Disclaimer: Halo, and all characters from the books/games are not my property.

The End of a War

A Halo-based piece of FanFiction written by Mr. Clark

A/N: Just a quick side-note, this takes place following the end of the Halo 2 video game, so if you haven't played the game and want to keep all the wonderful story developments unspoiled, then don't read this.

Prologue

The Beginning…um…Actually the Middle

Tartarus swung his massive battle hammer in a wide arc, slamming it onto the ground a hairs-breadth away from where the Arbiter stood. Snarling viciously, Tartarus pivoted his feet and leaned his shoulder downwards. Moving faster than his bulk would suggest he was capable of, he slammed into the Elite and sent him crashing into one of large structures that were littered about in the chamber. Following through, he used his forward momentum, charged the hammer, and thrust it towards the fallen Elite.

The Arbiter felt the distortion the energy peeling off Tartarus' hammer a moment before it discharged. Grasping a human firing weapon in his left hand he pushed off the ground and threw himself to the right, saving himself from being slammed into the stone monument when the influx of energy impacted. Shaking the cobwebs from his head, the Arbiter grabbed his bearings and slowly regarded the leader of the Brutes.

That hammer Tartarus touted was powerful enough to not only send him flying across the chamber with one good hit, but it was also emitting a shield that protected the Brute from harm. The Arbiter was confident he could defeat Tartarus simply by outsmarting him, but that would take time, something he did not have much of. The Holy Ring was almost ready to fire, which would mean the deaths of every single organism capable of sustaining the parasite. There would be no time for outsmarting Tartarus once that happened.

The Arbiter caught sight of several Elites preparing to jump onto the structure that held Tartarus and himself. The others that had faced Tartarus already had been beaten down by the Brutes' hammer, a fate he did not wish to see bestowed upon anyone else.

"Hold your positions!" the Arbiter bellowed in his native tongue. The Elites stopped their charge and stared down at the Arbiter in confusion. Satisfied that they would not join the battle, the Arbiter turned his gaze on the human soldier, the one that had piloted the Scarab. He held a Jackal Rifle in his hands. The weapon was powerful enough to pierce any shielding ever created, but it required a steady hand and a light touch.

"Human, do you know how to use that gun?" the Arbiter shouted at Sergeant Johnson. Despite the situation, Johnson felt a smirk light up his face.

"Let me tell you something Mr. Arbiter," he said sarcastically, "there isn't a weapon known to mankind that I don't know how to shoot. I've hit the wings off Drones with this little number in my sleep!"

The Arbiter returned his gaze to Tartarus, who was preparing to charge once again.

"Then show me."

Tartarus shouted once again as he rushed towards the Arbiter. Before either could comprehend what was happening, three plasma shots raced by, slamming into Tartarus' chest. The white shield that had once covered his body faded, and the Arbiter's brain kicked into gear.

The Brute had yet to stop his charge, and was within a few feet from the Arbiter when he swung. Ducking swiftly, the Arbiter avoided the hammer, brought the human pump-handled weapon to bear, and waited for Tartarus to close the gap between them. Bringing the shotgun up, he pressed it against the Brute's thick chest and fired.

Brutes were known for their muscle density. A rampaging Brute could take a whole clip from a human sub-machine gun and keep going. There had even been reports that some Brutes had survived after being hit by a human land-roving vehicle at speeds that would render all other species incapacitated.

None of that mattered, for the one weapon that the humans continued to use with dominance against the Covenant in close quarter fighting held up to its reputation. Two buck-shot rounds entered the Brute's chest cavity and promptly made a mess before exiting out its backside.

Tartarus felt his grip weaken on his hammer, and dropped it as he fell forward. Before he could collapse on top of the Arbiter, the Elite fell onto his back and brought his legs up, kicking the Brute up and over himself to land roughly, and several feet away. Tartarus managed a strangled curse before he felt the light begin to fade and finally disappear altogether.

The Arbiter slowly got off the ground, his legs burning from the exertion of lifting Tartarus. He leaned against one of the tall structures in an attempt to catch his breath. It was a moment before he remembered that he had killed Tartarus for a reason, a big reason. Snapping his gaze to the collecting energy in the center of the chamber, the Arbiter saw the female human leap down upon the firing mechanism and remove the Icon. A sigh of relief escaped him, until he felt the control room begin to tremble.

