This is a holiday cheer gift for @ritewine from @acequeenking. Happy Holidays ritewine, and may the Harbinger not swallow you whole.
Summary: It takes Garrus five kisses to find his happy ending.
- - -
1. The first time he kisses her properly is the night before they die.
For two people facing a suicide mission, they takes things damnably slow. Garrus knows this; regrets it yet somehow treasures it. He’s never been in a relationship where there’s anything but the physical, so this – the long conversations, the stolen moments where his shoulder can just barely brush against hers in the dining area – is new territory. Welcome territory.
He holds her hand in the gunnery – the only place on this ship where he’s guaranteed there are no bugs, no change of the Illusive Man watching them, listening to them – and it feels…amazing. There’s an undercurrent of nervousness he’s not felt in a simple touch since the old reach and flexibility days, but Shepard is so much more than a nameless scout; she’s -
“Garrus, can I ask you a favor?” She asks. Garrus watches the scars on her face, the way they move and glow; she hasn’t quite taken a rocket to the face, but she’s lived through trauma, all the same. They both have. Their scars are nearly in the same places, and both tell the same story: We’ve walked through hell. We survived. And he’s naive enough to hope that maybe – maybe – they can do that again.
“Nah it’s just recording. We’ll edit this out later.”
“Fine, let’s just get started then.”
“Please state your name for the record.”
“My name is Professor Mohammad bin Hukukk”
“What is your profession?”
“I am a professor of Xeno Culture at New Harvard University.”
“Was this your profession during the Texar-Hakara war?”
“No, no my profession was a Orbital Drop Trooper, Sergeant, First Terran Marines.”
“Can you give us an explanation of what your job entailed?”
“We drop in, we fight our way out.”
“You took part in the fighting?”
“During the assault on Rygel Nine, were you with the Marines?”
“Yes, yes I was.”
“Can you describe it for me?”
“Long. Muddly. Bloody.”
“Come on Professor Hukukk, you can do better.”
“You’re making a documentary?”
“Actually we’re making a movie. We want it to be as close to reality as possible. From what we’ve heard even the folks back at Galactic Studios won’t need to embellish much.”
“How much sway do you have with the studio?”
“I’m a Senior Producer.”
“That didn’t answer my question.”
annoyed sigh from off camera
“I have a lot of influence. I’m pretty much in charge of this production.”
“Then I want your personal assurance that the names and places I tell you won’t be changed. These men deserve that, and much more besides.”
“You have my word.”
“I want a copy of this transcript immediately after the interview.”
“Fine. Can we please move on to what I came here for?”
“Alright, ask away.”
“Professor, tell me about the lead up to, and the battle at, Rygel Nine.”
“As I said I was with the First Marines. Specifically with Third Company, Second Battalion.”
“The infamous Riley’s Rangers.”
“The very same. Our CO was Captain Hank Riley. Tough old bastard, like a father to every man in that Company. Underneath him were the three Lieutenants. Jacobs, Stern, and Gibbs. Gibbs was a First Lieutenant, second in command of the Company. I was transferred to them two weeks before drop. Just enough time to learn the names of the Captain and Lieutenants, get used to my unit, then suddenly we’re in orbit over Rygel Nine. Texar-Hakara world. The first of their original worlds we were invading. Earth was… she gone by that point. Burned by the bugs. Some of the men talked quietly about what their plans were for when they went home. Most considered that bad luck.
"I was sitting with my squad when Captain Riley gave us his speech. Hold on I brought a recording of it…”
a new voice enters the conversation, only the slightest hiss of static mars the audio file
“Men, today we’re dropping into enemy territory, real enemy territory. It’s fortified and they’re waiting for us. We have never dropped onto a world like this before. All Texar-Hakara are to be considered armed and dangerous until the local hive mind is taken out. That’s our job. We’re Riley’s Rangers for a reason. We drop into the meanest parts of enemy territory to do the most damage. That’s what we’re doing today. Stick together, work with your squad. You’ll come out of this just fine.”
the voice stops, as does the faint static
“When Marine Shock Troops drop into enemy held territory the CO sometimes plays some heavy metal or hard rock or something to get the men pumped up. It works too, wipes away some of the fear. Just enough so that the men can still function as they strap themselves into what is essentially a big bullet, that’s going to be fired out of an under powered railgun directly at the planet’s surface. Captain Riley always played Hard Corps . Old song, but damn good. The Captain came on, told us he’d see us on the other side.
