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[fanfiction] Halo: Extinction

-Other meetings-

Small halos played rings of light around the intense light that partly illuminated the corridor, which was usually filled with darkness. Suddenly the lights sparkled ghostly white and revieled the partly open doorway beyond the dark walls. Throughout the narrow opening a wide room could be seen. The room was in utter chaos and had little free space to move around, despite it’s generous proprotions. There were books cramped on the rabbles, and the shelves were filled with numerous data banks. Scattered voices that seemed to come from far away went louder until the words could be clearly heard: ‘So, you are trying to say  is that a  handful of soldiers in flashy new combat armor can make a all the difference against the Covenant far superior air weapons?!’- a men’s voice could be heard , with a tone of amusement – ‘This is not just the armor, their combat abilities are far more effective than any UNSC marine has ever been’- a womens angered voice could be heard opponing. ‘Oh, I just can’t believe I’m hearing this. This is a war against the numbers, lady, you can’t just detroy a whole Covenant armada by sending these boys in ‘Listen well. These Spartans are improved in many ways normal human’s couldn’t.’ ‘Hey, I find this offensive… !’The display darkened and then switched to another military record, this time associating with the latest UNSC weapon research. Above the displays showing various programs were numerous data banks. A large quantity of disposable coffe cups layed scatered around the space, some were partly spilled and half empty. Just above the data banks a display could be seen, showing a TV programm. A hand reached for one of the half empty cup’s, carelessly manuevering through the utter chaos that rulled the on the tabble. It belonged to a woman, dressed in white lab coat. She had straight dark hair and full lips, and seemed much older for her age. Through the glasses blue eyes closely watched one of the blinking monitors[..]

Halo: Extinction
Chapter I: Nightmare Zone

“Screw this”, thought Corplar Lewik as another plasma shot nearly missed his left ear. He turned the barrel of 3-mm cannon to the sorce of the attack, nervously shaking his head from one side to another.”Sergant, we’re sorounded!” he shouted over his shoulder.”Yeah, no shitt?!”, a harsh voice answered. The 3-person military all-terain vehicle M812-RV shook heavily, while narrowly mannouvering through the mazes of narrow streets. Bits of half melted and burning walls were scatered on the groud, which meant it was almoust imposibple to drive through even for a Warthog.
He, Polaski and Sergant Johnson were on the run for nearly 3 hours, and it was nothing like a joy ride. “Step on it soldier, or we’re Dog Food!” Sergant barked in Polaski ear in his side sit.  His chewed his long ago gone out cigar in his mouth, and the grip on his assault rifle was rock hard. Both men couldn’t really tell  from the look of his superior officier, but it almost seemed that even Johnson started to look exsausted from non-stop runnaway from their restless pursuers. A long roadblock was just ahead of the  warthog and Polaski started to slow down. “Damn those sons-of-bitches”, sveared Sergant Johnson,” move this junk-heap to the street on the left, NOW!”Just as Polaski wanted something to object, Sargent turned around in his seat and opened fire with his 55mm armor piercing rounds.
Lewik couldn’t feel his arms from the constant firing, however he now started to feel the cannon to slowly overheat, white vapor going out of the 3 whitly-red glowing barrels. “Sarge,” he cried out, but couldnt hear even his own voice amid the sound of explosions and plasma shots. Sergant was busy shooting those vermins while Polaski was driving hell knows where. If driving was a term to discripe the way they moved through nearly destroyed city blocks.
He shot another rounds from the mighty chaingun. Fire blazed from the barells, when it happened. Time litteraly fell behind for Corpral Lewik as the canonn in his hands finnaly gave away and overheated. The constant yet so pleasant automatic roar of the weapon started to fade, leaving only the overhelming sound of plasma shots and explosions of the war zone. Hell, thought Lewik watching the cannons barrels to slowly spin, this warzone is MY homeplanet. Ever starting with battles outside human collonies, the Flood quicly learned to use the starships of their victims to expand in the galaxy, floding every planet, every civilization and every lifeform that sustains enogh bio-mas, with their sheer numbers and (brute force driven) unnatural hunger for everything alive. And now the have finnaly found us here, like the Covenant did before, and it was only a matter of days until the Flood tottaly overhelms their planet. Corplar face was pale, either from the dust particles or the terror that unfolded before him. The explosions drew even nearer and plasma shots made the air around him increasingly hot…
As if wonder on wheels the warthog suddenly dissapered from view, with a satisfactorily jump falling on a lower level road that was a part of what once was a highway. Lewik still couldn’t believe of the sudden change of events, his trembeling hands still holding tight the grip of the cannon. ”Damn good work marine” Sergant said easily, turning back to Polaski. Polaski, hovever, didn’t answer or at least none answer was heard, he was just looking straitght ahead, without even blinking once. The  part of nearly collapsed highway tunnel seemed ibncredibly empty compared with the hell lose on the ground level, and only faint humm of Warthog engine could be heard. ”Let’s get outa here, sir” Levik slowly said to Sergant. Johnson carefully looked around the tunnel, as if serching for new foes and then eased himself:”Check the Nav Comm if there’s a place we can stay and call for EVAC”. He quickly took out a fresh magazine and fed in his rifle. That was their first real stop after more than 3 hours of fighting.

