"Wake me, when I'm needed."
His words tore her. Cortana could only watch as the cryostats chamber closed with what should have been a hiss, only giving more power to the lack of atmosphere in the zero-gravity environment of the decapitated vessel. When on earth could she hear from him again, listen to fresh human tongue and not the recordings of him playing endlessly, seamlessly, in her mind. How long could it take for someone to find them?
Her thought process however turned her to the remaining guts of the ship. Due to the massive damage it had taken during the splitting of the hull, power and systems had immediately shut down to conserve energy. With the smallest effort she willed internal and external sensors to power up, leaving the ship to rest quietly.
Minutes passed as the ship struggled to giver her concrete readings. She knew that for any other living creature from a terrestrial world, the ship was dead. But as she allowed the external sensors to report their findings, she was surprised. The ship was not only in a planetary system, but had a planet of life-sustaining atmosphere. "What do we have here?" she hummed, focusing the controls onto this planet. It was not only capable of supporting life, but it already had it. Studying it from a distance gave her clues, but only through the progression of several hours did she realize not only this planet was close, it was getting closer.
The stasis chamber slowly opened to her silent orders, and a frozen hero shook his head in soreness.
"That didn't feel like a very long nap, Cortana," Master Chief stated.
"I can't argue with that," she retorted with half a smile," looks like sleep is out of the option, unless you want an even ruder awakening."
"Flood?" the Spartan asked, attempting to lightly float to the platform her holographic body hovered by.
"No. This ship is about to get a hell of a burial," Cortana allowed some more power to be used, showing another holographic image of the approaching planet. "There's no helping it chief; the Dawn simply doesn't have enough power to steer close and we're already picking up speed." He nodded, and spun his head around. There was planning to be done. "From what I've gathered on surface scans, this planet is habited. Cities, roads, we're talking at least post-industrial civilization."
"Friendly?" He demanded.
"I… can't say. I'm not getting any UNSC signals, and we're not being hailed by any vessel. But… I am sure it's human."
"So we don't know if we're getting a friendly reunion."
"No… and by the looks of it, we may be landing in the middle of some sort of massive conflict," Cortana continued, zooming on the planets surface to indicate massive scorch marks on the surface and cities in ruin. "So I can't say."
"Cortana… which system is this?" the Chief suddenly asked. He was aware they were still light-years out in the galaxy that the covenant hadn't destroyed, but he felt funny about this.
"I… I don't know. All I do know is that I don't recognize the system form my memory databanks, and… and there are no other recorded stars in the immediate databanks. It might just be the computer being damage, but I have no idea where we are, based on star calligraphy." The chief paused, and finally spun around, and pushed himself into a corridor. "Where are you going?"
An hour and a half later the chief was finishing his final touches. The ship still had its escape pods attached, and giving that he had roughly minutes before the remains of the hull went crashing in the atmosphere, he had to rush himself. The armory was now looking devoid of weapons, something that was an accomplishment at best. His arms filled with guns of all sorts, he tossed them haphazardly into each pod he passed, closing them shut as he passed.
"I hope this isn't your idea of a peace offering to however is down there," Cortana mocked as she appeared on a panel behind him. "The day it rains weapons a lot of people will be happy… and afraid."
"They're for me. Can't afford to be generous, yet," he said, pausing as he turned back to the armory, scanning for any more weapons. This wasn't all the ship had to offer, but the heavy armor and mobile units section was on the other side of the wreck. He didn't have the time to get whatever waited with the last bits of tanks and warthogs.
"I can have the pods open up on my signal, that way we can minimize the possibility of others getting their hands on these," Cortana suggested, mentally programming the pods for command override. "Chief..."
"How long do we have?"
"About five minutes. We should get a head start on the Dawn before it all goes to hell."
