|This article, Halo: The Silent Fall of Wednesday Ghosts, was written by Distant Tide, Kobold Lich, Slower Than Most and UnggoyZealot. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
|"Dear Sarge: kicking ass in outer space, wish you were here!"
This article, Halo: The Silent Fall of Wednesday Ghosts, is a work of humour, and is not in any way intended by the author to be taken seriously. If you feel that this article is not an appropriate use of the humour template, please be sure to find information regarding the use of the Humour Template by visiting this page before making such a claim.
The Story So Far...
Spartan Fireteam Liger has been fully briefed on Kaidon Lkl ‘Nkhpzt’s plan to ram Installation 41 into Earth. Liger, the best Spartan Fireteam ever, is on the case. Taking their ship, the Pylon of Spring, to the Forerunner...thing, the team must rediscover—again—the mysteries of the Installation before it is too late (again)!
Halo: The Silent Fall of Wednesday Ghosts
Chapter One by Slower Than Most
Across the stars, across the galaxy, evil lurked—lurked ever so dangerously as to threaten the fragile and peaceful peace of the Universe.
Kaidon Lkl ‘Nkhpzt, great brother of Jul Mdama, Slayer of New Earth, Former Champion of the Prophet of Mercy, and all-around murderous villain, had finally found his latest target. His flagship, the Ceaseless Discharge, had spent years looking for the Holy Ring, one believed to be incomplete bearing a unique feature.
Sitting on his gravity throne, he looked more like a crude barbarian than any so-called Kaidon. He wore little more than a masterfully crafted, ornate helmet, said to have been personally granted to him by the Prophet of Truth as a parting gift in the final year of the war, his gift for destroying Harvest 2 and Stunzeed with such virtuous masculinity as to have impressed the normally heterosexual Prophet. Beyond that, only crude straps of leather and a loincloth left his bulging, impressive muscles showing, enough to make even the most heterosexual and humansexual individual envious of such a perfect physique.
“Finally... After a year of humiliation, the Ring is mine! My power will be unstoppable once more… Jul will see my true power now!” He spoke, slowly standing upright, his clumsy speech earning the cheers of his bridge crew. His accent was as alien as it was Austrian, slurring his words into perpetually angry brutality.
"Kaidon, that accursed ship, the Pylon of Spring! It has arrived in the system!" Another bridge crew ruined the atmosphere. 'Nkhpzt growled at the news, sitting back down on his illustrious chair of gravity.
"It will not matter. Prepare the boarding craft, I shall greet these vermin personally." He spoke with one last dramatic bit of flair, before getting up and off of his throne again in a totally unnecessary fashion, walking away from the bridge.
He who lives without gruntiness does not live at all.
These were words that the young Hyunda had taken to heart. Never once would she deviate from the wise words of her Unggoy family, learning their many talents with the blade made her deadly enough to take action against the forces now assaulting the Pylon of Spring.
Already at her feet lay a dozen dead Elites, slain by the mighty hard light katana in her hands. Her beautiful pink hair waved with the nonexistent winds blowing against her, her sword placed back in its hard light scabbard.
Behind her was Spartan Jackknife Hammerswell, firing his rifle into the stragglers from the first wave.
“Come on, get some you ugly motherlovers!” He shouted, seeing the Elites fall like pins before a rather supersonic and minuscule set of bowling balls.
The Pylon of Spring, mighty as she may have been, was still vulnerable to such dastardly boarding actions. This was why the Spartans and Marines would be present, holding down the flying space fort against their alien attackers.
“We need to regroup with Juan and Herculus, this sector's clear-"
As if to spite Hyunda's words, another explosion rocked their area of the ship, further down the hallway, they saw smoke and the silhouette of their most dangerous foe which they had ever faced.
The few Marines stationed up ahead of them tried to respond to the grotesque display of Sangheili Masculinity that burst into the scene, only to be faced by the might of the Energy Maul he held. With a single swing of the hammer, the first marine he struck would be dissected like an onion, the second strike reducing another marine into a fine red mist.
“Lkl! Got a bullet with your name on it!”
Jackknife would approach him first, chomping on a cigar as he raised his rifle.
Lkl, for his part, was so thoroughly focused on the new threat that he failed to notice Hyunda slamming into him at all her speed, her impressive calves ramming into him at the speed of sound into the wall, denting it slightly.
“You will face the wrath of Reach and Balaho, scum,” Hyunda shouted as she took another stab at the large elite.
“I have felled many of Balaho’s greatest Sword Saints, fool. I will break you just like I did Reach as well.” He shouted back, adeptly blocking the blade with his plasma mace.
Their struggle was a hard-fought, miserable one. With every swing Hyunda made, Lkl would dodge adeptly, and every strike of his own mighty mace would result in a mere block and parry by the Spartan, leading into yet another parry against her in turn.
“Liger Team, this is Jackknife, where the hell are the rest of your asses! We’ve got a fight with a very pissed off Squid on our hands here!”
“On our way, Jackknife, hold him off just a little longer.” another manly Spartan spoke through the comms.
