"My latest acquisition…puzzles me. As a geneticist, it goes against every single law I know, even the ones I've bended in the past. It's not composed of flesh, but some strange sort of energy. It has no mind - at least not in any sense I understand - simply some sort of instinct to destroy. I bought it from a gang of intergalactic pirates for a hefty sum, who assured me that it was an incredibly powerful creature capable of destroying the strongest spaceships. I had doubts about their claims, but this…'0-2' as they called it, is a very dangerous and useful specimen. It's really quite fascinating…I hope I get the chance to study it more thoroughly after our project is finished."
0-2 kept attacking the ship, firing it's energy blast again and again into the Master Chief's hull. Several small holes had already been made, and the monster was only beginning it's assault. 0-2 looked over every hole it made, looking for something. Whatever it was, it didn't find it for several minutes.
One of the blasts came a little too close to Masha's tea party. The girls shrieked in panic as the entire room shook, rattling the table and spilling all the teacup and kettles. The Rumbler caught Masha before she could fall over, while Jimi jumped into Casey's arms. The rocker had to catch herself on a nearby railing to keep from toppling over.
"What the hell just happened?" Casey demanded.
Masha pointed at something behind her. "That."
Casey whirled around to see what she meant. Looking straight at them, through a hole in the ship, was a big red eye. A very angry looking eye that glowed with fierce energy, like looking down the barrel of an energy gun.
Jimi didn't hesitate, firing a bolt of electricity right into the eye. The Thunderbolt hit the energy dead-on, causing it to react violently. It looked like an explosion (although Casey didn't think it was that) but whatever it was, it caused 0-2 to rear back in pain. The creature was flung back several feet, but it promptly recovered and started charging directly at the group hiding in the ship…
BZZZKT BZZZKT BZZZKT BZZZKT!
The flying monster was suddenly peppered with plasma blasts across it's 'face'. The irritated creature turned around to see where the attacks were coming from…
And was promptly greeted with a fuel-rod cannon attack right in the eye.
The beast staggered backwards in a manner much like a bird being shot. The monster fell downwards, almost hitting the ground before recovering and flying back upwards. It turned around, focusing its baleful eye on this new threat.
The sleek, purple hull of the Covenant Banshee flew towards the flying monster with a vengeance. Aven kept his sights on the assailant, charging fiercely at 0-2 for another attack. The second that thing looked up, he'd be ready with another plasma cannon.
Unfortunately, the second 0-2 looked up, it was readying its own energy beam and aiming it straight at him. Aven had to take swift evasive manoeuvres to avoid the blast that nearly reduced his left cannon to a cinder.
"Birdie!" Masha cheerfully chimed in.
The elite would've groaned if he'd heard her. Right now though, he had other things to be worried about.
0-2 came charging straight at him, it's razor sharp red-tipped wings threatening to slice his craft into pieces. The Banshee was quicker, and the winged abomination missed its attack. It didn't waste any time firing it's eyebeam at Aven's craft, and the Sangheili had to do a fast loop to dodge the attack.
He tried firing another plasma shot, but the flying thing was manoeuvring so fast and so erratically that he couldn't get a bead on it. Aven was a skilled pilot, but there was only so much he could do against a creature that dodged and attacked the way it did. He had to constantly change his trajectory to avoid the blast and wing attacks, and the way he was moving it was difficult to get a solid shot in that monster's eye. He managed to graze it once or twice, but that was as close as he could get. He needed an edge to bring this thing down.
He promptly got one.
A rocket-propelled grenade came flying out of the hole 0-2 had created, seeking out the white monster in the sky. The heat seeking missile hit the creature from below, causing it to roar with pain and anger. The surprise of the assault caused it to stop moving for a critical moment.
Just enough time for Aven. After doing a loop to get himself in the right position, the minor elite aimed another shot into the creature's eye. Just like those damned targets he thought to himself, as he fired the fuel rod cannon. A direct hit, and Aven could see what looked like blood leaking out of that eye. Excellent shot.
