Posted By: David Yurman<email@example.com>
Date: 12 January 2009, 8:35 pm
Chapter 2: The Forerunners
December 25, 2552, Kenya, Africa/ Inside unknown Forerunner Structure/ 1000 hours Mission Clock
THE CHIEF walked through a series of fluorescent lit hallways before coming upon a large cavernous chamber. In the center was a massive control panel, and a series of walkways that led to upper levels crisscrossed above. Stairs led down to the control panel that was on a large dais. Around the stairs were about a dozen doorways that led to the different sections of the monument. It was obvious that this was the control room.
Strangely, there were no guards around the control panel. The Chief constantly looked at this motion tracker in the lower left corner of his HUD, but saw no red dots. He approached quietly, his boots clanking on the metallic floor. The noncom examined the control console, but saw no way to stop the remote activation. Although, the Chief knew nothing about this technology so it didn't matter anyway.
The Spartan heard movement. He spun around and clicked the safety off on his assault rifle. At the same time, he clicked the safety off the battle rifle on his back and the SMG in his hip holster. He would need to switch weapons rapidly, he predicted.
Three Brutes appeared out of one of the dozen or so doors around the Chief. Their strange weapons flashed and spikes flew toward the Spartan, or at least where the Spartan had been.
The Chief circled behind the control panel and dodged the strange projectiles. One of the Brutes was a chieftain, and he charged at the Chief, swinging his hammer. The Spartan had an idea. He ran back to the front of the control panel and waited for the Brute to get close.
At the last second, the noncom leapt out of the way of the charging ape-like alien and watched with satisfaction as the Brute slammed into the control console. Electricity ran through the Brute, and he made several jerking motions before standing still, dazed.
Still dodging plasma fire and spikes, the Spartan jumped on the Brutes back and buried his assault rifle's barrel into the Brutes skull. The Chief pulled the trigger twice. The super-soldier jumped off the alien and watched it topple to the ground, dead. Blood gushed out of its skull.
The Chief twirled around and let loose a steady barrage of fire at the other two Brutes. He concentrated several short bursts on the lead Brute, and smiled as it hit the floor. The Spartan rushed up towards the other one and bashed his rifle butt on the Brute's head. He then hit the dazed Brute with three five round bursts of lead. The alien flew dramatically to the floor, never to get up.
Several spikes pinged around him. The Chief looked up and saw that four more Brutes were firing on him from the catwalks above. He shot about ten shots at a Brute and then realized he was out of ammo. The Spartan slammed a fresh magazine into the assault rifle and continued firing. Two Brutes fell of the catwalks, victims of lead overdose.
The other two Brutes managed to score several shots on the Spartan. Inside his helmet, the Chief heard the bleeping noise. He ducked behind the control panel and waited for his shields to recharge. Plasma fire swept at his position.
As soon as his shields were up, the Master Chief ran out of his hiding spot and began to fire once again at the Brutes. He reloaded quickly and was about to fire when he had an idea. The Spartan ran back to the control panel and leapt on top of it. From there, he jumped up toward the nearest Brute on the catwalk, primed a plasma grenade, and stuck the blue glowing bomb on the Brute's head. The Spartan fell to the floor and felt satisfaction enter his body as the Brute exploded and sent his companion flying. Before he could move, another Brute leapt off the walkway. Groaning, the Spartan shot more than half his clip at the Brute before swinging around and letting the beast charge. He Brute tripped over the steps and toppled to the ground, and the Chief finished him with a swift stomp to the head. The Chief ran toward the wounded Brute on the ground, the last Brute, and emptied the rest of his assault rifle clip into the bastard for good measure.
The Spartan stopped only to reload.
The Chief walked through the door the three Brutes came out of and entered a narrow hallway. He wasn't sure what he was looking for, but something was driving him to whatever it was. After continuing on for several hallways without any enemy attack, he came upon what appeared to be a library.
