Return to the Ring : part1
Posted By: MasterCD<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 10 January 2004, 4:55 AM
Master Chief gazed out the window of the aircraft. Below him, green grass, trees, waterfalls and the occasional cliff was spread out as far as the eye could see. He sighed, memories assaulting him. This may be another Halo, but it was remarkably similar.
"Preparing to land in 10 seconds...9...8...7..." The pilot's voice crackled slightly on the speakers.
There was slight jerk as the Pelican hit the ground, followed by the hiss of released air as the hatch opened.
"Okay, everybody out. Hurry up, ladies, we don't got all day!" The sergeant had a voice like a jet taking off, and spared no one mercy.
Cortana's voice sounded through his helmet.
"The signal came from about south of that cliff. We should try there first."
The sergeant paused, and scratched his chin.
"Meaning no disrespect, marm, just what the hell are we looking for?"
"Three days ago, the main Earth Headquarters received a transmission, offering help. We are to investigate the signal, and see if it's false or not."
"False? Why would it be false?" piped up Marine, newer than the rest.
"The signal was similar to those emitted by the Covenant. It may well be a trap."
Doubtful muttering broke out among the ranks. No one liked the idea of calmly strolling into a trap.
The Master Chief turned, and stared in the direction they were to head.
"Let's go." His calm voice interrupted the Marine's hisses, and reminded them of their duty.
The sergeant coughed, and ordered the Warthogs to be released. Everyone moved well back. Being squashed by an armoured vehicle was not on anyone's list of priorities.
The Pelicans hovered above, and dropped three Warthogs onto the grassy slope. The Master Chief strode forward, and swung himself into the driver's seat of the closest jeep. A Marine clambered into the gunner seat at the back, while another jumped into the seat beside him.
"Okay men - forward out!" the sergeant boomed. Three sets of feet pressed down on the accelerator, and three jeeps roared into life. Riding a Warthog is not the most comfortable experience. It has the tendency to bounce and skid on every single hill, rut or rock.
After an hour of sliding and jerking, and no sign of Covenant forces, Cortana stopped them. The Master Chief jumped out, analysing his surroundings the moment his feet hit the ground. The Marines were a bit slower to follow, because they were a lot stiffer, not having battle armour to soften the ride.
"Are you certain this is where the signal came from?" the Chief said quietly.
"Not right here, a little further ahead. But the Warthogs should probably stay here. It's too rocky, according to your terrain scanner."
The Master Chief hauled himself onto a rock, to get a better view. Just ahead, there seemed to be several rocky outcrops, and possibly a cave, though he couldn't be sure from this distance.
"It's this way," he called down to the cluster of Marines below him. He turned, leaped down, and started walking towards the cave. Behind him, he could hear the sergeant ordering two Marines to stay behind, and guard the jeeps.
The Chief wove his way between the rocks, steadily advancing. Now that he was closer, he could see it WAS a cave.
"Could the signal have come from the cave?" he questioned.
Cortana considered, before answering. "Maybe. I'll send out a sweep. That'll locate the exact position of the signal. This may hurt a bit." A sudden throb ripped through his head, setting his teeth on edge. He grimaced, but concentrated on Cortana's report.
"The sweep has confirmed your theory. The signal came from the cave, or somewhere really close by."
The Chief paused, thinking, then decided to explore. The Marines had caught up, so he set off again. Everyone was tense with expectation. He could feel it on the very air.
At the mouth of the cave, he hesitated, then flicked on the torchlight. The light illuminated the walls, which seemed to glow eerily. Taking a deep breath, he ventured inside.
The cave was fairly straightforward. The Master Chief had feared a labyrinth, but there was only two times when Cortana had to do the sweep again, to discover the correct tunnel.
They turned left, and the tunnel suddenly opened out into a massive cavern. Everyone gasped, and took a step back, instinctively raising their weapons.
A voice drifted over to them.
"Ah, you've come! Excellent. I wondered if you got lost, or didn't receive my signal!" A figure emerged from behind a rocky pillar. The Master Chief gaped.
He hadn't expected this!