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Attack on ERISTOCK Part 8: Valley Conquerers
Posted By: xitWOUND117<ChikenDevilR2@aol.com>
Date: 6 October 2003, 6:15 PM

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2245 Hours, December 12, 2552 (Military Calendar)/UNSC Hymir, near planet ERISTOCK

      Richard started the self-destruct sequence for the Hymir, just as he had been ordered to by Captain Geredar. He watched the countdown on the main view screen. 10...9...8...7...6...Countdown Aborted. "What?" said Richard out loud. He tried to start it again. It didn't do anything. He tried the override sequence. Nothing. Suddenly the main view screen changed to a text message from the engine room. Do not destroy the ship. My team will fix the Slipstream drive. The Covenant ship will be taken care of. Richard was puzzled. There were no human or Covenant life signs detected on the Hymir, and there was no presence of another AI in the network. Who could have possibly sent that? Richard thought. He switched the main view screen to the starboard camera. The Covenant ship was moving into position to fire at the Hymir. Boarding party casualties were too high, so they decided if they couldn't have the UNSC ship, no one would. But something caught Richard's eye. A very small craft heading towards the Covenant ship. Richard zoomed the camera in to discover it was a human dropship.

      Kakap slept quietly in a small ball on a Covenant ship. He tired easily, being a Grunt, so rested frequently, as did his Grunt comrades. Finally he got to enjoy some peace. They hadn't gotten much since they encountered the human ship, but now the boarding parties were taking care of it. He dreamt about the cold plains of his homeworld, hoping that someday his Grunt kind could escape Covenant rule and return there.
      A Jackel, Rok, kicked him awake. "Get up you gas sucker! The patrol commander wants to talk to you," he said. Kakap jumped up and ran off in search of Yuka 'Turalamee, the patrol commander. He found him yelling at some Jackels for not unpacking a box of plasma pistols correctly. Kakap ran up to him and said, "Yes, Excellency?" The Elite turned and looked down at the little alien. "What?" he said. "I was told to report to you, Excellency." "Oh, yes, Kakap. I was looking over the records earlier and it appears you allowed a Grunt under your command, named Yanlin, to take more than the maximum amount of methane. Why?" 'Turalamee demanded. "Well...he had a bullet wound from the last battle with the humans and he said he was tired. I-I thought it would be good for him," the Grunt stammered. "I don't allow my specific orders to be disregarded! You, Kakap, will receive absolutely no methane during the next resupply." "B-but that will kill me, Excellency!" cried Kakap. 'Turalamee was about to recite one of the True Sayings, but there was a loud 'THUMP' on the metal wall.
      The Elite turned around and Kakap peered around his leg. Suddenly a large cutting tool poked out of the wall and cut a circle. A large, one foot thick section of the wall fell out, revealing a group of hideous, mutated figures. 'Turalamee, who had read reports and message transcripts regarding the ringworlds, guessed these were the 'Flood'. The patrol commander raised his plasma rifle and fired at one of the Flood. It's body twitched and jerked as it was penetrated by the multiple plasma blasts. It fell to the ground and 'Turalamee moved on the the next Flood, but after a few seconds the body on the ground leapt up and knocked the Elite to the ground. Kakap ran a few meters away and hid behind a supply box. He watched as the Flood pushed a mangled foot against 'Turalamee's neck. 'Turalamee struggled, trying to get free, but the Flood's enormous strength held the Elite down. When 'Turalamee stopped struggling Kakap was struck with fear. He got up and started running around yelling as loud as he could, "Help! Enemies! Kill them! Help me! They got the Elite! Somebody!"
      The Flood hurried to try to shoot the screaming Grunt, but soon a group of Jackels entered the room and mowed down the freakish invaders, using their shields for protection. Soon all the Flood were dead and the Jackels were cleaning up the bodies, paying no attention to Kakap. He ran over to the hole in the wall and discovered that the invaders had come from a human craft that had attached itself to the hull of the ship. Then Kakap got an idea.
      Kakap dragged many crates of food, methane, and weapons into the human ship. Then he ran into the cockpit. He was going to return to his homeworld.

      Richard watched as the Pelican flew away from the Covenant ship, leaving two things behind: a hole in the hull and a nuke attached just below. Atmosphere leaked out of the ship now that the Pelican was gone. Jackel bodies flew out mixed with Flood ones. But after the Pelican had gotten a fair distance away from the Covenant ship Richard realized that the nuke attached to the ship was one of the Hymir's. He had zoomed in on the nuke, matching the serial number on the side with one on a list of nukes the Hymir was equipped with. Then he searched the Hymir databanks for the detonation code. Motes of red light appeared on the Covenant ships side. It was preparing to fire. Richard found the code and sent it. A flash of light enveloped the Covenant ship, making the main view screen to bright for human eyes to look at. When the light faded away the ship was in three pieces and had lost all power.

