Halo 3: The Installation.

Hello, all. Sanokal here.

To any one new, hello! It's my first Halo fanfiction, so I decide to do a Halo 3 novelization. Why? Well, Halo 4 is out now, and it looks amazing so far. So, I wanted to commemorate its arrival with a recap of the events that led up to it. The reason that I didn't do a Halo: CE was because it's already been officially done, and the reason that I didn't do a Halo 2 one, is because Peptuck started one, and even though it looks like it'll never be finished, I don't want to try to compare myself to the guy – he's on a whole other level to me. I've followed the naming convention used by Dietz for The Flood, and followed by Peptuck for The Arbiter, and named mine The Installation (the Ark would have been far more appropriate, but it's taken by someone else who at least started a pretty good attempt.) Oh, and I also actually have this game, thanks to my awesome best mate, who got it for me for my nineteenth birthday this year.

So, without further ado, here we go.

Creative credit goes to Bungie. The transcript source goes to Halo Nation. Two collections of bosses.

Arrival.

It was a clear night sky: several bright pinpoints of white light, the stars of the galaxy, were hanging in the center of the endless night sky of Planet Earth. The Tanzanian landscape of Africa had changed since the 21st century; it now bore a tranquil forest, with lush greenery and a winding river.

A cool female voice whispered in the night. "They let me pick. Did I ever tell you that? Choose whichever Spartan I wanted."

A brighter pinpoint of light appeared in the night sky – but this was no star.

"You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be."

Something came into view, entering the atmosphere, trailing flames that were splitting the night sky.

"Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader."

The fireball was coming nearer, and began to break up a little.

"But you had something they didn't. Something no one saw, but me."

A second, lesser fireball broke off from the main one. It moved at an oblique angle to the first, coming closer while the first vanished behind a spray of trees.

"Can you guess?"

The object moved even nearer, and its trajectory began to curve.

"Luck."

The fireball smashed into the ground with an earth-shattering impact. The jungle had been quiet and peaceful, and now, it was full of light and sound.

"Was I wrong?" asked the voice of Cortana.

In the same forest it was now early morning, with the sun streaming through the trees onto the smoking ruin where the object had hit the ground. In the foreground, an armored gauntlet was visible, while in the background, several Marines moved around; the First Squad. The one in the back wore a Sergeant's cap. The Marines of First Squad were anxiously observing the armored gauntlet. A dread silence permeated the jungle.

"This ain't good," remarked one of the Marines.

"Damn," replied a second. "How far did he fall?"

"Two kilometers, easy," said a third, as the Sergeant in the hat, a tall black man, turned around and took a long drag on his Sweet Williams cigar, before blowing out smoke. It was none other than Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson, one of the few survivors of the Halo disaster, and again of the skirmish on Delta Halo.

"Stay sharp!" warned Johnson shortly.

The Marines moved closer to the owner of the gauntlet, while one aimed his assault rifle to the left then to the right of the clearing looking for any sign of the enemy.

The owner of the gauntlet was a massive man encased in green armor, lying at one end of his own personal crater, the result of falling about two kilometers. Despite the motionlessness of the man inside, the armor was neither scratched nor singed, apart from a large scrape across the upper right of the chestplate. The man lay in an odd position, like a dropped statue; hands raised awkwardly.

The Spartan was still and silent. The Marines moved closer to the Spartan, taking up combat positions. One sat down beside him and took out a small computer.

"Corpsman?" asked Johnson, worry evident on his tired face.

"His armor's locked up," replied the Navy corpsman doubtfully. "Gel layer could have taken most of the impact..."

He tapped something in on the computer. With a hiss, the Spartan's outstretched arms collapsed onto his chest. The Marine checked for vital signs. No readings.

"I don't know, Sergeant Major," he finally replied.

Johnson knelt by the side of his fallen friend and placed a hand on his chestplate, feeling for breath, or any sign that the man was alive – if he could find it under all that armor. He inadvertently breathed smoke into the man's face. After a few seconds, he sighed sadly, reached behind the man's head and pulled a rectangular chip out of his helmet, noting the lack of code flowing across it in surprise.

