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CHAPTER 2: David and Goliath

  It took little time at all for the ten vessel strong UNSC Fleet of Admiral Johanssen’s fleet to pull away from the Monarch Stellar Garrison; the Fleet of Ascending Justice quickly forming up behind the more primitive vessels. Their course and heading to rendezvous with whatever remained of Admiral Nova Carthwright’s Fleet was locked in to every computer and ready to make the jump to once they cleared the asteroid field. While still an incredible burden to bear, the burning embers of hope seemed to swell among the officers of each ship as though the Sentinel ships behind them were fanning them into a roaring inferno. All soon began not only to entertain the hope that they would survive, but even dared to consider victory against the ship. With Ascending Justice on their side the gloom of the briefing found it hard to loom over them as the fighting spirit of the human race shined bright.

  Ja’eda Jarrod and her older friends, Professor Newton Crosby and the UNSC’s foremost Robo-Xenobiologist Doctor Benjamin Jharvi, stood within one of the cluttered and disheveled lab spaces within the Halcyon Class vessel “THERE BE DRAGONS” which had been their home for the last month. Papers were strewn about desks along with a myriad of broken Forerunner artifacts and Sentinel components, notes on tablets lay near the various projects they were working on, computer terminals chattered away as they ran simulations, and trays of partially finished standard issued Military Cuisine sat here and there aside mugs of now cold coffee. It was far from the neatness of a Military Lab, but being civilian scientists and eccentrics Ja’eda didn’t mind. Personally her home on Earth wasn’t much better. With a small breath Ja’eda leaned back against the wall of the lab, looking out over everything and ran a hand through her short fiery hair.

“Any sign of the floating gold plated lobster?” asked Professor Newton Crosby as he looked up from one of his computers with a quirky smirk.
“No… he’s still over on the SAINT OF HONOR with Admiral Johansen.” Ja’eda spoke as she rubbed the side of her hand; a nervous habit of her’s.
“Well he is needing to be coming back otherwise he will not have the time to properly bathe his Symbiant to ensure optimal combat effectiveness and physical health!” spoke Doctor Benjamin Jharvi as he looked up from his work farther back in the room.
“I know, I know. He’ll… probably be back soon.” Ja’eda spoke as she lowered her hands and took a small breath.
“Oooh, I am knowing that breathing all but too well! What is troubling you my young friend?” asked the Doctor as he adjusted his glasses and removed his thick orange jacket; a hand-me-down from relatives he had once had on Reach.

  Ja’eda shifted slightly as she looked away from him briefly, casting her eyes to the door as she slipped her slender fingers into the pockets on her jeans. The sounds of Sentinel Hover Engines could be heard softly whistling outside as Sentinel Minors moved around the halls of the older overhauled Science Oriented Halcyon Class Cruiser. With a shrug, Ja’eda leaned forward and stepped away from the wall as she looked back to her two friends and mentors.

“I dunno, nerves or something I guess. Lazarus said the constructs we’re likely to see aren’t like the normal ones, like sentinels and stuff. He said they’re abominations worse than even rampant constructs and I’m going to have to repel them from making contact with my brain or something…. Like they’d drive me crazy I guess. I barely got the hang of the stuff he showed me while we were at the training installations, I don’t know how I’m going to hold up against freaky abomination death machines.” Ja’eda confessed, attempting to sound less concerned than she really was.
“Ah, Ja’eda my dear you are worrying yourself into a stomach full of butterflies! Lazarus wouldn’t take you with if he thought you’d be in danger, he has the absolute most faith in you and I do too! You will do just fine of that I am certain!” Jharvi continued as Crosby looked up again from his work to offer a reassuring smile.
“I know…. it’s probably not going to be that bad. It’s just that it seemed to concern him and the rest of the network. It’s… complicated. Just…never mind , sorry.” spoke Ja’eda as she averted her eyes again.
“No, no , no, no, hey! No, do not be talking like that my girl. It is good for you to be talking to us about these sorts of things. If you keep it all in a bottle then you won’t be able to think with a clear mind when you need to train your abilities. Besides, we have known each other for long enough for you to come to me with these kinds of things.” the richly accented man spoke as he quickly rushed over to Ja’eda’s side.
“Same here, if you need someone to vent to it doesn’t bother us. Probably the most excitement we get since they keep us locked up down here.” chuckled Crosby.

  Ja’eda chuckled slightly to herself and shook her head as Jharvi placed a hand on her shoulder, his eyes twinkling in the light as he offered her a compassionate smile. As she opened her mouth to speak, the heavy thumping of boot steps against the metal plated floor began to echo out along the outside wall. As she began to turn her head, her voice catching in her throat before she could thank her Stepdad and Uncle, the door hissed open allowing the form of one of the ship’s ODSTs on loan to enter the room. Despite his full armor and helmet, Ja’eda easily recognized him as Lieutenant Commander Jon Evans; a SPARTAN reject who wasn’t applicable for the project and instead shipped off to the Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Academy for Training. It was a sour note that inspired the young Officer to act out his displeasure upon others around him at his every opportunity.

“Yeah?” asked Ja’eda sharply as she looked at the form of the ODST looming in the doorway.
“Get your things together, the Captain want you ready to move with them for this mission.” Jon replied with equal harshness.
“I travel light, and we have at least an hour before we get there. I think I’ll be fine.” Ja’eda replied as she narrowed her eyes slightly.
“Well la-de-da for you princess, the skipper says you’re coming with and that you’re supposed to be protected. He says you’re supposed to take this.” Jon continued as he held up an M6H Pistol to Ja’eda, presenting her the handle.
“Uh… yeah I’m not touching that. I’m more of a hang back and direct the alien super robots kind of girl… I don’t really know how to use these things.” Ja’eda spoke as she stepped back.
“Yeah, now’s not a good time for us anyway. We were just about to start spring cleaning, then there was the idea about hanging up curtains to bring the room together…” began Newton jokingly.
“Laugh it up Civie, but you’re on a military ship so CO’s orders are final. That is if you want to keep playing with the fancy Navy equipment you’re playing with. Are we clear?” asked Jon as he glared back over his shoulder to the frizzy haired Doctor.
“Yes sir!” answered Crosby, offering him a mock salute.
“Take it, keep your head down, and don’t waste my time making me have to run around after you. Do something useful that justifies these pencil pushers sitting in a ship taking notes on you, and we’ll get along just fine. Just don’t point it at anything you don’t want dead.” Jon continued as he roughly forced the handle into her hands.
“Do not be touching sir!” Doctor Benjamin huffed as he quickly stepped forward at the rough gesture.

  Jon aggressively stepped forward in a lunging motion like an attacking dog as Benjamin attempted to step forward, stopping him where he stood as Ja’eda held the gun. The bearded Scientist stopped as the more physically fit man opposed him, quickly taking a step back as Jon wordlessly quieted the man before turning back to Crosby as he stood up.

“And you sit down.” Jon continued as he viciously stabbed his pointer finger at Newton Crosby.
“Aren’t I supposed to get some kind of holster for this?” asked Ja’eda, quick to get Jon’s attention back to her rather than her family.

  The ODST huffed, all but growling as he reached down to his thigh plate and removed his holster. Again he roughly forced the object into Ja’eda’s grasp before remaining quiet for some seconds as he observed her. As far as this magic mind control mumbo jumbo went, Jon was more than skeptical over it. If some dirt covered Civilian who was living out of a slum could control the old Forerunner tech, hardened ODSTs could be taught how to do it too. If she really did have some kind of ability, he seriously doubted the two clowns would actually figure it out and present it to the UNSC. After washing out of SPARTAN Training and proving to be unfit for the augmentations, Jon chose not to belief in the idea of “gifted people”.

“See? You’re a freaking natural. There’s a firing range in the Armory, if it bothers you go practice! Since you’re not going to be out of my sight, you don’t need anything else. If they need to plug you up to anything to monitor you, get it done now.” Jon answered as he took one last look over the area.
“Don’t be a stranger!” waved Crosby, motioning for the unruly officer to leave.

  With a frown under his opaque visor, Jon turned and headed out of the room leaving the group alone once again. Taking a small breath, Ja’eda looked down at the holster and moaned internally before strapping the heavy weapon sleeve to her thigh. The weapon did nothing to comfort her and if anything only added to her concerns because of her unfamiliarity with the weapon adding to her doubts with her abilities. She could tell that Newton and Benjamin were uneasy by the presence of the weapon as well; Benjamin eying the door and cursing in Hindi as the door closed behind Jon.

“He should be minding his manners when he comes down here! It would serve him right if I were to fill out another complaint to the Captain and get him written up again! I will not be having him come marching down here thinking he can terrorize my niece!” Benjamin fumed quietly as he stood glaring at the door for some seconds.
“Don’t worry about Be, I’m fine. And hey, at least when you guys get me all hooked up to the system I’ll have Johnny with me right? Keeping him networked with the Lab, SAINT OF HONOR, and I won’t task him that much!” Ja’eda spoke as she tried to recollect her thoughts.
“I hope not considering he’s made from Forerunner Data Sequences and adapted processors!” smirked Newton as he finally stood up from his workspace and walked over to his stepdaughter.

