Halo 2: The Forerunner Chronicle
Posted By: Velker<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 25 February 2002, 9:31 pm
"Wake up Chief!"
"What is it?" The Master Chief opened his eyes, staring at Cortana's hologram.
"We're almost at Earth. What'll we find when we get there?" Cortana looked worried. The Chief didn't usually see her worried, but then again, she was inside his helmet most of the time.
"I don't like to think about it. I'm just thinking of what I'll do if I find Covs." He got up and walked towards the weapons locker in the rear of the Longsword-class Interceptor. It was locked, but with the massive amount of strength his armor gave him, he ripped off the door like a piece of toilet paper. Inside was an MA5B assault rifle, some magazines, and four frag grenades. The MC grabbed it all and slung the rifle over his shoulder.
"Dropping out of slipspace in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..." The lines blurring the viewscreen faded into stars. There was a beautiful blue planet in front of the fighter, shrouded by white clouds.
"Identify yourself Longsword!" barked a voice from over the COM. A UNSC Destroyer came into view from the other side of Earth.
"UNSC Destroyer, this is Cortana of the Pillar of Autumn requesting an immediate meeting with the head of the fleet. I've got Master Chief Petty Officer Spartan 117 on this fighter with me."
"What about Captain Keyes?" came the reply, this time from a different man, probably the first one's boss.
"Dead. We're the only survivors."
"Control copies. Continue on your current course. Platform C5 in Washington DC's Akrayd Military Base."
"Roger that Control. Cortana out."
A lone Marine Lieutenant was waiting for the Master Chief when he landed. The Master Chief followed him, carrying the MA5B and the M90 Shotgun that had saved his life against the Floodies. They walked out of the hanger into a large translucent blue dome. Insides were about a hundred soldiers, all of them looking stronger and taller than average soldiers did. There was a man in front of them, a Latin-American man with gray hair. He wore the insignia of a Chief Petty Officer in ONI SpecOps.
"Chief Mendez!" The Master Chief ran over to greet his old commander. Mendez saluted and the gesture was returned.
"Spartan 117. What happened back there?"
"It is a long story, sir. We need to strike back against the Covenant now, sir. I wiped out their whole armada back at Halo."
"Halo? What are you talking about?"
"Master Chief!" said a man standing on a podium in front of the soldiers. "I am Admiral Stanforth, the current commander of all UNSC Naval Ops. What happened?"
"Well Admiral, we made a blind jump from Reach and came out near the gas giant Threshold. There we found a strange metal ring, which we called Halo. The Covenant Armada chased us, and we were forced to bail out onto the ring world. Before we bailed, the Captain gave me Cortana and then he took the PoA down and landed it manually on Halo." It took John an hour to tell the tale of his exploits on Halo.
"So there were no survivors? Human, Covenant or Flood?" asked Stanforth when he was done.
"No sir, I have no reason to believe there were."
"I see. Well, you're dismissed Master Chief. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Spartans."
"The Spartans sir? They were on the ground when reach was glassed?."
"CPO Mendez has one hundred new Spartans. There have been major advances in weaponry since you left, and I believe you'll want to practice with them. I'm going back to command to see what they want," said Stanforth.
John saluted and shouted, "Spartans! Ten-hut!" The Spartans stepped to attention and saluted the Admiral as he walked out of the room.
A tall Spartan walked up to John. His features seemed familiar, yet distant. "John, it is good to see you again!" He hugged the MC, grinning wildly.
"Who are you Spartan?"
"It's Sam. My body was recovered, you know that. You weren't at the funeral because there wasn't one. They flash-cloned me and I was sent to join the new generation of Spartans. To help the Chief train them; to get my body re augmented. I've been with these Spartans on Earth ever since. And you're not the only one who got promoted. I'm a CPO. I'm ready to get those Covenant bugs back. Everybody, Kelly, Linda, Jim, all gone. You must be pretty torn up about it."
"I've had a lot of time to think about it. It took me a week to get here from Halo. Introduce me to your Spartans Sam."
Sam and the Master Chief walked through the ranks, inspecting the younger Spartans. Then they and Chief Mendez went off to one of Washington DC's best restaurants for a drink, and to reminisce about old times.
The next day, the Master Chief went down to the Spartans' shooting range to look at the new weapons. He found Gunnery Sergeant Tom-235. "Sergeant, Admiral Stanforth told me their have been weaponry advances since I've been gone. Can I see what he was talking about?"
"Certainly Master Chief." He walked over to a weapons locker and pulled out a rifle. It looked like an MA5B for the most part, but the barrel was longer and had ridges in a corkscrew pattern all along it. "This is the MA6T, a laser assault rifle. The power pack," he pulled out a small plastic box that looked like an MA5B clip, "is inserted into the same slot as where a mag would be inserted into on an MA5B. They'll recharge over three hours. Each one gives you one hundred shots. You can't shoot in bursts of more than fifty. Care to take it for a spin on the range?"
