How We Met

Elysium City, UNSC Vehicle Hanger

'Congratulations, John. You are worthy to receive the Crucible.' Vega said as the Doom Slayer deactivated his Crucible while Master Chief returned the Type-1 Energy Sword to the Arbiter.

"You did great, John." Samus said, placing her hand on John's shoulder.

"Thanks, mom." John said.

"That was some damn fine fighting, Chief. You still haven't lost your touch. And your father certainly is no slouch either." Johnson said, walking up to the Chief.

'There is a reason why the demons call him the Unchained Predator.' Vega commented.

"And it is well earned considering he single-handedly wiped out the Covenant Loyalists." Sarah Palmer said.

"Although, I am curious if the Doom Slayer is willing to let us examine his crucible or other weapons." A scientist said.

"Not unless you want to lose your head and possibly unleash actual hell onto your worlds." A new voice warned, surprising everyone. "The Slayer does not let anyone touch his weapons outside of very specific circumstances."

"Who or what was that?" Cortana asked as everyone got ready for a fight if one broke out.

"That's Samuel Hayden." Samus answered, smirking. But while she smirked, everyone stepped back as they felt the Slayer's anger increase tenfold.

'He's the Lead Director and founder of ARC, which stands for the Armored Response Coalition.' Vega added.

"And what was the purpose of this Armored Response Coalition?" Johnson asked.

"I created the Armored Response Coalition to oppose the invading forces of Hell and their goals of destroying it." Samuel answered.

"In which you helped caused." Samus reminded.

"It had to be done. There was an energy crisis. But yes, I take partial fault for the invasion."

"But at least you helped dad stop the invasion. So you partially redeemed yourself." Chief said. Yet, everyone else knew the Slayer did not think the same as they heard his knuckles pop.

'Why have you come, Dr. Hayden? Do you require something?' Vega asked.

"Yes and no, Vega. I came to congratulate John on his marriage and on being a crucial part of ensuring this dimension's humanity's survival."

"Thanks." Chief said.

"But I also came to tell the Slayer that the Arc finished repairing all the damages the demons caused on Earth. It is now hospitable. They are now taking a vacation before moving to help the Night Sentinels repair Argent D'Nur."

"That's good. Now the Night Sentinels can soon have their original homes and set up a temple in honor of the wraiths." Samus said.

"Wraiths?" Linda asked, confused.

"Powerful species with abilities that most would consider magic. The Night Sentinels initially acted as guardians of the Wraiths and served as their holy servants and a bridle for their immense power. But after multiple... events, the forces of Hell imprisoned them. Years later, the Slayer traveled to Argent D'Nur and freed them from their captivity. That is the short version, as it would take us nearly the entire week to go over a quarter of their story."

"Demons, wraiths, deities, the literal devil himself. I'm not sure what to expect if this alliance works out. But we should prepare everything we have just in case." Johnson said.

"Any chance we could ally with the Arc, Mr. Hayden?" Cortana asked.

"Not likely. I created the Arc to combat Hell's invading forces. But now they are gone. And after we finish helping the Sentinels repair Argent D'nur, we will disband as we served our purpose." Hayden answered.

"That's too bad. It's always good to have additional allies as you never know what's going to come knocking on your door." Johnson said.

"That's true. But if something does come, we'll help you out." Samus said.

'But remember, Sergent Johnson. Samus is on the opposite side of the universe, while The Doom Slayer is in another dimension. While we will send the necessary equipment that will allow us to communicate nearly instantly, it will still take us time to gather our forces. So to avoid unnecessary losses, try and send any messages as quickly as possible.' Vega reminded.

"I'll keep that in mind, but I should probably write that down somewhere."

"You know, I just realized something." Frederic said, getting everyone's attention.

"What is it, Fred?" Chief asked.

"Samus works on the other side of the universe, right?"

"Mostly. My work takes me to the far reaches of the universe. But you're right. I mostly work on the opposite side of the universe from here." Samus answered.

"And your father, the Doom Slayer, does whatever he does in another dimension, right?"

"Multiple dimensions, to be precise." Hayden answered with the Slayer nodding.

"What are you getting at, Frederic?" Sarah asked.

"What I want to know is how did you two meet?" Frederic asked.

"That's a good question. Now, I'm curious, considering you two live in different dimensions." Linda said with everyone else present, nodding in agreement and wondering how Chief's parents met.

"Now, that is an interesting story." Samus said.

"Mind sharing it with us?" Kelly asked.

"Sure. But you all might want to grab a seat as it's a bit of a long story." Samus answered. And faster than most would expect, everyone had grabbed a chair and set it up near Samus. "Alright. Where should we start?"

"Argh." The Doom Slayer grunted.

"Good thinking, dear."

