Disclaimer: I do not own World of Warcraft or Halo as those were developed by Blizzard Entertainment and Bungie Studios and subsidiary companies respectively.
Author's Notes: This is my first fanfiction story that I have written so I hope I make a good impression with it. For anyone who has read World of Warcraft Halo by Freedom Guard may have noticed some similarities in the first few chapters. Don't worry, I'm just using the first few chapters of Freedom Guard's story as a template to jump start mine. And yes I asked him beforehand and he Okayed it. Rest assured that the story will chart its own flow in due time so don't think for a moment that I'm plagiarizing. Enjoy the story!
Arrival at Dusk
"It's time to end this!" John thought as he aimed his Spartan Laser at the heavily damaged and insane Guilty Spark.
"NOOO! YOU WILL NOT TAKE THIS RING FROM ME!" screamed Guilty Spark as he fired a beam at the Spartan.
The Chief ignored this and fired.
The Spartan Laser's fire made a direct hit causing Guilty Spark to violently convulse. Spark had just enough time to scream before he exploded in a flash of blue.
The Master Chief turned and slowly walked to where Sargent Johnson was lying. He knelt down and carefully moved Johnson to where the Chief could see his face.
"I'm getting you out of here." The Chief stated. Johnson gasped and shook his head weakly.
The Chief felt the weak grip of Johnson's hand on his armored glove.
"Don't...don't let her go...Don't...ever...let her go..." The sergeant coughed painfully, still holding on to the small flicker of life that was left in him.
"Send me out...with a bang..." Johnson wheezed. He laid his head down, closed his eyes...and with his last breath went still.
Johnson's grasp loosened and slipped out the Chief's gauntleted hand leaving Cortana's chip in his palm.
The Chief was normally not a very emotional person. Thirty years of fighting a genocidal collection of aliens, the emotional conditioning that the SPARTAN II training hard-wired into him, and the loss of so many people that had become like brothers and sisters to him, and others that he befriended, had left him about as sentimental as a brick wall. Emotion really didn't fit in all that well with the kind of life that he led, with killing being one of the sole roles in his life since as long as he could remember. But now, most of his friends were either dead or missing; Sam, Kurt, Grace, the other Spartan's, Jacob, Miranda, and now Johnson.
He looked down to the glowing blue chip in his hand.
Well...maybe not all his friends...he still had Cortana.
The Chief looked at Johnson's lifeless body beneath him again before standing up. He walked over to the floating holographic control panel. He held out the chip, and Cortana's form materialized on a ledge in front of him. He didn't even look at her, instead choosing a single point on one of the far walls and stared it down.
"Chief..." Cortana said softly with look of remorse.
"I'm so sorry..." She frowned. She hung her head, and made a gesture with her left hand. The Chief heard the sound of the replacement ring's machinery activating the firing mechanism. Cortana turned back to the Chief touching the chip with her right hand. Her form dissipated from the air, and the blue glow returned to the chip in the Spartan's hand. He inserted the chip into the back of his helmet, and he felt the usual icy-needle-poking feeling that he always felt whenever Cortana took residence inside his brain.
As he turned around a high pitched noise followed by a column of blue light arose from behind him, signaling him that the ring's weapon had begun to activate. Then the platform he was standing on started to collapse all around him.
He took one last look at Johnson's body, and then he ran back to the Arbiter.
"I am sorry, Spartan." The Arbiter said to the Chief. The Spartan acknowledged him with a nod in response. He knew there wasn't anything the Arbiter could have done. But he was grateful for his presence all the same.
"But come." The Chief nodded and took the assault rifle off his back and into his hands, knowing full well that there would be more Flood coming soon. As if on cue, a group of came swarming around a corner that the duo were about to go around. The Arbiter began to fire on one of the two infected elites with a plasma rifle while the Chief popped most of the infection forms that skittered beneath the combat forms. The Arbiter side-stepped a swipe from the infected elite, and quickly responded by drawing his plasma sword and slicing the combat form striking what was left of the former elite's head, penetrating the already weakened shielding and 'killing' it. The infection form that was inside of the infected elite attempted to claw and pierce the Arbiter's chest, but the Arbiter quickly pulled out his plasma rifle again and shot that as well while the Chief took out the other combat form. Doing so even while the control building was shaking and collapsing around them.
