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The Strive to Survive (Chapter 5: Assisting the Evolution)
Posted By: CoLd BlooDed<sk8_4life7_@hotmail.com>
Date: 7 March 2004, 8:00 AM

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The Strive to Survive (Chapter 5: Assisting the Evolution)
2342 Hours, January 13, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ On Ancient Ringworld Halo 07, in Forerunner structure in med bay.

      The distraught technician opened his eyes; the plain grey metal of the roof greeted him and he recalled what had happened. He had gone with the Sergeant and the two other Marines to get weapons and supplies, they had been successful. Jake also reminisced that the Flood had disabled the power and he volunteered to go reactivate the generator. He had been successful in that as well, but something was wrong, Jake couldn't remember what had happened after he had reached the room...
      Tired and confused, Jake swung his legs over the medical bed and rested his feet on the floor; he rubbed his temples with his forefingers.
      A sharp pain lanced from where his fingers touched to his legs, the technician immediately brought his hands down in front of his face and saw them covered in red blood.
      More intense pain shot up and down his body causing Jake to shout in anguish; the technician collapsed back onto the soft mattress and sighed as the pain disappeared.
      The female scientist walked in suddenly to the injured technician's aid and held up a needle, she happily flicked the glass and the lime-colored liquid moved around.
      "You need to rest for awhile; the cerebral tissue of the brain was damaged and is currently being mended as we speak." Sara Medds said softly as she injected the needle into Jake's tired arms, the technician whimpered in a confused pain.
      "What happened?"
      "You're still in shock..." she muttered and retracted the needle from his skin, "I can go into detail, if you would like."
      Jake reluctantly nodded.
      "You went to the Generator Room, fixed it, and when you were heading out the door a... Combat Form attacked you, followed by several more. Chelsea ran to your position—once you had called for assistance—and got you out of the room. She managed to drag you back, but..." the scientist paused and locked eyes with Jake, "Chelsea took two bullets from Flood while she was hauling you back to the med bay, but she's wounded bad...and she is dying."
      The technician stared wide-eyed at Medds, but in his undermined condition he didn't dare move. "What?" Jake choked these words and his eyes started to water, she had saved him at the risk of her own life.
      "I'm sorry, Jake, but it was her decision, and she knew what she was doing," the scientist pocketed the needle, patted the tech on the shoulder, and walked out of the room.
      A mix of anger, love, and gratefulness filled him at the thought of the female Marine dragging him down a hallway while he screamed hysterically. Jake shuddered and felt the contents of the needle begin to affect his system. The technician felt his eyes droop and the room begin to swirl around him, he soon yawned and fell asleep with the courtesy from the drugs.

      Jake woke up; the soft humming of machinery from far away filled the small medical room. He sat up quickly and jumped off the bed, his pain had completely disappeared and he felt fifty percent better. Not a particularly great boost of strength, but it was a start.
      The technician strolled out of the room and flexed his shoulders; an ache came from that area of his body. The two scientists and the three male Marines smiled at him, they were all sitting down on several different-looking chairs.
      Jake managed to wave with a grim smile on his face, "I'm going to see Chelsea; I need to thank her."
      Sara nodded as Bennitz moved into the room, it was slightly darker than the room he stayed in and there was more medical equipment. Storage lockers were fixed into the wall directly across from the doorway. There was a sudden groan and Jake moved farther into the small, square room.
      As he passed the edge of the wall there was another faint grown and he saw Chelsea—the Marine that had saved his life—sitting on a bed covered in bandages and a LSS hooked up to her.
      She didn't notice him though, even as Jake tried to make a sound to alert her of his presence, but was unsuccessful. The technician walked over to the bed, but stopped once his foot was several centimeters from the stone that held the mattress up.
      "Chelsea, I just wanted to thank you for..." he paused as the wounded soldier groaned and twisted her torso to face Jake, the IV cords stretched and tightened as she did so. The female Marine managed a smile.
      "I feel terrible, Jake, but it was worth it, and I know you're going to get all of those people off the ring"—she coughed and held a hand to her mouth, blood trickled out from it—"alive."
      "What are you talking about? You are going to make it, you can't die." the technician said confidently, but even he recognized a faint tone of doubt lined his voice, "You saved me."
      She smiled affectionately and massaged her arm, "I know, but it was worth it. I'm dying, so it doesn't matter."
      Jake still didn't like the feeling of death, or knowing the feeling of someone dying, and he forced tears back, she had risked her life for his, it touched him. He would never get familiar to death, never. She coughed again, but it was heavier, and her skin color was flushed from her face.
