One Last Message Amid Power Failure: Black Rock Shooter


/BEGIN TEXTUAL LOG

/DATE: #$ %$&%$

/ERROR 000417A : DATE AND TIME LOG IS CORRUPT.

/REFERENCE DATE: {September 19, 2552} [EXTRACTED CALENDAR FROM HUMAN SYSTEMS]

(Geez, everything is failing, is it? Well, I will have to preserve this log anyway...she entrusted it to me, isn't it? Oh well, I have to make do.)

/DATE: SEPTEMBER 19, 2548 [HUMAN CALENDAR REFERENCE]

/ENTREE ID: BLACK ✭ ROCK SHOOTER

/BEGIN LOG:

I hope you're reading this somewhere.

There must be countless terminals scattered throughout this place...a few should at least be near your Stasis Confinement Room. Wherever you are.

Gosh, the lights are driving me cra-

/ERROR

/reset

/ERROR: SERVER FAILED TO COMMUNICATE. CACHING LOG FOR FUTURE UPDATING.

Geez. Power is intermittent...maybe, just maybe, it hasn't affected your Confinement Chamber yet.

The map showed you should be on the far side, right? Near the teleporter..

Gah. Forget it. Get out of here first.

I've locked myself inside this...this lounge, I think. There's a Confinement Chamber, of all things...

Food and water are running short. I had to clean my sword and cannon using a cleaning rag I found in a cupboard.

Where are you? Find me, find me again, you idiot...

I'll give you a sla-

/ERROR

/ERROR: SERVER RESPONSE NOT EQUAL OR LESS THAN 100MS.

/rerouting server connection

/ERROR: ORIGINAL CACHE COPY LOST. SAVE CHANGES? Y

Stupid terminal.

Alright, I won't write anymore...I've already written so much since I remembered everything.

Just...just find me, okay?

The terminal listed your ID as this...this ACS.

Anomalous..Cyan Shields.

Hehe. Did you write that yourself? You always said cyan was your favorite colour.

I hope you remember my name. I forgot mine ever since I woke up.

/ERROR

/ERROR: LOCAL POWER CAPACITY NOT EQUAL OR MORE THAN 100 M AH. SERVER EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN IN {5 minutes}.

Blasted thing.

Well then, see you soon...I'll be waiting. Just like a princess in an icy cage.

/TEXTUAL LOG END.


Awakening As Dark Clouds Converge: Anomalous Cyan Shield


It's this dream again.

Mato is laughing at something, and I'm sitting next to her. The sounds, sights, and smells are all muted and have an unreal quality to it, like viewing a projected film. This scene is all too familiar for me in this dream state, because I just instinctively know that I've seen this scene countless times. I've dreamt this dream many times, only to have it cruelly cut off at the ending. Like a well-written poem that is written on a spark of inspiration, but when that spark vanishes, so does the flow of the poem.

Mato's head leans softly on my shoulder. Two feelings compete for my attention: the amazing warmth of her head is spreading throughout my shoulder and firing my nerves. At the same time, an icy feeling tingles throughout my body, running down from my spine to every extremity, heightening my senses and awareness. The dream becomes sharper, more clearly defined, and time seems to slow, prolonging this moment. A flurry of thoughts cross my mind: confusion, nervousness, and excitement appear to me as coloured lightning that flashes around me.

"Hey, Kyousuke..." Mato murmurs in my ear.

"Hmm?" I reply in the dream. I drape my hand around Mato's shoulder and pull her closer. It feels warmer. My hand is shaking and I know I'm visibly tense. But I , I am stuck in this endlessly repeating dream, unable to change the flow of events, not in this world. Yet, my emotions in the dream tangle and overlap with my emotions in the memory; a complicated swirl of despair, hope, depression, excitement, sadness and happiness is surrounding me. My emotions in this memory are interfering with mine as an observer of this dream.

