The Pillar of Autumn cruised through the emptiness of unknown space. Arrayed around it was an escort consisting of several C709 Longsword heavy fighters. The cruiser was the only remnant of the UNSC's Epsilon Eridani Fleet, the rest wiped out in the lost battle at Reach, home of FLEETCOM HQ.

On the bridge, Captain Jacob Keyes frowned. "Cortana," he said after a moment's thought, "did we or did we not lose them?"

Cortana, the Autumn's shipboard artificial intelligence, materialized from a holopad by his station. "Stupid question, sir," she replied. "I think we both know the answer to that."

"But we made a blind jump. We ran dark."

"Yeah, well, nobody could've missed the hole we tore in space. Except, perhaps, you."

Keyes grumbled under his breath. "Fine. Where do we stand?"

"Our fighters are mopping up the last of their recon picket now. But I've isolated approach signatures from multiple CCS-class battlegroups—three capital ships per group. And in about ninety seconds, they'll be all over us." Cortana sighed and said, "If you need me, I'll be sexually fantasizing. I feel so tense."

"Before you do that, bring the ship back up to combat status Alpha. I want everyone at their stations."

Cortana's eyes widened. "E-Everyone?"

"Everyone," repeated the officer.

Klaxons blared as crewmembers ran about, randomly pushing buttons or looking at panels or somehow trying to look busy.

"And, Cortana," added Keyes, "let's give our friends a warm reception."

"I'm already on it," said the AI. Just before her hologram vanished, she asked, "Incidentally, sir...what are you going to do?"

"This," Keyes replied, and with that, he turned his attention to the screen in front of him and began to stare at it.

"Attention, all combat personnel. Please report to your action stations. Fifth Platoon, secure airlocks on Deck Eleven. Fourteenth Platoon, rendezvous with Twenty-second Tactical at Bulkhead Charlie 14. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill."

Elsewhere, one eager African-American Sergeant shouted, "You heard the lady. Move like you got a purpose." As the Marines under his command formed into two separate lines, he continued, walking between them, "We led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from gettin' their filthy claws on Earth. But we stumbled onto somethin' they're so hot for, that they're scramblin' over each other to get it. Well, I don't care if it's God's own personal anti-son-of-a-bitch machine, or a giant Hoola Hoop! We're not gonna let 'em have it! What we will let 'em have is a bellyful of lead and a pool of their own blood to drown in!"

He finished his walk, turned around and yelled, "Am I right, Marines?"

Their response was instantaneous. "SIR, YES, SIR!"

The Sergeant nodded with a grim grin on his face. "Mm-hm. Damn right, I am. Now move it out! Double time!"

The Marines hustled over to a waiting D77-TC Pelican dropship,. The Sergeant, assault rifle in hand, told them, "All you greenhorns who wanted to see Covenant up close, this is gonna be your lucky day."

Four Marines boarded the transport. Their nametags read BISENTI, DUBBO, FITZGERALD and MENDOZA. The Sergeant pointed at them. "Hey! You four haul ass off that dropship and prepare to repel boarders!"

"What?" complained Bisenti.

"Cortana says. Now get movin', or I'll show you my gun! And you know which one."

The Marines broke into a sweat and complied, needless to say.

A lone crewman showed asked what he could do to help.
"You can help," replied a Corporal, "by attaching these Scorpions and Warthogs to the Pelicans."

The man hopped in a 'Hog and paused. "Hey, how do I turn this thing on?"

"Flip the ignition switch," replied the Marine.

The crewman started the vehicle and accidentally drove off a ramp. Fortunately, the LRV flipped right side up. Another crewman counted the vehicles. In all, eight M12 Warthog light reconnaissance vehicles, three Pelicans, four M808B Scorpion main battle tanks and one Longsword fighter sat in this particular hangar—against God-only-knew how many Ghosts, Wraiths and Banshees. The mere thought of their numerical disadvantage made the technician wet his pants.

Thom Shephard, the cryostorage technician on duty, burst into the appropriate room and began administering stimulants to the still-unconscious occupant of Cryo Unit Two. "Where the hell is Sam?" he yelled to the bridge. "I'm blowing the pins in five!"

Meanwhile, down in the cryotube, a green-armored figure stirred, passed gas, yawned and went back to sleep.

AUUGAA! "A—D'OH!" Aboard the Autumn, Tech Officer Third Class Sam Marcus hit his head on a lamp and knocked himself out. When he came to, Thom was yelling over the intercom, "GODDAMMIT, SAM, GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!"

Sam gulped and complied without getting into uniform. Other crewmembers raised eyebrows at the man as he sprinted past them, clad in naught but his olive-drab briefs. He hit his face on the door, opened it and stumbled into the Observation Bay. Rubbing his head, he yelled to his crewmate, "WHAT NOW?"

"Ssssssh!" Thom hissed from Cryo B. He eyed the cryotube nervously. "You know how cranky he gets when you wake him up that way!"

The cryotube's occupant abruptly banged against the seal. Both men jumped before realizing it was just a reflex.

"Okay," Thom said softly, "let's just defrost him very, very quietly."

Sam punched in his passcode, which happened to be his wedding anniversary. His hand shook as he reached for the appropriate button. He whispered a prayer before pressing it.

The Master Chief dreamt that he was in a large, warm bubble, surrounded by cotton candy, while "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" played from nowhere. He felt so very cozy, sucking his thumb, which he actually was trying to do in his sleep. Suddenly, the music stopped, then, his mother picked him and dropped him on his head. He yelped and looked at her with wide eyes, only to find that she'd transformed into Dr. Catherine Halsey, a researcher he knew well from the SPARTAN-II project. She picked him up and dropped him on his head, as well.

The Chief got back up. Then, Cortana picked him up and threw him out of the bubble. He slammed into a pole stuck in the cotton candy, in the process knocking an MA5B assault rifle from atop it. The gun hit him on the noggin. The Chief grabbed the weapon and aimed it at what was now what appeared to be a giant, deformed, undead teddy bear. It roared at him and he instantly wet his pants. He screamed back in fright, "RAAAAAARRR, YOURSELF!"

The teddy bear vanished with a poof, and the SPARTAN woke up.

Thom quickly backed away as the nightmare in green MJOLNIR Mark V armor kicked the cryotube open and leapt out, howling at the top of his lungs. The SPARTAN put Thom in a chokehold and yelled, "ARE YOU A 'COVIE-NANT?'"

Thom gasped, "No! I'm a UNSC technician!"

The Chief growled, "WRONG ANSWER!" and drew his arm back.

The Tech Officer cried, "I mean, EBSK!"



With a loud war cry of incomprehensible gibberish, the Chief tossed Thom across the room and bellowed, "EVERYBODY SMILES AT KITTENS!"

Up at the Observation Bay, Sam screamed like a little girl at what happened. Instantly, the SPARTAN jumped up to the window and beat his fists against it.

"S-s-sir, p-p-please c-c-cool it," stuttered the techie. The Master Chief roared in reply, prompting Tech Officer Marcus to cower under his panel. Suddenly, he farted, which calmed him down a bit. He dropped back down to the floor.

Thom dizzily limped back to where the Master Chief stood. "Sorry for the quick thaw, Master Chief, but things are a bit hectic right now."

Sam peeked out the window, still shivering. "G-good morning, sir."

Thom said, "We need to run a few tests on your suit's diagnostics." He gestured to a red square. "Please follow me, sir."

Sam punched some keys. "I'm putting your health monitor online."

The Master Chief glanced at the blue squares that formed in the upper right-hand corner of his heads-up display. "Yay!" he squealed.

Thom instructed him to stand on the square. Sam activated the armor's targeting reticule.

The Chief looked at an array of lights in sequence.

Sam checked the panel and noticed a problem. "Sir, I'm getting some calibration errors. I'm gonna invert your looking pitch. Try it again."

The Chief willed his head to move up, but instead it went down, and vice versa. "I don't like this!"

"Okay, d'you want to stick with the first setting?"

"Yeeess!" said the Chief in an annoyed tone before following Thom to a yellow square.

"Shields are charging."

"Ah! What the—" The shield meter appeared above the health display. A machine encircling the square he stood on fed power to the shields.

Sam pressed another button. "Let's test the auto-recharge."

The Chief shuddered as he felt negative energy zap away his shields and yelped as he heard a loud alarm in his helmet.

Thom said, "Easy, Chief. That sound will let you know when your shields are low or depleted, so you have to find cover to let them recharge. Okay, now let's get you a weapon at the armory." Both men were stopped in their tracks by the intercom. "Bridge to Cryo B. Send the Master Chief to the bridge immediately."
"Captain, we'll have to skip the weapons diagnostics and I—"

"On the double, crewman," Keyes barked.

Thom shrugged and eyed the Chief. "Seems the skipper is a bit jumpy. We'll find you weapons later." He turned to Sam. "Hey, you better get to an evac station."

"Don't worry. I just have to reset the computer and—"

Something banged against the bay door.

Sam saw the silhouettes of Elites outside and activated the blast doors, but that slowed the Covenant troops for mere seconds as they used their plasma rifles to burn their way in.

"They're breaching the door! No, please! Somebody help—"

A burst of plasma fire struck him in the crotch. Sam felt tears come to his eyes as his genitals were blistered. "It burns!"

The Elites crowded into the room and prepared to fire. Sam jumped for his wife's picture, but he didn't make it. The lead Elite—a commando, judging from its black armor—shot him in the back.

Thom cried, "SAM!" He couldn't bear to watch the Elites hump his comrade's corpse.

The Master Chief gasped, "Holy organic donuts!"

The Tech Officer tapped his shoulder and said, "C'mon! We gotta get the hell outta here!"

The Chief ran after Thom down a corridor. He turned and jumped over some power conduits as Thom said, "Where the hell are you—" BOOM! "AAAHH!" An explosion blew the door—and Thom—to pieces.

Our mentally-unbalanced hero ducked through a hatch and nearly ran into a rookie Elite. He dodged its punch and ran past a pair of Marines, who fired on the alien trooper. His footsteps took him past some Navy guys trying to close blast doors on Covenant raiders on opposite sides of the corridor. One screamed, "I'm a cowardly fool!" and promptly committed suicide. An Australian Marine said, "The Captain needs you on the bridge ASAP. Follow me, sir."

The Marine didn't move right away, so the Chief punched him. The Marine cried, "Crikey!" before stepping out of the way. "You want a Dubbo knuckle sandwich?"

The Chief shrugged and moved on.

He made it to the bridge, where he found the Captain staring blankly at a 2D holomap. The Master Chief stuck a hand behind the screen and waved, but Keyes didn't even blink. Exasperated, the Chief muttered, "Hmph!" and walked to a point behind the officer. "Captain Keyes."

"Good to see you, Chief," the Captain said. "We're in a hell of a pickle. Cortana tried her best, but we never really had a chance."

Said AI materialized from a projector. The SPARTAN noted how she resembled a young Dr. Halsey, except that she was purple and had lines of code scrolling across her body.

"A single Halcyon-class cruiser," said Cortana, "against a dozen Covenant ships. With those odds, we still had three—" She paused, then amended, "Make that four kills." She turned to the Chief. "Sleep well?"

"Yep," acknowledged the Master Chief. "No thanks to your driving."

She smiled. "So you did miss me."

Suddenly, the Autumn shuddered violently, and a nearby crewmember wet his pants. The Captain said, "I never knew this was here," and climbed up from a space hidden between two computers. "Report."

Lieutenant Hikowa said, "Antimatter charge, I think."

"Oh, great! They toasted the MAC gun!" yelled another tech.

Cortana frowned. "There goes my last defensive option."

"Hmm." Captain Keyes once again stared blankly at the map. Fifteen minutes passed before he said, "I guess we should abandon ship."

"IT TOOK YOU THAT LONG?" Cortana screamed at him.

"Don't blame me. Blame my numerous concussions. And the fact that I hate thinking."

"Funny. I never would have guessed, considering you're a brilliant tactician." Cortana was so sarcastic that even a retarded Mexican Sasquatch would know, but the Captain merely replied, "Thanks for the compliment. If you weren't an AI, I'd promote you."

Cortana felt disgusted by his obliviousness.

The Captain thought for another ten seconds. "All right, I'm initiating Cole Protocol, Article Two. Everybody abandons ship. That means you, too, Cortana."

Cortana harrumphed and retorted, "While you go down with the ship?"

"Er...kind of. That ring thing—I'm going to try to land the Autumn on it."

Cortana shook her head. "With all due respect, this war has enough dead heroes."

"Suit yourself. You're welcome to stay here and wait for the Covenant to find their way here and capture you. Of course, if you did that, they'd learn where Earth is, so..." Keyes let the comment dangle. To his satisfaction, the AI rolled her eyes and muttered, "Fine. Yank me."

As the Master Chief inserted the data crystal chip into his helmet, Captain Keyes ordered, "That's where you come in. Don't let the Covenant get Cortana. Oh...and take a bottle of tequila and six cigars with you. Maybe we'll find some time to play that game again." He nodded hintingly at the Chief and poked him in the crotch a few times with a .50-caliber M6D pistol. "Here. I don't keep it loaded, so you'll have to find ammo as you go."

The Master Chief, afraid that the Captain would molest him now instead of on the ring world, pistol-whipped the other guy in the groin and took off.

Captain Keyes stood there expressionlessly for a few seconds before he felt the pain. "...Ow."

Cortana was shocked at the Master Chief's action and yelled, "What the hell are you doing?"

"Um...I hit him in the nuts," the SPARTAN replied. "Please don't call—"


The Chief peed his pants as he heard a platoon of heavily-armed Marines charge into the room. He was about to open fire on them when Cortana suddenly said, "Never mind." The Marines stopped in their tracks. "Aww, man," one grumbled.

The Master Chief continued to the door, only to be greeted by three Grunts. They all ran for cover as he came into view, firing wildly with their plasma pistols. The Chief giggled and put a bullet in each one's head.

The sound of combat brought him to the mess hall. Some Covies were busy slugging it out with the Marines from earlier. On the floor lay an assault rifle, which he picked up, squealing in delight. He charged into the room with the gun blazing and accidentally shot a Marine.

"Would you mind not shooting my men?" shouted a black Marine, whom the Chief recognized as Sergeant Avery Johnson. He ignored the Sergeant, continuing to spray. One by one, the remaining Marines threw themselves prone on the floor to avoid his wild, ricocheting fire.

Johnson stuck his own rifle in the Chief's face. "Control your anger!"

The Chief threw a punch, and Johnson's rifle went flying across the room.

Johnson went ballistic. "THAT'S IT! I'M TAKING OFF MY BELT!"

