Date: April 22nd, 2552
Location: 1,000 miles above Earth
Space. It was the one thing man had been looking up at since the first Humans appeared some 2-3 million years ago. It was filled with untold beauty from the stars to looking down on the planet which the Humans had come from. Earth.
Ever since the Russian satellite Sputnik was launched into space in 1957, mankind had gradually become more attached to go to the millions of stars and known worlds that lay in their solar system. More and more breakthroughs came into reality after Sputnik, including the first human in space, the first animal and then, finally, the biggest breakthrough of them all came twelve years after Sputnik. The first Human to set foot on an extraterrestrial world. The moon.
Now, almost six hundred years after the moon landings, mankind had not only landed and explored many new worlds, they settled on them. Very quickly, small towns and spaceports became bustling cities. Billions of people moved from Earth to extraterrestrial planets to live out new lives. It was no doubt the largest mass migration ever in Human history. Within fifty years of the moon being colonized (2075), over fifty million people had settled on the moon and Mars.
However, the population of Earth was still growing at an alarming rate. By 2150, there were 26.5 billion people, the Human population having doubled from 2050 and yet it continued to grow. By 2250, just one hundred years later, the Human population was at 40 billion people on Earth, plus an extra seven hundred million living on Mars, the moon and on several space stations constructed above Earth. Io, which had been terra-formed earlier in the century, had to be colonized and shortly afterwards, Rhea and Carme followed. Slowly, the Human population on Earth began to dwindle from 45 billion to 38 billion as more people migrated to the newly colonized planets. However, they were quickly beginning to run out of extra living space for Humans to live on. Titan, Venus, Callisto, Enceladus, Tethys, Europa and Ganymede were the only planets left that were suitable for terra-forming.
Then, in September 2300, scout ships discovered the Niobe Aino system. A second sun with more planets orbiting around it, almost three times the amount of Earth's solar system. What was better, most of them were suitable for life. Almost immediately, transport ships, each carrying a few hundred thousand people, were sent to the Niobe Aino system. Within the first fifty years, Eucia, Kurar, Vorgra and Takra, the closest and largest Earth-like planet ever found, had been colonized. Billions of people quickly moved to the new system, many settling on Takra. Two hundred years later, many new planets such as Eucia II, Tura, Lupo and Reach had been discovered and colonized.
With many new planets Humans had to call home, It's science and technology had spread over many new discoveries. However, there was one thing that everyone was still asking. It was the biggest question of all in science and had been since the 1950's. Was mankind alone?
Ever since the Colonization Age, people were at least hoping there would be life on one of these new worlds. However, this hope died in vain. None of the worlds had any life on them, except for extraterrestrial plant life. Most people were expecting to find another civilization that was managing the plant life but there was nothing. By the 26th century, people were beginning to think was there was no life in the galaxy, or even in the entire universe.
Then, on March 3rd 2551, everything changed. The question of whether or not mankind was alone in the universe had been answered, but there had been another question that was joint to the main question of science: was the new civilization friendly… or hostile?
The answer was what everyone had feared. They were hostile and to make things worse, it was not just one civilization, it was seven all formed into a coalition known as the 'Covenant'. The coalition was made up of alien races mainly referred to as Grunts, Jackals, Elites, Brutes, Hunters, Drones and Prophets.
Within a year of encounter with the Covenant, the Humans found themselves at the mercy of their new enemies as every planet the Humans colonized in the Niobe Aino system had been destroyed using the Covenant's feared glassing tactic where the Covenant would fire high plasma energy beams down onto the surface of a planet, which would destroy the surface and render it uninhabitable.
By 2552, just over a year after the war began, all but one of the Niobe Aino planets had been destroyed. The last was Reach, the heart of the UNSC's Niobe Aino system. Reach was the most important planet in the Niobe Aino system at the time. Not only because it was the last planet in the second system before Earth's solar system, but because it was where the one special unit of super soldiers was stationed.
