Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: Long delay, I know, but it was a dry period for me and inspiration (Writer's Block/Time constraints) Hopefully you enjoy this installment of To End All Wars, sorry for the wait, again, whoever is still with me.
Chapter 15: Convergence
Anger was an interesting emotion. The layers, the intensity of anger could be called many different things; ranging from annoyance or disgust to blinding rage. Revan was about at blinding rage as he dodged a rotting Flood Combat form, severing its arm and driving his elbow backwards into the creature's center of mass. A popping sound answered the Dark Lord's efforts and he ignored the thump made by the falling combat form's corpse, instead drawing his saber in a sideways arc that rendered the carrier form Flood into nothing but seared flesh. The pod exploded, coating the Sith Lord's once pristine armor and robes in a greenish-yellow gore that the former Jedi ignored as he ran at a grueling pace, his body twisting to the side to avoid a combat form that had once been a Covenant Elite as it pounced out at him. There was no time to stop, no time to react beyond the flick of a wrist and he didn't even bother making sure the Flood that he struck died, he just kept running. Revan had quickly discovered there was no end to how many of the Flood would swarm him. They were very appropriately named, a part of Revan's mind mused as he gathered the Force in the palm of his free hand, scattering the carrier forms before him into exploding pods of gore. The anger he felt at the situation was almost blinding, and Revan focused the rage into a weapon, turning it against the horrifying creatures that threw themselves at him in ravenous desperation. All of the anger he'd harbored since bringing his ship to the Milky Way galaxy rose to the surface and lightning crackled around the Dark Lord as he sprinted through the massive corridors of Halo's superstructure. There was no time to focus the lightning into a bolt and it simply fried any Flood that neared him as he moved past, fueled by a power the Milky Way hadn't seen for nearly twenty thousand years; when the Rakatans and their Infinite Empire finally withdrew from their war with the Forerunners to save themselves.
Dozens of kilometers from Revan's position, Spartan-117 sprayed a burst of fire from his MA-5B, his hands grasping the weapon tightly as he fought down his own reaction to the Flood. Fear was there, but separated from his actions and the Spartan turned, smashing a flying carrier form with his fist as it tried to find purchase on his armor. The pod exploded into a cloud of gore that splattered on the Spartan's MJOLNIR armor and he moved on, wiping his faceplate as he finished off the clip in his weapon. The assault rifle clicked and John swallowed reflexively, his hand moving and replacing the empty magazine with a fresh one as he slammed the bolt home and turned back around, sprinting as quickly as he could. Flood combat and carrier forms scurried around him, coming from every possible hole and passageway he could see. Having no other option, the Spartan II quickly climbed onto what he could only assume was a structural support column and he carefully took the few extra seconds his elevation provided him to pick his targets as they slammed into the base of the column, trying to climb over one another and feast on the Spartan. The Library was close and John could see more and more Sentinels fighting with the Flood. Still, the Sentinels were flying around and he was on the ground. A chaingun would've been nice about then. Or maybe a HAVOC Tactical Nuke.
Bastila Shan did the only sensible thing she could when someone pointed a loaded weapon in her face when she was disarmed. Drawing on the Force subtly, Bastila concentrated on the weapon in Mira's hand and disengaged the power pack. Like any well-trained soldier, Mira immediately realized her weapon was inactive and made a move with the lightsaber she'd taken from Bastila, only to find herself out of the Warthog and on her back on the walkway as the Jedi ignited her borrowed weapon and moved towards Atton and McKay. Mira sat up groaning, shaking her head side to side and almost vomiting where she sat. Her vision blurred slightly by the sheer force she'd struck the ground, Mira stood shakily and stumbled to the side of the captured Warthog as she grabbed her blaster rifle from where it rested between the driver and passenger seat. Her comm crackled but she was too concussed to hear anything as she turned and raised her weapon to Bastila Shan's retreating form, blinking against the blurred image as she tried to make a clean shot. Bastila felt the warning in the Force and quickly found herself dodging Atton Rand's shots as he turned from McKay, backhanding the ODST to stun her as he turned to the bigger threat. A Jedi could be on him before he even shot his weapon and he ignored McKay for the time being, carefully picking his shots while he spotted Mira moving from the side of her Warthog. Ducking slightly to avoid one of his deflected shots, Atton stopped suddenly, his eyes widening behind his mask as he turned around and started the engine of the Warthog. Bastila had managed to get to the back of the vehicle when the human craft took off, its wheels burning as Atton left with more speed than was likely wise. Coughing at the smell of burned rubber, Bastila turned back around, cursing as she dodged Mira's poorly aimed shot and charged the Sith, stopping short when she saw Aven, Doctor Halfan and one of the red-armored Sith approaching her position in their own stolen Warthog. It wasn't the presence of the Dark Jedi that stopped Bastila, but the shock at what was following them.
