Execution of the Mind: The Flood Virus
Posted By: MadJackal
Date: 8 August 2003, 6:07 AM
Sorrka Lortakk, an Elite in the Straight Words Division, ran across the snow towards the Phantom dropship as it began to land. He heard an agonized scream behind him as one of the Grunts in his squad was overtaken by the Flood combat forms. Bullets, plasma fire, and needles flew past him as he scrambled up the ramp and into the waiting dropship. Bullets ricocheted off of the sides of the ship as he slid into a seat. He started firing his plasma rifle at the advancing enemies, trying to keep them at bay long enough for the survivors of his squad to get aboard. The Phantom's gunner was responding as well, sending out a horrendous wall of plasma death towards the Flood abominations.
"We're lifting off," said the pilot, even as his squad members were climbing into the side troop bay.
"Wait, we've still got one of our guys out there!" Sorrka yelled over the comm. channel.
"We can't wait for him," the pilot replied as the Phantom lifted off of the ground.
Sorrka watched as the horde of Flood combat forms overwhelmed the Grunt that had been left behind, tearing at his flesh, killing him. Then, they began to feed on the scattered bodies of the dead Covenant they were leaving behind. Mercifully, the side door to the Phantom closed, blocking out the horrible sight. "Blood Streak Squad, report in." Sorrka ordered as he leaned back in the seat to catch his breath.
"I made it! I made it! Yeah, baby, yeah!" yelled one of the Grunts over the battlenet.
A silence followed. "Oh, sorry. Trish here," said the Grunt.
Two more Grunts and one Jackal reported in. That was it. The rest of his squad was dead and rotting on that blood-soaked battlefield. They wouldn't find the bodies. The Flood were enjoying a meal. They were hungry. Sorrka sighed and shook his head. Looking down, he winced in pain. Some of his purple blood oozed out of a wound on his neck. During the battle, a hail of weapons fire had downed his shields. Before the shields had managed to recharge, one of the accursed Flood spore had latched onto his neck and had inserted its tentacles into his skin. Sorrka had torn the thing off and crushed it with his hand. "Wounds heal anyway." Sorrka thought.
But, what he didn't know was that it was already too late for him. The Flood virus had entered his bloodstream and was starting to amplify itself in his system. Even now, the virus was entering his brain, entering cells and using the cells' resources to make copies of itself. The virus was replicating and cells were dying. Sorrka was infected.
The dropship continued on, going top speed through the frozen canyons that surrounded Halo's control center. Sorrka checked his plasma rifle. The battery read at 33 percent charge. "Damn," he thought, "I'm going to need a get a replacement while this one charges on the rack."
"We are sending you to reinforce Bloodied Claws Squad. You will be dropping onto a hot LZ. Do you understand Blood Streak Squad?" came the order of their commander over the battlenet. He was trying to coordinate the his troops from the top of Halo's control center. He would be safe there. There were hundreds of Covenant soldiers close enough to respond within a minute of any Flood attack of the control center. Unless they were all wiped out of course. But their goal was to prevent the annihilation of Covenant troops in the valleys. The Flood had to be kept away from the control center. That meant securing all of the canyons around the control center.
The fight was not going well. Several squads had been isolated and surrounded. There only hope of survival was reinforcement and supply by air from Phantom dropships. The commander could not spare enough troops to force a breakthrough on land right now. Those squads had to wait. If a squad lost enough men, then it had to be evacuated, usually to another squad's position. That was what had happened to Sorrka's squad.
Sorrka felt a tug on his harness as the dropship flared to a stop. Then, he felt it start to land. The door in front of him lowered to the ground, acting as a kind of ramp. Sorrka released the harness and dropped to the snow-covered ground. Sorrka ran towards the nearest Covenant soldiers, taking stock of the situation. It was not good. Dead Covenant and Flood alike lay strewn all over the snow, their blood splattered against the rocks and across the snow. There was what appeared to be a frozen river that winded through this narrow section of canyon. Mutilated bodies covered it as well.
"Bloodied Claws Squad, I assume? I am Sorrka, commander of Blood Streak Squad, and I need a replacement for my plasma rifle." Sorrka said to the highest ranking Elite.
"What reinforcements have you come with?" the Elite said as he watched the rest of Sorrka's squad leap from the Phantom.
"Just myself, three Grunts, and one Jackal." Sorrka answered.
"Must have been one hell of a battle to lose so many of your squad," the Elite said, sighing, "And help yourself to replacement weapons. Take your pick," he added, gesturing out over the silent battlefield.
Sorrka walked over to a nearby dead Elite and pried a plasma rifle from its rigid, cold hands. Sorrka dropped his own plasma rifle and checked the new one. 72 percent charge. That would have to do. He looked back down at the dead Elite, its mouth open in an eternal scream. Its face was contorted with pain and smeared with its own blood. Sorrka did not even blink. He was used to such sights from his experiences on the battlefield. His squad assumed defensive positions with the other squad, filling gaps in the lines.
As Sorrka sat down next to a rock to wait, he noticed that he was not feeling well. He was sweating even though it was many degrees below freezing out here in the canyons. A wave of nausea swept over him. Leaning to the side, he threw up over the snow. Something was wrong, and he knew it. What he didn't know, is that the Flood virus was replicating itself explosively inside his brain. It had arrived there through blood circulating to the brain. Now, it began to take over.
