Halo: The Thursday War (Kilo-Five Trilogy #2)

Halo: The Thursday War (Kilo-Five Trilogy #2)

by Karen Traviss

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

Welcome to humanity’s new war: silent, high stakes, and unseen. This is a life-or-death mission for ONI’s black-ops team, Kilo-Five, which is tasked with preventing the ruthless Elites, once the military leaders of the Covenant, from regrouping and threatening humankind again. What began as a routine dirty-tricks operation―keeping the Elites busy with their own insurrection―turns into a desperate bid to extract one member of Kilo-Five from the seething heart of an alien civil war. But troubles never come singly for Kilo-Five. Colonial terrorism is once again surfacing on one of the worlds that survived the war against the Covenant, and the man behind it is much more than just a name to Spartan-010. Meanwhile, the treasure trove of Forerunner technology recovered from the shield world of Onyx is being put to work while a kidnapped Elite plots vengeance on the humans he fears will bring his people to the brink of destruction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765323941
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Series: Halo Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 227,161
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

No. 1 New York Times bestselling novelist, screenwriter, and comics author Karen Traviss has received critical acclaim for her award-nominated Wess’har series, as well as regularly hitting the bestseller lists with her Star Wars, Gears of War, and Halo work. She was also lead writer on the Gears of War 3 game. A former defense correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, Traviss lives in Wiltshire, England.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

ARBITER, I HAVE LOST HIM. THE BRUTES ARE REBELLING AND ONTOM IS IN CHAOS.

(CADAN 'ILMIR, PILOT AND BODYGUARD TO PROFESSOR EVAN PHILLIPS, GUEST OF THE ARBITER)

TEMPLE OF THE ABIDING TRUTH, ONTOM, SANGHELIOS: MARCH 2553

Evan Phillips could manage only one thought: Sangheili breath stank.

It was like waking up face to face with an old dog who'd sneaked onto the bed, and it wasn't just the terrifying mouthful of fangs. Avu Med 'Telcam, religious zealot and ONI-sponsored insurgent, was kneeling right over him, staring into his eyes. Phillips could hear a tuning fork singing deep inside his head but the yells and roars around him were muffled, a world away. He struggled for breath in a fog of brick dust, smoke, and something that smelled horribly like ammonia. How could he smell all this if he couldn't breathe?

Oh, God. A bomb. I was walking into the temple, and ...

He was walking into the temple with 'Telcam, and 'Telcam had asked him a really awkward question about a Sangheili he wasn't supposed to know.

Jul 'Mdama. Oh ... shit.

And then there'd been an explosion. But Phillips's biggest problem right then was getting his breath, followed by checking that he had all his limbs and wasn't bleeding to death light-years from home on a planet where they wouldn't take kindly to ONI spies.

Because that's what I am now. Aren't I?

He kept trying to suck in air. His lungs felt disconnected from his brain, beyond his control, then they relented and a huge, convulsive wheeze shook him. He started coughing so hard that he almost vomited.

"I thought you were dead," 'Telcam said. He sounded irritated, as if he thought Phillips had been shamming. "Can you speak? Are you injured?"

Phillips's eyes watered painfully. "Am I bleeding?"

"Not much." 'Telcam stood up and started roaring orders, although Phillips couldn't see who he was yelling at. "Is anyone injured? Answer me! Did anyone see what happened?"

Voices called back from the gloom. "A wall has collapsed, Field Master. We're still trying to find all our brothers."

"Be quick about it." 'Telcam drew his pistol and stalked toward the outer gates. "And secure the perimeter until we find out who did this."

Who would attack the temple? It was a sensitive target, sure to cause outrage. Perhaps the Arbiter had worked out where his opposition was coming from and had launched a preemptive strike. And I walked into the middle of it. Should have stuck with Cadan, shouldn't I? I bet he's panicking now, trying to find me in case the Arbiter shoots him for losing me. Phillips eased himself up and tried to stand. Razor-edged rubble cut into his palms. He could hear mayhem outside in the plaza, filtered by the thick walls around the temple grounds, and the thud of Sangheili feet echoing in the passage behind him. Now that the smoke and dust were settling, he could work out exactly where he was: about twenty meters inside the temple compound, right in the ancient doorway of the Forerunner building.

Nobody seemed to be taking any notice of him. He got to his feet, tested his balance — not great, but at least he could still hear — and tottered toward the gates.

At least this had killed the conversation about Jul. Phillips hoped 'Telcam would forget he'd even asked the question, but he doubted it.

Damn, I could have died. Really died. This is getting a bit too real.

His legs were shaking. Now that he stopped to think about it, he realized he could have been killed any number of times in the past few months, but it hadn't felt quite this immediate before. How did Mal and Vaz handle it? Now he understood something at a gut level, something he didn't have words for, and suddenly the world looked different. Then he remembered.

Oh God. BB. Where the hell is he?

The AI would usually have been chatting to him in that arch, slightly bitchy way that was somehow incredibly comforting. BB knew all and saw all. He probably spoke Sangheili even better than Phillips. But now he was uncharacteristically silent.

"BB?" Phillips whispered. He peered down at the coin-sized radio with its pinprick camera lens, unable to see any indicator lights. Military comms equipment was designed to withstand all kinds of shocks, and ONI was certain to have the very best kit that money could buy. "BB, are you okay? You can come out now."

But the radio remained lifeless. Phillips took it off his jacket to examine it, and it was only when he held it right up to his eye that he saw the chunks of metal embedded in it like lead shot. It took him a few moments to think that through. The realization made his stomach knot again.

Shrapnel. That would have gone into my chest. Holy shit. So that kind of luck really happens.

He tried to focus on the luck, that a potentially fatal injury had been deflected by that little device, but it didn't keep him going long. All kinds of fears and worries were now flooding back. Cadan, the pilot the Arbiter had assigned to take him on a tour of Ontom's ancient sites, would have heard the explosion and come running to find his charge. And did Osman realize what had happened? Phillips had been transmitting right up to the moment of the blast, so she must have known his last position. But how was he going to contact her now without a radio and without BB to guide him? Damn, he'd have to find Cadan and get him to contact UNSC. Searching the temple for Forerunner clues to the locations of the other Halo rings would have to wait.

It could take me years to wheedle my way back in here. We might not have years.

He made his way through the rubble in the courtyard. Walls that had stood for millennia, built by the Forerunners themselves, had collapsed in places, giving him jagged, chaotic glimpses of the huge plaza outside. It was pandemonium. Troops were stalking around, barking orders at Sangheili who were milling about, inspecting piles of what Phillips thought was more rubble until he realized there was no masonry close enough to fall in heaps. The plaza was an open space like a parade ground.

The piles were bodies.

He stumbled out of the gates, as if the notional line between holy ground and the public space would shield him. A crater about seven or eight meters wide had gouged a scar in the elegant geometric paving. That was where the device had detonated: not in the temple grounds, but out in the plaza. Purple Sangheili blood lay in glossy pools or trickled into gutters. Phillips tried not to focus on the dead and injured. Mal and Vaz might have been used to seeing body parts, but this was all new and sickening for him. He didn't recognize some things. He made himself look away before he did.

It was sobering that even on an alien world, in a city of towering creatures with four jaws, the carnage that followed a bombing looked pretty much like any shattered street on Earth in the aftermath of a terror attack. And people were just as scared and shocked and grief-stricken.

People. Yes. They're people to me. Sorry, Vaz. I can't see them any other way now.

'Telcam stood absolutely still, fists clenched at his sides in an oddly human way. He was seething. Phillips edged up beside him.

"So ..." Nobody seemed interested in a lone human now. An hour ago, he'd been a sensation, an unlikely little pink creature who could rapidly unlock the arum puzzle that left most Sangheili perplexed. "Who did it? This isn't about the temple, is it?"

'Telcam scanned the scene with a slow sweep of his head, taking in the neatly trimmed shrubs and trees that lined the plaza. Phillips thought he'd spotted something suspicious. But he curled his lips back, parting that cloverleaf set of jaws and baring his fangs in anger.

"What do you not see, scholar?" he asked.

Phillips wasn't back to his best yet. He tapped his radio again, hoping BB was just keeping his head down and gathering information. It took a while to check the scene and not pay too much attention to the grisly detail. A pair of Sangheili trotted past carrying something on a sheet of fabric, a makeshift stretcher. Phillips looked away.

"Sorry. What am I missing?"

"Where are the Brutes?" 'Telcam demanded. "There were Brutes working out here. They were tending the gardens. Where did they go?"

