.halo 8: Forgotten Realms (Series Finale)
Posted By: Neo//hack<Hometokell@aol.com>
Date: 10 June 2003, 11:21 PM
The soldiers, worn and exhausted, continued on.
They made their way to the next chamber of the dungeon. However, shortly after passing into the chamber, they were confronted by another flash of bright light.
A third figure, identical to the previous two High Priests, now stood before the remaining seven Marines.
"I am High Priest Key Tranquility. You seven have proven yourselves worthy. However, I cannot allow you to continue any further."
"Where have I heard that before?" Natalya muttered.
Key Tranquility raised his left arm. Like with the Sentinel, three golden rings lower from the ceilings above them.
However, a series of rings lowered from the ceilings. They revealed fifteen Elites, similar to the last.
"This is your next and last opponent. You will not continue after this battle."
The surge of confidence in Key Tranquility's voice worried Fargo. On the other hand, the confidence of his comrades helped overpower that worry.
Key Tranquility chuckled. "Have fun," he said mockingly, then vanished.
The Elites laughed, then suddenly charged the Marines. The battle was dangerous, for it took place on a light bridge.
The soldiers let loose a barrage of bullets. The tore through the Elite task force. The Covenant challengers were quickly overcome, and the Marines were surprised at their little efforts.
"I thought this would be more difficult."
Reia thought a moment. "Could it have been a mere mind trick? You know, they just might have wanted us to think they were dangerous so we would use up more energy and ammunition."
"That's possible," stated Fargo.
However, their theorizing was cut short. They turned around to be greeted by fifteen Elites; the same that had just been killed.
"Wait a minute. Didn't we just take those guys down?"
Despite the confusion, the Marines didn't hesitate in opening fire on their previously killed opponents.
This time, the Elites were not so easily destroyed. It took more ammunition than the first time to kill them.
Nevertheless, the Elites were once again defeated.
"Don't tell me they'll be coming back."
Captain Fargo thought for a second. "They probably will. I doubt we can really kill them for good."
"Then what are we supposed to do?" questioned Lara.
Fargo turned to face her. "I don't know. Maybe if we just tried to move on without having to fight them..."
"No," said Vincent coldly. "It won't work. The only way to the next area is through that door. It's going to give us a puzzle to solve, and that will take time. Even if we manage to get through, they can still follow us."
At that particular moment, the Elites stepped forward to fight for the third time.
"Great...we've got to think of something."
Vincent glared at the Elites, then whispered, "Here's what we'll do. There is a control panel for the bridge near the door. We'll take them down, then get off the bridge and deactivate it. Once they regenerate, they'll fall into whatever-is-down-there."
Fargo agreed that it was a good plan and was worth a try. The others agreed hesitatingly, but did as what was planned.
Vincent lagged behind to work with the controls while the other six fired on the aliens. A few grenades and some armor-piercing rounds to the head contributed to the Covenant's defeat. Once they had fallen, The Marines turned and gathered on the solid platform next to the door.
Vincent reported that the controls were rigged. The soldier waited until the Elites respawned on the bridge, then punched the button to shut it off.
With a startling cry, the fifteen aliens dropped from midair and fell into eternity.
The echoing voice from nowhere startled the Marines as it announced their next objective.
"This is your third challenge. One of you must do battle against the great champion Himorra in a duel to the death. The challenger will fight against the undefeated Himorra in a suspended ring. One weapon will be provided.
"The first to grab the sword from the air and kill their opponent will win and advance to the next chamber. Who shall oppose the champion?"
Captain Fargo immediately stepped forward.
Reia was shocked. "Captain, don't do this," she insisted quietly.
"Quiet. I'll be fine."
The Marines were suddenly engulfed in a blinding light, then fell into what seemed like a coma. They felt nothing.
When the awakened, they were standing on a platform fifty feet in the air. Before them was a battle ring, also suspended. Hanging five feet in the air was a six-foot sword, thin and curved at the end.
Around them was an arena filled to capacity with a Covenant crowd. They all began chanting something, and eventually it became clear: "Down with the human! Down with the human!"
Captain Fargo found himself standing on a suspended platform in the middle of an arena. Before him stood whom he guessed to be Himorra.
Himorra looked much like a Hunter, only his eyes were a burning red and his shield was more connected to his left arm. He had a normal right arm, no fuel rod cannon or gun of any type.
He glared at Fargo, who defiantly glared back.
A female announcer came over the intercom system.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another exciting battle between our champion Himorra..."
At this, the crowd roared approval as Himorra waved briefly, then returned his gaze to Fargo.
"...and the human scum!"
The crowd booed and shouted out, despising the opponent of their champion.
"Now, the first fighter to snatch the sword from the air and kill the other will be declared the winner!"
The audience cheered again. Fargo suddenly realized that this was a mere sporting event to them. It was a life or death matter for the Earth, along with all life in the universe, in his case.
He tried to push it away from his mind.
Himorra didn't wait to strategize. He charged Fargo with lightning speed. It was as if he had been a coiled snake, waiting for the right moment to spring out and strike. Fargo gasped, and was struck in the chest by an incredible force. He flew backwards and smashed into the railing on the sides of the platform. The railing bent under the strain. This allowed Fargo to fall through the gap and tumbled off the platform.
However, he anticipated the fall and reached out. His hands snagged the railing. He slammed against the side of the platform. Himorra, already satisfied, approached the edge. Fargo, confident that his grip could last, waited.
"You see, human, your efforts to stay alive are futile. Now I shall claim victory."
Himorra raised his right foot, as if to stamp down on Fargo's head.
