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Survival, Chapter Ten
Posted By: Agent Shade<shadow_agent13@hotmail.com>
Date: 12 October 2003, 5:00 AM

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Survival, Chapter Ten

The low rumble of the ship's engines was a great sign to the security marines in the main cafeteria. Major Anderson grinned with pride and cheered along with his fellow men as they celebrated their soon to come victory over the Flood. As the excitement slowly died down, the Major grabbed his two-way radio.

"Café Marine to Bridge" he said. There was a very long pause.

"Lieutenant Bishop here Major" said the weapons officer.

"Just want to say congratulations on getting this ship going, how long do you think it will take us to get to Earth?" he asked. Another long pause.

"Good question sir. We estimate at least two hours or so" the Lieutenant answered. Anderson nodded.

"No problem. We're about to get underway here with the attack plan, is Fitzgerald there?" he asked. The pause after the Major spoke was starting to bug him.

"Sorry sir, Sergeant Fitzgerald and three of the marines here went on a quick patrol to see if there were any Flood forms around, they'll be back soon" Bishop said.

"Is everything all right up there Bishop? Taking a long time to respond..."

The Flood-controlled Lieutenant Bishop turned and grinned evilly at the unconscious Fitzgerald.

"Yes sir, everything is fine, we're experiencing the same pause problems here. The engines could be causing it" Bishop said.

"Very well, we're getting ready to attack, out." Lieutenant Bishop put the radio down onto the prone figure of Private Lafleur's body, and then stood by Captain Savard, who was staring down at Fitzgerald. The other phony marine stood beside the knocked out marine. Suddenly, the marine nodded and smacked Fitzgerald across the face several times. The Sergeant's eyes went wide and he roared, attempted to stand. However, the Flood had crafted tentacle bonds that surrounded his legs, arms and mouth. He choked and coughed. The marine beside him ripped the tentacle around his mouth off and the Sergeant breathed in deeply. Captain Savard chuckled.

"Rise and shine Sergeant" he whistled. David glared up at Savard.

"How come I'm not dead, afraid of killing me or something?" he asked.

"Oh no, of course not David...to be honest, I just felt like keeping you alive. You seem to be a smart marine you see. You knew that I wasn't the true Captain Malcolm Savard, but you weren't for sure, so you waited. Sadly, you waited too long" Savard said. Fitzgerald ignored the remark.

"So where is the Captain?" he asked.

"That's a good question David. You see, I ripped out half of the man's brain, so that I could take over his body, just like what happened to Lieutenant Bishop and Private Taylor here. The three human individuals are indeed dead, however their souls remain. If this body dies, they die" Savard explained. Fitzgerald glanced at the dead body of Private McConnell, one of the marines who had been a fake like them. There was a huge hole in his head, blood still flowing out of it.

"Why is McConnell dead then?" he asked.

"We need the infection form in his head to take over Lieutenant Bishop here, mainly because the Lieutenant is a lot more valuable than a mere Private" Savard said. Fitzgerald looked at the Lieutenant, who merely stared back. His normal brown eyes had clouded over, becoming more of a gray color, just like the Captain and Private Taylor. Fitzgerald shook his head.

"I still don't know why I'm being kept alive" he whispered.

"David, I'm trying to decide whether I need you or not. You are a First Sergeant, second-in-command of security forces here. I would've been much happier with Major Anderson, but he had you come instead. I just don't know if you are needed. For the time being, I'm going to keep you alive until I make my decision" Savard explained. At that moment, a group of Flood combat forms rushed into the bridge. Behind them, the bridge doors were sealed shut and the Flood forms gathered around it.

"Now that we're sealed in here, no one gets in or out" Savard chuckled. He paused suddenly and looked at Bishop. The Lieutenant glazed over eyes were rolling into the back of his head. His body was turning different shades of colors and he was sweating.

"Bishop?" Savard asked. The Captain stepped forward and put his hand on the Lieutenant's head. Slowly, Bishop returned to his normal status. He nodded at Savard, who shook his head.

"Seems that Jonathan Bishop is getting very restless in there, we'll have to make sure he doesn't kill himself" Savard said, laughing. Fitzgerald looked at the Lieutenant. Maybe there was hope. Maybe the real Bishop could take back his body. He prayed to whatever god was out there that Jonathan was successful.

