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(Contains: violence/gore)

- In orbit around Sangheilios -

- CSO Supercarrier, Purity of Thought -

- December 2555 -

Aside from brief moments of consciousness, Thel 'Vadam hasn't been awake in some time. Memories come in slowly, then pick up speed. He remembers fighting alongside his human ally, the Spartan, inside the Cartographer. They had found the map room, located the Library, then they were ambushed by Zealots. He was knocked unconscious and the thought of being left in such a vulnerable state angers him.

Before opening his eyes, he uses his other senses to analyze his environment. He appears to be standing, with his arms locked to his sides, much like he was when he received the Mark of Shame. He can feel the subtle vibrations of a ship's heartbeat beneath his hooves, indicating that he's no longer on the surface anymore.

The first thing he notices upon opening his eyes is the armour he's wearing. Thel 'Vadam is no longer wearing the blue armour of a Minor, but the armour of the Arbiter. Despite the new gold color of the suit, it feels exactly the same as it did when he last wore it.

He lifts his head and he finds himself in the middle of a circular room with a staircase at the far end leading up to a throne. Sitting on the grand chair is a female Sangheili clad in sophisticated armour with a cape.

Imperial Admiral Zireid 'Jar Takhai.

"Welcome, Arbiter," she finally says. "It is good to see you out of the role of the lowly Minor and back in your rightful armour."

Her expression reveals admiration, contempt and something else Thel could not identify.

Zireid sighs and shakes her head. "There was a time when I would have believed that the union of our bloodlines would have produced the next great hero of Sangheilios, but such days are past us now,"

She presses a button on the arm of her throne and the hovering shackles around Thel's wrists deactivate. The Arbiter brings his arms down and notices there's an Energy Sword holstered to his thigh.

"What is the meaning of this?" he demands. "Why have you brought me here?"

"You are truly something of an oddity among our species, Arbiter. How can someone who has fought the humans for as long as you have wish for peace with them? And why would you wish to reunite the Covenant after what the San 'Shyuum and the Jiralhanae have done to us?"

Thel wonders why his captor left him with a weapon, but he answers her question anyway.

"Because ceaseless war would only lead to mutually assured destruction,"

The Imperial Admiral opens her mandibles and laughs.

"And that is what makes you so strange! You want to avoid destruction through peace. Our brothers, on the other hand, wish for nothing but destruction and death for anyone they wish,"

She stops laughing and asks him,

"Do you know of what happened at Forsaken Voyage?"

The Arbiter hesitates as he recalls the pieces of information he's gleamed from his comrades and the Space Pirate prisoner.

"The Jiralhanae Alpha Male was killed,"


"Was he assassinated by Sangheili?"

Zireid cocks her head and thinks.

"So the Jiralhanae claim, but they were too busy squabbling over themselves trying to take possession of the Fist of Rukt and attacking our brothers to go into much detail. My point, however, is that the Sangheili on the council didn't try to reason or pacify the Brutes. When the Jiralhanae attacked, our brothers simply reached for their weapons and fought back. It was like the final days of High Charity all over again,"

Thel processes this information. The former Brute Army Commander had fought against the Space Pirates, learned of the San 'Shyuum's lies and approached him with a sincere offer to stop his pack brothers from enforcing the will of the Prophet of Foresight. Together with the Prophet of Compassion, they tried to rebuild the Covenant.

"What of the Prophet of Compassion? Where was he?"

"He and his personal guards went missing just before the Alpha Male was killed,"

He points his finger at the Imperial Admiral.

"Was it you who ordered his assassination?!"

"Why would I sabotage one of our only chances for peace? Despite its futility, it was a noble effort nonetheless,"

Thel can not get a good read on this female. Her intentions are completely unknown to him. She speaks as if peace was a noble effort and yet Usze 'Taham told him that she was opposed to peace with the humans.

Zireid resumes speaking.

"To answer your question, Arbiter, I had no involvement in his assassination. It could have been anybody. You are mistaken if you believe that I have control over all Sangheili fleets. There are dozens of warlords throughout space who lead the jagged pieces of the Covenant. I am merely one of them,"

"Then do not waste my time with talk, Imperial Admiral," Thel says as he turns his back on her and makes for the exit, only to find that the door is locked.

"Would you prefer to speak with swords instead, Arbiter?"

Growing frustrated, Thel turns to face her again and demands, "What is it that you seek? Why bring me here? Why declare war on the humans?"

Zireid laughs humourlessly, "Would it comfort you to know that I have no personal quarrel with the humans? Why would I hate the species whose destruction brought so much honour and glory for myself and my clan? I was grateful for their existence,"

The Arbiter grows more confused by the second. Zireid looks away for a moment and shakes her head.

"It is our brothers who continue to despise and loath the humans. I have merely come to terms with the true state of our race,"

"And what state is that?"

She looks at him again and the look in her eyes unsettles him.

"After the Great Schism, my eyes were opened in more ways than one. I saw how pitiful we were without the Covenant. Our people are warriors, but nothing else. From the moment we can walk, we are trained to fight, kill and die. All for what? Too few of our race knows how to farm, build, tinker with machinery or any other menial task. We have left these matters in the hands of the other species. We were too preoccupied with being the Prophets' warriors, following their every command until death,"

"The war has also corrupted the minds of our brothers. We have been fighting the humans for too long and there are too few left who remember the days of peace that came before it. Nobody wishes for peace. Our brothers only wish to do what they've always known and that is to fight,"

"You make us sound like warmongering barbarians!" accuses Thel.

"And that is exactly what we are! There are Sangheili who have broken the peace treaty and continue to raze human colonies in search of Forerunner artifacts. There are those who have sunk so low as to hire themselves out as mercenaries. Don't you see? Our brothers care nothing for honour, family and nobility. They choose to fight only for greed and power,"

"There is still honour left in our race!"

Zireid leans forwards in her throne and laughs.

