Posted By: Mainevent<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 27 September 2003, 7:07 PM
Shimmer stared into the barrel expressionless, the blood had drained from his face and his heart was pumping wildly. Even spartans know death, but Shimmer wasn't ready to know him this personally.
The marine squeezed the trigger, and the blast filled Shimmer's visor. He clenched his eyes and shielded his face with his hands. The chirpy sound of his alarm was relief to him as it meant that he wasn't dead, at least not yet. How he had survived a shotgun blast to the face at such close range was beyond him, but whatever it was, he didn't mind.
He rolled into the marine's legs, pinning him under the half-ton MJOLNIR armor. Specialist Robert Harper screamed in pain as his bones were crushed under the weight, he clawed at his feet futily, breaking several nails on the heavily armed fighter situated on top of them.
He finally passed out from shock, and Shimmer couldn't help but feel sorrow for him.
"Get up Shimmer, we're goin in. It's time to finish fighting each other in training and get to the real deal." Merendez locked wrists and pulled Shimmer to his unsteady feet. Wobbling on uneasy legs momentarily, he exhaled and gave Merendez a quick pat on the back. Shimmer quickly grabbed the nearby shotgun that had nearly ended his life only moments before.
A group of seventeen or eighteen spartans had fought their way past sentries and were heading for the door. Automated turrets tracked their movements and began their grim dance. Bullets lanced off of several Spartan's armor and the impact knocked two off of their feet.
Four marines barged into the light, rifles in hand, and began welcoming their guests. Shimmer took a knee and pumped several warning shots at the onslaught. Two slipped behind a static shield that had been hastily set up, and the other two hit the ground with their heads covered. Three Spartans pounced at once, retrieving their weapons and holding them at bay.
Merendez was securing the door as Shimmer hurried to cover his back. Their was a small staircase leading into the bunker, and the lights were flickering randomly. The duo swept into the thin hallway and jumped half of the stairs in one bound. Merendez slipped as the stair he landed on crumbled beneath his weight. Shimmer balanced himself on two separate stairs while grabbing the handrail, which bent from his strength.
The shotgun at his waist was combing the hallway before he was. The hall was surprisingly devoid of life, especially the large counter-attack he had been expecting. Several marines were scattering to-and-fro in the hall a distance away. Merendez's head was cocked as Shimmer glanced inconspicuously at him, apparently as baffled as he himself was.
"What's going on here Shim?"
"I have no idea."
"What are you two gawking at? Move it!" Rockwell blasted the two for their temporary pause. He shoved the two in the back and pushed through their formation. Ten or twelve other troops followed before Shimmer and Merendez finally cut in the line and began their procession deep into the tunnels.
The teams broke off in two's and three's as they passed each hall; it appeared they would be stuck with Sellers. Sellers was one of the largest members of the team. He was built like an ox and used it to his advantage, and was amazingly smart. Shim cocked a small grin as they cut into a small outlet leading to the labs.
They passed locked door after locked door in this hall, which was covered in dust and dimly lit. Cobwebs decked the ceiling, and large spiders corpses were caught in their own design.
A particularly rusty door at the end of the hall caught all of their attention, and their naturally inquisitive nature took over. Sellers tried to pick the electronic lock to no success, it's battery had long died, and the door's mechanical motors were non-responsive.
The three worked in unison to wedge the door partly open, but it was extremely strong. Sellers moved in between the partitions and pushed as hard as he could, but he was slipping. Merendez and Shimmer crouched under him and into the room with Sellers rolling in behind them.
Large computer terminals adorned the walls, unused for easily thirty years. The technology installed was a model that hadn't been in production since the early 2500's. Lights in the room made a heavy buzz as they struggled to activate, and several blew out in the attempt.
A large holographic projector sparked to life, the robed figure of a barefoot greek goddess. The tablet in her arms had scrolling cuneiform trudging across it's face, and Shimmer was awed by the sight.
"Welcome, I am Deja, may I inquire what you have come here for?"
"Deja, what is this place?" Sellers interupted. Deja hadn't seemed to realise the large man standing to her left, and looked surprised when she realised who he was.
"John, welcome back. It has been a very long time since we last met. How have you been faring against the covenant?"