Chapter II: No less than a nightmare

The building labbeled ‘L-211b’ on the map was a half collapsed factory, however many parts seemed seemed less effected by the surrounding chaos. The warthog stoped by a half open door with ruins lying around on the street. There was no evident sign of enemy movement. Inside the factory entrance nothing could be seen but darkness. This part of factory almost seemed deserted, but the three marines knew it might be only an illusion. They quickly jumped out of the Warthog and drew their weapons in unision. Together they slowly aproched the metal door with their weapons ready and came to halt about 2 metres from the entrance.”Doesn’t look right”, whispered Polasi with his pistol raised. Lewik quickly checked the map on his data pad.”Well this is the best bet in terms of extraction that we have, if YOU have a better way…”
‘Shut it’ Johnson cut him ‘Don’t wanna anny of these slimy bastards stabing in my back’, he turned then back at the half open door, ‘we’re going in’.
With a deep sigh both men fallowed Sergant inside the half-dark interior of the Factory what possibly could have been a working place for thousands of people.
“What are we acctually searching for?” asked Polaski with a strane note in his voice, while examining dark corners of the room with his pisotl.’We need to reach the third floor were hopefully we’ll find a working Com-station to call an Evac dropship. After that it would be best to retreat to the rooftops and sit tight’ IF we find the station before the Flood finds us’, Polaski said grimly.
They slowly advanced to the center of the large room. Some odd machinery and metal crates were lying at both sides so that everyting could be lurking behind them. With that in mind marines slowly marched along the great hall with only faint flashlights iluminating the way before them. Sergant went first, after him was Polaski and Corpral Lawik was bringing the rear of the group. This place sucks, thought Polaski and turned the safety lock off on his pistol. The place seemed almoust too empty to be inhabitet, even for those little parasites the Flood use to..”
Despite his wearines Sergant managed to keep himself alert to everything around him. Long ago he learned to rely on his instinkts that he earned in long years of fighting with both Covenant and the Flood. This time, however, his enemy was somethig more than just opposition, it was like an ancient, pure evil, raised from its centuries long sleep, that’s only purpose is to destroy everything sentinent in the galaxy. The fact he survived up to this point against this ‘Evil’ was maybe nothing more than luck, but he believed that not. The incedible sense for trouble was the key to his survival, and just now everything screamed inside him to turn back and retreat, while he has the chance. But there is no choice for them, time is against them all.
A faint howl echoed in the emptyness of the room and three marines freezed emidiattely. The sorce was hard to determine, but it almoust seemed like coming from the room the came through before. ‘Damn’ cursed Sergant silenlty. ‘We’ve got compay’, cried out Lewik, and leveled his rifle. He sent three shots in some direction, but Segant couldn’t discern what Corpral was shooting. This, however, wasn’ his problem for long, as some other shadow aproched straight at him. ‘Get ready’ Sergan barked and fired his own rifle. Polaski was already busy shooting some Parasite creatures with his MP3d pistol. White light sparked and iluminetad the dimly lit room as automatic weapons fired their rounds. A hideous Flood Combat-Form appered only three meters away from Johnson. He had already seen plenty of them on the Halo-construct, when they possesed marine and Covenant bodies. But now it was diiferent. From the shreds of clothing the Creature had on it could be clearly seen that it once was a human civilian, before the Flood took over his body. The horrifing look of those badly overdone bodies was so intense, that the mind itself strugled hard to remain sane in these encaunters.
The rifle in Johnson hand trembled as automatic 33mm shots were fired at the creatue before him. It took almoust 6 shoots to slow it down, but not completly. Johnson carefuly aimed at the center of the hideous mass and squized the triger again. Some fauled parts of the already dead body flew in every direction and unknown liqiud poured out of the deep holes in the Creatues body as it fell over on the floor and stoped moving. ‘We need to get moving’, he cried back at he marines,’save the ammo, aim only for the closest ones’. The marines noded and started to move further away from the carnage.
The ammo counter on Corplar Lewiks assault rifle was quickly reaching its the zero mark. While retreating to the stair room of the building the Flood forms folowed close on their tracks, and more were joining in. Lewik aimed for the closest body and shot a round in its ‘face’. The Flood form growled and increaased its pace, as if willing to reach Corplar faster. ‘Eat this !’ he shouted and fired another round. This time the creature fell over, dead. About three dozens parasites appered in its place. The assalut rifles mini display in Lewiks hands suddenly showed ’00’ – empty . He turned around and sprinted up the stairs. Polaski was already fighting alongsie Sergant some monsters ahead. Everywhere more monsters could be seen crawling out of shadows, pouring out of creaks in the walls and went shafts.
The nightmare was only beginning…
Chapter III: The greatest enemy

Green light iluminated the doorway, showing some machiney at the far side of the walls. However many shadows still remained, and lurking there was something manacing none living mind could withstand, something so alien for the living world. Already were the creatures awake and they waited, for they sensed something alive and most importantly – sentinent mind, and their endless hunger for it rose.
They fought their way through the dimly lit coridors  of the facility like small bout fights off the high waves of an ocean. No one was seriously injured, hovever Polaski was already showing first signs of Panic. ‘Are we there yet’ he asked wearily and aimed for the sluggish looking carrier-form. With a whop it exploded and sent dozens of small tentacled parsites in the air. Lewik fired some shots and quikly consultet his data pad. ‘Map shematics shows the NAV-station around that corner’He showed with two fingers the direction ahead of them and held back his rifle.’Damn you boy, we’re not on a Picnic here, you hear’ saidJohnson. He turned to call back Polaski, but just as he opened his mouth, he saw something unusual. Polaski was hoding his handgun with a trembling hand, however no shots left the barrel of his weapon. With a terrifiedexpresion on his face he looked straight ahead. Just before him slowly moved a figure. At first, Sergant couln’t tell what was so familiar on that mutated beign, untill he realized, it was one of the Polski’s troops.His squad was some-kind of Spec OP troops on an important mission, that crash landed in the nearly destroyed city ruins . According to Polaski, their squad tryed to escape but was later ambushed by the Flood. That was about five hours ago when his squad stumbled on Polaski’s remaing troops. Many were already dead when Sergant’s men found them. Nearly all of Sergants own men were killed while trying to save them, but eventually they managed to escape on a warthog.