"Honour, ha! Whatever honour we had was lost millennia ago when we surrendered to the San 'Shyuum. We have allowed them to bend and twist our concept of honour for their own benefit, just like they did to the badge of Arbiter."

She leans back against her chair and smirks at Thel.

"Tell me, was it honourable to slaughter the weak and the defenceless? That is what we did. We killed humans without discrimination, even the children and those who chose not to fight. We burned them from orbit where they had no means of fighting back. We did it all for the Prophets' favour. They made us believe that humans were unclean, faithless and desecrators of all that is holy. Honour meant nothing. We let our rage fuel us and we killed them without pity,"

Thel bristles at her words. During the war, he tried to preserve his sense of honour. He led more ground engagements than orbital bombardments. He gave the human solders a chance to reach for their weapons before he fought them.

"Don't you see, Arbiter? Our honour is as worthless as the Mantle!"


Thel takes his sword in hand and activates it. He can not stand listening to this madwoman any longer.

"If it is a fight you seek, come down from your throne so we may exchange blades. I will not listen to you insult our race any longer,"

Zireid snorts in derision at him.

"How predictable. Letting battle decide everything. That is another thing we have in common with the Jiralhanae. Like them, we cannot resist fighting. Like them, we devour our enemies, especially when they're alive. Like them, we fought over the Prophets' favour,"

Thel steps towards the throne and hesitates. He's still not certain what her intentions are, or whether she's goading him on. Zireid 'Jar Takhai stands up and removes her cape before climbing down the stairs. She doesn't appear eager to do battle. Her face shows disappointment, even a touch of boredom.

The Arbter steels himself. Even though she's female, he knows for a fact that she's a master of the sword, hence the "ai" suffix in her name.

"Have you no faith left in your race?" Thel asks her.

"All my faith was lost during the Great Schism. My brothers betrayed me. The San 'Shyuum and Jiralhanae betrayed us. That's when I realized what fools we have always been. Blind, deluded and battle-hungry fools,"

She smiles and the two Elites circle each other in the ring. She hasn't even drawn her weapon yet.

"I wish to see how far our pathetic species will go before realizing their mistakes, if we ever do. I will lead our fleets on a Great Journey to wipe out all of our enemies, starting with the humans,"

Thel almost attacks her at that very moment, but he can tell by her stance that she would be ready to counter in the time it would take for him to close the distance.

"Reigniting the war will serve nothing,"

Zireid laughs again.

"I agree, Arbiter, but it will satisfy the bloodlust of our race. We will finish the job of eradicating the humans or die trying. Once they're eliminated, we will focus our attention on the Jiralhanae and what's left of the San 'Shyuum. Then we'll destroy the Kig-Yar and the wretched Space Pirates. With our primary enemies eliminated, I'll have us destroy the Yanme'e, the Unggoy and the Lekgolo for their betrayals during the Great Schism,"

The Arbiter cannot believe what he's hearing.

"Once we have cleansed the galaxy, we will no doubt turn on each other, or perhaps during our crusade. It makes no difference. Our race is doomed to extinction or disgrace, one way or another. Our colonies will be destroyed. Sangheilios and her people will be reduced to-"

"This is madness! How can you condemn our people to this cursed path? I will not allow it!"

Zireid smiles wickedly at him.

"And that is what makes you special. You are the only one who thinks he can make a difference. The only one deluded enough to believe our people can know peace. You have fought the humans for as long as any of us. You were there when we were betrayed by the Jiralhanae and the San 'Shyuum and yet you still wish for an end to the fighting. You chose to shed the armour of Arbiter and don the rank of Minor to prove yourself all over again. Not one single Sangheili would have ever done that, but nobody can deny that it was the honourable choice,"

"Is that why you brought me here? To return me to my former rank and stop you?" The Arbiter asks.

The Imperial Admiral shakes her head. She wants to see if she can break him.

She swiftly grabs her sword, activates it and feints a charge before turning invisible. Thel had prepared to block her attack but then he sees her disappear. Luckily, his armour retains its active camo and he vanishes from sight as well.

"Would you endanger the children of Sangheilios? Even your children?" Thel's voice speaks from somewhere in the room.

Now Zireid's voice sounds angry.

"Since when have our people cared for life at all? The lives of children mean nothing to the clans! They are slaughtered without pity or mercy if even a single relative shows the slightest sign of weakness. As for my children, I once watched with pride as they trained hard, but now I see them as training to fight and die for some worthless cause like the rest of us,"

A blur of movement in the corner of the room and two swords clash against each other, followed by an energy dagger slicing through nothing before the air becomes still again.

"Killing me would accomplish nothing, Arbiter! Our brothers will continue to slaughter whomever they wish. Your attempt at reuniting the Covenant has only proven how little we care for peace. The Sangheili care nothing for honour and I would rather see us all die before we sink any lower!"

"Lower?" Thel's voice is enraged but curious. "I didn't think it possible for you to think less of our race,"

The Imperial Admiral deactivates her camouflage and turns off her energy sword. Her eyes show nothing but disdain, contempt and despair.

"If Jul has found what he claims, then there is no hope left for our species,"

"Jul?" The Arbiter reveals himself as well. "Jul 'Mdama? What has he found?"

"Requiem. He believes it is the resting place of the last Forerunner,"

Thel blinks in surprise. The Oracle told him that all Forerunners had died.

Zireid shakes her head. "If he succeeds in awakening this 'Didact', as he calls it, then our brothers will once again become the slaves of a false god,"

"Where is this Requiem?"

"He only shares its location with his most trusted followers. Their numbers grow by the day and soon many of my more zealous brothers will join him,"

The Arbiter remembers to keep his guard up while processing what he's heard. A living Forerunner. An Imperial Admiral leading her brothers to slaughter and self-extinction. Is there no end to this madness?

Zireid turns her back on him and returns to her throne.

