• _______________________Chapter 1_______________________

    Spark walked down corridor twelve and looked at Flint as she passed her. “Looks like you’re in a hurry. What you up to?” Flint turned around and looked at Spark and said, “Spark, I don’t have to talk. I have to get up to the Captain before he gets mad at me and starts to treat me like he does you!” “Well, that was really warm inside my heart.” Spark said watching Flint trip over herself down the hall. “Sorry, Spark. I just lost it. Keyes, tons of paper work, just doesn’t go together. You know why?” “Nope, he says he doesn’t trust me with paper work.” Spark said. “Because then he ends up giving it all to me!” Flint yelled frustrated with the paper work falling out of her arms. “That’s explains what happened earlier. I walked in there and then he told me to run up and down the corridors or something. Which is totally insane because he never lets me do that.” “You know he did that just to get you out of his office.” Flint said picking up papers. Spark gothem to shut up.” John said pleased that they all stopped yelling. “Alright, Spartans, listen close ‘cause I’m not repeating it.” Sergeant Johnson said as he walked in front of the door leading to the cockpit. “The Covenant has gone out of touch. We did some research, and by we I mean Flint, and, as much as we hate to call it reality, they’re on another Halo outside of Alfa Halo and Delta Halo.” “Dude, no way! Its like Halo all over again! Waite… Aw, man. Its Halo all over again.” Spark moaned. Spark didn’t like the fights on the other rings. She claims: “They always end up with me having recoveries lasting months! And you guys (team Firefox) never say thank you for me practically being used as your shields.” Kurt looked over at Spark and said, “We wont let you have to stay in the emergency room for months this time. Okay?” “Sure.” Spark said leaning towards reality and thinking that’s not true. The COM channel cracked to life. “So we need you to get down there and recover the forerunner technology before the Covenant come to their senses and get them before we do.” Flint said over the COM. “Flints not coming?” Spark looked at Sergeant Johnson confused. Flint usually goes on missions with Spark due to the fact that she’s on her team. Sergeant Johnson looked at Spark. “She knows her way around the construct better than anyone else. She’s going to be guiding you along the way from the bridge.” “Man,” Spark said. “Without Flint the only one I have is,” she looked over at Datar, yet again, asleep. “That thing over there.”
    The Pilot looked in the back and said, “This is as far as we can take you. You’re going to have to hot jump.” The side door slid open and the cold night air rushed through the Pelican. The Spartans got up and walked over to the open door and one by one they fell to the ground. “Keep the com chatter low and the channels open.” John said as they approached nine hundred seventy eight meters. Spark looked at her HUD display and only counted seven acknowledgement lights burning green. “Hey, who’s missing?” Spark asked through the TEAMCOM. Kurt looked up then back at the ground. “It’s Derek.” “Johnson? Where’s Derek?” Spark asked. “I’m working on it.” Johnson turned to Datar and said, “Come on, big guy. Lets go.” Datar slowly walked over to the door then Sergeant Johnson pushed him outside. “Here he comes.” Kelly said. “Four hundred meters. Spark you’re off target about twenty three meters come a little closer.” Kurt said. “Banshees!” Kelly yelled. “Five o’ clock!” John glimpsed at his HUD. “Spark, you’re too far up, you’re going to get hit. Get down here—Now.” “Two hundred meters.” Kelly said. “Okay! I’m moving as fast as I can.” Spark darted towards the ground to get closer to the others. She would have to worry about getting on target after she got out of the aim of the Banshees.
    They all landed to the jungle like floor and looked up as more Banshees flew overhead. “What was that all about? The library is that way.” Kelly pointed the opposite way of the Banshees. “I don’t know, but we can’t worry about it now. The Covenants already got a head start and we still got a long way to go.” John said. He turned to team Beta. “Scout ahead, but not too far. Try to cover the western region. Spark, Kurt, take east. Kelly, you’re with me. Fan out.” They split off in the direction told and continued to move forward.
    Spark stopped and said, “Do you her that?” Kurt stopped and heard nothing. He looked over at Spark. “Come on, we have to keep moving in order to stay close to the others.” Spark shook her head clear of the confusion but wasn’t able to let go of the sound. It was like faint cries, from children, overlapping each other. Some higher some lower, and it would not go away in Spark’s mind. She tried to forget about if for it was probably nothing, and tried to focus on her objective. It was the wrong place at the wrong time to be thinking about something she claims she heard.
    “Alright everybody regroup and fall back on me.” John said over TEAMCOM. Everybody’s acknowledgement lights flashed green and everyone huddled up behind John. “Everybody stay close. I don’t think they know we’re here yet.” John walked forward and everyone else followed. As they continued, they walked into an opening that looked like it led into a canyon. Static came through the COM channels and then Captain Keyes’s voice followed. “Chief, we’re sending down Doctor Halsey. She maybe of service to you.” A Pelican flew overhead and hovered just above the ground behind them. John walked over to the Pelican and offered Dr. Halsey a hand. She walked off the Pelican with her laptop in her hands, as usual, and then walked over to the other Spartans. “We must keep moving if you want to get past the Covenant’s front line defenses before sun rise.” Dr. Halsey said as she passed the Spartans. “It will make it harder for them to track us if we take them out silently and carefully.” Spark lowered her MA5K to her side and followed Doctor Halsey and every one else did the same.

