Finally, felt like updating this story again. With so many stories that I've decided to write at once, it's kinda gotten jarring to keep track of which one is due for an update. It doesn't help either that I hardly ever feel like writing these days, unless a burst of inspiration hits me. Well, I hope it's worth the wait, here's the first real chapter of Conflict of the Rift.

(It's the first real chapter because the plot finally gets moving.)

As usual, none of the characters in this tale belong to me. But it would take too long to list out all of the characters and all of the companies that they belong to, so I hope that'll be enough to settle it.


Conflict of the Rift

Chapter 1 (for real this time): Shadows and Conspiracies.

Samus Aran was famed as being the greatest bounty hunter in the known universe. There were countless instances where this powerful woman saved countless lives, did away with terrible creatures, and liberated colonies. However, there are some things that even the great Samus Aran simply can't be prepared to deal with. For instance, this particular bounty hunter had no possible way of knowing that she was about to take her first steps into a war far greater then any she had been dragged into before.

An odd message had been relayed to her ship, it's source unknown.
"Go to the coordinates sent with this message, somebody very close to you is in dire need of help."

Samus was no idiot, this certainly wasn't the first time that she had walked into a trap. Odds were, it was just a small group of pirates that she could get the drop on rather easily. If they wanted to spring a trap, Samus was game to play along for a little while... She was having a rather boring afternoon, anyway.

The planet presented was rather close by, so it only took about an hour before the orange armored bounty hunter touched down on the earth, well prepared for any sort of ambush that could have awaited her. She looked around, this was already rather unusual, in that the planet presented to her looked habitable by human life. Typically, these ambushes took place on a deserted tundra, or a forsaken space station. This place, where Samus had touched down, was a rainforest. To be more specific, it was a large rock plateau surrounded by rainforest. Samus couldn't help but give these particular ambushers some credit, at least the location was original. Samus took a small step forward, she checked the ground beneath her feet for possible land mines, a favorite of pirates lying in wait to attack... She didn't see any, actually, she didn't detect any signs of life, anywhere. Did these people have cloaking devices of some kind? If so, the situation just got considerably more dangerous.

Samus had gotten out of dangerous situations before, though, it still wasn't anything that she couldn't handle. She took another step forward, and then another one, and then a third on top of it. Still nothing, something was odd here, usually they staged their attack by this point. Samus looked around again, this time using her regular vision instead of scan mode. Anything was possible, even the tiniest twitch of the leaves in the trees were noteworthy at this point.

Then, Samus felt something behind her, she didn't pick it up on any sensors, she just felt it. Samus jumped forward and spun around a full 180 degrees, she brought up the rifle attached to her arm in the same swift motion. What she saw... definitely wasn't a pirate. Silver hair fell down to about his heels, he wore a black outfit, and carried a sword in his had that was even longer then he was tall. He was certainly handsome, but Samus wasn't in the market for a relationship, so that didn't affect her at all. This man stepped forward and pulled his sword from his side, despite the rifle that was aimed at him. His voice came out sleek and calm as he spoke, what a day this was turning into.
"Are you the one? Are you the one that has caused so much trouble for mother?"

Mother? There was only one being that Samus ever knew to be named 'mother'. But that thing should have been blasted apart years ago, who was this person? Who was the person that he was referring to as 'mother'? Despite her curiosity on the subject, she kept her rifle trained on him, prepared to attack if he were to make a single move that seemed out of place. After a few seconds of silence, the silver haired person spoke again, his tone unchanging.
"Your silence tells me that you are. Very well then..."

He assumed a fighting stance with his unnaturally long sword, was he really planning on fighting somebody like Samus with such a primitive weapon? Swords had been outdated for generations, and here he was, planning on seriously fighting her with one. Let alone the lack of power armor, one shot from Samus' rifle would rip a hole right through his chest, this guy didn't stand a chance, yet here he was, ready for battle in his black robes and with his antique sword.

Samus had been in some pretty unusual situations over the years, but this one had to take the cake.

Stunningly, this person moved forward at blinding speeds, he swung his sword across her stomach in what would have been a swift, clean strike were it not for Samus' reflexes. The bounty hunter rolled backwards and jumped up into the air, and fired several bursts from her rifle at him, all of which he was able to dodge around and miss. Something was different about this man, normal people don't move that fast, that much was certain already. The attacker followed Samus into the air and swiped with his blade again, Samus was able to avoid the swings by rolling into a ball, thus minimizing her size. As she uncoiled herself, she watched as the tip of the sword scraped against the rock beneath, shockingly, the blade was slicing through the raw stone as though it were butter. This actually caused Samus to shiver a little, if it were slicing through stone that easily, the odds of it being able to breach her power armor were actually rather high.

Who was this man? He was like no other human that Samus had ever encountered before in her life. He was stronger, faster, and easily more dangerous. As her feet planted on solid earth again, Samus pointed her rifle at him and unleashed another controlled burst of rounds at him. However, once again, he had little trouble dodging to either side in order to smoothly avoid anything that came near him. With each dodge, the mysterious warrior also came closer and closer to being within attacking range of the bounty hunter. Once he got close enough, he sliced horizontally with a strike that would have cut Samus in half, if she hadn't spun into the air and make her way over the blade. As she descended, she switched her rifle into missile mode and let one off. She watched as the warrior put his sword in the path of the missile, and she saw as it exploded into a large fireball.