Instead of the automated voice from the Achilles shooting grounds commenting on his shot, Masha's voice shouted out. "Go get it, Mr. Grumbles!"
Aven promptly rolled his eyes and groaned.
With blood dripping out it's eye socket, 0-2 became even more enraged. It whirled around to attack the spot where the rocket had come from, but it was swiftly repelled by another RPG combined with a thunderbolt. The electricity buzzed through the monster's body, paralyzing it for a minute. Unfortunately, Aven couldn't manoeuvre around to attack the eye in time. 0-2 recovered and flew around, trying to avoid the two points of attack while attacking them back.
The eye beams blasted into the Master Chief's hull, creating several more small holes. None of them hit anything important, and with the ship's lockdown in effect, it was unlikely the damage would be significant. Right now it was just angrily attacking at random, any pretence of strategy gone.
This made it even harder for Aven to pin down. His plasma bullets kept missing, and even when they did hit they didn't do much damage. Masha and Casey would've helped, but 0-2 was on the other side of the Master Chief. They couldn't fire any more missiles or send out any more thunderbolts from their 'window', and they couldn't walk to the other side with the ship in lockdown.
0-2 tried to charge Aven's banshee in midair, but the pilot was too fast for the wings to hit his craft. The monster screamed (Aven wasn't sure how it could scream without a mouth) and turned around to attack again. The eye beam started charging again, and Aven tried to shoot it before it could fire again.
He missed. Damn!
Aven couldn't completely dodge the beam this time. One of the Banshee's wings was blasted off, making the Banshee asymmetrical and causing Aven to lose control. The Sangheili struggled to keep his vehicle in the air, but he could tell it was a losing battle. The craft began to fall, a trail of plasma residue painting it's path down the opposite side of the Master Chief. There was a loud crash as the aircraft hit the ground, the plasma canisters onboard exploding loudly.
0-2 wanted to see it's victory for itself, and it flew over to the spot of the crash landing. Nothing but a crater with vague purple residue surrounding it. The monster would've smiled if it was capable. No sign of whatever had been piloting that pest. No matter. It was time to finish this little game. The monster readied his beam and turned around to where that missile had come from earlier…
And looked straight at Aven pointing a Plasma Carbine right at his eye. The minor elite didn't miss this time. Neither did the Rumbler.
The combined explosion of the Plasma attack, the rocket, and the energy 0-2 was preparing tore the white monster apart. The body connecting the wings was destroyed in a purple and crimson blast, and the wings themselves caught fire. The entire monster fell from the sky, burning all the way as it was reduced to nothing.
Aven breathed a sigh of relief, and started to rub the forearm he'd wrenched after he jumped out of the ship mid-dive and grabbed the edge of the hole. Casey and the Rumbler had to pull him up, which made it even more sore. After destroying that monster, he was in no mood for any complaining.
Masha, of course, was thrilled. "You got 'im! You got 'im!" her tune quickly changed when she looked down at the crater where the Banshee had crashed. "Poor birdie. I liked that purple birdie."
Aven looked strangely at the girl before turning back to Casey. "Thanks. I will see about the lockdown. I need to contact Arbiter."
"What do we do now?" Casey asked.
"We'll see. It doesn't look like we'll stand guard for very long after that."
"The Flood, the 'insects' that the humans so casually dismiss, was an almost unstoppable force of destruction. Actually, the better term would be 'corruption'. Parasites, seeking out life to infect and contaminate. The creatures would take control of an organism's physical body, often while they were still alive. I have watched many of my brothers succumb to the Parasite's control, screaming to be freed even as they tried to slay me. Being taken over by such disgusting parasites is the worst fate to befall any warrior. The best they could hope for was that their brothers would take pity on them and slay them, letting them die with some honour. I have done so in the past, and at night some of those memories lie in the shadows, whispering to me."
