Chapter 6-343 Guilty Spark
Posted By: Ultra Sonic 007
Date: 17 March 2003, 1:49 PM
The Master Chief furiously tried to locate the communication frequency of Samus' Gunship. Despite the data Cortana had given him of its location, the thing was still tough to crack.
"Any luck Chief?"
"No Cortana. Samus' ship has more firewalls than the spooks at ONI."
He was referring to the Office of Naval Intelligence, the UNSC's intelligence division. The guys at ONI were so paranoid at times that they required personnel to spend half of their day going through security.
"That's not something to brag about you know?"
The Chief ignored Cortana as he went back to trying to establish a clear channel with the Gunship. He hoped that Adam Malkovich would be able to give him more information on the Space Pirates and the Metroids.
Soon, he decided to quit altogether. Guess he'd have to wait until he saw the computerized CO in person.
He switched on the com-link to Samus' Fusion Suit and asked, "Any idea what the Space Pirates are up to?"
Samus remained silent for a few moments before replying. "Let's just say that they're bent on conquering the galaxy, using whatever methods they have at their disposal."
The Chief nodded. How come Samus' enemies had so many similarities with his own?
It didn't matter.
He would fight them off anyway.
Covenant forces all over Halo were immediately ordered to return to the Incursion.
The Metroids presented a greater threat to them than the Spartan II at the moment.
Slowly, Covenant dropships could be seen in the sky above Halo's artificial atmosphere, flying back towards the rendezvous point at the Covenant cruiser.
Two Covenant dropships flew silently as they neared the location of the valley.
An Elite sitting in one of the wings remained silent as the four other Grunts chattered amongst themselves in their own tongue.
Suddenly, energy beams collided with their dropship. The locks disengaged as the Covenant forces opened fire on the Space Pirate base below.
The Space Pirates had already set up a large base in the valley where the Index used to lay, and right now, Metroids and Ice Troopers were scouring the remains of the valley, searching for any hostile life forms.
The blue Elite roared as it opened fire upon the encampment below with its plasma rifle. Blue orbs of white-hot plasma fell upon some of the Space Pirates, scorching their exoskeletons.
The Covenant were answered with yellow streaks of energy. The Space Pirates fired Plasma Artillery Cannons as the two dropships initiated evasive maneuvers.
It looked like they would make it.
Then the blue Elite brought a hand up to its eyes as a red ray tore through the adjacent dropship, utterly destroying it and sending it crashing into the valley below, swathed in flames.
The Elite looked up and saw the armored pterodactyl.
The same one that transmissions told of...
The one that destroyed a Covenant destroyer single-handedly.
Out of fear for itself, the Elite tossed every plasma grenade it had against the flying Space Pirate. When it ran out, it began firing with every last bit of energy its plasma rifle contained.
Ridley was unfazed.
A few of the Grunts made the choice to leap from their seat, preferring to take their chances than staying up their.
Ridley fired a plasma torpedo at the dropship as the Elite roared with anguish.
The dropship was immediately incinerated by the projectile as Ridley arced around, descending toward Space Pirate Outpost Alpha, their new base of operations.
All the Covenant who leapt from the dropship died upon impact with terra firma.
The Chief set the dropship down about a kilometer away from Samus' Gunship. He didn't want to rouse too much curiosity as to where the Gunship was located.
He put Cortana's processor cube back in his neck socket and hopped out of the dropship. Samus was soon right next to him, walking at a leisurely pace.
They continued like this for about a half hour, not talking at all. They progressed through the same sandy desert, but the winds that had impeded their progress the first time through were now gone.
Suddenly, motion sensors detected something.
"Guys, I'm detecting movement inside the Gunship."
The Chief froze for a brief second. Who the heck could've gotten inside the Gunship?
"Proceed carefully Samus...we don't know what's in there."
The Hunter didn't reply. She was probably too focused at the moment.
The Master Chief and Samus slowly edged their way through the small oasis until the Gunship was in their sight.
"Be careful you two...I can't tell what's in there..."
Samus quietly pushed the switch that opened the hatch. There was no light that signified that the gravity lift was operating, which meant either Adam was trying to keep from whatever was inside from getting anything important, or that Adam was...
No. Samus shook her head. Don't think like that.
Samus quietly climbed aboard, her Arm Cannon ready to fire at whatever was on board the ship.
The Master Chief followed suit only moments later, and he had his Assault Rifle ready to fire.
They couldn't see anything.
"Odd...I'm sure I detected something."
Suddenly, a robotic voice interfered.
"And you most likely did."
Samus and the Chief quickly pointed their weapons in the direction of the voice. Their eyes saw a small cube-shaped figure floating in the air. It was made of metal, in the center was one blue sphere, which acted as its 'eye'.
Cortana groaned. The Chief kept his firearms pointed at the thing.
Samus kept her Arm Cannon pointed as she asked, "Alright, who are you?"
The metal object hovered closer as it replied, "I am 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor for Installation 04, but this is installation 03. I had to abandon the other one due to some..."
The Monitor paused as it looked upon the Master Chief.
Cortana then cracked back with her own reply.
"Cut the calm talk pal! How in the world did you survive that explosion?"
"My carapace is made of an incredibly durable alloy. Not only that, but I am afraid that my protocols require that I not be destroyed. So as you see, I have to fight for my existence should it be threatened."
"Shut up! And why are you here?"
The Monitor floated over to the green eye that represented Adam's 'voice' as he replied, "This computerized being contained a great wealth of knowledge that I found...incredibly useful, and surprising."
Adam's eye blinked as he said, "I'm sorry...but he overwhelmed my firewalls."
"It figures. What do you want now?
