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Operation False Prophets, Chapter Fourteen: Treachery 101
Posted By: Ian Barnes<panzerschreck15@netscape.net>
Date: 8 May 2002, 4:59 am

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    Explosions jarred John from his restful sleep. Piecesof ceiling tiles were shaken loose and fell to the ground, several landingon John's armored head. Hurtling to his feet, and grabbing the only weaponhe had handy, an M6D pistol, John ran outside.
    Looking into the sky, swarms of Covenant Bansheesswooped into an attack formation, and peppered dozens of buildings withsuperheated plasma. In the distance, a dozen Covenant Carriers loomed,every few seconds, gravity lifts activating, sending hordes of troops andarmor to the surface.
    In the distance, the screams of Marines filled theair as Covenant cut them down with barrages of plasma. Drowning out themuffled cry of men was the piercing war cry of the small, but ferociousGrunts.
    Kelly, who had been staying in a building adjacentto John's, had joined him outside, staring into the sky in awe. Kelly alsohad an M6D handy, and she slapped a clip into place, then loaded a roundinto the chamber.
    John's pistol already loaded, he flipped off thesafety switch. The two split up, gathering as many Marines from their bunksas possible, or simply rounding up ones who were already up. John founda few dead bodies, and managed to secure an MA5B-G, and several clips ofammunition for his pistol. Kelly had done so as well.
    Marching through the area, John, Kelly and a squadof ten Marines came upon a squad of Covenant Elites. Commanders wieldingplasma swords. Simultaneously, John and Kelly brought their MA5B's to bear,and pulled their triggers, sending two grenades hurtling through the airinto the mass of Elites.
    Several Elites were flung to the ground, unharmedhowever. The entire squad still had shields though. In unison, John andKelly flipped to fully automatic while the rest of the Marines were stillfumbling to take thesafeties off their own weapons.
    The Spartans opened fire as the golden armored creaturescharged at them, mouths open, exposing rows of sharp, filed teeth. Momentslater, the rest of the Marines opened fire as well. Hundreds of armor piercingrounds pinged off the Elite's shields. Finally, most of the Elite's hadno remaining defenses. Multiple Elites fell to the dirt from dozens ofchest, face or neck wounds.
    Like a symmetrical pattern, John and Kelly exhaustedtheir AP clips and dropped the assault rifles to the ground, unholsteringtheir pistols. Taking careful aim, John and Kelly fired round after roundinto the unprotected necks and heads of the Covenant swordsmen. One Elitewas still left after every soldier was out of ammo. The Elite rammed itselfinto a terrified Marine. The soldier crumpled to the ground like a manmade of sticks. In a split second, the Elite brought its fearsome weapondown onto the hapless Marine, dicing him in two, just before John hurledhis pistol into the back of the Elite's skull. The alien fell to the ground,a lifeless form, blood oozing onto the brown dirt.
    John sighed, and didn't bother to pick up his assaultrifle. Kelly procured another pistol, and loaded both of them. John proceededto reload his M6D, then equip himself with a plasma sword. The Covenantsword was an extremely effective weapon. Although John hated the Covenant,he had to admit he'd always preferred the Covenant weaponry. Not only werethey more effective, but they also carried a certain amount of respectwith them. An alien who possessed a plasma sword probably wasn't botheredby the others.
    While the Spartans waited for the Marines to finishreloading, John thought about how right he had been, and how he had predictedthis. John knew he didn't have any prescient abilities, but anyone whowas willing to accept the truth could have seen it coming miles away. Johnwas sure Kelly had seen it coming as well. Years of experience againstthe Covenant brought many rewards of skill, and especially not limitedto military skills. Common sense as well.
    The group of Marines, John and Kelly moved out,inching their way through the facility. Bodies littered the ground everywhere,Covenant and Marine. Many Grunts and Jackals had been sacrificed as a wedgeto open the path for an army of Elites and Hunters, most likely. The Marineshad done a good job. Dozens of Elites lay scattered everywhere. Some filledwith dozens of holes, others missing limbs from grenade explosions. Evena couple Hunters lay dead. John smiled. Someone must have been a good shot.
    John glanced into the sky at the sound of explosions.Swarms of Banshees were struggling to fight off a squadron of F-75's, armedwith HE Anvil II's. Meanwhile, pulse laser turrets attempted to fight offanother squadron of Longswords who were attacking the Carriers themselves.