She hit the ground with both legs, and put forward one of her arms for extra support. Nobody could survive a missile to the face in just standard clothing, so the battle was over now... right?

Wrong.

As the smoke and fire of the explosion fizzled away, Samus looked in shock to see the warrior standing there, his sword down by his side. This was like some kind of nightmare, Samus started to doubt that this thing was even really human. He had to be some kind of robot made to look human, it was the only thing to explain why he didn't even seem fazed by her missiles. He smiled at her, and turned his body towards hers so that he didn't have to turn his neck.
"I'll give you this much, you certainly have skill. However..."

He rose his sword again and held it in both hands.
"Nothing you do will stop me, you will not win this battle.

Samus found herself shivering a little, though that didn't stop her from trying to piece together what her next actions should be. There had to be something that she could do, something that at least slowed this guy down. She wasn't about to give up so easily, she was still primed and ready for battle. However, before the man could make his next move, it became rather apparent that Samus wouldn't have to worry about fighting alone anymore.

From the side, a massive energy blast roared from out of nowhere and smashed into the warrior's side, this actually knocked him to the side, where Samus promptly fired several more missiles at him before he could get up. Explosions roared into the sky from the impact of the missiles, but when the smoke cleared, the black robed man was completely gone. The only thing that he left in his wake were a mass of black feathers. Samus walked forward and grabbed one of these feathers, curious about where they had come from, and how he had vanished like that. She gripped the feather tightly in her hand, a feeling crept into her heart that she hadn't seen the last of that mysterious warrior.

Before she could reflect on it further, a male voice spoke out towards her, undoubtedly the source of the energy blast.
"You alright?"

Samus looked over to see who had interrupted the fight, and she found herself looking at yet another unusual figure. He wore all blue armor, the only thing uncovered was his face. A rifle was grafted onto his right hand, much like Samus had herself. However, she watched with a bit of surprise as the rifle became enveloped in a bright light, and the next moment, there was a regular hand. While still taking in the sight of this person, Samus lowered her weapon and stood straight up. If he had taken the time to help her out, she doubted he was an enemy.

The blue armored man stepped forward, his voice was serious, yet polite and kind at the same time.
"I'm sorry if I interrupted your fight, but I had a gut feeling that he was the one in the wrong."

Samus, finally seeing the need to say something, kept her words short and concise. This person wasn't one of her friends, she had no reason to say anything other then what she had to.
"Who are you?"

The man smiled and offered his hand.
"I'm just known as X, nice to meet you."

Samus paused for a second before she decided to shake his hand. It only lasted a brief second before she withdrew it again and returned it to her side.
"Samus Aran."

X took a few steps back, he started looking around to take in his surroundings more.
"So, Samus, do you by any chance have any information about this place?"
"Huh?"

X crossed his arms, speaking with a more businesslike tone now.
"Well, a while back, my partner and I saw something that looked like a black hole not too far from here. Being as headstrong as he is, my partner decided to jump in the hole to see if anything on the other side presented a threat to our world."
"And?"
"I jumped in after him, crash landed in this forest, and haven't seen him since."
"Uh-huh..."

X knelt and brushed his hand across the dirt, as if he were analyzing the ground for anything unusual that might be present in it.
"Since then, I've been looking all over the place for him, and trying to gather as much information about this place as possible."

Samus turned back and started to make her way over to the slope that led down the hill.
"Well, good luck with that."

X got to his feet and walked after her, raising his voice lightly so that she would hear him.
"Hey! Where are you going?"

Samus turned back towards him.
"I've got my own things I need to investigate."
"Well, hang on, why don't we team up for right now?"

X caught up with Samus, who had stopped moving, she spoke in a tone that was more curious then cold.
"Why would you want to do that?"
"Well, it's always safer to travel with allies, right? And besides, if that sword guy comes back for a second round, you might want somebody else fighting with you."

Samus lowered her head, nobody before that man had been able to deflect off her attacks with such ease.
"True enough..."

X smiled a bit and started making his way down the slope again.
"Alright then, let's get going."


"Um, you said your name was Zero, right?"

the red Maverick hunter turned back to look at the massive suit of armor that had started following him around a little while ago. Something that was rather strange about it was the fact that a child's voice was coming from it.
"Yeah, what's up?"

The suit of armor started tapping his index fingers together.
"well, I'm kind of looking for my brother right now, did you see him by any chance?"

Zero crossed his arms and rested up against a wall.
"What does he look like?"

The suit of armor held his arm down to about his waist.
"he's about this tall, blonde hair, wears a red coat... Gets REALLY mad whenever you call him short."

Zero lifts his gaze upward for a second.
"Um... nope. Doesn't ring any bells. Sorry."

The suit of armor sunk down a little, getting a bit mopey all of a sudden.
"Aww, dang it."

