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The Strive to Survive (Chapter 2: Released)
Posted By: CoLd BlooDed<sk8_4life7_@hotmail.com>
Date: 20 February 2004, 8:04 PM

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The Strive to Survive (Chapter 2: Released)
2136 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ Halo 07, Forerunner Facility, heading to control room to report peculiarities.

      Jake scrambled down the hallway, listening to the unusual snarling and scurrying that seemed to echo right above him. The tech's own shuffling of his feet filled the chilling silence of the corridor, and overhead lights cast his stretched shadow onto the wall.
      When he reached the door before the hallway leading to the control room, he stopped and looked up.
      A viscous green fluid dripped from the wall in large, glossy chunks and splattered on the floor below. Pieces of twisted metal lay scattered among the puddle, and Jake noticed that some steel grating on the ceiling had been broken; the green liquid oozed from the gap.
      The ONI tech walked under the falling olive-colored substance and coughed when it spattered on his shoulder. It smelled terrible, and the odor clung to his uniform as he tried to brush it off, it was ineffective and only stained his clothes.
      There were more puddles of the green fluid down the hallway, but it was thicker and not as runny.
      He reached the control room's doorway and stepped in, his eyes shifting wildly in fear. The tech came into the open room filled with monitors and other equipment, but other than that, the control room was empty.
      Jake activated the ONICOM and spoke into it, "This is Jake Bennitz, does anyone copy?" He paused to only receive belches of static and then killed the unencrypted channel; the unsettling calm was getting to him.
      He was about to leave the room when a voice broke into the technicians thoughts, the voice belonged to the AI Calian, "Where are you going?"
      "I'm getting out of here; this place gives me the creeps." responded Jake as he turned to face the hovering image of the AI, it floated on the pedestal.
      "I oppose that decision," said the AI with a computerized tone to its voice, "Flood are everywhere, you'll die in a matter of minutes."
      "What?" Jake said with perplexity, his eyes widened.
      "Yes, the Flood have been released, they are inevitably taking over the structure as we speak." Calian said with no emotion and then added, "I suggest you lock down the facility, you may be capable of reaching survivors."
      "When were they released? How? Why?" said the frightened tech quickly, and when the AI only stared at him he then said, "Scan the facility, I want to know where the Flood are located."
      "Yes, Jake, scanning..." Calian's voice drifted off, "It is difficult to calculate, but I have estimated that they will reach this room in a matter of minutes. Fortunately the hallways leading to the med bay and armory are unoccupied. I suggest you get a move on, Jake."
      The tech nodded and turned around, but before leaving the room he asked the AI; "Is there anyone in the cryo bays?" And when the AI nodded and told him to leave quickly Jake disappeared out of the room, leaving the soon-to-be-invaded control room behind.
      He couldn't help but feel like it was hopeless, that there was no point in trying to carry on. But Jake continued running down the hall and past the dripping green matter. The tech could feel the adrenaline pumping into his veins and began to run faster, if he could get to the cryo bays maybe he could make a formidable resistance against the Flood.
      Maybe they could even survive.
      Jake realized he was getting ahead of himself; it couldn't be that much of a struggle could it? With effort, he calmed himself down, but didn't slow as he rounded a corner and entered another hallway. The cryo bays—A through C—were located down that corridor, so the tech slowed to a walk and cautiously moved forward.

2136 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ Halo 07, Forerunner Facility, in cryo bay 'A'.

