"And what it is you think you're doing?"
He jumped, spinning around to face the little blue hologram that appeared on the pedestal behind him. "Uhh . . . "
She, for the hologram was female, raised an eyebrow. "Go on."
"Normally space wreckage isn't this far out. I'm supposed to investigate for survivors. And I need to investigate for weapons."
"There's only a couple of rifles, him and I aboard this vessel. Or, this half of the vessel."
"What happened to you? Where are you even from? Forward Unto Dawn isn't in the registry."
"We were lost in a slipspace rupture. The portal closed on us while we were inside it and we wound up here. We've been drifting for one point seven five years."
"Holy shit." He looked back over at the pod. "Is there a person inside that armour?"
"Yes." Her voice softened considerably. "He's with me."
He didn't really have anything to say to that.
"He'll kill you if you try to hurt either of us." She warned, but more for his sake than her own. "What is an engineer-class workman doing out here alone? Where is your UNSC escort?"
"UNSC?" He shook his head. "Sorry, no bells."
There was a hissing sound, distant, like one of the old cooling pipes finally snapped.
"Are you an EarthGov AI?"
"No. I am an AI based on the brain schematics of Doctor Catherine Halsey, an ONI asset. I don't belong to the Earth's central government."
Screeching echoed down the hallway and he jumped. Geez, it had been some time since he'd had a conversation so pleasant.
"So, that man in the tank's pretty good at killing stuff, huh?"
She looked in the direction his gaze had taken. "What are those?"
"Necromorphs." He swallowed thickly. "So, is he good at killing things?"
"I mean, he's destroyed three armadas by himself, if that counts."
"Good. Plenty of relevant experience. He's got the job." He raised the plasma cutter, only slightly shaking after so long doing this. The shrieking got louder.
"Chief, I need you." She said, turning back to the tank. The coolant hissing cut off.
"What's going on?" A husky, sharp voice cut in. The man in the armour pushed out of the tank like he'd never been frozen and over to a rack of assault rifles and magazines.
"Aliens, tons of 'em and nasty looking." She replied. "Got an engineer here too, asked for our assistance."
The man floated over, grabbing a chip from the console. The blue lady vanished. He plugged her into the back of his helmet. The green man floated over to him. "Any advice?"
"They don't die from trauma. Dismemberment is the only thing that stops them."
"Chief's not very talkative, so don't get discouraged." She spoke from his helmet loudspeaker.
"I'll do my best."
"I'm Cortana, by the way." She said as the terrible gargles of the Necromorphs drew in close.
"Clarke. Isaac Clarke."
"Master Chief Petty Officer Spartan-117." The green man said gruffly.
"Most just call him Master Chief." Cortana supplied brightly.
"Get ready. And be careful of vents." Isaac murmured.
It was very impressive and slightly disturbing to watch someone physically rip limbs off people. Or, Necromorphs, but one half-dozen of one, really. The point was that Master Chief was capable of tearing the monsters in half with just his hands. Isaac thought he might be in love.
"Well, that certainly was spectacular." Cortana chirped.
Chief huffed under his breath, but gathered what he could from the corpses.
"What was your mission, Clarke?" Cortana asked.
"Investigate the station. The vessel I was on was destroyed, but a new frigate was on it's way last time I checked in."
"Acknowledged." Chief said, moving out.
"Where are you going?"
"The control room. Cortana can find a safe landing pad. We confirm with the incoming vessel and then go secure the platform."
"You're nuts. There's thousands of them in there. Not all of them dead, I might add."
"Doesn't matter. We have an objective."
"Only if you go in first. I came out here for a fucking breather."
"C'mon, it'll be fun." Cortana joked, probably smiling to herself. "Chief is really good at shooting his way out of problems."
"I am." He returned.
Isaac didn't understand what the hell their dynamic was, but, again, Chief had bare-hand killed several dozen Necromorphs.
"Lead on, then." Isaac replied. Chief nodded shortly and set off along the outer hull of the ship.