Chapter 4.5-Hunt for the Index (The Real one.)
Posted By: Ultra Sonic 007
Date: 12 March 2003, 3:04 AM
OOC: Please make note that the Space Pirates follow time by means of 'cycles'. This is my interpretation of their time, converted into normal human time.
1 Cycle = 1 Hour
1 Decacycle = 1 Day
1 Terra Cycle = 1 Week
That is my interpretation of the Space Pirate time frame, as it was represented in Metroid Prime.
OOC #2: Gah...this one was supposed to be Chapter 4-Hunt for the Index...apologies for my clumsy mistakes. Hopefully this will be the last one.
The Dropship flew silently through the air, heading for the direction of the Control Room.
"Cortana, how far away are we?"
Cortana's hologram stood silent for a few seconds before answering the Chief. "About over one thousand kilometers to go."
Master Chief tilted his head in thought. Something as simple as that shouldn't take that long for her to figure out. "That didn't seem too difficult for you to spend more than a few seconds on."
"I know Chief. I'm busy trying to crack into Samus' databanks."
The purple-colored AI shook her head. "Nothing of the sort. Her firewalls are putting up a huge fight."
Any day you come across a firewall that could stop Cortana would be a bad one.
The Chief only hoped that superstition would keep its nose out of his business today.
He switched to one of the external cameras of the Covenant dropship. Samus had gotten in one of the dropship's wings, where Covenant troops usually waited to be dropped off.
Sometimes he wondered whether or not the one behind that armor was human.
Then again, he received the same response from many other's upon their first encounter, so he couldn't argue.
Suddenly, Cortana reappeared again, looking quite panicked.
"What is it?"
"A large concentration of Flood and Covenant right below us. Radio transmission indicate that the Covenant are trying to prevent the Flood from reaching....give me a sec....the Index."
The Index. Master Chief remembered that little trinket.
"Any idea why the Covenant are after it?"
"Hold on...accessing....they're trying to keep it away from the Flood so that they can't destroy it. The Covenant don't like the idea of activating the ring, but its their last-ditch resort.....and if its activated, all human-life will be destroyed....and the Covenant will only lose a few systems...."
Very bad news. If the Covenant activated Halo, humanity could kiss itself goodbye.
"We'll have to destroy it."
"You want us to land right now?"
The Spartan II glared at the AI.
"Alright, sorry....I found a safe landing zone. Its in a tropical rainforest within a valley. Hopefully we'll have some breathing room before we encounter any Flood or Covenant."
She should hope so. The Chief was ready to fight...
But too much battle would wear even the hardiest warrior down.
The frigate suddenly appeared out of the blackness of space.
It's surface was clean, and almost reptilian in structure. The ship's exterior loading docks had an energy field that kept the vacuum of space at bay, allowing the Space Pirates within to prepare themselves for departure.
They had pursued their target at light speed longer than safety regulations required.
But as a result, they were now less than a few cycles away.
The signal was closer now.
The Hunter would soon be found.
The Hunter would soon fall.
Adam kept a close watch upon the Dropship as it began to descend.
"Hmm...that valley has a high concentration of sentient life forms. Not a good sign."
He took a closer look, scanning the sector at a higher zoom-in frequency.
It was a battlefield.
Smoke slowly curled as it drifted upward. The pristine rainforest was nearly obliterated by the fire and plasma being spewed from the two opposing sides.
One was the Covenant species that were the apparent owners of the ships surrounding the ring-world.
As for the other side, bio-scans indicated that the life forms were of the same cellular structure as the creature which Cortana sent data to his database concerning it.
The palm trees rustled and the dew that lay on its fronds was flushed away as the dropship landed in the small clearing.
The Master Chief disengaged the dropship locks, letting Samus hop out. He then opened the small door and stepped out, putting a new clip into his Assault Rifle.
He was given an extra pack for carrying clips, increasing his ammo total to 1200 rounds.
He'd have to rely on Covenant weaponry once it ran out.
A red NAV point appeared on his face plate's HUD. It pointed at an area over one kilometer away.
"That's where the Index is currently being held by the Covenant. It's an armored installation that the Covenant set up so that the Flood won't be able to reach it. However, the plasma discharging in this area has been massive. Apparently this battle's been going on for a while."
Samus said nothing as she switched to her Plasma Beam and slowly made her way towards the NAV point.
The Master Chief moved along side her from about three meters away. That way, they wouldn't both be caught in crossfire.
It was time for battle.
He could hear the small noises up ahead. They sounded like footsteps. Then he heard a small click.
The sound of Grunts reloading their Needler weapons.
He didn't want to give away his position too soon. In battle, stealth and secrecy was an integral part of surviving as much as strength and quick thinking.
And of course, a big factor was luck. Luck could decide the outcome of a skirmish, a battle, or even a war.
