A Hunting We Will Go
Posted By: GameJunkieJim<email@example.com>
Date: 8 July 2004, 3:18 AM
The armor had become so much a part of him that he rarely took it off anymore. Weighing more than most cars, the suit would have destroyed anyone that tried to wear it. Even if the persons frame could support the weight, the moment they tried to move, the suits actuators would likely rip their arm off. This was the Mjolnir Combat Armor and John liked it.
So at ease was he in this personal tank, that Master Chief Petty Officer John had all the stealth of a jungle cat. He moved quickly and quietly up the cliff face to get a birds eye view of the surrounding countryside. There they were, about 1700 yards away by John's estimate, the two gold skinned elites he had been chasing across the interior surface of Halo. They were resting in the shade of a large tree that if he had not known better, would have sworn was a pine ...
John braced himself against the rocky outcropping. He leveled the sight of his S2-AM towards his adversaries.
The Elites sat under the tree, looking around, cursing the Demon Human, cursing what he had done to their once proud regiment. One of the most decorated units of the Covenant, reduced to two officers due to one human. What if the humans fielded more? The Prophets had said that it wouldn't happen, that most of these armored humans were already destroyed. They wondered how. But it was against the law to question the Prophets, as their word was the word of the Gods...
John clicked the zoom on the rifle, bringing the image closer. It was them, not that he'd had any doubts. Near the end of the rifles effective range, but he'd made harder shots. Besides, "luck" was on his side. He centered the sight and slowly squeezed the trigger.
The elite spun around wailing and holding it's neck, the shot failing to put it down. The as yet unwounded Elite jumped out of his crouch and behind the tree. KhePal looked down at his wailing compatriot. He had not heard the shot until a few moments after Ca'anIch went down. He was still alive, it had not been a clean shot. The Demon Human had found them but was far away.
He scanned the horizon as much as he dared, he wouldn't hear the shot before it was all too late, and while the energy shields were outstanding against the humans primitive ballistic weaponry, there were still some to be respected. The slug thrower that had hit Ca'anIch was one of these.
He finally saw the small glint on the horizon, and made his way back toward where his companion had finally fallen. He removed the ration pack and grenades from his rapidly fading cohort, and switched his batteries. "You are not going to need them" he said in his guttural language. He then made his way for the woods.
The Master Chief looked on through the scope at the departing elite, now too far away to get a shot through his shielding. His first shot had done it's job, although a bit on the sloppy side. But as "luck" would have it, he made a rookie mistake. John had forgotten to reload the Sniper Rifle. His only shot was true, but he did not have the time for a follow up shot on the other elite. Oh well. The way John figured it, he was due for a little vacation anyway, and hunting would be just fine.
KhePal searched through the brush for some kind of foliage he could use as camouflage. He realized some time ago that the gold carapace he previously wore was a beacon in this setting, and he wisely removed it. He lost the advantage of the suits energy shield, but it was little protection from the high powered rifle of the Demon Human anyway. He had fashioned himself a suit of the natural flora of the forest, and was ready to exact revenge for the decimation of his regiment.
He had studied the datafiles on ship, and learned all the nasty tricks the humans used to kill the Chosen. He constructed crude pungi pits, nets from vines, and a few other sundry traps at regular intervals. He was sure none of these would kill the Demon, but at least he would know where he was, and when to strike.
The Master Chief Petty Officer made his way towards the forest, pausing only a few moments at the body of an elite, to retrieve a poorly charged plasma rifle. He stowed this on his hip. John made his way into the forest...
KhePal was sure of his superior intellect now. But he knew he had a dangerous foe, one to be respected, one to be feared. The Demon was clearly intelligent, and had proven his battle worth over and over. So too, had KhePal. KhePal had been victorious on many occasions. He was instrumental in coordinating the attack on Harvest. And in less than four hours this motley crew of humans led by the Demon had obliterated his entire unit. Granted, most of them were gas-suckers, but his Shield Corps and Special Forces dropped almost as fast. If he had known they were coming.... But he didn't, and that was then and this is now. And now KhePal had only one battle left. He would bring the head of the Demon to the Prophets, and retire in Honor, or he would die trying. Either way this was his last battle.
John twirled the helmet in his hand. It was golden and shone in the scattered sunlight.
And it was no longer on the elite.
The Master Chief rethought his plan. The elite, obviously showing signs of common sense, had removed his flashy armor. He saw another piece about ten yards away, the torso. That would have the shield generators, and ONI was always looking for undamaged equipment to experiment with. John reached down to dislodge the piece and was greeted with a hissing and a blue pulsating glow.
