Date: November 12, 2573 (Military Calendar)
Time: 3:05 PM
Location: Derelict Ring-world 10 (the 5th Halo found by mankind)
"Covering fire! I said I need covering fire!" Jim Trevlor ducked down behind one of the few rocks on the battlefield. He was breathing heavily. The Covenant had dropped right behind his squad before they could proceed with their mission. The mission. What was it again? Oh, yes. Explore the artifact that was supposed to have an ancient weapon inside it. Well, apparently the Covenant wanted the weapon a little more ferociously than the marines did.
"Covering fire is in position. The sniper will try to take out the elites for you."
The response was helpful to Jim's spirits. The sniper. Yes, that could help them out of this mess. He heard the crack of the rifle as a bullet sped through an elite's head. Another shot, and another alien slumped to the ground, never to stir again. Yet another shot, and another elite dead. There was just one more. Just one more, then they could move in. Again, the crack, the thud, the >whump< of a corpse hitting the ground.
"This is sniper Jack Wendall. You are free to move into the structure. GO! GO! GO!"
Jim didn't need any further telling. He spun away from the rock, and began to open fire on the grunts, peering down from their fortified hill. He heard the shrieks of pain and suffering, and a quick 'run awaaaaayyyyyyy' from the other grunts. Jim looked over at his teammates, Rob and Jake.
"Rob, you take center! Jake, you flank left! I've got the right flank covered!"
"You got it, boss!"
"On my way!"
They were good soldiers. They had been through many missions together, but none anywhere near as hard as this. The Covenant had an endless supply of troops, and they kept coming in. Over, and over, and over they fought elites, grunts, and jackals. It just didn't stop. Finally, after running through four clips of ammunition, they made it to the door.
"Rob, get this thing open now!"
"Will do boss, you just give me enough time!"
"Don't worry, we'll cover you."
All of a sudden, things got way too quiet. Then, a slight moan was heard, and it got louder, and louder, and louder.
"Banshees! A full squad of them! Nine, at least!"
"Hurry up with that door, Rob!" Jake spat.
"The Covenant put a triple lock on this thing. It'll take at least another minute!"
Jim put his rifle to his shoulder, and aimed for the growing shapes in the sky. "We don't have another minute, Rob! Hurry up!"
A banshee fired off a fuel rod shot at them. Missed, but only just. They were sprayed with plasma residue.
"Would you hurry up, Rob! We're about to die!" Jake yelled.
"Shut up!" Rob spat back as his friends returned fire, "I'm going as fast as I can!"
The Banshees swooped closer, firing their dual plasma cannons at an amazingly fast rate. Jake took some bad scoring, and bled freely.
"Would you open the **** door!"
"I got it! Let's get inside before they can!" Rob yelled.
Jim ran towards the door, spraying the enemy fliers with lead as they swooped around his head like oversized flies. One of the banshees blew up, and landed in front of the door right after Jim moved through.
"That was close! Let's see if we can't re-lock the door. Can you make it happen, Rob?" Jim asked.
Robert grinned. "They don't call me the electronics expert for nothing, you know!"
"Good. Lock it as hard as you can. We'll have to find another way out."
"Jake, you and I'll go ahead and scout things out. Rob, meet up with us once you're done. We'll relay coordinates."
The caverns inside were dark and dank. The only light came from flashlights and from the holopanels that the Forerunner had put in. They met no resistance.
"This is weird!" Jake said, "The Covenant were so paranoid to not let us get control of this place, why aren't there any inside?"
"I dunno," Jim said, "but stay alert. They could be anywhere." Their way led to a winding ramp. Down, down it went, into the void. Neither one could estimate just how far it was.
"A dropship would be nice," Jake said.
"Ain't that the truth? Let's keep moving."
They kept moving along, scanning for any type of motion.
"Rob, you done up there, man?" Jim called. No response. "Rob, come in. What's your situation? ROB!"
Jake tapped him on the shoulder. "He's gotta be dead, man. Look, we need to run like all Heck has broken loose and is on our butts if we want to get to that thing before the Covenant."
Jim nodded his head. "You're right, corporal. Let's keep moving."
They continued to run. Huffing and puffing, they made their way down the corridors. Then, abruptly, it stopped. They had reached the ground floor after roughly three miles of walking. They checked their elevation.
"4, 872 feet below sea level. We have hit rock bottom of the world, my friend," Jake breathed.
"Just stay alert. We don't want this to be our tomb."
They moved out into the center of a giant room. It was beautiful in an ancient way. The corridors were made of stone, and there were giant statues of some strange kind of aliens all over the walls.
"What are these things?" the corporal asked.
"I don't quite know," Jim replied, "but they're not any type of Covenant we've encountered so far. Wait, what's that?"
In the center of the next room was a large structure. It looked like a computer mainframe, only much larger. On its surface were alien runes.
"Hey, Jake, you have that translator on you?"
"Yeah, sure sergeant," was the reply. "Here you go."
Jim walked up to the structure, and pointed the pocket translator at it. The text read, This is the doom. The doom of all who live. Its powers are little known, but have destroyed entire solar systems. It will wipe out any living thing. It will turn sand to glass and rock into water. There is nothing in any universe that can withstand this explosive. But be warned! This is only to be used when no other race is pure, and when all should be destroyed. The blood of the innocents will be on the murder's hands. You have been warned!
"What's it say?" Jake inquired, "Come on, I'm curious!"
"Stand back, corporal," the sergeant breathed.
"Why, Jim? What's the problem?"
"There will be no problem in a minute. Send a message to every available trooper to either get to our positions or get out of here."
"Why? What's the matter?"
"This thing is a galaxy anti-matter weapon. If activated, it could destroy this galaxy."
Jake was dumb-founded. "So, it's like, the most powerful nuke ever! Could it reach earth?"
Jim stuttered. "No, it couldn't. But, what would happen if the Covenant got control of this thing? They could destroy everything we've rebuilt, thanks to the Master Chief. This needs to be destroyed, and we're too far underground for this thing to be hit by nukes. Radio all troops to abandon this planet. They'll have twenty minutes to evacuate to the battleships and jump to another solar system. Tell them about the weapon."
Jake did not need to be told twice. He ran his mouth as Jim set the timer. Everywhere, men leapt away from battle into their dropships. It wasn't worth fighting the Covenant on this ring-world to destroy the Flood. They had to leave before they all died.
Eighteen minutes into the countdown, Jake stopped talking.
"They're all away, Jim. They've all gotten out. What are we going to do now?"
Jim looked at his friend sorrowfully. "We're going to die. We're going to go out swinging, making sure the Covenant don't get this thing."
They sat in silence as the seconds ticked by. Suddenly, a rock fell and shattered in front of the doorway they were sitting against while they watched the timer run down. The marines grabbed their weapons, and aimed them out the doorway. Suddenly, a squad of special ops elites dropped down and shot them both. Jake fell dead, but Jim lived on, bleeding freely from a chest wound. The elites moved in over his body. One laughed, and then spoke.
"You were no match for us. Truly, you are as pitiful as the tales say. You must die."
Jim spat into the elite's face, then said, "Yeah, well you're all gonna die with me! You see that thing you were after! It's gonna blow any second! You've lost, you Covenant *******, you've lost!" Then, the doomed marine, with his last breath before total particle reversal, laughed in his victor's face. He had gotten the last breath, and the last laugh.