Author's Note: That's right, it's time for a new story from your favorite writer. A couple ideas have been brewing in the old noodle, and this is the one I thought would be the better and (most importantly) more enjoyable to write. This doesn't mean I will stop writing Halo Infinite, it just means I'll be splitting time between that, my project over on the IGN NCAA Football forum, and this, plus whatever work I'm doing in the real world. I can assure you, though, that the quality of my projects will not suffer because of this.

Also, you'll notice this isn't my first Halo/Star Wars mash-up. Unlike my first Halo/Star Wars crossover, Spartan Lost, I will do everything in my power to keep this going. I promise you that.

Disclaimer: I take no credit for the usage/creations of the characters and setting created by Bungie Studios, but I will take credit for the original content that I create.

"Patiently combing the surface of Reach,

Marking the location of each target.

Holding his breath before taking that of his enemy,

His rifle echoed with the loud crack of defiance.

Hidden in the shadows,

His was the first shot in our fight for survival.

In recognition of this, his tireless diligence,

We honor him as the vigilant eye of Noble."

-Monument to Noble Team

Jun-A266, Noble Three of SPARTAN Noble Team, sat in the troop bay of the D77-TC Pelican dropship as it sped away from the hidden launch pad of Sword Base. Carter-A259, leader of Noble Team, had just placed him in charge of protecting Doctor Catherine Halsey, creator of the original SPARTAN-II Program and one of the top scientists in the UNSC. To say her safety and survival was vital to the human race was an understatement.

Still, being a civilian, her presence here greatly detracted from Noble's fighting strength; while Noble One, Four and Six were off completing their mission, he was stuck babysitting the good doctor while they went looking for a hole to hide in.

As the dropship departed for ONI'S Top Secret CASTLE Base deep inside Menachite Mountain, Jun took one last look outside the back of the aircraft for the fireworks show.

The area surrounding Sword Base, the Babd Catha Ice Shelf in Espoz, remained still as thousands of combined Covenant ground forces and transport aircraft were circling the base like sharks to wounded prey. The ground lurched upwards several dozen feet in the air, before collapsing back down and crumbling into the abyss below, courtesy of the hundreds of explosive charges planted. The water around the ice shelf rushed into the empty space, swallowing up any existence of Sword Base and the Covenant forces with it.

Jun felt a swell of joy as he imagined the looks of terror on the Covenant faces as they fell to their deaths thousands of feet below. It was short lived, though, as he felt his stomach shift and his view of where the ice shelf used to be quickly vanished.

"Why do I feel like we're going in the wrong direction, Doctor," Jun asked, leaving his seat to move to the door separating the cockpit from the troop bay.

"The planet is theirs, Spartan," Halsey grimly replied, doing her best to avoid a group of Covenant ships glassing a settlement not far off from their position. Blood red plasma violently impacted the town, turning the area into a hellish landscape of superheated death and devastation.

"So this is the best you could do," Jun asked, as they passed underneath a cruiser.

"These ships are pushing towards High Command," Halsey replied, expertly piloting the dropship. "And the UNSC isn't about to give that up without another fight."

The cruiser passed overhead and momentarily shook the airship as Halsey continued. "When that battle ensues, those cruisers will have much bigger things on their minds than one stray Pelican."

A shrill bleep was repeating on the radar, and Jun turned to see three groups of Banshee fighters closing in behind them.

"And until then, Dr. Halsey," Jun replied, heading towards the back of the Pelican. "We have Banshees approaching fast."

"Damn, my timing was perfect." Halsey used evasive maneuvers to avoid several bolts of plasma. "Kalmiya, lower the turret."

Kalmiya, Halsey's personal Artificial Intelligence unit, appeared in a golden flash on the holopanel. She was a mirror image of the doctor from her current age, which was an odd choice for an A.I. to make. Except when you consider that Kalmiya was one of two A.I.s created from the brain of a clone of Halsey. The other, Cortana, was on her way to the Pillar of Autumn in the Aszod ship-breaking facility.

With a snap of her fingers, the rear-mounted M247H Heavy Machine Gun slowly lowered itself for usage.

"Rear-turret is online and ready for Noble Three's use," said the golden A.I. "I'm tracking over twenty Banshee aircraft closing in on our position."

