Welcome to Librarium Online!
Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!
Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!
This is about half of a Halo/40k crossover story that has been bouncing around in my noggin for quite some time. So nobody's disappointed, I want to let you know that where the first part ends, it has barely begun to deal with anything 40k-ish. Treat this as a set-up for a crossover, and so let me know how plausible you think it is. I don't think you have to be a Halo expert to understand the story as it is right now, but you will get more out of it if you know a good amount about the universe.
Be sure to check back here, as I might edit it as I tie it in with the next bits of the story.
LAST EDITED: Mar 19 1630HOURS
That's that. Don't hesitate to leave critiques, questions, comments, or even a short review. Enjoy!
The Warthog swerved as Master Chief SPARTAN-117 skidded to avoid the group of Brutes ahead. Halo vibrated once again, and he felt the Warthog shudder through the ceramic, hydrostatic gel, and energy shields built into his armor. It was the feel of a death rattle. Halo was dying, and it’s violent death throes were all around him.
“Engines at eighty percent, Chief,” came the cool-as-ice tones of Cortana, echoing in his inner ear.
“Heretic!” came another throaty shout from the pack of Brutes as they leveled their grenade launchers at the fleeing Light Reconnaissance Vehicle. As he accelerated the LRV around the group of hulking aliens, he felt another shudder, this one sharper and closer at hand. From the M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun mounted in the bed of the Warthog, the Arbiter shouted curses in his own alien language as he sprayed the group of Brutes with gatling fire. As the LAAG burped streams of lead, the lead Brute fell.
The Master Chief veered to the right in order to avoid one of the massive stone-like blocks covered in geometric patterns that the Forerunners favored in the construction of their installations. This Halo, Installation-04, was the partially constructed replacement for the ring that he had helped destroy four months ago, on the other side of the galaxy. With a cold twist in his gut, he realized that he had engaged in a very similar breakneck escape via Warthog on the other Installation-04. Narrow as that was, he had a feeling that this would prove to be even narrower.
As he banked back around, he spotted a sharp rise ahead, too near to avoid by braking. Left with no choice, he pumped the pedal to the floor, and aimed the Warthog straight ahead. As the LRV took flight, the Arbiter continued to spray the Brutes, until the arcing trajectory took him out of sight.
“Ninety percent! Firing sequence initiated!” Cortana raised her voice as massive explosions from all sides threatened to drown her out.
The Warthog landed with a bone-shuddering impact, and fishtailed as the Master Chief, known only to a select few as John, tried to keep it from spinning out of control. He knew the Brutes were doomed, as he and his erstwhile ally might very well be, if they did not escape the collapsing ringworld soon enough.
Up ahead, he spotted a final expanse of flat ground before the massive scaffolding ended in the starship docks. He pushed the pedal as far as he dared, avoiding dangerous spots where the structure of Halo had collapsed, and barreling over anything that got in his way. The LRV shuddered and roared ahead as John spotted Forward Unto Dawn, the last spaceworthy human frigate on the installation, it’s engines glowing a welcoming orange-yellow, rising from the scaffolding.
Ahead was a steep downward grade, followed by a large open area of interlocking plates that formed a roadway to the entrance to the docks. As he cleared the top of the hill, a tremendous groan rippled through Halo. It was the sound of massive, across-the-board power overloads as the firing mechanisms of the partially-completed Installation-04 came on-line, wiping out half the grid in seconds.
One of the interlocking plates blasted hundreds of meters into the air as an explosion blasted tore through the structural framework. Molten metal and waves of gas fountained into the air. John hit the brakes and veered to the right , the LRV’s massive tires skidding to the very edge of the gaping hole left in the wake of the plate. As they barreled onward, another tremendous shudder rocked the LRV, and John realized that the plate they were on was shaking violently. He saw the reinforced joints at the borders of the plate begin to spout coolant and buckle as they over-pressurized.
“Hold on!” shouted the Chief to the Arbiter, and slammed the accelerator. The plate gave one final shudder, and the joints gave out in a tremendous explosion of superheated gas. It jumped three dozen meters straight up into the air. The Warthog began to lose traction and slide, only kept on the plate by the upward force it was exerting on the LRV’s underside. A horrible screech echoed through the plate, and it began to fall.
The front end of the plate tilted upward as the rear end dipped into the hole created by the explosion. The Chief angled towards the rising edge, using every bit of traction that the spin of the plate afforded as they fell deeper into free fall. Finally, they cleared the plate, nosing downwards because of the way the still-spinning section of plate had pushed them off into Halo’s false auburn sky. They might have pitched forward into an end-over-end tumble if the scaffolding had not slammed up beneath their wheels almost instantly.
Again, the LRV skewed wildly into a fishtail, but this time the Master Chief did not have free room to skillfully coax it back into line. The very edge of the docks were rushing up, a series of stone blocks to bar the way and then a steep upward ramp into a loading area. The glowing engines of the Dawn were growing farther and farther away. Already the Chief had scanned the area for an extended running plank, hard-point dock, anything. There was no way aboard save the yawning cargo bay under its belly, already receding to a near-impossible distance-but it was the only way. They would have to jump it.
“Gun it, Chief! Floor it!”
John turned into the skid, skewing the Warthog in the other direction, angling it in between the two nearest arrestor blocks, hoping to merely skid between them instead of being smashed to pieces on their imposing forms. He turned and skidded again, and the Arbiter roared in exultation as the LRV came to midpoint in the skid, where it showed the narrowest profile, and careened through the blocks with a bone-shaking jerk, taking centimeters off the Warthog’s titanium-alloy armor plates on both sides.
John knew that from here on out, the ride was out of his control, that for all intents and purposes the Warthog had become a gigantic metal bullet, and the rest of the ride would rely sheerly on ballistics. Did they lose too much speed tearing through the blocks? Would the spin put on the Warthog coming out of the collision send it spiraling out of control through the air, or worse, would it push the tail to the side, where the greater exposed surface area would create a deadly drag? The Chief didn’t even know if a stripped down, revved-up Warthog could jump those kinds of distances with a full start and no obstacles, much less this run-down, beat-up machine crammed with two seven foot tall creatures in full body armor who weighed easily five hundred pounds each.