    ______________________Chapter 2______________________

    As sundown fell upon the canyon, everyone became more alert of their surroundings and kept an eye on their TACMAPs. They all walked in a horizontal line, covering the area of the canyon’s floor. Dr. Halsey followed closely behind John and Kurt. She had her laptop open and kept a watch out for stray Covenant lurking around the corners of the canyon. “We’re approaching the front line.” Dr. Halsey whispered to John. John came to a halt and said, “Alright, everybody. Keep it silent. The last thing we need is for them to notice us.” There was movement behind them. They all heard it and turned; guns leveled and cocked. The unknown passers did the same. “Hold your fire.” John said over the TEAMCOM. It was Lucy, Tom, and Linda. “Friend-or-foe is running a little slow.” Kurt said as the other three acknowledgment lights winked on then burned green on everybody’s HUD. “How many Spartans is the Captain gonna send? I mean he could have at least told us instead of having them creep up our backs.” “How ever many I'm going to send, you’re going to need ‘em.” Captain Keyes said overhearing Spark’s comment. “Lets keep moving. We’re approaching the front line. You got silencers, use ‘em. If you don’t hold your fire. Open fi—” the crack of Linda’s sniper went off and John felt the heat buzz past his head. Everyone turned and looked at Linda still squeezing off rounds. “Okay,” John said. “Everybody else, recon. Lets move. Linda,” John turned around. “Take them out from far range and keep an eye on Dr. Halsey. I’ll radio for you when it’s clear.” Linda slightly nodded and kept firing.
    Not everyone had snipers. Not everyone had a weapon that can reach far distances, ether. So those people just sat there watching the Covenant fall one by one. Tom was taking cover behind a rock next to Spark using his sniper. Spark didn’t have a long distance rifle. She barely ever has a long distance rifle. She usually carries around her shotgun and a MA5K. Tom came down behind the rock to reload. “Hey, Tom, can I try?” Tom looked over at her and handed her the rifle. “Sure, knock yourself out.” Spark leveled the rifle and aimed for a couple of Jackals walking the perimeter of the canyon. She shot and took them out. “Nice shot!” Tom said as Spark came back down and handed him his rifle. “Yeah, I used to be so good with those. But then Keyes lets me get my hands on one of these.” She pulled out her shotgun and cocked it back. “Don’t see many carrying those around anymore. I guess they didn’t see much use for them. Nobody likes to get close enough to actually kill anybody with them.” Tom said still shooting. “Well, that looks like the last of them.” Kurt said. “Everybody, regroup at two o’ clock. Linda, bring Dr. Halsey.” John said. “Aye, aye, sir.”
    “We’re past the front line, Flint.” Spark said through the COM. “Okay, I’m not detecting anymore for the next five kilometers. We’re sending down a couple warthogs, and Spark, you’re not driving.” “Dang!” Spark yelled. Flint shook her head in disappointment. Spark walked over to everybody else off to the side of the canyon and stood next to Linda and Kurt as they waited for their transportation. "Sorry for putting you guys out so far but it would be much safer if you guys take care of what's behind you first than move forward." "We get you, Flint." Spark walked away from the two as the Pelicans came down with the Warthogs. They dropped to the ground and dust flew up in curls from underneath them. One was a seven seater and the other was a standard turret that seats 3. There were eleven Spartans and there was only room for ten. But they would have to work with what they have. “So how are we gonna do this?” Spark asked. “I have an idea,” Kelly said. “Who’s least important?” they all turned and looked at Spark. “What are we looking at?” Spark asked confused with all the glares. “Okay you guys. Now, nobody’s not important.” Kurt said. Doctor Halsey walked over to the group of Spartans on the other side of the canyon with her laptop at her side. “If you guys can’t figure out this simple problem, you guys are going to walk to the library. Now get in the car.” “Okay! You sound like my mother.” Spark muttered as they walked over to the Warthogs. Dr. Halsey was frustrated that she had to be here in the first place. Of course Spark was just kidding, she actually can’t remember her mother at all, as far as everyone else’s concern, it didn’t matter.
    Everybody climbed in and grabbed a seat but Spark. “Tom turned and looked at her. “Come on, Spark. I have some room back here for you.” He pointed behind him at the edge of the Warthog. Spark got on and sat on the bumper and then turned to Tom. “You better not knock me in the head with that turret.” Tom laughed and said, “I wont.”
    The speed of the Warthogs increased as they passed the two kilometers mark. Spark’s legs were hanging off the back of the Warthog and picking up more mud and dirt than the tires were throwing out at her. She laid back on the Warthog’s bed and put her MA5K by her side. Sprinkles of rain fell on her faceplate and then rolled off the sides as the rain increased and started beating on her armor. “It usually doesn't rain, does it?” Kelly asked trying to talk over to the ripping tires. “Normally not.” Spark yelled back. The Warthogs came to a sudden stop and everybody jerked forward. “Flint, how far ahead were the Covenant before you figured out they were here?” John asked over the static filled COM channels. “Not sure, Why? What’s wrong?” Flint asked. John stood up in the drivers seat and looked ahead, magnifying his faceplate by 80%. “They're further than where you thought they were.”

