"It's the end of the world, Minds, and I'm babysitting. Yep. Arbiter and the others brought me along, but they've got nothing for me to do except attend the world's weirdest tea party. I gotta keep an eye on this girl. Her names Masha, and she's…well…it's a bit hard to explain…"
"A good Little Sister!"
"GAH! Puh-please don't do that…"
"Aheh…well, let's just say she isn't like any little girl we've ever seen. I'll explain later…if I can…"
Casey placed her audio diary beside her and returned to her seat. The conference room aboard the Master Chief had been turned into an impromptu setting for a tea party. Honestly, Casey was amazed the Masha was able to redecorate so quickly and with so little. The girl had smuggled a restaurant tablecloth into a dropped purse, with a few plastic cups and plates she had picked up around Rapture. All of them had been redecorated with crayons the girl always carried with her. It was cute…but it would've been cuter if it hadn't been for all the red coloring.
Jimi was sitting down on the seat beside Casey, looking a little unnerved. Casey couldn't blame him. Masha had almost hugged the Pokemon to death, and the Rumbler hanging around prevented the Pikachu from reacting as he normally would have. So all he could do was sit, shiver and give quizzical looks to Casey.
Masha skipped to her own seat directly across Casey. She had replaced her rags with a clean pink dress, which made her look a little less like a ragged animal and more like a little girl. Her off-color skin and yellow eyes were freaky…but Casey had seen a lot worse at her concerts alone. Still, there was still something off about her.
The huge man in the diving suit didn't make the strange scene any less odd. He didn't move, and didn't notice Casey Lynch in the slightest. The only thing he noticed was Masha. He never took his eyes off the girl, never acknowledging either of the other guests.
"Want some more tea?" Masha asked.
Casey shrugged and gave the girl a wan smile. Arbiter had told her to not upset the girl, so she just played along. "Of…course I'd like some tea." The rocker picked up her empty cup and shifted it to Masha. Jimi just rolled his eyes.
Masha gave her that crooked smile in return, and brought a teapot out of her bag. Casey shivered, involuntarily thinking about the Hatter. The Little Sister didn't notice, and poured the invisible tea into the plastic cup.
Casey took the time to reflect. Once upon a time, she was a musician playing to a packed concert in Las Venturas. Now, she was having a tea party with a mutated little girl and her behemoth protector from an underwater city. On a Covenant spaceship. While several others were saving the world a small distance away.
The former rocker glanced out the window. The Master Chief was a fair distance from the 'power plant', far enough away to not be noticed, but close enough for the operatives to get to safely. Link was with them…she hoped he'd be alright. He'd taken the ocarina with him for luck, along with a few other things.
This had been one crazy couple of months. She thought about Link, Arbiter, Hatter, Dimentio, Mindy, Aven…all that she'd seen. It had been hectic and dangerous, but honestly? She wouldn't have missed it for the world. She had gone into that mansion craving more excitement, and now she'd found it. Even if she was the fifth wheel.
Masha's voice snapped her out of her thoughts. Casey chuckled an apology before bringing the cup to her lips and drinking the invisible tea like a soda can, while Jimi began doodling something on the table with his claw. It vaguely resembled a lightning bolt zapping a little girl.
Aven watched the scene from his position and shook his head. How the chronicler could possibly do that was beyond him.
The Sangheili had been placed in the security room of the ship. Gordon had improvised the technology so that he could watch the Master Chief's status from this one room. The weapons, the outside, the rooms…everything could be monitered at once. There were even cameras pointed outside, in case any threats approached the ship. The ship itself was locked tight, but Aven could override the locks if necessary for an escape.
Everything checked out, included the sensors used to detect intruders inside or outside the ship. A butterfly could land on the ship, and it'd be detected. Right now, not even a fly was buzzing around the Master Chief. Good. If recent events had taught Aven Nterru anything, it was that he had to be prepared for anything.
Aven tapped the commlink on his helmet, only to hear static. He tried again, attempting to contact his superiors. Still nothing. This was the second time this had happened.
The elite took his modified carbine in hand and watched the screens. He knew their adversaries would try something. And this time, he wouldn't be caught off guard. That was what Arbiter would've wanted.
Aven silently prayed the operatives were safe, but he stopped himself. Of course they were safe. They were professionals. Nothing would keep them down for long.
"Hello. It's good to see you all here. Especially you, Ganon. We went to a lot of trouble to bring you back to life."
"I could tell. Why am I here?"
"I will explain. You see, we all have something in common."
"Symmetry? I beg to differ."
"Be quiet, clown."