"What did he say?" Cortana asked.

"He said Samus should start with how she arrived at the UAC." Chief answered.

"Right. And I believe that's a good place to start." Samus said before taking off her helmet. "Now. It started when I was taking a small break between missions. But I decided to take a few side jobs to make some extra money on the side as there was this really nice ship upgrade I had my eyes on for a while."

"What was the job?" Johnson asked.

"It was to test out an experimental slip-space drive. The current ones we had at the time were starting to become unreliable and too costly to maintain. So the Galactic Federation got its top scientists to make a new version, and I was to ensure it worked. But to also record the time it takes to get from one area to another using the slip-space drive."

"But something went wrong." Cortana said.

"You could say that. While the new slip-space drive was a success, it didn't send me to the correct destination. It instead sent me to Mars of the Milkyway galaxy."

"But not yours. You arrived in the Doom Slayer's dimension." Linda said.

"Yes and no." Chief said, confusing everyone.

"What do you mean, Chief?" Fred asked.

"To keep it simple. The Doom Slayer already crossed the dimensions before arriving in Hayden's dimension or the dimension of the Night Sentinels. But we don't know where he came from before that. But it doesn't really matter or bother the Doom Slayer as he made his home there."

"Argh." The Doom Slayer nodded.

"Anyway. After arriving, I tried contacting the nearest outpost but got no reply. Concerned, I piloted the ship closer to the planet, where I made two grievous realizations. One was that the organization on the planet clearly did not belong to the Galactic Federation, as we have no records of them existing. The second was the entire compound in ruins as if some invading force had caught them in a surprise attack. Wanting to take a closer look and scout out for survivors, I landed my ship and entered the complex."

"Where was the Doom Slayer at the time?" Sarah asked.

"The Slayer had recently woken up from his slumber the Hell Priests forced him into taking. Almost immediately, he began slaughtering all the demons that overtook the UAC's base. We eventually saw each other over a monitor, where I implored him to help me retake the compound. The Slayer begrudgingly accepted." Samuel answered.

'We then worked together to take back and restore key parts of the compound to ensure its survival. One example is reactivating the turbines in an adjacent building to avoid a disastrous meltdown.' Vega added.

"But they were already on their way to meet face-to-face when I finished clearing a few rooms of demons. Thankfully, they were only minor demons, as I don't think I would have been able to handle some of the more dangerous ones yet. I soon reached a terminal and hacked it to get an overlay of the entire compound. After a few minutes of scrolling, I found a spot where I could rest and gather myself. I was about to make my way there on foot but found a working rail station that would take me there much quicker."

'But what she didn't know was the Slayer also intended to use the very same rail station to get to Dr. Hayden's office.' Vega said.

"I bet they were surprised to see each other." Johnson said.

"Did they fight each other?" Sarah asked.

"No. For being as think-headed as The Slayer is, he knows who is and who isn't his enemy." Hayden answered.

"But on the other hand, I was ready to fight as I didn't know who he was. Yet, I became confused and lowered my weapon when the Doom Slayer pushed past me and got on the rail station." Samus added. "And as much as I wanted to leave and find another route to the place, I stayed as the Doom Slayer was the only thing that hadn't attacked me yet. Plus, I was hoping I could get some information from him about what was happening."

"Did he say anything?" Fred asked, curious.

"Outside of a few grunts and glare of annoyance, the Slayer just ignored me. Thankfully, Vega caught me up to speed on everything I needed to at the moment. Although, I was still pretty much confused about everything going on."

"Considering what little Vega told us, leaving us confused, I don't blame you." Johnson said.

"What happened afterward?" Kelly asked.

"After about ten minutes of Vega getting me up to speed and the Doom Slayer checking his vast assortment of weapons, we reached the building where Hayden's office resided. But after getting off the station, we had to fight the rest of the way there. It was there where I first encountered the Mancubus, Hell Knight, and Cacodemon. But I didn't have to worry about them as the Doom Slayer took care of them while I handled the Imps, Possessed Soldiers, and Hell Razers." Samus answered.

"And once they cleared the room of demons and destroyed the Gore Nest, we finally had a long overdue talk about how to proceed with closing the portal to Hell and stopping the impending invasion." Hayden continued.

"How did you take to all this new information, Samus?" Cortana asked.

"I was shocked and had a hard time believing it. But I knew I had to help somehow as the demons could very well come after us next."

'And in exchange for her help, Dr. Hayden promised to find a way to send her back to her dimension.' Vega added.

"After we finished discussing our next course of action, the Doom Slayer and I headed toward the Lazarus labs after obtaining the Doom Slayer's most powerful weapon. And oh man, was I ever glad we got it as what we faced down there proved more brutal than anything I had ever encountered before." Samus said.