Sorrka was overcome with the sudden urge to kill. He didn't know what to kill, just anything. As he was about to get up, the urge went away. His mind was trying to fight back, but the virus was too strong. The virus was replicating at an astonishing rate. Soon, a significant percentage of his body cells would become pure virus crystals. He would become the virus, thought not completely. His body would stay mostly Elite, but his mind would be forever altered.
The Flood were here, Sorrka could sense them. Sense them? "What is happening to me?," he thought.
A firefight broke out between the Covenant and the Flood. Sorrka tried to get up to help kill the Flood, but a wave of pain overwhelmed him and he fell to the ground. When he tried to get up, he threw up again. Groaning, he flipped over onto his back. He could here the screams of the Covenant around him. He was vaguely aware of the fact that the Covenant were badly outnumbered. He could sense that there were a lot of Flood around him. Too many for the Covenant to handle.
Soon, Sorrka's thinking became broken and jumbled. The virus was disrupting his mind, killing it. The last thing Sorrka saw was the night sky above him. The stars were beautiful, so beautiful... and blackness overtook him.
When Sorrka finally awoke, the transformation into a Flood combat form was complete. His mind, his soul had been executed, and the Flood virus was its executioner. He was no longer Sorrka Lortakk. That being had ceased to exist. He had become the virus and the virus had become him. He sensed strongly the presence of other Flood around him. That was good. But, he could smell the dead. And Sorrka was hungry. As he turned to the nearest dead body, he stopped. He sensed something. Food. It was alive. He could detect it through smell, electrical signals in the air, etc. And suddenly, Sorrka wanted. He wanted to kill. And he wanted to eat. It had been so long since Sorrka had eaten, so long...
Food was nearby. It was running and firing its weapon. Something familiar about this Food caught his attention. Sorrka sifted through what had been his memory and found out that Food had name. Grunt. This Grunt in particular had a name. Trish. But such trivial information mattered not to Sorrka. Trish was still a Food animal. And Sorrka was hungry. He raised his plasma rifle and fired a long burst of plasma fire into Trish's chest. The plasma burned through his environmental suit and came into contact with his flesh. It burned and charred his flesh and melted through Trish's bones. Trish yelped in pain and gasped as it died.
Sorrka was happy. Food had died. Sorrka tore off some of his armor. It was useless to him as the shields would not work. The armor thought he was dead. But that was not true. He was alive, and stronger than before. He was a Flood combat form. And he was hungry. As Sorrka was about to eat, he senses yet another Food animal. This one was bigger. This Food was called Elite. Elite was fast and it was skilled with its weapon. But Sorrka sensed other Flood combat forms nearby and together, they attacked Elite. Elite fired its needler. The needles stuck into one Flood, an infected human. The Flood paid no attention to them until they all exploded, ripping the infected human apart in a spray of sick green blood.
Sorrka sensed the death of his comrade and grew angry. How dare this Food animal called Elite kill one of Sorrka's brethren? Sorrka fired his plasma rifle at Elite. The plasma struck its shields, weakening them. Elite fired back at Sorrka. Three needles struck his chest. Sorrka did not really feel the pain. The needles were nothing but nuisances. Even when they exploded, there were not enough to do Sorrka much harm. Sorrka smelled his own blood, and it made him hungrier.
He leaped at the Elite with his left arm, which had mutated into a mass of tentacles. The tentacles struck the Elite in the stomach, doubling it over. Sorrka was not finished, however. He struck the Food animal again and again until its blood was oozing from its wounds. Other Flood combat forms joined him, and soon, the Food animal was lying on the ground, defenseless. Sorrka wrapped his tentacles around its head and snapped its neck. Sorrka could sense no other Food animals nearby. Since there were no Food animals to kill, he began to feed. He ripped a chunk of its flesh from its body with his powerful jaws and swallowed it whole. He savored the feeling of warm blood running down his throat as he ate more. Finally, his hunger, his want, the closest thing he could get to an emotion, was fulfilled. Sorrka was satisfied.
But then, he sensed something strange. It was another Food animal, but this one was different. Sorrka got up and looked at this new Food animal. It was wearing green armor and carried a new weapon. Sorrka sifted through his memory and found a match. Food was called the Master Chief. It carried a shotgun. Master Chief had entered this part of the canyon. But, none of this mattered to Sorrka. Master Chief was edible. And Sorrka was beginning to feel hungry. There were exactly eleven Flood combat forms remaining in the vicinity. Sorrka could sense that. And they all rushed at the Master Chief.
Snarling, Sorrka used his incredible new strength to leap through the air, landing less than ten feet from Master Chief. Other Flood had done the same and had gotten there before Sorrka. Two ran up to Master Chief, but he fired his shotgun. The blast took away half of one combat form's torso, killing it. The other Flood raised its arm to smite this Chief, this Food animal. But Chief fired his shotgun again, taking off the Flood's head in a shower of blood. Sorrka swung his left arm at the Master Chief. Even though the Chief tried to dodge it, the tentacles struck home, knocking him backwards.
Enticed by his enemy's weakened state, Sorrka ran forwards, eager to for another kill. As Sorrka brought up his plasma rifle in line with the Chief's head, the Chief raised his shotgun. Sorrka hesitated as he realized that he was staring down the dark, deadly barrel of an M90 Shotgun. The last thing Sorrka saw as a Flood infected Elite was this shotgun and the expressionless visor of the Master Chief's blood splattered armor. The Chief worked the pump on the shotgun, ejecting a spent shell casing and chambering a new 8-gauge magnum round. Sorrka stared with horror as the Chief's finger tightened on the trigger and... oblivion.