He quietly crouched and aimed through the bushes at the seven Grunt soldiers. They were alert and on the lookout for the Flood.
The little chirping and insectoid sounds being heard throughout the jungle verified that the Flood were everywhere. He could see the fear in the Grunts' eyes. They were afraid.
Fear could be the Executioner or the Savior in battle.
It all depends on how you react to it.
He took out a plasma grenade he had pilfered from the Incursion and attached it to the armor of the closest Grunt.
The Grunt sniffed the air as it heard the sound of sizzling sparks. It looked back and it did nothing else before the grenade exploded, rupturing its life-support system and sending it flying into another Grunt.
The Grunts were now looking at his direction.
He could hear one speak in the human tongue. Another sample as to how much the Covenant understood them.
Master Chief had been turned into an infamous figure among the Covenant. His presence could change the tide of any battle. They knew it, and so did he.
He dove away from the incoming Needler rounds, diving behind various trees, letting the wood shatter and splinter upon contact with the explosive projectiles.
The sounds of plasma and wailing Grunts filled the air around him. He then stood up, Assault Rifle aimed, and he quickly moved back to where the Grunts were.
Their bodies were incinerated, courtesy of Samus Aran's Plasma Beam.
Such power. He had to admire the bounty hunter's powerful weaponry. That kind of weaponry in the hands of the humans could prove incredibly useful.
Samus said nothing as she began moving on.
Master Chief quietly followed. If anything else, he would get an earful later on from Cortana if he didn't start upstaging Samus.
That grenade explosion was all she needed.
It distracted the Grunts long enough for her to torch them with her Plasma Beam.
But judging from Cortana's attitude towards her, she got the nagging feeling that she was being a glory hog.
Perhaps she should hold back a bit.
Or better yet, split up from the Chief and make her way to the NAV point via a different route. It would save her ears from Cortana's verbal onslaught later on.
She quickly launched two missiles to the area two meters in front of the Chief.
She saw his motions through the Thermal Visor and saw that he immediately dived for cover.
Now she could forge her own path to this 'Index'...whatever it was. She did not yet know the true power of the item, and what it unlocked.
She would have to scan it later on.
She heard movement in the area.
She quickly turned her Thermal Visor back on, looking around the foliage with sharp eyes on the lookout.
She saw the outline of the same creature Cortana had shown her aboard the Gunship.
She quickly scanned the strange creature.
Flood: Infection Form
The Flood are a parasitic species capable of infecting and mutating any sentient life form with there spores. The Infection form of the Flood serves as the actually distributor of the spores, which it does by latching onto the intended host with his tentacles positioned on the bottom of the Flood. It then injects the spores into the blood stream of the victim, which slowly turn the victim into a Carrier host or a Warrior host, depending on the status of the life form's internal organs. This life form is capable of fully infecting a group of twenty sentient organisms within the fraction of thirty minutes. Maximum firepower recommended in dealing with this life form.
So this was the Flood.
Judging from what she had just discovered, she didn't want to take any chances.
If she was infected...she didn't want to take the chance.
She quickly switched to her Power Beam and shot once at the Flood.
It popped like a balloon.
She eased up for a moment, but over four dozen Flood Infection forms quickly leapt forward from the bushes and the treetops.
It was an ambush.
Quickly opening fire upon the parasitic creatures, they popped and exploded as they quickly crawled towards her, eager to infect her.
Something like this needed a quick method of extermination.
Samus rolled into her Morph Ball form and laid a Power Bomb as the Flood leapt onto her.
But before they could try to crack through her armor, the multi-colored explosion enveloped them all.
When the light receded, Samus stood, unscathed.
There was no time for relaxation though.
A humanoid figure appeared from between two trees. It looked similar to the Elites, although it had the appearance of the Flood.
She quickly jumped backwards and switched to the Ice Beam, quickly firing an icy blast at the Flood. It froze immediately, giving her time to find out what the heck it was.
An Elite that has been infected by the Flood spores. The outer structure of the Elite changes upon contact with the Flood spores. The head is pushed back, as it is of no use to the Flood. Instead, sensory appendages grow out of the upper chest and the lower neck, serving as a biological sonar for the infected Elite. Its hands form long tentacles, capable of inflicting more damage than a normal Elite in hand-to-hand combat. Despite its brutal attack strategy, it is quite capable of wielding a multitude of weapons without any problem.
Samus didn't want to risk it. She quickly fired a missile at the frozen monster, shattering it into pieces.
She quickly moved through the dense jungle as the sounds of the battle loomed all around her. She didn't want to become like that Elite.
In a sense, they were almost as deadly as the Metroids themselves.
The Master Chief ducked as he shot several more rounds at the oncoming Flood. The Infection forms proved to be inadequate at defending themselves from the piercing bullets of an MA5B Assault Rifle.
He then quickly rolled and took cover behind a charred and blackened tree that was still standing on the battleground. Numerous Covenant units and Flood had engaged here.