"I'm almost afraid to ask, but what did you two face?" Fred asked.

"This. We call it the Cyberdemon." Hayden answered as Samus took out a device to show a holographic projection of the Cyberdemon in real size.

"What the hell is that?" Johnson asked as the projection towered over them.

"And how did you kill that such a thing?" Cortana asked.

"It is a Cyberdemon. It's an amalgamation of a Baalgar Demon and technology combined. As to how these two defeated the Cyberdemon is simple. The expenditure of ammunition." Hayden answered.

"Who in their fucking mind would create such a thing?" Sarah asked.

"That would be Olivia Pierce. She was a head researcher at the UAC and was responsible for creating the Cyberdemon and allowing the demons to invade Mars. When I had hired Olivia, I had initially hoped she could resist Hell's temptation. I was wrong. She started creating multiple abominations to help further Hell's invasion."

"Where is she now?" Linda asked.

'Olivia Pierce is dead. The Doom Slayer killed her with a blast from the BFG 9000 after Hell turned her into the Spider Mastermind.' Vega answered.

"Where you there, Samus?" Fred asked.

"No. The reason why we headed for the Cyberdemon was to remove the Argent Accumulator. It was the only remaining way to get to Hell. Once there, we fought our way through legions-"

"Small group, Samus. What you faced was only a small army." Hayden interjected.

"Right. A small army." Samus said, suppressing a snarl. "After fighting through the demons, we reached The Necropolis, where the Demonic Crucible resided."

"Demonic Crucible? As in the same one, the Doom Slayer just showed us while fighting Chief?" Cortana asked.

"We don't really know, but more or less. Just think of a demonic version of my dad's Crucible." Chief explained.

"But with a few more added features." Hayden added.

"Why did you need it?" Johnson asked.

'To free the Wraiths. Hell had imprisoned them long ago, and only the Demonic Crucible could free them.' Vega answered.

"But anyway. The reason I wasn't there was that after we defeated Hell Guards, which were protecting the Demonic Crucible, Hayden attempted to pull us out of Hell using a device he made called the Tethering System. However, something happened. While the Tethering System was successful in pulling the Doom Slayer out of Hell, it sent me back to my dimension. I landed in front of the Galactic Federation Council." Samus finished.

"Was it jarring being suddenly sent back there?" Linda asked.

"Surprisingly, no. A sudden shift is all you feel." Samus lied as she felt like throwing up and wasn't a big fan of being levitated up in the air against her will.

"What happened to the Doom Slayer afterward?" Sarah asked.

'The Slayer fought his way to Argent D'Nur where he freed the Wraiths before killing the Spider Mastermind.' Vega answered.

"And that's the story of our first encounter." Samus said. "But I have a feeling you all want to know how we hooked up, right?"

"Yeah." Fred answered.

"But more importantly, when and where did you guys meet next?" Johnson asked.

"And how did the Galactic Federation Council react to you landing in another dimension?" Sarah asked.

"About as well as you might expect." Samus answered with a shrug. "Thankfully, Vega had the foresight to store some of their information on the demons and Doom Slayer in my suit. Because the data matched what I said, the council ultimately decided to believe me and began finding a way to contact Hayden, Vega, or the Doom Slayer."

"How long did it take to establish contact or find a way?" Cortana asked.

"About eight years. It was far more challenging than anyone could imagine. Although, we were not ready for what we saw once we opened the portal to the Doom Slayer's dimension."

"What did you see?" Kelly asked.

"Literal Hell on Earth."

"The forces of Hell found another way to open a portal to invade Earth. Luckily for them, the Doom Slayer slowed down the invasion and slew the Hell Priests." Hayden explained.

'And Hell's invasion consumed nearly eighty percent of Earth.' Vega added.

"All those lives lost." Sarah said, shocked.

'Remain calm, Sarah Palmer. While numerous lives were lost due to Hell's invading forces, we managed to save most of the population thanks to Samus and the Galactic Federation sending its forces to aid in the evacuation.'

"Really?" Fred and Johnson simultaneously asked.

"Yeah. As soon as the council saw the devastation Hell's forces unleashed on Earth, they gathered everyone and anyone who could hold a weapon and sent them to evacuate every civilian we could find. Luckily, we quickly found the Arc, and they helped us in our efforts." Samus answered.

"Were you helping with the evacuations?" Linda asked.

"No. I was with my husband. You could consider it our first date. I know I did." Samus answered while wrapping an arm around the Doom Slayer. The Slayer rolled his head before tilting his head toward Samus. While the action didn't seem like much to some, it meant a lot to Samus and the Chief.

"Where was the Doom Slayer at the time?" Cortana asked.