Just as the transmission ended, Hyunda’s blade finally met its match. Knocked out of her hand by the powerful energy mace, she resorted to throwing her shuriken at the powerful Elite, all swatted aside by the might of his energy mace.
Jackknife would pull out his own, normal Titanium-A katana, preparing to duel with the freakishly large Kaidon.
“You fool, while you and your pathetic Liger team have wasted your time fighting my boarding parties, my troops have already gained access to Installation 41’s control room. Soon, the whole ring shall crash its celestial mass onto Earth, and extinguish your pathetic race.”
“I don’t give a damn what your plans are, squidface, I’m still gonna kick your scaly ass!” Jackknife said, preparing to charge the Spaghoolie ahead.
Before he could duel with the Kaidon, Hyunda’s hard light blade would quite literally slice him in half with a single, upwards motion.
“Omae wa mou, shinderu.” She would speak in an ancient Unggoy tongue, the Elite staggering slightly.
Jackknife would seal the deal by opening fire on the body with his rifle, punching plenty of holes into it. His body would disappear entirely, revealing that the real Lkl was far from this fight.
“Damn, he was distracting us with a Hologram,” Jacknife said, lighting another Sweet William’s cigar
“He has shamed me and my clan, I shall have my revenge against him or die honorless.”
“We’ll all be ready to take him on.”
Another Spartan finally arrived, both of his hands robotic and muscular, otherwise fully fitted with his MJOLNIR armor. His helmet hid it, but his eyes were initially focused entirely on Hyunda’s shapely, impressive gluteus maximus, the sort that could only be achieved by a Spartan on an excellent diet.
“Fireteam Liger, it’s time to take this fight off this ship. It’s time to Assault his Control Room and save the Earth from his threat. If anyone has any second thoughts, now’s the time to show them, cause Amp’s got our drop point set.”
“The only complaint I have is that we’re not down there yet, Herculus.” Jackknife spoke with his trademark charisma, soon embracing the larger Spartan with a fistbump.
“A420, get ready to drop, this ain’t gonna be easy.” Amp, their ever so useful AI partner, would appear on their comms as well. While they couldn’t see anything more than her face, it was clear from prior encounters that her idea of work gear was to walk around fully exposed to the artificial elements, wearing only standard-issue UNSC AI pasties and underwear to keep herself from being flagged for a workplace violation. Her beautiful Chartreuse coloration hid the perfect woman for many a colonist, her physique akin to that of any number of tasteful pinup models.
“No one said anything about easy… Spartans, time to kick alien ass and chew alien gum, let’s roll out!” Herculus said, earning cheers from his teammates and the surviving crew of the Pylon of Spring!
The War may have ended, but the Battle had yet to truly erupt.
Chapter Two by UnggoyZealot
A cheery air swept about as many of Lkl ‘Nkhpzt’s finest men lounged around Installation 41’s control room. On a raised dais lay a soft, plush, velvet sofa supporting the weight of ‘Nkhpzt’s top two commanders. The first was his right-hand man, Field Master Buffbuff. The second was his left hand, Durz. Buffbuff, chad that he was, took none of the sofa’s luxuries for granted. Now was the time to exercise both his mind and his body. The Unggoy stood at a height of 8’10" and had a sharp mind to match his favorable biceps. Durz was a short, dimwitted Kig-Yar, only in his position because of his dogged loyalty to Kaidon Lkl.
To exercise his mind, Buffbuff held a Forerunner datapad in one hand, reading up on the history of Installation 41. In the other he used the diminutive Durz as a dumbbell, slowly lifting and lowering the avian form while he focused his attention on the data.
Aside from the blocked NSFW files in the databanks, the information the Unggoy could glean was that a group of Forerunner Hippies used this installation as a nightclub to celebrate the activation of the array before being wiped out. Filthy Hippies, Buffbuff thought. And now, here were his own Unggoy, Kig-Yar, and Sangheili enjoying the very same luxuries once in service of the Ancients.
Suddenly, the communication console nearby received a call. Stowing the datapad in the back of his undies and tossing Durz into a hot tub several meters away, the Unggoy stood, showing off his masculinity that almost matched that of his master. Adorned in only a gas mask and loincloth, the Unggoy needed so little methane that he could store a supply of gas in the mask itself. Stomping over to the console, he gently waved his hand across it, bringing up a hologram of his chad master, the great Kaidon Lkl ‘Nkhpzt.
“My Kaidon,” Buffbuff addressed, muscles bulging as he bowed down to the Sangheili.
“Buffbuff, my right-hand Grunt.”
“What is it that you require, Kaidon?” Buffbuff asked.
“The cursed Spartans of the Pylon of Spring are en route to your location. Ready your forces to meet them in battle, while I come to oversee the Slipspace procedures,” answered the Kaidon.
Buffbuff slammed his fist against his bulky chest in a salute. “It will be done, Kaidon.”
The hologram dissipated, and Buffbuff turned to see his Sangheili commanders standing before him. Buffbuff dismissed them with a wave of his hand. “You know what strategy to employ.”
“The Virginia Wave, Field Master?
“Precisely. Put the virgin troops upfront as cannon fodder, with the chads in the back. I shall assign a small squad to keep an eye on Durz here while we wait for the Kaidon’s arrival. In the case that the Spartans reach the control room, we shall unleash Durz’s secret power.”
