but a Whimper
Several seconds ago
The loud, wailing noise of the Spartan Laser instantaneously ceased, and he could finally hear himself think. Slowly, Hardy got up, and looked his right, to see the giant Tyrant fall on its knees, then face down, onto the floor. There was an ominously large hole behind where the Tyrant once stood. Looking at the smouldering body one last time, he shuddered to think of the agony the creature faced.
To his left was his friends, shaken but standing triumphantly. He ran to them, feeling somewhat relieved and joyful.
"Are you okay?" CHIEF asked him, dropping the heavy weapon onto the ground next to him. Smoke rising from the front nozzle signalled that it had overheated. "Yeah, fine... Thanks," he replied quickly.
Just then, a loud hissing sound brought everyone back on their toes, but right before their eyes, a long chamber rose out from the floor beneath the loading dock, and the olive green armour of the Master Chief could be seen through the frozen glass.
"There, load him up and we're good to go," Cortana spoke over the radio. "Hurry, only three minutes to Archangel's attack, hurry!"
Hardy wasted no time into assisting CHIEF load the Spartan's cryo pod into the rear, and locked the pod on the bottom of the troop bay.
His mind revelled at the thought of getting out of this cursed ship. Ironic when he recalled himself just drooling over the thought of smashing his way through several days ago. That felt like eons now, after what he, CHIEF and Misaka have been through the past few hours.
Loud shrieking then pieced his ears, breaking his train of thought and pulling out his shotgun again. The Necromorphs have caught up yet again. A crackle was heard in his headset. "Now Hardy, do it!" Cortana's voice yelled out to him desperately.
The Pelican's engines roared to life. They had lift off. Light began to pour in through the cockpit window, blinding everyone as they witnessed their first contact with daylight after several hours.
But Necromorphs were coming fast, and they had to leave.
The low rumbling was quickly interrupted by a loud sharp CLANK! Through the cockpit window, he noticed the light receding and knew something was terribly wrong. "One of them crawled through the circuit vents, triggering the emergency shutter system, I can't open them!" he heard Cortana's horrified voice. Standing by the doorway of the cockpit to the troop bay, he helplessly watched several hunched figure enter the hanger while CHIEF and Misaka just stood there getting ready.
No! Not now, not when they came this far, he thought.
There had to be a way to escape. Something he could help CHIEF and the others. His mind went into overdrive. He had never thought of them once as newcomers, just new friends he could make.
Ever since Doomsday, he somehow had never felt happier than he ever did in his life. He didn't had much friends, he only indulged in books and the internet, but for some reason, he could not bring forth a even decent memory of his family, his parents......
"One of them crawled through the circuit vents, triggering the emergency shutter system, I can't open them!" Cortana yelled.
The Emergency switch? His eyes strained to see the red hand switch next to the blown down hanger doors. At that exact moment, his mind went into a blur. There was barely time for any of them to move there and back. Slipspace required precise timing and Cortana had to leave now to avoid complications. Nevertheless, someone was going to have make a move for it.
His eyes rolled into CHIEF, whom he noticed staring intently at the button. Was he going to.....
You know what Hardy?, a voice in his head whispered to him.
Screw this. You what you need to do.
His feet stepped forward, running through the cockpit doors. Running past a distressed Misaka. Running past CHIEF, he refused to look back. He knew what was happening. He wasn't going to let CHIEF do something heroically stupid again. He knew this was somewhat suicide. But then again, something deep in his mind told him, that everything would be alright.
His boots hit the cold floor of the hanger once again, leaving the safety of the dropship. Ignoring shocked screams behind, he pressed forward, determined not to break his stride. He ran forward, facing a Slasher ready to strike.
His shotgun went off, pushing the vile creature backwards. Pumping another round, the empty shell slid out the ejection port, spinning onto the floor. From his right, another came, attempting to skewer him with a pair of deadly elongated claws protruding from its back.
As he pumped another shell into the gun, he noticed another wall of Slashers from his left. He aimed it at them, pulling the trigger.
To his horror, the chamber was already empty. He realized he made a grave mistake earlier: not reloading the shotgun. An amusing movie mistake, only this wasn't funny at all. The incoming horde rushed in, completely undeterred. Hardy continued to run, blood pumping, and expecting any moment to have his body severed unexpectedly. He turned to find the horde frighteningly close to him. His mind began contemplating, 'It was going to be slow and painful...'
He blinked hard, and with a sudden droning noise, he opened his eyes to see the wall of Necromorphs beginning to stagger and collapse. Like paper against a raging stream, the creatures were torn apart by a rain of sabot rounds, and sheer firepower. The barrage of bullets originated from the Pelican, where he saw CHIEF, mounted on the AIE-486H Heavy Machine Gun mounted on its rear. He aimed it in the direction of the monsters, tearing them apart with armour piecing rounds and pure fury. Nothing caught in the gun's ironsights stood a chance. The floor was quickly littered with empty bullet casings.