Polaski was the sole survivor of his mysterious assignment. ‘I recognize him’, with a trembling voice said Polsaki ,’this one’s Bob’ He turned his pistol, but could’t fire a single shot. ‘Shoot the Bastard already’, barked Johnson. The ex-troop now was only a meter away from the stuned Polaski, when a barrage of fire came on the savage creature. It gave a horiblle sound and fell over.’Move’, cried Lewik while trying to reload his weapon.
As if poured cold water in face Polaski came to himself. Both men turned and run for the doorway, however Polaski hesitated. He walked to the corpse of his dead buddy and it was looking like he was searching for something.’God damn, what the Hell your doing’ asked the Sergant. Another monster came in to view. Both Johnson and Lewik opened fire in unison.Polaski suddenly rose up and started to walk backwards, firing back at the advancing parasites with his pistol. He quickly joined both marines and together they left the room and the carnage behind.
The doors loudly slamed shut.’This would hold them off for a while’ said Lewik with a grimm expresion on his face. It was wunder enough Lewik still held together, and Sergant knew he was one his best men. But this war had just too many dead heroes ‘Where is the NaV-computer’ asked Sergant, scaning the room for new foes.’All clear over hear’ told Polaski with deep exhalation on the other side of the room . The room had a great window at the opposite side of the room, that showed the chaos that was upon the city. Burning ruins were lying everywhere. Somewhere at the horizont faint explosions could be seen. But most importanly, the reason for them going through hell itself to get here was present – A corner with hi-tech comm-equipment, powerfull enough to reach even a spaceship comm in high orbit around earth. ‘Is this thing working’, asked Polaski nervously. Lewik sat on one of the operator’s seat.’Let’s check it out’.
The blackness on screen displayed suddenly flared to life and long lines of varios symbols appeared. On the main display an erea map couild be seen, indicating nearest comm stations. ‘Look like we were lucky, said Lweki quickly typing in commands,’ hte nearest comm-stations in this are destroyed or unoperative, so we’re all on the go’He comments were interupted as a sudden bang bented the heavy metal doors of the comm-room.’What was that?’ Polaski said. Sergant standed nervously behing Lewik, twitching his rifle in his hands.’Make it quick,’ he told Corplar and turned to the door.’Already doing neccesary procedures to establish uplink with nearest UNS working comm-station. There was a pause as he adjusted the freqvency of the sttions hi-tec machinery.’Filtering signal’…His face suddenly turned pale.’Sir, you need to hear this’, he turned on the loadspeakers of the room. at first nothing could be heard but static, when suddenly the sound cleared enough to discern the encrypted message. ‘…many….need to evac the pesronal. Outer defenses has been overun by the flood. Emergency bombing procudure eniatiatet…Can’t hold for long…Request reinfor….’ The signal suddenly died, leaving only static. ‘Sir’, Lewik continued ‘the transmision was cut from the source, but it’s set to repeat at constant cycles’He paused, then added,’ this transmision came from Fort Carlson, strating about 3 hours ago. Sergants shoulders fell down slighty’Sweet Lord, our base has been overrun just after we left..’Now it was Polaski who finnaly lost his nerve ‘Chesus, we never get outa here alive, were doomed Man…’Then he hissed to himself, shoulda armed these nukes when we had the chance, damn it..’ What the hell your talking about, the Sagant suddenly turbed to Polaski,’you wanted to bomb this whole place. And with it , the whole Western hemisphere. i thought that plan was denied. Another blow was given to the door, along with squcken sound of sratching metal. Faint hissing and rouring could be heard.’You thing we had any choice after we saw the masacre that was set upon Earth. If we don’t anihilate their invasion now, there will be no living beign left to protect. Already they have taken over half our planet…’Shut up you son of a bitch’ Sergant sharply interupted him. The muff of his rifle slighty angled towards Polaski.’You don’t have any idea what would happen after you arm these nukes, do you? We would only destroy that we tryed to protect so many long years of fighting. I never thought that in the end we turned to be our own gratest enemy.’He lowered his sight for a monemt as if remembering something. Polaski slighty steped back to the other side of the room, trying to win some distance between him and the Sergant. A sudden bang along the door and wall set him jump a bit. Lewik sat on the comm-conrtol room with his eyes fixed on Polaski. Sergant seemed to ignore the sounds outside the room. ‘He rased his eyes an set them firmly on Polaski. Sergant started to walk slowly towards him.’So, who are you anyway?’ with a low tone and suspuciosly in his voice he asked ‘Polaski turned mum, gazing straight at the Sergant. Sweat could be seen pouring on his forehead. ‘The team you were with on that spec-operation, who was that ordered bombing?’ continued Sergant. It seemed the nerves of Polaski suddenly gave away and he cried out loudly: ‘I’m first class bombing specialsit, ONI section five, ID31176,god damn it. All that doens’t matter now, their all dead anyway. Dead, you hear, the Flodd took them all, after we  tryed to ignite the bomb. As if sensing something those little bastards ambushed us, and destroyed our only chance to stop them. But at least I have recovered the codes for the bomb, poor Bob…’after that Polasi fell down on his knees.Sergant stoped right before him. He wanted to say something  to him about Halo, what was its deepest secret and most importanly, why it was built. He wanted to tell him what littkle he knew about the highly advanced civilization named Forerunners, that once ruled the galaxy, how even they were forced to built Halos and destroy all sentinent life in the galaxy in order to stop the Flood, and what most likely led to their own ultimate destruction..’
A suden radio tranmision broke the silance. A female voice could be heard in the cracking  radio tranmision ‘… copy. I repeat any stranded USN personal, please respond…’ Lewik emiadiately turned over to the control panel and started typing in commands for the console. ‘I copy that unknow-1, please indentify youself, over.’This is Pelican dropship K-199, on route to cruiser ‘  /?Remorse and confession?  ‘. We picked your tracking signal abour 5 kilometres off your current position, over.’Lewik turned to face Sergant, with a tired smile on his face.’Sarge, we..’ But Johnson quickly run at his position.’Hold it marine, we ain’t home yet.’ He taped some buttons on the control panel. ‘This is Sergeant Avery Johnson, our division has been overrun by the Flood and we need emidiate extraction on our location. He paused then added:’Fort Carlson has been destroyed about three hours ago, over. ‘There was silence, then some sintizatet, clean and cheerful female voice spoke, ‘Is that really you Sergant? This is Cortana, don’t worry, we’re helping. Master Chief is on his way.’