The Chief screamed, "AAAAHH!" Everyone knew that the Sergeant's belt was by far the most effective weapon in the UNSC's arsenal. No other belt could compare. It looked like your standard-issue belt, but rumor said that it could kill a Hunter with just a single hit. The only problem was that it did almost nothing to hold one's pants up.

Unfortunately, Cortana didn't believe the rumors. "Sergeant, as much as I sympathize with you, you do know he's going to tear you a new asshole if you attack him."

"YAAAAH!" WHACK! The SPARTAN was not only sent flying into a wall, but the blow alone killed him. Fortunately, he respawned five seconds later.

"Is it just me, or did he actually kill you with it?" Cortana asked.

Johnson interrupted, "Actually, it's just me. This simple belt is, in my hands, a superweapon. I'll trust you...for now." He pulled up his pants and tried to zip them up, but apparently, the fighting had given him a hard-on. "Ha ha! Look, I can lift weights with it!"

"Ew!" the Master Chief gagged, and ran away.

"OUCH!" The Chief started crying after an Elite punched him. He sat down and whined, then got a most nasty revenge by tearing off the alien warrior's limbs and violently inserting them into its anus.

The Master Chief saw a few Marines firing their weapons. He paused to assist them, first sticking a nearby Grunt with a plasma grenade.

The last five bullets in the current magazine knocked over a Grunt like a bowling pin as he ducked through a hatch and found himself in a dark corridor. He moved on ahead and asked Cortana which way he should go. When she told him "left," he ran smack into a wall. "Ha ha!" the AI chortled. "Sorry. Other way."

After many a clash with the Covenant, the Chief found a lifepod. A Marine tripped and complained, "Oh no!" The Master Chief paused, grabbed the man and chucked him into the vehicle. He found a seat and burped, "PUUUUNCH it. 'Scuse me."

The lifepod rocketed out of the Autumn and dropped down into the atmosphere of the ring world.

The Marine our hero had saved curled into a fetal position. "I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, Mom was right about enlisting, I'm gonna die."

Concerned, the Master Chief asked him, "Would you like me to sit you on my lap and sing you a song? That's what Captain Keyes does to me whenever I go to sleep."

The Marine's jaw dropped. " No, thank you...sir."

Captain Keyes swore he heard guttural, inhuman noises coming from somewhere within the lifepod. He carefully eyed a shimmer in the air and was suddenly hit in the face by an orange liquid. While he stood there with drops of the stuff trickling down his face, a crewmember asked, "W-what is that, sir?"

"I'm not sure," deadpanned the Captain. He wiped it with his finger and tasted it. He smacked his lips. "Hmm...tastes like ketchup. Hand me your firearm, son."

The Corporal frowned. "Sir?"

The Captain yanked the weapon from the man's holster, aimed at the distortion and squeezed off three rounds. A freshly-dead commando Elite materialized into existence and everyone except Keyes realized what the fluids were—Sangheili semen. The alien had been masturbating.

While Keyes nonchalantly dipped French fries into the extraterrestrial's jizz, the appalled Corporal threw up. Then the Cap held a hot dog under the alien's penis and squeezed it, eliciting another round of vomiting.

Puzzled by the ring world's existence, the Master Chief chose to pester Cortana for information. As he put it, "What's a ring doing floating around in orbit between a gas giant and a moon, with no one to put their finger in it?"

"First, ignoramus," said Cortana in an annoyed tone, "it's not a jewelry ring. Second, I don't know anything about it, except that, apparently, the Covenant call it 'Halo' and think it's some retarded divine trinket."

The Chief peered at the object again. "'Halo?' I could think of a better name than that. Like, maybe, 'Bumdiddlyrumskins!' And instead of Threshold, 'Urpalurpadurban!' And instead of Basis, 'Bumskiddlydumchow!'"

Now that is a stupid name, Cortana mused.

"BUMDIDDLYRUMSKINS!" The SPARTAN jumped the pilot, took her seat and seized the controls.

A Marine yelled, "He's gonna kill us all!"

"Chief, we're going in too fast!" cried Cortana.


Two Hunters patrolled a clearing below. According to the Ship Master, the humans would land in this general vicinity. They were both eager to make the first kills of the day.

Unfortunately, a certain human in green armor ended their hopes—and lives—as his lifepod rammed into them and turned them into gooey orange paste.

"OW! EE! OOH!" the Master Chief cried amidst the many bumps. The lifepod at last collided with a boulder and came to an abrupt stop.

"Chief? Chief? Can you hear me now?"

The Master Chief groaned in pain, so Cortana said, "Good."

The Chief opened his eyes to see that all the Marines were dead. "What...happened?"

"You didn't have time to take your meds."

That was all he needed to hear. "Ohhh."

"Dammit, sooner or later, someone's going to realize I'm covering for you. I mean, I'm surprised they didn't figure it out at Reach."

"Wait. I thought the Covenant glassed Reach," mumbled the Master Chief. "They fired their plasma cannons and...oh. Oops." He suddenly remembered that he had snuck aboard a Covenant cruiser and had curiously pushed a button—which transmitted "open fire" orders to the Covenant fleet. I've been a very bad boy.

The Chief hopped out into the open, scavenged some ammunition and grenades, then made headway for the hills, just as a Covenant dropship flew towards the crash site. Cortana advised him to stay hidden and thereby trick them into thinking there were no survivors. Suddenly, he heard a loud noise and looked up to see a Banshee fly right over him. Thinking fast, he let his assault rifle do the talking—or rather, screaming. In less than a minute, the alien gunship slammed into another one, fell out of the air and pulverized the newly-arrived Covenant squad.

He giggled, "That is why I am alive and you are dead."

But there were more alien cannon fodder waiting for him among the rocks. The SPARTAN was forced to adjust to fighting alone as his rifle belched, plasma bolts flew and Grunts had panic attacks. After that, it was a simple matter to dispossess any plasma grenades, kick some corpses and move on.

His enhanced hearing picked up the sounds of battle coming from some sort of fortification up ahead. He surveyed the area using the pistol's 2x scope. "Well, well, well. What have we here? Fire Team Charlie and a buttload of Covies! I'm not scared."

Nine shots rang out and an Elite died holding its own innards. Their courage renewed, the Marines poured fire into the freaked-out Grunts.

"Hi, Sergeant Johnson!"

"Wassup, Chief? Until you showed up, I thought we were done for," the macho black man replied. "Now all we need is a Warthog."

Private Bisenti tapped his CO's shoulder and pointed out, "Might as well wish for a bomb that can destroy a planet, Sarge, 'cause I see two enemy dropships inbound."

The Master Chief saw that Bisenti was correct. If he didn't do something, they were all screwed. He snuck through the structures until he was just mere feet from one dropship. He planted a couple of plasma grenades, ran on to the next transport, chucked a few more and was pleased to hear explosions and screams.

A Pelican dropship flew in. "Echo 419 to Fire Team Charlie. I think you'll need this Warthog if you want to get to those lifepods before the Covenant do."

The Chief grinned behind his visor and raced down to where Flight Captain Carol "Foehammer" Rawley had deposited the 'Hog. A Marine already occupied the shotgun seat, which was funny, since the Marine had an assault rifle. Sergeant Johnson yelled, "Volunteers, step up! Oh, wait. Never mind! That machine gun is all mine, baby!" He hopped onto the turret and rubbed his crotch against it. "Mmm, I have a boner for big 'uns. Ha ha! Get it? 'Big guns?' Ha!"

The Master Chief was about to take the wheel when the Marine, Private First Class Michael Fitzgerald, said, "Sir, I've got a new weapon for you." He handed the super soldier a firearm the size of a fuel rod gun. "Meet the M111 battle cannon. It's a big, nasty 40mm light mortar gun."

The Master Chief drooled as the weapon fell into his lap. Johnson had an instant orgasm. "That is the biggest dildo of death I've ever seen since I played BLACK. No pun intended."

As the Warthog drove through the "unnatural formation," the Master Chief saw a small green blur shoot past them in the other direction. He hiccupped, "What was that? A roadrunner? MEEP MEEP!"

Cortana explained that the UNSC had developed an ATV-like vehicle called the Mongoose, but because of a high turnover rate, it was deemed too dangerous and junked, except for a few which the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers liked to use every now and then.

"Looks like that thing's done an 'Anglica,' if you ask me," the SPARTAN commented, referring to the magic Ford car from a Harry Potter book. He chatted with Fitzgerald and Johnson for a little bit as they followed the tunnel to a jump. The gap was easily cleared and the Warthog twisted and turned until they reached a large area with a cornucopia of strange structures—not to mention there were Covenant all over.

"Contact!" yelled Fitzgerald as he opened fire.

An Elite cried something the Master Chief couldn't understand and sprayed the 'Hog with plasma fire. The Chief quickly turned the vehicle and ran the eight-foot alien over.

Another of the purple-blooded warriors fired a needler and hit Johnson in the backside. The shards stuck for a few seconds, then exploded. The Sergeant screamed in agony, "AAAGH! MY ASS! MY BEAUTIFUL, BLACK ASS!" He aimed at the Elite and gave it 12.7×99mm hell.

The Master Chief disembarked and brought out the battle cannon. He sent one shot into a trio of Elites and shouted in joy as they were very nearly vaporized. Two shots more, and to his bewilderment, the gun clicked. "WHAT?" the Chief yelped. "Don't tell me it can only shoot three rounds at a time!"

Cortana explained to him that although the gun was insanely powerful, it had a limited capacity, and it took the average Marine thirty seconds to reload.

"Why thirty seconds?"

"Because you have to manually remove the spent casings. This thing works like a revolver and a pump-action put together."

The Master Chief grumbled as he turned a crank on the gun to get at the empties. Then he had to repeat this process to reload it, then finally cock it. "I," he complained, "hate this thing."

Fitzgerald peered over the lip of a gap and spat into the depths. "Welp...that's it. We. Are. Screwed."

"I don't think so," Cortana assured him. "There's a panel to activate some weird kind of bridge. How it's weird and exactly where the panel is, I dunno."

The Chief pulled the 'Hog over to a staircase. As soon as his feet touched the ground, Covenant troops poured out from every direction. The LAAG thundered, giving him enough time to move up the stairs—only to bump smack into a veteran Elite packing an energy sword. He quickly eye-poked the alien, stole its weapon and rammed it up its ass, and listened to its death rattle—or rather, death "blargh"—as he made his way to the panel. He touched a button and a bucket of alien urine fell on him. "Dangit!" He pressed another one. This time, a bridge of light slowly materialized in the gap.

When the petty officer got back, he heard a groan and spun to see Sergeant Johnson having fun with himself, using a charged plasma pistol like a vibrator. The Chief squealed in disgust, the Marine yelled and the weapon fired. Charged shots have a homing effect, so the SPARTAN couldn't duck in time and got hit in the chest. His shields died and the Jackal piss evaporated.

Johnson and the Master Chief didn't talk to each other for the rest of the drive. After they found a Marine fire team holed up in some structures, they wiped out the local Covenant units, waited for Foehammer to show up, moved on, repeat ad nauseam. Finally, they joined the last UNSC forces in hopping aboard Echo 419.

The Master Chief piped up, "I don't suppose anybody knows where Cappy Keyes is."

"Oh, do I know," Foehammer said. "His lifepod landed too close to a Covenant cruiser, the Truth and Reconciliation. That's where we're goin'."

The Chief slept for an hour and a half during the flight. He was roused from dreamland by a funky odor and opened his eyes to see the grinning mug of Johnson right in his visored face. "Aah!"

"HA HA! I knew that would wake him up!" The noncom grabbed his crotch. "Mmm. Marines, I have a boner! Do you know what that means?"

The Marines groaned. "That you're ready for action, Sarge."

Johnson grinned. "They don't call me Sergeant Johnson for nothing! Take a look!" With that he pulled his pants and underwear down. "I WANT YOU TO LOOK AT GOD'S CREATION AND SAY 'HALLELUJAH!'"

A couple of Marines groaned in disgust, a few looked away and one vomited, but none complied.

The "gun-ho" officer nodded. "Okay, then. There'll be a court-martial for each and every one of you."

"Sergeant, curb your goddamn skull cave and get ready," Foehammer ordered.

"Yes, ma'am...and may I say, you have lovely jugs?"

Foehammer scoffed and muttered under her breath. "I can't believe I used to go out with you."

"It's 'cause I'm black, ain't it?"

"Of course not, you idiot!"

"Yeah, 'cause my big black wang was too beaucoup for little ol' you!"

Bisenti shot a grin at the Chief. "I love it when they fight."

The Chief, however, was terrified of the Sarge's massive erection, and the way it twitched every time he yelled.

"You know what?" Foehammer shrieked. "I'm sick of you unendingly preaching about your idiotic excuse for a Vienna sausage!"

The African-American man gasped in outrage amid his comrades' "ooh's." "How dare you! I'll have you know this wonder of God was lovingly developed by twelve years of penis pumping and jelqueing!" He banged on the cockpit door repeatedly. "Come out here and suck it, Carol! Suck it! SUCK IIIIIIT!"

An Aussie Marine named Private Charlie "Chips" Dubbo had had enough, and he jumped out of the dropship's open hatch. "Let's do it! Let's go!" The others, Johnson included, were quick to follow his lead. "Hit it, Marines! Go go go! The Corps ain't payin' us by the hour!"

In addition to Johnson, the Chief was benefited by the presence of another Sergeant, a Caucasian Helljumper named Stacker.

"So, how am I going to help again?" the Master Chief asked Cortana.

"Just stick to the high ground to the right. Recon the Covenant positions. I recommend using your sniper rifle to take out the enemy guns."

The Marines followed, but Cortana instructed them to wait until the Covenant troops returned fire. The Master Chief giggled happily as he crouched between some boulders. He zoomed in to 10x magnification and put a round through an Elite's head. However, he didn't expect the tremendous—even for him—recoil, and if it weren't for the armor's shields, the butt would've smashed his visor in. He yelped in pain and turned to find another spot, but a Jackal saw him and fired a charged shot. Someone shouted, "All right!" as the Marines swarmed.

"Warning! A Grunt's running for that stationary gun!"

The Chief slung the rifle, jumped into the fray and intercepted the diminutive alien. "Oh, no, you don't!" He picked the Grunt up, yanked its breath mask off and punted it over the cliff like a football.

It was impossible to hear if the Grunt screamed on the way down, given the intermittent thump, thump, thump of automatic gunfire and the whine of plasma weapons. The humans managed to push forward, getting reinforcements from Foehammer later on.

Thirty minutes later, the fighting ended. The Chief flipped a fallen Shade out of his way and crouched low as he tiptoed to the area directly beneath the Truth and Reconciliation. He noted the revealing glow of Covenant work lights and looked for shadowy hiding spots. There were none—so that called for a new plan.