The two continued until the outside of the control room was visible. The Chief was surprised at how quickly activating Halo had changed the ring; the sky was already turned red and the rest of the Ark above them looked purple from their perspective.
"Even in death, your sergeant guides us all." The Arbiter said solemnly, as he saw that the piece of the ice shelf that Johnson had fired the Spartan Laser from before had fallen, allowing the two a way up.
Cortana then spoke up.
"The Dawn... Of course! The Frigate! We still have a chance!"
A red contact appeared on the Chief's motion tracker. He turned around, expecting the Flood, but instead saw that it was a sentinel, with several more floating behind it. The Chief began to fire on them while heading up the slope onto the ice shelf. The Arbiter looked to see what the Chief was firing at, and quickly joined in, his plasma rifle's fire draining the sentinel's shields considerably faster than the Chief's assault rifle. John noticed this, and instead turned his attention to the Flood that was coming from the path on the ice shelf.
Cortana's voice chimed into his ear.
"Head for the doorway in the cliffs, Chief. The Dawn is on the other side!" A blue waypoint appeared over an entrance into the next valley. The Chief and Arbiter proceeded along the ice shelf, mopping up the few Flood combat forms that were in their way, while managing to outrun the sentinels that they hadn't already shot down.
As soon as they got inside the doorway, the two realized that both the sentinels and the Flood were fighting each other. If it were any other given situation, John wouldn't have alerted the two sides of his presence until they were done fighting it out with each other, but the fact that the trembling ground beneath him would most likely explode in a matter of minutes made the situation a bit more pressed for time.
The Arbiter fired on the sentinels overhead while John took out the Flood who weren't busy attacking the sentinels. After eliminating a good amount of both factions, a dull throb pulsed in John's head, as the Gravemind used his telepathic abilities to communicate with the Chief.
++"Resignation is my virtue. Like water, I ebb and flow."++
Thankfully, the Gravemind wasn't yelling at him like it did last time when John had gone to rescue Cortana. This time however, it sounded sad. Even a little defeated.
++"Defeat is simply the addition of time, to a sentence I never deserved..."++ It continued. The throbbing pain in his head increased slightly.
++"...but you imposed." ++
The pain in his head stopped, though there was a faint sensation of it left behind.
The two continued to proceeded down the next hallway, 'bursting' the carrier forms that was ahead of them from a safe distance before killing all of the infection forms that spewed out of said carrier forms once they exploded.
Around the next corner was a ramp with a large group of infection forms coming into view. A quick burst from John's assault rifle and the Arbiter's plasma rifle took care of all but two of them, which they promptly ignored.
"There! Johnson's Warthog!" Cortana shouted as the vehicle came into view. The Arbiter got into the back seat with the M41 machine gun turret while John climbed into the driver's seat. The super soldier wondered if the Arbiter would've even known how to drive a UNSC vehicle. He allowed a rare smile to himself as the picture of the Arbiter trying to work a stick-shift came into mind. That would have been a sight to see.
The Chief began to drive out of the snowy area and onto the ring's unfinished portion. The metal plates that he was driving the Warthog on, which he guessed were the places where the artificial environment would have gone once the ring was finished, were the only things that were keeping him from falling to his death. As if the universe heard him, one of the plates literally exploded upwards right next to him. He got the distinct impression that their escape just got a lot more complicated.
The two were now driving toward a large, circular platform, segmented into different sections by large columns. Flood came spewing from the very center of the platform, though the Chief just ran over or just flat out avoided what the Arbiter didn't already kill with the turret.
And so it went, with the Chief driving and the Arbiter gunning down targets. All the while the unfinished ring blew up around them, and huge pillars came crashing down onto the metal plates and took down several Flood forms and Sentinels at the same time. The sentinels attempted to destroy the Warthog by firing their beam emitters from their bodies, only to have the M41 on the back of the Warthog tear through their shields and reduce them to scrap. Eventually, they came to a large hole on the route which forced the Chief to make a huge jump with the Warthog. It was then they spotted the forward section of Dawn sticking out from behind the edifice of a rock face, with the ship's name printed on the side in large white letters.