"The Captain never made it down. Anti-air took out the command pod on the way down. Captain Riley and Lieutenants Jacobs and Stern were wiped. Never even heard a peep. Thankfully SOP said Gibbs had to be in a different pod, and he was.
"Lieutenant Gibbs took command. Good man, solid. Exactly the right guy to replace the Captain in combat. He got us up, armed, and organized, and he did it fast. My squad was on the far left flank with the rest of First Platoon. Our job was to hold the line and secure an exit line for Second Platoon, who would be handling the assault on the hive mind.”
“Is this where things started to go wrong?”
“Things started to go wrong when the goddamn brass decided that they wanted to drop us in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the middle of a goddamn Texar-Hakara staging ground.”
“Damn straight. The first we realize that we’re in the middle of another grand cockup is when Third Platoon got hit by fifty Texar-Hakara warrior drones. They took sixty percent casualties in an hour. We were told to reinforce them and dig in while First Platoon scouted the area. First platoon got jumped two hundred meters out, every last one of them dead, including Lieutenant Gibbs. Now I’m in command of what we can only reasonably call ourselves an over-strength platoon. And we’re smack in the middle of a staging ground for the Third Hakaran Army.
"We radioed for support, and of course the nearest supporting elements were five klicks away. Through the largest concentration of Texar-Hakara on the continent. And we didn’t even have a direct line to them, because we were supposed to be linking up with another force twenty klicks to the north, and our communications were only keyed to Orbital Command and transmit a confirmatory ping to other Terran forces. Originally it was intended to keep us beneath the radar, so to speak. To allow us to get close to the hive mind without giving away our position. Instead what it did was effectively cut us off from the rest of the Army. Orbital was too busy to relay our messages for us.
"I was working with our tech guy, Corporal Swanson, to bypass the block on the radio when the first wave hit us. We knew the Texar-Hakara were out there, and we’d dug in feverishly. We weren’t equipped to hold the line against hundreds of enemies, but each soldier had been issued the standard anti-tunneling package. Slam a spike into the bottom of a foxhole, and the SATUFP, Strategic Anti-Tunneling Unit for Fixed Positions, shoots out thousands of nanomite cables throughout the ground, sets them firmly in place, connects them, and runs a million volt current through them. Try and tunnel into the foxhole, and you get an ugly zap. It had forced the bugs to engage us on the surface, and we set up a few some meters in front of our position. It was a good way of encouraging the bastards to come up in front of us.
"And holy mother of god did they come up in front of us. Hundreds of them came charging out of the forest, no warning, no sound except the clicking of their legs and their blasts of plasma. We had entrenched defenses, some light plasma machineguns, and the rest of us had laser carbines, plasma grenades, the usual outfit. It was a brutal fight, they kept coming even when they should have been dead. We mowed them down by the dozen, and they swarmed over the bodies of their dead. We started to take casualties as they got closer. Their accuracy was shit, but the hive mind keeps them on task, and their sheer weight of numbers often carries the day.
"It got to hand to hand at one point. They were just coming faster than we could shoot them. Vibroblades and Power Armor versus rock hard chitin and mandibles. Four Privates were MIA after that, just too ripped up to be positively IDed or POWs, the bugs were still taking prisoners at this point. Power Armor can stop a lot, plasma, lasers, bullets. Knives just bounce off. But bug mandibles have crushing force the likes of which our suits just can’t handle. I was hunkered down with Private Tulman and Corporal Swanson. We’re pouring fire into the bugs. Tulman’s Plasma MG is really what kept them off us. Then they swarmed over their corpses, and on top of us. Swanson got ripped apart. Three of them grabbed on and pulled. He was screaming and swearing and shooting to the last, but he died bloody. Tulman lit those three up the second Swanson’s vitals went flat. One of them jumped on me. These things are ugly up close. They look like short ants. Two main body pods instead of three, six big legs, six beady eyes, spikes everywhere, a plasma rifle attached to the underside of the head. I stabbed into the eyes with my combat knife. Despite what some idiot writers will tell you, a nanometer edge on your blade just makes it that much easier to break. It doesn’t matter if it can slide through titanium, in combat you’re not cutting titanium, you’re fighting a living being that is going to be moving, and when your edge breaks off, you’re dead.