      The ONI technician, Hayden Park, lifted his head up from the wooden desk he had been working on an hour before. Spittle fell from the corners of the tech's mouth which he hastily wiped away in disgust. The portable monitor he had been working on had automatically turned off, and a message containing millions of numbers and symbols filled the screen.
      Park stood up and walked over to the cryo tubes to check on the sleeping soldiers, and also to stretch his tired muscles. When he looked up the biomonitor signs and confirmed that they were normal, he sat back down at his desk and typed in the code to access the ONI databases.
      When the computer pinged a ferocious growl resonated through the room causing Hayden to jump out of the seat and unclip his pistol from his belt.
      "Who's there?" he practically yelled at the now-silent air, an echo bounced off the solid walls and back into his ears.
      He tried to calm down but was unsuccessful, then he snapped off the safety on the pistol and aimed the weapon at random places in the room. Another snarl echoed throughout the room, and Hayden yelped, sweat streaked down his panic-stricken face and he once again called out: "Who's there!?"
      There was a mild explosion as an answer and he turned to see a grate from the roof fall to the ground and shatter, sending little shards of metal everywhere. What came next guaranteed his certain death.
The bobbing Flood Infection Forms poured out of the shaft by the hundreds, some popping after failing to grab hold of the ceiling and falling to the floor. An endless wave of the creatures continued to sweep from the roof towards Park and he started to fire his weapon repeatedly at the Infection Forms.
      It was pointless though, because for every one of the creatures that popped, another five took its place. The doomed tech backed up into the wall, the opposite side of the room which held the doorway. The situation quickly turned from bad to worse as the pistol ran out of bullets, but when he tried to slip in another clip it fell from his grip and clattered on the floor.
      "Fuck!" he yelled in dismay and threw his weapon at the oncoming wave of Infection Forms.
      In a last attempt he threw his hands up in front of his face but one of the little squid-resembling creatures jumped onto his stomach and raised one of its razor sharp tentacles.
      The Infection Form drove its penetrator through the technicians flesh while several more jumped onto other parts of his body and added to the blazing pain.
      He started to scream as his blood squirted out on the floor and onto his uniform, he became dizzy and struggled to hit off the little creatures.
      His fist hit into it with all of Hayden's remaining power, a fiery pain ripped through his body as the penetrator snapped off and the creature popped, spraying blood and flesh into the tech's face.
      With his arms thrashing at the creatures, blood continued to rush out of his body and spatter on the floor. Twenty more of the creatures jumped onto his body and stabbed him with their tentacles.
      A red haze filled his vision, and for a brief moment he didn't feel any pain, but seconds after one of the creatures blocked his vision and knocked him down.

2141 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ On Halo 07 in Forerunner Facility, entering cryo bay 'A'.

