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Operation False Prophets, Chapter Six: Killing is Optional (Pain is Required)
Posted By: Ian Barnes<panzerschreck15@netscape.net>
Date: 19 March 2002, 4:34 am

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İİİİİJohn skimmed across the vast snow landscape aboard the Ghost until the target was in sight. It was a decent sized structure, but no more than the size of an average barracks. Deceit. Almost a trademark of the Covenant. While the facility looked miniscule, it probably spread many kilometers in every direction under the surface.
İİİİİThe closer the Master Chief got, the clearer everything became. At the front of what was almost as small as a bunker were two Jackal Minors. Even the troops were low-class. More deceit. John upped the throttle and raced toward the Jackals at high speeds. The first Jackal turned just in time to see the bright purple front end of a Ghost plow into its head. John turned the Ghost one hundred and eighty degrees, and flew back towards the second Jackal. John lept from the Ghost and soared over the Jackal. The Ghost came to a halt two meters in front of the Jackal. It stared at the Ghost before realizing the passenger was no longer in it. It didn't have time to turn around before John's fist connected with the Jackal's skull. It fell limply to the ground.
İİİİİThe portal which gave access to the bunker was a small, grayish-blackish color. Not at all similar to the typical Covenant colors. There were no symbols, no writing, nothing, except a single button which opened the door. John pushed it and the door slid open, revealing five Special Operations Grunts, apparently on their way outside. The Grunts were more surprised than John. They all turned around, screaming, running away in a mortified terror. One Grunt ran for what looked an alarm. The Chief ran him down, and slammed his fist into the Grunt's methane tank, puncturing it, leaving the Grunt with nothing to breathe. John watched it for several seconds as it suffocated. The other four began to regain their composure, unslung their plasma pistols, and began shooting.
İİİİİJohn retrieved his own plasma pistol. He rolled, ducked and jumped, all the while dodging the motes of plasma being directed at him. John was too fast, and by the time the blasts hit, the Chief was long gone. The aliens were firing furiously, trying to hit him. Seemingly simultaneously, all four Grunts overheated their weapons, and screeched as their paws were burned. John finally returned fire. Four blasts of plasma impacted the four separate Grunts in the face, burning most of their face, and the breathers which provided their precious methane. The Grunts died, be it plasma burns to the face, or lack of methane. Either way. John was satisfied.
İİİİİAhead of the Master Chief was a long corridor, with a single door at the end, it must be an elevator. John was surprised, Cortana had yet to speak a word. But John wasn't going to say anything, he was enjoying the silence.
İİİİİThe Master Chief walked cautiously down the dull gray hallway and opened the door. It was an elevator. John stepped inside and looked around. There was a panel which controlled which floor the elevator went to. John blinked in astonishment. There were over two hundred levels.
İİİİİ"Um... Cortana?"
İİİİİ"Give me a second. I'm going to access the Covenant HomeNet." Cortana pondered over the Covenant computer for almost a minute. "Got it, I had to go through some serious Covenant encryption to get it though. Bottom floor. Once there, there is a sort of transport system which we can use to get to our final destination."
İİİİİ"You mean the elevator doesn't extend through the entire facility?"
İİİİİ"No, obviously for security reasons. Even if someone makes it to this elevator, they still have to make it through a whole level of troops, then travel somewhere else. I guess it makes sense."
İİİİİ"Fine, here we go."
İİİİİJohn pushed the button which represented the bottom floor, the doors slid closed, and the elevator descended into the depths, for almost two minutes. John held his M90 at ready.
İİİİİThe doors chimed as they slid open, and an Elite Major who seemed awfully surprised to see John, took a step backward. John pumped a round into the Elite's stomach, and its shields flared up. flickered, and died. In anger, the Elite raised its arm, and tried to bring its weapon down on John's head. But John was too quick. He dropped the shotgun, grabbed the Elite's arm with his left, turned his back to the Elite, and tossed the alien against the back wall of the elevator. John locked his hand, preventing him from losing his grasp. As the Elite hit the ground, John fell to one knee, and using his right arm, punched the Elite several times. First the stomach, the stomach again, then the face. His fist was a green blur, striking multiple times in the blink of an eye. The Elite's muscles relaxed as its brain stopped sending impulses to the rest of its body.
İİİİİJohn rose, slung his shotgun over his shoulder, and picked up the Elite's plasma rifle. Holding the rifle in his right, he held his plasma pistol in the left. The room leading away from the elevator was a long hallway, ten meters high, and ten meters wide. Lining the hallway were square pillars, those would give the Covenant plenty of places to ambush him, but they could also give him cover. Holding both plasma weapons at ready, John raced down the hallway, turned left, and ran down another. John was running so fast, even the Covenant motion sensors on the walls couldn't track him. John raced around another corner, and found a door. He opened it and ran inside, which was a mistake. The room seemed to be a security room. Sensor readings covered one wall, a raised platform held a series of panels which seemed to operate different things. Three Elites manned control panels. Patrolling around the room were two Elite Commanders with their fearsome plasma blades. A half-dozen Grunts and Jackals patrolled as well.