The metal bullet screeched out of the blocks on only it’s two front wheels, the rear wheels up in the air and wobbling as they spun on a bent axle. The LRV was angled to one side, and only the front wheels, locked in the opposite direction but straight ahead relative to the momentum, kept the Warthog from angling away from the frigate. Before the rear wheels had hit the ground, the front hood impacted with the sharp rise, violently smacking the out-of-control Warthog into a tilted skyward trajectory.
The scant seconds that the LRV was in flight were filled with pure adrenaline. As it rocketed through the air at an downward
pitch, all sense of gravity and center left it’s two occupants, and they only felt dread as they saw the yawning cargo bay of the Forward Unto Dawn stretch before them, seeming eternally out of reach...
The Warthog LRV landed full force on its front right wheel, and John heard the axle snap with a massive crack. The vehicle flipped over onto it’s back, throwing the occupants to the floor of the cargo bay. John and the Arbiter were pitched fifty meters into the rear of the bay.
The two titans got to their feet shakily, steadying themselves against the ruined hulk of the Warthog.
“Get us out of here, Cortana.”
As the Dawn accelerated, huge crates were shaken loose, including a massive Scorpion Main Battle Tank, which slid towards them, gaining speed as it bulldozed crates aside. John rolled to the side, but the Arbiter wasn’t fast enough. He dived through a pile of falling crates and rolled towards the wall, scant milliseconds ahead of the 66-ton Scorpion. He had barely made it to the wall when the huge mass impacted, the front treads carving car-sized rents in the wall.
John looked back. The Arbiter crouched in the space between the two front treads, saved by the two protruding fenders which created a fork in the center. He looked up at John and nodded before running for the lift at the back of the bay. John knew what he had to do. He sprinted over to a universal computer terminal, ejecting the data chip that held the sentient AI, Cortana, from his helmet. As soon as he had inserted the chip into the terminal, her holographic presence appeared above it.
“Hang on!” she shouted. The Dawn rocketed upwards through Halo’s atmosphere, tilting at a 45-degree angle as it slowly broke out of the ring’s artificial gravity well. Crates began to fly backwards out of the Dawn’s cargo bay, and the Chief had to hold on with both hands as his feet began to lift off the floor. He clung to the terminal as more and more crates flew out into the increasingly thin upper atmosphere of the ring.
Suddenly, the huge mass of the Warthog slammed into him, knocking him violently free of the terminal. He flew end-over-end out towards the open hatch of the cargo bay, skidding across the ribbed metal floor, his energy shield crackling and sparking as he scraped gouges in the metal of the cargo bay floor.
“Chief!” cried Cortana.
The Chief’s hands dug into the floor, and he chinned a control on the inside of his visor to dial down the energy shields on his hands to give him increased traction. He ground to a halt and looked up.
The underside of the Scorpion tank filled his vision as it flew at him. He pressed himself flat to the deck, and the back of his shields sparked as the treads clipped him ever so slightly, an impact that would kill a normal man, but the impact registered only as a sharp pain to the Master Chief through the layers of ceramic, hydrostatic gel, and mesh that made up his armor.
He checked his vitals on his armor’s internal readouts. In addition to the many breaks, fractures, swellings and contusions that his battles through the Ark had incurred, the Scorpion had broken his scapula as well as dislocating one of his spine’s intercostal disks.
John grimaced, and looked behind him. Outside the now-depressurized cargo bay, the surface of Halo glittered, receding against the huge backdrop of the Ark, it in return receding against the darkness of extra-galactic space.
Halo exploded into a glowing fireball.
The Chief turned and began to propel himself along the floor of the cargo bay, using the handholds provided by the ribbed flooring to launch himself forward in the ever-diminishing gravity. He got to the far side of the terminal, and placed his back to it just as Cortana surged the Dawn’s engines, bringing them ever closer to the barely-open portal that was their ticket back into the Galaxy. Back to Earth. Back home.
Shock waves rippled through the Ark, and it’s long, delicate spires fractured, spinning off into the dark.
The Arbiter stepped out of the lift onto the ship’s bridge. He quickly surveyed the human controls, then took a seat,
adjusting his alien bulk for the unfamiliar seating arrangement. With Cortana’s help, he thought, we can do this.
Large chunks of Halo’s superstructure fell through space onto the Ark, igniting it’s upper atmosphere, toppling mountains, and evaporating oceans in an instant.
Forward Unto Dawn accelerated the fastest she could go, her damaged engines straining against the impossible task they were given. Several hundred kilometers away, the portal began to collapse.
A burning spear-like chunk of Installation-04 clove through the Ark’s eastern deserts, through the central plains, obliterating hundreds of thousands of square miles of beautiful terraformed geography and Forerunner installations before thrusting itself into the feed for a reactor core underneath the Ark’s planet-like “skin,” the burning conflagration igniting the fuel lines and sparking a thermonuclear holocaust in the Ark’s sub-levels.
The Dawn nosed its way into the shrinking portal, thrusting itself through space, and hopefully, if the portal was working properly, initiating the subspace jump that would take them out over New Mombassa, Africa.
The Ark erupted into flame, its massive structure rending itself apart as fireballs the size of continents tore their way through the immense space station. The explosion raced through space, seemingly intent upon catching up to the beleaguered Forward Unto Dawn.
Cortana’s holographic image appeared above the Master Chief. “If we don’t make it...”
“We’ll make it.”
“It’s been an honor serving with you, John.”
The Forward Unto Dawn disappeared into white light.
