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Halo Installation 01, Chapter 3
Posted By: FOrunnER
Date: 16 June 2004, 2:32 AM

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Halo Installation 01, Chapter 3

Authors Note: Guess who's back, back again. FOrunnER's back, tell a friend, du nuh nuh...Sorry about the long wait, I had a massive case of writers block, during which I poured some of my ideas into a small series, Unstable Territory, which I never finished. However since I promised I'd finish this one, here it is.

The Ninth Era, 540 units, Unknown System, Inside Gas Giant, Forerunner facility #7777777G

       For what seemed like eternity to Nabamee, nobody moved. The honor guards, the Brutes, and the Hunter all had there weapons aimed at the Sentinel, but knew they could not fire for fear of obliterating there master.
       For his part, Nabamee did not cringe. He would either die, or not. This was the moment of judgment by The Gods, whether his spirit was holy enough to be welcomed to paradise, or sent to eternal damnation. He accepted he was going to die and greeted it, he closed his eyes and waited for the Sentinel to fire. What happened next was so unexpected that Nabamee almost fell over with shock.
       "Ship Master, do you copy?" said the Sentinel. Never before had a Sentinel ever spoken, it wasn't even thought they were capable of speaking. Over his career nothing had ever really shocked him into complete silence, until now.
       "Ship Master, our AI has taken control of the Sentinel drone systems for this station. Right now the Reclaimer is receiving video and audio feed from the Installations 200 Sentinels. They have the equivalent of a voice-manual override, allowing us to talk through them. Do you copy?"
       Nabamee, now recognizing the sound of Orsolee's voice, slowly regained his composure. His facial features resolved from there shocked expression to Nabamee's customary menacing snarl. "Yes 'Orsolee, I copy you. You say our AI now has control over the Sentinel that is standing before me?"
       "And over the rest of them?"
       "Yes Excellency"
       "Yes Excellency", said Orsolee. He paused, then added, "In fact we now know the way to The Key itself. I am uploading the coordinates to your data pad"
       Nabamee withdrew the small object from his belt and watched as lines of Covenant computer code ran across the screen, which was hen replaced with an image. A red line traced from there current position to there objective. "Good work 'Orsolee, have the AI calculate the correct path to this room from all our other teams position so that we can rendezvous there"
       "Yes Excellency", said Orsolee, then the Sentinel was silent. The hovering machine seemed to shake itself, as if from out of a trance, then slowly moved away from him and hovered towards the ceiling. The moment it moved away from, his surviving forces opened fire on it, it was outlined in a haze of plasma fire for a split second before every last trace of it was vaporized.
       Nabamee snarled and yelled menacingly, "T'holr*, don't waste the plasma. You are to regard all Sentinels you see from now on as friendlies, do you understand?"
       His force seemed shocked and confused at his order, but with grim faces they slowly nodded. He outlined what he had heard to them then turned back to the corridor He unclipped an extra plasma sword at his hip and activated it, the triangle of superheated gas cast eerie shadows along the wall. Orsolee said the rest of the way was secure, however one could never be to prepared. The corridors gradually became wider and wider the closer they got to The Key. Along the way Nabamee also noticed more and more Forerunner symbols along the walls, glowing triangles, squares, dots, and circles that changed colors naturally but turned sickly green whenever the light from his plasma sword touched them.
       Nabamee came to a large blast door, it was at least 20 meters tall and 30 wide. It was unlocked and opened when Nabamee's force approached. They stepped into an extremely large room, in the center was a deep hole in which over the top stood a giant representation of the galaxy, slowly rotating around its giant yellow center. It was beautiful . Most of the Covenant forces were already there, staring in awe at the giant representation of the galaxy. Nabamee strode forward, and immediately all heads turned, and the remaining forces bowed. Nabamee noticed that several of the soldiers were wounded and a good third of the troops were missing, an obvious sign that they had run into some Sentinel action as well. Those pesky machines had bothered the Covenant for centuries as the Covenant tried to regain the Forerunners wisdom, like a dragon viciously guarding a stolen horde. The all-knowing Prophets refused to comment on what exactly the Sentinels were, only that they were 'unholy' and needed to be 'cleansed'.
       Nabamee could see a small control panel at the base of the hologram, no doubt the way to accessing The Key. As he approached, the hologram spun faster and faster. The Covenant started to notice this and most had begun to have fearing looks on there faces, but Nabamee continued on, unafraid. The hologram now looked like a bizarre black fan, and he could actually feel the wind try to push him back, then it disappeared. A hushed silence fell over the room and Nabamee stopped at the control panel. Then from the pit below, another hologram slowly rose out like a star rising out of a nebula. He could see that the golden orb was a direct representation of the planet they were on/in, orbited by a dozen different colored moons he had noticed outside. Despite his better instinct he was compelled to touch the farthest flung moon in the representation, which was just within his grasp. He expected his hand to pass right through it like most holograms, however on the contrary, it was very solid. And freezing cold.
       He managed to pull his hand away, but it was hard, like dragging your hand out of sinkhole. Like it had its own gravity field. Nabamee stood and looked at his hand like it had suddenly turned into some bizarre mutation. Without even thinking, he turned his hand over and pressed down on a small turquoise holographic plate on the holopanel, like the holographic moon it was unyielding as rock. A fizzling crackle could be heard and blue lightning surged through his and spread through his whole body like a wildfire, like being electrocuted. But it did not hurt, it actually felt like a pleasant warmth had spread across him, and he felt as if he was falling through a haze. Nabamee started to glow bright blue, much to the fear of the underlings behind him, and was actually floating a few feet off the ground. At that moment, he felt all knowing, all seeing, as if he were a god himself. The feeling was marvelous and infinite. Then it stopped, the glow faded, the hologram disappeared, and Nabamee dropped to the ground in a crumbled heap......