The Sangheili nodded in unison. “By your command, Field Master Buffbuff.”
The Pelican carrying Fireteam Liger crashed into the mud of the wet plains, the cockpit burst into flames despite the sprinkles of rain coming down from the sky. One by one, the Spartans exited the wreckage. A pair of Banshees flew overhead, having shot the dropship down. Juan-017 immediately began his spout of complaining before looking up into the sky.
Raising both of his middle fingers at the Banshees, he cried, “Fuck you, Covie bastards! I’m gonna fuck you up!”
Herculus turned his helmet in Jackknife’s direction, but in reality, his eyes were glued to Mitsubaruta’s posterior. “Well, you got anything, Jackknife?”
Jackknife Hammerswell chuckled, using his awesome powers to produce a Sweet Williams cigar in his hand, already lit. “What can I say,” he said as he placed the cigar in his mouth, placing his helmet over his manly grin, “We should’ve taken an Uber.”
He went into fist bump Herculus once more, this time adding a little razzle-dazzle with an explosion.
“Amp, what have we got on the radar?” Hyunda said, placing her hands on her hips to elicit heavy breathing from Herculus.
“I’m picking up a battalion of Unggoy, Kig-Yar, and Sangheili marching towards our location. They're in the Virginia Wave formation,” the AI answered.
“Oh fuck, not the Virginia Wave formation! They’re gonna sacrifice their virgins before chadding us to death!” exclaimed Juan.
“Enough messing around, Liger,” Herculus ordered, hefting up a shotgun in each arm, “We’ve got incoming!”
Sure enough, distinct voices could be heard in the distance. Slowly, a small army manifested on the horizon, marching across the muddy battlefield. At its head was a plethora of Sangheili and Kig-Yar, while the back consisted of almost exclusively Unggoy as well as several Sangheili officers.
“Why the fuck are all the Grunts in the back?” Juan questioned, slowly raising his assault rifle.
Hyunda laughed quietly, causing blushes to appear on Herculus’ cheeks under his helmet. “Unggoy mate so early and often in their lifetime compared to Sangheili and Kig-Yar that they’d have to be chads! I assume those veteran Elites with them have just been around long enough to get laid.”
“Great! So I guess this is an orgy?” replied Jackknife, witty on his epic choice of words.
Across the field, one of the Sangheili held up a fist, halting the troops. Releasing it, he pointed forward. “Charge!”
The battalion roared, hurling themselves forward against the Spartans. Juan tightened his grip on the assault rifle in his hands while Jackknife loaded his own, pulling yet another cigar out of the magazine and lighting it. Hyunda brandished a pair of shurikens, while Herculus pumped each of his shotguns in tandem.
“Fireteam Liger,” Herculus said, as lightning struck in the distance, “Weapons free!”
They met in the middle of the field, guns blazing. Herculus fired both of his shotguns into the frontal horde, blasting the heads off of two unlucky Sangheili virgins. Hyunda tossed five shurikens, each bouncing off of the shields of Jackals. The Jackals all stumbled off-balance, allowing Jackknife to finish them off with his rifle. Jackknife then turned to Herculus, who had been surrounded by the remaining Sangheili.
“Herculus,” Hammerswell shouted over the fray, “You ready?”
Herculus put lead into another Sangheili and nodded. “Ready.”
The two sprinted towards each other, mud caking their boots as the relentless Sangheili pursued. Curling their free hands into fists, the two Spartans met, launching their fists towards each other. The Sangheili stopped, realizing that it was too late.
“EPIC BRO FIST!!!” The duo bellowed as their hands connected, creating a giant ball of energy. The orb quickly collapsed, creating a shockwave the reverberated through the closest fifty feet. The screams of the Sangheili could be heard, whining about how they died virgins, and when the smoke had settled, nothing remained.
Collapsing into the dirt from exhaustion, the two Spartans looked up to see themselves surrounded by dozens of Unggoy, eager to claim their kill.
“Looks like we can’t get our way out of this one…” Herculus said dejectedly, drooping his head.
As the Unggoy closed in, however, a voice rang out. “Hey! Why don’t you fucking pick on someone your own size?!?”
As the Unggoy turned around, Juan leaped into the horde, snapping one combatant’s neck before firing his assault rifle into the surging tide of Grunts. Taking down five, ten, fifteen, then twenty of the creatures. He constantly fired, exchanging mags for the weapon at the speed of light. Hyunda arrived to join him, shuffling shuriken after shuriken into the Unggoys’ eyes.
“I apologize, my brothers, but you have chosen the wrong path!” she exclaimed.
The Sangheili officers joined the battle, as Herculus and Jackknife slowly rose to do the same.
Then, it happened. Lightning struck again, right next to the Spartans, knocking them to the ground.
An ominous voice boomed out, cutting through the air. “Ayayayayayayayayayaya~”
Epic music ensued as Herculus and Jackknife both looked up in awe. Standing before them were three figures. In the center was a hulking Unggoy taller than any they had seen before, flanked by two Mgalekgolo. His arms were crossed, while the Hunters beside him held their shields to their face like masks.
