Disclaimer : Transformers is the property of Hasbro. HALO is the property of Microsoft Game Studios.
Rating : M for covert ops violence and soldier's language.
Author's note : Alright peeps. For those that know me or my writing style, the following will not be any surprise. For those of you just joining this humble Vixen Tail for a jaunt through left field, this was a challenge given to me from one of my readers of another crossover fic, SPARTAN: Deus ex Machine, a HALO/Transformers crossover. That particular reader, Storylover213, requested a HALO/Star Wars crossover from me that contained the Master Chief, a non rampant Cortana, and the movie verse of Star Wars, the rest was up to me. So, I thought for a moment, and drew this up out of my rather twisted mind supported by hours of research into the Star Wars universe and some plot development. I've checked over a few of the other stories available in this crossover universe, not in depth since I don't want to inadvertently steal something from another author, and I'm relatively sure that this hasn't been done before. However, bear in mind that the SW universe is not one of my well known regions of writing, and please correct me if I get something wrong.
In the beginning, about a month or so ago when Storylover213 gave me the challenge, I decided I didn't want another epic in the works and limited anything about this story to twenty or so chapters, and it turns out that I lied through my teeth. As Khalthar, my wonderful beta for both this and my other crossover, has stated to me when I was using him as a sounding board, this will not be done in a measly twenty chapters with any justice and it may grow larger than that. That being said, there is no set pace for chapters to come out, simply when I get around to finishing it and sending it off to be beta-ed. I have ten planned out, and… yeah. I at least I sort of know where this is going.
Now then, the select few of you that have read Deus ex before wandering out to this corner of , you will recognize Ash-127, who is a Spartan-II that I'm stealing out of my other HALO type fic simply to round out a team of four for the Master Chief. Those of you who haven't wandered out to see what the hell I'm spouting off is, go check Deus ex, or my profile, out and see exactly who Ash-127 is.
A bit of a forewarning, this is following the movie 'Attack of the Clones' rather closely, or as closely as we can with Spartans in the mix. That being said, we are going to skip much of the Clone Wars except for the big battles, and you'll see why and how later. But that is my bid to keep from making a liar out of myself. I will come back and flesh out the Clone Wars after Deus ex is finished, at least that's my intention. That may change depending on time constraints.
And yes, I tend to ramble on about nothing. It's a habit that I think the readers of my other stories are getting tired of.
June 17th, 2012 : Fixed some minor issues with Obi-Wan's ship and astromech.
Ancient Hounds of War
A UNSC Frigate class star ship, it's thrusters engaged to keep it's hull a mere ten feet off the ground, hovered in a barely adequate clearing of deep purple leafed trees on a un-colonised lump of rock in a nearly uncharted sector of space, scattering the dead black and blue leaves around noisily with the occasional stick or branch flinging up from the force the thrusters used to keep the ship airborne. The quiet sounds of the cargo bay's loading ramp unlatching from its' mooring scattered the few remaining small aerial creatures that hadn't abandoned the clearing when the ship came down from the sky in a fiery streak two minutes ago.
A seven and a half foot tall Spartan-II stood in the opening of the frigate's cargo bay, painted by the cold morning's yellow and gold light, arms crossed over his chest plates as he watched the last few minuets the other Spartan-II he was waiting for had left for this rendezvous with the only ship in the sector capable of collecting the highly trained super soldiers, tick down to mere seconds.
Three seconds remaining of the ship's schedule on this planet, a faint blur of motion drew his attention to the west side of the dimly lit clearing, where someone's stealth system rippled under the drops of dew falling from the strangely colored trees. The Spartan tensed, but the saboteur trained Spartan-II he was waiting for flickered into view sprinting flat out for the war ship's lowered ramp, and took a running leap to catch the side of the ramp before the ship started to pull up in preparation of leaving the unnamed planet.
"Master Chief, sir," came the distinctly feminine sounding voice from the marginally slighter though fully armored Spartan that joined him inside the cargo bay after triggering the controls for the ramp to close, "didn't expect to see you here."
She saluted him and held it while 117 checked her armor over for any obvious malfunctions, damages, or injuries. When he was satisfied that she was mostly in one piece besides some dents, he returned the salute. "Didn't expect to be the one picking you up, one-two-seven."
The Spartan numbered 127, saboteur specialist, cocked her helmet at him, and John had the distinct impression that she was smirking behind her mirrored visor. "Aww. I'm an afterthought. I feel so loved. One of these days, someone is just plain going to forget me."
"Given your talents, I wouldn't be surprised. Status of your mission?"
127, who had once been known as a young girl named Ashley before the Spartan-II Program had begun, held up one finger as she watched the chronometer count down glowing in the corner of her Heads Up Display. "Give it a minuet, sir."
Both Spartan-IIs stood there as 127 counted off the last few seconds, then stiffened as the faint shock wave of concussive force buffeted the steadily rising ship followed on it's heels was the similarly faint sounds of consecutive explosions blowing something up. It was a very familiar sound to both.
"My mission was a success, sir. Can we go now?"
John-117 studied the other Spartan-II for a moment. "How can you be sure of that?"
