Battle aboard the Pillar of Autumn
Since the Pillar of Autumn had crash-landed onto Halo, the Covenant have made the once proud and potent vessel into an outpost of sorts, claiming the fallen cruiser as their own.
Even though a group of three human platoons had taken supplies and ammunition from the cruiser, the Covenant had regained control and refortified their defenses.
However, the threat of a parasitic race looms large.
-T-69:34:21 (Human Time) H/M/STime Since Autumn Entry into Halo-
-324 Yards Outside of the Pillar of Autumn-
A Grunt with red armor-the indicative color of a Major for the Grunts-named Gengi patrolled the rocky ground with a squad of Grunts under his command.
He paused and ordered his squad to pause and search the area within about a dozen yards.
As they did, he paused and looked over to the sea surrounding the land that the humans' cruiser had crashed on.
With a mental sigh, he wished that the war would be over…not out of sympathy for the humans of course.
He hated their guts.
The only reason was because he was tired of how his kind was being used as little more than cannon fodder, but the Prophets had commanded that they be used in such a manner…and the tightwad Elites were sticklers for following the Prophets' commands, he thought with a small snicker.
All of his Grunts reported that the premises were clear…save for the Grunt who had searched the furthest away from him.
He and his comrades called out for Kuugli, the Grunt that had not reported back.
With a small hint of worry, he ordered two more Grunts to search for him.
The two nodded and scurried off, plasma pistols ready to fire.
Gengi could only blink as strange creatures-rotting, stinking creatures with tentacles and pale flesh-immediately sprang out of their hiding spot from behind a group of boulders. They swarmed the two Grunts he had sent, and to Gengi's surprised horror, he saw one of them wielding Kuugli's dismembered arm.
With haste, he ordered that the Grunts retreat back to the outpost. There was no questioning of the order as the seven remaining Grunts under his command fled back to the Autumn. Gengi fled as well, his plasma pistol flaring with green bolts of energy as he retaliated against the attackers.
By the time he and his troops had gotten within range of the Shade batteries, he had lost two more Grunts to the attacking creatures.
The Grunts manning the Shades immediately opened fire, spewing purple lances of plasma at the attackers.
Gengi and the five Grunts left under his command retreated into a service corridor. The once orderly scene of patrolling troops had been disrupted by the attackers' presence.
As he told his troops to go and rest inside the ship, he had one thought.
What in the world were those things?
-The Autumn's Bridge-
A Gold Elite named Vula Tusa'lamee growled as he received reports from all over about the presence of strange creatures that had immediately begun attacking their forces.
He knew what they were though…an emergency intel report he had received earlier told him of these strange creatures that had already decimated both Covenant and human troops…the Flood.
"Blast," said the Field Master, a tone of annoyance in his voice. "Of all the times for them to show up…"
He turned around and looked at the three Elites behind him. They were in the black armor that signified their association with the Spec Ops division of the Covenant army.
"You three. Take your platoons and station them throughout the ship. The Flood have finally arrived, and we need to keep them from getting inside."
The three Black Elites nodded and left the bridge, leaving Vula and the five Red Elites under his command.
"Men, the foolish humans have unleashed a powerful plague, and the Prophets have ordered that we contain them…we shall fight with all of our might!"
The Elites shouted their equivalent of 'Yes sir!' in their own tongue.
-Deck 'A', Compartment 3-
Five Minor-ranked Jackals patrolled a darkened corridor, their blue shields illuminating the hall.
This compartment was the source of a group of heat signatures that had been detected by Covenant gear.
The thing was, the compartment didn't have any Covenant troops stationed there.
The five Jackals were to scout the compartment for the source of the heat signatures. If there was something there other than them…a platoon of Elites and Grunts of the Spec Ops division would come into the compartment and destroy whatever it was.
Tok, the point Jackal, turned a corner to the left and saw nothing but a locked door.
"Nothing here. Let's report in." Tok turned around, but his four comrades were gone.
A shiver went up his reptilian spine as he quickly pulled out his plasma pistol. "Guys…where are you?"
There was no reply. All that was lit up were his shield, his pistol, and dim emergency lights along the ceiling. He reached for the communicator in his shield generator and said into it, "Spec Ops platoon, my four comrades have disappeared. I advise caution-"
As he spoke, a few creatures snuck behind him, holding the limbs of Tok's fellow Jackals.
-Service Elevator 2, Entrance to Compartment 3-
A Black Elite named Yusa Folsamee was the one in command of the Spec Ops platoon. 25 Grunts and 15 Elites made up his platoon. Two Hunters were also with his platoon, in case whatever it was that was in this compartment was a tough customer.
He held up his hand to keep the other troops silent as the Jackal scouts made contact. He switched to the all-team frequency, so that everyone could hear the Jackals.
"Spec Ops platoon, my four comrades have disappeared. I advise caution…"
Yusa kept silent as he listened to Tok's report.
"Whatever's down here is very quiet…what the…"
All that was heard after that was a strange gurgling sound and then static.
Yusa had heard enough. "Everyone, split into two divisions. The Hunters shall be with me."
The 43 Covenant troops entered the compartment with caution. However, Yusa was one of the troops who knew about the Flood's release…and he had a small hint of fear in the back of his mind about that.
Yusa radioed in to the bridge. "Yusa Folsamee of Spec Ops to Bridge. I request that the main power be restored to Deck A of the cruiser."
Several moments passed before the main lights joined the emergency lights inside the compartment. The halls were easier to see now.
Yusa's group split from the second group under Futa Tuvasamee's command, and they traversed the halls of the compartment…then they found the mangled and bloody body of Tok.
Yusa growled as a Grunt behind him whispered, "Oh man…he's been shredded…"
He held his plasma rifle forward, pointing toward the T-intersection ahead. "Set up the plasma shields on both sides of the hall. NOW." The tone was enough to make the Grunts carrying the shield units shiver, and they immediately set up the plasma shields to the left and right sides of the 25-foot wide corridor.
Once the shimmering purple shields were activated, Yusa threw a plasma grenade at the intersection.
The blue explosion rocked the floor, and the smoldering metal revealed a sudden surge of rotting bodies.
