They're Random, Baby!

She Can Have My TV, Part 4
Posted By: Skavenger Date: 8/30/03 10:22 a.m.

********************* ENDING OF PART THREE *********************
So as I gained a little control over this dolphin motion of up and down, we came to the end of the canyon past the blue base. Everyone and their brother was shooting anything and everything at us like they had never seen a Pelican fly overhead and just felt the urge to try and see if they could bring it down..."Rookies" My mouth dropped open and I started for the rear door... Warbow sat my ass back down and said, "Just go for it! You can do this..." So into the side of the cliff we went, into a jagged cave with rock formations and colors of gray I had never seen. Man, I just wanted to be home ...again...
Skav: I swear to god. Louis or no Louis. If I get the chance I am so out of here...
WAR: Just shut-up and drive!

********************* Part Four *********************

I took that Pelican in full throttle, like I had a choice. That nose was bobbing up and down like Veronica on a Friday night. Warbow threw up all over my back. I started to turn at him and heard the *click* of a pistol.

WAR: Don't look, just drive.

Skav: You know this was hard enough in my easy chair... bouncing around, hurt, and with puke on my neck isn't exactly making this easier!!!

I was scraping the top and bottom of this long stupid gray cave at every chance. The Pelican drug along the side of the wall.

WAR: Do you have your eyes open? Or are you like... using the force?

You could hear the steel folding and buckling as we went along.

Skav: Anytime you want to get your narrow ass up here and run things, just let me know!

WAR: You're going to kill us if you don't stop hitting the rocks!

Skav: Don't worry, I know what I'm doing.

WAR: Not even god knows what you are doing...

Skav: No, really, there is a lot of latitude in this area. I can getaway with.................

We heard a long scrape along the bottom of the pelican and I quickly pressed that space bar with both hands. The nose came up...straight up! And as let go to even us out we both realized it was too late.

WAR: Oh shit Skav!

Right at the mouth of the cave... so close to getting us out... I had sealed our fate. The Pelican slammed the roof of the cave and then paused level for a second... I turned to look back.

Skav: War, I'm sorry. I was trying to... (turns to see an empty Pelican) ...Oh you milky lick!

All I saw were his feet as they disappeared over the open ramp of the cargo hold. The ship hit the bottom of the mouth of the cave and started to lean over for a fall to the bottom of the mountainside. I ran and jumped to follow. I felt the heat from the Pelican as it slid down the side and exploded. I toppled all the way down and prepared to hit the snow bank at full speed. As I fell, my body was making noises I had never heard and then... SMACK!
...............................out I went............................................ .

When I came to, I was still in the snow, but it was a camp. My eyes cleared up a bit and it was, thankfully, a good guy camp. All the energy I could muster was to turn my head and look toward the campfire. I did see a simple quiet man who wandered here and there, who wanted no thanks or fame walking about doing things. It was night now, and I could hear some guys discussing how bad it really was.

SketchFactor: We are low on men and ammo, but if we don't get the index away from the monitor he'll figure out a way for him to get to earth like we got here, or end the game and we'll be stuck in here.

CYBRFRK: So you think if we get it away from him that will help us?

SketchFactor: Well, maybe it will buy us some time and we'll find a way out of here.

Dan Chosich: Well, I have an idea for getting home. A real one. OK, we all came in through a screen when Halo was on right. We have to assume we were chosen because of HBO, it is the one common thread linking us... now, the rest of my boys will be starting a LAN game in a few days on my box. If we can get to the level they open we might see a way back through.

I struggled up and walked over to them and sat down.

Skav: So the plan is to get the index away from the monitor, assuming he has it at all, find Louis, and get to an open porthole back into our world the way we came?

Dan: Yep, my boys are going to...

Skav: Yes, I heard. frankly I don't care where we end up going through. I don't care if I come through a modded, stolen PAL box, from some Pigmy kid in south Africa running his Xbox on a generator and I pop out into a Black panther race riot where they are burning white people at the stake. I just want out.

Dan: Well, that was a little extreme.

Skav: Good, then I made my point right? First place I can jump ship, I am a memory!

Warbow walked up... "So what did we decide?"

Dan: Well, we need the index to confuse the monitor, we think we can get back when someone opens a game and we see the porthole, and Skav wants to be burned at the stake by the black panthers...

There was a brief pause..............

WAR: Ok, well let's get started. I found and ice cavern. It goes a long ways. I am not sure where it goes but if we don't get moving the smoke from that landing of Skav's is going to draw attention eventually.

Skav: That was hours ago, and this camp is pretty far away from the crash...umm landing site anyways.

After a brief education on footprints in the snow, this being the only direction we could have gone, and that banshees have been patrolling since they found me, I agreed that any direction was better than sitting still. There was a that quiet man again, who gathered things and helped us carry stuff, and down the cavern we went. We walked a long time and then camped out for a few hours. CYBRFRK had gone ahead and was scouting the end of the canyon we were walking in. Sketch figured it went to the control room. He also figured that the Monitor would set up base of operations there. Since he could not carry the index himself, Sketch thought we might get there first. If we were late, we still might have a shot at getting it from him. he also was hoping that Louis was alive and held there too. It was all a big guess, but it was better than nothing.

We waited there in the offshoots of that ice cavern the rest of the day. We were waiting for night to fall. What few of us that were left only numbered 14 or so. But we figured we had only a few hours left to save Louis and anyone else that might be alive along with him. The weapons we had gathered were many, but the ammo was running low. There wasn't one among us who wasn't blood covered through to our skin. I myself hardly felt the pain anymore. I was numb.

The time drew near.

SketchFactor: (rising up in front of us) I want out of this place as much as any of you do... (we all turned to him in silence to listen) ...I believe that the index is in the control room. I believe that Louis is in there... alive! And most of all I believe in each of you. We can do this. We can get in there, rescue Louis, and get the index and get the hell out of this nightmare. I more than any of you know the dangers in this ass-backwards world we are stuck in, so don't start lecturing me about 'what if this'... and 'what about that'... I don't give a rat's ass. We go in fast and hard, and we don't stop until get what we came for in our hands!

I was pumped up. We all were! We knew the Covenant ground troops would be able to track us from the crash site eventually. And sooner or later they would be coming up behind us, probably within a few hours. We kept taking turns dropping back to watch the rear, someone had been putting up ice blockades as we passed to slow any Covenant troops following us. We think it was an HBO hacker (probably c0ld or BOLL), it might help but it wouldn't stop them for long. The Covenant A.I. was learning at a geometric rate. We needed to move out now. We needed to hit them when they weren't expecting it.

CYBRFRK: (coming back from scouting) OK, I reconned the canyon as far as I could. Just until it opens up into the small valley where the control room is located. It looks like we will come out right where that frozen waterfall is located. Whoever is placing blockades behind us, cut a hole for us to get out

SketchFactor: Could you see any Covenant?

CYBRFRK: Some... regular ground troops mainly. But I couldn't see around far enough to see the outside defenses. Seemed like standard ground troops, no strike teams visible.

Dogsounds: Well here is a thought; I have been examining their attack strategy. I noticed sometimes they pull back when they have us on the run, and sometimes they attack when we are kicking their asses, which by the way is fine by me. But the point is this, as fast as they are learning; they still don't seem to grasp how to size up a foe.