"No, not symmetry. We all have a desire to remake the world. To shape it in our respective images."
"I could do that without any help."
"So could the rest of us. But think about it. If we all succeeded in our individual efforts, we wouldn't have a world to rule. Imagine multiple apocalypses happening as we strove to control the world's destiny. We'd be left with nothing but fragmented pieces of earth, not worth all the risks we'd have to take. That's the reason I've brought us all together…"
Link groaned himself awake as the lightshow in his head cleared. After watching Dimentio kill Lord Lucien, he'd been caught off guard by the attack. But he knew from experience that when something like that happened, he had to get himself back together quickly.
Experience had also taught him how to get himself back together quickly. Once he'd woken up, he took stock of his surroundings and situation. He was in a large room, furnished with what looked like random boxes and structures. The entire room was an odd shade of green, and a pattern that resembled computer code.
None of the other operatives were here, and turning on his commlink resulted in nothing but static. He was alone, vulnerable…
But he still had all his tools and weapons. He took his sword in hand, looking around for any threats. He didn't see any at first…but he also didn't see any way out.
"So you're finally awake."
Link whirled around to find the source of that voice. He found it very quickly. Someone was standing atop one of the metal boxes…someone who looked quite odd. He had extremely long silver hair, a black leather overcoat, and green cat-like eyes glaring at Link. Strangest of all was his sword. It was the longest katana he had ever seen, almost seven feet long. How could he wield that sword?
The man smirked. "Ganondorf wanted to slay you, but I'm pleased that Dimentio has given me an opponent worthy of my skills. A swordfight for the ages, don't you agree?"
Link growled in response. Who was this guy? And what made him think he was better than him, or even Ganondorf? Wait…Ganondorf was alive again?!
Somehow, Link wasn't that surprised that the king of evil was alive again. Right now, he'd have to deal with this stranger.
The white haired swordsman leaped down, wielding his sword with surprising skill. "The rest of your squad have their own battles to fight. And by the time they finish, it will all be over." He chuckled dryly. "The last battles of this world. Make it interesting, will you?"
Link activated his new shield and readied the Master Sword. He'd make it interesting, all right.
Sephiroth gave him a strange look. "A Covenant shield? Not very sporting. No matter. I have destroyed many with better defenses." With that remark, the white-haired man swung his huge sword at Link.
The nimble swordsman jumped over the katana with ease. He had avoided attacks like this many times in his career. Still, he could tell this fight would be a challenge. With the range of that sword, getting close enough to take a swipe with his blade would be difficult.
He could use his sidearms…his rifle and his crossbow. But he didn't want to reveal them too soon…besides, this man had challenged him to a swordfight. Link would give him a swordfight.
Gordon's room was tiny and barren. The scientist could barely stand, especially in his bodysuit. His rather bulky outfit prevented him from manuevering at all…in fact, he couldn't move his arms up very high while standing. Unable to do much but stand there, the silent doctor took checked his new prison.
A tap of the foot and hand revealed strong and thick walls. However, a strong hit on the side made his equilibrium sway slightly. He was in a steel box hanging above the floor. Not a good position right now.
The only thing that Gordon could see was a vent directly in front of him. It was silent for a moment, but a loud whirring surprised Gordon.
Something burned at his nostrils.
Without hesitation, Gordon pressed a button on his belt that activated his rebreather mask. The mask had been built into his suit after several incidents with the Combine required him to go into space. It covered his mouth and nose with metal plates, enabling him to breathe a limited supply of oxygen.
It was just in time, too. Gas was being pumped into the room at a fast rate, as whoever had caged him tried to suffocate or poison him.
Gordon's first thought was to take out the vent, but he couldn't raise his gravity gun to the vent because of how small the room was and how bulky his armour was. The weapon just kept clanging uselessly on the wall. Gordon only had a few minutes of air…if he was to escape he'd have to think fast.
Good thing he was a genius.
Lara didn't have time to look around before she was assaulted with electricity. Her every muscle buzzed with pain as she struggled to get back on her feet. She pushed her hands onto the ground, barely succeeding in raising herself off the floor.
She saw two black boots standing in front of her. "Too easy." A young woman's voice scoffed. "I really hoped this'd be more fun."
Lara had already recovered, but didn't show it. Discreetly, she moved her hand to her belt as the woman continued complaining.
"I really, REALLY hope Di didn't send me a weakling to bug me. I thought we'd hit if off real nice. Oh well. So much for our 'token girl fight'. Time to – "
Lara's whip suddenly whirled around the girl's legs, and with a tug he was sent crashing to the floor. Lara backflipped to her feet, pistol at the ready.