Zero pushed himself off the wall and looked down the road he was walking.
"Tell you what though, if you want to stick around with me, I'm going to be making a world tour of this place trying to figure out what was up with that black hole. Maybe we'll run across that brother of yours while we're at it."

The suit of armor perked back up again, the energy in his voice made it seem like the kid in him was smiling, that is, if he had a face to smile with.
"really! You'd do that!"

Zero shrugged.
"Sure, why not? It's not like you'll be in the way or anything like that."
"thank you Mr. Zero."

Zero laughed briefly and waved him off.
"Oh please, Zero's just fine."

With that, the red maverick hunter started making his way down the road, the large suit of armor followed him with a great deal of perk in his step.
"Oh, by the way, My name's Alphonse Elric, you can just call me Al though."
"Nice to know, Al."

The two of them walked in silence for a while.
"Um... Zero, you're really not as shocked as most people are when they realize that there's no body in here."
"eh... I've seen weirder things in my time."

After a considerable length of time walking through what had by that point become crowded city streets, Zero accidentally shoulder bumped a familiar face. He wore a rather tight yellow suit, with strategically placed stripes of black along the ribcage, along with it he wore blue boots and blue gloves, two large black spikes jutted out of the eyes. Zero's eyes widened in surprise, this wasn't a person that he had ever expected to encounter again.
"W-Wolverine!"

The man looked quite shocked as well.
"Zero?"

Al looked at the two men, confused at how they seemed to know one another. However, he didn't say anything right at that moment. Instead, he just let the two of them figure out what they were going to say, and go on their way. It didn't take long before Wolverine started walking down the city streets once again, and Zero headed down his own path as well. After several seconds of silence, Al spoke to Zero in an uneasy voice.
"Um, Zero. Did you know that man?"

Zero looked up at Al, grateful that the crowds were starting to clear up after they got past a particularly rough junction.
"Yeah, he and I fought side-by-side a while back. But, it should be impossible for him to be here, his world and mine are completely different."
"W-Worlds?"

Zero sighed a little, realizing that he had just dug a small ways into a story that was far deeper then he could cover with a brief recap.
"Yeah, it's a long story."

Zero then turned his head forward and started thinking aloud, the fact that Al could hear him was a fortunate coincidence.
"Then there's something more to that distortion then I thought. It could be like what Doom and Wesker pulled..."

That wasn't a very pleasant thought, Zero had to uncover more information about the distortion, and he had to do it fast.


The red maverick hunter wasn't the only Zero that was currently interested in the events of the rift. The masked leader of the black knights walked swiftly down the hallway that would lead him to the command bridge, where he would likely have new information on the recent developments of the last few days. It was true, that massive tremor that had rocked the world during a recent engagement had wiped out a majority of the black knight and Brittanian forces. However, the development of the group known as 'celestial being' certainly threw a wrench into things. They were a group that claimed that they wanted to end war, and they did so through armed interventions. Twice now, the black knights and Brittanians have had to call off major attacks because of their interventions. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but Celestial being had access to such high level knightmares that they outclassed even the Lancelot and the Gurren Mk II.
"Celestial being and the black knights have quite a bit in common. Perhaps this is something I could use to my advantage."

Zero had a difficult task ahead, he needed to assess the power of celestial being, find a weak spot in their armor, and drive a sword right through it, to ensure that they never attempt one of their interventions again. Or, even better, if he could somehow take control of celestial being, he could use their amazing weapons for his own causes. It would be extremely difficult for Zero to pull off such a thing, but he had a secret weapon at his disposal, something that none of his opponents could match.

he had the power of geass.

Geass was a power granted to Zero by a mysterious woman, and it quickly turned into one of his greatest weapons. The power of a person's geass varies from person to person, Zero's power forces a person of his wishing to do absolutely anything he orders. For example, if he were to order a person to die, that person would smile and say 'gladly' and then promptly throw themselves into traffic, or fire their own weapons into their brains. This power, while absolutely astonishing, came with a few conditions. First, Zero had to make direct eye contact with the person he ordered, for this reason, he had a sliding compartment that revealed his right eye installed into his mask. Second, he could only use it on a person once, as the geass permanently affects their mind.

If he were to use his geass properly, Zero could possibly take control of celestial being with little difficulty. Of course, Zero preferred to use geass as a last resort, since he could only affect a person once. That being the case, it was best to save it for when he needed it. If it was possible for him to accomplish his goals without using geass, he would do so, simply for the sake of keeping his secret weapon in reserve for another day.

Zero walked into the briefing room and stood on the center podium. Beneath him were the leaders of the black knights, the key players on his chess board.
"Black knights! We have something very important that we need to discuss tonight, the future of the entire world may be decided upon our actions!"

Shinichiro Tamaki, one of the more brash and forward people in the room, laid back in his chair and spoke loudly enough that the entire room, even Zero, heard him.
"Ah! That's Zero for you, always hyping stuff up WAY out of proportions!"

The face of Zero's mask locked instantly onto Shinchiro, he spoke in a voice that wasn't threatening, but escalated to demonstrate that he meant business about his speech.
"I say it affects the entire world because it does! We are here today to discuss the group known as Celestial being!"