SketchFactor: How is that helpful?

Dogsounds: Well, if we are paying attention it might give us an opening where one wouldn't normally be. Once they figure out how to wait us out, or swarm us as a group... we're dead.

Postman: We'll have to assume no more resistance than 'Legendary' would normally provide.

Skav: Assume? Every assumption we have made has been so wrong we might get closer to the truth with letting Bikeman lead us.

Bikeman: Shut-up, dink.

SketchFactor: Both of you quiet down. We don't have a choice; we just have to go for it.

Just then Zoidberg came up from our flank

Zoid: They're coming....... about 45, in 2 columns making their way along our course. They're coming right at us.

Cyberfrk and SketchFactor got a very determined look and finished loading up. We all followed suit.

SketchFactor: All right ladies, we have about 200 yards of fighting to get to the doorway! Get your game face on and let's go.

Bikeman: Sketch, How do you know it's only 200 yards?

SketchFactor: 'Cause, that's all we have the ammo for, so if it is much farther... we're dead anyways.

Bikeman: ...oh...

SketchFactor: Well, if anybody has anything to say... now's the time...

There was a few awkward seconds, and then as I began to speak...

CYBRFRK: Except you Skav. Man there isn't a guy here that doesn't at least partially blame you for this twilight zone mess we are all in.

Skav: What did I do?

Nobody was really disagreeing with Cyber, so I shut my mouth and walked on with the rest. We went on a downward path that was so narrow, in some places my shoulders were scraping the cliffs on both sides as I walked.

We stopped.

I sat there sweating it out with the others. My grip was as slippery as a frog's ass (not that frog, a real frog you sick bastards), on my weapon. (I have no idea what Frogblast's ass feels like) Sketch gave a nod and we all ran out screaming. The snow kicking up from our deliberate step! We ran from the crevasse and fanned out... As I rounded the corner I saw everyone scattered and standing in front of me. Not a weapon was being fired. Nothing from either side. I walked up to Sketch and saw the desperation in his eyes... the disbelief... then I saw it too...


4 wraith tanks, 2 on each side of that little drop. The tiers of the control room were lined with more covenant troops that I had ever seen. The snow bridge had about 100 hunters and fuel rods loaded and ready. There were banshees circling above us just waiting for orders. The snow covered floor before us was riddled with jackals, Hunters, and elites.


I looked at Sketch, "We're going to need more ammo."

Man he got pissed. I mean veins in his head were popping up. His grip on his weapon seemed to bend the metal.

Skav: Dude, I was just...

I looked at Sketch: NOOOO!!!! ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That guy let loose with the sound of authority and I fired! We all fired! He ran right at them and was rolling and bashing like a pro. I ran right behind him and every Covenant he passed by turned to shoot his back after he ran by them. So I followed him and had a shot at the ones closing in on him. You know, come to think of it he owes me for that. If I had not been the guy looking out for him he would have been dead with all this foolish Kamikaze stuff.

Skav: Oh, trying to hit my boy in the back? Wuz up wit dat, you fag? Face him like a man.

I was dropping covenant 2 every second it seemed. The plasma fire was like a wave coming over the floor. They didn't care if they were killing their own guys. As long as we went down they kept firing. We stayed as a loose formation and screamed our way in. The others that came up behind me were fighting like men with no conscience! The front line of Covies was dispersing and going down! We were doing well until the Hunters and the banshees started in. I caught the first shot from a Wraith right behind Sketch and in front of me. The explosion knocked me back and him forward. I was having second thoughts about our chances... Sketch ripped off the rags that used to be his shirt and started cussing in way no sailor had ever heard. I gathered my resolve and pounded on! The fuel rod fire coming from those hunters was taking its toll.

Postman: A little further till the bridge! Under the bridge and it stops their fire! Make for the trench!

Dogsounds: Move! Move! Follow Post!

He was right! The Hunters lining the bridge wouldn't be able to see us. It would make the banshee attacks tougher, and those troops that were standing on the walkways of the control room were still out of range. We were mopping up the ground pounders they sent and it was looking like we might catch a break. The noise level started to drop a bit. The ledges of the control room were heavy with elites. A large horn sounded and some of them started to come. It looked like a wave of blue oozing over the sides and down to the floor. There were so many... I was almost frozen with fear and awe.

So there we huddled like scared children in the crevice not entirely below the ice bridge. The sounds of Wraith tank fire were beginning to sound like regular background noise. I couldn't help but think about why we had followed Sketch here, this must have been the most half-baked plan I had ever heard of. We have four Wraiths bringing rocks and snow down all over with each shot, Banshees circling, and an uncountable number of Hunters firing to pin us in. At least all that firepower was starting to keep their own ground forces at bay...

Just then Postman spoke up. "You hear that?"

Skav: You mean the Wraith fire? No I missed it...

Postman: No man, listen.

He was right, there was a new sound mixing with the dissonance of our battle. It wasn't the high-pitched wail of the Banshees. It was something different; something lower... throatier.

Bikeman: That sounds like a Warthog. But there are not any 'hogs here at the end of 'Assault on the Control Room'.

SketchFactor: That's right; no need for them here, the area is too small.

Skav: I wish I had one...

The next look that Sketch tossed me said I should keep my mouth shut. The wraith fire was getting closer.

SketchFactor: So... someone should climb up to take a look? Any volunteers?

Bikeman: Skav.

Postman: Skav.

Zoid and Cyber: Skavenger.

SketchFactor: Looks like you're up Skav. Go see what it is.

Crap! They want me to stick my neck out with all this firepower dropping down around our heads! We'll see who gets ripped apart in the next of my masterpieces.

Trying not to act scared, I eased my way up the crevasse to ground level, just to where I could just peak my head above the edge. Looking back by the frozen waterfall and the way we had come, I could see nothing. Just Covies spreading out to give the Wraiths better angles on the trench we dove into. Slowly I spun full around counterclockwise and yelled down.

Skav: Nothing except the Covies, you guys are hearing things.

Just then the sounds of tank rounds exploding in quick succession came into the mix.

SketchFactor: The rate of fire is all wrong, those shells are hitting as fast as the LAAG... But it sounds like a Scorpion tank shells... What the hell is that?

Then an impact right next to us, dull, heavy and solid.

Postman: Now you had to have heard that one... and no, I don't mean the tank rounds. It sounded like a heavy thud. Something heavy must have hit the ground.

Scanning around, I picked up the misshapen form of a Hunter. It was just lying there, hopefully dead. Besides, by the look of its armor, it had been hit by a tank round. If it had survived a tank round, and then the fall, if it got up I was sure to get an ass kicking...

The scream of Banshees filled the air. I scanned and around to see them. The sun glistening off their purple hulls was intoxicating. Then the beauty exploded in a fireworks show of yellows. Smoke billowed out of them as they plummeted to the ground. One after another they dropped, until they all smoked in the snow; slowly sinking into the puddles they were making. Whoever (or whatever) killed that hunter was making short work of the Banshees up there too. I tried to squint (squinting always works) to see what it was, but the sun was in my eyes.

