This story is altered from what we know about Halo 4. The Infinity has landed on Requiem before the Master Chief Crash lands on the surface. I'm using as much cannon as possible; I'll be relying heavily on the events in Halo Grasslands as background information. So there may or may not be characters you are familiar with if you haven't read the books, as well as background and plot points.

I'm leaving this as a one-shot but I may turn it into a full story later on. We'll see.


-One-

/1800 Hours: July 21 2557 UNSC Forward Unto Dawn in Unidentified Space/

A grassy plain lay beneath a blanket of stars where a nebula of blues and greens was visible, taking over the eastern portion of the night sky. A gentle breeze blew lightly across the plains, making the grass sway silently in formation. Down in the grass laid two children on their backs speaking quietly in the undisturbed night.

The boy turned his head to look at the girl next to him, "You ever wonder what's up there?" he asked turning to look back into the endless space above them.

The girl looked at him curiously, "Like what?" she replied softy.

The boy propped himself up onto his elbows and shrugged, "Maybe someone up there is wondering what it's like here." His voice was distant, as thoughts of travelling into the unknown, and meeting alien species ran through his mind.

The young girl paused before she answered, "I guess. Do you think we'll ever meet them John?"

John smiled wistfully, with a glimmer in his eye, "I hope so Kelly, Don't you?"

The young girl didn't reply, causing John to turn his gaze back over to his friend. He opened his mouth to ask her what she thought when a loud thudding sound slammed into his ear drums. He sat up and held his head in his hands as the sound vanished.

What was that, it sounded like … A heartbeat?

Shaking his head, he lay back down and turned his gaze back to Kelly. He watched as her blue eyes gazed into the sky, looking for constellations or something to catch her eye. Stargazing was their favorite pastime; they didn't get a chance to do it often. But when they did, they made their time last.

A smile graced his childish face, he and Kelly had known each other for only two years, but they were already the best of friends. There was Sam, Fred and Linda of course, but Kelly would always be his number one.

"So what do you think?" He asked curiously.

She turned to look at him, her blue eyes gazing intently into his brown, "John?"

His head ached as the sound of another heartbeat hammered against his eardrums; he winced but answered, "Yeah Kelly?" He asked somewhat pained.

Her head cocked sideways and a flash of concern showed in her eyes, "John?" She asked worriedly, her voice sounded odd to him, more… matured.

Another heartbeat.

He cringed and shut his eyes as the heartbeats grew louder, pulsing over and over again; drowning out the gentle breeze and the sounds of crickets, "Kelly?" He called out, panic began filling his voice.

He heard a reply, "Wake up John!" The voice was familiar, but it wasn't Kelly's.

"Kelly!?" He cried out again.

"Chief!" She called out to him.

His eyes snapped open, the flood lights on his helmet blinking twice before illuminating the walls of the cold, airless, abandoned ship. "John…" A small blue woman with numbers and hieroglyphs running across her body stood on a small pedestal in front of the cryotube.

John reached forward and lifted the lid of the cryotube up. Ice formed in mounds across the cryobay and across the glass fronts of the stasis tubes.

"Cortana?" His deep voice showed concern.

"John, something's boarded the ship." Her hologram flickered then vanished as the Chief removed her data chip from the holotank and inserted it into the neural interface of his helmet.

John pushed off the holotank lightly and drifted over next to the cryotube he had slept in, connected to the side was an MA5C Assault Rifle. A targeting reticule and ammo counter became visible on his Heads Up Display as his gauntleted hand gripped the rifle and switched off the safety.

"Where to?"

"Head over to the observation deck, that's wher-" Cortana stopped as a tremor ran through the hull of the Forward Unto Dawn. "That sounded like it came from three decks above, find a way up there and I'll reinitialize the artificial gravity,"

Without another word, the Chief pushed off from his cryotube and drifted weightlessly through the vacuum of the Charon Class Frigate. Using a railing, he gripped it with his left hand and propelled himself forward down the silent hallway.

The Chief floated over to a sealed off door and stopped himself in front of it, guiding his feet onto the icy floor, he forced his fingers in between the cracks of the elevator doors and began pulling them apart. The doors groaned and creaked in protest as they were separated from one another, but after a moment they were firmly apart leaving only the pitch black elevator chute ahead of him.