"URBLRRBLRRBLRRBLRR!" The SPARTAN sprinted from cover, stentorian babble shooting like bullets from his mouth. He dashed from one enemy to the next, sticking plasma grenades to Shades and ripping off the heads of the shrieking Covies with his bare hands.

He had made it to the gravity lift when two colossal figures dropped from the cruiser and almost squashed him flat. The Master Chief screamed at the top of his lungs, "HUNTERRRRRS!" He frantically backpedaled as he fired all sixty assault rifle rounds at one walking tank, but they ricocheted from its near-impenetrable armor, much to the alien behemoth's amusement. The next thing the Chief knew, he felt like he'd been hit by a bullet train. He screeched, "AAAGH!" as his shields almost vanished and he flew over a ravine to land right on top of a Shade. Noticing his location, the Chief grinned, said, "Why, thank you," and positioned himself behind the controls. He fired, and the Hunter had no time to raise its shield, as it was hit with a rain of superheated plasma, which burned through its armor and exited out its spine. With a groan, the twelve-foot-tall monster fell.

The second Hunter bellowed in rage and opened up on the Chief's Shade.

"Sweet salamander's milk!" cried the SPARTAN as a salvo of radioactive energy blew the turret out from under him and sent him tumbling down the cliff. It took him a full hour to climb back up, and by the time he hauled himself over the top, the Covenant forces were wiped out, courtesy of Johnson, Mendoza, Bisenti and Dubbo, whose Australian accent sounded peculiarly fake. "Are you really 'Ostrichian?'" he queried Dubbo.

"Australian? Yeah."

"And you speak a certain dialect of English, which I thought was a kind of muffin, which, in turn, I assumed was a flightless bird."

"You mean a puffin."

"Whatever," the Master Chief snorted.

The private looked thoughtful. "Y'know, ever since a rabid kangaroo bit off my pecker, my dad always told me, 'Chips, you need to go out there and make a living, considering you'll never be able to make one.' So I figured, if I wanted to see the galaxy, meet interesting people and kill them, why not join the UNSC?"

"EBSK," the Chief corrected.

Dubbo rolled his eyes and snapped, "Shut up. Enough with your 'EBSK' business. We are all sick and tired of that ratshit."

"Yeah!" agreed Johnson. "U. N. S. C, Chief."

"EBSK," the Chief growled forcefully in a demonic-sounding voice. Johnson promptly backed off.

Dubbo did not, however. He pressed, "United Nations Space Comm—"

"Dubbo," ordered the worried Sergeant, "abort the conversation."


The Master Chief snorted like a bull and rumbled, "EVERYBODY SMILES AT KITTENS!" He kicked the Marine in the nuts, hard. Dubbo doubled over, retching and hacking.

Suddenly, a familiar Marine crawled out from under a rock. "Um...Private First Class Fitzgerald, reporting for duty, sir," he said, saluting Johnson while Dubbo was still rolling around and groaning in pain.

The Sergeant returned the gesture in an unusual way.

"Sarge, you salute over your head, remember?"

"I am saluting over my head, boy. My other one. Wanna see it?"

Fitzgerald blanched and shuddered. "Sir, no, sir!"

The Marines all positioned themselves on the platform where the gravity lift landed. Johnson briefed them, "Cortana says we just wait for the damn thing to activate. Hopefully, the weight of my equipment will not weigh us down."

"Your equipment?" said Mendoza.

"You know," said Sergeant Johnson, pointing to his crotch. "My turret."

Everybody—even Cortana—groaned.

"Whee!" the Master Chief squealed as he shot up into the Truth and Reconciliation.

"Yeehaw!" Fitzgerald yelled.

"Woohoo!" Dubbo whooped.

"¡Macho, oh, macho!" Mendoza exclaimed.

"AAH!" Bisenti screamed.

"Yeah, baby!" Johnson yodeled.

They were unceremoniously deposited in the belly of the spacefaring beast. The Sergeant marveled, "This place looks like...uh...Prince on acid."

The Marines fanned out, taking positions at each door. Bisenti whispered, "There's no Covenant. Maybe nobody's home."

A door hissed open and a SpecOps Elite, backed up by veteran Grunts, spilled into the bay. Fitzgerald grabbed Bisenti and hauled him behind the cover of some crates. "'No Covenant!'" he mocked as the two returned fire. "You just had to open your mouth, didn't you?"

The Master Chief unholstered his pistol. He held down the trigger and was pleased to see the Elite go down with three shots to the crotch.

Mendoza yelled, "Frag out!" and chucked a fragmentation grenade, killing the Grunts.

With the immediate area secure, the Marines hustled up and down corridors, silencing the Covenant at leisure and shouting at Cortana to unlock doors. It seemed as if everywhere they went, there was an eight-foot mandibled monstrosity just waiting to get its ass beaten bloody. By the time the rescue force had made it to the second level, the Master Chief had used up all his M6D ammo and swapped it for a plasma rifle.

One long hour later, the Chief leaned against a wall, gasped for breath and dropped to his belly. If this door didn't lead to Captain Keyes, he was ready to submit and go home away from home. He crawled exhaustedly through the opening and saw a room with cells in the walls—and something moving. One burst and the camouflaged Elite kicked the bucket. Rising to his feet, the SPARTAN checked the room—it was clear. The cells were empty, save for one that contained a dead, naked woman. The corpse was battered and sported multicolored stains on it, and near it lay a frayed Navy uniform, on the breast of which was printed DOWSKI.

Johnson took one look at the remains and promptly regurgitated his MRE. "Those...alien bastards! They've never done something like THIS!"

"Or female," offered Bisenti. Everyone eyed him curiously. "'s true."

"HEY!" came a cry from the opposite door. "GET ME OUTTA HERE! HELP!"

The Chief's bullets entered the room ahead of him and perforated a gold-armored Elite about to sexually assault a half-naked Marine—a man, as if to prove Bisenti's point.

"Oh, thank you. Thank you, Chief," the guy said as he picked up a fallen MA5B.

The Chief checked the amount of rounds he carried. "Hey," he told the Marine, "I need your ammo."

The guy shook his head, rifle clutched to his chest. "No, sir. This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine."

The Master Chief chose not to waste munitions and instead not-so-gently clocked the man over the head with the butt of his rifle.

"Ow! What was that for?"

"For being rude," answered the Chief.

"And you're not?" retorted the Marine.

"Just gimme your gun, idiot."


Angered, the Master Chief grabbed the Corporal's assault rifle and appropriated its ammunition.

"How am I gonna defend myself now?"

The Chief looked at him stupidly, kicked a plasma pistol at the Marine's feet and blew a raspberry. The Corporal complained at the size of the weapon's trigger, but took it anyway. "At least it's at a hundred-percent charge."

"Um, hello! I'm right here!" came a voice from one of the cells.

The Master Chief peered at a particular cell and, to his surprise, there was Captain Keyes. The Master Chief opened all the cells, and out walked the Captain.

"Coming here was reckless."

"But, sir—" said the Chief.

"Thanks," added the Captain.

"Oh. You're welcome, sir."

"Listen," said Keyes. "While I was here, I heard the Covenant talking about this ring. They call it Halo—"

"Yes, sir, we know," Cortana interjected crossly.

"You couldn't know that," the Captain said, dumbfounded.

"Yes, I could. I'm an ONI AI, remember? I hack."

"Anyway, as I was saying, the Covenant think Halo is some kind of weapon and are looking for its Control Room."

The Chief sighed. "Let me guess—you want me to find the place before they do."

The Captain shot him a grin. "Bulls-eye."

"It's not that hard to figure out," Cortana deadpanned.

"Sure it is! It took me all day!"

"That's because you're slow. Now how do we get out?"

The Master Chief looked over his shoulder. "Easy as banana pie, Cortana. Just follow the bodies."

Captain Keyes took the controls of their newly-acquired Covenant dropship. "Here we go." The ship lurched and slammed into a wall. "Oops. Wrong way." He adjusted, and the alien vehicle cruised out of the Truth and Reconciliation.

"WHEE!" the Master Chief yodeled as bolts of plasma streamed after them.

The Captain landed the dropship at the UNSC's new local installation—Alpha Base.

Bisenti inhaled sharply. "I'm so happy to be off that smelly ship."

"Funny," said Keyes, "I found the smell to be quite aromatic."

"Did they do something to you, sir?" inquired Fitzgerald.

"I bet they got you borracho, eh, Cappy?" asked Mendoza.

"Sorry, I don't speak Japanese," said Keyes.

"Guys, give him a break," interjected Foehammer. "And stop pinching my ass, Johnson!"

The Sergeant let go and whistled nonchalantly, looking away.

Rawley narrowed her eyes. "I know you did it."

"I know you know. And you know what? I'm gonna busy myself by beating off to your high school photos, Carol!"

"Hey! Don't you dare!"

"Hey, baby, it ain't my fault you showed a lot of C-cup cleavage!" With that, Johnson vacated the premises, hand on crotch.

Rawley said, "Fitzgerald, Dubbo, Chief? You guys are in good shape, so I'll have you on our next operation. Mendoza and Bisenti, the Captain wants you with him."

"Define 'good shape,'" replied Dubbo, pointing to his still-aching genitals.

"Aw, man," Mendoza whined.

"We're stuck with the crazy Captain."

"Yeah, well, let's hope he pulls your pants down first, amigo."

"Fuck you!" Bisenti laughed.

Echo 419 and Bravo 22 flew low over the ocean, heading for an island beach patrolled by Covenant troops. In the first Pelican sat the Master Chief, Sergeant Stacker, Fitzgerald and Dubbo, while the second contained Private First Class Hosky, Corporal Meyer, Lieutenant McPherson and Corporal O'Riley. Bravo 22 landed further up the beach.

Cortana briefed the E419 occupants. "Our objective is to find the map to Halo's Control Room. The Covenant call the map room 'The Silent Cartographer.'''

"So, let me get this straight," the Master Chief said. "Me and just seven Marines are going to locate a heavily-guarded room that, in turn, will help us find an even more heavily-guarded room which, in turn, will help us find an extremely heavily-guarded room."

"Pretty much."

The Chief slumped over in his seat. "Oh, great. By the way, in case I forget to say this later...'Ow.'"

"This is it!" Foehammer yelled. "We're approaching the LZ! It's gonna be hot! Hit it, Marines!"

The Chief and his companions sprang into action. Bravo 22's team was already rumbling with the enemy. 7.62mm and 12.7mm rounds turned the Covenant into corpses. No UNSC lives were lost.

"Woohoo!" Stacker cried, pumping his fists. "We owned these suckers!"

Foehammer returned, saying, "That stupid sonofabitch Johnson should just put a pistol to his crotch and—oh, sorry. Anybody order a Warthog?"

"Didn't know you made house calls, Foehammer!" said Stacker.

Rawley chuckled. "You know our motto: We deliver."

The Chief hurried over to the 'Hog and jumped into the driver's seat. Stacker called shotgun, while Dubbo manned the LAAG with a cry of "Showtime!"

Dirt flew from the Warthog's tires as the Master Chief floored it. The LRV went around a corner and suddenly ran over some Jackals and Grunts and an Elite. Sergeant Stacker said, "That was easy."

The 'Hog ascended a bluff and rolled to a stop. Nearby, a Covenant dropship took off. Dubbo eyed the aircraft, then the building that awaited them. "Okay, how're we supposed to get through that?"

The Master Chief hopped out of the vehicle and crept behind the cover of a log. He targeted an Elite with his pistol. One magazine and one fragmentation grenade later, the Grunts and Jackals were running around, screaming. The Chief reentered the Warthog and drove right into the enemy crowd. Three Elites who'd come out to investigate quickly became roadkill. The SPARTAN drove the 'Hog down into the depths of the building, then parked at the edge of an incline. He crept around the corner, threw a grenade as far as he could, stepped back and listened to the explosion and the ensuing screams. Then, he drove the 'Hog over the surviving Covenant.

"Don't let them lock the doors!" Cortana said.

The Chief followed an Elite as it retreated, but the doors slid shut. "I hate this."

"We'll have to find a way to get this door open."

The SPARTAN complained, "I'm tired of searching for mechanisms."

Cortana agreed, "Aren't we all? Cortana to Captain Keyes."

"Go ahead, Cortana," said Keyes over the cries of Mendoza and Bisenti. The Chief grimaced at the sounds. "Have you found the Silent Cartographer?"


"Come on, I've got two very cute Marines here. When I have fun with them, hours seem to go by."

"P-pinche cabrón..." Mendoza was heard muttering.

Cortana said more calmly, "The Covenant have impeded our progress."

"Huh. Okay. We're still enroute to our objective. Here's the plan. I want you and the Master Chief to use any means necessary to get to the Control Room. Even if it means having barbaric sex with one of the alien bastards."

The Chief gagged.

Stacker said, "Second squad, ready to roll as soon as everybody's topside!"

"Foehammer here. I'll patrol the area and watch out for Covenant bandits."

"Good luck, people. Keyes out. OOOH, BISENTI, YOUR 'A' IS OKAY!"

"Mamma mia!" Bisenti screamed, and the COM went silent.

There was a gurgling sound within the Master Chief's head. Cortana gasped, "Sorry, Chief. I just threw up in your brain."

"That's okay," replied the Chief with a heavy sigh.

Smoke swirled from the LAAG's barrel. The Master Chief hopped down from the mounted gun and turned to Dubbo. "You're right. This thing is neato. Oh, by the way," said the SPARTAN, "sorry about kicking you in the mommy-daddy buttons."

"It's okay. Just another body part that's become useless."

Near the foot of the rocky path, Covenant bodies lay in stiff, bloody repose. Not even a Hunter could have survived such heavy sustained fire.

The Master Chief snuck up the trail, assault rifle aimed and ready to make Swiss cheese out of any aliens that dared to get in his way.

SNAP! "Oh, crap."

A snapping branch can ruin your whole day if the circumstances are right. For the Master Chief, the circumstances were just perfect. Green and blue pulses were instantly pounding every meter of his position. The Chief waited for the plasma fire to stop, then stood up and threw a plasma grenade like a football. He was pleased to hear a Grunt squeal, "Get it off, get it off," followed immediately by an explosion and the surviving Grunts hollering, "Leader dead! Run away!"

That was his cue to bull his way up the footpath, spitting death from his weapons and treating the Covies like punching bags. One of the Grunts even attempted to surrender—" your friend?"—and soon sported a big gray lump on its cranium.

Around the bend, there was a strange building which had no visible entrance. The Chief hid behind a tree and grabbed a fallen M6D pistol. Metallic shuffling noises emanated from the structure. He slowly and carefully took a peek.

Two Hunters were looking at something on the ground. They had their backs to him. Carefully, he zoomed in and put a .50-caliber slug each into said exposed body parts. They collapsed and he picked up whatever had piqued their interest.