A shadow appeared over me on the ground....and started to grow. I looked up quickly again and discovered that the sun wasn't gone, just eclipsed by another falling Hunter... Falling right above me... Falling really fast... Now would be a very good time to jump back down into the trench, but I froze with panic. Dogsounds dove shoulder first into me, almost in time. As I flew to the side, I could feel one of his spines tearing against the side of my leg and I knew I would be walking funny for a few hours.

Skav: Thanks man... thanks...

Dogsounds: No worries mate.

They just fell like drops of water from a rain cloud; drops with oversized shields and strange colored skin under strong armor. We were so perplexed by this that we forgot all about hearing tank rounds and 'hog noises. We just stared in awe at the aerial ballet performed by the Dead Hunter Troupe. Amidst our confusion, I noticed that whatever was helping us had all but drawn the attention of the entire Covenant army.

Sketch finally broke the silence with a loud cough and gestured toward our weapons.

Dogsounds: Look! Their confused! Those dumbshits can't figure out what's going on up there! HA!

WAR: Oh, like you have this whole scene figured out, don't you?

I sure the hell didn't have a clue. But the fact that the Hunters on the bridge were all but gone, it sure made me feel safer in the trenches without having to worry about them filling us full of plasma.

SketchFactor: This could be a turning point for us, everyone shut up and get ready!

Skav: That hunter hasn't fallen... It's just floating in the air...

CYBRFRK: That's not a Hunter, that's a 'hog!

SketchFactor: 'Hogs don't fly!

As it sat there firing the LAAG at the ice bridge, the Hunter body count continued to rise. The ground was littered with the corpses and orange of their blood. Then the 'hog circled over the bridge and started strafing the Wraiths on our left. We couldn't believe what we were seeing. The 'hog was flying and maneuvering like a Banshee, the LAAG was still firing like there was no tomorrow, but instead of bullets we had tank rounds.

Skav: On any other day that might seem strange...

Angle B

The ground erupted in bright yellow flashes, sending snow and dirt into our faces. By the time we had cleared away enough debris from our eyes to see again the 'hog was parked next in the shadows of the ice bridge partially hidden by small boulders. The driver leapt out and started to sprint over to us. As we watched our benefactor near us our jaws dropped. An Elite had taken command of a ghost and was barreling down on him from behind. Just then two plasma shots struck him in the back and he fell to his knees. He drew a shotgun.

SketchFactor: Let's get ready to give him some help boys. This guy saved us a headache by killing those Hunters; let's not loose him to that ghost!

We started to climb up to steady our guns and take aim, when we saw him get ready to fire his shotgun at the ghost.

Skav: He's way out of range for that, he should save his ammo!

I had spoken too soon. The black smoke that raced out of the shotgun streaked toward the ghost and obliterated it. There were also smoking blast points on the ground and farther back on the cliff wall. That shotgun didn't have any 'shot' to it at all. The thing fired seven rockets at once.

Guy: Sorry I'm late. I'm PhforSlayer. I was playing around with the HEX codes and managed to give my shotgun rocket rounds, the 'hog has tank shells out of the LAAG, and it drives like it's on ice all the time. Somehow the physics are all screwy; it will only land if you drive it to the ground. I was testing it out in Blood Gulch and hit it with a rocket. The thing flew off the map and I could never get it back. Hey is that Sketch? What do you know about...

SketchFactor: Look Slayer, after we get out of here we can talk about your 'creativeness'. But for now can we please focus on staying alive?

Slayer: Umm, yeah, sorry. Hey guys! Come over here!

We sprinted to the warthog, trying to avoid Wraith fire (scattered and unorganized they were having a hard time locking in on us). Mendoza was in the gunner's seat and was keeping an eye up top for Hunters that peeked too far over the bridge. He let them have a few bursts with the new TANK/LAAG just to keep them honest. They managed to dodge the rounds in time, and we got a light dusting of snow for his troubles.

Skav: Where'd you get him?

Slayer: I was testing my new mods on Silent Cartographer when I was sucked in; he was waiting for me in the gunner's seat when I got there. (Looking over my shoulder a ways), Hey! What's that?

Slayer raised his rocket shotgun and leveled it at the spine of the structure, running down from the front of the control room to our trench. Near the top was a guy with a slight limp was running down.

Slayer: It's ok. Looks like another Forum member. He's not a Covie and doesn't have on fatigues.

Bikeman: How can you tell that from here? He's so far up there.

Slayer: I put a 2x zoom on this bad boy shotgun. There are some more in the passenger seat if anybody wants one. And if we need to we can always kill Mendoza and take his stuff.

Then the LAAG fired again and another Hunter dropped a few yards off.

Mendoza: See that? Next time, you guys can help! Ha!

By the time I made it over to the passenger's seat all four shotguns were gone, all that was left was an Assault Rifle. Man I can't stand that thing. But my guns were running on empty, so I picked it up.

Slayer: Hey Skav, you should be able to hit something with that. It fires sniper rounds at the same rate as the AR normally shoots.

The new guy ran down the slope and over to us. He looked clean, and not too upset, just a bit confused. He must not have been here very long. If he had, he would have been more downtrodden.

Guy: Hey! Just came out of the top. Did any of the ammo spawn down there?

Mendoza: About time you showed up!

Without waiting for a real answer he lightly limped his way down into the trench. A few minutes later he reemerged from the crevice with some bandages around his leg and a smile on his face.

Guy: It was there! I got all I could carry for my rifle. I still don't know why I can only carry 24 shots. Now first things first; how did you get the warthog in here? I didn't think that you could get one here... Speaking of odd things... What is going on? Why are you all here? This is a single player map! No more than two players.

SketchFactor: Hey now, hold on. 24 shots balance the power of that rifle.

Guy: Ok, I think that is the least pressing of my questions...

Slayer: Hey, you like the sniper rifle? Want to try the sniper assault rifle?

Skav: But... you just gave that to me...

Guy: A Mod weapon... No thanks, I'll go the old fashion way.

Postman: Hey man, what's your handle?

Guy: I might go by _____________..

Postman: Wait... say that again?

Skav: Was that like Klingon or something?

Zoid: Nope... something in Elvish, right?

Guy: Gah, You're machine cannot handle my name! I guess you can pronounce it Kirkos. But just use my real name... I am The MorningStar.

The Covenant had repositioned and were starting to advance.

SketchFactor: Are you guys ready? Let's stop all this talking and get to running! We need to get to the control room to get Louis!

That's when it happened. The Covenant that were tracking us from the landing site had followed us and were joining the fight. They came pouring out of the cliffs by the waterfall. They crawled over each other to get to us. We were under heavy fire again and badly outnumbered; but now we had modded shotguns and a crazy 'hog up our sleeves.

PhforSlayer dashed back to the hog and took off, literally. As he went up the Wraiths had a clean shot at him and the mortar rounds from the remaining two struck the underside of the hog. From far above we heard the all too familiar scream of a marine dying. As Mendoza's body fell, PhforSlayer and the redesigned hog went spinning out of control and into the Cliffside, almost faster than we could keep up with it. Now we were on our own again.

SketchFactor: Two of you with the rocket shotguns take out those Wraiths! Sniperman27 and deanero, you two go! The rest with me! We're going to clear out those ground forces!

