Halo- Countdown to Zero
Author: AtinMando

Chapter 12

Near Ruins of UNSC Stonewall

It had been at least 5 miles that they had walked. Some of the Naval personnel had gotten very tired and slowed down. Atin didn't blame them. On his HUD, a symbol indicated that Kami had initiated a two-way communication. “Sir, these Naval personnel will slow us down. Do we really need them?”

“Well, the Stonewall will be a signal flare to any Section Zero forces. And who knows, with Brutes in space, there might be Brutes on the ground, too. If we leave them, they'll be easy pickings. I guess we'll just have to put up with them.”

Kami groaned. “I guess you're right.” Just then, one of the bridge crew that had been, only a moment ago, whining about how bad his feet hurt, fell with a scream. Atin thought that he had fell, but then, his gut told him one thing. Sniper. “Sniper! Get down!” Atin yelled to everybody. Then, a figure appeared on the top of the cliff. “I got him!” Jon said as he leveled his sniper rifle and shot. The figure fell down. It was a Section Zero Elite Soldier. “You shouldn't have done that.” A voice said. Hundreds of humans and Brutes appeared on both sides of the cliff. “You are surrounded. Surrender, and we will make your deaths quick. There is no hope for survival.”

On the two-way comlink, Atin told Kami,” Damn. Well, we could fight. We might get out of it, but all of the crew will die. What do you think?”

“I just don't know. We should pretend to surrender, then hope that they come down here to slaughter us. Then we strike.”

Atin smiled. “Good plan.” On the outside audio, he yelled, “We surrender. We accept that we are now Prisoners of War.”

Nikki came on his comlink. “You have a plan?” Atin said, “Just go with it.”

The Section Zero Lead came down with 20 of his Elite Troops. His uniform identified him as the Section Zero Left Hand, Gilad Toger. As he came up to one of the bridge crew with a knife, Atin heard a very familiar high-pitched triple crack. Toger's head bursted with blood and he fell, dead. The squad leapt into action and killed the Elite troopers. Then, Atin looked at the squad's savior. The helmet was as familiar as his own. His comlink flashed, and a screamingly familiar voice said to the whole squad, “You need some help, Zeta?” It was Charlotte's voice.

“Char!” Kami yelled.

“Yeah!” Nikki yelled after that.

“Good to have you back, Char.” Atin said.

“Damn. You brought a whole fleet?” Char had really pulled out all the stops. She had brought 30 ships, all of them, destroyers, carriers, and even some mighty cruisers.

“Yep. I even persuaded Lord Hood to let me have the Ironclad for awhile.”

“Damn. That's one good cruiser. What about land troops?” Atin felt bad about not giving Char the welcome back attention she deserved, but this was a battlefield.

“I brought 2 tank brigades, along with 4 squads of Warthogs. And the commander of the 1st tank brigade is someone you might know.” Then, Atin's friend and former comrade, Will walked in. “I don't damn well believe it. Good to see you, Will.”

Will looked like there was nothing he'd like to do but get some payback on those Brutes. “Same to you. Looks like you could use my help. Luckily, Char ran into me and persuaded me to come help.”

Atin nodded. “Did you bring your special weapon?”

Will smiled. “You know it.” He brought in a custom Scorpion tank, customized with two main cannons and four machine guns.

“All right, here's the plan. There are 3 phase pulse generators that allow Halo to fire deep into space. If we destroy all 3 of them, then Halo can't fire. Kami, Nikki, Char, I'll leave that to you. Will, take your brigades and engage the land forces outside the Control Room. Jon and I will infiltrate the Control Room and stop Section Zero once and for all. To get there, we'll each use a squad of Longswords that Char brought. Everyone clear? Good. The UNSC is relying on us. We can do this. Trust your comrades, and they will trust you. You will not fall back. You will not stop pushing forward. We will destroy Section Zero! Kote!” Atin put his hands out and everybody joined in. Then, Atin's radar flickered and he brought his rifle up to see a metal sphere floating towards the squad.

“Please don't shoot. I mean you no harm. I am 2401 Penitent Tangent. I am the Monitor of Instillation 05. I require your assistance. These meddlers are trying to activate this installation with no reason. The compound mind has left and been destroyed and the Sentinels have contained the Flood. There is no reason to activate this installation. You must assist me in stopping this atrocity.”

Atin put his gun down. “That is our plan. You can go with me. I'm going to go to the Control Room and kill the one who's trying to activate this Halo.”

Tangent bobbed up and down. “Excellent! I will leave the bloodshed to you and your comrades.”

Atin nodded. “All right, squad. Board your Longswords, and form up. We go to the first Phase Pulse Generator first.” Atin and Jon entered the Command Longsword, followed by Penitent Tangent.

“Ok, Jon. This is it.” Atin said as he punched the controls that started the Longsword. It rose in the air, and shot through the air, followed by 4 squadrons. They reached the first door that lead to the Phase Pulse Generator. “Nikki, first one's yours. Good luck.” Nikki's squad peeled off from the main group and landed on the platform. The small cloud of Longswords then reached the second door. “Char, your turn. Give them hell.” Once they left the second door, a Longsword reported in. “Sir, Tank brigade is almost at the wall of hostiles.” When the squads reached the third door, they immediately started taking fire. “Kami! Get in that generator room! We'll hold them off!” Kami's Longsword made a shaky landing and she sprinted through the door. “Ok, they're in. Squad! Punch it to the Control Room!” The valley opened and there was the Control Room embedded in a rock formation. Below the formation, there were about 30 Wraith heavy tanks taking fire from Will's brigade. Just then, 2 Anti Air turrets shot at the Longswords. They quickly fell, and Atin's and Jon's started taking heavy fire. Atin punched it and it landed near the Control Room door. Atin and Jon sprinted into the opening and saw that the antechamber was totally ruined. “Damn. But this doesn't look new. Maybe there was a past skirmish.” Atin remarked. “Maybe, but we need to get in that firing chamber.” Atin and Jon ran through the wreckage and into the Core room, where they took fire from Axton Masanus, who had the Index on his belt, and his Right-Hand man.


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