still alive sir" he said. Savard nodded.

      "Thank you Lieutenant, the same goes for you. Now, let's get this door opened so we can stop this madness" he said. Fitzgerald handed Bishop the keycard given to him by Major Anderson. Bishop inserted it into the main bridge door control panel. Slowly, the huge titanium doors opened with a long whine. Captain Savard and the three marines who had "rescued" him walked in first. Fitzgerald and the others were close behind them. The floor of the bridge was still stained with blood. Some of it was so thick, it was still somewhat fresh, but everything else had dried up. They had piled the bodies in the armory station where apparently Captain Savard had tried to hide. The door was sealed tight and no stench greeting them. However, the smell of blood was still heavy. Fitzgerald was used to it by now, after fighting the Flood for a week now.

      Captain Savard put his hand on his command chair arm and the entire bridge literally turned on. The monitors blinked to life, view screens showed data reports of the ship. Lieutenant Bishop went to his station and began typing in some commands. Fitzgerald watched him carefully. It seemed that the Lieutenant was convinced that the Captain was alive. David wasn't though. He turned a nearby console chair around and observed the two remaining bridge officers go to work. The marines stood around the entrance, chatting with each other. Fitzgerald noticed that the three marines, who had been with the Captain, weren't talking. This made him even more suspicious.

      "First things first, got to find the hacking program. Lieutenant, for the time being, monitor the Flood's activities, see if we can help out Major Anderson somehow with his troop placements" Captain Savard said.

      "Aye sir" Bishop answered.

      "What will you do?" Malcolm asked.

      "Well it's quite simple Malcolm. I'm going to pretend I'm looking for this hacking program, but really, I'm alerting my minions about the marine attack. I'll do that for a few minutes, and then once I get the engines running, I'll lay in a course of the second Halo ring. When this happens, no doubt, you're Sergeant over there and Mr. Bishop will ask what I'm doing. Little do they know, I have a small Flood attack force waiting in the access tubes. They will attack and my Flood marines will help. For the time being, I'm going to keep Sergeant Fitzgerald and Lieutenant Bishop alive. The Lieutenant will defiantly be handy, as for the Sergeant, I'm bored" the Flood explained. Malcolm smirked.

      "And what about Major Anderson?" he asked.

      "What about him? He assumes were going to Earth. Once I've destroyed the Covenant attack force, I will have more of my minions board this ship and completely kill all the humans on board. We'll capture some Covenant ships as well, then head to Earth" the Flood said. Malcolm shook what would've been his head, but his body wasn't responding.

      "They'll do anything to stop you" he said.

      "Ha-ha, trust me Malcolm, there's nothing they can do" the Flood said. David suddenly realized that there was only one single human being on this ship that could ruin the Flood's plan. Sergeant Fitzgerald was the only marine/human who didn't believe that the Captain was the real Captain. He was just following orders. Malcolm hoped that he would catch on soon, before he was killed.

      "Ah, found it, I'm uploading it now. Lieutenant Bishop, check to make sure that we have control of the engines" Captain Savard suddenly said. Fitzgerald had been staring off into space for a moment, but snapped out of his trance at the moment the Captain spoke. He watched Savard type commands into a console near him. The words "EXECUTE" flashed across the screen. Bishop, who was sitting in the engineering console, looked over at Savard.

      "Got it, that was awfully quick sir" he said. Captain Savard raised an eyebrow.

      "It was, but then, Lieutenants Yu and Hayes were excellent officers. God bless their souls" he said.

      "We're getting reactor readouts coming in. They're turning on, we'll be able to set a course as soon as you're ready" he said.

      "I'll do that, continue monitoring the Flood Lieutenant" Savard ordered. Bishop nodded and went back to his post, looking over the ship's schematics. Fitzgerald watched the Captain sit at the engineering console. He squinted to look at the coordinates being typed in. He could out the numbers and immediately knew that something was wrong again. The coordinates wouldn't send the ship to Earth. It was headed straight to the second Halo ring. The Captain turned around to look at the Sergeant. He grinned evilly. Fitzgerald reached for his pistol.

      "Imposter!" he roared. Before he could take his weapon out, he heard yells from the entrance to the bridge. A horde of Flood forms were rushing at the marines. The access tube hatches were open and Flood forms were pouring out of them. The marines opened fire, but the three lone marines who helped Captain Savard did not. They pointed their guns at the four men trying to fight off the Flood. Private Walker roared in anger and swung a punch at the nearest phony marine. The marine blocked the blow and used his assault rifle as a club. He smashed the butt end of the rifle into Walker's face, breaking his nose and jaw. The Private leaned against the wall, coughing up blood. The same phony marine took out its pistol, pointed it to the Private's head and pulled the trigger. An explosion of blood splattered against the wall, and Private Walker slide to the ground, dead.

      Private Graham and Corporal Dennis focused on the Flood horde, while the French marine, Private Lafleur took out his combat knife and slammed it into the face of the same marine who had killed Walker. The marine screamed, as a dark, thick green blood flowed from the wound. Lafleur ripped the knife out and slit the marine's throat right open. The marine collapsed to the floor, more green blood oozing from it's wounds. Lafleur turned around to attack again, but another one of the phony marines had its own knife out. It threw it like a throwing knife. With dead on accuracy, it drove through Lafleur's left eye socket, puncturing his skull and brain. Lafleur dropped his knife and fell backwards, the knife still sticking out of his head.

      Corporal Dennis had been the first to die, by one of the Flood combat forms. He lay on the floor, a small infection form slowly infecting his body. Private Graham stood alone. As the enemies closed in around him, he took out a fragmentation grenade and pulled the pin. He turned to look at Fitzgerald, but the grenade went off before he could say anything.

      The ground shook the deck and David was knocked off his feet. The horde of Flood was completely taken out by the explosion, but the two remaining phony marines were still alive. They had successfully dived away from the blast. As David stood up, the one marine who had killed Lafleur grabbed hold of his neck and slowly put him into submission. David reached for his knife, but couldn't get it in time. The marine's strength had been doubled, thanks to whatever Flood being was in him. Slowly, his entire body went numb and he finally fell to the floor.

      Lieutenant Bishop dove at the Captain, but Savard stood and merely stepped aside. Bishop countered and aimed his elbow at the Captain's face. He hit him in the nose. Savard turned to look at Bishop with his head. His nose was broken. Suddenly, it snapped back into position. Bishop gasped and backed away.

      "Sorry Lieutenant, your Captain no longer exists" the fake Savard said. One of the phony marines stood behind the Lieutenant. Bishop looked up at him. Suddenly, the top of the marine's head exploded in blood and skull fragments. A single Flood infection form jumped out. The now dead marine toppled to the ground, blood flowing from the hole in his head. The blood drenched infection form rushed over at Bishop, who backed himself into a corner. The little popcorn form jumped on top of Bishop's head and drilled a hole in his head, using its tendril. The Lieutenant screamed as the infection form cut his brain in half. It tossed out half of it, and then jumped inside. Slowly, Bishop began to lose control of his body. He went numb everywhere, and slowly, he felt as if he was being sucked into a void of some sort. A slurred, clam voice spoke to him.

      "Not a lot of room in here" the voice said. Bishop tried to scream, but couldn't. He could feel tentacles flow through his body and take control of his essential body parts. He stood up suddenly and turned to face Captain Savard who was grinning with pride.

      "Welcome to the Flood Collective Lieutenant Bishop. Time to see what the weapons of this ship can really do" he said.

By: Agent Shade (also known as Nemesis, author of "MJOLNIR")