A Grunt wielding a needler yelped. "What the heck?!"
When Yusa saw them wielding the human's assault rifles and their own weapons, he attacked. "Open fire and retaliate!"
The compartment suddenly raged with battle. The Flood swarmed them from all sides, attempting to break the main Covenant force apart. They attacked from the front, from behind, and even from the air conditioning conduits above them.
One of the Hunters unleashed a fuel rod blast on a Carrier form, causing the main force in the front to lessen in numbers, but they kept coming.
Yusa ducked behind one of the plasma shields and threw a plasma grenade as he opened a line to Futa.
"Futa. Status report."
-Emergency Stairwell, Junction between Deck A and Main Deck-
The Flood had ambushed Futa almost immediately after he split from Yusa's group. Now his group had been forced to retreat to the emergency stairwell that connected Deck A and the Main Deck.
Futa heard his communicator piece activate.
"Futa. Status report."
Futa growled as he advanced up the stairwell. "Futa Tuvasamee here. We've been forced to retreat to the Emergency Stairwell that connects between the Main Deck and Deck A…these hellish creatures are everywhere!"
Futa leapt up and over a flight of stairs, dodging a lunge from an infected Elite. He immediately turned around and blasted through the combat form's back, burning a hole through its chest.
As it fell limp, an A/C conduit burst open above a group of seven Grunts, and multiple infection forms rained down upon them.
A Black Elite quickly threw two plasma grenades at the Grunts, and the following explosion completely tore away the stairs where the Grunts had stood. This explosion split Futa's platoon into two.
This was very unfortunate for those on the bottom flight. Now they had no choice but to go a different way…through their Flood pursuers.
When Futa made it to the Main Deck, all he had left with him were five Grunts and four Elites.
Futa sighed. "We shall return to the Bridge."
-Deck E, Compartment 7-
A sigh of relief came from Gengi as he sat next to a methane tank.
A large room in this compartment had been changed into a storage room for the methane tanks Grunts needed to breathe.
As his troops refueled their tanks to maximum, he pondered over their chances of survival.
An emergency communiqué about five minutes ago from Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee alerted the Covenant aboard the Pillar of Autumn to the presence of the Flood. They were now on full alert.
What a way to start the day, thought Gengi. He was comforted by the fact that about fifty Grunts were in the room with his remaining troops, although they were all Minors and Majors…all of the Spec Ops troops were fighting wherever the Flood appeared.
Although the sight of four other Grunts with fuel rod guns eased his worries somewhat, Spec Ops Grunts were more skilled at using the powerful weapons.
He had been up for a few cycles, and his previous encounter with the Flood had tired him…he wondered if there was an award for 'Fastest Runaway', he thought with a small chuckle.
He was about to doze off when he heard a tap.
Then a few more in succession.
He was now awake and alert, as were all the other Grunts.
The tapping was growing louder. It was getting more frequent.
He heard one of his troops gulp as the tapping grew even louder. He reached for his pistol, as did the other Grunts.
Then, it all stopped.
Gengi blinked as the tapping stopped. A few Grunts let out a sigh.
What was all the tapping about? Gengi wondered about it as he still kept his plasma pistol in his hand.
All of a sudden, an ear-deafening bang erupted through the room as a vent in the ceiling burst.
A few Grunts shrieked and yelped as tiny little white balls began crawling from the vent and onto them. Gengi's eyes widened as he recognized the little creatures from earlier.
THESE were the Flood, he thought with fright.
Gengi immediately opened fire on the infection forms, his plasma pistol flaring as another vent burst open. This time, infected humans and Elites came out.
Gengi immediately yelled out. His troops were to escape the compartment and head for the Main Deck, which was where the Covenant were most concentrated.
The five Grunts under his command agreed without question. The six of them scurried out of the room, leaving the rest for the slaughter.
-In the Airspace Outside the Pillar of Autumn-
"Ah. So this is the Reclaimer's vessel."
The A.I. construct, 343 Guilty Spark, gazed upon the fallen vessel with his artificial 'eye'. Behind him, over 100 Sentinels hovered silently.
"According to external scans, the ship is comprised of thirteen decks, with the main one being the fifth from the bottom. The three nearest the bottom are nearly completely destroyed…but I must find the Reclaimer to get the construct from him."
The Monitor moved along through the air, the Sentinels following him with silent grace.
-The Autumn's Bridge-
Vula Tusa'lamee just received a report that Futa Tuvasamee and the remainder of his crew was coming to the ship's Mess Hall.
"A shame," murmured the Gold Elite. "Those Flood are proving to be troublesome indeed."
Vula opened a communication link to the Command Center. Even though he was the Field Master, the ship's bridge was a more ideal place for him to receive reports and send commands. Besides, he preferred the view the bridge offered, despite the fact it made for an easy target.
Suddenly, he received a new report.
"Hmm…what is this?!"
A report of strange machines being seen near the ship's reactor was now in his hand, handed to him by a Red Elite.
Vula was infuriated when he read that the machines immediately opened fire on the troops occupying the ships reactor.
"This is infuriating…" He opened a line to the Command Center. "This is Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee to the Command Center, I advise you post troops at the entrance to the ship's reactor. Foreign machines that of neither human nor Flood origin have claimed ownership of it from the occupying troops. Do you copy?"
A few seconds passed before a Black Elite responded. "We copy. We will do so Field Master."
Vula nodded in agreement, then signed off as he sighed.
"This whole situation is starting to get out of hand…"
-Deck 'A', Junction between Compartments 7 & 8-
The battle had been waged for well over an hour. Yusa Folsamee had managed to break through the siege of Flood and had traversed through several compartments. All the while, the members of his platoon had been fighting on the run, trying to destroy the combat forms while simultaneously protecting themselves from the infection forms.
It was still an ongoing battle, and Yusa knew that the Flood were spreading to the other decks.
He pointed to one of the Black Elites and two Grunts. "Follow me. The rest of you stay behind."
Yusa did this because he heard footsteps from around the left corner.
He ordered the three troops behind him to keep their trigger fingers ready.
Yusa crept up to the corner…and the four simultaneously leapt out from behind the corner.
