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The Long Ride Home 7: Deja Vu
Posted By: Joshua Barreto<jrunfire@yahoo.com>
Date: 8 May 2002, 12:29 am

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     The Covenant forces began to push even further toward the structure. In spite of the flood's sudden burst of momentum, the Covies were able to build up some of their own again. The Chief's advice began to show its strategic importance. Elite forces continued landing on the rooftop, and they moved down to assist the now dwindiling Shaddaik company.
     The flood showed signs of desperation as they sensed their losses skyrocketing. The flood were a collective, acting as one. Each warrior merely an extension of their core, their leader's thoughts, manifested into action. They only had one impulse, destroy and infect that which was other. So while they were feeling cornered, they would start to attack non-stop. Piles of bodies mounted before each covenant species' eyes, resulting from their erratic behaivior. Thanks in part to the structure's defense systems, and continuous bombardment, the flood's numbers on the moon's field had dropped to a mere 500 or 600 warriors. It was a superficial victory, for the moon's vast interior corridors hid countless amounts of the creatures, and that's where the true battle would occur. Still, the finality to the 10 hour conflict came about when the remaining horde of infectious bodies, retreated within the base.
     The Chief, had been battling in the 'lobby' of the base for 2 hours already. The continuous blasts from grenades and plasma shotguns, numbed his ears with a ringing sound. 45 Elites had joined in the melee, raining hot blasts upon the monsters. Green, blue, and purple blood flowed like streams from the bodies of the fallen combatants through the floor. The fluids fromed puddles all over the place, making it slippery to manuever and hold one's ground.
     In a sudden movement, the flood turned around, and went rushing into a nearby tunnel. It was 200 meters wide and 100 meters high, perhaps to bring equipment to the inner parts of the base. The retreating mass created thunderous rumblings on the metallic environment. More came in, as a herd of elephants throught the main entrance, and followed the rest. Their behavior had become so unpredictable that the Covenant were startled or awe stricken, staring with expressionless gazes, not knowing whether to pursue or await orders. The aggressive nature of the elites made the decision clear. They chased the creatures, shooting all they had, lobbing grenades and cursing in their tongues.
     "Assault units. Do not pursue the enemy. Await further orders."
     The Master Chief didn't know what the flood were doing. He knew that they were behaving with slight intelligence, but now it was getting out of hand. These creatures had a will to survive.
     "Where are they going Cortana?"
     "This tunnel traverses throughout the base. But others break away from it, leading to various barracks, hangars and supply rooms. I suggest you stay put for the time being. Covenant are planning for another offensive, but not yet. We should be able to work our way into the control room once they get started. In the meantime, try to stay low, don't bring any attention to yourself."
     Two Golden Elites came before the Chief. They were making sure he was okay. They didn't want their only lead to the human's homeworld killed. The rest of the elites, bloodlust still running through their veins, growled and stared the Chief down with ferocious eyes, wanting him to join in their comrade's fates.
     "You have strayed from your assigned position human. You shall not disobey our commanding officers again, or you shall be imprisoned."
     They put him into another unit. Rajihn was brought to a camp outside the structure, where others that were wounded were being treated.
     "I am your commanding watcher now human. I am Epslin, and you shall not leave my sight."
     A huge roar was hear throughout the field. Immediately, 1500 elite forces lined up in two long rows, facing each other. Grunts and jackals lined up in groups of fours, and hunters were seen lining up every 60 or so elites. Banshees flew over head, still scouting the grounds below, on the lookout for any remaining flood. Wraiths patrolled the area, and shade stationary gun emplacements turned on their axis, still on the alert for any potential danger. Sounds of plasma shot echoed in the medic camps, as the covenant killed those deemed to weak for use, or those feared to be infected and turning.
     "Chief, more chat on the Covenant battlenet. Luthos is ordering an assault on the downed frigate about 100 kilometers from here. It's the one we saw from the rooftop, before. They believe the flood might be repairing it for interplanetary invasion. They're not going to make the same mistake as the armada on Halo."
     "So we're the assault team?"
     "No. We're going in through the tunnels below to the control conduits for this moonbase. It's currently on a course to one of their species' homeworld. Their intelligence reports state that the 'head' is in there controlling the moon's controls."
     "So then I'll be able to enter the control room uninhibited. Give me a layout once we get into that supply tunnel. They'll be busy with the flood."
     The Covenant forces on the field rested and ate for a while, taking inventory and reloading weapons. Wraiths hovered up and down sand dunes and hills, patrolling the perimeter. The grunts were an occasional nuisance to the Elites and the other species camped about, as they would be kicked or thrown from time to time after being yelled at. The Master Chief had become the topic of discussion among the warriors. Although they were disgusted by his presence, they still couldn't help but respect the fact he had taken on hundreds of flood, and managed to destroy the right hand. But his accomplishments didn't stop there. He was able to control the base's defense systems to destroy the flood. He then proceeded to outflank the vile creatures with handful of the lower level species. They acknowledged him as the angel of death.
     "Angel of Death? I'll kill him myself! That devil should not recieve reverance of any sort!"
     "Garon, you are indeed ignorant of the evidence at hand. He has subdued our enemy in two battles, you nearly came to your demise today!"
     "Liar! I fought valiantly in our battle, you hold your tongue Fin'lar!"
     "Ha! I needed to drag you to safety! You were about to destroy yourself-learn to use your weapons before you fight!"
     Their natural pride got the best of them. It caused them to fight, spilling their food and drinks on the ground around them. The Chief saw the scuffle, about 20 feet away. Epslin gave him another cloaking cell, as well as another fuel cell for a more powerful shield. He attached them to where they needed to be.
     "Those two fools are the main reason our forces fall at your kinds' feet. Worry not, human, soon we shall rid our army of that stupidity, and make it easier to kill you and your brethren."
     Cortana was reading an intense rise of temperature from the Chief as the Elite walked away laughing heartily.
     "Chief, don't let him get to you. You should know better."
     She was right, his training had taught him to set aside emotions. But for some reason, he couldn't stand for the mentioning of his brethren. He took that meaning as a reference to the rest of the Spartans. The elite stopped in his steps to turn around and say something.
     "Are you familiar as to what our high commander has ornamented himself with? Let me place the wording in your terms. He is a collector of one's, eh, most treasured gift."
     He put one of his hideous claws to his forehead. The Chief tilted his head in a puzzled look. He continued to eat his rations and drink the beverage, not caring about what had just happened.