"I was a Sergeant. I had a responsibility to be better than my men. Cleaner, smarter, tougher, meaner, and everything in between. Part of that is having your gear perfectly stashed and equipped. So when I say my knife had a perfect edge on it, not too thin not too dull, I’m not kidding. I stabbed straight through that bug’s eye and into its bug brain. And that bastard kept coming. So I shoved my plasma pistol up against it’s torn up eye and pumped six shots into the brain. It collapsed halfway through cutting my arm off. The connectors to my left arm were shot. My helmet’s HUD was flickering in and out and the faceplate was cracked. I was bleeding, not a lot but a little. And the bug had shredded my injury suppressants, so it hurt like hell.
"Most of my men weren’t much better. We couldn’t take another wave like that, but moving was damn risky. The way I saw it, the bugs knew we were here. It was only a matter of time until another force came by to wipe my three quarter strength company off the face of the universe. So we had two options. Stay and die, or leave and die when we ran into a bigger bug patrol. The men made their voices clear. They were prepared to die. And the way they saw it, they had a better chance of killing more bugs here than they did moving around. So we hunkered down. We piled up bug corpses to use as sandbags. We stripped the bodies of our comrades for parts and ammo. We envied the bastards actually.”
“We envied them. By this point in the war-”
“We traded the Yungling for it. Standard issue on every fleet ship. Upload your neural patterns, and when your body died you got a new one, right off the printer. Commercializing DNA sequencing, one thing the twenty first century did right. As soon as those bastards were confirmed KIA, they were regrown. A hour later they were safe and sound back up on the ship. Dying isn’t fun, I’ll tell you that. But there’s a certain peace that comes from knowing it isn’t final. More likely to throw yourself on a grenade and save your squad. More likely to hold the line against impossible odds, or volunteer for a suicide mission. Best thing to ever happen to the human war machine.
"We hunker down, shore up our defenses, and we kill another group of bugs that wanders by. Fifty odd insects in that one, all dead. Along with fourteen men. Quarter strength now, about fourteen of us total. We keep doing the same thing. Kill a few bugs, a few of us buy a ticket back up to the ship. It gets to the point where it’s just me and Tulman left, out of an entire company. But we’re surrounded by bug corpses. Must have been two hundred at least.”
“Four hundred thirty.”
“Official after action report says at this point it is estimated your Company had killed four hundred and thirty bugs.”
“Never read it.”
“It was declassified sixty years ago, when revival tech went public.”
“Wasn’t interested in reading it. Dying isn’t fun, and remembering death… it changes you.”
“I’m sorry, please continue.”
“Next wave is about a hundred of the six legged freaks. They come at us like bats out of hell. Tulman dies quick, plasma to the face. I’m left manning the plasma MG with one hand. It clicks dry, no more charge. I can’t change the ammo by myself. It’s made to be completely operable by one man, but one man with two working hands. I charge up four plasma grenades, prime them, slap them onto two ammo boxes for the plasma MG, and run full tilt at the bugs. I jump on top of one, and the box blows. Plasma everywhere, burning the hell out of everything and everyone. That’s when I died.
"I wake up on the UHS Washington DC. She was named after the battle in the old earth capitol, back when she represented the United… Statues I think it was.”
“That makes more sense. Anyways, that was my part in the Battle of Rygel Nine.”
“Nothing about the awards you received?”
“They were after the fact.”
“You received the Medal of Honor for recording the deaths of over twenty men. Without that they might not have been confirmed KIA, and never revived.”
“I did what any man there would have done for me.”
“Thank you Professor, that’s all I have.”