-Deck 'A', Junction between Compartments 7 and 8-
Nuta Toovasamee was the highest-ranking Elite in the group of Covenant troops left behind on the Emergency Stairwell and was thus the one who had assumed command. It was sheer determination and their will to survive that had kept the faction of troops alive for this long. Their numbers were now down to three Black Elites, himself included and six Grunts.
After a grenade trap ten minutes ago, the Flood had ceased their pursuit, and the tired soldiers were enjoying the momentary ceasefire.
Hopefully, Nuta thought, he would be able to find Yusa Folsamee's part of the platoon…if they hadn't been killed already, he thought with a sad grimace.
He and his troops were nearing a corner, when suddenly four Covenant soldiers leapt out at them.
-Deck 'A', Junction between Compartments 7 & 8-
Yusa nearly pulled the trigger when he suddenly realized the figures he saw were his own.
Nuta yelled, "Hold your fire!"
Yusa lowered his weapon. "My apologies."
"It is of no harm, Excellency," said Nuta, whose heart was still pounding. "We can understand why you would be so cautious."
Yusa nodded. "Where is Futa Tuvasamee?"
"We were separated while we attempted to flee to the Main Deck. The emergency stairwell was split in half. Futa's group was the one at the top half. I was left on the bottom. We managed to fight our way through the Flood and now we are here."
Yusa clicked his lower mandibles-the Elite equivalent of a shrug-and replied, "Oh well. It is now apparent that we have accomplished our objective. The heat signatures obviously came from the Flood."
Yusa heard a Grunt murmur 'No duh.'
He then shot the Grunt in the head with his plasma rifle, creating a new hole in the dead Grunt's skull.
"I will NOT allow insubordination. We will contact Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee now."
He opened a line to the Field Master.
"This Yusa Folsamee to Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee. Our objective has been accomplished. The source of the heat signatures came from the Flood. What should we do now?"
"You will head to the entrances to the reactor. Foreign machines have taken it out of our possession. Prevent them from spreading further than they already have. Restock your weapons at our Main Armory on the Main Deck before you head out."
Yusa nodded. "Yes, Excellency." He closed the line and turned to the Spec Ops troops. "We've been ordered to be the security detail for the entrances to the reactor room. Let's restock our weapons at the Main Armory before we begin our next duty."
With that, they immediately set out for the elevator they used to enter Deck A.
-Emergency Stairwell, Junction between Deck D and Deck C-
Gengi sighed as he looked at a little chart that outlined the decks of the Pillar of Autumn.
There were thirteen decks, but the bottom three, F, G, and H, were destroyed by the crash landing. They had started out on Deck E, and were now hoping to make it past B and A to reach the Main Deck. With any luck, they'd be able to get to the better-protected decks above the Main Deck, those being J, K, L and I. On the top of the ship, there were Banshees…and his men would be safer in the skies.
Gengi led his men out of the stairwell. He looked down the long hall to see the elevator lift doors.
If he could reach there with his men intact, they'd be home free.
Gengi ordered his men to keep their weapons ready.
They made a mad dash for the lift.
Gengi started to hear tapping.
Gengi winced as infection forms overran the two Grunts in the rear.
Combat forms starting appearing from the junctions to the compartments of Deck C.
A Flood marine wielding an Assault Rifle shot down the one in the rear.
Gengi ran into the lift with the two others and threw two plasma grenades before he closed the doors.
He pushed a button that read 'Service Corridor'. The lift started to go upward as the two grenades exploded.
Gengi sighed with relief as he sat down on the large metal grate that made up the elevator lift. He had only two men left now…
He wished that the number wouldn't get any lower.
-Main Deck, Mess Hall-
Futa sighed as he sat on one of the large chairs in the Mess Hall.
After reporting to the Field Master, he was ordered to stand guard in the Mess Hall. This was a precautionary measure to prevent any Flood from reaching the Bridge.
Suddenly, he heard the fire of bullets from the hall that served as the Mess Hall's entrance.
"All of you," said Futa, turning to the Grunts, Elites, and the two Hunters Vula Tusa'lamee had placed under his command. "Keep your weapons ready."
He tiptoed toward one of the doors, and he tilted his head so that he could see out without revealing too much of himself.
With shock, he saw numerous members of the Flood fighting against what looked like five hovering machines with red eyes affixed to their underside.
These must be the machines the Field Master said had entered the ship… thought the Elite.
He quietly moved back into the Mess Hall, and he locked both doors from within.
"If they want to come, they'll have to break through here."
-Deck J, Junction between Compartment 9 and Reactor Room-
Yusa Folsamee kept a constant watch on the hall ahead of him. He stood in front of two plasma shields, his plasma rifle gripped tightly in his hand.
His troops were all restocked on their weapons, and whatever wounds they had were dressed.
In short, they were ready for battle.
However, he did not expect ten Black Elites, five Silver Elites, twenty Black Grunts, and two Hunters appear.
Yusa looked at the lead Elite. "Who are you?"
The Elite snorted and replied, "I'm Kuba Ka'soomee."
"Oh…" Kuba was in charge of the First Spec Ops Platoon onboard the ship. He was one of the three Black Elites who were in command of the Spec Ops troops in the Pillar of Autumn, outranked only by Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee. "I am sorry Excellency."
Kuba sneered as he ordered, "Stand aside."
Yusa immediately stood aside. Kuba outranked him by two ranks…and he didn't want to make him angry.
As Kuba and his platoon walked by, Yusa asked, "May I inquire as to why you are here?"
"We are here," said Kuba as he walked by. "To reclaim the reactor room from those foreign machines. Reports from the mountain region several thousand units up-spin indicate that these machines are the same ones that attacked our troops at the Control Center. They have been identified as Sentinels…and we are going to fight them."
He didn't say anymore as the Grunts lugged three Shades behind him. Kuba entered the reactor room, looking for one thing…
Yusa hoped that Kuba would be able to accomplish the task he set out to do.