"Seems like your marine forces have started their attack..." Savard whispered.

"Move move move! Get in there and fight you apes!" Major Anderson motioned with his one hand as he fired his M90 shotgun with his other. All of his marine security forces rushed past him and converged around the main entrance in the engineering deck. They had started their attack several minutes ago, basically running down to engineering. So far, they had met little resistance, but when the air lock doors leading to the actual deck level opened, Flood forms burst out, firing their weapons. When the last of the marines rushed past Anderson, he ran in after them, reloading his shotgun as he did. He ducked and rolled, avoiding a volley of bullets fired at him. He crouched up and fired three rounds, killing three Flood forms. He switched back and forth between targets as more and more Flood forms rushed at the marine lines. A nearby private yelped, then fell over as multiple bullet rounds slammed into him. A Flood form fired its own shotgun at point blank range, hitting two marines in multiple areas. One of them immediately fell dead, but the second only succumbed a small wound to his leg. He continued to fire. A nearby marine next to Anderson looked up at him.

"Sir, Master Sergeant Chambers reports that his Helljumpers have defeated the Flood forces at the main hangar and barracks and are moving into the access tubes now. They estimate it will take them fifteen minutes to get into position. Major Anderson nodded, and then ducked as rounds pinged off the wall near him. The marine in front of him took several of the bullet rounds to his shoulder and stomach. He fell to his knees, and then toppled over, holding his stomach.

"Medic!" Anderson yelled. One of the three marine combat medics rushed across the hall towards him. As he did, a full volley of shotgun shells slammed into him. The propulsion of the rounds literally lifted the light medic off his feet and sent him skidding along the floor towards the end of the hall. Anderson winced. Instead of calling a second medic over, he grabbed hold of the wounded marine and dragged him over towards the remaining two medics and left him there. The Major then dove sideways, firing his shotgun from his hip as he flew through the air. He landed on the floor and rolled to the side, panting heavily. Anderson reloaded, and then continued firing. He couldn't believe the amount of Flood forms there were coming at them.

Master Sergeant James Chambers crawled through the dark, cramped access tubes that surrounded the entire engineering deck. He was looking for hatch 8D and was only passing hatch 3B. The Sergeant was a big man, too big for the tubes. He was on his stomach, slowly crawled forward using his arms and legs. Sweat covered his face and he licked it to try and saturate his lips.

"C'mon Sarge, you're slowing the momentum back here" a Helljumper Corporal remarked. Chambers turned around and spat at the man who was right behind him. Corporal Benson yelped as the wad of spit hit him in the face. His head jolted up quickly and slammed into the ceiling, causing the troopers behind him to laugh. The Sergeant rolled to the side.

"Why don't you lead us Benson, you seem to be eager get there" he growled. The Corporal wiped the spit of his face and crawled past the Sergeant, mumbling curses under his breath. Slowly, Chambers followed, picking up the pace, since Benson was a lot faster than him. It would be a long crawl to the hatch...

"We've arrived." Fitzgerald had attempted to fall asleep, but the announcement made by Savard snapped him awake. He tried to look out the window, but couldn't see anything. Savard looked back at him and laughed. He then nodded at Private Taylor, who grabbed hold of the Sergeant and allowed him to lean against a console near the front window.

The Hybrid floated in a stationary position just in front of the second Halo ring world. A total of four Covenant warships were stationed much closer to the ring. Lines of dropships were traveling back and forth from the ships, transporting wounded soldiers and fresh troops. Fires and explosions dotted the surface of Halo. It seemed that the war between the Covenant and the Flood wasn't taking place in one spot. Fitzgerald continued to watch in awe. Savard turned to Lieutenant Bishop, who sat at the weapons console.

"Have our starboard weapons target the Covenant cruiser Anger's Blade and our port weapons to target the Prophet's Justice" Savard ordered. Bishop nodded and typed in the coordinates. So far, the Covenant assault force hadn't noticed the lone human ship floating behind them. The two Super MAC guns and four plasma turrets on the top of the ship maneuvered to target the farthest flanking Covenant ship to the right, while the bottom MAC guns and plasma turrets fixed their targeting scanners on the farthest flanking Covenant vessel to the left. Savard looked at Bishop's display and grinned.

