A/N: This story is a slightly in an AU (Alternate Universe) fashion, so take everything written here with an open mind if you would please. That's all I have to say for now, anyways, enjoy and feel free to review if you wish. Criticism is always appreciated.
UNSC Liberty Prime
A decade after the war with the Covenant and humanity and separatist relations have been more friendly then it had been when the war was still fresh in the minds of the survivors, this was in no small part due to the minds of the newer generation which had experienced none of the suffering endured during the Great war and looked forward to a better future instead of reliving the bitter past.
In turn, technology and economy had skyrocketed in terms of development and the UEG was almost back to it's former glory with 700 colonies terraformed and rising, as the Sangheili, Mgalekgolo and Unggoy had turned to the UNSC for the most part, they had also receive relief aid. Although the Arbiter was hesitant at first to receive help from the same people that he and his race helped push to extinction, he realized that his race had always been dependent on the whole of the Covenant to support them with ships, expertise, weapons and many other valuable resources and their chances of prospering would lower if they did not receive help early on. He accepted and all three races were given full support by the UEG, they in turn lent their members to serve as crew on ships and built stations like the Unyielding Hierophant to build additional ships.
The UNSC Liberty Prime was one of the ships that were built on the UNSC Firm Resolution, a multi-purpose station. It was double the size of the original station at 20 kilometers in circumference but could only support a fleet of 500 Capital ships similar to the original as it housed multiple construction facilities, research stations, medical bays, living areas, agricultural production facilities, a command center and many other essential components for an independently operating station, the station itself was capable of slipspace transition due to it's engines that were created with the help of thousands of Huragok and salvaged Forerunner technology from all over the galaxy after the other half of the Janus key was recovered from the Storm Covenant, which were still at large despite the death of it's leader, Jul' Mdama.
The UNSC Liberty Prime was an Infinity-class ship, over 5 kilometers long and armed with four series-8 MACs and it's complement of 10 Strident frigates as well as multiple secondary, tertiary and quaternary weapon systems.
Inside of it were thousands of Marines, ODSTs, a few SPARTAN-IV fire teams and a single surviving SPARTAN-II, the Master Chief.
After the war and being retrieved from the ruins of the Didact's ship by the first Infinity-class ship, he went on and fought Insurrectionists and Storm Covenant and eventually killed Jul' Mdama in a skirmish. He was currently on a mission to accompany the Liberty Prime to an unknown Forerunner creation. It looked like an Installation at first glance but it had no surface nor any visible structures on it, rendering difficulty for the research teams sent to investigate it, though one of the researchers had activated a hardlight panel in it and a large portal formed over the Installation, it was closed after a few hours in which no one had dared to go through it. The Liberty Prime would be the first to go.
For this mission specifically, the ship was outfitted with multiple high-tier systems including stronger ship-borne energy shields, Covenant Plasma torpedoes and Hardlight projectors. It's complement was also reinforced with the newly developed Titan XM ADS used by the Master chief, all of these armaments are meant in order for the UNSC ship to survive if it would be under attack in the other side of the portal and to prepare for unknowns.
The Titan Exoathmospheric Multi-role Armor Defense System was a huge leap in technology, utilizing a more anthropomorphic design deviated from the UNSC Mantis and the acquired and nearly never-ending firepower of Forerunner hardlight technology.
They had managed to find a way to convert normal light into hardlight passively, giving the pilot of such weapons of mass destruction infinite potential. It was armed with two shoulder-mounted hardlight missile pods, a Spartan laser based Energy rifle, a Hardlight sword, passive and powerful energy shields infused with a miniscule amount of passive hardlight, allowing it to absorb energy, resulting in it able to survive myriads of Spartan Laser blasts at the same time and actually allowing it to survive the portable Energy projectors employed by the Mgalekgolos as a far more powerful replacement for their Assault cannons and lastly, a survivability function that allowed a hardlight form of a bubble shield to form when the energy shields were completely depleted and the Titanium-A and Forerunner metal alloys that were used in the construction were heavily damaged, deflecting all attack from every angle for five seconds maximum. And of course, it was only part of it's function as it's anthropomorphic design allows it to place it's weapons on it's back with the help of constraint fields also deviated from the Forerunners, allowing it to carry warheads and drop them when bombers are not around as they are outfitted with hover packs by standard and are made for EVA operations, rending the machines extremely deadly, efficient and serving many purposes from transporting smaller vehicles. It was also capable of orbital reentry with the help of it's anti-gravity packs or if it was a black operation behind enemy lines, it had a stealth module that function as active camouflage for the Titan.
