Foreword: I do not own Halo or Mass Effect. They belong to 343 Industries and BioWare, respectively.
Hello again everyone! HeirOfRohan here with yet another crossover idea, this time with Halo and Mass Effect! My two favorite universes!
This story idea is heavily influenced and inspired by DemonFireX's 'Crysis Effect' series, where an ordinary OC Marine sergeant in our timeline was killed, resurrected by the Librarian out of a dire need for humanity's savior and sent to the Crysis Universe to acquire his skills and experience as well as the Nanosuit. The writing style is of course of my own unique blend of POV and full-on tactical battle scenes, which would be quite rare until Mass Effect 3 comes around in the story.
Crysis Effect and its sequel Crysis Effect 2 are some of the most ambitious and compelling crossover OC-insert stories I have read in a long, long time. Now, with DemonFireX now retiring from writing fanfiction and handing over the reins of his stories to Wraith002, I've decided to try my own OC-insert using the same formula DemonFireX has used — an ordinary soldier, killed and then resurrected as a Spartan super soldier by, once again, the Librarian and after his task in the Halo Universe is done, gets sent to the Mass Effect Universe with all the accumulated technologies of humanity, the Covenant and the Forerunners — yeah, we are going that route. If Chaos Theory equates the extra existence of a butterfly's wingbeat that could cause a hurricane, then the mere presence of a Spartan supersoldier will likely tear a rift in the space-time continuum for lack of a better term to describe their interference in the timeline.
Of course, we could not forget about a Spartan's best friend, Cortana! Yes, she will be in this story full time! I hated how they did her dirty in Halo 5. Damn, 343, what the shit? I can't wait to see just how would the Council, or better yet the Reapers react to an AI that far outstripped them in every conceivable way?
Well, let's find out, shall we?
A Spartan's Light
Chapter 0: Prologue
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Edmund Burke
Johnathan "Hawk" Martinez, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines
Peshawar Province, Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom (Ongoing)
0935 hours, October 12, 2013
It cannot get any worse than this.
1st Lieutenant John Martinez, callsign Hawk, cursed loudly as several shots ricocheted off the ground beside his cover, forcing the man to duck around the stray bullets. He leaned out of his cover and cut loose with his M16A2 service rifle, cutting down an insurgent before ducking back down again as return fire slammed into the rock he was hiding behind.
They knew this mission was going to go sideways in a hell basket the moment it was issued. Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgents had been spotted in the mountains of Peshawar recently by local police and militia forces, and the United States Marine Corps units assigned to the province were to closest ones to form a Quick Reaction Force to put down the insurgents. And that was where 2nd Platoon of Alpha Company, 2/5 Marines comes in — John's platoon.
And lo and behold, just as predicted, they were ambushed in the mountains and hills surrounding the province with RPG and mortar fire, before automatic fire rained down upon them, pinning the platoon on the bottom slope of the hill. The enemy had always held the advantage here, with the mountains to their backs and the caves and tunnel networks to slip away unmolested, the insurgents reigned supreme in the face of the technological superiority enjoyed by the Americans.
That fact was duly felt by John as his platoon was being pasted.
"Hunter 3-3, this is Hunter 3-1 Actual!" John yelled into his radio, watching as another one of his boys was shot dead in front of him. "Enemy insurgents at Sector Echo-2-1, bearing 220! Anyone got eyes on?!"
"Negative Actual, there's too much brush and rock outcroppings for the bastards to hide!" Hunter 3-3 shot back. "Hunter 3-2 already suffered five KIA and two WIA, sir! And we're not doing so good here either!"
Another voice crackled over the combat comm. "This is Hunter 3-4 to Actual; we're pinned down at grid square Foxtrot 3-1. We have Hunter 3-5 with us and we're taking a beating here! Multiple KIAs and WIAs — we need support and we need it now!"
"Damn it!" John cursed as he leaned out of cover to suppress the enemy again. "Alright, this place has just gotten way too hot — Hunter 3-1 Actual to all Hunter 3 units — fighting withdrawal! We don't stand a chance with their terrain advantage and that damned mortar support!"
"Hunter 3-2, copy!"
"Hunter 3-3, copy! Moving now—! Shit! RPG, watch it!" The radio comm was followed by an explosion before static set in.
John ducked once more as a mortar round exploded just a few feet in front of him, with only the cover of the rock saving him from the shrapnel. As he struggled to stand and run towards the rest of his platoon that he could make out in the dust and smoke, he spotted one of the squads he has under his direct command taking cover behind a larger collection of rocks that provided excellent cover and a decent field of fire.
He ran over there to them, waving his hands to signal he was friendly before vaulting over a rock where an NCO was taking cover behind. John recognized him as 1st Squad's Sergeant Buckley. "SITREP, Sergeant! How are your boys holding up?!"
