Guerilla: I Think I Stepped In Something
Posted By: Mainevent<email@example.com>
Date: 4 November 2004, 1:56 AM
The debris glistened ominously in the planet's atmosphere. Small and large pieces of ships succumbed to the planet's gravity. They spiraled weightlessly in the darkness before slowly accelerating "down" and turning into a bright red fireball. The Banshee hovered silently between ragged and shorn bulkheads and the endless sea of corpses; most of which were unrecognizable from the explosive decompression. John wordlessly mourned the fallen as his eyes moved from one mangled body to the next. The emotions growing inside of him he was trained to suppress, but he wasn't sure if he could effectively control his seething rage.
Cortana watched the adrenaline spike, blood pressure increase, and heart beat monitors with cautious interest. She'd long ago learned that he was at his prime when agitated, but too much anger led to stupid and rash mistakes. She ran a diagnostic of the Banshee's control subsystems. She copied one of her own flight control routines into it, so that she could pilot the vehicle remotely if necessary. Even with his enhanced reaction times, she was still infinitely faster.
"How long?" the hint of bitterness tinged in his voice.
"They've been on us for about thirty seconds. Reading ten Seraphs approaching from starboard at six hundred fifty kilometers an hour."
The Banshee was ill-suited for space combat. Indeed, it was specifically designed for ground support under normal gravity. On top of which, it was relatively small, less armored, and carried weaker weapons that its "big brother". Even as he pushed the throttle to max it seemed to putter along compared the Seraph. It was immediately apparent that they'd have to come up with a plan quickly. Radar-like monitors hissed warnings, but they didn't tell him anything he didn't already know.
"Three hundred meters and closing. Do something!" Cortana shrieked.
The Banshee rolled to the right suddenly, barely avoiding a barrage of plasma that pock-marked an isolated and detached air-lock. Cortana monitored the maneuverability of the Seraphs and was immediately awed. Even as large as they were they still maintained the Banshee's full capabilities. John jerked the control yoke, sending the glider hurtling over the top of a deck and flying with the large shorn hull "above" him. The pursuers swarmed similarly over; firing wildly as they did so.
"We're not going to last long," he grunted as he dove between a narrow gap. The Seraphs broke off and hurtled deftly down the side. Cockpit monitors showed them briefly every few seconds as a gap in the metal appeared.
"This'll be tricky, but you can do it."
"It better be fast, our road's ending," He nodded uselessly to the end of the small "tunnel" the Banshee struggled haphazardly through.
The blasphemous waste of a human was a skilled pilot, Agale 'Eslemee gave it that much credit. But the Gods had sealed its fate by giving it the pathetically outmatched Banshee. The miniscule glider was no competition against his far superior Seraph. Further, this human was flying against the Holy Light's Mercy detachment; indisputably the best squadron of pilots in the Holy Ones' service. The Mercy detachment was merciless and spared no one they encountered.
Purple glare disappeared suddenly as it dissolved into a narrow gap; too narrow. His men instinctively pulled up and skimmed the surface of the small tunnel. Until now his adversary had surprised him, but the last move was final. There was only one exit, and he sped up to reach it first. Every several seconds he looked down and saw the Banshee through small slits in the metal framework.
At the end of the tunnel he slowed, and came to a complete stop. His wingmen circled like barracuda around the exit. Plasma streamed from the opening as the tiny ship attempted to plow its way to freedom. Swirls of metallic shards glittered in its wake before green roils plumed off of the canopy. The cockpit bubbled and sparked before the entire ship erupted into a bright-blue tinged fireball. If his enemy hadn't been such a vile and despicable creature he would have mourned the loss of such a marvelous pilot, but as it was he felt no pity for such a soulless wretch.
"Flight Master, shall we return to the ship?" His second in command asked over the radio.
"Yes, return to the ship immediately. The Holy One will most definitely wish to speak with us about our great deed."
Agale couldn't help but gloat a bit. After all, his squadron had managed to do something countless others had failed to; all by killing one measly human. He shook his head wondering how hard it could be to eliminate one simple soldier. He'd seen them on the holo-vids; they didn't look nearly as tough as the Elites or Brutes they were fighting. A warning light flickered bright-purple in his face. The sound of vacuum rushed to his ears.
"Akuga, what is the malfunction?" Agale asked quickly.
"Nothing Flight Master, a malfunction in the canopy lock system. I will try to repair it, but we should return to the ship at once."
He agreed, and though the vacuum wouldn't effect the pilot or co-pilot in the least, he was extremely superstitious. The ship sped forward carefully navigating the pieces of human and covenant ships spread unevenly around him. Though he suddenly felt an odd drowsiness overcome him. He shook his head attempting to ward it off. His eyes became heavy, and he turned to see if his co-pilot was having similar problems. Time seemed slow as he faced the rear seat. It took several moments before his mind processed what his eyes saw; a dirty, green-armored trespasser. His claws reached for the plasma pistol standard for all pilots.
It was an overtly futile effort. Agale put up little resistance as he was unstrapped and unmasked. His lungs filled suddenly with nothing. His slurred screams went unheard as he watched his own Seraph glide away without him. Watching it take his life with it.
"My plan worked, as always; but I will say the way you handled the Seraph itself was stunning."
Cortana was surprised he had come up with such a marvelously simple, yet effective, plan. By replacing his carbon dioxide stores for their oxygen reserves, he extended his life support systems one hundred percent while simultaneously incapacitating his victims. She assumed their last moments were a hazy, drowsy blur. An unfittingly painless death for any Covenant.