The room went silent upon his bold words. Everybody knew who Celestial Being was at this point, but nobody wanted to talk about it. Supposedly, this group had brought about the deaths of several Black Knights, but they had killed even more Britannians, so it wasn't a total wash from the Black Knight's standpoint. The person to speak up again after an extended silence was Kaname Ohgi, the man that led the group of freedom fighters that would later be known as the Black Knights, once Zero appeared and took control. He was a reasonable, level headed person, and Zero had actually come to trust in how understanding and observant he could be. Even though he was far from the strategic mastermind that Zero was, the group of 'terrorists' could have done a lot worse then him for a leader.
"Um... Zero, don't you think messing with Celestial Being could get kinda dangerous? We don't exactly have the weapons at our disposal to fight on an even level with them."

Before Zero had a chance to rebuttal, the voice of a young woman chimed in. Kallen Kozuki was the ace pilot of the Black Knights, she was the pilot of the most advanced weapon that the Knights had at their disposal, the Gurren Mk II. With Kallen at the controls, the Gurren was able to match the legendary Lancelot of Britannia blow for blow in battle. To this day, she had battled the white Knightmare to a standstill on several occasions, neither one of them able to get the upper hand on the other.
"Oghi's right, Zero. Even my Gurren can't take down all of those advanced monsters. Hell, I doubt I'd even be able to hold my own against even one, if it were fighting for keeps."

Both Kallen and Oghi were very right in their sentiments. However, neither of them knew about Zero's geass, the secret weapon that he could use to make all of Celestial Being his puppets, if he were to put himself in the right position for such a thing. As such, he did something that was commonly called a 'classic Zero move' by those around him, and he revealed just a little bit more of his plan, if only to pique their interests even more. If Zero were good at anything in the world, it was putting on a show.
"We're not going to fight them... We, the Black Knights, shall take control of them!"

After a few initial seconds of the expected outrage, Oghi once again spoke up, being the voice of reason to Zero's outlandish plans.
"You can't be serious! How are we going to take control of an organization more mysterious then us, more powerful then us, and more well hidden then us!"

Zero spoke in a calm voice yet again.
"It is a simple task, we share the power of idealism."

Zero had inspired silence in the room once again, eventually, Oghi spoke again, as he tried to get more information out of Zero, concerning his more developed plan.
"What do you mean by idealism, Zero?"

Zero looked down back at Oghi again, his voice calm as he spoke.
"Oghi, why do the Black Knights fight?"
"To destroy Britannia, right?"
"Wrong!"

Zero backed up and held his arms outward.
"We fight for the safety and equality of all living beings! It is only because Britannia opposes our ideals that we fight! The Black Knights fight for the creation of a better world! And such is the same as Celestial Being! If we were to work hand in hand with them, we would easily be the most unstoppable force in all the world!"

There was silence in the room after that, as everybody absorbed the idea that Zero had presented, however, such an idea would be outlandish for anybody to try and carry out. Trying to even get Celestial Being's ear was certain to be impossible, then again, Zero had this interesting tendency of doing the impossible. As such, his men were inclined to believe that he was capable of making it happen. Even though they all had their doubts, Zero had done such things before, they had faith in him that he'd find a way to make it work.

After a decently sized silent pause in the room, Zero felt a small buzzing in his pocket, his phone was going off. Without even having to check it, he realized what it was about.
"Oh no. The festival!"

He kept his composure cool as he put his hands down, in a smooth motion he reached down and killed the buzzing, in such a way that nobody noticed.
"Now if you'll excuse me, I have several matters that I have to attend to. You all will receive your orders in the coming days. Until then, you are dismissed."

Zero turned around and walked out of the room, once he was out of eyesight, he began to pick up his pace a little bit.
"I can already hear it now..."


"Lelouch! Where on earth have you been!"

The blonde haired president of the student counsel scolded her black haired vice-president as he made his way slyly through the door. He smiled lightly at her and tried his best to wave her off with a single sentence.
"Oh, I just had a few other affairs that I had to take care of first, sorry that I'm late."

Milly, the president, simply crossed her arms and looked away.
"Hrmph, like you really expect me to believe that, Lelouch. Nothing should be more important then the cupid shoot out and costume competition!"

Lelouch couldn't help but shiver a little, each and every time that Milly held a festival at the school, Ashford Academy, things got out of hand, and festival would likely be no exception. Lelouch could name several instances in the past where his goals were almost comprised because of the president's antics.
"Like I said, I'm sorry. So, how much did I miss?"

Lelouch took a seat as Rivalz, another one of the student counsel members, filled him in. Rivalz was often tagging along whenever Lelouch went out to gamble on chess games. Since Lelouch was betting on himself for the win, he often walked away with a pretty hefty sum of money. Of course, the only real reason that Lelouch let Rivalz come along was because Rivalz owned a motorcycle, and Lelouch needed transport.
"Oh, we were just putting together a couple of the last minute arrangements for the festival. You know, where all the vendors are gonna go, what kinda games are gonna be available. Basically, all the boring stuff."

Lelouch rested his hand on his cheek and looked away.
"Oh good, so I'm just in time."