These super soldiers were either the best soldiers, medics, engineers, pilots, E.R and ship crew members. They all made up a special taskforce and their uniforms were a special bodysuit that had a temporary shield to withstand Covenant fire. They were to be sent on a dangerous mission that most certainly meant the very survival of the Human race. However, two days before the mission was to begin, the Covenant attacked and destroyed Reach, killing almost the entire taskforce. Only one member escaped on a UNSC battleship known as the Axiom. The UNSC knows very little of what happened afterwards but they were relieved to discover that the last taskforce member had survived. They still had the one tiny advantage over the Covenant in the war. Now, they needed it more than ever.
A week ago, the Covenant, led by one of their leaders known as Regret, inadvertently appeared above Earth. Although there was only a small fleet of their ships, most managed to break through to Earth and landed at four different places on the planet. The UNSC were successful in pressuring most of the Covenant's forces in Central America, with the help of their super soldier, and were even successful in driving away the prophet of Regret's ship that was above New Mombassa in Kenya. However, a UNSC ship, with the super soldier on board, were launched into slip space along with Regret's ship. However, the remains of Regret's fleet continued the attack and just days ago, another fleet of three hundred and fifty ships arrived and began attacking not only Earth but Mars, the Earth's moon, Phobos, Rhea and many other planets in the same system as Earth. The UNSC forces were suffering heavy losses in both troops and civilians. It was looking like the long awaited and feared fate of Earth had finally come.
However, a new Covenant ship had arrived above Earth two days ago. It was a large pyramid-like ship with three enormous legs, in a triangle shape, with an enormous spire sticking out of the top of the ship. The ship was over a thousand feet tall and was a chrome colour. Onboard this ship was the Covenant's last leader. The prophet of Truth.
Truth once had two brother leaders at his side. However, Regret had been killed by the super soldier and Mercy, the oldest of the three prophets, had been killed on High Charity, the Covenant holy city and home world of the Covenant, by an infection form of the most feared Flood. Truth, however, said that it was the Elites who had killed Mercy, hoping to increase more hate against the Elites by the other Covenant races and have them destroyed.
Truth's ship had been flying over Earth for two days, mainly checking that there was no UNSC defences above the planet. Almost all of them had been destroyed, along with much of the UNSC fleet. Only the orbital defence platforms Cairo, Honolulu and Everest, both of the last two being in a very bad way, remained.
Onboard Truth's ship
The bridge of Truth's ship was a large square shaped room with magenta coloured walls and ceiling. The floor was silver coloured. Along the front wall of the bridge was a set of control panels that pinpointed the locations of the previous landing zones made by Regret's fleet. Several Brutes were working on them. Along the right side wall was a large window that gave a clear view of Earth and several Covenant assault carriers and CCS battle cruisers. On the back wall was nothing except for a small door that led into a corridor. On the left wall of the bridge was another line of control panels with another set of Brutes on them.
In the middle of the bridge was a small gravity lift that led up to a large circular platform hovering about twenty feet above the floor. On the platform was a large flat pedestal that had a slow spinning virtual image of Earth hovering above it.
A long finger stretched out and pressed down on East Africa. The image changed from Earth to the east side of the African continent. A country lit up a violet colour. Kenya. The image zoomed in towards a large area that had a cloud of smoke above it. The image suddenly changed to an enormous desert expanse with a huge hole in the middle of the image. In the background were the smoking ruins of New Mombassa.
"Is the artefact almost fully uncovered?" a voice said as the finger moved away from the image.
The finger belonged to an alien dressed in robes and who was sitting in some kind of enormous hover chair. The alien had a large head with what looked like It's brain half-sticking out of the back. On It's head was a large gold crown. The alien had thin arms that stuck out from the robes that were obviously way to big for it. This alien was the last Covenant leader. His name: Truth.
"Yes, holy one," a large figure standing next to the hover chair said.
The figure was a large Brute covered in dark red/purple armour across It's chest, arms, legs and had some kind of helmet with two horn-like ends sticking out of the side of the top. It was a Brute captain. Since the civil war broke out on High Charity, the Brutes and their allies had managed to salvage a lot of amour and made it much stronger and even had some kind of shield built into some armour, these obviously being for only leader Brutes.