"Why it's simple really. I discovered that your little friend managed to hack into the teleportation grid, so that he may be able to keep a close eye on all parts of the ring. I looked through his records, and I discovered that you had already retrieved the Index."
The Chief resisted every urge in his body to pull the Monitor apart. He was getting really annoying.
"I'm also intrigued by this new race of invaders. They possess creatures remarkably similar to the Flood, and as such, they've completely overwhelmed the previous intruders. I'm impressed...especially by the flyer. He seems to be their main figure of authority."
Samus gritted her teeth. How dare this thing talk so casually about a vile group of creatures such as the Space Pirates?
The Monitor hummed some more as he said, "But now is not the time for idle conversation. Hand me the Index, so that I may activate the ring. If you don't. I will have to terminate you."
Cortana laughed at this. "How rustbucket? Your Sentinels didn't exactly do the job last time!"
"Perhaps not, but mass numbers should terminate that little problem. Besides, you won't last long with four different factions gunning for you."
And with that, the Monitor teleported away as laser fire peppered the Gunship.
Adam Malkovich's eye blinked as he said, "Over a dozen enemy targets are peppering the hull with laser beams. You'd better hurry and stop them."
With nary a pause, the Chief and Samus were already down on the ground.
The Chief looked up at the cyclopean machines.
Samus took the few seconds to scan them.
The Forerunner are an ancient race of cyclopean machines, but their history to this point is relatively unclear. It is known that they built the seven Halos that lie throughout the galaxy, and they were built to contain the Flood. These are Sentinels, designed to watch over Halo as its security force. Their laser beams are ideal for quickly destroying the Infection forms, but the intervention of the Covenant has allowed the Flood to infect the fallen warriors, thus rendering the Sentinels' lasers almost ineffective against the Flood.
Samus quickly returned to combat mode as the Sentinels turned their attention to them.
The red laser beams erupted from their rotating red eyepieces, which hung about a few centimeters away from the main body of the metal Forerunner.
The Chief caught a bit of the laser energy, and his shields dropped to half before he opened fire on them with his Assault Rifle.
The bullets at first bounced off their energy shields, but the constant fire wore them down until there was nothing left.
Two fell to the ground, collapsing in a smoking heap.
Ten to go.
Samus, meanwhile, was pounding the machines with her Wavebuster. The continuous stream of electric energy burst from her Arm Cannon, slowly destroying one Sentinel at a time.
Six more fell from the continuous attack.
Then, the Master Chief activated a plasma grenade, and threw it on a Sentinel as it glowed a bright blue.
The explosion enveloped the last four.
Cortana chuckled as she opened a private link with the Chief. "50/50. You're improving Chief."
Sometimes he wished Cortana would just be quiet.
"Well the Sentinels are gone...but the Monitor's gonna be busy now. We need to hurry and destroy Halo."
The Chief nodded as Samus kneeled before the wreckage of the Sentinels, to take a closer look at them.
The Space Pirates were hard at work now.
They had already plundered the entire valley of its resources, and they were already beginning to set up their security facilities. Soon, the entire area would be under the watchful eye of security, allowing the Space Pirates to move outward through the Ring-World.
Two Space Pirates casually entered large facility, which is built into the side of the valley, going deeper into the ground.
They casually looked around, but that's when they saw terminals around the area...an area covered with green and purple blood.
The Pirates activated the terminal, and a screen of data appeared in front of them.
What they found was most interesting.
They immediately began relaying this data to the Command Center, when a strange hiss was heard in the air.
They immediately turned around to see strange parasites come out of the vents.
They quickly relayed a Priority Alpha request to Command as they immediately fired energy shots at the parasitic life forms, but they were too many.
Lunging upon the Space Pirates, they embedded their long, insectoid 'teeth' through the Pirates' exoskeletons, causing their blood to spew forth until they collapsed to the ground, dead.
Then the Flood immediately began the process of fully infecting them.
The Space Pirate security crewman looked at the Priority Alpha transmission.
-TRANSMISSION (PRIORITY ALPHA)
-QUARANTINE SECTOR FOUR BY SEVENTEEN ASAP. STRANGE LIFE FORM ENCOUNTERED. BIOSCANS MATCH THOSE FOUND EARLIER UPON SCOUTING THE AREA. EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION.
-RECOMMENDATION: TWO METROIDS AND A SECURITY TEAM TO LOCK DOWN THE AREA.
-DATA PATCH RELAYED TO RESEARCH TEAM CONCERNING RACE 'FORERUNNER'.
The security crewman immediately relayed this information to the head of Security Team Zeta. They would handle this.
But the Space Pirate pondered over the last thing that was sent...'Forerunner'...
He would learn more once the Research Team was finished examining the data patch.
The Covenant Armada moved through Slipstream space like a pack of wolves...ravenous, tightly-knit, and well coordinated.
But the Covenant weren't the only ones on the ships.
New orders from the Ruler Caste on the home world had ordered them to salvage any human weaponry that they could...a stark contrast from their previous policy of never laying a hand on a human weapon.
Why the sudden change?
The Flood...the human's projectile-based weapons proved remarkably effective against the Flood.
Which is why they had salvaged much...including what the humans called Assault Rifles, shotguns, pistols, rocket launchers, fragmentation grenades, even the vehicles they used.
And not only that...but as an Elite walked through a hall, he heard the pounding of the other human items they salvaged...
The foul-mouthed human soldiers themselves.
Soon, they would be exiting Slipstream space.
To be continued...
Next time, the Covenant armada returns to subspace flight and prepares for an attack on the Space Pirates! Meanwhile, the Flood attack the Space Pirate facility, Ridley attacks the Incursion, and the Monitor uses all of his power to annihilate the Chief and Samus!
And Cortana finally cracks into Samus' past...