"The explosives from three tactical warheads, an unoccupied Grunt methane tank, and what looked like a generator operating on what seemed to be nuclear fusion not too far from them both." Ash-127 shrugged, moving just barely enough for the Master Chief to catch the movement. "I do need a visual confirmation but given what I just set off, you'll forgive me if I do that from the communications room, right?"
"Right..." John shook his helmet and gestured for the saboteur to precede him, Cortana giggling in the back of his head. "Remarkable timing you have, one-two-seven. After your little look at your handiwork, all Spartans are to be in Cryo-Stasis while traveling, Captain's orders."
The Navigational Officer and the current on duty pilot of the frigate class star ship of the United Nations Space Command, the UNSC Valiant, known as Lieutenant Victor Wills on purely social occasions, was privately of the opinion that the Captain of Valiant either hated or mistrusted one or both of the commanding elements of his latest orders, the Spartan-IIs or ONI. He could find no real reason for Captain Sully to resent the orders to pick up four of the Spartan-IIs, three on one planet and a lone Spartan on another nearly backwater rock in the middle of nowhere. Then again, he was a mere Lieutenant and the Captain usually had good reason for his personal preferences-
Lieutenant Wills snapped to attention along with the rest of the bridge crew as Captain Ronald Sully stormed onto the bridge, snapping out a curt 'carry on' to the crew in response to the automatic demand for attention at the Captain's arrival on the deck.
"Now that were done running someone else's errands, get us the hell out of here, Wills."
"Aye, sir! Estimated time for leaving the planet's atmospheric envelope, two minutes."
Personal concerns aside, Victor was just as happy to leave as the Captain. The latest Spartan-II that Valiant had picked up had either timed or remotely triggered an explosion in a nearly hidden Covenant base, one that the crew had passed over entirely until it came time to leave the planet's surface, and the flurry of activity around the now smoking crater the Spartan-II had left behind raised the risk that Valiant's presence might just be picked up on.
Valiant responded to her helmsman like the military class lady she was, rising out of the planet's higher atmosphere and into the wide reach of space without so much as a shudder for the rapid change of temperature. Wills' felt a moment of pride at her handling as he initiated the randomizing retreat vector for her jump to slip space. As per the Cole Protocol, since they did spot Covenant forces on this planet, the ship would jump to an empty sector of space until her crew and Captain was sure she had not been followed, then would turn around and leave for Reach.
Valiant gave a small lurch as she left the star's gravity well, then she was within the slip space corridor and on her way out of the star system.
"Fifteen minuets until reemergence from slip space, sir."
"Good," Captain Sully grunted to himself, giving his pilot a tight smile, "hopefully we're done picking up 'packages' for ONI and we can get back to the civilized parts of the galaxy sometime this week."
"Emergence from slip space in three... two... one... now, sir."
UNSC Valiant slid back into normal space with less turbulence than she left it, without a nearby gravity well to pull at her hull, and her comms officer allowed her another few seconds to rest her sensors before engaging them to ensure this stretch of empty space was truly empty.
The crew on the bridge waited those few tense moments in silence, but relaxed when Petty Officer Second Class Kailie Staffers gave her customary sigh of relief when the sensors reported nothing unusual in the ship's immediate vicinity.
"Two... three... four," Kailie muttered to herself as she watched her instruments, counting off the thousands of miles that the sensors were searching, keeping a wary eye out for anything hostile that the sensors might not catch. "Looks clear so far, sir," she called back to the Captain watching her after her sensors got to the mid range of their effective reach.
"Thank God for small favors. Wills, I think-"
"Contact! Looks like two-no three, large unidentified ships on the far side of ten thousand miles out!"
"All hands to battle stations! Wills, evasive maneuvers! Staffers, what the hell are they!"
"Too large to be human, sir." The Petty Officer sounded apologetic, as if the mere technical issue of differentiating realms of space and their effect on sensitive equipment was her personal fault. Her dark skin tone concealed the blush painting itself across her face. "From the size and look of them, I'd have to say they're Covenant built, at the very least Reverence class, sir."
"The Shaw-Fujikawa engines are still underpowered, sir." Responded the pilot, having already anticipated the Captain's next demand and checked the condition of the slip space drivers. "We need an estimated ten minutes at the least, twelve at the most before we can jump to slip space."
Sully cursed vilely in his mind, not daring to voice his displeasure with that minor fact where his crew could hear. Underpowered Shaw-Fujikawa engines couldn't be used to generate the wormholes for slip space travel, those foolish enough to attempt it ended up as little more that atomized drifts of gaseous metal. Which meant Valiant couldn't simply dart in another direction before the Covenant ships closed in uncomfortably near her. And probably within range of their damned weaponry, too, the Captain mused bitterly.
"Try and keep as much space between us and them as you can, Lieutenant."
Valiant swung up and to her starboard side, neatly skipping over the first shot the lead Covenant Cruiser spat when he noticed her and showing the three her aft section as she tried to put on more speed than was safe.
Even with her head start on keeping distance between them, the three ships started closing the distance between them quicker than her Captain was happy with. Another close shot made the frigate shudder as it barely missed her hull.
Sully punched in a line to engineering, getting the damnably cheerful face of his chief engineer in the view screen built into his chair. "Grall, we're trying to out run three big sons a bitches on our tail. Anyway you can improve on Wills' estimate on our jump time?"
