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    Operation: Free-Byrd

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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on March 28th 2014, 11:41 am

    Author's Note: This is a new story, taking place a considerable number of years ahead of our canon. But still based within it. Certain characters will be making cameo appearances, and others will just make a few mentions. This is my attempt at making something entirely unique/new, but using some themes from my previous stories to help develop it. This story will follow a pair of societal misfits, as an old enemy of the UNSC strikes again to wreck havoc.


    Prologue

    Planet Hephaestus, Outer Colonies.
    Military Space Time: April 1st, 2572
    11:00 hours.



    Stormy clouds inked the early morning skies, as the morning Sun’s beams attempted to pierce the heavens, and light the planet below. Two hazel eyes fluttered awake, as the young boy laying in the bed stretched and yawned. Gazing around his room, his eyes fixated on the two posters before him. Both hosted a still image of two armored soldiers. One stood, his focus forward, a hand wrapped around his fist in a fighting stance, the other holding a crisp salute, the UNSC flag behind him.

    The soldier in the fighting stance, wore black and green armor, a pair of red ‘eyes’ completing his Commando visor. The young boy glared at this poster with a certain hatred, re-reading the label; Butch the Betrayer. Smiling as he turned his attention to the saluting figure, his eyes met with the black visor of the Recon helmet. Reading the poster always brought him hope, the image of Blaine the Brave always brought him happiness.

    Cheering, albeit quietly, the young boy rose to his feet, swinging fist after rapid fist into the air. His door creaked open, as his father stood there, groggy, two bunny slippers on his feet. He scratched his stubbled salt and pepper color chin hair, before grinning a stupid grin.

    “Heya buddy, finally awake I see.” he smiled. “Toni was looking for you next door, something about needing you for a homework project?”

    “Toni, ew!” Richard stuck his tongue out, shaking his head. “But she’s a girl!”

    “-and a cute one at that!” his mother poked her head in. “Do you need us to walk you over?”

    “I’m ten years old mom!” Richard whined. “I can walk myself.”

    “My, how independent,” his father shook his head. “Fine, run along kiddo. Your mother and I’ll get the picnic stuff ready, and if you want, you can invite Toni too!”

    Richard mumbled subtly as he stepped into his closet, tripping over himself as he struggled to dress himself. Once he had finished, he opened the door and walked down the stairs. Walking past the kitchen, he watched as his father spun his mother around on the linoleum, wrapped his forearm around her lower back, tilted her, and kissed her square on the lips. Shaking his head with disgust, he announced his departure and stepped out the door.

    The brisk, spring wind gently brushed his cheeks, as the smell of dandelions filled the air. While pleasant, he found himself sneezing obscenely. His neighbor, Boris, had been leaving his clothes out to air dry again, and the scent of his homemade detergent contained something Richard was allergic to.

    Moving quickly down the street, he passed Mrs. Carmichael, who was walking Snitzel, the family Rottweiler. His teacher jogged by in her disgustingly form fitting spandex clothes, the large lady glaring at the young boy with expectation.

    “Mr. Free, I hope you aren’t gallivanting around the town, waiting until the last minute to do your assignment with Ms. Byrd?”

    “No Mrs. Carmichael.” Richard grumbled. “I’m just going to her house now.”

    “See to it that you get that model Roman Colosseum ready by Monday. Ciao darling!”

    Passing by the heavy set woman, Richard continued his trek to Toni’s house. Stepping up the stone stairs leading to the door, he hesitated for a moment, before knocking on the front door. The door opened not to long afterwards, as Toni’s father poked his face out the door. His bleary old blue eyes stared at Richard for a moment, before he grunted and allowed him in.

    The furniture of the home was, to some degree, neatly placed. Although Mr. Byrd had unfortunately let the place go, long after his wife had passed away. Richard remembered that all too well, as it had been right after Toni’s family moved into Troy. She was having some issues acclimating to the harsher atmosphere of the planet, while Mr. Byrd and Toni remained completely unharmed.

    “You gonna stand there and stare at my furniture, son? Or you gonna say hello to Toni? She’s been waiting for you.” he grunted, before shuffling into the kitchen. “Upstairs, first door on the right!”

    Richard, always nervous around Mr. Byrd, trudged up the stairs, but not before sneaking a glimpse of the family portrait on the wall. Four people sat in the middle of a sunny park, Mr. Byrd and Mrs. Byrd smiling happy at the camera, while an older gentleman with a long white beard cuddled a baby Toni.

    Richard had only known Mr. Byrd as the town grump all his life, but never before had he gotten a glimpse of the man behind the perpetual frown. Richard turned his attention to Mrs. Byrd, whose light, hispanic complexion radiated in sunlight. Both of them seemed in complete happiness, not a care in the world.

    “Mr. Byrd?” Richard asked nervously. “Who is this old man in the picture? Toni’s grandpa?”

    “Hmmph?” Mr. Byrd asked, shuffling back into the room, when his eyes befell on the picture, his sour expression slightly shifted into a crooked smile. “No, that’s her great uncle. That man was my uncle. He had survived the battle of Reach, twenty years ago. Him and his son came and got me from the Orphanage I stayed at, raised me into the military.”

    “What about your parents?” Richard asked. “Didn’t they love you?”

    “‘Course they did kid!” Mr. Byrd grunted. “But they died of sickness, just like N-”

    “Just stop stalling and get up those stairs!” Mr. Byrd barked suddenly. “I won’t have my daughter failing school because you’re easily distracted!”

    Frightened, Richard ran up the stairs, and into Toni herself. The two tumbled along the floor, as Toni landed on top of him, her knees on his lap. Pinning him to the floor with remarkable strength, she smirked as he grumbled.

    “Hiya Richard!” she beamed. “Ready to play?”

    “Play?!” Richard asked curtly. “I thought we had homework to do?!”

    “No silly!” Toni smiled. “I did the assignment myself earlier! I thought we could play house or something today?”

    “House is for girls.” he grumbled. “-and I’m not a girl.”

    “House is for boys and girls!” she frowned. “You just don’t wanna play with me, huh?”

    “Well, no.” he stammered, as he saw tears welling up in her eyes. “H-hold on, that’s not what I meant!”

    Ever since she had moved to the town, and with her mother gone, she had always been alone. No-one wanted to be her friend, because she was extremely intelligent for her age. Richard had been the only one to bite the bullet and make any attempt to befriend her. But he himself didn’t have any friends either, so he could sympathize for her.

    “My family is having a picnic after we finish our homework assignment,” Richard spoke quickly. “But I guess it’s already done. My parents told me I could invite you, y’know, if you wanted to go?”

    “A picnic?!” she screamed with happiness, “I’d love to!”

    At the sound of her screaming, her father charged up the stairs, pistol at the ready. Richard froze as he stared down the barrel of the weapon from his pinned position.

    “You been fighting my daughter?”

    “What?! No, I-”

    “It’s okay Daddy.” Toni smiled, releasing Richard. “We were just play fighting is all, and Richard’s family is having a picnic. Can I go Dad?”

    “Hmph. Play fightin’s just as bad as normal fightin’.” Mr. Byrd grunted again, holstering the weapon. “Sorry about that son. Did you get the homework done?”

    “Yep!” she smiled. “I did it before he got here, remember?”

    “Oh yeah,” Mr. Byrd mused, scratching his scalp. “ I suppose you can. But you be back before sun down! Free, you’d best take good care of my daughter... and no more play fighting!”

    ///////////////////////

    “Thank you for having me Mister and Missus Free!” Toni said, as she skipped along.

    “Of course sweetie!” Mrs. Free smiled. “We’re always happy to have you!”

    Richard held his two thumbs in his pocket, as his father put a hand on his shoulder. Looking up towards his father, he noticed that his dad had actually shaved that morning, which must have taken place after he left the house.

    Whatever the case may be, his father looked like a whole different man. The four continuing to walk along in utter silence, minus the occasional humming from Toni. Richard smiled for a moment, for once, he had actually seen Toni legitimately happy. When she was at school, even in his presence, she was a miserable wreck, and at her house she seemed giddy to see him, but she still was nervous about her father.

    In this moment, however, she was truly happy, and he knew it. Perhaps that was why he found himself grinning from ear to ear for the remainder of the walk. Helping his father set down the blanket, Toni helped his mother set the dishes they would use. Sitting down, the four munched away on delicious Thornbeast cones and Moa Burgers.

    Then it happened.

    A loud cracking filled the air, much like the sound of a bullwhip snapping the sound barrier. The four looked up, as a giant purple ship appeared in the sky above them, completely blotting out the sun. Mr. and Mrs. Free stood, completely frightened, as the children stared at the adults, confused. Standing, the children huddled under the adult's legs.

    “Not them, not here! NOT NOW!” Mr. Free roared, as the bottom of the ship opened, hundreds of tiny pods shot from the heavens.

    One landing right in the center of their blanket…


    Last edited by Shad0wChas3r on March 28th 2014, 11:52 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on March 28th 2014, 11:43 am

    Hellfire and Brimstone

    Mr. Free stared wide eyed at the pod, fear in his eyes as it hissed. Scooping up Toni with one arm, he, his wife, and Richard fled away, as the creature inside roared in anger, the pod doors not opening properly. As they drew nearer to their house, Mr. Free placed Toni on the street beside Richard.

    “Samantha, stay with these two!” Mr. Free barked. “Get them to the shelter! I’m gonna grab the gun!”

    Mr. Free ran across the road and into the house, as Toni screamed in fear, a giant red ball forming at the bottom of the ship, directly over the Free household. Mrs. Free screamed her husbands name, but the sounds of the chaos throughout the town muted her. Suddenly, the ball expanded and contracted, as a giant beam of hot plasma crashed down on their house.

    Wood splintered, as a wall of heat flashed towards them. Mrs. Free shrieked in sadness for her fallen lover, falling to her knees.

    “DAD!” Richard yelled at the crater, as another pod landed beside them, cracking the sidewalk.

    Grabbing Richard’s hand, Toni knew where the shelter was, nudging Richard’s  mother’s shoulders, she sat there, completely in shock. Richard and his mother sat there, completely stupefied, neither moved.

    “Puny Human!” a deep voice scoffed, followed by a guttural growl. “You will be my lunch!”

    Firing it’s weapon, a single, molten javelin sized piece of metal struck Mrs. Free square in the head, the giant ape-like creature wielding the weapon turned towards them, weapon outstretched. Richard snapped out of his funk, and with some unmistakable amount of courage, charged at the behemoth, the massive ape swinging the bladed edge of the weapon down towards him.

    Richard flinched but a second, but when he opened his eyes, he saw an armored hand bracing the ape’s arm. Another arm holding the beast’s elbow. With one swift motion, there was a pop and a snap, as the ape’s arm bent at an awkward angle. Richard closed his eyes as purplish red blood splashed into his face. Wiping his face clean, he looked at the ape’s arm, a single yellow bone protruding from the skin.

    “If you’re so hungry,” the familiar voice of the armored man growled. “Then EAT THIS!!”

    Thrusting the broken arm’s bone upwards towards the ape’s mouth, the armored man kicked the legs of the massive beast out from under it, as the bone pierced it’s skull. The monster twitched for a moment, but ceased to move not long after that.

    “Daddy!!” Toni cried, running over to the armored soldier. “It was terrible! They killed Mr. and Mrs. Free!”