“Don’t forget these names, those men that were torn to shreds by the Texar-Hakara, the ones that were MIA? If you can’t be confirmed as KIA we can’t revive you, having two of the exact same person in the universe, the exact same memories, the exact same fingerprints and DNA. Same loved ones, same bank accounts. What do you tell the one that turns out to have been a POW for ten years. Sorry, there’s another one of you that’s been with your family the entire time? No, no we can’t do that. They were permed.”
“Permanently killed. Permadeath. Never revived. Privates Rodger P. Ackleman, Reginald Puller, George H. Killroy, and Yassah B. Hukukk.”
Hands down my all time favourte assassination. What lured me to this one to try it? Well, when the description is “For a brick, he flew pretty good” you cannot say no to using it! Plus just look at it!
AU meme: Vader leaves with Luke after RotJ, interpret that as you will.
Vader is like “you already saved me” and dies, as your eleventh-hour-reformed villains do, and Luke is like “GREAT WELL THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE DON’T STILL HAVE SHIT TO DO, DAD, COME ON” and manages to restart his heart and jerry-rig his respirator back into horseshoes-and-plasma-grenades working order and drag him off the ship and into a Rebel med bay. Luke Skywalker does not accept that some things cannot be stopped–not until he’s done EVERY damn thing he can to stop them. The Rebels in the med bay are VERY CONCERNED, but also this is Luke Skywalker. Also this is Luke Skywalker’s SAD SPACE PUPPY EYES as he very quietly says “I understand what I am asking of you, but please save my father”.
Leia is gonna fucking burn a motherfucker down. Leia is gonna fucking burn a MOON down. Luke is like “I believe he wants to change” and Leia is like “he can’t CHANGE!!” and Luke is like “he did the first time” and Leia is like “THAT IS APPARENTLY TRUE BUT NOT ACTUALLY A GOOD THING, LUKE”. The doctors and nurses are too busy being like “oh Force what kind of HELL-SUIT has this poor bastard been living his life in I mean yes he probably deserves it but also I TOOK AN OATH, Master Jedi PLEASE TELL US WE’RE ALLOWED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, THIS IS INHUMANE.”
“Wait what,” Luke and Leia say, and then the lead medical officer explains what a motherfucking disaster of a torture device Vader’s life-support system, suit, and prosthetics pretty much all are. Aside from the one arm, anyway, the one arm’s fine. The rest, though. The rest is fucking NIGHTMARE FUEL. Luke and Leia share a long, stricken, ANGRY look, and they don’t even know which one of them is feeling which. Then they tell the doctors to fix anything that’s outright dangerous or painful and they’ll figure out the rest when–“if,” Leia mutters darkly–Vader wakes up. That’ll have to be enough, for now.
And then Vader wakes up on a table and thinks ah, yes, it was the dream again. of course. And then Luke reaches out to touch his shoulder and Vader opens his eyes and realizes that no, this time it wasn’t a dream. And it wasn’t “Vader” who woke up, either.
And then Anakin Skywalker has a lot of work to do.
A New Player's follies, and beating the DM at his own game
Ok, so, this is the story of one of my first Rifts characters, a human Crazy named Saiko(wasn’t yet very imaginative with the names). For those who aren’t in the know, Rifts is a game defined by the words “broken”, “everything forever”, and “power scaling”, and takes place on a future Earth where nuclear war activated the Earth’s ley lines, resurrected magic, and plunged what was left of the planet into an unknown number of centuries of chaos as dimensional rifts opened all across the planet, dumping things in and taking things out, until all the activity finally began to settle. A little bit.
I hadn’t yet joined a group since I felt I was too new, so my DM was running me in a solo campaign to get me used to how tabletop gaming works. When I saw Crazies, I had to play one. They’re mercs that, for whatever reason, have little or nothing left to lose in life, or maybe just seek power, and undergo a procedure to have small implants placed into their brain. These implants stimulate and alter the brain in ways that affect their bodies, making them superhuman. Enhanced senses, insane reflexes, improved speed, strength, and recovery. The downside is… the implants slowly and inevitably drive you insane. And me, well, I didn’t want to wait, so I cut the GM a deal and decided to take on the first seven levels of insanity(out of a fifteen-level system) right away, so I could put together a character concept I had, and then not gain any new insanities until level eight. He agreed, and then immediately regretted it, because Saiko had six separate personalities and they tended to fluctuate on a hair-trigger. What’s worse, each separate personality had their own set of insanities.