"We're already close to red lining the engines, sir." The tiny image of the normally towering and well muscled chief engineer rubbed the 5 o'clock shadow he had thoughtfully. "Might be a thing or two that I can try. No promises."
"Try," was the Captain's tart response.
"Aye, sir. You might want to buckle up. This ain't gonna be a hay ride!"
Sully snorted as he let the link go. Crewman Jordan Grall had a strange reaction to stressful situations, getting more and more cheerful the more hopeless a situation appeared to be. In his kinder moments, Sully was prepared to admit that probably meant his chief engineer was firmly of the opinion that his Captain would be able to pull their collective asses out of the fire, but more often he had to wonder if Grall simply selectively ignored a few rather obvious things and simply lived off blind faith.
Like, for instance, that Captain Ronald Sully had not one damned clue how to get his ship and crew out of this particular cook fire.
Valiant shuddered again, this time with more violence and accompanied by the groan of tortured metal. Sully gritted his teeth as Grall came back and reported a breech of the lower decks, but no critical damage to the ship's primary system.
"Damn it all, Wills! Watch the paint!"
Victor managed a small laugh as he strained to keep Valiant a least a few steps before her Covenant chasers in their deadly dance. "Trying, sir. These gentlemen are not being very nice to the poor lady."
"Um... sir? Sensors report an anomaly, or at least I think it is."
The Captain stared hard at his comms officer. "Care to elaborate, Staffers?"
Kailie gave a grimace at her station and the flickering readouts that refused to stay still for a moment and make even a little sense to her. "It's playing peek-a-boo with the sensor sweeps, sir, and I can't get a good feel for what the hell it is. If pressed hard to guess, I would say it looks like a newly formed black hole directly behind that star."
'That star' happened to be the dying one that was the only other occupant of this stretch of space. It was a frequently used stretch that many of the UNSC commanding officers and pilots used to readjust their headings according to the Cole Protocols and select another destination before skipping back to where they were going.
Which would explain what three damned Covenant Crusiers are doing sitting around out here at the back end of nowhere, the Captain grumbled to himself sourly. Should have figured that they would get desperate, or irritated, enough to stake out some barren expanse of nothing simply to find our blasted home planet!
That line of thought both proved to be vastly reassuring and gut wrenchingly horrifying at the same time. On one hand, it meant the Cole Protocol was succeeding in keeping the greater Covenant forces guessing where any of the main human colonies and worlds where. On the other, it meant that these three would not take kindly to spotting their target and having her get away to warn anyone else.
That would make us well and truly screwed if they can hit the engines and keep us from going anywhere. Sully gave the tense backs of his pilot and comms officer contemplative looks as he tried to find anything that would give Valiant the time she needed to flee her pursuers.
"Lieutenant, how much longer on the drives?"
"Four minutes and counting, sir."
"Petty Officer, are you sure the damn thing is a black hole?"
"Near as I can tell from what she's giving me, sir."
He looked from one of his officers to the other as he thought. Well, this will either kill us all, or save our hides. But if Staffers isn't certain, then there's no way in hell whatever scaly reject they have over there at the comms can tell what the blip is. Captain Sully nodded, even if his two subordinates couldn't see him. "Victor, think hard now. Is there any way you can lead those fuckers into that in less than four minutes?"
Sheer surprise made the Lieutenant hesitate, and another shot from one of the Cruisers on Valiant's heels nicked her hull plating again in consequence of her helmsman's pause. Wills bit out a curse and yanked the frigate into a new heading to throw off the beams from plowing their hate through her hull.
"I... maybe, sir. Depends on how badly I can scuff up your ship."
"As long as we're alive to be irritated about damaged hull plates, you can do as you damn well please."
Victor gave a breathless laugh as he pulled Valiant into a barrel roll to evade another broadside. "Yes, sir!"
Staffers shot them both disbelieving looks for the sheer audacity of the plan Captain Sully thought up, but simply gripped the side of her console and started to pray that they would be alive later for her to request a different assignment. Maybe something planet side, she winced as another shot nicked the hull and opened another section of the ship to the vacuum of space, mother always wanted me to stay in one stable place instead of bouncing around space getting shot at.
Valiant twisted and wove her way around the larger three Covenant Ships trying to pin her down with a shot to her engines, darting here and there to keep them guessing about her trajectory and to slip under their massed weapons fire. Victor Wills had a plan, though. Instead of simply twitching around at random, he was drawing the Covenant closer to the dying star's gravity well, and to the black hole that was hidden behind it's bulk and pull, positioning her so that once he knew the drives were no longer underpowered he could dart straight for open space... and right into the black hole's gravity well.
Her dance partners seemed willing to follow her lead, intent on simply wearing out the fleeter frigate instead of trying to damage her and risk shooting something critically important before they could come to grips with her.
Victor kept one eye one the timer for the slip stream drive, mentally calculating out how long he had to play tag with the three Covenant Cruisers. At thirty seconds and counting, the UNSC Valiant's helmsman twisted her on a looping trajectory, as if he intended to dart behind the dying star and around the three Covenant ships. The three massive ships on the fleet human ship's aft gunned it in her direction, intending to keep her in their sights so she wouldn't have the opportunity to evade them by jumping elsewhere while hidden by the ball of molten gas and metal. They closed the distance between them, only to finally realize what it was that was behind the star as they rounded the right side of it.