KhePal heard the grenade go off, and rushed towards the sound. He couldnt believe his luck. Already springing a trap and it was one of the first ones he had set! He made his way quietly into the clearing, his plasma rifle drawn. He saw the body of the Demon sprawled across the forest floor, the rifle a good 3 meters away. KhePal sneered, "Is this all you pitiful thing? You who have decimated my army? You who have pursued me relentlessly? Meeting your end from a childs trap?" The elite drew a ceremonial dagger from his belt, and made his way towards the Demon Human.
"Apparently you guys dont know what playing possum is", the Master Chief said to the very surprised elite, while holding a plasma rifle to KhePals ribs.
KhePal held his ribs as he walked through the stream. The Demon had deceived him, and almost sent him to be judged before the Gods. He was sure the demon had been taunting him. The pain in his side was subsiding, but the burn that was left would eventually peel his skin away. It was a stroke of luck that the rifle was so badly charged. He had been able to wrestle with the Demon for a few minutes, finally striking him hard enough that he was able to get away. But the damage was done. If he couldnt get to the infirmary back on ship But then again he wasnt entirely sure his ship was still here. They had almost certainly watched the rout. They wouldnt be able to pick up his vitals from his armor either. No they were almost certainly gone
The Mjolnir Combat Armor was created to take a staggering amount of abuse, from bullets to bombs, but that punch had hurt . John tasted the metallic tinge of the biofoam that went through his helmet. No permanent injury, but he was going to have one hell of a headache.
The elite had escaped to the west, and he had left a trail, but John felt it was too obvious. He had only narrowly missed being caught in the first blast thanks to quick reflexes. The elite may have more clever traps ahead.
The sap held the grasses against the wound. He would almost certainly get an infection, but it would have to do for now. KhePal was irritated at his mistake. He had assumed the Demon was dead, and it had nearly cost him his life. If the energy coil had been charged No matter, he would no longer make such assumptions. He would make sure of his kill the next time. He should have known that a warrior such as this wouldnt have gone down so easily. He hated the human, but he respected him as well
Johns memories brought up pictures of training with the other children in the SPARTAN project. He remembered Mendez barking orders at them, the forests of Reach, the UNSC Complex. It was all so long ago, but he remembered them vividly in his current surroundings. He would have to return to reach and see what was left. See where the other members of his squad The Spartan shook his head. He had to put those thoughts aside for now, there was a threat here, and he had to neutralize it. The elite had been speaking to him. Was it a taunt? Was it pride? The only thing that was clear at the time was the laugh. It had taken all the self-discipline he had to remain still. He checked his pistol, full twelve and two more clips. That much ammo shouldnt be necessary. If he wasted that much ordinance on a single target, he might as well turn in his figurative stripes.
KhePal climbed up a mossy tree near a stream. The exertion of the day would be taking its toll soon, and he knew he had to be as close to full strength as he could be to tangle with the armored monster again. He opened the ration canister slowly, careful not to let it spill below. The paste was fortified with many essential nutrients, and would help him regain energy, but the smell would alert the human if he got within 2 meters of the pungent stuff. He scanned the trees for signs of movement. Nothing. Maybe the human went for reinforcements? Not likely, the human seemed to know that this was a one on one confrontation, and seemed to have the same sense of pride and honor as KhePal. He finished his meal in silence.
John scanned the brush looking for some sign of movement. The smack from the elite had knocked out his motion tracker, an easy thing to fix if he had the tools. But as luck would have it...
John had found and disarmed or neutralized a number of traps. He worked on a plan to bring the elite to him. If it didnt work, he would have to venture further into the forest, and the traps were steadily more devious and clever. His enemy was a quick learner. John had to admit, this was an enemy who was close to his equal one on one. And he liked the challenge
The elite heard the sounds of a small pitched battle in the distance. Probably a band of grunts that ran afoul of the demon. If so, then they would already be dead. However, if they had any medical supplies.
John watched the elite run past him, towards where he had thrown the plasma grenade with the two clips of pistol ammo. Perfect. He had taken the bait. John checked his pistol, and moved off towards the elite.