“This battle has changed while I was absent,” The Unggoy stated, cracking his knuckles.
“That’s one hella’ big Grunt…” Herculus uttered.
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” Hammerswell replied, lighting another cigar for the occasion.
“Enough talk! You shall fall before the might of Field Master Buffbuff.”
Buffbuff took a step forward, eyes narrowed. Herculus and Jackknife both shouted war cries, charging at the Unggoy. The Hunters moved to intercept them, bouncing Jackknife off of their shields. Herculus threw a punch at Buffbuff, only for the towering Unggoy to sidestep him, delivering a blow to his gut. The SPARTAN-III fell backward, groaning in pain.
Not allowed time to rise, Herculus felt himself being picked up by Buffbuff. The Grunt growled and slammed the Spartan into the ground, the impact so hard that it broke off both of Herculus’ arms. Struggling to lift his head, he saw Jackknife on the ground nearby, pinned by the two Hunters.
Buffbuff raised his hands over his head in a clasped fist to finish the job, when a shout came from his right.
Buffbuff turned to see Juan holding a severed Unggoy head. Buffbuff’s eyes widened for a second before his brow furrowed in anger. “You killed Bogo.”
Rearing to his full height, the Unggoy stomped forward. Juan took a hesitant step back. “You’re a big Grunt…”
Buffbuff growled and thrust his arm forward, grabbing Juan by the neck. “And you are a small Spartan.”
The Unggoy began to tighten his grip on the SPARTAN-II’s neck, slowly crushing it. Herculus looked on helplessly, when suddenly Kaidon Lkl’s cruiser soared by, shaking the ground. Looking up, Buffbuff hissed, before releasing his hold on Juan.
“Wamu!” The Unggoy shouted, clapping his hands like a thunder strike. A blinding light flashed, and then the Grunt was gone.
Herculus slowly got to his feet, limping over to Juan. “You need a hand?”
Juan looked over his team leader’s armless torso and laughed. “I think you might need two, fucker.”
They heard a chuckle from behind and turned to see the chad, masculine form of Jackknife.
Juan cocked his head. “How’d you get away from the Hunters?”
Jackknife took off his helmet, revealing the grin plastered to his face. “I guess you could say… Two heads aren’t always better than one!”
He held his hand out for another fist bump, only to realize Herculus’ absence of arms. Macho as ever, he simply turned to Juan and performed the action. Hyunda had arrived, and the team was reunited.
“Fireteam Liger, we have two objectives. First, get me some new arms. Two, make our way to the control room and stop that diabolical Lkl.”
The other Spartans nodded, and the squad headed off.
Buffbuff kneeled on the floor of the control room’s dais, head keeled over in respect of his muscular master, Lkl Nkhpzt. “My Kaidon, what are your wishes?”
The Sangheili turned, abs, biceps, and pecs flexing as he did so. “Did you have to use Durz’s secret ability?”
“Negative, my Kaidon.”
Lkl nodded, beckoning forward a pair of Sangheili Ultras flanking Durz. “Jul will realize his failure when I am through with Earth. I promise you that. Then Mother will realize that I should have been the golden child.”
Buffbuff nodded along but truthfully hated it whenever Lkl reminisced about his family. In an attempt to change the subject, he asked, “Shall I prepare the slipspace sequence for Earth?”
Lkl sat down on the dais’ sofa, sinking into the bottomless pit of velvet. Buffbuff rose and pointed to a nearby Kig-Yar Major and Unggoy Heavy. “Come with me.”
The soldiers obeyed and followed the Field Master into the actual “Control Room” part of the control room. After a few seconds, the machinery throughout the entire complex began to glow, and a short moment later, a gaping slipspace portal ripped into the fabric of space. The Ring slowly began to move and entered through the portal, destined to arrive at Earth. After it had been completely engulfed, the maw closed, and all was silent once more.
Chapter Three by Kobold Lich
The Spartans had been fortunate enough to have survived the onslaught of freakish Covenant before this. Now, they miraculously began to float away, followed closely by the flora of the swamp— the area was eviscerated by the evacuation of the Ring’s atmosphere into inter-dimensional space. The time was now or never, Ampulla concluded.
Hyunda’s katana burst into white-hot plasma as Ampulla overloaded and reconfigured the structure of its hardlight emitter. All he could do was hope that this worked, or he would be spending some annoying ninety-odd minutes listening to Herculus cry over the COM (seeing as it started almost immediately).
“Amp, the fuck!—”
As quick their curses came, the group was encapsulated by a hard light ball that shot straight back to the ground. As they slammed into the top of the ball, Herculus screamed at pitches Ampulla couldn’t comprehend. Hyunda whacked Herculus on the helmet and he became a muffled whimper among the liberal cursing of Juan and the violent coughing of Jackknife, who had apparently swallowed one of his many cigars.
“Fireteam Liger” Amp addressed, “you’re fine.”
Indeed, aside from the now-scorched throat of Spartan Hammerswell, the team found themselves among a desolate plain— the swamp water boiling away from the lack of atmosphere, and the trees barren and still without the wind to rustle them. But, among all this wreckage and desolation, the bulking Pelican— it’s fire now extinguished, floated aimlessly and slowly back towards the surface. Hyunda was the only one calm enough to ask the question on everyone’s mind.
