AN: Yo long time no see ya'll. Sorry for taking so long to update. I would say I've been busy, but considering I've been updating other stuff I don't think that would work as an excuse. Mostly it was major writers block. I had a lot of stuff written but no clear idea what to do about a few loose ends.
I was hoping I'd have the money for a 360 by now. I know I'd like totally get inspired if I got to play halo3. (sigh) oh well…
Anyway since its been so long since I've updated and I want to be able to read reviews before I go back out. (you know that ice storm stuff happening out west. I was in that a few days ago. Never thought I'd see a 53 foot trailer become entombed totally in ice)
I've posted this before sending it to my beta.
Just warning ya'll.
Naruto was being sneaky.
Well at least as sneaky as someone in a bright tie-dye could be. Still the soldiers and nurses aboard the Indianapolis knew who he was and knew they were to let him be as long as he wasn't doing anything naughty.
He tried not to look at people, instead focusing on the floor in front of him. He was in deep thought. He was letting the Kyuubi guide him to where they needed to be…but was still unsure if he should let him out.
Not that I'm actually letting him out…its more of a letting him control me thing.
The Kyuubi was sealed away. NOTHING absolutely nothing could change that. The fourth had given his life to seal him and that sacrifice carried over even into this new world.
What did the Kyuubi say? Sacrifice is the greatest form of power.
Naruto paused to think about that. He had never really thought of it that way. But he guessed it was true. When he trained he was sacrificing his body and time. When he did anything he sacrificed something. The more he gave up the more he gained.
But…it was different here. At least that's what the Kyuubi said. Naruto hadn't really understood what he was saying. Somehow sacrifice meant more in this world. The powers of the universe and the beings within it reacted more to sacrifice.
The Kyuubi had casually mentioned that was how Naruto and Gaara being hosts without dieing was possible. The Kyuubi had been sealed by a willing death. Shukaku had been sealed using Gaara's mothers death. Since the mother had been unwilling Shukaku was wild within Gaara, thus one of the reasons he couldn't sleep.
Everything the Fox had continued to say was linked to Sacrifice. What one was willing to give up to obtain something.
Of course Naruto had asked a thousand questions. The main one being that if sacrifice was worth more here why was the seal unraveling.
The Fox answered that one easily. He had already told Naruto. The energies and the forces here were so different that the seal designed for there didn't work here.
He still didn't understand but he had let the conversation drop for now.
Left…left here brat.
Naruto turned left at the hallway. He walked a few more feet and stopped. He frowned as he looked at the door. He didn't know what it said, but the great big circle with the outline of a man with a line crossed through him made him think it was bad.
It says Warning hazardous, no entrance.
"What's behind it?"
The guts of the ship…more importantly this is the way to the folding core.
"But it says no entrance and it's hazardous. I don't want hazardous."
Naruto could almost feel the Kyuubi roll its eyes.
With our healing it is nothing. Besides its only radiation.
Naruto crossed his arms as he stared at the door.
"They don't want me in there. That creepy doctor told all of us that we couldn't go in restricted area's."
Do you want to get home or not?
"Yes? But this would be a violation of the blood contract."
"I am not bound by that contract. Even though I will be using your body."
The fox paused.
"The longer we wait the less likely that girl will ever see again."
Naruto flinched. Closing his eyes he saw inside his mind…Hinata blood pouring down her face. She had been in so much pain yet she had smiled at him.
She said she was glad she had found him.
She had been injured because of me. Looking for me…its my fault.
"What…what do I do?"
The Fox grinned.
"Bite your thumb and smear the blood across the seal. Then say release."
"That's it? No hand seals or anything like that?"
"You are allowing this. It's not that different from me giving you chakra."
Naruto shifted uncertain.
"How long does it last?"
"Unfortunately only a few hours. Until the chakra in the released blood runs dry. Also we may only have a limited number of times a day we can do it as well."
Naruto asked kind of surprised by that…by the time limit as well as the number.
"I don't know about you but I've never been sealed inside anyone before. So I don't know."