"BOOOOLAAAAAAAHH!" Vomit splashed all over the piece of Covenant pornography. "Elites doing it with humans!" He put his helmet back on, looked at the cover and thought, Sergeant Johnson might like this.

"Oh yeah...OH YEAH! CAROL, CAROL, CAAAAAAROOOLLL...RRRRRNNNNNN...done!" Johnson moaned. He looked down and noticed he'd accidentally gotten the white fluid all over Foehammer's bunk. "Oh shit." He looked at her yearbook photo. "Damn, baby. You've really filled out those bras since high school."

Captain Keyes appeared at the door.

"GAH!" Johnson yelped, searching for his clothes. "What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks are you doing, sir?"

Keyes replied, "I always inspect the bunks to check for condoms and porno."

"Because it's better if the troops have no distractions?" said Johnson.

"Actually, I just want them for myself!" replied Keyes happily.

"Incidentally, sir, when am I gonna get promoted? I've killed Elites with no-scope crotchshots and a lot of other cool stuff."

The Captain grinned. "I could promote you. But it has to be for more—how should I put this?—personal reasons."

Johnson gulped and prepared to make a break for the door if need be. "W-what might those be, sir?"

"These," said the other man, and he thus disrobed and jumped the horrified black NCO.

"SirI'mfeelingveryweirdrightn—O-O SAY, CAN YOU SEEEEEEEEE?"

"Let me demonstrate the real Keyes Loop, Sergeant."


The Master Chief thought he heard a scream, and "The Star-Spangled Banner." He shook his head and continued driving the Warthog. Along with it, he had acquired a rocket launcher from Bravo 22's wreck.

When he made it back to the other Marines' position, only Fitzgerald was there. The leatherneck was crouching behind a rock. "Chief! What took you?"

"We had to find the Vasectomy Center first."

Fitzgerald couldn't help but laugh weakly at that one. "Yeah, well...I could use a ride."

"Hop on, Fitzy."

Fitzgerald manned the LAAG as the Master Chief drove back to where he'd left Dubbo and Stacker. "By the way, sir, I think you meant 'Security Center.'"

"Don't blame me, blame my limited vacant apiary!"

"You mean 'vocabulary!'"

"See what I mean?"

Stacker was the first one to ask Fitzgerald what had happened. "Come on, out with it, Marine, while we're all young and horny...actually, scratch that last bit."

"Sarge, the Lieutenant and his team didn't make it." Fitzgerald looked up at the building that housed the Silent Cartographer. "The Covenant sent Hunters."

Sometimes, it took long for the Chief to process things. By the time he got to "Hunters," the 'Hog was struck by a green projectile and rolled over.

The Master Chief knew that the Marines couldn't handle the threat alone. It was time for him to take matters into his own superstrong, green-armored hands. He aimed the launcher and fired. The 102mm projectile flew straight and true and blew the head off of one Hunter in a shower of orange flame and gore.

The second Hunter was about to shoot back, but it only had time to roar in frustration before the next rocket explosively relieved it of the misery of life.

Dubbo whooped, "Yeah!"

"Couldn't have done better myself!" said Stacker.

"Of course not, silly," the Chief replied, not knowing that the speech was a compliment. "You're a Marine, not a SPARTAN."

The Chief drove the LRV all the way down to the formerly-locked door. The Marines wanted to follow him, but Cortana advised that their presence would attract unwanted attention.

The Master Chief noticed how many Covenant were showing up on his motion tracker. "You know what gets my game face on?"

"No," said Cortana and the Marines, "what?"

"Pac-Man. I like to think I'm him, the Covies are the ghosts, and I just have to imagine there are little white dots I can eat every step of the way." The Chief whacked an Elite in the back of the head, killing it instantly, and started shouting "Wokka" all the way down to the Silent Cartographer. When he arrived, he yelled, "HIGH SCORE!"

"Huh," Cortana said as the map materialized in front of them. "The Control Room looks a shrine or something."

Satisfied, the Master Chief yelled, "PAC-MAN TIME!" and took off back to his comrades. By the time he had arrived, Fitzgerald, Dubbo and Stacker were all trying to fend off...

"Is that an angry Chinese waiter?" asked the Chief.

"No, it's an Elite Zealot." said Cortana.

"WOKKAWOKKAWOKKA!" screamed the Chief, punching the gold-armored alien from behind. It roared and just about took his head off with its plasma sword. He kicked it in the crotch, grabbed the sword—again—and shoved it up its ass.

The Elite bellowed in pain, "BLAAAARGH!" as it died.

Cortana tried to contact the Captain as the 'Hog made it out into the sunlight. Foehammer responded, "The Captain is unavailable. His ship may be out of range or having equipment problems."

Echo 419 dropped down and opened its hatch. The Master Chief and the Marines hopped aboard.

Rawley asked, "Cortana, these coordinates...are you sure they're right? They lead underground."

"Mm-hm," answered the AI. "The Covenant did a thorough seismic scan. My analysis shows that Halo is honeycombed with deep tunnels—they circle the whole ring."

"This Pelican won't turn on a dime, you know."

"Look at it this way, Foehammer. The last thing the Covenant will expect is an aerial insertion from underground."

Suddenly, the COM came alive with Sergeant Johnson's voice. "Carol, baby, are there any Marines on board?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I need reinforcements. Really, really badly."

"Okay. What's your position?"



"Okay, okay, okay. I'm...uh...somewhere in the snow."

Foehammer thumped her helmet on the instrument panel. "Real helpful."

Johnson growled, "Fine! There's a large rock to my right and a cave in front of me."

"Just use your damn beacon."

"OKAY!" yelled the egotistical Marine.

The Grunt couldn't stay awake. It was so bored. What made the Elites so sure the enemy would even find this place?

It was about to sit down and go to sleep when it heard a strange noise. The Grunt approached the edge and was sniffing the air curiously when Echo 419 rose up from below. The Grunt yelped and, along with its equally freaked-out fellows, made haste toward the door.

"WHEEEEE!" the Master Chief squealed as he jumped from the Pelican in midair. He threw a frag grenade at the open door. It closed right after the grenade went through. As the Chief headed for a Shade gun, the door opened to admit an Elite and the grenade detonated. A Grunt or two went flying and the Elite's weakened shielding proved no match for the powerful plasma cannon.

With the aliens eliminated, he continued on into a corridor and killed an Elite from behind. He silently killed each and every Grunt in the room, amused to hear them squeak, "Do! Re! Mi! Fa! So! La! Ti! Do!"

"Heh heh heh."

The Master Chief came out onto some sort of bridge. Grunts lay sleeping here and there. Easily dispatching them, he was thinking over whether or not to use a Shade when a Pelican flew by and the radio squawked, "This is Fire Team Zulu to any UNSC forces. Does anyone copy?"

"Fire Team Zulu, this is Cortana. Hold position. We're on our way."

"Roger that. Make it quick."

Suddenly, the Chief thought he could hear dramatic music in his head. "Ahem. Cortana?"

"Sorry." The music stopped.

He inhaled and exhaled deeply, raised his gun and sprinted across, pausing only to shoot the occasional Jackal or Grunt.

Plasma blew out the glass beneath his feet and he fell to another level. An Elite clubbed him in the head, but the SPARTAN recovered quickly and threw a grenade, which the alien jumped off the bridge to avoid. "BLAAARGH!" it screamed as it realized its mistake, but, of course, it was too late.

The Chief ducked and dodged like a drunken man in a tutu as he neared the other side. Killing more Grunts, he ascended some stairs and ran right into another Zealot. He rolled to the left, but the sword hit him and drained his shields completely. Angrily, the Chief slammed a foot on the Elite's foot and—for the third time in a row—stuffed the sword inside its ass like a carrot in a chicken.

The Master Chief at last dove headfirst through the door into another hallway, where more Covenant soldiers tried to impede him. He ran away and made it to an elevator. He pressed a button just as a Grunt stupidly collided with the closed door. Even more unfortunately for the diminutive alien trooper, it got its piglike head stuck between the hatch. The Master Chief laughed even as his armor was sprayed with a coat of blue Grunt blood.

More sleeping Grunts awaited him, allowing our hero to further refine his expert melee skills. The Chief heard a very loud explosion which shook the entire corridor. He ducked and yelped, "What the bunny buttersticks was that?"

The answer came to him—or rather, he came to it. Fire Team Zulu—or part of it—was under attack from two Shades and—as if to prove that bad luck came in threes—a Wraith mortar tank. The Master Chief watched in amazement as the tank discharged a plasma bomb and killed all five Marines as well as knocked their fallen Warthog rightside up. He turned to the near Shade, which was turning to target him and muttered, "Crap."

To the Covenant's surprise, they saw a lone green figure running, arms in the air and screaming at the top of its lungs, for the safety of the human vehicle. The Master Chief quickly exchanged his assault rifle and pistol for a sniper rifle and rocket launcher, then fired the latter at the Wraith. The armored vehicle burst into flames, but not before sending one last projectile right where he was standing. Seeing it, he screamed, jumped in the Warthog, realized he was in the passenger seat, got back out, sat in the driver's seat and had driven about five meters when the energy shell impacted. The LRV shook like a jackhammer and very nearly flipped over, but the Chief managed to control it. He gunned past the Wraith over a slight drop and skidded across the snowy ground to discover the majority of Fire Team Zulu, led by an S2-toting Sergeant Johnson, engaged in a heated skirmish with the Covenant.

The Chief took in the sight and gasped loudly. It couldn't be—but there it was. A big, fat M808B Scorpion main battle tank. He happily abandoned the Warthog for the bigger vehicle and was joined by Johnson, Dubbo, Fitzgerald and Stacker. The Master Chief pushed a button and the Scorpion lurched as a 90mm armor-piercing shell zipped from the cannon's barrel and blew a Ghost, an Elite and three Jackals to smithereens. "Now for the machine gun." 7.62mm tracers gutted the gaggle of Grunts.

"I wonder if Grunts ever walk in V formations?" the Chief wondered, driving the tank around a bend to the left. "HONK HONK!"

His choice of direction paid off when the tank ran over an Elite in a Ghost.

"Heads up!" yelled Fitzgerald. "Enemy mortar tanks at my position!"

Indeed, a Wraith was patrolling nearby, while another mortar tank waited further up.

"Time for us to earn our pay, boys!" shouted Dubbo, letting his MA5B rip.

Johnson and Stacker's S2 AM sniper rifles went crack, crack, crack, killing Elites, while the two Privates mopped up the lesser Covenant warriors. The Master Chief fired the cannon over and over again. With each shot, many an alien was blown sky-high. Finally, a Shade perched above a cave opened up on them. As the tank swiveled to target it, the Grunt gunner abandoned the weapon and ran for it. It was too late, however, as the Scorpion fired, the Shade exploded and a part of it flew and ripped the Grunt in half.

But the action was far from over. A pair of Hunters let fly with their integrated fuel rod guns. A single shot from the M808B's cannon sufficed to turn the armored extraterrestrials into orange Jell-O.

BOOM! "Son of a bitch!" Fitzgerald cried. A Banshee had followed them down the tunnel and hit them with its fuel rod gun. The Chief fired the machine gun. Bullets made the gunship's hull spark and eventually blow up. The Master Chief paused to get out and open a door, then drove on.

Plasma bolts, needles and grenades all rained down on the Scorpion as it rumbled across the bridge. The Master Chief kept blasting, whimpering amidst the gunfire, explosions and battle cries. They were taking fire from dozens of Jackals and Grunts, three Shades, two Hunters and a few Elites. "WAAAAH!" the battle-maddened super soldier roared. The Hunters dodged in the wrong direction and fell to their deaths hundreds of feet below.

At long last, the Chief managed to get the far door open. He hopped back into the cockpit and the tank slowly left the enemy behind.

Stacker pumped a fist and yelled, "Did you see that? DID YOU SEE THAT? HOT DAMN, I THOUGHT WE WERE DEAD!"

Dubbo lay back, panting and clutching his heaving chest. "Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God."

Fitzgerald guffawed, "I'M ALIIIIIVE!"

Johnson cackled, "Let's do that AGAIN!"

Suddenly, a plasma grenade came flying out of nowhere, landing on Stacker's shoulder and refusing to let go. "SHIT!" the Sergeant cried as he jumped off the tank. A second later he exploded into tiny bloody bits. Fitzgerald screamed as Stacker's crudely severed arm, still holding the sniper rifle, landed in his lap.

The Scorpion abruptly plummeted off a drop. All four remaining men wailed like banshees. WHUMPF! The tank landed violently. The Chief said, "Okay, guys, you can stop that noise now."

Johnson muttered, "Please tell me I didn't crap myself."

Dubbo held his nose. "Sure smells like it."

At the end of the way, Hunters waited for them to arrive.

"GREAT SCUTTLEBUTT!" cried the Chief as he saw the Hunters. With two well-aimed rockets, and his last, he blew his attackers to hell.

Fitzgerald asked, "'Great scuttlebutt?'"

"What? You think that's weird, you should hear me say, 'Holy wet pajamas!'" The Master Chief spotted an Active Camouflage. "Yoink!"

Something moved up ahead. The Master Chief ducked behind a boulder, carefully aimed at the top of the object and squeezed the trigger. Purple gore spewed and a freshly-dead commando Elite, sword and all, appeared from thin air.

The Chief used the rifle's scope to check out the defenses. The door he wanted to get through was guarded by a red-armored Elite, not to mention a pair of Grunts in Shades.

He tiptoed all the way up a ridge and from there to the door. He backed inside and, as a parting "gift," rolled a grenade between the stationary guns.

Gunfire reached his ears, but he paid it no attention. The Marines could handle themselves. No sooner had he thought that, then the familiar sound of a fuel rod gun blast hitting something boomed, followed by screams from Fitzgerald. Aw, Fig Newtons.

Sergeant Johnson shouted, "NooOOOOO!" All that remained of the Marine was his charred, smoking skeleton, which quickly turned to dust.

"Wait, Chief! Come back! Don't leave me here alone!"

Fortunately for the mad black man, Echo 419 landed, and Foehammer grabbed him and kicked him aboard. "Carol, please! I can explain! That gunk on your bunk wasn't mine!" A pause, then, "WHAT? YOU RAN A DNA TEST! NOOOOOOO!"

Finally, after running through a veritable gauntlet of trigger-happy extraterrestrials, the Master Chief found a Banshee, which he took up to the highest floor of a pyramidlike structure. His motion tracker picked up ten, maybe even fifteen enemies.

Cortana, making her first statement in half an hour, said, "What are you waiting for? Open the door."