Aven's voice yelled, relaying the command via the comms to Atton as well as she sped past. Bastila rushed to the Warthog she'd just liberated herself from, glancing at a still-dazed Mira as the former Mandalorian slave struggled to climb into the side of the vehicle. Helping Mira on board, Bastila forgot their previous battle in favor or another potential ally. The Warthog took off in much the same manner as Atton's had and Bastila ignored the shaking in her hands as she guided the craft along the walkways, nearly overtaking Aven's vehicle as Flood spewed from the side-passageways behind them, their forms fast, though not as fast as the Warthogs. Executions and accusations could wait, there were bigger threats to them, Sith or Jedi alike.
Darth Malak asked as he paced the bridge of the Interceptor. Being able to command the ship in a space battle was not really his strong point. Despite having experience and a good head on his shoulders, Malak preferred the hands-on approach to a situation and would much rather have been manning one of the stations on the ship than simply passing along orders. Restless, Malak ignored the lingering doubts he felt in his mind and concentrated on the now. There was a battle to win and a Dark Lord of the Sith to recover. Everything else was secondary. That was, until the intruder alarm broke out on his ship. Malak's eyes narrowed as he turned to the ship's captain, ordering him to continue with the battle while he moved to personally take care of the intruder. Malak knew it wasn't a Covenant soldier and he silently chastised himself for not following Revan's earlier commands.
Spartan-058 Linda moved past the barrier of her cell, raising a brow at the power loss. Apparently there had been an overload in one of the ship's systems and the forcefield had shut down for a moment. A span of 3.4 seconds if she were counting and she took advantage, stepping past the barrier before it reactivated and immediately moving down the hallways with enhanced speed that a normal human would find impossible to match. Stealthily, the Spartan moved to the side-corridor adjacent to her cell and spotted two Sith soldiers wearing silver armor. The Sith hadn't noticed her, though they were talking about the power fluctuation. Moving with stealth a panther would envy, Linda was only two meters away from the closest Sith when the ship shuddered violently from a Covenant attack and the guards stumbled, turning to grab for the walls to support themselves before they found themselves face to face with their prisoner. The Spartan reacted instantly, driving her hand into the closest Sith's chest and then turning and snapping the neck of the second. The first Sith was leaning against the wall and coughing violently as red blood seeped from the cracks in his armor. Linda struck forward, breaking the soldier's neck before the body of his comrade had even hit the ground. Pausing a moment as she considered the intelligence of her actions, Linda quickly grabbed both of the guard's bodies and moved them out of the line of sight of the doorway as she donned the second Sith's undamaged armor. The armor was small on her, though not small enough to raise alarms at a passing glance. Lifting one of the fallen Sith's weapons, Linda moved into the adjacent corridor and cursed as a Dark Jedi approached her, eyeing her with a confused expression as she failed to salute.
"Show the proper
respect, scum. You're lucky we're in the middle of a battle or I'd
kill you where you- wait a moment. You're not-"
The Dark Jedi was on his back before he had time to react, his chest caved in from the Spartan's kick and Linda lowered her stance, staring at the corpse in surprise. She'd hit Malak just as hard and he'd still been alive. The Sith's hands moved and Linda did the only smart thing and shot the Dark Jedi in his face. A security camera recorded the incident and activated the ship's internal alarms, causing Linda's studying of the weapon the Sith's hand had fallen on to end with her merely taking the weapon and sprinting away instead of learning of its practical uses. The Spartan was able to run past two patrols and a squad of red-armored elite Sith before she came to an abrupt stop as the lift at the end of the corridor she was in opened to reveal Darth Malak.
"You should have
stayed in your cell."
Malak stated, his hand already holding his own lightsaber. Linda considered her options, knowing the man's strength and resilience though not knowing the true extent of the Force's powers. Deciding to take a chance, Linda fired off a burst of several shots from her blaster, noting the surprise on Malak's face as the Force delayed the warning, forcing the Sith Lord to dodge the attacks instead of deflect them. Linda soon learned not to underestimate a Force-user when she found her weapon smoking in her hands and Malak's forearm captured in her grasp. The man had crossed the distance between them in a blur, even to her Spartan senses and she was hard-pressed to grab his weapon arm before he brought his weapon down on her face.