    Richard frowned, shaking his head angrily as he approached his mother’s still form. Falling to his knees, tears streamed down his cheeks, as a gauntlet covered hand lightly pat his shoulder.

    “C’mon sonny boy. Let’s get you out of here.” Mr. Byrd said, Richard refusing to move. “Look, I’m sorry, but we have to go. I can get you somewhere safe.”

    Again, Richard failed to move, as he was suddenly hefted onto Mr. Byrd’s shoulder, Toni straddled over his other one. There was the sound of pistol fire, coming from Mr. Byrd’s front. Aliens gargled blood, as Mr. Byrd sprinted by them, the two children over his shoulders. Richard watched blankly at the corpses they were passing, personally wishing he could have been the one to end them himself.

    “I’m sorry, Richard.” Toni frowned, tears in her eyes, as she looked at him, and then away.

    “It’s not your fault.” Mr. Byrd replied, while firing his pistol. “Nor is it’s Richard’s. No-one could have known this was going to happen.”

    “I never knew you were a Spartan, Mr. Byrd.” Richard stated bluntly. “Why didn’t you tell anybody?”

    “Because I retired, son.” Mr. Byrd shook his head. “-and my wife and I didn't need the whole Neighborhood bugging us about minor issues, just because we were better equipped than normal humans. We weren't into saving cats from trees, or rebuilding Town Hall because a leaf fell on it.”

    “Momma loved helping people, but daddy only helps those with ‘actual’ problems.” Toni nodded.

    “That was Naomi for you.” Mr. Byrd chuckled. “One heck of a woman…”

    “Was she a Spartan too, Mr. Byrd?” Richard asked. “Did she or you know Blaine the Admiral?”

    “Yes, she was.” Mr. Byrd replied, reloading his pistol again, pausing at Richard’s question. “Yes, all Spartans knew Blaine the Admiral. But he’s been retired far longer than I have, heck, I dunno even where he is. Old sod anyways, probably kicking back a couple of cold ones in New Alexandria, or with Jorge on some Yacht somewhere, who the heck knows.”

    Within moments, Mr. Byrd had brought them to the shelter, where a lone Pelican hovered over them. Mr. B boosted them up and into the troop bay of the drop-ship. Another Spartan stood there, shotgun at the ready.

    “David fuckin’ Byrd. Saving the day as usual.” the Spartan joked. “You Harlowes don’t retire for good, do you?”

    “John Bailey, classy as always.” David replied. “-and I could say the same to you. You’re at least twenty years older than me!”

    “Dad, aren't you coming with us?!” Toni interrupted, as her father shook his head.

    “My duty is to stay here and get as many people out as possible, and. I've got plenty more people to save. Uncle John’ll take good care of you.”

    The engines roared to life, as the Pelican slowly lifted into the air, all of the civilians counting over their blessings, while David waved up to them. Toni stood, as John placed a hand on her shoulders, preventing her from moving. Richard stood beside her, holding her hand as he witnessed three glimmering things moving beside David below.

    David seemed to notice them too, as three icy blue blades of hot plasma snapped into existence. Toni cried out, attempting to move forward, as David held up a hand, shaking his head. The invisible monster to his right swinging it’s sword towards him. Dodging the swing, David thrust his pistol’s clip into it’s eye, causing it to die instantaneously. Turning back to face the others, he dodged and ducked under numerous swings of their illuminated swords, countering them with his own skillful punches and kicks.

    Richard tensed, however, as the troop bay door closed, masking whatever happened to Mr. Byrd from sight. Toni cried out, as John grabbed her by the shoulders, and walked her away from the bay doors, which began to close.

    “Iola, this is John. Situation is F.U.B.A.R., contact Infinity. The Covenant are back, and they got Hephaestus. Returning to Rally Point Zulu, and might as well get Bailey, she’s gonna want to hear this.”


    Last edited by Shad0wChas3r on March 28th 2014, 11:51 am; edited 2 times in total


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on March 28th 2014, 11:47 am

    Assembly

    “This meeting of the Admiralty board will now come to order.” Lord Hood spoke, as his frail old body eased into his chair. “Admiral Chief of Naval operations Autumn Stroud, please carry us out.”

    “Thank you Lord Hood.” Autumn replied. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Admiralty, we have rallied you all here today with urgent need. Is everyone in attendance?”

    “Well, the Spartan isn’t...” Osman growled.

    “Mrs. Osman, we’ve been over this, you too are considered a Spartan. Don’t point out the Fleet Admiral, besides, he’s out doing what he does best; saving the world.” Autumn replied with a shake of her head. “Moving on to the urgent business. At 11:00 hours this morning, Planet Hephaestus was attacked by Covenant forces, civilian casualties continue to climb with each passing moment. Portions of the main fleet have mobilized, however, a large portion of that fleet have not responded to our hails. It is to be assumed that Hephaestus is a total loss. With your permission, I would like to strategize mobilizing the entire fleet to Hephaestus in an attempt to quelch their rebellion before it escalates further.”

    “That is an unwise decision, Ms. Stroud.” Osman replied. “We’d be leading our fleet into a trap like lambs to slaughter, all the while leaving ourselves open for attack elsewhere. The fleet  will remain here at Earth. Hephaestus is a shame, but we must count our losses and anticipate another strike. From there we can attack them.”

    Boots clattering on linoleum caused all the Admiralty board to turn towards the door, as a young navigations officer huffed and puffed. Standing into a crisp salute, the young woman activated the holo projector in the center of the room.

    “Admirals, ma’ams and sirs. Sorry to interrupt, but Reach is under attack!”

    “Let’s see it.” Hood grunted, shifting towards the holo projector.

    The image flickered to life, as a multitude of Covenant ships hovered over the decade old terra-formed planet. At a heart’s beat, all of the cruisers opened up their glassing beams, Violet explosions riddling the sky as the Orbital MACs attempted to thin down their numbers.

    “Spartan Thorne! We’ve gotta bug out!” Majestic’s leader replied.

    “We can’t just leave these people to die!” Thorne barked. “I wasn’t able to help at New Phoenix, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let the split-lips take Reach again!”

    “Spartan Marcus is right Thorne. Majestic needs to fight another day. Hail Crimson and Castle and get the hell outta here! The Aura and I’ll try and take’em out!”

    “Ehhhh… Affirmative Admiral. Spartan Thorne to Fireteams Caste and Crimson. Link up at the EVAC zone designate Charlie Tango Delta, we’re bugging out today.”

    “Admiral Blaine, what’s the sit rep?!” Osman snapped.

    “Well, Serin, it’s just about whatever the hell you could expect from a Covenant invasion force. Darryl replied bluntly. “But cameras top side are showing their tactics are more fluid, they are once again working in perfect unison, unlike the Storm Covenant at Requiem. But we’re not gonna let that stop us from decorating Reach’s orbit with their debris, right Marines?!”

    “Oorah!”

    “Ensign Petrovich, wind up frontal MAC cannons, Ensign Morse, prepare Archer bays A-G, salvos 1-10 for each set. Let’s send their Flagship to Valhalla! Fire on my mark!”

    “God speed Spartan.” Hood replied stiffly. “Advised you continue to provide a distraction while the Infinity piles on the Civilians.

    “Noted sir, wilco… Brace! Brace for impact!” Blaine grouced. “Navi, I want you to find the ship responsible for that Plasma torpedo, Morse, I want you to return the favor with a Shiva, Petrovich, make sure to punch a hole in those bastard’s shields before that Shiva is fired! Put yer backs into it people! We got a ship to protect! I- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

    “Admiral?! BLAINE?!” Autumn barked, standing, turning towards the engineer. “Get him back on the comm.!”

    “Negative Ma’am.” the young woman replied. “Something is blocking our transmission, I can’t clear the jumble. What’s worse, I’m getting reports from Ganymede, Titan, most of the outer colonies, and…. Mars, ma’am. They’re attacking all of them.”

    “My god.” Hood replied, sitting back rigidly. “It’s the Great War all over again. What of Thel Vadum, and the rest of the Separatists?”

    “Jammed also, Admiral Blaine wasn’t kidding sir… this isn’t just the old Covenant Loyalists, or even the Storm Covenant. Just received an encrypted message… they call themselves: The Ragnarok. Their tech is way more advanced than before, something much more advanced than that of the Forerunners themselves.”

    “Pfft-WHAT?!?!!” Osman growled. “That’s impossible! There is no higher beings than the Forerunners! Otherwise there would be traces of them in the Forerunner archives!”

    “Keep in mind, Mrs. Osman, that we still haven’t accessed ALL of the Forerunner ruins in the known universe. It isn’t entirely far-fetched to believe there is more information about millennia ago that we don’t know about. Suggest we mobilize the fleet, if the Covvies are attacking Mars, it’s safe to assume they’re coming here too.”

    “We also need to launch designate: Olympus as a fall back. If we lose-” Hood turned to Osman.

    “No, Olympus isn’t ready yet. To launch her now would be a fool’s gambit. We NEED to stick our ground.”

    “The Fleet will provide cover, while we get Humanity’s delegation on board. It’s been decided Serin, Olympus will be launched. If Blaine and Lasky survive, they can handle the stragglers and lead them to Olympus’ location.” Hood turned to the young engineer. “Tell the Pilot to prepare to bring this station out of orbit and to designation Echo X-Ray India Tango. Warn the President of the UEG, Olympus moves in two hours.”

    //////////////////////////////

    “Yo kid. Nap times over.” a voice whispered gingerly into Richard’s ear.

    “...”

    “Hey, kid, wake up!” the voice got a little more annoyed now.

    “...”

    “WAKE THE HELL UP!” Richard’s eyes snapped open, as his fist struck the man in the nose.

    “Jeezus!” John growled, holding his nose. “Now I know how poor Manny feels.”

    “Toni, where’s Toni?!” Richard asked, sweeping the room.

    Yeah, Hey thanks for saving my life John, you’re a real hero!” John muttered to himself. “Aw shucks, sorry I clocked you in the nose mister, are you okay? Yeah sure kid, didn’t bother me too much anyways.

    “Sorry.” Richard sighed. “Just had some bad dreams is all. Dreamt of my parents, what happened to them…”

    “Oh… sorry kid, I really am. I know how that feels, yo. Tossing and turning in the night, dreaming of them. Wishing they could be there for me, that I could be there for them, y’know?”

    “I dunno if Mr. Byrd made it out or not, and I promised him that I’d watch after Toni.”

    “You’d be surprised.” John grinned from ear to ear. “She’s the daughter of two Spartans, she doesn’t need anybody to watch her back. She’s smart, she’s strong, and I’m sure she’ll be just fine. Now please, there is someone that would like to meet with you. Name’s John, by the way. Spartan Nine.”

    “Richard, Richard Free.” Richard replied.

    “Heh, not for long you’re not.” John chuckled as Richard’s eyes grew large. “I’m just kidding you, she’s a friend of mine. She goes by the name Doctor Bailey, and she’s got an offer for you, one I’m sure you can’t refuse.”

    Richard sat up on the cot, glancing around the medical bay. He hadn’t exactly remembered falling asleep the night before, searching around quizzically, John answered his question, without having to ask.