İİİİİAs John entered the room, it seemed as though everyone turned, saw him, looked back to their stations, then did a double take. One of the Commanders began barking orders and all the Covenant opened fire. But they had no chance. Not only was John faster, but he was a crack shot. John loosed an overcharged plasma shot at the first Gold Elite, it hit, and the Elite ran for cover. A dozen, two dozen plasma shots splashed onto the second Gold Elite, paralyzing it with pain. It dropped the device which emitted the blade, and the blade disappeared. John fired off a dozen more blasts of plasma into the Elite and it crumpled.
İİİİİJohn spied the first Gold Elite running across the room, searching for suitable cover. The Master Chief hurled the pistol into the back of the Elite, killing it. John ran to where the second Elite had dropped the plasma sword.
İİİİİThe entire force of Covenant seemed awestruck. Two of their most fiercesome warriors, downed in seconds. In this brief pause, John stooped, gripped the blade's emitter, and it sprung to life. The other three Elites shook themselves back to reality and opened fire, as did the Grunts. It seemed as though hundreds of bolts of plasma whizzed through the air. It was a miracle the aliens weren't dying from friendly fire. John took a handful of shots to the back, but he didn't care.
İİİİİJohn charged the first Elite he saw, and jumped ten meters across the room to get to him. While John was airborne, he targeted another Elite, and sent twenty super-heated bolts of plasma its way, burning it to a crisp. It flopped to the ground.
İİİİİAs John was coming down, he turned his attention to the first Elite again, and brough the energy blade down on top of the alien's head. The vicious weapon sheared the Elite in two, leaving only a bloody mess on the ground. The Grunts and Jackals turned and fled, screaming in terror back towards the elevator John had come from. Only one Elite remained. As it tried in a futile attempt to shoot John, its arm shook uncontrollably in fear. John wondered how that Elite felt knowing it had only several seconds of breath left.
İİİİİIn a last ditch effort, the Elite charged, and swung horizontally at John with its weapon. The Master Chief ducked, and slashed across the Elite's legs, cutting them completely off. The Elite's torso fell to the ground, as it screamed in horrible agony.
İİİİİThe Master Chief decided to end it quickly. He would not torture the creature, as foul as it was. Another quick slash across its face and it was silenced. John deactivated the blade, and looked around the room. Five Elites lay dead, and he lived. Cortana let out a whistle, but said nothing more. John retrieved a fresh plasma rifle took a deep breath, and moved through the next door.
İİİİİAnother long hallway presented itself. Similar to the one when he had first entered this level of the facility. Wide, high and rows of square pillars lined the wall. Between the pillars was gap with the wall. Plenty of hiding places. If enemies were in this hallway, they could move around the pillar as John walked, and he would never see them. The hallway was two hundred meters long of sameness. The lights above him were spaced at intervals of thirty meters, leaving several portions of the hallway blanketed in darkness.
İİİİİIn the two minutes John was in the hallway, he could have sworn he had a shadow. Something or someone was in the hallway with him, but didn't wish to make their presence known. Every so often, John would catch a faint blip on the motion tracker, wheel, and see nothing. A Ghost. Or incredibly fast. Finally John made it to the end of the hallway. Before opening the door, John heard a rustling, quickly checked his six. Nothing
İİİİİJohn was positive he had a shadow. But why didn't they just come after him?
İİİİİJohn pushed the holo panel and the door slid open. John stood on a large concrete platform. In either direction stretched a tunnel, and right in front of the platform was a small hover train. One Hunter stood watch. John noticed it long before it noticed him, but when his plasma blade flared to life, the Hunter growled, and contracted into its combat position, charging its Fuel Rod Gun. The blast of plasma flared from the gun. John lept away, the plasma missed by five meters.
İİİİİThe Master Chief, crack shot, put ten plasma rounds into the Hunter's exposed stomach, and it roared in agony. John charged, energy blade in left hand, in one quick down strike, slashed the huge alloy shield in two, then shifting a little, slashed upward and severed the Hunter's weapon from its arm. Then with a blazing fast strike, John slashed horizontally at the Hunter's stomach, and cleaved the beast in two. Electricity crackled, and hydraulics hissed and popped. Hunters were mechanical. No wonder they could take so much punishment. It also explained why a Hunter's back pulsates even after death. Impressive.
İİİİİDuring the battle, the Chief's shadow had sprinted into the room, and hidden in the shadows. Watching the entire battle, the observer was, to say the least, impressed at how strong the Spartan had become.
İİİİİJohn stepped onto the hover train, and Cortana explained.
İİİİİ"This transport will take us to the section of the facility which contains the Prophets."
"Understood." John activated the train, and John's shadow followed, crossing the fifty meter distance in two seconds, and catapulted itself onto the roof of the train, crouched and made not a sound.