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Homeworlds VIII
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat359@netscape.net>
Date: 14 September 2003, 3:57 AM

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Here we go back to all of your old favorites.

For those who haven't been keeping up, or may have missed one or two chapters, I will briefly go over what has been happening.

Captain Richard Capulet and his Artificial Intelligence Caligula have been sent on a special mission by the UNSC. The Master Chief rendezvous with the ship, and helps fight off a covenant invasion currently attacking the ship. The Master Chief and Cortana also find one 343 Guilty Spark contained in some sort of strange machine on-board the ship. Unfortunately, they are given orders to inspect an excavation site on Cerap to find out about an apparent Forerunner artifact. Once on Cerap they engage in fierce fighting, but the Master Chief and a small group of marines are locked inside of a hidden forerunner compound. Jason Tillerman's father has left he and his mother to fight for the UNSC as a longsword pilot. Jason Tillerman is left to defend his mother.

Where we are now:

The master chief and his band of marines are left looking for a way out of this strange facility.

Captain Capulet is fighting off an unknown number of hostile vessels in the space above Cerap.

The marines stationed at Blood Gulch are fighting off an enormous covenant attack force sent to repel them from the base the enemy had set up.

Terence "Tack" Tillerman is on his way to rendezvous with an unknown ship for his orders.

Chapter Eight-Kinda makes you wonder whats behind door number one.

      The Chief had long given up staring at the forerunner monitor, it was no use. The figures just kept repeating, but none of Cortana's Codebreaker programs could make anything of them. He was replaying the images in his HUD while lying against a stone pillar jutting through the center of the room.

      This ancient text wasn't entirely difficult, nor did it have too many different symbols, but without the slightest recorded hint of what these symbols could possibly mean.

      "These symbols look very familiar, I just can't place my finger on where i've seen them before." He told Cortana angrily. The chief felt it was his responsibility to discover the secrets of this antique script, but he just couldn't. The fact that it somehow appealed to him made it even worse.

"I'm sorry Chief. I'm still running full scans with every known pattern in my systems. None of them have been successful yet. But I'll keep trying."

For some reason, something in the video caught his eye.

"Cortana, rewind video by three seconds, and then pause."

      The repeating text reversed with a slight distortion of the image, but cleared up when she stopped the procedure. The symbol he had his eye on was at the bottom of the screen.

"Zoom in on the third symbol from the left on the second to last row."

      A small box surrounded the piece of text, and enlarged it to fill his visor. He thought quietly to himself for several moments before finally recalling what it was that struck him so familiar about it.

"Is there something important about this symbol?"

      "Yes. During my training Deja taught us the tactics of the ancient arabic, and in doing so had us learn and read their language. This symbol is very similar to one of there letters."

      "I'll cross-reference it with my database. Done. This symbol is very similar to the Arabic word for entrance. My memory bank has this symbol recorded on several documents inside of Halo. I was not able to decipher any of those messages however, and thus did not find any use in storing them."

      "I need you to cross-reference all of these symbols with all of the arab symbols in your databank. Once you've done that, tell me what you come up with."

      Cortana went to work, and it was several minuts before her excited voice rang out through his helmet.

      "Here's what I've come up with based on comparisons made with those on the screen. I was unable to get more than one tenth of the document completed using the arabic symbols, so I cross-referenced them with the ancient Mexican and South-American civilizations, as well as ancient Chinese and Latin. This translated roughly four tenths of the message. The rest isn't even close to human writing."

"So where would the other symbols be?"

      "Our best bet would be the covenant language. It had many symbols closely resembling those of the Forerunner. I'll cross-reference with all of the none figures I have. However, our current database only contains modern Covenant dialect, not ancient."


      "I have a theory. I believe that the Forerunner made contact with both Humans and the Covenant at some point in time, and for some reason spread their language throughout ours. They may have figured that this would be a uniting factor between our species if and when we ever made contact.....they were wrong in their conclusions."

"In english please."

      "We can't truly compare the symbols unless we have the Covenant's ancient text on hand. Once that is accomplished I will be able to cross-reference and decipher the Forerunner language."

"One problem Cortana, we're stuck in here."

"I have a solution."

"That is?"

"I have deciphered enough of the message that I actually think we have a way out of here."

"Go on."

      After a brief discussion on what would occur next, the Master Chief braced himself against the pillar and slowly stood up. This sudden stur of activity envoked a great interest in the rest of the marines, who were all facing them eagerly.