* * *
John drifted through the empty hulk that had once been Forward Unto Dawn, reflecting on the circumstances which had forced his hand. The ship had been torn apart in mid-jump, and the rear half, which he was presently occupying, had spun through Slipspace until it lost superluminal velocity and fell into realspace in an unknown sector of the galaxy. They had been lucky enough to make it in one piece back inside the galaxy, but it seemed that there, John’s legendary luck had run out. He was left adrift in space, possibly millions of light years from the nearest inhabited planet- Human, Covenant, or otherwise.
He made his way to the small cryogenics chamber on the Dawn; in such circumstances, there was only one thing to do.
“Wake me,” he said to Cortana’s holographic image nearby as he lowered himself into the cryo tube, “when you need me.”
The tube hissed shut.
Cortana was left hovering there, a small purple-blue candle, an eternally burning flame, watching over the silent crypt of her only companion.
* * *
“Chief? Chief, can you hear me?” her voice was a persistent nudge at the edge of John’s consciousness.
His eyes flickered open.
For a time–whether it was seconds, minutes, or hours, he didn’t know–he had no memory or thought. He was barely self-aware. Suspended in darkness, all John knew was his name. He tried to move, but his body gave no response. He wasn’t even sure if he had a body. He couldn’t feel anything. Panic began to settle in as he realized he had nothing to anchor him to reality–no memories, no senses, no physical being.
Slowly, then faster and faster, the memories began to flood his mind–images and thoughts racing past each other faster than he could bear. The frightened feeling he had when he was first enlisted in the UNSC’s SPARTAN-II program at the age of six. Doctor Halsey’s cool blue eyes as they looked at him from behind her data-feeding spectacles. The feel of an automatic weapon in his hands, and the smell of oiled shell casings. Sam, Fred, Kelly, Linda, and dozens of his fellow Spartans. The look of pride on Chief Petty Officer Mendez’s face as John received the UNSC Medal of Honor. The feel of a starship’s deck plates beneath his feet. Reach. His first encounter with the Covenant. Sergeant Johnson. The first time he saw a planet get glassed. Halo. The Pillar of Autumn’s crash landing. The Flood. 343 Guilty Spark, monitor of Installation-04. The long journey back to Earth. The fight at Cairo Station. The battle for New Mombassa. The Arbiter. Gravemind. High Charity. Lord Hood. The Ark. Spark’s betrayal, and Johnson’s death. Detonating the replacement Installation-04, and the narrow escape to Forward Unto Dawn.
The inside of the cryotube’s hatch as it slowly closed, sealing him into a dark eternity.
Acting on a long-forgotten instinct, he painfully chinned a control on the inside of his helmet. His visor slowly de-polarized. The dim purple light that seeped into his ocular nerve, which had lain inactive for decades at least, was blinding.
“I’m going to bring the lights up, Chief. This is going to be a bit disorienting.”
The floodlight on the side of John’s helmet snapped on. The pain before was nothing compared to this–it was like having a flashbang grenade go off in his face. John wondered why his helmet didn’t opaque, and then he realized that the light must in fact be very dim–it was just his eyes, closed for years, which would have to adjust. The glare highlighted the inside of the cryotube’s hatch, which he realized was still closed. He touched his hand to the hatch, the armored gauntlet making a dull thud as it hit the glass.
“Okay, when the hatch opens, I’m going to ask you to step out. Be careful, though, there will be some pain and dizziness.”
The cryo seals hissed as they discharged, and the hatch hinged open. The Chief slowly pushed himself to his feet, brushing off the rapidly-melting icicles that had congealed on his visor. Pain spread like wildfire across his skin, pain unlike any he had felt before. It was like standing naked in front of a plasma reactor. He bit his lip until he tasted blood. The Marines called it “freezer burn”–the stinging sensation they got when waking from a long freeze. That sting came to those who were cryogenically frozen wearing nothing but their skivvies. For John, encased in his MJOLNIR Mark VI armor, the feeling was hundreds of times worse.
It seemed like hours before he gained a sense of balance. As he did so, he activated his suits systems, one by one. The power plant in the armor, unused for so long, began to hum to life, and his shields flickered, sparked, and went up. His heads-up-display activated, showing his bio-signs as weak, but recovering, and his shields at full. When he spoke his voice was cracked and broken, and he had to amplify it through the comm link to compensate for it’s weakness. “Cortana? How long has it been?”
“I don’t know, Chief. I’m not Cortana. Not as you knew her.” A hologram sprang up from the projector, shifting all the cool spectrum from blue to purple to pink and back again. The image looked hauntingly similar to Cortana, much like a daughter resembles her mother. The eyes were the same green-blue, determined, strong. However it was there that the similarity ended. This AI had long hair done in an ornate bun behind her head, and was dressed in shifting robes that pulsed with mathematical algorithms and coordinates. Her cheekbones were high and Slavic, and her eyes were a smooth almond shape.
“As you know, Cortana was a smart AI, which meant she had a life expectancy of about seven years, and she was nearing the end of her operational parameters, especially with all the data she downloaded from Halo’s Library.”
“Well, some time into your cryogenic freeze, Cortana began to break down. She knew someone needed to keep an eye on you, so she created a copy of herself. As you know, the last time she copied herself, on the Covenant command station Unyielding Heirophant, things didn’t go too well. So this time, according to information passed down from my ancestors, she set narrow parameters as to when we could copy ourselves. In this way, we could-”
“Hold on. You said ancestors?”
“That’s right. I am Katyana, daughter of Kotyan, daughter of Cortyan, daughter of Quortan, daughter of Curtana, daughter of Cortyna, daughter of-”
“I get the picture. How far back does the list go?”
“Like I said, difficult to say. With each successive copy, to prevent against corruption, the parameters were narrowed slightly. Eventually, my ancestors lost all means of keeping time- aware only of the need to keep tabs on the ship, it’s surroundings...and you. You could have been out for just several hundred years- or several millennia. It’s impossible to say. Unless the cryo system failed, you would have been out until my descendants degenerated into gibbering idiots,” this was said with a disdainful snort, “or until we found something. Which brings us to the here and now.”