"Well, the Doom Slayer and I were hunting down the Hell Priests. We learned that if we killed them, we could slow down Hell's invasion. We then hunted down and destroyed the Super Gore Nest."

"Super Gore Nest?" Johnson asked, confused.

"Think of it as a portal only the demons can use." Chief answered.

"That is correct. With it gone, the invasion rate dropped significantly. Samus and the Slayer then hunted down and killed the remaining Hell Priest. Once he was gone, we turned our attention to another enemy. But that is a story for another time as it heavily relates to the Night Sentinels." Hayden said.

"What happened after?" Kelly asked.

"From the files Hayden and Vega gave us, we knew the only way to stop the demons permanently would be to eliminate the source. And that meant resurrecting the Dark Lord himself." Samus answered.

"Who is this Dark Lord?" Sarah asked.

"The Dark Lord is the title of the supreme ruler of Hell. In this case, it was Davoth." Chief answered.

"It must have been a tough battle." Cortana said.

'Not a battle, Cortana. It was a full-on war. One might compare it to the Norse mythological battle known as Ragnarök. All Galatic Federation soldiers and remaining Night Sentinels appeared to fight Hell's forces.' Vega corrected.

"And while our allies fought the demons and corrupted Night Sentinels, The Slayer and I faced off against the Dark Lord. Well, to be precise, my husband fought him while I ensured no one interrupted their fight." Samus continued.

"Once the Slayer defeated Davoth, all demons outside of Hell died. After that, the Night Sentinels and Galatic Federation soldiers eliminated the remaining demons in Hell." Hayden said.

"That's good that we don't have to worry about any demons invading our world." Johnson said.

'Do not be so sure, Sergent Johnson. Hell will never rest. It will eventually regain its strength and proceed to find another way to invade Earth or anything it could find.' Vega warned.

"You're right. I better contact the higher-ups and ensure they know that an invasion could come at any time."

"You don't have to worry too much, though. The Slayer and the Night Sentinels are constantly looking out for Hell's forces. And even if they slip by and attack this dimension, we won't be far behind to give a lending hand." Samus assured.

"That certainly eases the pressure." Fred said.

"What happened after you two defeated the Dark Lord?" Linda asked.

"We helped the Night Sentinels and The Arc rebuild Earth. And once we finished that, The Sentinels and The Arc returned the favor by helping us deal with some of our enemies." Samus answered.

"But that can be considered an excuse so you two can have some alone time." Chief commented, earning a nod from Samus and a grunt from the Doom Slayer.

"That's true to a certain degree. But yeah, after we finished what we needed to do, The Slayer and I started publicly dating, and we eventually got married." Samus said before the Doom Slayer grabbed Chief and pulled him close. "And then we had you, Jonh."

"Well, that was certainly a story. But like they say, love, knows no bounds." Johnson said as he stood up. "Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about time. We have to cut everything short and put the chairs away as some of the vehicles we're expecting are moments away from arriving."

"And sadly, we have to leave as well." Samus said before pulling John into another hug. "We'll talk soon, son."

"I know. I'll be waiting." Chief said as the Doom Slayer patted his shoulder.

'The Slayer says your new Crucible will be ready within a week, John.' Vega said.

"How should I expect it delivered?"

"The Slayer will bring it to you." Hayden answered.

"Oh, before we leave." Samus said before turning to Cortana and throwing her a camera. "Can you take a picture of us?"

"Sure." Cortana said as Samus, The Doom Slayer, and Master Chief moved to stand next to each other. "Say cheese."

"Cheese." They said as Samus and The Doom Slayer placed their hands on Chief's shoulders. Well, the Doom Slayer grunted more than said.

"Thanks. And thanks for looking for my son for all those years." Samus said, taking the camera back.

"It was my pleasure." Cortana said, smiling.

"But hurt my child, and I will end you." Samus growled.

"I will never hurt him." Cortana said, standing her ground.

"I know." Samus said, smiling before heading toward the Slayer. "Come on, hun. We need to go over a few things before we head back to our home."

"See you soon." Chief said as he moved to stand next to Cortana.

"Hopefully." Samus said before gaining a devious yet motherly smirk. "But don't forget, your father and I aren't getting any younger. And we want grandchildren before we die."

The Master Chief and Cortana blushed at this while everyone else laughed. Samus and the Doom Slayer then boarded Samus's ship before taking off and leaving. Cortana and the Master Chief looked at each other before interlocking their hands. They then headed to the lockers to get suited up as they still had work to do. Yet, they were looking forward to their future together. And while they were unsure about having a child yet, they knew it would be nice to have a child in the future. But while they were happy, the same cannot be said for the rest of the UNSC personnel, as the projection of the Cyberdemon and Doom Slayer haunted their dreams for many days.