He nodded, and finally laid the last weapons into the final pod. Sealing it shut, he pushed himself over to the ejection sequence pad. Sliding the glass with 'Caution: Escape pod de-compression' open, he prepared the launch, forcing the red lights to go off, giving the eerie lack of atmosphere a real calling. "Emergency ejection sequence initiated; please evacuate the armory for decompression," the system called into his com system. As the countdown began he turned and shoved to Cortana. Stopping himself just before her, he removed the small holographic chip and held it before her.
"Time for us to go," he said. Glancing once more at the ship, Cortana walked onto and vanished above the chip, allowing the chief to readily slide it back into his helmet.
"I know you've already done this… but how did it go last time you did an orbital launch?"
"It wasn't orbital. I leapt off at mid-atmospheric level. So… this is going to be a little bumpier," The chief corrected her, just as the pods each began to eject silently, allowing the incoming planet to bounce off of the helmet visor. He floated closer and closer to one of the now empty holes in the hull, and glanced around at space. "Wish me luck?" He gripped the sides of the hull.
"…Good Luck," She replied.
Aiming for the trajectory of the escape pods, he jumped.
Somewhere distant, a nearly pitch black room housed a sleeping man in uniform. Surrounded in this huge room with various sizes of monitors, his chest heaved up and down, breathing slowly. One of these monitors suddenly beeped, catching a snort from his slowly awaking body.
"Whassit…" he groaned, his sleepy, energy devoid face staring blankly at the monitor directly in front of him as he pushed a small microphone out of his face. A line graph representation of the planet and its orbital features showed something descending.
"What is it?" a voice called from a small speaker the size of a plate next to him. "Are you getting something in high orbit?"
"'Nother damn satellite malfunctioning I bet, just started coming down…" the young man replied, placing a hand in his unorganized brown hair that glowed blue in the light. "Wait… wait a second," he shook his head and blinked. The object had no coding. Readjusting his position in the chair, he scrolled himself down to another panel, and began a scan from adjacent satellites. The object was no satellite falling from the sky. This thing was huge. "What the hell?"
"What?" the speaker called again. "Satellite again, right?"
"I… um…" the young man turned back to the graph, and looked back several hours ago, just when he fell asleep. "I… we, we have something unidentified!"
"Get your ass over here and help me out!" the uniformed man shouted with adrenaline bound excitement. "We actually have something! It just came out of nowhere!" the speaker had sudden spikes, the man he spoke to had obviously thrown his speakers down. A moment or two later distant doors opened, and a similar man, shaven of hair and of darker complexion ran next to him, staring over his shoulder at the screen. "God damn that's something!"
"Look at the size," the formerly sleeping one directed to another, smaller screen, reading off stats scanned from several satellites at once. "This thing isn't any meteorite… its huge- almost two hundred and fifty meters, and its hollow- signs of composite aluminum and re-enforced steels… dude," the one sitting turned to his accomplice, who ran to the right, and began typing at a large keyboard," This… this thing was constructed."
And the newcomer activated the largest monitor in the room, specifically designed to catch perfect quality video. A live screen of low orbit showing a section of the planet was displayed, with a code for the imaging satellite at the corning reading frames per second and other statistics. Several small objects rocket to the earth, one slightly behind the others.
"That… that one looks like it's a body," the one with hair said, getting up to watch; a small medal dog tag shaped like a cog reflecting in the light at his collar.
"Where is the-" the second said, just as the entire screen was eclipsed by the massive form of a space ship flew past them. This sight was enough to have their mouths fall open as windows, turrets and obvious signs of technology soared past them, ghost like. Only after it passed did the camera turn and follow its progress, also exposing massive damage to the hull of 'it'. "…It looks like this job just got a lot harder."
"Track it," the one with messy hair demanded, as the other turned and rushed out. "I'll get a line out. Time it and get me as much data as I can present to the higher ups! Time to tell Colonel Hoffman we have something."
Only minutes after the call was made, one major had run down to the dark room of no name, and began his interrogation. Already he wanted more answers than the two had to possibly provide.