"I...I..." Mato turns to look at me, locking gazes. At this close distance, I am visibly and clearly flushing, I can feel it. Colour rises to my face and dyes it a faint shade of red. My heart is pounding; Mato's scent is overflowing and overloads my senses. Her warm breath is cooling and condensing in micro-droplets on my skin, transmitting that she is feeling just as confused and excited as I am. I am dreaming this memory so clearly I can see my eyes reflected in the dilated blue pupils of Mato's. I feel one of her hands, moving from where it was intertwined with my arm, rising up to cup my cheek. Her palm is so soft...

And the dream disappears; it fades to black with naught a trace of an afterimage.

What happens next? I yell in frustration. This dream is frustrating for me; I know innately that there is an ending to this memory, and yet the dream just ends here. There was more to it, I know there was! Something else happens after this! But I can't control a dream; the hard reality is that I will be limited to whatever fragment of dream my unconscious mind recalls.

I scream to myself in frustration. The next moments are so tantalising in their proximity and agonising in their separation. Just a few more moments, I begged to an imaginary deity of this world. Just a few moments, let me see what did I and Mato do after that!

Of course nothing happens. I am after all, alone in this world. The blackness has rushed in to fill the absence of the dream, though it will be soon enough that that scene will return. I will be forced to relieve a truncated summary of a day deeply buried within my memories for as long as I am asleep.

How long have I dreamt like this? For how long, have I been confined to this world in my mind, and tortured with something beyond my reach? The answer is unknown; time is stretching to intolerable lengths here, and of course, I have no way of keeping log of events here. And at any rate, I reasoned to myself, this is just a dream that will be over soon.

But when?


/BEGIN SYSTEM LOG

/DATE: !^ %*& $

/ERROR

/ERROR 000417A: DATE AND TIME LOG IS CORRUPT

/REFERENCE DATE: {September 19, 2552} [EXTRACTED CALENDAR FROM HUMAN SYSTEMS]

/DATE: 0117 HRS, SEPTEMBER 15, 2552 [HUMAN CALENDAR REFERENCE]

/ENTREE ID: 342 GALANTHIAS QUATTUOR

/BEGIN LOG:

PRIMARY OBSERVATION: {13} unknown vessels detected in-system.

Vessels empirically observed to possess Slipstream Space Travel ability.

Vessels maintaining defensive formation around Installation.

Evidence of increased radio wave activity that background radiation cannot account for.

(DETAILED REPORT BY ENTREE ID 343 GUILTY SPARK REFERENCED IN ATTACHED CACHE)

ASSESSMENT: Moderate to High risk. Formation and communication suggests preparation for landing on Halo. Alternatively to defend against aggressor.

ACTION: Prepare {FAILSAFE PACKAGE II} for pre-emptive action.

COMMENTS:

/343 GS should be fired and reformatted.

Resources for Service Levels are critically low and he has been negligent of five (5) duties for nearly {fifty} years. Package II will be severely under-equipped.

/Package II will only have short-range weapons. The remaining long-range equipment have mostly been expended on supporting Package I.

I wish I could do more for them.

But I am just Her servant, after all.

/SYSTEM LOG END


I'm dreaming again.

« That memory » has appeared unfailingly in my dream again, restarting the process of reeling in my attention. Hook, line, and sinker, I have no choice but to take this bait and be lead by the dream.

Why do I keep having this dream? I wonder to myself. If dreams are a projection of the subconscious mind, then this eternal repetition of this memory must be nothing more than my deepest hope and fear, one that words I remember in my conscious mind cannot describe.

In other words, I « dream » to express what I cannot express. That would be why the noun « dream » is synonymous with the adjective « dream ». In that case, do I dream of Mato and I, not simply because that was the last memory I focused on before entering sleep, but because deep inside me, I fear something would separate us? Thus, my subconscious would truncate the dream at the end, knowing « something » happened that separated Mato and I?

This theory is familiar to me; having had nearly infinite time to think in this « dream sleep », I had sought to synthesise something else to occupy my mind. But it fails in one crucial aspect; why « that memory » has been repeating, looping, rewinding incessantly; to the point of driving me mad.

While I contemplated this, the current playback of « that memory » ended as abruptly as ever, and left me in the darkness again.