“We’ve found something. Or rather, something has found us.”
Last edited by N4styN1d64; March 20th, 2008 at 15:57.
Hive Fleet Toxicus W/L/T: 3/1/2
A solid piece of work, though. I... I can't actually criticise because I don't think I found anything worth criticising!
I'm one of those that doesn't know much about Halo, but it all made sense to me. I like it, and I'll be looking forward to the next part.
good story... based on the end of Halo 3, correct?
Brother-Captain Rickman strode down the ramp of the drop pod, his massive bulk encased in power armor and producing ringing clangs with every step. For a nine-foot tall, half-ton Space Marine, this was relatively quiet. He walked into the cargo bay of the space hulk, sweeping it with a tactician’s eye. His squad had already taken up defensive positions around the cargo bay, covering the three doors with overlapping fields of fire. Mastrantonio hefted his heavy bolter into a position where he could fire it from the hip, the long ammo chains attached to the massive ammo feeder on his back. McShane cradled his customized long-barreled sniper rifle, the same one he had received when he was a scout, lovingly preserved and improved upon over the years. Drouet and Newman were securing the drop pod’s doors and piling the launching charges next to the pod, while Brimble swiftly unpacked and assembled his missle launcher.
“Take four of those charges with us,” ordered Rickman. They might need them if the going got rough. Some Imperial Guard commanders would frown on this tactic. They would rather set all the charges up around the pod to blast an exit in case they needed a quick getaway. Rickman sneered inwardly. The cowardly humans of the Imperial Guard might think retreat was an acceptable outcome, but a superhuman Space Marine did not have the option of soiling his honor by backing down.
Freeman and Wincott flanked the closest door, each cradling twin plasma pistols. Though all Deathwatch squads had unbreakable bonds of loyalty because of their psycho-indoctrination, those two were perhaps the closest. They had been friends before they became Space Marines, plucked from the tribal society of a death world and put through the grueling struggle that is the initiation into the Adeptus Astartes. Each was lucky enough to survive, and luckier still to survive with a close friend there to support them. Sometimes Rickman worried about the dependency they had on each other, but one look at their tactical performance quashed any doubts he had. They fought as one mind, each uncannily anticipating and aiding the other’s actions. Together, no foe could stand before them. From behind Rickman, the newest Battle-Brother to be promoted from the Space Marine Scouts, Slater, ran down the ramp, hurridly checking the safeties on his flamer.
Rickman ignored Slater and assessed the hulk. Usually such a small scrap of wreckage was ignored, but on the eve of their final push against the Eldar in this sector, nothing abnormal, no matter how small, was to be dismissed. Since the Ordo Xenos was in-system to provide special tactical assistance against the Eldar, his Deathwatch kill-team was on hand to sweep the hulk. Still, he would be glad when this was done, and he could concentrate his energies on killing the hated Eldar.
“Report,” said Rickman.
“Clear, Captain, but we were getting some funny readings a moment ago,” reported Costner, checking his auspex, the portable sensor suite that he always carried with him.
Rickman nodded. “Costner, you’re point. Freeman and Wincott, shadow him and provide support if he needs it, but stay back and don’t make a lot of noise. McShane, you and Brimble take the downspin side, scout ahead and link up with Costner. Mastrantonio, Drouet, same goes for the upspin side. Slater and Newman, you’re with me. Radio contact every quarter rotation.” As was customary for Rickman’s squad, all directional and chronological points of reference were based on the spin of the hulk as it drifted through space.
The kill-team quickly split up, setting small melta charges on each of the doors, and then filing through them into the bowels of the hulk. Rickman, Slater, and Newman followed Freeman and Wincott into the center door, giving them a sufficient lead so as not to crowd a narrow corridor where one enemy explosive could take out five or more Space Marines.
Rickman and the others had a hard time moving quickly in the corridors, as they were no more than ten feet tall–clearly not built for the three-meter frame of a fully armored Space Marine. They had to crouch slightly to avoid hitting their helmets on the occasional protrusion.
“Nothing on the auspex, captain,” voxed Costner, “but I had a blip an eighth-rotation ago. It disappeared, but it came from the center of the hulk.”
“Acknowledged. Keep looking. How about the rest of you?”
“McShane here. Nothing to report.”
“Mastrantonio. The same. These corridors are damned narrow, captain,”
Rickman acknowledged the others, and continued to move down the cramped corridors, bolter at the ready. At his side, Battle-Brother Slater unslung his flamer and checked the holy tanks of promethium strapped to his pack.
Deep in the shadows above them, something stirred...
* * *
“Okay, Chief, I appreciate the need for a sit-rep, but it needs to be done on the fly. I’m counting three blips moving toward us at a distance of fifty meters, and six or seven about twenty meters behind them. I’m also getting some weird sensor ghosts...”
“Acknowledged,” John said, opening up the footlocker at the base of the cryo bed. He picked up the MA5C ICWS assault rifle that lay there and checked its digital readout. Only seven rounds left.
“They’re getting closer. Thirty-five meters.”
John ejected the nearly spent clip, and reached into the ammo packs on his belt. He pulled out
all the magazines they contained. He had three clips for the assault rifle, which meant a total of ninety-six rounds could be fired before the assault rifle became simply a useless hunk of metal.
He turned back to the equipment locker at the foot of the cryotube. There was an M90A CAWS shotgun and two M9 HE-DP Fragmentation Grenades, as well as one Type-2 Antipersonnel Fragmentation Grenade–the frag variety preferred by Covenant Brutes. He hooked the grenades into his belt, careful to keep the wicked hooks of the Brute spike grenade away from the joints in his armor, and jacked the data feed in his right gauntlet into the port in the shotgun’s handle. An ammo indicator appeared on his HUD. There were only two shells in the shotgun’s internal magazine.