We were thrown back into the fight. I swear; the only time I rest is when I'm unconscious. We ran, harder than we had ever run. The sweat that dripped off us hit the snow and froze, but we were on fire! The Covenant were relentless, but we were determined. The blaze and smoke of rockets clung to our lungs but we didn't care anymore. The Wraiths exploded in a wondrous flash. The resulting shrapnel clipped our guys. deanero took the hit in the leg and dropped down screaming. Sniperman27 caught a large chunk with his mouth and never had to battle again.

The Jackals moved to the front of the pack and formed a barricade with their shields. They started taking pot shots at us from behind the cover. The Elites and Grunts started to lob plasma grenades over the line and into our group.

Star: Someone break that line! Get some explosives in there!

Sketch: Shotguns up front! Bring those Covenant bastards down!

Dizzy and Rockhard broke ahead of us and took aim. Dizzy caught a plasma grenade before he could get off a shot. He dove head first at the line as it detonated; He took out 3 when it went off and the smell of searing flesh filled the air. Rockhard lunged down into a prone position...

SketchFactor: That's not possible...

...and fired. The detonation cleared a hole on the left side of the line. Star over shot two frags; the first one landing only a foot farther away then the second. The distance was so off that the Covenant didn't even turn back to look at it. As the first one went off...

Skav: You're wasting those! Aim better!

Star: Watch!

...it blasted the second one into the air. It arced towards the exposed flank of the enemy. Just as it within feet of the tops of their heads, it detonated, sending shards of hot flak into them. That widened the gap in the Covies' line. The disorder halted their grenade tossing enough for Rockhard to stand and lay out the last of them.

SketchFactor: We're clear! Turn around and make for the control room! Save the rocket shotgun ammo; we still have all those bastards on top to deal with! Star, Skav, go check on our boys who took out the Wraiths!

And off we went. Our main group was moving full out for the ramps. Star and I hauled for the scorched ground that was once the Wraith tanks. I knew we already lost two of our shot gunners; hopefully deanero was still alive. There he was, back against a boulder, covered in ash.

Skav: You ready to move? Star! How many bandages are left in that health pack in the crevice?

Star: Not enough to do any long-term good...

deanero: No worries. I'd just slow you down. Anyway, I've only got two rounds left for this thing. Take them and give them to someone who can use them.

Skav: I will...

Star: Dormi iam, amice.

deanero looked at him and nodded...

We turned and ran. I started for the ramps; Star took off in the wrong direction and called me back.

Skav: What are you doing?!? The fight is up there!

Star: They're not advancing! They're pinned. We cannot help them by getting pinned too. I hope you have good balance, follow me."

Star was right; the elites had not used all their troops on the ground. They waited with a massive second line of defense on the tiers leading up. And they had the guys pinned on the first level pretty bad.


He started running up the spine of the Control Room the same way he had come down. I followed. It seemed like he was flying up that thing, with only enough room for one foot at a time, I was like an elephant on a tightrope. Some scattered plasma fire came my way and I knew I was going to fall to the bottom. I was not about to let myself get stuck alone again so I picked up my pace and caught up with star.

Star: Are you a fast sprinter?

Skav: Why? You want to race now that we are up here?

Star: No, This beam is only wide enough for one at a time. I want you to go help them, and I'll stay here and give you cover fire. Which means we have to trade places.

Skav: What in gods name has led you to believe that I can get around you without falling???? You have known me like 10 minutes and you think I am part of the 'Flying Louenzas'...

Star: Ok, here's the plan, I've got a rifle so I can give you cover. Take my grenades and run up there. Near the top there is a sharp incline, you can slide down. It might hurt a little but it should put you in a flanking position. Use whatever gun you have to drop them, after you toss the grenades. Got it?

Skav: How will I get past you?

Star: I'll jump, you run under. If you're not fast we both die.

Skav: How about we both go up there and I slide down and then you walk back? Then I don't have to run on this beam and risk my neck.

Star: And expose us both to enemy fire? I know I can jump. You look like you can run. Besides I would rather risk your life than mine, so come on let's do this.

I just stared at him. He could not be serious. He wouldn't take his eyes off me, so I knew he wanted to do this. I took a few steps back and burst into movement. My first step was misplaced out of fear and down I went. Right onto my nuts, straddling the concrete.

Skav: Oh mu F****** G**! Shit! CH****! ooooooh! (Holding back the tears)

Star: Get up you dumbass, let's try this again.

I looked at him with as much hate as I could muster, then I ran screaming right at him. At the last second he leapt, pulled his legs up, and I went right under him.

After sliding down (filthy liar, it hurt more than a little, now my ass was as swollen as my 'cahonies'), I snuck behind the Covies. Sketch saw me and gave a wave with his gun. I waved back and pointed to where Star was camping with his rifle. Sketch waved again as if he understood and crouched back down. "I hope that kid's good with that rifle... " I said to myself.

I tossed the grenades; Plasmas in front, Frags in back. They went off together and wrapped the Covies in a shroud of blue, yellow, and black. When the smoke cleared I saw two were still standing; an elite and closer to the wall, a grunt. Then the cone trail of Star's dead on shot passed through them both and they collapsed in a heap. Three more vapor lines streaked across the sky and dropped some anxious ones that couldn't wait for us to come to them.

Next thing I knew, I was back in my group and Star was working his way higher to get a shot at the Covies on top. I handed over the shells to Rockhard. Everyone looked at them and then at me; I shook my head 'no' and they knew deanero hadn't made it.

After a quick dash up the ramps we were back in the fray. Running like mad men we jumped, dived, zigged and zagged. Some had already run out of ammo. Grimmoreaper was bum-rushed by 4 grunts. He handled the first 2, but the others took him over the edge with them. Bikeman was going to town with a plasma pistol. CYBER was out in front now killing them with waves of pink explosions from a Needler. Postman tagged a Shade with a plasma grenade and flipped it onto two grunts, then he ran right at 2 yellow elites with plasma swords. He raised 2 pistols and fired twice..... both clips were empty. the elites lunged at him 20 feet in the air! The first came down on him and he kept the motion going and the elite went over the edge. But the second landed at Postman's back. I fired one shot off and missed. Postman turned to and faced the elite as he skewed him though the gut.


I ran filling the elite with pistol rounds. I was shooting long after he had dropped dead!

Star kept picking off the Covies from the top and I opened up with my new and improved 'sniper assault rifle' (I finally hit something with a sniper bullet! Yes it does count!)

Dan Chosich ran out of ammo for his assault rifle and started swinging it like a baseball bat into the heads of any Covie in range. An Elite hurled a grenade at him and he swung like Sosa, knocking that thing back at the Elite and tagging him in the head. But eventually exhaustion, a bent assault rifle, and outnumbered Dan went down to a dog pile of Jackals and grunts. Any Covies that remained in groups were made short work of by Rockhard's shotgun.

It only lasted a few minutes. And then it was silent. All I could hear was the deep rapid breaths moving in and out of my lungs. The smell of cordite mingled with the smells of plasma discharge and cooked flesh. Smoke dwindled in the air, refusing to dissipate. The ground was streaked and spattered with Covenant blood; and some of our own.