"Not good, sir!" Buckley popped out of cover to return fire before ducking again. "I've got three WIAs and 2 KIAs sir, almost half my squad! If we don't bug out soon sir, we'll be overrun!"
"This is Hunter 3-4; we've managed to break through on the south-southwest side of our position!" His platoon's 4th Squad suddenly reported. "We've linked up with Hunter 3-2 and we're hauling ass back down the hill with 3-5, but the bastards are pounding us with RPGs and mortar fire!"
"Good work, 3-4, I'll see what I can do about those mortars!" John then turned his attention towards Buckley. "Sergeant; tell your men to pack up and pull back down the hill — 3rd Platoon's already set up at the base of the mountain to provide support for our withdrawal! Get moving, Marine!"
"'rah, LT! You heard him squad — double time it back down the hill!" Buckley shouted, spraying the field with his rifle to provide covering fire, with John joining in as well to keep the enemy's heads down. "Retreat, Hell it is! We're getting the fuck outta here! Laughlin, Conner — pop smoke and help Porter and Jameson carry the wounded and the dead back down, go!"
The men yelled their acknowledgements, with the aforementioned marines rearing their arms back before popping smoke grenades over the horizon, blinding the enemy. John helped the four marines carry the dead and wounded down the hill, passing off the wounded man in his arms to a corpsman before he set up his position just uphill with Sergeant Buckley right beside him, laying down covering fire for his men.
"Hunter 3-1 Actual, this is Hunter 3-2 along with Hunter 3-3!" John's radio crackled to life. "We've successfully evac'd from the hill and linked up with 3rd Platoon, sir! We're already sending our wounded out by airlift, but those bastards on the mountains has us zeroed in with mortar fire and the occasional RPGs!"
The 25-year-old John cursed. "Roger 3-2, I'll see if I can scrounge up some support for you, out!" John then changed the radio channels to Battalion Command. "Overlord, this is Hunter 3-1 Actual! Situation has just gone FUBAR! We've got multiple KIAs and WIAs and our LZ is too hot for our birds to come in for an extraction! Intel dropped the ball — insurgent activity estimated to be at least two company's worth of firepower! Requesting support over!"
There was crackle on the radio. "Hunter 3-1 Actual, this is Overlord, we read you loud and clear," John huffed as he listened, returning fire up the hill amidst raining mortar rounds and stray bullets zipping through the air, while also keeping an eye on Buckley who was joined by Privates Jackson and Ripley who took positions around them to provide a wider field of fire. "We are informed of your situation — get your men out of there Hunter 3-1. We're scrambling a flight of B-1s for you for area sanitization, ETA 10 mikes. B-1 flight callsign is Pounder. Hold position and paint the target area with orange smoke."
"Orange smoke, Hunter 3-1 copies all." John repliedgrimly, already knowing that a complete sanitization of the mountainside would be the only way to suppress the insurgents long enough to get his men out. He didn't like it, but they had no choice. "3-1 Actual to all Hunter 3 elements — this is First Lieutenant Martinez calling everyone to get the hell off this mountain! The Air Force is going to sanitize the entire goddamn mountain and we don't wanna be here when they do!"
And so, for the next 10 minutes — but really, it felt like 10 hours to him — John and 2nd Platoon fought tooth and nail back down the hill, with 3rd Platoon's QRF convoy of Stryker Fighting Vehicles' chain guns and heavy machine guns along with Humvee mounted MK19 grenade launchers providing much needed long range firepower for the beleaguered marines, and John was starting to think they might be able to get out of this fiasco.
Of course, the universe just has to find some way to prove him wrong and screw him over, just like it had his parents.
Several feet ahead of him, Lance Corporal Kimmerston had just ducked back into cover and was in the process of reloading his M4 when a mortar round exploded several feet in front of him, sending the man flying before his unconscious, wounded body finally stopped rag dolling and laid motionless amidst the gunfire and shouts of alarm from his fellow marines.
"Kimmerston's down!" Private Jackson yelled, standing up to return fire in anger at the insurgents. "Damn those mortars! They're killing us!"
"Pipe down and keep shooting! Don't stop moving downhill!" John ordered before he made his decision, dashing forwards in the midst of enemy fire and the calls of his men to retreat and hunker down. But he knew that Kimmerston was still alive and he would have no chance if they abandoned him now. "Everyone keep moving back, I'll be fine! Buckley get your men out of here! That's an order, Sergeant!"
John could practically see the distasteful frown that was sure to be on the older marine's face. "Yes, sir! Come on men, you heard him! Double time it down the hill!" John had already reached the unconscious marine's position, slinging him in a fireman's carry before pivoting and dashing away with the shouts and bullets of the enemy chasing him downhill. "You better not die on me LT!"
