|Tower of Monsters
Author: Thagguy PM
Glory and honor guide our ascension. We confess our sins and absolve them; blood be our crime, and blood be our penance. Warning: hitchhikers may be escaping convicts. The Arbiter, not the Master Chief, is sent to another existence. DEADRated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Horror - Arbiter & Shepard (M) - Chapters: 4 - Words: 17,342 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 63 - Follows: 95 - Updated: 12-02-11 - Published: 09-03-11 - id: 7351634
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So,the rewrite of Infinite Runners, although it is different enough to warrant a name change. Yeah, this one has the Arbiter and one of the Co-op Elites-who does exist, but just isn't present in the events of the game in Official Canon- instead of the Master Chief. Infinite Runners was a fun exercise, but I made several huge errors with it that I would not be able to overcome, and it's really, really hard to write the Chief and not have him be either mind-numbingly boring or completely OOC. I do not have the talent to do this, so I'm switching to the Elites, who I feel are more interesting characters and have more room to grow anyway.
Oh, and all elements of the fictions depicted belong to their respective copywrite holders. But you should know that already.
The Warthog's suspension shrieked under weight and speed far beyond its intended design as delicate paneling crunched underneath massive carbon nanotube tires. Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 frantically spun the wheel of the Warthog to avoid a collapsing section of the Halo's substructure. Immediately after, he wrenched the handbrake with nearly enough force to pull it from the transmission as a skyscraper sized pillar collapsed in his path. The warthog slid around the top of the pillar as it crashed through the scaffolding of the half-complete Halo, tearing though the square grid, tinged red-gold in the artificial sunset like tissue paper and falling into the underbelly of the ring.
"Hurry, Spartan," came a yell from behind and above, "we have no time to spare!"
John gave no sign that he heard, but his passenger turned to look back and was nearly thrown from his too-small seat as John was forced to swerve around a panel that had fallen loose in an explosion.
"Do not waste air with useless admonishments, Minor! Focus ahead and warn the Spartan of danger!"
The Minor began to respond, but a jolt of the vehicle cut him off as he gripped the handle of the machine gun to keep from being thrown off. "Yes, Arbiter," he said then.
"Sentinels ahead," John drawled flatly. N'tho instantly depressed triggers dwarfed by his fingers and focused on the center robot in the dozen-strong semicircle. N'tho barely felt the gun shake as rounds poured from the gun and into the floating guardian of the Ring. The Sentinel's return fire went wide as the round cut through it, the laser- visible and brilliantly yellow in the thick smoke and dust hanging in the air- lancing harmlessly into the sky.
The others, unaffected by their downed comrade, returned fire. John swerved, and a laser pierced the air so close to the vehicle that John's suit sensors shrieked in alarm. Never was John so thankful that Sentinels were slow and unwieldy in the air and could not quickly adjust their aim against a fast moving target. One Sentinel, if it hit the right place on the 'Hog, would stop the vehicle dead. Prolonged fire could overloard his shields and burn straight through his armor in seconds. Eleven at once would vaporize him and his passengers before they could even scream.
Joined by blue plasma fire from the Arbiter's seat, N'tho's fired his AA gun on the sentinals. Much closer now, the aim was truer, and three more Sentinels crashed to the ground before the machines returned fire. John swerved again, but one beam struck home, leaving a quarter sized hole in the top of the inch-thick tempered glass composite of the Warthog's windshield. N'tho roared in frustration as the vehicle roared past the remains of the hovering squadron.
"Arbiter, that last shot pierced my weapon! I can no longer fire!"
"Doesn't matter, we're almost at the Dawn," came a hard-edged feminine voice from the speakers on John's suit. N'tho swung the now-useless anti-air gun from the rapidly shrinking figures of the sentinels forward. The human ship was indeed there, only a few hundred feet away.
His stomach plummeted when he saw the enourmous gap between the remaining scaffolding and the ship. The floor that had been there when the Sergeant had parked the ship had fallen away, leaving a wide chasm between them and the open rear hanger.
Too wide. The Demon will never make that jump. There is too much weight.
"Gun it, Chief!" Cortana yelled out, a note of desperation in her voice. The AI had done the math to a far more exact degree than N'tho, and had arrived to the same conclusion, although with absolute certainty. They weren't going to make it, the Warthog weighed too much, they were going to miss the hanger by 7.54 meters, after everything, after Reach, the first Halo, New Mombasa, the second Halo, High Charity, Voi, the Ark, Grave-83.d.44#*777666…/ERROR_EMERGENCY-EMOTION_SUBROUTINE_SHUTDOWN -mind….
"Minor, remove the deadweight! Cut the weapon and cast it off!"