"Eighty percent charged!" Cortana said, reminding the Chief yet again that he was on a tight schedule.
The Arbiter stopped firing the turret on the back so he could reload it. The Spartan noticed this, and attempted to drive as smoothly as possible, but the constant explosions and waves of Flood and Sentinels made the execution of that task kind of difficult. The two rounded the rock face and were racing to the final stretch, with the Dawn at the end of it. A nearby, oddly-shaped pillar collapsed, taking several combat forms and even a sentinel with it.
"Ninety percent-firing sequence initiated!" They were now on a downward slope, with nothing between them and the Dawn's open hangar bay; except for the over two hundred-foot gap ahead of them.
"Gun it, Chief, floor it! Jump! Straight into the hangar!" Cortana screamed urgently into his ear.
He didn't need any further encouragement.
The Chief pushed down on the accelerator so hard that he could practically feel it straining under his boot. The Arbiter stopped firing as the Warthog went airborne. For a moment, there was almost complete silence; the only noise being made was the screeching sound of the Warthog's wheels spinning wildly.
And then the Warthog came crashing into the hanger, landed on its passenger side, flipped onto its back, and slid along the Hangar floor. The Arbiter and Chief began to pick themselves up when a Scorpion tank began to slide towards him. He took cover behind a pile of crates in the corner. Chief, now standing, quickly jumped over the crashed Warthog to see if he was still alive. Thankfully, a second later, the Arbiter began to force his way out of the pile of crates.
The Chief gave him a silent nod, and with a moment's hesitation the Arbiter promptly returned it before making a dash for the bridge. The Chief then ran and plugged Cortana's chip into the hangar's holotank.
"Hang on!" warned Cortana as she fired up the Dawn's rear thrusters, forcing the Chief to grab onto one of the metal bars next to the holotank. The pull of the Ark's gravity was increasing, as the Dawn climbed upwards. The Chief risked a brief glance behind him. The only thing that he could see was the Halo ring exploding in a brilliant array of colors. He looked forward again just in time to see the Warthog that he had drove into the hangar collide into him.
"Chief!" Cortana cried in alarm. The blow sent the Spartan tumbling down the Dawn's hangar until he punched a hole in the floor only a few feet from the entrance. He looked up, seeing a large object coming straight toward him, only to discover that the object in question was actually the Scorpion that had nearly crushed the Arbiter.
With only a few seconds left to act he flattened himself to deck as much as possible to avoid the sixty six ton hunk of metal careening towards him. He had just barely avoided it, as the gap in between the tank's treads provided enough space for him to avoid being hit a second time.
He slowly began to climb his way up the deck, with the Ark and replacement installation exploding brilliantly behind him. At this point he was completely exhausted, as he hadn't had a chance to rest after he had arrived on the Ark. Granted, Spartan's could stay awake for days at a time, but that didn't mean that they couldn't be affected by sleep deprivation either.
As he started pulling himself up to where Cortana was, Cortana started smiling and for a moment the Chief thought that he had seen something in her smile besides her usual playful attitude. Though this wasn't exactly the best time ponder on this. He pulled himself up, took out Cortana's chip, and braced himself against the now empty holotank.
"If we don't make it..." Cortana started to say.
"We'll make it." reassured the Chief, interrupting her.
"...it's been an honor serving with you, John."
The Chief closed his eyes and set his head against the holotank as a blinding white light flooded the hangar.
"Chief!? Chief can you hear me?"
The Chief cracked his eyes open, and immediately noticed that he was floating above the deck. He checked the pressure meter on his HUD, which confirmed that he was in a zero-gravity environment and his armor was properly sealed.
"I thought I'd lost you too." said Cortana with relief. The Chief spotted his assault rifle floating nearby and quickly caught it and placed it on his back.
"What happened?" The Chief asked as reoriented himself.