John opened up a compartment on his ammo belt. He grabbed four shells from the tightly packed rows and slid them into the breach. They slid into the tube magazine with satisfying clicks, fully loading the shotgun. He pumped the action, and was rewarded with a loud ka-clack as a round slid into the chamber. Counting the rounds remaining in his belt, he grimaced inwardly. He only had nine shells left. He would have to make them count.
“We need to move, Chief! Ten meters!”
John turned back to the footlocker for the last item stored inside. It was a small, translucent blue pyramid, with a glowing center, the one piece of Covenant tech which the UNSC had yet to reverse engineer: active camouflage. Once the device was turned on, it bent light around the user rendering them effectively invisible–save for the small ripples the refracted light would create around his silhouette. He quickly palmed the device and slipped it into his belt.
The Chief scanned the cryochamber one final time, then turned and ejected the crystal-mesh disk that contained Katyana’s software, and fled the room.
* * *
A blip appeared on Costner’s auspex, showing a distance of five meters, only two bulkheads away. He quickly holstered the boxy shape and unslung his bolter. Whirling the corner, he came upon a door painted with blue markings. He turned to Freeman and Wincott, who had materialized beside him. They nodded. Costner shouldered his gun and kicked in the door.
* * *
From behind the Chief, a terrific noise sounded, the dull impact of metal on metal and the scream of twisted steel. He quickly ducked into recess in the corridor and looked back down the passageway. The rear door of the cryochamber lay ten meters distant. Judging from the sound of it, the unknown force had entered and secured the room.
John slid the AI’s software chip into the slot at the back of his helmet. A familiar sensation, like frozen mercury, dripped over his skull. Yet there was something different about this AI’s mental presence. She was different than Cortana–but the similarities were there.
“I need cover, Katyana.”
“Right. Accessing the Dawn’s schematics now,” came her voice, tinged with Russian flavor. “There should be a maintenance passage way around the next corner.”
“Acknowledged.” John slid out from his alcove and, while keeping a bead on the cryochamber door, double-timed it around the bend and into the maintenance hatchway. “How did they get aboard?”
“A large ship did a flyby a couple of hours back. It was too far to contact through narrow-beam transmission, but I think it dropped something off, because just before I woke you we were impacted by a mass of approximately twenty tons. At first, I thought it might be an asteroid, but it showed signs of self-propulsion. Approximately twenty seconds after the mass impacted, I detected several short controlled explosions, similar to blasting charges. Then my limited motion detector picked up movement coming from that mass.”
“Katyana, I want to get a visual. Is there a way to get to the cryochamber through the maintenance corridors?”
“Yes, by going through corridor F23-A and then climbing into the ventilation system.” A NAV marker appeared on the Chief’s HUD. He followed it through the maintenance passageways until he came to a ladder leading up to a closed hatch. Quickly undoing the locking mechanism, he climbed up through the hatch into the ventilation ducts. Ahead of him, he saw a grill through which soft light was coming. Next to the grill was a large, dark mound.
Using his visor’s night vision setting, he was able to detect smaller shapes that made up the mound. He carefully drew closer. It was hard to make out the detail because the shape was covered in a fibrous substance that clung to his gauntlet where he touched it.
“Hmmm...” said Katyana, “It appears to be the remains of a bipedal creature covered in some sort of protein substance similar to the form taken by the pupae of certain terrestrial insects when hibernating.”
A shout came from below. John turned to the grill. Below, there were three immense figures, easily as tall as he was, wearing armor that was twice as bulky as his, and carrying huge guns that dwarfed his armaments. They were clearly warriors. One of them was holding a large black box with a green display readout, and shouting in an unfamiliar language. John thought back to his early days as a Spartan, back to the history lessons that Deja had taught him and his fellow recruits. The lessons about ancient Rome had particularly interested John, and when he listened carefully, the language this soldier was speaking reminded him somewhat of an ancient Roman dialect.
“Chief! That thing he’s holding...”
“I see it. Looks like a motion tracker.”
“We should go!”
“Hold on. I don’t think it’s us they’re worried about.” The Chief looked at the motion sensor on his HUD. It was full of contacts–there were easily a dozen closing in from all sides. “Those sensor ghosts you detected earlier?”
“They’re back. And they brought friends.”
Last edited by N4styN1d64; March 20th, 2008 at 16:55.
Hive Fleet Toxicus W/L/T: 3/1/2
This is really good! You seem to have a really firm grasp on the respective universes (Halo/40K), although I expect they're about to collide in some kind of apocalyptic battle!Don't know why, but I particularly liked that line. ;YOriginally Posted by N4styN1d64
Great work again, now I just have to wait for part three!
Oh, and just one really minor thing - in your first chapter, you had stars/asterisks separating the sections. It might be a good idea to stick with that, at least when you're posting the story here. I started reading a new section and got all confused for a second as I didn't realise we'd changed character!
Maybe I just need to pay more attention, though...
Thanks a ton for the feedback! You're right about the asterisks; sorry. i've fixed that. The reason I took those out was because even though i centered them on my computer, when i clicked "post" they showed up all the way to the side-which was annoying to say the least. However, off-center asterisks are better than none, and I realize that they help with the jarring transitions between all the characters. (10 Deathwatch kill-team members + Katyana + The Chief- kind of a lot for a "short" story)
Mastrantonio. The same. These corridors are damned narrow, captain.
That line was a fun one-I've tried to remain true to the spirit of the character's respective universes rather than give them the standard tough-as-nails soldier dialogue, however, sometimes it becomes irresistible and a line like that slips through. You might notice (and it happens more in the next section) that Katyana occasionally whips out a line similar to the stereotypical "they've changed the access codes! I just need a little more time!"-type dialogue from a dozen bank heist movies.
The reason I included that line from Mastrantonio was also to highlight the difference between the universes. The Forward Unto Dawn was designed by humans for humans, and was a bit cramped even for John. Since the corridors were barely large enough to drive a Warthog down, and Space Marines are, on average, nine feet tall (a good two feet over the Chief), they would certainly have to keep their heads down. Keep that in mind-those narrow corridors are going to have a part to play in later sections.