Legs pumping and blood running at the speed of sound in his veins, John could barely register the bullet that finally dug into his side, his luck so far had finally run out. Ignoring the pain, he ran until he collapsed from several more rounds that slammed all over his back, with some of the bullets piercing through his ceramic body armor and dig into his back.
Groaning, he managed to open his eyes through the pain to see Buckley, having disobeyed his orders for perhaps the hundredth time, kneeled beside him to cover his body, his rifle registering as John felt hands beginning to haul him back down the hill. "Wait…" he croaked, coughing out the blood pooling in his mouth as he felt his rescuers begin to set him down, resting his back against a rock face. "I-I'm not gonna make it. I-I felt one puncturing my lung and near m-my heart. I'll be dead in a few."
He coughed a few more times for good measure, agony clouding his mind and blurring his vision. He was already a dead man, but his body didn't know it yet. Neither did his marines. "G-Go… leave me!" he muttered louder, earning protests from his men that he couldn't even tell anymore due to the pain and the pounding in his ears. "That is an order, Marines…! I-I'll stay to draw them in and m-mark the l-location for the a-air strike." He then glared at where he thought Buckley was at through the cold sweat and blurry vision. "A-and for F-Fuck's S-Sake, Buckley — get them off this mountain!"
There was a silence, broken by the staccato of machine gun fire and explosions before there was a solemn agreement that he could hear before he was laid back against the rock face with a smoke grenade in his hands. Smiling tiredly at where he thought his men were at, he weakly gave them a two-fingered salute. "Semper Fidelis, M-Marines…"
Weakly turning his head to look around his cover, he could barely make out with his darkening vision and blood loss that more and more insurgents had crawled out of the woodwork — emboldened by the apparent lack of air support from the Americans — and began running towards his position, running downhill to his men.
John then heard the radio crackle to life. "Hunter 3-1 Actual, this is Pounder 1," the voice of the B-1 pilot said, and John also heard the distinct sounds of jet engines roaring over the din of AK-47s. "We're on-station and ready for immediate tasking. Tag the target area with smoke and we'll handle the rest, over."
Reaching a bloody hand to his transceiver, John clicked the transmit button. "Pounder 1, t-this is Hunter 3-1 A-Actual," he mustered all the strength he had left to answer the man on the radio. "Target m-my smoke n-north-northeast b-bound uphill. Bring the r-rain, o-out…" John then pulled the pin on the smoke grenade in his hands and weakly tossed it over his shoulder.
He then closed his eyes, feeling the effects of the blood loss finally getting to him. Although he hadn't wanted to die this early, he was content — his men were safe, and he had served his country well. That was all that mattered. The only sounds he noticed were the sounds of screams and shouts of anger of the insurgents before everything disappeared in a bright flash of light and sound.
And then, John Martinez knew no more.
Johnathan "John" Martinez had led a decent life growing up. A Marine father and an accountant mother, the three of them led a good life of happiness and joy that many military families did not, which John considered himself lucky because his father had been an Vietnam War veteran and wasn't called up to serve in the Gulf War in '91.
Robert Martinez met Englishwoman Sarah Coyle after Vietnam in '79 during Robert's business trip to London, and the two hit it off as soon as the first pleasantries were exchanged. Robert was working in a furniture company as a woodworker and was slowly rising to manager while Sarah had been an intern at an accounting firm after graduating college.
Having decided to keep in touch and pursue a relationship with one another, the two of them embarked on a whirlwind romance that surprised themselves even years after their marriage. When Sarah finally finished her internship and had gotten a job at the States, she wasted no time to reunite with her long-distance lover who patiently waited for her. The couple moved to Newark, New Jersey before settling down and marrying one another, with their precious John coming along a year later.
John had always been a precocious child. Gifted in sports and decent in academics, he had no issues whatsoever in elementary school and junior high, consistently scoring above averages in his grades while still playing for the school team in football where he was fullback. Even then, his evasion skills and agility had been noted and praised, for his tenure as his junior and high school team's fullback John had become a household name in Newark as an up and coming fullback with great potential. He had also been scouted out by major NFL leaguers who wanted to snatch such a talent up for themselves.
Unfortunately for both them and John himself, life decided to throw a curveball his way where he least expected — his parents were involved in a five-car collision that took their lives in '04, leaving John an orphan overnight.
Living with his relatives both in the States and across the pond in Surrey, England, John was asked by his uncle on his father's side what he wanted to do after graduation. Most expected him to join the NFL fulltime as a player, but the blue-eyed, brown-haired young man surprised them all when he stated he wanted to join the Marine Corps. Seeing as how any of their arguments couldn't sway his decision, the family wholeheartedly supported him although his British relatives joked that he should've joined the Royal Marines instead; much less shenanigans and insanity compared to the USMC, which were famous for it — prided themselves in, rather.