I had the idea that Rifts was more of a “do whatever you want” game as opposed to “the GM sort of has a specific plan in mind” since I was so new, so I didn’t think that playing such a chaotic individual would be any problem.
Well… he got fed up pretty quick, when I(semi-OOC, too) mistook a hostile NPC for someone completely benign and friendly. This guy shows up shortly after I accept a mission to visit a nearby town and help them deal with a bandit situation and enters-stage-left with a crazy display of acrobatics, decked out in medium environmental armor and armed to the teeth. All Saiko does is try to show him up with an even more-impressive feat, leaving himself completely-open to a throat-slashing. One healing coma later after being left for dead, he wakes up in an alley, completely devoid of all possessions, clothing, and armor. The GM figured this would be a bit of a wakeup call, but didn’t account for something.
The main personality had an… attachment to his extensive collection of rolls of duct-tape. He believed duct-tape gave him his power, and had forgotten all about his implants. Without duct-tape, he couldn’t function. When he woke up and found himself completely bereft, not a scrap remaining, he panicked, and a personality shift occurred. The dice, unfortunately, turned up a psychotic killer so consumed with mindless rage that he couldn’t function properly six out of seven days a week(why did I think this was a great idea?). A woman and her children were bent over the Crazy, seeing if he was ok. The mindless one swiped at her head so hard his fingers were buried *in* her head, killing her instantly. He then threw her body at the fleeing/screaming children and screamed incoherently at the sky. A panic started, as on-edge citizens believed a monster attack was occuring, and the city guard went on high-alert. As Saiko exited the alley, stark naked, covered in blood, and snarling, my GM tersely informed me that there were four city guardsmen standing on nearby rooftops, already taking notice of me. Full environmental body armor except for helmets, heavy railguns(the expensive sort that don’t need a heavy backpack to supply power), and bad attitudes. He had me roll a common sense check against my IQ, which obviously crit-failed, and Saiko pegged the guards for his next targets. What followed was so ridiculous that my GM wasn’t even mad when the dust settled.
“One of the guards sees you, and apparently is going to shoot first and ask questions later. Roll to dodge.”
18 on the dice, and Crazies can dodge bullets, even lasers, without penalty. I leapt straight up with a telekinetic assist, both avoiding the barrage of metal needles and clearing the two stories to the rooftop of the nearest guard in one move. This one hadn’t yet seen me and the initiative among the rest of us was mine, so I used a second TK Leap to jump-kick him in the back of the neck(no helmets, after all). That armor would have shrugged off any of my attacks without any difficulty, but putting my foot through his neck was much like putting it through a wet newspaper. One down, three to go. I passed two more dodges, grabbing the fallen railgun as I went, casually popped off two more guards before dropping back down to street level, and took cover behind a vehicle. The GM was getting terrible rolls, and I hadn’t gotten anything below a 16. One naked crazy man was dropping trained guardsmen left and right.
Unfortunately, my luck seemed almost at an end. The last guard was furious, calling in reinforcements, grieving her fallen friends, and her suppressive fire was slowly closing in on me. I asked the GM if I could roll against my IQ for a moment of lucidity and, relieved, he granted it to me. He was doubly-relieved when I passed, and could act sane for the next few seconds.
“Great. I inspect my railgun. Does it have any attachments, like a grenade launcher?”
“…..” Once the shock wore and he resigned himself, he confirmed that yes, it did.
“Ok, I’m going to jump atop this vehicle and fire wildly at the top edge of her building.” Obviously, my rolls were more than sufficient. Obviously, it happened to be a plasma grenade, and completely engulfed the guard in the blast radius. Obviously, like the others, she didn’t have a helmet on and everything but her head survived the attack.