Captain Sully grimaced as Valiant gave a tortured groan at the different forces pulling on her hull, and the rest of her crew could empathize as those same forces began to pull on them as well.
Wills, the closest on the ship to the event horizon of the black hole, kept only one eye open that was locked on the timer, his left hand straining to hover over the controls for the slip space drivers. The split second after the timer ran out, and a mere three miles from the event horizon, he triggered the creation of the worm hole for slip space travel.
The shock of the ship going from one extreme of gravitational pull to the relatively normal gravity that the ship could generate in slip space slammed through the purely human crew, causing most to simply pass out where they where. Staffers retained enough fortitude to finish programming a distress beacon to launch the moment the ship emerged from slip space before hitting the deck out cold like the rest of the crew.
Coruscant, capital planet of the Republic and home to the Jedi Temple. Regarded as one of the main galactic hubs of information and culture, and Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi couldn't find the creators of a simple poisoned dart anywhere in the amassed knowledge of Jedi available to him until he turned to one of his old friends. Even worse, he still couldn't find the creators, a race of people apparently very skilled in cloning, the Kaminoians, or their planet in the Jedi Archives.
Running his fingers over the cleaned dart in the overly large sleeves of his plain Jedi robes, Obi-Wan takes the last turn to arrive in the Training Veranda, where Grand Master Yoda was overseeing the seven young Force strong children in their training this day.
"Don't think... feel... be as one with the Force. Help you, it will."
Kenobi slows to a halt in the doorway, remembering with a faded fondness his own time in these same halls as he waited for the Grand Master to notice him.
He didn't have long to wait.
"Younglings – enough! A visitor, we have." The stout shape of Yoda turned to the doorway with a smile for the Jedi Knight waiting patiently for his attention. "Welcome, Master Obi-Wan."
The much younger Jedi conceals his smile as the seven young children of several different races stop and move back the heavy training helmets covering their eyes in order to see him.
"I am sorry to disturb you, Master." Kenobi gave a respectful bow to the Grand Master. "I'm looking for a planet described to me by an old friend. But it doesn't show up on the Archive Maps."
"Master Obi-Wan has lost a planet. How embarrassing." The stout green Jedi smirked at Kenobi before turning to the children watching and motions them to another corner of the room. "Gather round the Map Reader, younglings. Clear your minds and find Obi-Wan's planet, we will."
The children led the way to another corner of the Veranda, and a young twi'lek activated the Reader for the two elder Jedi before standing with the six other young children.
Kenobi easily picks out where Kamino was supposed to be and points at the strangely empty space on the star map, in the Outer Rim Territories. "This is where it ought to be... but it isn't. Gravity is pulling all the stars in this area inward to this spot." Yoda nods after a moment, and the Jedi Knight continues. "There should be a star here, but there isn't."
"Most interesting." The Grand Master turned to the young children clustered around the two Jedi. "Gravity's effect remains, but the star and all its planets have disappeared. How can this be?"
A young human tilts his helm father back to see the Map more clearly. "Because someone removed it from the Archive Memory."
"Truly wonderful, the mind of a child. Uncluttered." Yoda gave the child an approving nod before turning back to the Jedi Knight standing behind him. "To the center of the pull of gravity go, and find your planet you will." He waved a three digit hand at the children, and they return to their training.
"But Master Yoda," Obi-Wan lowers his voice and leans forward so only the Grand Master can hear him, "who could have erased information from the Archives? That's impossible, isn't it?"
Still watching the young children closely, Yoda answers without turning around. "Much harder to answer, that question is."
Kenobi bowed to the Grand Master before walking out of the Veranda, truly confused. As the sound of the training droids' fire and the sounds of light sabers fade, the Knight wonders what whoever erased the information was trying to hide.
*Beep Bee Beep*
"Really?" Obi-Wan gave some more attention to the small star fighter's sensor array. His astromech, R4-P17, pulled up her findings on his star map. "Well, I can't think of what it could be, seeing as the space out here is suppose to contain nothing more than asteroids."
R4 hummed to herself, trying to match up the anomaly to something in her admittedly vast store of previously researched phenomena that could occur in deep space.
"Tag it for a later look, R4." The Jedi snorted at her rather insistent beeps to find what it was supposed to be. "If it's still there after we check out Kamino, we'll take a closer-"
The Force pressed down on the unlucky Jedi Knight, making Obi-Wan grunt in surprise at the violence of the sensation. He keenly felt a great amount of shared desperation laced with pain suddenly slide into being, as if something shielded had suddenly opened.
"What do you mean it's gone?" Kenobi raised a hand to his head, trying to sort out what he felt through the Force and keep an eye on where he was going. "There has to be something there for me to feel... whatever this is, R4."
R4 searched the sector of space again, doubting that she would pick anything up. Her surprised squeal catches her Jedi's attention.
"Is that a space ship? It of no configuration I can identify." Taking control of his star fighter off auto-pilot, the Jedi steers his fighter closer to inspect the derelict vessel while reducing speed. "R4, can you tell what it is?"
Her response included her picking up some kind of ancient looking beacon, which made Obi-Wan press his lips together as he thought.