This was the perfect moment. Himorra was off-balance. Fargo pushed off the side of the platform with his feet. He flipped through the air. Himorra was caught off-guard as Fargo landed his left foot in his face.
Himorra stumbled backward and landed hard on the platform, sliding back to the other end.
Fargo landed on his back, then quickly stood and made sure Himorra was down for the time being. He took in a breath, then ran and leaped into the air, stretching his hand out for the sword. His hand touched the hilt of the sword, but Himorra's fist smashed into Fargo's stomach. The wind was knocked from his lungs as he fell to the platform.
Himorra stared down at Fargo as he struggled to stand. He reached for the sword and grabbed it from the air. He was about to turn around in order to strike Fargo when Fargo's knee slammed into his torso. Himorra grunted and dropped the blade, which skittered across the platform and stopped near the railing.
Himorra, out of breath, hunched over forward, his hands clasping his chest.
Fargo brought his right fist into Himorra's face at full force. Himorra stumbled to the side and collapsed on the floor.
Fargo headed over to the side of the platform. Snatching the sword, he turned and steadily walked towards Himorra. Upon reaching him, Fargo raised the blade over his head.
Himorra glared at Fargo. "You wouldn't," he hissed.
Fargo smiled with satisfaction. "I would."
Then, Fargo brought the sword down with all his might. It sank into Himorra's left chest cavity. Himorra grunted in pain, then fell limp.
At this point, the crowd gasped and stood. Fargo removed the sword from Himorra's body, then held it above his head in triumph.
Then everything became blurry and went white.
When Fargo opened his eyes, he was standing in front of the vast door that lead into the next chamber.
Suddenly, the echoing voice returned once more.
"You have passed your third test. Now, in order for this door to open, you must guess the password."
The Marines were silent.
"You will be provided with three clues, then a fourth. Each of the first three clues represent one piece of the password.
"Your first clue is Darkness, the second is Circle, and third has to do with Coffee, Dining, and Breakfast."
Reia stared into the air. "What the...?"
"Your fourth clue, which represents all three, is 'King Arthur'. Good luck."
The voice faded away into the blackness of the room and wasn't heard from again.
Captain Fargo turned to the Marines. "Does anyone understand this one?"
Reia stepped forward. "I think I have it, sir."
Fargo nodded to her. "Give it a shot," he told her.
The voice returned. "You have the answer?"
Reia stepped forward. "Yes."
"Then explain it. Give me the password and you will be allowed to pass."
Reia smiled. "It's simple. Darkness isn't the best clue, but I managed to figure it out from the rest of the clues. A circle is round, which is obvious, and Coffee, Dining, and Breakfast are all types of tables. When given the fourth clue, 'King Arthur', I knew that Darkness must be Night. Therefore, the password is 'Knights of the Round Table.'"
Fargo stared at Reia.
"Congratulations, challengers. You have passed all the tests and are worthy of continuing."
With that said, the door opened with a hiss.
Instead of another dark chamber on the other side, the door revealed a large elevator platform.
The Marines cautiously stepped onto the thick glass lift, their hearts pounding.
Slowly the elevator began to rise into the great sphere in the center of Halo's structure.
After going up for almost five minutes, the lift slowed to a stop. A great door opened, revealing the mainframe.
The room was entirely white, with hologram panels flashing and flickering everywhere. At one side of the room, however, there were three great thrones. The High Priests sat there, overlooking the mainframe and the virus insertion.
They appeared to be surprised to see the Marines.
"Ah, the challengers," they all said simultaneously. "What a surprise."
Fargo noticed that the Priests' voices echoed inside the mainframe.
"Welcome. You are now in the middle of this program. But you will not leave."
Fargo rolled his eyes. "I'll bet."
"In fact, you all will die, right now."
High Priest Key Quest raised his right hand and extended his index finger. The plasma beam formed on the tip of his finger.
He fired it at Reia, who dodged off to the side. She rolled off to her left and landed on one knee and raised her assault rifle. She opened fire on the Priest, who responded in the same way Key Majestic had. The bullets ripped through his body. However, after emptying the clip on the Priest, she watched as the holes that riddled his body reformed and disappeared.
"It's no use," Fargo called over to her. "There's only one way to destroy them."
The other two Priests summoned their fighters as well.
"We killed all these guys and they're back for more?" Vincent questioned.
However, they were much stronger than ever before. The Marines were quick to open fire, but their efforts were wasted.
Key Tranquility laughed. "You won't win this time," he shouted out.
The Reia, Natalya, Vincent, Lara, Cain and Lance all began to do their best to hold the Covenant warriors off. Fargo watched helplessly as they were brutally attacked from all sides and yet they still tried to overcome them.
Reia looked over at Fargo. "Captain! Hurry and destroy the program! There's no time!"
Fargo nodded, then turned and headed for the main computer system. The High Priests stopped focusing on the others but instead stared at Fargo as he rushed to the panel.
He removed the virus key from his vest and dove for the panel. He glanced back one last time and faced what he did not want to see. The Marines kept fighting, but he could see that they were fighting a losing battle.
Reia glanced back at Fargo, then shouted, "Hurry! What are you waiting for?"
Fargo stared at her a second longer, then turned away.
The High Priests became alarmed by Fargo's actions. They tried to get him to stop, but to no avail.
Fargo smiled in light of the fear carved in the Priests faces. He jammed the virus key into the proper port.
Then, without regret, he twisted the key. It activated, glowing a light green. The sides opened into sections, revealing the virus insertion piece.
At that point, the virus was inserted into the mainframe and everything went white.