Opening Insertion Scene
(Camera looking at Earth, clouds and sea barely discernable as the eastern seaboard wakes to a new day. In the darkness, huge cityscapes are visible, and a few craft can be seen making a burn to orbit.
Slow pan out and right, passing over the complex and gigantic hull of a UNSC destroyer. The camera stops as it reaches the end of the ship, freezing the name in view for a moment before fixing itself and allowing the ship to leave view.
Cut to inside the ship. A masive docking and loading bay, filled with marines standing at attention. A voice wafts its way towards the camera as it slowly comes into the scene. A commander is giving a speach to the battalion as technicians refill smoke cansiters on a Scorpion and a Mark 4 loader slides rockets into their place on a SkyHawk gunship.)
Commander, "Six days ago, the largest battle between UNSC forces and Covenant invaders took place in orbit around the planet Reach in the Epsilon Eridane system. Despite heroic efforts by over 150 human vessels and their crews, thousands of marine ground personel, and the Spartans; the battle was lost." He paused, letting the news settle in with the crowded room.
The bay was suddenly silent. A single terminal arcoss the bay pulsed brightly, but no body moved to answer it's urgency. Technicians slumped against their work, and the loaders stoped their constant movement for more ordianance. They had all heard the rumors about a huge fleet apearing in the EE system, and they knew what it must have meant. But nothing could prepare them for the truth.
Commander, "A handfull of ships took random jump vectors outsystem, and eventually arrived to friendly space. Captain Keyes' vessel, the Pillar of Autumn, destroyed a covenant flagship, secured a Nav datacube, and deployed the Spartans to the surface of Reach before jumping outsystem. We have had no contact from them since, and presume all hands lost after a bomber pilot reported seeing the covenant fleet folowing them into the Slipstream." He looked at a few faces, could see morale driping from their bodies as the awfull inevitability struck them. He hated this war, he hated what it was doing to his people, and he hated the Covenant. He knew there was never any real chance for them to survive against such staggering odds, but he had seen one single event that solidified his resolve to continue. A single man, his former enemy, succeding despite all that they threw at him. The Spartan had succeded where no man could.
But even that was lost now.
"We are currently making preparations to enusure the survival of our race should the Covenant find Earth, but there are few things to be taken care of first."
The room darkened, and holo emitters in the roof projected an image behind the commander.
(Camera moves out and around to show the picture from the view of the marines.)
"This is Dr. Halsey, the creator of the Spartan II program. We assumed her dead, lost with the planet Reach. But new information suggests she may have escaped whatever carnage occured in the battle, along with a few other personel. Your mission will be to find them, and if the opportunity presents itself, rescue them."
The picure of Dr. Halsey was replaced with a video, and overhead view of Reach durring the battle. It began playing, a shower of sparks seemed to be igniting the planet, orbital debris creating a fireworks show for the end of the world. As they watched, the satelite image zoomed in on a series of massvie explosions and the video froze.
Commander, "This was reactor complex 4, which provided power for the orbital MAC cannons. We know that a large contingent of Spartans was defending that compound, and a final transmission to the Pillar of Autumn indicates that they may have detonated a Havok nuclear device to stop the advancing covenant."
The camera panned over a few degrees, and the time indicator fast-forwaded 20 minutes. It showed an obscure military building, sporadic flashes erupting around it's perimiter. Suddenly a ship appeared, climbing rapidly out of the atmosphere and leaving the scene.
Commander, "That was an ONI stealth corvette, registration codes listed it as belonging to Halsey's research team. We believe that she used it when the battle's outcome became obvious. I would also like to show you something that makes us very anxious to get started."
The satelite view panned back to the Spartan's last position. The fast forwarded at 2x speed. As they watched, the saw the nuclear blast again. But then something else resolved, pinpricks of light made a path towards Halsey's lab. The explosions were staggered across the landscape, but each blast, every new sign of battle was further away from the blast than the one before it."