The vessel looked like it had recently escaped some kind of battle, great scores had carved themselves into the plating of the ship that dwarfed the Jedi Knight's star fighter. Some of the scores looked half melted still, glowing red against the black back drop of space. That told both the human Jedi and astromech droid that the ship had only recently escaped whatever had attacked it, seeing that the heat had yet to disperse to the absolute cold of space. It also looked more unwieldy and geometric than the sleek, single occupancy star fighter that the two shared. There were identifying marks down the side of the ship, and parts were still readable around the scores in the ship, but written in no language that either one could read.
"R4, can you see a hanger bay or anything similar?"
"Yes, I'm going in there. How else are we to find out what it is?"
*Bee... Beep Dee Bee*
"Thank you." Obi-Wan carefully steered his fighter into the gap on the starboard side of the ship, setting the ship down next to what looked like another, but larger with a very long nose, star fighter on one side and something that reminded the Jedi of a troop transport on the other. "Now then, if you have any suggestions about how I get from here to the rest of the ship, I'm all ears."
R4-P17 considered that for a moment, giving her Jedi master a disgusted series of beeps as remotely transmitted a few files around and found the methods the oddly built other ships in the hanger used to control the bay's environmental systmes.
Kenobi gave his astromech a grateful smile as the hiss of the bay pressurizing to the internal atmosphere of the ship alerted the Jedi that he was now free to leave his fighter. He quickly triggered the canopy to open, vaulting over the edge as soon as he had enough room. "Thank you again, R4."
"I am well aware you do not like this, but they may need some assistance." Leaving the astromech that had been with him for the last several years behind getting acquainted with the other ships in the bay from her spot next to one of the stubby, larger ships, Obi-Wan quietly made his way into the ship's interior.
As he walked the silent halls, the Jedi had to wonder how many people had been ripped out of the ship due to the rents in its hull. Some sections of the ship had closed bulkheads, and when he placed a hand on the solid pieces of metal, he could feel the cold of space through it. Through the Force, he could feel some steady life signs on what he assumed was the bridge from what was the prow and from another location to his left, but the flickering, nearly lower than he could feel, signs of life a level below him, drew his attention with the effect of a lodestone with iron shavings.
Kenobi found a service ladder; similar to the type he was used to when the lifts on larger starships were not working correctly, and made his way lower. The life signs he was following kept steady at the unnaturally low level, making the Jedi worry that whoever it was, he or she was slowly dying.
Concentrating hard on the Force, his body's shivering to generate more heat caught Obi-Wan by surprise. He had not noticed, but the temperature in this hall was lower than even the hanger bay had been. Slowing, the Jedi inspected the hallway he was currently walking through. There was a door on his right, frost icing the edges of the metal doors and the same style of writing that had been on the hull marked the door.
He inspected the door and located the controls to open it. The door hissed open without sticking or complaint, further cementing in the Jedi's mind that this ship hadn't been abandoned entirely. An even colder rush of air greeted Obi-Wan as he peered into the icy room's dim interior. Four large tanks along the wall were glowing a bright blue, but were crusted over with ice, obscuring the Jedi's view of the occupants. That left several empty and dark tanks between the door and the glowing tanks on the far side of the room.
Cautiously, Kenobi took a few steps into the room, gaining confidence when nothing, not even a small service droid, popped out of the dark at his intrusion. As soon as he got close enough, he raised one gloved hand to scrape off the frozen condensation on the tank, only to be confronted by a mask. Jerking back, Obi-Wan looked from the ice now on his glove back to the mask frozen before him, before it dawned on the confused Jedi what he was looking at.
It was somebody in full body armor, not a mask. That would account for the faint life signs he could feel. He couldn't tell what it was that held them, and started to worry that whatever it was would kill them without any supervision. Inspecting the tanks, he found the controls on the side, drawing a muttered curse a moment later when he realized that he couldn't read them.
There was a lit green light, a dim red one right under it, and a few buttons next to the lip of the lid of the tank. He traced the buttons, figuring that they were a number panel simply by the three by four arrangement of it. There was also, tucked well back of the other buttons, a big red one.
"Well... here goes nothing, I guess." Obi-Wan concentrated, preparing to use the Force to save the person in armor if the button didn't do what he assumed it would.
He pressed it.
The light on the side, the steady green one, suddenly cut off, and the red one under it started blinking, gaining speed until it turned into a steady unbroken glare.
Tense, the Jedi held his breath as the tank started to warm up, thawing the ice that had crusted over the tank's lid. A few drops of water trickled down, and Kenobi could see more of the person in the tank as the melted water cleared more of the glass. Whoever it was, he or she stood taller than the Jedi by a good third of a meter in height. Every part of the person's body was encased by the unfamiliar armor, a wide visor for unobstructed vision, thick armor plates which overlapped that showed dents and pockets where some metal had melted or chipped off in some kind of violent fight in its past, a black under suit that seemed to cover everything the armor couldn't.
Busily inspecting whoever it was in the tank, Obi-Wan was caught by surprise when the armored figure suddenly kicked out, forcing the lid of the tank into flying off and almost into the Jedi, had he not used the Force to redirect the clear plate to miss him. The armored figure dropped to the deck in a rush of blue liquid, snapping upright a moment later and calling out in heavily accented Basic, "Identify yourself."