"Our distraction appears to be arriving… late," Halsey warned Jun. "But we're not going to get another chance at this."

Once again, the Pelican dodged a trio of volleys of plasma fire from the growing number of enemy fighters. "Hold off those Banshees until our friendlies decide to make their appearance."

Jun placed his SRS 99 Anti-Matériel sniper rifle in an overhead cargo area and manned the rear-turret. The turret's reticle appeared in the center of Jun's HUD, and he gripped the handles with a vice-lock.

"With pleasure, ma'am," he said, with ice in his veins and a steely focus. "I'm going loud!"

The rear-turret roared to life as bullets tore through the cockpit of the nearest Banshee fighter. The purple aircraft exploded in a shower of blue flames and bits of alien metal as it fell rapidly into the forest below.

Jun continued to rain hell on the pursuing enemy targets, but every time he shot one down, two more would take its place. Plasma bolts seemed to appear out of nowhere, and the airspace below the cruisers seemed to grow more crowded by the second.

"I hope you realize, ma'am," Jun shouted, shooting down yet another Banshee fighter. "That it won't matter how many Banshees I shoot down."

Jun ducked at the last minute, narrowly avoiding a stream of plasma bolts from the lead Banshee. Jun hammered down the trigger and gave the enemy aircraft a long volley of 12.7x99 mm rounds to send it falling below.

"We're not going to last another minute up here if those cruisers decide to turn their guns on us."

As several more Banshees exploded and fell to the surface, a deafening boom and brilliant streak of white-hot mass flashed across the dusk night and collided with the starboard side of the lead Covenant cruiser. The ships shields shimmered, and the alien warships turned to meet the newest threats.

A total of ten UNSC Frigates and Destroyers, plus several wings of Longsword fighters, came soaring in to engage the Covenant. They wouldn't be able to take them down on their own, but it would be enough to distract the enemy long enough to allow Halsey's Pelican to escape.

"It looks like our distraction has arrived," Jun said, as the UNSC force engaged the Covenant.

MAC rounds and missiles mixed with plasma torpedoes and pulse lasers as Halsey's Pelican continued to evade fire of the remaining Banshees trailing them.

"It's nice to have support for a change," Jun continued, watching a burning Covenant destroyer fall from the night sky.

"I agree, Spartan," said Halsey, tapping into a data pad. "But I'd advise strapping yourself in for the next few minutes. We have one last hurdle to cross."

The Pelican shook violently and the world around Jun was briefly filled with silver as he heard a deafening explosion. Jun polarized his visor immediately to see what caused the disturbance, and a pit formed in his gut.

A massive assault carrier appeared over a mountain, energy projector still white hot from its recent discharge, and the flaming front-half of the UNSC Tampa – a Paris-class Heavy Frigate – screamed across Jun's field of vision before slamming into the ground below with enough force to embed it in the soil.

The remaining UNSC ships changed course and immediately began attacking the behemoth vessel with everything they had. MAC rounds, Archer missiles, point-defense turrets; you name it, they were fired against the ship's shields.

With no more Banshees to trouble them, Jun was forced to do something he was comfortable with… wait. As an expert sniper, Jun was taught to have patience for the perfect shot. That patience eventually bled over into other aspects of Jun's life. His intense patience, however, was now being put to the test here, high above the ground, in a Pelican dropship. With nothing to do, Jun nervously listened to the COMM chatter of the ensuing battle.

"Pods A1-D7, fire!"

"Archer missiles away… only thirty percent made it through! Minimal damage to enemy shields!"

"Ensign, what's the status of the MAC gun?"

"One-hundred percent charged, ready to fire, sir!"


"Confirmed hit, enemy shields at forty-three percent!"

"Jesus Christ, they took out the Renegade and the Seminole! Gutted them from stem to stern in one shot, sir!"

"Their shields are down! I repeat, their shields are down!"

"Lieutenant, see if we can get assistance from an ODP!"

"…Negative, sir! They've got their hands full in orbit, we're on our own! But Command has issued authorization for use of low-yield nukes."

"Well shit, they'll just shoot them down before they even get close."

A new point appeared on Jun's monitor, a friendly reading. The reading showed as a new ship, the Marathon-class heavy cruiser UNSC John F. Kennedy. The burning, heavily-damaged warship was on a collision course with the assault carrier, and was showing no signs of slowing down or altering course.