  Benjamin turned and walked over to one of the various terminals in the lab area and quickly began typing over the controls, causing a large armature to drop from the ceiling in the middle of the room suspended just a few inches from the floor. Ja’eda quickly pulled a small earpiece with a tall rectangular eyepiece off of one of the tables and approached. From one of the holotanks in the room near the computer Benjamin was typing at a brilliant small spire of light appeared, quickly taking on the default humanoid “T” pose for Avatars before violently flickering and jittering. Multiple versions of the pose appeared as the original lost its definition before all the other versions of the avatar did the same. Forerunner glyphs began to run through the floating projection of light as the AI they belonged to loaded itself in. The avatar of the AI would take the form of a strange mechanical creature which in many ways resembled the Sentinels. There were however very noticeable differences in its design however, as its posture was much more humanoid than the common Sentinel. Its head was large and wide, unlike the long head of a Sentinel Major or even Lazarus, sporting two large floating lenses at either side of its head for eyes which shimmered a brilliant blue. Its arms folded upwards against its shoulders almost in a form of fetal curling; the body it connected to looking thin, boxy, and sporting a long low hanging section which resembled the Sentinel Beam section of a traditional Sentinel while the chest was comprised of what would have been a Sentinel’s “wings”.

“Hello Bozos!” proclaimed the AI, the faint afterimage of the original human avatar still faintly visible like a distorted shadow.
“Hello Johnny Version Number five! How are we feeling today?” asked Benjamin as he looked up from the terminal and to the AI before turning back to Ja’eda who stood in the middle of the framework that hung from the ceiling.
“All systems 100% A-Ok!” the AI nodded as Newton approached a closer set of controls near Ja’eda.
“Great to hear Johnny; say you wouldn’t be feeling like a walk would you?” Newton asked as he began fiddling with the controls which caused lights along the frame to begin lighting up, much like the armor testing equipment in the Cryo-Lab.
“Walk: the act of locomotion! Fresh air, tall grass, green trees: the great outdoors! Nothing does a body better than a trip outside!” the AI replied peppily.
“Hey that’s what I like to hear Johnny! Well it just so happens there’s been an opening in the most exclusive club this side of the Milky Way with a planned nature hike. You’ll see local wildlife like Jon and your Sentinel buddies, beautiful landscapes, new people who’ll get shot, and a firework show; it’ll be a blast.” Newton continued jokingly.
“Sounds like a blast! You can count me in.” Johnny nodded.
“Then come on in, the water’s fine Johnny! Club Ja’eda is open for ass whooping.” Ja’eda said as Johnny’s holographic image disappeared.
“Beginning Artificial Intelligence Equipment binding…” began Benjamin as the framework began to glow and spin around Ja’eda, the scientist’s hands racing over the controls.

  Jon in the meantime hustled in a light jog into one of the Hangar bays. His every breath was the puff of a driven man, his every step one of determination to move faster, longer, and farther than anyone around him. Though he had officially failed the SPARTAN training more than once, in his mind he was more SPARTAN than most of the ones in service! Though the old Halcyon Class had been drastically overhauled for scientific use, the air still roared with the spirit of the Marine Corps. A compliment of three Pelican Dropship 79 Heavy Troop Carriers sat prepped for launch, two sporting M12 FAV Warthogs affixed to their carrying sections as soldiers stood around the bay checking and double checking their weapons. Marines stood loading the clips of their MA5D Assault Rifles and other weaponry while adjusting their facial masks. Specialized Medics in their white armor tended to their BR85 Heavy Barrel Service Rifles and pistols while Communications Personnel checked their M395 Designated Marksman Rifles as some of infantry climbed into suits of the “MANTIS” power armor.

  A grungy heavy tune played from one of the portable radios in the bay from the far side where the other ODSTs leaned back against the wall with their equipment already checked, cleaned, and loaded. Two ODSTs and a Pit Bull outfitted with a soft vest and pack to carry supplies began to approach Jon as his pace slowed to more of a walk than the jog it had been. The Dog barked loudly over the sounds of equipment being loaded, or in the Case of the Warthogs unloaded from the Pelicans. Both men were giant in stature, dwarfing Jon as they both towered over seven feet tall.

“You done playing with the nut cases up in the lab?” asked the shorter of the two men.
“Can it Thom, I’m not even remotely in the god damn mood.” answered Jon as he continued forward towards his weapon’s locker in the bay.
“Wow Jon, what’s up? She try that robot brain control on you or are you thinking about SPARTANs again?” teased Thom Barz, making his older and larger brother snicker.
“I don’t see what you’re laughing over, jerk ass! And I don’t take that kind of shit from subordinates. Cigarette, NOW!” commanded Jon as he swung his arm back and roughly backhanded Thom’s stomach.
“Sure… no problem.” coughed Thom, his tone sobering significantly as he produced a small pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

  Pulling his helmet off with his spare hand, Jon quickly took the lighter and pack; stuffing them in his pocket. His Locker squeaked open allowing him to set his helmet down inside before recovering the cigarettes and lighter, taking one and inhaling as he lit it. The two tall ODSTs remained formed up behind him, the dog circling them as much as it could before sitting down and just wagging its tail some as Jon wasted no time in grabbing a new holster and pistol. Unlike the other ODSTs and Marines who all armed themselves with a form of Rifle to help them in battle, Jon went to the extreme. A SPARTAN Laser and an M739 Light Machine Gun would be his primary and secondary weapon; two standard issue pistols docked on either side of his hip  and a 13 inch Combat Knife affixed to his chest as a fall back option.

“Did you run those new Marines through their paces?” asked Jon as he exhaled a plume of smoke.
“Oh yeah! We ran Chopper here down the Junior Bunk room and let him go after all of them! They’d run he’d pounce!” laughed Mendosa Barz.
“And their training?” Jon continued questioningly.
“The most brutal money could buy, sir. If they hang around here they’ll definitely be sore for a long time! That is if they don’t jump ship the first time we make port.” Thom chuckled.
“Good. I don’t need more kids to get in the way here. They want me to hang back and play General here then let ‘em. No short cuts, no free rides, no easy assignment. They’ll either get good and fall in line, or you two make sure they’re ready to leave in an escape pod if they have to!” Jon continued.
“Way ahead of you. So the way things are sounding we’re going to end up boarding that ship?” asked Mendosa as he leaned back.
“They’re talking about it, the Admiral and the robots. Whoever’s flying that ship they want a confirmed kill; and if that’s true I’ll be the one to put their target down myself.” Jon answered, crossing his arms as he closed his locker and leaned back against it.

  Before the trio could continue however a bellowing laughter and sound of slurred conversation echoed out across the bay, even with the music from the radio blaring. Jon, Thom, Mendosa, and even the dog quickly turned to face the source of the noise as did many other Marines and ODSTs on the deck. To the surprise of all the onlookers, two ODSTs in ONI variation armor walked casually along; one of the two men resting his arm one the other’s shoulder and poking him in the Chestplate as they laughed and spoke. It was a strangely human if not even casual behavior that was not usually present in the Office of Naval Intelligence.

“What the hell?” asked Jon as he narrowed his brow, scowling at the two.
“Helloooooooooo!! Who is in command down here? We are here to kick butts!” one laughed.
“No, no no! We’re here to help with the butt kicking when we go onboard Forerunner ship! Make things go boom!!” corrected the other.
“I am Yuric! He Yessy! We are ONI Consultants for this mission! Demolition and Intelligence Specialists to help with the blowing up of old big ship! Are you the SPARTAN guy?” spoke the ONI ODST who wore a custom detailed Rouge helmet, pointing to his friend in the EOD helmet.
“Who the hell let these clowns down here in MY hangar?” growled Jon as he quickly stood up.
“I see you smoke! Could you be interested in Vodka perhaps? Maybe Scotch? I’m all out, but if you find, I share!!” chuckled the man in the EOD as he walked over with his friend in tow.
“My god… they’re piss drunk!” gawked Thom.


-UNSC SAINT OF HONOR, BRIDGE-

  Admiral Johanssen stood at full attention behind the twin pilots of the large old Marathon Class Cruiser. His hand was balled nearly into a fist as he stood; thumb poking his chin and index finger resting against his lower lip. The SAINT’s AI had been in constant communication with Lazarus for awhile despite Johnny and Lazarus not getting along well, but now came the dead silence before the storm. The moment of engagement was fast approaching. Johnny had been tasked with running the simulated attack vectors countless times in preparation. In fact, he was still running them as they neared the rendezvous point. Once he met up with the other fleet and moved in to engage, Lazarus would hold back for one and one half minutes before moving in and catching the Forerunner Dreadnaught in a cross fire and mopping up the Covenant ships.

“Sir, heavily encrypted signal detected. It’s been bounced off several nearby satellites to obscure the source but the encryption looks UNSC. The size of the signal would indicate communications rather than a hacking attempt.” called one of the officers on the bridge.
“Put it on the screen Crewman.” Admiral Johanssen spoke cautiously.