      Heavy footfalls echoed from the doorway, and Jake turned around to face the Marine, Chris Cotters. Dark circles rounded under his eyes and he looked like he had been to hell, the technician could even say he looked worse than himself.
      "She needs rest, leave her alone." snapped the Marine.
      "Chelsea saved me, I think all I can do is comfort her."
      "You're not calming her; you're killing her, look at her face! It's your fault, if she dies..." Chris was rambling on, and Jake couldn't help but feel that the Marine had feelings for the dying female, or if he was simply insane.
      "Calm down"—the nervous technician held up both his hands—"She isn't going to die, don't worry, she'll be better in a few hours." Jake lied, he felt horrible doing it, but he was scared from the actions of the Marine and decided it was for the best,
      "She better be, or I'll kill you, I loved her, man, and if she dies...there is nothing worth living for." Chris was using erratic hand gestures and waving them above his head, making him look like a complete fool.
      Jake gulped and looked at the Marine on the bed, she was pale and her eyes were closed. There was a sudden clatter of metal and the technician turned to see Chris holding a scalpel in his right hand, derision marked the Marines expression. Jake knew that the soldier was crazy and backed up against the wall.
      "You killed her." Cotters said quietly, raising an eyebrow mockingly, his breathing quickened and beads of sweat dribbled down his face. "You killed her!"
      "No I didn't." Jake had nothing else to say, but the crazed Marine stepped over to the uneasy tech and held the scalpel in front of his neck.
      "Yes you did! Don't lie to me! You killed her, fuck." Chris spat, spittle flew from his mouth and landed on Jake's face which didn't move a muscle, "You fucking killed her, and do you know what I'm going to do to you?"
      Jake didn't have time for this, if he was going to act, he had to do it then. The Marine left his stomach open while keeping his right hand on the tech's right shoulder and the left hand holding the blade to Jake's neck. The ONI tech raised his knee upwards in a swift motion and hit the wild Marine's abdomen; Chris cried in pain and doubled over, but not before scraping the technician's neck with the scalpel.
      Cotters roared and threw the razor blade at Jake; the sharp object flew past his ear and burrowed itself three centimeters into the stone wall. The tech raised his fists and knocked the Marine three times in the face, blood covered Jake's knuckles but it wasn't his.
      "You"—Chris kicked the tech in the stomach causing him to reel over in pain—"killed her!"
      Jake was about to return a punch when a sudden thumping resonated through the room, the fighting ONI personnel stopped immediately and looked at one of the shafts that had been reinforced.
      The Titanium-A armor bulged outwards instantly and Jake ran out of the room, the other Marines and scientists were already in front of the doorway.
      "Infection Forms!" Jake exclaimed as he rubbed his face, "Close the door!"
      "Chris is in there!" snapped the Sergeant at the distant creaking of the metal.
      Maxell didn't care, he hit the button to close and lock the half a meter thick door. It shut silently, and he turned around with a look of grim triumph on his expression, the other personnel looked at him keenly.
      "We all die if we don't work together," the cowardly scientist said, "Jake said it himself, and Cotters was weak-willed, he couldn't have lasted much longer."
      It was sad, but the truth, Chris was gutless and would've snapped under pressure—if that wasn't what had happened seconds before. The ONI personnel walked to the door and peered intently through the window glass; witnessing hundreds of Infection Forms pour out of the shaft and take down Chris. Chelsea wasn't able to be seen as the stone wall blocked the sight, but she was as good as infected.
      "We need to go." Jake ordered suddenly, "If they can break through Titanium-A, then they will eventually break through that door right there."
      "Grab the weapons, the supplies, and the medical equipment!" ordered the Sergeant and everyone immediately started stacking any necessary gear onto the ONI trolley.
      More thumps resonated from the bulky door that impeded the parasitic creatures from entering—for the meantime.
      The Sergeant held on to the trolley's handlebar and pushed it to the door, Jake hit the button in a rapid swing and the surviving personnel dashed out the door. No contacts.
      They continued quickly down the hall, but the male scientist asked, "Where do we go now that we have nowhere to run?" Jake pointed at an orange arrow that had been stenciled onto the wall; it read "Mess Hall."
      No one said anything as they wandered the empty halls, pale lights overhead shone down on the weary soldiers, scientists, and technician. Several minutes passed by as they continued traveling the wide corridors, the personnel followed the arrows that had been neatly painted on the dark, grey walls.
      After a total time of thirty-two minutes; they made it to the Mess Hall door, the tall pedestal beside it clearly confirmed the survivor's position.
      "Great, now let's get inside, I have a feeling that they're watching us." whispered Maxell.
      "Right." replied the technician and stepped up to the door; it didn't open, but instead made a soft buzzing sound.