We had lost more in the skirmish. Zoid's body lay there crushed and bloody. I didn't see what happened to him, and really couldn't imagine. Grimmoreeper had been bum rushed by two grunts that pushed him off the edge. Our numbers were thinning fast. We lost a bunch on this Assault, and only gained one.

Star slid down the incline from where he was sniping. He walked over to the nearest Covenant and started rummaging.

Star: I need grenades; never a good idea to go into battle without grenades.

We followed suit. Loading up on plasma grenades and the fullest charged weapons we could find. We knew we were not out of the fire yet. We still needed to open the blast door and take care of the Covenant inside.

Taking cover positions we readied ourselves. Rockhard hit the switch and the machinery in the walls did their job. The doors slid open effortlessly onto...

SketchFactor: What the... There are supposed to be Covies in here...

...nothing. The room was empty. We finally caught a break! We sauntered into the chamber with sighs of relief. We dealt with ground troops, Banshees, and Wraiths. The only thing left to do was get into the control room and grab Louis and the index.

"Wort! Wort! Wort!"

Three plasma grenades landed at our feet. We dove back, trying to escape the blast but we were scattered like bowling pins. Plasma rifle shots crisscrossed from seemingly every direction and melted into the walls around us.

Star: Where are they?!?

Bikeman: Active camouflage! Has to be!

CYBER: Don't just sit there! Fire! Fire!

So we sprayed. Trying to find the shimmer of active camo was really freaking tough. But as soon as some one saw one...

SketchFactor: There! On the right!

...we opened up on it. Spending more ammo...

Bikeman: On our six!

...than we could afford. We tried to cover...

Skav: Star! Down!

...each other from the unseen. Finally it was over. Four Elites lay on the floor. Sketch had taken a bad hit and was holding his side and dragging his leg.

We reached the final door and watched it slide open. We rushed in to greet Louis and saw... Nothing. There was no one here. The Control room was empty.

CYBER: Shit...

Instinctively, CYBRFRK took off and ran back to close the doors and yelled, "It's a trap!"

SketchFactor: He should be here... I don't understand.

Skav: We fought our way here for nothing.

SketchFactor: Everyone shut up! Listen.

A faint voice floated on the air.

"All I need now is a deck of cards... I'm innocent until proven stupid... This was all foretold by Nostradamus..."

SketchFactor: It's coming from over there. Let's go.

As we started to circle counterclockwise from the door the voice got louder.

"I put the 'H' in 'BO'... I should have had more human interaction... Is this the land of chipmunks? My wife says I'm not really Louis, but I am really Louis, people call me Louis all the time. Why won't she call me Louis, I like being called Louis. So what if the name Louis was all wrong for Halo... Nobody really knew what to make if it, so I guessed wrong, I still like Louis and Louis likes me......"

There he was; all the way at the bottom of the room..... tied to the backside of a shade, sitting in a corner talking to himself. I suppose I can understand; being locked in a strange room in a video game all alone.

SketchFactor: Louis... Louis, is that you?

Louis: I am the angry Gnome King.

SketchFactor: Snap out of it man! How do we get down to you?

Skav: Look up there!

Up near the ceiling was the index, plugged into some sort of power grid.

Skav: Cyber's right, this was a trap. Louis, the index, the easy fight getting in here....... They are coming. They know we don't have a prayer of getting out. And the index and Louis are here to keep us busy while they get ready to slaughter us.

Bikeman: Easy fight getting here? Were you even paying attention back there?

CYBRFRK (running from the hallway): They are coming! We need to leave now!

SketchFactor: How many?

CYBRFRK: uh...................All of them I think.

Skav: Well up to the index or down to get king Louie?

Well it was too far to jump down, and everyone stood there with their proverbial thumbs lodged creatively, so I turned to take aim at the slow moving door. They were coming in. The door just had opened far enough to see the Covenant army begin to move when everything stopped. Like before it all came to a freeze frame halt! I looked around. We still had no way out.

WAR: It's got to be Frogblast again! Hot damn that boy cuts it close! And look, one of our hacks got us a doorway down by Louis!

Skav: yea but how do we get down there?

Just at that moment Star gave me a push over the edge.

CYBRFRK: Why did you do that Star?!?!

Star: Don't worry, game is locked up? No damage right?

WAR: Sure, until the game starts again, then it all catches up with you!

Star (looking over the edge at me falling): ...oh...

CYBRFRK: Not necessarily. If we can get past a loading point fast enough I think we will be 'ok'.

They all jumped but CYBRFRK. When they hit the bottom I punched Star in the mouth. He didn't seem to mind, and we carried on.

Sketch brought Louis to his feet and slapped him in the face. The dazed look left him and he shook his head.

Louis: Thanks, I think. Is this all there is? I hope we find more guys if we want to get out of here.

All at once our 'hacked' doorway disappeared. The walls started to flicker. the game was about to start again. Without our doorway we were screwed.

Louis told Cyber to run back to the holo-panel of the control room. Louis closed his eyes to concentrate. With direction from Louis, a few presses of buttons that were not really there, and after a few attempts through the static on/off of the panel as the game was trying to reload............... CYBRFRK was getting frustrated...

CYBRFRK: I can't put the sequences you want in...the F***ing panel goes off and on! By the time I can, that door will be open and they'll be unloading plasma in my ass!!! (Starts banging the panel with both fists) Piece of shit.....start! Start! Start!

All at once the room shook and everything went into motion.

CYBRFRK swore as he tried the sequence again, but this time with rifle fire around him.

Louis: I think I figured out the teleporters. I was watching them use it earlier. This should take us to ...somewhere...

Skav: Think? Should? Somewhere???? What are you trying to say?

Louis: I don't know if I have this right, I just hope I don't miscalculate and we spawn inside a rock formation.

He had him press another button. Nothing happened.

WAR: Nice. now what?

Louis: Now we wait for the warp to get going ...and when it does we leave...

Sure enough, the warp eventually started up, and as the doors opened, Cyber jumped over and the warp rings caught him in the air. More yellow rings started to surround us until I couldn't see anything more except the light. Then everything went black.

When I finally came to again they guys were dragging me down this long cave. We came to a small open room area deep within the mountain. I gathered myself up and tried to focus on what was going on........ it seems I never knew what was going on......

Louis: Ok, I talked with c0ld. I told him where the index was and how to use the teleporter. With any luck he'll get it and catch up with us soon. Once he pulls it from the power grid everything going to get weird.

Brian J: You mean more than this? You think it can get weirder than this?

Louis: I mean more confusing. As soon as he gets it 1, the monitor is going to know its one of us, 2 the game will start to unravel, 3 they will be doing everything possible to stop him and get it back.

Mnemesis: Ok, what I don't understand is how come the monitor hasn't finished us off with just replicating like a million covenant troop and wiping us all out?

Louis: There are 2 reasons I suspect. First off like when BOLL tried to hack and produce a million Jackals or Hunters... He couldn't. The game wouldn't spit out an endless supply. But secondly and more importantly I think he is waiting to kill us until he knows what we know.

Mnemesis: What? He knows more about Halo than we're ever going to know.