We were out of time for the day at this point, so, laughing(half in jest, half in fake-anger), the GM had a random band of mages subdue me without any possibility of resistance, and we called it a day.
… but not before I used Telekinesis to Nat19 a shard of plate glass into the back of one of their heads a second before being struck unconscious.
In one world, Felix stabs Tucker, and Tucker stands back up. In one world he endures phantom pain and scar tissue and nightmare, but he survives, and continues to survive, and be a survivor. He learns his way around soldiers and death and can smile at it, the same way he smiles at his friends. He lives and he stands beside Washington as they face a new enemy, in one world.
I feel very… cuddly right now. I just wanna burrito in a soft fluffy blanket with someone and cuddle and make stupid puns and laugh at stupid puns and watch movies and maybe kiss and take naps in our burrito blanket dome of comf and maybe nibble on yummy things including each other. Like hello.
But I also want to throw a plasma grenade at someone’s face.
Skulls are switches that can be activated to tweak campaign gameplay. They are available in every Halo campaign, and Halo 4’s Spartan Ops.
Many Skulls have an effect on your final point tally in Campaign Scoring. Others will disable Campaign Scoring entirely, and are just for fun.
HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED SKULLS
The following Skulls are available in Halo: Combat Evolved campaign:
Bandanna: Infinite ammo and grenades. Where’s the bandanna? Under your helmet of course.
Black Eye: Your shields will only recharge after you melee an enemy. Why? Magnets.
Boom: The damage radius of explosives is doubled. This also affects chain-reaction explosions!
Eye Patch: Aim assist is disabled for all weapons. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.
Famine: Dropped weapons have half the ammunition. The Feast Skull was cut.
Fog: Your motion tracker is disabled.
Foreign: You cannot pick up or use Covenant weapons.
Grunt Birthday Party: Landing a headshot on Grunts will release confetti, cheers, and invisible rainbows.
Grunt Funeral: Grunt bodies explode like a Plasma Grenade. Methane + ? = Boom.
Iron: Dying in solo play forces you to restart from the beginning of the level. In co-op, if any player dies you all are sent back to the last saved checkpoint. May result in damaged friendships.
Malfunction: A HUD element will disappear at every respawn.
Mythic: All Covenant enemies have twice the health, and Sentinels are given energy shields.
Pinata: Punching enemies will cause grenades to drop. Don’t think too much about where they were stored.
Recession: Every shot uses two ammo. It’s simple Halonomics.
HALO 2 SKULLS
In addition to the Skulls still hidden in the game, we’ve added a huge variety of additional modifiers you can use. Here’s the full list:
Anger: Enemies fire weapons much more aggressively. The Covenant discovered they have infinite ammo, and they want to show off.
Assassins: All enemies are cloaked. Covenant Ninja Academy, class of 2552.
Bandana: Unlimited ammo and grenades. You must wear a bandana in real life.
Blind: Your HUD disappears and your weapon does not display. The perils of being made by the lowest bidder.
Boom: All explosion physics impulses are increased. Glorious science!
Black Eye: Your shields will only recharge after you melee an enemy. Perk up your shield’s spirit by dispensing two-fisted cyborg justice.
Catch: Enemies throw more grenades. Down in front!
Envy: The Chief has Active Camo and the Arbiter gets a flashlight. Not fair!
Eye Patch: Disables auto-aim. We recommend adjusting your controller sensitivity.
Famine: Dropped weapons have significantly less ammo. Budget cuts.
Feather: All melee strikes impart additional force. Pow!
Fog: Your motion tracker is disabled. Keep your eyes sharp.
Foreign: You cannot pick up Covenant weapons. Union rules.
Ghost: Allies and enemies no longer flinch, meaning they shoot more often. No pain, firepower gain.
Grunt Birthday Party: Grunt headshots release party favors. ‘Nuff said.
Grunt Funeral: Grunts explode after death. Oh, the humanity!
Iron: Don’t die. Playing solo you have to start the mission over. In co-op you’re all sent back to the last checkpoint.
IWHBYD: Rare dialog is more common, and vice versa. Did he really just say that?