Commander, "Despite information to the contrary, it seems that the Spartans may have fought their way back to Dr. Halsey's compound. There was just enough time for them to get inside and leave in the Corvette. I don't have to tell you the importance of having the Spartans with us to fight the Covenant, if there is any chance of their being alive - we need to explore it."
Some faces around the room brightened, bursts of chatter started towards the back of the room. The pictures changed to show tactical readouts and friendly-held systems where the corvette could have headed. A tactical officer walked up and began explaining the mission objectives.
(Camera zoom out though the ship structure into the vacuum. A patch of space begins to warp, green light bubbling from no specific place. Camera switch to a Nav station aboard the destroyer.)
Navagation Officer, "What the hell... Sir, incoming vessel! Sending trajectory data to your console, Recon Outpost reports object inbound to our position...aproximately 800 ton vessel, ETA 3 minutes."
Captain, "Bring us about, position us behind the exit vector. Get the MAC guns hot, and prep 100 missles for fire. Muster the fleet, and have the orbital guns ready to fire. Where are the other vessels coming in from?"
Nav Officer, "There are no other vessels sir. Cross-checking the Translight signature...sir, it looks like a fighter? One of ours sir, a Longsword bomber by weight."
The captain paced for a moment, trying to think. Where would the fighter be comming from? Perhaps remenants from Reach? In that case, they would need a warm welecome; not a firing squad.
"Tell the guns to stand down, have the fleet send one ship backup only. We need to give this guy a bed, not a grave."
Com Officer, "Aye sir, fleet gives the green light."
Nav Officer, "Sir, the UNSC Destroyer Indefatigable is moving to our position. Permision to open docking bay 3 and give the arival our flank sir?"
Captain, "Granted, turn on all external floods and launch an escort. Why not docking bay 2 Webbs?"
Nav Officer, "Docking bay one is faciltating the new op, docking bay 2 is giving the presentation. Bays 4, 5 and 6 are fully loaded sir."
Captain, "Ok then, give the Commander fair warning of our new friend. See if we can't get a welcoming commitee over there too."
(Camera returns to space. A single Longsword bomber erupts from the boiling green void, it's wingtips tiping back and forth it the traditional 'hello'. The destroyer in the distance shines like a pearl in the dark, a second ship moving in behind it. As the bomber moves closer, two escort fighters apear on either side, guiding it in towards the open bay.
Camera zooms in to the projection in docking bay 2, showing a map and information of an outer colony in the dark room. )
The commander wondered what was going on. It was unusual for the ship to make sudden changes in speed or anything else for that matter, especially when a briefing presentation was going on. Now the external flood lights were all lit up, and docking bay 2, only 200m away, was buzing with personel. The force fields, something he had re-invented from the suits of the Spartans, popped into place; the external armor door retracting. He could only hope it was good news. If the covenant found them now, they were as good as dead.
A murmuring started in the crowd of marines, something was coming. He looked behind, through the force field in their bay... was that a bomber? As he watched, two fighters closed with the bomber and fell into escort formation. Suddenly his earphone crackled to life.
"Commander, this is the Captain. We need you to organize the marines with you there and form a welecome mat for our friend, he's coming in through docking bay two." A pause. "Captain, I'm in the middle of a very important mission brief, I thought we agreed on no interuptions. This is the fate of our race we're talking about and I..." "Trust me on this one Commander, just get them into docking bay two, we both know morale is slipping... do it."
Commander, "Well men, I know you're all dying to hear the rest of the story, but as you can see, the war will not wait." He gestured to the bomber outside the field, growing larger by the second. "It seems that someone made it back, lets give him a warm welecome...parade formation in docking bay two, on the double!"
The bay lights turned on to their warm setting, and several hundred marines lept to their feet and ran to the adjacent room.
(Camera sweeps outside the ship. The two escort fighters break left and right down the destroyer's hull as the bomber reaches the bay field. The bomber slows to docking speed, magnetic guildlines suspending it, fighting the ship's artificial gravity - guiding it through the field and into the bay.