"My, my, it is apparent that the construct has purged the navigation database…and the apparent time of deletion was many, many hours ago. Let us see what else there is…"
343 Guilty Spark hummed as he probed the databanks for any valuable information.
After a few more minutes of probing and searching, he found a historical database."Oh my…this is quite exciting! So much intel! I must keep searching…"
The Monitor hummed, when suddenly he was being hit with strobes of purple plasma. His blue eye looked upward to see a Black Elite manning a Shade gun, firing at him. He noticed numerous troops on the second and third levels, firing down on him.
"Ah. Foreigners. Oh well. I must continue searching."
As the A.I. construct continued his search for knowledge, he summoned 20 Sentinels into the reactor room. The laser-spewing machines immediately attracted the attention of the Covenant troops, and the battle was joined.
Kuba Ka'soomee was on the second level, right next to one of the thick reactor conduits. Three large steel barrels formed a sort of barricade; shielding him from the newly arrived Sentinels' laser weapons.
A Shade had been placed on the first level in the back corner of the right side of the room, the second placed on the opposite corner of the second level floor Kuba was on and the third placed on the corner that served as the junction between the room's right second level and third level. Covenant troops had been stationed on all four levels, the main level, first level, second level and third level.
This alignment had given the Covenant platoon total tactical control of the reactor room.
Kuba ducked behind a steel barrel as a laser zoomed by where his head was moments before. "Accursed machines…" He pulled out a plasma grenade, activated it, then tossed it in the middle of a Sentinel flock. Four of them were reduced to scrap.
But the 16 that were left continued firing on the Covenant forces. A Grunt's armor melded to its own skin as it fell under a barrage of lasers. A Sentinel exploded after being hit by two fuel rod blasts, but it showered some Grunts and Elites with hot metal. The Sentinels tried to concentrate their efforts on the Shades, but they fell under the torrent of purple plasma.
Kuba moved from cover to blast away the last Sentinel, but before he could order his troops to concentrate their fire on the Monitor, 15 more Sentinels came out of the vents.
He quickly dove back behind the barrier, seeking refuge from the rays that immediately followed the Sentinels' arrival.
Most of the Covenant troops took refuge from the beams, waiting for their chance to strike the machines.
Kuba Ka'soomee shook the sweat off of his face as he pulled out his second plasma grenade. Three beams cascaded against the barrels, increasing the temperature of the air around him. The Elite nearly began to choke on the smell of ozone, and when there was a break in the laser fire, he activated the plasma grenade and stood.
The second he stood, the three Sentinels opened fire.
His shields took the brunt of the attack as he tossed the grenade.
It stuck to the foremost Sentinel, and Ka'soomee immediately ducked, his shields nearly depleted.
The ensuing explosion destroyed the three Sentinels in a cloud of blue.
Kuba was pleased, but the battle was still not over.
-Dorsal Service Corridor-
Gengi and his Grunts looked with anxiousness at the group of parked Banshees.
They were in the service corridor, and the Banshees were parked on an open stretch of the corridor.
Unfortunately for them, numerous Spec Ops troops were keeping guard over them.
With a sigh of defeat, Gengi realized that there was no way that they would be cleared to use the flyers.
He was about to order his troops to turn back, when suddenly he heard the sound of a human assault rifle.
The Grunt squinted and looked down to see a huge group of Flood emerge from a large corridor, wielding both Covenant and human weapons.
But to Gengi's surprise and satisfaction, all of the Spec Ops troops moved away from the Banshees to counter the Flood attack.
He quickly ordered the two Grunts left under his command to head to the Banshees.
They scurried on all fours to reach the Banshees, and to their delight, they made it intact.
But as three Banshees lifted off, an infected human fired one solitary rocket from a SPNKr.
Gengi grimaced as another one of his comrades was shot down by the rocket.
The service corridor's roof was open, and the two Banshees flew out in single file.
Gengi felt the air currents move past him, and he smiled.
Up here, he and the last Grunt with him were safe.
On the main level of the reactor room, there were three doors on the left and right side of the room. They connected the reactor room to the service conduits on Deck J.
And it was those service conduits from which the Flood came.
Kuba Ka'soomee saw the Sentinels suddenly change their line of fire to the main level, and when he heard a Grunt scream in agony, he looked down and saw what he didn't want to see.
The Grunt that had screamed was completely overrun by seventeen Infection forms, and the combat forms that followed immediately opened fire on both Covenant and Forerunner alike.
Kuba growled as he ordered the troops to gather on the second and third levels. The Hunters were ordered to blockade the second level exit door on the right side of the room, whereas the four remaining Silver Elites, using their stealth generators and their plasma swords on the opposite side.
Ka'soomee hopped on a reactor conduit and towards the metal floor of the third level above the reactor. He vaulted onto it and he opened fire on the nearest Sentinel. After destroying it, he threw a plasma grenade into a cluster of carrier forms on the main level.
"All troops continue fighting! Do not let these forsaken beasts best you in battle!"
The Monitor continued probing the databanks as a Sentinel and an infected Elite fought one-on-one behind him.
"Interesting. A very effective strategy…the Trojan Horse is an excellent example of wartime deception. I must find more."
-The Autumn's Bridge-
Vula Tusa'lamee pounded an already destroyed navigation database.
"Those accursed Flood! They've become too much of a problem that still needs dealing with!"
He had just received a communiqué from the Truth and Reconciliation that the Flood had staged a massive assault on the cruiser, and had so far pushed so far as the cruiser's Control Room.
Thankfully, the Prophet had been moved to a more secure location, and he was not in any danger, but the mere fact that the Flood posed a threat to the Prophet's well being infuriated him to no end.
Another thing that had set him off was that the report mentioned a human in green armor assaulting both Flood and Covenant forces before escaping the cruiser on a Banshee.
How a single human soldier had gone so far and escaped the Covenant cruiser alive was beyond him…and it also enraged him to think about it.
"Issue an alert to all of our forces. Tell them that we have another visitor…the infamous human in green armor will arrive here soon."
-50 Yards Outside the Pillar of Autumn-
Two Wraiths bombarded an oncoming wave of Flood with two plasma mortar bombs, effectively destroying one-fourth of the attacking creatures, when the tanks' pilots received the emergency radio call from Vula Tusa'lamee.
"Attention all Covenant forces, we have reports of-"
Suddenly, all that was heard was static.
After attempting to reestablish contact once, the two Elite pilots shrugged and went back to attacking the Flood.
