To Survive V
Posted By: OpeningAct<OA@aol.com>
Date: 12 June 2004, 11:06 AM
To Survive V
5th January 2553
On repaired UNSC cruiser the Project
"Were we followed Cortana?" Captain Dunter asked.
"I'm afraid not Captain" Cortana announced. Ensign Marshell swivelled round on his chair and interrupted :
"Permission to speak freely sir" said Marshell.
"Go ahead" Dunter growled.
"Why is it a bad thing that we weren't followed sir?" questioned the ensign.
"Because it means that this ring-world will have a Covenant force just waiting to ambush us when we return to normal space" exclaimed Dunter. The Captain stared out of the bridge into the nothingness of slipspace and continued :
"You just make sure those MAC's are recharged by the time we come out of slipspace. And also arm the shiva nukes. Just in case" Dunter told Marshell.
"Yes sir!" replied the ensign. He turned back round and got back to work.
"Cortana, what's our ETA?" the Captain asked.
"Twenty minutes sir!" announced Cortana. Dunter nodded and walked up to the ship's intercom.
"All men to their stations, immediately" commanded the Captain.
The Master Chief felt the pain of a thousand needles pricking him all over his body. He had once again paid the price for sleeping in cryo with his armor on. After a few minutes the Spartan had thawed enough for him to step out of the tube and stretch his legs. He stared at his surroundings and remembered where he was and where they were headed. He was going to another halo to once again save humanity.
"Master Chief, this is the Captain. I want you on the bridge immediately!" a voice growled over the intercom. The Chief picked his MA7B Battle Rifle out of the cryo tube and headed towards the bridge. Like his armor, the Chief always liked a weapon with him even though he was extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat too. The Chief sprinted double-time to the bridge thinking about his fellow Spartans. Fred, Linda and Will had perished in New Mombossa when it was bombarded with plasma. The Chief had just managed to make it out alive on board a pelican, but he kind of wished he hadn't. The only other Spartan that might still be alive was Kelly, who had disappeared with Doctor Halsey on a mysterious mission. But the Chief was beginning to think he would never see her again. He pushed these dangerous thoughts out of his mind as Lieutenant Steffan Miklese joined him.
"Chief, can I come with you?" he asked.
"I guess so Lieutenant" the Chief said coolly. The pair stopped talking as the doors to the bridge whooshed open.
"Ah Chief, glad you're here" exclaimed Captain Dunter.
"Sorry to interrupt Captain, but we're re-entering normal space in 3, 2 , 1!" announced Cortana.
The Project floated through the scattered asteroids dancing from shadow to shadow. This system was unknown to the UNSC until a few days ago when the Chief had infiltrated the Halo's control centre. Three planets, the asteroid field and a silvery disc occupied the system as well as what looked like large lumps of purple clay. Covenant cruisers. Thirteen cruisers to be exact, some large some small. All the Project's systems were powered down except for it's secondary thrusters which gently pushed it through the asteroids.
"Damn it! A human ship can barely take on one Covenant cruiser, let alone thirteen. Suggestions Cortana?" asked the Captain.
"Hmmmm. The Project has three shiva nukes. At point-blank range it will rip a large hole in a small fleet, such as this one" exclaimed Cortana.
"Point-blank range! You might as well invite the Covenant round for milk and cookies!" bellowed Dunter.
"Maybe if we load a shiva nuke onto a longsword, it may be able to get to point-blank range undetected. I'm afraid the explosion would envelope the craft before it got away though sir" Cortana said, running a simulation in her head.
"Cortana, could a copy of yourself perform this task?" questioned the Chief.
"I'm a little embarrassed, but recently my copies have been, well.. a little unstable. They might detonate the nuke too early, which would alert the Covenant to our presence. I'm afraid the longsword will have to be driven manually" replied Cortana. The Chief shook his head and stared down at the floor's metal plating and thought to himself :
Too many damned heroes in this war already.
Lieutenant Steffan Miklese stood at attention, listening to the three-way conversation between the Chief, Cortana and the Captain. He thought about his two year old son who had perished on Reach and how he hadn't managed to save him. His wife lived somewhere on Earth, in one of the refugee camps that were being hit everyday. How much longer would she be alive for? The Lieutenant knew one thing. He would do whatever he could to delay the inevitable for her.
"I volunteer for this mission Captain...sir" Miklese exclaimed. The three turned, as if seeing him for the first time, especially the Chief.