Silently, the Chief floated into the elevator shaft and began his ascent to the higher levels. He moved effortlessly with the lack of gravity, using the steel cord of the elevator, and small objects to propel himself upwards.

"Gravity is back online in three," Cortana announced suddenly.

Without hesitation, the Chief pushed off of the wall and towards the steel cable. Twenty centimeters away, the gravity reinitialized and he began plummeting towards the bottom of the chute. His free hand snagged the cord and swung the Chief into the wall with a metallic crash that echoed throughout the ship.

"Warn me sooner next time," He stated as he slung his rifle onto his back and restarted his ascension towards the Observation Deck.

"Sorry Chief. How's the Armour feeling, I updated the MJOLINER's firmware while you were asleep."

The elevator shaft groaned agonizingly due to the tension on the cord, a 1000lb Spartan was not meant to be shimmying his way up.

"We'll find out in a minute, how long have I been asleep?" He climbed steadily up the cord until a shut pair of doors lay above to his left. Removing one hand from the cord, he reached over and gripped the ledge that was underneath the door. Hefting himself up onto the thin ledge, he pulled open the elevators doors and shut off the flood lights on his helmet.

"Four years, seven months and ten days. We haven't had contact with anything until now so be careful." She advised seriously.

Removing the MA5C from his back, he shouldered the weapon and slowly made his way down another abandoned hallway. His boots were silent on the frosted, dented floor; only making a sound on the occasional stress point of the ship.

"You're coming up on the deck Chief it's on the floor above us, I don't have any movement on radar," Cortana informed seriously, something wasn't right. Four, almost five years of absolute zero contact from anything. And now somehow something managed to get aboard the ship without her detecting it.

John rounded a corner into a dimly lit room; lights were flickering on and off as Cortana tried to sustain as much power as possible. He stopped as something across the room fell to the ground like pan falling onto a kitchen floor.

"Nothing on the radar, kee—Chief Behind you!" Cortana shouted hurriedly. The Chief spun around as he heard the ignition of an energy sword at his six. A Sangheli warrior released a blood curdling roar as it swung the sword down onto the Chief.

John grabbed the wrist of the Elite and stopped the downward stroke, before dropping his assault rifle and delivering a hard right into the Elites quadruple-hinged jaw. The Elite staggered back under the blow, but quickly shrugged it off as it let out another battle cry and rushed the Chief.

The Elite swung madly at the Chief who evaded the onslaught with ease. The hinge-head tried to spear him into the wall as it drove the energy sword passed John and into the wall. The Master Chief used this moment to strike, grabbing the Elites sword hand, he delivered a downward blow to its wrist shattering it into an odd angle, before swinging a right hook once again into its jaws.

The Sangheli roared in infuriated pain as it dropped the energy sword due to its mangled wrist. It stepped back and glared at the Chief before charging him and spewing curses in its native tongue. John dove out of the way and towards the MA5C, picking it up, he swung the butt of the rifle into the gut of the Elite winding it, before driving the barrel into its mouth and pulling the trigger.

Bullets shredded through the Elites shields and out the back of its head, spewing bits of flesh and bluish purple blood onto the wall and ground behind it. Once the Chief was sure it was put down, he released the trigger and let the mangled body hit the floor.

"I thought we had a truce with the Covenant?" He stated as he removed the empty magazine and slapped a new one home.

"Apparently not, but look at this one's armor, it's not outfitted like standard military. Its underarms aren't armored, and the head piece doesn't cover its jaw." Cortana pointed out.

"What is it then?"

"It could be a rouge Elite or some new rank of Sangheli. We've missed a lot John, who knows what's going on." Instead of replying, John searched the Elite and removed the lone plasma grenade before picking up the energy sword and placing it onto his hip.

"Keep it slow, who knows how many more are on board." The Chief heeded her advice and left the body, continuing his way towards the observation deck.