Having been part of his high school's Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps in conjunction with his football sport, John joined the Marines in '06 and completed his basic training at Marine Corps Base Quantico, where he scored top marks for marksmanship — every Marine's a rifleman, and John was a Marine's Marine according to one of his drill instructors — close-quarters-combat and small unit tactics. His leadership skills had also impressed his instructors and superiors alike, and when he was assigned to the 5th Marine Regiment and deployed to Afghanistan he was slated to command his own platoon as a recommendation by his Drill Instructor.
His first act of valor came when John went above and beyond the call of duty to preserve his men's lives without regard to his own, when during a routine patrol on the outskirts of Kandahar Province, they were ambushed by Taliban and several of his men were wounded and pinned down by machine gun fire. John, after ordering his men to cover him, ran the distance between him and the machine gun nest, dodging bullets from said nest before tossing a grenade to clear them out.
Several acts of valor were attributed to him over his 6-year service in the Marines, with him having spent the majority of those years being deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. His men loved him. His superiors trusted him. John was already on the fast track to a promotion to 1st Lieutenant, and afterwards Captain if he kept his stride.
When off duty, whenever he had the time John indulged himself in the world of console games. He had bought his Xbox 360 and got a hand-me-down PS3 from his cousin to play all kinds of strategy-and-tactics-based games on them, but his most favorite game series of all time was the Mass Effect series.
When he had been deployed to begin his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, John had already beaten all three of the Mass Effect games, along with their associated DLCs. He had also beaten the entire Halo series right up till Halo 4 where he, like many other fans of the series, cried manly tears at Cortana's sacrifice for the Chief. When 343 Industries had announced Halo 5 in E3 2013, he was not optimistic in its premise as he thought the series ending with Halo 4 was beautiful and poetic for such an amazing franchise.
Besides his video games, John's career as a soldier was all he had left for a living. He already had plans to continue serving until his retirement later in the future. John has just been deployed for over two months in Peshawar Province along with the rest of 2/5 when the disastrous skirmish/ambush occurred which got him killed while saving his platoon from being overrun.
When the Marines recovered his mangled body, he was barely recognizable. Honored for his service and sacrifice, John "Hawk" Martinez was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism and bravery against overwhelming odds in the face of enemy fire and was also posthumously promoted by two ranks to Major.
He was buried with full honors as his friends and family looked on with tears in their eyes at his funeral in Arlington National Cemetery. He was remembered for being a stern but kind leader, who always put his fellow Marines first.
And so, the life of John Martinez, son and Robert and Sarah has ended.
Or so the world thought.
The first thing he noticed when he regained consciousness was that he was breathing without pain.
That was strange — he had remembered vividly the searing pain in his lungs when they were punctured by bullets, as every breath he took was further exacerbating his condition and causing him more agony. To breath without pain again was something which he had never thought he would miss, but he did after what he had endured.
With his eyes still closed, John frowned. He also remembered calling in an airstrike on his position. So, there was no way he could've survived the aftermath of a B-1 bombing run. The sore feeling of his muscles — long hours of non-stop fighting did that to people — were gone as well as any fatigue he had accumulated. Would that mean he was dead, and this was the afterlife?
Cracking his eyes open, John winced at the bright artificial light searing into his eyelids. Slowly adjusting to the lighting, he turned his head and finally noticed that he was on a bed of some sort, but was unlike any bed he had ever seen — it felt like a soft woolen bed but looked like a metal bench in an operating room. Slowing sitting up, still astonished he was not in pain, his well-honed instincts while fighting the Taliban kicked in as he cleared his blurry vision and looked around the room he was in.
He blinked at the room he was in. The walls were of a perfect amalgam of light grey concrete and silver-like metals that looked as if they were grafted onto the concrete, where on didn't know where the concrete ends and the metal begins. There were several motif-like gaps carved into the walls, the symmetrical designs glowing in deep orange light from bottom to top. He looked around and confirmed that yes, the glowing light gaps were a common design feature around the room, and he imagined it being the same elsewhere as well.
Swinging his legs to the side of the bed to stand, John noted that he still had his Marine BDU on with MARPAT camouflage and combat boots, minus his holsters and weapons and ammo, not even his standard issue K-bar. Slowly getting to his feet, still disoriented by the fact that his near-fatal wounds were healed, and he was walking around again as if the firefight never happened.
Eying an entryway, he made his way out of the room into a long corridor with the same light design patterns on both sides of the walls, but these were a bit more aesthetic than the room he was in. He made his way slowly and warily to the door-like design at the end of the long corridor, silently debating himself if approaching it was such a good idea.
Shrugging to himself, he decided to risk it. He was a Marine after all — only the Devil can even remotely scare him.
