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The Fall of Fate: Special Edition (Parts 7-8)
Posted By: 'Nosolee<crugg2003@optonline.net>
Date: 24 December 2003, 8:05 PM

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Merry Christmas to all you HBOers who read this!

1000 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Beneath The Surface of Ucundus, Forerunner Control Center

      Holy...what is this place, Augustus?" Gregory stood on a long, luminous bridge that appeared to have no supports. The platform outstretched a deep, round, seemingly bottomless chasm. The bridge ended in a circular walkway, in the center of this walkway floated a holographic model of the Orion 3 system, including Ucundus and its moon. But, even more spectacular, was the enormous holographic effigy of Ucundus itself, which was suspended in the air around the bridge. It was easily one-thousand feet in circumference, and it orbited and rotated on its axis as if the gigantic room was space itself. Gregory looked up towards the domed ceiling and noticed how high it arched. At the front of the circular walkway was a long, glowing panel with illuminated symbols that twisted, turned, and morphed in a bizarre fashion whereby neither Gregory nor Augustus had ever seen.       "Let's try to find a way to upload me into this device. I might be able to identify the true purpose for this instillation," Augustus suggested.
      "You still persist on tampering with stuff that you shouldn't. And how do you plan on translating this ancient language?" Gregory asked.
      "I have my ways. And look, the last door you went through didn't blow up in your face. So you should trust me with this, right?" Augustus tried to give an answer to Gregory's doubt.
      "No. But I'll do it anyway," Gregory said as he stared at the control panel, searching for some sort of spot to upload the AI. He was careful not to touch anything; this was the biggest holo-pad he had ever seen.
      "Look, that terminal. Try to put me in there," Augustus directed the Spartan. Gregory took the AI cube from his helmet, felt August's presence depart from his mind, and placed the device into a likely looking square spot. A few moments later the holographic representation of Caesar Augustus, complete with armor and sword, appeared out of the control panel, looming over Gregory.
      "Wow," was Gregory's only reaction. Data scrolled across Augustus's chest-plate and body.
      "My God! I must begin translating this information at once! So much information, so much knowledge!" the AI put on a look like he was thinking, processing the immense amounts of data.
      "Hey, why don't you figure out something useful, like finding a way to relay a transmission to a human satellite, an S.O.S. maybe?" Gregory asked the holographic emperor.
      "Good suggestion, barbarian. But I will do as I please for the next few moments," Augustus said with high authority.
      "Barbarian," Gregory repeated, "what the hell are you talking about? And let's keep in mind who put you into the machine, and who can just as easily take you out," Gregory snapped back.
      "Oh, yeah, right. I cannot let that ancient Roman mentality get to me. And I will find a way to transmit a signal, just not right now," Augustus responded.
      "Alright, did you find the reason for this place yet?" Gregory asked.
      "I've just about finished the translation. Well, I've learned that the first room we entered, you remember the one with the malfunctioning machines?" Augustus asked.
      "Yeah, how could I forget, it put me into a coma," Gregory responded.
      "Right, its purpose was to act as a directional map to the ring-worlds. If I'm reading this correctly, the closest one to our galaxy is Instillation 04, located in the Threshold system. I'm copying my coordinates to my memory database now, so ONI might be able to send a team there and collect data. If I'm translating this correctly, there are several ring-worlds throughout the universe.
      "The next room—the long, dark one—is a prison, for a flood? No, I must be translating this incorrectly. I'll get back to that later," Augustus continued.
      "I'm not playing around with any holo-pads in that room, no matter how you attempt to coerce me. Nuh-uh," the Spartan made a hand gesture to signify his resilience. "Have you figured out how to open the cryotube?" the Spartan asked.
      "No, I have not. I'm afraid that I can't either. The tube's machinery is not connected with the mainframe of this control center. It's impossible," the AI said sadly.
      "Well what about the function of this instillation?" the Spartan asked.
      "Hmm, I almost have it. Ah yes! Here it is, the purpose of this instillation is to...Oh my God," a countenance of fear covered the AI's face.

1030 Hours April 29, 2548 (Military Calendar)//Above The Surface of Ucundus, In the Makeshift Prison Shack

      Wkehu 'Drrana awoke in his grey cell to the sound of human speech. How long has it been, he thought. His fogged vision cleared and he could visibly notice the bars and the face of the two marines on guard.
      "Hey, Jim, the alien's awake," one marine said to the other.
      "Right, let's radio York and tell 'em.
      "Okay," the first marine said, "This is Rob to Richard York. Anyone copy, over," the marine clicked the radio off.
      "Yo, Rob. We found another P.O.W. here. It's a Grunt. He says he knows where the Spartan is. We had to tie 'em up because he was wild. It shot a marine in the knee-cap. We're bringing him over now. Get ready, over," York said.
      "Alright, the Elite's awake, though. How should we go about opening the cell?" the marine asked.
      "When did Sleeping Beauty wake up?" came York's voice.
      "Bout five minutes ago," the marine responded.
      "He shouldn't be too lively. He should still be drowsy from the narcotic," York said. And that was exactly how 'Drrana felt, very tired.
      Ten minutes later the wooden door busted open and four marines, all grasping the arms and legs of an orange, screaming grunt, opened the cell and tossed him in.
      "Let me go! Let me go! I can't move," the Grunt yelled in his high pitched voice. Wkehu 'Drrana couldn't help but chuckle a little bit. The Grunt amused him. It wriggled around in a circle on the dirty floor, its arms and legs still bound. It continued this until its eyes fell upon the golden-armored elite and just stared.
      "Ooooh. Could you un-untie me, Excellency?" the Grunt asked. My,this grunt was brave to be asking a field-master a favor, the Elite thought. But 'Drrana was glad to have the company of another Covenant soldier, even if he was just a lowly Grunt.
      "I shall. What is your name, Grunt?" the elite asked.
      "My name is Grunter!" the grunt said excitedly.
      "Well, Grunter, why do you not have a traditional name for a Grunt? Did your Parental Figures not bestow one onto you" the Elite asked.
      "Well, in a sense yes, and in another sense no," Grunter said.       "Explain."
      "It is a long story. Many year units ago, my Parental Figures were murdered by the blasphemers in our homeland, during the infidel rebellion which our mighty army crushed in a short matter of three month units. But sadly, my Parental Figures were one of the few victims. I was only a fetus in an egg at the time, so I only heard stories of this when I was older. Once I hatched, I was implemented into Covenant army training. When I was asked for a name, me and my brethren had none, so the elites just called us Grunts. In a battle against the humans, I was taken prisoner. The humans decided that, since I was their only prisoner and I made growling noises at them, they would give me a human name and call me Grunter," Grunter explained.
      "Why did you keep such a name, if it was given to you by the humans?" 'Drrana asked.
      "Because none of the higher-ranking Covenant soldiers cared. Actually, you are the only one that ever asked me," Grunter said.
      "Well, Grunt..."
      "-er," Grunter corrected.
      "Right, well, Grunter, right now we only have to worry on escaping this imprisonment," Wkehu said.
      "Oh, no don't worry. I found one of those transmitters and contacted Fate's sister ship, Destiny. Another invasion is in the works."