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Halo: Stealth Combat Evolved: Part 0-Prologue
Posted By: Mind_Affecting_Parasite<pbplayer_24@yahoo.com>
Date: 19 July 2004, 8:23 PM

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(Author's Note: After beating Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow I was inspired to write up a story about the same type of thing. But seeing my insane obsession of the Halo story and materials, I decided to mix the two. I believe I also have found a way to incorporate his story's time line into that of the known Halo plot. Those of you who have played one or both of the Splinter Cell games will recognize some of the gadgets, names, and a major "project" title. Some might think I just can't make up a story or materials to put in it, but Bungie and UbiSoft have given me such good materials to work with, that I could not resist. I hope you enjoy your read!)

       Commodore Morgan Ford looked at the millions of stars displayed in front of him. In the magnified image on view screen, he could just make out two distant planets. One a light-purple gas giant, the other an orange cloud covered planet, about the size of Mercury. However, neither of those two planets or many stars was what the Commodore was focused on. In the center of the screen was what used to be a lovely planet. Heilos didn't used to be that different from planets like Earth or Reach. But now . . . Morgan could only scowl. Another planet glassed by the Covenant.
       The eight ship fleet sat motionless in space, at the outer edge of the Lestos system. All watching. Watching as the Covenant fleet fired volleys of plasma at the surface of Heilos. Morgan could barely stand it. He wanted to go back, take all those bastards down; but it wouldn't achieve anything, except more deaths. Twelve Human and six Covenant ships still floated in lazy orbits around the planet, destroyed. Commodore Ford's fleet had only been able to pick up ten life boats before the surviving ships had to get out of harms way. If it wasn't for the special cargo the Hercules had on board, she would still be in battle.
       "Captain," addressed Jason Kalish, a Lieutenant Junior Grade. "Staff Sergeant Smith reports that the Pelican is safely docked and the away team is on board."
       "Good," Morgan nearly growled. "Instruct the Chief to report to the bridge immediately."
       "Aye, sir."
       Another planet lost, another Covenant win. Commodore Ford still couldn't get the thought out of his mind. He hoped the team he was ferrying around would be able to make a dent soon. If they didn't, the war would not last much longer. It was turning into something very much, one sided.