    Directly in John's line of sight, green motes oflight began collecting. Moments later, a Covenant cruiser stepped acrosslight years into Earth's atmosphere. The Covenant were getting risky. Ajump right onto the surface of a planet. A few minute errors and the shipmay have ended up inside the planet's core. But then, it was probably theonly way for the Covenant to get in undetected. And John knew better thanmost that the Covenant were willing to sacrifice immense resources to getwhat they wanted.
    The ship hovered above him, and the gravity liftsprung to life. Another squad of Elites stepped onto the surface. John'sheart leapt into his throat. There were a dozen of them. John didn't knowhow he could hope to kill them. He and Kelly recognized them instantly.The Prophet's personal Honor Guard. Their fearsome staffs twirled in theirhands. One end was a blood-red plasma sword, and the other end fired deadlybolts of plasma. A deadly combination.
    Upon sighting John and his men, the Elites charged.John and Kelly opened up with their pistols, and actually managed to downtwo of the Elites with repeated blasts to the head.
    'Concentrate on one Elite at the a time!' John hopedthe men would listen. Tossing his empty pistol at an Elite, which bouncedoff harmlessly, John activated his plasma sword while Kelly switched toher MA5B, and opened fire along with the rest of the Marines. Two moreElites went down under a hail of lead. Eight remained.
    The enraged Elites waded in among the Marines whowere struggling to reload. In an instant, five Marines crumpled to theground, lifeless. Kelly tripped an Elite and snatched its weapon away.Twirling the staff, Kelly clocked the Elite in the head with the bluntend, then followed by slicing the beast down the middle.
    John faced an Elite head on. Just as the creatureswung for John's head, he ducked, then thrusted his own sword up throughthe belly of the Elite, vaporizing its organs. Withdrawing, John spun androlled out of the way of two other plasma swords, which sliced into theground, melting anything that got in the way. Spinning to face two attackingElites, John feigned with his sword, then forced a stiff sidekick intothe stomach of the alien. It fell backwards and sprawled onto the ground.
    As the Covenant attempted to rise, John decapitatedthe beast with a blurring slash. The second Elite seemed taken aback. Thebeast stared forward, not at John, but behind John. Sensing danger, theSpartan performed a back flip over his would be attacker from behind. Thrustingthe sword forward, John impaled the third Elite that had been standingbehind him a moment ago, and twisted, making the sure the alien felt asmuch pain as possible.
 Out of the corner of his eye, John spotted Kelly trying to fendoff three Elites at once. She ducked, rolled and flipped out of the wayevery time the Elites swiped. Finally, an Elite drew back his fist andpunched Kelly square in her helmet. Her faceplate smashed as her shieldsdied. She took a step back, stunned, as multiple plasma swords impactedher body. Armor crackled and melted together as her body fell to the ground.John watched in horror.
    To John, nothing else mattered. His momentary lapsein concentration allowed his remaining opponent in front of him the advantage.The Elite raised its sword, and brought it down on top of John's helmet.It sliced through shields, helmet and reinforced skull bones. John sawit coming, but was too grief stricken to respond. His entire life flashedbefore his eyes as he crumpled to the ground. He had failed.
    The furious Elite slashed again and again at John'sconvulsing body until it stopped twitching. It laughed in triumph as hissquad mates joined him at his side. They conversed among themselves beforemoving out to find their masters.


    'NO!' John shouted as he woke, covered in a coldsweat. He was sure he had seen a vision of things to come. He wasn't goingto let that happen. He hoped he hadn't awoken Kelly with his scream. Shemustn't know what he was going to do. No one must. Anyone involved wouldmost likely be given a court martial, he couldn't let himself bring herinto this.
    John glanced at the time. 0100. No one would beup. He had to move now.
    Sprinting outside, John tried to remember what hadhappened to the stolen Covenant ship he had arrived in. He remembered Stanforthsaying something about it being sent to D.C. Something about giving theUNSC engineers a chance to reverse engineer the wormhole technology. Johnsuddenly remembered. The airstrip. They had huge testing labs, wind tunnelsand anything else that scientists might need. It was only a few miles,but first he had another stop.
