Author Note: I just wanted to let my readers know this project is still under construction and I've not abandoned it. I recently had to wipe and reinstall my OS on my laptop and I don't have a word processor on it right now, and I need to finish re-watching the films again so I can make everything as accurate as possible. Bear with me - I'll have the next chapter up before long. Also, there have been some complaints in regards to the editing; I apologize for that. In Word, the paragraphs were indented properly and it looked fine, but it slipped my mind to check the preview before uploading it. I've taken care of the indentation issue and hopefully it's more readable now. One final note, this is not the first time this story has been uploaded - over the past few years I've uploaded it, taken it down, revised it as my writing skills improved, and uploaded again. I'm hoping this will be the last time I rewrite it and it will be to my liking. Trust me, this isn't a spur of the moment story and I've put a lot of thought into the plot. Without further ado, the first chapter - thank you all for reading!

Halo: Archangels

A Halo & Lord of the Rings Fan Fiction by Collin Moore

Chapter I – Assembly

DATE: October 19, 2552
TIME: 1021 Hours
LOCATION: D77-TC Pelican Battleaxe, Outskirts of Camp Mombasa, New Mombasa, Kenya, East African Protectorate, Earth

The African desert isn't a pleasant place to be any time of the year, especially while crammed in the back of a D77-TC Pelican troop transport. While the craft's rear boarding ramp was lowered to allow for a slight breeze, the troop bay of the Pelican was rapidly becoming an oven. Sergeant Nathan Young stood near the ramp, one hand hanging onto the cargo net above his head, the other wiping the beads of sweat from his head. Behind him, the other three members of his Special Forces unit, the Archangels, sat melting into their seats.

Corporal Owen Johnson was actually laying in his seat, as he had managed to jury-rig the seat straps into position to keep him in place while the Pelican maneuvered during the trip to the base. He was sound asleep, but he wasn't exempt from the heat – his olive drab tee shirt was dark from sweat. Above him, doubly secured in the cargo netting, was his SRS99D-S2AM sniper rifle, in its matte black ballistic case. Johnson loved the weapon nearly as much as he loved the ladies, and it was his only steady relationship to date – not to say he didn't have luck with the women.
He just couldn't trust anyone other than his rifle, Maria.

Across the Pelican's troop bay was another corporal, Anthony Tressell. The team's demolitions expert, he was cheerfully keeping his mind off of the infernal heat by reading the UNSC's manual on demolitions and explosives – again. Nobody knew why he repeatedly read it, but he seemed to always have a copy of the manual on him or in his kit at all times.

The final member of the team, Corporal Tanner Flanagan, was the team's close combat expert. A master of knives, swords, staves, and many other melee weapons, including Krav Maga and several other martial arts, he was a formidable fighter. In addition, he was a master with close combat weapons such as shotguns and submachine guns. He sat against the bulkhead, sweating more than the others, as his distance from the Pelican's open rear ramp made the breeze that hit him extremely light. He held a wicked looking combat knife in one hand, and a whetstone in the other, and was sharpening the weapon to an incredible point.

The Archangels had been fighting for years, nearly since the beginning of the Human/Covenant War. They were formed as an elite special operations unit to combat the Covenant from behind enemy lines. Typically used for assassination, sabotage, electronic warfare, and intelligence gathering, they were a diverse group of soldiers that could accomplish a wide variety of tasks. They had all been cross-trained in each others' specializations, and could even operate sophisticated aircraft and vehicles if necessary.

What this meant, to Nathan, was that whatever assignment UNSC HighCom had dragged them down to East Africa to accomplish, it was going to be top secret, impossible, or some mixture of both. It wasn't unusual, though, anything different would have been unusual.

The Pelican soared only a few dozen feet above the desert sand during its approach to the landing strip at Camp Mombasa. By now, they had been flying for several hours, and the midday sun had officially made riding in the rear of the Pelican borderline suicidal. Fortunately, the Pelican touched down before the soldiers received any permanent damage from the heat.

The dust driven up from the Pelican's engines was incredible, even on the tarmac. Keeping the strips free of sand was an impossible task in the desert, and not long after the landing strip had been built had the UNSC's engineers given up on keeping it totally clear.