A single Titan was 20 feet tall, has motion sensors , costs as much as an Infinity class ship and therefore only five have been made, with the one on the ship belonging to the Master Chief as it was given to him by the UNSC military as a sort of gift for his actions and as a way to express their condolence for his loss of Cortana, it had worked in a way as he had been spending a lot of time using it but he had made it clear that he would not be accepting any other A.I. as a replacement for Cortana and therefore his Titan lacked a ship-grade A.I. that was standard in the machines but UNSC researchers made extra modifications on it that streamlined the controls of the ADS, making it much more human-friendly as well as functions not found in other units that they had neglected to tell to serve as a sign of good faith all for the sake of their personal hero.
"All personnel to your battle stations, we are approaching the Forerunner artifact codenamed "God's Ring" preparations have already been made and we will be approaching the portal as soon as possible and we do not know what to expect at the other side, so get ready. ." The ship's A.I. stated throughout the P.A. system.
The Spartan was in his cabin, reviewing the schematics of the MA10 Light Rifle that was standard issue to UNSC soldiers, it was a very deadly weapon combining all the advantages of Human, Covenant and Forerunner weapons, it had a small battery pack as ammunition, it was self-tracking like the needler and it fired hardlight rounds, all soldiers in the field were issued three battery packs as they continuously recharge to the point that when the other two packs were depleted, one would always be filled, allowing for infinite ammo and more space to dedicate food and water to. John would have taken apart the weapon if he could, but the properties of the weapon rendered the risks of taking it apart too high, so he had to settle for the schematics when he heard the announcement.
"It's time." he thought as he left to the hangar to man his Titan.
At the hangar, he saw a myriad of Sangheili, Unggoy, a few Mgalekgolo and other humans manning their battle station in the Strident frigates, however a Sangheili approached him which he immediately recognized.
"Demon." The Arbiter greeted.
"Arbiter, how are you?" The Chief replied, attempting to strike up a conversation after encouragement from Doctor Halsey to be more sociable.
Doctor Halsey was recovered from the Storm Covenant after John rescued her and Thomas Lasky convinced her that he did not intend for the SPARTAN-IVs to assassinate her and it was a misunderstanding. Things were cleared up after a few days and Halsey was back to working for the UNSC-Separatist alliance, during which she encouraged John to make up for loss time.
"John, I wanted to thank you for bringing me back here, I never considered that what happened was not the intent of the UNSC." Halsey said as she looked through the observation board of the Infinity, the same place where Thomas Lasky comforted the Master Chief when the loss of Cortana was fresh in his mind.
"It was my duty, Doctor."
"I think you should retire."
The Spartan was immediately taken aback at his 'mother's' reply and just stared at her as if she was insane, though thankfully she did not take offense as she expected the Spartan's reaction to be as such, so she continued.
"You've spent your whole life fighting and despite all this time, I still feel guilty for taking away your's and the other SPARTANs' childhoods and lives. Their... disappearance..." The doctor paused in disgust, recalling the Office Of Naval Intelligence Directive 930.
"Their disappearance does not make me feel any better, so I want you to have your life back, Fred, Kelly, Linda and the others have already retired and began living the rest of their artificially immortal lifespan in peace, why do you insist on staying and fighting?"
The Spartan ran his thoughts faster than a normal humans and gathered them all for a moment before responding.
"Because I fight for the UNSC, I have been and always will." To which Halsey sighed, as she knew that once someone says those words, nothing will sway them.