"This is Admiral Kiko Faraday, captain of the UNSC John F. Kennedy. All ships in the immediate area are ordered to fall back to Defensive Position Lima. We've got a surprise in store for this son of a bitch!"

The remaining seven Navy ships altered course and quickly headed away from the assault carrier and John F. Kennedy as quickly as possible. Only a few seconds later, the sky once again filled with a bright light and a deafening roar. The Pelican violently rocked back and forth from the shockwave of the low-yield nuclear warhead's detonation from the John F. Kennedy.

Halsey struggled in the cockpit to keep the dropship stable, fighting with the controls as the Pelican continued to descend. Jun held onto the edges of the seat with an increasingly tight grip, his stomach now in his throat.

Thankfully, the Pelican's descent stopped and the doctor was able to stabilize the ship.

"That was a little too close for comfort, Doctor," Jun said, finally releasing his grip from the seat – his fingers creating divots in the molded metal of the troop bay seating.

"We should be fine from here on out, Spartan," replied Halsey. "We'll be arriving at CASTLE Base in twenty minutes."

Jun nodded and took one last glance out the back of the troop bay to see the battle between what was left of the Covenant ships and the UNSC reactionary force. It wasn't going well for the swabbies – two more ships were lost since the assault carrier was taken down – but they had knocked out three of the Covenant corvettes that had wreaked havoc against the cities of Reach just days before.

Jun gave a crisp salute for the fallen Navy men and women who had ensured their escape before a mountain ridge blocked his view of the battle.

With nothing else to do except sit on his ass and wait to reach CASTLE Base, Jun let his mind wander. He began to think about everything that led to this moment. The deaths of his parents at the hands of the Covenant, his recruitment into the SPARTAN-III Program when he was just six years old. He never remembered being nervous, or scared, or even worried how we would survive. He just remembered being angry at the monsters that stole his family from him, and he wanted revenge. And the UNSC was his best opportunity to get back at them, whatever the cost.

He remembered the rigorous training he and his fellow SPARTAN-III Alpha Company trainees went through on Onyx under Senior Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez, trainer for the SPARTAN-II Program and one of the baddest SOBs Jun had ever had the privilege of being trained by, and Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose, a former SPARTAN-II himself and one of the smartest men he'd ever known. Every day, he learned new ways to kill and survive. His mind was sharpened into as great a weapon has his bare hands or his sniper rifle. He taught him to not fear death, but to allow it to keep your mind sharp.

He remembered the pain and suffering he felt when he and his brothers and sisters underwent the biological augmentation procedures. He remembered his bones breaking like glass, his nerve feeling like they were melting, and his muscles ripping and tearing apart. He also remembered coming out of the procedures something else, something better than he ever imagined he could be… a SPARTAN.

He remembered the battles fought, Covenant and worlds saved. He remembered charging into certain death and escaping unscathed with his squadmates – his family – by his side. He remembered being transferred out of Alpha Company by Mendez and Kurt and into Noble Team, and the heartbreak he felt when he heard about the complete annihilation of Alpha.

He remembered Thom, Jorge, Kat, and the sacrifices the men and women made for him to get to where he and Halsey are now. He remembered Carter, Emile and Six performing their mission to ensure the delivery of the A.I. to the Pillar of Autumn.

They had all given their lives to protect Reach and here he was, waiting to go hide in a hole while the world above him burned. It was an honor unbefitting a SPARTAN, and he despised every second of it. It didn't matter who he was protecting or how important her survival was to the human race; he was on guard duty, and it wasn't what he signed up for.

"Spartan," Halsey said, breaking Jun out of his stupor. "We've arrived at CASTLE Base."

Jun moved from his seat in the troop bay to the cockpit, where he saw a gigantic mountain towering high into the sky. It wasn't like any of the other mountains in the area; what was once home to a titanium mining operation was transformed into the most secure ONI facility on Reach. Only a few non-ONI personnel knew about its existence, and even fewer had ever been inside the facility.

He had read the information about the base from the files sent by Kalmiya, and he impressed; along with the natural protection of the granite structure of the mountain, tons of reinforced concrete, plates of Titanium-A battle-plating and EMP-hardened metal transformed the facility into a bombproof bunker.