They moved silently until a flurry of red blips appeared on his radar, "Around the corner, there's a few of them so make short work of them,"

Slowly he reached the corner and held his breath, taking the plasma grenade he primed it and counted to three. Spinning out from cover he lobbed the grenade down the hall, leaving a hazy blue trail behind it. There were high pitched squeals of surprise as the grenade landed in the middle of a squad of Grunts.

Before they could comprehend what had happened the Chief began peppering them with shots, spewing purple blood, and gurgling noises echoing through the hallway. Then the grenade detonated. The plasma grenade sent the bodies of Grunts slamming into walls and bits of arms, legs, and gruesome body parts rolling across the ground.

John ran up to them, gun at the ready and examined his kills. They were Grunts alright, but their methane tanks were no longer covering their mouths, but instead a tube ran from their back and into their nose. Without the face mask, it showed the little bastards beady eyes, and duel rows of sharp teeth.

As the Chief scavenged for explosives among the bodies, Cortana examined and compared the Grunts too the Elite. "They're working together, but they don't appear to be Covenant troops."

"How so?" The Chief attached two plasma grenades to his side and continued down the hall, taking a left.

"Their armor doesn't match any of my UNSC data bases, and I translated what the Elite said and it was that someone named Telcam would reward him well for the death of a Demon… Something must have happened to the Arbiter, it's possible that he didn't survive the Slip-Space rupture after all, and this Telcam took his place as Arbiter, or head of the Covenant…" Cortana trailed off, going over the facts that she had just laid out.

John let her contemplate as he turned down another hallway, there was a staircase leading to the next floor just up ahead. Silently moving up the stairs, he caught sight of two glowing shields down a hallway at the top of the stairs.

"Jackals," He stated.

"Leave them, get to the observation deck and check out what's going on. They may have coordinates on their ship. Or even better Slip-Space capabilities."

Ignoring the Jackals he took an alternate route that would lead him right to the observation deck. He caught the silhouette of something moving just ahead of him. But the hallway was empty.

Replacing his rifle onto his back, he gripped the energy sword at his side and moved up behind the invisible object. In one fluid motion, he wrapped his left arm tightly around the cloaked enemy's throat while his right arm drove the energy sword through its spine.

The active-camo flickered then faded as an Elite let out a choked scream and crumpled onto the ground unmoving. "Conserving ammo, that's a new one for ya Chief," Cortana piped in cheerfully.

"I do what I can," John took the Elite by its arm and dragged it into an empty room to hide the body from scouts. Switching back to his rifle, he reached the door before the observation deck. "Now what?"

Cortana didn't answer immediately, but answered. "There are a few hostiles on the deck, if one is an Elite try to keep it alive so we can get some answers."

"Got it."

Taking another plasma grenade into his hand, he once again primed it and counted to three. Moving out from his cover, he threw the grenade towards a pair of Grunts and a Jackal. As the grenade exploded he stepped into the observation deck and opened fire.

Plasma bolts and needles whizzed past him and began depleting his shields as he sprinted for cover. Behind a column in the room, he spun out of cover and fired into a Jackal who had its insides shredded by bullets.

Spinning back into cover, plasma fire erupted at his sides and went soaring past him and into the Forward Unto Dawns titanium walls. For a brief pause in shooting, the Chief dropped his current magazine out and inserted his final clip.

Diving out from cover, he took out two Grunts who were chattering wildly and consistently saying Kill the Demon! He turned and burst fired towards an Elite who was firing a plasma rifle of some sort in his direction. Moving towards the Elite he dropped the now empty rifle and removed the energy sword from his side and sprinted to the Sangheli warrior.

The Elite roared in rage as the Chief took a plasma bolt to the chest, but all that happened was that his shields only shimmered under the impact. John swung a diagonal cut at the Elite who swayed out of the way, but wasn't fast enough to save his rifle.

The energy sword sheared cleanly through the plasma rifle slicing the weapon in two. Plasma leaked from the now useless gun and onto the Elites had which made it cry out in infuriated pain.

John stepped forward and using his free hand punched the Elite square in the jaw followed by a kick to its kneecap shattering its left leg.

The Sangheli bellowed a cry of pain as it crumpled to the ground; the Chief brought his fist once again down onto its jaw and sent it sprawling onto its back. He brought the energy sword up to its throat and held it there. "Cortana?" He asked briefly.