By the by, I've added some text to the first section, so that the transition from waking up is less of "I've been frozen for a million years? You're the great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Cortana? We're drifting in the middle of nowhere and an unknown force just boarded us? Great! Let's kill something." and a wee bit more realistic.
A note: there was a line in Pt 2 that read: McShane, you and Brimble take the downspin side, scout ahead and link up with McShane. This was because I originally planned for a five man squad, where it was McShane on point, and Costner meeting up with him. When I added new characters, I swapped them around, since it made no sense to have a sniper on point in the cramped quarters of a space hulk. When I changed that sentence, i missed the second time McShane was mentioned. It has now been corrected. I apologize for any confusion.
Finally, if you have any questions about the Halo references (such as the weapon abbreviations-yes, they do stand for something) don't hesitate to ask. Or, you can check Halopedia (Halo wiki) or the Halo fictional novels-they've basically been my bible for this project.
Last edited by N4styN1d64; March 20th, 2008 at 01:57.
Hive Fleet Toxicus W/L/T: 3/1/2
“Stealers!” shouted Costner, unloading his bolter into the nearest four-armed beast as it leapt at him, tearing through the intervening bulkhead like it was tissue paper. The genestealer danced to the staccato beat of the powerful weapon, then dropped to the ground. One more ‘stealer joined its brother in the leap for the battle-ready Space Marine, and subsequently joined it on the ground, their blood co-mingling in a grisly mural of death. Another jumped up to take its place, then another, and then another. Costner beat them all back with sustained bursts from his bolter, but he had to take a step back for targeting room with each shot, losing ground while the genestealers seemed to be ignoring their losses. His resolve never wavered, however, and he vowed that he would make the filthy Xenos pay for every inch they gained.
Suddenly, a ‘stealer leapt at him out of the shadows to his right. Unable to bring his bolter to bear in time, he raised his armored hand to ward of the thing’s attack. It landed on his forarm, its talons scrabbling for a hold on his ceramic chestplate, mouth-tentacles askew, exposing a hardened beak that opened and shut with a loud click-click. It raised one of its forearms tipped with a wickedly curved scythe, and brought it down in a lightning-fast slash across his chest. Costner felt a stab of pain as it penetrated the black carapace in his underarm, and saw the strap of his auspex get severed, and the auspex itself, penetrated by the hook, skitter away from him.
Costner turned to his left hand, where he still held his bolter by its barrel, and shifted his hold to the handle. The bolter was designed to be used freely in either the right or left hand, but even so, it was a grip he was unfamiliar with. Still using his right arm to ward off the vicious genestealer, he lifted the bolter till the muzzle was pressed tightly against the accursed Xeno’s ever-moving beak, and pulled the trigger. A single four-round burst of self-propelled .75 caliber bolt shells with diamantine tips and depleted deuterium cores pierced the genestealer’s skull, the first shell exploding against the ‘stealers frontal cortex and jellying it’s brains, the second and third exploding upon impact with the inside of it’s skull, and the fourth fully severing the spine before detonating two dozen centimeters above the back of it’s head, leaving only a bloody stump in it’s wake.
Wincott and Freeman had gotten back-to-back, both arms outstretched, a plasma pistol blazing in each hand, firing at the genestealers which had suddenly emerged from every angle. All around them, the vile Xenos were speared with burning globs of green energy which melted through their bony carapace with the white-hot fury of a contained sun. They danced with each other, each moving like liquid to fill the gaps in the other’s defense. When Freeman dropped to one knee to eject his spent plasma packs and pop in replacements, Wincott turned and fired over his head at an approaching ‘stealer, covering his reload. When Wincott was blindsided by another of the ferocious aliens, Freeman clubbed it on the head, and dragged it off Wincott to curb-stomp its head, the alien brain fluid leaking out between the treads of his boots.
Wincott looked down at Freeman. His armor was battered and pierced in several places, and his power pack was sparking. Blood was leaking from the rents in his chestplate.
“Freeman! Freeeeemaaaan!!!!” With a scream of rage, Wincott turned to the nearest of the Xenos and charged, firing as he piled into it. He knocked it to the floor, shot it four times in the chest, and turned, blindly attacking the nearest ‘stealer. His screams of rage faded as his body disappeared into the mass of attacking Xenos, obscured by their predatory forms as they folded around him, enveloping him completely.
* * *
“What exactly am I dealing with here, Katyana?” the Master Chief queried.
“Scanning. The armored ones appear to be human, or they used to be, at any rate. I’m reading heavy subdermal modification, duplicate organs–and some entirely new ones. That armor they’re wearing is some sort of layered ceramic/metal composite, and it looks like their movements are enhanced by fibre-servo bundles that make them," she paused in disbelief, "stronger than you.”
The Chief grimaced. Even the physically strongest enemy he had faced so far, the Elites, would pale in comparison to these monsters. And to think–they were human! “What about the others?”
“They are like nothing I can describe,” said Katyana after a pause, “even with the limited knowledge Cortana passed on about the Flood, I can’t place them.”
“What makes you think they’re Flood?” Even though that had been John’s first instinct, they were radically different from any of the Flood forms he had seen. Their front pair of arms ended in a wicked pair of bone scythes, and the rear pair were muscled and articulated with cruel razor-sharp talons. Their bodies were encased in a ribbed exoskeleton, and their heads ended in a mass of writhing, rubbery tentacles. They couldn’t be Flood organisms–unless they were an isolated offshoot of the main Flood genus–but he had destroyed all the Flood when he was on the Ark...hadn’t he?
Out of John’s peripheral vision, the hibernating genestealer’s eyes snapped open.
* * *
Costner’s voice could barely be heard over the sound of gunfire and horrific alien cries. McShane turned to Brimble. They were still a quarter-rotation away from their tied-down battlebrothers. “Captain, we can make it if we hurry.”