As the engines powered down the visibility rose again, and they could see a M831 troop transport variant Warthog waiting for them not far from the Pelican's landing area. In the driver's seat was a private, and standing next to the vehicle was a first lieutenant, dress cap on, leaning against the vehicle with a cigarette in hand. Though his eyes were covered by dark aviator sunglasses, Nathan could tell that he was eying the marines as they disembarked.

Nathan slung his pack over his shoulder and lifted another bag and headed down the ramp as the rest of his team unhooked the cargo netting above and pulled down their own bags and headed down the ramp as well.

Nearing the Warthog, the lieutenant took a final drag on his cigarette, tossed it to the ground, and mashed it with his combat boot. He waved the marines over and signaled for them to toss their bags in the back and climb in, and hopped into the passenger's seat himself. Nathan relayed the order to the rest of his team, and soon they were all in the LRV and roaring down the tarmac towards the command post.

The base was rather large, as it was the main military installation in East Africa. The camp had a large compliment of marines, as well as a fleet of Pelicans and armored battalion. A tank course ran almost completely around the perimeter of the base, and several M808B Scorpion main battle tanks could be seen running through their paces on the course off in the distance. A parade ground sat near the middle of the base, and a group of marines was doing their daily PT exercises as the Warthog drove past. A series of large hangars sat near the tarmac they had landed on, and all were open, except for the last in the line. From what Nathan could see, the closed hangar had a makeshift security gauntlet set up near the side entrance. What it was for, he had no idea, so he dismissed it as some ONI operation that he didn't need to know about.

The trip back to the command post was almost totally silent, as the marines assumed that the lieutenant was probably just a gofer for the commanding officer that was going to be briefing them, and wouldn't know or be able to discuss any of the details of their operation.

The Warthog pulled up outside the octagonal, five-story command post and slowed to a stop. The marines hopped out and reached for their bags, but the lieutenant stopped them, saying they would be dropped off to their barracks while they were at their briefing. The marines grabbed their M6G sidearms from their packs and followed the lieutenant into the command post.

A guard checked their identification at the entrance, and then the marines entered a lift that ascended to the fourth floor of the building. As they exited the lift, the lieutenant ushered them into a secure conference room, and once the marines entered, he turned and left them alone, stating the commander would be along momentarily.

Taking their seats at the rectangular table, they helped themselves eagerly to the bottled water on the table while they waited. The minutes dragged onwards as the marines wandered around the table and peered out the panoramic window that overlooked the compound.
Ten minutes after the lieutenant left, the door slid open and a general and a colonel entered the room. The colonel wore the insignia of the Office of Naval Intelligence, Section III. Nathan and the rest of the Archangels had worked with Section III in the past, for highly covert assignments. Anything that ONI, and especially Section III, was involved with was especially covert.

The general seemed a friendly enough sort and took a seat at an end of the table, while the captain sat near him. "Welcome to Camp Mombasa, gentlemen. Name's Taggart, General William Taggart," he gestured to the colonel, "and this is Colonel Baker, from the Office of Naval Intelligence. He's going to be quarterbacking your operation here. Colonel, I'll leave the briefing to you."

Colonel Baker nodded at the general. "Thank you, sir." Turning to the marines, he continued. "As I'm sure you have all been wondering, we've brought you here for a covert operation. This operation, codenamed ODIN, will take place right here on the base." He pulled out a remote control for a projector and turned it on. The ONI emblem flashed on the screen, then the generic Eyes Only and Top Secret warnings, and then the actual information came onto the screen. Baker flipped through the slides as he talked. "Operation ODIN was initiated after SPARTAN-117 returned with the survivors from Halo, or Installation 04. During their journey back to Earth, they were forced to return to Reach to search for a spaceworthy UNSC vessel. While on the surface, they uncovered a mysterious crystal artifact that seemed to alter space and time." The current slide showed footage from SPARTAN-117's helmet camera of the artifact. "Dr. Halsey, head of the Spartan II project, found that the crystal altered Slipspace. What they discovered was that the crystal would vastly increase the distance traveled in Slipspace during a set period."