Holo-books rested on shelves, and consoles dotted the room. It was shaped roughly like an oval, with the larger shelves toward the outer edge. There was only two other doors; one directly across from the Chief, and two at the sides of the room. That wasn't what interested the Spartan though. The thing that was most troubling was the fact that there were about two dozen Brutes and Jackals lining the room. Also, the fact that they were currently opening fire on the six Elites standing in a line right in front of the Chief.
He raised his assault rifle and rested his finger on the trigger.
Back at the warthog outside, Private Mike Terren walked across the ridge towards the deep depression in which the entrance to the monument lay. As he looked around, he saw most of the bodies had been torn apart by a rocket launcher, but others had plasma burns and bullet holes. The ensign climbed slowly into the pit.
After about fifteen minutes of climbing, Terren hit the bottom. Suddenly, the marine heard movement. He quickly checked his pistol and found there was only one round left in the clip. Before he could reload, a Brute got up from a tangle of bodies nearby and charged him.
Mike raised the pistol and fired its last shot, hoping for a miracle. There wasn't one. The Brute stumbled for a bit but then got right back up and rammed into the ensign.
Mike flew straight into the air and landed in a disgruntled heap next to some dead Elites.
Eleventh time today, Mike thought as he landed.
Before he could get up, the Private was stepped on hard in the stomach by the Brute. The alien roared and lowered his plasma rifle at Mike's face.
Thinking fast, the Private primed a frag grenade from his belt and threw it
straight into the Brute's mouth. The creature choked a little bit, rolled over, and exploded. Mike covered his face and felt something hot splash across him. He looked down and realized he was covered in black Brute blood. He got up shakily and looked down at the dead ape thing on the ground in front of him.
He shook his head and kept walking.
The Chief was about to fire when one of the Elites whipped around and grabbed him by the throat. He pulled the Spartan close to him and lowered his plasma rifle at the noncoms gut. A shot at this close range would kill the Chief.
The Spartan wasn't about to die yet. He kicked out at the alien and sent him sprawling. Unfortunately, that cleared a space for the Brutes to fire at him. A Brute shot blast smashed him right in the chest. His shields failed.
The other five Elites charged the Brutes. The Chief waited until they were packed together in a melee, and then threw a plasma grenade. It stuck onto one of the Jackals heads. The sixth Elite got up and smashed the Spartan with his gun. An explosion was the last thing the Spartan heard before blackness overtook him.
Mike Terren walked into the structure, nervous. He came upon a room that he could only call a control room. Bodies littered the ground. It was obvious the Chief had been here. He looked at the control panel. It was damaged and sparks flew from it. Just as he was about to press a button, he heard something behind him. He whipped around and saw a Brute charging him.
The ape-like alien smashed the Marine head on. Mike went flying up and landed on one of the crisscrossing catwalks that lined the ceiling. The Brute leapt up to him and took out a plasma rifle. Mike fired at the Brute but it was no good. The magnum was flung out of his hand by the Brute's fist.
The Brute was about to squeeze the trigger when an energy sword protruded from his gut. He fell of the catwalk, dead.
Terren got up and saw a black commando Elite in front of him. The Elite punched him in the face, and Terren blacked out.
"Wake up, demon. We have been waiting to meet you in person for some time now."
The Chief heard this raspy voice as he slipped out of his unconsciousness. An Elite stood in front of him, no weapons in his hand. He snarled when he noticed that the Chief was awake. The Chief snarled when he noticed the aliens had stolen his helmet.
"Do not move and you shall not be harmed. You must listen to us, for what we are about to say concerns both our races," the black clad Elite said.
Yeah, right, the Chief thought. He sprang forward and rammed the Elite with his shoulder. The alien went sprawling. Five more Elites surrounded him, all in black. Behind them, a gold Elite stood, weaponless. They all were weaponless. The Chief took advantage of this. As the aliens closed in, the Spartan swept his legs in a circle and dropped all five. He grabbed a plasma rifle from one of their holsters. He charged the gold Elite and rammed the plasma rifle into the alien's shield generator, right near his heart. The noncom's finger rested on the rifle's trigger.