"I'm sorry. I don't understand. I'm not John." Deja scanned the Spartan's suits with a subtle hint of interest. Sellers stared at Shimmer and Merendez with obvious confusion.
"I do not have your names in my roster of Spartans. Your suits are also not registered. Please tell me where you recieved them." Deja pleaded.
"We're the second group of Spartans, and these suits are new." Merendez answered her with slight remorse. The AI before him had apparently not seen use in an absurd amount of time.
"Why are you here Deja?" Shimmer asked carefully. He made a slight motion toward her hologram, but stopped short as she turned to stare at him.
"I am Deja. The Artificial Intelligence in charge of classroom instruction of the Spartan program here on Reach. I am designed to offer lessons on mathematics, biology, history, and warfare tactics that can help my pupils in the field. Chief Petty Officer Mendez is the field instructor, and our program is headed by Dr. Catherine Halsey, Section Three Offices of Naval Intelligence." Shimmer was confused by what she had said.
"Deja, this isn't Reach. Reach was bombarded by the Covenant and destroyed five years ago. You're on Cerap at a facility called the Septagon. It's the new training facility for the Spartan III program."
The AI took a detectable pause as she processed the information. A pixelated frown crossed her face and her brow arched. She ran a hand through her hair, and then stared at her room for several seconds. It was as though she hadn't seen this place in an eternity, which truth be told, she hadn't.
"I see. The how can I help you? I have extensive databases on tactical information."
"That's okay, we have orders, we'll be going." The AI looked frantically around, she had been so lonely for so long, she would do anything to keep her companions for only moments longer.
"Are you sure? Our databases are full of useful information."
"We have explicit data on the Covenant units, vehicles, and weapons, detailed battle rundowns, and information on their tactics as of yet. Would you like to review this information to help you in your upcoming battles?" They had seeen all of this a thousand times before in training, but he figured it couldn't hurt.
"Let's have a look at the battle rundowns, and then their tactics." This brought a visible smile from the holo-form, and she looked at her pad. Please choose one of the battles listed."
The Spartans stared at the list of battles and information that popped up as Deja scrolled them across the hologram she was standing on.
Jovian Moon Campaigns
Rain Forest Wars
Faster than light
Birth of the Outer Colonies
Artifact Discovery [Classified]
Battle of Harvest
Outer Colony Massacre
Inner Colony Siege
One of the the entries caught all of their attention. Shimmer ran his finger over the highlighted text that was on her tablet, and it lit up with a chirp. It flashed from black to white several times as Deja's information retrieval systems extracted the information.
"The Artifact Discovered on August 30th of 2496 by the UNSC Dawn of Dusk is a mystery. Visual data recorded by the UNSC Ark. A massive ring shaped structure is found, with all of the qualities required by UNSC standards for human habitation. It measured in at 100,000 kilometers across, and had an atmosphere of unknown origin."
"The two ships were ordered by General Harold Redson to investigate the structure for intelligence purposes. Structures on the surface were scattered across the heavily forrested world, and hinted at the existence or previous existence of alien life.
"Upon setting down on the artifact, a series of strange occurances are recorded on the ship's logs. Marines returned..."infected" with some sort of parasitic creature attached to them and are quickly put into quarantine aboard the ships."
"The infection soon spread throughout the crew of the Dawn of Dusk. The Ark took onboard all remaining uninfected marines on the planet, and left the artifact's orbit. The Dawn of Dusk was never heard from again, and it is assumed that it is still stranded on the artifact's surface. All information regarding this incident was classified by ONI Section Four Bio-Weapons Division under the command of General Brookes.
This news hit the team like a brick to the face. Everything they had been led to believe was crushed. Why hadn't they, or anyone for that matter, been told about this. But one thing never made sense, if the Dawn of Dusk was stranded on Halo's surface, how come the Pillar of Autumn never picked her up on her scanners.
All of the Spartans had been required to intensely study the history of the Master Chief's exploits on Halo, but the encounter of the Dawn of Dusk was never noted. The doors behind them made a ominous hiss as they strained to open, and the team whirled around. Deja also turned to face the entrance with curious interest, and a small slit of light entered the room through the parting doors.