Casey frowned, as she kept herself hidden behind a console. She had been there for several hours already. She and her team-mate, Sierra-129 Locky, had met up with two other Spartans, Lora and Jeredy, whom they were now working with on their current mission, aboard the Covenant cruiser. Casey quickly glanced across the room, and saw that Lora was likewise situated. She could hear Jeredy rummaging around in the console, trying to figure out how it worked. His AI, Liz, gave a helpful word of advice every now and again.
"Any signs of that Shipmaster?" A voice floated over her private com. Casey rolled her eyes in annoyance.
"Don't you think you would notice if an Elite Shipmaster was nearby?" she stated. Her team-mate, Locky, chuckled.
"Just checking if you were still paying attention," he said, amused.
"Of course I was paying attention!" Casey snapped. She had become irritated with being stuck in the same position for over an hour.
"Sheesh, stop bickering, you two..." Lora muttered, butting into the conversation. Casey rolled her eyes a second time, and ceased talking.
"Having any luck with figuring out that console?" Lora asked, turning her head towards Jeredy.
He shook his head. "This Covenant tech is rather confusing..." He stated "i just can;t figure it out...
"Just keep trying," His AI, Liz suggested. "You'll get it eventually." Jeredy nodded, and continues working.
There was suddenly a rumble further down the hallway. "You wanted to know where that Shipmaster was?" Casey queried, addressing Locky. "Well here he comes..." A moment later, a large, dark grey Elite barged into the room..
Locky jumped out from his hiding place. "He's mine!" he exclaimed, placing dibs on fighting the Shipmaster. He promptly moved to attack the Elite, who raised his Energy sword to greet him. Several smaller Elites filed into the room. "Lora!" Casey barked "Let's take the others!" Lora nodded, and sprang into action. Casey leaped at the nearest Elite, activating the energy sword that she had looted earlier in that mission. With a quick forward thrust, she impaled the alien right through the chest, its blood splattering over her visor. She ducked as another Elite came charging at her.
She glanced quickly over at Lora, who was likewise kept busy, keeping several Elites at bay, all at once. Casey killed the Elite she was dealing with, and rushed to Lora's aid. However, she was too late. One of the other Elites had breached Lora's defences. It raised its energy sword, standing behind her. With a grunt, it thrust the sword through the back of Lora's armor, impaling her. Lora instantly went limp. "NO!!!" Casey screamed, as she launched herself at the elite that had just killed her fellow Spartan.
A roar of pain erupted in Casey's ears, as she slaughtered the Elite she was fighting. She spun around, and saw that Locky had finally killed the Shipmaster. His victory came with a price however. His arm had been severed from halfway down his right forearm. Casey jogged over, pulling out a can of Bio-foam from her utility belt, and pumped the foam into the bleeding stump. Locky gritted his teeth as the Bio-foam stung inside the wound.
"We lost Lora..." Casey said sombrely.
"I saw..." Locky said quietly. He made his way over to Jeredy, who was sitting pale-faced behind the console. "I'm sorry about your loss," he condoled "Your team-mate was a brilliant fighter, and an excellent Spartan."
Jeredy nodded "Thank you," he said, as he stood up.
"No time for rest now," Casey said "No doubt that now the Elite Shipmaster has been dealt with, there is still the threat of the Brute Chieftain..."
"Almost forgot about that one..." Locky muttered.
Casey rolled her eyes. "You had your fun with the Elite," she stated "The Chieftain's mine..." She walked towards the doorway, ready to guard their safe area.
"Where do you think you are going?!" A voice exclaimed. Casey turned her head back towards the group, and laid eyes on the hologram of Jeredy's AI, Liz, who had now appeared on the ships console. She seemed slightly distressed. "Liz...are you okay?" Jeredy asked.
"SILENCE!" Liz screamed at him. Jeredy took a step back from the hologram, just as its colour flickered from blue, to red. "NO ONE IS LEAVING HERE!" She announced, her voice shrill. "NO ONE!!!"
"Shit!!" Locky exclaimed, "She's gone Rampant!!"
Jeredy looked straight into the 'eyes' of the hologram. "Liz," he said quietly "Stop this...You don't need to do this..."
"SHUT UP!!!" Liz screamed "I SAID SHUT UP!!!!"
Seconds later, the back of Jeredy's helmet erupted in an explosion of sparks. He screamed in agony, trying to rip his helmet off. He didn't succeed, and fell limply on the floor, not moving.
"What the heck just happened?!" Locky demanded. His AI, Dany, intruded. "He....He's dead..." she stammered, shocked "Liz overloaded the chip in his brain, killing him..."
Casey stared in shock. Her face paled under the helmet. Locky just shook his head in disbelief. "At least we don't have to deal with a crazed AI..." he muttered. He had spoken too soon.
Casey turned her head, just as Jeredy's suit began to move, seemingly on its own. Liz had overridden the suit, and was controlling it, Jeredy's body still inside. "This is nice..." Liz said, her voice travelling through the com lines. "Very nice indeed..."
"Oh my fucking god..." Casey breathed. She took a step back, as the 'Suit' turned to face her.
"Scared, little Spartan?" Liz queried her voice all sickly sweet. She cackled madly, before launching the suit straight at Casey, a plasma pistol clasped in its hand. Casey yelped in surprise, as she was tackled to the floor. "You will die..." Liz muttered darkly, as she raised the plasma pistol to Casey's face.
Casey knocked the pistol from Liz's grasp, then threw the suit off. She grabbed her fallen energy sword ready to attack. "You wouldn't harm Jeredy, would you?" Liz asked, trying to mess with Casey's head. Casey hesitated, not sure on what to do.
"Use the plasma pistol!" Locky exclaimed, referring to the pistol that Casey had knocked out of the suits hands. "It'll short circuit the suit if you use it right!!"
Casey nodded, and dashed towards the fallen plasma pistol, scooping it up. She fiddled with the settings a bit, before pointing it at the suit.
"Dont...You...Dare..." Liz spat.
Casey pulled the trigger of the pistol, sending a shot straight into the chest plate of the suit. A high pitched scream came from the suit, as it fell to the floor, sparking. Casey ran towards it, and ripped the AI chip out of the back of Jeredy's head, before Liz could do anything else.
All was quiet. Casey stood stock still, with Liz's AI chip still in her hand. She had been traumatised by the whole event. "Are you okay?" Locky asked, walking over to her.
Casey shook her head. "I never realized Rampancy could be that scary..." she stated quietly. "I don't know if I can trust AI's anymore..."
"You can still trust them," Locky said "Liz was an old AI anyway, rampancy would have set in sooner or later."
"How old is Dany?" Casey asked.
"She's only two," Locky replied. Dany hadn't spoken a single word since the event.
Locky sighed as he tapped his fingers of his remaining hand against his armor. "We have other things to worry about now," he stated "Like when that Chieftain is going to show up..." Casey nodded, as she took up a watch position near the door of their safe-room. Her eyes trained at the entrance of the corridor, she sat down to wait.