"You tell me, Arbiter. Which is the least honourable course? Dying as savages or dying for a lie?"

Thel dislikes seeing his opponent turn her back on him. It's almost asking him to run his energy sword through her twin hearts, but is that what she expects?

"It doesn't have to be either way. Honour is not lost to us,"

Zireid laughs humourlessly as she sits back down.

"You are the only truly honourable Sangheili left and there are too few like you to make a difference. The number of human sympathizers is small and insufficient. Your followers may be loyal to you but not your ideals,"

An explosion is heard outside the doors to the throne room. Thel looks over his shoulder while Zireid smiles.

"It seems the mutiny has started sooner than I expected,"

"What is the meaning of this?!" Thel is confused and afraid. This madwoman keeps throwing one surprise after another.

"My fleet has been listening and watching all of this. Now they have come for my head,"

As the mutineers try to break through the sturdy doors, Thel wraps his own head around everything that she's said. Zireid leaves her throne and walks past the Arbiter.

"Do not try to help or hinder me or I will kill you too, 'Vadam. I do not expect to survive this; but if I do, I will not stop until our brothers realize what fools they are for mindlessly seeking battle and for being the honour-less wretches we have allowed ourselves to become. If that means driving our race to extinction, then so be it,"

The Imperial Admiral activates her sword as the doors are blown inward. The Arbiter merely watches in the background as she charges into battle, deflecting plasma bolts as she leaves the throne room.

Thel 'Vadam glances at the empty throne, then down the corridor where she left. Energy blasts, explosions, alarms and the cries of dying Sangheili fill the ship. The Arbiter realizes that these noises bring no joy to him. No exhilaration or anticipation of battle. Instead, those sounds seem hollow and meaningless.
Haloid Part IV, Chapter 35
I've been thinking about this chapter for years.

I had more things to write about, more about Sangheili culture and all that, but I think this is enough.

I was inspired by the state of Sangheilios after the war in the novel Halo: Glasslands.

I'm tempted to write an OC bio of Zireid 'Jar Takhai so you can understand her motivations and the root of her hatred for her own people.

I'm also thinking about writing another short story detailing the truth behind the death of the Brute Army Commander.
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: violence/gore and strong language)
                                                         Separate Stories.

- UNSC Dusk Till Dawn -

- Slipspace -

- December 2555 -

"We've reviewed your team's mission recordings but we want you to take us through it, step by step,"

On board the frigate, ONI representatives debriefs the Spartans of Red Team individually, without armour. Jerome, Alice and Douglas are familiar with mission debriefings, but they feel very uncomfortable without their suits.

"We were assigned to infiltrate the facility where one of the Shield World's Life Support Pods was located and destroy it to prevent the Flood from spreading more quickly," Jerome explains.

Douglas's face is impassive as he recalls those moments of preparation.

"I volunteered to carry the explosives and detonation codes,"

Alice's eyes remain alert during her debriefing.

"We prepared for stealth as well as heavy engagement. The Covenant held the facility and were protecting it from the Flood. The plan was to infiltrate the structure while the two sides were distracted,"

Jerome takes a deep breath.

"After breaking away from the Master Chief's dropship, our bird flew towards the objective. The closest LZ to the main entrance was too hot, so we had to keep our distance and land a klick away. We minimized our contact with the Covenant but we had a few engagements with the Flood during our approach. When we arrived at the structure, we noticed the arrival of Sentinels who've come to sterilize any Flood host they could find,"

Douglas recalls something and adds,

"The local chatter indicated something was off. We didn't have any translation equipment but we've listened enough to tell when an Elite is angry and confused,"

"Once we snuck in the main entrance, we sealed the door behind us and left the Sangheili to protect it from the Flood. I placed a mine to cover our backs if they managed to break in,"

Alice vividly remembers the moments inside the facility.

"It wasn't long before we found Sangheili corpses with plasma wounds covering their bodies. This wouldn't have been surprising if there wasn't any sign of the Flood in the corridors. No green spatter on the surfaces or infected bodies. A few more minutes in and we figured out what happened when the atmosphere within the structure started to change. It was a mix of nitrogen and methane, perfect for Grunts to breath in,"

"Somehow, they grew the stones to betray their Elite masters and take over the facility. The Unggoy were going to make the Shield World habitable for them at the expense of everyone else,"

Jerome never takes his eyes off of the ONI officer as he tells the tale.

"The Grunts must have fallen back to the heart of the complex because we didn't encounter many of them when we breached the facility. The Flood, on the other hand, had started coming in via the ventilation systems. Our progress was slowed down when we were forced to contain the parasite before any infected bodies could reach the Life Support Pod."

"At the far end of one corridor, we saw a Combat Form being impaled through the chest by one of those new alien creatures. When it noticed our presence, it raised its head and hissed before it charged us. We opened fire and managed to slow it down before it retreated into a vent. We monitored its movements on our motion tracker as we proceeded further into the structure."

Alice shakes her head.

"We should have kept a closer eye on it. That was sloppy,"

Douglas says,

"The mine went off at the main entrance, so we prepared for the worst and watched our backs,"

"We knew we were getting close to the heart of the facility when we found dozens of abandoned methane tanks lying on the flood. When we arrived at the door and took a peek inside, we saw more Grunts than expected waiting inside the large chamber and one of them threw a plasma grenade through the open doorway,"

"It landed on the floor and that's when I realized why the methane tanks were left out there. I told my team to engage their armour lock just before the grenade detonated and set off the tanks scattered around. The resulting detonation would have killed us,"

Jerome remembers the methane tanks exploding around himself and his team.