"Ask it what it's doing here,"

"What are you doing here?" He repeated forcing the energy sword closer to the Sangheli's throat. It began talking in its native tongue harshly. The Chief wouldn't be surprised if it was cussing him out at the moment, but it wouldn't matter. The thing would be dead in a minute anyways.

The Elite stopped speaking, "It called you an idiot for wondering what they're doing here. Apparently it's really obvi-" Cortana stopped as a high pitched whining sound cut through the ship. The Chief looked up from his prisoner and looked around.

"What was that?" He asked.

"Kill it then head to the view port." John did as told and slit the Sangheli warrior's throat turning around and moving towards the view screen. "Put me in Chief and I'll get the view up." John placed his hand over a terminal and Cortana transferred into the ships systems.

It was only a brief moment until the view screen lit up with a picture of the outside of the ship. "My God…" Cortana whispered in awe.

"Cortana what is that?" The image on the screen was a large planet like object that had a metallic outer shell. A portion of the planet was opening in a spiral like fashion. A blue and bright white hue emitted from the inner circle of the opening giving off a glare that was almost too bright to look at.

"A Shield World…"

John was thrown off his feet as something seemed to grab the ship, "What was that?" He asked pushing himself up, the ship was shuddering and groaning in ways that it shouldn't be.

"We're trapped in its gravity well; we're going in Chief unless we find a way off this ship!" Cortana said urgently. The view screen switched to a layout of the back half of the Forward Unto Dawn. A section of the ship flashed red and orange. "Chief we need to get to the hanger, that's where the Covenant transport is!"

John brought his hand back over the terminal and Cortana returned to her data chip. He quickly ran over to one of the downed Jackals and took one of their carbines before sprinting out the door.

Instead of moving silently, the Chief sprinted down the hallways not bothering to hide his presence. He ran for the staircase he had come up before. Running down the stairs, he ran past the mangled bodies of Grunts and towards the elevator shaft.

"Go five floors down Chief, I'll tell you when to stop." Cortana informed hurriedly. John reached forward and gripped the steel cable and pulled himself into the chute. The shaft groaned as tension was once again applied to the cord. John slid down the cord at a high velocity, using only his hands to slow his fall.

"One more floor, and… Break!" Cortana shouted. John tightened his grip on the cord stopping his fall instantaneously with tremendous strain on his forearms. He reached to his right where an open door lay; his hand gripped the ledge right as a loud snap sounded through the shaft followed by the steel cord going slack.

Pulling himself up, he sprinted down an abandoned hallway as he heard the cord hit the bottom of the shaft. He shouldered the carbine and fired three shots into a pair of unsuspecting Grunts before continuing down the hall. The floor underneath him shuddered violently as the Forward Unto Dawn neared the artificial planet.

"The hanger is the next door on the left!" Cortana informed. John turned left and entered the hanger. The entire bay was empty except for the lone Phantom drop-ship hovering above the ground. "Get aboard that ship Chief and fast!"

John replaced the carbine onto his back and took a few paces back. He stood on a scaffolding above the hanger, and he'd need to jump if he was going to make it into the ship. Steeling his resolve he huffed out a final breath and sprinted three feet before launching himself off of the scaffolding and at the drop-ship.

His fingers grasped the barrel of the plasma cannon that was locked in place on the side of the ship, swinging his legs up onto the small deck; he removed the energy sword from his side and hit the ignition. "Armour's holding up," He stated dryly.

"I guess it's a good thing it's more maneuverable and gives for better dexterity."

John stepped into the empty transport and made his way silently to the cockpit. He was fairly surprised to see the cockpit empty, They're getting careless.

He sat down at the controls as an explosion rippled through the Dawn shaking the ship to its core. With the skills of a veteran, the Chief began pressing the Forerunner symbols which closed the hatches on the sides of the ship as well as pressurizing the inside. "Get us out of here Chief!" He didn't need any further coaxing, typing in one final command, the Phantom eased back slowly until it was out of the hanger and on its own.

