Ninja Chronicles- Halo Chapter 2- Pillar of Autumn

September 19th, 2552

The Bridge of Pillar of Autumn

The Pillar of Autumn flew towards a ring world while several Longswords flew by the ship.

In the bridge, Captain Jacob Keyes looked out the window at the structure they had just discovered. "Cortana, all I need to know is did we lose them?"

The captain had brown hair which was in the process of turning gray, brown eyebrows, and blue eyes. He wore a light gray variant of the UNSC Navy uniform which consisted of a shirt and trouser of the same color with his ribbons, name tag, and rank insignia attached to the left hand side of his uniform. His boots were brown.

Cortana's voice emitted from the speakers, soft but professional. "I think we both know the answer to that."

Keyes scratched the back of his head then lowered his arm. He looked at a nearby view screen before shaking his head. "We made a blind jump. How did they…"

Cortana's voice came from the speakers. "Get here first? The Covenant ships have always been faster. As for tracking us all the way from Reach…at light speed, my maneuvering options were limited."

Keyes turned to his left and walked. His footsteps audible on the metallic gray floor, he looked at view screens to his left and right. "We were running dark, yes?"

Cortana's quick reply came. "Until we decelerated. No one could have missed the hole we tore in subspace."

Keyes approached a bridge crewman's console and looked at the screen.

The screen showed the Pillar of Autumn's location, and several unmistakable profiles of Covenant CCS-class battlecruisers.

Cortana continued. "They were waiting for us on the far side of the planet."

Keyes turned around and walked towards the center of the bridge. "So, where do we stand?"

Cortana's swift response came. "Our fighters are mopping up the last of their recon picket now, nothing serious."

Keyes approached a view screen in front of the center of the bridge. It was a holographic display which showed tactical data. The captain closed his eyes wearily.

Cortana resumed. "But I've isolated approach signatures from multiple CCS-class battle groups; make it three capital ships per group. And in about ninety seconds, they'll be all over us."

Keyes opened his eyes and turned around, his back to the view screen. "Well, that's it then. Bring the ship back up to Combat Alert Alpha. I want everyone at their stations."

Cortana swiftly replied. "Everyone, sir?"

Keyes turned a bit to look at the AI holographic pedestal next to the view screen. "Everyone."

Alarm klaxons blared and crewmembers ran to their bridge stations.

Keyes breathed deeply. "And Cortana."

Cortana's avatar appeared on the pedestal. "Hmm?"

Cortana's avatar was that of a woman with short hair and what appeared to be cloth covering her body in lines. Her primary colors were shades of blue and some white areas.

Keyes looked at Cortana. "Let's give our old friends a warm welcome. And make sure the ones we found on Viery station get off alive."

Cortana smiled. "I've already begun."

Main Hold of Pillar of Autumn

Cortana's voice echoed through the speakers. "Attention, all combat personnel, please report to your action stations."

The main hold was ablaze with activity. A marine waved light batons to guide a Pelican into the correct docking position. Others landed nearby, ready to pick up vehicles, marines, and other crew members.

Cortana's words rang through the speakers. "Fifth Platoon, secure airlocks on Deck Eleven. Fourteenth Platoon, rendezvous with Twenty Second Tactical at bulkhead Charlie Fourteen.

The gates leading to the lower decks opened and marines ran to the weapon racks to pick up their guns. Beyond the gate, marines readied their weapons, some talked to each other, others prepared vehicles for combat, and some loitered.

Cortana was heard over the speakers. "Duvall, take your squad to cryo-chamber C, now. This is an order from Captain Jacob Keyes."

Duvall gathered his team into formation and headed to their objective point.

Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson approached some marines and waved his left hand quickly while holding an MA5 assault rifle in his right hand. "You heard the lady! Move like you've got a purpose!"

The sergeant had a green Marine Corps hat on, black hair, black eyebrows, brown eyes, dark skin, and wore the UNSC marine battle uniform.

Cortana's voice came through the speakers, more serious than earlier. "This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill."

Twelve marines formed into two lines, standing a distance apart and facing each other.

