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HomeMovieTHE RUBICON PROTOCOL, the Prequel to HALO INFINITE Subsequent Week — GeekTyrant

THE RUBICON PROTOCOL, the Prequel to HALO INFINITE Subsequent Week — GeekTyrant



Chapter 1 CHAPTER 1

UNSC Infinity

December 12, 2559

Day 1

“Stone, get these lifeboats deployed now!” Palmer’s voice rang sharp in her ears.

“On the final load out, Commander. We’ve obtained a complete of 4 seats open.”

“They’ll by no means make it. I’m diverting them to Bay Ten. And watch your tail. It’s a multitude on the market.”

“Roger that.”

A metric ton of titanium help beam pressed on Spartan Bonita Stone’s armor-clad shoulders as she held up the hall ceiling from collapsing. Her muscle tissue burned. Strain inbuilt her chest, her coronary heart working extra time to course of the large surge of adrenaline flowing via her system. Amid the smoke billowing within the passageway twenty meters forward, a pleasant was making his approach to the lifeboats behind her. Infinity shuddered once more. Energy cables and plating fell and sparked and the enormous beam she held aloft shifted. Her stance dropped one other fifteen centimeters, placing unimaginable pressure on her thighs and knees.

“How… a lot… farther?” She squeezed her eyes closed and gritted her tooth.

“Nineteen meters,” Ouco, her private AI, replied.

Stone cracked her eyes open, dialing in on the shadowy determine rising from the haze. It was a younger medic, stumbling and coughing, then all of the sudden falling to his knees as he gagged on the acrid white smoke of melting cables and circuitry. “Stand up!” she shouted. Her muscle tissue started to tremble from fatigue; she’d should launch the beam quickly. “Get your ass up proper now! If I can maintain this rattling beam, you possibly can stand! One foot in entrance of the opposite!”

“I’m attempting,” he gasped, barely audible, as a large fiber-optic cable fell via the damaged ceiling, hitting the ground subsequent to him. A number of meters behind him, the passageway blew aside and crimson fragments of what appeared like a Banished Seraph tore via Infinity’s hull.

The vacuum of area started to tug smoke and fireplace and particles. Horrified, the medic scrambled to his ft and ran straight for her. As quickly as he slid clear below her arm, Stone ducked and pushed herself backward. The beam instantly slammed into the deck. Shortly she turned, took two steps, grabbed the child by the arm, and raced towards the lifeboat bay, sealing the doorways as soon as they have been inside.

Solely two escape craft remained. Stone pushed the medic towards the lifeboat with one vacant seat left after which paused. Orders have been orders and the chain of command needed to be revered always, however there have been nonetheless three empty seats within the second lifeboat and a whole lot if not 1000’s of Infinity’s crew nonetheless caught on board.

Reviews continued to pour in through Spartan Channel, TEAMCOM, the battlenet… So many continued to battle their approach all through the large UNSC flagship, or have been already on the market in fighters, hounding the Banished.

The heavy thunder of Infinity’s 70mm autocannons and Scythe turrets echoed relentlessly because the vessel’s super-heavy magnetic accelerator cannons fired tungsten projectiles that might tear clear via an enemy warship in a single shot. Amid the weapons’ fixed clamor, the ship-wide PA system continued issuing evacuation directives, revising which areas to go to, and which lifesaving measures hadn’t but been destroyed by the Banished fleet. Dozens of alarms blared via the ship till every little thing appeared like one gigantic sustained roar.

“Spartan Stone!” A lone marine had completed ushering the medic into the primary lifeboat, misery clear in her face as she met Stone’s gaze. It was time to go.

Stone glanced as soon as extra down the corridors, a technique now sealed and the opposite an impassable tangle of twisted metallic and fireplace.

Nobody else was coming. Nobody else might.

After the primary lifeboat’s door sealed, Stone stepped onto the small loading platform and ducked into the second lifeboat, ignoring the bitter knot in her abdomen and attempting to maintain her give attention to the now versus what she was abandoning. She closed the hatch and strode down the aisle towards the pilot’s seat. “Buckle up tight. And after I say brace, you brace. Bought it?”