    “Passed out, not too long after the Pelican exited orbit. Guess you’ve never been off Planet before. First time breaking orbit does that to you,  but don’t sweat it kiddo, you’ll get used to it. Now c’mon, Bailey wants to see you and Toni.”

    Without further hesitation, Richard hopped to his feet and followed alongside the Spartan, who cusped his helmet at his side. For a moment, the two walked down the hallway, side by side in total silence. The silence between the two could be cut with a knife, as they worked their way down to the laboratory. It did not last long, however, as John cracked up for a moment.

    “Jesus, I feel just like the old codger.” John remarked. “Leading you to Bailey for this.”

    “Who?” Richard asked, curious.

    “Admiral Blaine, of course.” John smiled knowingly, looking back at the times around the Great War. “Interesting man, that one. Seemed awful full of himself at times, but generally a good soul.”

    “Woah, you used to know Blaine the Brave?”

    “Oh my god.” John slapped his forehead. “Is that what you kids these days have been calling him?”

    “Yeah! Blaine the Brave was a comic book started on Reach, but brought to my planet! His arch-nemesis was Butch the Betrayer-”

    “Yep, Butch was kind of a douche- er. I didn’t say that, and you didn’t hear that… continue.”

    “There was John the Nomad, but for some reason, everyone called him Chief. Katherine the Damsel, Manny the Manic, and someone else…”

    “Was there another John?” John asked curiously, bobbing his eyebrows up and down knowingly, as he grinned at the kid.

    “Oh YEAH! John the Juvenile!”

    Slapping his forehead, John shook his head the thoughts of the character’s title.

    “John the Juvenile? Really?!”

    “Yeah! He was a good friend of Blaine the Brave’s , but he was always cracking jokes at the worst of times!” Richard laughed a little. “This one time, John the Juvenile and Blaine the Brave were fighting these bad guys called the Persians on one of their ships, and they had Jorge the Giant in captivity. John threatened to rip one’s spine out, as Blaine actually did it!”

    “Yeah…” John laughed nervously, shifting his eyes back and forth. “Never once have I seen fright on that scale, and I’ve seen someone anger Maura when she was on the rag…”

    “John….”

    “Yeah kiddo?”

    “Were you John the Juvenile?”

    “Well… yeah. I was. But I never got called John the Juvenile, I was either Nine, or John. Depending on people’s moods, I guess.”

    “That’s really cool!” Richard said, as he stopped suddenly, running his foot along the flooring. “Um, do you think I’ll ever get to meet Blaine the Brave?”

    “Hard to say, Richard.” John shrugged. “The dude’s practically retired. He just occasionally runs patrols on his ship, the Aura of Armageddon. Or he’s playing golf with Jorge on Earth, fuckin’ weirdos, pardon my language. But who knows, kid, you might just get your chance.”

    Richard’s eyes opened wide, as he grinned a toothy grin, the man chuckling at the sight of the boy. Continuing down the hallway, John observed Richard. The boy had just lost his parents the day before, and had been somewhat of a wreck aboard that Pelican. But once he found out about John, it’s as if he had completely forgotten his parents existed.

    “John?” Richard asked, as if reading John’s mind. “Do you miss your parents?”

    “Every day of my life, kiddo.” John replied with a shake of his head. “But everything I do, everything I’ve become, is because of them. I protect my brother Mark, I protect the innocent and the defenseless, sometimes to the point of my dying breath. But I get back up, and do it all again, so that someone else can have that life, the life I wish I could of had with my family.”

    “I miss mine too.” Richard shook his head, his once bright smile becoming a deep frown. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye, or that I loved them.”

    “Well, did you do the things they would ask you?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Did you at least say ‘I love you’ once a day to them?”

    “Yes.”

    “Then they already knew that you loved them, even if you didn’t get to say it.” John smiled. “If you didn’t love them, you wouldn’t be mourning their deaths, or you wouldn’t have obeyed them. Take solace in knowing that they are watching down on you now, always there, rooting for you to excel in life.”

    Richard stopped walking once again, sinking in what John had said. His eyes occasionally jerked back and forth, as if he had been thinking deeply, and to himself for an answer to a seemingly impossible question. Watching the kid glance down at his feet once more, John’s pin-drop hearing made out the sound of liquid drops hitting a flat surface. Looking at the boy once more, John saw the kid’s knuckles turn a ghostly white, his fist clenched as his body trembled.

    Placing one hand gingerly on Richard’s shoulder, John took a knee, propping the young boy’s head up, so that he could look him in the eyes.

    “It’s hard, and it always will be. But use your emotions as a fuel to drive yourself further.” John nodded. “I may never have had the pleasure to meet your folks, but I can assure you, as a father myself, that that’s what they would have wanted for you.”

    The sounds of heels clicking against the tiles on the floor caused both of the guys to jump. Glancing over, John stood upright, his hand forming a crisp salute, as Richard stared at the woman with curiosity.

    “I was starting to get worried, John.” she smiled kindly. “I hope this young boy didn’t prove too difficult for you to handle.”

    “Not at all Doc.” John nodded. “I was just cheering him up, that’s all.”

    “You always were a kind soul with a heart of gold, John.” Bailey placed a hand on her hip. “Well, if he’s all ready to go, Toni’s waiting in the lab. She’s been a bit of a wreck ever since they separated.”

    Richard nodded, following Dr. Bailey and John to the lab, just down the hall.

    /////////////////////

    Arriving at the lab, Toni lifted her head up, as she watched Richard enter through the door. Jumping off of the examination table, she charged across the room and tackled him to the floor, as the two tumbled along. Pinning him down again, Richard shook his head in defeat. He knew he would never win, she was the child of two Spartans, and already she was exhibiting some degree of their strength.

    “I’m so glad you’re okay.” Toni smiled. “You are okay, aren’t you?”

    “Yeah, I’m fine.” Richard grunted. “How’re you holding up?”

    “Are you sure?” Toni asked with a frown. “I mean, I worry about Daddy. But you… I’m sorry. Then I thought you died when you just fell over like that.”

    “It’s true,” Bailey cut in. “She waited outside of your room for hours.”

    Releasing her pinning knees, Toni wrapped her arms around Richard’s neck. Richard’s eyes opened wide as he felt warm droplets of water rushing down his cheek, as he placed a hand on her back. He could feel her body shuddering from her cries, as she silently sobbed into his ears.

    “You’re my only friend Richard.” Toni sobbed. “You’re my best friend, and I don’t want to see you sad, or hurt.”

    Although Richard hated to admit it to himself, he had no other friends. Toni was the only friend he had ever had, and although he worried about the other kid’s well beings, he wasn’t in the slightest bit concerned, not as much as he had been for Toni. But he was happy, happy that he at least had one friend in these dark times, and while he wouldn’t have admitted it that morning, he was happy it was her.

    “You’re my best friend too, Toni.” Richard smiled, as he brought her closer into the hug. “But you are starting to hurt me, so, could you please get off?”

    Toni chuckled as she sat up, pulling herself off of him. Offering him a hand, she giggled as he struggled to his feet.

    “Sorry, I keep forgetting that I’m really strong for my age.” her face turned red. “Dad used to call those bear hugs. Hugs that occasionally cause harm to people. I’m sorry.”

    “I’m really sorry to interrupt this absolutely adorable reunion, but there is something I must discuss with you two.” Bailey said, as she led the two kids to the examination table, John standing guard at the door.

    “What is it, Ms. Bailey?” Toni asked. “You’re not putting us up for adoption, are you?”

    “Heavens no!” Bailey smiled, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose, the lights reflecting. “I’m here to ask you something extremely important, something that may change your lives forever.”

    “Mr. Free, I’m very sorry for your loss. I imagine this is a hard time for you, but what I’m about to ask you is based off of your mixed bag of emotions. So I understand if an answer isn’t given right off. Ms. Byrd, however, if your Father is still alive, my following question will put you in his line of work, well, his work before his early retirement.”

    “What is it, ma’am?” Richard asked, his eyes drifting off towards John by the door, who suppressed a toothy grin.

    “Answer very carefully,” Doctor Bailey announced, glaring at John. “Do you want to be Spartans?


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on March 28th 2014, 3:08 pm

    I don't know what it is Morgan.... But you portray children really well, at least in my eyes.

    Also... Manny the Maniac? WHICH Manny?
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on March 28th 2014, 3:52 pm

    It wasn't Maniac Razz, it was Manic. As in Bi-polar. Yes, he's not necessarily depressed. But his loyalties are kinda flip floppy.

    Anyways, it's Manuel. Y'know, your Manuel Razz. No offense was meant by it. It was a kid's comic series, the writer likely has no idea about who the characters really are. Just what they've heard or read from history.

    The reason I feel like I can make the kids seem real, is because I've been a baby sitter before, I've had to substitute for teachers in Elementary school, and overall, I've just always been good with kids. So their thought processes are much more natural for me to convey.

    Not to say I can't do some Adult content, I've just had tons of experience around being with kids.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on March 28th 2014, 9:46 pm

    His loyalties are flippity-floppity?! Why I never!

    Manuel would never side with anybody but Humanity! War's lawyers are going to hear about this!!

    Lol, jk.
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 5th 2014, 6:53 pm

    I meant more UNSC vs Legion. Some times he sides with the UNSC on Morality points, and sometimes he just wants to kill Aliens for blinking in his general direction.

    Anyways, I'm currently typing another block of chapters to be processed before I post them here. This has NOT been dropped by any stretch.

    I've also been working on the side to attempt to make some images to show the characters themselves. But because my drawing skills are shite, I'm using Online Generators for bases, and coloring them from there.

    Once I get them on the interwebs, I will gladly share them, but they aren't done yet.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 6th 2014, 10:20 pm

    Because I've gotten such inspiration for this story, I've been really busying myself with character designs. Though my drawing skills suck, I was fortunate to find an online 'game' that allows you to design characters. Yes, they are formed in an Anime art style, but it still convey's the general look of the characters I had in mind.

    The following designs of the characters belong to me, but credit goes to the fellow who made this game for the resources to make these pictures possible: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/500787

    *Also credit to Keevos on Deviantart for the first designs for Toni and the other girl later depicted with their Lineart Generator resource. Painting by me.*

    With that disclaimer out of the way, I would like to introduce to/show you the characters that will be making an impact on this story, with a special character added in too.

    Richard Free:



    Toni Byrd:





    Diane *a character to be announced later*:





    and one character that's been made mention to on numerous occasions, some that haven't been posted yet. The character I HAD to do first, to test the 'game'...

    I'll let you guess:



    Note that although they are depicted as skinny, Toni, Richard, and the final character are a little bit stronger looking than what is shown here. The final character moreso than the other two.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 7th 2014, 12:44 pm

    Novus homo

    “I’m sorry?” Richard asked, rapidly blinking his eyes.

    “Do you want to be Spartans?” Bailey repeated with a chuckle. “Usually I don’t give new recruits the option. However, on this being the account of a newly orphaned kid, whose best friends with a pre-existing Spartan’s daughter, I figured I should put the option on the table. Life of combat isn’t an easy one-”

    “It’s never easy.” Richard interrupted, glancing at John. “It’s hard, but you use your emotions to fuel yourself, driving forward in life.”

