|This article, The Sentinel War, was written by John E276. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Halo: The Sentinel War
By: John E276
Chapter One: The Selection
1300 Hours, March 7, 2559 (Military Calendar)
HSJA Outpost S4, near ground zero of the New Mombasa Orbital Elevator (Destroyed)
“Dr. Halsey, It’s good to see you again.” Lord Hood said, extending his hand.Dr. Halsey took it and gave a gentle shake. Her time on Onyx had preserved her somehow; it was as if she was in cryosleep the whole time, yet could remain active.“The years have not been kind, Hood.” She replied, “So, what else have I missed since I’ve been away?”John entered the room, his Mark VI Armor glistening in the light. Neither of them took any notice to him, they were accustomed to the Spartans by now and were in a deep conversation about the new protocols in the HSJA.He shrugged and walked past, into the weight room. He gazed at the weights, and frowned.This just didn’t seem right to him. He felt out of place; like if he wasn’t holding a rifle, he was lost.No more war, no more fighting, just commanding. Maybe this was how Kurt felt, John thought, maybe this happens to everyone after a while.We fight, and then we die, retire, or lead a life behind the lines. He left the weight room, and was about to return to his quarters, when Dr. Halsey stopped him, “John, come over here. We need to talk with you.” He joined them. “ Halsey?”He said, tilting his head slightly to the side.
“As you may know Master Chief,” Lord Hood said, “the HSJA is planning on continuing the Spartan Project.” John nodded; he had heard about it before, “Well, HIGHCOM asked me for recommendations as to who would train them.And I see nobody more befitting to take on the task than you and your Blue Team.” John didn’t reply right away, something Hood found unnerving.He didn’t know if John was reaching out to his team, or if he was just taking it all in. That MJOLNIR suit was definitely a big help for the Spartans, nobody would ever know their emotions.“Sir, it would be an honor for me to train them. But I don’t know if my team will go for it just yet.We’ve been through a lot, and they are still trying to adjust.”
“I understand completely, Chief.” Lord Hood replied, “We’ll give you and your team 24 hours.Come back to me then with you answer.” John nodded and exited the room.
John felt exposed without Cortana. He always knew that she would "die" in the end, but he just couldn't accept it.Walking down the hallway now, he thought back to the first time he met her. He wasn't so sure about having an AI in his brain every second of every day.But now, he realized that without her, he would be long dead. Keeping his thoughts down, he shook his head and entered the room."Hey John," Kelly said. She, like the others, had gone through hell and back with John.Usually the last to recover from anything, she was one of the first this time. Post traumatic stress disorder was common in soldiers, but when you have been fighting wars literally all your life, it was a surprise to most scientists and doctors that the Spartans weren't insane."How'd it go in there?" She looked at John. He shrugged.How could he tell her yet? They had all gone through a lot.Out of seventy-five friends, seventy-five brothers and sisters in arms; only seventeen were left. He could barely stand thinking about it.Six years after humanity's most gruesome war, they were already preparing to fight another.
He shrugged again and sank into a chair. "I just don't know anymore, Kelly."He said, "Fighting is all I've ever known. I've fought countless enemies, so many factions that didn't match our cause.I lost count of how many I've killed. Now, we're getting ready to fight yet another war against trillions of robots.They don't have feelings, they don't understand. And they won't stop fighting.They've been programmed to stop the Flood at all costs. Even if it means killing sentient life on their own."
"Well, what did Lord Hood ask you about?"She sat down with him. Kelly was someone John could always trust to talk to.She seemed like the only one who ever listened. Inside his helmet he grinned, "He wants us to train more Spartans.They're making another program to fight the Sentinels. I guess they've finally realized that twenty years against the Covenant can wear even Spartans down."
“Wait a minute; he wants us to train the Spartans?”For some reason that John couldn’t see, Kelly was surprised. They were technically the most successful Spartan program.Looking at their service record, John could understand why. 33 Spartans safeguarded millions of human lives, killed tens of thousands of the Covenant, and essentially winning every battle they have faced.Before the Human-Covenant War, they had been excellent hostage rescue units and assassinations against the United Rebel Front.
“Personally Kelly, I can think of few better.” She stood up and walked to the door. “John, I don’t know if I can.”John had never seen Kelly break down like this before, maybe she didn’t fully recover from the fighting. “It’s not that I can’t stand training more Spartans, it’s that I won’t be at their side to fight.Mendez never got that chance; I think he probably felt the same way.”
“Well,” John started, “we can probably work things out with the Spartans. I’m sure that once the training is done, we can get the same augmentations that they get.And we can definitely get fitted into the Mark VII armor they’re designing. There’s still a good chance that we can fight, in fact it’s almost certain that we’ll be called upon to serve on the battlefield.”She turned and looked at him. Behind the armor was a friend that needed someone to inspire her.John had done just that, “Okay John,” She said, “I’ll give this training thing a shot.” Now John stood.He could finally get on to the rest of his team. He sighed, “Great, only sixteen more people to persuade.”