"Hey no reason to be sarcastic."
Naruto mumbled annoyed. Taking a deep breath Naruto looked behind him. No one was in view. In fact this was in part of the ship others didn't seem to come to all that often. It had been several hallways since he'd seen anyone.
Naruto closed his eyes and then bit his thumb hard. The sharp pain was familiar although for once it didn't have the comforting knowledge that a summoning brought. Instead of summoning a friend to help, he was possibly condemning everyone. Still Naruto believed the Kyuubi meant what it said. The flood was something they had to get away from. The flood could get to Konoha and everywhere if they got them. They had to get home! He had to save everyone from the Flood, and he had to help Hinata!
Lifting his shirt with his other hand Naruto took a deep breath as he smeared the blood across his stomach.
Naruto swallowed again trying to clear the frog out of his throat. He was shaking. He was terrified. So much of what could go wrong filled his mind.
"SAY IT BRAT NOW!"
Naruto startled at the loud bellow.
He crashed to the ground.
For a long moment he laid there. He didn't make a sound. Didn't move, he wasn't even breathing. His chest and heart stood still, his brain shut down.
His fingers switched.
His chest moved, taking a deep breath.
Slowly Naruto's body restarted itself. It hadn't been expecting that. What body could handle something like this?
The Kyuubi opened its eyes for the first time in 15 years. Although they weren't really his.
Blood red and a slit for a pupil.
Muscles he had never used twitched and flexed as he slowly drew himself into a sitting position.
That had been harsh. Much harsher than the fox had expected.
Can't do that to much.
The fox took a deep breath as it felt chakra healing the damage the transfer had caused. The massive shock had been like a heart attack…or a stroke. It had damaged both brain and heart tissue. The heart couldn't handle the stress and the brain had been overloaded.
He actually died for a second there, before his healing kicked in.
The thing was the fox didn't know if that shock would get worse or better each time it was done. Naruto's body might get use to it and adapt, or the damage might be worst each time until even Naruto's demon fueled healing would do nothing.
Sooooo this was what a human body felt like. It was loose and strange. The balance felt a lot different than he would have thought. It reminded him of something…long ago.
He said aloud.
Despite the pain and risk…it had worked.
He paused as Naruto's voice left his lips. He grinned showing a mouth full of sharp teeth. The voice was Naruto's but it was lower. After all the Kyuubi had no use for that higher pitched yelling the brat always used.
His accent was a little different although the Kyuubi doubted anyone but the brat's closest friends would notice.
The Fox stayed sitting for several more minutes. Getting used to the new body.
He couldn't believe the brat actually allowed him to do this.
Granted it was the only way but still…
Using chakra in his hand he grabbed the wall and used the leverage to lift himself up. His legs felt wobbly. The balance thing really throwing him off now.
He leaned heavily against the wall. Letting the body get use to its new if only temporary master.
He hadn't been lying to Naruto. This would only last until the chakra in the blood exhausted itself. An hour, two at the tops.
He finally stood up and looked around. The door loomed in front of him.
He smiled and reached for the touch pad that would open said door.
He then stopped.
What the fuck were they wearing?
The fox looked down in shock at the brightest piece of clothing he had ever seen. It actually hurt his eyes to look at it.
Holy fuck! The brat was a ninja and he willingly wore something like this.
Turning the Fox slowly started to walk. There had been a locker/dressing room not far. 4...no 5 hallways back. He only hoped no one saw him before he got there.
Even demons have pride…and fashion sense.
Besides the embarrassment of the clothing if anyone saw him they would know something was wrong. He was wobbly, looking like a newborn calf first learning to walk. It was uncomfortable but he was learning quickly. He just made sure to keep a chakra sticking hand on the wall at all times.
It didn't more than a few minutes for the fox to find the locker room. The door wasn't locked and no one was inside.
The Fox grinned. He had figured the place would be deserted. Probably the only time it was crowded was during the shift change.
Still grinning the fox made his way toward some lockers. Picking one at random he forced it open. The thin metal was no match for his strength.
He frowned and then opened the next locker and then the next.