"The artefact has only a few more hours of digging left," the Brute continued. "Soon, it shall be fully uncovered,"
"Good," Truth said as he stroked his hanging pieces of skin on his chin. "Soon she was begin the Great Journey. Prepare the ship to descend to the surface,"
The Brute nodded and barked a command down at the Brutes working below. So Truth was looking for an artefact that had to be dug up. Whatever it was, it sounded big and did not sound good at all.
Meanwhile, two corridors away from the bridge.
The corridors of the ship were mainly long and had violet coloured walls and ceilings with silver coloured floors. Like most corridors, they had many doors along both sides. Several smaller corridors were joined onto them. This corridor went from one of the engine power cores and joined onto a longer corridor that led to the bridge.
A pair of Brutes, dressed in light blue armour that covered their chests, shoulders, legs and stomachs and had a helmet that covered most of their heads apart from the front of their faces, walked down the corridor towards the longer one at the end. Both were holding plasma rifles. "I cannot believe we are sparing most of the Human's cesspool planet!" one of them growled.
"I do not see why we don't just glass most of the planet except for the areas that we need." the other replied. "We glassed one of their wretched cities, so why not the rest of the planet?"
"At least we can begin the Great Journey," the first Brute said. "Soon, we shall be Gods,"
As the two passed a small corridor, to their right, leading to a large door, a small tap drew their attention. "What was that?" one of the Brutes asked.
"Probably one of the Grunts taking a nap," the other Brute answered.
The other Brute growled.
"If that is a Grunt sleeping, I am going to throw him into the engine's power core!" he said. "You go on, I'll deal with this,"
The other Brute nodded and walked on down the corridor. The first Brute walked into the smaller corridor. There was only one other door in the corridor and it was open. It lead into a small square shaped room with several weapons placed on the walls above a few crates. The Brute poked his head through the doorway into the room. There was no one in here. The Brute stepped into the room. Maybe the Grunt was sleeping behind one of the crates. The Brute walked towards a crate placed against the left wall.
Suddenly, his eyes turned inward and his breathing stopped. A small trickle of blood slid down his back onto the floor. An energy sword had been swung across his back. By the looks of it, the weapon had cut deep into the Brute. The creature stood rooted to the spot for a moment before falling forward onto the floor, dead.
Standing behind the Brute was a Human. It was a woman. She had shoulder length silver hair, blue eyes, soft cheeks and a small nose. She was wearing a white bodysuit with flat soled white boots that looked to be part of the suit. It was Eve.
She was the last member of the taskforce, and the last hope for Earth. Ever since the destruction of Reach, which led to the deaths of almost all of Eve's friends, she had been through what no one else in the UNSC had ever had to go through. She had been to two ring worlds, both known as Halo, the second being called Delta Halo, and had fought Covenant, sentinels and Flood. Just days ago, she had left High Charity as it was overrun by the Flood, who managed to get to the city using the Amber Clad, the ship commander Mary was in charge of until she and sergeant John were captured by the Covenant on Delta Halo's library. Eve then had to make the hard decision of leaving Auto, an intelligent A.I who had assisted her in the war, behind on High Charity. She had promised she would return for him. That promise was going to be kept. She was going to return for him, but right now she had to deal with Truth.
Eve deactivated the energy sword and ran out of the room into the long corridor. She ran on to the longer one at the end. When she reached it, she looked both ways. The left end of the corridor was another door, as was the right. However, Eve just managed to catch a glimpse of the large room as the door at the right end of the corridor closed. That was the bridge! Truth was definitely going to be in there.
Eve ran down the corridor towards the door that led to the bridge. When she reached it, the door beeped loudly and opened up, revealing the enormous square shaped room. Eve stepped in and gazed around the room. She could see the working Brutes and Earth outside the window. Then, her eyes rested on the platform. She could just about make out a hover chair. Truth!Anger filled Eve like water filling up a bottle. She gritted her teeth and clenched her energy sword tighter. Truth was going to pay for what he had done. He had betrayed the Elites, let Mercy be killed and now he was going to lead the attack on Earth. He had to be stopped.
