The Ghost of Noble Six.
I clung to my mother's leg, closing my eyes tight. Tear drops fell down the side of my cheek, blending in with the constant rainfall from above. We moved in line with everyone else, boarding the civilian evac transport. Lightning strikes flashed in the background, illuminating the ruins of Elysium city. The city was a hell. Covenant ships glassed Elysium and the air reeked of dead corpses. Over a hundred innocent people were in the line behind us.
"Mom, i'm scared!" I cried out, holding onto her, afraid to let go. She placed her hand on my head and bent down to kiss me on the forehead.
"It's going to be alright, baby. You just have to be brave." She said reassuringly. I didn't want to be brave. I didn't want to leave home.
The line up the stairs into the evac transport moved slowly. Overcrowded. A flight attendant was ushering people inside. From where we stood, I could see that the inside of it was packed. A gust of wind pushed my wild black hair into my face, obscuring my vision. I shook it off. Me and mama were next to go in.
"I'm sorry ma'am, but we're full. We can't take anymore!" The flight attendant yelled over the sound of the intense storm. The line behind us erupted into a chaotic riot, demanding for entrance into the last evac ship. People were shoving, pushing, going crazy.
Mama begged the flight attendant to let us on, but he wouldn't. He said that he was sorry and that there wasn't any more room. Then mama begged for him to take me.
"No!" I yelled.
I woke up inside the cramped cryotube, my eyes immediately adjusting to the light inside the cryobay. All of my senses came back to me instantly as I came out of the frozen state. The tube hissed as it cracked open slowly, and the HUD inside my helmet came to life. Everything was a bright silvery color. The walls. The floor. The ceiling. Just as I remembered it back when I first fell into the deep slumber of cryo sleep. A red light on the ceiling was flashing brilliantly, pasting the room with a light red color. I flexed my hands and legs.
"Sorry 'bout the sudden thaw, Lieutenant, but we don't have much time. We need you up and going." I heard a voice say over the loudspeakers inside the room. Young. Smart. Scared. I looked up into the control room and saw a navy crewman on the control table, speaking into a microphone. The crewman looked no more than 20 years old.
The cryotube opened all the way, and hot air rushed inside the cold interior of it. The newly fitted MJOLNIR R variant, or Recon, was a major upgrade from the armor that I was used to, and always kept a standard interior temperature. I grabbed the sides of the cryotube and hauled myself out, making a loud thump on the floor as I stepped down. My muscles slowly gained their strength, the result of being frozen inside a cryotube for so long. I flexed them, scanning the cryobay. All of the cryotubes were closed and empty, save for one that held the wounded Spartan II sniper.
"The Captain needs to see you on the bridge, Six." I looked up into the control room.
"What's going on?"
"We're under attack. Covenant boarding craft, lots of them." The crewman said. "We don't have much time before shit goes to hell."
I nodded towards him, and turned, heading for the opened exit door. I glanced over my shoulder once, wondering whether or not to ask about the spartan II. No time. I moved to the exit, quickly. As I stepped into the hall, the ship shuddered and shook, and I had to brace myself on the wall to keep from falling. A small fire was flickering alone inside the hall, and the panel coverings on the wall were blown off and destroyed. A dead ODST lay in the center of the room in a pool of dark blood. An MA5B assault rifle rested on the floor beside the ODST, slightly smeared with dried blood. I waited for the ship to stop shaking, and then I walked over to the ODST and picked up the assault rifle. There were no clips for it, and the ammo counter read 47 rounds remaining. Enough to get me to the bridge. I took the time to grab the dogtags off of the ODST, another set for the collection, along with Jorge, Kat, and Emile. I read it and put it away.
Up ahead, the hallway branched off in several directions. I wasn't familiar with the layout of the ship, at all, so I read the signs on the walls, following the arrows as they directed me to where I needed to be. Left. Right. Keep straight. I moved down several hallways, but hadn't came across a fight yet. Just a bunch of dead ODST's and marines, and jackals and grunts. Up ahead was the clinic. There was gunfire, both Covenant and UNSC. The radar picked up multiple tags, friendly and enemy. I moved quickly, rounding a corner and aiming the assault rifle.
There was a team of marines defending the clinic from a group of jackals and an elite. The jackals had their shields overlapped, creating a nearly impenetrable phalanx. An elite major was behind them with a plasma repeater, firing over their heads. They hadn't seen me, their attention completely focused on the marines. I fired in 3 round bursts, nailing the Covenant troops from their right flank. Blood splattered and one of the jackals collapsed to the floor, clutching its throat where the bullets had hit. The ammo counter dropped to 38. The elite major growled and turned its attention to me, shooting a hail of hot plasma in my direction. I evaded, diving and rolling across the floor. Blue plasma marked the wall just behind where I'd been standing.