Chapter IV:It gets brutal

Obscure sounds could be heard behind the sealed door of the comm-room. Blow after blow the door became more unstable, and it was the only thing that kept the flood from their prey. Polaski leaned against an overturned table, the look of him was tired. ‘So we just sit tight until reinforcments arrive…’ he said as if speaking to himself. Lewik sat in his place at the comm station, lost in thought. Sergant johnson shifted on his legs uneasy. To him it was extremly aginst his nature to stay in one place, especially when the enemy so close. But the enemy outnumbered them many times, and anything could be behind that door… Suddenly the lights went dead. All the computers and comm-equpmnet turen off almost emiadetelly after. Lewik typed some keyes on his panel, then turned to Sergant. ‘Now what?!’ he asked indifferently. Pitch blackness was everywhere, with only ugly sounds coming out of the corridor close by. Sergant turned his weapons flashlight on. ‘Well, we’ve got two options: Sit here and wait for death or we could try to retreat all the way to the rooftops, where our transport awaits’.’Yeah, and what about them?’ with panic in his voice said Polaski, pointing at the door.’God damn Polaski, you said you’re with ONI, didn’t you? Then stop acting like a fool and we’ll get outa here in one piece’ , said the Sergant to Polaski. He then turned to face both soldiers.’Cover me while I try to open that door!’, he ordred . Both Polaski and Lewik acknowledged and run at he oppsosite sides of the room, weapons aimed for the door. Sergant quickly run for the door, with M9 HE-DP granade ready in his hand. With the other hand he triggered the emergency door release mechanism. With an effort the door opened , slowly reavealing the darkness behind it. Some shadows could be seen lurking there. ‘Fire in the hole’ Johnson yelled and tossed the granade in the coridor. A loud bang came after two hartbeats, echoing along the lenght of the corridor. Smoke rose from the door opening. There was a moment of silence as the marines waited for counterblow, but it didn’t came. ‘Lets move!’ Sergant cried out finnaly.
Already the time was sleaping away from three desperate marines, who fought impossible odds for normal human beigns. There was just too many, and Sgt.Johnson knew that. The Flood wasn’t the intelligent type of enemy, however what the lacked in brainpower they made up with their sheer numbers. Many other flood creatures were drawn to the scent of living beigns, all what they wanted was their extermination. Johnson was well aware of that too, when he, along with other two men, fought wave after wave of restless Flood attackers. They needed to reach the rooftops, at all cost, no matter the odds. Some of the flood combat forms were carrying pistols and even plasma rifles, what made the situation even worse. While escaping, Sgt. Johnson and Polaski fired short, controlled bursts, and closest pursuers were knocked off their feets. However another set of monsters appeared in their place, recklesly following them through narow passages to the finall set of stairs. Polaski fired another shot with his M6D pistol .’Faster!’, he cried at the other two, then turned to run up the stairs.  Sergants ammo counter dwindled, while he covered the parasites with hail of bullets. He helped Polaski to bring the nearest monsters down, then started to run. They were nerly there…
The roof acsess hatch slammed open with white dust coming from the opening, as three men climbed up on the roof. Sweet was falling from thier dirty faces, their combat uniforms were partly teared to shreds. The three held their breath when they beheld the vison that unfolded before them. What they saw from the rooftops could not be described in any means, so terrible was the sight of destruction that had fallen on the city. Nothing but burning ruins could be seen, black smoke rising high in the dawning red coluored sky. There was nothing else there. No dropship or other aircraft.
The remaining marines made a tight cluster in the center of the roof. They knew that nothing could now stop the Flood, it was here, their last tand will take place. They didn’t wait long. The Flood already was coming from every directions, horible mutated beigns with only sense for killing and destroying everything in thier path. The three men opened fire in uninsion.
Corplar Lewik knew from the start that they were only bying some time until the inevitable happens. The Flood didn’t take any prisiners without any exceptions, and they were simply too many to fight them. He saw them pouring out of the holes and hatches, climbing up the walls like possesed. They wanted him. But they won’t get me easy, he thought. ‘Fire!’ Sarge cried out and aimed his rifle. ‘They’re freaking too many!’ Lewik heard Polaski answering from  behind. He didn’t dare to turn, the Flood were simply too close. His hands trembling, Lewik opened fire from his rifle. The closest monsters were ripped apart from the penetrating bullets, deep bullet holes covered their combat forms. The others, however, continued their advance towards marines. Thousands small ballon – like parasites raced towards them, extending their sharp tentacles. They fired and fired, untill their ammo deppleted and were forced to reload. A roaring large Combat form appeared in front of Polaski. He cried out something and raised his sidearm against his attacker. Three shots left the barrel of Polaski weapon, but the large monster was still standing, and Polaski started to retreat backwards. Johnson already spotted the iminent danger and turned his assault file, when a sudden blow knocked him off his feet. He felt hot pain stabing in his left side, but he still managed to hold his weapon. ‘Polaski!’ he cried out, but it was already too late. While Polaski panicly tried to reload his pistol, the hideous monster was already upon him. With a growl it raised its long tentacle arm and struck the marine. The blow was so strong, that it ripped poor marines head off. Blood spouted on the roof and the lifeless body fell on the ground. ‘Sarge!’ Lewik cried out and fired a round. A hideous looking creature fell next to Johnson, lifeless. Sergant tried to get on his feet, fingering his rifle, but the pain was overhelming. Lewik sprinted next to Sergant, covering him. ‘You’re all dead’ he yelled, firing his last rounds from the riffle. Blood and bits of various body parts were flying aside him. The ammo counter on Lewiks weapon finnaly showed ’00’. He felt cold horror creeping on him, his limbs became stiff like paralyzed. They were finnished.
With a long jump the flood combat forms reached them, extending their long tentacled arms at them. A sudden blast struck the nearest monster, shreding it to bits of fauled tissue and bone. After that another fell from the invicible bolt of incredible force. Other Flood forms silently stood around the remainig marines like frozen and looked in the sky. Polaski managed to turn his ashing neck at the direction of the shots just as a half ton of heavy armor fell on the ground, leaving deep cracks on the roofs ground. White steam could be seen hissing from the ports in varous places of armor, as the internal systems compensated the fall. At the first sight the stranger looked almoust as alien as the Flood itself. However closest inspection showed it was still a human beign. The colour of the armor the stranger wore was dark green, it covered all his body parts and his face was well hidden behind the golden visor of his helmet. In his arms he held two smoking pistols. Suddenly Sergant got up on his feet and yelled:’Glad to see you chief!’ The stranger then slowly rose up to his full stunning 2 m height and turned his visor at the marines. ‘Move!’. After that the newcomer raised both his arms and fired the pistols simolusenty at the monsters, slowly advancing towards them. Lewik had never seen a Spartan before. Despite the loud publications made by UNSC high command in order to raise the overall morale of UNSC colonies, he never had any chance to see them in action. The the war was simply too devastating even for those highly trained soldiers, too many of them were already dead trying to win this war. ‘Come on!’ Sergant barked at Lewik, and turned around. Corplar quickly came to himself, when he heard the familliar roar of a Pelican dropship engines. He raised his head up again. The Pelican was already slowly aproching the nearest safe spot on the roof, the on-board weapons, however, were all mum. He got hold of his riflle and followed Johnson. He quickly watched over his shoulder. The Spartan was right behind them, slowly following them, while shooting at attacking Flood at extreme distances. Like a machine, he fought the enemy with extreme efficency and precision. The nearest Flood – combat form manged to launch a strike at him, however the hit only reflected against Spartan’s personal shields. He emidiatlly faced the attacker and punched it with enormous force. The Flood-form flew three meters away, when it hit the nearby wall. The Pelican landed safely one meter off the ground, just as the marines reached the extraction place. ‘Let’s hit them hard’ Sergant barked and with Lewik they opned fire. Small fragment of limbs, roten tissue and some liquid fluid flew in the air as the Flodd was cought in croosfire. The Spartan quickly reached the Pelican, and all three safely boarded the Pelican dropship. After the last passanger got onboard, the Pelican emidiatelly rose high up in the sky, its engines screaming to life. Johnson peered outside from the closing access hatch of the Pelican and managed to get hold of the last sight of hundreds of Flood-forms standing on the faxctory ruins, when the gray clouds finnaly hid everything out of sight.

Chapter V: Deepest fear

Vice-admiral Zuka-Ruamee was standing motionless on observation deck in his 3.5 km long battle criuser ‘Remorse and Confession’ . Along the slippery purple colour of its hull was a long line of plama turrets, all fully charged and aimed at he ruined city below. Pride of Covenat Capital class battlesships, ‘Remorse and confession’ was also one of its last kind. The war with the Flood turned out to be a dissaster for the Alliance , thought Zuka. His shiny golden armor reflection could be seen in the  3 m thick observation window. Even the ‘truce’ with human coalition could’t stop the onslaught of the Flood infestion. It seems that graveminds plan has worked out pretty well indeed…Zuka mandibles parted as he grimaced his face in disgust. That missarble vermin, using him like somekind of tool to achieve his own agendas…His thoughts were interupted as his second-in-comand lutenant  came in. He bowed slighlty  – ‘Your exelency, Demons dropship is aproching. It seems he had recoverd the relict we need for our advance. ‘Very well, send banshees to escort them to the launch bays’, Zuka Ruamee ordered without turning to face the lutenenat. The lutenant bowed once more and left the observation deck. With a hiss the doors fell together. Zuka-Ruamee didn’t trust that human, not yet at least, and not after what he has done to the Alliance…