  In a flash and burst of static, a grainy distorted image took shape upon one of the many screens in the multitude of terminals in the bridge of the SAINT OF HONOR. Even through the low quality and static the man’s uniform could clearly be made out as that of an Admiral’s. His right arm curled in an almost fetal manner against his chest, appearing much less defined than his thin left arm. The man’s lower jaw was pinched drastically together making it unusually narrow and his mouth small as large deep pink scars ran across the canvas of his lower face. Short white hair covered his scalp, his skin pale and clammy giving him a similar appearance to a doll that have been dropped and glued back together. His chest raised and fell for some seconds and he breathed heavily through his nose before his eyes seemed to surge suddenly with life, almost gleaming as his left hand reached down to his chair and began typing.

“Admiral Johanssen, it is good to see you ahead of schedule.” echoed a harsh inhuman voice from a set of speakers built into his chair, catching most of the bridge crew off guard.
“Admiral Nova Carthwright I presume?” Johanssen asked, maintaining a stoic air of professionalism as he spoke.
“The same.” the Admiral on the other end of the transmission nodded as he continued to type into a keypad to make the voice speak for him.
“I trust you’ve been using this time to coordinate the firing vectors and Slipspace maneuvers for this.” Johanssen began as Admiral Nova raised his left hand to silence him.
“It will not be a problem to my fleet. I will share with you my calculations for your AI and in turn it may communicate with my ship’s Intelligence to clear up any anomalies. These maneuvers will be of no trouble, though your crew will need to standby their battle stations as if expecting collision. It will not be the most comfortable of decelerations.” Admiral Nova explained as Admiral Johanssen’s fleet arrived and dropped from Slipspace.
“Admiral…. I’m detecting moderate damage across Admiral Nova’s Battle Group.” began a Sensor Officer, causing the damaged face of Admiral Nova to attempt to smile.
“The damage is minimal. My fleet has already had the opportunity to tango with this fleet several times in his campaign for genocide. We’ve successfully stalled their approach to Ivanoff Station considerably and damaged most vessels in the Fleet. However the Forerunner vessel is more powerful than I’ve accounted for and forced me to withdraw with every engagement. This time should proceed far more effectively with the additional firepower.” Admiral Nova continued, his face taking on a sly prideful glare.

  Unease washed over the staff of the Bridge as they looked out at the damaged forms of the ships in Admiral Nova’s Fleet. Their MAC Guns no doubt still functioned, but there were breaches on several ships; some still glowing red from the heat of the blasts they took. The effectiveness of their shields was already called well into question as it could plainly be seen that the Dreadnaught had broken through them. But perhaps even stranger still was the large bulk of Admiral Nova’s command ship; a massive civilian designed Springhill Class mining ship that was converted for Military use.

“Admiral Nova, please confirm: you’ve dealt damage to the hostile Fleet?” asked Johanssen as he brow tightened slightly.
“Indeed I have.” the battle scared man nodded.
“Are there any confirmed kills in the fleet that we should know about? What’s the condition of the Dreadnaught?” asked Johanssen, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to remain inactive for much longer as Lazarus’s fleet broke off in preparation.
“There were hundreds of Fighter vehicles deployed from the Dreadnaught as well as supportive Remnant Fighters. Our fighters and anti-fighter measures were more than able to dispatch them. There were also three Covenant Corvettes and Frigates that were not accounted for in my original report to FLEETCOM. But they will no longer be a problem. Of the Dreadnaught I can only assume that their shields have been damaged in several areas, but no obvious hull damage occurred. That is an error I mean to correct Admiral. I will take point in this charge, form up and prepare to move out. Nova out.” answered Admiral Nova before cutting the transmission.

  The screen abruptly returned to a normal Comm. Chatter monitoring display and Admiral was left standing before the eyes of his men. While unorthodox to say the very least, Admiral Johanssen would not order the reconnection of the transmission. He could roll with the punches and would continue to until he foresaw an immediate threat to his men. Instead, Admiral Johanssen simply turned and began to walk to where he had been standing, looking down to the Holotank as the reverse engineered Forerunner AI juttered into shape.

“Johnny, interface with the AI on the lead ship. Ensure that all flight and firing paths are without mistake then compile a list of the 300 most likely errors that could occur and corrections for them.” Johanssen spoke as he looked forward out at the fleet before him.
“You got it Cappy!” nodded the AI.
“Signal Lazarus when those calculations are done and move out on Admiral Carthwright’s signal.” Johanssen continued.
“It’s time for fireworks!” proclaimed the AI as Lazarus’s Fleet displayed green level readiness across the board.


-UNSC CENTRALIA, BRIDGE-

  Admiral Carthwright sat in his chair in the far back of the old mining ship’s bridge, looking over the various readouts on the holographic table that dominated a fair portion of the room. The several hundred ship strong Sentinel Fleet was displaying their readiness across the board as they hung in formation waiting for their chance to strike. As Admiral Johanssen’s Fleet flashed from yellow to green, the AI of the Centralia quickly appeared at the side of the table standing over the data. Its body took the form of a dimly orange glowing human Skeleton whose details were slightly smudged as if the image was upon a blurred photo. The morbid AI’s arms were folded behind its back as the empty blackened sockets followed after Admiral Nova as he slowly began to move along the side of the table. While looking like a normal chair with the addition of a keypad over the transmission, Admiral Nova’s chair was actually motorized, making up for his weakened legs and his proneness to exhaustion after his capture and torture during the Human-Covenant War and the injuries he had taken prior during the war. His body was still forever marked by the scars of radiation burns as well as the birth defect that rendered his right arm near useless. However despite all of this, the older man pressed on with his career. He was never one to be slowed down and even the failing of his body couldn’t break him. The Forerunner would only be another hurdle for him to overcome, and one he planned on dispatching very soon.

“The reinforcement fleet is ready sir.” spoke the AI with a guttural hissing voice that fit his macabre image.

  Carthwright’s eyes lingered on the AI for some seconds as he readjusted himself minorly in his chair before his fingers began to peck the keys. Slowly he turned so that he was perfectly facing the front of the Bridge, looking out in preparation of the battle to come. With a raspy but confident breath, Carthwright firmly pressed the button to make his artificial voice box speak.

“Then it is now the time to cry havoc and let slip the hounds of hell! Radio the other ships and begin our advance.” the man commanded.
“Of course sir, and I enjoy your liberal wording of Shakespeare.” the AI answered, it’s jaw very lightly swinging as it spoke.
“Helm, engage Slipspace drive and switch all control over to Necro for the final approach and firing.” ordered Admiral Nova as he glanced over to one of the officers who lines either side of the Bridge.
“Aye sir, engaging FTL drives now. Switching over to Automatic Control.” called the Helmsman.
“Direct Control of helm and weapons established, Admiral.” the AI signaled as the Centralia quickly jumped to faster than light speed.

  Admiral Carthwright sat within his chair, eyes never leaving the forward section of the Bridge. In his peripheral vision the Admiral could see the many officers in the older seats of the ship diligently working at their controls, readying the ship for what was about to happens. Within seconds of the drop from Slipspace the shields would crack to life to shield them from the Covenant Remnants’ retaliation which was a given. When this Sentinel and his Fleet showed up they’d sweep the board and in his dying breaths the last ship this Forerunner would see staring down his bow would be his. Nova appreciated the irony in his ship’s AI’s appearance, for it was partially why he chose the AI for his ship. Such an image, such a character, living bones, the undead; it fit him very well. There were so many times that he should have died but yet refused to slip into the night. At times, he thought to himself when he was all alone in the dead of night, or even sometimes when he sat on the Bridge, he could feel the icy form of the angel of death behind him. Wherever he went, whatever he did, he never went there alone as death was sure to follow him waiting for its chance to take him home. Most people might have found such a thought to be a cure, but really it struck Carthwright as a blessing. He had transcended the breaking points of the human race, of mortals alone; he was on a new battlefield and Death was his opponent. His will stood where his broken body could not and at every moment he stood there beside it as equals. The fact that Necro looked as he did and served him so diligently only filled that belief, that in some way cosmically it was meant to represent their standoff.

  At either side of his ship the forms of the rest of his Task Group and the Fleet of Admiral Johanssen formed up. Rows above and below also flanked his ship like some form of celestial battering ram from the heavens ready to knock this Forerunner down from the status of godhood; and Admiral Nova took great pride in that idea. There were so many who viewed the Forerunner as something so powerful, so ancient and brilliant, that they walked the halls of time with divinity and grandeur. The UNSC Top Brass were near obsessed with the relics they left behind, with ONI salivating at the mere mention of possible technology to adapt, and this union with the Sentinels with the promise of becoming their sole inheritors sent rumors aflame through all branches of the Military. Even Civilians had come to whisper and covet these things and these Forerunners as something unimaginable. To be the one to kill such a creature was certainly a distinction, but if anyone would prove to be such a “God Killer” Nova would be damn sure to ensure that he was the one to do it!!

“Brace! Brace! Brace! Attention all hands, Deceleration in T minus 15 seconds. Advanced Maneuvering in progress: all hands brace!” announced Necro as the PA systems cracked to life within the Mining Ship.
“Let us leave our mark on the heavens. I want these Sentinels to log me in their collective memories for eons for this.” Nova typed, engaging the magnets on his chair to keep him firmly planted in one spot.
“I will cry havoc sir.” nodded the AI before its avatar glitched and jolted, taking on the form of an upright standing Dire Wolf with empty eye sockets.