Rising back to my feet, I was already firing and moving, strafing to the right. The elite's energy shields flickered but held. One of the marines lobbed a frag grenade, tossing it towards the jackals. It bounced off of the shields, unable to get behind them. I moved forward, still firing at the elite as the grenade exploded.. The concussion knocked the jackals back, causing them to lose their balance. The energy shield on the elite finally flickered away and died, leaving it vulnerable. A mist of purple blood ruptured from it, pasting the walls and floor. It fell to its knees, fired a final plasma round, and died. 17 rounds left in the assault rifle. The jackals were hit by a volley of bullets from the marines, unable to withstand the firepower without their formation. A pile of dead Covenant troopers was all that remained.
"Thanks for the help, sir." One of the marines spoke up. The friend-or-foe tag on the radar registered her as Sgt. Ayla Moore. She looked over her shoulder at the clinic. Wounded crewmen and marines were inside, and the medics were having a hard time. She looked back at me. "We could use a hand here, if you can help out. We need to get the wounded off of the ship."
"I don't have the time. But I'll let the Captain know." I told her. A look of disappointment flashed across her face for a split second, but then she nodded.
I thought for a moment, and then left, heading down the long hallway leading to the bridge. Normally, I would've gotten some ammo from those marines. But they needed it more than I did. The bridge was close by, now. I could hear distant gunfire echoing off of the walls, making the entire ship sound like a battlefield. The ammuniton reader on my HUD had a blinking number 17, letting me know that the weapon was nearly out of ammunition. My shields had drained a little from the heat of the plasma repeater rounds that nearly hit me in the chest.
I crossed a hallway, in the center of a firefight between some ODST's and Covenant, keeping my head low and running for the entrance to the bridge. A few random plasma bolts struck me in the side, picking off at my shields. The team of ODST's were pushing the Covenant troops back. I stepped into the bridge, past a guard of three marines. Navy personnel were manning their stations, mashing buttons on their keyboards and calling out strings of information. They were focused. Only one of them even noticed me when I entered. I glanced down at the assault rifle, still marked with the dried blood of the ODST that I'd gotten it from, and slung it onto my back. Walking towards the front of the bridge, I spotted another spartan right away. Nearly as big as Jorge. It was the Master Chief, listening to Captain Keyes. They both glanced in my direction, noticing me approach.
"Noble Six, good to see you. What's your status, son?" Captain Keyes spoke, chewing on a pipe.
"Green, sir." I said, snapping a crisp salute.
"At ease." Keyes said, looking at a holo display of a circular ring. He pointed to it with his pipe. "We've stumbled across this. I don't know what it is, but we're going to have to use it for an escape. We're in no shape to fight the Covenant."
An AI appeared on a pedestal next to Keyes. The avatar was a blue female, with lines of coding running across it. She looked at me.
"Good to see you again, Six." The AI said. I was puzzled. For a moment, the AI didn't ring any bells. But then, I remembered. Carter and Emile were both dead, trying to get me and the AI to the Pillar of Autumn.
"Likewise." I said.
They gave me the rundown of the situation. Most of it, I'd already thought of earlier. I knew that we were within orbit of something, because of what the marine Sargeant had told me. But I had no idea that the ring was what she'd been talking about. Covenant were surrounding us on all sides, firing lasers and torpedoes at the ship. That explained the violent lurch back when I was leaving the cryobay. For a moment, I wondered if the cryobay crewman had managed to get away safely.
"Chief, you need to get Cortana safely off of this ship. Don't let her fall into enemy hands, at any and all costs. If they get a hold of her data, the Covenant will know everything. Weapons research. Force deployment. Black ops insertions." Keyes said, his face set and determined. "Earth"
"I understand." The Master Chief said. On my hud, the number 117 hovered above him.
"Six, I want you to aid the marines. Get as many of them off the ship as possible." He said. Then added, "And make sure that you get back to the cryobay and retrieve 058." Keyes told me. He was referring to the sniper. I nodded. Then he looked back at me and the Chief.
"You don't have much time. I'm going to try and land this ship itself onto the ring." He was about to turn away, when John spoke up.
"I need a weapon." He said.
"And I need ammo." I said, as well.
"You're going to have to find that as you go. Good luck, spartans." Keyes told us, and then he turned away, facing the viewport.