"If that is want you want John, but Lord Hood has already scheduled for your retirement after your next mission to the God's Ring, when you get back your are going to have peace whether you like it or not." She replied with a grin at the Spartan, to which he looked down.
Halsey then left the room to proceed with her research. Leaving the Spartan to gather finalize his thoughts on the subject.
"I am fine, education efforts on Sanghelios have been widely successful, and we know that our race is not only proficient at war. We will need more than warriors, we will need teachers, scientists, pilots, engineers, builders, farmers, cooks, architects and many other professionals for Sanghelios to survive on it's own, the same holds true for the Unggoy at Balaho and the Mgalekgolo, I also thank you and your species for extending a hand to us despite our bloodshed in the past." The Arbiter replied in gratitude.
"The Past is in the past." John said in a slight tone of bitterness, barely noticed by the Sangheili.
"You are still sorrowful for the loss of your A.I.?" The Arbiter was right on the money.
"I can't say I'm not, but I will do my best to honor her memory." The Spartan said as he left to man his Titan, while Thel left to examine the newest generation of Scarabs on the ship, the Arbiter was present in the ship as he requested to join the humans in their venture to the Portal, though he did not bring the Shadow of Intent.
The new generation of Scarabs have not been spared from the influence of Forerunner technology. It had energy shields even more powerful than the Titan due to it's larger size, however, like all massive armored units, it was slow despite having motor improvements to it's prehensile leg structure, the Scarab also received a newer and more streamlined design with glowing symbols around it's surface, among it's improvements in firepower included firing a straight and deathly beam of hardlight that replaced it's main cannon as well as two
Once all the crews had manned their battle stations, the Liberty Prime crossed the Portal.
The results were expected, they entered the portal and were sent into a different section of space much like the portal to the Ark. But there was no return point, rendering them stranded for the moment as the Captain found out that they were sent to an unknown part of space.
The Chief was then personally called on by the Captain.
"We have arrived at the ending point of our travel, however, I've noticed that this solar system appears very similar to Sol system, matching the profiles of all the known planets of orbiting the sun including Mars and Earth." The Captain explained as he pointed towards the holographic map of the system that they were in.
The Master arrived as the automatic doors opened and the ground beneath him creaked under the weight of his MJOLNIR Mark X, the newest version of the MJOLNIR armor.
The newest of the MJOLNIR series of powered assault armor had been outfitted with improved and more practical armor abilities including the latest version of Covenant active camouflage, it renders the user completely invisible even during movement, but unlike the older versions, it allows the user to hear the outside and so it was used mainly by the Separatists and UNSC to sneak spies behind enemy lines and allow them to eavesdrop with relatively low chances of being spotted.
The armor abilities also included hologram, armor lock, seeker drone, promethean vision and hardlight shield , the rest of the armor abilities remained the same, however, Promethean vision does not reveal the user's position with it's light and muffles the noise, allowing it for more practical applications, the hardlight shield was also improved with the advent of Forerunner technology, the shield now forms a bubble which allows the user full movement.
The armor itself is made up of stronger materials and has a two-layered energy shield, each strong enough to take a full Spartan laser blast and could simultaneously recharge both energy shields and the inner energy shield could be freely manipulated and could form objects that could be vital to a spartan's survival such as parachutes, ladders, bridges for armored vehicles and protection for his/her unshielded allies. It also incorporates a slight form of anti-gravity armor on the lower body, allowing the user to run at literally gravity-defying speeds with little fear of physical damage, the armor also increases the reaction time and strength by a small amount relative to the Mark VI, lastly, it allows the user to change the armor's color using nanites in the surface of the suit, though the nanites weren't used for any other purposes as it was deemed too expensive.
The Master Chief entered the room and was seen by the Captain, who approached him.
"Master Chief, how's it doing?" Thomas Lasky greeted the Spartan.
"Gather 'round Chief, you may be interested in what we've discovered.