-The Autumn's Bridge-
Vula roared in frustration.
"WHAT THE DEVIL HAPPENED TO THE SIGNAL?!"
A Red Elite went outside to check the Communication Capsule, when suddenly three combat forms attacked him.
The Field Master growled as the Red Elite retreated back into the bridge and locked the door to the outside. Moments passed before the combat forms, hungry for their flesh and blood, immediately pounded upon the double doors.
The Red Elite turned to the Gold Elite and said, "The Flood have destroyed the Communication Capsule. We've been completely cut off from communicating with the rest of our troops."
Vula noticed the Red Elite holding his left arm at the elbow joint.
The Elite noticed Vula's stare, and replied, "After they knocked out my shields, they broke my arm."
"So I see," said Vula, nonchalantly. "But keep your weapons aimed at the door, all of you. If they break through, prepare to fight."
Four Red Elites held their plasma rifles tightly. The one with the broken arm held his as best as he could.
Vula activated his plasma sword and held his plasma rifle tightly in his other hand.
Whatever his fate would be, Vula Tusa'lamee would not go down without a fight.
Kuba Ka'soomee sneered as the two Hunters on the opposite side of the room were pushed off the side of the second level floor to the main level, and the Flood immediately began rushing past the Shade and up through the hall to Level 3. The ones that didn't rush up mercilessly killed the Elite manning the Shade.
He immediately ordered three Black Elites to lie in wait at the Level 3 entry door, where the Flood will be facing three plasma-spewing rifles, not to mention plasma grenades.
Meanwhile, Kuba growled as eight more Sentinels entered the room, immediately concentrating on the Flood on the first and main levels, where the sheer amount of numbers warranted their immediate attention.
The Sentinels were not firing on the Covenant, so Kuba let them be for now. He then looked down at the two Hunters, being attacked from all sides as they fired their fuel rod guns and swung their metal shields.
"You three Grunts! Fire your weapons at the Flood on the main level!" Kuba had pointed to the three Grunts to his left, and they complied, aiming downward and firing at the Flood with their fuel rod guns.
The Hunters were given some leeway, and they swung hard, plowing through two carriers and one combat form, sending them crashing into the wall.
However, two combat forms rushed up behind the Hunters, firing shotguns at the behemoths' midsections. The two Hunters immediately keeled over, their spines blown away by shotgun slugs.
Ka'soomee sighed. Now that the Hunters were gone, he was going to have a much harder time dealing with the Flood's presence.
It was then a Sentinel decided to fire at Kuba.
This resulted in Kuba blasting it to pieces. This got more attention from the Sentinels. The platoon leader immediately dived into the junction between the left and right side of the reactor, seeking momentary cover respite.
But when he heard the sound of high explosives, he knew the battle had taken a turn for the worse.
Two Black Elites with needlers and three Grunts with plasma pistols had moved into the hallway connecting the first level and second level on the right side of the reactor room. Five plasma grenades flew into the oncoming surge of Flood combat forms, and chunks of rotting flesh immediately started flying.
However, two infected humans survived, and they both wielded rocket launchers.
The head Elite ordered the other four to back away, but it was too late.
Two 102mm rockets launched their way, and all the Grunts and the head Elite were blown to pieces. The Elite in the rear survived, but both legs were blown off.
The Flood aimed their SPNKrs at the Covenant troop's fallen form, and fired.
The Elite closed its eyes, and hoped he would open them to be in paradise.
Kuba Ka'soomee knew that those rocket launchers would be the end of his troops if the Flood wielding them weren't taken out.
However, it was a great surprise to him to see a Sentinel move in for the kill.
The two SPNKr-wielding Flood aimed at the Sentinel.
The Sentinel was only two meters away from the Flood as two rockets hit it.
The resulting explosion destroyed all three.
Kuba was satisfied with this, but the Covenant defensive line began to break.
The three Black Elites he had posted to block the right Level 3 exit fell under a barrage of bullets. The Flood immediately rushed out, and Kuba knew then that it was a lost cause.
He continued to fight on anyway.
A Grunt on Level 2 choked as a combat form's tentacles punctured a hole in its armor. A Silver Elite was hit in the stealth generator by a pistol bullet, becoming visible. He was then promptly burned to death by the Sentinels' lasers. Infection forms swarmed over the remainder of the Grunts.
Kuba steeled himself for his final battle, and he dove from his hiding place. He shot both Sentinel and Flood alike with two plasma rifles, but a rouge combat form vaulted into the air and right in front of Ka'soomee, thrashing him with its tentacles.
He hit the combat form over the head with his fist, but his shields gave out from one shotgun blast. The tentacle thrash that followed made deep cuts in his skin and armor, but he fired both rifles at the combat form, burning a hole straight through it.
A Carrier form then moved forward, then it tripped right in front of the shield less Elite.
Kuba Ka'soomee fell head over heels, and then he landed on the main level, his neck snapping in two as he landed on his head.
The Covenant's attempt to reclaim the Reactor Room was over.
-The Autumn's Bridge-
Vula Tusa'lamee's Command Communication Frequency had been taken out, but his private line to the Control Center had not.
"Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee to Control Center, I have important info-"
"Wait. You first must be told that Kuba Ka'soomee's attempt to reclaim the Reactor Room met with utter failure. The entire platoon was wiped out."
Vula sighed. "A shame…but I must tell you that-"
Suddenly, the bridge's double doors burst open as the Flood poured in.
"Forget that, I have a more dire situation to deal with!"
He cut the link, and all six Elites immediately let loose streams of plasma on the attackers. The nine combat forms retaliated with MA5B Assault Rifles and shotguns.
One of the Red Elites fell after numerous bullets were embedded in its gut. The last bullet that hit it went through the spinal cord.
Vula Tusa'lamee slashed through the nearest Flood form with his plasma sword. Two more Red Elites went down with shotgun blasts to their chests, but the Flood responsible were cut down with two swipes of the plasma sword.
The fourth Red Elite punched through the chest of an infected human, crushing the infection form within, but more bullets bombarded his shield. Once it went down, it took one shotgun blast to the chest to completely split his rib cage. The Elite's chest blossomed like a bloody flower, and the heart stopped beating moments later.