"All the bones in your arm should be shattered... how-"
Malak swept his leg behind Linda's, the Spartan tripping, though she maintained her hold on Malak's weapon arm and dragged him down with her to the floor. Malak's expression was cold, though a flicker of uncertainty crossed his eyes as he struggled with the Spartan, their arms locked in a life and death struggle.
Malak raised his head at the call, the distraction enough for Linda to gain the leverage she needed to throw him to the side. Pain seared her as Malak's saber ran across her shoulder and she rolled as a blaster bolt struck where she was laying a moment before. Obviously the Sith had stopped using stun bolts on her. The pain in her shoulder was distracting, agonizing and the Spartan wondered to the reason as a blaster bolt struck her in her chest. Falling back, Linda grunted as she tried to move once more, the pain from the blaster bolt unpleasant, though not nearly as bad as the wound she'd received from the lightsaber. The Spartan had no idea that a Jedi's connection to the Force and to their weapon enhanced its effectiveness and she lay still a moment, taking another shot from the Sith to the stomach as he approached her warily, looking between Malak and the Spartan. Linda felt her consciousness fading as she nearly blacked out from the pain of her wounds, her green eyes filled with pain a moment before she turned them to the Sith Lord towering over her, lowering her eyes to the crimson blade of Malak's saber as it moved to her throat.
"You've killed three of my men, I won't have you-"
Malak stopped speaking, his eyes suddenly alarmed as he sensed Revan. The battle had been distracting him but he'd dwelled too long on thoughts of Revan and his last order to kill Linda and he was assailed with an image of the Flood. Malak's saber wavered before he flicked the switch and deactivated the weapon, staring down at Linda, though not really looking at the Spartan. Unable to move from her injuries, Linda merely stared back at Malak, awaiting the inevitable. Assuming he was sparing her so he would torture her, Linda was surprised when the apprentice of the Dark Lord raised a hand to his head before activating his communicator and issuing an order.
"Get those Covenant
ships out of our way immediately. Lord Revan needs our help. That
is the priority. I will take care of this nuisance myself."
Malak added the last part to the solider beside him and the Sith soldier that had shot Linda looked to Malak, snapping off a salute as he turned and sprinted down the hallway. Malak looked back down at Linda blankly, his eyes filling with a cold fury as he saw the armor she wore, armor taken from one of his soldiers.
"You will drift in
space between life and death, long after the Covenant turns your
people to atomized ash, and burns your worlds to glass, you will
remain a phantom in space, left to the fate the Sith would have kept
you from, had your people not chosen to make enemies of us."
Linda registered the threat and met Malak's stare dead-on, not backing down. The Spartan blacked out at that point from the pain of her wounds, an all too human weakness that even the Spartan II's were not immune to. Linda felt a flickering of consciousness as the Sith armor was removed from her, a familiar weight settling against her body as the Sith began entombing her within her MJOLNIR armor and sealing her in a standard UNSC cryo-pod. Drifting into a gray state of oblivion, Linda had enough time to contemplate the look of hesitation in Malak's eyes as he condemned her to her fate before she drifted into a blank REM sleep, uncomprehending to the universe outside of her unconscious mind. The pod containing Spartan 058 was released into the blackness of space, the Sith fleet dumping the other recovered UNSC pods to join the sleeping Spartan's as they made their way for Halo, Ion cannon-fire streaking across the blackness of space and impacting the shielded Covenant craft. While not as advanced as the Rakatan/Sith hybrid Capitol ships like the Revenge and Interceptor, the modified Interdictor cruisers were able to go toe to toe with the Covenant, not overwhelming the aliens as their reinforcements slowly tricked into the system, but giving them the access they needed to Halo to recover their leader.