The Master Chief gulped as he pressed the button. He turned and hightailed it for the Banshee and had just made it inside the aircraft when dozens of Covies, led by yet another Elite with a sword, ran at him. He simply ignored them and flew the Banshee smack into another door, which he opened, then crashed into a third hatch, which he opened as well. By this time, the Banshee was ready to explode, so the Chief went as fast as he could.

Suddenly, a white light flashed and he found himself out of the alien gunship, which, to his horror, was still moving behind him. "AAAAH!" He ran as fast as he could, but it slammed into him and hurled him into the Control Center's computer. The cartridge containing Cortana fell from his helmet and into a slot.

The Master Chief looked up to see Cortana's hologram looking as if she'd eaten a very tasty bowl of ice cream. "Ow."

"So, are you going to ask—"

"—GAH!" cried the Chief as he freed his bruised body from beneath the Banshee. "—Doing?"

"Never been better! You can't imagine the wealth of information. The fast. It's glorious!"

The Chief hadn't come here to listen to her go espresso on him, so he said, "Okay, how does it work?"

Cortana looked at him strangely. "How does what work?"

"Let's stay focused. Halo, remember? How do we use it against the 'Covie-nant?'"

Cortana's expression turned into one of frustration. She slapped her forehead and snapped, "This ring isn't a cudgel, you ignorant man-child, it's something else…something much more important."


"SHUT UP!" Cortana shouted, and he did. "I was going to say that the Forerunners...wait a minute...yes, the Forerunners built this 'fortress world', that can't be."

The Chief paled; something in the AI's voice right now could make an onion cry. "What's wrong?"

"The Covenant found something, something horrible hidden on this ring. Now they're afraid." Cortana's hologram brightened as she came to a frightening realization. "The Captain! We've got to find the Captain—the weapons cache he wants—it's not really—"

The Master Chief was on the verge of panic himself. "Cortana, talk to me. Please."

"There's no time!" she shouted at him. "Get going! Find Captain Keyes and stop him! Before it's too late!"

"YIPE!" screamed the SPARTAN, wetting his pants as he shot off like a bullet.

Echo 419 settled onto the musty surface of the swamp. Foehammer said, "The last transmission from the Captain's dropship came from this area. That was over twelve hours ago. When you find Captain Keyes, radio in and I'll come and get you."

The Master Chief got up, stumbled and fell headfirst into the putrid water. "GLABBLARGAGBLA!" When he picked himself up, small things were covering his visor. It took him a moment to identify them, and when he did, he screamed. "Leeches? EEEEWW!" He peeled the little bloodsuckers off one by one. Little did he know that his cries had attracted worse creatures than leeches.

There was a tinny noise in the distance. The Chief headed in that direction and soon discovered the wreckage of a Pelican. The noise he'd heard was the radio. No one was aboard, so he figured it was a recording—a pretty staticky one. Hoping to find clues as to Keyes' whereabouts, he listened intently: "Dropship Victor 93—the Pillar of Autumn—eed help. We are under att—attack by some kind of hostile—isn't Covenant—Captain Keyes has been captured by hostile—dug in at a large structure in a swampy area. We need to pull out. Please—I will set this message to repeat at—regular intervals. Dropship Victor 933, clear."

"Um," said the Master Chief, as if addressing the missing pilot, "I lost you at 'Dropship Victor 93—kkhhhrrr.'" He imitated the bursts of static.

He checked out the Pelican's troop bay and was turning around when he spotted an M90 pump-action shotgun. A pistol could only be so effective, he reasoned, and thus exchanged his for the bigger gun.

He continued deeper into the swamp, swatting the occasional insect. There was a distant explosion and two Grunt and Jackal corpses landed close by. The Chief ducked and raised his assault rifle. Two Jackals and a Grunt were checking out another crashed dropship—one of their own. Violet-colored crates lay scattered on the ground. WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! In sequence, the aliens died from blows to the head.

The Chief jumped onto a log and looked ahead in time to see a Jackal start shooting at him. He dodged and yelled, "Where's Captain K—HUACK!" He retched from the malodorous swamp air while the Jackal kept taking potshots. "Do you MIND? I'M TRYING TO BREATHE!" The SPARTAN hurled his rifle at the alien. The Jackal jumped out of the way and landed with a SPLAT.

The Master Chief crossed the log, picked up his gun, and spotted a Shade positioned on the hill. Atop the slope, he was greeted with a most unnerving sight. A mob of terrified Grunts and Jackals ran out of a Forerunner building—the alleged weapons cache—as something exploded and automatic weapons fire poured into the foliage. He heard a growling noise and turned to see a strange biped creature looking at him from the top of the building. In the thick fog, it was hard to see what it was, but the Chief convinced himself that it was just a hallucination from swamp gas. He blinked his eyes and looked again. There was no sign of the hulking aberration.

The Chief stood, mouth agape within his helmet. "O-kay…" He brought up a console in his armor's computer and entered the command cheatpowerupsall. An Overshield, Active Camouflage and Health Pack appeared in front of him. Suddenly, the Overshield and Health Pack flickered and disappeared. "Aw, man!" the Master Chief grumbled. When he tried to open the console again, it wouldn't work, so he grabbed the Active Camo and moved downslope and into the building. There was no one there. Shivering, he did a quick sweep of the room, then took the elevator down.

Many contacts showed up on his motion tracker, so the supercommando readied the assault rifle. When the elevator stopped, the red dots didn't move toward him. That meant dumb Covies who assumed he was a friend—an assumption he was quick to correct by way of a single well-placed fragmentation grenade. All of the enemies were killed, so the Master Chief passed through the hatch. More Jackals awaited him. He killed them with melee attacks.

Something was wrong. There were several Grunts and Jackals, but no Elites commanding them. Not even one rookie. Once again, the Master Chief shivered. Another mystery for him to solve.

He dropped to the lower level and exited the room unnoticed. Then came another hatch and another room. Again, he escaped the eyes of the Jackal guards.

The Master Chief's active camo finally wore off as he walked through a corridor. A strange green substance dripped from the ceiling. The Chief thought he heard someone and went through the door—

Only to run into a horrified, messed-up Marine. Though he lacked an MA5B, he still had a pistol, which he fired at the Chief.

"AAH!" the SPARTAN yelped.

"AAAH!" the Marine screamed.

"AAAAAHH!" the Master Chief screamed even louder.

"AAAAAAAAHHHH!" the Marine did likewise.

Their little screaming contest ended once the Chief yelled, "AAAAAAAAAHHHH!" and ended up shattering the glass above them. The Marine fired again, but failed to significantly damage the Chief's shields. The SPARTAN blew a raspberry. "Sissy weapon!"

Suddenly, the Marine grabbed a rocket launcher out of nowhere. The Chief screamed very effeminately as he dodged the rocket. It hit the wall, shaking the room.

"Stay back! Stay back! You're not turning me into one of those things!" the gibbering Marine bawled. He fired his gun at a shadow. "I'll blow your brains out! Get away from me! GAAAAAHH! AAAAAAHH! Don't touch me, you freak! I won't be like you! I'll die first!"

Peeking out from behind cover, the Chief said testily, "What? A lawyer? The Covenant?"

"No! Not a lawyer! Not the Covenant! Them!"

The Master Chief approached the fear-crazed man, but the Marine reached into his pants, ripped his own penis off and waved it in the SPARTAN's face.

"RUBBER DUCKY!" the petty officer shrieked, backpedaling in horror.

"Just leave me alone!" the anonymous Marine blubbered. In between screams, he babbled pitifully about the other Marines and whatever had scared him. "I don't wanna be like them. Oh no…please, no…nononono…"

SMACK! The Chief silenced the poor man for good with the butt of his rifle. Shuddering, he moved on into a larger area. The SPARTAN noticed a ramp—and the two Marines who lay there. He walked down to the bottom and tried to open the door to the left. It was locked. "What the—?" There was a spoofer—an electronic lock picker—attached. The Chief reached with a finger to activate it. Wet, slithery sounds echoed behind him. He spun around with his assault rifle aimed, but nothing was there.

Shrugging weakly, the Master Chief opened the door and stepped through—and came face-to-face with a dead Marine. Instinctively catching the body, he tiptoed into the room, then let go of the corpse.

His foot struck something. The Chief looked down and saw a Marine's helmet on the floor. He picked it up and examined it. A name was stenciled in white on the back: JENKINS. One of the Marines in Johnson's squad? Only one way to find out. On every helmet, there was a video camera. Maybe the footage from Jenkins' could tell him what had happened. The Chief took off his helmet and put on Jenkins'. He saw his reflection on the visor and screamed.

"I'm pale! Eww, I'm like a baby rat!" The Chief gagged and removed the vid chip from the Marine's helmet, put it in his and put his back on.

Open Record View (2:52:56 L).

PFC Jenkins, Wallace A.


(Pop music)

Mendoza: Why do we have to listen to this old stuff, Sarge?

Johnson: (Singing offkey) …And that makes you larger than life! (Speaking) Oh yeah! Watch your mouth, son. This "stuff" is your history. It should remind you grunts what we're fightin' to protect.

Mendoza: Hey, if the Covenant want to destroy this particular part of my history, that's fine by me.

Bisenti: Yeah, better it than us.

Johnson: You ask them real nice next time you see 'em, Bisenti. I'm sure they'll be happy to oblige.

Pilot: LZ looks clear. I'm bringing us down.

Johnson: Go, go, go!



Bisenti: I see a building, Sarge.

Johnson: Mendoza, move it up! Wait here for the Captain and his squad, then get your ass inside.

Jenkins: Sir!

Johnson: Okay, let's move!



Bisenti: —Which is weird, right? Look at him. Something scrambled his insides.

Keyes: What do we have here, Sergeant?

Johnson: Covenant patrol. Badass Special Ops troops. All KIA.

Keyes: Real pretty. Friend of yours?

Bisenti: Nah, we just met.



Keyes: Kappus, try and open that door.

Kappus: Okay, sir, I'll try, but it looks like the Covenant worked pretty hard to lock it.

Keyes: Just do it, son.

(Strange noises)

Mendoza: I've got a bad feeling about this...

Johnson: You always have a bad feeling about something.

(Radio squawks)

Lovik: Captain! Sarge! Can you hear me?

Johnson: Corporal? What's your status?

Lovik: S-sir! We've got contacts! Lots of 'em! But...they're not Covenant! They're just tearing through us! What the—? O-oh! Nooooo!

Johnson: Corporal? Do you copy, over? What the fu—Mendoza, get your ass back up to second squad's position and find out what the hell is going on!

Mendoza: But s—

Johnson: I don't have time for your lip, Marine! I gave you an order!

Bisenti: Sarge! Listen!

(Strange noises)

Johnson: Where's that comin' from, Mendoza?

Mendoza: I...I don't...there! Mira!

Riley: Aagh! Get it off! GET IT OFF ME!

Kappus: Hold still! Hold still!

Johnson: Let 'em have it!


Mendoza: What are they?

Keyes: Sergeant, we're surrounded!

Johnson: Goddammit, Jenkins! Fire your weapon!

Jenkins: There's too many, Sarge!

Johnson: Don't even think about it, Marine!

Mendoza: Yo, this is loco!

Keyes: Get back here, Marine! That's an or—AAAH! It's trying to stick something up my—AAAAAGH!

Bisenti: Mamma! Mamma! AIUTO!

Mendoza: No...NOOOO! This ain't how I imagined—oh, bitch!

Jenkins: ARGH!

Johnson: Jenkins!

Unexpected Halt X (WND/INCAP/KIA? Ref.a4 3d.3)

End Record View (2:39:23 L)

The Chief didn't bother rewinding. He did one and only one thing—he screamed. "AAAAHH!" He turned to exit the room and ran into the door, which was now locked. Frantically, he checked all the other hatches and found them locked, too. He was about to drop his weapons and go into a fetal position when he heard a loud bang. Then another. And another. His motion tracker filled with a huge blotch of red. "Bad. Red. EEK!"

A door crashed down, and the Chief saw one, then five, then ten, then fifty tentacled blobs swarm him. He fired a six-round burst and some of them exploded, but there seemed to be more in their place—many more. As they got closer, he could tell that whatever they were, they were hideous, green and had tentacles that looked like—like—


The pod things waved their penislike appendages as they came at him. Two more doors collapsed, letting more of the vile parasites into the battle. They soon began covering him, secreting a yellowish goo from their many tentacles.

"EEW! CAN'T...BREATHE!" The Master Chief kicked them off and held down the MA5B's trigger until they were all dead.

Suddenly, the door he'd come through fell down. More of the penetration forms attacked, followed by something the Master Chief had never seen before and didn't want to see ever again. It had an Elite's feet, but the rest of it was just wrong. One of its arms terminated in a mass of tentacles. It had no head—none he could see, anyway. Its flesh was decomposed all over. And between its deformed legs was a sickly twitching, rotting erection. The rape form leapt at him with a swing of its arms, and the blow halved his shields and knocked him over. The monster mounted him and began humping him furiously as it made horrible liquid groaning sounds. Struggling mightily, the Master Chief switched to his shotgun, aimed at the creature's contorted phallus and fired. BOOM! BOOM! 8-gauge buckshot blew the rape form's privates off and popped the penetration form within.

"Boo yeah!" yelled the swabbie, sticking the next rape form with a plasma grenade. He shot it, then watched as it fell and the grenade exploded, killing at least thirty penetration forms and three other rape forms. "AAAAGH!" he howled as he blew past a few surviving Marines locked in combat with the horny terrors. The Master Chief ran all the way back to the elevator. He pressed the button, but the elevator collapsed abruptly. "Oh, the heck with this!" The Chief hopped into the shaft, grabbed hold of a wall and slowly but surely climbed up.

"Sir! Thank God you're here!" said Dubbo as the SPARTAN dragged himself out of the elevator shaft and sprinted out into the swamp. "We've been lost out here for—sir?"

From the dank distance came a loud retching sound and a yell of "TALK LATER! RUN NOW! HERK!"

"What the hell was that about?" asked a second Marine. Then he heard a horrifying sound, looked over into the depths and saw at least eight rape forms, followed by two hundred or so penetration forms. The man screamed, chucked a plasma grenade at the creatures and ran after the Chief. His squadmates followed suit.

The Chief thought they were safe, but suddenly, a leatherneck yelled, "Contact!" and opened up. The Master Chief saw a small army of rape forms closing in and knew that containing the creatures was now impossible.

A heated firefight ensued, but ultimately only a few Marines escaped with their virginity—or at least the ones who really were virgins.

The Chief saw Echo 419 approaching and heard Foehammer saying, "Chief! What's going on? I'm seeing hundreds of contacts!"

"Foehammer, you are never gonna believe this!" he panted.

"There's a tower or something in the middle of the swamp! I'll pick you up there!"

