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The Executor's Task II
Posted By: Zanzibaked<some_dope@hotmail.com>
Date: 22 December 2004, 8:31 AM

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      The Executor's Task II: Backed In A Corner

      Haka 'Masolee stood at one end of a giant, purple-sheen mausoleum, surrounded by the statues of famed warriors of the Covenant. Circulating, veiled lights flooded the room with a dim purple glow, casting horrid shadows that jumped off Haka's refractive armor plating. The Elite hooted a heavy war cry and ignited his energy sword with the flick of his wrist. Behind him stood a band of his brothers; maddened like animals pushed into a corner. Opposite of them stood about fifteen snarling Brutes; some clad in the ceremonial garb of the Honor Guards; all of them armed with heavy grenade launchers.

      Tension fluttered like heat waves, clouding the room in a mist of fury and hatred. Each side traded their roars and snarls. The Brutes barked out curses and provocations in their own barbaric tongue; baying for the blood of their mortal enemies. Not long ago they had worked together, but always with a growing tension. Now civil strife had erupted among the Covenant. The Prophets had betrayed the Elites, placing their graces instead on the untrustworthy Brutes. How could the Prophets be so foolish? Could they not see the Brutes true nature? Their wisdom in this matter was unfathomable, unreasonable, unforgiving.

      Haka raised his sword. Today would mark a pinnacle in the war-filled history of the Elites. They would soon look back on this day as a once glorious victory, or a once valiant last stand. Haka surveyed his companions. They were battle-hardened and stricken with a fighting heart; but they were also exhausted, fatigued by the many battles they had endured thus far. They seemed uneasy, glancing momentarily at each other, and the at the mass of Brutes that slobbered hideously in their rancorous bestiality. With his sword raised high in the sky, Haka let out a long, graceful war cry. His brothers seemed to snap from their fatigued stature and cried along in the battle song. The Brutes glanced at each other uneasily, some stepping back. The leader of their masses barked at them to hold the line steady.

      Haka finished his cry, and the Elites primed their weapons. The Elite howled and dropped his sword, and with that they charged; their weapons blazing, swords buzzing and screaming as they lashed after the bestial Brutes. Grenade's exploded, softening up the battle mass of Elites. Energy swords swung and danced, cleaving rock-hard hides and muscular Brute limbs. Purple blood splashed with the red, creating a hectic painting of war.

      Three Brutes formed up, laying down a sheet of fire from their grenade launchers. Explosions ripped through the Battle, throwing the Elites in all directions. They scattered a took cover behind the towering statues that stood sentry like in the center of all things.

      The noise of the battle seem to be sucked up by the monumental size of the mausoleum. The blasting grenades, the shattering static of energy swords, the bellowings of battle berserked Brutes . . . they all seem to muted. Haka looked up and squinted to see the roof towering high above him. He sighed heavily, trying to relax; and then he waited.

      To his left, another Elite shouted something, but Haka couldn't here it. Explosions engulfed all hearing, only a sharp rining remained. Still Haka waited.

      Suddenly a blast of sound shuddered through the hall, a stir of echoes that blew to mass porportions. The sound wave hammered Haka's ears, but he had wait for it. He leaped from the behind his cover, a plasma grenade burning blue in his hand. The three Brutes who had formed at the center of the mausoleum continued to fire, but were momentarily unfocused by the wave of sound. They only noticed Haka when it was too late.

      Haka launched the grenade with a swift toss. It fizzed through the air and hit the middle Brute with a soft thump. The beast tried to slapped the contraption off of his hide, but it was no use. The grenade attached itself and hung to its hide with fiercy determination. The two other Brutes at either side of the middle one tried to hurry and lunge out of the way, but they were too late. The grenade exploded, completely disentegrating the middle Brute, and sent whatever it didn't disentegrate of the other two flying. There was no blood, only the smoking debris of charred limbs and burned hulks.