Vula quickly swiped through the one who killed his comrade, and one plasma grenade served to finish the attack group off.
He took a deep breath as he looked at his last comrade, who turned out to be the one with the broken arm, ironically.
Vula prepared to make contact again with the Command Center when an incoming rocket from outside the bridge made contact with the last Red Elite. It served to completely splatter the Elite's body against the wall, its purple-black blood dripping to the floor, his internal organs falling out of the massive hole in his abdomen.
Tusa'lamee growled as he eyed the last two stragglers. A carrier form, and in front of it, an infected human…wielding a rocket launcher.
The second rocket from the SPNKr sailed straight into the Field Master, and his armor's shields took the brunt of it…but his armor's breastplate was burnt badly. The skin underneath revealed the white bones of his rib cage. It wouldn't take long for him to die of internal bleeding…and Vula knew it.
However, he would NOT die at the hands of the Flood, who to him were the devil's army. He was determined to deliver the final blow.
When the Field Master saw the cache of plasma grenades that had been dropped by the Red Elites upon their death, he knew he had his answer.
He opened fire on the carrier form behind the infected human, hoping to make it burst before the combat form could finish reloading.
When he saw the carrier form begin to expand, Vula knew he had won in the end.
He would die as a Covenant warrior, not as a victim of the Flood.
"Die Army of the Devil!"
From outside, if one looked at the Pillar of Autumn's bridge, you could see the huge blue explosion that erupted outward from it.
And if you looked hard enough, you could also see the burnt and mangled body of Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee, plasma sword and plasma rifle still grasped in his hands.
Whatever remained of him was skewered upon contact with the sharp rocks at the base of the stark cliffs that lay underneath the Autumn's bow.
However, Vula's heroic - well, in his mind anyway - death was for naught.
In less than a minute after the explosions, four more combat forms rushed into the bridge, wielding assault rifles and shotguns.
-Main Deck, Mess Hall-
Futa Tuva'samee didn't hear the rocket, but he felt the vibration.
He falsely thought of it as the Flood below decks, but when the 37 plasma grenades exploded in the bridge, he heard it immediately.
"You four Grunts! Follow me to the bridge! The rest of you, stay here!"
Futa ran to the bridge, the four Grunts scurrying behind him with fuel rod guns and needlers.
When Futa finally came into sight of the bridge, he was appalled. Five Red Elites were burned and scorched by plasma burns and were marked with bullet holes. Field Master Vula Tusa'lamee was nowhere to be seen.
And there were four combat forms in the bridge.
The Grunts arrived, and it took three fuel rod blasts, ten needles from both of the Grunts who used needlers, a torrent of blue plasma bolts and a plasma grenade to finish off the Flood relatively quickly.
-100 Yards Outside the Pillar of Autumn-
Two Covenant Ghosts expertly dodged two incoming rockets, and then bombarded the three combat forms with blue plasma bolts, skewering them.
The Ghosts stopped for a moment's rest, and the Black Elites in them looked up in the sky to see a lone Banshee.
What made them curious, however, was that it fell short of a lifeboat's porthole, and a roughly humanoid figure dived out into the porthole before it crashed into the side.
"What the devil…?" said the Black Elite as it watched the Banshee's remnants crash into the ground with a fiery blaze.
-The Autumn's Bridge-
Futa Tuva'samee had ordered his troops to be ready.
An emergency communiqué from the Command Center warned all the troops that the infamous human in green armor had arrived, and was now on the Pillar of Autumn.
Futa would wait in the bridge, should the human manage to get past his men in the Mess Hall.
-Main Deck, Mess Hall-
Futa Tuva'samee had placed Tuga Fermasamee in command of the troops in the Mess Hall.
Now he waited for the armored human's arrival, and he had ordered them to wait for the human to arrive.
When the Black Elite heard gunshots responding to gunshots, he knew that the armored human had arrived.
The two Hunters' must've had an old grudge with the human-perhaps the numerous killings of their kind by him-so the Hunters charged toward the two doors and lowered their shields.
Tuga knew what was going to happen next.
"Don't do it!"
With a thunderous roar, both Hunters broke open the two doors, only to run headlong into a group of Flood.
-Main Deck, Junction between Compartment 1 and Mess Hall-
The Master Chief had finally made his way back to the Pillar of Autumn.
He had come to see the Flood, Sentinels, and with the two Hunters that charged out of the mess hall, the Covenant, all locked in a three-way battle.
With his arrival, it had become a four-way.
He decided to let the Hunters deal with the Flood for him, and he grabbed some fragmentation grenades and shotgun shells before moving into the mess.
-Main Deck, Mess Hall-
Tuga grinned maliciously as the human in green armor came into the room.
Plasma soared towards the human, who immediately dived behind a corner to seek shelter from the blue bolts and fuel rod blasts that came his way.
The Grunts closest to him moved closer to blast away at him, but to their horror, a few infection forms from the other room had already crawled in, and the next thing they knew, they had little pods trying to dig into their chest cavity.
The human then fired his shotgun twice and blew both the Grunts and the Flood away.
Tuga threw a plasma grenade in the general vicinity of the human, but to his disappointment, the human survived.
What came next from the human was a fragmentation grenade.
It exploded, and shrapnel became embedded in the nearest Grunt's skin. Two Black Elites, Tuga included, lost their shields, and small bits of shrapnel became embedded in their armor.
The Black Elite roared and charged ahead of Tuga, only to be shot down by two close-up shotgun blasts.
Tuga fired his plasma rifle rapidly, but the human ducked under a table before throwing a plasma grenade at his heel.
Tuga gulped as he tried to shake it off.
It was futile.
With a resounding boom, Fermasamee was vaporized, save for the upper torso and head.
The three remaining Grunts fled to the junction between the secondary armory, the bridge, and the mess hall. They hid behind some crates as the human in green armor left the mess hall and went to the bridge.
It was at that moment the two Hunters, with some small bullet dents in their large metal shield, charged into the junction and stood silently.
They were waiting for the human to come out.
-The Autumn's Bridge-
Futa Tuva'samee waited patiently for the human to appear.