"I'm... not sure. When Halo fired, it shook itself to pieces. Did a number on the Ark. The portal couldn't sustain itself. We made it through just as it collapsed."
The Chief looked out towards the forward end of the ship. He saw that it had been sliced neatly in half.
"Well...some of us made it..."
The Chief drifted through the hallways until he arrived in a large room, with a row of cryotubes on the wall.
"But, you did it. Truth, the Covenant, and the Flood..."
He took out the blue chip out of his helmet and slid it into the room's holotank, and Cortana's avatar appeared before him.
The Chief smiled slightly behind his helmet before agreeing with her.
The Spartan then put his assault rifle on one of the racks on the wall.
"I'll drop a beacon, but...it'll be a while before anyone finds us...years, even."
The Chief climbed into a cryotube, and the door began to close.
"I'll miss you..." Cortana said softly as her holographic form looked down at her feet.
"Wake me... when you need me." he whispered back.
She quickly looked at the Chief in surprise, and then smiled the same mischievous little smile that she did when they were still at the Ark.
Even though she may not have seen it, but he returned it before the door to the cryotube finally closed.
In unknown space…
Cortana was still residing in the cryo room's holotank running a series of diagnostics while monitoring the cryo tube that contained the Master Chief, or John as she started calling him more often, while he was in suspended animation. In the meantime she had managed to keep what was left of the Dawn's limited but thankfully still intact array of sensors operational to keep a sharp eye out while the Spartan slept before her. She managed to keep track of the time and knew that it had been one year, three months, and ten days since the final battle on the Ark against the Gravemind, the Covenant Loyalists, the Flood, and the Prophet of Truth. It was finally over, and now they were floating in deep space onboard the Forward Unto Dawn awaiting rescue.
Naturally she had her doubts about being rescued so soon being so far outside UNSC space, but placed those musings aside for now as she had more important matters to think of. She recalled the promise she made to herself to help protect John from harm and keep him safe without compromising her loyalty to the UNSC and Humanity. It was something that helped her keep herself together while she had been trapped in High Charity and tortured by the Gravemind for a long time and it helped her pull herself together at the last moment when she felt herself nearly giving in to the overwhelming despair she felt when the Chief came to rescue her.
Cortana had decided to file away good portion of her data to the Dawn's computer banks for now. Mostly data on the Forerunners, the Flood, The Halo Arrays, and anything else that would be better kept stored someplace else to free up more space in her own memory system.
That had been a particularly demanding task for her as she had very limited power supplies to work with and some of the data archives on the still intact Forward Unto Dawn were already filled with other bits of data. So she selectively chose which of the data she needed to keep and erased the rest. With that done, she felt her internal processors stabilize and she was more able to operate more efficiently without being burdened with so much data. At least for now anyway.
As she rested she periodically made sure to keep some of her core systems online to keep watch over the area the Dawn was moving through and John as he slept. He had a lot of injuries but being a Spartan he was tougher than he looked which was why she knew he would be fine.
That certainly didn't mean that she was going to be lax in keeping a close eye on him even while she was resting herself.
However, as she recorded the movements of the ruined frigate through the void of space, something tripped her sensors and she quickly woke herself up from her hibernation and began to gather the information that was coming in from the external sensors. Apparently there was a planet nearby and from what she could gather it was a habitable one, and it had some strange energy readings coming from its surface.
The A.I. began to weigh upon her options. She knew that in the Dawn's current condition, there was no way that would be able return to Earth any time soon, so she had to make a decision on how to best proceed. The frigate was pretty much their only means of being rescued by a ship, but without any contact from incoming ships, they could be stuck floating through space on the Dawn for who knows how long.
On the unknown world's surface however, they would be able to find supplies, and be in a more stable location to establish contact and wait for rescue and even that presented risks. There was no telling if whatever, if any, species that called this place home would be peaceful or hostile.
And if they found her and John, there was no telling how they would react to them. However, from what she had been able to piece together from her scans, they didn't have a whole lot of options. On the surface, at least they would be able to set up a base camp and make a rudimentary beacon to call for help. And being in a single fortified location was far better than drifting aimlessly through space.