As he reached the door-like design of the wall, he must've triggered some sort of motion sensor as the 'door' slid back into the wall before sliding aside, opening up an entire new room. As he entered, John couldn't help but get a strong sense of déjà vu. The room was circular, with multiple pylon like pillars circling the room and it was big, and he imagined it could hold two to three M1 Abrams tanks side by side and it would still have space to move around in.
And right in the center of the circular room was, to Jon's complete shock, a terminal made of the same silver metals as the walls with a strange glowing orange/blue crystal in the middle of a sphere floating within.
He recognized the design — of course he did, he went crazy looking for these when he was playing Halo 3 and 4, finding out how Mendicant Bias was trying to repent for his sins and to beg forgiveness from his creators.
But it begs the question, why the hell was it here? It looks too real to be a prop or a recreation.
"The answers that you seek would soon be answered, young one."
John tensed at the voice, his face betraying nothing but his eyes were almost shaking in their sockets in disbelief. He knew that voice! And it was coming from—!
He whirled around, bringing his fists up in a guard position just in case, but nothing could've prepared him for what he saw. Not even the familiar had clued him in on who exactly was speaking to him.
After all, the floating entity — this woman — in front of him wasn't supposed to exist!
Floating in front of him was a 7-feet tall beautiful humanoid, even by human standards, wearing a white dress that was form-hugging and an elaborate headdress and two gravitonic orbs that were helping her float. The only difference between the humanoid and a human was her nose, which was more serpent-like than a human's. 'Kind of like Voldemort's, to be honest.' John couldn't help but think idly.
"…" John could only look upon her with wide-eyed stupefaction. "I'm dead, or this is some kind of prank or elaborate setup. There is no way that I am seeing a functioning hologram form of a Forerunner who is not supposed to exist…!" He hissed to himself, taking large exaggerated breaths. "Okay… breathe, Johnny-boy, breathe."
There was a melodic giggle, making him freeze. Looking up at the woman's face, John noted the amusement dancing across her big eyes — bigger than a human's that's for sure — and the gentle smile upon her lips.
"… This isn't a hallucination, is it?" John couldn't help but remark.
The hologram shook her head. "This is as real as the structure you are currently residing in," she replied, causing John to take a slight step back in shock. "Do not be afraid, young one. You are safe here — I will never harm you so long as I still draw breath."
John narrowed his eyes at her. He remembered what happened to the Chief on Requiem when he first encountered this woman. "Wait, so that hologram isn't your mental imprint of something?"
She nodded, impressed. "I see that your knowledge of my home universe is quite extensive. I am impressed, young one." She continued before John could get a word in edgewise. "You must have a lot of questions, but we must meet face to face. Follow the path I've highlighted for you and meet with me outside. I will be waiting."
"Outside…? Hey, wait a minute!" John shouted before the hologram deactivated. Suddenly, the room he was in became much brighter as several hard-light platforms — yup, definitely light with physical mass and form. John's inner geek was nerding the fuck out right now! — formed a navigation walkway to guide him where he needed to go.
Seeing no harm but still keeping his guard up as he still believed he was in a hallucination; he followed the highlighted path out of the circular room he was in, to another doorway with holographic interface with Forerunner characters. Seeing how the Chief did this, John swiped his hand through the hologram-like a touch screen before the door sank-and-slid open not unlike the door he came in with.
Walking out of the room and following the path, John looked around at the now-obvious Forerunner machinery, architecture, and lighting as he followed the path towards to where he assumed the Librarian was located. The real Librarian. He had a lot of questions, and he was hoping the wise woman could answer them for him. He hoped they weren't as cryptic as when she was giving her own advice to the Spartan.
Rounding a corner, John came upon a large ravine that separated the entrance from his end to the next. He looked down and saw nothing but endless blackness between the ravines. Eying another terminal, this time erected beside a purpose-built platform, he already knew the drill and was excited to finally see it in action. As he activated the terminal, a light blue hard-light bridge extended across the ravine, connecting the two sides.
Needless to say, John was silently geeking out at the moment as he walked across the bridge.
Seeing sunlight, John finally emerged out of the artificial lighting into the open air. He couldn't help but marvel at the beautiful blue skies, rolling hills and snowcapped mountains in the distance and several rivers winding their way through the valleys that he could see. Still absentmindedly following the indicated path, he continued to marvel at the picturesque beauty that was this planet's landscape as even the Forerunner constructs and buildings built into the land and floating via gravitonic generators added to the overall beauty.
The path he had been following finally ended at a building that looked like a high-tech alien greenhouse cum large gazebo that showed the scenic view of the surrounding area. As he stopped in the middle of the gazebo-like building and took a long look around, John whistled to himself. He could get used to vista as it calmed him from the wear and tear and blood and tears of life.