The response was lackluster. The 5 faces looking at her have been pale and streaked with soot. All of the passengers have been wearing standard-issue marine coveralls, a corporal amongst them.

“We’ll be hitting the bottom in a battle zone. As soon as we land, weapons prepared. I’ll debark first.” They continued gazing at her. “Hey!” She slammed a fist in opposition to the bulkhead, making them soar. “The Banished have taken our ship, our dwelling, and our individuals. You gonna stand for that?”

Just a few heads shook and backs all of the sudden went a bit straighter.

“Nicely?”

“Hell, no,” the corporal piped up, after which others murmured in settlement.

“That’s proper. Hell. No.”

Offended, Stone slid all 4 hundred kilos of her TRAILBLAZER-class GEN3 Mjolnir armor into the pilot’s seat—no simple feat, however there was simply sufficient room to maneuver.

“Hyperlink established,” Ouco mentioned. “Prepared to your enter, Spartan Stone.”

It was instances like these that she appreciated her selection of private AI. Ouco’s regular persona and calming baritone had a knack for setting her comfy regardless of the scenario. “Provoke auto escape and evasion routine.”

“Initiating now.”

Behind her, the cabin was eerily quiet. 5 souls in her care and 9 within the different lifeboat have been relying on her to get them via hell within the sky and onto the floor of Zeta Halo.

She opened a channel to the companion lifeboat: “Papa Tango Delta Zero 9, that is Echo India Bravo Zero Eight, copy?”

“Papa 9, copy. Studying you loud and clear, Echo Eight.”

Wait. She knew that simple drawl. “Murphy… is that you simply?”

The lieutenant and Pelican pilot, well-known amongst Spartan ranks, ought to have already been deployed, however should-haves didn’t actually apply to their present scenario. The UNSC Infinity dropping out of slipspace smack right into a Banished ambush had made navigating sure elements of the vessel unimaginable. She ought to know; she ought to be accelerating to the floor in a drop pod proper about now.

“Yeah, misplaced my experience. Complete rattling hangar is gone.”

One other blast rocked the ship, the shockwave vibrating via the lifeboat hull as its docking clamps launched.

“Roger that,” she replied somberly. “Keep glued to my six. We’re going to do that collectively. Sending touchdown trajectory. As soon as we’re down, we’ll be within the thick of it. Get your of us out, discover cowl, after which anticipate me.”

“Music to my ears. Will do. Murphy out.”

Stone had a wealth of expertise when it got here to limitless battle and incursions into uncharted hostile territories; she’d seen her fair proportion of stunning, unforgettable issues, however what she was feeling now was altogether new. That they have been abandoning ship—and never simply any ship—appeared unreal. Infinity was the United Nations Area Command’s pleasure and pleasure, its flagship, a technologically superior monster on each entrance. She wasn’t imagined to falter.

And but, she had.

Infinity had set out on a high-risk mission to cease the rogue AI, Cortana, who had taken management of Zeta Halo and was utilizing it as a base of operations. Once they arrived, nonetheless, they didn’t simply discover the traditional ringworld—they discovered the Banished. The captain’s regular voice nonetheless echoed in her head: “Captain Lasky to all palms. Banished forces are current above the ring—repeat, Banished forces are between us and our goal. All stations interact Banished craft. Infinity, we should attain our goal.” And shortly after, Commander Sarah Palmer’s orders cracking over the ship-wide intercom: “Spartans, all groups! You heard the captain. It’s an ambush. By some means the Banished beat us to the goal. Your orders are easy. Get rid of hostiles with excessive prejudice!”

“Locks launched. Thrusters on-line,” Ouco knowledgeable her because the lifeboat drifted from its docking clamps and its thrusters executed a burst to ship them away from Infinity’s hull.

The lifeboat, an SKT-29 Bumblebee, wasn’t outfitted for offense and even that a lot protection; its sole objective was to propel fleeing personnel all the way down to a floor like an armor-plated bullet.

In the event that they weren’t picked off by the Banished first.…

Her TEAMCOM channel continued to supply stay audio of Fireteam Shadow’s actions. Shadow One barked via the speaker: “Kovan, report!”