"Whoever was leading these Grunts was smart and we were faced with more than one problem. From what I glimpsed in the chamber, some of the Unggoy have positioned themselves on the Life Support Pod and we couldn't risk damaging or destroying it before resetting the atmosphere. We had hostiles approaching us from the main entrance and we were caught between them and a small army of desperate Grunts,"

"We couldn't find any other way into the atmosphere chamber and the Unggoy had set up a plasma cannon. They were firing whenever we opened the door. Before we could think of a solution, the alien returned and jumped me,"

Douglas recounts those brief moments when the creature had his team leader in check.

"It emerged from the vents and tackled Red-One to the floor. It grabbed his helmet and opened both of its mouths before I kicked it off. The alien swung its tail and swept my legs out from under me."

Alice shakes her head.

"I aimed my HMG at the hostile but it shoved Jerome back to the floor and hissed at me. It knew. It knew that if I shot it, its blood would melt through our team leader,"

"Luckily, Red-One delivered a hook to its face and threw it off of him. We opened fire as soon as Jerome was clear but we only got a few shots in before it retreated into the vents again."

Douglas explains,

"The Flood started catching up to us and Alice was forced to hold them at bay. Me and Red-One attempted to breach the atmosphere chamber but the Unggoy had too much firepower,"

"The Master Chief contacted us and requested a status update. I told him we were pushing through and we were going to,"

"I recommended Red-One throw a flashbang while I threw one of the packs of C-12 into the atmosphere chamber. The resulting detonation destroyed the plasma cannon and its gunner. The shock, noise and blindness confused and disoriented the other Grunts. This was our chance,"

"Alice covered our rear while me and Red-One entered the chamber. Jerome opened fire on the Grunts on the Life Support Pod while I fired my rocket launcher at groups of Unggoy,"

"We had to move quick, otherwise we would have been killed by fuel rods, Needlers and plasma grenades. These Grunts weren't turning tail and fleeing."

Alice tells her side.

"I succeeded in keeping the Flood at bay until two Tank forms entered the corridor. They covered their mouths with their armoured limbs and approached me while their infected brethren followed behind. I had to fall back into the atmosphere chamber when the Combat forms started leaping over the Pure forms to attack me,"

Jerome shares his perspective.

"When the Grunts realized the Flood had breached the chamber, they stopped firing at us and focused on the parasite, except for their leader. He was an Unggoy Ranger who leaped off the Life Support Pod and fired fuel rods at us as he was falling, Since he still had his methane tank, he was able to slow his fall before landing,"

"I had never met a Grunt that brave before. I almost didn't want to kill him but we had no choice. Douglas took him out with a quick burst to the head from his SMGs,"

Douglas shakes his head.

"We expected the remaining Grunts to panic; but instead, they armed plasma grenades in each hand and charged at us and the Flood. Alice had her back to them as she was still attempting to suppress the parasite, which left me and Red-One to take them out before they detonated near her, but he ordered me to get on the Life Support Pod, neutralize the last of the Grunts and reset the atmosphere,"

Alice thoroughly enjoyed those moments when things were at their most perilous.

"I had to reach for my Magnum and fire my chain gun one handed when the Combat Forms got too close. I shot several in the chest and sprayed the Infection Forms with heavy rounds, but the Tank Forms were closing in on me. I could almost feel the explosions behind me as Red-One took out the kamikaze Unggoy before they reached me,"

Douglas recounts how he reset the atmosphere setting.

"The controls were simple enough, but it would take time for the air to change. I grabbed my rocket launcher and fired on the Tank Forms from my elevated position,"


"There were many close calls with those suicidal Grunts. The explosions from their grenades lowered our shields and the Combat Forms fired at us with stolen Covenant weaponry. There was no cover to hide behind so I had to stay on the move,"


"Douglas's rockets took down one of the Tank forms and I finally hit the other one with enough bullets to terminate it. The rest of the Flood were relentless and I could see Stalker Forms entering the room and climbing onto the walls to transform into Ranged forms,"


"Charging my Spartan Laser took precious time but I was able to take out five of the Ranged Forms before my weapon lost power,"


"Even without the Tank Forms to cover them, the Flood kept pouring in from the entrance. Luckily, Red-One picked up the plasma cannon and assisted me in suppressing their numbers,"


"My motion sensor registered a hostile behind us, then I heard Douglas and the sound of his armour hitting the floor. After smashing a Combat Form by swinging the cannon in my hands, I looked over my shoulder and saw that Alien dragging Douglas towards a vent in the wall,"


"That creature tackled me off the Life Support Pod and the impact from hitting the ground dropped my shield into the red. The Alien tried pulling me into the vent but I was able to get a grip on the opening and prevented myself from being dragged in. When it realized this, the Alien grabbed my helmet and opened both of its mouths but I activated a flash bang. I barely escaped during the confusion and threw a live grenade in the vent behind me. I didn't stop to find out if the explosion killed it or not,"

"Before that creature knocked me off, I planted a pack of C-12 on the Life Support Pod. When I saw several Combat Forms leap over Jerome and Alice to climb up the pod, I made the call to detonate the pack and destroy the device,"


"When the Flood realized their mission was a failure, resistance became lighter. The hostiles inside the base were still attacking us but the facility was no longer a priority for them. The enemy outside the base moved on to other targets,"

"It cost most of our ammunition but we were able to force our way out and call for an extraction,"

Her words are an understatement as the Flood inside the facility were relentless.

- - -

When the Spartans of Team Black were cleared to leave the ship's hangar bay, they were brought to the medical deck and haven't left since.

Their damaged armour was removed and brought to engineering to repair what they could and salvage anything useful from the components that couldn't be fixed.

ONI debriefed them but the Spartans were in no fit state to talk. Their mission recordings revealed more than words could tell.


Black-One stays low and slowly makes her way through the bushes towards her objective.

"Team Black, are you in position?" she hears the Master Chief over her radio.

"Affirmative. Ready to engage," she replies.

"Proceed at your own discretion. Black-Three? No overkill unless you encounter the Flood,"

"Got it, Master Chief," he replies in a disappointed voice.