Camera switches to panorama. Looking from one wall of the bay across to the other as the bomber slips through the containment field on the left and slowly moves to the center of the bay. Marines pour into the scene and into formation at the back of the bay.
Camera changes to show the scene from the marines point of view.)
The commander was thouroughly piqued now. He had realized that the bomber pilot must have something special up his sleeve. Slipspace was tricky enough, but a jump as perfect as the one he pulled off... impossible. They were getting better at it, of course, but nobody was this good.
As he watched, the bomber rotated in the bay - landing skids extending as they neared the mooring posts. Slowly, the magnetic grapples lowered it to the floor and the room filled with silence. The bomber powered down. First the engine ignitors switched off, the sound of magnetic turbines whiring away as red coils cooled. Then the landing lights flickered and died. Finally, the access ramp lights lit, half-blinding the marines among him. A figure in black strode down the ramp, a standard bio-hazardous cargo container in tow behind him.
The commander strained to make out his features, but the man seemed to recognize him instantly.
[Camera cut, flashback; A dark room, people standing around a man under simple interrogation. He stands at perfect attention as they question him.] 'What do you expect from one of Dr.Halsey's windup-toy soldiers', he scoffed.
What a fool he had been then.
The Spartan looked serious yet relieved, glad to be home. And ready to defend it.
"Master Chief Petty Officer John 117 reporting for duty sir" The spartan held attention with a salute.
Commander, "At ease soldier" He turned to the crowd "Tench-Hut!"
1000 marines and ship personel snapped to attention where they stood in the bay. Someone's mediaplayer smashed on the floor. A few faces in the crowd must have recognized who he was, their eyes shifting nervously.
He turned to the unarmored Spartan "Welecome home Master Chief. I don't think you could have chosen a better time to pop in, I hope you have news for us"
The Master Cheifİmade a grim smile. 'You have no idea'"Yes sir, but we have a few things that need to be taken care of immediatly..." The marines seemed to know who he was now, and were making alot on noise. Some where even walking towards them, disregarding orders to see a legend.
He moved to shout at the crowd, but was stopped by the Chief's firm grasp.
"It may be better for your imageİand their morale if you say nothing. May I, sir?" He gestured to the oncoming throng.
"By all means Chief."
"Company Halt!" His voice boomed through the massive bay. "Parade formation! On the double!" Every marine ran back to his position, a tremendous hush fell over the majority of them, a few faces turned red.
"Sir, I need med techs and a cleanup division to take care of my suit. It may have been permanentally contaminated, Cortana's information of the Flood parasites is very specific aboutİthe dangers and neccesary decontaminationİprotocols."
He pulled a holo-chip protective case from his duffle bag.
"She also has some very important data she recovered from Halo, as well as an entire covenant database taken from the Truth and Reconcilliation"
The commander looked concerned with the Spartan, he had no idea what had happened to the Autumn and her crew,İbut quickly broke into a friendly face.
Commander, "About your suit... we have a new one for you, I think you'll both enjoy it'sİexpanded features. We also have come up with a few new weapon designs to help us with the covenant, and as you can see, (gestures to the force field)İa plethora of new ship configurations as well."
A team of silver-suited technicians and a black robot moved in though a door down the bay, making for the bio-hazard container.
"We need any data you have ASAP, you can boot Cortana up right here"
He pressed in a large button on the floor, and a full terminal raised itself from the floor. The Master Chief looked impressed, and quickly inserted Cortana's disk into the reader. A voice came over the intercom system. At the same time, the outer bay doors closed and the exit doorways opened.
"All military personel please stand down and return to your quarters"Cortana's even voice permeated the room.
"Lets get going Master Chief, we don't have much time left, and I owe you a drink."
"I don't drink sir, but you are correct about time. We have run out."
Thousands of lightyears away, demons stir in the darkness.