.halo 5: Insertion
Posted By: Neo//hack<Hometokell@aol.com>
Date: 8 June 2003, 7:52 PM
The tests continued.
While the program was scanned and scanned again, Captain Fargo and his elite Marines continued traveling from mother ship to mother ship.
"How many more hours, operator?"
"The control room reports that approximately seven hours and thirty minutes remain before the tests are complete."
"That gives enough time to make our way to the next mother ship. What is the next closest ship?"
The operator checked her mapping display. "The mother ship Osiris is two hundred thousand kilometers away. At this rate, we will arrive in three hours."
Captain Fargo nodded. "Good. Continue at this rate."
Fargo left the bridge and headed into the control center. Reia and Natalya were sitting together, taking a break from repairing the hacking system while the tests ran.
Irvine was welding something to the side of one cryotube. Fargo approached him and sat down.
"Working overtime, Irvine?"
"Nah. . .just a few extra things. This doesn't need to be done," Irvine indicated the spare part he was attaching to the cryotube, "but I thought, hey, why not do something?"
"You're pretty handy to have around here. I like people who do more than they have to."
Irvine shrugged. "It's no big deal. I was raised near a mechanic shop where my dad worked as a part time job. He'd show me how he would repair parts for small cruisers and airships. He told me that he got to help repair a vital part from one of the UNSC warships. Since then, I've always been fixing things and I guess I became obsessed with it."
"You sound like you had a good time as a kid."
"It wasn't bad."
Fargo stared up towards the ceilings, a smile spreading across his face. Irvine also looked up, thoughts racing through his mind.
"Captain, what were you like as a kid?"
"That's a part of history I'd rather forget."
"No good, huh?"
Fargo sighed. "I never knew my father. My mother died when I was only fifteen. Instead of going to live with my aunt, I chose to work for a while until I could afford a trip up to one of the colonies. Once I got there, I became what you could almost call a wanderer. I just traveled around to see the city, waiting for my break. Then, the Covenant came and destroyed the colony, just after I left to head for another. So, life has been pretty rough. I got drafted into the military and eventually became a captain. They assigned me to the Serenity and I haven't lost her yet."
Irvine sighed. "Life wasn't too good, huh? Not for a while, anyway."
"No, it sure wasn't."
"I know the feeling."
Fargo had no interest in continuing this conversation. "Well, tomorrow's a new day. A busy one as well. Get some rest."
Fargo stood and left the control center, leaving Irvine alone for a while.
"Operator, fill us in."
"Okay, these are the facts that the tests have brought back: Standard military weapons such as assault rifles and pistols will be useful inside the program. Apparently, the Covenant designed computer images of themselves. Of course, they made themselves stronger than ever in the even that Halo was destroyed. Any weapons that are brought into the cryotube will be loaded into the program. The tubes have been redesigned to load everything inside the tube into the program. The upload wiring is not included.
"About the sphere you found. It is, in fact, the program's mainframe, but it is almost impossible to access. It appears that underground, where the elevator shafts start, there is a vast dungeon of puzzles and traps that guard the shafts. In order to get inside, you must defeat several Covenant Guardians, solve several puzzles, and outsmart numerous traps.
"Communication between the dimensions has been developed as well. You will all be given a headset, which attaches to the disc in your left ear. This will allow contact between us. Since I am the operator, I will be answering your transmissions. It is used the way a common frequency radio is. Signal the end of your transmission with 'over'.
"I am sure you all know how to log out, considering you are no longer inside.
"Now, once you reach the mainframe, you will insert this virus."
The operator handed each of the eight soldiers a small key.
"Once this key is inserted into the proper place, a single twist will activate it and the virus will be launched."
Captain Fargo took the key and examined it.
"Is this all we need to know?"
"For the time being, yes."
"Then let's get to it."
"Halo program loaded. Hack complete."
Fargo opened his eyes. The sky was perfectly white, almost an infinity. Nothing moved about in the skies, no clouds existed, nothing. It was how he had expected a real program to look. The only thing visible was Halo itself.
Fargo switched on his headset. "Operator, can you give me the location of the entrance to the dungeon?"
"One moment, sir."
Fargo cocked his assault rifle, then shoved a magazine into his pistol. Then he waited.
"Captain, the entrance is one hundred meters to the South."
Fargo switched off the headset, then motioned everyone forward. They followed, their guns loaded and ready, their fingers twitching with anxiety.
They reached what appeared to be a smaller elevator shaft inside some kind of steel bunker. By activating the hologram panel, the lift slowly rose up to their level. They cautiously stepped aboard, hoping that it wasn't a sinister booby-trap.
Luckily, it traveled down to the first chamber of the dungeons, the First Rune Chamber, as it was carved into an engraving plate on the wall.
They approached a thick door, but they were stopped by what sounded like a female, echoing voice from above.
"In order to pass, you must solve this fairly old riddle:
"Two fathers and two sons go fishing. At the end of the day, each person caught one fish. They are all happy as the leave, however, only three fish have been caught. How is this possible?"
The Marines stood silent, surprised at the random question.
Reia suddenly stepped forward and boldly stated, "There are only three people. One boy, his father, and his grandfather. Two fathers, two sons."
The door suddenly groaned as it hissed and creaked open.
"You answered correctly, You may move on."
"Wait a minute. . .why didn't they kill us?"
Captain Fargo thought a minute, then answered, "It may be that they aren't programmed to kill us."
"Well, that makes sense. How will their security work then?"
Natalya figured that out. "These puzzles are to test whomever comes into the program. They probably have others who are programmed to stop anyone that isn't welcome."
She was right.
At that moment, several flashes of light illuminated the chamber. When it settled, twenty-five Elites stood before them. They all had one thought in mind: