War Games: Landfall (Part One)

After the Covenant glassing of Reach, the UNSC had begun developing a new Spartan training program using a combination of virtual and augmented reality to create a hyper-advanced combat simulator. In theory, the program would have been able to advance even the freshest cannon fodder to the level of the corps’ most experienced veterans in a matter of weeks without any casualties. Fourteen months after development had started, the UNSC succeeded.

The end product was named ‘War Games’.

  • The world was burning. Covenant ships infested the sky, silently gliding over the city as they engulfed it with amethyst waterfalls of pure energy, scorching the surface until it was but glass. Slowly it all fell, crumbling down as the screams of millions reached every corner of every street. It was doomed, all of it. Yet amidst the blazing buildings and plasma fire, a single Spartan moved through the streets with determined strides. That Spartan had been designated 626 by the UNSC, but his comrades simply called him Lloyd.

Donned in Mark VII GUNGNIR Assault Armor, the orange Spartan moved fast and focused, blind to the destruction of yet another human world. After all, he knew it was nothing more than images and sensations uploaded directly into his brain. No. The only thing Lloyd had eyes for was the red dot moving across his motion tracker. He was catching up.

The chase led him to the police station, where the officers of the law had seen it fit to abandon the building completely, for whatever reason. Lloyd quickly checked his motion tracker again. The dot was indeed inside the station but had stopped moving and soon vanished. It looked like whatever was inside knew he was coming.

The Spartan glanced at the ammo count on his gun’s display. 24 rounds left. It would have to do. He numbed his mind to everything except for the excitement coursing through him like electricity, and then stormed inside, gun at the ready. But there was no blood to spill. The hall was empty. That’s when he noticed the blinking light nailed into a piece of wall right next to his face.

“Son of a-”

  • Spartan PPP ‘Phil’ failed to hold back a grin as he pulled the trigger and detonated the explosive charge. A thundering blast shook the building, and a cloud of dust and debris blew past the corner he had been hiding behind. Then his victory was broadcasted at the bottom of his HUD.

“Better luck next time, buddy,” he chuckled while loading another charge into the launcher, and moved on.

Phil loved the War Games. Violence without consequence. Sure, the project had met with opposition, arguing that soldiers shouldn’t be trained for war without causalities, to treat it as a game instead of atrocity, and maybe they were right… But none of that changed the fact that the next Spartan to enter his sights was going to get shot in the face. Or the crotch. Or both! Choices, choices…

Barely had Phil exited the station when he spotted this baby blue Spartan quickly crossing the street. It was Razzy, unmistakingly so; Phil would recognize that color armor from miles away.

Biting down his lip, he aimed for half a second before firing a sticky charge at his comrade. But instead attaching itself, the charge passed right through the Spartan’s back, which then flickered as if it were a-

“Hologram?” Phil hissed. “Crap!”

Out of nowhere a hand grabbed him by the shoulder, and delivered a white-hot pain to his back.

  • The energy sword passed through both Phil’s back- and chest plate like a hot knife through butter, and the cyan Spartan crumpled onto the streets, his crimson war stripes growing dim in the shade.

“Gets 'em every time,” the blue Spartan delighted, blissfully aware of his armor’s hologram ability. Spartan RAZ ‘Razzy’ was the only Spartan on UNSC record who had requested that his armor be died Baby Blue. His demands were met. When asked about his choice he merely stated that it was to serve as a ‘massive -Yoink- you’ towards the Covenant. Also, that it made him feel ‘pretty’.

A sound like thunder rumbled and something stirred in the sky above. Razzy watched, curious, as a shooting star flew past the Covenant Cruisers and crashed into the intersection ahead. Upon inspection Razzy found out his shooting star was actually a large, metal canister, and at his touch the object split open and offered up an M41 SSR Rocket Launcher.

Razzy grinned at what had to be an early birthday present. The only thing missing was a bow.

  • Spartan SAK ‘Baldy’ heard the explosion in the distance at the same time he received the message saying Spartan RAZ had committed suicide by explosion.

“Razzy down,” he chuckled, and finished reloading his trusty shotgun. A quick glance at the terrain outside of the warehouse told him the coast was clear, and Baldy stepped outside and underneath the Covenant-filled sky. Not three seconds later a storm of bullets began whistling over his head.

In one, insane motion Baldy threw himself against a nearby wall and activated his Hardlight shield. Not a moment too soon; the wall of blue light appeared just as the lead began finding its mark. Hundreds upon hundreds of bullets smashed into his shield, ricochet destroying anything in a ten feet radius. But the blue light soon turned to red as mangled lead started piling up at his feet.

This was bad! He had to do something. Fast. Where was it coming from? Above? A turret? There! On the balcony! Baldy drew a grenade just as the shield failed.

  • It was with some involvement that Spartan SA5 ‘Smoke’ stared at the crumpled suit of armor slumped down against the bullet-riddled wall. Was killing Spartans instead of Elites wrong? he pondered. Humans fighting humans instead of Covenant? Was it immoral and unjust to kill one’s own kind for sport? Probably… Yet Smoke could honestly say that he didn’t give two craps about that. The only way to become stronger was by fighting strong opponents, and there were no finer opponents than the Spartans he called friends. No Elite or Promethean Knight would’ve been able to react as fast as poor Baldy just had. Not that it had helped him much… Oh well.

Setting aside such useless thoughts, the silver Spartan patted the mounted gun on its red-hot barrel, and then tore it off its tripod with near ease.

“Time to do some damage,” he grinned, just before his visor shattered.

  • Spartan STU ‘Stuart’'s heart jumped in his chest as he watched through the scope of his Sniper Rifle how Smoke keeled over with a brand new hole in his face.

“Oh! I got one!” he gasped, forgetting in his excitement that a sniper must always move after a kill. And indeed, even before the shot’s echo had faded away the orange energy of a Promethean Light Rifle whirred past his helmet.

“Oh -Yoink-!” Without a moment of hesitation Stuart jumped off the crane and began a three story plummet. Concrete cracked underneath his steel boots, and hydraulics hissed to compensate for the landing. But he wasn’t out of danger yet. Fast as he could Stuart dashed across the street and into Bay V, where he ran into a Spartan black as the night swinging a Gravity Hammer over his head.

(Want to see how it ends? Find out in part 2! https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/forums/92b5c5cfee994e7299608301a6b2eb11/topics/war-games-landfall-part-two/0ff75ee7-9e9f-4da6-ae29-1b7997504276/posts?page=1)