As he waited beside a small terminal situation in the middle of the building, John wouldn't have to wait long as his instincts told him that someone had entered the building. Looking to the side, he was still gobsmacked by the appearance of the woman said to be the shepherd of humanity in Halo lore. And she was real, he noted in awe — in the flesh, literally.
Seeing her float to him before lowering to her feet to stand in front of the man, John did the only thing that wasn't babbling and outing his inner geek.
He bowed deeply, right hand on his chest in what he assumed was a graceful, humble supplication to the being responsible for humanity's survival. "I don't know whether I am still dreaming, or am I dead," he began. "But meeting someone who saved humanity from extinction in any universe is an experience I will never forget. You honor me, Lady Librarian."
She smiled gently at him. "Rise, young one. You need not bow to me, or be so formal," she said, her voice like a soothing bell in the wind. John raised from his bow and looked upon the Forerunner Lifeshaper. "But sadly, young one, you really did die, but you have not left the realm of the living quite yet."
John sighed. "Figured as much," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. It was a sobering thought. "Those wounds were fatal, not to mention that airstrike I called on my position. Why, and how am I still alive, milady?"
"And that was why we have to meet, Johnathan Martinez," the Librarian replied warmly. "Your death has been foreseen long before you were born, long before even the thought of having you was put into your parent's minds. But with your death, a new path has been opened for you."
The marine frowned in confusion. That sounded eerie, knowing your death has been foretold. "A new path? What does my death have to do with opening a new path?" he asked. "The better question is how are you real and as a character in an iconic video game series?"
"For every journey's end, a new one begins in its stead," the Librarian said, smiling. John was getting a slight migraine from her cryptic responses. "As I told you beforehand, your death has opened the doors for a new path for you to follow. As for your last question," she laughed lightly, her laughter as a gentle breeze washing over him. "I can assure you that I am quite real. We Forerunners had already unlocked the secrets of multi-dimensional and multi-universal manipulation, meaning that we can examine alternate timelines and universes where we normally would never have existed — like in your universe, for example. I planted the seeds in the creator of your 'Halo' series and other 'ideas' in your creative directors at the right moment in time for your so-called Halo series to be made."
There was silence as John could only look upon the woman in stunned shock.
"You mean to tell me," John began slowly. "That one of my favorite video games was based on a real-life event in another universe?" he paused, before grinning widely in excitement. "Definitely a good way to learn history, milady. Well played on your part."
The Librarian laughed. "I thought you might approve."
"So, what's the story with you, milady?" John asked, feeling comfortable enough now to start his enquiries. If he remembered his lore correctly, the Librarian was supposed to be dead. But here she was, alive and well. "From what I understood from game lore, all Forerunners except the Ur-Didact perished when the Halo array was fired. Guilty Spark said that you were on Earth during the firing and perished along with ancient humanity. How are you still alive?"
The Librarian smiled as she gestured to the room and the vista surrounding them. "That was my mental imprint you saw on Requiem," she confirmed. "But my physical body was preserved on this world in quantum-stasis where I was out-of-phase with the physical realm, untouched by space-time. I knew my husband was going to enact his revenge against humanity, so I planned, and I prepared humanity to face its rightful destiny as the inheritors of our Mantle of Responsibility — the Reclaimers."
John nodded, frowning. "So why not use this same technology to help preserve other Forerunners?"
"I was the only one left alive, Johnathan Martinez," the Librarian replied sadly. "Even the great Master Builder who forged this world — Sanctuary — have already perished by the time of the Halo array's firing. I… am all that's left of the Forerunner."
John nodded in understanding, awed, and humbled by the near-omnipotent being that was the Librarian of the Forerunners. It seemed impossible, but for a Lifeshaper like herself, the Librarian could literally plan a species' destiny and fate via genetic manipulation and 'seeding' markers into the human genome. He had known this when she had told the Chief in Halo 4. He was also feeling sympathy and sadness at the Librarian's sadness at being the last of her kind.
But all these hasn't answered the one question that was on his mind. "So, why exactly am I here?" John asked, making the Librarian look over at him. "What does the Lifeshaper of the Forerunners want with a simple Marine grunt like me? There has to be some reason I was kept alive when I should've died ten times over."
There was a silence as John stared inquisitively and calmly — well, as calm as he can be considering this was the Librarian — into the Forerunner woman's gentle eyes. The Librarian paused, before smiling a bit more warmly than before.
"I have watched over countless universes across space and time," she began. With but a gesture with her hands, the entire gazebo darkened as a holographic image from what John could see of multiple different Earths fill the air like constellations in the night sky. He had to admit that this was impressive. "Yours is but one of countless billions. What you believe to be mere fiction in your universe is very much real in another. Each one was far different than the last, but they all have one common trait — humanity. But not just any humanity; they were all born from the same project that reseeded humanity on Earth — my project."