So this is where I'll be spending the rest of my time on this planet?

"Watchtower, this is Gamma-393, requesting permission to land, over."

"Acknowledged, Gamma-393. You are cleared to land. Welcome to CASTLE Base, Charlie Hotel."

"Watchtower, this landing pad is a little too out in the open for my liking. Do you have anywhere we can place this Pelican that's more… discreet?"

"Certainly, Charlie Hotel. Sending coordinates your way now, over."

"Coordinates received. I'll be sending Gamma-393 with a copy of my personal A.I. to this location. I'll be inside shortly. Charlie Hotel, out."

Jun felt the Pelican slow to a hover over the exterior landing pad, then gradually decrease in altitude until the landing gear had made contact with the pad.

Halsey and Jun exited the dropship, which soon lifted back into the air under the control a copy of Halsey's A.I. and sped away to another landing site on the opposite side of the mountain.

As the two made their way to the front entrance, a trio of Marines came to greet them. The two on the outside were members of the elite Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, as evidenced by their matching matte black armor. Jun had fought firsthand with ODSTs, and they deserved every bit of their reputation as some of the bravest men and women in the UNSC. He was also familiar with the "rivalry" that existed between them and the SPARTAN Programs, dating back to the early days of the SPARTAN-IIs.

The man in the middle was also wearing an ODST BDU, minus the helmet. He had short light-brown hair with streaks of silver along his temples, contrasting greatly with his emerald green eyes. A tight formation of scars stretched from his left cheek to his upper lip.

Information began to pop up on Jun's HUD…

Carpenter, Ulysses; Major; SN: 82371-0055-UC

Jun snapped a crisp salute to Major Carpenter. "Sir, Warrant Officer SPARTAN-A266."

The Major returned Jun's salute. "At ease, Spartan." The Major then turned to Halsey. "Doctor Halsey, welcome to CASTLE Base. They never told me you'd be coming here with a Spartan."

"An hour ago, I didn't know I was coming here with a Spartan, either." The group began the walk to the entrance. "I'm well aware of the structural defenses, but what defensive improvements have you and your ODSTs made, Major? It would be foolish to think the Covenant won't find this place, no matter how well-hidden it may be. And when they do find it, we'll need to hold them off for however long it may take."

"We think alike, ma'am. I've got a Company of the meanest Helljumpers you'll ever meet from the 30th placed in key positions along the mountain, plus a mixed bag of Marine and Army personnel to make whatever dumb sumbitch that manages to break through the outer defenses wish they hadn't."

The Marine guarding the main entrance gave a salute to the group, as they continued inside. "Add that to the various anti-armor and anti-air emplacements scattered in the surrounding foliage, nothing short of an all-out invasion or direct orbital bombardment will take this place down."

"Very impressive, Major," the Doctor replied, a tone of genuine. "And what of the personnel inside? I'm hoping I'll have some people to work with aside from the average Marine."

"Thirty of the UNSC's top scientists have been transferred here, along with enough technicians to keep this place running for quite a while."

Before anyone could reply, a fireball of alien metal ripped across the sky and past the opening to CASTLE Base. The Covenant ship, most likely a Cruiser, began to break apart from the damage sustained from a nearby battle.

"Ain't that the most beautiful sight you've ever seen," asked Major Carpenter, arms crossed and a proud smile painted on his face as the Cruiser crashed into a lake.

That smile soon vanished, however, as a series of earth-shattering explosions were followed by two UNSC Destroyers falling from the sky and crashing not far from Menachite Mountain.

A group of Covenant warships, led by yet another Assault Carrier, was finishing off what was left of the Doctor's distraction – which had been whittled down to only a few Destroyers and Frigates – and began heading towards their position.

The Major put his finger to his COMM, and tried to make out something from what was certainly one of the ODSTs from the perimeter defenses.

"Say again, son? You're breaking up."

The color from his face had drained and the twinkle in his eye vanished. "Negative, I say negative. Do not fire unless you have been spotted. No need to kick the hornet's nest."

The Major turned to Halsey. "Perimeter defense reports Phantom and Banshee patrols have increased. The Covenant might know we're here."

Jun stepped in. "Ma'am, I advise we get you inside before any Covenant start sniffing too close."

Halsey nodded in agreement, going back to her data pad before Jun next turned to the ODST officer. "Major, where is the armory?"