  The entire super structure of the old Springhill Class Mining ship began to rumble, the keel creaking, and the deckplates chattering as the ship began its spin. The Engines cried out in protest as the awkward proportioned ship began to attempt a controlled spin. Like the forms of well trained dancers, the other ships in the formation began their spin in tandem mirroring the Centralia. In a bright flash the ships began to drop from Slipspace as their MAC Cannons fired as each ship’s pitch and angle was adjusted. All hands grabbed onto their chairs and consoles as the ship rumbled and the forces inside grew more violent.

  In his more beastly form Nechro roared out in a primal howl of fury and rage the moment the MAC cannon fired. The Commanders of each ship were blinded briefly from the flash of dropping back to sub-light and the following explosions along what they assumed was the Forerunner ship. The blast happened within fractions of a second, most of the personnel here didn’t even know what the ship looked like yet and yet they all stood fast to their positions, apparently scoring direct hits along its broadside!

  Protectively, each ship stood tall and proud in the inky blackness of space between the invading Fleet and Ivanoff Station with the Massive form of a Halo ring behind them; their cannons still trained on the hostiles. As the flash faded, the strangely frail looking triangular if not pyramid shape of the Forerunner Dreadnaught came into view, its shields flickering and lashing out a bright blue as the hull sparked along the starboard side. Direct hits, every last one of them! The hull of this incredible Dreadnaught had been breached and the shields had been buckled.

“Continue fire!! All vessels engage, ENGAGE. Offer no quarter to the Forerunner ship. All Fighters and Prowlers are to move in and fire on the Covenant ships between them and the Dreadnaught. All Capital ships are to continue MAC fire on the Forerunner ship!” ordered Nova as Nechro quickly shifted back to his regular appearance.
“Order is being transmitted to the rest of the Fleet Admiral. First blood has been drawn.” nodded Necro as he began transmitting the order.

  A hail of blue plasma fire began raining down on the UNSC fleet. Archer Missiles sprayed out in an almost biblical flurry as MAC Canons began roaring to life once again to pepper the stunned Forerunner ship. The shabby poorly maintained Covenant Ships quickly began to float upwards and together to form protective lines between the Forerunner ship and the attacking UNSC fleet.

  Nova’s eyes gleamed, his heart races, and his mangled face attempted to bear teeth. Remember me; remember the face of this broken withered man who has surpassed all physical limitations! Those were the thoughts of Admiral Nova as he looked out at the Forerunner ship and the Covenant Remnant ships that tried to block their shots. His eyebrow twitched and turned into a scowl as slowly the Covenant ships began to block more and more of the MAC rounds despite the beating they were taking from the Missiles. The main beams of the Covenant Cruisers began to charge as they turned to face the UNSC ships, firing out and taking a significant bite out of the shields of some of the closer ships.

  But Nova remained steadfast at his post, the rest of his fleet standing to and firing round after round from their MAC Cannons into the Fleet. He silently watched as Admiral Johanssen’s fleet began to break away from the primary formation to maintain better shots on the Dreadnaught. He would not be moved from this area, no more games of cat and mouse, no more withdraws! This would be the death of this creature and his fleet!!

  As if brought on by the call of his will alone, Lazarus’s fleet suddenly flashed into existence behind the Forerunner Dreadnaught and its Fleet. Navy Grade Sentinel Beams scorched the vacuum of space as they shot forward and began hammering not only the Covenant Ships, but the Dreadnaught as well. Near Instantly three CPV-Class Heavy Destroyers burst into a violent ball of molten metal and hypnotizing purple flame. As Missiles continued to rain down upon the Covenant ships and MAC rounds continued to fire, two SDV-Heavy Corvettes that were turning to engage the Sentinel fleet jointed the smoldering remains of their allies as they exploded. Like a Wasp’s nest, hundreds of strange somewhat Sentinel-like fighter craft and Corvettes surged free from the Dreadnaught’s hull and raced to engage Lazarus as his ships continued to mop the floor with the poorly maintained Covenant escort. And then as an RCS-Class Armored Cruiser was blown to smithereens by MAC cannon fire Nova saw it; an opening directly to the Forerunner Dreadnaught that just hung there in space helplessly stunned as it sent more Fighters and Corvettes into the fray to protect itself. The Covenant ships were breaking off, turning a full about face to deal with the engaging Sentinels and leaving the Dreadnaught wide open on the side facing the UNSC ships. Surging forward in his chair as he looked at the motionless bulk of the Dreadnaught, Nova opened a channel to all ships in the UNSC Fleet.

“All ships advance! Repeat, all ships advance on Forerunner Dreadnaught. Starboard Shields are down, any and all able bodied teams are to board that ship. I repeat, ALL COMBAT PERSONNEL, BOARD THE DREADNAUGHT!” his mechanical voice bellowed just like the MAC Cannons of his ship.

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Halo: Purifier
A Halo Fanfic by TheApprentice225
Commissioned by DrSkyTower



DISCLAMER:
  The Commissioner as well as myself are not fans of HALO 4. While being long time fans of the Halo series we both share the belief that the fourth installment in the Master Chief’s saga was a dissatisfying jumbled mess of visual mistakes and plot cliché after cliché. So again while we both hold a deep love of the series, we cannot praise or offer any attention to a game so undeserving of it. It is to that end that this story, while containing elements of the Halo 4 plot and being set in that timeline, will NOT adhere to the events of Halo 4. Hopefully this story will still prove entertaining to those who read it, but you have been warned that this stories’ Cannon will challenge or ignore Halo 4’s.


MAIN CHARACTERS:

UNSC:
ADMIRAL- WILLIAM JOHANSSEN
ADMIRAL- NOVA CARTHWRIGHT
SERGEANT- OLVIA “MAELSTROM” PATTERS
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER- JON EVANS
LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE- MENDOSA BARZ
CORPORAL- THOM BARZ
SPECIALIST- BRADY FRITZ
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS -PHEOBE CALLOFEY
PRIVATE- HUTCH HENDRICKS
WARRANT OFFICER- COLE “BOOM” BELFAST
WARRANT OFFICER- EMILE “JACK” SAJJAK
CIVILIAN- JA’EDA JERROD
CIVILIAN- NEWTON CROSBY
CIVILIAN - BENJAMIN JHARVI

FORERUNNER:
UR DIDACT
105 FORMIDABLE ASCENDANCE
FOREVER SILENCE
104 SHORT CIRCUIT
106 ILLUSTRIOUS PROSPERITY



CHAPTER 1: Searing Wounds

  Hearts beat loud under the blood red sky, a painful stabbing burn in the smoke polluted air. Heat from evaporating bodies coming to a boil and bursting into ash washed over the scrambling and screaming populous of a small unsuspecting colony. Frantic footfalls echoed out across the crumbling tiles of the Starport, civilian transport craft bursting into orbs of melted flesh and burning metal as the trees around screamed out in their high pitched snapping sound as they were uprooted from the force. The source of the chaos, the death, the pain, all originated from a red glow that grazed the land like a merciless flame sweeping away all it touched. The focal point of the light came in the form of a glowing crimson orb with a yellow core, like looking into the eye of Satan himself as it left barely a hand of hardened sinters of men, woman, and children which once stood.

  And yet through this slew of dismay and disarray, figures within the beam moved slowly with a cold collected intelligence around the landscape as it was brought to ruin. Steely unfeeling figures leapt from structure to structure before pouncing down to the ground and throwing any would be escapees back into the beam which took little time in claiming their flesh. Clouds of ash were cast high into the air as each body was violently burned away and torn asunder before shimmering in one final ghoulish flare of reddened light and disappearing. A young woman, a frightened mother who clutched her screaming newborn close to her rabidly rising and falling chest, ran for the lives of both herself and her child as she fled the city; the world around her burning.

  She had deftly avoided the lunging metallic forms preying upon people who were friend, family, and stranger alike thus far and ran through panic as exhaustion began to grip her form. Her attention focused on a building that was erected on a hill far from the death behind her, built almost into a small rocky collection of hills leading into an equally rocky Fjord. Unknown to the figures who destroyed her home, the woman was an accomplished member of a survey team who had been involved in a dig involving a complex series of interconnecting caves under the surface of the town. With haunting images of the Covenant’s glassing of worlds still very much alive within the cultural memory of the human race, the beam behind her resonated in an almost primal way before it suddenly ceased and all felt deadly silent apart from the crackling of the burning wrecks that littered the ground from all sides. Despite the return of a soft warm breeze that gradually turned cool as the world around her slowly began to calm, the woman didn’t dare to slow a single iota from her retreat; trying desperately to silence her baby as she reached the door and fumbled with a keycard until she gained access to the room within.

  In her racing mind her next course of action would be clear; all she needed to do was descend into the tunnels, take the Spade or the Cart a few miles out to one of the opening that lead to the surface, take one of the Shuttles hidden in case of a Covenant Remnant attack, and flee to safety!! At fear for detection she could hide there for some period of time in the innards of the world to ensure the Shuttle would avoid the same fate as the smoldering planes around her, but she had the sickening knowledge which chilled the pit of her stomach knowing that is she dawdled for too long her life and the life of her child would end. Sealing the door behind her and engaging the locks, the young woman rushed to a computer terminal and plugged in her card before setting her spidery fingers to task across the keys. It took only seconds for her to input the correct codes to unseal the heavy cog shaped door that protected the dig site which dominated the back wall of the otherwise poorly kempt underwhelming interior of the small office; a light steam hissing from the door as a mechanical apparatus began to slide it back and roll it away from the mouth of the cave.