Baker switched to another slide, this time showing what looked like an explosion and the remains of an ODST, embedded with shards of a strange crystal. Baker continued. "This is the remains of one Corporal Locklear, an ODST that was one of the survivors of Installation 04. Immediately before a Slipspace journey, Locklear thought it best to destroy the artifact and prevent it from altering Slipspace travel. However, he perished as well, clearly." The colonel sighed. "I only wish he hadn't… the entire artifact… I can only imagine what we could have done with it. However, we do have the remnants that were embedded in Locklear's body when he died." Baker showed another slide, this time showing a container with slivers of a shimmering blue crystal in it. "This is all that we managed to recover. This clearly isn't all of the crystal, but we managed to get enough to… experiment with. The rest must have dissipated into Slipspace during the detonation." He looked at the marines and gave a faint grin. "I bet you're all wondering what ODIN was created for."

The marines nodded their agreement. "ODIN was initiated, as I said, immediately after recovering the artifact's remains. The operation brought together a number of talented physicists and scientists, with the intent of mastering the artifact's Slipspace manipulation. The last warehouse here by the tarmac was fortified and security was heightened and ODIN is now housed there. ODIN's first section was to actually build a device to manipulate the artifact's remnants, which was successful. However, it's the nature of its success that caught us by surprise."

"Upon activating ODIN, we found that it was actually a form of teleportation device, we believe. ODIN used the crystal's remnants to form a solid portal that seems to lead to a temperate forest somewhere. Where, we don't know, but that's what your team is going to find out. You will head through ODIN and gather information for a week, then report back to us with your findings. You will be entering ODIN with a full combat load, just in case, as well as survey equipment and cargo skimmers to move your supplies." Baker clicked off the projector and steepled his fingers. "Now, it is vitally important that you return to the deployment zone on the other side of the portal in exactly one week. ODIN drains a large amount of power from the base, and keeping it operational for only a few minutes is strenuous on the power grid. We will open it as long as possible, but it will close after only a few minutes. Basically, make absolutely sure you will be there in time."

"When you make planetfall on the other side, your task will be to deploy and activate all of the scanning and survey equipment we'll send through with you. These will run themselves after being activated. We're also providing a few survey probes that will fly above the trees and try and map the area. Your main job will be to keep the camp secure from anything on the other side. We don't know which planet this is, how hostile it is, or if you'll run into anything at all, so it's vitally important you are ready for combat. You'll have full access to the armory, and we'll provide you with a large loadout of ammunition." Baker, done with his speech, reclined. "Any questions?"

Nathan raised his hand. "Sir, if this mission is cutting edge, why aren't Spartans being assigned to it? I'm not complaining, sir, it sounds like an interesting assignment. I would just think that Spartans would be more ideal."

Baker frowned faintly. "I understand why you would ask. Spartans just aren't in big supply anymore, marines. I'm only telling you this because I know you can be trusted, and you're nearly as black ops as Spartans. All those MIAs on Spartan rosters are just publicity to keep morale up – give the illusion Spartans don't die. There's only a few teams left anymore, though, and we need them elsewhere. That's where your Archangels come in, Young."

Nathan nodded in understanding and kept silent – compared to most of their assignments, this was quite straightforward. None of the other marines had questions, as they probably shared his sentiments.
"Very good," said Baker, "if that's everything, you'll be leaving here and heading straight to the armory to requisition your armament. You're deploying tonight at 2000 hours, on the nose. After your armory stop, head to the barracks and grab some rest, then report to the warehouse complex at 1700 for preparations and brief training on the equipment." Baker stood and dismissed himself. Taggart did the same, stopping only to call for a Warthog to get them at the compound entrance.

The next few hours went past quickly, with the Archangels writing up a weapons selection – the array went from handguns to assault rifles to sniper rifles and shotguns. Anthony insisted on demolitions, be it solid charges or foaming C7. Tanner brought some hand to hand weapons, like normal, as well as his favored combat shotgun. Nathan selected an M392 designated marksman's rifle, and Owen, of course, brought Maria. While the Archangels had their favored weapons, their requisitions also included backup weapons and a rather excessive amount of ammunition for all their firearms.

When 1700 hours rolled about, the marines entered the gauntlet of security at the ODIN hangar. The security consisted of eight heavily armed guards, a pair of sentry guns, and what seemed like an infinite number of security cameras. After five minutes of security checks and cross-checks, they entered the hangar proper, and their jaws dropped.