KhePal knew as soon as he saw the glassy spot on the ground that he had been tricked. He sprang to the side as a piece of hot metal embedded itself in his arm. He recalled the only phrase he knew of the Human language, taught to many of the officers to inspire fear into the Human Army. "Your Death Will Be A Pleasure To Me"
John paused. Did that thing just speak English? The hesitation was long enough for the elite to draw his rifle and return fire, causing John to duck for cover. John had just acquired a newfound respect for this enemy. It had been able to put him off guard long enough to return fire and make him lose his advantage. His shield crackled as knives of hot plasma buffeted him from behind. In the heat of the moment he had forgotten his motion tracker was malfunctioning, a stern reminder not to rely on the technology so much as his own skills. He rolled to the side and felt the plasma burn his left elbow. His suit had a breach, apparently. He leveled the pistol at the elite and popped off a round, catching it in the shoulder. KhePal howled and returned fire, this time aiming at the pistol, instantly reducing the barrel to slag. John threw the molten metal at the elite, causing it to sidestep, and rolled out of his line of fire. He grimaced with the effort, but held his composure and made it around a boulder to plan his next move.
KhePal looked down at the plasma rifle, the battery reading zero. He was sure he had wounded the human. But did not dare venture behind the rock to finish him off. Who knew what devious plot the Demon had in action?
The reverie of the standoff was broken by the scream of a Pelican dropship. KhePal cursed the dishonorable human for bringing aid, This was not the proper way to prove who was the better warrior. He skirted the perimeter of the clearing to look at the human. Oddly the human seemed just as surprised at the intrusion as he was.
John saw the elite move out of the corner of his eye. He bristled, but knew the creature would not attack. This wouldn't be a fitting end. The Master Chief saw that his Friend-or-Foe tag had led the Pelican straight to them. The dropship landed and he barked an order over all frequencies, "Set a Perimeter, but, HOLD YOUR FIRE"
KhePal heard the singsong voice of the Demon for the second time in his life. He was confused and bewildered by the new intrusion, but the Demon appeared to have told them to stand down.
A young marine ventured a question, "Uhh, Chief? You want us to just sit here and stare at it?"
"He and I have unfinished business.", came the terse reply.
The elite saw what was going on and looked around. The humans acting on the Demons command seemed to back away and melt into the perimeter of the clearing. He knew they were still there, but, he knew they wouldnt interfere either. The Demon was no longer a hated being, but a respected nemesis. KhePal knew that it would not matter if he won or lost, that he have the highest sense of pride he had ever felt. This was a perfect enemy. And he would not be ashamed to lose to him.
John had similar thoughts running through his head. He knew that one of them would win, but only Master Chief would be able to walk away. If the elite won he would never make it out of the clearing. Mores the pity. The elite was one of the few enemies John had faced that actually deserved to live.
The elite paced in a rough circle holding his ceremonial dagger out before him. John did the same, holding a marine issued survival knife. Feint and counterfeint, thrust and parry. KhePal spun around and delivered a vicious club to the left arm of the Spartan, causing his own thrust to miss the elites neck and sink into his ribs. John was too dazed to block the next thrust, which tore into his gut, burning with the fire of a thousand suns. The ceremonial dagger was an object made of the purple covenant metal, it had a shaped plasma tip that helped his push through armor and the like. John was in trouble. Likewise was the elite, as the Survival knife was built for no nonsense utility, and the sawback that was intended for trees had gashed the bones of KhePals torso. The plasma tipped dagger arced towards Johns head, and met nothing but air. John spun his legs around, giving the elite a vicious kick to the knee, He heard the bone shatter, Every marine around the perimeter heard it too. KhePal did more than hear it, he felt it. The pain was too great and he dropped the dagger.
John stood over the elite. KhePals wounds were starting to mount. It would be over for him soon. The human held out his hand. KhePal considered then took it. He was able to stand, quite painfully. The Demon extended a hand with the ceremonial dagger in it. KhePal took it. A single tear formed in the eye of the elite. "I know you dont understand my words, but you, Great Warrior, understand my heart." He held the knife on angle to attack and thrust.
That was the last mortal action taken by KhePal. He collapsed on the ground, already expired before he hit.
"Chief, I dont understand, You had an enemy down, and you returned his weapon! They told us at Basic that---"
"Son, there are things that go beyond boot camp, and though I hadnt really seen much of it before today, it apparently goes beyond worlds as well. You'd do well to learn that lesson. Sometimes Honor is more important than winning or losing. Sometimes your enemy will be the only one who understands it. In those cases, your enemy becomes your closest friend, you have respect for him, and you can count on him. And he can count on you. All I did for him at the end their was let him go out with his boots on..."
"Sir, I see your point."
John sighed. He'd heard worse eulogies after all.....