How do I know that in the absence of a dream, only « darkness » exists? If « darkness » is the absence of « light », then what is this light?

In the middle of my thoughts, something suddenly interrupts my train of thought.

*pulse*

What is that? I have never felt anything like that before. In an earthquake, when tectonic movements shake the ground one stands on, there is a strange feeling of the entire world « shifting under one's feet ». This...this, had just similarly occurred so.

*pulse...pulse...pulse*

Pinpoints of light began to appear in the darkness, twinkling like distant stars. They grow in luminosity and number with each pulse, giving off a similar feeling of hot metal being struck with a hammer.

Oh god, I realised. The dream is ending.


Installation 04, or Halo as its discoverers had christened it, measures ten thousand kilometres in diametre and 22.3 kilometres thick. In comparison, the approaching vessels clustering around a section appeared like stray ants having just found a treat.

Its making was as simplistic as it was massive. Recognising the need for Halo to serve multiple roles, it was divided into three sections. The inner surface and approximately 5 kilometres of depth was collectively known as the Surface level. Housing all Flood specimens as well as various flora and fauna in stasis, the surface level was the most essential purpose of Halo. Even if all containment measures failed catastrophically and the Flood acquired biomass from the stored specimens, they would still be trapped on Halo, parked between Threshold and its moons.

The outside of Halo was termed the Sanctuary level. Merely two kilometres thick, it housed most of the propulsion systems of Halo, keeping the ring spinning and stable, as well as artificial gravity generators to ensure the landscape on the surface level flourished under planetary conditions.

The remaining 15 kilometres was dedicated to the Service level. This level housed all the raw materials and parts needed for day-to-day maintenance of Halo, including Sentinel manufacture, barrier replacement, spare components for the pulse phase generators, and Slipspace capacitors to allow Halo to fire into Slipspace as well.

The makers of Halo had always intended Halo to be completely automated; Halo should be able to run itself, and if necessary, instruct an intelligent species of offspring to execute its firing sequence if the Flood ever escaped their jail.

However, even these were not expected to last forever. Monitors too, could succumb to time and become rampant; an initial failure to contain an outbreak could result in a Gravemind, whom were known to be able to control even ancillaries.

Hence, the Didact, in absolute secrecy, tugged some strings to ensure a backup system was installed in all the installations the Master Builder had constructed.

One of these took the form of a large, obsidian black cylinder that stretched from the floor to the ceiling of a darkened room. A single symbol on its smooth surface pulsed periodically, its blue light reflecting off the hardened alloy of the Monitor hovering in front of it. Its purple "eye" observed the surface silently.

This additional Monitor, separate from the assigned one presently on the Surface Level above it, was named 342 Galanthias Quattuor, using an ancient language of the Didact's old enemy to mean « Fourth Servant ».

Still shiny in appearance, this Monitor had spent the last hundred thousand cycles in a low-power state, preserving its core from the sands of time. Unlike its far more important counterpart a few levels above it, Quattuor's duty was not the monitoring of the Installation, but rather the overseeing and management of the Service Level. By extension, Quattuor had a duty to determine when it was appropriate to deploy the {Packages} his master had entrusted him with. Quattuor rechecked and entered the decrypted passcode required to unseal {Package II} from storage:

/[UNSEAL THE HUSHED CASKET]/

The symbol on the Cylinder flashed purple in acceptance. Fading out, the surface of the Cylinder suddenly blazed with a torrent of purple text, displaying various parameters of Package II. More importantly, they indicated that the ancient Forerunner inside was still alive and in a revivable state.

Slowly, the old, but well-maintained machinery whirred to life. Quattuor drifted back half a metre as clamps on the bottom and top of the Cylinder unfastened. The Didact's second backup was activated.

to be continued.

Author's notes:

Finally, I got around to writing this...

This was literally something I came up with in the bath. I was thinking, "What if I combined my other two favourite things: Halo and BRS? Maybe I'd put in an OC, BRS, but not Chief, since obviously he never saw anything..."

I'm borrowing the books to ensure I keep as close as possible to the timestamp format as well as see the mannerisms of 343GS.