Her attacker snarled and got back up. A young woman with blonde hair, a long black overcoat inlaid with white designs, and several sharp blades wielded in her hands.
A false, childish smile was on her face as she chuckled. "Huh. Looks like we'll have some fun after all. Good ol' Di. Knew I could count on him for some fun."
"Who the hell are you?" Lara demanded.
"Name's Larxene. Alex hired me on, told me he liked my style." The knives she was wielding sparked with blue electricity. "Wanna see it?"
Lara clicked the safety off her pistol and fired a round at Larxene. To her shock, the girl disappeared before the bullet could hit her.
Lara whirled around, searching for where her attacker had teleported to. Before she could locate her, something sharp slashed at her arm. One of the knives Larxene was wielding imbedded itself in the wall.
Lara spun around to see Larxene casually leaning on a nearby pillar. "Too slow." She laughed, fingering another blade. "Some fight. I'm already bored."
Lara smirked in response. "Oh, I'm just getting started."
"Me too!" Larxene replied before chucking another knife.
This time, Lara was able to spin out of the way and fire another shot at Larxene. The girl teleported away before the bullet could graze her, and Lara realized she'd need another strategy. Lara heard an odd noise that she couldn't quite recogize, but gambled that that was the noise of Larxene's teleportation.
The second Larxene reappeared, she was hit in the side by one of Lara's bullets. Her aim was spoiled, and she dropped the knife she was holding in shock. However, she seemed more irriated that seriously wounded.
"Oooooh…you're gonna hurt for that, girlie." She growled, he fingertips lighting up with electricity.
A heavy foot smashed the last automaton head. Pyramid Head had made short work of the forces that were stupid enough to attack him. All they had accomplished was slowing him down slightly. Dragging his mighty blade behind him, the titan went deeper into the complex.
Then he picked up a familiar scent. Someone that he'd faced before was waiting for him. Someone he'd hunted.
The door in front of him was torn off with ease, and the executioner of Silent Hill stepped through, ready to face whoever was anticipating him.
The room he entered was huge, and completely devoid of anything but walls and ceiling. No…there was something else there. On the ceiling was a metal door. The scent was coming from behind that huge door.
A voice boomed out, over a loudspeaker. "Hm. I was told you were powerful. A true abomination. And I know abominations. But I have my own monster to send against you. You'll never believe what I fished out of the ocean."
The door slowly opened, and a small pile of flesh landed on the floor. A small human, dressed in a hooded jacket and jeans. He didn't look very significant…until he stood up.
Alex Mercer, aka Zeus, snarled like an animal at the man who killed him. His arms morphed into twisted blades as he roared with bloodlust.
Pyramid Head would've smiled if he was capable. He was promised Alex Mercer, and now here he was again. He forced his Great Knife to the ready just as Alex came charging towards him.
Arbiter wasn't that surprised to find that communications were dead after Dimentio's threat. He'd almost expected it after that accursed clown had shown up. While it troubled him that he couldn't check the status of his team or call in reinforcements if needed, he knew there was little he could do. He just had to be prepared for another attack.
Unfortunatly, his radar was being jammed as well. He couldn't detect the enemies with his technology. He'd just have to rely on his senses and instinct.
The room he'd been teleported in was completely dark, so he activated the flashlight built into his armour. It illuminated several complex machines connected with green tubes filled with liquid. Instinctively, the commander followed those tubes as they whirled around the room.
The tubes led to a huge glass tube in the middle of the room. The base was covered with dozens of dials and buttons, too complicated for Arbiter to figure out right now. In fact, he had absolutely no idea what this tube was designed to do. But for some reason it made him feel very disturbed. Maybe it was the fact it was humming while doing absolutely nothing. Maybe it was something else entirely.
Energy sword at the ready, Arbiter crept forward. He kept his eyes and ears open for any enemies. It was situations like this that enemies would always exploit.
"Hello, Arbiter. A voice echoed throughout the room. "I'm glad that giggling idiot was nice enough to send you my way. We have unfinished business."
Arbiter couldn't see the owner of the voice, and with the echoes it would be difficult to figure out where the voice was coming from. But there was no electronic distortion, so the person speaking was definitely in the room. He just needed to keep him talking. "What business do we have? I don't know you."
That angered his enemy. "WHAT?! You don't…aheh, well, we've never met, really. That's understandable, I suppose. All you need to know is that your little gang destroyed my old laboratory."
The Sangheili scowled as he figured it out. "Robotnik."