      "What have I told you?" interjected the insane AI in its ghostly tone, "We have staged a lockdown, you are not able to enter, please leave. You have been troublesome enough already."
      Jake pulled a data eraser from his pocket and held it up to one of the cameras that hung from the ceiling. Calian robotically sighed and said, "Threats are of no use, Human, go away, or prepare to die."
      The technician put away the device and instead brought out a small rectangular pad, he attached it to the doorway.
      "A system-hacking tool," said Sara in awe, "I thought ONI had banned those due to the fact that many people were misusing them."
      Jake managed a nervous laugh and stuck the system-hacker to the door, numbers and symbols scrolled down the holographic panel. The technician examined the string of characters and pressed the appropriate keys, several different high-pitched tones were emitted from the small device and the door slid open slowly.
      "Meddlesome Humans." the angered AI remarked and stopped talking, the ONI personnel walked into the hall.
      Hundreds of weapons were scattered around the room along with ammunition cases and empty clips, but there was no blood or bodies. The Marines examined the guns—which mostly consisted of Shotguns and Assault Rifles—but reported that they were all empty and only needed the appropriate ammo.
      Jake shrugged, they didn't need anymore supplies, they were set already—he reluctantly sat down and sighed.
      "I don't know why ONI would send us to this ring." Maxell interrupted to the silence, "They knew something would go wrong, one way or another."
      "Yeah, those fucking noncoms deserve to come down here and see what it's like—getting killed and all." replied the tough Marine, Alex, and dabbed off sweat that had dribbled down his soot-stained forehead.
      "They had a perfectly good reason to send us to this ring!" Sara said sternly and sat up from a bench, "They sent us to study the Flood, if that Spartan—the Master Chief—hadn't given ONI that data crystal, we would have never learned about the species."
      "And it was damned lucky that they found this ring so soon and that barely any Covenant had landed on it." replied Maxell with a mock grin, "But guess it was meant to be, huh, Jake?"
      "Sure." he replied doubtfully, he'd much rather be back on Earth with his family, he'd do anything... "I just want to get off this ring."
      "We all do Jake, but we can't just stay idol. Let's plan our next move, where do we go next?" asked the Sergeant calmly.
      "The only way we can get off this ring is by getting to the Prowler, if we can make it to the landing zones, then we can take off and break through the atmosphere."
      "And then what?" asked Alex brusquely and frowned, "What the hell can we do if we're just floating in space?"
      "Slipspace jump; Prowlers are compatible with it." replied the technician confidently.
      "Well then, let's get a move on." the Sergeant remarked and smiled, "Can't wait here all day, and we certainly can't rest, the Flood will grow as we sleep."
      "Correct, now let's go." the male scientist, Maxell said and walked over to the extremely thick security door; he hit the button beside the doorway and it silently opened.
      The scientist turned around to see outside of the room, but staring at him was a familiar face, but it was twisted and deformed.
      "Chelsea!" Maxell managed to gasp before the Flood Form knocked him down in a spray of red blood.
      Jake grabbed a Pistol of the trolley and shot the once-Human Combat Form's arm with the tentacles, the appendage ripped off the body with a wet snap and the creature stopped.
      The combat clothes that she had been wearing in the recovery bed clung to her distorted flesh; the metal that attached to the ragged UNSC outfit was covered in green slime.
      The creature moaned and attempted to launch itself towards Jake, but slipped and fell to the ground in the process.
      "Find something to tie her up! This could be essential for studying purposes!" ordered Sara, her eyes were wide with keen interest; Alex and the Sergeant grabbed the creature and dragged her over to a stretcher.
      The Infection Form burrowed under the Combat Form's flesh caused the body to jerk around and try to wriggle out of the soldier's grasps, but was unsuccessful. Jake walked over to where the moaning Flood Form was writhing and helped lift it onto the stretcher, it was a struggle but they managed. The Sergeant and Marine undid their belts and wrapped them around the Combat Form and tightened it, the creature stopped thrashing around.
      Maxell stood up and clutched his shoulder, his skin was torn in that spot and leaked blood. The scientist walked over to the trolley, grabbed a supply nutrient and biofoam injector, and used both.
      "We need to rest, it's a necessity." complained the male scientist, the tied down creature snarled and started to squirm again, "We won't be able to continue if we don't sleep."
      "I unfortunately agree," said Medds, "We need sleep."
      "Fine," replied the Sergeant, "We'll all take turns watching the entrance. I'll be first."
      No one else talked as they almost immediately drifted to sleep on the tables, Peters looked down on everyone with a sullen face thinking of what he had just said.