Arbiter would've liked to think that his face didn't betray any emotion on seeing his comrade in such a state, but Robotnik saw something that made him laugh.
"Pitiful, isn't it? This one is special to you, isn't it? Oh, I can't wait to see the look on your face…" The fat man pointed directly at the Sangheili commander. "Cut him to pieces!" he commanded to his slave.
Rtas…no. Not Rtas. The robot body that imprisoned Rtas took a huge swipe at Arbiter with it's razor sharp claws. The Arbiter was swift, and he dodged the attack. The blades left deep gashes in the metal floor, and clearly would've sliced through the Elite's armour just as easily.
Arbiter's mind raced. He thought about his time with Rtas, the one soldier in the league he could talk to. He remembered fighting alongside Rtas in the Halo wars, and befriending him in the time of peace. Rtas was the one who encouraged him to take up the Coalition's offer. The soldier was the closest thing the Arbiter could call a 'friend', and now he'd been reduced to a slave.
He thought about the Halo wars…the battle against the parasite. The monster that took the will of warriors away, reducing them to mindless slaves. They had to slice fallen warriors into pieces, to prevent the Flood from using their corpses as cannon fodder. It was merciful to put them out of their misery, praying that they died with some semblance of honour.
He thought about all that within the space of a second.
His expression hardened as he drew his energy sword. He would not let his long-time ally live like this. He would never allow that to befall a warrior.
Robotnik sniggered. "Think you can cut him out? Don't bother. No-one will be pulled out of my new robots, I assure you. KILL HIM!"
The machine housing Rtas forced him to scream as he aimed something at Arbiter. One of the blades housed some sort of plasma weapon, something Arbiter hadn't seen before. Whatever it was, it fired a thin blade of energy at its target. If the Commander had moved any slower, he would've been cut in half.
Arbiter ran towards the Roboticized Rtas, moving towards him as fast as possible while still strafing enough to dodge any incoming attacks. His sword drawn, his purpose clear, Arbiter came closer and closer to his friend. The plasma weapon fired again and again, never connecting with it's target.
In a minute, he was right beside it. The robot spun around, hoping to cut it's attacker down. Arbiter ducked under the blades, and then raised his sword.
"Rtas…" Arbiter looked his friend in the eye. "Die with honour."
And with that, the sword came down, severing the robot's neck. Rtas' head hit the floor with a loud CLANK, and the body teetered without it's head. In a second that felt like an eternity, the entire thing collapsed onto the floor.
Rtas was dead.
Robotnik's eyes widened, and his mouth dropped. He hadn't been expecting this at all. "Wha…what…you…"
He didn't have a chance to process what he'd seen, as a plasma rifle attack hit him square in the chest. Snapped out of his shock and gasping for breath, Robotnik quickly activated the hovercraft's engines and fled. Another shot hit the hovercraft, causing it to buckle in midair. The lasers on his ship burnt a big enough hole in the wall for the hovercraft, and the rapidly-weakening Robotnik flew right through it.
"Coward." Arbiter hissed before he gave chase.
"I've been going through the security of this place, and there's a huge blind spot. The door locks are top-of-the-line, practically airtight. And no possibility of hacking the doors to open, except by the keys we're supposed to destroy before 'the big day'. Ok, sounds good, but the locks are connected to the main power. A blackout could open every single door, and they'd stay open. One lightning bolt in the wrong place, and our secure hideout is completely compromised! I thought this was just the stupidity of the last owners, but no, Wesker apparently requested this! What is he thinking? It's like he's TRYING to screw everything up!"
Zeus didn't understand. By all rights, he should've torn this sluggish little pest into pieces by now. But no matter what he did, it never did any real damage. Pyramid Head responded to it's slashing attacks as if they were papercuts, and when he tried to rip it apart with brute force, he somehow ripped himself out. Stabbing attacks were stopped by…something, whips were yanked off, and hammer attacks were shrugged off. What made this thing? It was more of a juggernaut than he was.