Deployment +00 hours:31 minutes:22 seconds (SPARTAN-218 Mission Clock)/Surface

      "Tell me I don't hear that," said George. The sound of Banshee engines was growing louder. "We've got it covered, sir," said John. Mark, Luke, John, and Sarah ran out of the forest. The SPARTAN II laying on the ground coughed. He had woken up. "Now that you're awake again, how about you tell me who you are and what you're really doing here," said George. "I'm John-117, part of the SPARTAN II project. I crashed here in my Longsword fighter after I escaped from a Covenant held ringworld called Halo. Now tell me who you are and what you're doing here," answered the SPARTAN II. The sound of assault rifles suddenly filled the air as the rest of George's team attacked the Banshees. "I'm a SPARTAN III, George-218. Me and my team were sent here by the UNSC to carry out a strategic mission." "I thought we were going to take over the planet," Public chuckled. George jumped. He had forgotten about the AI. Public had been silent for so long that George got used to doing things without him. "Strategic mission indeed. Nice choice of words," Public continued.
      "John, can you use our COM channels, or are yours different than ours?" George asked. "They are exactly the same," said a tart, female voice. "You SPARTAN III's aren't that special." "Who are you?" Public cried. "You mean who are you?!" the female voice yelled back. "Alright you two," interrupted John. "This is Cortana." "I'm Public. I didn't know the SPARTAN II's were equipped with AI's, though." "We weren't," said John. "Except for me. Cortana has been with me ever since I got the AI slot installed in my neck." John coughed, this time not so much blood. George handed John-117 an assault rifle. "Stay here," said George. Me and the other four members of my team will clear out the Covenant position ahead. If there's any trouble call for help, and at least one of us will get back here." With that George got up and ran off.
      He jogged up the hill to where John-221, Mark, Luke, and Sarah were pinned down. They were hiding behind a small Covenant building. He ran up to them. "Did you get the Banshees?" he asked John, who was closest to him. "Yes, sir, but there's a group of Elites with Ghosts out there. We would have no problem with them except we left our rocket launchers back in the woods and our assault rifles are almost out of ammo." "I'll do my part, then," said George, and he pulled out his pistol. He stepped away from the building into the open, extending his arm until it was straight. He stood sideways, as to not be hit so easy. Sure enough, there were two Ghosts, driven by two Elites, supported by another three Elites. George aimed at one of the Ghosts and squeezed the trigger. The Elites and Ghosts fired back at him, but they were too far away for their weapons to do a lot of damage. And if a shot did hit, it bounced off George's shields. After George used a whole clip the Ghost exploded in a fireball, killing another Elite nearby. He put his pistol in it's holster and took out a fragmentation grenade, pulled the pin, then threw it at the Ghost. It detonated, but it missed the Ghost, which had moved out of the way, but it killed a supporting Elite. George then rolled back into the cover of the building, and John, Mark, Luke, and Sarah stepped out, opening fire with their remaining ammunition.
      Once the Ghost and remaining Elite had been finished off the SPARTAN III's returned to where John-117 was laying. "I'm sure we just created a good deal of commotion, so we had better get moving as fast as we can. Sarah, help the SPARTAN II, Luke, carry the case of rocket launchers, and Mark, carry the case of rockets," George ordered. He picked up the rest of the equipment they had carried and led the way out of the formerly Covenant held valley.

Author's Note:
Two things I would like to make clear; the first being there are two Johns in this story. John-117 we are familiar with from the game Halo. The other, John-221, is a SPARTAN III. When writing I shall refer to each one as either 221 or 117 just to make the distinction between the two. The second thing I want to make clear is the environment and time on ERISTOCK. If you were a sharp enough reader you would have realized that the time just before the SPARTAN III's deployment was 2258 (10:58 PM), and they got to John-117 twenty-something minutes later. It is night, but the ERISTOCK moon reflects much more sun than our moon because the ERISTOCK sun is brighter, so it is almost like full daylight all the time on ERISTOCK, which may have been a factor for the placing of the Forerunner's structure. Also, the Elite guard Part 7 said it was too hot. George's team-or the C-Team-landed a little above ERISTOCK's equator. So it is pretty hot on a December night on ERISTOCK. No cold Christmas sipping hot chocolate, cuddled next to the fire for them...