"Fire" he ordered. The two ships being targeted were the weakest of the assault force. The awesome power from the MAC rounds and continuous plasma laser shots obliterated both ships. Blazing fragments spiraled around in space, slamming into the remaining two cruisers. Bishop looked up from his console.

"Targeted ships destroyed, but the Covenant ship The Ritual is moving in one us. She's the strongest of the fleet" Bishop said. Savard sat down in his command chair and hummed slightly, thinking about what to do next.

"Did you hear that?" asked Corporal Benson. Master Sergeant Chambers nodded. The sound of the Super MAC canons letting loose their powerful depleted uranium shells could be heard from anywhere on the ship.

"Maybe the Covenant have found us" a private in the back of the line said.

"Oh great, first Flood, now the Covenant" Benson groaned.

"Shut up and keep moving. Whatever is out there, it's most likely dead, so ignore it" Chambers growled.

"Ignore the oncoming ship. Target the Prophet's Grace and destroy it" Savard suddenly ordered. Bishop nodded and typed in the commands. Not a second later, the last ship orbiting Halo was destroyed. The lines of dropships flying towards it were completely destroyed in the resulting explosion and shockwave.

"Sir, The Ritual is powering up its weapons" Bishop exclaimed. Savard shook his head.

"Power up our defense shields" he said, but the Covenant vessel had already opened fire. Lances of hot plasma flew out from the ship's bow and flew at the Hybrid. The blue and white plasma splashed along the surface of the ship, slowly melting the Titanium armor and damaging internal systems.

Major Anderson and the marines around him were thrown to the deck as the ship rocked violently. The Flood forms attacking them experienced the same problem, falling over for a moment. Anderson raised himself back up quickly and continued to open fire.

"Radio!" he yelled, reloading his weapon as the other marines around him continued to attack. The private beside him handed him his two-way radio.

"Anderson to bridge, what the fuck is going on up there?" he asked. The familiar long pause greeted him. Anderson growled.

"Major, we're running into Covenant resistance. Hold onto your butts, this is going to get rough" Captain Savard said, then shut the link down. Anderson shook his head and tossed the radio back, continuing to attack. A marine unpinned a frag grenade and tossed it into a group of Flood forms concentrating their fire at several marines trying to move forward. The combat forms flew in all directions as the grenade detonated among them, allowing the marines to move forward.

"Lucky shot...some sort of power cord was hit sir, weapon systems are temporarily offline" Bishop said. Savard stood up.

"Get our shields up" he said. Fitzgerald, who was still leaning against the wall, was slowly getting the bonds on his hands off. The tentacles were getting very moist, allowing them to slide along his skin. He looked over at Savard, then out the main window. He gasped. Savard looked out the window as well.

"What the hell?" he asked. The Covenant Ship, The Ritual, was flying straight at them, powering their plasma torpedoes up again. Bishop's mouth dropped open. Savard snapped out of his trance and rushed to the helm controls. Lieutenant Bishop stood up as well and rushed to assist the Captain.

"Shit, Flood!" Corporal Benson had suddenly stopped and was trying to back up. His boot slammed into Chamber's face.

"Damnit Corporal" he grunted and shoved the man out of the way. The Corporal screamed and went limp as multiple bullet rounds flew at them. Chambers quickly grabbed hold of Benson's dead body and held it in front of him as bullets pinged off the armor around him. A Helljumper behind him stood up to try and shoot, but was hit in the throat and fell over dead.

"Stay down god damnit!" Chambers roared. As more bullets flew past them, the Sergeant grabbed Benson's radio.

"Chambers to Anderson, Chambers to Anderson!" he yelled.

Major Anderson ducked and fired again, avoiding more bullets. The Flood form in front of him died. Two more Flood forms jumped out and slammed there tentacle whips into two marines in front of Anderson. One man's head was completely cut off, while the second man toppled to the ground, his neck ripped open. Anderson fired three times quickly and killed the forms. He then waved his men forward.

"Move!" he yelled. The radio private rushed over to him, ducking low.

"All the Helljumper COs report Flood forces in the tubes sir, they can't get into position" he yelled. Anderson paused shooting.

"What?" he asked. The private was about to speak, but a bullet to the neck silenced him. Anderson swore and grabbed the man's radio.

"Report!" he yelled.

"This is Chambers; there are Flood hostiles in the access tubes. Attempting to fall back and get out another way" the Master Sergeant said. The Major nodded.