At the same time though, Pyramid Head never seemed to get any real headway with it's quarry. He wouldn't let go of his blade, which meant that he dragged along at a snails' pace. Zeus could outrun and dodge him easily, and had been doing so for the entire fight. He had snuck up on the creature before, but that element was gone now.
So WHY WAS PYRAMID HEAD STILL ALIVE??!!? Zeus was starting to get very frustrated at the creature's apparent refusal to die.
It was a stalemate for almost an hour, an unstoppable force vs. an immovable object. But then something changed.
An emaciated cat appeared on Pyramid Head's shoulder, so suddenly that it was almost funny. The Chesire Cat grinned as it looked into the mesh of the giant's helmet. "As…amusing as all this is, nothing is being accomplished except wasting time. And time is something we do not have. Time to tip the scales…with a gift."
The grinning creature produced a huge, glowing orb in it's claws. The light nearly blinded Mercer, preventing him from responding to this new development. The cat calmly placed the shining orb in the giant's free hand.
"I know where you live. I've been there before. And while I can't take you back there…I can give you the power to bring a little bit of it here. Nothing lasts forever, so be quick about it."
Pyramid Head glanced at the chuckling intruder on his shoulder, but the cat had already vanished. He then looked down at the mysterious gift. It didn't seem to be doing anything, but a strange power seemed to emanate from inside the orb. A mysterious energy within the gem.
After considering it for a second, he crushed the ball in his hands.
Gordon had to remove his protection suit, wriggling his way out of the armour and letting it fall to the ground. He was able to separate the gas mask from the main suit, so he could still breathe safely. And without the bulky suit restricting his movement, he was able to grab his gravity gun and manuever it around to face the vent.
With the press of a button, the vent cover was ripped off it's place from the wall. Another trigger pressed, and the cover went flying into the metal tunnel. It was a straight shot that smashed into something on the other end of the vent. Whatever it hit, it made the whirring stop.
Gordon didn't remove his mask. The gas was no longer being pumped in, but it hadn't dissipated quite yet.
It looked like the only way to go was through the vent. It was large enough for the suitless Gordon to crawl through. So, with nowhere else to go, Gordon Freeman took his Gravity Gun and began to make his way through the vent.
The journey was uneventful for a short time, but then something happened.
The stainless steel around him suddenly began to turn brown and brittle. The vent was rusting in a matter of seconds. Everything was being transformed, as if something was starting to creep into the world.
Gordon was only starting to list the physical impossibilities of what he was seeing when the metal underneath him gave way.
Arbiter leapt through the hole Robotnik had left in his escape. He found himself in the middle of a steel grey hallway, having just escaped from a room labelled 'Containment Room #2'. Arbiter mentally noted that room down…it was the location of the Roboticizor, and it would definitely be important later.
For now, he was just pursuing that wretched coward, Robotnik. The smoke the damaged hovercraft made led down the hallway, and Arbiter quickly followed it.
The craft was faster than it looked, and the power plant the hideout was masquerading as was a maze of corridors. It didn't look like Arbiter would catch up with the mad scientist anytime soon, but he still pursued the smoke trail. That damaged machine would stop eventually.
And then the power went out, casting the plant into complete darkness.
Lara's fight with Larxene was not going well. The girl was constantly teleporting, never staying still for longer than a second. When Lara tried to shoot her, she'd just vanish again, having gotten wise to Lara's new strategy. She'd teleport twice, and attack from the second position before Lara could respond quick enough.
Even the few bullets that did hit didn't do much. Larxene simply laughed them off as if her attacker was flinging peas at her. Meanwhile, her knives were cutting Lara deeply. She never hit any major arteries or anything that would kill Lara. It seemed pain was the psychopath's goal, not death.