The sleek silhuette of a covenat battle cruiser emerged from the mist that covered the sky above the city. Thin straight line of purple light could be seen along its long hull, where the most fearfull weapons of Covenant arsenal were taking its place. It was srange for Sergant johnson to fly for cover to the least place he wanted to – on a covenant battle ship. And more of that because those basards were directly aiming fully charged cannons at them, ready to blast them to bits. However he knew the Alliance was weakened after the civil wars, and it needed desperatly every help it can get in war aginst the Flood. The internal wars splitted the Allaince in two major forces: The prophets with thier guards Brutes, Jackals and drones, agianst the Elites, Hunters and Grunts. With war on two fronts, they weren’t in the best position, but at lest the Flood seems intendend on destroying both sides. They were forced aginst all arts to cooparate with remaining human forces or get exctinct within next cycles. Not the position at all. /Polaski-death?/Johnson held up his head. his sight went all the way through the internal passanger bay, which was now outfitted for other use in spec-op missions. His gaze wandered along the walls untill he met the tired gaze of Lewik. He noded slightly with his head and johnson answered the same. It was a wonder all right, that they survived, even aginst those odds they somehow managed to make it to evac. But what really suprised johnson was Lewiks perfomance back there, it was only recently he managed to grasp the real perfomance of this boy. He marked in his head to check Lewik’s personal data later. He the became aware of MC conversation with Cortana. ‘We’re nearly there’ Cortana’s calm voice announced, the she lowered her tone a bit and said:”A squadron of Banshees are aproching on intercept vector”.”Just escort” said Chief, and turned to face the small window near him. Johnson didn’t like those news at all, not even a bit. Somehow he felt uneseiness rising inside him, as their small Pelican dropship with no considirable weaponry on board made its finnal aproach to the Covennant battle cruiser. The small human vehicle was now tightly between three banhee single-pilto craft’s. Together they disappeared under the massive hull of the alien spaceship.

The four massive Pelican engines still roared loudly when it landed in the massive alien launch bay. The sound deeply echoed within the large empty room, making the sound even meaner. Imediatelly after the pilot retracted the landing gear, the cargo hold of the Pelican dropship slamed open, and a handfull of humans steped out. Johnson and Lewik held their rifles ready, just in case the aliens get any funny ideas. The launch bay of the covennant ship turned out to be much larger than seemed before. The oily walls had the dark purple colour the covennant so much prefered. Some tanks and metal crates were scattered around the bay, however no vehicles could be seen. In one corner of the bay there were some Covenant enginers gathering around some piece of equipment. Except the enginers, there were no living beign in the bay, and nobody seemed to be intersted in them. Thet made Johnson even nervous as he slowly steped from the Pelicans acces ramp. Chief moved ahead, scaning the area for hostile contacts. ‘Sarge’, Lewik said nervously behind him. He turned around and saw two elites going at their direction. Johnson instinctively fingered the triger of his rifle, closely watching the aproching elites. ‘Easy Sergant’, said master Chief and turned to face the two covenant. About two meters away the elites stoped and on of them spoke in a deep voice plain english:” We greet you human visitors on ‘Remorse and Confession’. We would be gretfull if you accompany us to the bride, where our leader awaits”. ‘I think that split-chin meaned our Arbiter’ said Johnson sharply.’Takes us directly to him’, interupted Cortanas insistent voise, “we have recovered what we need for our finnal stage of plan”. Together with their new companions, they turned and walked towrads the hallway. “What plan?” asked Johnon uneasy. “To  exterminate the Flood infestation from this galaxy once and for all”, replied Master Chief.

Sparks flew aside in the dimly lit coridors of the Covenant battle ship, as many Covenant enginers with the help of Grunts hastily welded additional support beams and made other last-minute repair prodedures. Nearly all of the alien crew was engaged in some sort of manipulation, making the narrow corridors really crowded. It was not like the large ship had sustained any serious damage during the firefights with the flood, but the sip master was intent to use every free cycle they get to improve or repair various ships subsustems. however, the greatest concern for Zuka was undoubtly the hull integrity. Despite beign the peak of Covenant and Forerunner technology, the ‘Remorse and confession’ was just like all other space ships, mainly built for zero-gee conditions. And now, beign forced to land on a hostile planet just a few kilometres off ground, they were the perfect spot for the Flood to strike. But the capital battle ship was still a formidable threat thanks to its incedible firepower and Zuka new it. He faced yet another threat, more dangerous than anything else. The crew could be ambushed unprepared,and the ships weaponry would be useless here, so to counter that threat he had oredred Banshees to patrol the airsace around the ship nonstop, with the aid of 3 additional squadrons ready to launch in extreme situations. So far, the Flood seems to have no interest in them, but that is about to change, thought over Zuka Ruamee. Soon Gravemind will spot their founny idea and not long before the finnal battle takes place. He will be ready, and without any blessing from the Prophets. He held up his gaze from the hologram of ships schematic and saw his true enemy. Humans. Their amazing surviveability still remains a great mystery to him, but he had the feeling his will soon find that out. He called the schematic off and started to walk towards them.