"I can't present 'it just appeared out of nowhere' to Hoffman!" the major growled staring up at the frozen image of the ship past the satellite. "Something of non-Seral origin is about to crash down on our surface, has markings of some sort of intelligent design, and you're telling me we have no data on it-"
"I tracked it back by about two hours. This thing was nearby when it grappled onto our gravity, and-"
"I understand basic physics, private," the major reprimanded him. "What I don't understand is how did this thing appear out cosmic space from nothing, our satellites detect it, and we didn't notice it?" at this, the two privates exchanged a glance of knowing. The job had never anything to do, and while one had slept the other had plenty of time to watch wonderful ladies dance for him naked on computer screens meant for space observation.
"Ahem- technical difficulties I imagine," the bald private stated.
"Technical difficulties had us loose track of this thing for almost an hour and half before it caught our attention?" the major asked in ridiculed anger. "Do I look stupid?"
"It's a long fucking job!"
"I swear that-"
"Major Frost," a gruff, built voice called from the darkness behind them. The two privates immediately stood straight, their hands at their side. Frost followed suit, but turned sideways, presenting the two to a coming Colonel Hoffman. Emerging from the shadows, the aged soldier stepped up. Sis hard built face and cold brown eyes staring each one a little before walking up and saluting briefly. The three followed suit. "At ease. I believe you all have something to show me… this little hunk of metal here I take it?"
"Yes sir," the major followed behind the Colonel, allowing him the good view of the massive ship.
"What's the story behind this thing then? It didn't sound like we lost another Hod satellite came down today," the colonel inspected the sight slowly. "Replay this recording."
"Sir," the first Private responded, rushing for the console and rapidly punching keys.
"Sir, roughly two hours ago our satellites caught this just outside high-orbit, just as it began a descent. We… we can't get anything specific on it… but from markings on the side of the ship," the major turned his head to the private working on the controls," Goldman," the recording sped back to just as the ship passed," Halt there," the video stopped, showing a single word, 'Dawn'.
"Well… isn't that something," Hoffman stared, actually surprised at their discovery. "Why did it take us this long to track this object?"
"There was a glitch in the observing satellite that prevented us from knowing until about minutes ago," the major lied casually.
"How long until this thing enters our atmosphere?"
"Atmospheric entry should be in the next fifteen minutes," the second private answered. Hoffman immediately turned away from monitor.
"Lights!" to his order, many luminescent bulbs in a ceiling high above sparkled on, killing the huge shadow, and exposing several soldiers at the door, waiting for the colonel. "I want to know where this thing is going to land, if not, landed within five minutes. I don't know what or how, but it looks like we have some sort of visitors. Also," he turned, staring at Frost," I want you to start investigating. Major frost, you are hereby granted access to Databanks above top secret. I want to know what that is."
"Y-yes sir! What will you do with the wreck though?" the Major asked before he could help himself.
"Don't worry yourself major," Hoffman stated just before he left, "I have a perfect set of boys whose vacation time just ran out. They'll be up for the job."
Marcus Fenix lay in his bed, resting for the moment. The other member of his squadron had fallen asleep long ago, but he remained awake, staring at the blank ceiling of the roof. It had been only three days since they deployed the Lightmass bomb, and already things seemed different.
The wars had continued on without them and already he missed the danger of the outside world around him, the rush of battle that still raged off of the mass of Jacinto Plateau. The subtle peace that he and the squad had been introduced to a day and a half ago seemed to only give him more desire to return to the battlefield. He wanted to get out; he wanted to fight.
Sleeping around him in similar bunk beds were Dominic Santiago, Damon Baird, and Augustus Cole; the four of them made the now legendary Delta Squad, under Colonel Victor Hoffman.
Marcus usually wore his bandana during daylight, however during night took it off, letting the short brown hair out. He had a strong goatee. His left face scarred slightly with lines of past conflicts, he was the former heroic soldier turned-convict. Current leader of Delta Squad, Marcus was strong willed, confident, however a dark soldier, his past constantly haunting the back of his brain.