Through the scope of his sniper rifle, Black-Four lays on his stomach and observes the Covenant camp from his hilltop vantage point.

The Covies have set up shop around and within two Forerunner structures near each other. They've finished unloading weapons and supplies and are starting to set up defences.

Type-30 Light Excavation/Anti-Fortification Platforms, aka Locusts, remain immobile on their four legs until the Covenant have finished fortifying.

"Four, anything new?" Black-One asks over the radio.

"Nothing unusual on my end, Chief. Two, what have you got?" Four replies.

Black-Two leans against a wall between two crates while a Grunt shuffles nearby.

"Everything here seems standard. As far as I know, they haven't received any new orders," she says.

"What about the radar jammers?" Three asks.

"I haven't located them yet,"

"Then it's eyes and ears only," One says as she takes a grenade from her UA/Multi-Threat chest piece. "Three, you in position?"

Black-Three finishes placing a tripwire between two grenades attached to two methane tanks. Surrounding him are dozens of sleeping Unggoy with tripwires and explosives tied to them.

"Just finishing up here, Chief. Give me ten seconds and we'll be good to go," he says as he carefully steps over the wires and moves out of the blast radius.

"Four, you've got us covered, correct?" One asks.

"Affirmative, Chief," he replies while tracking a patrolling Elite with the crosshairs aimed directly at his head.

"Is it party time?" Three asks eagerly as he gets in position with his SAW in his hands.

"Don't trust your motion trackers and check your corners. Team Black, move out!" One orders as she tosses her grenade.

It arcs out of the bush she's hiding in and it lands between the hooves of a Sangheili Major. He looks down and starts to shout before the explosion lowers his shield. Still behind cover, Black-One fires her Battle Rifle and puts three holes through his helmet.

The Grunts awaken and jump to their feet, unwittingly pulling the pins out of the grenades tied to them. Black-Three laughs as soon as he starts hearing explosions then he opens fire with his SAW as soon as Covies come to investigate.

"Come one, come all to your deaths, ladies and uglies! I'm the great magician Black-Three and I will saw each and every one of you assholes in half!" he yells.

"The Master Chief said no overkill," Black-Four says before putting a sabot round through the visor of an Elite Ranger's helmet.

An Elite Minor and his Grunt assistant make their way through the storage area inside one of the structures when a flash bang detonates near them. Blinded by the light and deafened by sound, the Sangheili shoots his Plasma Rifle in every direction. His shield starts taking hits from an automatic weapon but he can't tell where it's coming from. When his shield is low enough, a knife is plunged into his neck and pulled out, spilling his noble blood onto the floor of the sacred temple.

Black-Two takes her pistol and shoots the Grunt in the head, then covers Black-Three as they make their way further into the building.

They find a Sangheili Officer named Lor 'Tyon standing in front of a Comm Node. Lor takes his Plasma Rifle in hand, spins around and fires bolts of superheated plasma at the two demons. They easily dodge his rounds and open fire on the Elite. The Assault Rifle and SAW make short work of his shield and bullets penetrate armour, flesh and organs before the Sangheili collapses with a pained smile on his face.

They check their corners before Black-Two approaches the Comm Node and uses her upgraded Interrogator to translate the recent communications on the screen.

"I've got this. Go!" she tells Three. He reloads his SAW before stepping out of the room.

It takes a few more minutes for the Spartans to clear up the rest of the camp. Black-Four observes the dead through his scope and reports to his team whenever he sees a body showing signs of life. One and Three are then more than happy to put them out of their misery with a few bullets or a swift plunge of their knives.

"Black-Two, anything to report?" One asks as she approaches the Locusts.

"There's a lot of correspondence between a General Sasu 'Etyom and an Officer Lor 'Tyon. So far, I'm not getting much of anything other than the reports we intercepted during recon. Prepare, fortify and stay vigilant,"

"Nothing on what they're looking for?" Three asks before he steps on a broken Plasma Pistol. He looks down curiously at the weapon before he moves on.

"Negative, except the General is offering words of encouragement and praise to this Lor 'Tyon,"

Black-One examines one of the Locusts.

"Three, get over here," she orders as she takes a close look at the plasma cannon.

He double times it across the camp until he's by her side.

"What is it, Chief?"

"Take a look at this vehicle and you tell me if there's something odd about it,"

"You mean anymore than the fact that it's a Covie piece of shit?"

"Yes, now get over here,"

Three shrugs and ducks under one of its four legs.

"You know, I always thought Two and Four were the inquisitive ones of the team," he says.

"We're here to gather information. You're the heavy weapons expert. You tell me if there's something wrong with this Locust,"

He examines the underside of the vehicle.

"It looks like someone removed the cooling system and firing mechanism. What the hell? That would make the machine useless," he says.

"Check the others," she orders and raises her Assault Rifle.

Three makes his way over to one of the other Locusts while One sweeps the area.

"Four, can you see anything?" One asks over the radio.

"Nothing but blood and bodies,"

"Two, status report," she orders as she approaches a weapons crate.

"Almost finished here. I still can't find anything useful and the last message had only one word: Nishum, which translates as either intestinal parasite or worm,"

One picks up a Needler but none of the pink shards are sticking out of the back of the weapon. She drops it and takes a Plasma Pistol, only to find out its battery is completely depleted.

"No ammo?" she muses. "Why would they fortify a camp site with sabotaged equipment and useless weaponry?"

Inside one of the structures, Black-Two catches a glimpse of movement beside the Comm Node and sees a short, transparent figure moving back.

"Evil human," comes the unmistakable voice of a Grunt.

A fuel rod detonates on Black-Two and throws her across the floor. She grabs her pistol and fires in the direction of the cloaked Unggoy. The bullets pierce the Grunt's arm and methane tank. The active camo deactivates and Two succeeds in shooting it in the head. As the Unggoy falls, its fuel rod gun flashes briefly before it explodes.

