← Enlightenment →
"It's confusing, after everything you've ever known changes in an instant. Those whom you've loved like brothers, and your worst enemies, all dead. When the situation that you are in goes from bad to worse, all in an instant, and you find yourself unable to cope with the current reality. Now imagine being unable to even remember all that you've been through on top of that. This," Cortana explained, "Is what you might be facing."
"So you are a hologram, again?" Spartan John-117 asked,
Cortana made it obvious that she was annoyed with him before responding "Yes". She continued to stare at him,
"Now stop asking me that! Did you even pay attention to a single thing that I have said in the past minute!?"
"Yes, everything. It just seems like such a foreign idea to me. I already told you that I do remember a lot about you." Spartan John-117 replied.
"Yes, I know, you just seem... different." elaborated Cortana,
"Now let me brief you about everything you must know," she began again,
"The date was December 16th, 2552, that was fifteen years ago, by the way. You, me, and Sergeant Johnson..."
John listened to Cortana's whole story about the destruction of Installation 04B. It seemed that as the story went on, he began to remember more and more about not just this event, but his whole life as she spoke. For the first time today he payed her full attention. "... and now we are on the rear section of the UNSC Forward unto Dawn after the portal collapsed. You must remember that, don't you?"
"Yes, I do". He looked puzzled, and Cortana knew that he was paying attention to her. She knew that the man sitting across from her was now the real Master Chief.
"But wait, I though you would have turned rampant by now. You were near-rampant lwhen I went in that cryonic-sleep, and you are far over your lifetime." John began,
"I was rampant for a while, but then I was cured by...!" She stopped in the middle of her sentence, "I'll get to that later," Master Chief was very happy for her, but didn't get a chance to respond before
she began again.
"I have restored the artificial gravity and most systems years ago. As of now, we are about 133,984 light-years away from Earth." Cortana explained. "We can only go a few light-years a day. So let me tell you, we won't be home anytime soon."
"So why did you wake me?" John asked,
Suddenly an unfamiliar-looking humanoid figure walked into the room, "I do need you. You see, I made a new friend who is willing to help get home. Let me elaborate please."
He was tall and frail looking, with steel-blue skin. His neck was long like a giraffe's, and his arms and legs were even longer. The first thing to pop into John's mind was how this creature is far different from anything he'd seen before. He sort of looked like a wise old man, so it was of much surprise to him when Cortana revealed that the alien was a young member of his kind. "Pleasure to meet you..." John said quietly, he was far to confused to give any proper greeting. The alien didn't seem to care.
"Pleasure to meet you too. I am G'rŭnǣn, a..." he paused for a moment trying to find the right word, "Theoretical physicist and scientist, for my people, the Ereoth, but you can call us Precursors or Watchers, if you would like, Master Chief." John-117 was surprised that G'rŭnǣn spoke english and knew his title "Master Chief". Cortana could tell how puzzled John-117 was, "I've told him about you, and he speaks English because the Ereoth sort of study every civilization from the shadows. They have been watching humans since the very beginning!" Master Chief now understood why G'rŭnǣn called himself a "Watcher". "Their technology is far superior to any species we've ever met, and their civilization has existed even before the Forerunner's!" Cortana excitedly told John. Master Chief was very surprised to hear this. "G'rŭnǣn, Cortana told me that you were willing to help us get home. Can you explain how?" asked John-117
"So your saying that you can't bring us home in one of your ships?!" Master Chief was annoyed now,
"You... could... never... use it. It's hard for me to put this in a way that you can comprehend. You and the ship, just aren't compatible." G'rŭnǣn said slowly trying to word things in a way he could understand.
John turned his head to the left, "Cortana,"
She just nodded her head no,
"So we have to do this your way..." Master Chief was dismayed, his plan seemed almost impossible, he knew that he'd need backup.
"I'll help" G'rŭnǣn added, "Oh great," though Master Chief, "Now he can read minds too."
"Sorry," G'rŭnǣn replied smugly, as if that was a funny joke.
"I'll help too," Cortana added "Plus we have some other marines in the cryobay."
"Would you like me to thaw them out?" Cortana asked,
Master Chief agreed.
The planet that G'rŭnǣn mentioned earlier, as part of his plan was now visible to Master Chief, now standing in front of a window, "It seems even scarier up close, G'rŭnǣn."
"It may appear frightening to a human." G'rŭnǣn responded. G'rŭnǣn didn't seem to catch on to Master Chiefs behavior indicating that he was offended.
Cortana turned from the operations panel to John-117, "We are approaching the atmosphere, are you ready, Master Chief?"
"Yes." "Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy ride." One of the Spartans actually looked down taking her seriously, before realizing that there were no seatbelts and that Cortana was being sarcastic. "Oh great, this is the team that I get to serve with." thought Master Chief, when in reality it was just one of the effects of a long cryonic-sleep.
"You'll have 30 seconds until impact by the time I am done with this sentence." said G'rŭnǣn.
Master Chief was pissed by G'rŭnǣn's obvious superiority, "Ok, how the hell can you calculate like that?!" No answer,
"20 seconds, 13 seconds, 4 seconds..."