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.halo 6: Fall of Irvine
Posted By: Neo//hack<Hometokell@aol.com>
Date: 8 June 2003, 7:55 PM

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"This is the next test. Defeat the Covenant task force to continue."

Irvine chuckled. "What do they think we are, children?"

Captain Fargo smiled. "I was hoping it wouldn't be so easy."

The Elites laughed, then randomly disappeared. Their laughter faded.

"Okay, where'd they go?"

Lara's eyes narrowed. "They've got cloaking devices. I knew this wouldn't be so simple."

Cain looked around, trying not to move so much. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he felt a warm rush of air on the back of his neck. His face flushed, like the air had been forced from his lungs.

He dove forward, just as a jagged blade sliced through the air where his head has once been.

Cain landed hard on the ground and raised his rifle. His finger jerked back into the trigger, and the barrel erupted with light and flame. Burnt casings clattered to the ground as bullet after bullet ripped into the Elite.

The creature groaned as his camouflage slowly disintegrated. The Elite died standing, then collapsed to the ground, the skin of his back ripped and torn. He had been pierced through.

The firing caught the attention of the other Marines, as well as the remaining task force. Captain Fargo raised his rifle and let out random bursts of gunfire in numerous directions. He managed to hit one Elite, which gasped out in surprise once Fargo found him. A smile formed across the captain's face. He opened up with fully automatic fire, tearing the Elite to shreds.

Reia tossed a grenade, which detonated somewhere in the middle of three or four Covenants. Two died instantly, one lost his camouflage due to the explosion, and the other was found because of his piercing scream.

Bullets raked through the area, ripping into the worn Elites.

They fell, their camouflage falling apart. This exposed their bodies: Burnt, riddled with bullet holes, and bloody.

The battle continued, until eventually twenty-five Covenant bodies lay lifeless on the floor.

"You have proven yourself worthy of advancing to the next chamber."

Captain Fargo smiled. "Good. I'm glad to here that."

The echoing voice faded, leaving the Marines by themselves.

"Well, do we just open the door?"

"I'm not sure."

The soldiers, now exhausted, cautiously approached the door to the next chamber.

They stopped when what appeared to be a portal of static. A flash of light burst outward, blinding the Marines.

Captain Fargo recovered his vision and stared at whatever had just appeared.

It was a hovering figure that looked like an alien god or something identical to it.

It wore a great many robes, and its long white hair was tied back in numerous braids.

His eyes were white, with no pupils.

"Ah, the great challengers."

"You might be?"

The god-looking creature obliged to the question. "I am High Priest Key Quest, one of the three leaders of the Covenant. I have been sent to monitor your progress. I am also here to insure you do not get any further."

Fargo gulped.

"In order to continue, you must present to me an ancient artifact. You must present it now."

That can't be good, Fargo thought. Peering at his comrades, he saw their expressions of worry.

Fargo stepped forward. As leader of this expedition, I speak for everyone. We have no artifact to give you, for we did not expect this."

High Priest Key Quest glared at Fargo.

"Then, as leader of this expedition, you are responsible for everyone. And, as leader, you will now die for your failure to meet my demands."

Captain Fargo stepped back, taken fully by surprise. Key Quest extended one finger, pointing directly at Fargo's head. A small plasma beam formed at the tip of his index finger.

Irvine anticipated the move, and dove in front of the captain as Key Quest fired the beam.

It pierced into Irvine's left chest cavity, right at his heart. His eyes opened wide with pain.

Captain Fargo fell to the ground, knocked over by Irvine. Irvine, blasted through, collapsed in a heap to the floor as well. He twitched, then lay still.

High Priest Key Quest retracted his finger and lowered his arm. He turned to head away, then glanced back at the Marines, who crowded around Irvine's limp body.

High Priest Key Quest scoffed at them, then turned away. "Foolish," he said contently as he vanished in a flash of light.

"Irvine...get up."

He didn't move. Fargo turned away from Irvine's body and switched on his headset. "Operator, we have an emergency. Man down."

"Right. We'll get him out. Hit the log out button on the disc in his left ear. He'll log out safely."

Fargo turned back around, switching the headset back off. He reached down and touched the button on the black disc in Irvine's ear.

Irvine's body suddenly began to be clouded in an image of static. Three beeps came from the disc, and Irvine disappeared, the log out complete.

"Operator, give me some news."

The remaining Marines had their headsets switched on and were listening intently. Reia had tears in her eyes.

"Captain, we've got news on Irvine's condition."

"What happened?"

There was an exasperated sigh on the other end, and then the words: "He's gone, sir. He's gone."