The Strive to Survive (Chapter 4: An Unexpected Heroine)
Posted By: CoLd BlooDed<email@example.com>
Date: 4 March 2004, 8:27 PM
The Strive to Survive (Chapter 4: An Unanticipated Heroine)
2247 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/On Halo Installation 07, inside Forerunner facility, nearing Generator Room.
The four Marines shuffled down the hallway in a crouch, each one holding an Assault Rifle close to their shoulders. The red light coming from the corridor lights caught onto the soldiers' helmets periodically before they moved into the shadows.
Corporal Joe Howlrin waved the composed Privates under his command forward, his hand catching some crimson-tinged light as he did so. Howlrin wiped his face with his sleeve, droplets of perspiration came off onto his uniform and he warily surveyed his surroundings.
"All clear." whispered the Private, Tom Li, who was at the far end of the hall, "Moving into Generator Room."
The Corporal moved swiftly down the rest of the wide, shadowed, hallway, and then paused once he reached the faded grey doorway. He motioned his troops who immediately moved into the room, the transparent green screen in front of his right eye shimmered and small white text scrolled across it.
Joe looked back down the hallway, and once making sure it was safe, moved into the Generator Room. The facilities lights had been disabled somehow, but his brave soldiers would fix it and then get the hell out of there; it was bad enough that the Flood were roaming the structure.
The Corporal stepped on something that made a wet smacking noise; he involuntarily let one hand go of his weapon and reached down towards his boot. He withdrew his hand almost instantly in abhorrence; a moist, sticky, substance clung to his fingers. Howlrin decided to ignore the irritating feeling of the stuff that had glued itself to his skin.
The room was completely black, forcing the Marines to switch on the night vision that was activated by the neural implants, a very helpful device. It took a moment for Joe's eyes to get accustomed to the sudden surge of light, but once his vision adapted he gagged and let out a spew of vomit.
Bodies of Humans and Flood littered the room, blood—green and dark red—had been splattered everywhere, on the roof, over the generator, on the walls and floor...
The substance that had adhered to his fingers was a dark scarlet through the night vision, meaning it was Human blood. A mix of entrails spilled out of every single body the Corporal observed in repulsion and terror, the other Marines gagged and coughed but quickly tried to compose themselves.
"W-What the fuck happened?!" cried out one of the PFC youngsters, Vince Rivera, the Corporal felt a solid lump form in his throat.
They shouldn't be seeing this, Joe thought, this is too intense for him, it will haunt him. Vince turned with wide eyes, and with a closer look, Howlrin saw he was crying.
"Fix the generator, now, that's what we came here to do." ordered the Corporal fearfully as he continued to examine the gore-cluttered room, "The faster you do it, the faster we can get the hell out of here."
"Yes, sir," Vince said, his voice wavering slightly, and he moved towards the generator.
The quick-scurrying of Infection Forms filled the Corporals ears; he spun around to face the noise. The bulbous creatures had poured out of a shaft and were climbing down the wall, some climbing over each other or jumping to the floor.
"Fire your weapon!" barked Joe to the Marines, muffled shots filled the room and disrupted the night vision with brilliant, white flashes.
Vince yelled and dropped the tools he had brought to repair the generator, but as he turned around one of the parasitic forms latched onto his spine. The Private screamed and collapsed, the Infection Form held its grip as several others were popped one by one.
Joe turned to see one of the Marines get taken down by numerous Infection Forms; the soldier dropped his gun which clattered to the concrete floor. The terrified Corporal maneuvered around while firing, and backed up into the only surviving Marine. The creatures seemed to appear out of nowhere, even though there was only one visible entrance, hundreds—at the least—swarmed around the generator, floors, walls, and the elevated roof.
There was a remorseful click as the other soldiers' weapon exhausted its remaining ammunition. "I'm out!" The Corporal winced at these words, but as soon as he realized it was hopeless he dropped his own Assault Rifle onto the ground.
"Howlrin! We still have a chance—" the last words of the soldier echoed through Joe's mind, but as one of the creatures grabbed onto both the Marines' chests his vision blackened. The horrified Corporal was put out of his misery.
2250 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ Halo 07 in Forerunner facility, heading towards Generator Room.
"Keep us posted, Jake." the Sergeant's voice broke out into the seemingly-calm technician's mind.
The tech continued down the hall, sweat trickled down his scratched up face and adrenaline coursed through his nervous system as he rounded one of the hundreds of corners in the structure. Jake walked through a door that flickered green and then red as it shut behind him—meaning he was locked in, but it didn't matter, there had to be several other routes back to the med bay.
"Jake-Jake-Jake-Jake-Jake-Jake-Jake..." repeated the voice of Calian over and over again until it faded out, the AI was starting to bother him.
He ignored it for the moment and surveyed his surroundings; the tech stood in the middle of a large, shadowy room—and by the natural light from the outside shining through holes in the walls onto the ceiling, the roof was twenty meters from the floor.
Jake slowly shuffled forward, continuing to peer up into the blackness, a soft drip echoed through the spacious room and echoed like water dripping into a pool deep in a cave.
There was another drip that resonated, but this time quicker in tempo and louder. The frightened technician quickened his pace and then broke into a run, the dripping had stopped, but now a snarl broke into Jake's thoughts. He blindly searched for the door, but he managed to compose himself briefly and call up the structure's map. It took a few seconds until the chart had completely organized itself, everything on the subroutines that marked walls glowed ghostly green and the labels were a bright yellow.
Jake stretched his hands far in front of him and watched the dot that pointed out his position moved towards the wall. Hundreds of red blips flickered around the rest of the map, but the tech assumed they were Flood, he couldn't tell if there were any survivors. Another low growl came from behind the technician who jumped and ran to where the door supposedly was. Without thinking he charged forward and felt metal brush against his uniform; the door then shut behind him.
Red light flooded the narrow hallway Jake now stood in, a holo-display hovered directly beside the door, the technician tapped several buttons and the doors lights turned a dim scarlet.
He sighed, wiped his forehead with his hand, and continued forward, his long shadow cast behind him in the red gloominess of the corridor. He looked back to where he had come in from through the glass and in the pale, red, light, he saw the deformed eyes of a Human Combat Form, dark green spittle foaming around its twisted lips.
Jake shuddered at the thought of him turning into one of the creatures, but squelched the thought and continued on, he couldn't allow himself to be distracted. The hallway stretched every time the tired technician guessed that it would end, he hadn't had time to rest yet. What had only been hours had seemed like an eternity, struggling to outlive the ever-spreading Flood and escaping the ring would be longer than he thought.
"I'm approaching the Generator Room," Jake whispered over the private channel on the COM.
"Good, continue to inform us of anything suspicious and we'll come and get you out of any trouble." replied Peters sternly, his tone once again cut through the eerie silence.
The ONI tech edged down the remainder of the hallway, it turned at a ninety degree angle to the left, but another door was fixed into the wall on the right. Jake walked to the door, looked behind him to see the adjacent corridor engulfed in a heavy shadow, and walked into the Generator Room.
A watery smack was the first nauseating sound he heard when he stepped into the room; he walked forward ignoring the putrid odor that met his nostrils.
"Always so...interfering, aren't we, technician? It's a shame, really, that you have been put to such uses." the faulty AI spoke clearly into the room. Jake removed the MA5B rifle that was slung around his shoulder, loaded it, clicked the safety off, and activated the light.
The technician stopped in his tracks as he examined the shadowy surroundings, his weapon and the attached flashlight moved in unison while Jake's maneuvered the rifle.
The beam of light concentrated on the walls moved around on the dull grey metal in circles, until the luminosity from the flashlight came across a long smear of red blood.
"You are to...suffer the same consequences as the others." the AI announced, it's once smooth, confident tone had disappeared and turned into a voice of hatred and anger.
Jake cast the light onto the floor, bodies of Humans and Flood alike littered the room. Several torsos of the late soldiers had been completely ripped open, intestines and organs lay on the floor but still hung onto the skin inside.
The technician gagged and covered his mouth with his free hand, the weight of the weapon shifted and Jake almost lost his grip. He forced the emotion down along with the sickness; the light swung to where the generator was positioned, he cautiously shuffled towards it.
"I'm attempting to reactivate the generator now," the technician said in an undertone over the COM, he sighed and took a deep breath, "I'll contact you once I'm finished."
Jake unfastened the clip on his equipment that sealed it, a soft beeping sound emitted from the metallic container and it slowly opened. A soft, blue florescent light glowed from the solid box and lit up part of the room. It was carefully set to the ground by the tech along with the Assault Rifle—its light reflected off the floor and onto a greasy green blotch on the wall.
The nervous technician sighed again and reached into the radiant blue kit, he pulled out the necessary tool—which in this case was a laser cutter; he needed to open up the power conduit.
He triggered the device, held it at the protective covering and clicked the button, a red light burned through the metal; seconds quickly passed and the covering clattered to the floor.
Something was wrong, though, as the power was only deactivated, not neutralized or sabotaged. The tech blinked in confusion, and then flicked on the switch, light flooded the room along with every other single room in the structure. Jake's pupils contracted accustomed to the sudden brightness that entered the room.
The technician noticed the same green substance dripping from the ceiling, but ignored it; he needed to get back quickly. Jake sealed the power conduit and reinforced it with two layers of Titanium-A metal—scraps had been taken from the Prowlers when they had first landed.