Louis: Halo, yes. But how we all got here, no. More importantly to him is how we are getting back. I think him having the index keeps the game in proper motion so he can function freely. We get it away from him it messes with his programming.

Brian J: I think Louis is right. Something just occurred to me. There is an earth somewhere in Halo, and a real earth we all know. I think that if the Monitor can line up both, as in be at the exact point in the game and in the real world ...well... every molecule in our bodies will explode at the speed of light, and unraveling the entire space/time continuum, or the Monitor will have the same powers in the real world as he does in Halo.

Mnemesis: So. he can't really do much in Halo. What's the problem? What will he do in our world?

Louis: To start with you can't kill him. So as long as it takes him to interface with the world's computers, he won't care. But he will definitely be running shit given enough time. And if he can't bring the covenant through with him, maybe he can bring the real ones here to earth.

We all stood there in total silence. The real Covenant? What was Louis saying? I was thinking more along the lines of the monitor building some sort of terminator army once he had control over everything computer related. I was confused and worried. I mean, I guess if we could spend some time in his world, the door probably swings both ways, he could get into ours. Then there was Brian speaking way over my head about space and time and us all dying through some cosmic fart. It sounded more like a movie plot than anything else, but I shrugged it off. After all these old guys probably knew more than I did. I guess I was just here to fight. I had no wisdom, no hacking ability, I was just here to fight.

Skav: Louis. A thought just occurred to me. I know it's a small thing, but how was Miguel able to erase what I was saying back in the cave? (He looked at me funny so I told him the story) I mean he has that ability in the forum because he is an admin. But how did he do it here?

Louis stopped dead in his tracks. He was thinking. It was kind of odd, it was like the more time he spent thinking the more other parts of his personality shut down. He was just standing there droopy eyed with his mouth in a small kirkos. All at once he came to.

Louis: I have an idea but we need BOLL. (He ran off back down from where we had come) You guys get to sidewinder... make our final defense. Be ready for me... be ready for c0ld!

Skav: Why sidewinder?

WAR: Louis thinks that tonight in real world time it is Friday. There will be a lot of people playing sidewinder. If one of them opens a doorway like happened to us, maybe we can all jump back through. It's as good a place as any to try. Plus I told you my crew was going to be...

Skav: yea I know, shut up already about your crew. I told you... first ticket out of here, I am gone!

We walked on for a while, then we came upon this desolate place. It looked familiar, but...


It was sidewinder without the ice. Without the snow. This was gross looking. But this was it, no way out, no way back. I guess we were going to live or die by how good we did right here. So we started to dig in and position ourselves. Mnemesis chose the red base side to make our final stand. He wanted us as far out as the middle of the map, so we had room to fall back. he had trenches digging and rock piles blocking warps at every turn. Just then more HBO survivors straggled in. And a curious team of 4, dressed in pink armor. Those were the guys that killed Hawk. I recognized the TDT patches, with these stupid circle open clover-looking things in the center of their patches. Then it dawned on me...

Dustin: Hello. I am...

Skav: I know who you are, everybody knows who you are. It's an honor to have you here dying with us.

Dustin/Darkman: What makes you think we are going to die?

Skav: Well nothing really seems to be going our way. We pretty much are getting our ass kicked at every encounter, we end up running away and regrouping like it's the only way to move the story along, our leader just ran off and left us, I haven't eaten in 4 days, and last I heard even you lost the last tournament you were in. So, am I excited to see you? yes. Am I star-struck? Yes. But do I think this matters one damn bit? No.

Darkman stood for a moment and loaded a single round into his rifle. He turned to me and said, "Throw four coins all at once... make them go in any direction." Nervously I reached into my pocket. feeling around I grabbed 4 pennies. (he he he...let's see him hit these) I wound up like Nolan Ryan and tossed them up and away. Darkman spun that rifle around and the others raised their weapons fast too. Everyone fired. They all shot from the hip, even Darkman. They all walked away laughing and talking. I wondered around and gathered up the coins. I brought them inside the base and said, "Ok, that was impressive. But lots of great gunfighters can hit coins." Holding the coins out to them. "look you each didn't even hit them in the center, you nicked them at best." One of the guys walked over to me and took the coins, and placed them on the ground. he aligned them up all touching each other. Each coin had a small chunk missing from the edge. As he lined them up they formed the exact shape as their patches did. Some semi-clover looking symbol. And all the Lincoln heads were facing the same direction. "Holy Shit!"

I went back to the trench.

I had no idea how many hours had passed. I didn't know if our time was the same as earth time. I didn't even really care. I just wanted to go home. I was watching as the defenses were being set up. it was actually looking like we might have a chance at this.

I turned to look down the trench. And there he was again, that guy. Just sitting there looking for something to do. I crawled over to him.

Skav: Hey! What's your story? Everyone keeps catching glimpses of you, and I think you're helping us but I can't be sure. How did you get here?

He shrugged his shoulders.

Skav: Well, what the hell man..... you sure don't say much do ya?

He shook his head slowly.

Skav: Ok, so since we are about to die how come I never saw you around the forum? I mean I sort of think I know who you are but I have no clue as to what your role is?

He began to speak, "My name is Tom... Tom Vansinden. I don't usually get noticed, they keep me locked up at HBO. I get mail, get coffee for Louis... stuff like that.

Skav: Well if we get out of here, you should really get more involved... I mean it's one thing to be a nobody in the ADMIN files, but to be overlooked in one of the greatest adventures of all time... that's weak.

Tom: Well the disturbing good news is that the Covies ignore me too. I guess I am not even considered a target. They walk right by me like you guys do. I don't know if I should cry or be thankful.

Skav: I don't know, that's a tough call. But hey, I noticed you! And I could shoot you to if it would make you feel more involved.

Tom: No, no... (he paused to look me over)...

Skav: What?

Tom: Never mind... No I think I could do without the shooting thanks.

Skav: What were you looking at me for?

Tom: Well I was checking to see if you had the sniper rifle, I was considering letting you shoot at me once for the excitement... but if there is a chance I actually might get hit... I don't want to. And you aren't carrying the SR...

I was about to get pissed. All of a sudden all positions dropped down to the ground, weapons drawn.

RunningRiot: All stop, quick quiet!

Star: What? That's a navy term you dumbass.

RunningRiot: Well, we are like part of the navy.

Star: No! UNSC are space marines, and I'm not even sure if space marines are still part of the navy. But this I do know, 'All stop' is only for Submariners. Way way not part of a forumgoer trapped in a videogame. So quit trying so hard to fit in, just shut up and let the leaders lead.

RunningRiot: Hey, I am a leader! I am a forum regular! I count!

Star: Hey that's great, your contributions are amazing! You figured out Skav's puzzle in 63 minutes, but couldn't answer the question. Nice!

Riot turned away holding back his distaste for MorningStar.

RunningRiot: No need to be a jerk Skav.

Star: I am NOT Skav! Why does everyone think I am Skav?

RunningRiot: Oh I suppose it's a coincidence you post right after Skav all the time? I suppose you just happen to be a genius like Skav and have this incredible insight to all his riddles and puzzles? Sure, the forum is not nearly as stupid as you make us out to be.