"So you do know who I am." The unseen Robotnik chuckled. "Then you already know what's become of your soldiers. Have you seen my new Roboticizor? Much more effective that Hatter's. You won't be able to peel off the coating like you did with Sally's prison. You know, it really irritates me that you saved her before she got killed."
Arbiter growled threateningly. "Indeed I did, wretch. I will destroy your disgusting machine once I'm finished with you."
"Ooooh, how scary. Well, I think that my beautiful machine is gonna be just fine. You should've seen it in action, it's really impressive. In fact, I think I have a recording of one of your soldiers…"
That was all Arbiter needed. Without hesitation, he fired his weapon into what seemed to be black space.
"RRAARRGH!" Robotnik screamed. "DAMMIT! How did you…?! COULDN'T YOU LET ME FINISH?!? This was my last big speech I have prepared!"
Arbiter quickly reloaded. "You think this will be the end of the world?"
"Of course it's gonna be! Wesker said…you know what, never mind! Never mind, let's just get this done! I got something special for you, Arbiter!" Robotnik roared with rage.
The lights suddenly came on, illuminating the room with white. Arbiter was momemtarily blinded, but he quickly blinked the glare out of his eyes and readied himself.
Robotnik was driving an egg-shaped hovercraft, encased in a glass bubble for protection. That protection could be breached…Arbiter saw the hole his carbine had made, as well as the doctor keeping a grip on his wounded shoulder. Ivo Robotnik glared down at the commander like an insect he wanted to crush. His teeth grinded together as his mouth warped into a twisted smile. With his mechanical hand, Robotnik pointed to something behind Arbiter.
Arbiter thought it was a bluff at first, but a noise told him that there was a combatant approaching him from behind. Sword and gun primed, Arbiter whirled around to face this new threat.
It was one of Robotnik's machines, but much more sophisticated than the ones he'd seen at the Cipher lab. It looked brand new, constructed of stainless steel and some other, more durable metal. It was a bipedal war machine, with long legs reinforced with metallic 'muscle'. It's hands consisted of machete-like blades, reinforced with plasma akin to an energy sword. They had a very long reach, and clearly looked like they could slice through him very quickly. The main body looked sturdy, but taken with all the other appendages it looked rather skinny.
The head caught him off guard. It looked almost like a bird's beak, with a round shell and a point at the end. Red tubes came from the back and connected to the back of the main body. It looked very…odd. Arbiter didn't see why Robotnik would consider this machine special, but then it opened it's 'beak'.
Arbiter recognized the face welded within.
The second the alarm sounded, Aven was ready for action. There was an enemy approaching the ship, and it had already hit the ship twice with some strange energy attack. They had somehow pierced the shields around the Master Chief, and were doing serious damage.
The same thing jamming the communications was affecting the automatic weapons, preventing them from hitting the threat. He'd have to manually destroy this thing. Triangulating the enemy's position, Aven readied the ship's turret and prepared to attack. The main turret was close to the control room, so it didn't take him long to set himself inside and open the blast doors. He'd shoot this pest down himself.
The pest was nothing like Aven had ever seen. It looked like a colossal white bird, with crimson wingtips that looked sharp as swords. There was no head …just a spherical body and a green tail covered in spikes. A single huge, baleful eye glared down at the ship…or was it some sort of gun? It was where the energy blasts were coming from, as they wracked the ship with powerful attacks. It looked like something out of a children's fairy tale, but it was still very dangerous.
Aven didn't waste any time, and began firing. The plasma bursts, although powerful, simply ricocheted off the monsters skin…armor…no matter. All it seemed to do was anger it, and get it to turn around to look at this new irritant. The furious expression it managed to convey seemed to prove the huge orb in the center was an eye. The red iris and black pupil resembled a target at the shooting range.
The Sangheili smirked and fired a blast right into the thing's eye. It hit dead center, and the monster roared in pain. Unfortunatly, it quickly recovered and fired a counterattack right at Aven's position.
Aven only had time to jump out before the blast completely destroyed the turret. Glancing back at the smouldering wreckage, Aven cursed his luck.
Once he was finished, he thought up a new plan. A turret would not be a good idea, since the creature could apparently lock on to an attack once the shot had been fired. He could use up the smaller turrets, but that would be wasteful and dangerous. He'd need something more manueverable, to dodge and avoid that creature's assault.
Aven suddenly had an idea. It was incredibly risky…but Link had taken bigger risks, using that outdated equipment. And he certainly wouldn't let that human top him…especially not now, when that human might depend on him.
The Sangheili ran to the Master Chief's docking station, almost excited. This fight was only just starting.