Faye System, Aboard Covenant Cruiser Holy Redemption , orbiting Covenant world Faye III

       Ship Master Garamee stood on the bridge while he watched the door being slowly bashed open by the Flood on the other side. The rest of his bridge crew, consisting of a pair of red Elites, Grunts, a dozen Engineers, and several Jackals stood with weapons pointed at the door (except the engineers, who were oblivious to there peril). They quavered, but not one of them broke. Even the Grunts seemed to have accepted the fact that they would die and were willing to go down fighting.
       With a final blow the doors knocked apart and a flurry of plasma beams converged on the entrance. The front Flood forms that had been battering against the door instantly fell with a dozen plasma bolts burning through them. The combat forms made a shield for the carriers to waddle up into the bridge, they were hit, but exploded inside the bridge and spewed spores everywhere.
       One of the spores latched right onto a Grunts face and stabbed him in the throat with a tentacle, another Grunt fell when two Spores lashed on to him, and another Grunt was torn in half by a rampaging combat form. Fire started to slacken on the doorway as the Covenant had to worry about the spores now skittering across the room, which allowed more combat forms to enter. Garamee watched as one of his Elites threw a grenade at a rushing ex-Elite, which ran right to him and exploded in his face, killing them both. The other Elites shields were taken down by an exploding Carrier form, and finished of with the resulting spores. At the death of the two Elites, the Grunts and Jackals started panicking, most either latched onto by spores or stuck in the back by Combat Forms.
       Which left Garamee alone in the room with the Flood. He waited for the mutations to rush him, then pulled out a Plasma Rifle and fired at them. Combat Forms fell back into the mass of Flood, slowing them down, Carriers exploded and killed those all around them, and Spores popped on his shields. Foregoing the walkway, several Combat Forms circled the platform and simply jumped to the top, right behind Nabamee. With his rifle overheated and Combat forms at close range, he dropped the gun and pulled out the sword. He killed a dozen of the things, green and black blood splashing against his shields, until it was knocked out of his hand. He helplessly watched at the sword flew to the other end of the room. With combat forms crowding all around him, he pulled out a plasma grenade with the intention of sticking it to himself.
       The lead form reacted with surprising speed and quickness to seeing the fizzing blue orb. With its razor sharp tentacles it sliced the arm holding the plasma grenade off in one clean cut, then kicked the arm off the command platform with the grenade still in the hand. It exploded in mid-air. Garamee stumbled back, clutching his bloodied stump of an arm and letting out a roar of pain. The Combat form knocked him over with another swipe, he attempted to roll back up, but the Flood form put its foot on his chest firmly and kept him to the ground. The Flood surrounded the beaten commander, but made no move to kill him.
       Garamee was light-headed from the loss of blood, but he knew he was not hallucinating, and he knew the Flood didn't take prisoners. So what the hell was going on? Then he saw what. A monstrous from entered the bridge, easily twice as tall as himself, it looked like an overgrown carrier form but larger and more sickening. Its s limy body pulsed green and it dragged spines along the floor, trailing Flood blood. It moved on thick, root-like legs.
       Then he saw the faces. There were at least a half dozen of them, Elite faces, outlined in the skin. Some of them he recognized as his highest ranked officers, others he did not, but that might have been because most of them were very deformed. This was what was left of his best officers, sentenced to a fate worse than death. Sentenced to infection. He know knew why the Flood had been so intent on taking him prisoner, he would become one of these things many hosts. His honor forgotten, Nabamee let out an ear-splitting scream....