This might take longer than he had time for.
Several attempts later he was finally rewarded.
Nodding to himself he held the armor up to his chest. It would probably fit.
He quickly stripped. He had spent too much time here. He needed to get to the folding core. He had no use for clothing in his demon form. But he had watched humans long enough to know how things worked.
Throwing on the cloth part of the clothing was easy. The black armor proved more difficult. But being a genius did have advantages so it didn't take to long.
He said aloud as he read a patch on the arm. He wondered what that stood for?
Shrugging he ripped the patch off and put it back in the locker.
One thing the fox had learned over his long centuries. Military put a lot of pride in stuff like metals and badges. He had to think of the future. Obviously later someone would notice Naruto in these clothes. They would notice the lockers and obviously be angry. However he guessed as long as he didn't pretend to be something they weren't then that creepy doctor would let things pass.
So the fox took a moment to make sure there was no symbols of any kind on the outfit. And he didn't bother with the black helmet.
The fox titled his head cracking the bones. This was better. It even had some light radiation shielding if he guessed right. This was protective and darkly colored. It was perfect for a ninja.
He would stress to the brat later the importance of clothing later.
Moving quickly he made his way back to the door in even less time. He was getting used to this body.
Glancing around the fox doubled checked everything. He didn't sense anybody nearby. There was a possibility of camera's but no one was coming yet. He would have to hurry once he got inside just in case.
Reaching up he touched the doors controls.
Of course the door was locked.
The fox grinned then closed his eyes as he flattened his palm against the panel.
A light above the door suddenly changed from red to green and it opened.
As expected an alarm sounded.
Right, time to get to it.
The fox controlled Naruto ran into the darkness of the room beyond.
Lee woke up sooner than anyone expected.
Considering all the sedatives the doctors have been given him he should have been sleeping for a week. He also should have been at least a little groggy.
Hm well that wouldn't be Lee would it?
He woke up quickly and he woke up loud.
"DON"T LET THE SPRING TIME OF YOUTH…."
Lee paused, mid dramatic pose to realize that something's just wasn't right. One he was on a bed, one foot on the guardrail, the other twisted in the mess of sheets and blankets that had been covering him.
Second he noticed he was wearing a hospital gown…kind of breezy actually.
Lee screamed out, blushing bright red as he tried to cover what hospital gowns were never designed to cover.
"Where are my Clothes! Where am I? What the hell?!"
"Calm down Lee."
Shikamaru muttered annoyed. He was sitting low in a chair, one leg hung over one arm rest, his elbow on the other propping his head up.
"Hai, its me."
He titled his arm, making his head lean slightly to the left. Other than that small movement he didn't budge for the uncomfortable looking position.
Lee frowned as he tried to remember. He…was with a doctor his back hurting. He had gotten injured.
Reaching behind him, Lee touched his back. Nothing but smooth perfect skin met his questing fingers.
"You don't remember?"
really. Did they fix me?"
Lee was impressed he couldn't even feel a scar.
That was weird. I remember distinctly the doctor saying it would scar.
"No. They didn't."
Lee raised a large and bushy eyebrow.
Shikamaru scratched his nose as he gave Lee a calculating look under hooded eyes.
"Not sure what happened. But it appears you have a bloodline limit of some kind. You healed yourself."
Lee suddenly felt dizzy as he half sat half collapsed back onto his bed.
"A blood line? Me? No way, its not possible."
"If not that, what?"
"I don't know, but…my family line is a small one."
Lee flinched slightly.
mean…I think so at least."
Shikamaru nodded. He knew that both of Lee's parents were dead. One dieing during the Kyuubi attack 15 years ago, the other a few months later on a mission. Lee had been taken in by his mothers family, as his father had been the last of his line.
"Hmm. I wonder if could have been triggered by the radiation Orcrist was telling me about."
Shikamaru muttered half to himself. He had given it some thought. The radiation the AI had explained could cause mutations as well as death.
Or maybe bring up an unknown and deeply buried blood line.
Lee said looking stunned.