The Chief was about to fire when he turned his head a bit and noticed that the door behind him was open.
The Spartan bolted out, dropping the gold armored Elite in the process.
He ran outside into a hallway that he guessed was in the detention block area of the massive structure. He saw a plasma grenade on the ground near an empty crate. He grabbed the grenade and jumped in the crate.
"Where is that demon?" questioned an Elite as he came out of the cell block. "We better not lose him, call for a search party! And the Arbiter said it would be easy to reason with him."
"The Arbiter is going to have our head for this, Natamm," said another Elite.
"Forget about the Arbiter, I'm more worried about what His Excellency Zutam has to say about this. He is not exactly forgiving."
"He never agreed to the treaty in the first place, anyway. He'll probably be glad if we lost him. Zutam doesn't have a reputation for friendly politics with the enemy."
John listened to this conversation from his hiding place within the crate, amazed at what they were saying. Were they really telling the truth? Or did they know he was around somewhere and were trying to fool him into leaving his hiding spot? Unfortunately, the Chief couldn't take the risk. He leapt out of the crate and threw the primed plasma grenade at the Elite called Natamm, but it missed and hit the wall next to the other Elite instead. He fell to the ground in a blast of white plasma. Alive, yes, but wounded.
"Blast the Arbiter! However, I must ask you this if I wish to live, so listen!"
The Master Chief stared questioningly and nodded. However, he kept his plasma rifle's target reticule lined up on Natamm's face.
Before the alien could speak however, a detachment of Brutes burst out of a nearby door. The Elite turned to them and took out his energy sword.
"Run, human, and do so quickly! I will hold them off. You need to survive!"
At first the Chief didn't want to run, but after seeing the army of Brutes charging him and only being armed with a plasma rifle, he had no choice. The other three Elites ran out of the cell block and helped Natamm. The Chief didn't stop to look what happened next. He ran to the nearest door and came upon the largest room he had ever seen.
The room was probably 10 kilometers in diameter, an endless series of steps, catwalks, and in the center, a console. It was the beacon control room. The Chief walked up to the console and pressed a button. He wasn't sure why he pressed it, but it just felt right to do so.
A massive human being wearing a white robe burst out of the console. It was a hologram, but it looked incredibly lifelike, if not for the slight translucent quality it had to it. It had to be 5 meters tall, at least.
"Ah, human. Welcome to the beacon room. Judging by your mission clock it seems you have 10 minutes before Halo fires. The button to stop the beacon is next to the one you just pressed, on the right.
The Chief pressed the button. A rumbling sound filled the room, and a massive energy beam burst out of the floor in front of the console, and shut off. All was quiet.
John looked at the massive figure, puzzled.
"It is you, John," the hologram whispered, "Oh, do I have a long story to tell you."
"A long time ago, probably before this planet was formed, a race existed called the Ancients. You call us Forerunners, as do the Covenant. We looked like you, talked like you, and had emotions like you."
"We lived in a galaxy hundreds of thousands of light years away from here. After reaching the pinnacle of technological advancement in our own galaxy, we set out to explore the universe. We left our galaxy with a fleet of thousands, and conquered each and every galaxy we went to. Finally, we came to yours."
"The first planet we visited had a very primitive group of life forms, the predecessors of what you call the Elites, or Sangheilli. We didn't bother conquering them, because of their lack of intelligence. However, on the second planet, we found a race of xenophobes that you call the Flood. A massive battle followed the encounter. Hundreds of thousands of us fell to the Flood, turned into beasts. We managed to capture all of the remaining Flood and our mutated brethren."
"It was clear that the Flood would destroy everything in their path. However, our scientists believed they could be tamed, and used as tools to help our universal-wide rule. We built installations that housed them, that you call, Halos. There were seven instillations, each one holding millions of Flood infection forms."
"We all realized something could go wrong in these stations; a Flood outbreak or something. So we equipped each station with a weapon that would wipe out all life in a massive radius. When all of the instillations fired together, the galaxy will be emptied of life that the Flood could feast on."