Captain Lasky was transferred from the Infinity to the Liberty Prime after the Infinity's former Captain Andrew Del Rio campaigned to regain his previous position as he was not particularly happy with losing command of the UNSC's strongest ship at the time, unofficially, he was backed by ONI spooks, though it is something to be discussed at another time.
Surprisingly, Lord Hood agreed to it and had Lasky transferred to a STRONGER ship than the Infinity, the Master Chief had a few laughs at the past with Lasky when he brought up the irony when they met at the ship.
The Master Chief stood around with the other personnel on the bridge, actually it was more like the personnel made room for him.
"So as I've said before, we are in a solar system uncannily similar to Sol system, however, I am sure that we are not in the Sol system as the ODPs, and UEG command is not stationed there and we are not receiving any kind of traffic in this sector of space." The Captain continued explaining.
A holographic representation of the Earth in their sector with visible objects orbiting it appeared in the holotable. "As you can see here, there are what looks to be satellites and other objects that are not discernible for the moment, we should send in a small amount of forces to establish contact with whatever now lives there as I have my theories on what happened but I cannot prove them unless we find out what is happening in Earth."
Before anyone else could say something, the Master Chief spoke up.
"Captain, Requesting permission to use my Titan's stealth module and infiltrate the planet alone." he stated.
Captain Lasky pondered for a moment whether to send in Humanity's best soldier on the mission and came to a conclusion.
"Permission granted, scout the area and report back to us, I'm sure you'll do the right thing so I'm allowing you to do whatever you want on the mission. Lasky said, remembering how Del Rio's ignorance resulted in the people of New Phoenix losing their lives, if he had only listened to the Master Chief, it could have been averted.
The Spartan nodded and want on his way.
The night sky above Kyoto was illuminated by the stars above and the fires on the streets below caused by the recent and possibly on-going BETA attack, all was easily seen as loss as the Destroy-class BETAs destroyed what was left of the scattered TSF defenders left and right.
Amidst all the destruction, a foreign object fell from the sky, at first glance, one was likely to deduce that it was a shooting star, but on closer inspection, one would notice that there is nothing to be seen creating the flames around it, as if it was air and the best of trained eyes would see that a slight silhouette of a TSF-like machine crashing towards an open valley on the outskirts of the Imperial capital.
"E.T.A. 30 seconds, anti-gravity packs will be activated in 3...2...1.." an automated voice of the dumb A.I. in the cockpit of the Titan sounded as the mech slowly descended into the Earth with a serene blue flame trailing it.
As the Titan landed, the Master Chief was immediately taken aback when he saw a massive amount of giant unknown creatures began charging at him, it was down on four legs, had a large green shield-like carapace in the area that the Spartan knew as the head and it's body was yellow and the most immediate thought that he had after that was to retaliate as the creatures continued running at him at over 100 kph and although his shield would hold from the kinetic force, he was not taking any chances considering the sheer number of the creatures.
The Titan brought the energy rifle up to bear and fired, a lance of bright red light expelled from the opening of the barrel and struck the creatures running en masse and it kept concentrated until after three seconds of a continuous stream, prompting the weapon to cool down, but not before annihilating a significant amount of the Destroyer-class BETA, dozens were killed in the aftermath as many of them where running in a straight line due to their speed, the smell of burning flesh was fresh in the air as the carapaces of the BETA were simply burnt to ashes, there wasn't even any blood visible as the innards of the beasts were completely cauterized and the armor simply burnt through. the Spartan had taken advantage of his enhancements and timing his arc and more than three-forths of the beasts had been killed in a single 3 second-long beam of death.
The rest of the BETA got within 200 meters of him, too close to wait out the 5 second cooldown of the energy rifle when used in a continuous stream. So the Titan placed the Energy rifle on the magnetic clamps on the back portion of the Anti-gravity pack and took out a five-meter long hardlight blade and precisely, swiftly and systematically slicing the BETA to halves until absolutely none was left.
"What were those things..." John thought to himself as the battle field was wiped clear of BETAs.
End Of Chapter.
Spent two days writing and polishing up this chapter.
Anyways, as stated earlier, read, review and drop of your criticism.