The pain still stabed the Sergant left side, when he, along with Lewik and Master Chief, entered the Covenant comand central. He saw the buzz along the way through various ships corridors, but the central seemed even more crowded. Grunts were hastily moving freight boxes and busy taking orders from their officers, but moslty there were Elites. One of them he recogniced emidietely, due to its great stature and the golden coloured armor. Johnson also realized the bulky elite is looking right at them, and slowly moving their way. Master Chief, with johnson and lewik behind, stoped in the center of the great room, on a slightly extened platform that served to seperate the main control from the rest of the central. ”Whats up split face?” called Johnson. The tall elite seemed to ignore him, and looked directly on Master Chief. Cortana spoke first, however. ”We have done it. The old artefact we found in one of the city’s  Museum seems to be indeed what we were looking for. The energy signatures report a match, but there still a slight chance that it’s not the key what we need”. Zuka noded approvingly. “It seems your gods are still trustworthly, despite everything”. “Enough of that”, Master Chief interupted, “our enemy is restless” and ,looking directly in Ruamee’s eyes, he asked “do you have what we need?”. Zuka klicked his mandibles once, as if wanting something to say. After a moment of silence, he finally replied: “Follow me”. Together they left the Control room. Along the way, Zuka started to speak :”This ship is the result of merging our technology with the technology of the Ancients. The prophets were strictly against that, calling it an act of herecy towards the Sacred ones. That’s why this battleship was never meant to make it to the real battlefields.” After crossing another set of doors, he added :”It must never fall in the hands of the Flood”. With that, he suddenly stoped by a guarded door on the left side of the corridor. The guarding elites boved slightly and moved aside. Zuka gave his ID-Disk to the security officer and placed his hand on a retinal scanner. After a moment, the door silently slid open and they entered a dark room, more different than anything they saw before on the ship. The chamber they entered was actually more bigger than it seemed, with round table in the center. The table itself was on a large podium, marking it even more from other objects in the interior of the chamber. The room suddenly filled with bright light, iluminating almost every corner and revealing extraordinary markings on the walls. Somehow it remined Johnson of the carvings he used to see on various bouldings in Halo, and the strange aura they emited. ‘Once this was the chamber of the Commanding Prophets’, said Zuka quietly, and, with a sign, summoned humans to the center of the chamber. Strange light iluminated from the surface of the table, and it somehow drawed atention of every visitor in the room. Zuka continued, with a tone of honor in his voice:”This artefact was long kept in secret by the highest Prophets of the Concil, untill we were able to get hold of it. It’s origins are unknown, but what we know is that it is a part of the Ancients technology built on this ship. However, our enginers were unable to fully understand the full capabilities of this object. They say that it operates as a part of some greater mechanism beyond our understanding. And this is where you come in, Demon. Your A.I. must find out how to operate it properly, for she posseses  much wisdom that of the Ancients”.
Cortanas voice whispered through Master Chief’s built-in helmet speakers:”My analysis indicates that this Forerunners object is in fact what we need. This might be it. I’ll be able to operate it, just get me in there”. Chief hessitated. He knew Cortana was doing the right thing, but she was just too valuable to part so easily with, even after Cortana’s sudden change  after the merge with Foreruner knowledge she found on Halo. He slowly retracted the slot guarding Cortanas chip on his helmet, and pulled it out. For a moment,he felt unbearable lonely, following with the ussual stab of pain, as Cortanas presence left his mind. He was closely working with Cortana since the Flood first attack on Earth, following by the inevitable invasion. In these times he got even more used to her since th time Dr.Halsey introduced him with the A.I. Without the coopartion with Cortana, none of them would have made it this far. He quickly cleared his mind of these thoughts and focused his attention on the control panel. Again, he had the feeling he knew what he needed to do. He slipped his armored glowe across the transparent input of the interface of the panel and stoped at some spot between two glowing cylinders. He forced the chip in the split and it fited perfectly. The symbols on the panel began scroling across the interface, and the strange light on the table surface began pulsing much faster. “What the hell is that?”, asked Johnosn nervously, looking at Chief and then at the panel. Lewik wasn’t used to this either. Only Zuka was motionless, for he felt deep respect to every holy relic the Ancients left behind. “They left a message for us to read”, he thought. “I’m in”, Cortanas voice suddenly filled the whole room. It felt like her voice was more confident now, and with a little note of excitment in her voice. “The archiecture isn’t much different form Halo’s. Mabey a little older interface, but it’s a piece of cake”. There was a moment as Cortanas subsystems  procesed the stored data with thousands of complex algoritms. After that Cortana spoke again, more serious this time:”I knew it. It’s a map of some sort, but we still need the key to use it”. The Chief had already removed his armored backpack and took out a perfectly even plate of unknow material, with some alien carvings on it. They risked everything to recover it from one of the city’s museums. It was unknow, how many years pased till the time it’s secret powers were unvieled. He carefully placed the object on the table, while the marines and Zuka observed closely. Nobody dared to interfare, fearing that this phenomenom of some yet greater power would vanish. The writings on the alien artefact started to blaze light blue colour, playing with warm light around the ancient walls. Then, without further notice, the engraved markings started suddenly to fade. Chief stiffened as he looked at something that was beyond his understanding. He feared that it might not work, or mabey they made some mistake. He felt so powerless now that all their sucess lies on a single discovery. But he still believed in Cortana. He believed, that there’s still a chance for all of them. For the humanity to survive.