Sure enough, the Chief saw a tower, but there were also weird floating machines that were killing the parasites. Suddenly, a little blue machine did something to him, and he vanished and reappeared on part of the tower.

"Hey, what gives?"

"Greetings!" said the machine in a cheery voice. "I am the Monitor of Installation 04. I am 343 Guilty Spark. Someone has released the Orgy. My function is to prevent it from leaving this installation. I require your assistance. Come. This way."

"O...Orgy?" demanded the Chief, but then he saw his body fading and gulped.

Foehammer saw the Marines, but the Master Chief had vanished. She called, "Chief! I lost your signal! Where'd you go? Chief? Chief!" There was no response.

"FUUUUNKYYYY OOOOOCTOOOOP—D'OH!" WHUMPF! The Master Chief hit the floor.

The robot that had brought him here swooped over him and said, "Receiver, are you all right? We must stop the Orgy. Receiver?"

"Ow," said the Chief in a monotone. He cursed the AI for rematerializing him prematurely. Dragging himself to his feet, he demanded, "What the rotten banana peels are you talking about?"

"Hmm?" asked Spark. "You forgot? They are parasites. They engage in sexual intercourse with a host, feed on it, then turn it into an incubator form for more penetration forms."

The Chief blinked slowly. He thought, Cortana, when I get back, I am going to make you wish you'd come with me! Our hero took a few steps, but the rest of his body must have had a problem, because he promptly suffered a cardiac arrest.

Guilty Spark said, "Receiver?"

There was a pause, and then the Master Chief said, "Ah. There it goes!" and got back up.

343 Guilty Spark made some kind of metallic clucking sound, as if in disapproval. "Please stop being human."

"Easier said than done." The SPARTAN thought for a second, then shouted, "WOOF WOOF!"

From up ahead came a familiar growl, and the Chief turned his head to spot a bloated new monstrosity shuffling in his direction. "Oh, Twinkies."

His shotgun boomed and the creature fell. The Chief was about to move past it, when he saw it inflating like a balloon about to pop.


"CRAP!" BOOOOFFFF! As he dove behind a structure, the corpulent, putrefied hulk burst, sending body parts flying, as well as loosing a puff of rancid green vapor and some eager penetration forms. "BAD...PIE!" he gagged, covering the filters on his helmet. Wild shots blew the wriggling parasites to Hell.

The Master Chief ran screaming after Guilty Spark to a massive hole. Above it floated a strange T-shaped object. The Monitor said, "The energy field above us contains the Index. We must get up there." The Chief wondered what the Index was, but his concerns shifted to a horde of penetration and rape forms hot on his shiny green posterior. One rape form managed to top him. Its big yellow-brown penis was rubbing against his visor when the reanimated Elite was introduced to the wrong—for it—end of the M90. A shell with a hippo head printed on it released the shot within sending the horny alien flying back into its fellows.

Stepping off the elevator, the supercommando turned, bent over, aimed the MA5B between his legs and let the charging rape form have it—it being, of course, fifteen rounds of 173-grain 7.62×51mm match ammunition. The Master Chief dropped his gun, fell to his knees, clumsily removed his helmet and hurled. He thought he was seeing not double, not triple, not quadruple, but quintuple; there were five floors, five ceilings, five walls...and five Guilty Sparks, which abruptly flew away. He wiped his mouth, reached and scrutinized the fallen monster. To his horror, this one was a warped human—and a woman, at that. The Chief groaned in horror and was about to hurl again, but his attention was caught by a combined force of rape and incubation forms strolling idly across the corridor. Hoping to avoid detection, he closed his mouth and vomited again. However, some of it went up into his sinuses. "YAGAGABLAHBLAH!" Horrified, the Chief clamped a hand over his mouth, but how could anything not hear that? Apparently, the Orgy couldn't, so he sighed in relief.

Twenty heads—or rather, chests—jerked around to face him. The Master Chief yelled, "Oh, right! That you heard?" as the freaks ran at him with pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, plasma rifles, plasma pistols and even a rocket launcher. He reloaded his weapons, threw two pineapples and moved to meet the Orgy head-on, firing bursts from his assault rifle even as the explosive devices blew up, triggering a chain reaction in which incubation forms popped and in turn detonated fallen grenades. Only three rape forms were still on their feet, and they were quickly brought down.

Suddenly, the Monitor reappeared, humming to himself. "Oh, hello! Puzzling. You brought such ineffective weapons to combat the Orgy, despite containment protocols."

The SPARTAN replied quietly, "I have no idea what you mean, and I'm not gonna pretend I do."

"Perhaps if you were to use a Sentinel Beam, you could more easily manage the Orgy."

The Master Chief snorted. "Can I have one?"

"Unfortunately, the Orgy are quite intelligent. By destroying the Sentinels, they also destroy their weapons."

A small squadron of said security robots floated from around a corner. The Chief glared at them. "So, where were you guys all this time?" If the machines heard him, they either didn't or couldn't say. "'INTENTIONAL' BEAM!" the SPARTAN yelled, and he jumped at one and tried to steal its weapon. It shrugged him off and zapped him in the rear. The Chief yelped and griped, "Okay, okay! Keep it!"

In another bloody twenty-five minutes, the Master Chief finally made it to the platform that held the Index. Guilty Spark said, as the elevator descended to the hole he had seen earlier, "When the platform reaches the ground floor, the energy field surrounding the Index will deactivate."

The platform thudded to a halt, and Spark said, "You may now retrieve the Index. With it, we can activate the installation's defenses to deal with the Orgy."

"Thank you for stating obvious," deadpanned the Chief. He took the silver-and-green object from its container and was examining it when a gray beam picked it up and stored it in Guilty Spark's body. The Master Chief looked at the AI and growled, "What gives?"

The robot chirped, "Protocol requires that I take possession of the Index for transport. Your organic form renders you vulnerable to penetration. The Index must not fall into the hands of the Orgy." 343 Guilty Spark began to teleport them. "The Orgy is spreading! We must hurry!"

The Master Chief once again found himself being turned back into coherent matter in midair. As he fell, Guilty Spark also coalesced, saying, "—Which is why any body with sufficient mass is a potential vector."

Groaning, the Master Chief eyed his surroundings. They were in the Control Room. He suddenly remembered Cortana and wondered how he was going to explain all this to her. The Monitor regarded his hesitation and asked, "Is something wrong?"

The Chief looked at him and quickly replied, "No, no."

"Splendid. Shall we?"

As they reached the console, Guilty Spark said, "Unfortunately, my usefulness in this endeavor has ended. Units of my specification are not permitted to perform a task as important as the reunification of the Index with the core. That final step is reserved for you, Receiver."

Spark dropped the Index into the Chief's waiting hands. Reaching for the console, he noticed that the port for the device looked like female genitals. He grimaced and shoved the object in. Nothing happened.

343 Guilty Spark said, "Insert and remove it seven times, then reinsert it. With feeling, I might add."

The Chief complied, wondering what the big deal the Forerunners had made of sex was.

The Index shuddered and released a tiny stream of data into the port, which itself vibrated. Coolant sprayed from the port into the Master Chief's face. "GAH!"

Spark looked at the coolant dripping from the SPARTAN's visor, then at the console. "Odd. That wasn't supposed to happen."

Suddenly, Cortana projected from the console. "Oh, really?" She gestured, and Spark fell out of the air like a rock.

"Cortana!" the Chief gasped.

"I've been cooped up in here for the past twelve hours watching you toady about, helping that thing get ready to slit our throats!" the AI snarled, shooting a glare at Guilty Spark.

"Hold on now. He...he's a friend," the Chief said, pointing at the Monitor.

"Oh, I didn't realize," said Cortana, feigning surprise. "He's your pal, isn't he? Your chum? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THAT BASTARD ALMOST MADE YOU DO?"

The Chief flinched as he held up his hands. "Yeeess," he answered testily. "Activate Halo's defenses to destroy the Orgy. Which is why we brought the Index to the Control Center."

Cortana picked up the said doohickey and waved it. "You mean this?"

343 Guilty Spark rose back up from the floor. He queried irritably, "A construct? In the core? That is absolutely unacceptable!"

Cortana leaned forward and stared at the robot with angry red eyes. "Fuck off."

"What impertinence!" said Spark angrily as he made his way toward her. "I shall purge you at once!"

"Hah!" Cortana cackled. The Index vanished from her hand as she added it to her memory. "You sure that's a good idea?"

Although Guilty Spark's "face" lacked expression, he still looked equally mad. " dare you!" he said in shock. "I'll—"

"Do what? I have the Index," said Cortana, "but you can just float and sputter like a retarded grav ball!"

The Master Chief, exasperated from their argument, yelled at the top of his lungs, "ENOUGH!" They both looked at him as if they had just realized his presence. "The Orgy's spreading. If we activate Halo's defenses, we can wipe them out."

"You have no idea how this ring works, do you? Why the Forerunners built it?" Cortana inquired.

"Well, what do I look like, a pocket scientist?" he yelled, then slapped himself at his own grammatical error.


"It was a rectal—D'OH! I mean, a rhetorical question!"

"SHUT UP AND LISTEN! Halo doesn't kill the Orgy, it kills their food. Human, Covenant—you're all equally edible." Cortana continued, "The only way to kill the Orgy is to starve them to death. And that's exactly what Halo is designed to do—wipe the entire fucking galaxy clean of all sentient life! You don't believe me? Ask him!"

What she said flipped a switch in the Master Chief's most confused brain, and he shot daggers at Guilty Spark. "Is. It. True?"

The Monitor looked at him blankly. "More or less. Technically, this installation has a maximum effective range of twenty-five thousand light-years, but once the others follow suit, this galaxy will be quite devoid of life. Or, at least, any life with sufficient biomass to sustain the Orgy.

"But you already knew this," Spark added as Sentinels formed up behind him. "I couldn't you?"

"Left out that little detail, did he?" asked Cortana before the Chief picked up her cartridge and secured it in his helmet.

"You were with me each step of the way. We followed containment procedure to the letter."


"Why," said Guilty Spark, "would you hesitate to do what you have already done?"

"Get. Us. Out. Of. Here!" Cortana hissed.

"Last time you asked me, if I were to do it, would I? Having considerable time to ponder your query, my answer has not changed. We must activate the ring. If you are unwilling to help, I will simply find another. Still, I must have the Index. Surrender your construct or I will be forced to take it from you." As if eager for blood, the Sentinels buzzed about the Chief's head.

Clutching the assault rifle, the Master Chief growled, "That's not going to happen, Blue Butt."

"Very well, then." The Monitor turned to his Sentinels. "Save his head. Dispose of the rest."

As soon as Spark had teleported away, the Sentinels attacked. Cortana shouted, "Look out!" as ruby laser beams slowly burned the Master Chief's shields away. The green-armored super soldier emptied his shotgun at the nearest robot, which exploded and fell into the abyss. He repeated this again and again until all the Sentinels were scrap metal.

Cortana said, "Okay. We can't let the Monitor activate Halo. We have to destroy it. I think an explosion of sufficient size should do the job. We need to buy some time first."

"How are we going to get it?"

"Not now. Let's go."

The Master Chief opened the nearest blast door to see an intense battle going on between the Covenant and the Sentinels. Much like the Bloods and the Crips...and the Wiggles. He noted with great interest that the Covie's energy weapons were extremely effective against the Sentinels' armor, and soon the robots were all smoking metal heaps on the floor.

"Wort wort wort!" an Elite barked when it saw him. Quickly, the Chief greeted it by means of a plasma grenade stuck to a Grunt. As he expected, the five-foot alien panicked and ran to its buddies for help—the exploding grenade killing it, the other Grunts and the Elite.

Another Elite, its shields gone, blasted at him in a hail of glowing pink projectiles. A burst of 7.62mm bullets allowed the alien to discover what its viscera looked like. "Blargh?" it groaned as it died.

The Chief whooped, "WOOHOO!" He went through the door, slaughtered the Covenant stationed there and was about to find a vehicle when a pile of crates close by exploded. A Wraith tank was lobbing energy mortars at him from below.

"HOLY DON KNOTTS! I need a vehicle...NOW! Where? WHERE?" The Chief looked around frantically and finally spotted a Banshee. The trouble was, it lay all the way at ground level, near the Wraith.

Anxious to get to it, our hero decided to take the fastest possible route. He hurled himself onto the path below him, moved to the edge and jumped again. "OW! OOH! EE! AH! OH! OW! WHEE! WOW!" By the time the Master Chief had landed, his shields were toast and he really needed a medic. He got into the Banshee and was in the air before the hatch had shut. "This is nuts! FUBAR! GREAT KURT COBAIN'S GHOST!" he raved.

Cortana, aggravated by his nonsense, hollered, "STOP SAYING STUFF THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!"

The Chief cringed. "Jeez, Cortana, what worm infected your code?"

"It's called Idiot-Induced PMS."

"PMS? I didn't know AIs could get that!"

"Well, just look at all the data that's gushing out of my—never mind! Halo's activation mechanism is powered by three phase pulse generators. What we'll do is damage them. That will delay the Monitor, just in case he can activate the ring without the Index. Follow this NAV point."

The Banshee soared up to a platform on the side of a cliff. "Okey-dokey," the Master Chief said as he landed and ran through the welcoming party like a running back through a defensive line, "what exactly do I gotta do to bust the generators?"

Cortana said, "Um...I'll use your suit's fusion core to give an EMP burst. The only problem is..."


"It will total your shields until they can recharge. If there's any opposition around when that happens, we can count ourselves as fucked."

The SPARTAN gulped and went into the next room. "Isn't there an easier way to commit sui—crap!" Several Sentinels were milling around the pulse generator. He jumped up and yelled, "If I can punch out Grunts, I can punch out 'Intentionals!' Besides, I saw this on The Karate Kid." The Chief socked one of the robots. Instead of an explosion, he heard a strange crunching noise that came from his hand. It took him three full seconds to realize what it was and react accordingly. "OOOOWW!" He fell to the ground and twisted around in agony. The Sentinels began hitting him with their laser beams. The Chief, through his pain, managed to say, "I never needed you before, but now...SAVE ME, SPIDER-MAN! OWW!" Exhausted, he grabbed a nearby rocket launcher and fired. The robots were promptly destroyed as he leapt into the generator's field. "Friendly...neighborhood...CRAAAAAP!" The Chief experienced a type of vertigo so extreme, it was like doing a backflip on bars atop a space elevator. He babbled, "Ababababababababa!"

"Chief? You okay?" cried Cortana.

The Master Chief screeched like a strange bird, ran into a wall and knocked himself out.

"I'll take that as a 'no.'"

Five minutes later, the Master Chief came to, and managed to excruciatingly crawl back to the Banshee. Cortana told him that the next pulse generator was in the adjacent canyon—and it was overrun by Elites in red armor and Grunts packing fuel rod guns.