Luckily, Two is out of range of the blast but her shield has been depleted. Lying on her back, she hears a sound and looks to her right to catch a glimpse of an energy sword floating in the air next to her.

One and Three hear the sound of the fuel rod and they raise their weapons as they start towards the Forerunner structure.

"Two, come in!" One shouts over the radio.

A red light flashes over their HUD display. Suddenly fuel rods are being fired on them from all directions. They activate their Armor Lock and crouch down as the green explosives detonate on their temporary invincible shields.

Black-Four remains calm as he observes the scene through his scope. Whenever he sees an energy sword activate, he uses past experience to determine where the transparent Elite's head will be and fires a sabot round through it.

He pauses when he hears an explosion behind him. He switches to his Battle Rifle, stands up and turns around to face the pair of Sangheili who set off his trip mine. Without their shields and active camo, Four puts three bullets into the head of one Elite but the other dives and rolls towards the Spartan with sword in hand. Four jumps off the hilltop before the Sangheili could bisect him with his blade.

"This was a fucking setup!" Black-Three yells as he attempts to evade the barrage of fuel rods. He fires his SAW in a sweeping motion and succeeds in hitting several camouflaged Grunts.

Black-One scores three head shots with her Battle Rifle while she contacts her squad.

"Team Black, regroup and call for extraction!" she orders before she realizes the radio is full of static. She swears when she realizes their comms are being jammed as well.

The sight of a shimmering figure next to her is the only warning One gets before she moves to the side when an energy sword appears above her and slices downward. The blade cuts through her shield and burns through the side of her helmet before she grabs the invisible arm holding the weapon. She breaks the wrist and forces the Elite to drop the sword before she kicks him in the chest as she releases the arm. The Sangheili roars before Black-Three fires one of his Magnums and puts a bullet through his head.

One reaches down and tries to pick up the energy sword but the weapon deactivates as soon as the Elite's body hits the ground. She suddenly recalls the old failsafe some of the Sangheili used to keep their enemies from using their sacred blades.

Three's SAW lies on the ground with its ammo completely spent. He holds his two pistols and fires almost blindly at the invisible forces surrounding them while he stays on the move. One fires her Assault Rifle at two floating energy swords before she grabs a grenade from her chest piece. She drops it in front of her as the Elites quickly close in before she engages her Armor Lock again. The small charge in her equipment is enough to withstand the blast and remove the rest of the Elites' shields.

Once she's free from the lock, she rolls to the side to evade her enemy's uppercut before she grabs her combat knife and slices through the tendon at the back of the Elite's left hoof. She hears a pained roar, then she moves toward the other Sangheili but the warrior swings his blade and melts through her knife. She uses the opening to tackle her adversary to the ground. With no time to reach for her weapons, she instead grabs the Elite's four mandibles and rips them off. One jumps and rolls off before her enemy's wounded comrade can retaliate.

With their injuries slowing them down, the Spartan reaches for her Battle Rifle and finishes them off with two bursts to the head. She ejects her spent clip and reaches down for another magazine, only to realize she's out of ammo for her BR. A fuel rod explosion to her back throws her on top of a dead Elite. She grabs the corpse, lifts it up and turns it to face her attacker. The meat shield takes the next fuel rod for her and blows into pieces.

Running low on ammo for his Magnums, Black-Three spots a pair of fuel rod guns on a weapons crate and he dashes towards them. He grabs one of the guns and pulls it out, but then it starts flashing before detonating violently. The blast throws him onto the ground with his shield depleted and burns covering his armour.

With his ears ringing and his vision obscured by the green explosion, he fails to notice the Elite towering over him. The Sangheili warrior raises his energy sword as his prey shifts his position on the dirt and the Elite stabs the Spartan through the chest.

Three grabs his pistols and fires blindly at the cloaked figure above him until the active camo deactivates and a bullet penetrates the gums at the top of the Elite's mouth. The sword deactivates upon the warrior's death and Three discards the useless weapon while clutching his chest. He thanks God the Elite missed his heart and spine.

Black-One's armour is covered in Sangheili blood. She wipes some of it off of her visor before she grabs her Assault Rifle, crouches and fires bursts in the general direction of where her attacker was. She receives a kick to the damaged portion of her helmet and loses consciousness. A camouflaged Elite attaches his fuel rod gun to his back and takes his energy sword in hand.

The Sangheili contemplates whether to end the demon's life swiftly with a stab through its single heart, or sever the warrior's head from its shoulders and keep it as a trophy? Perhaps both. As much as he loathes humans, he is a warrior and he shall grant the demon the respect it deserves.

Bullets narrowly miss him before others bounce off of his shield and he turns his head in the direction of Black-Three. The Spartan empties his Magnums in a vain attempt to protect his leader. Then more bullets arrive from one of the Forerunner structures. Black-Two and Four have emerged and they're firing at him. Four switches to his sniper rifle and fires through the Elite's fuel rod gun. The Sangheili feels a moment of fear when he sees the flashing light behind him before the weapon detonates and ends his life.

Two and Four regroup with the rest of their team, despite numerous injuries and severe burns covering their armour. One quickly regains consciousness, shakes her head and lifts herself up in a crouched position.

"Fireteam Black, status report," she asks.

"We almost got our asses handed to us," Three says as he limps over while clutching his chest.

Two drops to her knees, removes her helmet and coughs up blood, then she puts her helmet back on and helps One up.

"This place is worthless," Two says. "One of the Elites said they knew we would come,"

Three looks behind him at the Locusts and all the equipment lying around.

"Fucking hingeheads," he says.

Four passes additional Battle Rifle ammo to One and she quickly reloads. Two starts to open up the medkit attached to her thigh but One shakes her head.

"Not here. We need to get back to the extraction point and call for evac,"

Three looks around and asks, "Are there any weapons we can use?"

Two looks down at a Needler on the ground that has been cut in half. All the other weapons lying around are sabotaged as well.

"They didn't attack us right away. They made sure there was nothing we could salvage," she says.

One hangs her head and says, "I checked a weapons crate earlier. None of the weapons had any ammo and their batteries were empty,"

Three grunts and says, "Those assholes who attacked us used fuel rod guns and energy swords. Both weapons were known to have failsafes. They wanted us to run out of ammo. We can't even use the Locusts,"

One places a navigation mark on their HUDs. "Let's move out. We have to get out of range of the jammers before we can call the Pelican,"

As Team Black starts to leave, Two notices something moving into view from around the structure. Her visor zooms in 5x and she sees three bulbous creatures on stubby legs making their way to the nearest corpse.

"Chief, recommend we triple time it, now!" she says.

One, Three and Four hear the detonations of Carrier Forms and they look behind them to see the battlefield flooded with Infection Forms.

"Agreed. Move it, Spartans!" One yells.


Team Black does its best to cover their tracks as they know the Flood will inevitably be in pursuit. When they arrive at the extraction point, the Spartans make sure it's secure before they radio the Pelican.

"Charlie-97, we need immediate dust-off,"

"Affirmative, Team Black," the pilot replies. "How was the party?"

"It sucked," Three answers.

"Really?" She sounds surprised. "Now I'm happy I missed it. ETA is two minutes. Charlie-97, out."

Two checks on Three's chest wounds but he waves her off.

"Relax. Biofoam patched me up,"

Four looks through the scope of his sniper rifle and studies the route they took to get to the ETA. He checks the hilltop in the distance for signs of pursuit from the Flood.

"No signs of enemy activity, Chief," he reports.

Two signs when she realizes something. When the others look at her, she tells them,

"If the Flood infect the bodies of those stealth Elites, they'll use their active camouflage against us,"

Four immediately returns his attention to his scope and searches for shimmers in the air.

The sound of Pelican engines gets closer as the dropship approaches. Two raises her pistol to the sky when another possibility hits her. Soon enough, her instincts prove true when a Phantom deactivates its active camo and fires explosive rounds and plasma bolts on the approaching Pelican.

The human dropship sustains critical damage and the starboard thruster takes several hits from the heavy plasma cannon. The thruster catches fire and loses power.

"Mayday! Enemy contact appeared out of nowhere! Fuck, my bird can't take this shit! She can't stay in the air!"

The Pelican veers off course and slowly descends over a hilltop a mile and a half away.

Black-Two aims her pistol at one of the Phantom's gunners and fires. The bullet rips through the Grunt's skull and emerges on the other side, spraying his bright blue blood everywhere like an explosion of confetti.

The bay doors open up and invisible forces leap out and descend through the gravity lift. Energy swords seemingly activate in midair.

Black-One takes a grenade from her chest piece and throws it at the estimated landing area for some of the hostiles. The resulting explosion reveals four Elites and kills a Grunt. The Sangheili leap and roll out of the way before the Unggoy's fuel rod gun detonates.

One of the Elites quickly returns to his hooves before his head is severed from his neck. Purple blood lands on a shimmering figure that growls at both Covenant and UNSC forces.

The Spartans use up their remaining ammo before making a break for it as the invisible Flood forces attack. The ones that are visible soon join their brethren and leap into the fray. The Unggoy and Sangheili turn their attention to the parasite. The Elites slash through visible Combat Forms before their swords reveal their locations to the camouflaged hostiles and are quickly overwhelmed. The Grunts fire fuel rods and obliterate several Elite Combat Forms but they lose their nerve when they see former Unggoy leaping over their projectiles and slashing them with whip-like tentacles.

The Phantom fires down at the Flood before the agile creatures leap all the way up to the bay doors. They climb inside and slaughter the remaining gunner. The pilot realizes the threat the Flood could pose if they possessed a dropship with active camouflage. The brave Elite arms a plasma grenade in his hand and roars in defiance as his mutated brothers enter the cockpit.

An explosion later and the Phantom falls out of the sky.

The Master Chief suddenly contacts them.

"Team Black, report,"

"Not a good time, Master Chief!" One replies. "Our bird is down, we're out of ammo and we've got a mob of freaks chasing after us!"

They can hear the howls of the Flood not far behind them. The Combat Forms are able to keep up with MJOLNIR and Spartan-enhanced speed. Despite their injuries, Team Black pushes themselves and run as fast as they can to the Pelican crash site.

"Once we reach the Pelican, we secure it as fast as we can and unload every weapon on board against the Flood," One orders.

"Chief, I have an alternate proposal," Four says.

"Go on,"

"We grab what we can and destroy the rest. If we leave weapons and ammo lying around, the Flood can use them and overwhelm us. From what I can see, the Pelican is not in a defendable location,"

None of the other Spartans want to agree with him, but when they see the crashed Pelican in the middle of an open field, they realize that Four is right. They reach the smoking wreckage and open up the weapons locker. Two goes into the cockpit and checks on the pilots, only to find them both missing and the windshield has been broken through from the outside. She lifts her foot up and finds a small puddle of drool on the floor.

"Two! Get back here and reload!" One orders.

Three grabs an Assault Rifle and a handful of clips for it and for his Magnums. Then he piles grenades over the weapons cache. Four trades his sniper rifle for a shotgun, then picks up a single box of cartridges.

As soon as Four sees another shotgun rising into the air, he fires immediately and blows an Elite Combat Form into visibility. The body slumps against one of the dropship's seats and drops its weapon.

"Team Black, move out!" One orders.

She takes the last grenade from her chest piece and drops it among the pile of weapons. The Spartans dash from the Pelican crash site seconds before it explodes, taking out weapons and any Combat Forms caught in the blast.


From that point, their mission recordings detail their efforts to stay ahead of the Flood, with several close encounters that nearly cost them their lives.

Fortunately, Falcons manage to catch up with them and pick them up shortly before the Shield World was sealed off for good.