Shikamaru let Lee absorb that as he glanced toward the door to the room.
It was large and comfortable with two beds, 2 chairs and a long couch.
He had been ushered in here rather quickly by the Kelly woman.
She had seemed…well rattled wasn't the word. He doubted even death would shake these Spartans. Hm perhaps apprehensive was the word?
He could feel a tension in the air. Something was happening. Something they weren't telling him.
Suddenly the door opened.
Shikamaru said lifting his hand. Out of all the Spartans he liked Sam the most. He was easy going and seemed to be the most trustworthy.
Sam nodded as he came through the door. He then stepped to the side revealing the much smaller person his large frame had been obscuring.
Shikamaru said startled. He hadn't known she was awake.
The shy girl smiled softly. Her eyes still wrapped in gauze. She looked pathetically small next to the Spartan. Small and fragile, like a glass figure. Her paler than normal skin added to the effect.
He was slightly surprised though to see that Hinata wasn't wearing her usual coat and pants. This was probably the first time he'd ever seen her in something other than the coat, or her families tradition garbs.
Shikamaru opened his mouth to comment, then thought better of it. Of course she wouldn't be wearing her normal clothes. they had been stained with blood. Hell he didn't even know if they were on the ship. Might have been left on earth.
After giving it a brief thought he decided on not saying anything, the shy girl might take it the wrong way. He didn't want her worrying more than need be.
Besides it appeared though that Hinata had been taken care of. She was wearing a way to large dark tan t-shirt and some camouflaged pants. It was obviously army regulation as Shikamaru had seen others wearing the same stuff.
The pants seemed to fit her alright, although the t-shirt dwarfed her small frame.
Hinata made not move to enter the room.
It didn't take but a moment for Shikamaru's swift mind to figure out the reason.
Instantly he on his feet. Reaching out he placed a hand on her shoulder. Leading her into the room without being overly noticeable about it. Once she was close enough to a chair he turned toward the Spartan.
"What's going on?"
The Spartan gave Shikamaru an unreadable look.
"I told Dr. Halsey you would notice. The Covenant is moving. We're not sure what's going on yet, but it looks like they might attack earth again. This is just a safety precaution."
Shikamaru said over Lee's freaked out 'what happened Hinata-chan' ranting.
Orcrist has a moment I would like to speak to him."
Shikamaru finally said.
He pretty much realized they were under house arrest until further notice. That however was against the contract. He wouldn't sit here idle while things were happening.
"What about Naruto?"
Hinata said softly. Her voice was softer than Shikamaru would have liked. She sounded exhausted.
The Spartan shifted suddenly looking a little nervous.
"We haven't found him yet."
Shikamaru smacked his face.
baka wonder off?"
"we think so. Don't worry we have a few soldiers looking for him. This is a big ship, but most of it you need a security clearance to get to."
He said as in a lower voice he then muttered about smacking the dumb blonde until his whiskers came off.
The Chunnin waited until Sam left before turning to Hinata.
Shikamaru opened his mouth but nothing came out. How could he tell her? Tell her she might be blind.
need to tell you."
She cut him off surprising him.
"I knew when I woke up. Its ok. Really."
Shikamaru felt far older than he was as he sat down. His shoulders hurt, the tension and the weight of what was going on pressing down on them.
Lee looked at his two fellow ninja's knowing they were talking about something important, but not knowing what.
Hinata touched his hand.
Shikamaru stared at the slender digits. How could anyone as small as her become a ninja. It always amazed him.
"Yes it is."
Lee asked finally giving into his curiosity.
Hinata paused. Even with the gauze he could tell she looked confused.
"I'm not sure. Something…happened. My chakra changed, and it affected my eyes."
Shikamaru blinked then leaned forward suddenly very interested. He hadn't know that. Shikamaru had just assumed she had gotten attacked like they had.
Hinata hesitated. She seemed to be searching for the right words.
"It was strange…I can't really explain it. But it was…it changed the way I saw things."
"A new ability?"
Shikamaru's mind raced.