"Get the Slip-" The Drop ship lurched violently as it got trapped in the grip of the gravity well of the Shield World. John enabled all power to the engines, and pushed the thrusters to one hundred fifteen percent. The Phantom strained against the gravities pull, and soon found itself being locked on course for the Shield World.

He was about to enable a Slipspace jump when the ship shuddered and all power went dead, "Cortana?"

"All power's offline Chief, there must be a strong force of electro-magnetic waves emitting from the Planets core…" She trailed of hesitantly, unsure of what do next.

"What now?"

"I suggest strapping down Chief, there's going to a rough landing coming up!" The Shield Worlds entrance loomed ahead of them, the small Covenant Transport, and the mangled back half of the Forward Unto Dawn drifted ever nearer with an inevitable collision course with the Shield World.

/1500 Hours: July 19 2557 Blue Team on board the UNSC Infinity Cruiser/

"Blue Team report to Admiral Osman on the Bridge ASAP," The announcement blared through the busy corridors of the UNSC's prized ship, The Infinity.

Three Spartans stopped in mid-stride as they heard the order, "New mission?" the male of the group guessed.

A female to his left removed her EVA Helmet and glanced to her teammates, "Only one way to find out," The three members of Blue Team marched briskly towards the nearest elevator. Stepping inside, the three waited in silence as they rose up six decks.

The elevator came to an abrupt halt and the twin doors slid open. The three Spartans strode through the Bridge and over to a woman who stood with her hands clasped firmly together behind her back and a steady posture.

The three came to a stop three feet behind the Admiral and stood at attention, "Blue Team reporting in!" The Leader of the trio greeted.

"Fred, Kelly, Linda, at ease," Osman stated as she turned to face the Spartan II's, "The Huragoks have located another Shield World," She informed seriously.

"And we're to extract Forerunner technology?" Kelly asked before Osman could continue.

"Correct, but there are other circumstances that may… Disrupt the process,"

"The Sangheli Forces." Fred stated as more of an answer then a question.

Osman nodded, "Yes, the Sangheli's have already dispatched a large portion of their fleet to the Planet, Requiem, as the Engineers have informed us and are looking to beat us there."

"When do we leave?" Fred asked for his squad.

A grin tugged at Osman's lips, "You won't be going alone, ONI has decided to bring in the Infinity to really put her to the test," A glimmer in her eye spoke the meaning for her. "We'll arrive at Requiem in two days' time; the bloody place is at the edge of the Milky Way if you can believe that."

"As Spartans, we've learned to believe in the unbelievable." Kelly answered seriously.

"That we have Kelly, you're all dismissed so get some rest and prepare yourself. Blue and Saber Teams will be conducting a joint Ops on this mission, so make sure to inform them before we arrive because we're going in hot."

The three Spartans snapped a salute, "Yes mam," Together the members of Blue Team turned on their heel and headed for the elevator.

The three stood in silence as the elevator silently began its decent, "John would be proud." Linda spoke out loud. She was as close to a Lone Wolf as the Spartan II Program had.

Fred turned and gazed at the reflective visor of his companion, "He sure would be…" He trailed off unknowing if he should continue his thoughts.

"We owe him our lives," Kelly spoke emotionlessly, "More times than we can count, we'd be dead right now without him," She turned her gaze to her two squad mates and in a quieter voice she finished, "I still can't believe he's gone…"

The mood in the elevator turned from excited anticipation, into a thick tension that drained any positive emotion from the room. "He's never really gone Kelly, just like Sam, Will, Kurt, and all the others, they're still with us. Even if they aren't right beside us."

The brunette Spartan nodded in understanding, "I still miss the bastard terribly though, I never did get to say goodbye." Spartans were notorious for showing zero emotion, but Fred, Linda, and the others knew John was a sore spot for Kelly.

The two had been closer together than anyone else; both would give their lives for the other if the time called for it. Fred laid a gentle hand onto her shoulder, "Come on Kelly, let's go find Tom and Lucy. Get everything mapped out before it's too late."

There was a silent nod from Kelly, as the elevator slowed to a halt and the doors slid open. Together the three Spartans started for the barracks to prepare for a mission that would change the fate of the UNSC, Sangheli War.