Even though Lelouch was able to hear Rivalz going on about something else after that, his mind had already started to drift on to other matters.
"Celestial Being... How am I going to get them to fall into the flock?"

For a moment, he glanced over at the other members of the student council, who were all putting together arrangements for the upcoming festival.
"People outside of the battlefield don't know about their interventions. But that's to be expected, with the media blackout that happened after the cataclysm and all."

Lelouch looked down at the table again, he was lost in thought.
"If only there was a way to-"
"Lulu?"

Lelouch snapped out of his planning session, there was only one person in the entire academy that called him 'Lulu'. Lelouch turned his gaze upward to see a very pretty orange haired girl standing over him. Shirley was another member of the student council, and it had become increasingly obvious that she harbored a crush for the young mastermind. Lelouch wore a look of surprise as she snapped him out of his thoughts.
"What is it, Shirley?"

Shirley leaned forward and crossed her arms, she often got annoyed whenever Lelouch ignored her, or spaced out like he was doing just a moment ago.
"You were daydreaming again, weren't you?"

Lelouch sat up straight in his chair, he let out a small chuckle.
"Yeah, you caught me."

Shirley simply sighed before she continued to speak, it was more an attempt for her to nag at him then anything.
"Oh, Lulu, one of these days you're going to-"

She was cut off rather suddenly as Milly teased her.
"Oh! My poor, sweet Lulu, when are you ever going to stop daydreaming about other gir-"

Shirley chimed in again rather quickly, a large blush washing across her features.
"Madam president! Will you stop talking like that!"

Lelouch made the mistake of looking out the window that rested to the immediate left of his chair, where he caught sight of something that piqued his interest. Once again, the yelling in the background took a back seat to Lelouch's own thoughts.
"That man's acting rather odd..."

There was a person outside that was acting rather erratically, behavior that Lelouch normally only saw when a person was under the power of Geass, this could be worth investigating. If there was another Geass wielder on the premises, Lelouch needed to know about it. Lelouch rose from his chair just as Shirley was defending herself from another one of Milly's playful teases, he spoke in a level tone, as though nothing was wrong.
"I'm going to step outside for some fresh air."

More focused on the incident outside, Lelouch hurriedly made his way to the door, as quickly as he could without seeming overly eager to get out. As he opened the door, he heard Shirley shout out after him in a frustrated voice.
"But you only just got in here!"

As he shut the door, he could already imagine Shirley letting out a frustrated growl, or something of that effect. But nonetheless, he had far more pressing matters to deal with now.

Lelouch quickly made his way outside, where he made sure that he kept a careful amount of distance between him and the man. This man, about in his mid thirties, certainly far too old to be in a private academy, was scribbling something in the dirt. Lelouch hesitated for a second before he decided to get closer, as he did, he spoke out in a cautious voice.
"Um... Sir, are you alright?"

As he proceeded to get even closer, he could start to hear a bit of crazed laughter coming from the man. Lelouch could already start to feel a bit of a chill run up his spine, something about the way he was laughing was extremely creepy. Lelouch turned his head to the side so that he could see what the man was carving into the dirt, however, the writing was a bit too erratic for him to try and distinguish what it said. Lelouch got closer still, and cautiously placed his hand on the man's shoulder.
"Um... Sir?"

The man suddenly let out a loud shout and grabbed at his chest, he fell to the ground and started to writhe in pain. Lelouch jolted backwards, terrified by the sudden action.
"S-Sir!"

Before Lelouch had time to react, another man's voice rang out from behind Lelouch.
"What the hell, Lelouch?"

Lelouch turned his head to see his childhood friend, Suzaku Kururugi, run up at an incredible speed. Suzaku knelt down on a knee and held his hand at the guy's chest as he turned his head to face Lelouch.
"Lelouch! What happened here?"

Lelouch's hands started to shake. He was no stranger to death, but he had no choice but to play the part. If anybody would be able to catch on to any change in behavior from him, it would be Suzaku.
"I-I don't know! I just came over and saw that this guy was acting strange, so-"
"Save it for later! I'm going to go get a doctor! You stay here with him!"

With that, Suzaku was gone again. Lelouch, however, stood mortified as he watched the man suffer from his spontaneous heart attack.
"What the hell is going on here? What kind of power is this?"

Meanwhile

At a cafe that was across the street from the school, a young man that seemed just a little bit too old to be a student ate a light meal. He kept a cautious eye on the scene as his test subject acted according to plan, though there was the complication of that student that came across the scene. Still, such risks existed when he decided to hold his test in such a public place. He finished his tea and rose from his chair, leaving a generous tip for the waitress as he walked away.
"So, the notebook really is capable of killing people... Even better, I'm able to control the actions leading up to their death, and the way they die."

As he walked away, he couldn't help but grin.
"This is going to be the start of a new world... And I... I will be the god of it!"


Far, far away from the world of school students, giant machines, and killer notebooks, a lone green armored super soldier made his way along the calm riverside. It had been a long time since he heard the peaceful sounds of trickling water, it had been years since he saw green pastures, the likes of which haven't been ravaged by war. Master Chief was a born soldier, that was his role in life. As such, he was always in the battle field, always fighting. This change of pace was certainly a shock for him, though not entirely unwelcome.