    Grabbing a Warthog, and firing it up, John steppedon the accelerator, and double timed it back to UNSC HQ. Minutes later,he arrived and walked inside. The secretary at the front desk was a differentwoman this time.
    'Sir, I'm sorry, you can't go in there.'
    John walked by and stiff armed the woman, sendingher sprawling. The Master Chief kept walking, and entered the elevator.To the bottom floor he went. One hundred floors dow, down to the prisonsection.
    Stepping out, John asked to see the Prophets. SeveralMarines stepped forward asking for ID. John didn't have time for this.He swatted them out of his way like flies, and policed any weapons andammunition they had. Various convicts pleaded for help. But this wasn'tabout them, or him. It was about us. Humanity. While the UNSC seemedcontent in their state of complacent 'peace', John knew it wasn't real.
    Had the entire UNSC lost their mind? They must have.John knew he was right in doing this, and nothing was going to stop him,even if it cost him his own life.
    Finding the Prophets' cell, John opened the TitaniumA door, and ordered the loathsome creatures out of the dark chamber. Theirmechanized suits levitating them off the ground like they were gods. Johnwas going to prove them wrong. All of them. Marching the Prophetsback into the elevator, John keyed the button for the lobby.
    The elevator chimed as it reached the ground floor,and John stepped out, Prophets in tow. The secretary was just getting toher feet, and spotted John leaving. She reached a hand onto the desk ina feeble attempt to sound the alarm. Raising one arm, John fired a superblyaimed shot from his MA5B into the secretary's kneecap. She screamed inpain, and collapsed onto the floor. She would pass out from the pain, noone would find her until morning. John would be long gone by then.
    Marching back outside, John motioned for the Prophetsto climb into the back seat of the Warthog, which had been put there insteadof the LAAG. Stepping on the gas pedal like a lunatic, John sped off inthe direction of the airfield, and the Covenant ship.
    Minutes later, the large chain-link, barbed wiredfences came into view. The headlights illuminated two Marines, waving forthe Chief to stop. He didn't. The poor soldiers barely jumped out of theway before the Chief slammed through the gate, and out onto the tarmac.
    Screaming toward his destiny, John sighted the largewarehouse where the Covenant ship was obviously being stored. There weretwo dozen armed guards outside. They waved frantically at him, but Johnnever slowed, ramming through the doorway of the warehouse, taking outmost of the wall with him.
    The Covenant leaders spotted their ship, and a glimmerof hope returned to their eyes.
    Yes. John thought. Show them a way homebefore you feed them to the Wolves.
    Skidding to a halt right near the ramp way of theship, John ordered the two Covenant on board. Moments later, the squadof Marines ran inside, ordering for John to halt.
    The Marines opened fire. Several bullets pingedoff the Chief's shields, not doing any significant damage.
    No, this is for your own good.
    John raised his assault rifle, and fired a roundinto the kneecaps of six of the marines. They managed to limp away beforeJohn hurled a grenade into their midst, causing the rest of them to diveout of the way.
    This is not for me, but for us.
    John ran inside the ship, and found several scientistsin a terrified stare down with the Prophets. John wasn't sure who was morefrightened.
    Smacking the scientists in the head just hard enoughto render them unconscious, John tossed them outside, closed the ramp way,and ran to the cockpit.
    John had reached almost a religious fervor of hisown. He was astonished at himself. He had always followed orders. But now,when it mattered most, he was risking it all, for what? Pay back? Yes.For all the dead Spartans, Marines, and innocent civilians. No, he wasright, the UNSC was wrong. One day, they would understand his actions,but not today, or tomorrow, or a year from now.
    John searched hastily on a computer system he didn'tunderstand at all, but the Prophets seemed to know what he wanted. Theyglided forward and punched in a series of commands.
    They think I'm rescuing them. In a way, I am.Rescuing them from the guilt they wear around their necks.
    The ship glided noiselessly into the air, and smashedthrough the roof. The Covenant vessel sped into the night sky. John wonderedhow different his life would be when he returned. It would not be the same.But this was not for his own good.
    It's for our own good.
    John sat back and removed his helmet, observingthe stars before they blurred together as the ship entered a wormhole.On the other side of the wormhole awaited the Covenant home world, andJohn's unavoidable destiny.
    No, Humanity would never have peace. We'll havevictory.