Sergeant Johnson approached a Warthog and the two lines of marines. "Men." He backhanded thin air with his left hand dropped his arm to the side while holding his gun. And headed down between the lines. "We led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from gettin' their filthy claws on Earth." The sergeant gripped his gun with both hands. "But we stumbled onto somethin' they're so hot for, that they're scramblin' over each other to get it." The marine came to a halt at the middle of the line. "Well, I don't care if it's God's own anti-son-of-a-bitch machine or a giant hula hoop." He continued walking towards the end of the line. "We're not gonna let 'em have it!" Johnson neared the end. "What we will let 'em have." He jabbed to the left with his left hand and quickly brought it back to his gun again. "Is a belly full of lead, and a pool of their own blood to drown in!" The sergeant turned around at the end of the line. "Am I right, marines?"

The marines readied their weapons. "Sir, yes sir!"

"Uh-huh. Damn right, I am." Johnson looked at the right line then the left. "Now move it out! Double time!"

The marines broke formation and ran out of the area.

Cortana's voice rang over the speakers. "Attention all personnel. We are re-engaging the enemy. Internal and external contact imminent."

Johnson followed behind the marines at walking pace. He came to a halt at the top of the ramp then laid his assault rifle over his shoulder with his right hand. "All you greenhorns who wanted to see Covenant up close." He brought his gun back down into the ready position. "This is gonna be your lucky day."

Cryo-chamber C

Tech officer Stanly looked at the control panel in front of the cryo-pod. "Two minutes until complete thaw."

The tech officer had green eyes and light brown hair; he wore a yellow outfit with a gray vest.

Jack looked at Stanly. "Good, we do not want the Covenant to catch us with the two still sleeping,"

Two minutes later, the control panel beeped.

Stanly saw the view screen on the panel. "Ready to open the hatches now." He pressed the button next to the view screen.

The cryo-pod hatches opened slowly.

Hashirama Senju shivered and felt the cold metal he was laying on, a coldness usually felt only in the darkest night of the coldest winter. He slowly opened his eyes and saw what appeared to be a gray hatch with a window and the same material framing it at all sides. He felt something in his throat, some kind of liquid. He regurgitated it and felt it in his mouth and quickly swallowed it.

A nearby voice was heard. "You might be experiencing slight chills from the cytoprethaline, a bitter taste in the mouth from the bronchial surfactant, and freezer burn from having clothing on during sleep."

Hashirama stood up, gripped the side of the pod, and carefully stepped down to the floor. He's right, the stuff is really bitter. He saw the man in the gray vest and others by the door on the other side of the room, the Senju kept calm. "Where am I?"

The man looked up. "The UNSC Pillar of Autumn."

Hashirama's brows lowered slightly. "UNSC Pillar of Autumn?"

One of the men in black near the door walked forward a step. "Stanly, I can explain. We have to hurry, there's not much time."

A voice was heard from the right of Hashirama. "Brother?"

Hashirama turned and knew who was standing in front of the pod to the right. "Tobirama."

Tobirama's eyes widened. "I-I didn't think I'd see you again." Tobirama looked at the others in the room. "But where are we?"

"Not exactly sure, they called it the Pillar of Autumn. And the man in the gray clothes is likely named Stanly."

Stanly looked up from the control panel. "That's my name." He turned to walk towards the storage lockers to his left on the wall. "We need to get your supplies; it's not going to be safe for much longer."

Hashirama looked at the man then back to his brother. "How are you feeling? He said something about freezer burn; my healing ability appears to have healed the sores when I woke up."

"Feeling a bit sore." Tobirama placed his left hand on his arm and then right side.

Hashirama gathered healing chakra into his right hand. "Let me heal it." He placed the hand on the area of the burns on Tobirama's arm, then his side on the torso.

Tobirama felt the pain fade away. "Thanks, its better."

Hashirama removed his hand from Tobirama's side. "You're welcome." The Senju turned to where Stanly had went. "We need to get our supplies and tools. Follow me." Hashirama walked towards where Stanly stood with Tobirama close behind.

The room's floor, walls, and ceiling were metallic gray. There were many more pods along the walls and central pillars in the room. Several walkways were located above the floor, halfway to the ceiling. More pods were near the paths.

"Here's your stuff." Stanly gestured to the lockers while Hashirama and Tobirama approached.

"Thanks." Hashirama put on his red armor, placed the strap over his shoulder to hold his giant scroll to his back, and tied his sword hilt to a belt around his waist.

Tobirama took and put on his armor and supplies, attaching his Sword of the Thunder God to his belt at the waist. "Ready."

Hashirama turned to Stanly. "Now that we're ready, there's something I need to ask. Are we going to be in danger soon? My senses are telling me we will be."