The Jedi Knight spread his hands to indicate he held no weapons and was not a threat. "My name is Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I mean you no harm. I was only worried that whatever it was you were in would cause you injury."
Tilting his helmet as the person inspected him, the armored figure slowly rose to his full height and towered over the Jedi. The top of Kenobi's head barely passed the heavy armored chest plates, leaving the smaller human to take a few more steps back uneasily as he was towered over.
John-117 inspected the man in from of him, trying to figure out what was going on, and exactly what the other man had spouted at him. "Cortana, did you understand that?" The Master Chief asked his AI quietly, keeping one wary eye on the robed figure who stood still after taking a few steps back.
'It's a mash of languages, to be sure. I think I heard some German and Russian mixed in his speech, as well as a bit of Italian. I process the very good likelihood that he can understand you, even if I have to translate for him.' Cortana's cool, trickle like presence in the back of the Spartan's head intensified as she used more of the suit's neural workings to piece some sense together out of the other human's words. 'He said his name is Obi-Wan Kenobi... that's a very strange name, and that he was concerned by the tanks. I think he thought it would kill you.'
The Spartan-II hesitated, checking around the Cryo-Stasis bay. "What's the status of the ship?" He noted the other three Spartan-IIs were still in Stasis, and that the other tanks were empty before fixing the robed man before him with his full attention, watching him for any movement that might prove hostile.
'I can't be certain, no one is answering my hails to the bridge, but the amount of damage the ship had accrued since the last time we were awake seems to indicate we barely escaped some kind of fight.' Tentatively checking on the status of the ship through the comm lines, the AI picked up on the beacon one Kailie Staffers had programmed before blacking out, and passed the information on to her Spartan. 'We just got out of a fight with three Covenant Reverence classed Cruisers, and the Foxtrot zone is no longer safe to use as a staging area. From the time stamp on the emergency beacon, it hasn't been that long since the pilot jumped the ship to slip space.'
John tensed at the information, giving the man before him one last look before spinning around and reviving the three other Spartan-IIs.
Obi-Wan tucked his hands into his robes, as the armored figure seemed to dismiss him and tend to the other three glowing tanks. He also released a breath that he hadn't been aware he was holding. The armored figure, the Jedi was tentatively certain was a male of some species, was more than the Jedi Knight wanted to take on in such close quarters. If the massive male had decided the Jedi was a threat and attacked him, Kenobi didn't really know how the fight would turn out against such a creature, and was thankful that he wouldn't have to find out.
What was fascinating to the Jedi, now that the armored male was awake and seemingly fine after almost being frozen alive, was that there seemed to be two consciousnesses emanating from him. There was the dominate one, the male that demanded to know who he was, and some slighter presence that seemed to originate from the neck of the creature. His curiosity rooted him to his spot as the armored figure woke another three in armor similar to his own.
John grasped Fred-104's shoulder as the marginally slighter Spartan male stumbled from the clumsiness that the Cryo-Stasis tanks caused in its occupant's fine motor control. The other Spartan took a second to regain himself before standing in front of the tank holding Ash-127 as the Master Chief tended to Kelly-087's tank.
Obi-Wan backed up to the wall as the three other full armored figures joined the first one, watching with obvious fascination as they seemed to hold a conversation between themselves just using slight motions and twitches. He remained in place as two of the armored figures moved past him and out the door at a fast clip, the one he had awakened and another came to stand in front of him.
"Am I right in assuming that you can understand me?"
The Jedi Knight inclined his head to the much larger armored male. "I can." The accent was unusual, but still understandable.
The original figure hesitated, and Kenobi got the impression that the second consciousness was supplying some kind of translation for the dominate conciseness. "Do you know what we are?"
"I have never seen your like before." Obi-Wan answered truthfully with a shrug. "I can't even read the language that seems to be written everywhere in here. I was on my way to one of the Outer Rim worlds when I came across your ship. The outside looks like you have been through some kind of battle, and I was wondering if I could assist you in any way."
Another few moments of silence, and the second armored figure tilted his helmet in a way that struck the Jedi a motion that seemed human in its curiosity and asked in a feminine voice, "Outer Rim?"
"We're in an empty parsec of space, between Tatooine and Kamino." When the two simply stared at him, or at least that's what the Jedi got from the silence from the two, Obi-Wan tried another way to clarify where they were. "Close to the Abrion sector and near Roon, the end of the Death Wind Corridor."
"I recognize none of those names." The female turned her helm to look at the male next to her. "Sir? Should we go and see if the Captain has any logs about what happened?"
"Patience, zero-eight-seven. Let's wait until one-zero-four gets back to us about who's on the bridge." The larger male crossed his arms over his chest plates and returned to staring at the Jedi.
Kenobi was fine with that, seeing as he had a few things to think about. Admittedly, he could do without being stared at by two armored figures, but since he didn't see that happening until they reassured themselves that he wasn't a threat, the Jedi kept his hands in his robes and thought. A lack of familiarity wasn't that usual, seeing as he himself was looking for a planet that he hadn't known about before that assassin he and Skywalker caught was killed by a Kaminoian dart. The accented Basic was a bit more troubling, seeing as it may complicate any attempts to explain his presence. What was even more troubling was how the armored figures were referring to each other. A list of numbers, three in all, disturbed the Jedi.
