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Aftermath Part 5
Posted By: Alex Ross<aross8@cinci.rr.com>
Date: 16 April 2002, 1:18 am

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     No, no, no! Why didn't that sicko die back there in the cruiser, the MC thought to himself quietly. Now a banshee was in pursuit of their dropship. Not very good odds.
      "Cortana, how's a cumbersome craft like this supposed to outrun or outgun a banshee?"
      "Calculating possibilities. I'm sorry Master Chief, but the odds are not in our favor." The MC's heart beat rapidly upon hearing that answer. Back in his training days he was bred for combat to the point where losing was unacceptable. Chief Mendez had helped him learn that, but now with the most brilliant AI telling him that the possibilities of victory were practically slim, almost destroyed him. He had to take things into his own hands. He would win.
      "Cortana, does this dropship have any other weapons besides the turrent?"
      "Negative, there are no other weapons. You have to use the turrent. Yes it's inaccurate for covenant technology and doesn't have great power, but we have no choice. Let me show you how to use it." A blue joystick appeared in front of the MC popping out of the all purple control panel. It didn't seem to have any buttons at all, but when the MC gripped the joystick itself, the turrent gave a loud roar and a purple plasma shot streaked across space.
      "So the whole front part of the joystick is one big firing trigger."
      "Yes. Look in front of you." A holographic viewing screen appeared on the curved wall in front of where he was sitting. It revealed the vast space around them as well as a covenant crosshair on the screen. When he moved the joystick to the right, the turrent moved to the right as well, showing him a different view of space. There must be some camera attached the turrent to allow this, the MC thought.
      Cortana's body appeared near the joystick. "I can transfer myself back to the pilot's chamber of the dropship in a minute, but I want to make sure everything is under control."
      The MC saw the banshee appear on screen, heading left for a couple of seconds, but then it started to turn straight for them. "Yes, everything's fine. Pilot us to the Cherokee's protection radius as fast as you can while dodging the banshee."
      "Alright. Happy hunting." Cortana's image disappeared just as the banshee fired its first fuel rod cannon shot. The shot impacted the dropship sending part of the front section drifting into space. The MC was startled by the swift attack and instantly retaliated. Blazing plasma streaked across the blackness of space between both craft. The elite was excellent in controlling the inaccuracy of the plasma cannons and the dropships's armor was slowly melting away. The MC made a direct hit.
      "Oh yeah! I'm the ma-." Suddenly he saw a liquid effect around the banshee that continued rippling for 3 seconds, but then disappeared shortly after.
      "Cortana, that bastard has shields!"
      "Hmmm." She thought quietly. A long pause followed as the MC was constantly rotating the turrent to bear on the banshee and for the whole time, never letting off the trigger.
      "What's the power source for the engine of this ship?" asked the Master Chief during the clangor of one of the fuel rod cannon shots on the dropship hull.
      "The ship seems to run on a plasma source, not too different from their weapons." That nailed it.
      "Cortana, divert 50% of engine power to weapons."
      "I'll try. That is not an option the covenant used on Halo with their dropships. I don't even know if I can do it, but I will try to reroute the plasma energy."
      Omnitus noticed that the dropship was slowing down. What was he up to? He saw the destroyers in the distance and wondered why the Spartan would slow his course that was indeed bound for safety. He would make sure the human could pull no tricks.
      He ceased his plasma mayhem and found the ship's vulnerability in an instant.
      "Try and dodge this human!" The elite said to himself as he quickly ascended above the dropship.
     "Cortana, we have a problem." The MC watched helplessly as the banshee disappeared from the turrent's line of fire.
     "Oh shit. Brace yourself!" Cortana yelled just as the MC found out what his elite friend had in mind.
     Omnitus now had the dropship right where he wanted it. He halted his ascent and brought the banshee on a straight descent towards the dropship. On his viewing screen, the crosshairs centered on the dropship's bridge. He let the fuel rod cannon charge itself and then pulled the trigger.