    “I think that’s the long, complicated way of saying yes.” Bailey smirked. “Sounds an awful lot like something a cheeseball would say…”

    Nuuuuu, I’m notta cheeseball.” John muttered from the door. “It was supposed to be inspiring and uplifting.

    “Yes.” Richard nodded. “I want to be a Spartan, like Blaine the Brave, John the Juvenile, John the Nomad, or Jorge the Giant.”

    “What about you?” Doctor Bailey asked, turning her attention to Toni. “Would your father be happy if you became a Spartan.”

    “Probably not, after what happened to Momma.” Toni frowned. “But if Richard’s gonna do it, I wanna do it too. Besides, if Daddy is still alive, we could do stuff together!”

    John stopped for a moment, a curt frown on his jawline as he pondered the fate of his old buddy, trying to mask it as best as he could for the kids’ sake.

    “Very well. I want you guys to think on it a little bit longer. Just in case you decide to back out. I’m going to go prepare for it, either way. I will return in a half an hour. When I return I want your final answers.” Bailey smiled. “John will keep you company.”

    As the Doctor sauntered out of the room, John stared at the two ten year olds, as they stared back with child-like innocence.

    “Don’t let me talk you out of it, but just lettin’ you guys know. It’s gonna be hard out there. Especially with what’s going on right now. If you’re not absolutely sure this is what you want, don’t do it.”

    “Those aliens killed my mother in front of me, and was about to kill Toni and I.” Richard clenched his fists. “I wanted to kill them all, right then and there. But I’m not old enough, or strong enough. But as a Spartan, when I grow older. They’ll be running in FEAR of me.”

    “Creepy…” John sidled away. “You’re starting to sound a lot like a Legionaire. Don’t let Manny know though, Toni might never see you again.”

    “I just want to give hope to the people, to bring the evil to an end, and have everyone live happily.” Richard shook his head. “Besides, I don’t want to move in with another set of parents. It just wouldn’t be the same, and I won’t let what happened to me happen to anyone else, ever again.”

    “As would be customary for a Roman Centurion, or Spartan footsoldier, if he is the sword. I will be the shield.” Toni replied with a knowledgeable nod. “That’s something Mrs. Carmicheal taught us in school. She was really into the Roman Empire. If Richard is going to be a Spartan, I want to be one too.”

    With that, the room remained quiet for a time, before Bailey returned with a single clipboard, probably containing both of their medical records.

    “Before I continue, have you decided your final answer?” Bailey asked, as the two kids reaffirmed their answers. “Okay. I’m just going to give you both a simple Doctor’s checkup. Richard, could you and John please leave the room? I will be with you shortly.”

    ///////////////////////////

    “-And you look all good, Richard.” Bailey smiled, checking one final thing off of the clipboard. “In fact, you’re healthy as a horse. Although, we should get that instability you have with exiting and re-entering orbit checked out. Besides that, I think you’re a prime candidate to become a Spartan. We’ll meet up with Toni and get you two started. Like I told her, the next couple of days are going to be very painful. It will hurt to do anything, but it is important that you don’t freak out, okay?”

    “Okay, Ms. Bailey.” Richard replied. “I’m ready.”

    Walking down the corridor with Bailey at his side, they met up with John and Toni. John leaned up against the wall, his arms crossed, helmet loosely planted on his face. Toni leaned against the wall directly next to him, partially imitating the Spartan.

    “Nononono.” John shook his head, stiffening his back. “To properly stand like a badass, you must look like a badass. You must be rigid, stiff, and gruff.”

    “You said a bad word!” Toni giggled. “I’m gonna tell Poppa on you!”

    “Oh-JEEZ!” John recoiled. “Don’t tell your Dad, I didn’t mean it!”

    “Okay.” Toni smirked. “But you gotta put money in the swear jar!”

    Holding out her hand, she rubbed the tips of her finger to each other as the tell-tale sign of ‘pay up’. Sighing, John reached into his satchel on his suit’s waistline, pulling out a wad of credits, he handed them to her.

    “I’m still telling.” She smiled, sticking her tongue out at him, while Bailey stifled a laugh.

    “Nuuu, but I, we, UGH!” John threw his hands up in the air in defeat. “We gonna do this or what?”

    “No, Captain Bailey.” a woman completely foreign to Richard walked up behind them. “You and Legionaire General Manuel are going to locate and rescue the Armaggedon’s crew.”

    “No shit.” John frowned. “So the old buzzard has finally been shot down. I’m sorry Autumn, really, I am.”

    “Yes, we received a ping from her general location. Whether or not anyone is alive on her is uncertain at this point in time. But that’s why I’m sending you, a handful of Spartans, and the Legion is sending Manuel. We need to know if Bl-”

    Before Richard could hear the rest of what the mysterious woman had to say, Bailey cupped her hands around his ears, struggling to hear about his Hero’s ship, he squirmed out.

    “-You have your orders Captain.” Bailey interjected. “You’d best get moving. Send Iola here, she’ll watch over the kids during augmentation.”

    John glanced down at the two kids at his feet, before his eyes flicked back up at Bailey’s face. Nodding, he sprinted off in the opposite direction of where they were headed.

    “Augmentation?” the woman called Autumn glanced down at them. “I’m not all too sure he’s going to be happy to hear about this. It’s his Granddaughter, after all.”

    “Well, as of right now, we don’t even know if he’s still with us. Besides, if the Covenant is coming back so strongly, we’ll have to start up the Spartan Program again anyways. Might as well start with these two.”

    Richard glanced over to Toni, who merely shrugged. She too was confused by what the adults had been talking about, Autumn nodded curtly at the three of them, and walked off. Bailey placed a soft hand on both of their shoulders, as they continued to walk down the corridor.

    Turning into a small, secluded room, there were two gurney’s in the center, floating well above the ground. Surrounding them were a multitude of tubes and machinery that Richard couldn’t even begin to understand.

    Toni was the first to venture forth, looking around curiously, while Richard hung back, absorbing the many different phenomenon affecting him in that particular instant. He knew that whatever happened in this room would change his world forever. That he’d be a symbol of strength, an icon of heroism.

    “You coming Richard?” Toni giggled. “You aren’t chickening out, are you?”

    “Nah,” Richard puffed out his chest. “Just was thinking about everything.”

    “Everything?” Bailey chuckled. “My, I think you’d be a better Philosopher than a Spartan!”

    Approaching the two floating gurneys, Richard helped Toni up into hers, while he struggled to climb up into his, a pair of hands wrapping themselves under his arms. Glancing around wildly, he came face to face with a visor of a helmet. Staring into it for a moment, he stared at himself in the polarized reflective piece of glass. He stared there for a time, imagining what it’d be like to be on the other side of that glass, to see the world from a different perspective.

    “Iola, happy to see you here, sweety.” Bailey said with a smile. “You’re going to watch after these two for the next couple of weeks until your Father gets back.”

    Iola nodded, lowering Richard down onto the gurney. Bailey approached Toni, as a multitude of tubes were brought over by an automated machine. Looking over towards him, Toni lightly smiled, reaching a hand out towards him. Above him, the automated machines moved into place, as he slowly felt enclosed by all the wires and technology. The Spartan, Iola, stood above him, assisting the Doctor in moving the many tubes into position. Reaching out his hand, his met hers as they clasped tightly.

    “Five seconds kiddos. Like I said, it’s gonna hurt. But once you’ve had a chance to heal, I’m sure it’ll be worth it.” Bailey nodded.

    Five.

    That was the first number to cross Richard’s mind, sweat began to drizzle down his forehead as the two needles to his left and right approached his neck, many others beginning their approach.

    Four.

    He began to worry, what if something went wrong? What if Toni’s abilities made the serum make her sick or something? What if he died? What if she died?

    Three.

    Richard began to feel sick, the whirring noises of the machine causing him to flinch as they drew ever nearer to him. He held his mouth shut, as much as he was trying to yell for her to stop.

    Two.

    Toni’s grip on his hand tightened suddenly, as he realized that there was nothing to worry about, so long as he had her by his side. He’d be there for her, and she’d be there for him.

    One.

    Fire.

    Fire was all he could feel, as if the flames of one hundred suns licked and danced across his small form. He tried to squirm, but the Spartan standing over him restrained him, the overwhelming heat of the invisible inferno roasting him from the inside and outside. He could feel the heat in his bloodstream, like mini rivers of lava coursing through his veins.

    Within mere seconds, the pain overwhelmed him. But he had to remain conscious, if Toni was, he was going to be as well! The needles exited his body, as every single fibre of his being came to his attention, every little touch set off his pain receptacles.

    Despite this, he managed to sit up, and, much to Bailey, Toni, and Iola’s surprise; he screamed. He screamed well past his lung’s capacity, he screamed so much and so loud his throat became extremely sore.

    His vision was foggy for a moment, as the heat seeped it’s way through his skull and into his brain and eyes. But the moment they cleared, he peered at the mirror in front of him. Reaching up towards his face, with much difficulty, he glanced at his eyes.

    Two sapphire blue iris’ remained, where once chocolate brown ones were moments before. With a moment’s innocent scoff/chuckle, he fell back onto his bed, where everything went black.

    //////////////////////

    Richard stood there, within a white, foggy wasteland devoid of anything noticeable. Glancing around, he frowned, the place was completely unfamiliar to him, yet he felt at total peace. It was a strange feeling, his gut wanted him to be worried, but his heart said otherwise.

    “Am I dead?” he asked into the abyss.

    “Now that’s a question a boy your age shouldn’t be asking.” a familiar voice replied behind him.

    Turning around, Richard fell to his knees, as his father stood before him. Tears welled up in his eyes, as he relived the moment where his house had been obliterated the day before, with his father inside.

    “Don’t you worry sport.” his father nodded. “I didn’t feel any pain, and I’m glad to know you’re safe and alive.”

    “But-” Richard poked his head up. “If I’m alive, why am I here?”

    “You’re still young, too young to understand.” his father replied. “This is called a Coma. It’s like a very deep sleep. You’re body is in a lot of pain right now, and your body is trying to sleep to make itself feel better.”

    “So… this is a dream?” Richard asked, wiping a tear from his eye.

    “Yes.” the man nodded. “You could say it’s like a dream.”

    “Listen son, there is a reason why I’m here; to talk to you.” he continued.

    “You’re whole world is going to change, and there are some things you need to understand. People aren’t as friendly as they like to lead on. You need to be wary, find the diamonds in the rough. Play it safe. You may be becoming a soldier, but that won’t make you invincible. People you once thought were heroes, may not turn out to be what you expected. While I had wished that you would never have to endure life during a war, a war that should have ended years ago, I am proud to know that you are not held back by your mother and I. I want you to live your life to the fullest, and be the man you choose to be. The Universe is a big place, and one day, I hope you get a chance to experience it’s beauty. I love you, Richard, and know that your Mother and I will always be with you. Say hi to Toni for us, and please keep her safe.”

    ///////////////////////////////

    “Oh my gosh!” a voice said in the darkness. “Doctor, he’s waking up!”

    “Shhhh!” Bailey’s voice whispered. “Toni doesn’t need any more stress right now. She’s in a lot of pain and her fear for Richard isn’t helping any as is.”

    “But honestly!” Iola whined. “He’s eyes are actually opening, he’s coming out of his coma!”