Chapter VI – The Rule of all Evil
The ambient light in the chamber room faded, leaving it nearly completly in darkness. Suddenly, in the center of the room, just above the round table, a holografic picture appeared. Master Chief looked closely. The holografic projection showed a planet, a perfect geografical map with vast of land, rivers, oceans and great mountains. The were also ice caps in the north and south pole, noticably more larger than on earth like planets. Chief could’t tell what that planet was, but he almoust had the feeling beign familiar…”Is that..”,Johnson started to speak.”Correct”, interupted him Cortana with yet again self confident voice,”what you see before you is the exact face of earth about 20 milion years ago”.Behind Chief visor, his eyes widened slightly. Nobody could make such detailed map of earth, because it was known that earth was unhabitet by any inteligent lifeforms at that time. That could only mean, that there were acctually some highly advanced beigns. That also meant, they were on the right tracks. “I believe that this map was left behind by a highly advanced civilization that we all refeer to as the Forerunners. The map dating is unclear to me, but it is clear that they colonised this planet long before the first human beigns appeared”, Cortanas voice spoke from everywhere. Zuka couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a suprise to him how undeveloped humans could discover something that even the higher prophets never knew about. How could they operate with higly advanced Forerunner technology so easily was a coplete mystery to him. But all that didn’t matter now. He steped closer to the hologram.”Can you locate the main control center”, said Zuka. “Scaning. The geological strukture has changed during the centuries, but I think if it’s still there then it must be somewhere here”. The holografic map changed to  earth in present days, and a red triangle appeared howering above some spot on the planet. “The marked location on the map indicates an area around New Cairo, but I still haven’t figured out the direct location of the control center”. Chief exhaled. At least they have a location where to search and therefore a slim chance in finding the Center. There was a change. the hologrfic projection of Earth started to stutter untill it suddenly vanished from sight. Instead, a large projection of the characteristic angular head of an Elite appeared hovering above the tabble. Most of its face was covered by helmet, however the burning and arrogant eyes of their kind could be clearly discerned. Zuka immediately recognized his second-in command, quite tallented but also rouge young warrior, with the needed respect towards the autorithy of the now shattered Alience. In a low, but insistent voice he reported:”Excelency, our sensors have detected a non-responding flying object headind at a direct vector k-9 cycles. Closer analysis reported a missing dropship G-55, that we lost contact apromixetely 3 cycles ago”. Then the young officer seemed to lost his temper for a split second, clearly showing he wasn’t used to much thinking before blowing a target in thausands bits. He continued, careffuly chosing his words:”There’s possibility the ship’s comm-equipment is damaged, and I undestand that we need every surviving unit we can reatreave, but I suggest taking no risk and take drastic measures. We have them locked on with pulse lasers and just need your order”. The second-in-command officer finished hi report and peered directly at his leader without even noticing humans, as if wanting to read his masters mind. The lutenant was really tallented, knowing he was only participating in a few battle with flood. Clearly he was expecting from Zuka the same thing the Alliance had thought him – not to think much and shoot. But many things have changed, thought Zuka. This was no longer Aliance but possibly the last attemp to withstand the imminent exctinction of every race in the known galaxy. This was the movement like the Heretics, that he sentenced to death himslef. This was no longer a movement for militarty dominance of the whole galaxy but an effort to survive. Every life was now expensive and not anymore expendable. They had to  save as mch life as possible. The desicion was clear. It was time to change the ideals the threcherous Prophets had set them for so long.”Stand by. I will be on the Bridge right away”. The suprised face of the lutenant vanished from the hologram and the lights came on again. Zuka Ruame turned to the exit and said:”If there’s need for me, I’ll be on the bridge”. Johnson  steped back from the round tabble and whistled:”Let’s go Lewik. I gotta see this”. Chief turned to Zuka, then activated his comm-link with Cortana – “You gonna make it without me?”, he asked anxiously. “Don’t worry Chief, as soon as I finish the procedures I’ll directly inform you of my progress. It won’t take long”.Chief nodded.He got used to these short answers. “Good luck”, he said and turned to walk away from the strange alien chamber.
He walked through the dimm alien corridors. The prevouis crowdness was gone, indicating that every aviable unit was at his battle station. Chief wasn’t quite sure, but his instints told him that somethings is about to happen. and he wasn’t usesd to standing around. He wanted to be right in the middle of the event, that is about to unfold. He knew the Aliiancne or what partially was left fro it was sustaining large loses in lines of units, and the were desperate for every units. The only thing was, they realized that they need help too late. Now they are about to change that, but Chief was uneasy about it. There are seldom survivors after the Flood, even for the Aliance. At least they seem to be ready for anything. Together with marines, he quickly reached back the Covenat control Center. Zuka was already there, issuing orders. It seemed for Chief, that Zukas people are well perpared, every movement was well calculated and managed with great expirence. The comanding lutenat was watching closely every movement the crew done. The young warrior abvoisly enjouyed the given responsibility, and he made his job quite well indeed. Chief stoped beside Zuka. He knew that the Elite was more larger than his own kind, however that didn’t affect him at all. And so far Ruamee does not show any sign of dislike, it seemed. “Watch Demon, as I break the wrong ideals set before our ancestors. I’ll try to save every one of them”, calmly said Zuka. Chief just wanted to say something about that ‘Demon’ thing, but one of the communication managing officers broke in:”The object accelated to twenty units. Still not responding to any signals Banshees sent. Heading direct collision course at he ship”. zuka clicked his mandibles, thinking the situation over. The ship seemed clearly damaged on the observation cameras. Was it really possible the survivors would ignore direct requests to stand down. No. The external scan wasn’t giving any clear results either. That left little choice  for him. As much as he wanted to change things, the safety comes always first. He turned to his lutenant and was about to give order to shot the dropsship down, as alarm broke in. Just immediattley after red light filled the central, the pursuing Banshees exloded, shredding to thausands bits of molten metal and falling down on the city below. The alarms ringed loudly in Chief ear as his worst fears had fullfilled – they were ambushed. But how many flood-froms could be actually hiding threre. The attack on Bancshees from the ground was clearly a well laid plan, mabey a part of something bigger yet to come. He faced one of the monitors showing the small aproching ship. It came safely through the midst of smoke and was coming right at them. “Report”, the second-in-comand demanded. In a few second the young officcer changed to a fearfull warior in full combat alert. Zuka however was standind still and seemed to be thinking about something. “The aproching ship now 5 units from our current position. Collision in 0.3 cycles”, one of the Elites reported. “Bring the ship in full combat alert theta. Activate emergency thrusters. Bring the ship to bearing vector 5-5-0-1. All short range lasers fire. Activate point-black laser defenses” Zuka’s commanding voice suddenly broke in. Zuka watched closely at the aproching ship. Gravemind had sertainly made his move, he thought. They still could win some time, using the right strategies…
But it was already too late for every one in the Covenant battle ship. The numerous weapons turned towards the approching threat, overcharging with high – dense energy. It took only split second for the cannons to release it stored energy at the intruder, but something went terribly wrong. Suddenly all the monitors went dead, and the computers refused to respond. The comm-room went completly dark. After five seconds an explosion could be heard somewhere on the ship, following by series of smaller explosions. The detonation shaked the very superstructure of the ship. “What was that?” cried out Zuka’stuned lutenant,”I never seen them doing that before!”. Another elite reported in the darkness: “Varous computer systrems are down. Shields, weapons and navigation systems offline. Activating emegrency power”. The central filled  with pulsating red light again.”This is some real shitt!” ,cried out Johnson and hastily tryed to arm his rifle. Lewik did the same. Suddenly, everyone on board had to fight for their lives once more. The monitors slowly came on. Some of them were showing burning parts of the hull of the Covenant cruiser. Zuka eyed his pesronal computer terminal. It showed a hull breach in sector 5-1, along with a fire outbreak along the neighboring sections, but it didn’t seem to damage the ship significanty enough. “By the gods!”, shouted one of the elites, standing up  and watching one of the monitors. All the screens suddenly changed to external view of the ship, showing hundreds of small ships coming from every direction. “Alert the crew of intruders. Increase power to thrusters”. Zuka was intent to reduce the damage that was already inflicted. Suddenly Chief became the feeling that the ship wasn’t the safest spot anymore, he needed to move. If the flood makes it to the ship, Cortana may be in great danger. He turned to Johnson and Lewik. Both men looked exausted and frightened, but the look of their eyes told they can take on anything. He wasn’t willing to bring them in uneccesary risks, however, both of them had gone through hell already. “Stay here. Notify me if something comes to attention”, Chief said, shouldering his assault rifle and recheking its ammo counter. “Got it, Chief. We’ll make sure none of them gets here alive. Good luck”, said Johnson grimly. Master Chief noded and silently left the Control room.
Chief marched along the alien corridors. There was no sign of any enemy threat on his motion sensors. Dull explosions and laser fire could be heard outside the ship. Hief wondered where the crew could be. He opened a secure comm chanel:”Cortana? Status please”. There was a moment of silence over the COM, then Cortana responded:”Stand by”. Chief stoped by a corridor junction. The nav-system in his suite placed an arrow on his heads-up display, pointing out the location of Cortana’s chamber. He carefully scanned the area, then continued his march. A second later Cortana spoke. “I’ve uploaded the cordinates of the possible location to Arbiter, but I wasn’t  able to decode the symbols for the exact cordinates of the control center. They are extremely old…and complex. We’ll need to search again for them later”.
She sighed after a moment, then continued:”The security system left by the  Forerunners makes it difficult. I see we have some problems outside.” The Chief replied:”It must be Gravemind. He must’ve sensed something”. The lights suddenly flickered, and the sound of bending girders could be heard somewhere on the ship. “Chief, you must hurry. I’m detecting multiple motion signatures around the ship dorsal structure, and it’s not Covenant. I’m affraid we have got too little time on our hands to get to New Cairo in one piece”.
“Got it,” said Chief and moved into the looming darkness.

Thousands of small ships raced towards the shark-like figure of  the “Remorse and Confesion”. Threre were mostly civilian craft, but also some military types – cargo ships, dropships and even small frigates. Many of them barely held together and slowly, but steadily moving towards their intended prey. The thin line of white blue plasma flared across the whole huge hull of the battle cruiser. It gathered energy once more and the cannons finnaly showed off their immense firepower. The air space around the large ship was doted with small explosions that echoed many kilometres across the city surface. The air itself warmed up significantly, it became increaingly hot. The infested ships were slow moving enemy, but altogether they made up many small targets that were hard to hit even for the most advanced weapons of Covenant arsenal. After a while they overhelmed the laser deffense system by overcharging their batteries and crashed on the surface of the cruiser with their own ships. The explosions drained significant part of the ships shields and threatened to deplete them completly. The Covenant battle ship answered with a swarm of banshees coming through all launch bays. In addtion, the massive ships engines flared to life and steadily moved the warship away from the carnage.
Zuka watched the mayhem outside. He wasn’t ready  to die. But he knew, that he would give anything to win his battle, whatever the costs. But that was not up to him. His waship was needed for a higher purpose. He glanced agian at his pesonal computer terminal. On the display scrooled varied Covenant heroghlifs, including the cordinates provided by the human A.I. It posesed such much knowledge that it almost frightened him. Weren’t the humans woried this precoius knowledge could be lost along with the A.I, or even worse, captured by the Flood? But there was no more time for questions. They needed to reach the target as fast as possible, no matter the odds. “Shields drained by 40 percent and decreasing. Laser deffense overloading. Battery Coil failure imminent,”  the main operator announced, widly taping various commands for ships subsystems. That imediatelly brought Zuka to the reality again.
“Divert all power to the main engines. Bring us to sector 3-2-0”. “But excelency, that would expose us without any shields and active weapons..”, Luetenant objected. “Are you opposing my orders?!”. Zuka wasn’t to give up his ship so quickly, more because that was his own fault by allowing the flood to get so near. But he had to admit he actually could never saw it coming, not that way. The flood never oprerated so masterfull – was really Gravemind presence behind this? Zuka faced his luetenant. “How long before our destination?”.
“Assume we move with full power, it would take approximately 12 cycles.”  12 cycles. It was simply too much in their current situation. Their condition could change in mere nonacycles from worse to critical, if something does not change drastically.