For the first time in his entire life, he was able to calmly walk along the road, with little fear of coming across an enemy ambush, without the need to keep his guard up for enemy forces just around the next corner. Chief really didn't know what to do with such an experience. After a few moments of walking, the voice of the A.I. in his head chimed out, eager for conversation. For such an advanced A.I. as Cortana, all of this time without having any thing to dedicate her memory to had to be maddening. Chief figured that she had found something to waste her time sorting out, possibly that black hole incident that landed the two of them on this world.
"So, Chief, what exactly are we doing?"
"Well, that pale guy we ran across a while back, he was definitely human. Odd, but human."
"And?"

Chief paused for a second as he stepped around a piece of brush.
"So, if there are humans on this planet, there's the possibility that we can make contact with the UNSC."

Cortana put the pieces of the puzzle together extremely quickly.
"And that means that we'd be able to find a way home!"
"Exactly."

As he walked silently down the road, it didn't take long before he saw the faint silhouette of another person walking in the opposite direction. Chief looked forward in curiosity, wondering who this person could be. Both men continued walking down their respective routes, getting closer... and closer... and closer...

After a little while, Chief could start to make out the faint linings of an orange, armored hazard suit. As they got closer still, Chief could see that he had a reasonably thick beard, and wore glasses. As they got within eye sight of one another, Chief looked directly into the other man's eyes. He saw the eyes of a killer, a man that wasn't at all afraid to pull out a gun if his life were in danger. This was a man not to be messed with, Chief knew the gaze all too well. The bearded man's eyes didn't seem hostile though, he was just prepared to defend himself if things got out of hand. As their respective roads met, the two men stopped and exchanged glances, as though they were sizing each other up. Chief could tell right from the start that the other man saw him as a non-enemy, it was clear from the space between the bearded man's hand and his gun that he wasn't looking for a fight with Chief. For what may have been a complete minute, the two men just looked at one another, the only sound was the ringing voice of the AI in Chief's head.
"... Men are so weird."

Before either man had a chance to start walking down their respective paths, a rustling sound came from some of the nearby trees. Both men were warriors who were well trained, and paranoid enough from their respective wars that they immediately drew a gun on any sudden sounds. Chief pulled out the assault rifle on his back, and the scientist pulled out a submachine gun that he carried with him. After a second of silence between the two, a gargantuan monster crashes through the trees and lets out a loud roar. It was like a demon had escaped from hell, and then a mad scientist had captured it and given it cybernetic implants. This 'cyberdemon' proceeded to storm towards both soldiers, it had clearly gone berserk, and was just destroying anything within reach.

Master Chief, upon seeing the demon, was reminded a great deal of the flood, a parasitic race that took over the corpses of dead species and turned said corpses into vile abominations against nature. While it wasn't exactly the same as what he was used to, this was certainly no friend of humanity. The scientist as well seemed like he had seen a great deal of extremely freakish and inhumane monsters, as he wasn't shell shocked in the slightest either. Cortana spoke in a cool voice in Chief's head as the demon grew closer and closer.
"What's the plan, Chief?"
"What else? We shoot it until it dies."

As Master Chief dashed off to the side and started to open fire, Cortana muttered to herself, though it still came through the audio lines.
"Well that's a pro tip if I ever heard one."

As it turned out, both Chief and the scientist had the same idea, as rapid fire rounds came from either side of the cyberdemon. The demon, in turn, simply turned towards the scientist and started lumbering forward. Chief watched as bullet after bullet tore into the demon's flesh, but it didn't even look like it was annoyed by it. It just continued to trod step after step towards it's target, like nothing had even the slightest impact on it. This was a rather eerie matter for the scientist as well, it was clear from how quickly he retreated from the oncoming beast and stopped his opening fire. While it's back was turned, Chief got the same idea that rounds were useless, so he put his rifle on his back after the first clip ran out, and sped forward. With a bold jump, he was on top of the monster's back, he then climbed his way to the head and delivered three or four solid punches before the demon managed to grab him and throw him forward like a toy. Considering the fact that Chief weighed about a tun and a half with all of his armor, that was an incredible display of just how strong this monster was.

The scientist had to roll out of the way in order to avoid the oncoming metal missile. As Chief collided with the ground, he recovered swiftly and spoke in an agitated voice to the scientist that was recovering from his own tumble just a few feet away.
"So, bullets are useless. You got any ideas?"

Wordlessly, the scientist pulled out a gun... if one could call it a gun. It was an orange cylinder with three prongs at the end of it, a trigger in his hand. Chief had seen a weapon that was vaguely familiar, in the form of the sentinel laser that the guardians against the flood dropped when they were destroyed. Chief watched as he expected some kind of massive beam to erupt from the weapon in the scientist's hand. What he wasn't expecting, however, was for that gun to pick up a nearby destroyed chunk of tree, and fling it at the beast with hypercharged speed. As he watched this, Cortana's voice lit up his audio array, her voice rather excited.
"I can't believe it! That gun is actually capable of causing a gravitational distortion!"