They spent a few silent moments in the cold bay, until Obi-Wan's attention was drawn to the sharp nod the male figure gave his female companion. "To the bridge then, zero-eight-seven. I got the all clear."
The other armored figure nodded and gestured to the Jedi to follow her. She set a brisk pace father into the ship than Kenobi had traveled in his preliminary search, and the Jedi Knight was aware of the male duel consciousnesses following him.
After a rather long and silent walk, the bridge proved to look like any other bridge that the Jedi had ever seen, the only difference being the lone armored figure assisting a human female up and back into what he believed was her chair. The young lady was rubbing the back of her head, and pulled her hand away with spots of blood on it. "That hurt worse that getting bucked off a horse." She waved the armored figure off and started to check over her console, sparing the other armored figures with Obi-Wan a curious look before bending her attention to her task.
A groan drew the Jedi Knight's attention to the other side of the bridge, where the female that had been in front of him had moved to assist some officer of a military outfit off the floor and back into his chair.
"Well, we're alive, so I think Wills is getting off about my paint."
The young lady on the other side of the bridge gave a breathless laugh. "Oh sure, sir. It's okay when he gets us out of an impossible situation, but not when some limp wrist idiot scratches the ship's hull during drill?"
"Hey, that wasn't my fault." Another young looking human, male this time, was hauled back into his spot by the same armored figure that had helped the young lady. He spun the swivel chair in order to easily look at the female as he protested weakly. "I did everything that a pilot was allowed to in that maneuver without breaking formation."
The older man snorted at him, before looking over at the three armored figures now crowding the bridge. "Oh hell, who let you all out?"
Instead of responding, the male behind the Jedi pointed along with the two others on the bridge at Kenobi. The Jedi shifted uneasily at the sudden attention directed to him. "I apologize for intruding, but I saw your ship drop out of hyper space and was concerned by the damage you have."
Opening his mouth to ask what the hell that amount of gibberish was supposed to be, the older man was interrupted by the young lady's suddenly uncertain voice. "Um, sir? I have... absolutely no idea where we are. I mean... um, by these readings, we're not even in the Milky Way Galaxy anymore."
"Staffers… that had better be your idea of a very bad joke."
"I'm sorry sir, but the readouts I'm getting don't correspond to any known systems in our galaxy." Staffers replied, still furiously trying to match anything around the UNSC Valiant to her star charts. "I think we're hopelessly lost."
The older male rubbed his forehead, trying to think around the beginnings of a headache. "Nothing? Not even the nearby star patterns?"
He heaved a sigh, almost if asking 'why me' without having to vocalize his displeasure, and turned to the large armored male still standing behind Kenobi. "Master Chief, I think we need to borrow Cortana for a few minutes."
"Yes sir." The Jedi moved out of his way, watching in fascination as the duel consciousnesses creature reached to the back of his neck and pulled a cube of some dark material out of his armor. Obi-Wan felt the separation of the two, and held silent as the cube was inserted into the console Staffers was at.
An image of another young lady, this one blue with numerous lines of some type of writing running down her digital form appeared, concentrated on something the physically present could not see, then turned to face the assembled. "Like the Petty Officer, Captain, I can not match any of the local stars to our known star systems." Cortana frowned absently a moment, then gave the Jedi a speculative look. "Permission to look through you own maps, Mister Kenobi?"
"If you think that may help, you have my permission, miss." The Jedi gave the digital blue lady a bow. "However, I prefer to be called simply Obi-Wan."
"I am Cortana, Obi-Wan. It's nice to meet you." Cortana inclined her avatar's head to the man, half her attention split off to investigate the star fighter that the Jedi had boarded the frigate in.
As she was poking around, the Captain looked from the AI to the unknown man still standing in the doorway. "You can understand that gibberish?"
"It's a unique mash of languages you both know and do not understand, Captain, which is why your mind keeps telling you that you know it without giving you something to comprehend. And yes, I've been giving the Spartans translations while conversing with Obi-Wan." The AI considered the information before her in the small fighter's navigational computer, opting to copy it all to the ship's memory banks instead of trying to see if she could store all that in the codes running down the form of her avatar. "He said his name is Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I still think that's a really strange name, and has tried to clear up our confusion about where we are. He's made references to a Kamino, Tatooine, Roon, an Abrion sector, and something called the Death Wind Corridor. None of which match anything in my memory core."
Staffers wrinkled her nose as she thought that over. "I have to agree with Cortana, sir. None of that sounds remotely familiar."
With a groan, the young man at the helm rubbed his hands over his face. "You've got to be kidding me. How do we end up nowhere close to where I set the slip space drives to spit us out at?"
Obi-Wan raised an auburn eyebrow at him, before asking the glowing avatar form of Cortana, "Where were you trying to get to? Maybe I could point you in the right direction."
"Lieutenant Wills? What was our destination?" The AI passed on to the pilot as she inspected the star map she had just downloaded from the Jedi's fighter, a fraction of her processes were reviewing everything else that had been included in the star fighter's memory.
"Um... it was randomized, since we were running from Covenant ships." Wills raked a hand through his short blond hair before cautiously straightening up in his chair. "But I was trying to put us closer to what's left of Reach, at least a bit closer latitude wise."