      One Brute rushed forward to meet Haka, his weapon trained and set to kill. Haka spun to face the Brute, his energy sword humming. The Brute fired his weapon; the grenade blast tore through Haka's personal shielding, throwing him to the ground. Something popped inside, but Haka gave no heed. He ignored the grinding pain and hopped to his feet. He lunged after the Brute that shot him and cleaved its gun in two. Haka swung his sword again to carved the Brute's head off, but missed as the creature dodged. It grabbed Haka's neck, but he was too nimble; managing severe the Brute's arm from its whole.

      It screamed in agony, lost its footing, and collapsed to the ground with its limbs swinging about madly. Haka hurried to pounce on the Brute before it regained its balance, but he wasn't quick enough. The Brute caught him with a leg and sent him flying with a deft kick to the chest. Haka spun in midair and landed hard on his stomach. His shields, which had just barely recharged, flared and failed again. His armor dented inward wrong and crushed against the soft parts of his torso.

      The Brute was on him in milliseconds flat, pinning him to the ground with two, steel-muscled legs. Haka struggled to break free, but to no avail, the beast was solid rock. The Brute huffed and used its remaining arm to unsheathe a jagged blade from its belt. It extended its arm and began to stab down with all its might. For a split second, Haka knew this was it. He had fought bravely; bravely enough to be remembered in legends to come. He would not die meaninglessly. He was a fighter, and though he did not fight in the name of the Great Journey of the Covenant, he died defending his brethren from those who would threaten it.

      The Brute stabbed down hard, but halted abruptly. Slick black blood poured from its fanged jaws and its eyes widened; its pupils grew distant. Then they rolled back into its head as its dead, hulking mass fell to the ground. Behind him stood an Elite, a Brute Shot with a blood-smothered blade hefted in his arms.

      "You should be more careful, commander," he teased, lowering his weapon and observing Haka keenly. The Elite clicked his tentacled jaw, the equivalent of a faint smile, though more properly translated as a sign of relief. The battle was over, the mausoleum littered with the smoking corpses of the fallen. The statues of the heroes of ages surveyed the dying carnage unflinchingly; like strict judges that Haka could only guess their pleasure or disappointment.

      Haka got to his feet, and eyed the battle field as well, also unsure if he was pleased or disappointed.

      "How many dead?" he inquired tersely.

      "Six," the other Elite replied softly, a depression in his voice that was not there before.

      Haka shook his head. In all war, their came disappointment. Pleasure only came for those who supported the winning side, not the ones who actually fought. That was an honest truth. War never showed it's true purpose to the heart until generations later. He let out a long heavy sigh and nodded to the Elite who had saved his life. And, to his credit, managed a small smile.

      The other Elite bowed his head solemnly, and looked upon his own field of victory, lost in his on feelings and opinions, much as the others did. Haka looked to the statues that patrolled the mausoleum, thinking that they would some how pass their judgement upon him. It seemed nearly ironic that the fallen warriors of this battle would die so in a mausoleum. It actually seemed fitting that they would die and rest with the souls of the heroes. Haka looked for the good in any of it.

      Seven of his brethren stood around him, eyeing him, not knowing wether to cry out in victory, or to mourn in somber affection. He looked at all of them and knew that this would not be the last battle they would fight. Not the last they would endure. He sighed again. For centuries the Elites had served the Prophets without question; had only fought to preserve, enforce, and further the Great Journey to salvation. To turn on the Prophets now seemed to undermine an engineered instinct. It was like sticking your hand in the flame when you knew for a fact it would burn you. It was all so damn confusing.

      He looked onto his Elites again. Were they fighting to preserve the Great Journey now? Fighting against the Elites to ensure it's stability? Or were they fighting the Prophets in outrage to their decision of the Brutes over them. Was this the righteous path, or was it heresy?

      Haka buried his feelings in a pit for now and came to his senses. "Elites," he called, "gather what weapons you need and assemble at the entrance. We're making for the launching bay."

      There was still a chance to save the Elites, that much was clear. Haka would take the launch bay and steal a few Phantoms; rescue what Elites he could and escape to the Sacred Ring. There, he would plan his next move.