Chief rose all the way up to his feet and watched as the scientist flung yet another chunk of wood at the monster, which crashed against it's head with a loud crunching sound.
"I see how it works. So we're just going for blunt force now, huh?"

He moved himself around to where he would eventually be around the back of the cyberdemon, he had decided that it was time for another rodeo. As the demon continued to focus it's attention on the scientist, who was still firing a now dwindling stockpile of tree wood at him, Chief made another jump onto the massive monster's back. This time, he went straight for the kill and clobbered at the beast's neck instead of the top of it's head. It became quickly obvious that the demon felt those hits, as it let out a howl of pain before it fell to a knee as it started to thrash wildly in an attempt to free itself of the green super soldier that was laying siege on it. The scientist took advantage of this opportunity, as he saw that the Spartan would have the demon quite occupied for the next several seconds. He put his orange cannon away, and pulled out a simple, steel crowbar. With the metal bludgeoning device in hand, he sprinted towards the front of the cyberdemon and jumped of it's down knee, and upwards towards the exposed underside. He then sunk the metal bar into the flesh and ripped it out the other side with strength only slightly inferior to that of a Spartan. The demon let out one last yelp of agony as the orange armored scientist executed it, and it fell onto it's side.

The cyberdemon was down, and neither Chief nor the Scientist needed to waste more then a single clip of ammunition to make it happen. Chief got off the now deceased monster and took a moment to confirm the kill before he turned to the scientist. Even though the bearded man was now covered in demon blood, Chief offered his hand for the other man to shake.
"Couldn't have done it without you."

The scientist looked at the hand in surprise for a few seconds before he nodded and shook the hand. Chief began to speak to the very silent man again after a few seconds.
"Well then..."

He glanced down at the orange suit, and happened to spot a name tag on the left shoulder.
"Doctor Freeman, it's been a pleasure."

Chief would have then gone his separate ways from Freeman, however, before he could move, the trees began to rustle again. Because of this, both of them immediately, once again, drew weapons and pointed them directly at the source of the rustling. But this time, it wasn't a gargantuan demon that burst out, it was a man in a black and red costume with two katanas on his back, and two handguns at his side. Again, this was a rather unusual sight for both the Spartan and the Doctor, but it wasn't anything they needed to open fire on.
"Whoa-ho-ho! Easy there, big guns, no need to fill me with holes."

Both Chief and Freeman took a step back and put their guns away. Meanwhile, the strange man put his fists on his hips and muttered to himself.
"First that vampire manages to ditch me, and now this... It's been a BAD day for ol' Deadpool. I mean really, what kind of luck does a guy have when-"

Chief and Freeman exchanged a brief, confused glance while the strange man named Deadpool went on his little tangent. Freeman had his eyebrow rose a bit to demonstrate the confusion in his mind, while the Chief's own confusion was just as obvious, though not visible. After a brief exchange of glances, the two soldiers both looked back towards the strange man, who had by now reaching the end of his rant.
"But none of that matters anymore anyway, because now I have YOU GUYS!"

Chief was the one to speak up.
"You do?"

Deadpool nodded, holding up an index finger by his face.
"Yeah! This is why I love crossovers, this right here."
"Crossovers?"

Deadpool went on to continue talking, completely ignoring Chief's one word inquiry about what he meant by 'crossover'.
"And besides, I gotta get back at somebody in this land of awesome encounters for stealing my MO."
"... Your MO?"

This time, Deadpool acknowledged the statement, he used it as fuel to further his tangent.
"Yeah! Some black cloaked warlock is running around giving guys like me a bad name. The guy kills BABIES for Bea Arthur's sake! That's not cool!"
"... Guys like you?"

And Deadpool was back to ignoring the Chief. It was at this point that Chief looked over to see Dr. Freeman standing on the sidelines, content to watch this little display without putting his two cents in.
"I mean, where's the fun in that? I'm all for a killing good time, but there's some things you just don't do! One of them is hit a fangirl beehive with a big stick, which the writer already did anyway, and the other is kill anybody below the age of consent... of death."

Miraculously, Deadpool then stopped talking for a moment, which gave Chief a solid chance to actually contribute to the conversation.
"So were exactly do me and Dr. Freeman fit into this?"
"Well! Traveling's always better when the main hero has underlings, and I'm pretty sure both of you guys have good motivation to stick around and see where I take you. I mean, Chief, you do me a solid here, and I could hook you up with a one way trip back to your buddies, I have connections."

Chief didn't know which part was more surprising, the statement that Deadpool could actually help him, or the fact that Deadpool knew what he was looking for. However, Chief knew to expect the unexpected, if this person knew who Chief was, it could be possible that he knew how to get the spartan back to UNSC territory. Besides, it wasn't like Chief had a great idea about what else he could do. Chief decided to humor this strange man, and continue to carry out his own personal investigation on a way back to the UNSC whenever he could.
"Alright, I'll humor you on this."
"See? I knew you'd come around."

Chief then turned and looked at Freeman, who looked like he was rather zoned out of the conversation, and staring at something far out into nothingness at that point in time.
"I think his boss is gonna tell him he has to."