Phillips's first thought was that they'd been killed or taken away wounded. He was about to suggest that when 'Telcam caught his arm and hauled him into the plaza to inspect the scene for himself. Phillips had no choice now. He found himself looking down at a body, a male in his middle years, minus legs and part of his head. The smell — sweet, metallic, but also tinged with ammonia and sulfur — struck him more than the glistening shreds of flesh. Somehow he managed to switch off. He hadn't realized he could do that. When he looked up, 'Telcam had stalked away and was moving from casualty to casualty, grabbing troops by their shoulders and questioning them.

"Where are the Brutes?" he demanded. "Have you found any Brutes? Where did they go?"

He was right, though: the Jiralhanae had vanished. Not many had stayed with the Sangheili once the Covenant fell, but their absence was suddenly conspicuous. Phillips struggled with the idea that these might have turned on their former superiors.

'Telcam came striding back, jaws working angrily. "Not one," he snarled. "Not one has remained."

"You think this is an uprising?"

"Most of the Brutes turned on us in the Great Schism."

"Yes, but lots of them just took ships and went home, too."

"You seem to have missed the point, Philliss." Yes, he really did make it sound like Phyllis, just as Vaz Beloi had said. Those extra jaws made explosive consonants hard going. "There is no affection between our species."

"Perhaps they just ran for it," Phillips said. No, he didn't believe that. A Brute had tried to take on Naomi and lost — not that he could share that with 'Telcam. "We'll find them quaking in a cellar somewhere."

"I knew we should never have tolerated them. This is the worst possible timing."

Ah, so that was his problem: not that they'd dared to kill Sangheili, something that he was preparing to do himself, but that they'd messed up his tidy insurrection.

"Yes, but how do you —"

Phillips never got to the end of the sentence. A bolt of energy hit the paving twenty meters from him, spattering him with painfully sharp grit, then another and another, bright as lightning.

He dived instinctively and hit the ground, not that it would have saved him, and another alien sensation overtook him: real fear, the absolute fear that he would die any second. His body ignored his conscious mind completely. It saved itself. He couldn't move. All he could do was listen to the crack and sizzle of energy rounds zipping past his ears. That was how close it felt. He could smell it, too, like paint burning on a hot radiator.

"Brutes!" someone yelled. "It's Brutes! Filthy traitors! Kill them!"

Boots thudded near his head. "Outrage!" one Sangheili kept shouting. "Ingrates! To think we gave you food and shelter!"

Phillips tried to turn his head, looking for somewhere to take cover. Three Sangheili were still trading shots with somebody up on the walls. Was it a Brute? He couldn't tell. He couldn't raise his head far enough to see. He just wanted the shooting to stop. He was sure he'd crap himself if he had to lie here in the open a moment longer. He was going to die alone without even BB for company. This wasn't how it was supposed to end.

Get a grip. It's seconds. Vaz told me so. You think it's going on forever, but it's only a few seconds.

There was more zip and crack as the shooting continued. Then it stopped and the echo around the walls seemed to go on forever before being swallowed up in roars and murmurs. Phillips didn't know whether to raise his head or stay down, but someone made the decision for him and hauled him upright by his collar.

'Telcam stared down at him, nostrils flaring, looking distinctly unimpressed. "Those shots were nowhere near you."

Phillips had had enough for one day. He'd been bombed and shot at. He'd seen people killed. And he was on his own a long way from home. The novelty of playing spy games was over. It was a lonely way to end up dead.

"I'm going to go and find Cadan," he said, trying to keep his voice steady. More heavily armed city militia were streaming into the plaza, arriving in all kinds of mismatched vehicles that parted the crowd. The mood had now changed from shock to anger, something Phillips was certain he could smell. "My pilot. He went to a tavern. He'll be looking for me. I need to call in to tell everyone I'm okay."

'Telcam still had a tight grip on his collar. "And then what? Go back to the Arbiter's keep?"

"That's the idea."

"That would be an unwise choice of sanctuary, and you're well aware why."

The closest that Phillips had ever been to a riot was a rowdy night in Sydney when the Aussies had won some rugby trophy and the bars had started overcrowding, then overflowing into the streets. There'd been arrests, scuffles, deafening noise, and a few moments when he was sure he was going to get his head kicked in while simply trying to hail a taxi. He'd felt just as confused and alien as he did now. Just like that night, the hundreds — maybe thousands — of Sangheili were a wall of muscle and hostility, not particularly aimed at him but still volatile and potentially lethal.