"Before you say anything, believe me, we considered other options. After long years of studying, we found that the only way to effectively eradicate the entire species was starving them. After we fixed all of those issues, we had one last thing to do."
"We managed to treat our brethren who were Flood controlled. However, their intelligence was diminished to next to nothing, and their bodies were misshapen. For example, large foreheads, a clumsy walk, and thicker bones. Also, they lost their long life spans. Most Ancients lived for hundreds of you years, hence our name. These mutants lived only to 50 or so, with good health."
"We did not wish to kill them, for we thought they may evolve back to their normal selves. We did not wish to have them live with us either though. So we searched for a suitable planet to house them until the time they regained their intelligence. Several of the Ancients stayed behind to safeguard Halo and the Flood."
"When we were about midway through our fruitless journey to find a habitable plant for our mutated brothers, the Ancients back near the Halos contacted us. They told us that they were worried that the Ancients would die out or not be around when and if the Flood broke free. Our High Council gave them permission to construct a monitor for each instillation, a super intelligent AI, that would teach the primitive alien race (now the Covenant) what to do if the Flood broke free. We would have laughed then if we believed that the Covenant would eventually consider the monitor a 'holy relic'."
"Finally, our search ended. We found a planet that had a temperate climate and habitable atmosphere. It was already inhabited by furry creatures we called mammals. Also, it was inhabited by creatures that looked very much like us. They, however, like the mutants, had a very short life-span. Considering their likenesses, we believed interbreeding between the two species was likely."
"We dropped off the mutated Ancients, that we called humans now, and began constructing a massive relic. It could remotely activate Halo in case of emergency, since this was the only other planet we could control in the galaxy. It also doubled as housing for some of the humans, so the energy field produced by Halo did not kill them. They were safe, buried deep within the Ark's superstructure. After the rings had fired, they would be let out. You are standing inside that relic now. Some humans, in fact most, remained outside the Ark. I tracked their progress. Once we were finished on the new planet we christened Earth, all of us decided to return to the Halos. All except me. I decided to remain behind in case the humans regained their intelligence."
"Years passed. The progress of the humans was slow, unfortunately, despite the eons of intelligence stored within the minds of my mutant brethren. Perhaps the interbreeding with the others caused most of that intelligence to be lost; I will never know. About 1,500 years after the original landing, I got a distress signal from the other Ancients. The Flood had escaped! They had no choice. They activated instillation 004, and killed themselves. When I didn't die, and Earth didn't die, I began to wonder. I sent probes back to Halo, curious about my brothers' fate. The rings had malfunctioned. Only two fired; the other five remained inactive. Earth was safe. I was also curious about the other aliens near Halo. It turns out the Ancients had hid them on one of the rings, and they were spared. They were protected by a massive reinforced based on Instillation 007. I never knew why the Ancients decided to protect them. Their evolution was faster than the humans', and they began taking Ancient technology and "improving" it, building weapons and cities. However, they didn't know the damage they were doing to already perfect technology."
"As I was getting old, I knew that I was the only Ancient left. I had to keep myself alive. So I transferred my intellect into this computer, preserved for all time. I kept watch on the humans via monitors. After a while, they evolved more quickly, and eventually were able to travel in space. Once you and the other humans found Halo, I realized that the cycle was complete. I kept track of you especially using cameras on Halo and the Covenant vessels. Your progress interested me, as did your tremendous strength. I watched several humans like you over the years, like Napoleon, Caesar, and Washington. Many thought them heroes and geniuses, but they weren't. They just had really good memories. You began to uncover more and more Forerunner technology, but still you did not realize your heritage. Finally, when you arrived here, I figured it was up to me to tell you. And now here we are."
Obviously, the Master Chief was speechless.
The hologram of the Ancient smiled and said, "I realize you are confused. However, think very hard. Try to remember. You know how to use Covenant control panels because they mimic Forerunner technology. You know how to use Covenant weapons because they mimic Forerunner weapons. Is it not obvious yet, John?"