Maybe its not the plasma? Or even a blood line with Lee. If something happened to Hinata maybe whatever affected her did the same to Lee.
It was simply to much of a coincidence to think otherwise.
Besides, Ninja's didn't believe in coincidences. Some might call it paranoia, but Shikamaru liked to call it a love of living. Never assume something wasn't related just because it seemed like a coincidence.
So…first Lee then Hinata. But what is the common factor?
Obviously it had something to do with this world. But that seemed to large of a reason. Maybe the air was different, or maybe it was this radiation Orcrist told him about.
"You said you're eyesight changed?"
Shikamaru paused a lump forming in his throat. He was afraid to ask her. But knew he had to. He had to know if she was a disability or…kami above the thoughts in his head left a bad taste in his mouth.
I have to ask to see if she's worth anything as a ninja anymore. If she doesn't have her eyes then she's a liability, worse than a civilian.
"Can you still use your blood limit, or are you totally blind?"
Shikamaru ignored Lee's gasp of surprise. He focused totally on the tiny girl in front of him. She hung her head, her fingers coming together. It was a habit Shikamaru had observed before. When she felt shy or afraid she would do this to give her hands something to do.
Reaching out, Shikamaru covered her hands with his, stopping the nervous habit.
Hinata jumped slightly. She stayed silent a long moment.
Shikamaru squeezed her hands slightly, urging her to say what had to be said.
"I don't know."
Shikamaru closed his eyes tightly as he turned his head away from her.
He didn't get the chance to speak when the ship gave a sudden lurch.
Hinata gave a short startled scream as she valiantly tried to use chakra to stay on her feet.
It might have worked to if Lee hadn't been pitched forward and into her. He might have had a chance of staying upright if he hadn't still be posed dramatically on the bed.
"Kami! Hinata-chan are you alright!"
Lee yelled out as he tried to get his arms under him and at the same time not touch anything he wasn't supposed to.
Shikamaru ignored the tangle of limbs on the floor as he made his way toward the door.
However before he even reached for the door knob, the door opened revealing Sam.
His scared face was drawn in tightly. His eyes hard as he stared at Shikamaru.
"Doctor Halsey has requested you stay in this room. And I must insist you follow her orders."
The large Spartan walked into the room closing the door behind him. He didn't move either, effectively blocking the only exist out of the room.
Shikamaru narrowed his eyes.
"We are not prisoners."
Sam answered without missing a beat.
"No your not. You are a guest aboard the Indianapolis."
"We are not prisoners."
His eyes narrowed.
"Move out of the way."
He was extremely aware of both Lee and Hinata taking flanking positions behind him. Even though Hinata couldn't see she could still feel where in the room they were. She was backing him up.
The Spartan lifted his chin.
"Will you break the contract?"
Shikamaru said softly as he took a step forward. He motioned to Lee to stay back. He in turn placed a hand on Hinata's shoulder to keep her in place.
"Where is Dr. Halsey? Take me to her."
The ship rocked again.
Sam said reluctantly. A fight was the last thing they needed right now. He couldn't risk the Konoha ninja's rebelling during a fight.
"Lee, stay here with Hinata. I'll be back shortly. Also if that Baka Naruto shows up, knock him on his ass for me for wondering off again!"
With that Shikamaru followed Sam out the door.
There was a long moment of silence.
Finally Lee spoke. He was totally and utterly confused.
"What is going on?"
Dr. Halsey cursed colorfully as she ran toward the bridge.
Things were getting out of hand and very quickly.
"The Covenant is moving."
Aeon said softly. The tiny AI was sitting on her shoulder. Her normally bright blue skin darkened to almost black. It was a sign of how worried she was.
Halsey muttered another curse. This couldn't be happening at a worse time.
They hadn't secured the renegades. The leaf-nins haven't been settled in yet.
The red haired boy was injured and needed medical attention.
Halsey seriously needed to talk to the rebels leader Eevre.
And no one had any idea where Naruto had wondered off to!
Halsey's voice was sharp and commanding. Her questioning tone demanding answers.