Jacked: You can only pilot a vehicle by hijacking it. Video games made you do it.
Malfunction: Each death removes a random element of your HUD. You didn’t want that shield indicator anyways … right?
Masterblaster (Co-Op Only): One player has recharging overshields and can only melee. The second player has no shields, but infinite ammo. Roles switch after a random number of kills. Who runs Mombasa-town?
Mythic: Enemies have increased health and shields. Covenant forces have been bulking up.
Pinata: Enemies drop a plasma grenade when you hit them with a melee attack. Smack, shield crack, and grenade pop.
Prophet Birthday Party: Every smack to the Prophet of Regret’s face is accompanied by epic Steve Vai guitar licks and lightning bolts.
Recession: Every shot uses two ammo. The ammo usage has been altered, pray we don’t alter it further.
Scarab: All player-held weapons fire the Scarab Gun beam. Unlocked when you find all the original Halo 2 Skulls.
So … Angry …: Enraged Brutes will explode shortly after enraging. The secret is, they’re always angry.
Sputnik: Mass of all objects is reduced. Combine with Boom and Feather for maximum enjoyment.
Streaking: Your shields constantly decay, but recharge a bit after each enemy kill. There’s an invisible energy vampire stuck on your back. His name is Ed.
Swarm: Let go my golo! Hunters are even more robust and deal extra damage with attacks. Unlocked after you watch all five episodes of Halo: Nightfall on the Halo Channel and complete the associated challenges.
That’s Just … Wrong: Enemies have a cyborg-detecting sixth sense.
They Come Back: Infection Forms that reanimate a corpse are much stronger than normal. Clean up any bodies before that happens.
Thunderstorm: Field promotions for every enemy in the Chief’s path.
HALO 3 SKULLS
You do not need to find the hidden Halo 3 Skulls to unlock them in The Master Chief Collection.
Black Eye: Your shields will only recharge after you melee an enemy.
Blind: Your HUD display is disabled. Count your bullets.
Catch: Friends and foes throw - and drop - more grenades. You’ve been warned.
Cowbell: Physics impulse of melee and explosions is increased. You wanted more, you got it.
Famine: Dropped weapons have half the ammunition.
Fog: Your motion tracker is disabled.
Grunt Birthday Party: Landing a headshot on Grunts with a precision weapon reveals their skull contained confetti and cheers. Hurray!
Iron: Dying in solo play forces you to restart from the beginning of the level. In co-op, if any player dies you all are sent back to the last saved checkpoint.
IWHBYD: Rare dialog is more common, and vice versa. Some things just can’t be un-heard …
Mythic: All Covenant enemies have twice the health and shields.
Thunderstorm: Enemies are promoted to the highest rank. You’ll also encounter more shields on Flood Elites and Sentinels.
Tilt: Enemy resistances and weaknesses are amplified. For example, shields and armor take more damage from plasma, but are further hardened against projectiles.
Tough Luck: Enemies will evade grenades and projectile attacks more skillfully. Brutes and Grunts are significantly more reckless when their backs are to the wall.
HALO 4 SKULLS
You can turn on any of the following Skulls in Halo 4’s campaign and Spartan Ops:
Black Eye: Shields don’t recharge unless you melee enemies. Biff! Kapow!
Blind: Your HUD display is disabled, and your first-person arms and weapons are invisible.
Catch: Enemies throw more grenades. Take cover!
Cloud: Your motion tracker is disabled.
Cowbell: The force of explosions is increased.
Famine: Dropped weapons have half the ammunition.
Grunt Birthday Party: Headshotting hapless Grunts results in a HAPPY BOOM TIME!
Iron: Solo - Restart mission on death. Co-Op - Back to previous checkpoint on death.
IWHBYD: Rare combat dialog is more common.
Mythic: All enemies have increased health.
Thunderstorm: Enemies are promoted to the highest rank. Specialists, such as Rangers and Zealots, are not promoted.
Tilt: Resistances and weaknesses are amplified for yourself and enemies.
Tough Luck: Enemies will never flee, will berserk at the slightest aspersion to their parentage, and dodge projectiles with the greatest of ease.