John's jaw slackened in shock. She couldn't possibly mean that did she?!
"Wait a minute!" he sputtered. "Do you mean—?!"
"That every single universe's version of humanity was born of the same crop as the one from my universe? Yes." the Librarian replied humorously. Did she do humor? John couldn't tell and he didn't want to presume. "Humanity was originally only native to my own home universe, but with our own futures being so uncertain due to the Parasite, I decided to spread humanity across the multiverse so that in the event of a disaster, the Mantle of Responsibility could still be claimed by the Reclaimers from another universe. This was the ultimate culmination of my work."
John could only remain silent as he processed the incredible news that humanity in every universe descended from the ones originating in the Halo Universe. His mind was officially blown to smithereens. Then her words from before, about how one journey ends and another begins, started to make sense to the man.
He looked up at the Librarian. "That's what happened to me, isn't it?" He could feel the first slivers of anger beginning to bubble to the surface. "My 'destiny' has already been mapped for me in my own genetic code, right? That was why I had to die on that mountain? Because it was all part of a plan?!"
He hadn't noticed he was getting steadily louder until the Librarian placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, and he felt his rage dissipate into a sputter. "Calm yourself, young one. Your anger is misplaced," she soothed. "I merely prepared you on a genetic level. The events in your life that led you to sacrifice yourself for your men on that mountain were the choices of yourself and the people around you. Even a Lifeshaper such as I cannot influence the free will of an intelligent being — it is abhorrent to Forerunner beliefs in protecting all life."
Now calmed and in full possession of his faculties, John nodded as her words made sense. The Librarian was the greatest proponent of self-determination and free will of any of the Forerunners, the Ur-Didact notwithstanding. Now he just felt bad for being angry at the woman.
"I'm sorry," he said sincerely with a light bow. "I forgot myself for a moment. This is all so sudden for me, being not dead and all," He rose from the bow when the Librarian asked him to, and he then asked his next question. "So, back to my original question: why am I here?"
The Forerunner woman smiled at him. "Throughout the multiverse, I have observed many individuals who would eventually prove my belief that humanity is our rightful successor to the Mantle," she said as she gestured to the sea of holographic planet Earths around them. "Many of whom would go on to achieve great things for humanity, much like the Spartan from your 'games'." There was something in her tone that John could not place, as if she knew something of extreme import that he didn't. In all honesty, he wouldn't be surprised if she did. "However, his creation was not the only one I took interest in — there were two others that caught my attention, each from different universes with destinies that would change not just their worlds, but mine as well."
There was a pause as John assimilated the information dumped upon him. From what he could understand being the history geek that he was, it wasn't just her own universe in which she prepared humanity for what's to come. There were two others that she had a hand in preparing for what's to come in either universe's humanity, for better or for worse.
The realization John like a high-speed freight train to the gut.
There were two other individuals that the Librarian had a hand in preparing for their destinies. One was the other person in another universe, the other—
Humble 1st Lieutenant John Martinez of the USMC.
Seeing the stunned look of realization on his features, the Librarian smiled kindly as she slowly nodded. If anything, it further floored the young marine officer that he was the other individual mentioned — someone who would change the course of not just their world, but also the Halo Universe's.
He suddenly felt kind of faint, and was grateful when the Librarian materialized a chair for him to sit (read, collapse) in just to take it all in.
"So," John licked his dry lips. "The other person you mentioned… was me?"
The woman nodded. "Indeed, John Martinez," she replied kindly. "You now know the truth of why you were brought here instead of merging into the void. Eons ago, I had already begun to prepare you as much as I was able to ensure that you were ready when the time comes."
Her words only confused him more. "Milady, I'm just a regular man — a soldier who tried to do the right thing, sacrificing my life for my men. I'm no one special — I'm just John."
"Because I saw something within you," the Librarian replied with conviction and compassion, willing the man to accept what she had known about himself all along. "A spark of strength, courage, and valor that would be needed when the time came. I watched your life as you grew, watched as you became the man humanity needed you to be. You are far more than a simple soldier, John Martinez."
John could only nod, slightly chastised but grateful by the woman's faith in him. "So, why me?" he asked. "You said I would change my world's destiny as well as yours. My world isn't facing something as destructive as the one the humanity in your universe is facing."
"When I said, 'change their worlds', it could also be implied that there was a change in perception for that individual," the Librarian elaborated. "For example, like the first experience with love, holding your first child in your arms — those are events that would 'change their worlds'. It does not have to be literal, but in the second individual's case, it is both figurative and literal." The Librarian then turned serious, causing John to unconsciously straighten as well. He inwardly thought of several officers that he knew that could take lessons from the woman in displaying authority. "That is your true purpose. To assist in safeguarding one of those universes from complete annihilation, and to ensure the survival of the innocent and the weak who face complete destruction."
