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Aftermath Part 6
Posted By: Alex Ross<aross8@cinci.rr.com>
Date: 2 May 2002, 12:51 am

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The flood! They're coming out of no where. Got to get out of here. Back to the Control Room. Cortana, what the hell are you saying? Guilty Spark you bastard, I'll kill you. Must destroy Halo. There's the Longsword. Got to run...
     The events tormenting the Chief's mind ceased and he woke up instantly, alert but weary eyed, and saw his chamber consumed in darkness all around him. Immediately, he saw stars ahead of him and reached for the controls to adjust the screen to have a look around, but they weren't there. In fact when he looked where the controls were, he saw more stars. He used the infrared projection in his helmet armor; everything was stone cold. No heat signs anywhere. He adjusted himself in the seat to look around the chamber feeling extremely lightheaded while doing so.
     "What...the...hell..." he was so exhausted when he woke up that he didn't take into account that the stars in front of him were not projected on any screen. They were real. When he looked farther into space, he saw the front part of the dropship with the cockpit and one troop carrier wing. That was his dropship! But somehow, he was in his dropship. Then he realized it.
     "I'm sitting weightless in my part of the dropship that somehow split from the rest of the ship." He reached out to touch the stars and felt nothing that felt like a wall. In fact he felt nothing at all. No screen indeed. He recoiled his arm in alarm, realizing that he was actually sitting in the middle of space. If he took off his helmet, he would instantly die, no question. Furthermore, if he unlatched his safety restraints, he would drift off into space endlessly.
He recalled the events of the banshee chasing him and how it took a clean shot at the bridge of the dropship. Then he remembered the chase towards the time bomb Liberator. That was it, he thought. The bridge of the dropship was weakened so badly, that the shock wave of the Liberator's destruction probably caused the bridge to split in half. How did he survive the decompression of the ship. Right now, he was just glad to be alive and thankful that the Mjolnir armor could serve as a space suit.
     "Cortana, what is my oxygen capacity?" No answer. Then he remembered he installed Cortana into the bridge of the dropship, which was now drifting in space about 5 kilometers ahead of his position. He had to get there, but he needed to find out his oxygen supply. There was an armored cover on his wrist that was part of his armor and when he opened it, he saw various buttons. One said "Menu" and he pressed it. Various links popped up on his HUD and one was labeled "Oxygen reserve". He navigated the controls so that he could go into that link. Once in it, he saw 8 hours 40 minutes and 27 seconds of oxygen left. That was so specific it made him feel like he was strapped to a bomb. He saw another link labeled "thruster control". He navigated the link selector toward the words and pressed it. A blueprint of his armor came up on the HUD and flashing in red were the locations of the thruster packs on his armor. There were two secondary thrusters, one on each foot, and one primary thruster on his back. "This maybe the only way to get to Cortana. I ought to take it." The Master Chief entered the link called "course projection" and a crosshair appeared on screen. The MC, using the controls on his arm, focused the crosshair on the dropship ruins and set the distance to approximately 5 kilometers.
     "Will you proceed" the message flashed on the HUD. The MC confirmed this and a15 second countdown ensued until the thrusters fired. Suddenly, the stars twirled ahead of him and a massive covenant flagship entered near the dropship ruins. It was larger than any covenant ship he had ever seen. The ship immediately fired two plasma missiles at the two UNSC destroyers lying idle in the distance, probably assuming that he was dead. These missiles were different, thought the MC as he saw brilliant flashes of white light speed instantly to their targets, and rip the two ships in half. "Oh shit! The thrust will give my position away!" Ten seconds were left as the MC rushed to find the cancellation button, which he discovered was non existent. He had no choice and aimed his body at the front half of the dropship ruins ahead of him. The thrusters blared to life and he quickly jetted out of the turrent capsule, heading for his target. The primary thruster rushed him forward and a couple of seconds later, the secondary thrusters fired in reverse, allowing him to slow down and grab the other part of the dropship. He grabbed the hull, and pulled himself into the darkness of the pilot cockpit and hid out of sight of the flagship's scanners. He observed the controls, seeing that Cortana's chip was still intact. He inserted the chip back into his helmet and was greeted with a confident hello.
     "I knew you'd pull through Master Chief."
     "How in the world did I survive the decompression of the ship?"
     "Before the Liberator's shock wave hit, I pressurized the ship to that of space, so there would be no pressure change from interior to exterior, and then you were knocked out. Personally, I thought you were done for."
     "Thanks for the confidence in me, but right now we have a bigger problem. A massive covenant flagship just entered our area. I thrusted over here to get you, but I don't know if they saw me or not." Just then, a covenant dropship appeared from above and behind him, with its turrent aiming true for his head. There was no where to run. "I think I know now."
     One of the cargo doors opened. The MC assumed that they wanted him alive. Why of all people, would the covenant want him alive? If he went, the covenant might find out everything: the technology in his armor, G-219, and the location of earth. This was all though brutal interrogation of course. But if the MC went, and was willing to use the best of his wits, he might be able to find out everything about them. If he could escape with the information, he could live to fight another day. He was willing to take that gamble. He thrusted to the open cargo door, beckoning his arrival, and managed to get inside. The door closed behind him.
     "I hope you know what you're doing," said Cortana.
     "So do I, Cortana. So do I."