The man turned giving Halsey a sharp single nod.
Captain James Turner was an older man, slightly bald and slightly gray. He was tall and lanky with deep wrinkles in the skin around his eyes and mouth.
He had once been all over the known universe, fought in dozens of battles.
But he was also…as the brass would say an overly timid fighter. He would much rather try to outrun an enemy than face them head on.
He wasn't a coward by any means. He just didn't like to damage his ship or put her crew in more danger than was absolutely necessary. He was a calculating man. He knew the risks and the probability of success even before his AI's did.
This along with his impressive military record was the reason he was chosen to be the Indianapolis's Captain.
A ship that was never meant to fight, only to run.
Captain Turner gave Dr. Halsey a tense smile.
He didn't mind that she was pretty much bossing him around. He was used to it. He might be the commanding officer on this ship but Halsey by far outranked him as far as the UNSC was concerned. A classic case of someone making themselves so important the government they could do as they pleased.
"The Covenant is attacking."
Turner pointed toward the large window that looked out into space.
"From their heading, we're guessing they are going to attack the Cairo first."
"Focus on each station one at a time?"
The captain nodded.
Halsey pushed her glasses up her nose.
"They could lose…"
She paused to do the math in her head.
"At least 78 of their forces if they try that. And that's the best estimate."
"The Covenant has a 23 chance of success. If they follow this course of action."
Aeon said her eyes focused on nothing. The markings on her body were moving unusually fast.
"We're going to duck to the other side of the planet."
The Captain said quietly. Halsey gave the man a sharp look.
"If we do that, if anything happens we'll be on our own. Everyone is here."
The Captain shrugged.
"the entire fleet is attacking. We'll be fine. If we have to we can make a jump."
Halsey frowned harshly. Still she couldn't see any reason to NOT move. It would be safer on the other side of the planet. The changes of getting into a fire fight would be signifigently less. And like the Captain said, they could jump easier from that location.
She opened her mouth to say something when the world shattered.
The sensors hadn't even seen it coming.
But everyone aboard sure as hell felt it.
Halsey was thrown to the ground as the ship violently pitched to the left. She could hear alarms screaming, red lights blinking and Aeon trying to talk over the suddenly chaos.
She tried to catch the breath the fall had taken it out of her. She closed her eyes focusing. She didn't feel any pain that would hint at a broken bone. She still could think so no head injury. So despite the adrenaline coursing through her system that could hide pain Dr. Halsey didn't think she was hurt.
"What is happening."
The Captain, by some miracle (or training) was still on his feet. He didn't offer Halsey a hand up as he was to busy looking over the screens and all the information.
The ship rocked again, not as violently as the first but Halsey felt a deep rooted fear blossom in her chest.
NO. I can't lose the Indianapolis. All my experiments…THE SPARTANS!
They couldn't lose 4 Spartans at once. It would be disastrous.
At least Linda hasn't reported in yet.
Halsey thought in a near panic. At least one Spartan she called here would live if things went horribly wrong. Closing her eyes Halsey forced all feeling from her heart and mind. She couldn't think of that now. She had to be cool and collected.
This ship was to important, there were several things they could do to avoid destruction.
She just had to stay calm.
"WHAT IS HAPPENING!"
She said stay calm, not stay quiet.
It was Aeon that answered
"Three ships have broken off from the main group."
Halsey leaned against a console. She could see Orcrist and the Captain talking to each other. She couldn't hear them over the wail of the alarm.
"There's a hull breach in sector 7."
Aeon's skin was a brilliant blue. Her eyes wide, her face that of barely contained panic.
This is her first battle.
Halsey thought to herself. She hadn't thought about that. What would the little AI would do in a combat situation? Cortana had been tested before being given to John.
Aeon was a rookie so to speak. Halsey had no idea what she would do. She cursed her short sightedness and swore if they survived this it would never happen again.
"I've closed it off. No causalities."
Halsey was grateful no one had gotten sucked out into space. But that should be the last thing of Aeon's mind.
"Call the Cairo, the other ships! We need help!"
"It won't matter my Lady."