John nodded, now finally understanding what the Librarian needed from him. But there was a slight problem. "How do I know how to function in that universe?" He asked curiously. "I know nothing about how that universe works or where should I even begin."
"On the contrary, John Martinez," the Librarian reassured him, a mischievous light coming to her eyes. "You know that universe a lot better than you think, young one."
The Librarian slowly reached out her right hand, silently beckoning John to come forward. Already deciding to trust this woman for her compassion and gratitude, John walked forward before the woman rested a six-fingered hand on his forehead.
Suddenly his mind was bombarded with memories and images that were not his own, causing him to grit his teeth in order to not cry out in pain at the sensation. He saw a quaint town in an unfamiliar scenery that seemed familiar to him, watched himself play with kids his age before he was approached by a short-haired woman in a pink dress and white jacket.
"In order to prepare you for your task," he heard the Librarian speak to him, her voice soothing the headache that was forming. "You must acquire the tools and skills needed to assist you. I will help you acquire them, Johnathan." As darkness crept into his consciousness, the last thing that he heard was the Forerunner woman's warm voice lulling him to sleep. "I have set you upon the first steppingstone in your path, young one. You may not remember your old life — only subconsciously until we meet again once your first task is done. The rest is up to you, John. But be warned, you will be tested — your mind, your body, your heart, your skills as a warrior and even your soul would be tested beyond the limits that you could ever comprehend. Stay strong, young one. Overcome, adapt, and thrive in your new environment for if you don't… all would be lost."
Unknown Location and Time
A bright white light filled his vision as he slowly regained consciousness, groaning as he did. He noted that his voice sounded way younger than he was supposed to be, and he was lying face down on a military issue bed. Grumbling, he finally sat up on the bed and took stock of his surroundings. The room was standard-issue military — Navy to be precise. It had spartan furnishings and not much else.
John then looked down at himself and was stunned. No, he was downright appalled. He was actually a kid again! He didn't remember ever agreeing to be de-aged back to before kindergarten! He looked at his short hands and legs, lamenting the fact that he would have to go through puberty again before noticing his attire. Long grey cargo pants with black singlet.
He froze when he noticed the number emblazoned on the left side of his singlet.
There was only one logical response to that.
'WHAT THE BLOODY FUCKING SHIT?!' John screamed inwardly to himself. Now he knew why the Librarian seemed to know something when she said 'Spartan'. His name as John Martinez wasn't just a coincidence — he was the Spartan! 'How the hell did my life get so fucking complicated?!'
He then remembered the Librarian's parting words. 'In order to prepare you for your task, you must acquire the tools and skills needed to assist you. I will help you acquire them, Johnathan.' He looked down at the number again. All along, since John began talking with the Forerunner, he was to become the Master Chief? He then remembered her next words. 'You may not remember your old life — only subconsciously until we meet again once your first task is done. The rest is up to you, John.'
"Huh," he breathed in his now young voice. "I think not remembering my life for my duration as Spartan would be beneficial — don't want to screw up the timeline too much if I accidentally blurt anything out. If I had known I would become this—!"
There was banging coming from the metal door to his room, causing John to look up with a frown.
"Get up, boy!" the man on the other side yelled. "Get on your feet! Reveille, reveille! On your feet, soldier!"
John instinctively straightened and yelled. "Aye, sir!"
There was a pause, and John could imagine the drill instructor's surprised face before he spoke. "That's what I like to hear! Now move it out, double time!"
John left his room and was led with the other kidnapped children into the amphitheater, he then took a seat with the rest of the conscripts with him choosing the far back seating. He looked up to see none other than a younger, attractive looking Doctor Catherine Halsey up on the stage with an AI's avatar form beside her, Déjà.
"Have a seat everyone," Dr. Halsey said after the confused children sat down. "Per Naval Code 45812, you are hereby conscripted into UNSC Special Project codenamed 'Orion-II', also known as 'Spartan-II'. Your parents are gone, the planet Reach is your home and your fellow trainees are your new family…"
As John felt the Librarian doing her work sealing his adult memories until the time was right, the last thought that came into his mind as Dr. Halsey kept up with her briefing was. 'No wonder Cortana was voted one of the most attractive characters in gaming if she had a donor like that…'
Another crossover Heir?! What the hell are you doing?! That was probably going through all your heads right? LOL!
This idea came about long before Destiny Rebirth. If anything, this was my first fanfiction, the idea inspired by DemonFireX's Crysis Effect series where an OC with lore knowledge of both Halo and Mass Effect gets dropped into the quagmire that is the Reaper War. Let's see where this story takes us, okay?
This is HEIROFROHAN signing off,