Halo Installation 01, Chapter 1
Posted By: FOrunnER
Date: 1 February 2004, 5:47 PM
Halo Installation 01, Chapter 1
The Ninth Era, 525 Units, Unknown System en route to Gas Giant, Aboard Covenant Flagship Reclaimer
The Reclaimer pulled in alongside the gas giant, putting just enough distance so they wouldn't be sucked into the giants atmosphere. Nora Nabamee walked down the halls of his ship, his Brute bodyguards ahead and behind him. Every Covenant soldier he passed bowed deeply, his decorated career demanded at the very least that much. He had fought in over 20 campaigns against the human scum, including the very first battle at 'Harvest' where his Destroyer had taken on three human ships.
As he approached the launch bay, a voice sounded over his comms, "Orbit is stabilized Excellency, drop-ships will launch at your command", said Orsolee.
He nodded, "Good", and continued on. One of the hexagonal doors opened and revealed the main launch bay. It was much larger than the Truth and Reconciliation's, large enough to support 30 Phantom drop-ships and Seraph fighters. His Brute guards escorted him to one of the ships docked on the third level, his personnel transport. It basically looked like an oversized Phantom, the interior troop compartment was modified to be larger and more comfortable than the standard Phantoms, it was also supporting three Shade turrets instead of the regular one, and the only drop-ship in the Covenant empire with a shield system. It was generally considered pointless to waste valuable shield tech on single ships.
The back hatch extended down and revealed two rows of ten gel-padded seats. He sat in the nearest one to the cockpit, his Brute bodyguards following him along with seven Elite honor-gods, purple-black SpecOps types. No doubt 'Orsolee had sent them down for extra security, even though four Brutes was enough to level a platoon of humans....or Flood. However 'Orsolee's paranoia about his safety was to be expected. If he died, the Prophet council would most likely blame 'Orsolee for not trying harder to make his commander stay. The back hatch closed and sealed them in, and 'Nabamee tapped the side of his helmet, activating his COM, "Authorize all ships to proceed".
A moment of pause, then, "Yes Excellency, right away"
The Phantom rumbled then lurched out of the rushing bay, at there current speed any normal Phantom would have there troops kneeling over, giving away the contents of there last meal, however since the Phantom was built for pleasure as well as power, the troop compartment was padded with shock absorbing layers, resulting in the illusion they weren't moving at all. However 'Nabamee knew better, a screen placed near the front of the compartment showed feed from the Phantoms nose camera. They were rocketing towards the gas giant, and with a flutter of gravity, shot strait into the thick soupy clouds. The facility would not be far under, so there was no worry that they need travel to far and get crushed by the gradually increased pressure. After a few minutes of scanning through the uppermost layer of clods, a blue beacon was sighted through the fog.
Immediately the thirty Phantoms that had been spread out searching the clouds converged and moved to the blue beacon. As they moved forward, 'Nabamee could make out a gray outline that slowly got sharper and sharper as they got closer. Finally 'Nabamee could see it as clear as day, unlike most Forerunner facilities which were made out of a reflective chrome-like metal, this structure was dull gray and decisively less elegant than most of the Ancients treasures. The base was simply floating amongst the clouds, creating a strong enough anti-gravity field so it didn't get dragged towards the crushing depths of the clouds. It was rectangular in shape with three larger 'blocky' structures sticking out the top, markings engraved the outer surface, graceful swoops and angular curves, a large cobalt-blue Forerunner symbol was engraved on the centermost tower, a circle with a dot in the middle and two diagonal crosses through the center. The pulsing blue beacon was located at the base of the third tower, just above a slight depression in the metal, which occurred to 'Nabamee was probably a closed doorway. That made him wonder....
He opened a private com, " Pilot, what is our method of entry?"
"Excellency, we have developed a new computer system based on what little Forerunner software we've been able to acquire over the years. It will attempt to infiltrate the Forerunner system and unlock the door....", he paused, "If that does not work we are under orders to blow them"
"UNACCEPTABLE!! I am hereby overriding those orders. What officer gave you such blasphemous commands?", roared Nabamee, loud enough to make his honor guards jump, which wasn't and easy thing to do.
"Our orders come directly from the Council, Excellency. I am sorry, but in this matter there rule overrides yours", the pilot replied. Nabamee stuttered and fumed. How could the council even think about damaging a holy structure? It was unthinkable! But then again, he thought, now cooling down a bit, the need to find The Key is extremely significant. Important enough to overrule the preservation of the Forerunners treasures? It was not for him to decide, but he slowly formed the conclusion in his head, as the Council no doubt had, that the answer was yes. "Very well", he muttered, and turned his attention to the screen.
Through an encrypted channel a Covenant intrusion code was sent into the Forerunner systems. It was brittle, merely fragments of random Forerunner code pasted together with Covenant infiltration software. The fragile computer formula managed to make its way into the Forerunner system, but was immediately blindsided by a Forerunner 'watchdog', or anti-virus subroutine. A second try was attempted, the same computer formula guided by a Covenant AI. This time it managed to dodge the subroutines and hit the first firewall, which it immediately dissipated against.
After reading the results of the cyberspace battle on his computer screen, the pilot snapped on his ship to ship com, "All ships open fire on the doorway". Immediately hundreds of purple-white plasma bolts lashed out at the doorway, hitting it from all angles multiple times. After every gun had overheated and forced to cool, the door remained intact. Not even a single burn mark.
'How is that possible?', Nabamee thought. No metal, Forerunner or otherwise, could stand up to that amount of plasma without even a single mark. At least not without a shield system protecting it, but there had been no visible effect to indicate the usage of one. So the question remained, 'How is that possible?'
The Pilot snapped on a com, "Excellency.....awaiting orders". For the first time, he did not know what to do. A problem like this had never presented itself to him, ever. Give him any bad combat situation and he would be able to solve it, turning the tables for himself. However, his mental prowess had been stopped by a door. A big door.
"Excellency, one of our Engineers has made a suggestion", said another voice over the so called 'secure' com channel. It occurred to him that 'Orsolee would of course be monitoring his progress, even if it meant prying into secure com channels. It was his job to know everything and anything that could present a possible threat to his well-being.
Interest overrode anger, "Yes, what is it?"
"Using the new fast-clone AI technology, we could override the Forerunner systems with billions of copies of the Reclaimer's AI system. The copies would be to fragmented to do any serious infiltrating, however they would cause enough chaos for our code to slip in and take over", he said.
Not being experienced in the field of computer systems, Nabamee didn't understand the full extent of what 'Orsolee was proposing, but it sounded good. "Do it".
A moment later, the flood gates of AI were opened and engulfed the Forerunner computer system. Subroutines and firewalls took them down by the hundreds, but thousands more took there place. Each one less coherent then the first, until they were just a randomly assimilated piece of code dead in cyberspace. However the confusion of it all was enough for the real intrusion code to slip in and infiltrate the main computer. In response, the depression in the seemingly unbreakable metal groaned and opened. It looked to Nabamee like a black hole.
To the pilot, he said "Proceed".....