  Her heart caught in her throat and tears ran warm down her cheeks as the young woman eyed her salvation and willed herself to press on with her child now quieted. Her mind was reeling, spinning as her heart sank and the ghoulish screams of burning people screamed in her mind. So distraught was she from the recent memories of only moments past that for a split second she didn’t notice as her foot refused to fall and continue her trek ahead to safety. Realization however all too quickly struck as her body began like that of a statue, rigid and turgid as she lifted into the air and was rotated around. Her body betrayed her as not even a scream could escape her as a metallic figure stood before her, arm outstretched and somehow willing her body to rise and freeze at its command as the entity slowly stepped forward with ancient looking tatters of fabric trailing from its shoulders. A hiss could be heard as the figure’s organically metallic head topped with a single glowing blue eye began to break apart and segment revealing a fleshy form beneath. Robbed of even her most basic mobility as her child began to stir and cry, the woman released an earsplitting scream as she regarded the alien creature before her until even her scream and that of her child were stripped from her.

“What an amusing hubris that your species soberly defines themselves as intellectuals when so quickly, when you are faced with your own necessary extermination, you can be brought to the holophrases of your young if even that! So quick you all are to return to your unintelligible utterances of sound, void of even words. In some minute way surely even you can see the requirement of your end; of the termination of this farce masquerading as anything more than animals. But what Providence, what rapturous Devine Superintendence that in your instinctual quest to preserve your feted offspring and own needless existence, you would so graciously provide me with a direct path to the vehicle of your species conclusion.” the figure spoke in a dethatched disconnected calm in lieu of the previous savagery that had transpired.

  Despite the creature’s lack of visible eyes, instead sporting two overlapping slits of flesh, the place alien’s gaze felt as if it was burning straight through the woman. In parts the figure’s head looked of raw flesh while for the most part its fleshy canvas bore the unwell pale chalkiness of a severe burn victim. Its armor was smooth and silvery, rather plain aside from a few overlapping and sculpted sections along the torso and mid limbs. One of the hands of the glove however stood out as the alien creature placed it along the face of the woman and rolled her head side to side as he observed her frozen form; still elevated in the air despite the hand moving.

“And in return I will provide purpose to the ashes; a kindness that you do not deserve. Your kind shall beat the drum heralding your Ur Didact, relinquishing the Mantle to its true barer at long last. Animals will not be the sole inheritors of the Forerunner! But rest assured you can serve the one true Reclaimer as it always should have been. Thus ends the greatest injustice of our era, and the beginning of the Reclamation!” continued the figure after some seconds, his hand remaining gentle with the woman’s face as both her and her child were ravaged to ashes by a sudden glare of red light; the last lives on the planet finally extinguished in one final moment of pain.


-UNSC DEEP SPACE GARRISON “MONARCH”-

  Slightly sloped flat sections of hull united at three of the four sides of a larger flat section of hull, all covered in blackened Battleplating to form the UNSC Outpost which hung on the inside of a large asteroid belt near a glowing green gas giant that colored the space around it. While it was not owned by the Office of Naval Intelligence, officers of ONI frequented the officially designated “Research and Refueling Base”. Off the official records, the suspiciously well camouflaged Station was actually a recently constructed Base to be used for conferences among the UNSC’s and ONI’s Top Brass and coordinating subspace transmissions from a still active surveillance system that was green lit months after the end of the Covenant War. While it no longer was tasked with spying on the Elites after post war fears of their betrayal were put to rest, the network found new use in coordinating and mopping up the small strains of Covenant Loyal Militia Groups that tried to find a footing in the years after the war.

  Docked to one of the four large Docking Frames was an equally curious sight which seemed strangely fitting in contrast to the station. While most of the Marathon Class Cruisers of the UNSC Navy had been retired in favor of the new Autumn Class Heavy Cruisers, the UNSC SAINT OF HONOR stood tall and handsome in the dock. Much like his ship, the commanding officer of the SAINT was robust and well seasoned; an officer held in high regard in his task group and the UNSC alike. Admiral William Johanssen was a sturdy older man whose uniform was drawn to the same standards as the hull plating of his ship. A sturdy jaw provided his steely gaze with the intensity of a brash young man while the deep lines in his face along with the noticeable gaunt in his cheeks command a level of respect that could only be claimed by age. He was only one of the ten Commanding Officers in his task fleet present in the meeting room of the Monarch, three officers from the Office of Naval Intelligence and two heavily aged Fleet Admirals as well as an Army General lining the other side of the table.

“How many?” asked Admiral Johanssen as his brow knitted as he scrutinized the projections before him on the holographic table.
“The exact number of casualties is still being processed, but we have confirmation that three colonies have been wiped completely out and no less than two battle groups are destroyed. A civilian Convoy near the area is not reporting in and assumed destroyed and ONIRF IS-004920//001-54 “Ivanoff Station” has just stopped responding to all communication attempts as of 2100 hours.” one of the older Fleet Admirals answered as one of the ONI Officers began to walk around the table.
“The Forerunner Dreadnaught is being backed by three RCS-Class Armored Cruisers, five CPV-Class Heavy Destroyers, one Agricultural Support ship, and three SDV-Class Heavy Corvettes according to report.” the taller of the ONI Officers spoke.
“Good god, that’s a prewar strength battle group! We don’t even know the extent of Forerunner Dreadnaught’s offensive power! It could blow us out of the sky before we’d even get through a third of those ships.” spoke one of the Captains from Admiral Johanssen’s Fleet, obviously growing slightly panicked at the idea.
“The Covenant ships have been reported in varying states of wear and disrepair with inconsistent numbers following the Forerunner Dreadnaught. These figures are from civilian reports and scan data from UNSC Satellites before they were destroyed so exact details are at this time uncertain. The numbers we projected are the most likely and the only thing we know for sure is that these Remnant ships are poorly maintained.” answered the second ONI Officer as he remained at the side of the older Fleet Admirals.
“Even still, a wounded Covenant ship is very far from harmless ship. The resilience of Covenant Engineering is no more obvious than when a Ship Master perceives an imminent loss of his ship. A desperate Ship Master can and WILL plow through lesser equipped UNSC craft by the dozens. I’m not leading a suicide brigade.” spoke Admiral Johanssen as he shook his head slightly, running over the figures once more.

  All four men at the other side of the table went quiet for a moment, the tired eyes of the bearded Fleet Admirals turning over to his battle scarred and clean shaven colleague before looking to one of the young ONI Officers. Leaning forward the bearded Fleet Admiral steeped his placed both hands upon the sleek black form of the well polished table, a pin upon his uniform reading “McDowell” as it almost seemed to glow blue from the light in the room as he moved in closer to the table. Unlike Johanssen, the youth seemed to have long since been bled from the war weary man as his motion seemed more like a gambit to hold himself up by the table as his bald and sour faced counterpart stood with a glint of rage behind a face that was growing too old to keep fighting. Both were no doubt very familiar with the Covenant from the war time, possibly even severing during the Insurrections. There was no question they had earned their ranks, but their years in service were no doubt numbered seemingly being used more now as a bridge to the Office of Naval Intelligence to make orders of the UNSC Fleet.

“Admiral, we did not a war through poor planning and haphazard placement of troops. We know what we’re doing, and you have a part to play in it.” began McDowell with a dry, crackling, and tired voice, rich with a powerful Dutch accent.
“If you fail it’s safe to assume this nut job’s coming straight to Earth to take out as many civilians and military assets as he can to demoralize whatever forces are left after he finishes this genocidal campaign. And we didn’t survive the damn Covenant AND Flood to just sit at the sideline and let this fossil walk all over Earth.” the sour and scar faced Fleet Admiral added, placing a fist in his other hand.
“You have a very practical style; one that I personally agree with. You make do with what you’ve got and you get results without needing to be on the bleeding edge of Naval technology. Where most of our Navy’s Commanders cry out for compliments of Spartans onboard, you favor ordinance and ODSTs. Spartans are good tools to break through enemy lines; but it’s the Soldier who wins wars! If it comes to a ground assault then I want your men to be the ones engaging. The Admiral we have in the area already shares in your style if not slightly more eccentric in his actions, but you should be able to effectively operate with him just the same.” McDowell continued.
“Admiral Carthwright’s fleet is fourteen strong and has been trailing the Forerunner formation for about three hours twenty minutes. He’s already attempted to engage them using Cat and Mouse tactics and while it has slowed the formation down, their course to Ivanoff Station is still unaltered.” one of the ONI Officers added.