"I've completed the task," Jake said confidently, "I'm heading back."
The technician eyed the room, blood—both Human and Flood—covered every square centimeter of the room, it stuck to the roof, walls, and floor. He continued to walk towards the doorway, but it suddenly glowed red and locked. Jake heard something rustle in the back corner, turned to face it, and managed to scream as he saw one of the Covenant Combat Forms crawl out of a large shaft.
"I've got contacts!" the terrified technician yelled into the COM, "The doors are locked! Help me—"
The creature launched towards Jake who held down the trigger on his MA5B, bullets thudded into the abomination's flesh and sprayed blood out the opposite side.
The Combat Form crumpled in mid-air as the Assault Rifle emptied the remainder of the ammunition; Jake slammed in a fresh clip and watched in wide-eyes as another one of the creatures clambered out of the duct.
"Requesting—" the technician grunted as he shot off two more rounds, "backup!"
2302 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ On Ancient Ringworld Halo 07, in med bay.
"Requesting—" Jake's voice echoed over the COM in a gasp, "backup!"
The female Marine—Chelsea Dewhirst—felt anger boil up and tears trickle down her face; she quickly grabbed one of the Shotguns on the cart and loaded it.
The scientists were arguing with Cotters and Cunliffe, the Sergeant had his face buried in his hands and muttering. It was a perfect chance to run out, and she wasn't going to let Jake die, not after he had released her from cryosleep and saved her from an almost certain death.
Chelsea dashed out the door and ran down the hall—she ignored the yells of the others as she rounded the corner to her left with the Shotgun raised. Two Human Combat Forms were blasted by three barrages from the female Marine's weapon and taken down; Chelsea continued to sprint down the hallway.
The Sergeant yelled something over the COM, but in the Marine's sudden adrenaline spike, nothing could be made over the channel. She made it through a doorway, taking down five forms with one barrage to a Carrier Form that promptly exploded.
Dewhirst kicked one of the Infection Forms that had been thrown from the Carrier, it popped as the others swarmed behind Chelsea who ran through another door.
She ran down another intersection without encountering any Flood, and quickly ripped apart several more of the creatures with a well placed grenade once she made it into a larger room. Debris kicked up and showered the Marine, who quickly ran through a broken doorway that hung on its hinges—it was just wide enough for her to fit through.
Infection Forms were hanging on the roof down the next corridor, but four blasts popped them all. The Marine took time to reload and continued down the extremely long hallway, she felt her adrenaline leave her system and get replaced with fear. But the confident soldier continued on until she came to the end of the hall, a door was placed to her right and another corridor was to her left.
Shots and screams echoed from behind the door, and she immediately realized it was Jake; "Generator Room" had been neatly printed onto the wall. The light on the door glowed red, but Chelsea took out a code-retriever and stuck it onto the door, data surged into the device and the Marine punched the correct buttons.
The door opened, and the ONI technician stumbled out, blood—green and red—covered his face and uniform, he fired off another round of his MA5B and tripped to the ground.
Chelsea grabbed the fallen tech by the collar of his outfit and dragged him down the hall while cursing and shooting at a Combat Form that ran out of the room.
Jake was screaming and firing at the creatures as the bewildered Marine continued to pull him down the hallway; bullet casings flew into the air and clattered onto the ground, making a long trail of shells that littered the corridor.
Chelsea pulled him out into the large room and shot one of the fuel canisters that were placed in the corner, fire billowed out of the punctures before the cylinders exploded. Burning, twisted metal rained down onto Chelsea and Jake, who continued to shoot at the creatures. A piece of scorching rubble landed onto the female Marine's weapon-holding hand, she cried in pain and gritted her teeth, but didn't let go of the Shotgun.
The horrified Marine hauled the technician down the hallways she had used to get to the Generator Room, but she was nearing exhaustion.
Flood poured out of a shaft in front of them, not Infection Forms, but seven Human Combat Forms. They all had Assault Rifles and didn't hesitate to use them; bullets zipped past the Marines face before she let off a blast from the Shotgun.
A stray shot pierced her shoulder, and another cut into her stomach, she winced and screamed but refused to let go, she would never let go until they got back to the med bay. Jake managed to shoot off several ligaments of the Combat Forms, the bullets ceased and the creatures leapt towards the retreating ONI personnel.
Chelsea rounded another corner and realized she had made it; she was back at the med bay. The Marine pulled the technician back to the door and felt relief sweep into her body.
The pursuing monsters chased down the hall as she squeezed off another barrage of bullets. But she didn't witness the Combat Forms die, however, as the hallway became a mess of smeared colors and she fainted.
Please let Jake be okay, she thought, don't let him die on me. The floor rushed up to her very quickly and her vision winked out in a grey haze.