The Master Chief stood in the recent 'battlefield' that was hangar B-1. One longsword sat in the hangar, being loaded with a shiva-class nuke. Miklese walked around the longsword inspecting the inside and out. The Chief strolled towards the Lieutenant.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" questioned the Spartan.
"Yes, I'm sure" Miklese announced shakily. A marine walked up to the Lieutenant and asked :
"Are you ready to go sir?". The Chief pondered for a moment wondering whether the honorific was added because of Miklese was a commanding officer or whether the marine simply respected the Lieutenant. The Spartan dismissed it as 'pointless'. The Lieutenant nodded to the marine and the marine nodded back, as if they had their own secret language. Miklese walked up the ramp and turned to the Chief.
"Make sure you kill everyone of those Covenant bastards..for me" said the Lieutenant. The Chief performed the Spartan's smile signal. Miklese didn't know what this meant, but he smiled back as the longsword's hatch closed.
The longsword drifted out of hangar B-1 into the asteroid field. The nimble craft swerved between the asteroids at a quarter of it's top speed. A tear fell down the Lieutenant's face as he flew closer to the Covenant fleet. He knew what he was doing had to be done. Miklese also realised that this had to be his fate. This was his part in saving Earth. And he would do it at any cost, even if he had to give his life.
The Chief returned to the bridge to see Fire Team Monsoon conferring with the Captain. Every monitor the Chief could see showed the Lieutenant's longsword at different angles. The Spartan walked towards the hologram of Cortana and said :
"Miklese is doing the right thing".
"Yes, his bravery may well save millions of lives" exclaimed Cortana.
"I hope when my moment of fate comes I can be as brave as the Lieutenant" said the Chief confidently.
"I have no doubt" Cortana announced.
The Lieutenant's face appeared on all the Project's screens. The Captain saluted, as a sign of respect and said :
"Lieutenant, the people of Earth will always remember you as what you are. A hero".
"Thank you sir. I have one last wish before I leave though sir" Miklese said shakily.
"Anything Lieutenant" Dunter exclaimed.
"Please tell my wife that I did this...for her" the lieutenant growled.
"Yes Lieutenant" the Captain replied. The bridge of the Project saluted the Lieutenant one final time before his face disappeared off the screens.
The Lieutenant's longsword manoeuvred around the many asteroids. The small craft blasted through the small gaps, speeding up as it went. The small Covenant fleet was 300km ahead and the asteroid field could hide the fighter for another 100km. Cortana had said she would be able to block the Covenant's tracking system for a little longer after that but then it would be all down to the Lieutenant's piloting. He had to hope that they didn't waste a plasma torpedo on a longsword, because if they did, he wouldn't have a chance in hell.
The longsword blasted out of the asteroid field into the empty void of space. 145km later and the Covenant's tracking system kicked back into action.
Miklese danced out of the way of the oncoming plasma shots. Seraphs flew out of the Covenant flagship's hangars and boosted towards him. The Lieutenant didn't even attempt to engage the enemy, as he pushed the longsword up to it's top-speed
The small human craft sped past the squadron of Covenant fighters and soared towards the fleet. The cruisers re-opened fire only for the longsword to easily dodge the oncoming plasma. Cortana had told Miklese to release the nuke at 10km distance. This was close enough to decimate the entire Covenant fleet. The fighter was at 15km distance and was approaching the capital ships at speed. Suddenly plasma rocked the Lieutenant's longsword. A seraph had followed him and had fired at the craft's wing. The longsword spun towards the flagship. Miklese realised that he was at 10km and fired the armed nuke. Nothing happened. He tried again, but still nothing happened. The nuke's propulsion system had been damaged in the seraph's assault on the longsword. Miklese was at 2km distance when he knew what he had to do.
"Go to hell, you bastards!" the Lieutenant yelled as the craft impacted on the Covenant flagship's hull. The shiva nuke detonated in a blinding flash of light.
The Project powered it's way towards the debris field. One of the smaller cruisers, that had been on the edge of the blast, limped away from the battlefield only to be obliterated by a wave of archer missiles. After checking that nothing else was moving the UNSC cruiser floated towards the ringworld, known as Halo, installation-01.
The Chief stared out at the debris field and sighed. Once again he said to himself :
Too many damned heroes in this war.
The Covenant destroyer, the Swift Massacre re-emerged from the moon Mestes. It spotted the human cruiser heading towards their forerunner artifact. It slowly drifted after them.