    Richard lightly shifted his neck, but instantly regretted the action. While the liquid fire that had once consumed his body was gone, the residual aches within his augmented muscles and bones prevented him from moving far without debilitating him completely. Mekely opening his mouth, Iola gently placed a gloved hand over his mouth.

    “Trust me, after that shouting spree, I wouldn’t recommend talking. Even if you hadn’t screamed, chatter is the worst thing to do now. Toni is just fine, she’s a bit worried about you, but she’s sleeping. When she wakes up, I’ll let her know you’re okay. Save your strength and rest for now. You’ll need it, ‘cause once you’re out of that bed. The real fun begins!”


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on April 8th 2014, 12:20 am

    I like your characters Morgan (as kids anyways), but I have an issue with the plot, from a "logical" standpoint.

    Bailey seemed fairly... Casual about taking two random children and turning them into Spartans. Nine seemed to accept it, despite showing us in Neura that he weeped over the Legion training children. So the fact that the decision was made in minutes, somewhat disturbs me (and not in the "moral" sense, just from a story wise point of view)

    Yeah, they mentioned how hard it would be... But they took "yes" for answer like it was nothing. However, like a lot of stories, this could simply be for the sake of plot.
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 8th 2014, 1:04 am

    Yeah... looking back on it now. I'm sure I could've done that scene a little better. I might go back through it here pretty soon.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 19th 2014, 6:06 pm

    Update coming soon! But in the meantime, here is the first of two paintings I've done for this story.

    This one is Richard's iconic Blaine the Brave Poster!



    Yes, I'll admit the flag wasn't painted, and the text does look kind of daunting. But it was only an hour project *shrug*.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on April 20th 2014, 12:58 pm

    Ha! I can see that being a poster the UNSC could promote. Get people motivated to enlist and what not.
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 20th 2014, 5:08 pm

    Yeah, my goal either tonight or tomorrow is to do one for Butch the Betrayer.

    And yes, if I have the time, I'd like to do one for EACH of the Database characters. Manny the Manic, John the Juvenile, Darryl the Determined.

    I might even do a Lieutenant Crabtree one too. But these will all be done at a much later point. If I should get around to doing these, you should give me your armor variation for Manuel, so I can duplicate it on MY Spartan.

    Oh... and happy 4/2... I mean Easter to yah! Razz

    Beware though, I saw some gigantic combat boots.... er Bunny tracks outside this morning, and one of the Easter eggs exploded outside!

    The Easter Blaine might visit you, just beware of the ear-shotguns!!


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 21st 2014, 1:07 am

    Welp, I got myself some free time tonight to actually make Butch the Betrayer's poster, so without further adieu, here's yet another crappy painting Razz!



    Next on my list is a dual poster containing the main duo of this story, Toni and Richard.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on April 21st 2014, 3:19 am

    Shad0wChas3r wrote:If I should get around to doing these, you should give me your armor variation for Manuel, so I can duplicate it on MY Spartan.

    Oh... and happy 4/2... I mean Easter to yah! Razz

    Beware though, I saw some gigantic combat boots.... er Bunny tracks outside this morning, and one of the Easter eggs exploded outside!

    The Easter Blaine might visit you, just beware of the ear-shotguns!!
    Lol, I remember that.

    As for armour variation... just plain old ODST should do (black armour, red visor as always). The confident stance might be best, since by 2557 Manuel would have already fully settled into his new leadership role in the Legion.
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 21st 2014, 1:18 pm

    What'd you think about the Butch the Betrayer poster, and I'm currently designing Manuel in Halo 4 for a reference image.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on April 21st 2014, 2:25 pm

    Butch's armor reminds me of the Enclave armour from Fallouts 1 and 2. Also known as the Remanants armour in New Vegas.

    Also, isn't "traitor" a better word than "betrayer". I'm not even sure of betrayer is a proper word (feel free to correct me on that).
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 21st 2014, 9:59 pm

    Y'know, I always thought that the Ranger helmet *the one depicted* kind of reminded me of something, and now I know.

    You're also right about the 'Betrayer' not necessarily being a proper word. Traitor would've been much better. However, due to it being a comic series' main antagonist, it doesn't have to be proper, considering the reading group it was intended for *10+*.


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 22nd 2014, 6:51 pm

    Slumber

    “Where is she?! What have you done to her!”

    “You’re yelling isn’t helping sir!” Iola pleaded.

    “Where is my daughter?! WHERE’S TONI?!”

    Richard’s eyes slowly and carefully cracked, as the door leading into the room smashed open. Peering over, Mr. Byrd fumed, glaring in his general direction.

    “Did he do this to her?! Did he force her into this?!”

    “No,” Iola said, trying to restrain the angered Spartan. “Richard had nothing to do with it. She chose for herself. Richard decided to go with her.”

    Bailey, this is HER fault, isn’t it?!” David growled. “The Covenant is left unchecked, a few Planets burn, and she resorts to making more Spartans!”

    “I was under the belief you had died on Hephaestus, David. Toni wanted to follow in her mother and your footsteps.” Bailey stepped into the door. “Please, David, you must calm down.”

    “How can I?” David snarled. “You're starting to sound like Halsey with each passing day! You've cursed my daughter to a life of violence and destruction! I wanted her to have a normal life!

    “Her, or yourself, boyo?” a man’s voice called from the doorway. “David Harlowe Byrd, I expected a lot better out of you. Bailey was like a mother to you, you really shouldn’t talk to her that way, and you sure as hell better not speak badly about MY mother figure.”

    “I-I’m sorry.” David clenched his fist, Richard still groggy from his abrupt awakening. “She’s all I got left of her, that’s all.”

    “Naomi’s unfortunate passing affected her as much as myself or you, but you shouldn’t have renounced your Spartan oath because of it, and you shouldn’t deny Toni her’s.” the tall man continued.

    “ If she wanted it, she should have it. While I’m not entirely pleased that my Granddaughter is now a Spartan either, the thought was justified. The 'Ascended' Covenant is highly advanced, way above the Forerunners, and we’ll need every soldier we can get. Besides, it seems like Humanity is going into hiding for some time anyways. I’ll pull some strings and make sure these two stay on Security detail, leave the harder stuff to the more experienced Spartans.”

    “You really shouldn’t be fighting either, Admiral.” Bailey put a hand on her hip. “You’re easily sixty due to cyro sleep. You should fully retire and take a desk job with Autumn, Hood, and the rest of the Admiralty.”

    “I won’t stop fighting until my heart does.” the man replied curtly. “As it stands, I’m going to be supervising the evacuation of Covenant Separatists from Sanghelios to Olympus. Darryl is already working with Kayap to get Allied Unngoy and the Chief is still MIA. Manny and the Legion isn’t going to like it, but this is a UNSC station, run by UNSC personnel. Either they deal with their xenophobia, or they live at their quarters their whole lives.”

    “Ugh.” Richard groaned, trying to move.

    “Looks like someone’s waking up.” the tall man replied, approaching his bed side, chuckling as he stopped Richard's motions. “I wouldn’t recommend movin' like that, boyo.”

    Richard’s half asleep eyes glanced up at the man, his black beard speckled with gray and white specks. The man’s sharp, blue eyes peered down at him with a certain trust. Smirking, the older gentleman lightly placed a massive hand on his shoulder.

    “So, you’re the one charged with keeping my Granddaughter safe, eh?” He chuckled. “Or is she the one that’s charged with keeping you safe? You take good care of her boyo.”

    I might not be around forever.

    With that, the older man removed his blurred hand off of Richard’s shoulder. Turning to Toni, who slept on the other gurney. Planting a small peck on her forehead, the older Spartan removed himself, before walking back towards the door.

    “David, you are permitted to watch over and train her. But Nine’s going to keep an eye on you, no more skipping out boyo. Welcome back to the UNSC, son.”

    After a moment of thinking, Richard’s eyes finally snapped awake, as he attempted to sit up. But it was too late, Blaine the Brave had already left the room and was on his way to prepare for a mission.

    “Yes sir.” David growled to himself, glaring over at Richard. “I’ll do my damndest.”

    With that, Richard sunk back deep into the darkness of his mind once more.

    //////////////////////////////

    Richard was utterly confused, the environment around him seemed alien in nature, it was all purpley and technologically filled. Directly ahead of him, an orange armored Spartan slapped his hand against a giant machine, growling something to himself.

    “Whelp, I’ve got good news and bad news. This bird took some fire, and our thruster gimble is toast, so the only way off of this slag heap- is gravity.”

    “And what’s the good news?” Richard heard a voice in his ear reply slightly irritated.

    “That WAS the good news.” the orange Spartan paused, as a feminine, robotic voice echoed in Richard’s ears.

    “Covenant refueling run is almost complete, seventy two seconds to-”

    “Yeah yeah yeah.” the orange Spartan grit his teeth, ripping his helmet off of his head.

    Richard’s eyes opened immediately as he recognized the face of the Spartan in front of him, it was none other than Jorge the Giant! But he was unable to move, unable to speak. He could only watch, and observe.

    “Bad news is; Timer’s fried, I’m gonna have to fire it manually.” Jorge the Giant’s face appeared distressed, as if something was eating him, down inside.

    “That’s a one way trip, barátom.” the familiar voice in his ear replied.

    “We all gotta face it sooner or later,” Jorge chuckled. “Listen, Reach has been good to us. It’s time I returned the favor. Don’t deny me this.”

    Pulling a necklace containing two metal sheets, Jorge grimaced as he met Richard’s hand, pulling him in for a bro-hug. Much to Richard’s surprise, he felt himself being lifted a few inches off of the ground, as Jorge the Giant walked whoever he was 'spectating' over towards the Plasma door.

    “Tell’em to make it count- Blaine.” Jorge nodded, before throwing Blaine/Richard out the door.

    Richard pondered it for a moment, he held absolutely no recollection of what was going on. But he had heard Jorge the Giant refer to him as Blaine. Thinking swiftly, much faster than he had been able to the day before, he realized this must of been one of those ‘Comas’ that his father had mentioned in his last experience.

    As his avatar continued it’s descent through the abyss, and to the Planet below. He watched as the ‘tiny’ ship he had once been on was swallowed up by the bigger alien ship, before a brilliant blue sphere of light absorbed the center of the massive ship.

    Feeling something warm run down his ‘cheek’, he realized that Blaine must’ve been very sad about something, something he couldn’t understand. Thinking about it once more, he thought about Jorge the Giant, wondering when he was going to join Blaine and him in the freefall.

    But he never showed.

    Worried, Richard suddenly knew, like a wave of knowledge had just hit him. Jorge wasn’t going to be joining them, Jorge was gone, or at least Blaine thought so.

    “Slip-Space rupture detected.” the same feminine voice droned in his ears.

    As soon as the words filled his ears, goosebumps scurried up his spinal cord, filling him with complete despair, but he felt his fists clench tightly, as hatred drew across his brow.

    “Don’t let his sacrifice be for nothin’.” Blaine’s voice pleaded in his head.

    Glancing over towards his right, Richard tensed as his instincts began to kick in, numerous Covenant ships were appearing out of the voids of Slip-Space.

    Wait, Covenant? Slip-Space? He hadn’t known what those meant before, and he had never viewed those ships with such hatred before. He was curious, it seemed with each passing second of the experience, he was learning new things, developing reactions to certain scenarios.