"Yes." Stanly turned to the door, then back to the Senju. "It's the Covenant, they're murderous and slaughter all in their path and…"

The same man in black interrupted. "Stanly, I can explain about the Covenant, we don't have a lot of time to explain here."

Will have to wait "And we have not introduced ourselves. My name is Hashirama Senju." Hashirama pointed back to where Tobirama stood behind him. "Tobirama Senju, he's my younger brother."

Stanly smiled. "Nice to meet you two."

Cortana's voice echoed over the speakers. "Fire teams, report to defensive positions Alpha through Sierra. Sensors show inbound Covenant boarding craft. Stand by to repel boarders."

Footsteps approached the group. "Hi, name's Jack. I'm the team leader here." He stood at attention. "I overheard you and your brother's names. We need to get ready soon. Because we could be ordered to leave at-"

Cortana's voice came over the speakers. "Team One, head to the nearest escape pods, this is an order from Captain Keyes."

Jack shook his head. "Damn, was going to get us a bit more introduced, gonna have to wait." He looked at the newcomers. "I'm going to be in the lead with Jessie. My team will be right behind us. You two and Stanly will be in the middle. Duvall and his team will take the rear. Is that understood?"

Hashirama nodded. "Yes."

Tobirama did the same.

Jack activated his built in communications link in his helmet. "Everyone, be ready." He faced Hashirama, Tobirama, and then Stanly. "Let's go." The ODST commander ran to the door and pressed a button on the control panel.

Jack and Jessie ran out first, followed by the ODST team, Hashirama, Tobirama, Stanly, Duvall, and his team.

Cortana was heard again. "Alert! All hands, boarding parties on port decks Four, Seven, and Twelve. Baker Team move to engage."

The team ran through the metallic gray hallways of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn.

Cortana came over the speakers. "Warning! Covenant incursions on port decks Three and Nine. Alpha Team engage enemy boarders."

Jack could hear the cries of UNSC crewmen and marines over his communications link. The ones who were attacked and overwhelmed by the advancing Covenant forces.

The ship shook, some of the team members and the ninja stumbled a bit from the intense shaking, then continued running.

Cortana's voice was heard. "Enemy boarding parties on starboard decks Eight through Ten. Echo Team intercept Covenant forces."

Jack shook his head for a moment. "Damn Covenant bastards, they really want the ship!" He activated his Communications link and connected it to the AI of the ship. "Cortana, how's the situation?"

"Holding steady, the Covenant are really trying to get the upper hand," Cortana switched to the ship speakers. "Covenant boarding craft detected on port decks Four, Five, Seven, Eight, and Eleven. All available combat teams, respond!"

Jack skidded to a halt. "Stop!" He looked on ahead.

The rest of the team came to a halt behind the ODST commander.

Hashirama tried to peek over, but Jack was quite a tall man. "Something wrong?"

Takeshi managed to get his way to the front. "Hashirama, Tobirama, yes. Something's wrong."

Ahead, was a blast door stuck mostly open, with the top part partly descended. Several scorch marks were present on the walls. Along the floors and walls, red bloodstains were smeared in places and dozens of marines laid dead, many missing body parts and some chopped in half.

Jack readied his weapon. "Takeshi, check the bodies. Makoto, check the walls. I suspect an energy sword made them. Might be hiding with Active Camo."

Makoto made her way to the left wall. She looked at the marks and traced a finger along them. The marks were burnt and blackened and quite smooth. "Was likely an energy sword, have seen these before." She turned her head to Jack. "It's likely the work of an Elite wielding a sword, but there's parallel lines also."

"I-" Takeshi looked at a pair of bodies, sliced clean in half. One was chopped through the midsection and another was sliced from the head down. "It's looking like a case of dual wielding." The ODST paused for a second. "Maybe they were sliced at the same time and the bloodthirsty scumbag is wai-"

The nearby elevator doors were flung open and a snap hiss was heard. Only the Elite's swords were visible.

Makoto whipped around to face the elevator with her assault rifle ready.

Takeshi leapt away from the direction of the elevator, landed on his feet, and pulled out his sword. "It's a trap!"

"He's still here!" Jessie quickly brought her shotgun to aim at the space between the elevator doors and fired three shots. The distance meant they were less effective.

The combined firing from Jack's team proved to be enough.

The Elite, wielding two swords, was thrown backwards and fell down the shaft with an angry scream.

Jack ejected the clip from his assault rifle and placed a new one in. "Too close. Good thing we didn't just walk through or it would've been a real disaster."