    ______________________Chapter 3______________________

    Spark sat up and looked forward as the other Warthog came to a stop behind them. “Why’d we stop?” Spark asked standing up in front of the turret. Nobody answered her as she saw the answer to her question sitting in front of her. More like flying three kilometers above her. “That thing is six times the size of a Phantom.” Tom said still staring at the stately machine. “Flint, you seein’ this?” Spark asked. It was circumnavigating around a structure about as big as it and as it got to the side closest to the Spartans, their COM transmitters went static then came back to life as it turned slowly to the other side of the construct. “Yeah, that thing is huge; I’ve never seen anything this big before. I mean, it’s—” Flint hesitated still dumbfounded by the colossal machine. Flint shook her head clear and said, “We have to move, there’s not much I can do for you until you get into the structure. I only have a layout of the building; unless,” Flint turned her chair around and turned on two monitors behind her then turned back around to the transmitter and turned a few knobs to the right. “Dr. Halsey, can you send me a visual of your ground plan and your perimeter status. I’ll see if I can work some magic.” “Done.” Dr. Halsey said as she shut her laptop and stood up with the others. “Tom,” John turned. “Ammunition, how much do we have?” Tom looked through the three bags and quickly estimated what they had and how much of it. “About three dozen clips for the MA5Ks, three dozen grenades, and about an equal amount of rounds for the snipers,” He turned to the other bags on the other Warthog behind him. “Three Anacondas, and Sparks’ hefting the rockets.” “Grab everything you can carry. Lets move, Spartans. Double-time!” John barked to the others. Spark grasped the strap on the bag holding the Anaconda rockets and threw them across her back along with the rocket launchers. “Want me to carry one of those?” Kurt asked. “I got it, get the clips and anything else you think will be needed from the Warthog.” Spark said sprinting up to the others.

    As they reached a line of vegetation, John stopped and held up a fist; the hand signal to stop. “Okay, everybody, stay close and watch out for strays. Go recon and keep low. Lets move.” John said. Acknowledgement lights flashed and the Spartans moved in a V formation through the thick underbrush. “Red one, eleven o’ clock.” Hannah, one of the females on team Beta, reported. “Neutralized.” Linda said a split second after. Hannah looked over at her male teammate, Joseph, surprised at Linda’s sharp-shooting skills and dead accuracy. Vanessa, the other female on team Beta, turned her head towards Hanna and gave her the thumbs up signal because they finally got to work with a professional sniper.
    The COM hesitated, breaking up Flint’s words trying to come through to the Spartans. “You—move towards—to avoid—Covenant’s second—defense.” The transmitter spat out words mixed in with static. But no matter how clear she said it, the words always came out the same; cut up and jagged. “Flint, you’re COM channel is getting cut off. Say that again.” Spark said as clear as she could, though, Flint probably cant understand much of what she’s saying either. “She’s telling us to avoid the second line of defense.” Joseph said as the Spartans came together. “I thought she wanted us to go through them so they can’t get us from behind at a choke point.” Kelly said. John looked around. “Dr. Halsey? Can you bring up a three-kilometer radius blip map of the surrounding area?” “On it,” Dr. Halsey typed in codes that, to Spark, looked like ancient writings from a cave; she didn’t understand any of it. “Spark!” John snapped. Spark took her attention off of Dr. Halsey’s screen and put her attention on him. “What?” she asked. John cocked his head to the side and folded his arms; Spark could tell she did something stupid. “I mean, sir?” John unfolded his arms and said, “Give me a SITREP as soon as Dr. Halsey gets a hold of the map. Beta,” He turned to the group of Spartan IIIs behind him. “You’re with me.” “Weighting for orders, sir!” Joseph said. “Kelly, Linda, Fred?” “Yes, sir!” “Stay close to and monitor team Beta. We need to get there before the Covenant get too far ahead. We can’t let them get that technology. Everybody got it?” John walked in front of the line of Spartans. “Sir, yes, sir!” “Break up, Spartans. Lets move!”