“So,” she chimed in, her voice raised above Hammerswell’s coughing, “what now?”
“I don’t have arms!” Herculus cried out in anguish, unable to contain his grief
“We already goddamn know, Chief,” Juan interjected. He nodded at Hyunda to continue.
“Oh... I don’t know what to do, Juan— I’m just polling how we’re feeling—”
“Fireteam Liger: please, shut up.” Ampulla chimed again. “You need to hold it together for a couple of seconds”. Spartan Hammerswell coughed loudly in understanding, accompanied by his pained and hunched over figure pulling off his helmet, allowing for several half-smoked cigars to fall out.
“So good news and plan first: once Spartan Hammerswell can take a breath, I think I can reconfigure the hard-light emitter to be whatever form we want. So,” he addressed Herculus, “I think we have the arms thing figured out. Here’s the bad news though" he waited for Spartan Hammerswell to lean back and take his first breath, his face red with pain, his veins bulging pronounced more than normal.
“The bad news: the Pylon of Spring was left behind when Lkl jumped, and we’re now stuck on the wrong side of the Ring. And...well, this whole hard light emitter thing, too…”
“Spit it out, Amp.” Juan cursed.
“Well, Spartan, I melded with the emitter so, the only way I will survive this is if I am permanently powered by Herculus’s suit when we’re done with this shield ball.”
“That doesn’t seem so bad.” Hyunda placed her hand on her hips disapprovingly as Hammerswell spit a wad of tobacco on the ground after a series of dry-heaves.
Ampulla considered none of them would really care about this, and he was sure it would be a waste of time explaining the issues of having one’s arm’s go rampant. The issue here was that Liger was extremely inept— but they got things done. So, here they were. Amp had long ago shut out any hope of sustained usefulness with any other team in the UNSC. If Fireteam Liger succeeded miraculously, somehow, he would remain the arms of Herculus until he literally thought himself to death. If he could feel dread, he would have felt it now.
“Alright then,” Amp said, as dead inside as an inanimate thing could be.
Fireteam Liger waited patiently for Hyunda to EB Green tape the emitter to Herculus helmet. By this time, Spartan Hammerswell had already lit another cigar and was happily encouraging Juan to bump his fist every so often, as to acknowledge his existence. Spartan-017 seemed to be quite over this whole endeavor, as he had noticeably stopped cursing, and in fact, said nothing for the remainder of the makeshift-arm-making-hiatus they found themselves in. After a series of cuts with her remaining shuriken to cut eye holes for Herculus to see through, she stepped back and seemed to admire her work. Amp never cared to ask why they wouldn’t just tape the emitter to Herculus’s back.
“There.” Hyunda happily looked Herculus up and down. “Ok, Amp, I think we’re set.”
“Alright, Liger” Amp readied themselves, “stand back!”
The bubble disappeared and in a bright flash, Herculus was suddenly glowing with the addition of two hardlight limbs.
“Why haven’t we utilized this technology before?” Herculus asked.
The entire team shrugged.
“I thought we could clone body parts?” Juan added, “I don’t know why you had robot limbs in the first pl—”
“Shutup nerd!” Jackknife brought his palm down hard on the shorter Spartan’s shoulder. He beckoned Juan for another brofist, but the two quickly found themselves wrestling on the ground, screeching incessantly. Hyunda and Herculus looked on quietly. Herculus glanced over at Hyunda. He began to sweat profusely. The thought of her looking him over a moment ago made his legs wobbly.
“Hey, Hyunda?” he squeeked. She looked over at Herculus, who began to wring his hardlight hands together. Ampulla, reading Herculus brain waves to match his desired movements couldn’t help but chime in his ears.
Herculus, there’s no time for this. Your suit can...you know, “keep you company”. Spartan’s aren’t allowed to love.
Herculus ignored Amp’s pleas for abstinence and made his move.
“Thanks for giving me arms.”
Herculus looked back to Juan and Jackknife. Juan had swiped several cigars from Jackknife’s hard case and was throwing them all across the former-swamp. Jackknife ran about trying to catch them and dust them off if they hit the ground.
That blew up in your face, huh? Amp teased again.
Herculus looked down at his new arms in defeat. As he turned over his glowing limbs, he stopped abruptly as his brain churned.
“Blew up…” he whispered to himself.
He looked up beyond the concluded wrestling match— Jackknife was making the trek back to the group with an arm full of ruined cigars, Juan strutting triumphantly in tow. There, beyond them was the damaged Pelican. As the area settled into its new arrangement, the Pelican had finally settled back down into the ground of the Installation. It’s crushed and somewhat burnt frame no longer useful for flight, but the bulk of the craft still remained there. Brain Blast.
“Amp?” Herculus, asked his arms, “you said you could make my arms configure into anything?”
“I suppose, within reason, Spartan,” Amp replied.
“Then I have an idea.”