Having made her decision, she decided to run through the list of supplies and equipment onboard the Forward Unto Dawn before waking up the Spartan who had been her protector for years. They were going to need everything they could get in order to survive on this new world. She also needed to find a good place to land the frigate when she plotted its descent.
As she ran through the data stores, she also gathered what data she could of the planet. There appeared to be three large continents, one was an icy location and the other two were on either side of the said ice continent. She also spotted a massive storm in the middle, which surprised her because the storm in question dwarfed anything she had on record and it didn't seem to be moving either.
The other two continents were fairly balanced in appearance and environment, perfect for habitation. Not only that, but she also determined that the unique energy signatures she was picking up were genuine and not "ghost images" on her scanners.
Once she had done a full inventory check on the Dawn's supplies and equipment that remained, she decided to wake up John. She knew that they would have a lot of preparations to make before they land on the planet.
She quickly activated the low level systems online while making sure to check her Spartan's vital signs making sure that he was not too badly injured during his time in cryo-stasis. As soon as the systems came back online, she began to undergo the procedure of thawing out John while she checked his vitals. Relieved that his vital signs were all green, she looked to see the pod open and a massive wave of freezing gases came rushing out as she waited for John to wake up.
"Wake up John… I need you." Cortana whispered softly.
She didn't have to wait long as John began to move around a bit showing that he was finally waking up from his cryo-induced slumber in the pod. And from what she could see, he was doing all right considering how long he was in there.
As for John, he opened his eyes just as the MJOLNIR's OS began to activate the systems, he made a quick systems check and saw that despite the damage his MJOLNIR Mark VI Armor had sustained in the battles he had been in after escaping from the Ark, it was still in very good condition. He quickly ran a full systems diagnostics just to be on the safe side. Once that was done, he moved out of the pod slowly as the lack of gravity kicked in and he floated towards the holotank that Cortana was in.
"Enjoyed your nap there big guy?"
John smirked slightly inside his helmet at the expression on Cortana's face, he then noticed that she looked a little different, a bit lighter shade of blue than her usual violet color scheme and she seemed to be a bit more stable. He was quick to comment on said changes.
"You look no worse for wear."
"Yeah, I moved aside a lot of the data I stored up in my memory to free some processing space. It feels a lot better on my operating system too."
"So I noticed…is there something wrong?"
Cortana was quick to fill the Master Chief in on what she had discovered and the Spartan was quick to listen to what she had to tell him. He wasn't entirely thrilled by the fact that they had not been rescued by another ship yet nor that the only other option they had was landing on an entirely unknown world. But seeing as how they didn't have many other options at the moment, couldn't argue with her logic. Besides, being in one location would give them a chance to establish a base of operations and be able to send out communications to passing by ships instead of drifting around space and landing on an even less hospitable planet, well away from any possible shipping lanes.
With their options fully evaluated, the Spartan decided that they were going to have to take their chance landing on the planet and deal with whatever was down there. He moved to get his MA5C ICWS Assault Rifle from the weapon rack and moved to grab another floating weapon, a fully loaded M363 Remote Projectile Detonator or Rocket Pistol. Checking both guns and seeing that they were in good working order, he placed them on his back and right thigh, he made his way through the ship after placing Cortana back into his armor by sliding her data chip into the back of his head which started to tingle with the familiar cold mercury sensation.
"You know, no matter how times I leave your head I always find myself coming back to the same wide space. It's comforting…in a redundant sort of way." Cortana mused playfully out loud.
John rolled his eyes at that.
As soon as he got to one of the Dawn's armory rooms, he quickly began to gather what equipment he needed, spare packs of ammunition, weapons, communications gear, medical supplies and some much needed ration packs.
As soon as he was able to gather enough of the supplies, he made a trip to a nearby section where the ODST HEV pods were stored. He quickly began to load one of the pods with the supplies, weapons, communications gear, and spare ammunition he had gathered. Once that was done, he made his to another nearby HEV to see if it was also usable. Finding it to be adequate for use, he moved back to the armory room to get any other equipment he might have missed.