* * *

     Luthos had 2 destroyers assemble themselves in front of the frigate's position. They were 1000 km in orbit from the vessel. it was docked in one of the moon's four hangars. It had been damaged in battle with the UNSC during the assault on Reach, and returned there for repairs. It also had returned a secret cargo.
     Luthos knew that a frigate of this size would carry a huge invasion force. He wouldn't let the flood have a chance for escape.
     "All vessels, on my mark."
     The two destroyers had two bright lights collect on their sides and then to the front. The two ships' concentration of energy made the immediate space turn a light blue.
     "Destroy it."
     The plasma beams shot forward simultaneously through space. They curved downwards, as was needed to keep on their target, since the moon was rotating. Its shields gave, and the metal sizzled away, orange and red hot holes getting larger as the energy from the plasma ate its way through the ship. It then gave an explosion that caused the surrounding moon's surface to crumble and creating a crater.
     "Dominus, retrieve knowledge."
     "It is destroyed, my commander. The filth have no vectors of escape."
     "Pleasing. Alert ground assault. They are to advance into the base within two turns."
     "Sir! It is made so!"
     The explosion was felt throughout the base. Its shockwaves tremored throught the core and to where the Covenant landing had taken place.
     "What was that, Cortana?"
     "They destroyed the frigate docked in the hangar 100 kms from here. Luthos has ordered another advance into the base within two hours."
     "How many are patrolling the structure's entrance?"
     "Don't bother Chief. Instead, wait until we start the assault. Once in the tunnel, there's plenty of side passages, that I've mapped out, leading toward the control room."
     He then heard a huge explosion, followed by many rounds of shots. He looked up and saw a banshee shot out of the sky. The flood had rocket launchers. He saw more of them with human weaponry. It started agian, the battle. He locked and loaded his plasma shotgun, and moved out. He saw a Banshee still unused nearby. He boarded it, as Epslin came running to him after he saw that the Chief had again taken off in the middle of battle.
     "Human! Return at once or I shall slay you!"
     The Chief turned the Banshee, and faced the elite. He shot him continously until he fell to the ground. The he went into the base, on his way to the tunnels below.