As Lkl continued to bore Buffbuff with his family history and how he was meant for greatness, and how he knew a Prophet personally, and how he once saw Thel Vadam, a brief respite came in the form of a messenger bursting through the doors. The doors shut and the music once again became a distant thumping. The messenger was an Unggoy draped in glow sticks and wreaking of...something. Lkl stood angered by its presence before it yelped out a message.
“Kaidon! The Demons remain unharmed!”
Lkl was silenced until he wasn’t.
“Well, they still remain far enough away from us, I suppose—”
“Kaidon, that is thing! Demons doin’ great mischief!” the Unggoy squelched through tearful gasps, “We thinkin' they’re gonna 'splode themselves to 'other side of -ring!”
“What?” Lkl asked in surprised, angered, frustrated, angered, exasperated, and angered rage.
Lkl malevolently stood by as the Unggoy wept and prayed audibly that Lkl did not kill him, and how Lkl had killed all his other brothers. The Unggoy even went into great lengths how they had become a Human scholar in the last years—he hoped that their arrival on Earth might be a new start, seeing as their last clutch was stomped on by a Mgalekgolo. They mentioned the ancient human saying “killing the messenger” as well as “live and let live” and the human philosophies behind them. The Unggoy claimed to see themselves in these phrases, and explained it’s important to them.
At about the time when the Unggoy had, at length, described the human philosophies of Nietzsche, the literature of Mark Twain, and how he had come across a tablet containing the tale “A Yankee in King Arthur's Court” that Buffbuff stood and ripped the Unggoy in half.
“Too much talk.” Buffbuff silently, and remorsefully brooded. A tear rolled down Buffbuff’s face, causing Lkl to ask internally if he knew that Unggoy had tear glands and if this was ever addressed in canon.
“Durz” Lkl interrupted Buffbuff’s brooding, “It is time.”
Durz nodded silently and left the Chamber.
It had taken the Spartans about an hour to wrangle the Pelican safely on the ground in the lowered artificial gravity. Eventually, Herculus had been able to convince and entice Jackknife to utilize his strength to hold the Pelican still as they weighed it down with the bare trees. Turns out that Pelicans are really heavy, and once they got where they wanted, it stayed still much to Jackknife’s pleasure. Herculus then had to admit he didn’t have a humidor he promised for Jackknife. Jackknife cursed but quickly admitted he didn’t even know what one was, anyway. Herculus counted his blessings.
I didn’t know you could count that high, Amp interjected.
As Herculus and Jackknife had prepped the Pelican, Juan and Hyunda collected all the explosives in the area be it C7, grenades, and the rocket pods from the Pelican. They then set all of the explosives under the Pelican’s rear tail. It was all coming together.
“Liger” Herculus called out on the COM, “file in. We’re going over the plan.”
Herculus outstretched his hand and Amp appeared from his palm in hardlight form...the letter “A”.
“Fireteam Liger, we’ve gone over this once already, but I have little faith in some of your understanding.”
Jackknife elbowed Juan, “He’s talking about you, Shorty.”
“Anyway, let’s just go over the basics. The strength that hard light the emitter gives off is like your shields,” Amp explained, “it’s good, but not invulnerable. So, what we’re doing is using the Pelican as a lever, and a hard light shield to protect us as we detonate the explosives beneath it. If we get the trajectory right, we should be able to utilize the lowered gravity to launch us into a spiral-like orbit around the ring, and it should plop us just outside the control center— assuming they made this ring like the rest of them. Any questions from anyone besides Jackknife?”
No answer. Jackknife’s helmet vented a thick cloud of smoke—Herculus wondered how he ever saw anything through the smoke.
“Alright, Liger:” he ordered, “Saddle up—”
A purple beam hit Herculus in the chest— Amp automatically threw up a hardlight shield around him as his shields screeched in protest. The rest of the Spartans scrambled for cover by the Pelican and scanned the sky where the beam had come from.
“Look!” Juan pointed to the sky. A Spirit hovered half a klick from them—another beam whizzed past and hit Hyunda’s arm.
“Legendary Jackal Sniper…”
Herculus crawled behind the Pelican with the fireteam. Amp chimed in over the TEAMCOM.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when the explosion goes off, all of your shields will assuredly drain...that Jackal will pick you all off before we make orbit.”
Herculus butt in, suddenly and forcefully.
“Shutup, Amp, we have a 2000 word count limit!”
Herculus dragged the team onto the Pelican and ordered Amp to shield them.
He punched through Jackknife’s visor, causing his lit cigars to fall onto the explosive pile.
Amp’s bubble took the brunt of the explosion, and the team was launched straight into the Spirit dropship, and then into space.
Chapter Four by Distant Tide
The unit known as Fireteam Liger screamed a jolly chant in unison as they zipped past what little atmosphere remained from the Forerunner Installation’s swamp section.
“Tra-La-La! We’re Captain Underpants!”
At the explosive impact and intensive heat from atmosphere-breaking, the launched Pelican wreckage-turned-capsule and its unfortunate Spirit dropship companion began to meld. Composite titanium fixtures and curved nano-laminate super-charged into one another into a totally new wunderkind material with no name. The vehicles’ superstructures merged and warped into a more aerodynamic form – like a blobby-mess of a giant spitball. Pulse engines from the Spirit shifted down to the back, becoming new vectoring solutions.