HK-47 crouched, his
blaster rifle thrown over his shoulder and resting on its strap while
he held two Covenant plasma rifles in each mechanical hand. A
sadistic gleam of pleasure crossed the Hunter-Killer droid's crimson
photoreceptors as they focused on a Covenant Grunt, the tiny alien
slumbering at the side of the corridor HK just happened to need to
pass through to reach the bridge of the Covenant cruiser. Recalling
the design specifications he'd reviewed of the Covenant ship, HK made
a mental note within his computer core to reference the design to his
Master. While not as intimidating as a Sith bridge with its massive
tower that overlooked the rest of the ship, the Covenant's design for
their warship's bridges was logical. Imbedded deep in the heart of
the ship, the bridge was well protected from attacks from without and
within. Something the assassin droid had enjoyed thoroughly as it
required maximum contact with the enemy. Activating his stealth
protocols, HK crept silently towards the slumbering Grunt,
magnetizing the plasma rifles to the sides of his legs to wield a
captured plasma sword. Positioning the handle over the Grunt, the
droid's eyes seemed to smirk as the plasma blade hissed to life,
melting through the flesh and bone of the Grunt and frying its brain
before it could even give off a startled cry of pain.
"Tactical Observation: The small meatbags appear to lack the resilience of the larger meatbags. Observation: Continued stealth will ensure a maximum of kills with little risk to my genius programming. Counterpoint: Lack of stealth will lead to more numerous confrontations as the hostiles will no doubt be able to track my position. Analysis: Continued stealth will be required to ensure this unit's survival. Anticipation: Master always said danger is the spice of life."
Replacing his plasma sword with two plasma rifles, HK-47 turned his head left to right, observing a shift in the light spectrum around him. Adjusting his sensors, HK pinpointed a Covenant Elite stealthily approaching him and raised his weapons, firing on the Shangheili. The Elite was scalded by the superheated plasma, though a shield bubble appeared around him, the personal shields of the Covenant more reliable and protective than the deflector-based shielding of the Sith. HK's systems alerted him to a damaged system as his deflector failed from a charged plasma shot from the Elite's plasma pistol and he fired more shots than were needed to end the threat of the gold-armored Covenant warrior, his photoreceptors turning downward to observe the damage a charged plasma bolt had done to his armor unshielded. A glowing orange hole was surrounded in patches of black, where the heat from dozens of plasma rounds had stuck him in his time on the Covenant ship and droid noted how the Covenant's shields operated on a separate principle, blocking all energy, kinetic or otherwise while the Sith's blocked only the energy, still allowing physical matter to penetrate their shielding.
forces with their primitive projectile weaponry should be approached
with extreme caution. Use of projectiles against standard issued
Sith shielding systems without proper bodyarmor may result in
termination. Processing: Additional details needed before accurate
safeguards can be made to confront UNSC weaponry. Conclusion: Covenant shielding systems will offer sufficient protection from all
forms of attack, though power requirements will result in possible
systems failure. Threat Assessment: Estimate twenty-three percent
possibility of system overload through sustained use of Covenant
personal shielding. Observation: Continued functioning will require
eighty-four percent power capacity. Conclusion: Use of Covenant
shielding only to be used in extreme circumstances or when confronted
by projectile weaponry."
HK took the shield generator from the Covenant Elite's corpse, tying it in with his power core and bypassing the safeties before he relayed it to a mental switch that could be activated within his neural processor. Switching between the Covenant and Sith shielding systems, HK settled on the Sith version of energy deflection, well aware of the threats of close-form melee combat. It was one of the reasons a Sith Interdictor could survive a direct hit from a nuclear weapon, but be severely damaged or destroyed by an asteroid or a collision. The shielding was designed to work with armored plating to deflect incoming energy, not physical matter. It was also the reason their landing bay shields allowed them to sustain solid atmospheres within the ship while able to send ships through the energy field. The physical matter met resistance, due to the flow of energy, but failed to pass through without an outside source of power. It was one of the baseline operational principles from which all their shielding equipment worked. Apparently the Covenant had taken a different approach and HK was certain if the power consumption issues would be addressed that his Master would be most pleased with his findings.
Darth Revan sat with his back against an ancient Forerunner doorway, his once-pristine red armor and black robes covered in sweat, blood and grime from hours of mortal battle done with only the Force and his lightsaber. Bruised and broken ribs made his ragged breathing painful and the Dark Lord of the Sith shifted slightly to ease his pain, the painful burn of a plasma wound from a gun-wielding Flood combat form protesting. Revan was in a relatively isolated room next to a computer terminal with runes and numbers in such foreign characters that he could not even make a comparison with any languages he knew. The furthest thing from his mind at the time, the language of the Forerunners flickered across the holodisplay, the solid lights forming into a complex computer code that rivaled the Sith's most advanced programs. From within the program, UNSC AI Serial Number CTN 0452-9 observed the Sith's leader with a frown on her holographic face. 343 Guilty Spark was leading John into a trap and she had no means of reaching him before he got to the control room and even then the countermeasures in the Forerunner database we so staggering that even her advanced programming was having difficulty bypassing the locks needed to let the Chief know what he was about to do before it was too late. The system had locked her out as soon as the Index was recovered from the Library and Cortana had been slowly laying in a set of command functions to pass long control of the index to her program, significantly reducing her seven year lifespan as a Smart-AI in the process, but it was a small price to pay for saving billions from the Halos firing. Pressing against the console, Cortana felt frustration enter her thoughts as she tried to gain the Sith Lord's attention by flashing random sequences across the Forerunner computer panel beside him.