"Is that ship our only option?" his question completely ignored her praise; a tendency that somewhat irked her.
"Yes, that is our only option. Unless you want to suddenly break off from the formation, attempt to outrun a CCS battleship, and-"
"I get it. And when they talk to us?"
"You can ignore them, or I can synthesize a static burst transmission to give the impression we're having difficulties communicating."
"Just get me in."
The teardrop shaped fighter surged ahead and rejoined the collective. The enormous battleship sparkled pristinely in the void. Purple aura radiated off of its luminescent hull as scattered spheres of white checkered along the midsection. Bright red and blue clusters quickly reminded him of the extreme danger the looming beast posed. If the plan failed those pulse lasers would rip through the Seraph without hesitation.
"Flight Master 'Eslemee," the communicator hissed, " you are to land in chamber four for maintenance scans and your Holy Deed Report."
The Seraph swooped smoothly into the docking shaft waiting for it, and John wondered how this would play out. Unfortunately for his plans the Covenant had stranger docking procedures than humans. He took a quick inventory in his head: three grenades, a half-charged plasma rifle, and two pounds of C-12 in a small brown pouch cradled against his waist.
Brja Leokc was a rare sight in the Mercy detachment. An extremely skilled pilot, Brja was promoted to the prestigious squadron quickly. But what made him rare was that he was a Jackal in an almost exclusively Elite niche of the military. He'd ruthlessly silenced his tormentors by racking up the second highest kill ratio in the fleet, and that was second only to Agale 'Eslemee himself. Thirty three humans he'd watch die in flames or in the cold vacuum of space; and every time he'd relished in the infidels' deaths.
He strode to Agale's Seraph with pride. Today's kill was thirty four, and he loved to gloat. His bony hand clasped the canopy lock and turned. He smiled while listening to the hiss of decompression. But something wasn't right; his extremely keen eyes darted to the bristling green armor instantly. An instant too late. Plasma riddled his thin and sparsely armored body forcefully. Each bolt was an uppercut that knocked him several feet back.
Shaky squawks of panic gurgled through his collapsing, blood filled lungs. His foot slipped awkwardly off of the edge of the level he was on, and his bird-like body plummeted four stories to the cold, metal floor. Several curious Grunts and Elites rushed to see what had happened, and stared up to the Seraph pads. The eerie tink, tink of metal on metal echoed from above as the beige fragmentation grenade rolled into freefall. Several Elites dove for cover, but most of the shocked Grunts and Jackals were caught directly in the blast. Small, metallic shards penetrated their flesh as the explosive force knocked them several meters back.
"There goes our surprise," Cortana informed him bluntly.
"It wouldn't have lasted long. That should at least keep busy in the bay for a while."
"If you say so. Take a right."
"Where are we going?"
"This ship's schematics have something interesting located just ahead.
"And that is?"
"Turn in here. This door."
Spartan-117 turned to enter the unusually large, extremely ornate doors. They blinked from light-blue to red several times. John kneeled down and watched both directions, but found nothing. Cortana worked silently to bypass and unlock the entryway. A three-tone beep told him what she didn't have to. He scanned the curiously sparse hallway once more before turning to enter the dimly lit chamber. His eyes widened partially and his pulse rose several beats. Two hundred golden-armored Elites all stood uniformly in two rows; all staring viciously at him.
"What was the name of this room?" he asked with the unusual hint of fear in his voice.
"Grand Prophet's Chamber," Cortana replied shyly, "You might want to-"
He back peddled reflexively through the automated doors. Cortana tried diligently to lock them back again, but found it much easier to unlock the doors than to lock them back. To unlock them she'd destroyed their original code source. She quickly created a sloppy "lock" code and inserted into the door's operations node in the mainframe. The periphery flashed bright red again, signaling the lock.
"I don't know how long that'll hold," she said as an indirect urge to run.
John turned to his left and found six Elites carrying plasma swords. He glanced to his right and found another four Elites, but these were armed with carbine weapons. The same bone-rattling three-tone beep echoed through his brain as the doors before him parted.
"I, I don't know what I can do. Wait..."
The Elite in the doorway leapt at him. He ducked backwards and slammed the beast down with his fists. The rest in the hall began charging. The lights flickered and died, leaving only the bright-blue flare of plasma visible. Night-vision kicked on instantly inside of his helmet, and John rolled into the Prophet's Chambers. He watched the confused Elites in the hallway begin fighting the first body they encountered, foolishly mistaking it for their enemy's in the dark. Plasma bolts answered quick swipes from swords as several of the Elites fell instantly. The Master Chief's eyes scanned the room quickly and he began a sprint toward the large central dais.
An Elite stepped into his path, and he shoulder charged him. Both of their shields flared, but the Elite tumbled unevenly into the rows of other High Guard. He half leapt up the stairs, and reached the top of the dais easily. His suit jerked under him as he was pulled upwards by another gravity lift; this time into a much smaller room.
The streamlined green armor ascended into the lavishly decorated personal chamber of the instantly recognizable Prophet; to either side of whom were three flamboyantly armored Brutes. Their guns were automatically on him- a trained response. Fortunately they didn't fire, but John wasn't sure if that was good or bad just yet.
"Welcome," his scratchy voice said pleasantly, "we have much to talk about."