Whereas Stone and Kovan had orders to evac, the opposite two members of Fireteam Shadow stayed within the thick of issues. A fast take a look at her show confirmed them hunkered down in Infinity’s major hangar bay, holding off the Banished incursion with Fireteam Taurus, who now seemed to be breaking off to start their descent to the floor of the ring.

“That is Kovan,” a relaxed voice replied. Depart it to Nina Kovan to sound as even-keeled as ever. “Approaching drop pod now.”

“Good. These Banished artillery weapons are choosing off our lifeboats and drop pods as quickly as they enter decrease ambiance. When you hit dust, you recognize what to do.”

“En route now, Shadow One,” Stone knowledgeable him.

“See you each on the floor,” he replied, and lower transmission.

“Hey, Kovan,” Stone mentioned, lastly getting an excellent take a look at what they have been dealing with because the lifeboat moved away from the ailing ship. “Keep in mind working the HIVEMIND trials on Anvil Station?”

“How might I neglect?”

“Issue it by a thousand and that is it.”

A collision alert blared via the lifeboat as they cleared Infinity’s port facet, reducing off Kovan’s reply. A UNSC Longsword starfighter streaked previous, practically clipping their bow because it swooped up below Infinity’s hull and hooked a tough left, rotary cannons blazing.

“Initiating last burst,” Ouco mentioned.

The push despatched the craft into open area, giving Stone an expansive take a look at the mayhem. Explosions, weapons fireplace, plasma blasts, and artillery peppered the area throughout them as Infinity and her help ships gave every little thing that they had. Broadswords, Pelicans, and Longswords crisscrossed area in an effort to take out Banished Seraphs, Phantoms, and Grievers and supply help to lifeboats, drop pods, and troop carriers streaming from Infinity whereas the flagship’s escort frigates maneuvered to inflict most injury to Banished warships.

Witnessing the Banished pressure firsthand, the sheer quantity… she hadn’t seen something like this because the finish of the Covenant Battle. Stone questioned what the hell the Banished have been doing right here. Aside from these aboard Infinity, the UNSC’s mission was—or ought to have been—nearly unknown. They have been trying to unseat Cortana from her place of energy and get rid of the oppressive risk of her forces unfold all through the Orion Arm, one thing that had price numerous lives during the last yr. However now a large Banished fleet hung within the area between them and the ring, and their probabilities for even surviving this operation, no much less finishing it, have been plummeting dramatically.

There was a really actual threat of getting hit by pleasant fireplace simply as a lot as enemy fireplace, and whereas she had the benefit of quicker reflexes and response instances than most pilots and will use the lifeboat’s thrusters to push the tiny vessel to its limits, in a battle zone like this they’d be fortunate to make it into the ambiance in a single piece.

Collision alerts and modifications got here at Stone with lightning pace as, outdoors the craft, escape shuttles and drop pods exploded or took hits that despatched them spinning into others or spiraling out into deep area. And whereas Fireteam Windfall was utilizing their aerial experience to supply help, it was literal pandemonium within the skies.

Spartan Vedrana Makovich lit up Stone’s comms. “Hey, Stone, you’ve obtained a Phantom coming in quick at 9 o’clock!”

“Thanks, Mako. I see it.” And he or she additionally noticed a approach out. 4 hundred meters forward, an enemy dreadnought lay powerless with a gaping gap in its midsection, the sufferer of a direct hit from Infinity’s MAC rounds. They’d already accelerated to ninety-five meters per second and gaining. No time to use the brakes—not that she’d use them anyway. Burning up the single-use brakes now meant they wouldn’t have them later to decelerate for touchdown.

Murphy’s voice lower via the din of her comms: “They’ve obtained a lock on us!”

“Keep on the right track, Murphy.”

“Wait. We’re not… Stone, you’ve obtained to be—”

The lifeboat shot contained in the dreadnought, breaking via particles and plating, its bolstered armor like a battering ram—smaller and more durable than the Phantom following them.

“Jesus,” Murphy’s rattled voice echoed as each lifeboats exited the broken vessel intact, the Phantom misplaced someplace behind them.

“It’s not over but,” she mentioned. “Getting into higher ambiance. Maintain on.”

100 and twenty meters per second now.