N'tho moved instantly. He let go of one handle and swung that arm down to the railing on the side of the compartment. As soon as he felt the railing through his glove, he activated the wrist-mounted plasma dagger with a flick of his thumbs of his other hand and sliced through the mounting of the gun below the ammo drum with one motion. He caught the falling weapon by its triple barrel, diverting it over the side and away from his body. He then pulled himself back up and clung to the roll-cage of the human vehicle. With the sudden loss of just over ninety kilograms, the Warthog surged forward with new speed.
"That should be just enough! Gun it, Chief! Hurry!"
The Warthog thundered up the ramp formed by buckling panels and into the air. N'tho gripped the railing so tightly he could feel the metal beginning to bend in his hand. He held on for dear life as the Warthog sailed through the air toward the hold.
Front heavy from the combined weight of John and the Arbiter and the loss of its gun, the warthog began to tumble. Instinctively, N'tho threw himself from the rolling jeep, realizing too late that he didn't know if he was within the hanger. As he pitched down, the elation of discovering he was inside was quickly dashed by the knowledge that he was now hurtling face-first towards an uncushioned metal floor at over a hundred kilometers an hour. He wrenched his body into impact position as well as he could, and slammed into the floor hard enough to pulverize a normal human. Fortunately, he was not a human, but he still felt agonizing bolts of pain rip up his legs and spine even as he perfectly braced and rolled to minimize the impact. Likely some microfractures and a heavy shock to his vertebral column, but his armor had absorbed enough force to allow use of his legs in the future.
He stood up shakily, and looked to the Warthog, flipped over at the end of a trail of deep gouges in the floor. The Arbiter was next to the vehicle, the green armored human several meters beyond, thrown from his seat in the crash. Neither moved.
"Arbiter! Excellency! Are you alive?"
Both stirred in almost eerie synchronization. As they struggled to their knees, the frigate violently lurched to starboard. The arbiter quickly brought up his hands to stop the Warthog from crushing him into the metal deck.
"Hurry, Spartan! Bring your Construct to a terminal! Minor, assist me!"
As N'tho moved to help his silver-armored leader, the Chief nimbly dodged a sliding Scorpion tank that had not been re-secured in the chaos of evacuating its personnel to the Shadow of Intent. Running up to a holotank installed along one wall, he yanked Cortana's data chip from the back of his helmet as soon as he felt her leave his suit and rammed it into the port on the console. Instantly, this ship shuddered as the engines roared to life. Cortana's form erupted from the projector in a flash of cobalt light.
"Chief, you and the Elites need to get out of the cargo hold. I'm going to have to pull out at almost a ninety degree angle relative to the Ark's gravity, and I can't afford to divert any power to unnecessary systems if we want to make it through the portal before the Halo fires!"
"On it." He turned to the Elites, who were pushing the Warthog off to the side. "Understood?"
"Yes, Spartan," the Arbiter said, even as they all began to run toward the open bulkhead leading further into the ship. All three began to run, heedless of their injures and the equipment beginning to slide along the floor towards the still open maw of the hold.
John was only a dozen meters from the exit and made it through the door without difficulty, but the two Sangheili were further behind in the hanger. As they ran, the pounding of their hoof-like boots echoing through the hangar, the incline of the floor rose as Cortana pushed the engines to the maximum. Just as they passed the first set of doors, the angle became too much, and they started to slip. John braced himself against the doorframe and reached out his hand, but they were already out of his reach, falling helplessly towards the Halo in the distance, slowly receding, but building up the power to fire, power that would destroy it, the Ark, and everything near…
The view of the Halo and it's impossibly bright light was cut off as door behind them slammed shut. They crashed heavily into it on their backs, the cacophony of metal armor hitting metal bulkheads echoed boomingly in the narrow corridor.
"Don't worry," Cortana's voice said over the PA system, "they're inside and safe! Get to the bridge, Spartan! Arbiter, Specialist, I'd suggest holding onto something, because it's about to get very bumpy!"
With a curt nod, returned by the Elites, the Master Chief turned and pulled himself up the wall such speed that it almost looked it was his natural method of transport.
N'tho turned to the leader of his people and opened his jaws. Whatever he was about to say would remain a mystery as the ship jolted suddenly and the lights flickered violently.
"The portal's collaps-" yelped Cortana's voice, abruptly cut off by a sound of violent ripping metal. The two reptilian aliens had no time to react as their inertia hurled them down the hall at greater speeds than the Warthog crash less than a minute before. The last thing the Arbiter and N'tho saw was the wall, hurtling towards them at an absurd speed, a flash of light accompanied by searing pain, then nothing.