If he looked more carefully though, he would've seen a fiber optic probe peeking from the corner at him.
If he had seen it, he would've been prepared for the plasma grenade that suddenly came flying around the corner.
If he had been prepared, it wouldn't have stuck to the inside of his four-jawed mouth.
The ensuing explosion made the Black Elite's head explode. The body stood up on its own for a few moments before crumpling to the ground.
The four Grunts came to investigate, but it was a mistake they would never come to regret. A hail of bullets cut them down, and the Master Chief stepped over their bullet-ridden bodies and walked over to the main console.
The Monitor paid no mind to the corpses of the Flood and Covenant, or to the wreckage of the Sentinels that were strewn all about the reactor room.
He continued probing the databanks when all of a sudden he sensed another presence on the Autumn's data network.
It was the construct.
He listened in as the construct outlined her plan to destroy the cruiser, thus destroying Installation 04 in the process.
He was utterly shocked…
This stockpile of information…
He would not let it happen. He quickly opened up a line to the bridge via the cruiser's com channels.
"I'm afraid that's out of the question really."
The construct, identified as 'Cortana', swore.
"Ridiculous!" yelled the Monitor, his casual tone still in place. "Storing a warship's A.I with such a wealth of knowledge! Weren't you worried it might be captured…or destroyed?"
The Monitor ignored the construct's response.
"You can't IMAGINE how exciting this is! A record of all of our lost time…human history is it? Fascinating."
He hovered over to the next computer system and began probing it. "Oh howI'll enjoy each and every moment of its categorization! To think that you would destroy this installation, as well as this record! I AM shocked…almost too shocked for words."
He waited until Cortana responded, then replied.
"Why do you continue to fight us Reclaimer? You cannot win! Give us the construct! And I'll make your death relatively painless, and-"
The line was suddenly cut off.
343 Guilty Spark said nothing anymore. He just went on searching through the databanks as he noted that the four Sentinels he had sent to destroy the Reclaimer were already nothing more than scrap.
-Main Deck, Junction between Mess Hall and Bridge-
The Master Chief stood silently inside the darkness of the bridge's entrance. In front of him, in the junction, were three Grunts and two Hunters.
Both of the blue titans were aiming their fuel rod guns at the door.
However, his super-sensitive ears picked up something else. Judging by how faint it was, it was far away.
It sounded like…a gurgle.
He suddenly had an idea.
He ducked behind the corner, and he fired one solitary MA5B Assault Rifle bullet.
Sure enough, the combat forms inside the secondary armory rushed out.
All 15 of them.
And the first thing they saw were three Grunts and the two Hunters.
Once the Covenant troops had turned their back to him, the Chief snuck by the warring factions.
The Hunter to the right noticed the human in green armor run by.
He roared in anger, and he swung his metal shield around at the Flood.
However, it wasn't long before the Flood , having easily disposed of the Grunts, took down the Hunters, erasing any hopes of getting revenge on the human in green armor.
-Main Deck, Cryo B-
Eevo Kumasamee and the two Hunters with him had chased the human in green armor from Compartment 2, through a large group of Infection forms, a flock of Sentinels, and finally into Cryo B, only to find the Flood fighting seven Sentinels.
However, the human in green armor had already left their sights.
And now, the three Covenant troops had been forced into fighting both the Flood and the Sentinels.
Eevo Kumasamee turned a Sentinel into scrap with a plasma grenade, and he burned holes into a few combat forms with his plasma rifle.
All of a sudden, Eevo's body was crushed as the human in green armor dropped on him from above.
The human's armor made him weigh around half a ton, and this resulted in Eevo's shields dissipating and his body becoming crushed under the sheer weight of the human.
The two Hunters turned their attention to the human in green armor and charged up their fuel rod guns.
As they fired, the human jumped and pulled out a pistol.
The human had dodged the blasts, and upon landing, he shot both Hunters with one pistol shot each.
The Hunters groaned and slumped to the ground, defeated by the human in green armor, who immediately climbed up the ladder near the back, ascending to Deck J and leaving Cryo B.
-Deck J, Junction between Compartment 9 and Reactor Room-
Yusa Folsamee looked over the remains of three Sentinels, and he immediately turned to his right to fight off some Flood.
The Flood were all coming out the same door Kuba Ka'soomee had come out of hours before, indicating that the Covenant were losing their foothold on the cruiser.
As Yusa and his men continued fighting, he noticed a blur of green pass the Covenant troops, and his eyes widened as he realized who it was.
"The human in green armor!"
The last combat form fell, and Yusa yelled, "He went into the reactor room! After him!"
Before they could enter the reactor room, a torrent of Flood attacked them from both sides.
One group from the junction that led to Compartment 8.
The second from the armory.
Yusa growled as he opened up a stream of plasma on an invisible Flood, which came to his surprise.
They must have stumbled upon one of our makeshift armories…
Yusa did not care as he launched a plasma grenade in the Flood's general vicinity. Flesh burned as the temporary invisibility capsules' effect wore off on the Flood that used them.
The battle continued on like this, Yusa oblivious to what the human in green armor was up to.
Then, the halls started vibrating as the Black Elite heard an explosion.
343 Guilty Spark stated, "This is completely unnecessary Reclaimer."
The Reclaimer ignored his statement as he launched a rocket through a vent into the fusion reactor. The ensuing explosion resulted in a tremendous vibration throughout the reactor room and the nearby passageways.
The Monitor watched as the Chief got into a small skirmish with a group of Flood, and he came out of the battle running a little slower than before.
"Do you require medical attention?"
The Monitor's question was answered with silence as the Reclaimer opened up another reactor conduit and fired another rocket into it.
The following explosion was bigger than the last. The Monitor noted that the Reclaimer was heading for the next conduit.
"Please hand over the construct, so that I can begin the necessary repairs."
Another rocket was launched, and another part of the fusion reactor exploded.
It would only take one more explosion to trigger a meltdown.
-Deck J, Junction between Compartment 9 and Reactor Room-
Yusa tore the limp head of an infected human and shot it multiple times in the chest, causing it to fall to the ground.
He then received an emergency communiqué from the Command Center.