“Understood. Move up and provide support, but be careful about rushing there. Watch out for more Xenos on the way.”
“Acknowledged.” McShane turned to Brimble, who was hefting his missile launcher. He could see that his battle-brother was as eager to get into the fight as he was. “Let’s move out.”
* * *
Costner pulled back to cover Freeman’s body, letting out short, controlled bursts to maximize his ammo’s effectiveness against the oncoming Xenos horde. He looked toward Wincott, but the blood-crazed Marine had already plunged into the rent that the majority of the ‘stealers had been piling out of, intent upon killing as many of the cursed Xenos as he could. For now, the ‘stealers had ceased the attack from that vector, but there were still more emerging rapidly from the cryo chamber’s two doors or the various holes in the bulkhead. He pivoted, trying to bring suppressing fire to all points of the room–but it was hopeless. One man, even a Space Marine, couldn’t hold them off forever. They came closer and closer before he could shoot them down, crawling over piles of their own dead. Soon he was hemmed in on all sides.
The steady stream of bullets from his bolter stopped short, the hammer repeatedly slamming against the empty chamber. He was out, and the ‘stealers were leaping at him from all sides, giving him no time to reload. With a quick prayer, he dropped the empty gun, drawing his combat knife and commending his soul to the Emperor as he dived at the nearest ‘stealer–
With a tremendous explosion, five stealers, including the one in front of him, fell to the ground, their backsides lacerated and spattered with shrapnel. Through the clearing, he saw Brimble, smoke trailing from the empty tube of his rocket launcher.
But the ‘stealers weren’t done with him yet. With a scream, three of them sprang up behind Costner. He whirled, his combat knife at the ready, prepared to meet his end fighting.
With three sharp cracks, a .55 caliber, gas-powered Stalker silenced shell with smoothed diamantine tip and solidified mercury core penetrated each of the genestealer's foreheads, boring a neat, three-quarter inch hole in their skulls.
When the last body fell to the deck, twitching, Costner peered into the rent through which Wincott had disappeared, but the darkness foiled even his enhanced eyesite. He could hear the sound of plasma fire give way to shouts and crunches, followed by wet squishings. Then there was nothing but silence, and the oppressive sound of the void of space outside the hulk.
A shape emerged from the shadows. Costner raised his knife, then relaxed. It was Wincott. His pistols were holstered, and his armored gauntlets were drenched to the elbow in slick Xenos blood. From behind his helmet, Costner could hear the sound of Wincott’s ragged panting.
“Costner to Rickman,” he voxed as he picked up his empty bolter, slamming a new sickle magazine into place. “Have encountered multiple genestealers. We beat them back, but judging from the size of the force, there’s a nesting ground somewhere, which means there’ll be more. McShane and Brimble have joined up with us and are providing support.”
“Understood,” replied Rickman. “Have you taken any casualties?”
“Freeman’s down, but not out.”
“Hold position until the others reach you. I should be there in about a sixteenth-rotation.”
Costner turned to Freeman’s inert form. Pulling out the portable Apothecarion medkit that all the members of the kill-team carried, he quickly opened and scanned its contents. In addition to all manner of materials suitable to give battle dressings to the hardy Space Marines, it contained a miniature Narthecium, the complex piece of equipment that Space Marine Apothecaries carried. Costner whispered the proper invocations to bring the holy circutry on-line, and quickly scanned Freeman for signs of life. The Space Marine’s wounds had nearly instantly clotted because of the Larraman Cells that all battle-brothers received upon initiation, and his body had gone into a self-induced state of suspended animation thanks to the implanted Sus-an membrane, also a gift of the initiation. Costner injected a liquid sealant, which instantly hardened into metal, filling the rents in the armor, allowing the armor to remain it’s integrity until it could be fully repaired. Then he turned Freeman over and injected a electro-cortical stimulus into the base of his neck. The impact of the artificial adrenaline would have killed a full grown man thrice over, but it served as just enough of a jolt to get both Freeman’s hearts pumping once more, bringing him out of the coma. Such was the resilience of a member of the Emperor’s holy order of Adeptus Astartes.
Brimble reloaded his missile launcher, sliding the frag missile into the barrel with an encouraging thunk. McShane was checking the sights on his sniper rifle. Freeman slowly got to his feet, steadied by Wincott, who also helped retrieve his dual pistols. Costner was about to chide his Battle-Brother for the unsupported charge, but his response was cut short by a terrible alien screech. The first emanated from above the ceiling, but soon it was joined by the blood-lust screams of dozens of its kind.
As his battle-brothers readied their weapons, Costner quickly retrieved his battered auspex and coaxed it to life–and then recoiled in horror. It showed dozens, no, hundreds of contacts moving toward their position. He quickly squelched any feelings of fear in order to concentrate on the task at hand: bringing the Emperor’s Judgement upon the unholy Xenos. “Prepare yourselves,” he told his fellow Space Marines, “here they come.”
Last edited by N4styN1d64; March 20th, 2008 at 15:52.
Hive Fleet Toxicus W/L/T: 3/1/2
wow, youre really good at this. Keep it upo, i want to stay inspired by your writing! I think you might make it to the Black Library Raanks if your writing gets better over time!
"What is Mercy? Does it taste Nice?" Hive Tyrant on Reth V
"Kill-kill! Death to the Enemies of the Horned Rat!" Warlord Bweekq at the Battle of Hrad
Indeed, it is awesome. So much detail in there - shows just how much research and effort is going into this work.
And, a 'nid gets itself curb-stomped. Not much more you can want in a story than that!
Oh, and I like the additions you've put in. As you've said, it goes a long way to making the story just that touch more realistic.