Then something distracted them. Phillips saw every head turn simultaneously before he heard the shouts of Jir'a'ul, Jir'a'ul — Brute, a play on the Brutes' own name for themselves and the Sangheili word for a lump of wood, a'ul. It was an ugly term of abuse. He could guess what was coming when a loud, communal hiss like escaping steam swept through the crowd. He'd never heard that before and wasn't even sure what it was, but the meaning was instantly clear, the kind of knowledge he'd never have gleaned in a lifetime's research in the safe comfort of his office at Wheatley University.

The crowd parted. Now Phillips could see a Brute struggling in the grip of two Sangheili troops, snarling and spitting, and the crowd closed again like a wave. The Brute's snarls were drowned by Sangheili roars. Phillips couldn't see what was happening, just the ripples of movement. It was a lynch mob. But Sangheili didn't use ropes. They were carnivores, and they fell on the Brute like a pack of dogs. Phillips let his imagination fill in the gaps. It was time to run.

"I've got to go," Phillips said. He could remember where the tavern was. He had to get out. Jesus, BB, why pick now to break down? "My radio's not working. I'll contact you later."

It was hard to see what was happening because he was a lot shorter than the average male Sangheili. He was a child lost in a dark forest, staring at legs and weapon belts. Then the firing started again. But it was coming from the walls: he risked looking around and now he could see a lot more Brutes with rifles. His belief in invincible Elite superiority was waning fast. Bolts of energy sizzled through the air before an explosion sent debris flying. The blast was much farther away on the north side of the plaza, but still deafening, still powerful enough for Phillips to feel it in his chest and ears.

"Oh, shit —"

"There is your answer, scholar." 'Telcam yanked him back toward the temple so hard that his arm hurt. "You'll be safe here."

"Cadan will come looking for me."

"It's too late. It must begin now."

Phillips struggled to match 'Telcam's huge stride. Somewhere at his back, all hell had broken loose. He didn't know if it was a pitched battle or just the crowd erupting in fury, but his legs had made the decision to keep moving away from the noise as fast as they could.

"What does? What's got to begin?"

'Telcam shoved him through the gate into the temple grounds. "What do you think? We have to bring the revolt forward, to strike before the Brutes force us to fight on another front." 'Telcam slipped into English. He was fluent, trained as an interpreter for the fleet, and it was hard to tell whether he thought that Phillips didn't understand him or if he'd switched languages for some other reason. "Cowards. Utter cowards. Why do they plant bombs? This is a filthy, sly habit they have learned from you humans. Terrorism. That is the word, yes?"

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Halo. The Thursday War"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Microsoft Corporation.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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HALO: The Thursday War 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 111 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the halo series, and i quite avidly play the games and read the books, ive read all the novels so far and i do believe that karen travis created one of the most finely sculpted books to date, book 1, Halo:Grasslands, i cant wait to read this one ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eric Nylund and Karen Traviss contribute to the Halo mythos beautifully. This book is no exception.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On halo four go to stting then press y then you onamanicly win the game and everthing is free like gadgets ############@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@%%%%%%%%%%
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Continuing where the story left off in Glasslands, this book provides further backstory in the run up to Halo 4. As the story progressed, I really began to feel an attachment to the ONI crew, and enjoyed their individual views and personality quirks. Any Halo fan should read both this novel and the previous; you certainly won't be wasting your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good follow up to Glasslands.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing it was really informative and really well scriptied can't wait forthe next one karen keep em comin as soon as possible
Loljm More than 1 year ago
Halo is a winner but wished this story had the master chief. Still it's involves Spartans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IT makes sense of what happens before halo4. I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm reading a sample and so far it's good...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read. I grew up playing halo and this is a great way to expand my liturature skills and improve my vocabulary
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I wasn't sure if I would like it. I am not a gamer but my friend saiI should get it so I did. Now I have Halo 4 after reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After I finished Glasslands I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. All the complaints about canon errors are unwarranted and totally explainable. Any true fan of Halo or science fiction in general will enjoy this book. If there is anything negative I would say about it is sometimes Karen got carried away with the word "hindge head". She sometimes uses it 5 or 6 time on a single page! Buy this book and do yourself a favor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the entire Halo series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All of the lore in halo makes more sense after reading this triliogy of books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a Halo fan, or you are interested in the Halo universe, I would recomend this book to you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah.
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So far so good
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Difinity changed it from a camp to a place where we post importamt announcements and battles which apperantly are startimg soon. She wants to attack bloodclan tonight. Also, we have about five ish active membres imcluding myself. And i need help with fulfilling one of her demands which is ads...
Malleus More than 1 year ago
A fun and energetic read.