The ODST commander's communications link activated and he heard Cortana's voice. "Get off the ship as soon as possible."

"We're ok, just had a run in with the Elite that massacred this squad." Jack looked at the bodies. "The bastard's likely dead, at the bottom of the elevator shaft."

"Good." Cortana switched to the ship communications system. "Baker Team reports Covenant forces engaged on port deck Seven. Security teams move to assist."

"Let's go!" Jack ran with his team following behind him. Takeshi and Makoto quickly rejoined the formation. The two ninja quickly followed behind Jessie. Duvall and his team followed at the rear.

The ship rumbled from the arrival of more boarding craft.

Cortana came over the speakers. "Warning! Covenant boarders on starboard decks Four and Six. Sierra Team reports heavy resistance! Security teams assist. Alert! Alpha and Charlie Teams report heavy fighting on port decks Five through Nine. Foxtrot Team move to starboard decks Eight and Ten, and stand by."

Jack approached the hallway with the escape pods. "There, the coast is clear! Jessie, Hashirama, Tobirama, follow me and my team!"

The ODST team leader along with his four teammates, the female marine, and the two ninja ran into the escape pod labeled Number 77. Duval, his team, and Stanly ran into the other two pods due to the limit of eight passengers per escape pod.

The escape pod, also known as the Bumblebee, had one pilot seat up front, and eight side facing crash seats. All of the seats including the pilot seat have harnesses to help protect against injury while landing.

Jessie quickly took a seat up front to the left behind the pilot seat. "Everyone, into the seats, fasten the restraints quickly!"

The others quickly followed; Tobirama took a seat to the left of the hatch.

Hashirama quickly took his scroll off his back. "Where should I put this?"

Jessie turned to the Senju. "Under the seat, should be some latches there to hold it."

"Right." Hashirama looked under the seat and saw what the woman told him about. He quickly placed the scroll there and secured it. "Thanks." He took a seat and quickly fastened the harness.

"Closing it now." Ardghal pressed a button and the hatch sealed shut. "Let's go!" He ran to the seat to the right of Tobirama and quickly sat down. He fastened the restraints over himself.

"Yes sir!" the pilot pressed several buttons.

The pod shot out of the hatch at high speeds.

Hashirama Senju looked out the rear hatch.

The Pillar of Autumn grew smaller while the escape pod flew further away. The ship was made of gray armor plating which consisted of a giant main section, a smaller section in front, and an even smaller section at the very front. With what appeared to be weapons ports on the top and bottom of the ship including on the bottom front.

Elsewhere on the Pillar of Autumn

The Elite gestured. "Move him, we'll take him to the boarding pod, he'll be useful."

His underlings headed into the elevator shaft.

The Elite turned away. Falling down an elevator shaft, pitiful and shameful. But his rage when he wakes up will be beneficial. He killed many of those heathen earlier; journey knows how many he will kill when he gets his chance again.

The pilot pushed some buttons. "Entering the atmosphere in 3, 2, 1."

The pod hit the outer atmosphere and shook. The flames of entry were visible through the windows.

Two escape pods hurtled past. One was on fire.

The pilot grunted. "Damn Covenant, firing at us is pretty cowardly when we can't even fight back."

The flaming pod headed away from the other two, and exploded. The other pod kept falling at a fast pace and its airbrakes deployed before being ripped off.

"Damn it!" the pilot shook her head. "It's one of the worst things that can happen. Air brake malfunction at that altitude means they will dig their grave somewhere on the ring's surface."

The pod gathered speed while it descended through the atmosphere. Several thousand feet above the surface, the thrusters fired to slow down the pod.

Hashirama saw, out the rear hatch, a lush green forest which stretched out for many kilometers.

The pod descended to several hundred feet above the surface.

"Activating the air brakes in 3, 2, 1." The pilot pushed several buttons.

The air brakes popped out, resulting in turbulence. The pod slowed down even more.

The pilot took a look at the control panel. "We're coming in fast, brace for impact!"

Hashirama braced for the impact.

The pod landed roughly moments later and the lower two landing brakes snapped off. The pod skidded for two dozen feet before coming to a halt and the last two brakes fell off to the ground.

Jessie unlatched her harness and stood up. "Is everyone alright? That landing was rough."

Hashirama's seat restraints unfastened by themselves due to the damage sustained from the landing. He stood up. "I'm good, thanks for asking." He reached down under the seat and pulled his scroll free of the clasps and put the scroll strap around his shoulder.