Eve caught sight of the gravity lift built into the floor below the platform. She ran over to the gravity lift and stepped onto it. Her boots made a slight thud as they hit the gravity lift. This, unfortunately, drew the attention of one of the Brutes working on the side wall control panel. He turned and saw her.
"THE DEMON IS HERE!" the Brute roared.
Before any of the Brutes could react, Eve hovered up into the air towards the platform. She reached it in less than a second. As she touched down on the platform's surface, a few metres behind the two aliens she saw in front of her, Truth and the Brute shot round to see her.
"You!" Truth hissed. "You will regret stowing away on my ship, demon!"
"And you'll regret attacking Earth, Truth!" Eve replied.
Eve went to step forward but the Brute, who was dressed in steel blue armour that covered his chest, arms, legs and had a helmet that covered most of It's face apart from a small gap for the creature's eyes, standing next to Truth stepped in front of his holy leader and took out a long object metal object with a large sharp metal piece near the top of the right side of the object and a small rectangular block attached to the left side of the metal block. There were many lights and small bulges along both sides of the object.
"Prepare to feel the wrath of my gravity hammer!" the Brute growled.
Before Eve could blink, the Brute swung the weapon at her.
The air seemed to explode around her as Eve was thrown high into the air. She landed painfully on her arm. Eve groaned as she got up, only to dive out of the way as the Brute swung his gravity hammer at her again. Eve quickly threw her energy sword at the Brute, hitting him in the back, causing blood to flow. The Brute roared in pain and threw his gravity hammer onto the edge of the platform. The sharp metal piece got stuck into the side of the platform. He placed a hand on his back to stop the flow of blood, which did not work.
"YOU IMBECILE!" Truth yelled. "YOU CANNOT EVEN KILL A SIMPLE HUMAN!"
The Brute tried to turn to charge towards Eve but he stumbled backwards and fell over the edge of the platform. The Brute grabbed the gravity hammer but the weight of the creature, added to the weight of the rest of the weapon, was too much for the metal piece. The rest of the weapon snapped away from the metal piece. The Brute's roar filled the room, only to stop abruptly with a loud THUD.
Eve walked over to the edge of the platform and grabbed the metal piece and thrust it out of the platform. She pointed it at Truth and walked towards him.
"You won't get away with this demon!" Truth growled despite shrinking back against his seat as Eve approached him.
"Neither will you," Eve replied as she held the metal piece just inches from Truth's face.
Truth's eyes went wide. The weapon was literally only micrometres from his neck. All Eve had to do was drive it forward sharply and he would be dead. The Covenant would fall into disarray and the Great Journey would be gone.
Then, an idea popped into Truth's head. His eyes looked ahead past the metal piece and Eve towards the other end of the platform.
"Warriors! Kill the demon!" he shouted.
Eve shot her head round. There were no Brutes standing there. Truth had tricked her! Suddenly, the metal piece was yanked out of her hand. Her instincts reacted immediately. Eve swung her foot round and kicked Truth in the throat. Truth screamed but it sounded more like a high pitched cry. He grabbed his neck and gasped for breath. However, he leaned forward. His legs in the bottom of the seat caused the hover chair to shoot towards the other end of the platform. Eve tried to dive out of the way but the seat hit her and she fell on top of Truth, but before either of the two could react the seat fell over the edge of the platform. Eve and Truth screamed as the chair fell towards the bridge's floor.
CRASH! The seat hit the floor. Luckily, Eve jumped towards the back of the seat at the last moment, causing it to turn towards It's back. Even though the crash was still painful, at least she and Truth were alive.
Eve groaned as she struggled to stand up. Her vision went blurry for a few seconds before it kicked back in just in time to see two more Brutes charging towards her. Eve had only seconds to react. Her energy sword was gone! All she had to defend herself was, apart from her fists which she knew would be no match against the strength of the Brutes, was the metal piece. Eve grabbed it from the floor but it was then she realised that weapon had been snapped in two. It was now pretty much, useless…
Eve saw that the Brutes had stopped charging towards her. They were all holding weapons and had them raised up at her. None of them, however, were willing to fire. Why?