    “Orbital control, reading multiple pings below the orbital defense grid...zzzzz”

    “Yeah, we’re pickin’ up anomolies too!”

    “Does anyone have a fixtur-”

    “This can’t be happening.” Colonel Holland growled. “It must be the whole damn Covenant Fleet!”

    “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHH!” Richard tensed as he heard the last voice yell in complete and utter terror, no doubt on his last breath.

    /////////////////////////////////////

    Richard snapped back into focus, as a sharp pain dwelled within his left shoulder. Wincing, Blaine’s right arm reached up and snapped his left one back into place. The pain stayed for a moment, before subsiding. Shaking it off, he approached the Re-Entry pack that beeped on the ground before him. Molten slags of metal raining down on him from above.

    Reaching in, he grabbed his prize; a solo pistol. Pulling back the action, it snapped firmly into place. Standing up, he stretched again before limping back to his landing spot. Planting his feet firmly, Richard could feel Blaine’s heavy breathing, as he glared at the mountain top with a certain hatred. The destroyed remnants of the Long Night of Solace, smouldering from the top, as he clenched his fists.

    They had killed his best friend, and he was going to make them all pay.

    //////////////////////////////////

    Richard snapped awake once more, he was standing beside a four wheeled vehicle, which had just pulled up next to him. Inside of the Warthog were two individuals, one in blue and red armor, the other in olive green armor. His new avatar remained rigid as he glanced at the Spartan in the Olive green armor.

    John-117 was said to be so Legendary, he was shrouded in mystery. Most of his closest friends didn’t even know the methods to his madness, or what his drive to keep going was. Whatever 117 had been though, his current Avatar was more than honored to be standing there in his presence.

    “Need a lift, Spartan?” the blue and red Spartan asked from the Driver’s seat. “Name’s Captain Blaine.”

    “Lieutenant John, sir.” his avatar saluted. “I’d love a ride.”

    “John huh?” Blaine shook his head beneath his helmet. “I’m gonna call you Nine, ‘cause of that nine on your shoulder. I’m sure the Chief here’ll appreciate it.”

    Again, his avatar saluted, before hopping into the passenger seat of the Warthog. Before Blaine punched the accelerator, however, he handed a giant weapon over to Richard. Aiming it forward, his avatar held his finger on the trigger, as a small ball of crimson energy pulsated forth from the front of the gun, smashing into the side of a Brute Chopper, demolishing it.

    “HOLY SHIT!” his avatar’s voice screamed in his ear. “THEY’VE GIVEN US FUCKIN’ LAZERS!”

    “Hehehe.” Blaine chuckled from the driver’s seat. “I’m gonna like you already boyo, but c’mon, we got some Covies to kill.”

    ////////////////////////////////

    “Get it off me!” the Marine roared to the heavens as the small, bulbous grey squid creature punctured his neck with a tendril.

    Blaine’s body locked up, he had never actually witnessed a transformation before, and it terrified him. The Marine’s guttural wails for help drilled deep into Richard’s mind  as his body jerked left and right. The bulbous sack spared no time burrowing itself deep into the Marine’s chest cavity, it’s three orange feelers sticking out of the hole it had dug.

    The Marine continued to growl and whine as his body convulsed and contorted. His arms reached for the back of his neck, Richard taking notice of a giant mound of flesh swelling back there. The Marine’s eyes filled with horror as he lost all control, staring down at his right arm. The bone inside splintered sickeningly so, as biomass continued to flow into it, elongating it. The bone within the structure must have softened, as the appendage flailed around like a loose whip.

    The mound that had once been the back of the marine’s neck suddenly jerked, as the Marine’s head snapped to the side in an oblonged fashion. The poor man was still alive, and had to endure the suffering. His eyes soon grew milky, his jaw snapping open a bit more, his neck fully enveloped by the mound of biomass. His legs swelled until they were nothing but think, bendy logs.

    His once humanly screams for help became nightmarish, inhumanly grotesque growls, akin to that of a predator. With one fluid motion, Richard’s right arm smashed into the creature’s chest region, where the feelers protruded.

    Richard could feel Blaine’s disgust at what he had had to do, what he had made that man endure, before popping the Flood infection form. Shaking mentally, Richard thankfully returned into the blackness.

    ////////////////////////////////

    Everything around Richard seemed so, high tech. Glancing around, everything was a mixture of red, orange, or in the case of the light-bridge beneath his feet, blue. Scanning around, his trusty Battle Rifle in hand, Richard wondered who his avatar was this time.

    Before him, a spire of orange lights flowed up where the bridge met the middle of the ship. Peeking to the right a bit, he was curious if the Didact was still there or not. Continuing his march forward, his avatar remained on edge about the whole situation. This Forerunner scum had killed his drive, the methods to his madness. The shield to his sword, Cortana.

    “You persist too long, after your own defeat.” a voice echoed around the room.

    Backing up towards the center of the ship, his avatar continued his march.

    “Come then, warrior, have your resolution.”

    Fire built within Richard’s avatar’s stomach, as he whipped around on his heels, shouldering his rifle instantly. The Forerunner merely swung his hand aside, causing Richard’s avatar to fly backwards, the nuke on his back rolling along the ground. Catching himself, John centered himself on the bridge, glaring back at the Didact, then to the nuke.

    Sprinting off of his right foot, Chief’s break neck dash towards the explosive was cut short by the Didact, who clenched his fist. Richard reached out for the bomb as best as he could, as if he could’ve actually helped.

    Richard panicked, he could feel the Chief’s breathing become shallow, as an unknown source choked the life out of him. He clenched his fists in hopes of potentially getting a swing at the Forerunner, but he knew it was for nothing.

    The Didact turned him, so that Richard’s avatar was hovering over the edge of the lightbridge, Planet Earth below him.

    “So misguided,” the mutated Forerunner’s helmet disengaged, allowing him to speak clearly. “Humanity’s imprisonment- was a kindness.”

    The Didact’s grip on his throat increased, as he struggled for breath. Richard, although observing, couldn’t help but experience the same kinds of pain, if only subconsciously. Beneath him, the cobalt bridge shimmered, as if the power was failing.

    That’s when she appeared. Well, many hers.

    Out of the light bridge, Cortana rose up, arms crossed against her chest in a disbeliefing, cocky manner.

    “In that case, you won’t mind if we return the favor.” she spoke bluntly.

    “Your compassion for mankind is misplaced.” the Didact stammered, genuinely confused.

    “I’m not doing this for mankind.” Cortana said, glancing briefly over her shoulder at Chief, before all of her numerous copies dove for the Didact, firmly anchoring him.

    Richard felt the Chief drop, as his avatar gripped onto the bridge with his last bit of strength, Cortana was alive, and she needed him, again. Forcing himself up onto the bridge, he produced a crimson prism from his grenade pouch, charging for the incapacitated Forerunner.

    With just a margin for error, the Didact snapped free of his bonds. Chief smashed the grenade onto the Didact’s chest, growling as he did so, while the Forerunner lifted him once more with the invisible force, before the grenade caused him to cascade into the void below.

    Turning towards the nuke, the Chief stumbled towards it, before falling to his knees in a stiff crawl. Once he made contact, he stared up at the Earth for a second, closed his eyes, and hit the detonator.


    ///////////////////////////////////////
    Richard snapped awake again, his body still aching from his augments, but he was happy to know he was actually himself again. That he could actually move, and do something to help.

    “Ah.” Bailey smiled, as she walked over. “You must be confused, Toni was too.”

    Richard glanced over, as Toni meekly smiled, waving gingerly. He grinned before returning the kindness.

    “Generally, when Spartans are made, they are taught extensively in combat history, tactics, and even historical battles. Not only that, but they are mentored on how to use what they learn on the field. As technology grows more advanced, we have been able to replicate that effect, but make use of the Spartan sleep phase.” Bailey paused, letting it soak in.

    “If I had said that to you a week ago, you wouldn’t have understood what I meant. But I’m sure you understood fairly well, yes?” Bailey asked, as the two kids nodded. “Then you have proven my point. While you were sleeping, we used actual mission recordings from Admiral Blaine, Lieutenant Katherine, Captain John Bailey, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John-117, and Spartan Naomi, respectively, to subconsciously teach you combat and history while you slept. Even if the memories that you encountered faced no combat, the Spartan's knowledge of combat would've bled through.”

    “This will effectively reduce the time required to actually train you historical events. The system is still in prototype stage, so you don’t get the full experience, but you get the pretty close feelings of it. For example, Richard experienced Blaine’s overwhelming sense of hopelessness, as he was falling to Reach during the Battle for Reach. I assume you felt a tear, this is the video cooperating with the Spartan’s body monitors to deliver what the Spartan was feeling at the time.”

    “However, David and John will be training you guys with combat and mission effectiveness, starting tomorrow in the War Games. You will still be sore, but you’ve all but healed, once you’ve finished training, and received your armor, you’ll be full blown Spartans. This will take a couple of years, but I have faith in you two.”


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    Manny
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Manny on April 23rd 2014, 12:44 am

    WAIT.

    Did David just get back to his daughter? Did a lot of time pass, or did they augment those kids off the bat?!

    Say what you will about the Legion (who aren't the moral superiors by most standards), but at least they prepare the kids beforehand and make it quite clear what being a Spartan is like.

    The UNSC/Freelancers take two fresh orphans and augment them right there and then? Dude... that's messed up. 

    Oh, and I see you've decided to borrow the "bleed through" effect from the Assassin's Creed's series.

    OH, and if these new Covenant are more advanced than the Forerunners... has the UNSC advanced even just a tiny bit?
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 23rd 2014, 7:03 am

    No, it's been a couple of weeks, easily a month. Richard passed out from the extraction from Hephaestus for a couple of days, it took Bailey that time to prepare the augmentation systems. Then after they decided yes, they were augmented almost promptly.

    Because in this story, Bailey has adopted some of Doctor Halsey's mentality of act first, ask later. Thus she augmented a pair of orphans for seemingly no good reason, because she was afraid that the 'Ascended' Covenant would find Olympus Station, and they could use every warrior they could. The bleed through effect of which you mention was her way of practically speeding said process of indoctrination up.

    Also, technically, the UNSC/Freelancers didn't necessarily make that call, Bailey did. You could argue that does in fact mean the Freelancers were involved, but it was Bailey and the kid's decisions, none of the other Agents, besides John and Iola, know.

    Yeah, I don't do well with training scenes, so I decided to try something new Razz . The Bleed through affect of AC was probably the best concept I thought I could use.

    I would say Humanity has advanced somewhat, considering they can pretty much take orphans off the street and augment them a couple of weeks later, instead of the months and years it took in the past to prepare.

    Especially with the prototype 'bleed through' effect that the last chapter showcased. Weapon wise, Humanity is going to have a lot more Forerunner based weapons, which, while the Ascended may have more advanced weapons, definitely gives them more of a fighting chance than their standard 2552 weaponry.

    In short, yes, all of their weapons had a small buff, and a couple of new weapons systems based on Forerunner hard light have been created. They aren't completely worthless against the Ascended, it's just the alien bastards pulled a pincer maneuver on ALL of the Colonies at once. Splitting the fleets considerably, and devastating it.



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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on May 16th 2014, 11:26 pm

    It's been an awfully long time since I updated this. But I just recently watched some UFC fights on Youtube, and it really got me in the mood to make a chapter about a fight. What better way for two new Spartans to learn combat, then to witness it first hand?