'Were we too late?' The thought resonated through the Arbiter's mind when the chamber began to shake violently, throwing him off his feet. As quickly as it came, the disturbance left, leaving only silence inside the control room. Where the human had removed the Icon, was now a hologram of some sorts.

"What's that?" the female human asked the Oracle.

"A beacon," it responded simply.

"What's it doing?" the female questioned.

"Communicating at super luminous speeds."

"With what?"

"The other installations."

The Arbiter felt his head throb as he slowly got to his feet. He started over to where the two humans and the Oracle stood.

"The other installations are now prepared for remote activation," the Oracle explained in response to something the humans had asked.

"From here?" the female asked.

"Don't be ridiculous," the Oracle replied in a patronizing tone. That seemed to get the human soldier riled up.

"Listen tinkerbell, don't make me-" his response was cut off by the human female as she waved him off.

"Then where? Where would someone go if they wanted to activate the other rings?"

"Why, the Ark of course," the Oracle replied as if it was supposed to be common knowledge. The Arbiter walked between the two humans and regarded the Oracle.

"And where, Oracle, is the Ark?" the Arbiter inquired.

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If there was one thing John 117, otherwise known as the Master Chief, truly despised, it would have to be fighting in space. The thought of being blown to bits by some orbital fire without so much as the chance to pull the trigger on his weapon made him feel vulnerable in a way that should not have been possible. If he had his way, the Covenant would not fight their battles in space, instead they would land there ships on whatever planet that was in their way, and engage the enemy from on the ground. Fighting on the ground with dirt beneath his feet was the only way to fight a war.

Unfortunately, the Covenant preferred to stay in orbit around a planet, and burn it into cinder and then finish 'glassing' it with plasma fire from their fleet. Because of this, it was inevitable that John would be forced to fight the majority of the time in space.

Not that he was useless when it came to fighting off the ground. The Master Chief had been trained since the age of six in nearly every form of combat known to humankind. The destruction of the 'Unyielding Hierophant' was proof enough of this.

Now though, he wished that he wasn't on the Forerunner ship, and was instead down on Earth, fighting against the Covenant forces. That was his luck though, he always got the more interesting missions.

Some radio chatter caught his attention and he recognized one of the voices as Lord Hood, commander of the orbital defense guns that were positioned to protect Earth from the Covenant carriers.

The Master Chief quickly identified himself before the ship could be targeted.

'Isolate that signal,' Lord Hood's voice ordered. 'Master Chief, you mind telling me why your on that ship?'

'I'm not entirely sure myself,' John thought to himself. "Sir, finishing this fight."

Even over the chatter, he could hear the amusement in Lord Hood's voice.

'That's good to hear, but as you're the only soldier I'm receiving messages from, I'm presuming that you aren't on that ship as a passenger.'

"No sir, the Covenant hierarch, the Prophet of Truth, is aboard this ship."

'Well, looks like you've completed your original mission from Reach then. What type of ship is that Chief, I've never seen a Covenant ship like it.'

"This isn't a Covenant ship sir, it was built by the Forerunners."

The silence that remark generated was long and poignant.

'I suppose that means it's in all our best interests for you to take it over then. Is there any assistance that we can throw your way?'

"Not at the moment sir, all I can ask is that you refrain from attacking the ship until I have gained control. I'm not sure what kind of weaponry it carries," the Master Chief explained.

'Understood Master Chief, report your status every 10 minutes from now on, and when you get the chance I will need to hear about what happened after In Amber Clad followed the Prophet of Regret through Slipspace.'

"Yes sir," the Master Chief replied, and closed the chatter. He picked up the Battle Rifle he had managed to hold onto when first entering the ship the hard way. Not counting the clip already in the weapon, John only had three spare magazines, definitely not enough to take out an entire ship filled with Covenant. That just meant he had to adapt. Chambering a round, the Master Chief started down the tunnel.

It was time to do what he did best.

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A/N: Alright, here's the prologue. This is definitely a different story than I'm used to writing, well okay not so different, but certainly a different cast of characters. This is of course a continuation, so if for some reason you don't want anything spoiled for the next game in the series than I suggest you don't read it, but hey, its not like I actually expect to continue the adventure the way Bungie is going to.

Also, I want to know how many people would rather I kept the stuff from the books out of this story, because I know a lot of people didn't read them, and frankly they don't match up with what was done in Halo 2, but if people want them in then I'll put them in. As well, I might even throw in a character or two from the ilovebees saga.

Anyways, let me know what you think, and keep in mind this is just the prologue, the actual chapters will be much longer in length.