"Yes sir." The Sergeant handed over the MA6T, and the Master Chief took it out to the range. A bell rang and a man-shaped target popped up. The Master Chief sent a red beam of energy into the target's head, disintegrating it. "I like it Sarge. Can you give me a couple bandoleers of power packs? After Halo, I'm never going anywhere without a gun."
"Sure. Here you go." The Sergeant pulled out two bandoleers of ammo from the locker, and John strapped them on.
"Master Chief!" said Admiral Stanforth's voice inside his helmet. "Report to Sector A, briefing room 1."
"Yes sir. I'm on my way.
Admiral Stanforth sat in front of Sam, Chief Mendez, and John. "Based on what Cortana's told us, we have discovered the location of another Halo. You and the Spartans will be escorting a research team there. They will try and figure how to harness the power of Halo in some other way than to wipe out all life in the galaxy. We want the Spartans there to protect them in case of a Flood outbreak. The UNSC Carrier New Jersey will be taking the pre-fab buildings and several hundred Marines, though you Spartans ought to be able to handle whatever you find. The New Jersey leaves tomorrow. The Master Chief and Captain Orus of the New Jersey are in charge of the mission. On behalf of all humanity, I tell you good luck. Dismissed."
The Master Chief, Sam, and CPO Mendez jumped up and saluted. After Stanford had left, John said, "You two are going to be my second-in-commands, okay?" His friend and his former teacher nodded. "These places are like paradise, so I need you to make sure the Spartans keep their guards up. If 343 Guilty Spark survived, we're going to have a problem with his Sentinels. I'm going to make sure Cortana is with us."
A week later, the Master Chief was regretting his persistence in making sure that the spirited AI had accompanied them. "We're almost there," said Cortana on day seven of the voyage.
"How do you know? You're in my head, not the ship's computer," asked John, who was becoming more than a little annoyed with Cortana.
"I plotted the course. If my calculations are correct, we should be there in one hour." The Master Chief's helmet chirped.
"Yes?" he asked into the COM.
CPO Mendez answered, "Sir, Captain Orus wants you on the bridge. I was up here already, having a cup of coffee with him."
"Master Chief, you're my superior now, you don't have to say sir after everything you say to me."
"Nor do you when to me or Sam. Among us, rank shall be forgotten. Should I have Sam ready the Spartans?"
"Yes 117. I'm staring at Halo through the front viewports."
"Acknowledged. Over and out." The Master Chief switched his helmet's frequency to a private one and hailed Sam. "Sam, this is John, get the Spartans in ready to go. I'd like the Pelicans loaded in fifteen minutes."
"Roger. I'll have it done in ten. Over and out." His words chilled John. Sam had said the same thing on the day he had died.
On the bridge, Captain Orus was waiting with Chief Mendez. Orus was a tall man that had a wiry muscularity to him, though he was not nearly as tall or as strong as any of the Spartans. "Ah Master Chief! Good to see you. We've arrived at the Halo, as Chief Mendez told you. Is your team ready to go down?"
"We need ten minutes, but yes we'll be ready. My Spartans will scout out a site for the base. When we find it, I'll call for regular Marines, the scientists, and the pre-fab buildings," said the Master Chief.
"That'll work. I suppose you'll want to join you crew then. Chief Mendez, are you going with the Master Chief and the Spartans?"
"No. I'll be coming down in command of the Marines."
"Master Chief, you are dismissed." The Master Chief saluted and turned on his heel, heading for the Spartan's armory, which was adjacent to the dropship bay. When he got there, the Spartans were busy grabbing weapons. One Spartan, whom the Master Chief knew only as Boomer, was stocking up on explosives. The Master Chief grabbed two M7D pistols, a couple batteries for each, and strapped them to his belt. Then he opened his locker, which housed his custom gear: the M90 shotgun which he had been carrying when he escaped the first Halo and some ammo bandoleers. His MA6T laser rifle was slung over his shoulder. John knew he was taking a risk going into a potential combat zone with that much weaponry, as it could slow him down, but he had been in situations where he had run out of ammunition, and they had not been fun times.
"You ready Chief?" asked Sam from the locker next to his.
"I'm ready for anything. Payback against Guilty Spark would be nice."
"I know what you're saying." Together they walked out to one of the Pelicans. There were five Pelicans taking them down to the Halo and all of them had Warthogs attached to the back.
The COM crackled, "Hello Spartans, My name is Lt. Chris Knight, and I'll be you pilot today. Maybe you know my brother, Lonsword pilot Lt. Steve Knight. Conditions look clear over most of the ring. What terrain are you looking for Chief?"
"Flat grasslands, preferably near a river or ocean, maybe near a Forerunner structure."
"Roger that sir. Off we go!" The doors of the Pelican closed and it lifted off. The ride down to Halo was short.