Chief was still busy making his way through the maze of alien corridors. Without the help of A.I, it was extremly easy to get lost in this ship. The lone spartan stoped once more and called the complete deck schematic before his eyes. On the inside surface of his helmet a small sector map appeared, showing his current position and the strange alien chamber, where Cortana was located. A sudden echo of explosion shaked slightly the deck under his boots. Once again he was fully dependend on some unknown pilots skills, and he hated that. He had no idea on what was going on outhere, but for now he needed to move. He called off the schematic and was about to move further, but a sound made him freeze in place. Could that be the intruders? He had been warned of any enemy  contact, but there were none so far. Was it posible the crew failed to repel the Flood invasion party? He wasn’t willing to take any chances, so he did the only thing his instintcs told him to do – ready his assault riffle. Altought he had a secondary weapon on him – a pistol – he wasn’t sure how many foes he will have to take on at a time – so he sticked to the 60 ammo clip of his assoult rifle. The sound of running footsteps drew nearer, however the sounds from outside the ship made it impossible to discern anything morethan that. Chief moved slightly to his left, where the wall met with some barrier making it a good cover and a place to hide. He knelt behind the barrier and shouldered his rifle, aiming directly at the corridor ahead of him. Chief deeply exhaled and steadyed his aim, fingering the trigger of the riffle. The noise drew even nearer, and it was now moving directly at Chief’s position. A small moving shadow appeared around the corner. Chief forced himself to wait for a moment longer to get a clearer view of the targer, his finger begann to squize the trigger…
The noise now turned into a mix of squeales and sobs and a second later a scared grunt appeared. It didn’t notice Chief and continued to run along the corridor. Chief eased himself. The grunts are known for their coward nature, always running away without proper Elite authority from the battlefield. The scared Grunt jumped in horror, when a two meter tall Spartan suddenly rose before him. The poor grunt was all shaking before Chief, too shocked to cry or even do what they are best known at – runing  away. Chief had no idea how to communicate with these awkard and cowardly creatures, and he didn’t have the time for that either. He lowered his rifle and marched to the Grunt. The small alien looked high up at the Chief and didn’t dare to move. The grunt then said in barking voice “Demon!”, screaming loudly in a squicking voice. That’s definetelly enough, thought Chief and was about to walk past the Grunt, when the grunt turned and fled back the way he came. Cheif became a stange feeling of what actually scared the grunt. He stiffened. Something was extremely wrong about that grunt, the way it reacted. He turned imediatelly around only to be ripped from his feet by a powerfull blow. Chief slamed eith his back the nearby wall, dark dots before his eyes. He quickly cleared his blury vision and faced the source of attack. A hideous looking monster jupmed before him, swinging long tentacles at him. With his fast reflexes he spied his droped riffle – more than a meter away. The Flood was too close to take out his pistol too, leaving the only defensive option left for him – hand to hand combat. Not the best option, considering his enemy was an unnaturaly strong and agile half-mutaded monster. He wished he had one of those energy swords the higher rank elites prefered to use. The Food creature made a grunting noise and swinged the masive teantacled arm at him. He emideatelly ducked under the savage blow of the monster and quickly got up. The Flood must not stop his progress. He needed haste. With a grim determination he momentary called the suit system contol on his heads up display. He diverted all power from shielding to the kinetic implantants bilt under his suit to increase his enchanced strenght. It was risky and left him virtuallly without any shielding, making him more vurnable to enemy attacks. Addapt or die –  he remembered one of his first lesons. The flood now turned back against him, wawing his long tentacles.The Chief waited the flood-form to attack once again, evaded the following blow and charged with his double enchanced strenght in the center of the creatures belly. The creature absorbed the whole blow, but it felt to Chief as if he had hit something rock solid. The mutated creature reeled away a few steps, making growling sounds and then hit the opposite wall. Chief didn’t wait for the creature to get up. He picked his rifle, closely aimed and squized the trigger. The bullets penetrated the Flood form and smeared the wall with brown fluid. Bits of torn flesh spattered over Chief visor. Full with adrenaline he waited for the form to get up, then eased his stance. His vision was blurred, either from pain or sweat, that dripped in his eyes. Time to move, he thought. Chief quickly reloaded his weaopon and contunued to move down the dim corridor.

The strangely ornamated doors silently parted and Master Chief steped once more into the Ancient chamber. The room was still poorly lit, however the main instrument – the round tablle – was flooded with different colour lines, odd scrooling symbols could be seen in the hologhram above. It felt to him that he wasn’t even noticed when he entered the room. He marched to the center of the chamber, carefull to watch for any enemy signs. “Cortana?”, he asked uneasy. “Hold on Chief, you need to see this”, he heard Cortana’s reply. Chief didn’t like that answer at all. They needed to move, especially with the Flood onboard. The strange alien symbols in the hologram suddenly vanished and a floating 3 dimensional triangle stucture appeared. It remainded Chief of the old pyramides the Egyptians used to built on Earth. ” This is our target – the structure was left behind by the Forerunners decades ago”. Chief carefully examined the floating structure. He now noticed the strange similarity between thr stucture and the ones he saw during his brief time on Halo. “Doing my analysis I recognized the same energy signature paterns found on Halo”, Cortana continued, “so if we find this structure I might be able to find a way to remotely control every Halo out threre”. Chief had the feeling he was losing Cortana again. The needed haste, but it could possibly be the last time he could clear some things before the inferno. “So, what are we going to do once we reach the Control Center?”. It took almoust three seconds for Cortana to respond. “I know this sounds awkard or even crazy to you Chief, but I believe I can reprogram Halos amplified energy impulse to a specific frequency, in which only the Flood parasites operate. By doing so, the energy wawe would eliminate all Flood presence in the known universe. You must understand, this may be our last chance we ever get to defeat them, before they wipe the galaxy clean of any sentinent life”. Master Chief knew it well enough. The moment draws nearer, when their finnal, mabey suicidial battle would take place. “What are my objectives?”, Chief calmly asked. “Only one for now”, Cortanas voice lowered, echoing through the empty room – “Survive”.