"Come on, look up! Hit the damned console!"
Revan's masked features jerked slightly as he attempted to fight off exhaustion and he grunted in pain as he tried to stand, his muscles aching as he staggered to his feet. Pain burned through him, making his vision white for a moment before it cleared, spots of red and black playing over his vision before they cleared to a dimly lit room with a computer panel that looked to be malfunctioning. Stepping to the console, Revan spared a paranoid glance over his shoulder to the doorway, wondering if the Flood he'd managed to escape from through a set of side corridors and access shafts that were likely airways would buy him the time he needed to heal, or in the very least rest. Laying a hand against the console to take some weight off his feet, Revan blinked as a flicker of blue and green light coalesced into a face on the panel. Furrowing his brow and blinking against pained exhaustion and likely a small amount of delirium, Revan saw again the faint features of a woman's face, soft and feminine though garbled horribly through the alien text. Revan stared at the image for a moment before he recalled his stay at the UNSC's Alpha base and the colorful AI the UNSC relied on so heavily to monitor the Covenant.
Revan stated to the empty room, feeling foolish suddenly at giving his delusions form. The console beeped at him and Revan blinked, clearing his throat and stiffening as he crossed his arms out of habit, the pain making him drop them quickly to his sides.
"Well, if I am not
insane and you're... somehow in a Forerunner computer panel... Why
are you speaking to me? Your people made it fairly clear we wouldn't
A sequence of buttons flashed and Revan had the common sense to know they were a code of some kind. Deciding to type in the code, Revan jerked back in surprise as a life-sized representation of a humanoid woman appeared before him, green, blue and red glyphs crossing over her translucent body in clear annoyance as her eyes flared a smoldering red.
"Its about damned time someone noticed me! I've been stuck inside this data processor for hours trying to let one of you barbarians know what was going on. Spark isn't sending you to somewhere to help control the Flood, he's setting you and the Chief up. Halo doesn't just kill the Flood, it kills everything with enough genetic matter to feed the parasite. Its why the Flood is on the ring to begin with, it was trying to stop the Forerunners and found the shielded rooms deep within where they were going to wait out the effects. This is only one of many rings and if it fires, the others will to and it will wipe out all sentient life within this galaxy. He is sending you to the control room in case the Chief doesn't follow through with activating the rings, he needs someone to physically activate the sequence and if he does, we're all dead."
Revan leaned back against the wall adjacent to the console, observing the temperamental AI with a blank expression through his faceless mask. A sound, not mistaken by Cortana as teeth grinding together reached her before Revan let out an explosive sigh, his body twitching in pain at the action as he gave a mirthless laugh, filled with bitterness, anger and pain.
"I am going to tear
that conniving automaton into pieces and melt down his parts,
reassemble them and do it again. I will rip apart the wires to his
subprocessors and program them only to feel pain, I will-"
Revan swayed slightly, overcome by nausea and dizziness from his injuries combined with exhaustion.
"I think I will lay
down for a bit..."
Revan slowly slid down the wall, absently staring up at the glowering form of Cortana as she crossed her holographic arms and glared at him. Feeling a bit of pity for the man, despite what she knew and had been informed of, Cortana waited, staring at the man before he stirred from his place on the floor to struggle to his feet, grunting in pain as he struggled to keep from crying out in pain. Mandalorians didn't cry out in pain. Breathing deeply despite the white-hot pain it meant for him, Revan turned to the UNSC AI, giving a nod as his response as he moved from the room, back into the passageway that would lead him to the control room as well as the awaiting Flood. Cortana, knowing the man was unaugmented and suffering from injuries and exhaustion that would even give a Spartan trouble arched a holographic brow in silent respect for the man, her form flickering as it vanished, returning to the subsystems she was locked within in Halo's computer database. John and Revan would fight their war against the Flood and 343 out there and she would fight it within the ancient programs themselves. She could only hope one of them was successful.