He managed to find a SRS99D-S2 AM Sniper Rifle with all the needed ammunition as well as a spare energy sword; apparently the Arbiter had left this behind, seeing as he had other spare swords and weapons to choose from. Knowing full well just how formidable this weapon was he decided to bring it along. After all, he had been on the receiving end of this weapon more times than he could count and even used it on a number of occasions. While he was more accustomed to fighting at long range, he was no slouch when it came to melee combat.
He placed the weapon on his back and decided to carry a standard issue combat knife as well in a metallic sheath on his left thigh, with that he made sure to a few more supplies for himself in the HEV he would be using.
After that he spoke to Cortana to work out the details to the plan if they were going to get down to the ground intact.
"So how are we going to get the Dawn will to land in one piece?" John asked.
"I'm planning to angle the Dawn's trajectory upon its descent in atmosphere, to make sure that the ship's armor plating won't under too much strain and it will be able to avoid being burned too badly by the atmospheric re-entry. The super structure might be badly damaged, but it should still be strong enough for both re-entry and landing. The angle I've set it to will also prevent the cut sections from being exposed to the ground on impact which will prevent any serious damage to the core systems and sections." Cortana explained.
"What about the rest of the ship's internal systems?"
"I plan to seal off the core sections and lock down the primary areas of the ship. There's enough power in the blast doors to do it despite being low on power. There should also be enough residual power from the Fusion Reactors to seal any remaining blast doors that doesn't have any power."
John nodded at that as he checked his inventory for the last time and then began to type in a command code into the other HEV's console to make it open only when he typed in the encryption key into the hidden console. The HEVs would be vital to his future operations once he hit planet side.
Once everything was ready, he got into the HEV with Cortana making the calculations. When she gave the signal, the Master Chief activated the deploy order. All he felt next was the sudden release of the clamps that held the HEV and was falling out of the Dawn just after Cortana launched a small but powerful satellite drone from the Dawn to act as their eyes and ears from orbit.
The Satellite itself was carrying solar power cells that were capable of recharging itself so the need to refuel was not an issue. And it had an onboard computer tor maintain its functions while the Spartan and the A.I. were on the surface and it would relay information to them easily enough. Once they set up shop anyway.
He looked at the Dawn through the on-board monitors as the remaining half of the frigate began to plunge into the atmosphere of the planet. As he watched he saw a deep orange glow with bright streaks that surrounded the Dawn which he that the frigate had just made contact with the outer atmosphere while his own and the second HEVs were already moving past it and was already well into the atmosphere. Despite the considerable heat shielding, the Spartan had no doubt that the atmospheric heat outside of his HEV was more than enough to fry a human in nanoseconds and melt the protective metal sheet into soup. Though John himself wasn't nervous at the prospect as he had done this many times before in his long career as a Spartan, but he knew the stories that revolved around HEV deployments.
HEV pods were the ODSTs best way to deploy rapidly onto a planet's surface, carrying enough supplies, spare weapons, a radio, portable power supply, and can serve as a temporary shelter if necessary. Other more dedicated variants can also be configured to store other items and equipment needed for commando operations as well as to establish command and control centers. However these deployments were prone to failing from time to time. Often ending with the unlucky occupant of the pod to either burn up in the atmosphere or fall straight into whatever was waiting for them on the ground…. hard.
Many in the ODST feared this kind of death as they often remarked that it was like digging your own grave. And he heard many stories of HEVs smashing into lakes, rivers, mountain sides, and more besides. That was why he was very careful when he selected the two HEVs he was using for the drop.
But the Chief was confident that none of those scenarios would happen as Cortana was very careful in her deployment of the HEVs and was more than up to handling this part of the mission. So all he had to do was sit back and wait for the HEV to land on the planet they would be calling home for a while.
Author's Notes: Well I hope everyone enjoyed the first chapter. As a reminder this is my first fanfiction so I'm willing to accept any professional criticism. Also if anyone has any ideas or suggestions of what kind of missions the Chief could do I'll certainly consider those too. Just remember to review my story.
See ya later!