    Spar

    “Glad to see you guys finally on your feet!” John smiled as they approached their destination. “I’m not gonna lie and say I didn’t worry about you. I’ve only known you kids for about a month and a half or so now, and-”

    “Spare them the sob story John.” David growled.

    John stopped in front of the group, the Spartan III easily towering over the Spartan IV. Crossing his arms, John glared at David through his EVA helmet.

    “Sorry about that, Mister Soap Opera. I guess you didn’t overreact when I told you we had your daughter in augmentation.”

    “Would you have done the same if I had taken Iola against YOUR will, and augmented HER while you were away on a ‘mission’.” David growled, stepping up in John’s face.

    “Son, I’m gonna warn you right now. Close quarters is my domain. I didn’t make the call, and you shouldn’t be taking this out on Richard; or me.” John growled. “Bailey asked, and Toni wanted to be just like you and Na-”

    “Don’t you fuckin’ dare say her name.” David said.

    Richard and Toni, however, stood beside each other. Their augments and their faster reaction times helped them follow along with the argument, glancing at one another, Richard approached.

    “Mr. Byrd, Mr. Bailey, I just want to be clear. I had nothing to do with this, and I’m sorry if I’ve made either of you angry.”

    “Nah Richard.” John shook his head. “David is-”

    “You don’t know me, Jonathan.” David grit his teeth, curling his fists.

    “Boy, you’re just asking to get hit, aren’t you?” John snorted. “I’m sorry about Naomi, and I’m sorry you weren’t here to make that call. But the Ascended is a clear threat, and the UNSC is going to need every pair of hands it can get. These two, along with some others, will be on Security detail on the station. While us more experienced, earlier generation Spartans will be taking the fight to the Ascended where we can. I assure you, nothing bad will happen to Toni. Blaine wouldn’t allow that.”

    “Blaine is an old coot that needs to learn when to hang up his damn helmet.” David said sourly. “He and the rest of his generation of Spartans know nothing of morality.”

    “-and why’s that?” John asked. “Because he augmented you and Naomi? Because he spent every waking moment of your ‘Spartan Sleep Phase’ keeping a close eye on you all? He was devastated when Darryl and I had to lift some forty kids out of that room. He even went so far as to attack his own BROTHER when we even CONSIDERED you to be dead. The same guy who mourned for months on end when Naomi died, hell, he wouldn’t speak to ANYBODY, not even Josh, Phil, or Scott. Dude was always saying he’d die, just so that any of you guys could live. Sounds like some heartless asshole with no morality to me.”

    David lunged forward, as Toni jumped between them, pushing her father away. Tears streaming down her cheek, her eyes red and puffy. Holding her hands out, she ‘held’ the two angered Spartans apart.

    “STOP FIGHTING!” she screamed, glaring at David. “Daddy, it was all me. I chose for this to happen, I WANTED to be like you, the OLD you. Not this new Daddy, the one Mommy and I knew years ago. The one Grandpa Blaine loved and raised! I want to be a Spartan, like you and Momma were once proud to be!”

    David took a step back, eyes wide and mouth agape, as his daughter spoke.

    “I never fit in with ‘normal’ people anyways, Daddy.” Toni frowned. “I was always smarter and stronger than everyone in the school. People called me a freak, I was constantly picked on. Richard was my only friend in school, the one who looked past everything.”

    Richard silently nodded from the corner, as the two older Spartans continued to stare at each other threateningly.

    “I’m meant to be like you, Daddy, a Spartan.” Toni said, wiping her eyes clear of the liquid. “It’s where I fit in, where I can have a family, and friendships to last a lifetime. I just wanted to be with you, because you’re the only thing to a family I have left. Richard joined me so that I wouldn’t be entirely alone, if you died at home, and he has no-one else in this Universe. If he had signed up, I was going to as well, so I did.”

    “So he DID influence you.” David snapped, lunging for Richard.

    John’s boot lashed out, striking David on the side of his helmet, launching the Spartan IV away from Richard. Bouncing from one foot to the other, John cracked his neck.

    “I got news for you David, you want to hurt Richard for wanting to make a difference in this Universe, you’re gonna have to go through me.” John hissed. “You don’t want me to emasculate you in front of your daughter dude, I will literally make you my bitch.”

    “Swear ja-” Toni started

    “Now isn’t the time for jokes kiddo.” John growled. “Lesson one of being a Spartan: There’s a time and place for everything. Even John the Juvenile knows when to reel back on the humor train.”

    “But does he know not to mess with a man and his daughter?” David taunted. “You’d have no problem indoctrinating someone else’s kid for the good of the Universe. But you were skeptical when it was your OWN.”

    Launching himself off of his right foot, David dashed towards John, who hopped on his right foot, swinging his left one in a wide arch. Making contact with David’s torso, the younger generation Spartan was launched in the direction of Richard, who fell square onto his back, as David soared above him.

    Standing quickly, Toni moved to stop the two armored soldiers, as Richard restrained her.

    “We may be stronger Toni,” Richard said. “But we can’t do anything while they’re in their armor. We aren’t even trained yet.”

    “He’s right.” a gruff voice replied from behind them. “It’s about time that spoiled ass brat got taught another lesson.”

    “Who-?” Toni turned, as a man in brown Spartan armor towered above them, his helmet disassembling. “Uncle Darryl! John’s going to hurt Daddy, we can’t-!”

    “Yes we can, sweet cheeks.” Darryl said. “You’re a Spartan now, you must learn that acting the way your father is currently is very dangerous. It could cost the people you love their lives.”

    David again made a mad dash towards John, who crouched low in anticipation. When David came in range, John’s right fist smashed into David’s chest, causing David to hunch over. Sparing little time for his opponent to recover, John smashed his left elbow into the side of David’s helmet, before finishing off with striking the bottom of David’s chin in a nasty right uppercut, launching the Spartan up and backwards.

    “You aren’t going anywhere.” John said quickly, as he clutched David’s floating ankle.

    Turning on his heels, John swung David up and over his head, smashing David helmet first into the floor beneath them.

    Rolling to the side, John bounced backwards, expecting a wake-up attack from David, who rolled backwards and back onto his feet. Moving towards David, John swung a fake left jab, as David made a counter, John struck David’s visor with a viper-quick right hook, snapping David’s head backwards.

    Taking a moment to close the gap between him and the dazed Spartan, John grabbed the back of David’s helmet, slamming it down and onto his rigid knee, causing David to fall hard onto his back once more.

    Standing unsteadily, David cracked his head to the side with a snort. Rolling his shoulders, he chuckled.

    “My turn, old man.” David said, faking a step forward, as John fell into the trap.

    Lashing out his right boot, he struck John square in the neck, causing the older Spartan to tumble backwards for the first time in the fight. Attempting to stand, John was met yet again by a quick lash to the visor with David’s boot once more. Pinning John to the ground with his left knee, David lifted John by the scruff of his armor with his left hand, slamming his right elbow into John’s head two or three times.

    Without thinking clearly, Richard charged David, tackling Toni’s father to the ground and off of John. The two tumbled across the floor, the armored Spartan having the clear advantage. David, using his advantage, wrapped his hands around Richard’s throat.

    “You don’t quite get it, do you, you little fucker?!” David snarled, his helmet disengaging, his black hair a mess, a fire in his eyes. “You will never amount to anything, and you WILL be punished for what you’ve done to my daughter. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow. But one day, you will pay. I OWN YOUR ASS!”

    “Hey Davey?” John sputtered from over David’s shoulder, as Richard gasped for air.

    Turning his head for a fraction of a second, it was all John needed as he placed his left leg on the wall beside him and pushed off, following through with a nasty left haymaker across David’s cheek.

    Falling off of Richard, David groggily attempted to stand, raising his fists, as John cracked his neck once more. Stepping forward, David swung a nasty haymaker of his own out, as John took a step backwards, but not before wrapping his arm around David’s extended elbow. Smashing his right fist into David’s chin three times, stepping in between them, John twisted David over his extended leg, holding the younger generation Spartan in a flawless arm-bar.

    Smashing his fist once more into David’s face, John leaned with all of his weight in the other direction, as David’s face turned red with pain and frustration. Tapping on John’s back, the older Spartan was not yet satisfied, as he finished David with a strong jab to the forehead, knocking David out.

    Standing, John’s helmet disengaged, as he spat on the unconscious Spartan.

    “That’s how a true Spartan does it.” John hissed, before turning to the others. “Now, any questions? -And yes Toni, he’s alive. I’m sorry I had to hurt your dad. But he’s not feeling well.”

    “Yeah, I got a question.” Darryl spoke up, advancing. “I got orders from the Admiral to make sure this type of thing wasn’t happening. What the fuck happened here?”

    “Yeah, it’s okay. I’m fine.” Richard growled, as he stood. “Mr. Byrd went psycho, that’s what happened! I didn’t ask for this, ANY of this. Yes, I wanted to be a Spartan. But I didn’t ask to have my parents killed, or to have Mr. Byrd HATE me for wanting to do good.”

    “It ain’t your fault kiddo.” Darryl replied. “He’s just a bitter ol’ fragmented soul. The loss of his wife, and the fear for his daughter’s safety is just getting to him. You’re just his scapegoat. One day he’ll learn, or he won’t, and you’ll kick his ass.”

    “I hate to ask Darryl, but could you take him to the Medbay?” John groaned. “I can’t guarantee I won’t hit him anymore if I do it.”

    “I’ve already hailed a couple of IVs to do it. They’ll want to catch up with their favorite ‘Ex-Leader’ again anyways.” Darryl shook his head. “I guess I’m taking David’s position for today’s exercise. But first, we need to get you guys some armor. We’re skipping straight to the War Games.”


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on June 7th 2014, 12:23 am

    Conduct

    "Not even a week." Blaine growled as he paced the room, a slight hobble in his step. "Not even a fuckin' week, and you couldn't hold it together. I would be lying if I said I'm not severely disappointed in you. This is not what Naomi would hav-"

    "You don't-"

    "-I AM SPEAKING!" Blaine's voice boomed, as David sat back, arms crossed. "If you refuse to acknowledge yourself as my son, as my family, then you WILL acknowledge me as your ranking officer, and I WILL have your respect then. Understood Lieutenant?!"

    "..."

    Blaine stomped over towards David, lifting him by the collar of his armor, two IVs in the back tensing, as Blaine stared David down, face to face. Eyes locked, with neither of the members planning on looking away.

    "I asked you a FUCKIN' question, Lieutenant. Now ANSWER ME!"

    "Woah, the Admiral almost NEVER refers to someone of their rank." one of the IVs whispered to the other.

    "I don't gotta do shit, old man." David spat in Blaine's face, the older Spartan smashing David back against the wall. "*Hack* I'm not a part of your military, the ones that indocrinated you into their way of thinking. I'm NOT your son."

    "Oh really?" Blaine asked, furrowing his brow, frowning on his lips. "Did I not raise you? Did I not give you the opportunity to live by your own flesh and blood, instead of some foster care on a planet that would have been ravaged a week later?!"

    Blaine dropped David, continuing to stare at the younger man, as he nodded his head, mouth slightly agape, before folding his arms behind his back, pacing in front of David.