  A coolness fell over the air as Admiral Johanssen could feel the eyes of the nine other Captains under his command cast their steely gaze upon him. As a figure of the UNSC he was duty bound to take his orders without question! Being an Admiral offered him certain privileges in that regard, but he was not so bold as to think he could discard them as he fancied. No, William Johanssen was a far more respectable man than that! If anyone had a shot at hobbling this Forerunner ship with what they had in the area it was him. But even still…. the idea of tangoing with a Covenant Fleet of that size and a Dreadnaught of indeterminate power was unsettling; the second fleet offering little in the way of comfort to his burdened mind. In the end however he had little choice, the higher ups had at least provided him with support. There wasn’t much more that he could ask for.

“Do we have a plan of engagement in place or will I be coordinating with Admiral Carthwright upon arrival?” asked Johanssen, his words unsettling some of the Captains on his side of the table.
“The going plan is for you to form up on Carthwright’s Fleet, coordinate a group Slipspace jump to the Forerunner fleet, and then drop from Slipspace and fire the MAC Cannons at the Forerunner vessel. This maneuver is going to rely heavily on timing and computer coordination as in the seconds before the drop back down to sub-light velocity all ships are to face backwards at the Forerunner ship, have target vectors locked, and fire the MAC rounds before the ships decelerate. By turning around and overshooting the Forerunner Dreadnaught we’re hoping that the added force and momentum accelerating the MAC rounds will be enough to damage the Dreadnaught’s shields and take this Forerunner by surprise at the very least.” the Second ONI officer now explained.
“And you’re hoping that stunning the Forerunner will provide us a long enough window to mop up the Covenant forces?” spoke Johanssen with a deep skeptical breath as he worriedly went over the scene in his head.
“Negative, you’ll be focusing exclusively on the Forerunner Craft while group two deals with the Covies.” smirked the bald Fleet Admiral.

  Hearing the door behind him hiss open, Admiral Johanssen turned his head slightly to the noise as several of the Captains in his group about faced to view the new figure in the room with noises of surprise and quieted chattering. A sense of confidence began to grow in the meeting room the twelve foot length and nearly one ton golden Sentinel Warrior softly and steadily slid through the air around the table. Its single green eye lens panned over the group of UNSC Officials, golden armor and fleshy purple components glistening in the light of the table, before it halted midway through the side of the table.

“It is good to see you again Reclaimer Admiral William Johanssen.” bowed the Sentinel Warrior subtly as it turned to face the Admiral.
“You as well Lazarus.” nodded Admiral Johanssen.
“105 Formidable Ascendance, who you call Lazarus, will be commanding the Sentinel Task Group that’s been allowed to the UNSC from the Sentinel Assembly and disabling the Covenant Remnant Vessels before moving on to the Dreadnaught while you provide covering fire.” McDowell explained as he leaned back with a heavy breath, grabbing a small cup of water as he relaxed.
“I would like to make clarification on behalf of Forever Silence and the rest of the ones Humanity is to Inherit. The Forerunner’s belief that you are to succeed them and bare the Mantle has not wavered in us. All that we are will be yours as we continue to serve when the time comes that your species is ready to command us as the Forerunner had before you. What Ur-Didact represents is a rogue and unstable element of our war with the Parasite; corrupted and disturbed by the one you designated Gravemind. He is separate from our goals despite preaching the might of the Forerunner. His every breath outside of the realm of forgotten memories why he belongs is not only an insult to us, but to the wishes of our Creators. The Fleet of Ascending Justice’s purpose has never been clearer than now when presented with this heretical stain on our past. It also becomes my duty to inform you that anything less than his entire destruction is non-negotiable. If this proves to be a problem and prevents any planned autopsies we apologize, but it is the way it must be.” Lazarus explained in his cool calm mechanical voice.
“Given the threat the Didact possesses and his assumed course and heading, the UNSC is more than cooperative in that regard. As long as he’s stopped before he can get to Earth and additional loss Civilian lives, colonies, and Naval assets are put to a stop we’re comfortable with your terms and his destruction. While the recovery of his Dreadnaught would be preferred, in this instance it’s an acceptable loss and an optional objective.” the first ONI Officer with some shifting in place.

  While ONI was traditionally highly opportunistic when it came to possible research projects such as this, even they were in agreement if only for now over the destruction of the Didact. Still, it was obvious that ONI was uneasy with the lost opportunity and given their fickle nature their compliance could wane at any moment. With a Sentinel Fleet at his back however, Admiral Johanssen’s attention was now more on more pressing matters. The additional man and firepower would prove invaluable, but the Sentinels alone would not be an assurance for survival; and such a precise Slipspace maneuver could easily go wrong and send MAC rounds harmlessly off into space along with all chances of hurting the Dreadnaught. Additionally there was also the matter of swinging the ships around for the shot without killing or ghoulishly injuring the crew from the increased G-Forces.

“What are the Elites making of this whole situation?” Johanssen wondered after some seconds.
“As of yet they’ve remained reserved over the whole situation. While their Councilors have entertained visual communications and have assured us that should this fleet approach Earth that Humanity can count on their support, their primary concern remains on the separatist faction of their species and their stolen war era starships. We’ve no reason to doubt their honesty in their claims per say, but…” began one of the ONI Officers, knitting his brow.
“It’s not high on their priority list and a timely intervention on their behalf is unlikely. Right?” asked Johanssen as his gaze turned into a frown.
“The UNSC would likely lose considerable assets in the time it would take for the Elites to arrive at Earth, and those are losses the UNSC cannot afford.” the second ONI Officer spoke as Lazarus turned to Admiral Johanssen.
“The Sangheili would prove to be of little value when pitted against a Forerunner Dreadnaught. While their shield technology and plasma weaponry would theoretically be more effective than your traditionally fired Magnetic Acceleration Cannons and Missiles, the delay they could cause would be only minor. The Fleet of Ascending Justice’s direct intervention would be the only force that could be assembled in a timely enough manner to be effective. Even still, errors against Ur Didact would result in demise. His insanity has not hampered his tactical abilities to harmless levels. Destruction of Earth should be assumed if this intervention fails.” Lazarus corrected, his single green lens somehow communicating the gravity of the situation just as effectively as any human eye ever could.
“Whenever you’re involved Lazarus, it’s never a simple mission is it? But the fate of humanity is not a weight I’m unfamiliar with.” nodded Admiral Johanssen as he leaned back, preparing to stand and disembark.

  Seeing their Admiral begin to rise, the other Captains in the room soon began to rise as well; straightening their uniforms and steadying their nerves. If nothing else they stood a chance now. That was a lot more than they could say before Lazarus arrived; each man internally trying to prepare for the coming engagement. The Fleet Admirals and ONI Officers however did not move from their spots, instead shifting in position and clearing their throats. With a quirk of his brow Admiral Johanssen slowed his rising and looked over across the table as the other Captains rose to their feet.

“Something else?” asked the Admiral.
“You weren’t dismissed Admiral.” spoke the bald Fleet Admiral with a stern eye and tightened jaw.
“No. I suppose I wasn’t. Another topic to be briefed?” said Admiral Johanssen with a slight pause, forcing a respectful and polite smile to his face.
“Only one, regarding Ivanoff Station; the research team there and their work represents a substantial commitment. While the nature of their dig is irrelevant to you, it is to be undisturbed by this so called Didact. I trust you’ll do everything in your power to ensure this. You’re dismissed, and god speed.” Fleet Admiral McDowell answered, looking down to a collection of notes and away from Admiral Johanssen as he spoke.

  With a nod the Admiral took in the last words before finishing his ascent and soon stepped out of the darkened room with his men and Lazarus right behind him. With a soft humming sound Lazarus kept pace with the Admiral as they walked down the Hall; several basic Sentinels and Sentinel Reapers following after whom had been lining the halls now forming up behind their Commander. Silently the Sentinels of various classifications exchanged their thoughts through their uplink and regarded the group of humans before them, the group they called Reclaimers. As it had been ever since their first encounter with them, the Sentinels and other Constructs of the Forerunner had silently observed and studied the human species. While their departure hadn’t been desired or ideal, the Forerunner turned their collective attention to the then young and still developing human race. They could see with the vision of an elder species that the primitive mammals would one day rise from the dirt with minds that could understand their technologies, to appreciate the value of morality. It came with little resistance when the Mantle and the Genetic key to operate their legacy was passed to them before the firing of the Halo Array; the Didact being one such objector. Despite how primitive they were now, the Monitors and Constructs all came to a majority agreement that they were proving to be everything their masters had thought they would be; they only needed the correct guidance in their continued development.

“I trust that your missions during your recall went well?” asked Admiral Johanssen as they moved down the hall towards an internal subway system, breaking the silence.
“Affirmative Reclaimer Admiral William, our time with the Sharquoi Reclaimer has proven to be very informative for the various Constructs whom monitor your species’ progression. Given time I think the traits of the Mantle will develop properly in your societies and the Genetic markers will become more pronounced. The Sharquoi Reclaimer has developed her abilities considerably as she was able to coordinate a full repair of the virtual infrastructure of several Installations and Colonies which had fallen long ago into disarray. Direct mental communication and management within our networks over extended periods of time still prove to be physically demanding, but the Reclaimer has become stronger over time.” nodded the large golden Sentinel Warrior as he looked over to the older man, allowing his mind to wander in recollection briefly.
“Ja’eda has done all that over the last month?” asked Admiral Johanssen with a level of shock in his voice despite maintaining a rather professional and objective tone.
“Through future generations your species will one day share in these abilities and more as the latent markers the Forerunners passed on develops. You are surprised by her performance?” asked Lazarus as they continued into one of the trams.