And she's succeeding. Lara moaned. Blood was dripping out of multiple cuts on her body, and it was becoming difficult for the operative to concentrate with all the pain. She had some medicine that would stop the pain, but she couldn't take the time to drink it while Larxene was attacking her. She never let up. Worse, Lara was running out of bullets.
Thankfully, Lara knew how to keep moving despite pain. She made a point of moving towards a door on a nearby wall, even as she dodged Larxene's knives and electricity. A quick glance and pull at the metal doorway confirmed her suspicions. An electrical lock, preventing the door from opening. There was no keypad to hack…not on the inside, at least. She couldn't get out.
Larxene laughed. "Nice try. You ain't getting out of here. There's no lock to pick…this door is connected to the main power. Long as we're both in here, there's no – "
The lights went out.
Larxene summoned a ball of lightning to illuminate her surroundings. She found herself standing in the middle of an empty room, with the previously locked door swinging wide open.
She groaned. "Aw, phooey."
"Snively, I am well aware of the issues you have with the door locks. Let me make something clear. Commercial locks have keys that can be stolen and passwords that can be exploited. I know from experience that trusting anything behind a standard lock is dangerous. But to alleviate your fears, our power comes from multiple sources, and there are numerous backup generators. Some of them are not on the premises. Any intruder would have to break the laws of this world in order to make a lightbulb flicker. There is no chance that any sort of power outage could occur."
The second Pyramid Head crushed the orb, the energy of the orb enveloped him. He used this energy to change the world around him. A temporary conduit was formed, allowing the power of Silent Hill to seep into this area. The Otherworld demanded darkness, and so the electricity went out. The walls around Pyramid Head were eaten by rust, reducing the room to it's steel mesh foundations. Silent Hill had come to the power plant.
But it would only be here for so long. He had to act fast.
Zeus looked around, perplexed by this new development. What was going on? It was as if they were in an entirely different world. No matter. A change of scenery wouldn't stop him from killing this wretched little…
Alex Mercer was suddenly surrounded. In the blink of an eye, the room he was in was filled with enemies. Dozens of grotesque monsters that only vaguely resembled humans surrounded him. They were all huge and muscular, strong enough to break a man's bones with a single swipe of their huge limbs. The skin was gnarled and twisted, as if it had been torn apart and then sewn back together.
And they were all whispering to him.
Mercer, Mercer, Mercer…
He recognized every voice. Every one of his victims. Every single man, woman and child he had consumed to become stronger. They were all in the mass of assailants, closing in on him.
"BE QUIET!" Alex screamed, swinging his blades around him. The monsters around him were sliced in half, but then they reformed and started attacking him again. Their bashing attacks hurt much more than they should've, and Zeus was starting to get wounded. Every time he brought one of these brutes down, another two would spring back up.
Mercer…It's time to pay for your sins…
He could name every voice. Lt. Charles Perri. Bill Hodges. Ian Taggart. Shelley Chamberlain. Elizabeth Greene. James Heller. Colby Bachner. Evil people. Good people. Blackwatch. Innocents. Everyone was here, calling out for his blood.
The horde was starting to bury him. This wasn't a selection of his victims. No. This was every single victim he had ever consumed. Zeus, the almighty, all-powerful, city-destroying juggernaut was buried under his past sins.
And Pyramid Head was his executioner.
The juggernaut was on top of him, raising his huge blade high above his quarry's neck.
Zeus looked up at the giant trying to kill him.
Alex Mercer was too exhausted from his past sins to do anything about it.
Pyramid Head brought the blade down, beheading Alex Mercer. The Great Knife hit the floor with a loud CLANG. The head rolled away, coming to a stop right at the executioner's foot. After considering it for a second, Pyramid Head crushed it underfoot. Brain matter and blood spurted out onto the floor.
The physical representations of Zeus' victims began to devour their murderer's body. Pyramid Head just watched as the monsters of Silent Hill feasted.
He felt satisfied.