Dominic, or Dom as he was constantly called, was a long time friend of Marcus, even during the Pendulum Wars. Sporting short black hair and a short beard with a returning moustache, he was loyal, strong minded, and openly opinioned. Having no love for the selfish, he is always searching for something he cares deeply for. He had a family, and constantly had hopes of finding them, during or after the war. He at least let it known to others that he generally believed that this war would end.
Baird was the group's pessimist. Baird had dark brown hair, however always had light blond highlights, and grew a small pointed goatee just under his bottom lip. Constantly complaining of being out in the field, he was a reluctant soldier at best. However his talents were beyond useful. While Dom was smart, Baird was a brilliant mechanic, seemingly able to repair or fix anything with his tools. His strength, when seen, lied in his knowledge of technology and how to repair, if not enhance it. However, this was still roped around with his cynical nature.
Cole was the massive, crazy, battle hungry black man of the squad. A former famous Thrashball player, he was friends with Baird, he is the only one who easily relates to the pessimist. Cole is the tallest, strongest, and wildest of the four, always excited for battle and blood, and cherishes the idea of fighting like a prayer. He did have limits, but were mostly limited to what he considered 'bad ideas'. Although he did love to kill and main, his care for soldiers was not in any way hampered by his love to fight. Rather, he considered the idea of 'sharin' the pain', a good chance to pass around the fun. He still remembered the days being the 'Cole Train; Number 83' before the war ever started.
The leader of the squad lied on his back, thinking about the world once more. Many streaks of phrases and ideas that people had to end it all, or even about the ending of human kind seemed to float hauntingly inside his mind. It was moments like this that allowed him to really worry. Without a bullet to dodge, a grub to smash, or an objective to complete, he worried. The war was not going well, even with the recent victory.
Marcus was suddenly blinded as the lights flickered on brightly, and a gruff voice shouted out, "Rise and shine ladies!" The voice immediate followed Baird crying out as he fell out of bed and onto the floor. "Time to rise, boys and girls! We got ourselves a new job to do." Marcus slowly pushed himself to the side of the bed, glaring around in the new bright light. Cole still was in bed, struggling slightly to remove the covers as Dom easily jumped out of the bed.
"Isn't it a little early for a game of bingo, Colonel?" Dom joked as he stretched himself off the bed.
"You can play your fun-filled-shit after the objective is completed, Santiago. War is all the time, so you had better be with the program!"
"Good morning to you to," replied Marcus under his breath.
"You all will report, ready for action, in fifteen minutes! I want no slack!" Hoffman walked off and out of the room, leaving the four to slowly get out and dressed.
"Can you believe this shit? They said we were getting a break," Baird said coldly.
"They gave us two days, didn't they?" Dom started to get the gear on, slapping parts to check its durability. The Armor generally was thick, black and grey in color, man metal plating over plating. It would stop a few bullets, but was still destroyable. Arms and center legs were covered in hard polymer constructed material, flexible and hard, not hampering movement while allowing some protection. Two rows of small lights shined at the color bone area of the armor, allowing light for the wearer.
"Two days, two shits if you ask me." Baird grumbled, also beginning to slide on the armor and check its strength. "I thought vacation was going to be awesome- I swear I must look like a vampire now with all the sunlight I've missed."
"Two days is all you need with the train around," Cole had finally unraveled himself from the mess of bed sheets, and had hurriedly charged over to the others, getting the various things on. "How do I look?" he joked, spinning around, his arms outstretched as he presented himself.
"Wonder what they got us for now?" Dom asked after chuckling, directing to Marcus for an answer.
"Well, whatever it is, if they sent Hoffman to get us directly, and at three in the morning, it must be important." Marcus focused mostly on getting the materials on. Finally, he had his battle equipment suited, and ready for action.
Dom was the second to finish. "And if it's not?"
"Then we are going to be pretty fuckin' tired today."