Still wondering why this thing knew his name, the Master Chief thought about it hard. In a flash of mercury in his head, similar to the sensation he felt when Cortana entered his mind, he remembered. It all came back, the technology, the heritage, everything. He had to hold his head as the flash of memory overwhelmed him. Again, he felt blackness overcome him.
When the Chief awoke, he looked around quickly. He was still inside the fire control room, and the Forerunner giant hovered over him. The memories, the flashes of light, they were gone. They still seemed to be there, however, hanging on the edge of John's consciousness, about to fall to oblivion. When he reached for them with the tendrils of his mind, they seemed to slip further from the edge. Finally, he gave up and withdrew, leaving his memories to their darkness in his mind.
When the AI realized that the Spartan was revived, he smiled.
"Glad to see you back in the world of the conscious, John," he said. "I believe, however, that it is time for you to go. The Covenant are fast approaching, and I would not have you be killed by them. However, before you go, I bestow upon you a gift. Consider it a token of the Forerunners."
Next to the massive hologram, a large cylinder sprouted from the ground. It opened in a flash of sapphire light. Inside, there stood a suit of armor.
The armor almost mimicked John's MJLONIR armor perfectly. It had the same style helmet, and body, but the arms were a bit more armored, and the gloves were totally covered with the armor. The legs were slightly longer, but also better armored. The material seemed to shine, lighting the massive room. The entire suit was a bright shade of gold.
"Touch it," the Forerunner AI commanded.
John did so, and felt a rush of neurological interfaces span his body. His own suit liquefied and reformed inside the container. However, John was wearing the pure gold suit. It fit perfectly, and when he moved, he felt faster. Stronger. Invincible.
"Good luck Spartan. Remember, the human race is counting on you. As your adventure continues, you will unlock more memories. The memories are available for access in your mind, but you must see something related to them in order to trigger them. Teach your race John. Teach the human race to be invincible again."
"Now, let me get you out of this accursed place before I destroy it."
"Destroy it?" asked John, almost sarcastically. "Why? Don't you like being immortal?"
"It is not as good as it sounds. Plus, my mission is complete. Now, it is up to you to continue my mission. Good luck, John, Spartan 117, Master Chief, or whatever they call you. Before you leave, take your old armor, you may need it." The cylinder shrunk to a small cube, and the Chief picked it up and stored it inside the suit. He nodded at the hologram and closed his eyes.
John felt his molecules dissolve into trillions of pieces as he was sucked through a wormhole. When he landed, he looked around. He was on the peak of the cliff overlooking the Forerunner structure. It began to explode.
Oh, screw it all. Why the hell did I have to get knocked out?
Mike thought this as he ran through the endless hallways of the Forerunner structure. He had awoken several minutes ago in a cell. It was empty except for him, and he heard a rumbling noise. Soon after, all of hell broke loose. Everything was blowing up. He ran through several hallways, looking for a way out.
He came upon a hangar, and saw a Banshee inside. Good enough, Mike thought. He hopped in one and flew out of the hangar into the large hallway, pressing random buttons hoping that the damn craft would stay straight. Luckily the Banshee could fit through them. The private speeded through hallways. Soon, he saw a service ramp. He flew up it, gaining speed. Explosions followed him.
The service ramp ended in a massive gap that led to an exit. Mike gunned the engine and held his breath as the Banshee flew out of the structure. The monument exploded behind him. Mike screamed as he flew through the air.
The Master Chief looked at the sky as the structure exploded. He was searching for a Pelican or a Banshee or something that could have saved Mike. Finally, he saw a dot. He used the zoom function on his new helmet. It zoomed in much closer to the dot than his old helmet would have.
It was a Banshee. The Chief realized that the Banshee was heading straight for him.
As the air-craft sped toward the Spartan, the Chief held out his hands to catch it. The hovercraft smashed into his armored gloves and was dented inward toward the cockpit, Mike was jolted forward, and he tumbled off the side of the craft and onto the dirt.
"Fifteenth time today
" he muttered. Then he lost conciousness.