    "Does it mean nothing to you?" Blaine asked. "That I sat in that room, by you and your brothers and sisters sides for days on end. The torture I went through, hoping that all of you would live?"

    "If you hadn't of insisted us to be-"

    "I insisted NOTHING!" Blaine growled. "In fact, I argued with Bailey for hours on end that the Program would NOT have my approval. But she continued through with it anyways, whether or not I agreed."

    "Besides." Blaine continued his pacing, glancing at David again. "If I hadn't brought you into this project, you would never have met her. Toni never would be around."

    "So that gives you the right to force her into this life?!" David asked, standing, getting in Blaine's face, eyes wild.

    "Last creature that gave me that look ended up with a broken jaw and a gun shoved so far up his ass, I could pull the trigger in his goddamned throat." Blaine growled. "Do NOT test me, Lieutenant."

    "Then answer my question. For what specific reason, was my daughter, and that nobody both augmented?"

    "Believe me, Bailey and I had a very severe talking when I heard the news. But it's not without complete necessity. Many of us Spartans are nearing our retirement ages. A new wave was destined to happen anyways, these two are merely the ones to pave the way to a new Generation."

    "That isn't what I wanted for her."

    "-and that's selfish." Blaine growled. "Naomi had this feeling, when she handled Toni for the first time. You are familiar with this, she had that twinkle in her eye. When you first held Toni, did you not see that same shine? That same radiance? All three of you shared that. When you got that feeling of absolute determination, it showed."

    "What does that have to do with anything?" David grit his teeth, his eyes red and puffy.

    "Because your late wife and you shared the same beliefs. You believed in righteousness for all, and defense for the weak. You were both the living, breathing example of what Halsey had in mind for the Spartans. She didn't care if they were the Ultimate warriors or not, she cared about ending a conflict spanning over a century and a half. She wanted us to be an example of Human progression, we would learn to defend our morales, defend those that have no connection to conflict."

    "Naomi wanted that for Toni. She wanted your daughter, my Granddaughter, to strive to be an example for Humanity to follow behind. Not blinded, but enlightened, boyo." Blaine turned around. "We cannot deny Naomi's dying wish, no matter how much you or I were opposed to it."

    "This is why Bailey did it behind our backs, her and Naomi had an impossible bond. A bond I have only seen between John, Maura, or Lucy to her. She was as much a daughter to me, as she was to Bailey. That Richard boy, he makes your child happy, David." Blaine turned back, approaching David once more.

    "He's an interesting one, he's not driven by revenge, he's not driven by a feeling of purpose. He's driven by something else. Something I'm sure he'll be willing to tell us one day. This is why Bailey took him in. She will feel safer around a friend of hers, and he makes her happy."

    "I'm permitting you one last chance to properly train your Daughter and her friend." Blaine warned. "But be warned. If John or Darryl come to me about you trying to take her away from her training, or causing harm to Richard, John, or Darryl that isn't a part of demonstration/training, I will PERSONALLY have you thrown in the brig, and strip you of all custody."

    "You can't do that!" David roared, tears streaming down his cheeks. "WHAT GIVES YOU THAT RIGHT?!"

    "I'm an Admiral of the Military, I am a member of the board of the Office of Naval Intelligence. I have privileges that can allow me to do such a thing, if necessary. But you should know me by now, I'm a man of my word. If you can hold it together, you've got nothing to worry about."

    Walking away, Blaine approached his desk, sitting in his wheeled chair.

    "I will never forgive you for this." David hissed.

    "I have Autumn on hold currently." Blaine growled. "Do NOT tempt me, boyo. I don't want to be that guy, but this is officially military business. If I don't follow orders, bad things happen for EVERYONE. If YOU don't follow orders, then I am forced to BRING those bad things to happen. Now get the fuck outta my office, boyo, or I will be forced to list you as uncooperative with a ranking officer."

    The two IVs approached David, who shrugged off their attempts at restraint, as he left the room. Approaching the Admiral's desk, the two Spartan IVs saluted Blaine.

    "Get out."

    "Sir?"

    "GET THE FUCK OUT!" Blaine roared, throwing a stapler at them.

    Without further hesitation, the two Spartans scurried out of the room, as the graying haired Spartan placed his head in his hands. Sitting there for a moment, he glanced at the picture on his desk.

    "Dunno how you could've handled this pressure, dad." Blaine frowned, as he stared at the image of himself, Morgan, a baby Toni in his hands, David and Naomi. "I swore to you that I'd keep him and her together, and that I'd make her a Spartan. I intend to keep that promise, lassie."

    -------------------------------------------------

    "Not bad." Darryl grinned, as he stared at the newer generation Spartan's armors. "Pretty retro. Hell, I remember wearing that armor when it was fresh off the line. Now look at how it's come full circle!"

    Richard stepped off of the armor application machine, shrugging his shoulders, breathing in deeply. He had felt stronger than he had when he first woke up that morning, despite what David had done to him. But this suit made him feel much faster, much stronger, and more importantly, more durable. Clenching his right fist, he flexed his arm.

    The armor, while heavy to the normal human, felt more like a second skin to him. His visor, while fairly narrow, glowed a light blue. It was strange, when he had picked out the Commando helmet, he had imagined the view inside would be hindered, but he was surprised that he was able to everything in front of him, even a bit to his left and right.

    Glancing down, he smiled at the paint work of the engineers. His modernized Mjolnir MK. V armor looked amazing in a steel black finish, blue stripes highlighting him. Easing his arm forward, he felt the suit work alongside his implanted neural interface, causing his arm to shoot forward at a lightning fast pace.

    "There is a bit of a learning curve, however." Darryl said. "John and I will happily ease you into it. For now, focus on absolute stillness."

    Not that he was rebellious, but Richard just had to know. Turning his head gingerly to the right, using his mind to decide his movement, he watched as Toni stepped forward.

    She too had chosen the modernized Mk. V suit, worn by the Spartan IIs on the battle of Reach. Unlike Richard, however, she stayed mostly true to the suit's originality. Keeping the original Mk. V designed helmet as well.

    Her visor was a sharp shade of purple, matching the shade of the stripes on her armor as well. Turning towards him, she had actually learned fairly quickly how to move in the most basic form. Plucking the helmet off of her head, she had decided to go with the classic approach, manually taking off the helmet instead.

    Richard smiled as her dark brown hair gingerly cascaded out of the helmet, chuckling lightly as her hair covered her eyes.

    "Awesome, looking badass." Darryl smirked, turning to John, who looked over his shoulder.

    "Here for more trouble fella?" John growled, as the group glanced at the door, a silver painted Spartan standing in the doorway.

    "No." David stepped forward, his helmet assembling. "I'm here to help you train these two."


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on June 7th 2014, 3:18 am

    Return

    Planet Hephaestus

    One week after Ascended Invasion


    Fire and smoke continued to billow from the heavens, as neighborhoods, once peaceful and bright, now smoldered and burned. Helmet to his side, the lone figure raised a single gloved hand to a poster, blowing around in the wind.

    Glancing down at the crudely painted portrait, the figure smirked. A Spartan stood there, staring back at him, fists together in a menacing stance, a burning planet Reach behind him. Licking his lips, he glanced a moment at the black and green Spartan staring back at him.

    "That supposed to me?" the figure chuckled. "Butch the Betrayer, huh? No doubt Blaine had something to do with this. Didn't get my muscular frame right. Guess I'm gonna have to pay my old friend a visit..."

    Crumpling the poster in his right hand, he tensed a moment, before swinging his helmet with his left hand, smashing his assailant in the side of the helmet. He heard the creature gargle, as he took a mighty step backwards on his right foot, curb stomping the Elite without looking at it.

    "Holy shit." a voice stated from behind him. "Another human, General Manuel told us to look for survivors, but I never expected any!"

    "Hmm?" the figure shook his head, turning on the heels of his boots.

    "Joseph-594, Legionnaire, c'mon. General Manuel is going to want to see you."

    "I ain't going anywhere, kiddo." Butch growled, raising a middle finger. "So go blow it out your ass."

    "There is no reason to be so vulgar. We know who you are, we know what you stand for." a holographic figure appeared before him.

    "Walter A. Law. My ranks refer to me as War. You can take your pick, my fair acquaintance."

    "War, eh?" Butch smirked. "Fancy, macho name you got there. You're probably compensating for something."

    "Questioning the size of my genitalia only makes YOU look suspicious, my brutish friend. Why, I would even question why you are so curious. Luckily for you, I have a business proposition. Something that, I'm sure in time, will be beneficial for the both of us. All that I ask is that you follow my men to meet with me personally."

    "Where're we goin'?" Butch asked, scratching his chin.

    "A mobile space station created for the single purpose of Human preservation. Simply referred to as; Olympus. I believe an old friend of yours resides on this very station. Does the numbers 1-1-5 hold any sort of significance to you?"

    The figure clenched his fists until they popped, even in his Mjolnir suit, as he dawned his black ranger helmet with the red visors.

    "Yeah, I got some beef with the pompous asshole. Why do you ask?"

    "'Cause he's becoming a thorn in my side, my friend, and I know you have some dirt on him. But we shall discuss more in person, Mr.?"

    "Butch." Butch replied bluntly. "Butch the Betrayer."

    -------------------------------------------

    Later that day

    "Welcome.... Butch." Walter replied with a smug grin, as he sat behind his desk. "To a station I helped fund out of my own wallet, please, do take a seat."

    "You're going to trust this moron?" Pluto growled, as War waved his hand.

    "Run along, Pluto. I have business to discuss."

    "You told me Blaine was on this thing, where is he, and when can I kill him?" Butch growled, leaning onto the mahogany desk.

    "Ease yourself, Butch." Walter said, producing two whiskey glasses on the table in front of him, pouring a fair portion for both of them. "You will not have your revenge this day, nor will you have it tomorrow."

    "Then we have no business. I'll find him myself." Butch said, standing.

    "SIT, DOWN!" Walter's eyes glowed red as he stood and stomped his feet, the metal beneath his feet groaned by his heavy stomp.

    Sitting back down, Butch cracked his neck.

    "Fine, if I can't get him today? When?"

    "You can't touch him, not as he currently is." Walter sat forward. "I have encountered him, he is a rigid man. Strong on Morales and Family bonds. Shatter those that make him strong, and Hercules will no longer be a god. That is when you shall strike."

    "So... I gotta kill his family?" Butch asked with a smirk. "No problem."

    "-And what better way than to attack his newly augmented Granddaughter?" War smiled evilly. "My men on the inside of the operations have gathered that she has recently been augmented."

    "So why can't I just get her now?" Butch asked. "While she's still fresh?"

    "Because, you've been roaming the stars for decades now, waiting for your revenge. Your armor is outdated, and I'm sure many of your skills need brushing up. If you agree to help me, I will give you what it is that you desire. Wealth, Women, Power, and Revenge. All that I ask is for your undying loyalty to my creedo. Humanity is above all, there is just no room for Human Advancement with Xenos running around."

    "Sounds perfect." Butch chuckled. "But I'm curious, what did the dumbass do to you?"

    "That's simple, my neanderthal brained business partner!" War turned his seat around to the large window overlooking the artificial space station's bustling cityscape. "He brought Aliens aboard my ship."


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    Re: Operation: Free-Byrd

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