"Attention all Covenant forces. Retreat to the cruiser's dorsal service corridor for extraction. We have orders to leave the cruiser immediately."
Yusa was not one to question orders, so he turned to Nuta Toovasamee and the only three Grunts left alive.
"Head into the service conduit! We must head to the service corridor!"
He led the way into the service conduit the human in green armor had come from a while ago, and opened a hatch in the ceiling, revealing a super-long ladder.
Nuta looked up and said, with little anxiousness, "All the way up there?"
Yusa replied, the tiredness in his eyes finally showing, "We can only hope."
The five Covenant troops began climbing as they heard an ear-shattering boom.
The Monitor watched as the fusion reactor went into a meltdown.
He knew the cruiser was going to explode soon, and with it, Installation 04.
343 Guilty Spark sighed as he probed for more data. He would get as much as he could, then he would make his escape.
-Dorsal Service Corridor-
Covenant troops fought the Flood as they advanced on their position.
With all the explosions and vibrations, it didn't take a genius to know the ship was going to explode.
They were now fighting as hard as they could, satisfied knowing they would go down fighting.
They wouldn't have it any other way.
Unfortunately for the Covenant, it did end a different way.
The human in green armor suddenly roared out of a nearby Warthog loading bay, driving in the large green jeep that the humans often used in ground battles.
The Covenant could not stop the human in green armor from running over them, the Warthog's big tires crushing them.
The only respite they had was a quick death.
-457 Yards Outside the Pillar of Autumn-
Gengi and the last Grunt under his command continued flying around in formation, maintaining radio silence.
Gengi sighed as he wondered about their chances of surviving once the Elites in command found out about their unauthorized use of the Banshees.
That's when he heard jet engines.
He turned to see a human dropship heading towards the cruiser.
He grinned. Perhaps shooting down a human dropship would help their case.
He opened a line to his last comrade, ordering him to shoot down the dropship.
The two Banshees made a sharp turn, tailing the Pelican dropship, and they opened fire.
The Pelican dropship was aiming for the causeway that connected the dorsal service corridor between two sections of the ship, and Gengi saw that a lone human Warthog was waiting on the causeway.
Gengi and his comrade both loosed a fuel rod blast upon the Pelican, hitting its tail.
The Pelican began smoking as it began its descent toward the causeway.
Gengi fired another fuel rod blast, this time hitting the fuel cells.
An explosion was the result of the direct hit, and the Pelican began wobbling back and forth as it missed the causeway by mere meters.
It flew under the causeway, and afterwards, the whole Pelican exploded in a ball of fire.
Gengi smiled. The Elites would definitely love this.
Gengi looked down on the Warthog to see a human in green armor. He gasped as he saw the human aim a rocket launcher at his comrade's Banshee.
A plume of smoke erupted from the tail of the 102mm projectile, and it collided with his comrade's Banshee, causing it to explode.
Gengi was awestruck…his last comrade had been killed.
His eyes flared with rage as he turned around to attack the human in green armor.
The human had already boarded the Warthog, and was moving along into the service corridor.
Gengi growled as he guided his Banshee into the dorsal service corridor, too blinded by rage to think with logic.
Once the Warthog was in his sights, he opened fire.
-Dorsal Service Corridor-
The Master Chief heard the boom, and he growled as he made a tight turn.
This guy is insane...he's piloting a Banshee in here?!
The Chief swerved tightly around another corner, avoiding another burst of blue plasma.
Yusa Folsamee climbed out of the hatch, finding himself in a large sub corridor.
He looked ahead to see the main service corridor.
Nuta Toovasamee and the three Grunts climbed out of the service hatch and ran off at full-speed, heading to the nearest Covenant dropship.
As they ran along in the service corridor, Yusa felt the explosions.
He watched the debris.
This ship was going to explode soon, and all five troops knew it.
"Quickly!" yelled Folsamee. "Run as quickly as you can!"
The Grunts, who were obviously nowhere near as quick as the Elites, began lagging behind.
Suddenly, they were run over by a Warthog jeep.
Nuta and Yusa looked back to see a Warthog heading straight toward them, followed by a berserk Banshee.
Nuta was unable to avoid the Warthog. His body was crushed and his bones smashed to pieces by the Warthog's weight and force.
Yusa was able to roll out of the way.
However, a fuel rod blast that was intended for the Warthog hit Yusa instead.
His shields immediately dissipated, and his body had already sustained heavy injuries from the battles over the last several hours.
His body was too tired to sustain itself any longer, so Yusa Folsamee surrendered himself to death.
He waited for the inevitable as his body slowly died of excessive bleeding.
Gengi turned around the corner, diving down the corridor's slope after the Warthog.
Flood streamed out of two sub corridors, but they didn't warrant his attention. The human in green armor did.
The Warthog sped forward and zoomed off a ramp, heading down the large gap.
Gengi dove downward into the gap, preparing to aim his weapons upon the Warthog.
To his great misfortune, however, he saw that the human had jumped out…with his rocket launcher.
Gengi tried to turn, but the shaped charge was too fast.
In the end, Gengi barely survived the explosion that resulted from the rocket hitting his Banshee.
However, he did meet his end when the crumpled piece of wreckage crashed at the bottom of the deep gap.
Gengi met his end, just like his comrades.
-Launch Bay 7-
The Chief hopped out of his Warthog and sped for the Longsword Interceptor, ignoring the warring Flood and Covenant within the hangar.
All that was on his mind was escape.
-Dorsal Service Corridor-
Yusa opened his eyes one last time as the ship shuddered uncontrollably.
"To the death of the humans…"
That was all he got to say before the ship exploded in a flash of orange and red flames.
-The Space Outside of Halo-
The Pillar of Autumn had exploded with an eerily silent explosion.
Covenant forces all over Halo would die in minutes after the broken ring-world's atmosphere would escape into space.
The Flood would be destroyed, but so would any Covenant troops stationed on Halo.
However, there was one survivor.
The human in green armor.
And he knew the Covenant would not rest until he and his kind were destroyed.
After all, that's what they do best.
A/N: This is an old story of mine that I've had on my hard drive for a couple of months.
Hope my Halo story is interesting to you.