In that super-heated encounter, a new form of warfare vehicle was born.
The aliens aboard the Spirit were cooked in their armor, becoming a part of the new vehicle’s bodily structure. The UNSC crew managed to survive mostly unharmed as they slipped into a close orbit around the ring-shaped ancient alien megastructure.
Stars danced past the new windows as did the extended emptiness of outer space and the encompassing Milky Way galaxy. Ampulla’s hard light shielding slipped away, receding back into the mounted-module strapped to Herculus’s face.
“Amp… the plan worked,” Spartan Hyunda Mitsubaruta gasped, feeling a mix of emotions including awe as she watched space and Installation 41 passing below them.
“Of course it did, I’m a smart AI. I am a miracle worker.” The AI explained, allowing himself a moment of self-assured satisfaction.
“What kind of controls are these? This is a Pelican no-more.”
Spartan Jackknife Hammerswell was examining the controls to the new vehicle cockpit and grumbling about how “the set up was all wrong.”
“What’s wrong with the controls, Jackknife?” Herculus asked, attempting to stand and lean against a wall now that his armor wasn’t being completely employed as a battery and that his hardlight arms had returned to their intended state.
“Pelicans don’t have Slipspace engines or built-in coffee machines,” Juan-017 elaborated, looking over the shoulder of his former-ODST compatriot.
“Ooh, can I get some of that coffee?” Mitsubaruta called out, working her way up to the vehicle’s front and joining in the conversation on control schemes and in-flight services.
“No. Booze and Sweet Williams are the only morning-starters required,” Hammerswell growled out, leaving a menacing pout at the female SPARTAN-IV through his now shattered visor. His lips were puckered around another cigar, alit and smoking proudly after its predecessor paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Aw,” Mitsubaruta moaned in disappointment. She received a soft side-glance in pity from Herculus which she promptly missed from behind his visor.
“So what do we call this new vehicle?” Juan-017 asked, glancing at his teammates.
Herculus jumped at the question ravenously and waved his hand wildly in the air like an over-excited grade school student. “Oh, oh – I have one. Pick me. Pick me!”
“Hear me out… Spirit-Sword!”
“Sure, whatever,” Mitsubaruta grumbled unhappily, having been denied her latte break. Additional quiet nods from the team quickly anointed the new craft of war with its new anime-esc moniker.
“Alright, put a cap in it. We got a mission to complete. Kill the Split-Jaw terrorist.” Ampulla shouted from his module and Herculus’s armor-speakers.
“Well, to be honest – now that we got a ship again, we could just take off.” Herculus suddenly offered, counter to what the plan and his own intentions had been before.
“We got a ship – do we really need to kill anyone. We could go on vacation to the beach or something.”
Ampulla diverted some of the hard light power to his holographic-hardlight avatar to facepalm before reverting to being a sexy voice coming from the armor’s speaker systems. “We need to save the Earth, that’s the whole point of being here!”
“But I don’t want to kill anyone! People die when they are killed…”
“You’re a Spartan, Spartan. You’ve been killing for your entire life – that makes literally no sense.”
Herculus ignored his AI companion and glanced at his team. “What do you guys think? Why not just put off this killing thing and not catch PTSD! We could go swimming in Florida or something instead.”
“I’d love that,” Mitsubaruta admitted. Her response immediately got a brilliant grin from Herculus.
“I know you just want to see her in a bikini…” Ampulla muttered through Herculus’s neural link.
“That sounds good to us,” Juan-017 responded, gesturing to himself and Hammerswell. The gruff SPARTAN-IV affirmed Juan speaking for him, throwing up a thumbs up as he continued to pilot the Spirit-Sword.
“Spartans!” Ampulla yelled in desperation but to little avail, the fireteam of supersoldiers was already busy blabbering at one another about their newly-founded vacation plans.
Ampulla tried again, “Spartans!”
“Oh chill out Amp, we have Lord Hood on speed dial—we can fix this in a real quick second.” Juan-017 pointed out.
“What, how?” The Smart AI suddenly responded, flabbergasted and raging in confusion.
“Right here,” Herculus gestured to a Chatter-phone he promptly revealed from a belt pocket. “I can just call him to solve this entire issue for us.”
“That’s not possible! That’s not how—"
“Slipspace works?” Spartan Hammerswell finished the AI’s question rhetorically. “Nobody knows how Slipspace works. It’s just a bunch of this time-y, why-me stuff. It does anything you want it to if you believe hard enough.”
“With the power of imagination! Also, with real reason! See, the Office of Naval Intelligence dropped into the Slipstream space ether as part of an experiment in 2547. The AI and its probe were ultimately irretrievable and developed further and further omnipresence through its independent-time expansion and other pseudo-science terms. Now it serves as the super-duper, secret communication manager for the UNSC Navy! We can call Super-Admiral Lord Hood on speed dial.” Herculus explained exuberantly.
“Oh. That makes sense.” Ampulla said, not sure how to process the newfound information that he was apparently not privy to until this moment.
“I’m calling the guy now!” Herculus announced to the starship cabin as the phone dial sound emanated through the tight space.