"Radio for VTOL, heavy lift gear," said Johnson, studying the chip. "We're not leaving him here."

An armored hand reached up and grabbed his wrist. It was the armored man's.

"Yeah," replied the Spartan known as the Master Chief. "You're not."

He pushed himself slowly to his feet, Johnson lending him an unnecessary hand.

Johnson gave a sigh of relief. "Crazy fool!" he muttered gruffly, shaking his head. "Why do you always jump? One of these days, you're gonna land on somethin' as stubborn as you are! And I don't do bits and pieces!" he added pointing at the scrape across the Chief's chest.

The Chief said nothing. Instead, he reached down and took the chip from the Sergeant's hand before letting go of his arm.

"Where is she, Chief?" asked Johnson. "Where's Cortana?"

The Chief stared at the data crystal of the chip, and for a second, Cortana's face flashed across the screen, along with an echo from her words at High Charity, the planetoid city of the Covenant that he'd left Cortana on.

"Don't make a girl a promise... If you know you can't keep it," she'd said.

Johnson gave him a confused look.

Finally, the Chief responded. "She stayed behind."

The Chief inserted the chip into the port at the back of his helmet.

Johnson turned to the corporal. "Corpsman? Make it quick."

"Sorry, sir," replied the corpsman carefully. When you were dealing with Avery J. Johnson, you had to be careful. He turned to the Master Chief. "Your armor's still in partial lockdown," he explained.

The Master Chief nodded. This would be tiresome, but he knew it was necessary.

The corpsman showed him a screen with a red light. "Look up here, sir," he said.

The screen went green when the Master Chief looked at it.

"Okay. Now down here," continued the corpsman.

The Chief looked down, and the screen responded again.

"Good," replied the corpsman. He turned to Johnson. "Everything checks out, Sergeant Major."

"Kick off the training wheels, corpsman," said Johnson. "He's good to go."

The Chief looked around, taking in his surroundings. Then he bristled – somewhere near him was a familiar sight... the heat-wave effect of Covenant active camouflage!

He didn't see Johnson give it a nod. As the Elite decloaked, the Master Chief moved with fluid grace, brushing aside Johnson and another Marine next to the Elite, the Arbiter that he'd met in the catacombs of Delta Halo, and he drew Johnson's magnum pistol from its holster.

"Chief, wait!" protested Johnson sharply, as the Master Chief jammed the pistol between the Arbiter's mandibles. "The Arbiter's with us!"

The armored Elite, a large reptilian alien with a saurian neck and head, his lower jaw composed of four mandibles, glared at the Master Chief, but showed no sign of discomfort, nor did he make any move to point the gun away from himself.

"Come on now," said Johnson.

The Chief hesitated to lower the pistol.

Johnson grabbed the Chief's shoulder. "We got enough to worry about without you two tryin' to kill each other!" he snapped.

The Spartan looked the Elite in the eye, before slowly lowering his gun.

The Arbiter clacked his four mandibles together: an Elite approximation of a shrug. "Were it so easy," he remarked in his deep voice. He made to move past the Master Chief, but the Spartan pushed him back, so he turned and walked away. "We must go. The Brutes have our scent."

Johnson laughed at that. "Then they must love the smell of bad ass." He grabbed an assault rifle from a nearby Marine and held it out to the Chief. Swiftly, the Spartan snatched it, annoyed by the Elite's presence.

This was . . . mild. Feel free to call me lazy, I'm just putting this on here for you guys, if you want it of course. I'm making a pledge – to get to the arrival of the Flood – it's a milestone that I've never seen passed in a Halo novelization. If there is one, feel free to slap me silly, and point me in the right direction.

I'm calling the Arbiter by his title, rather than his name. Just so you know.

Review please guys, and here's hoping for an epic sequel in Halo 4!