In Gordon Freeman's mind, the man he hated most in the world appeared before him. It was a man in a suit, he carried a briefcase with him. He spoke in a manner that was calm and collected, but still unusually haunting at the same time.
"Go along with them... Mr. Freeman... The battles that they will fight will have great sway over the coming events"

Chief couldn't take these growing mysteries any longer, Deadpool seemed to have an abnormal amount of knowledge about things he shouldn't.
"Seriously, how do you have all this information about us?"
"Like I told you, I've got connections."


The three walkers stepped down onto the ruined soil, everywhere the trio looked, there was nothing but demolished buildings, wrecked plains, destruction of a massive scale as far as the eye could see. The woman of the group fell to one knee, as she scooped up some of the charred dirt, the product of entire worlds colliding and being forced together under the power of the all absorbing rift.
"this is ground zero?

The male human of the group, who wore a blue cloak that covered most of his features, stepped towards her, but remained several feet away as he came to a halt and looked at all the ruination.
"According to my studies, yes, Elspeth. This is the place where the first worlds collided... This is the place where it all began to go wrong."

The woman named Elspeth ground some of the ash between her fingers.
"It's like Alara all over again."

The third member of the group was an aged lion man. He wore white robes, and if one was good at estimating the age of his race, he was clearly quite old. He gripped his staff tightly in his hand, and spoke to the two humans with a serious tone.
"Such wreckage, if we do not act quickly and quell the rift, more worlds will meet this fate as well."

Elspeth rose to her feet, she turned to face the elder lion man as she spoke quickly.
"Ajani, do you think that this could be the work of Nicol Bolas?"

None of the planeswalkers present wanted to deal with that suggestion, Nicol Bolas could very well have been the most powerful planeswalker in existence. Before his spark awoke, he was an elder dragon, a massive monster that was feared by all on his home world. Due to certain circumstances regarding the fate of his home world, Bolas acquired the ability to walk between worlds just before he would have been killed. On the plain of Alara, in the shard known as Grixis, he hatched a plan that would bring back the entirety of his power. Centuries passed, life went on without anybody being the wiser. However, when all of the shards' obelisks shined, and the time was ripe, the five shards collided, each independent realm of existence that was once it's own world came back together as one. In that moment, a monstrous maelstrom of raw mana erupted from the heart of the world. The dragon known as Bolas channeled this maelstrom into his own body, an act that gave him absolutely unimaginable power.

Were it not for the wise actions of Ajani, who extracted the essence of Bolas' own soul to combat him, all of the entire multiverse would have been consumed by the almighty dragon. It was during this time that the Alara shard known as Bant, a world that Elspeth had grown to call her own, became absolutely overrun by the forces that it had to fight against. Bant became a world without the dark and corrupting influence of black and red mana, as a result, it was a structured, lawful world where honor and fairness were held above all else. When the shards collided, Bant simply wasn't prepared to wage war with the massive beasts, the dragons, and the abominations of nature that were presented before them. Elspeth had lost the closest thing to a home she ever had, and the loss of it had clearly affected her for the rest of her life.

The male human, Jace, crossed his arms as Elspeth said that name. Jace was renowned throughout the multiverse as one of the best wielders of blue mana that had ever existed. He was a master of clairvoyance and illusion, just to name a few of his mental based skills. Even this man, as brilliant and powerful as he was, couldn't hide his fear of the dragon. He himself had a rather unpleasant run in with the dragon in question.
"Bolas..."

Jace lowered his head in silent thought, since it was clear he had nothing more to say for a while, Elspeth turned towards Ajani, the one who had, in his younger years, been able to defeat Bolas singlehandedly with his ability to draw out the spirit essence of living beings.
"Couldn't you just draw his essence again?"

Ajani looked down, thinking the idea over for a few moments.
"I caught Bolas off guard the first time with it. It's possible that he may have come up with a countermeasure to ensure it doesn't happen again."

Elspeth lowered her head down, she began to think silently for a few moments.
"That's a shame... But there's still no guarantee that Bolas is involved. We need to investigate further before we come to any decisions."

Ajani nodded.
"That's right, I don't think even Bolas has the power to create a multidimensional rift from nothingness. Even on Alara, he needed the help of the obelisks, and time."
"So then, first we need to think about who has the resources, power, and knowledge to make such a thing a reality."
"Perhaps we should go and research the planeswalkers of old. Some of them might still be alive, and it could give us something to work with."
"Possibly. It's all we've got, in any case."

With their plan decided, Elspeth and Ajani both turned towards Jace, who was still keeping his thoughts to himself. Ajani was the one to speak out to Jace, to get his attention.
"Are you coming, Jace?"

Jace turned to them and nodded, as the two stepped away and prepared to use their planeswalker sparks, Jace took one last moment to absorb the wreckage in his memory, and recall his own encounter with the dragon that had been haunting his thoughts since he was brought up. More importantly then the dragon though, Jace's thoughts went to one of his servants.
"Liliana... do you still work with him?"

With that, Jace turned and joined his comrades. The three planeswalkers vanished from sight as suddenly as they had appeared.