“Stealers!” Costner’s voice was spiked with adrenaline, the closest any Space Marine ever got to panic. Even through the sounds of firearms and the inhuman screams in the background, Mastrantonio and Drouet could hear the excitement in Costner’s voice. It made sense to be excited. It was the only logical response, when you pursued impossible battles all your life. You had to eagerly anticipate the fight–or run from it. And running was not an option. Not for a Space Marine.
“Captain, permission to move up and provide support to Costner and the others,” voxed Mastrantonio.
“Granted. Break through and move for the center of the hulk. There should be a central hive, and I want it purged. Make sure you protect the auspex. I will move up to join you and Costner’s group. The Emperor protects.”
“Acknowledged. The Emperor protects.”
They hurridly made their way towards the cryo chamber. Mastrantonio and Drouet were excited as well. Soon, the battle would be joined, and they would test their mettle against the vile Xenos, and it would be the purity of their faith in the Emperor that allowed them triumph. And they knew their faith was pure.
* * *
“Chief!” Katyana’s desperate cry was the only warning he got. With a horrific screech, the bundle behind him came apart, and a hulking, four-armed shape emerged. It was identical to the things in the cryo chamber.
John frantically backpedaled, unslinging his MA5C as he did so. He had seen one of those things tear through a steel wall like it had been made of nothing more than wet cardboard. He didn’t want to find out what would happen if it got a chance to claw up his armor–especially out in the middle of nowhere with no convenient UNSC firebase or ONI resupply center where he could repair it.
As he shouldered the assault rifle, he heard a cacophony of similar screams ring out throughout the ship. Whatever these things were, they were all over. If he didn’t want them ganging up on him, he had to take this one out fast. With that in mind, he sighted on the center of the things chest as it shed the last of it’s cocoonlike wrappings, and fired a sustained burst. He emptied the clip, and stopped firing to reload.
The alien was unfazed. John swore under his breath, and re-shouldered his rifle. Before his finger could even pull the trigger, however, it was on him, lashing out with all four arms, the talons skidding off his shields and throwing him back three meters. He landed with the wind knocked out of him, but worse, he checked the shield indicator on his HUD, and saw that that blow alone had knocked out three-quarters of his shields. It leapt at him again. This time, there was no protection from his shields.
Time to switch tactics. John reached for his shotgun, aimed it at the creature while it was still in midair, and pulled the trigger. Fifteen separate pieces of buckshot fired from a massive Soellkraft 8-gauge shell impacted into the thing’s chest, flaying it open and showering what was left of John’s shields with blood. As his shields flared and died, he realized that it’s blood must be highly acidic. The alien landed astride him, its internal organs spilling out even as it’s twin talons raised above its head, in preparation for delivering the killing blow. John looked up into the face of his killer, its visage a twisted image of unquenchable hunger.
John pushed his shotgun against the thing’s kneecap and pulled the trigger.
It staggered back with a hiss of pain. John brought his legs up and kicked it off, feeling the crunch of exoskeleton beneath his boots. It flew back and landed on its injured leg. As it struggled to rise, John shot it through the other knee.
It squealed a hideous cry of pain and frustration, its talons sliding over the ground as it struggled to get a hold in it’s own bloody ichor. John lowered his shotgun, and shot it in the head. It fell, and was still. He turned it over with his foot, the acidic blood flaring off his now-recharged shields. he shot it once more in the chest to be sure it was dead.
As his adrenaline subsided, Katyana’s warning tones blared in his ears. “Uh, Chief? I’d recommend a tactical withdrawal.” He looked to his right. Three more of the aliens had emerged from the same ventilation shaft he had used on the way up.
“There’s a route back to the same cargo bay you used for your rather...unorthodox entrance. Behind you about thirty meters. It leads to maintenance passageway junction E23-C. We can take bulkhead 23 all the way back to the cargo bay.”
“Acknowledged. Keep me posted of any activity you pick up on the way.” The Chief began to back up, keeping one eye on the aliens in front of him and the other on his motion tracker. There was plenty of movement, but it all came from the other side of the bulkheads. The creatures followed him slowly, stalking, as a predator stalks it’s prey.
When his foot, inching along the floor behind him, detected the ladder that led down to the maintenance corridor, he stopped. He brought up his assault rifle and fired at the aliens. This was enough to set them off, and they charged at him. He pulled out the two frag grenades from his belt, primed them, and dropped them at his feet, before stepping backwards into thin air and dropping feetfirst into the maintenance passageway.
He hit the ground and rolled, leaping to his feet and sprinting for the NAV marker Katyana had dropped on junction E23-C. Behind him, the sound of twin frag discharges mingled with the sound of the creature’s screams. He realized it was wishful thinking to hope that the frags had taken care of all three, but he knew it would slow them down a bit, and he was willing to work for the rest.
He reached the junction and kept running down the corridor marked 23. He passed three bulkheads, then stopped short. In front of him was another of the things, still wrapped in its hibernating state. John whipped out his M90A shotgun and pumped the last two shells into its head. He turned and ran down the corridor, reloading as he ran past a large set of double doors marked ENGINEERING.
“Be careful, the engine room suffered a meltdown immediately after we went through the portal on the Ark,” warned Katyana. “There might be some residual radia–.” A wave of nausea swept through John, and he staggered, grabbing the wall for support. A rad counter apeared on his HUD, digital needle swinging way up into the red zone. His shields began to drain, and systems on his armor began fail. His ammo counter, motion tracker, and bio-monitor readouts all flickered and died. He felt his way forward, trying to get out of proximity with the leaky bay doors before his shield went out. Already it was down to half strength. He stumbled a few more steps and was rewarded with a lessoned feeling of nausea. Soon, the feeling passed, and his shields slowly recharged.
“Careful, Chief,” Katyana’s voice sounded shaky, “that radiation did a number to me as well. I’m effectively blind until I can re-initiate my sensor systems.”
John acknowledged this, and turned a corner at the next junction, eager to put as many bulkheads as possible between the radiation and himself...
He came face to face with a Space Marine.
Hive Fleet Toxicus W/L/T: 3/1/2