When the Pelican's doors opened, the Master Chief saw a wide valley with a river running through it. One of the structures that John had seen on the previous Halo was in the middle. It was a tall building with a sort of triangle-shaped spire, out of which shot a blew beam. He had thought it was some sort of power plant. "Knight! Take us down here. I think we've found our base area.
"Got it Master Chief."
Five minutes later, the Spartans had established a defensive perimeter around the area, and Sam and John were preparing to take a team into the structure and make sure the area was safe. Six of the Spartans were accompanying 'Gold team' into the structure.
The Master Chief, Gold-1, and Sam, Gold-2, entered the first room, rifles leading the way. The Chief gave an all clear sign and motioned for his squad to follow. They moved through down to the basement. "Okay, this sight is clear-"
"HALT!" ordered a metallic voice. A hidden door in the wall slid open and ten guards, all of them in armor similar to the Spartans, ran out, surrounding all the Spartans. "Hands up!" said the one that appeared to be the leader.
"Do it Spartans," hissed the Master Chief. A guard went around and policed their laser rifles, and the MC's shotgun. That's pretty stupid, leaving us with our pistols. On a private COM channel, he said, "We'll play along a bit longer." To the Spartans outside, John said, "We've been captured. I want a twenty man team ready at the door for my command. On my mark, rush in here."
"I copy," said the Spartan in charge, an energetic young man named Lt. Tim-201.
"Where are you going to take us?" the Master Chief asked his captors.
"We're taking you to Xarnin, the leader of the Forerunner on this Halo."
"Understood. Are you going to kill us?"
"No. At least not until we've questioned your motives."
"Again, understood." To his forces, the Master Chief said, "Now! Don't kill them though! Hold them at gun point!" He added this last bit as an afterthought.
In ten seconds, twenty Spartans clattered in. The Lieutenant yelled, "Drop your weapons! Hands where we can see them!" The Forerunner guards complied. Their visors made it impossible to discern their expression.
The Master Chief and the other former captives grabbed their guns back. "Take us to Xarnin, please, sir."
"This way." The guards led them back through the hidden door and down a long hallway. They emerged into a large cavern, filled with tables. Scientists buzzed around the tables, while guards stood at the doors. The Spartans policed their weapons and followed their captives to a scientist in a white coat. "Sir, these are the humans. They captured us, we didn't want a firefight, since their suits look so much like ours. We weren't sure of their origin, so we led them to you," the leader said.
Xarnin nodded. He was a man of medium height, with a black goatee. "I greet you..."
"Master Chief, of the UNSC."
"Yes, Master Chief. I am Xarnin, the leader of the Forerunner. We are all that remain of the Forerunner. There is a long story to how we came here."
"Tell it then," ordered the Master Chief.
"He'll tell you in good time. There's no need to be violent!" said a familiar voice from behind Xarnin, one with a familiar British-sounding accent.
"I know that voice," said the Master Chief, whipping his shotgun off his shoulder.
A silver orb with a purple light in the center floated out from behind Xarnin. "Him! Why I oughta..." The Master Chief slapped his helmet to shut Cortana up and then leveled his shotgun at the Monitor.
"343 Guilty Spark! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't blast you into oblivion right know," said the Master Chief.
"343 Guilty Spark? No. I am 342 Guilty Spark, his figurative 'brother.' 343 is on the other Halo," chirped the little robot cheerfully.
"He's dead. I blew up the other Halo. Now why don't you," The Master Chief pointed to Xarnin, "tell us the whole story."
"Okay. Millions of years ago, the Covenant and the Forerunner were at peace. We were technological brothers, advancing in science together. Our science had reached a peak. The Forerunner had become rich and wanted a slave species. So our scientists set to work. Their result was the Flood. They marveled at their own intelligence, until they discovered what the Flood were capable of. That's how they were named. Already we had built the Halos. They were research stations, where scientists could hypothesize and experiment without causing damage to our homeworld. The Flood were created on the Halo that you destroyed. Some Flood were shipped off the other three Halos. All the Halos were top secret. When the Covenant found out about the Flood, they were enraged. It violated their holy laws, and they declared a jihad. Meanwhile, there was a Flood outbreak on Halo 4. The precautions were taken and the Flood were put back into containment. They realized the Flood's power and the Halos had the giant weapons systems put into them as a failsafe. The Covenant reached our homeworld with a massive fleet and overran it, killing all of the Forerunner. Back on the Halos, there was a Flood outbreak, all of them except this one were wiped out. No one knows how the outbreaks occurred, but they did. Presumably, a single escape pod, filled with soldiers, not scientists, escaped and landed on earth. That is how Humanity was started. Once we learned about the outbreaks, and the Covenant attack, we ended our space-faring ways and settled on this Halo. We studied the Flood, and developed technology that would enable an outbreak to be contained extremely quickly. Our colony has been here ever since."
TO BE CONTINUED...