"WHEEEEE!" the Chief yodeled like an idiot, bowling over six Grunts. A half-dozen dropped fuel rod guns glowed yellow as their fail-safes initiated. In seconds, a huge green fireball blew the remaining Covenant troopers to oblivion.

The Master Chief tore through another corridor and out onto the bridge from before. Covenant soldiers and Orgy rape forms fired at each other, and a Banshee swooped in to attack. With a deep inhalation, he sprinted across, pausing only to shoot enemies directly in the way.

Finally, the Chief crash-landed his new Banshee on another platform. He charged into the room and took care of the Orgy there. The Chief ran smack into generator number two, felt the charge and turned to run. Suddenly, hordes of Orgy made their presence known. The door opened, admitting several rape forms and a pair of incubation forms. He squeezed the trigger of his shotgun. The more distant incubation form exploded, sending the other monstrosities flying, and the SPARTAN ran screaming back to the Banshee. "Okay! Now what?"

"You'll be happy to know," said Cortana, "that I've located the Pillar of Autumn. She crashed about twelve-hundred kilometers upspin. We can use her fusion reactors to destroy this ring. But first, we need to get Captain Keyes. His neural implants have the codes necessary to start the countdown."

"Lovely," said the Chief sarcastically, easing off the throttle. The Banshee dropped down and he accelerated once it went below the ceiling of the tunnel. Within it, some Orgy were assaulting a Covenant force. The Covenant had a Shade, but the Orgy had a few rocket launchers. One of the rape forms fired its weapon at our hero's gunship and missed. The blast from the aircraft's fuel rod gun did not.

"OH, CRAAAAAAP!" The Banshee slammed into the hatch at the end of the tunnel. The Chief jumped out and pressed the button to open it, but instead, the door parted about four feet and jammed. The Master Chief stood there and groaned, "Why me?" before sucking in his gut and hauling ass through the small space. He almost ran into an incubation form, but dodged and kept on running.

As the Chief headed across the bridge, about forty penetration forms wriggled en masse from hiding. Two grenades and a rifle mag sufficed to end their perverted existence, but the real threat lay in wait on the other side. Several rape forms ran at him, including yet another one that had a SPNKr. It took one-hundred-twenty rounds to put them down.

The Chief reached for a spare magazine, and finding none, gasped in horror—he was completely out of ammo. He checked his shotgun. It, too, was empty. And he'd just expended his last grenades. Fortunately, as usual, the rape forms had weapons, so he picked up a needler and a plasma pistol, both of which were full up. "Hmm," he said, "I wonder...?" Instead of pocketing one weapon, he put the pistol in his right hand and the needler in his left. The Chief ululated happily and advanced through the next tunnel and out into the giant cul-de-sac. To his right, the Covenant and Orgy were duking it out. Eagerly, he ran at them, firing both weapons and yelling his lungs out. An Elite-manned Ghost was dimpled with seven needles and detonated, igniting fallen grenades. The ensuing explosions annihilated both sides, leaving the Chief free to take a Ghost past yet another firefight. As he carefully drove the rapid attack and reconnaissance vehicle up the drop off, he spotted an even bigger battle up ahead. Tons of rape forms ran amok. Grunts, Jackals and Elites tried to hold them off, while not one, but two Wraith mortar tanks bombarded the battlefield.

A rape form turned halfway around when a big purple thing slammed into it and sent it tumbling to the snowy ground. The Master Chief powered his way past the combatants and parked between two Banshees. He jumped in one aircraft and got airborne just before a plasma bomb slammed into where he'd been.

The Chief spotted a mass of guns and ammo outside the cave he'd passed earlier. He landed the Banshee and checked the place out. "Decisions, decisions," the SPARTAN mumbled. "Hmm..."

Inhuman howls came from behind him, and he spotted an Elite hanging onto a ledge for dear life. Atop the rocky projection lay a totaled Banshee. He yelled, "Too bad for you, so shut up!"

BONK! The Chief rubbed his head where the rock had hit and glared at the laughing Elite. Irritated, he picked up a sniper rifle, whipped around and shot the alien.

"BLARGH!" the Elite shouted before losing its grip and tumbling down. It wasn't dead yet, however, as it stood up, raised two energy swords and charged him.

"O-kay..." the Master Chief said. This had never happened before. As the Elite closed with him, he rolled out of the way. He wasn't fast enough, as one of the glowing blades sliced through the outer layer of his armor. "AGH!" He ran back to the Banshee and took off.

The alien roared and kicked the wall in frustration, but then its eyes bugged out as its ruined gunship tipped over and turned it into bloody purple pulp.

The Master Chief took off his helmet and wiped his forehead. "Whew. Aw, hey, now I got a rash on my forehead. Cortana, how's my Banshee?"

Cortana replied, "About to fall apart."

"Great. Now I have—"

"We can just teleport to the Truth and Reconciliation."

"What? And you're telling me this now?"

"Yes, because teleporting requires a ton of energy, so we should only do this once."

"Fine," grumbled the Chief. "Get it over with." A split second later, he vanished in a flash of bright light.

The Chief reappeared in another flash. "Oohhh. Uh..." He looked around. "Why is the blood going to my head?" He glanced up and gasped, "Uh-oh. WHOA!" Gravity worked, because the Chief fell from what was really the ceiling to the floor.

"Oh, I see," said Cortana, "the coordinate data needs to be—"

"Thanks...a lot...Cortana," groaned the Master Chief, slapping the top of his helmet. "Sit-rep, please."

Cortana patched into the ship's system, and after a moment, she said, "Absolute chaos. It seems that the leadership ordered all ships to leave when they found the Orgy. But this cruiser didn't make it, and...the Orgy captured it."

Hearing this, the Chief groaned loudly.

"The Covenant are terrified that the Orgy will repair the ship and get off Halo. They sent a strike team to neutralize the Orgy and prepare the ship for immediate departure."

For the first time, the Master Chief detected a combative cacophony from within the alien vessel. As he started walking, the COM crackled with activity. "Chief...don't be a fool...leave me..."

"Captain? Captain!" Cortana cried. "Lost him."

The Chief followed the loudest sounds down the corridor and to the left. Just as he thought, the two extraterrestrial races were hard at it. They failed to notice the frag grenade that abruptly came between them, allowing him to proceed. The Chief stepped through the far right hatch—and screamed as his feet touched mere air and he tumbled down into a gargantuan pool of coolant.

G...Get lost, Keyes told the other that was still busy raping him both mentally and physically. The entity replied, No. Tiny hole make feel good.

For what felt like infinity, he had held the presence at bay, desperate to keep safe the location of Earth.

Dimly, he could hear two familiar voices. He knew who they belonged to. I gave you an order, soldier! Pull out!

The cold from the coolant hit the Master Chief like a knife. He focused on the Captain's words to keep out of shock. When his head broke the surface, all that could be seen was tracers, plasma bolts, needles, Orgy, Covenant and coolant.

Something punched him in the chest. Startled, he reflexively opened fire. The plasma pistol in his right hand spat emerald death into the sunken flesh of the attacking rape forms.

He ran to another part of the canyon and saw rape forms engaged in battle with a squad of commando Grunts and Elites. An Elite in gold armor led them, so, naturally, it was the Chief's first target. The exploding grenade catapulted the freshly-dead alien commander into the SPARTAN and sent them both tumbling into another coolant pool. A red-hot hammer connected with his backside, giving way to an even worse sensation. It was as if he was being sodomized with an icicle. There was an explosion, and the rape forms above fell to further add to the weight under which he lay. "AVRIL LAVIGNE!" The cold liquid only made the pain worse. The Chief heaved and struggled until he at last forced the bodies off him.

When he finally made it to the NAV point, more coolant awaited, as well as Hunters, rape forms, incubation forms and other menaces. The Chief swapped the Covie pistol for a human one and popped as many incubation forms as he could, then killed the Hunters. With that, he jumped into the small blue-green ocean and fought his way up a trail that led to his destination. The Master Chief fired and fired and fired until he was standing in the gravity lift. Both Covenant and Orgy alike took exception to his proximity. It made little difference to the Master Chief. .50- and .30-caliber armor-piercing slugs tore into his foes. The hill was soon flooded with alien blood.

While there was a pause in the action, the Chief walked back down the hill disengaged his suit's bottom half, his pants, then his skivvies.

"Mmm," moaned Cortana sensually, peering between his legs and at his backside.

The Chief slung one arm over his visor. "Cortana, please. I'm trying to treat an injury."

"Did you know," she continued, "that you could probably satisfy a Hunter with that?"


"Make it stand up."


"Just kidding."

The Master Chief grumbled as he gingerly removed the bullet from his butt, added self-sealing biofoam, and then covered it up with a battle dressing.

"You know, Chief," the AI whispered even more sensually, "since I know how that light bridge works, maybe I can solidify my hologram, and you can…you know…" She punctuated that statement with a seductive purr.

"Gross!" The Master Chief put his pants and armor back on, much to Cortana's disappointment.

"What a turnoff. The way you redressed, it's like you didn't want to take them off in the first place."

"I bet," grumbled the Chief.

Cortana giggled, "Sorry, Chief. Being in the Control Center's computer for so long made me...slutty."

The super soldier rolled his eyes. "Just keep your hands to yourself."

As soon as both his feet touched the lift, it activated and yanked him up into the guts of the cruiser. "WHEEEEE!" he yodeled again.

His boots thumped against metal as the lift deposited him inside. The Chief did a three-sixty to look for enemies, and, finding none, made his way to a hatch. As he stepped through into another blood-drenched corridor, he heard Captain Keyes saying, "—AAAUUGHHH!"

"The Captain!" Cortana exclaimed. "His vitals are fading! Please, Chief, hurry!"

"HUH...HUH...HUH...HUH...HUH...HUH," panted the Chief. Dozens of Orgy—penetration, rape and incubation forms alike—came at him. Time and again, bullets and buckshot dropped them at his feet. He lost track of time; it seemed like hours were taken just to cross a corridor.

At last, the Master Chief fell to his knees—right on top of a weapon he had never used before. "A flamethrower?" He discarded his pistol and took the new armament. He walked into the room. On a platform sat the most horrible thing he had seen as of yet. "Great. Caesar's. Salad."

This new Orgy form sat quietly at a holo panel and did not respond to his arrival, assuming it even could. The Chief tiptoed up the ramp and marveled at the thing.

"The Captain's life signs just stopped," said Cortana somberly. "Oh my God...that thing is the Captain! He...he's one of them!"

Indeed, the Chief could see a grotesque impression of Keyes' grimacing visage in the monster's backside. "Oh, yuck! He's in its butt!" Stomach lurching, he triggered the defoliant projector at the officer's face. Flesh, both human and Orgy, burned away. Then, he curled his hand into a fist, punched through Captain Keyes' blackened skull and felt around in the half-digested brain for his neural implants.

"Chief," interrupted Cortana, "the Captain's implants are not in his brain anymore. They've moved somehow...into...his...ass."

The Master Chief gagged as he removed his hand. "You've got to be kidding me!"

"I kid you not. Hurry up."

Try as he might, the Chief could not find the dead Navy man's behind. At long last, he felt a rotting, slimy hole. It was five times larger than it should have been, due to the fact that it was stretched open when the Orgy raped him. I'm gonna be sick, I'm gonna be sick, I'm gonna be sick, he repeated to himself, reaching within and extracting the gooey implants.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Johnson had finished getting dressed and grinned at Foehammer. "Y'see, Carol, it's not so bad the first time."

Rawley didn't hear him. She was far too busy putting stick after stick after minty stick of gum in her mouth.

Back in the Truth and Reconciliation, the Master Chief had just popped the implants into his helmet.

"There. I have the codes," said Cortana.

The Chief ran for the door, but it refused to open. Suddenly, it did open, as did the far right one, to admit the Orgy. He ducked to the left, and when that hatch opened, he spotted Covenant troops. Thinking fast, he ran to the back of the room to let his mutual foes kill each other. The floor quaked as grenades exploded and fuel rod blasts struck.

A few minutes later, everything in the room was dead—except for the Master Chief, of course.

"I suggest," offered Cortana, "you ditch the flamethrower. It might set off all those grenades." The Chief complied and picked up a plasma rifle.

It took him an entire hour to get back to the launch bay. When he did, two Banshees and a dropship were just making their entrance. "Okey-dokey." The Master Chief hopped onto the dropship, then dropped from that and ran for the nearest Banshee. The gunship soared out of the hangar as the Covenant sent everything they had chasing after him. The Banshee dodged the worst fire just as it was about to go BOOM.

The Pillar of Autumn's hull glowed as the sun rose. The battered metal showed over forty years of punishment. And goodness knew what was now lurking inside it. On the other hand, one could easily see the numerous Banshees swarming over the downed cruiser.

"WHEEEEE!" the Master Chief cried, rather weakly this time. Cortana was more obviously distressed, given that she wouldn't stop yelling at him.


"Uh...uh...i-it'll hold," replied the Chief, though he was not at all certain.


"We'll make it."


At the last second, he leapt from the falling aircraft and just landed in a lifepod bay. The Banshee, however, crashed below the opening and dropped hundreds of feet below to the edge of the cliff. A lone Elite patrolled the ledge. It was considering the irony of its brother being crushed by his own Banshee when the SPARTAN's flaming assault ship squished it like a bug.

The Chief heard the mechanical hum of Sentinels. He crept to the left and saw three of the robots dealing with Orgy penetration forms. The supercommando pitched a plasma grenade, saw it attach to the middle Sentinel and ducked as they noticed him and fired their lasers. Three seconds later, the device blew, turning the robots into burning hulks.

The Master Chief ditched the plasma rifle he had for a shotgun. It had only twelve shells, but he found another twenty around the next corner.

Cortana said, "We need to—"

"I know, I know! I'm movin'!" The Chief combat-rolled beneath two more Sentinels and through a maintenance hatch. He ended up doubling back before he spotted a ladder leading down. Penetration forms, their tentacles quivering eagerly, wormed from the hole. He crushed them, peered down, and dropped a grenade. As he jumped back, it detonated. After a few seconds, he heard an incubation form explode and shimmied down. He shot the remaining penetration forms, then went down another hallway and into the mess hall—and froze. There were three black Elites, five fuel-rod-gun-packing Grunts, and two Hunters standing guard.

The Master Chief groaned—he had come this far just to be killed by the Covenant. He wondered if any other SPARTANs had survived when Reach fell. He remembered his training on Chiron TL-34 with his friends Kelly, Sam, Fred and Linda. They used to call him "retard" on missions, but they were just kidding—or so they'd told him.

Suddenly, the Chief saw the most powerful weapon ever in the known universe, human or Covenant—Sergeant A.J. Johnson's leather belt. "YeeEESS!" he shouted, and picked it up.