Stone glanced out the viewport. Hundreds of pods and lifeboats, shuttles and ships, and broken vessels and particles streaked on parallel trajectories towards the floor of a colossal, artificially constructed alien ring designed to each harbor life and destroy it on a galaxy-wide scale. Its inside liveable floor glowed invitingly and deceptively within the darkness of area with acquainted tones of blue, inexperienced, and white.

Stone saved watch on her readouts, and listened to the channels. A cacophony of voices got here via TEAMCOM, whereas TACCOM was continuously updating intel. So far as she might inform, Captain Lasky and the bridge crew appeared to be in good palms. And Fireteam Taurus together with the opposite members of Fireteam Shadow had already deserted ship.

She counted down kilometers in her head; impression was going to be an actual bitch.

Decrease ambiance now and the floor of the ring was developing quick, that ribbon of blue and inexperienced getting wider and wider… “Brace for impression!”

“Stone!” Murphy yelled. “We’ve been hello—” The audio stuffed with static.

She looked for the companion lifeboat via the viewport, not seeing something. “Dangle in there, Murphy!” Then she noticed it, spinning uncontrolled, coming in at her two o’clock, the again part utterly gone.

“Brace—brace—brace—” the automated system warned as clouds swept previous the windshield.

“Bracing positions!” she yelled over her shoulder. “Landfall on the ring in 5 seconds!”

These 5 seconds occurred immediately.

The lifeboat slammed into the bottom at a steep angle with an earsplitting growth. The impression threw her exhausting in opposition to the harness, after which instantly in the wrong way, her head snapping again and shoulders plowing into the pilot’s seat, breaking its body. Because the crashed lifeboat lower a vicious path via the earth, it shook so exhausting that even along with her Spartan augmentations, it was troublesome to focus or do something however maintain on to the harness.

“Ouco… pace,” she managed.

“Forty meters per second.”

The console in entrance of her all of the sudden spit out sparks and went black together with the cabin lights, placing them in full darkness.

“Twenty.”

The lifeboat quickly slowed, lastly coming to a cease.

The sudden absence of movement after the chaos of the previous a number of minutes felt surprisingly surreal.

Stone turned within the damaged seat. “Pontificate, marines!”

“We’re good, Spartan Stone,” got here a feminine reply. “Bumps and bruises, not a lot else.”

“Copy that.” A miracle everybody had survived. Then once more, the day was nonetheless younger.

With that thought, Stone disengaged her harness and pushed herself to her ft. Her muscle tissue felt sluggish and fatigued from holding up the help beam. Diagnostics have been displaying some tissue injury in each shoulders, thighs, and one knee. A minimum of she didn’t really feel any ache. But.

Her helmet gentle flared via the passenger cabin, beaming on the 5 occupants, all comparatively unhurt; an unimaginable reduction. “Quickly as I blow the hatch,” she mentioned, “we fan out in pairs. The ring’s already crawling with Banished. Be prepared for something.”

They obtained up slowly, submitting behind her as she disengaged the door launch. Daylight flooded inside. Stone unshouldered her M395 rifle, already scanning the world for potential threats as she poked her head outdoors. No targets within the direct neighborhood, however she knew that wouldn’t final for lengthy—the world simply past the boulder-strewn ledge was lit up with indicators of heavy combating.

She left the lifeboat, ensuring everybody was out earlier than heading to the sting of the rocks to get a visible on their environment. Behind them, a large grassy plateau led to rocky foothills and a whole lot of acres of excessive alpine forest that stretched proper as much as the bottom of a large snowcapped mountain vary. Within the sky, drop pods, evac craft, troop carriers, and burning particles rained down towards the floor like meteors, impacts shaking the bottom and filling the air with fixed thunder.

“Whoa,” one of many marines marveled, having adopted her.

She glanced down. “You all proper, marine?”

“Yeah. Simply… for all the difficulty this stuff are imagined to trigger, I suppose I by no means thought the floor of the ring would look so… lovely.”

Her forehead lifted.

That was definitely a technique of taking a look at it. It was on the tip of her tongue to be sarcastic, however she let him have the second. It wouldn’t be lengthy earlier than he’d neglect in regards to the idyllic scene and all he’d be capable to see and keep in mind can be the brutality of battle.

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