Okay, so many of you have questions that need to be answered, and hopefully, this chapter will do just that. It's basically an exposition chapter, so if you all can make it through this necessary evil, I promise to give you glorious explosions and other heroics. Again I insist knowing enough from the Pendragon books to know what flumes are, what Halla is, and what is meant by the word "territory". It's for your own good. Wiki it if you feel the need. Otherwise, roll with it. Oh, before I confuse you anymore, don't search for "Uniques" or "Supernovas" in the context I'm using them, because those are terms I can legitimately claim credit for.

Warning: Spoilers for Halo 3, InFAMOUS, possibly Fallout, and maybe others.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the fictional works used in this story.

Chapter 2: Seven Second Synthetic Synopsis

UNSC AI Serial Number CTN 0452-9, commonly known as "Cortana" knew she had seven seconds until Chief reached effective combat range. It was just enough time to, again, reflect on how she and her partner became caught up in such an insane scenario. By rights, they should both be floating through the back half of the Forward Unto Dawn, with no hope of rescue.

Technically, they still were, just not at this moment. Cortana, for all her brilliance couldn't even begin to explain the logic behind Halla's inner workings, as it defied everything known about quantum and string theory, yet also validated them both. Countless realities existed, and she had seen many of them with the Chief. A post-apocalyptic wasteland, a ruined city at the bottom of the Atlantic, but the one that took the cake was the territory with non-hostile aliens and psychic warriors with laser-swords (A/N Internet cake for anyone who can name all three). It didn't seem possible to have experienced so much, but time was apparently rather malleable when you joined the Supernovas. No matter how much time they, or any of the others, like Cole MacGrath and Alex Mercer, spent on other territories, it never cost them a second of their lives aboard the Dawn. She didn't progress closer to rampancy either, and when she and John went before the Uniques and asked about both concerns, the response was a simple "That's how it's meant to be."

Six seconds left.

The Uniques were the ones who offered them a chance to continue doing what they do best. They were offered the chance to join the Supernovas. The two groups were intertwined yet entirely different. In a past life, most Uniques had lived extraordinary lives and carried out feats that made them look like messiahs and chosen ones. Others were from territories whose Supernovas needed guidance but the circumstances were extreme, an example being Kessler, joining the Uniques as a means of atonement. Usually though, Uniques were individuals who had fought for a grand cause on their territory, thus it was no surprise when almost all of them shared a common theme: countless lives depended on every choice they made. And those choices were never easy.

Five seconds left.

Some of the more outstanding examples included the Retronuke Earth Uniques: 13, Chosen, 101, and Six, all of whom came from the same territory, but at multiple points in time. No one ever questioned that they had been through hell, and when they made it to Solara, the centerpoint of Halla, they immediately took the offer to be Uniques.

Four seconds left.

So what do the Uniques do? If their lives were over, what did they need from anyone? They wanted what any tired hero wants: to fix the countless "what-ifs" that plagued their minds. They saved the day, but was it enough? The answer is no. The Uniques send a small team, to "reset" their former lives, turn back the clock, and – for lack of a better phrase – do it once more with feeling. Of course if the unstoppable Uniques couldn't make everything just perfect, who could? What kind of man could succeed where a Unique had not? Where could they find the kind of talent needed to top a Unique's own performance?

Three seconds left.

That's where the Supernovas come in. They are taken outside the laws of time via Halla's flumes, and given jobs that would be called impossible. But impossible to the common man is usually the epitome of a Supernova.

Two seconds left.

They are each a one-man army, and usually it was one Supernova standing against an army. She once thought John's title of "hyper-lethal" to be undisputed, and compared to their enemies it mostly still was. Super-mutants and Enclave on Retronuke Earth had fallen in waves before his superior augmentations and technology, and those were the fiercer opponents he had dealt with.

One second left.

Then they met the rest. Cole MacGrath was a walking thunderstorm, and he had a natural resistance to just about anything not involving water. Alex Mercer looked human, but he was a horrifyingly powerful virus, capable of shape-shifting bench-pressing fighter jets and utterly impossible to kill. Zero was a robot with full sentience (it made her jealous), and the ability to decimate armies with just a gun and sword made of energy. There were so many others, but all that mattered was that all Supernovas, including the Chief were in a league far above the rest of any territory's denizens of ill-intent. It's exactly the kind of power needed in individuals who would "redo" the stories of the Uniques "with style". If this Commander Shepard, wanted to see results, then the new Unique had certainly chosen the right people for the job.

Spartan 117 has reached maximum effective range.

Her musings concluded at the exact moment Chief compressed the trigger, Cortana tapped into comm. traffic with a very specific goal: find the best way she to protect her Spartan while he fought Batarians with a fluid efficiency born out of years of practice.

Cortana smiled in the back of Chief's mind. Alex and Cole were the powerhouses, but the Spartan and his AI had plenty more experience when it came to killing hostile aliens.

There. I hope I didn't bore you into desertion with my exposition chapter. Please read and respond, and I'll whip up some actual combat for next time! Here's a quick peek:

It may as well have been raining blood and metal as Alex Mercer, Blacklight Virus strain DX-1118C, Codename ZEUS, shredded through his ninth wave of pirates. They had gunships, but those were still being prepped for deployment. He could easily handle them, but he had promised Cole some action. The boy-scout knew the colony the best, so after thoroughly demolishing the pirates closest to the town, Cole escorted them to safety. Meanwhile, Chief was making for the nearest comm. outpost so Cortana could signal the Alliance. That left Mercer to do what he did best.

Hunt, kill, and consume.

Spotting a sniper in his 20/20 peripheral vision, Alex shifted to his whipfist and "sniped" back. Using the momentum of the retracting whip, his allowed it to spin him around, shifting to blade in the process, and mimicked a razor-sharp tornado that ended the lives of the ten closest pirate thugs. Of course, this whole time he was being shot, but the bullets used in this territory were useless against him. Being a fraction of the size of 21st century ammunition, these little shavings of metal were hardly noticeable against his decentralized nervous system, and did far less harm than regular bullets.

A whirring sound reminded him that gunships would be a bit different – and general pain in the ass – if they managed to hit him. Apparently the pirates had finished prepping the heavy armor. He let out a roar.

"Why is it always fucking gunships with me?! He had a bad experience on Retronuke Earth when corned by three Enclave Vertibirds. He killed them, but one was packing mini-nukes

Before he could show the pilots just how screwed they were for ruining his mood, the sky darkened, and thunder drowned out all other noise. Alex stopped and smirked.

"Today's forecast," a guttural voice behind him droned, "Showers of sparks, metal, and dumbass pirates, with a one-hundred percent chance of electric ass-kicking."

You want more? Then let me know!