Cortana turned to the robed man; already sure of the answer to the question she was going to ask, but asking anyways. "Obi-Wan, do you know of a planet called Reach?"
"I do not." The Jedi Knight frowned thoughtfully. "I also don't know what a 'Covenant' is if that makes anything clearer to you."
The AI sighed, much like how the Captain had earlier, and turned to the humans and Spartans watching her. "I can't find anything familiar on Obi-Wan's maps, and he has one that contains this entire galaxy, except for a few outer star systems. Nothing matches up with what we have. He doesn't know of a Reach either."
"So we're what? Out in the boonies?" The Captain demanded irritably, wondering why he had accepted a promotion to captain a UNSC Frigate if this was how it was going to turn out. "There has to be something, Cortana. We were not out of it for all that long."
"I am sorry, Captain. There are no matches between our charts and Obi-Wan's. We seem to be in another galaxy altogether." The AI beckoned to the Spartan-II Master Chief, and he reached for her cube as her avatar deactivated.
Slotting the AI back into his neural network, the armored figure rolled his helmeted head before looking back at the Jedi.
Kenobi looked around at the three humans that crewed the ship's bridge and the three armored figures standing at the edges of the bridge, his frown still in place. "If there is anywhere you might find what you're looking for, may I suggest trying the Jedi Archives on Coruscant? Theoretically, it holds the majority of knowledge that the Jedi have found for thousands of years."
The Spartans listened in to Cortana's translation, and the female one looked over to the robed man curiously. "What's a Jedi?"
"Oh boy." Obi-Wan looked from one to the others, taking in their confused looks and expressionless helmets. "Ah... I am a Jedi. A Jedi Knight, to be exact. We are one of the peacekeeping forces of the Republic, sent to all corners of the galaxy to ensure that the law is upheld. I'm currently looking into the death of an assassin that was sent after Senator Padmé Amidala, and was on my way to Kamino when my droid spotted your ship."
The Jedi patiently waited the few moments it took for Cortana to translate that to the number of human and humanoids listening.
Crossing his armored arms over his chest plates, the Master Chief turned enough to look over Staffer's shoulder at the map Cortana had updated. "Any chance you'd be willing to take us there? There should be a number of things that we don't know about, like docking procedures and the like."
"I can see that." Kenobi considered the armored figures before him. "I do have to complete my own errand before going back to see the Jedi Council, so if you don't mind a slight detour, I can certainly take you to the Jedi Temple on my return to Coruscant."
The Captain frowned as a quiet beep drew his attention, snorting dryly when he found a complete translation of the conversation on the chair console's view screen. After reading it through, with the notes that Cortana had seen fit to supply with it, he turned his attention to the still unknown figure standing on his bridge. "If completing your errand is all you want from us in return for helping, then I suppose we have no choice. Tell Staffers... where you want to go. I'm sure between Cortana and Wills we can get you there."
"As I said, I was on my way to Kamino. It's only a few million light years from here, about three or so weeks away in a straight line, or a few days in hyper space." Kenobi pulled on his short beard thoughtfully. "I was planning some additional stops, but I don't seem to need to stretch my legs in a ship this size."
Staffers turned to her console just in time to see Cortana give her the relevant information. "Or two days and a half in slip space, sir. Wills?"
"On it." The blond young man turned back to the navigational center and plotted the slip space drivers. "Jumping to slip space in three... two... one..."
The three Spartans braced themselves in time to ignore the turbulence, but Obi-Wan was almost thrown off his feet as the ship under him lurched forward, further hampered by the sensation of the Force suddenly welling up around him. The Jedi shut his eyes, trying to calm his mind and body as the sensations tried to make him motion sick. Almost as abruptly, the sudden calming of the Force further threw off the Jedi, but was much easier to deal with. Kenobi opened his eyes, and gave the young man at the helm a speculative look.
"Time to reemergence in normal space, sixty three hours and forty-two minuets and counting." Wills turned to the Captain with a broad grin. "Permission to send Kailie to the mess to find us something to eat."
The older man snorted a laugh. "You heard him, Staffers. I'll be in the ward room writing this up in my report. See to the others, if you can." The Captain frowned momentarily, then cast a look to the Master Chief. "Your last soldier is looking for the other crew members, right?"
"One-two-seven is heading now to search the engineering room, sir. She couldn't find any personnel in the mess, the medical bay, or the hanger bay. She also said," the armored figure turned back to the Jedi, "that you have a very usual looking ship. Is that your droid?"
"That would be R4-P17, my droid is part of the star fighter." Kenobi agreed.
"Huh." The male fell silent, then pried off his helmet. John's blue eyes locked with Obi-Wan's. "My Spartan number is one-one-seven. Otherwise known as the Master Chief. That one in the corner is one-zero-four, and next to him is zero-eight-seven. one-two-seven is the Spartan you haven't seen much of yet searching the rest of the ship for survivors. Our pilot is Lieutenant Victor Wills, comm officer is Petty Officer Kailie Staffers, and the Captain is Ron Sully." The Master Chief frowned as he looked around. "I'll introduce you to the others as soon as we know there alive."
Kenobi gave the human crew before him a bow. "As I've stated before, I am Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knight of the Galactic Republic. It is my pleasure to meet you all."