       The Chief Petty Officer stepped onto the elevator. He gave a nod to his two teammates, and pushed a button on the control panel. The lift's doors slid quietly shut. The two soldiers on the other side of the doors looked at each other and continued down the hall. In the elevator, Michael let himself relax just a notch, and looked around as the lift started upward. Combat was what he was trained to do, and he was more comfortable on the ground; but he still had to give his body a break on occasion. Even his physique could only take so much punishment, but Michael new he was nowhere near that limit.
       The interior of the elevator was slightly confining. It was made to carry several people at a time, but it still felt constricting to Michael. It was well lit, and had enough shoulder room, but the ceiling was too low. It was only a foot from the Chief Petty Officer's shaved head. Many of his comrades had let a some hair grow on their heads, but Michael preferred a smooth look. Of course this let the scars on his head show. There were only two really noticeable ones. Even though they had been treated to reduce scar tissue, they still showed up. One ran from his temple to just behind his left ear, a bullet had almost caught him; the other was on the back of his head, a burn scar, his helmet had saved his life from a Covenant ambush, and he would never make that kind of mistake again.
       Michael's thoughts were interrupted as the lift's doors parted. The large man walked onto the Bridge of the Hercules. The air was still tense. The whole of the Bridge crew looked Michael's figure over nervously. Even without MJOLNIR armor, those like Michael were intimidating.
       The Chief Petty Officer stopped and saluted sharply as he approached the ship's commander, Commodore Ford. "Chief Petty Officer, SPARTAN-096 reporting as ordered, Sir!" Michael said.
       The Commodore still stood still, looking at the view screen. Michael could see what the Ford was looking at. The Covenant fleet was very evident on the screen. Commodore Ford tensed a moment, breathing in deeply, before letting out a loud sigh, lowering his head for a moment, and turning. He returned the Spartan's salute.
       "At ease, Chief," Ford replied.
       Michael spread his legs slightly, tucking his two hands in the small of his back.
       "I suppose you already now what we have to do, son," commented Ford.
       Michael understood, "Our mission was successful. But I assume the operations in this system have been recalled?"
       Ford nodded. "I'll admit I hate watching people die as much as anyone."
       The Spartan stood still and silent.
       "I hope this project we're part of will start showing products of success."
       "Where will my team and I be working next, sir?"
       The Commodore looked away from the screen and towards the Spartan beside him, still frowning. "I have to write up a report, and we need to resupply. So we'll head back to base."
       "Sir," said the officer stationed at the communication station.
       "What is it Lieutenant?" Ford responded.
       "Captain Williams is asking when we will exit the system," Lieutenant Gregor replied.
       The Commodore pressed his lips together. "Samuel," he addressed.
       "Yes, Commodore?" answered Samuel, the shipboard AI.
       "Do you have a randomized exit vector ready?"
       The holographic representation of the AI appeared on the Bridge hologram pedestal. The AI appeared as a man, clad in jet-black fatigues, complete with matching combat boots, a combat vest with full equipment compartments, a compact multipurpose goggle assembly, and even a silenced M6D at the hip.
       "Of course, Commodore Ford," tiny bits of information scrolled across the forearm mounted information screen and small eyepiece of the AI, reminiscent of those Marines had on their helmets.
       Ford nodded, pleased with the AI, but still frustrated with the situation. "Transmit it to the rest of the fleet, and synchronize our departure."
       The AI nodded and acted as if he was typing up commands on his information screen.
       "Lieutenant Gregor," addressed Ford. "Send a message to all non-essential personnel, it's time for the freezer."
       Robert Gregor's face showed that he was partially grateful he was one of the "essential personnel" roster. "Aye."
       The Commodore looked back at Michael, who had still been standing. "That means you and your team too Chief."
       "With your permission, Sir, I would like to keep my team out," requested Michael. "We would like some time to talk and get some real sleep."
       Morgan considered the Chief's request. It was use up supplies, but they were headed back to base, so he had no objection to it. "I don't have a problem with it Chief."
       "Thank you sir."
       "Well, I don't think you can do much more here, son," Ford said. "Dismissed."
       The Spartan snapped to, and saluted. Commodore Ford returned the salute. Michael turned on his heal and made his way back to the elevator. As he stepped into the confining lift again, thoughts of a warm meal and a mattress under his body tugged at his thoughts.

       Lieutenant Commander Brent Williams sat at his station. He monitored all the reports and active operations on the Lambert space station. This was the "center of operations" for project Splinter Cell. Commander Williams didn't know much about the project, any of the specifics or anything. His duty was to control this space station, and make sure everything was kept running smoothly. Although he did know some things about the classified project being conducted from the station.
       After the results of the SPARTAN-II project, many wanted to see what else these "Super Soldiers" were capable of. A project team was assembled, and three of the Spartans were selected for their potential in the project, to be test subjects for new equipment and tactics. The project initiative was to create a group of soldiers able to use redefined stealth action during specialized missions for their talents. Though Williams didn't know what would happen if the project was successful, but he would bet more soldiers would be recruited for the task. He had even heard distant rumors of a SPARTAN-III project. Perhaps some of them would be recruited.
       Brent redirected his attention to his station. He looked around the control center. All the officers were alert at their stations. He decided to take a look at each of the stations, make sure all the officers were doing their best. Just as he reached the Slipspace monitoring station, the Lieutenant at the communications station spoke up.
       "Sir, I'm receiving a message from the Hercules," the woman said. "Commodore Ford reports that they have just exited Slipspace from their randomized vector and are headed back to base."
       "Make sure a hangar is ready to take in people," Commander Williams instructed.
       The fleet was returning. Brent wondered what had happened to cause the ships to return prematurely. The Lieutenant Commander figured he would find out when the time came.