A small groan from behind drew her attention. Eve looked over her shoulder and saw Truth lifting himself up from the floor. That was why the Brutes were not firing. An idea formed in her head. Eve grabbed Truth and held the metal piece up to his neck.
"Get back!" she shouted, placing the metal piece on Truth's skin.
The Brutes halted where they were. Panicked looks spread across their faces. Their prophet was being held hostage! If they so much moved, Eve would kill him. They had to do something!
The hope for Truth came just moments after he had been taken hostage. The door to the bridge opened up and a Jackal armed with a beam rifle walked in. The creature scanned the room and quickly saw what was happening. It raised It's sniper rifle and fired a shot, and it was about to hit an unsuspecting target.
Eve screamed as the laser hit her. Even though her shield saved her from being killed, the impact was enough to make it feel like a knife had been thrust into her. Eve dropped the metal piece and let go of Truth. Big mistake.
One of the Brutes saw the opportunity and charged towards Eve. When he was just feet from her, he swung both of his fists at her. Eve was thrown through the air and landed painfully on her back about twenty feet away. She groaned as she got up.
"Hey demon," another Brute, dressed in steel blue armour, that was standing next to a control panel on the left wall of the room shouted. Eve looked over at the Brute. "Take one last look at your cesspool home world. It will be the last thing you ever see,"
The Brute slammed his hand down on the control panel. Eve glanced around the room, expecting something to come shooting out of the walls. Several seconds passed. Nothing happened.
"Looks like you'll have to forcefully remove me," Eve said, stepping towards the Brutes.
What the…? She was suddenly stopped when her hand hit glass.
"What the hell?" Eve half-shouted.
She put her hands on the glass and felt around. She was in some kind of dome. Eve pushed her hands against it as if they would break through the barrier. This did not work. She even thought about smashing the glass but she did not have the metal piece with her and if she tried smashing the glass with her fists or feet it would only end up cutting them open.
Suddenly, the room, or at least the dome, jolted violently. A panicked look stretched across eve's face. She glanced around and saw she was… descending into the floor! Eve slammed herself against the side of the dome in an effort to break it open or at least get it out of the hole. It did not work and all she got was a flaring pain up and down her shoulder.
Within seconds, the dome was in a long tunnel. Eve looked up and saw the light of the bridge shine down through the entrance to the tunnel in the floor. Then, as if someone had flicked a switch, the hole closed. Eve was in pitch blackness. Then, the dome jolted again. It had stopped. Eve looked around but she barely see anything. Not even her hand in front of her face. What was going to happen now? Were they going to leave her here to starve to death or were they going to do something much more painful and worse?
Eve was almost knocked out as she was thrown against the side of the dome. She groaned as she picked herself up from the dome's floor. Why had it done that? It became clear when she saw the different landscape outside the dome around her. It was filled with millions of tiny white lights. A large yellow ball was visible far away and it seemed to light up the area for thousands of miles on end. Far away to her right was a large ball with enormous landmasses and oceans covering It's surface. She was in space. The dome Eve had become trapped in was now actually some kind of thick glass ball, which was big enough for Eve to stand up in. It was floating through the depths of space hundreds of miles above Earth.
Eve looked back from the direction the ball was launched from and saw the enormous pyramid-like chrome ship hovering far away. Then, a light activated at the back of the main section of the ship. The ship began to move straight towards Earth. Already within a few seconds, Eve could see the heat waves going past the sides of the ship as Earth's gravity took hold of the ship. She had to follow the ship!
Then, the pod began to shake. At first it was unnoticeable, then it became more violent. Eve realised this after a few seconds and curled into a ball and began to silently pray that she would not be killed.
The ball began to shake violently as Earth's gravity took a firm hold on the ball. The heat waves quickly formed around the ship and shot out from behind it as if it were comet heading into Earth's atmosphere. Far ahead, the Covenant ship got closer to the home world of the Human race. It looked like all hell was going to break loose on Earth now that the Covenant's holy leader had arrived.