One of the ODSTs checked another still in one of the seats. "Ardghal's injured. Think his arm's broken."

Hashirama took notice and walked to the two ODSTs. "Let me take a look." He bent down to one knee and focused green healing chakra to one hand. He placed it on the arm. "There's a fracture. It's easy to fix, give me a moment." He continued the healing for a bit.

"Whoa." The ODST felt the pain fade away. "What did you do?"

Hashirama had a warm smile on his face. "Feeling better? I healed it."

The ODST paused for a second. "Yes."

The pilot walked to the hatch and pressed a control panel. The door opened. "We better get moving. The Covenant will likely come, and we better not be here when they do."

Hashirama stood up and turned to the pilot. "I have a plan; we can turn this place into a death trap when they come." The Senju pulled the scroll off his back. "Using paper bombs, one giant one and many smaller ones. I'll activate them after we make our leave."

The pilot turned around. "Sounds like it might work. Let's put it into progress."

Hashirama opened the scroll and placed his left hand on a seal symbol. "Unseal." There was a puff of white smoke and a giant paper bomb tag along with fifteen smaller tags labeled with the kanji for highly explosive motion sensing appeared on the scroll. "Place the tags at points where the explosion will be magnified. I will take care of the giant one, Tobirama and I will stick it to the ceiling. To apply them to the surface, push them flat and they will stick."

Jack nodded. "Understood, let's do it." He grabbed one of the paper bomb seal tags.

The others quickly grabbed at least one tag.

Hashirama and Tobirama placed the giant tag on the ceiling.

"Ground and air are clear for now." The pilot searched the skies and ground for the alien threat with her binoculars. A minute later, she spotted a growing dot and zoomed in. "Covenant drop ship inbound!"

Jack turned to the pilot. "We're done with the tags."

"Good, follow me." The pilot stepped outside. "There's Covenant inbound, we need to get moving! I found a place we can hide in for a while." She walked outside.

Jack followed with his team, the Senju brothers followed with Jessie behind them.

The group crossed a nearby land bridge and went up a grassy hill.

Hashirama turned around at the top of the hill. He formed a single hand sign. "Activate." He turned to catch up to the rest of the team.

The pilot walked to a narrow point bordered by steep cliff walls, with only two ways in or out. "Here is a good place to bunker down."

Hashirama approached the pilot. "I can use my Wood Release to create a dome to hide us even better. You don't likely know anything about Wood Release."

The pilot turned to the Senju. "I don't, but I bet everyone here except you and Tobirama don't know. Do it, and we can ask questions later, without having to worry about those alien freaks finding us."

"Will do." Hashirama formed several hand signs. "Wood Release: Wood Locking Wall."

The UNSC personnel watched in amazement while wood shot out of the ground around the group and quickly formed a protective, multi layered dome. The helmet lights on the ODST and marine helmets turned on in the darkness of the dome.

Hashirama sat down near the side of the dome. "Let's take a short break before we explain things."

The others agreed, and sat down.

The pilot adjusted her communications link on her helmet. "Keeping an ear out for any orders from Keyes, hope he and others make it off the ship."

Bumblebee Pod Crash Site

The Elite Major jumped down to the ground from the Spirit drop ship. "Wort! Wort! Wort!"

Jackals and Grunts jumped to the ground after him.

The Elite led the way while the shorter aliens followed.

One of the Grunts walked close to the Elite. "Bad feeling, bad feeling!"

Moments later, a hissing sound was heard.

The Elite looked up. "Wort!" Many tags appeared and the Elite looked left and right then up again. "Wort!" He felt his impending doom a second before a bright flash engulfed the Elite and his comrades in the pod.

Outside, the Covenant only had a split second to stare at the fireball generated by the explosion of the tags before a massive explosion shook the area. It was an explosion of such ferocity that it appeared like a mini star was born. The resulting shock waves threw the Grunts and Jackals nearby for a distance, shattering their bones. Some that were a few feet from the pod had their organs utterly liquefied. Those further out were flung for dozens of feet.

One unlucky Jackal was impaled through his guts by a piece of shrapnel, left to die a slow painful death. A rather large piece of metal pierced the drop ship's cockpit, seriously injuring the Elite pilot. He attempted to fly away with the Jackals in the left side of the drop ship, died, and fell on the controls for the hatch. The ship flew over the cliff and plummeted into the sea, the hatch opened with the Jackals trapped in the jammed restraints. They were drowned. Every single Covenant troop in the area was now dead.