      Hector sat his shotgun against the wall, and approached the Spartan. While nearly a foot shorter than the enormous warrior, he was still a force to be reckoned with.

"Chief, have you and Cortana been able to come to ANYTHING? I can't think of a damn thing that would get us out of here."

"Yes Lieutenant Hector, we have."

"Well, have you figured out the symbols?"

"No, we haven't."

"Then how are we going to get out of here?"

"We're going to blow our way out."

"Oh.....well, okay. But my men don't have many grenades left."

"How many do we have altogether?"

"We took a quick supply count during the break, we counted fourteen grenades minus however many you have."

"That leaves us with sixteen grenades. That should be enough to get us out of here."

"Hell yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Let's go marines."

      The squad turned around and headed back the way they came, still very cautious near the flood containment rooms. They entered the dull light breaking the darkness in the first room.

      "I want you to sit all of your grenades in a pile against that wall." John pointed to the wall with his heavy glove, and the marines carried out their orders. Once that was accomplished he had all of them take cover back in the tunnels.

      He ripped the pin from the grenade he had in his hand, and tossed it squarely into the pile. Rolling behind one of the pillars in the room just as the explosion sent large crags of rock pumelling towards him.

      Bright light broke the darkness, and his eyes took several seconds to adjust. The dust and debris had turned the visibility in the room to zero, and the marines were required to feel there way out.

      The coughing squad exited the tunnel and let out several loud whoops as they were once again free. But the sound of a large battle just over the bend sucked all of the enjoyment out of them. The chief was the last to exit, stepping over several large boulders and jumping to the ground as he did.

"So what's next Cortana?"

"How about we save some marines Chief?"

"And then?"

"Lets just take one thing at a time."

      His headset crackled to life, followed by the Incoming Message alert on his monitor. He opened the channel to find the face of Captain Capulet, exhausted and bloody coming through.

"This is the Suncoast, all hands. Engaging multiple covenant ships *static* unsure if we will be able to *static* off much longer. Anyone who recieves this, may our prayers and best wishes *static* to you should we not make it. Capulet out."

"Chief, we need to get aboard one of those covenant ships. They are probably one of the softest targets we could find to get that information from."

"Not exactly my idea of a soft target."

"Well you'll have to take what you can get."

"Will do."

      The group took off in the direction of the covenant camp, hoping to turn the tide in the humans favor if it wasn't already.

      'Salemee let go of the tank's barrel, and was sent tumbling onto the floor. The four marines stationed with the tanks had already begun firing, and if he didn't find a way out of the tent soon, he wouldn't be leaving.

      He turned to the doorway, and made a rolling jump for it, he barely made it to the flap in time, as it closed seconds after he had escaped. Two frantic grunts had accidentally lowered the wall as they went screaming by. This was the first time 'Salemee had ever thanked a grunt.

      'Salemee heard the grumble of human gears and engines, and knew the tanks were about to roll. He ran to a nearby tent, and ducked around the corner just in time to see the armored behemoths bust through the thin purple material.

      Their massive main guns turned in every direction, and were decimating anything in their way. Heavy caliber bullets buzzed only inches from 'Salemee's head as the humans aimed at his scurrying comrades.

      Two elites actually tried to stave off the attack, but their plasma rifles had little effect as two enormous high-explosive rounds tore them in half. 'Salemee was so frightened he could hardly move. The lower half of a commando elite came rolling across him from the blast, and he quickly shoved it off.

      Weaponless and at the spearhead of the human attack was not 'Salemee's wish, and he looked for a way out. He crawled on all fours to the nearest alley, and headed as far away from the tanks as possible. The trembling ground told him that they were on the move however, and he could hear the heavy stomp of human warriors.

      The body of several dead grunts were laying inches away, and he would have to expose himself to retrieve one of the plasma pistols on their corpses, which he wasn't even sure worked.

      Peeking around the small alcove he had hidden in, he was greeted to a massive column of the enemy charging into their base. One of them kicked the plasma pistol, and it landed inches away from his hand. He clawed at the gun, and kissed it several times as he hugged it to his chest.

      A plasma bolt went sizzling into the foot of a passing marine as he tried out his weapon, sending the injured and confused marine to the ground. Several of his comrades knelt down to help their friend, only inches away from 'Salemee. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes in a desperate attempt to keep from being seen.