Both of them had to be neutralized.
He quickly lobbed a grenade into the center of the fray.
The Covenant were too busy fighting to see it, and the Flood could care less.
The explosions ripped through the bodies of numerous units, Flood and Covenant alike.
The sight of missiles peppering the battlefield brought some comfort to the Chief. He turned around to see Samus storming onto the battle field, jumping and switching between her Missile Launcher and Plasma Beam every few seconds.
He quickly looked to the left to see an empty Covenant Ghost.
The unit was quick, agile, and it was able to level the playing field significantly once the plasma cannons were at their maximum charge.
He burst out from behind his hiding place and shot at the Covenant and Flood, hoping to at least take them out before reaching the Ghost.
He quickly hopped into the hovercraft, and then he took aim onto the main group of enemies.
He began shooting at them as fast as he could, circling around them to ensure that he wouldn't get caught by stray—or aimed—grenade.
He saw flames erupt from several of them as Samus Aran fired numerous streams of molten plasma at the Covenant and the Flood.
"Imagine what we could do with that weapon."
The Chief knew it was another insult against the bounty hunter. Sure, it would be a nice weapon to have, but he wasn't as sure as Cortana if he could manipulate it as easily as the hunter.
Soon, the battlefield had been leveled. The Chief hopped out of the Ghost as Samus scanned it.
The Ghost is a hovercraft unit designed for recon and anti-infantry purposes. The Ghost is a light craft, armed with two plasma cannons that are capable of firing repeatedly without having to stop to recharge, due to the coolant liquid that lowers the temperature of the cannons every time it is used. Despite the quickness of the Ghost, its major drawback is the fact that the driver is virtually unprotected.
Samus quickly returned to her Combat Visor as the Master Chief moved on through the forest.
"The installation's only 100 meters away. We're close now."
Adam watched closely as the Master Chief and Samus slowly fought their way to the 'Index'.
He knew Samus was capable of defeating enemies in large numbers, and what data Cortana had given him concerning the Master Chief identified that he was capable of the same thing.
The thought of what they could do when cooperating was a scary proposition.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted as the Gunship's radar picked up an incoming enemy frigate from outside the system.
He quickly accessed the cameras on the Flawless Cowboy and took a look at the incoming ship.
The design was all too familiar.
"The Space Pirates...no...."
The creature had the appearance of a pterodactyl. But it was ten times as deadly, if not more.
It had been humiliating for him to have lost to the Hunter three times.
This time, he would make sure that wouldn't happen.
His body had been covered with a stronger armor plating, and his chest was now as heavily armored as the rest of his body. That little weakness was out of the way.
His breath reeked with fire, and his yellow eyes could pierce steel if they were weapons. His tail was as long and as sharp as every, but among his new enhancements included a plasma missile launcher...weapons that needed no ammo, but was able to harness the thermal energy naturally produced by his body to create a powerful heat-based projectile.
It was effective, and it was easy to use.
He looked upon the view screens at where the Hunter's signal came from.
Ridley was surprised to see a metallic ring-shaped world. A feat of this scale was similar to when the Space Pirates had completely emptied the innards of Planet Zebes and transformed it into a giant base.
But he was even more surprised to see foreign ships hovering above the ring-world's surface.
The design was biological in structure, and it held a strange kind of predator-like beauty.
However, they were in their way of their objective: the destruction of bioform Samus Aran.
He counted ten ships. Signs of battle were on various parts of the surface.
They would destroy the foreigners, assimilate any useful technology they might have, then move on with their plans.
Ridley glanced back at the tubes holding the pacified Metroids. They had been the first group to be successfully tamed, and since they wouldn't attack the Space Pirates, it was time to put them to use.
Groups of two Space Pirates and two Ice Troopers would take one Metroid onboard the foreign spacecraft. They would destroy all life forms onboard and pilot the ship into formation with the frigate Vol Arion.
A sadistic grin came onto Ridley's face as the transport craft took off from the frigate's docks, blowing open a hole in the side of the alien space craft with plasma lasers and moving on in.
Meanwhile, several more would fly to the actual surface and scout the area out before building an installation to serve as their base of operations.
The Hunter would soon be gone.
Cortana suddenly stopped humming as new signals came onto radar.
"Chief, picking up transport craft of unknown origin..."
Great. Now what was going on?
He looked up to see several strangely-shaped spacecraft fly through the atmosphere, slowly landing outside the valley.
The Chief turned around and faced Samus.
"What did you say 'oh no' for?"
Chief stared at through the visor of Samus and scanned her face. A strange look came over her as she said two words.
To be continued....
Next time, the hunt for the Index continues, but the presence of the Space Pirates complicates things! The Master Chief encounters them and the Metroids for the first time (delightful, huh? :P )
Plus, the Covenant also have their first dealings with the Metroids...and it isn't pretty at all...