    ______________________Chapter 4______________________

    “Got it,” Dr. Halsey stated. “SITREP,” Spark said over the SQUADCOM.
    Dr. Halsey passed her the laptop with the blip map. Spark directed her attention northeast; the pathways closest to the control room construct with the over-inflated Phantom flyer drifting over it. “Okay, lets see.” Spark’s face backed up from the computers view screen as soon as she realized what Flint tried to tell them. “We have to move.” Spark said pulling Dr. Halsey off of the rock she was sitting upon. Spark grabbed the microchip from the laptop, closed it, and handed it back to Dr. Halsey. Spark pushed the microchip into the c***k in the back of her helmet. “Lets go Doctor.” Spark said firmly. “John, don’t go any further. I’m sending you a map of the surrounding area and heading your way.” Spark said hastily as she pulled Dr. Halsey along. “I asked for a SITREP, Spark.” John said. “I don’t have time to. Just…work with me.” Spark said watching the perimeter of the north and south boarders. A tiny view screen of the blip map materialized on everyone’s faceplates. Joseph looked closely at his map and keyed the COM. “What’s that perimeter around the—” “They set up a line of defense using UNSC nuclear warheads, and tac-nukes.” Spark said pulling Dr. Halsey up to her side. “Flint, do you mind telling me where they got UNSC nuclear weapons?” John asked over SHIPCOM. Flint rapidly typed on one of the keyboards on the bridge and replied: “Sorry, Chief. I have no idea. But I can say this: if any of those weapons go off, the EMP from one will set the others off. Which, then, will send a 1 kHz surging through the atmosphere which would destroy pretty much everything down there with you guys; including the technology. And that, to me, makes them look even stupider than what we thought they were before.” Flint said with a smug look on her face. “So we have to go in there, without them blowing us all to hell,” Spark said. “Get the technology, and exterminate anything on this construct that’s not human.” John added. He crouched close to the ground and checked his magazine. “They can’t blow us to hell if we sent them there first.” John said as he reinserted his magazine. The Phantom like structure came back around; now floating over John. Static filled the COM channels as someone tried to patch in through the same frequency.
    Spark came up behind John clasping Dr. Halsey’s wrist, pulling her through the jungle underbrush. “There’s no way we’ll get reception in there, Chief.” Vanessa commented with the connection already filled with static and they are only two hundred meters apart. John knew that they weren’t going to have any connection. Everybody knew that. Which meant they would have to split up, one team stay outside the other goes in, or they all would go in and not have a connection to the Pillar of Autumn. John shrugged his shoulders. “We’ll improvise.” He stood up next to Spark and said, “For now, we need to worry about getting past this line of defense and surviving.” He turned. “Dr. Halsey?” John asked. “Any suggestions?” “Well,” She started. “There are approximately nine weapons lain as a perimeter around the entrance to the control tower. We have eleven Spartans and, if you’re on for it, we can take out the nuclear weapons first then take on the rest of the slew. Just a suggestion.” Dr. Halsey said biting her lower lip and examining her laptop. “Well, there’s not much else we can do.” Datar muttered. John lowered his head, thinking. Thinking of another way to get to the control room without putting his team at risk. But he couldn’t think. They were being timed. And everything that would be helpful was marked off the list in his mind. Call for air support. Marked off. Charge in and hope for the best. Shouldn’t even be on there anyway. There was nothing else left to do but risk their lives and run out in front of a line of nuclear weapons. “Alright,” John turned to Dr. Halsey. “We’re going in hot. Don’t give them the chance to shoot.” He said over the COM. “Go for the ones arming the nuclear weapons and when you do, take them apart. We can’t let anyone get a hold of those weapons again. Move out on my mark.” The Spartans lined up in front of a nuclear weapon out of sight and waited for orders. “Mark,” Spark, Linda, Kelly, and Kurt ran for the weapons armed at the door and John, Datar, and team Beta ran into the hoard of aliens surrounding the other four taking care of the weapons.
    Spark ran up to an Elite armed with a nuclear warhead and ducked as he swung at her. She got into a crouched position and pivoted on one leg and swung the other around; knocking the Elite to the ground along with the nuclear weapon. She reached for the weapon and pulled hers from her harness. She quickly took it apart as they were told and shot the Elite with her shotgun as she threw down the pieces of the launcher. Spark stood up straight and looked around at the fight going on around her. As she looked to her left, she saw Hannah being held by the throat a meter off the ground. Spark grabbed her shotgun and threw it around the Elite’s throat and pulled it back; followed by a knee to the back, which brought him down along with Hannah still being held from the throat. Spark offered her a hand and got back in the rumble going on by the door with Datar and a swarm of Jackals armed with shields and plasma pistols. She saw him attempting to escape using his MA5K to drain the shields. He started kicking and thrashing as they got too close for comfort and started draining Datar’s shields. Spark brought out her MA5B and sprayed rounds in a wave motion nearly taking out the throng of Jackals surrounding Derek. “Thanks,” Derek said as he reloaded his assault riffle. “No problem.” She said as she walked passed him and up to the door with everyone else when the fight was cleared. “Dude, you just got saved by a girl.” Joseph said as he passed Datar. “Shut up, man. She’ll probably save your a** too.”