"WHAT IS THAT IDIOT DOING?!?!" Misaka yelled, panic and fear rising in her voice. She watched in disbelief as she used all her mental restraint to prevent herself from jumping out as well. "BUYING US TIME!" CHIEF screamed over the deafening noise of machinegun fire. The heavy machingun continued to spew a barrage of armour piecing death, echoing throughout the hanger and the Pelican interior itself. Necromorphs were being dispatched quickly, but more seemingly kept coming.
"HE'S GOING TO GET HIMSELF KILLED!"Misaka screamed in fear. CHIEF continued to fire the turret, holding back his urge to jump off and help him. This was all he could do for now to help.
"NOW, GO! THE BUTTON HARDY!"
Hardy heard CHIEF yell to him across the hanger bay. He had no time to waste. On his feet again, he continued towards the emergency override pulling out his Magnum sidearm. The button inched closer to him and with a final push, his fist came down on the button smashing its protective casing.
The heavy hanger doors halted its movements. For a while it creaked and groaned seemingly frozen in place. With a sickening jolt, the doors forced itself open, and the light rays began to fill the hanger again. The Pelican rose from the floor in preparation for dust off. CHIEF shouted in triumph. "You did it. You crazy bastard, you DID IT! Now get back here!" CHIEF beckoned to Hardy desperately.
Hardy began dashing back towards the Pelican, wasting no time. He was going to returning to his friends, they were going to fly out of here and finally, this nightmare would be over-.
A sudden explosion Hardy broke his chain of thoughts.
The Forward Unto Dawn shook violently, catching everything and everyone on board off guard. CHIEF was thrown off the machinegun, onto Misaka. As the two got back on their feet, CHIEF noticed his orientation beginning to turn. The Dawn began to tilt due to the explosions underneath, and began sinking into the ice shelf, engines plunging first into the Antarctica Sea. As it turned, he could barely stand up straight trying to balance himself. Looking upwards, he saw Hardy trying to get up.
Hardy tried to stand, lifting himself by trying to get on his feet. But gravity was somehow tilting and he fell on his chin. Desperately grabbing onto the floor, he slowly tried to crawl his way to the ship. His hands wrapped around a pipe sticking out and held on with all his might. As he observed as hanger equipment sliding past him, he couldn't help but imagine the climactic scene of the movie, Titanic. Now he knew what it felt like trying to escape a sinking ship. Behind him was the broken hanger doors, swallowing falling debris and the Necromophs that couldn't hang on. He recounted to himself in his thoughts, "I can do this, hold on CHIEF, I'm coming-"
A sudden jolt, and his hands released the iron pipe. He swore as his tried to grab the pipe on last time, but in futility. He lost all sense of touch and began sliding downwards. He caught on last glimpse of the Pelican door seeing two figures standing, watching. He couldn't even shout for them as his breath escaped his throat.
John-117... Cortana... Misaka... CHIEF...
Time seemed to slow down. CHIEF watched in horror and disbelief as his close friend fell backwards into the void, alongside the flaying Necromophs. Hardy's body slid into the darkness, and he was gone. CHIEF's body froze. He watched the doorway, hoping to see his friend re-emerge and crawl towards them. Nothing happened then he realized that he wasn't coming back. He just couldn't believe it.
"CHIEF, I need you to get to the cockpit, NOW!" the radio crackled back to life. "We are running out of time!" Cortana urged him. CHIEF didn't want to abandon his friend. But the clock was ticking, and delaying wasn't going to bring him back...
"CHIEF, I NEED YOU BACK IN THE COCKPIT, NOW!"
He turned, slamming his fist against the wall in fury. Running to the cockpit, he passed Misaka, tears uncontrollably rolling down her cheeks. He held his feelings back, determined to complete his current task. An array of complex controls greeted him. He had never flown this dropship before, but spaceships in his world were strangely familiar to the one in front of him. By instinct, he sat on the pilot seat, hand around the joystick, and pressed a pedal with his leg. Despite having no experience with flying this kind of ship before, he couldn't help but notice similarities with the layout of the controls to his universe's spacecraft.
He could fly this. That was all he had to think about for now.
His pressed the pedal, and the Pelican began liftoff. It shook as it began colliding with the tilting environment. The dropship levelled itself in line with gravity and trusted forwards, escaping the hanger doors. Light filled the cockpit as CHIEF saw the outside world for the first time in hours. The Antarctic skies were strangely clear and bright, compared to its cloudy conditions before their final decent into the Dawn. He couldn't bear to think about how much he wanted Hardy by his side, cheering and sharing his view with him. A lot happened to him, in his personal quest to find Emilia Percival. But why did he had to bring this upon his own creator? Why did he jump out first? Was a newcomer's life more valuable than his? Once again he sat in the pilot chair, feeling guilty about his actions, or rather his lack of action.
"CHIEF, I know this is a bad time for you," Cortana's voice whispered apologetically through his headset. "... but we're not out of this yet."
Among the icy landscape, a large floating spacecraft flew into view. The Archangel loomed closer, all armaments slowly turning to engage the Pelican dropship.