Delta Squad finally arrived in Hoffman's space fifteen minutes later. All suited and armed, they looked the same they had not two days ago. Just a little tired.
"Well, aren't you bunch just a bouquet of flowers," Colonel Hoffman mocked their lack of energy with pleasure, eyeing each of them as they walked into the HQ. Men and women all around them, several impatiently shoving past Baird, who angrily grunted back at them.
"You don't look bad yourself, Colonel." Marcus replied.
"Well, before Fenix gets queer on us, here's the report," The Colonel started walking out into the hallways towards the heli-pads, having the four follow obediently," Several hours ago, an unidentified object was detected in space, heading for the planet. Minutes after, it released several smaller objects into the atmosphere; which have also landed." The others listened carefully. This was another strange mission. "You four are to locate the majority of the object, hold out, and capture it until we can send more to secure the object for our own."
"Where're we heading then?" Marcus said as they arrived on the heli-pad, a king raven waiting for them, the blades blasting wind and engine roaring.
"Just outside of section Fv-7. Its Locus controlled, so we don't have much of an idea of where it landed, with seeders in every nook and cranny they can squeeze into. Get in there, and find what you can about this object."
"Wait; we're doing this alone?" Baird asked.
"If it wasn't morning son, I would have told you that you were a dumb ass. We have several other groups heading into the territory. This may be a lucky break for us- even after destroying most of their tunnels, Locus seem persistent as ever. So we can't risk anything, so we're making this a larger mission."
"So, get down, find the stuff, and kill Locus. Might as well tell us just to wash and repeat what we did last week." Marcus turned and walked onto the chopper, the others following. Hoffman nodded after them as the doors closed, and the Raven Chopper made its launch. Leaving the heavily fortified area of Jacinto behind, the king raven made began its track across the sea. "So, what do you guys think?" Marcus turned to the others, calling an informal meeting.
"If it's a barbeque of Locus, mm-hmm! Let's get to the cooking!" Cole shouted.
"Sounds like the same mission again. Guess we're good for this kind of thing, right?" Dom faced Marcus, and Baird scoffed, evidently annoyed by something he said.
"Fine. Let's get back down there, and do the job."
The Black Raven slowly made its approach to the ruined city as just as several small objects descended to the earth, leaving a scorched path of smoke behind them. The largest object then fell diagonally through the clouds, which parted for its arrival, and crashed with a trembling of the earth far off in the city. The Dawn had made its landing.
How have all you Men of War readers been? I have been… busy. And will continue to be so, but let it known that the story has returned.
Now when I closed off with Men of War, the original, anyway, I intended to do a massive, pile on, update. Instead I decided to take my time. You guys want a kick-ass story, and I want to deliver it. The first thing I want to explain is that I will be compressing the first ten chapters into five. It will take a week or so for all ten of them to be written, but the intensity and size of each chapter will increase… I hope it will anyway.
Another note, and this is important for Hard-core fans of either series and their corresponding lore. I have decided this not necessarily as much of a cross-over as much as it is a continuation of Halo 3, that just coincidentally happens to take place in on Sera. This being said, I do not plan on making many changes with the Lore, especially not Halo. The most changes that will happen are those in the distant past, and the future, mostly around Gears of War 2 and the future. So yes, it is a cross-over, but it isn't like these two worlds are head-butting one another and will make something new. The events follow a huge history that is unique and will be revealed as it plays out. And I mean huge.
With that said, there is only one more thing to be said. The Random deaths will be returning. (glances around the room for any signs of possible life-threatening objects) As painful, irrelevant, and pointless as they may be, you all seem to enjoy the author of this story, me, being brutally murdered in various ways. You sick little monkeys.
So… let slip the Men of War: Ultimate
(is killed by a random sniper)
Random Sniper: BOOM HEADSHOT! …wait a second… Haven't I been here before? (a Berserker charges out of the wall and rapes him. Literally rapes him)