The device connection clicked into being as the ancient admiral’s voice carried through the Spirit-Sword’s interior, evidently on speakerphone. “Hello? Who is this? I will have you know I am the Grand Admiral Lord Terrance Hood, keeper of Cairo Station and part-time lover to the Queen of—”
“Hey Hood, how’s the beers and wheelchair holding you up?”
“Huh, what? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, whoops – my bad. Wrong time frame. Anyway, this is Spartan Herculus-A420 of Fireteam Liger. We are currently in Slipspace over the Forerunner Installation 41, en route to Earth. We’re feeling kind of lazy and we’re wondering if you could blow it up for us rather than make us fight through the Control Room to kill the Covenant terrorist, Lkl ‘Nkhpzt.”
“Oh. Huh. Spartan-A420. Didn’t realize they stacked child-soldiers that high.”
“Anyway, sure. If it means, you’ll stop dialing this number and claiming to be from Domino’s Pizza. I have you on caller I.D. you know.”
“Oh. Deal-then,” Herculus responded promptly, refusing to allow the Admiral’s catch-on to the prank-calling stint hit him emotionally.
“Good, I’ll get it done – I just need you to drop the Ring out of Slipspace,” Lord Hood responded. “Hold up your end of the deal.”
“Of course sir.”
The Admiral disconnected the call, dropping the Spirit-Sword into silence.
“So, how do we drop the Installation out of Slipspace?” Mitsubaruta asked.
“Ampulla, you said that hard light emitter could be made into anything?”
The Smart AI shrugged, once more taking up a holographic form – erupting from one of Herculus’s hard light arms.
“Within reason, what do you have in mind?”
“An anti-Slipspace field!”
“Is that even possible…?” Ampulla asked, doing a double take.
“Well, I think saving Earth is a good enough reason. So let’s do it!”
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it…” Hammerswell gritted out, barely a whisper, from the pilot’s chair.
“Uh, okay… I guess I’ll give it a try then.” Ampulla shrugged once more, still very confused.
Herculus’s hard light arms winked out of existence, forcing him to drop the Chatter-phone causing it to break. Still the Spartan from SPARTAN-III Alpha Company only whimpered from the continued loss of his arms.
Great bands of bright orange light extended from Herculus, growing ever-brighter and frequent Like giant bubbles expanding across planet-like expanses in seconds. Bigger and bigger. Encompassing the Spirit-Sword and the entirety of Installation 41 in orange hard light. Suddenly, there was a vicious but silent pop and the extent of dark Slipspace was replaced by twinkling stars.
“Done, huh, why didn’t I ever come up with this? I didn’t even know the hard light emitter was that powerful.” Ampulla mumbled from Herculus’s armor.
“This is the power of the hard light katana. A pathway to many powers, some might call unnatural…” Mitsubaruta warned.
“Where are we?” Juan asked, leaning against the pilot seat as Hammerswell played with the control fixtures to answer said question.
“Hmm, our fortress amongst the stars. Reach.”
“Oh really? Nice. Good to know.”
A klaxon warning noise suddenly filled the cabin.
“Warning. Warning. Interstellar Nuclear Kill Vehicle approaching. Please exit the kill zone immediately.”
“Take us out Jackknife,” Herculus ordered.
The pilot of the Spirit-Sword promptly spun the spaceship in the direction of Earth and the Sol System, the most brilliant, distant star in the sky. The vectoring engines spit hot fire out its tail and shot off in the direction of Florida.
An INKV nuclear missile slipped by the Spirit-Sword, heading towards the now stranded Installation 41, in orbit over the planet Reach.
“I bet the Reachians are in for quite the light show,” Herculus thought out loud.
“We’ll probably get to see it on Waypoint later,” noted Juan. “Probably.”
“So where to next?” Mitsubaruta asked, suddenly leaning into Herculus’s chest causing the said SPARTAN-III to blush crimson.
“Florida! Space-trip!” Everyone but Spartan Hammerswell cheered.
Hammerswell mumbled to himself, “Superheroes don’t look at explosions…”
There was a giant, gassy thump as the ancient alien mega-structure was caught up in a massive, epic-looking fireball, bigger than a planet. No one looked back as they made their way for Florida, happily discussing their vacation plans. The mission was over. Another one for the books by Fireteam Liger, the best crack shot Spartan team in the galaxy.
Herculus made a single extra statement, “Who wants to handle the outro?”
“Ooh, I do!” Juan cheered from near the cockpit.
The short SPARTAN-II coughed into his helmet a couple of times to clear his throat and get the gravelly voice necessary for a proper SPARTAN-117 impression.
“No. I think we’re just getting started.”
Breaking the Fourth Wall
This is a community project where writers were randomly given a chapter to write, and characters to use. The rules were thus: they could only read the chapter that came before theirs. Thus, there might be continuity errors, but this was a challenge on purpose for the sake of humor! If you want to get a more detailed explanation please check out the original blog Post.
- Note: The gender of the Smart AI Ampulla is a disputed subject due to authors not coordinating their posts. An example of the creative trope: "Too Many Cooks Spoil The Soup".