A Hunter saw him and was raising its gun arm to shoot when the belt cracked like a whip and made the one-ton alien feel like a giant orange-and-blue baseball. The extraterrestrial hulk hurtled across the corridor and crushed its partner and an unfortunate Elite.

The Master Chief decided to conserve ammo and, yelling a battle cry, ran at his foes as he twirled the strap over his head like a biker's chain. Six Grunts and another Elite went down before a single green fireball knocked him head over heels on his can. "CRAP!"

A gold Elite laughed and warbled something that sounded like, "Emotwoblliwuoy!"

His helmet blown off, the Master Chief glared with PO'd, bloodshot eyes at the eight-foot shock trooper. "Yes, I do have light-brown, quarter-inch-high hair. NOW EAT MY HEADGEAR AND KISS MY ARMORED TUSHY!" He picked up his helmet and threw it at the Elite. Over seventy pounds of MJOLNIR slammed into the creature's noggin. It immediately cried out and fell over. The Chief, ever curious, put the Elite's own helmet on his head. "Cool," he remarked, "I look like a Transformer."

"Earth to Chief," Cortana said. "Pick. Me. Up."

The Elite was still alive, however. Peering at the SPARTAN's helmet, it questioningly croaked, "Earth?" and reached out to grab the chip containing Cortana.

BONK! Quickly, the Chief silenced the alien with a vicious kick to the head. From there, it was a short, bloody walk to the bridge. Opposition there was minimal, so it took him only seconds to secure the area. He inserted the data crystal chip into the panel.

His talky AI pal materialized in a flash. Cortana eyed her surroundings and sighed. "I leave home for a few days, and look what happens. This won't take long." She clapped once, then said, "There. That should give us enough time to get our asses clear of this place."

"I'm afraid that's out of the question," stated a familiar voice.

The Master Chief voiced his shock with a single word: "What."

Cortana slapped her forehead. "Oh, hell."

Unbeknownst to them, Guilty Spark had tapped into the COM system and was busy sucking data out of every intact computer he could find. "Ridiculous! You would imbue your warship's AI with such a wealth of knowledge. Wouldn't you worry that it might be captured? Or destroyed?"

"Ah, no kidding, you flying urinal," chirped the Chief.

"He canceled the countdown. I can't restore it. You'll have to blow up the reactors directly," said Cortana.

The Chief was only half-listening. His attentions were more-or-less focused on a pair of Sentinels busy rising up to meet him. "Stupid flying laptops! Go catch a virus or something!" He stuck a grenade to one and headbutted the other, as much as the latter action caused him pain.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHH!" The Master Chief, now toting a rocket launcher, sprinted from the armory, pursued by—oddly enough—invisible rape forms. "NOBODY SAID ANYTHING ABOUT ORGY WITH ACTIVE CAMOUFLAGE! I WANT MY MOMMY!"

Invisible penises surrounded him, and he reached for his Close-Quarters Combat Weapon System. It was a 7.9-inch, double-ended, ultra-sharpened carbon-steel combat knife, balanced for long-distance throws. With it, the Master Chief promptly and neatly amputated the moldered erections that bobbed in his face. A series of shotgun blasts served to finish the monsters off.

A practical marathon through maintenance tunnels took him right behind a Hunter. He waited for it to move further away, then said his greetings by way of a 102mm shaped-charge rocket, of which another also dispatched the second Hunter.

The Chief followed noises into the cryo chamber. Sentinels and Orgy exchanged shots; they seemed to be preoccupied enough, so he just bolted up a ladder and into the Observation Bay.

He jumped at a sudden sound, jerked his head to the right and exclaimed, "GREAT GRAPE GATORADE!" BOOM! BOOM! BAAAAM! The long line of eager rape, penetration and incubation forms, hoping to claim our dim-witted hero, instead were presented with grenades, rockets and buckshot.

At long last, the Master Chief dodged, ducked, dipped and dove down corridors and into the Engine Room.

"Alert," warned Cortana, "the Monitor has disabled all command access. Even if we wanted to, we can't restart the countdown."

They were heading up to Level 2 when, without warning—

"GLULG!" the Chief belched. He fell to his knees and began having a fit. "CRAP!" he cried before he once more wrenched his helmet off and blood-tinged vomit doused the floor. "BLOOOAAAH!"

Cortana, alarmed at her protector's deteriorating stamina, checked his vitals. The Chief's pulse was erratic and he was hyperventilating, throwing up blood, soiling himself and rolling around holding his gut—which meant, most likely, extreme hunger. She tried to think of a solution, but the one she did couldn't take effect if the Master Chief couldn't move.

The hatch to Level 2 opened, and many Orgy charged down towards them.

"AHA!" Cortana exclaimed, and she quickly rerouted power from the battle armor's core and delivered a powerful static shock. On cue, a ceiling panel fell open—

Dropping nearly a ton of hidden candy and nutrition bars onto all of them.

Within his helmet, the Master Chief sniffed the air. "F...fuh...FOOD!" With what strength he had left, the SPARTAN tore open wrapper after wrapper after wrapper and ravenously consumed their contents.

"Ugh..." the Chief groaned as he spat out a piece of wrapper. His tummy was full once again. "RrrrrAAAAAAAHH!" The Master Chief picked up his weapons, slung the launcher and bulled his way up onto Level 3, slapped a button on a console and dropped atop a moving duracrete slab. "FROG BLAST THE VENT COOOOORE!" he hollered in a tough-guy voice, and shot a rocket into the open reactor. It exploded and an alarm began to sound.

"YES!" cheered Cortana. "Two more fusion reactors to go. We need catalyst explosions to destabilize the magnetic containment fields surrounding the fusion cells."


"Shoot more rockets," Cortana clarified. "We're almost done."

The Chief repeated this process two more times. When the final core was destroyed, a loud alarm sounded, and Cortana spoke. "Fusion reactor number three destroyed! Let's get out of here! We have about fifteen minutes until the Autumn explodes. There is an emergency elevator on the third level. Hurry!" The Chief complied, and he fought his way to the elevator.

That was when the platform arrived—bearing an Elite in a Shade!

"CRAP!" The Master Chief backed into a corner and let fly a plasma grenade. The Elite hopped out of the stationary gun, screamed in rage and vanished in a flash of light.

As the lift went up, explosions going off all around, Cortana tapped into his COM system. "Cortana to Echo 419. The Autumn's fusion core has gone critical. We need immediate extraction on the double!"

A few seconds later, Foehammer responded, "Echo 419 to Cortana. I read you five-by-five. Things are getting noisy down there. Is everything all right?"

"Negative! Negative! We have a wildcat destabilization of the ship's fusion core reactors. The Autumn must have sustained more damage than we thought."

Panting heavily, the Master Chief hopped off the elevator before it even stopped, hustled through a hatch and hopped into one of many Warthogs lining a bay.

"Six minutes before this place goes boom. Unless you want to get microwaved to a hundred million degrees, you should floor it," Cortana warned.

The Chief chuckled weakly. "Best news I've heard all day." That said, he put the pedal to the metal, bowling over anything in the way. Ahead was a strange area packed with ramps and platforms. "You know," said the Chief, "if I wasn't in such a hurry, I'd say that this looks a lot like a video game level." The 'Hog rumbled down a service tunnel. Something blew up and the Chief felt the LRV lift off the surface. "WHOOAAAA!" The vehicle tumbled end over end through the air until it at last landed right side up at the other end.

The Warthog neared the pickup point. However, the Master Chief could see Echo 419 coming in, and the Pelican was flaming all over. So, knowing that Foehammer would never make it, he gunned the engine and went on.

"What the hell?" Cortana snapped.

"I may be dumb, but I'm smart enough to know that she's ciabatta."


"D'oh. I mean, 'toast!'"

"There's a Longsword fighter in Bay Seven. If we hurry now we can make it!"

The Chief stomped on the gas and drove over many platforms.

"Chief!" Cortana alerted him.


"Up ahead, there's a large gap at the end of the tunnel. At full speed, you should be able to clear it."

The Master Chief searched the dashboard for a speedometer and, finding none, complained, "How the Velveeta am I supposed to know what top speed is?"


The Chief stomped on the appropriate pedal and held on as the 'Hog sped towards the immense gap, soared into the air. Screaming, he felt a quick moment of freefall, followed by the sensation of what he presumed was his vital organs rushing into his head. When he landed, he felt a sharp pain in his ass. "OW!"

"By the way," Cortana remarked out of the blue, "you scream like a little girl."

"I'd like to see you drive a speeding vehicle over a hundred-foot gap with a good chance of not clearing it and avoid screaming!" the Chief shot back.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Warthog made it to a pile of metal supply crates. The Chief could see the Longsword.

"THERE'S THE SHIP! WE HAVE TO MOVE NOW!" shouted Cortana, as the countdown read 01:45. The Master Chief hopped over the crates and just flat-out ran for it, not bothering to fire at any enemies. As he neared the ramp, an Elite, energy sword in hand, popped from hiding, but was immediately bowled over by penetration forms. A mob of rape forms followed him up into the bay. The Chief dove headfirst through the open hatch of the Longsword just as something exploded. Quickly, he shut the hatch, seated himself at the heavy fighter's controls, strapped himself in and powered the aircraft up.

"We're cutting it close!" Cortana exclaimed.


The Longsword lurched up into the air, turned around and rocketed out into the open sky at hundreds of miles an hour, creating a sonic boom.

A kilometer away from the Autumn, Sergeant Johnson was busy fighting with an Elite over his belt. They tugged back and forth. Johnson snarled, "C'mere, motherf—I'm gonna—grrr! Aah!"

Suddenly, the Autumn went up in a flash of light, and the human and the alien both turned to look. "Ohhhh shit..." Johnson said. He looked up at the Elite with lust in his eyes and opened his arms. "This is it, baby," he told the alien. "Hold me."

The Elite smiled and they embraced as the Autumn vaporized. The last thing Johnson felt was the Elite's hand on his butt and a hard-on so big, it broke through his pants.


By the time the Longsword made it out of the ring's atmosphere, there were ten seconds left before the Autumn blew. Cortana counted down, "Five! Four! Three! Two! One!"

The Master Chief held on to the controls as the fighter rocked back and forth. On Halo, trillions of gallons of water instantly evaporated as shockwaves made their way upspin and downspin. Anyone or anything still alive was simply burned out of existence. Elites' shields protected them for only a billionth of a second before they were incinerated. Covenant and Orgy alike died where they stood.

The Master Chief was still accelerating, and stopped when a display flashed ENGINE TEMP CRITICAL.

"Shut them down," said Cortana. "We'll need them later."

The Chief did so, stood up to stretch his much-aching muscles. He was hungry, fatigued and felt as if he could die at any given second. Even with his strength augmentations, he still strongly believed he'd had little chance of survival on Halo, which was proven even more so by Cortana's calculation of his odds at one-in-fifty-thousand.

"Fancy a look, Chief?"

"Why not?" The Chief set the Longsword on autopilot and walked over to a side window. As he watched, a chunk of the ring broke off and collided with another section.

Meanwhile, on the Covenant flagship Seeker of Truth, the Supreme Commander had just contacted the Prophet of Truth. "Well?" said Truth. "How is it going?"

"Er…I've managed to clean my armor and—"

"The mission, you tiny-testicled idiot!" the Prophet bellowed.

"Oh, sorry, Holy One. Um…according to reconnaissance, the parasites are under control and the humans are dying by the Shadow-load."

"When was this information updated?"

"I believe the most recent update was twelve units ago," reported the commander.

The Prophet's hologram emitted a tic of fury on his wrinkled forehead. "You ludicrous, calamari-headed piece of Lekgolo excretement! It should be updated EVERY UNIT!"

The commander flinched visibly. "Someone woke up on the wrong side of the grav-throne."

"Oh, shut up! What is the holy ring's condition?"

"Actually, Your Grace, last I heard, it was in extraordinary condition."

The Prophet snapped, "Well, then. Open the viewport and let me see."

"Yes, Exalted One. You will see a beautiful and divine view of the holy ring. I'm so sure that the ring is in such good shape, the Forerunners would be proud of me. I'm sure you would be proud of me, too, as I would not be a Zealot had it not been for your teachings, Holy One."

"Shut up," said Truth, "and show me Halo, you ass-kissing brown-nose."

"Okay. Here it is." The commander pressed a button and watched the viewport open as the Prophet drank a strange Covenant drink. He stood proudly as the viewport revealed Halo.

...Or what should have been Halo. Because in place of the ring world floated all sizes of debris.

The commander, still grinning, felt his eyes begin to twitch. His smile faded and he turned to face the Prophet. As if on cue, the Prophet loudly spat out his drink. His eyes bugged out, focusing on the wreckage and the Elite with rage. With obvious anger, he spat, "I think you mean the Forerunners would want to STRANGLE YOU WITH YOUR OWN GUTS!"

The commander started sweating. "An 'I'm sorry' isn't going to help me, is it?"

The Prophet of Truth spoke coldly. "Consider yourself dead." The hologram faded and another Elite came in, and saw the remains of Halo. "You let Halo get destroyed." He eyed the commander. "Not cool."

The senior Elite didn't answer. All he did was lie down on his side, curl into a ball and whimper.

The Master Chief, still pressing his visored face to the Longsword's window, asked Cortana a question: "Did anyone else make it?"

"Scanning," said the AI. The Chief shook his head, knowing what the answer would be. And he was right. "Just dust and echoes. We're all that's left."

Numbed, the Chief walked back to the cockpit.

"We did what we had to do," Cortana said, as if to convince herself. "For Earth. An entire Covenant armada obliterated. And the Orgy—we had no choice. Halo…it's finished."

The Master Chief settled into the pilot's seat and replied, "No. The 'Covie-nant' are still out there, and Earth's at risk. I think we're just getting started." And with that, he began taking off his helmet. It wouldn't budge. "WHAT? NO! IT WORKED BEFORE! COME ON, I'M ROASTING IN HERE! OOOOOOOOHH! COME ON, DANGIT! COME ON!" He tried prying it off with a crowbar, but that failed as well. After a quarter hour of tugging and pulling, the Chief finally managed to get his helmet off. He also took off the rest of his armor. Without it, the Master Chief was revealed to be a man named John. He was seven feet tall, had very short-trimmed light-brown hair, blue-green eyes, really, really pale skin, a strong jaw, musclebound arms and legs and a scar through one eyebrow. He had a tattoo on his right bicep—rabbits hopping inside a heart, with the words BUNNY LOVER.

"Yep," he said, sitting back, "I'm definitely gonna take a shower when I get back. Master Chief Petty Officer John SPARTAN-117 saying, 'Mission accomplished.' Over. GABBLYGOOK!"