  Admiral Johanssen remained quiet for some seconds, taking a small breath as he walked towards one of the windows of the large MagLev Tram car and just admired the view of the Space Station’s interior and the occasional glances of space that were offered as the Tram jolted to life. A small breath escaped him as he looked out over the men and women who kept this Station functional, the various engineering marvels that made it possible, and the impossible infinite expanse that continued on forever in every direction which housed it. There were a few Marines, a large amount of Army personnel, and a considerable ODST force manning the station; men and women who started from such humble beginnings as little more than cells which grouped together into a soft helpless infant. Now here they all were, grown and trained, putting homes in the heavens themselves, victorious from wars past where they were pitted against a superior alien foe, and trained to do so many things with so very little. He wasn’t usually one to dabble in philosophy but with the information the Constructs had provided the UNSC, the feats he had witnessed from the young Ja’eda Jerrod while she had originally been under his observation before her time with the Sentinels, it wasn’t something that a normal human mind could just shake off. It did what even the Covenant Remnant couldn’t do; it made him, a hardened no nonsense Admiral, a seasoned commander of men, stop and just step back to look at it all. Humanity was a hell of a thing when you looked at the road just far, and as a race their future shown even brighter.

“No… I suppose I’m not. I’ve seen what she could do even during her early days with my Fleet. It just… puts a man in a strange position I suppose if I were to get Pensive about it.” The Admiral spoke for a moment before turning his head back and looking over his shoulder to see how many of his men were eavesdropping.
“What do you mean, Admiral William?” asked Lazarus, cocking his head slightly as his lens focused on Admiral Johanssen’s face; floating forward towards the window.
“I’ve seen a lot of strange and curious things in my travels. I know of course by comparison to you it must seem like less that even the blink of an eye; you whose life is measured in eons of hard fought experience, who’ve seen empires crumble and fall and the new strands of life crawl up out of the slop of still cooling planets. I don’t mean to sound presumptuous or egotistical by any means, you know this of course. But… I’ve seen Plasma eat through men only feet away from me, felt the heat of the blast wafting from their bodies. I’ve seen entire planets turned into nothing but burning glass where once a thousand skyscrapers caressed the heavens of an alien sky, spires of ancient technology on strange colonies that alien beasts have fought tooth and nail to covet, and now a young girl coordinate robots hundreds upon thousands of years older than our planet with nothing more than her mind.” Admiral Johanssen continued as he lightly shook his head.

  Watching him carefully, Lazarus couldn’t help but feel something in the pit of his being. Unlike most of his Sentinel brethren, Lazarus possessed a form of organic life integrated into his otherwise mechanical body that on occasion responded to such things and allowed his otherwise cold unfeeling mechanical mind to wander. The look in the Admiral’s optical organs was one he had been told he displayed on more than one occasion; albeit with far less sloshing of blood, water, and other such biological components.

“You are far too young to think in such ways Admiral. True you may not share my longevity, but given time your species will. These small moments are simply the lip of destiny, something that hangs out over what is above you; what must be overcome to see the more impressive sights upon the horizon. Such thoughts do gratify us greatly as they are what will lead to wisdom and eventually your apex.” Lazarus replied with a small twang of humor in his voice.
“That’s an interesting conclusion to think about, inheriting the Forerunner’s technologies, an entire empire they left behind with powers and technologies I can’t even begin to dream about. One day living up to all that and being able to use that kind of machinery, that’d be an apex worth seeing.” the Admiral nodded.
“No, that is not your apex. What they have left behind is old and long since worn to decay. Your species is not dwell in the past glory, but rather to restore and surpass even them.” Lazarus countered as he slowly shook his head.
“Well then, I guess until then we’ll just have to make do with our primitive ingenuity: starting with this Ur Didact and his Dreadnaught! Let’s see if we can’t go kill a god with sticks and rocks.” Admiral Johanssen smirked slightly to himself as the tram slowed and the dominating forms of his fleet shimmered above the transparent ceiling in the room before them.
  • Mood: Bewildered
  • Listening to: Little Bitty Pretty One by Thirston Harris
  • Reading: A book my Girlfriend sent me about The Enterprise
  • Watching: Grease
  • Playing: nothing at the moment
  • Eating: Phili cheese steak
  • Drinking: Water
April 25th, my Birthday. Another year older, hopefully a little wiser, and just sort of confused really. It's been an interesting year so far. First off I'm sorry to everyone that I've not been on here as much as I used to be. With my laptop now a doorstop until I can pay to have her fixed and every job I ask to pick up turning me down I've not been able to get onto the net often. So that's been a real downer because I don't want to drop out of contact with all of you guys and I feel a little crappy over the fact no job will give me the time of day. But hey, I finally got my permit and I've been practicing my driving skills! So that's a plus if nothing else! Eventually I will get the full on license and be on the road, and that ties into my attempts to get a car that I've been eying up for a few years now (but that kinda circles back into my money situation). But My family are planning to take me out tomorrow and celebrate so I'm looking forward to that too. I'm coordinating with some people to get Infinity Quest published and released sometime in the near future and that is a tremendous feeling after all the work I put into it :D So as far as all that's concerned Life has been pretty fair I suppose!

But then the not so easily silverlined thing happened about 10 days ago. I can deal with places telling me I'm not good enough to work for them, but recently I had to weather something that struck much harder and much closer to home. My one dog, the dog who licked over my face until I got up in the morning, the goofy, funny, snorting, tummy rub queen Abby my Shih tzu had a 5 out of 5 level Heart murmur and was slowly experiencing Heart Failure. On April the 15th we had managed to get an appointment for her for the next day to get treatment after the pills she was given ran out. The morning started with her collapsing and falling behind the couch. I heard her scream and woke up, without thinking I jumped out of bed, threw the couch from the wall (with my mom still on it, sorry mom), and helped get Abby out from behind the sofa where she proceeded to pee and defecate on herself. Once we took her outside and managed to get her to what seemed like a stable condition I played the song "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow." on the computer while she sat near me. I was desperate to give myself the hope I needed that she could make it. But she was in bad shape and got worse rapidly through the day. I held her on my lap and stayed with her the whole day. Then she had a heart attack and her body bent out in wild and horrid shapes, that was my dog, my girl sputtering on the floor. The light faded from her eyes and my sister screamed for my attention as I had left to get the phone to call my dad home for support. Ever loyal to my Abby I dropped to her side and discovered she wasn't breathing and her heart no longer beat. I began compressions and didn't stop until she was alive again, and I prayed that she'd make it but I knew she wasn't going to last until tomorrow. But I refused to even entertain the idea. I'd stay up all night if I had to and bring her back again and again until we could help her. My dad came home and tried his best to support us but he knew as well as I did that she was barely holding on. Several hours past and Abby didn't want to leave my side. When I went to the bathroom she followed, she came out to the living room to be around everybody else, got pets and scratches from everyone, and eventually moved to the glass door which led to my backyard. I let her out and sat with her right by her side as she just looked out into the woods and enjoyed the breeze. When we came back inside I walked into the bathroom as she eventually walked into the doorway and sat down panting heavily as she had the entire day. I washed my hands and walked up to her, setting down and petting her and after some seconds of my affections she fell over. Brown watery liquid began to pour from her noes mixed with blood and I knew in an instant there was no helping her. I wanted to, and god did I try; I had restarted her heart with my own hands only moments early but now watched helplessly as she leaked more and more and more as any attempt to aid fell useless until my Abby girl laid on her side literally drowned before me. Even after she died though her body kept moving. Muscle spasms. And it killed me to watch, I don't think she wanted to leave me and I made sure not to leave her. When she finally fell still Dad and I wrapped her in a towel and I carried her out into the garage where we put her in a box and eventually buried her some time later near my bedroom window so I can always be near her. But it was horrible to experience and it's been on my conscience a lot since then.

But I was there for her and I take comfort in that fact. If for one brief moment I showed how much I loved her, I stayed by her side and I brought her back from the freaking dead long enough to let her say her goodbyes. But that cut me deep and I think I'm still healing from that. But that was a major dampener on the year and I think venting it some here might help with that. I don't want to bring anyone down or anything like that, I don't really know if talking about this is right or if I shouldn't even post that but I wanted to keep people posted on what's been happening in my life since there's been large periods where I've not been online. Hopefully I can get my laptop fixed though. I've also been considering college, but I think that I'm going to try one last big Hurrah and try to find a job before I get serious about that. If I can get employment that takes back burner until I can save up enough to visit my girlfriend and away from the hardships in her life. She needs me and I want to be there for her like I should be.