MorningStar raised a finger and opened his mouth to speak... but the flames would not come.

CYBRFRK: It's a scouting party. Coming in standard 2 man rotating formations.

He turned and hand signaled above our base. Darkman took aim.......and waited.....and waited.........and waited...

Skav: What the hell is he waiting for?? For them to get closer? Geeeez! In a minute I will be close enough to ask them to stand still just in case that's what he wants!

They were still 2000 yards out but it was scaring the shit out of me, when...BANG!!! One shot echoed through the canyons. Everyone peeked from their trenches or small walls to see if they were dead. Sure as shit...both Covies down. Louis had come back, back with the rest of the plan. The elders were there; (all except Marty, which seemed inappropriate) they were discussing the final battle. So I decided to invite myself. I walked into the lower part of the base and heard Louis talking.

Louis: OK, this isn't complicated. We fight until someone opens a doorway to the real world and we jump through. There just has to be another doorway sometime soon. All we have to do is hold on.

CYBRFRK: That's it, that's the plan....fight and hope a doorway opens.

Louis: Well I am hoping c0ld gets the index and disrupts things, then BOLL is working on some help too.

Darkman walks up with his sniper rifle across his shoulders.

Darkman: Hey man, what's the word?

Skav: I'm going to go with 'dumbass'! Why did you let those Covies so close, why not just shoot them when they had no chance of seeing us? Hell even I could have hit them from where you were positioned! (muffled laughter from the room)

Darkman: I had a bet that I couldn't get the Covies with one shot, so I waited, and I did.

Billy: Aliens.

The group: What? (turns to see who's speaking)

Billy: They're called aliens, not Covies.

Louis: Hold the phone kid, how did you get here?

Billy: I was playing Halo in K-mart when all of a sudden...


The room turned to see the kid's body fall to the side. And Warbow reloading an empty space in his clip. Warbow looked up..... "What? We're wasting time here! And I refuse to listen to that story again"

We got back to planning, well they did and I listened and tried to follow along.

Louis: It's simple, I'll command the lower trenches out in front. Cybrfrk you got the warp and the bridge. Ross and Warbow, you two have the upper tunnel. When someone starts to play this level they start in front of a base. When a window opens up, we sound the signal and we all go."

We all stood there, I wanted to know what 'the signal' was going to be, but I didn't want to know bad enough to look like an idiot again, so I mumbled... "The signal" and nodded my head.

Ross: You have no idea do you?

I turned and walked out.

We had just gotten outside when the earth shook! Everyone went down. Once it stopped Louis came running out.

Louis: That's it, game on!

Skav: What? What the hell is he talking about? He knew that was going to happen?

Ross: c0ld has the index, the game is off course, and all the rules are off now! The Monitor can't keep the doorways to earth shut!

Skav: Oh, ....oh, I see...so up until now everything was going along right on course? Just like planned YOU MORON!

We got back into the trenches and waited to see if c0ld was going to make it. 30 minutes went by and then a Hunter appeared. Running right at us! Phantom208 raised up slowly and took a bead on the Hunter.

GAWYN: Ok, here's a point to consider. All of us but you seem to know that hunter is c0ld. We all know he bumped a hunter to get close to the index. That's why none of us are going to shoot him, so if you decide to kill him and they get the index back, and we are all stuck here... because of you... I want you to know we are going to beat you like a baby seal.

Phantom pulled his weapon away from his shoulder, and lowered himself slowly back down behind the rocks. c0ld came bouncing right at us, he leaped over the first line of trenches and made it to the red base. He began to tell us how he heard the monitors plan to get back to earth, either in the game or out.

Louis: I knew it! That little diabolical bowling ball is going to take over the world!

c0ld: Here's the ugly part, he controls the Covenant and...

The ground began to rumble slowly. We raced out of the base to the daylight and could see our guys running for new positions. From the turn in the canyon, I could see wraith tanks coming around the way. A mix of Hunters and elites riddled the cliffs all around.

Ben Jacobs: Oh shit! They are up on the cliffs! That's out of the level. What the hell is up with that? We are going to be easy pickings from that spot."

Star: Hold up on that car wash son, haven't you ever been up there? They have to get so close to the edge to actually fire at us, we can see them like a bird on a wire to shoot back. And unless you're half blind like Skav here, this will be like shooting fish in a barrel."

Skav: Shut up Star! No need to be a dick right before you die! And you know what? I wish you and I were the same person, like everyone thinks, so I could kill myself and be rid of you!

Running Riot was confused...on many levels..... staring at Skav. MorningStar leaned over to Riot and said, "Oh yea... Skav's a genius..."

Star: You know Skav, you could still kill yourself and be rid of me.

Skav: No, then I'd be dead and you'd be alive! Nice try ass nugget! Like that would make me happy, to know you're alive, and I'm dead roaming the countryside with Church.

Star: Yes, but if we were the same person and you killed me, you would be dead too!!!

Skav: Yea, but at least you would be dead!

Tucker: Yeah, I have to agree with Skav on this one, I'd kill me too If I were the two of you.

I looked at MorningStar with a new confident smile. He just stood there in awe at my unmatched wit.

Skav: That's why people love me MorningStar, and not you. I make sense. I am someone who people can follow with confidence!

Brian Josselyn: Skav, if you and Tucker say one more thing.......anything at all! (raises shotgun to my chin) I swear by all that is good and holy, you will be the very next person to find out just what type of sandals Jesus wears.

The pee running down the inside of my pants brought me back to the situation at hand. I settled down next to Tucker in the trench.

Skav: I shouldn't even be here...

Tucker: Yea, I know what you mean, I am a blue guy, and this is a red base, it just doesn't feel right."

Skav: That isn't what I meant

I sat there with the others. Covenant mounting in greater numbers... but silent... waiting.

We stayed in that trench for hours before they came upon us. Then all at once it happened. This time there was no scream, just the thunder of hundreds of heavy legs pounding the ground. We all locked and loaded and sweat started to drip down my face. Louis yelled "NOW!!!" and we all rose and fired. The exchange of firing was intense. I ducked to reload and my eyes strayed over to Vid Boi. He was just standing there staring.

Skav: Hey! What the hell are you doing you psycho! Fire your weapon or get down!

He just stood there, staring. I thought maybe he had seen a way out. I was not opposed to running like a scared rabbit if I thought there was half a chance to get away. So I peeked over, but could see nothing but the wrong end of Covenant weapons firing.

Skav: What are you doing!? You are going to die, get down!

He simply stood there with this half dazed stare. barely flinching when the plasma fire went right by his head.

Vid Boi: Look at them, they're amazing.

I peeked over again as a plasma went off and tossed rock into my face.

Skav: What??????

Vid Boi: Look, those Elites, they are strong, and big... (a smile settled over his face)

Skav: OH MY F**KING GOD! I can't believe this...

Vid Boi: What? I am just saying... they're not so different from us... and I have been out here a long time and...

Skav (interrupting): SHUT UP!!! SHUT THE F**K UP!!!

6 others had stopped firing and were standing in this trench in total disbelief. Louis made his way over to us.

Louis: What the hell is going on?