Hashirama heard the explosion, the sound soon faded. "The enemy took it; might have killed most if not all of them." He looked at Jack. "Do you want me to start explaining things first?"

"I'll start first, since it's more important because of what we're up against," Jack cleared his throat, "The United Nations Space Command, Humanity's government, has been at war with the genocidal Covenant for around twenty seven years. The Covenant first attacked Harvest, and started their slow genocide of Humanity since then. We've been slowly but surely losing. Sooner or later, if we don't stop them, they'll find Earth. After that, we're finished. We'll be hunted down and exterminated. The SPARTANs, created by a program involving super soldiers, was not enough to stop them. They were able to win the ground battles, but were unable to take that effectiveness into space. Most of them died during the Battle of Reach, it went from bad to worse and all hope for the planet was lost. We were left with two options- flee, or stay and get destroyed. We took the flee option, needless to say. But before we could leave, my team was sent on a mission to wipe important data from a space station that had failed to activate the Cole Protocol. When we got there, we found everyone dead; we had to fight our way through the Covenant to reach the control room and we succeeded in erasing the data. On our way back to the evac drop ship; Jessie saw you and your brother in an empty room. We took you to the Pillar of Autumn, our ship. And then we fled, the random coordinates that are supposed to lead away from any Human outposts, stations, colonies, or Earth led us right here. I hope I cleared up some things."

"You did, thanks for explaining. Now it's my turn," Hashirama looked at the ODST commander. "You must be wondering about the powers we used earlier. On the world Tobirama and I are from, there are those who use chakra. Chakra is the life energy of everyone on the planet. It's how we used those powers, called jutsu. They require hand signs to use. Most of the people who can use jutsu are called ninja. And you must be wondering how we ended up in the station you told us about. I'm not sure either about how that happened, but I did get sealed away by someone's jutsu. I had slain hundreds of enemy ninjas sent by my greatest rival and enemy, Madara Uchiha, and we were both reaching our limits. He had an apprentice who hid using a jutsu to stay hidden from my senses. I did not realize he was a ninja from the Kūkan clan until it was too late. He unleashed the sealing jutsu, everything I tried to do to prevent my sealing failed and I was sealed away. And ended up on that station you were on."

"Interesting," Jack faced Tobirama. "Did the same happen to you?"

"Yes, the one who sealed me away said he used the same jutsu on Hashirama," Tobirama looked at Jack. "Years after Hashirama was thought to be dead, I was the Second Hokage, leader of the Hidden Leaf village. During a war against our enemies, who attacked us and tried to attack the Leaf village, I stayed behind to let my team escape a murderous team of ninja. I had taken down seventeen of them, three remained. I was going to face them in mortal combat but the remaining, unseen enemy showed up. He proceeded to use the same sealing jutsu he used on my brother. If he's still alive, he would be a dangerous threat to his enemies."

"Thanks for explaining things; I know we don't have all day to explain everything now due to the Covenant trying to hunt us all down." Jack turned his attention to the pilot. "We should sit tight and wait for orders."

"Agreed." the female pilot adjusted the COM to reach a signal, only hearing static.

The marines, ODSTs, ninjas, and the female pilot sat quietly waiting for orders.

No one except Tobirama and I have chakra. Hashirama sat, legs crossed and eyes closed while he meditated.

2 miles from the crash site

All was quiet on the raised, grassy hill before a Covenant patrol flew overhead, searching for survivors from the Pillar of Autumn. It soon flew out of sight.

Moments later, a bright flash of white light was seen and a figure fell to the ground.

The light vanished moments later, the area was quiet once again.

Hashirama's eyes snapped open.

Jessie looked at the Senju. "Hashirama, you okay?"

"I sensed a chakra surge." Hashirama stood up on his feet. "The only chakra signature I could sense was Tobirama's. And now I feel another, it's at a low level, weak." He formed a single hand seal. "We should investigate."

Jack stood up also. "Good idea, we don't want the Covenant to get to whatever it might be first." He turned to the older Senju brother. "You take the lead with Jessie. We'll follow behind."

Hashirama undid the jutsu, the wood crumbled away. "Let's go."

Hashirama headed towards the chakra signature with Jessie beside him and the team following behind. They moved stealthily to avoid any Covenant patrols.