But yeah, I'm hoping I get somewhere further with Infinity Quest, I want to find a job, see my girl, visit my friends, buy the car I'm trying so hard to get and restore, and get my laptop back in working order. I've also been working out every night since December and have not missed a night yet. I feel like I'm getting myself into tip top shape and that always feels good. I've discovered that I can flick open the shell of an egg with ease and that's made cooking more fun despite me liking to cook already, and I'm hoping that tomorrow I get to go out a bit and have fun. So that's been my year so far I think! It's always nice talking to you all because I love you all and am happy to call you all friends!! Sorry for the sad parts of this, I've just had a lot on my mind and hopefully I can draw a bit of strength from you guys' advice. And I hope that all of you are having an awesome year so far. Hopefully 2015 will be a big year for me as well ^^ Here's to hoping!
Patooty Point of Impact by TheApprentice225
Patooty Point of Impact
A long overdue picture I did for my lovely Girl friend :iconaerlox: I wanted to make sure I got it just right for her before I uploaded it but one thing lead t another and I increasingly became less sure of the drawing but tonight I finally touched it up to a point were I at last for now feel happy with it and am uploading it before I can change my mind!
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Here to help by TheApprentice225
Here to help
A picture of the animatronic known as Fang from one of my lovely goofball friends here on DA ^^ And just in time for :iconsnowflarekit: 's contest for drawing her OC Hopefully XD either way she was fun to draw ^^
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  • Mood: Bewildered
  • Listening to: Little Bitty Pretty One by Thirston Harris
  • Reading: A book my Girlfriend sent me about The Enterprise
  • Watching: Grease
  • Playing: nothing at the moment
  • Eating: Phili cheese steak
  • Drinking: Water
April 25th, my Birthday. Another year older, hopefully a little wiser, and just sort of confused really. It's been an interesting year so far. First off I'm sorry to everyone that I've not been on here as much as I used to be. With my laptop now a doorstop until I can pay to have her fixed and every job I ask to pick up turning me down I've not been able to get onto the net often. So that's been a real downer because I don't want to drop out of contact with all of you guys and I feel a little crappy over the fact no job will give me the time of day. But hey, I finally got my permit and I've been practicing my driving skills! So that's a plus if nothing else! Eventually I will get the full on license and be on the road, and that ties into my attempts to get a car that I've been eying up for a few years now (but that kinda circles back into my money situation). But My family are planning to take me out tomorrow and celebrate so I'm looking forward to that too. I'm coordinating with some people to get Infinity Quest published and released sometime in the near future and that is a tremendous feeling after all the work I put into it :D So as far as all that's concerned Life has been pretty fair I suppose!

But then the not so easily silverlined thing happened about 10 days ago. I can deal with places telling me I'm not good enough to work for them, but recently I had to weather something that struck much harder and much closer to home. My one dog, the dog who licked over my face until I got up in the morning, the goofy, funny, snorting, tummy rub queen Abby my Shih tzu had a 5 out of 5 level Heart murmur and was slowly experiencing Heart Failure. On April the 15th we had managed to get an appointment for her for the next day to get treatment after the pills she was given ran out. The morning started with her collapsing and falling behind the couch. I heard her scream and woke up, without thinking I jumped out of bed, threw the couch from the wall (with my mom still on it, sorry mom), and helped get Abby out from behind the sofa where she proceeded to pee and defecate on herself. Once we took her outside and managed to get her to what seemed like a stable condition I played the song "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow." on the computer while she sat near me. I was desperate to give myself the hope I needed that she could make it. But she was in bad shape and got worse rapidly through the day. I held her on my lap and stayed with her the whole day. Then she had a heart attack and her body bent out in wild and horrid shapes, that was my dog, my girl sputtering on the floor. The light faded from her eyes and my sister screamed for my attention as I had left to get the phone to call my dad home for support. Ever loyal to my Abby I dropped to her side and discovered she wasn't breathing and her heart no longer beat. I began compressions and didn't stop until she was alive again, and I prayed that she'd make it but I knew she wasn't going to last until tomorrow. But I refused to even entertain the idea. I'd stay up all night if I had to and bring her back again and again until we could help her. My dad came home and tried his best to support us but he knew as well as I did that she was barely holding on. Several hours past and Abby didn't want to leave my side. When I went to the bathroom she followed, she came out to the living room to be around everybody else, got pets and scratches from everyone, and eventually moved to the glass door which led to my backyard. I let her out and sat with her right by her side as she just looked out into the woods and enjoyed the breeze. When we came back inside I walked into the bathroom as she eventually walked into the doorway and sat down panting heavily as she had the entire day. I washed my hands and walked up to her, setting down and petting her and after some seconds of my affections she fell over. Brown watery liquid began to pour from her noes mixed with blood and I knew in an instant there was no helping her. I wanted to, and god did I try; I had restarted her heart with my own hands only moments early but now watched helplessly as she leaked more and more and more as any attempt to aid fell useless until my Abby girl laid on her side literally drowned before me. Even after she died though her body kept moving. Muscle spasms. And it killed me to watch, I don't think she wanted to leave me and I made sure not to leave her. When she finally fell still Dad and I wrapped her in a towel and I carried her out into the garage where we put her in a box and eventually buried her some time later near my bedroom window so I can always be near her. But it was horrible to experience and it's been on my conscience a lot since then.

But I was there for her and I take comfort in that fact. If for one brief moment I showed how much I loved her, I stayed by her side and I brought her back from the freaking dead long enough to let her say her goodbyes. But that cut me deep and I think I'm still healing from that. But that was a major dampener on the year and I think venting it some here might help with that. I don't want to bring anyone down or anything like that, I don't really know if talking about this is right or if I shouldn't even post that but I wanted to keep people posted on what's been happening in my life since there's been large periods where I've not been online. Hopefully I can get my laptop fixed though. I've also been considering college, but I think that I'm going to try one last big Hurrah and try to find a job before I get serious about that. If I can get employment that takes back burner until I can save up enough to visit my girlfriend and away from the hardships in her life. She needs me and I want to be there for her like I should be.

But yeah, I'm hoping I get somewhere further with Infinity Quest, I want to find a job, see my girl, visit my friends, buy the car I'm trying so hard to get and restore, and get my laptop back in working order. I've also been working out every night since December and have not missed a night yet. I feel like I'm getting myself into tip top shape and that always feels good. I've discovered that I can flick open the shell of an egg with ease and that's made cooking more fun despite me liking to cook already, and I'm hoping that tomorrow I get to go out a bit and have fun. So that's been my year so far I think! It's always nice talking to you all because I love you all and am happy to call you all friends!! Sorry for the sad parts of this, I've just had a lot on my mind and hopefully I can draw a bit of strength from you guys' advice. And I hope that all of you are having an awesome year so far. Hopefully 2015 will be a big year for me as well ^^ Here's to hoping!

Commissions

STORY AND ART COMMISIONS
I am currently accepting monetary commissions for both writing and art. I'm a little new to commissions myself so I may adjust my prices and I will be open to discussing costs with whoever would be interested.

STORY PRICES:

Short Stories or Chapters: (roughly 9 to 11 pages and come with two characters) $30.00
Story Excerpt: (2 to 4 pages roughly and come with two characters) $10.00
Additional pages beyond set limits: $5.00 per page


TRADITIONAL ART PRICES:

Uncolored Picture (Character with no background or color) $10.00
Uncolored Picture with Uncolored Background $15.00
Colored Picture (Colored Character with no background) $15.00
Colored Picture with a Colored Background $20.00
Additional Uncolored Character(s) $3.00 per
Additional Colored Character(s) $5.00 per

deviantID

TheApprentice225
Welcomes You.
Artist
United States
Hello all, TheApprentice225 here to bring you good art, fun stories, and a silly and kind personality that you can never forget! I hope that whenever you find my page you always leave with a smile and a fun memory. So to all of you out there who have found my page, welcome and I hope you enjoy!

Current Residence: Earth (for now)
Favourite genre of music: Rock and Roll
Favourite photographer: Say what?
Favourite style of art: IZ, I guess
Operating System: Guts and people things
MP3 player of choice: I don't have one
Shell of choice: I'm Not a Hermit Crab!
Wallpaper of choice: I don't know...good one?
Skin of choice: You're creepy Info Questions writer!
Favorite cartoon character: Optimus Prime
Personal Quote: What's the point of growing up if you can't act childish sometimes?
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:iconhrodwulf123:
Hrodwulf123 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Have you ever been to Joplin, MO?
Reply
:icontheapprentice225:
TheApprentice225 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2015
I haven't even heard of it to be honest ^^'
Reply
:iconhrodwulf123:
Hrodwulf123 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The city which got mauled by that giant tornado back in 2011? Anyway, there's a building there (I believe it's a bank or something) whose exterior looks very similar to the Dunwich building from "Fallout 3".
Reply
:icontheapprentice225:
TheApprentice225 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2015
OH!! right! My mistake! AND THAT IS AWESOME! lol I love Fallout 3!!!
Reply
:iconmrlovelessss:
MrLovelessss Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Heeeello?
Reply
:icontheapprentice225:
TheApprentice225 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015
Hello! ^^
Reply
:iconmrlovelessss:
MrLovelessss Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Hello hello. I've been thinking of a story and I need to ask you a question
Reply
:icontheapprentice225:
TheApprentice225 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015
Oh yeah, sure ^^ Let me hear it!
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconhalf-dude:
Half-dude Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Reply
:icontheapprentice225:
TheApprentice225 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2015
lol kinda! XD It's like the kid didn't quite understand the pop up headlights, mistook them for a game of whack-a-mole, then decided to use his face since he couldn't find one of those toy mallets.
Reply
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