"Don't go to far back, but make sure you get out of there" he ordered. No response. Anderson pocketed the radio, and then crouched low, reloading his weapon. How the hell did the Flood know they would be using the access tubes? They only had knowledge about them around the bridge, not here in engineering. A thought came across Anderson that chilled him to the bone. What if someone tipped them off? He shook his head, thinking that was impossible, but then remembered Fitzgerald telling him about the return of Captain Savard. Anderson turned to look in the direction of the bridge.

"Impact in ten seconds!" yelled Bishop.

"Weapons?" Savard yelled back.

"No time sir, MAC and plasma turrets still charging" Bishop reported.

"Defense shields?" Savard asked.

"Charging now, but it's too late" the Lieutenant yelled. The Captain, Lieutenant Bishop and Fitzgerald all jumped to the deck immediately.

The Ritual came about and drove straight down into the Hybrid's engineering section. At first, it hit solid metal, but the ship's plasma torpedoes fired, melting apart the armor and allowed the ship to break in.

Master Sergeant heard an explosion near him, then the entire access tube he and his men were in exploded. There bodies and the bodies of the Flood combat forms disintegrated as the Covenant ship plowed through.

Major Anderson looked up from his shotgun he was reloading. Without warning, the bulkhead near him exploded, following by the entire wall section. The blast of heat and fire sent him flying into the wall on the opposite side of the hall. The marines gathered around him met the same fates, completely engulfed in flames. The Major's body slammed into the wall and slide onto the ground, knocked out senseless. The end of the hall exploded, revealing stars and nebulas of space. The hard, cold vacuum of space that rushed into the hall, pulling Flood forms and marines into space. Anderson awoke suddenly and realized that he was slowly being pulled down the hall. He grabbed hold of a bulkhead handle and hung onto dear life, as he was lifted off the ground, his legs dangling in the air. The Flood forms that had been rushing at them disappeared through the hole in the hallway, throwing their limbs around. Marines screamed violently as they flew past the Major and out into the void of space. One marine lost his gripping on a door and began to fly down the hall. He was able to grab hold of another marine's boot, but he too let go and the pair of them disappeared down the hall, screaming. The muscle tension on Anderson's arms was huge. The fact that the ship was still shaking didn't help either.

Several consoles on the bridge erupted in flame. Parts of the ceiling exploded, littering them with wires and metal. Fitzgerald was thrown against the wall. Private Taylor attempted to stand, but the console behind him erupted, showering him in flame and wreckage. The flood-infected marine spiraled through the air and hit the floor, dead. Savard and Bishop were no where to be seen. Fitzgerald ripped apart his tentacle bonds, and then went to work on his legs. The ship around him continued to crumble and shake.

The Covenant ship eventually came to a stop. A small part of its bow was buried in the Hybrid's hall. For the time being, it charged up its plasma torpedoes and continued to fire them, creating a large hole in the hull.

Anderson looked up and found a small control panel on the wall. He pulled himself forward and pressed it quickly. Slowly, the airlock doors behind him began to shut. A marine suddenly let go and began to fall down the hall. However, the air lock doors closed first and the lucky private slammed into them. Anderson fell to the ground as gravity was restored. His arms were completely numb, but he was able to stand and looked around him. He had lost over half of his marine crew, which wasn't good at all. He breathed heavily, and then looked down the hall through the air lock doors. He could clearly make out the second Halo ring world floating in the distance. This confirmed his thoughts. Growling, he turned and began to march towards the bridge, his marines following him.

Fitzgerald staggered as he stood up from the floor, his tentacle bonds on the ground around him. The bridge was an absolute mess. The walls were scorched with fire marks and wreckage lay everywhere. All of the Flood forms were dead, as was Private Taylor. Lieutenant Bishop and Captain Savard stood up in front of him, each of them covered in burn marks and wounds. Fitzgerald crouched low, realized that he was unarmed and both of them were.

The Ritual remained stuck in the hull of the Hybrid, its weapons systems destroyed after its last shot, which had rebounded on a new part of the hull and smashed into them. Unknown to what remained of the crew of the Hybrid; the Covenant Ship Master was planning to destroy his ship, hoping it would destroy the Hybrid...

By: Agent Shade (new display name: Nemesis)