- - -

On board Samus's gunship.

The bounty hunter listens to the holographic form of Iona recount her story of what happened in the Forerunner network.

As soon as she's finished, Samus processes what she's learned before contacting the Dusk Till Dawn.

"As soon as we're out of Slipspace, I'm coming aboard. I'm ready for the debriefing,"
Haloid Part IV, Chapter 34
These events have nothing to do with the main plot, but I really wanted to get them out of my head before moving on.

With Red Team's story, I experimented with a little narrative format, but I won't be trying that again.

This took me a long time so please forgive me for rushing a little with the end there. I wanted to get this done.
Read about it here:… Because I can't deal with writing about it myself right now.
  • Mood: Tearful
  • Reading: Hannibal Rising
  • Playing: Minecraft
My idol and hero, Monty Oum, is at the hospital and in critical care, so I am scared shitless right now that the world could lose one of the greatest men I've ever heard of.

His awesome work has inspired not only me but countless others. He's also the creator of one of my favourite web series, RWBY.

I don't have much else to say right now, other than I'm begging he gets better.
  • Mood: Worried
  • Reading: Hannibal Rising
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Apple
  • Drinking: Water
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: violence/gore)
                                                    The world awakens.

- Planet M-2 -

- Airlock checkpoint -

- November 30th 2555 -

The mighty Forerunner Keyship Dreadnought hovers within a massive underwater chamber as the liquid is being slowly drained out. On the bridge of the ship, Ridley waits while his crew, composed of Space Pirates and Kig-yar, try to pass the time.

Ridley says absolutely nothing, which makes his crew even more uncomfortable than if he was yelling at them. He watches the Jackals and Skirmishers bicker and squabble among each other over food and items. The Pirates let them do as they wish, so long as they do not mess with the ship's systems. The sight is mildly amusing to Ridley.

- - -

It has taken some time before they could safely reenter the Dreadnought after bringing it out of the sun. Once inside, they moved quickly to secure it and ensure there were no surviving life forms within, despite the scans.

Several systems and equipment were damaged from the battle that took place within as well as from being inside the sun for so long. Luckily, the Huragok they brought with them were more than happy to fix Forerunner tech.

The engine room was filled with a mountain of heated dust. While the Pirates were cleaning it up, Science Team's scans indicated that the dust contained traces of Flood DNA, without life energy.

The door to the bridge was welded shut, forcing Ridley to smash the obstacle off the wall. After fixing the ship's controls, the Space Pirates took the Dreadnought back to their base on the ocean planet of M-2.

- - -

The bounty hunter, Weavel, patrols the hallways of the Forerunner ship, reminiscing of when he first entered these battle scarred corridors.

He stops when his radar shows a contact close by who isn't moving at all. He activates his energy scythe when an Alpha Jackal emerges from a hole in the vent and tackles him to the floor.

The Kig-Yar captain, Dras, holds up his cutlass and snarls down at the hunter.

"Tell me why I shouldn't kill you right here. I know what you overheard. Why haven't you gone to Ridley? What do you want from me?"

Weavel is mostly machine and Dras can't smell if he's afraid or not.

"Because I don't care if you warned Compassion or not. It doesn't matter now anyway. What I want to know is if that's all you've been doing,"

"What do you mean? Are you accusing me of treachery?"

"I'm suspecting you of thievery,"

Dras bring his energy cutlass closer to Weavel's head.

"But you don't have proof. That's why you haven't gone to Ridley,"

Weavel shakes his head.

"It's not that. There are a number of items that have gone missing that I highly doubt would be of any appeal to your kind."

Dras raises his head and sniffs out another patrol approaching. He gets off of Weavel and deactivates his weapon. He points down at the bounty hunter and says,

"Fine then. Let's talk, but you're not going anywhere near Ridley,"

Weavel gets up and appears calm as a couple of Pirate Troopers approach them.


"Depressurization is complete,"

The computerized voice tells Ridley after the water has been completely drained. The great doors beneath the ship open up, allowing the Dreadnought to descend into a massive chamber filled with inactive machinery.

Once the ship lands, the Pirates fire up the Forerunner engines and connect them to their base's power grid. The machinery around the ship comes to life and begin mining and smelting the minerals and ore that make up the planet's crust. Just the smallest fraction of M-2's core is enough to build an entire fleet of warships.

Ridley watches from the bridge of the Dreadnought and grins to himself.

"If only you could see this, Kraid. With a new fleet and and our Enhanced solders, the slaughter will be too good to miss,"
Haloid Part IV, Chapter 33
When I first imagined this chapter, I picture Ridley leaving the Dreadnought and flying through the factory machinery until he reached his quarters and watched his new toys of destruction being built.

Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge when it comes to machinery made it difficult to put into words what he would be diving under or flying over.

This chapter takes place where Part IV's prologue left off, some time later.


Current Residence: Canada
Favourite genre of music: Video game music.
Operating System: My brain.
Shell of choice: Sniper or Shotgun.
Skin of choice: The kind I was born with.
Favourite cartoon character: Ruby Rose
Personal Quote: We all live in a glorified insane asylum we call Life.
Read about it here:… Because I can't deal with writing about it myself right now.
  • Mood: Tearful
  • Reading: Hannibal Rising
  • Playing: Minecraft

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speedracerdude511 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist
Thanks very much for the fav, it means a lot
KiraiMirai Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the favourite on R.I.P Monty Oum (1981 - 2015)
Llama jump Here's a Llama, special for you!

Nitroraptor Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aqua311 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2015
Nitroraptor Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like your stories
Aqua311 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2015
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoy them. :)
(1 Reply)
JCPencilz Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, thanks for the continued support, man! Really means the world to me!:D
Aqua311 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015
You're welcome. :)
Nin10dohgirl Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
Hey, Aqua! Long time no see:D
Aqua311 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
Yeah, I guess.
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