Orcrist was suddenly in front of her. His hair was wild his eyes almost as wide as Aeons.
"The Covenant fleet has managed to cut us off. The bulk of the enemy is attacking. Keeping our allies busy. We are on our own."
It didn't take a genius to figure out what was happening.
"They never meant to go after the Cairo."
"They were after us!"
"Can we jump?"
Orcrist shook his head.
"We're to close to the planet. Not to mention all the ships around us."
Halsey closed her eyes.
They were trapped. Trapped between the gravity field of their home planet and an army of Covenant ships. A lot of good being a ship was when they couldn't run.
"Alright. Battle stations."
Orcrist's eyes gleamed at Halsey words. He unbuckled the Axe at his side.
His voice was loud and booming, echoing through the ship as he used the comm system.
"The Indianapolis has more teeth than these small sharks circling us."
Orcrist grinned swinging his axe in a wide arc.
"Lets us show them how hard we bite!"
Aeon screamed suddenly.
Orcrist gave a war cry as he made the ship do an impressive swan dive. Halsey wrapped her arms around her waist as her stomach dropped.
The eerie green light of the Covenant energy blasted passed almost harmlessly over head.
It managed to singe some of the outer coating on the thick armor of the ship but it didn't breach the hull.
Halsey didn't think she'd ever heard an AI curse before. However now wasn't the time to ponder the event.
Sitting down at one of the empty station in the bridge Halsey tried to focus on the problems at hand.
Orcrist was in charge of flying, and under normal conditions everything to do with the ship. However she wanted him focused on making sure they didn't die.
So she took over some of bothersome tasks such as regulating the engine temperature, and priming the mach guns.
Orcrist aimed and fired all three mach guns at once.
Halsey held her breath.
Of the three shots only one hit.
Halsey exhaled sharply a curse muttered staining her lips.
Her fingers were like lightening as she worked as fast as she could to prime the guns again.
Smaller guns, not enough to cripple a Covenant ship but enough to weaken it fired and hit as the shields of the ship hit flicked and then failed.
Halsey grinned gravely as she watched the small plumes of flame erupted over the damaged vessel.
Halsey said as the AI crowed loudly at the hit.
"Don't forget yourself. If there is an opening to escape, take it!"
The AI paused a moment, then gave Halsey a sharp single nod. He wanted to fight, badly. But he knew his place and his duty.
He would do as he had been programmed to do.
Protect the Indianapolis.
The Mac guns boomed loudly, making the metal under Halseys feet vibrate.
The Covenant bastard dived and swerved, surprisingly nimble for such a large ship.
It returned fire.
Halsey muttered taking a gods name she didn't believe in in vain.
The controls went dark as the ship once again violently shook as she took another direct hit.
"Engines at 45 percent. They are overheating."
"A coolant line busted."
She paused a moment.
"Repairs have started."
By some minor miracle Orcrist was able to force one more shot out of the mac guns. Halsey didn't watch, to preoccupied in getting her console working to watch, as one of the ships blew up in a fiery ball of death.
"The mac guns won't be able to fire again for a few minutes."
Orcrist said loudly.
"And we can't keep dodging like we have. If we get any closer to the planet we won't be able to stay in orbit."
Halsey snapped finishing what the AI was going to warn. Not that they would survive long enough to hit the earth. They would burn in orbit, the ship wouldn't be able to handle it and would break apart in atmo, killing them instantly.
Halsey gritted her teeth. The Covenant probably knew this. That was why the attacked so quickly, not giving the Indianapolis the chance to move to safer sky.
"I know that Orcrist. Just do what you can!"
Suddenly Aeon stiffened.
"Incoming transmission from planet side."
Harley felt like grinding her teeth together.
Aeon! He can wait."
Aeon shook her head. Something in the tone of her voice caught Halseys attention despite the pressing matters at hand.
"He really needs to speak to you."
Halsey frowned then nodded once in the standard sharp military fashion. It was one of the many things she had picked up by being around the brass and soldiers for so many years.
"Take over. Watch the core temp."