    ______________________Chapter 5______________________

    “Everyone, regroup at three o’ clock.” John said. “Chief,” Dr. Halsey started. “If you want, I can bring down an AI for the journey.” John searched the Spartans gathering around him and then looked back at Dr. Halsey. “That would be great.” He said. “Okay, we’re splitting up. We won’t be able to get a signal in there unless there’s a third transmitter in the middle. Team Mega,” he highlighted Spark, Derek, Joseph, Vanessa, Hannah, and himself on his HUD. “We’re going in. Alfa,” John started highlighting everyone else until his faceplate blurred and, with a moments hesitation, became clear again; only now it had a projection of Cortana along with calculations scrolling across his HUD. Cortana shuddered as her projection turned and saw Dr. Halsey’s laptop. “I hate being cramped in that sorry excuse for a hard drive.” “Nice to see you again, too, Cortana.” John stated as she kept going on about her short trip down from the Pillar of Autumn. Joseph walked up to John and saluted. “Permission to speak, sir!” “Granted.” John replied. He lowered his arms and cocked an eyebrow. “Sorry Chief, but this isn’t adding up to me. I mean, if half and half go in, what if—” “There’s no time for
    ‘what if’s’, Spartan. Just go with the plan and we’ll get through this.” John cut in. Spark walked up behind Joseph and patted him twice on his shoulder. “Time to roll, kid.” He looked down at his MA5K and gripped it with his finger on the trigger then turned to head inside with his team.

    As team Mega walked up to the door, John positioned Spark square with the door’s frame and Derek and Vanessa on ether side of the door. He himself took the rear position behind Spark and leveled his MA5K at his side. “I’m not detecting anything, for now, that is.” Cortana whispered as if anyone on the other side of the door could hear her. John turned to Derek standing in front of the control panel and slightly nodded his head. Derek registered the head nod and turned to the control panel behind him. He grabbed onto the pallet and yanked it off of the slick metal paneling of the out side of the library construct. Nothing happened. A few seconds after, he turned to John and shrugged his shoulders. Linda walked up to him and snatched the wires away from his hands. She walked past him and up to the slot he left in the wall and connected one of the wires back to its match and attached another wire to its opposite color; the door slid open. The passage was narrow and descended into darkness. Spark stayed low and crept into the corridor as everyone else fell in behind her.
    As the corridor grew in width and came to an opening with holographic symbols, similar to what Dr. Halsey had on her laptop, running across the walls each at their own pace. “Man,” Derek said as he looked around. Their Mark II armor didn’t translate written words of other languages, only if they are spoken. “Dr. Halsey?” John asked as he held his MA5K at a less defensive position, sensing that nothing in this room was a threat. “It doesn’t look like anything related to the Covenant’s language.” Cortana answered. “It’s definitely,” Dr. Halsey stuttered. “Different.”