"Level Aqua, Section Lambda, Spartan. Get yourself whatever ammo you need and get your ass up here ASAP."

Jun once again saluted, and jogged to the nearest elevator to head down to the armory.

With the armory of CASTLE Base much like every other UNSC armory, Jun knew exactly where he needed to go first; Long-range. While there were many experimental weapons in special cases and lockers, including one interesting looking rifle of some sort, now wasn't the time to try them out. He had to know what he was dealing with in terms of effectiveness when facing against the horde of Covenant that would assault this base.

Jun walked past several wide-eyed gazes, slack-jawed expressions and hushed murmurs from the young Marines in the armory and headed straight for the sniper rifles. The battle getting to Sword Base and then defending Halsey's lab below the Ice Shelf with Noble Team had used up all but one clip of his spare ammunition, not to mention that he completely ran out of ammunition for his M392 Designated Marksman Rifle.

Jun first collected ten empty clips for the SRS 99 Anti-Matériel sniper rifle, along with forty 14.5x114mm caliber rounds and started individually loading them into the clips. The SRS 99 could take the hat off of an Elite at 2,000 yards away cleanly and probably take out whatever was foolish enough to be standing behind the split-chin bastard.

Jun took enough time to cleanly insert each round into the clip before moving on to the next, lining each full clip neatly in a row on the bench he was sitting on. In less than a minute, all ten of Jun's empty clips were now stocked with ammunition and neatly packed into one of Jun's many pouches. Jun then moved on to finding ammunition and clips for his DMR.

The M392 wasn't as effective from long range as the SRS 99, but it was quite the serviceable rifle in a pinch. Its 7.62x51 caliber ammunition was strong enough to punch through an Elite's shields and take it down after about seven hits, much more powerful than the MA37 Assault Rifle. Jun finished packing another ten clips into a pouch and continued readying for the coming battle.

Jun also picked up three clips for his M6G Magnum Sidearm. He very rarely fell back on the handgun, as it lacked the stopping power or accuracy of the SRS 99 or M392. Only in a pinch would he use the sidearm, and the SPARTAN rarely fell into a pinch.

Along with the weapons and ammunition, Jun collected several fragmentation grenades and medical kits. Again, Jun wasn't likely to use them unless things got especially dicey, but he lived by the old saying taught to him by his superiors during training.

Best to have and not need them, than to need and not have them.

An explosion rocked the armory, causing everyone to look up at the ceiling before an alarm blared over the intercom.


"Spartan, I need you in the laboratory on Level Scarlet immediately," Halsey demanded over the COMM.

"Negative, ma'am. The Covenant are here, I need to be up top."

"Despite being outside the military chain of command, you are under ONI's charge as of two hours ago underneath the Babd Catha Ice Shelf. Therefore, you are under my command, and I command you to report to the Omega Wing of Level Scarlet immediately. Is that understood, Warrant Officer?"

Jun stopped in his tracks and let out a long sigh. This might be his only chance in this detail to engage the Covenant, and the Doctor – a civilian doctor – was keeping him from this. But he had no choice other than to follow 'orders'.

"Roger that," Jun grumbled. "I'm on my way."

Packing his last MedKit into his back pouch and sheathing his combat knife, Jun made his way to the elevator. Punching in the necessary codes, the elevator doors quietly closed and Jun felt his stomach shift as the elevator dropped deeper into the complex. In the meantime, Jun set a waypoint to the source of the transmission as he passed Level Turquoise and Level Sage.

With a gentle ding, the elevator doors parted and Jun stepped out and onto Level Scarlet. The halls were dimly lit and busy with science personnel rushing back and forth between laboratories. They all seemed to be coming from and going into the same room down the hall, where the waypoint was established.

Jun marched to down the hall, past the panic-stricken scientists, and into the lab. A pair of battle-hardened ODSTs guarded the door, and a sign to the left of the door read 'Artifact Experimentation Lab'.

If the SPARTAN thought the halls were a mess, the laboratory was a madhouse. At least two dozen scientists were running around various machines, electrical currents arching and racing across the ceiling, while a large platform with hundreds wires and conduits running out of it sat in the dead-center of the room.