      The doors slid open silently and Jake stepped inside and he just saw numerous shapes move up into a broken shaft on the ceiling. He vigilantly moved into the room and almost tripped on a body sprawled on the ground, little tiny creatures attached to the carcasses chest—they were Infection Forms.
      The tech backpedaled and tripped over his feet in shock, dark red blood tainted his uniform as he fell face first onto the ground creating its own color after mixing with the green liquid that had fallen onto his shoulder.
      He stood back up and looked at the bleeding body, the Infection Forms didn't move to attack Jake, but instead clung to the man's chest and burrowed deeper.
      There was a pistol a couple meters from the body and it was without a clip. Bullet casings littered the blood-stained floor, and Jake walked up to the weapon and reloaded it and aimed it at the creatures attached to the dead mans body.
      Several shots rang out and the creatures exploded in a shower of flesh and green blood. Jake smirked in amusement and walked over to one of the cryo tubes without taking a second glance at the body, death made him uneasy.
      Condensation had formed on the glass surface of the cryo tube but was quickly wiped off with the bloodied sleeve of Jakes uniform. A face appeared behind the glass, staring blankly into space, it was Mike the Sergeant.
      The tech ran over to the portable access computer and typed in a few quick commands, causing the cryo tubes to pump a wake-up stiff into the bodies of the people sleeping. Seconds passed and a low tone emitted from the computer, warning the tech that if he woke the Sergeant and the others up too early it could damage their nervous system.
      He hastily typed in a few more commands, he had done an early awakening millions of times before, and soon the cryo tubes opened and the confused expression of the Sarge was the first thing Jake saw.
      "Peters, we need to get the fuck outta here, the Flood have been released. This all may be a little too much information but we need you to hurry." said Jake quickly and handed the Sarge his clothes as he stepped out of the tube.
      Several more people stepped out from behind a support pillar with bewildered appearances, they were naked. One of them rubbed his eyes and said to the Sergeant, "Shit, we gotta get to work already? I don't feel rested."
      "Me either, Marine, but we got word that the Flood have been released," he sighed, closed his eyes, and then added, "We gotta get outta here, soldiers."
      The soldiers nodded and one of them cast a nasty look at the dead carcass at the far end of the room.
      "I feel sorry for that unlucky tech." said the female Marine, and then they all filed out of the room.
      The group of ONI personnel moved around the cryo bays for the next twenty minutes searching for any surviving men (or women) to add to their collection of Marines. They had managed to find two scientists in cryo 'C'--a male and female—who went by the name of Sara Medds and Maxell Teck. They were given some spare HE Pistols the Marines were carrying.
      Once they had gotten clothed in their white lab jackets they all left the hallway which comprised of the three cryo bays. Maxell became irritated and asked: "Where are we going now? This is pointless! Fucking pointless!"
      "Calm down, son," the Sergeant said—and stepped closer to the scientist and raising a hand, "We're going to the med bay, there's no Flood there, and we can stock up on supplies."
      Maxell continued to stare at the Sarge, looking at each face in the hallway with wide eyes—he then exhaled deeply and composed his expression, if not himself.
      "Fine, let's get going."
      The ONI personnel continued to trek down the wide hallways—going up and down ramps, passing under flickering lights, and avoiding the green puddles on the floors—and eventually came to the med bay to find it silent and glowed in an extremely white light.
      "It's a wonder we didn't get attacked while we were getting here," said one of the Marines—Chris Cotters—as he stepped through the doorway, his eyes squinted due to the brightness.
      Jake was about to reply when a scream echoed down the hallway which they came down, everyone spun around to look out the doorway. A soldier was backpedaling when he came around the corner, green blood colored the Marine's uniform; at least thirty Flood Infection Forms chased him.
      "Get away!" the Marine yelled and turned around as he was running to face the shocked people in the med bay, his eyes widened and he managed to yell, "Hurry! Let me in, please!"
      Peters—who was closest to the door's access button—looked at Jake who shook his head; the Sarge gulped and hit the switch.
      "What are you doing?! Let me in, man!" screamed the soldier as the door closed on him, thumps came from the other side of the sealed door.
      Jake walked closer to the door and looked out of the little glass pane, the horrified soldier stared back at him with blazing eyes.
      "You fucker! Open the damn door!" the Marine said with anger, but then stopped hitting the door and spun around.
      The soldier started to scream and then fell under the weight of all the little parasitic forms, blood sprayed onto the glass pane on the other side. The screams died out and everything became a deadly silent.
      Jake pushed back the sorrow for the dead Marine; he hated death, everything about it made him sick. He turned around to face the miserable faces of the other personnel, most of them stood down at the floor.
      "So..." Alex interjected into the gloomy atmosphere, "What do we do now?"
      "We wait," responded Jake, "and we collect supplies that are necessary, if we don't want to fall to the Flood then we have to work together."
      The soldiers and scientists nodded and scattered around the room to police any equipment or medical supplies necessary. Med-Kits were found in a large cabinet along with some stim-packs, hundreds of nutrient supplement packages had been stored in a freezer.
      More useful gear had been recovered and some of the Marines found three other rooms with beds. And four surgery tables had been installed into the room with movable lights overhead. It was a perfect place to withhold from the Flood; they had even managed to find some monitors and upload a motion tracking system to them.
      There was one problem though, which was soon realized when several Flood Infection Forms broke into the room via a duct in the roof.
      Two minutes were needed to kill the little genetic-altering squids. Not one got the chance to land on one of the soldiers or scientists.
      "Get that hole sealed up! We don't want anymore intruders." ordered Jake; it would seem that he was in charge.
      Mike and the Marines grabbed some welding gear and bonded some metal objects that had been found in the room to the hole. It had been covered completely.
      "Good work, maybe we should look for anymore ways that the Flood could break in—" his voice faded as a clatter of metal reverberated around the room--Infection Forms poured into the room.
      The Marines—who were carrying Pistols and MA5B's—almost instantly started firing, the bulbous little creatures popped in a mist of blood and skin.
      "Suppression fire!" barked the Sergeant, and the Marines directed their shots towards the front of the wave.
      The Infection Forms in the front popped and caused a chain reaction, it took only seconds for the creatures to be wiped out. It wasn't over though, as three Combat Forms crawled out of the large hole at the far side of the room. They were tall and had rotted, stinking flesh, tentacles protruded from the abominations left arms.
      One of them snarled and leaped towards Peters who was closest to them and raised its sharp tentacles. Noticing this, all the defenders raised their weapons and shot at the Combat Form.
      In a long spray of green blood and a horrid ripping sound, the arm came clean off of the monster. It dropped to the ground twitching. The other beasts leaped across the room and raised their tentacle-arms while in mid-air.
      One of them jumped straight towards Jake and impulsively dived to the right. The creature missed by a long shot, and bullets ripped through its skin and spat out blood and bone from Jake's Pistol. A slug managed to penetrate the neck of the Flood form and tear it from the body.
      The head of the monster flew across the room and exploded on the wall.
      Jake sighed and wiped off more blood that had spattered onto his uniform and then exhaled deeply at the silence, no one was shooting.
      "Is everyone okay?" he asked grimly, averting his eyes from the putrid carcasses and blood-stained floor.
      "Yes, Jake, everyone is fine."
      He sighed and looked at the hole where the Flood had came in from, "Someone get that hole corked up...and search for anymore entrances."
      They nodded tiredly and moved around the room, this was just the beginning of their struggle to survive.