Upon reaching the grassy clearing, Hashirama noticed someone on top of the hill. "Up there." He headed quickly up the hill. And approached then bent down to one knee next to the figure.

The rest of the team gathered around.

Tobirama looked at the figure. "He has a Leaf village headband…he's a ninja like us."

Hashirama checked for a pulse. "He's alive, but his chakra level is extremely low." Hashirama focused healing chakra to his hands. "Need to use the Chakra Transmission Technique." He placed one hand on the ninja's forehead and another on the chest.

Tobirama looked at the ninja's clothing. "His flak jacket, it looks similar to what was starting to come into use before I was sealed. Except it had no pockets or neck guards."

Hashirama removed his hands from the ninja. "There, he is stable. His life is no longer in danger."

"I found a place we can go to." The pilot pointed towards a nearby forest. "We can take cover and wait for further orders."

Hashirama picked up the ninja in both arms. "Good idea, let's go there."

Right, follow me." The pilot led the way to the forest.

Hashirama and the others quickly followed.

Master Chief John-117, who was clad in olive green MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor Mark V with a golden visor, had fought his way through a ship filled with Covenant. He had reached his destination point, there was one problem; the Covenant had overrun the area and it was up to him to help clear it out.

His last enemy, an Elite, had lost his shields and had a gaping hole in his leg from a shotgun during an earlier battle.

Cortana's voice echoed inside the SPARTAN's helmet. "Chief, we do not have much time!" Her data chip was inserted into the back of the helmet.

Moments later, the SPARTAN filled the Elite's midsection with a full clip of assault rifle bullets and the alien fell to the ground, dead.

"Finally." Cortana's tone turned urgent. "There's one last lifeboat! Quickly, get aboard before it launches!"

Master Chief ran towards the airlock.

Other marines ran towards the same lifeboat.

One marine was lagging behind. An explosion on a nearby control panel sent the marine flying through the first entrance towards the life pod. He cowered on the floor, his left hand over his head and his right clutching his assault rifle. "Oh no, ho no!"

The Master Chief quickly grabbed him by his back armor plating and threw him into the lifeboat.

"Ahhh!" The marine crashed onto the deck of the pod. He quickly crawled into one of the seats.

The Master Chief swept his assault rifle into the hallway, looking left then right.

Cortana's tone turned even more urgent. "Now would be a very good time to leave!"

The SPARTAN headed into the lifeboat. He spun around to face the hatch and hit a button on the wall, sealing the hatch. The Master Chief turned and took a few steps towards the front before grabbing a handhold on the ceiling. "Punch it."

The pilot sealed her eye visor. "Aye aye, sir!" She turned to her left and pressed some buttons. She turned back to her control panel on the front and grabbed the controls.

The Bumblebee life pod launched from the Pillar of Autumn at high speed.

The pilot looked around the void of space out the window. "We're disengaged. Goin' for minimum safe distance."

The marine from earlier looked out the hatch then the front of the pod. "We're gonna make it, aren't we, sir? I don't wanna die out here!"

Master Chief patted him on the shoulder.

The marine had some slight encouragement, which calmed him down a bit.

Cortana's tone turned to that of amazement. "Look!"

The SPARTAN stepped to the front of the pod.

The ring world swung into view and the craft headed towards it.

Another marine looked out the front from his seat. "What is that thing, Lieutenant?"

The pilot looked behind her seat for a second before turning her attention to the ring world. "Hell if I know, but we're landin' on it."

The scared marine from earlier looked out the rear hatch. "The Autumn! She's been hit!"

The SPARTAN dashed to the rear of the pod and looked out the hatch.

The ship was damaged and the hull was alight in places.

Cortana's voice was heard inside the SPARTAN's helmet. "I knew it! The Autumn's accelerating. Keyes is going in manually!"

The ship headed towards the ring world. Several plasma torpedoes struck the lone UNSC starship; the impacts melted the hull plating and caused more fires to break out.

The pilot saw the ring world's surface drawing closer and pressed some buttons to the left and right of her seat. "Heads up everyone, this is it! We're entering the ring's atmosphere in five!"

Cortana had a hint of concern in her tone."Sure, you wouldn't rather take a seat?"

The Master Chief gripped the sides of the harnesses for the seats and bent his knees. "We'll be fine."

Cortana's voice dropped to a whisper. "If I still had fingers they'd be crossed…"

The pod flew into the atmosphere of the ring world.