The platform was about five feet wide in diameter and made of a stainless metal of some sort, like it had just been created. As Jun moved closer to inspect the platform, he saw that there were no markings on it; no signs of any tool even creating it. What was this thing?

"Hey," shouted a male scientist from behind him, rushing to pull Jun away. "What do you think…"

Jun turned and the man stopped dead in his tracks. The bald, rail-thin man nervously backed away from the towering SPARTAN before wiping the sweat off his brow.

"You… you need to be careful. One touch and the device could be ruined! Who let you in here, anyway?"

"Relax Milo," Halsey said, stepping from behind a nearby machine. "The Spartan is here for me."

"Right. Of course, Doctor." Milo nodded, and hurried off to another part of the laboratory.

"The man's… jumpy."

"You would be too if the Covenant began an assault right when you were about to achieve a breakthrough." Halsey turned and walked back to her machine, with Jun in tow. "Dr. Borchers is a brilliant man, but he's completely out of his league when it comes to extra-terrestrial artifacts."

"Is that what this is?"

"Discovered just two days before the main Covenant fleet arrived, this was the second of Dr. Lazlo Sorvad's latchkey discoveries." Halsey typed into a keypad, and power began to hum from the computer. "Much like the structure beneath ONI Sword Base, this artifact is of neither Human nor Covenant origin; a civilization pre-dating Humanity."

Halsey re-checked her data pad, then frowned and typed several more times into the keypad.

"However, unlike the previous structure, the device standing in the middle of this room has a very immediate use… a teleportation grid."

A teleportation grid? Was that even a reality?

Halsey continued. "Well, technically not a teleportation grid. The device actually generates a micro Slipspace field. It acts much like the standard Slipspace field, only shrunken down to fit objects much smaller than your standard starship."

Jun let out a low whistle. This discovery could change the war… change everything. To be able to transport to any point in the Galaxy was unimaginable.

Halsey sighed. "The only problem is power. Simply activating the device requires massive amounts of energy, energy that isn't readily available. We've had to tap into the generators powering the Orbital Defense Platforms to get the thing running."

"And what about after you activate it," Jun asked. "What do you do then?"

"Since our initial test run, we've had to draw more and more power from the generators to keep the field open long enough to send something through." Halsey switched over to a video previously recorded two days ago. The lights shuddered momentarily, before the eerie blue-purple glow of a Slipspace field appeared from a few feet off the platform. "We began small – a coffee mug, a book, a wrench – before moving on to exponentially larger objects, such as a locker or even a Warthog."

"Is it accurate?"

"The species that created this device had a much greater understanding of Slipspace than ourselves or even the Covenant. If my theories are correct, they were able to use travel through Slipspace with pinpoint accuracy."

Someone off screen held out a coffee mug and then threw it into the Slipspace field. The mug vanished into the vortex, before the device was shut down and the lights restored to full power.

"Results were promising; our contacts reported that all objects sent through the portal returned completely intact. Prior to the Covenant's invasion of Reach, we were preparing our first live test subject."

Everything clicked in that instant for Jun. It was why Halsey didn't put up more resistance to Jun escorting her, it was why Halsey never dropped Jun off at some battle, and it was why he was brought to this very laboratory.

"So you want me to be your guinea pig?"

"Correct. You don't want to be here anymore than I want you here." Halsey turned from the computer screen and looked up to Jun. "You're a Spartan, not a bodyguard. I can see from your discomfort that you would rather give your life to save a doomed planet than wait out the coming storm."

Halsey turned back to the computer and began monitoring data charts and energy readings. "It's your choice, Spartan. Either stay here and hide, going against everything you know as a soldier. Or step through the portal, regroup with our ground forces and fight against the inevitable."

Before Jun could make his decision, he heard screams and gunfire, coupled with the whine of discharging plasma, coming from outside the laboratory door. The three-burst rattle of assault rifles started to slacken with each discharge of plasma, and Jun could hear the panicked calls of the Marines guarding the lab.

"This is Watchdog-9, repeat Watchdog-9! We have a security breach in the Omega Wing! Stealth commandos have broken through and taken out the security detail! Send a squad down to–"

The sound of superheated energy meeting human flesh was the last thing Jun heard from outside the laboratory, as he saw the ODST lifted several feet in the air with an energy sword impaled in his abdomen.