     The commander of the flagship, Danterus, was a golden elite who was eagerly hoping to see combat. Although highly trained, he has never seen ship to ship combat. The ship he commanded, Judgement, is the largest and most advanced ship in the entire covenant navy. The ship itself is roughly 5km long and possesses enough firepower to glass a planet all by itself. The reason for its titanic size is its ability to sustain massive amounts of punishment, but still manage to fight at nearly full strength. Also, the size was merely a symbol of power.
     Danterus's orders from the prophet council were simple. Make a rendezvous with all ships that had survived Reach and lead the survivors towards what the humans called the "solar system". Once there, they would conduct a fleet-search for the human home world and end the human threat once and for all.
     Danterus observed the dropship on screen carrying the lone survivor to the ship's cargo bay.
     "Prepare to take the prisoner to the barge."
     "Just a minute, Danterus," a voice boomed behind him. Danterus turned around to see a massive gold elite, somewhat limping towards the ramp leading up to where he was standing. The gold elite slowly stood up straight, once in front of Danterus, and upon seeing the mangled elite's face, he recognized him.
     "My lord! We tried to establish contact with your fleet when all the sudden we got static and we assumed you were in a battle! We tried to ready this ship as fast as we could, but obviously...we were too late," exclaimed Danterus, looking at the ruins of the battle that ensued before they arrived to the rendezvous point. "How did you survive?"
     "Never mind that. Position numerous guards in the docking bay and prepare to take him to the interrogation chamber."
     "Yes lord." Danterus turned back to the controls while Omnitus marched off the ramp. He himself had it all planned out: learn everything that is to be learned including enemy fleet strength, the Spartan's weakness, and the human home world's location. After obtaining this information (by any means necessary), he would satisfy his rage by killing the Spartan personally, while he was defenseless of course, and move to make humans extinct forever.

     The MC regretted leaving the M90 and the G-219 launcher back at the dropship ruins, but never the less he did not want to alert an army to his position with his gunshots on a massive ship like this. All the sudden, the dropship's engine ceased. An eerie silence followed for about 3 seconds, and then the cargo door opened, revealing dozens of jackals aiming their pistols at him. Aggressive growls filled the docking bay and the MC did the only thing he could, surrender. Two blue elites stepped through the jackal ranks, both carrying what appeared to be glowing combat batons, and ordered the MC off the dropship. The MC did as ordered and was handcuffed by a plasma sphere, binding his hands together. He was forced through several halls, decorated with liquid-like walls that reflected his image. The grunts that were working in the halls stopped to admire the legendary human knight. The MC scornfully growled at them, which of course, scared some of them half to death.
     The blue elites stopped at a door in the middle of a narrow corridor and pushed the MC inside, shutting the door behind him. He looked forward to see a blue wall with what appeared to be restraints on the wall. Above him, and above the door, there was what looked like a plasma turrent, pointing to the wall with the restraints. This place was a damn torture room!
     "Cortana, I think I should go to radio silence. I don't want the covenant to know of your existence."
     "Affirmative, Chief. Good luck." The chief did not like the sound of those words at all. A red elite walked into the room, escorted by 4 jackals with yellow shields. All raised their guns towards him.
     "Take off your armor and your clothes, now!" The handcuff sphere deactivated, liberating his hands from restraint. After hearing the sharp order from the elite, he did as was told. While getting undressed, the chief was dreading what was coming next and in his head took a vow.
     I swear by everything holy that I in no way will aid the covenant in any way possible, no matter what the cost or the pain.
     The chief was now stark naked, not only literally, but he felt naked without Cortana's assistance, and thought he heard two jackals converse on the size of his "masculinity".
     "Tie him down." The jackals grabbed him and forced him into the restraints on the wall. Plasma wrapped around his arms and legs, pinning him to the wall. He was trapped. The elite then went to a computer terminal on the left wall. The wall was cold against the chief's back, but judging by the size of the plasma turrent aiming at him, it was going to get warm real fast.
     "Human. You will answer questions or suffer. Understand?" The MC braced himself for whatever was coming next. "Where is the human home world? Tell me now!" The MC in absolute defiance, just stared at the elite, uttering no words, no aid. All the sudden, a glowing blue crosshair appeared on his abdomen, projected from the turrent. "WHERE IS IT HUMAN?" The chief knew that pain was his life and summoned enough courage to accept that fact.
     "Shove it up your ass." Instantly, a blue plasma bolt shot out of the turrent and ruptured his abdomen. The chief let out a painful scream, but not nearly as painful as the wound. "DAMN IT. UGGGHHH..." The chief stared at the wound, where blood flowed down his legs and onto the floor. The wound tore off mostly skin and some skeletal muscle, not to mention leaving burn marks that were charcoal colored.
     The blue crosshair relocated to his left kneecap. "Human if you don't tell me where your world is, you will suffer more." The red elite barked. The MC, now with blood seeping into his lungs, merely spit blood at the elite, to which this was met with a plasma shot to the knee. The second time he was shot, he did not scream out in pain. The first shot had drained him of that type of energy. White parts of his kneecap bone were now exposed, along with the nerve endings, which intensified the already excruciating pain. The crosshair relocated and the turrent fired on his left elbow. The burning sensations from the plasma almost made common fire pale in comparison. This time he did something that would have been totally unexpected from a Spartan; he cried.
     "You stupid worthless piece of shit! Go take your little toy gun somewhere else!!" The blue crosshair now relocated to the left part of his chest, near midsection, right where his heart still managed to beat. The chief didn't care, for he was slumped over with his head towards the ground in shame.
     "The original power capacity of that turrent was 1/3 our main weaponry. For you we increased it to 2/3 for effective superficial wounds. Anymore, and I would be able to study your anatomy." This was not the red elite speaking. The chief looked up and through his teary eyed vision, he saw an elite in the doorway that should have been dead. He noticed that the elite was maliciously grinning at the sight of him strapped down and in agony.
     "You sick bastard! How did you surv-." Before he could finish his sentence, the turrent above the door, aimed for his chest, fired.

     Note from now on, the name of my series will be called The Rescue, but it will involve the same sequence of events that took place in Aftermath.