     The blinding projectile impacted right on the bridge section of the dropship. The bridge shook violently and all the lights went dark throughout the chamber. Sparks flew throughout the chamber, which was also combined with the reverberations of the impact that resonated throughout the entire ship. The viewing screen was filled with static, but the MC glanced at an obscure object fly by and immediately fired back. The screen filled with purple light as the newly supercharged plasma shots, thanks to Cortana, were discharged and all the shots made home before the banshee retreated out of range.
     "Damage report." Ordered the MC.
     "Engines are at 70% maximum, but the turrent remains at 100%. Armor is at 55%. I don't think we can take another shot like that." Then all the sudden the MC remembered something.
     "How long until the Liberator self-destructs?"
     "On my timer, it says 2 minutes, 36 seconds." It could work, the MC thought. "Cortana I want you to plot a course directly towards the Liberator.
     Divert 50% of max weapon energy to the engine for an extra oomph. I have a plan."
      "Spartan. You will join your comrades in Horas (Covenant equivalent of Hell). I will see to that right now!" The banshee made a U-turn from its retreat and accelerated towards the dropship.
      "I see you've made real friend out there."
      "Cortana, step on it!" The dropship immediately accelerated to top velocity and actually matched the speed of the banshee. Cortana was good for a lot of things now a days. "What's the banshee's distance from us time-wise?
     "Time-wise? It will take approximately 4.56 seconds for the banshee to get to our original position." Cortana answered. The MC realized they would never make it to the safety zone alive.
      "Cortana I want you to set an average speed towards the Liberator so that are time towards the Liberator is the self-destruct sequence's timer, minus 4.56 seconds. We will hold this current speed assuming that the banshee has no more speed to gain. After we have passed the ship, divert the rest of weapons energy to the engine for more acceleration."
      "Master Chief, you will rarely hear this from me," remarked Cortana. "But that is brilliant."
      He was astonished. Omnitus was barely keeping up with this dropship that, by all means, should be slower than a covenant constructed dropship. Perhaps this human is the devil that the gods claim him to be. But the one thing that astonished him the most is the Spartan turned away from the safety zone.
      Now Omnitus had had his fill of trickery. His banshee's shields were down after the supercharged plasma he fell victim to. He was too reckless to care. Omnitus continued on a straight path towards the dropship and opened fire with his plasma cannons, unbeknownst to the danger he was facing up ahead.
      "Hold your fire, Chief." Cortana stated. "We don't want him to veer off course even a little."
      "But, the target is not even moving. I could destroy it."
      "I've studied his moves Master Chief. He's a little more cunning than follow-shoot tactics. Besides this was your plan and I like it." The MC looked at the timer Cortana projected which read 45 seconds left. But they had 40.44 seconds to reach their goal. A fuel rod cannon shot impacted on the backside of the ship to the left of the bridge, which with its incredible velocity, angled the ship slightly off course.
      "Cortana, correct for distance and speed lost."
      "Already done." Now there were 38 seconds left and they were an easy target. The banshee's cannons were slowly ripping the armor of the dropship apart. The control panel's readout showed that the armor was at 35%.
      "Look it's getting closer." John saw that the dropship was closing the distance fast towards the Liberator awfully fast. "Try and stay 5 meters above the top of the ship when we pass over it."
      "Got'cha, Chief. Brace yourself." Another fuel rod cannon impact reverberated throughout the dropship and severed the right compartment that carries troops. The Dropship now was L-shaped, but that did not slow them down for the engine was not there.
      "Damnit! That bastard is gonna kill us." Now, nineteen seconds remained.
      The elite was now bewildered beyond all belief. He had subjected this dropship to a tremendous amount of punishment, yet the dropship fired no shots. This Spartan is obviously crazy, Omnitus thought. He would continue this pursuit for approximately 20 seconds and by that time he was sure the human would meet his end...
      "Nine seconds left till Armageddon," Cortana remarked with a somewhat digital agitation.
      "Get ready Cortana. Godspeed for us both."
      "NOW!!!" The dropship skimmed the top mid-section of the Liberator with 4.56 seconds left to spare.
      "Get us the hell out of here!" The MC ordered immediately as the ship began to accelerate.
      Omnitus followed the exact path the dropship took, but now he knew this was not something an ordinary human would do.
      "This is too suicidal for a human. It must be a trick!"