Halsey then stood up and walked over to a near by console.
"What is it!? We are kind of busy up here."
"Ma'am! Sergeant Vic speaking Ma'am."
The Sergeant saluted. He was sweating and looked very stressed and worried.
"Ma'am has Spartans 48 contacted you?"
"Linda? No, I had sent orders for her to come here as soon as her duties were done planet side."
The young man ran a hand through his dirty blonde hair.
"That's the thing. We gave her her orders over 12 hours ago."
Vic had the grace to blush and looked ashamed.
"I'm sorry Ma'am I should have noticed sooner…but…she never made it to the shuttle. We…uh we…"
Halsey's eyes narrowed dangerously.
"Spit it out Sergeant!"
The man gulped turning pale.
"We went to her room, her door was locked. We forced our way in…and…"
She warned softly. Her tone was harsh but inside she was starting to panic. Linda…she had just assumed the Spartan wasn't done with her mission on Earth. It hadn't even occurred to her to worry where the Spartan was.
"the room was pretty messed up. Defiantly a struggle…and there was blood."
Halsey's heart froze. She no longer could hear the sounds of battle or Orcrists loud bellow as they fought to survive.
"We did a DNA scan…its Spartans 48. Ma'am…we've searched and searched but we have no idea what happened or where 48 might be."
Halsey closed her eyes forcing herself not to lose her focus.
"Keep searching. I don't have time for this right now!"
She closed the link just as the door behind her swished open. Turning in surprise she repeated her last sentence.
"I don't have time for this right now! SAM take him back to the room NOW!"
Sam twitched, in his memory he couldn't remember her ever yelling at him, at any of the Spartans. He lifted his hand to place on Shikamaru's shoulder to lead him back to the room. An order was an order.
Just as his hand landed, the boy disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Startled Sam looked up just as he reappeared beside Halsey.
"We have a contract Doctor."
His eyes were on the screens.
it the Covenant are attacking? Are we in danger?"
Halsey grit out. She motioned for Sam to leave. Shikamaru obviously planned to stay and she needed to get back and focused on the battle at hand.
The Captain suddenly screamed out as everything was bathed in a bright green light. Halsey was throw from her chair. Only this time she didn't hit the floor. Startled she looked up at the face of Shikamaru. He had caught her.
The ship continued to pitch widely. Glancing over at the computer screen, Halsey paled as she saw how many decks had been breached. Including the main engine room…
Everything suddenly went dark, for a moment it was pitch black. Halsey couldn't even see the end of her nose…then the soft amber light of the emergency lights kicked in.
Aeon said in the suddenly stillness.
"We've lost power. The engines are dead."
Halsey found her feet as Shikamaru let her go. She punched in some codes…nothing happened. Frustrated she slapped the computer hard.
"Bring us back Aeon!"
The AI didn't speak.
Halsey whirled around…and stopped as she saw that everyone except Shikamaru was looking at her.
Aeon finally said.
"That blast penetrated the core reactor. There is no power beyond basic life support."
Orcrist lowered his arms, his axe hanging limply in his hand.
"Are are already falling toward the planet."
Halsey was shaking. No no no no…this couldn't be happening. The Indianapolis was the most well protected ship in the UNSC fleet. She couldn't die like this, trapped between her home planet and the enemy.
She couldn't die with the lives of so many important people on board.
The Spartans…HER Spartans, they could die here.
She finally choked out.
Orcrist said his voice gruff.
"They would just burn in Atmo as well."
Halsey turned away, covering her mouth with her hands.
"shit shit shit shit SHIT!"
She took a deep breath.
"Alright. I want the Spartans to go to the hangers."
Aeon tried to interrupt, her voice sad.
"We'll…we'll jettison them. With the armor they should…"
"They should be able to survive a few hours. Maybe someone will be able to…"
Halsey took off her glasses setting them down on the computer console.
"What about the other ships? Can they?"
"Dr. Halsey no one will be able to…"
Aeon trailed off, glancing over at Orcrist.
'The Indianapolis is dead."