The soldier was thrown aside and the door kicked open. A Field Marshall Elite roared a challenge, and opened fire on the room as two more black armor-clad split-chins followed behind him and let loose from their plasma rifles. The superheated gas and energized blades tore through the non-alien personnel in the room, dropping them like flies. It was akin to sharks tearing into a school of fish in the oceans of Earth.

The Covenant must have sent in an advanced strike team to neutralize the enemy forces inside the structure before their main assault began. Combined with the ferocity of their Elite warriors and advanced stealth technology, it was an ingenious tactic. The only thing the Covenant couldn't have counted on, though, was that there would be a SPARTAN there to help defend CASTLE Base.

Jun instinctively pushed Halsey below the equipment and ducked for cover. The SPARTAN would normally use his SRS 99, but the range was too close. Frag grenades were out of the question, as the shrapnel would damage the sensitive equipment.

Jun switched to his M392 and wheeled around from cover and opened fire. The 7.62x51mm round erupted from the barrel and crashed into the lead Elite's shields, flaring a brilliant silver, as the warrior-alien continued to charge. The rifle spat several more rounds at the foe, until the shields failed and a final round entered through the alien's shark-like head and exited violently. Purple blood, mixed with bits of skull, armor and brain-matter exploded out of the back of the beast's elongated head with the bullet impacting with the wall near the entrance.

The first Elite's lifeless body hadn't even hit the ground before Jun set his sights on the next Elite. A duo of blue-white plasma bolts raced past Jun's head and melted a portion of the wall on the other side of the room, but a third slammed into his chest and drained a portion of his shields away.

Jun spun around and emptied his remaining clips into the black-armored Elite. Bullets bouncing into its shields, the Elite continued to fire away, plasma pouring out of the rifle until it overheated. With Jun's shields down to ten percent, Jun continued to advance towards Elite, bullets racing out of the barrel and crashing with alien shields.

Just as the shields of the Elite failed, Jun's clip emptied. The mandibles of the Elite formed into a sharp-toothed smile as Jun ejected the clip from the DMR and searched for a new one. The Elite aimed the blue rifle and Jun, noticing his shields only at twenty percent and just starting to climb, closed his eyes and prepared to accept his fate.

The frail Dr. Borchers emerged from behind a monitor and swung a giant wrench with all his might, connecting with the side of the Elite's head. The Elite recoiled, its shields completely gone. Jun was still in the process of fishing a clip out of his pouch before the towering beast turned to the doctor and picked him up with its free hand. The doctor kicked wildly before the split-chin wrenched its hand and a sickening snapping sound was heard.

The doctor's head hung at a sickly angle, fear-stricken face staring back at Jun, before the Elite threw the doctor at Halsey's station. The limp body collided with the equipment, and Jun could hear the familiar whine of electricity powering up.

Jun ignored the dimming lights as he slapped a fresh clip into the rifle and let loose with everything he had. Jun emptied the entire clip into the dazed Elite, bullets ripping through flesh and leaving bloody pocket marks.

The Elite staggered, purple blood oozing from each wound, as it tried to regain its footing and make another charge at the Warrant Officer. The Elite let out a powerful war cry before Jun put a round dead center in its menacing face, putting the beast out of its misery.

A micro-Slipspace field generated behind Jun, with the lights almost completely dark. Jun slipped in a fresh clip, and searched the darkness for the Field Marshall Elite.

"Doctor Halsey," Jun shouted, DRM scanning the barren lab. "Shut that thing down!"

Halsey furiously tapped at the controls, silently swearing with each error message she received. "They're not responding! Power levels are reaching critical!"

The energy build up continued, and the once deep blue portal began to grow brighter. Just when the whine of energy reached deafening levels, the Field Marshall emerged from the shadows and tackled Jun into the portal.

Seconds after the Elite and Jun entered the portal, sparks flew from the machinery and electricity arched wildly from the platform before the portal blinked from existence.

A/N: Well, there you have it. Please note that I did not come up with the events that led to Jun ending up at CASTLE Base. That credit belongs entirely to DeviantArt user LeviWasTaken/Leviathan and his digital (and sadly) non-canon fan comic A Fistful of Arrows, whose events I'm using and tweaking to fit my story. If you're a fan of Halo, I HIGHLY recommend you give it a read.

Remember to read and review!