Chapter Two: Spooks
0530 Hours, May 2, 2559 (Military Calendar)
HSJA Base 117, in
John woke to the shrill sound of a whistle. Where was he?He was in his bed at home last night, now though; he seemed to be in a barracks of some kind. It reminded him of the pictures his brother sent home during his training.Am I dreaming? He thought.He rose quickly, hitting his head on the top bunk. I guess not.Holding his head, he got up more carefully this time and looked around the room. There were dozens of bunks set up against the walls of the barracks with kids just like him groggily waking up.“Good morning boot.” A voice said behind him.John remembered it from somewhere. He spun on his heels and faced a man about two and a half meters tall with short brown hair.Sizing him up, John knew that this man was different from others he had met in the past. Most of the people that he knew in the military were average height and weight, but this guy, he was tall and definitely looked to be at least 125 kilograms.“Get dressed into the blue clothes in the basket at the end of your bunk and go to the Meeting Room.” John nodded, still tired.He went to get dressed when he realized that he didn’t know where the Meeting Room was, “Umm, sir?” The man turned around, “Yes boot?”The man asked in an irritated voice. “Where exactly is the Meeting Room?”He sighed, “Just follow the signs and you’ll get there in no time, everything will be explained there.” John nodded again and returned to his bunk.By that time, his bunkmate had gotten up. “What was that noise that woke everyone up?” He asked, rubbing his eyes.“I think it was a whistle. Do you know where we are?”The boy shrugged in response, “I’ve asked people already, nobody does. They’re all saying that they just woke up here.”John yawned and began getting dressed. He looked at the boy’s shirt.On it was written: Jesse E237 “Your name’s Jesse huh? I had a cousin named Jesse.”Jesse looked surprised; John guessed he didn’t realize that they all had their names embroidered on their clothes they woke up in. “How do you know my name?”John pointed to his name, “That’s how, it’s on yours too. In fact I’m pretty sure it’s on everyone’s.”They both looked around. Everyone was up and about, talking to each other.“Who was that guy you were talking to?” “Oh, I have no idea, but I think that this place is like a barracks or something.My brother joined the Marines during the war and sent home pictures of places that looked just like this.” Jesse’s face went from curiosity to worry in seconds, “You mean they’re making us be soldiers or something?”“That’s what I would think. That guy told me to get dressed and go to the Meeting Room.”They both shrugged and got the clothes they fit best into and began to leave when another shrill whistle blew.
“Alright recruits,” The same man from last time yelled out, “Get your asses dressed and get to the Meeting Room, ASAP!” The two boys looked at each other, shrugged, and left the barracks.
“Well, we know one thing for sure.” “What’s that?” John asked.He noticed that Jesse was looking at the sky. “There’s one moon and one star, witch means that this is probably Earth.” He looked up; there was indeed one of each.They were only visible in John’s opinion because it was early morning and the star was just rising. They both continued to follow the signs until they finally reached the Meeting Room about a kilometer later.Seeing as they were among the first to arrive at the room, John and Jesse quickly took the best seats there. Their curiosity got the better of them though.“Hey John,” Jesse said, “What do you think is in that room over there?” He gestured to a big metal door on the other end of the Meeting Room. “I don’t know, you wanna check it out?”Without responding, Jesse quickly hopped off his seat and walked over to the door. “Hey look,” He said, “there’s a camera right there.”John saw it long ago. He always had an uncanny ability for picking out cameras and other surveillance equipment anywhere he went.He also practiced disabling old cameras, and was pretty good at it. That was how he always got extra snacks for him and his friends back home during nap-time.
Home. With everything going on lately, he had totally forgotten about it.He wondered now where they were, if they were okay, how far away he really was from them. Jesse snapped him out of his thoughts, “Hey do you think that you can turn it off?I’m too short.” John shrugged.He had seen cameras like this before. It was usually in hard-to-reach places at shops and military places.He remembered his brother’s funeral. Everyone was crying that day, but all he could remember was the anger, and the new camera at the entrance.He had tried to disable that one too. He wanted to see his brother alone, one last time.He had failed then, but John was driven not to fail again.
“Give me a boost,” He said, “If I can get up there fast enough, I think I can get it off before anyone notices.” He continued working on it for a good thirty seconds when the handle of the door began to turn.Jesse dropped John in an instant and they both raced back to their chairs. The door opened and another tall man was there.This one was more average looking, not too tall or too short, not too strong or weak; just regular. His hair color was different too, unlike the man at the barracks; this one had jet-black hair with streaks of silvery gray running through.He walked straight to a podium in the middle of the room. Jesse and John kept completely silent until the man reached the podium.“Hiya,” Jesse said, waving. The man jumped in surprise.Jesse instinctively did the same; John didn’t like to show surprise to strangers. He was calm.“You scared me,” The man said, “Usually I can hear people so close to me. Were you kids holding your breath or something?”They shook their heads. “Ah well, I guess everything goes with age,” He laughed.John thought that this man was much more pleasant than the other one in the barracks. “My name’s Fred; I’m going to be one of your trainers for the program.”Fred looked around, “I was expecting more of you, is this it?”
“No sir,” John said, “I think there are about a hundred total. We’re the first here I guess.”Fred shrugged, “Well, just relax for now; we’ll wait for the others to show up.”
About ten minutes later, the rest of the children began to file into the room. Behind them was a small army of drill instructors and trainers screaming at the recruits to get into seats.All of the kids double-timed it to the chairs surrounding the podium. Fred looked up again at the one-hundred children around him now.Grinning, he introduced himself, “Welcome recruits, this is your first day of Spartan training.” The crowd began to buzz with excitement.Children gasped and laughed and talked amongst themselves before the instructors quieted them down. John saw the man from the barracks standing at the entrance, making himself as small as possible.John began to wonder why that was when Fred interrupted his thoughts, “You have all probably heard of the Spartans before either through family or friends. Let me make this clear now though; what you’ve heard in the past is nothing like the real thing, I should know; I’m one myself.”Now the recruits went into a loud conversation between themselves again, it took the instructors nearly five minutes before the talking had subsided.
A boy behind John raised his hand, “Yes young man, what is it?” Fred asked.Everyone in the room adjusted their focus on the little boy. “Well sir, I was just wondering, are you the Master Chief?”