A short description sent Louis back on his heels and nearly falling over. As he straightened his helmet, and cleared his throat, we all waited to see what was next. I figured Louis would either kill him and the rest of us would get back to the fight, or we would kill him and then begin to fight again.

Louis: Please tell me this is one of Skav's stupid pranks... tell me this is one of his fantastic stories of TOTAL FICTION!!!!!!!

Vid Boi (hanging his head low): I can't change who I am inside Louis.

We all drew are weapons simultaneously.................. and took aim.

Louis: I have always tried to be a fair man, nonjudgmental, and above all, accepting. (drawing his weapon) But son, this is a distraction, this could cost lives, AND... in my opinion... this is why they have a 'don't ask don't tell' policy in the military...

Warbow fired one pistol round into Vid Boi and his dead body slithered to the ground.

WAR: Nice speech, Louis. But, you're wasting time!

Finn: You are really down on wasting time aren't you?

Warbow just smiled and pulled out another gun. We all dropped back into the fight! Our lines were holding. The advance of grunts and jackals were being kept back. These trenches were great! They couldn't even get a bead on us. Then came an explosion! And I found myself flying through the air with Louis. Me, I was scared and holding my breath... bracing for impact. Louis, he was screaming with anger and firing as we went down. We landed in a pile of dust 40 feet from the trenches. THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRENCHES!!! A wraith tank had put one right on spot in the trench. it had scattered us all over the place. Unfortunately a few of us got kicked into the Covenant. Louis and I stood up fast drawing up any weapon close by. I grabbed 2 pistols. The Covenant faced us then drew back slowly. We heard the roar of ghosts coming around the cliff at us. We looked at each other...

Skav: Mother puss bucket!!!

Louis: Run you fool!

We made it back to the trenches, but the cover fire that turned to attack against the Ghosts was doing nothing. They broke through our lines. ran us right over the trenches. They were swarming us, keeping us pinned while the ground troops moved in. Nobody wanted to stick their heads up. Rifle fire from the TDT crew was picking off Ghost drivers left and right, they never missed.

BossHog: We are in the shit now son!

Skav: ya think?!

BossHog: Those are multiplayer ghosts. They take no damage!

Skav: Brian will love that!

BossHog: What?

Skav: Nothing... never mind... Well, if anyone has any ideas, I am all ears!

Besides the infrequent brave soul who peeked up long enough to crack off around or 2, we were doing nothing more than ducking Ghosts. Guys were getting pounded and dying every few seconds. It was harsh.

Louis: I hate to state the obvious, but KEEP DOWN!! We're losing guy too fast... we need to think of something...

Star: Can anyone get a ghost? Lets get a few as Darkman and his boys take them down and let's turn this think around!

RunningRiot had not done so well with the wraith attacks, with almost his final breath and a last burst of energy he grabbed the underside of a ghost as it went by and with his body weight sent it into a roll that squashed 2 jackals and smashed head on into another ghost. Everyone died. I saw the bodies fall against the rocks of 2 of the TDT guys, they had plasma burns all over them... I suspect they were dead before they fell. Desperation took us over... When one guy stood up and said, "This Ghost is mine!!!" One coming straight at him full speed! He was trying to jack it right away from that elite. He planted a round into the elites head and jumped aboard. "YES!!!!" We all grabbed pistols and fanned out. I got into one and took off firing. I almost pulled the trigger on the first one I saw, but I held back when I saw Stuntmutt stuck to the front as it went by. We were mowing ground pounders all over the place, and Darkman had wiped out all those cheating bastards that were above the level. Bodies and stink were everywhere. Half of us were dead. I had time to reflect and count whom we had lost. "Louis, you OK? Where's Josselyn?"

Louis: He's gone........ he didn't make it. He saw a Hunter with the symbol '<3’ and a line through it. He and 5 others got up a screaming rage and ran at the hunter. I swear they pulled that Hunters heart out and showed it to him before he died. They fended off 12 more with blood and vengeance in their eyes before they went down.

We were all firing from a distance to try and help but they got themselves caught too far behind the lines. AR would have been proud, and we could have used him today. We all stood around and mourned the dead. Then the canyon started to swell with noise. Our perimeter defense guys drew back. The warps and tunnels had held, but our numbers were small now. We regrouped and waited. The floor and walls of the canyon looked like a river of black water was coming and spreading out. It filled wall to wall and was moving in. It was slowly rising to us like a shadow.

WAR: No.

Skav: What? What is it?

Louis: Flood! Thousands and thousands...

They were coming right at us. We few who were left stood there with no breath. No energy to fight. There were 10,000 flood. It was a scene from Helm's Deep. And I was Aragorn with no sword. Out of the corner of my eyes I saw a flicker of gray light in the cliff wall. It was a screen, snowy but coming into focus. Someone was playing! Louis was right! This was our one chance. but we would never make it to the screen. The flood moved in slow and circled us. We loaded our weapons slowly. Apparently without a word we all decided individually we would die fighting. And then, out of nowhere came the monitor and some 20,000 sentinels. They filled the sky. I wanted to cry. We were so close to the end.... And now this, no possible way could the few of us who remained do anything but die. He dropped down in front of Louis.

Louis: Well, it looks like you figured a way around the replication limits that were in place

We dropped our weapons... this was an unmanageable situation. We were done. Ten thousand armed flood, and twenty thousand sentinels? Not on our best day...

The Monitor: Well, well, well. Looks like I am a genius after all. It looks like I am the supreme ruler of the universe. Yours and mine! So from now on we do everything my way Louis Wu!

Louis: What? What the hell do you want to go 'your way'?

The Monitor: Everything! I mean I say what I want, do what I want, nobody asking me stupid questions anymore! From now on this is my show! ...Agreed?

We all stood there and looked confused as hell. The monitor came closer... Right up to Louis' face.

The Monitor (much softer): ...Agreed?

Louis looked into the deep blue color and started to smile... And with not much more than a whisper in his voice, "...Agreed." The monitor backed away quickly and raised up into the air. The sentinels turned and drew beads on each and every flood present.

Skav: Louis, what the hell is going on?

Louis: RUN!!!!!

The Monitor: Fire!!!

The army of flood took at the sentinels and they in turn fired back. the noise level was so loud I remember back hearing nothing at all. I just followed the herd to the numerous flickering screens that were now dotting the side of the dark cliff walls. There were sentinels dropping out of the sky and crashing into pieces everywhere. I jumped through the first one I could find and closed my eyes. I was spun around till I threw up and electricity went through my body until my flesh felt like it was on fire... I blacked out.

I awoke in my bed with only the 'click' of a record player that was skipping at the end of its track. It was the middle of the day and the sun was shining through the window. I felt my body... I was sore all over and covered in sweat. I sat up and my head spun. I raced to my computer and got online. I linked right to the forum. Louis had a post titled "thanks to BOLL!" It had no message. It was followed by 2-dozen replies all reading "Agreed". All the posts with the same title, all with no message, all posted at the same time. I added mine to the bottom of the list.

The next newest post down the list was from 6 days earlier.................................?


Credits: Story contributions and many saving corrections by MorningStar.
Pictures by BOLL and c0ld vengeance
Hosting and bending of the forum rules, Louis Wu
Original lie was from Skavenger.

Back to Index | Original Post