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Most users ever online was 29 on October 1st 2013, 12:09 am


    Origins: Reclamation

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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1190
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 22

    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 8th 2017, 4:20 am

    Craig sat towards the front of the Pelican with his assault rifle on his lap. His gaze was focused solely on the trio of Spartans who stood ready as ever for battle at the closed ramp, towards the back of the ship. Blaine certainly had come a very long way from that bullied, isolated kid Craig and his brother had seen at the Orphanage decades prior.

    "Craig, what are you doing over there?" Blaine said. "Come, join us."

    "Friend of yours?" Katherine asked him.

    "You could say that." Blaine chuckled. "He's actually my biological father."

    Lorelei and Katherine turned towards Craig, who hesitantly stood. He felt their gazes piercing their visors and into his very soul. He wondered what kinds of things Blaine had told them about when they were much, much younger, what they must have thought of him. Though Blaine's care was technically Morgan's responsibility, he figured because Blaine never knew, they wouldn't have been able to distinguish between his acts and his brothers.

    "You left Blaine at an Orphanage?" Katherine stepped forward. "Why?"

    "I knew that was coming." Craig sighed. "Blaine's mother and I were siblings by marriage, by that, I mean the man Blaine had assumed was his father his entire life was my twin brother. My brother was... sterile. So I was the secret surrogate father. Though we're blood son and father, my brother is legally his father, as he was born under my late brother's wife."

    "What Craig's trying to say is, he's not the one that put me in the Orphanage." Blaine said. "Even then, I don't blame Morgan for his decision either. After a long career with the UNSC, especially ONI, I understand why he felt his hands were tied. Anyways, focus up. We'll be landing in five."

    "We move as one, pick your targets and eliminate them swiftly and stealthily. If Anch is a captive, as evidence would suggest, we don't want the Brutes alerted, otherwise they'll execute him." Blaine said. "Mission live in three... two.."

    Instead of calling one, Blaine pressed the button that would open the ramp. Craig had been outfitted with a jet-pack to help their stealth insertion. Blaine, Katherine, and Lorelei dove out of the back, as Craig nodded silently to himself, following their suit. As the team of four descended on the planet, the thrusters on the back of their suits began to ignite, slowing the Spartan's descent.

    Craig lightly pulsed his jet-pack to lower his velocity. As he neared the ground to a safe level, he extinguished the jets. With a crunch of the snow beneath his feet, Craig dusted some of the powder off of his shoulder, sliding the jet into the once untouched snow pile. He pulled his silenced SMG off of his hip, holding it firmly with two hands.

    "I'll take point." Blaine instructed. "Katherine, watch our rear. Lorelei, you've got the flanks."

    "Sir." the two Spartans nodded.

    Though the Spartan's suits were heavy, the sound of their boots contacting the snow was just as muffled as Craig's had been. Despite the crunch that was to be expected from the packed snow, the group moved relatively silent. Though, in a blizzard such as this, the various color schemes of the Spartan armors and Craig's own jet black armor really stuck out.

    "Lily." Blaine said, taking a knee behind some rocks, the others forming a tight circle on him. "How far from here?"

    "Really hard to tell in this blizzard, it's making my connection to the Aura really limited." Lily said, her avatar sticking her tongue out in focus. "If it's not the snow of a bad connection, it's the natural snow covering the view. Worst part, this blizzard is only going to get worse, meaning we're on even further limited time."

    "Based off of what we know about Forerunner architecture, which is also severely limited, they like to build into nature. They make it known that nature is inhabited by their constructs, but not intruding." Blaine said. "Typographical scans of the area showed a large mountain face further ahead. My credits say it's likely there."

    The group stood once more, marching their way through the heavy blizzard. Visibility was very close to zero, causing the group every now and again to check behind them to ensure no-one was left behind. After several meters, Blaine took a knee again, followed by the others.

    "Visibility limited, but we've got motion on our trackers. I'm reading two friendlies and a handful of bogeys." Lorelei stated.

    "That must be Anch and one of the other Elites." Blaine said. "Autumn didn't send anyone else in. Craig, with me. Lorelei, Katherine, flank far right. We'll pinch the bastards, free the others."

    Lorelei and Katherine blinked their green acknowledgement lights, splitting off from Blaine and Craig. The ODST and the Spartan trudged through the snow, creeping up on the upper rock face. Hiding behind one of the rocks, Blaine and Craig waited for the other two to take up a position.

    "Earlier, you mentioned your Spartans feeling more like a family than me." Craig said. "My question is, after this is all over, are you going to consider a family?"

    "I doubt ONI will let me." Blaine shrugged. "To be honest, I never really thought about it. Come on, they're in position."

    Blaine crouched low enough, cupping his hands together. Craig took a running start, jumping out of Blaine's hands to the ledge above. Blaine turned and expertly jumped up, latching his hands onto the icy rock. Pulling himself up, Blaine pulled the shotgun he had opted into using off of his back.

    The two sidled across the ledge, working their way towards the Brutes. As they drew near, Blaine could see the corpse of Mota dangling precariously off the rock face, with Anch and Rika on their knees. It didn't suit Anch, or Rika for that matter, to be executed like prisoners.

    Blaine closed the distance towards the nearest Brute, pressing the barrel against it's skull. With a single pull and a pump of his shotgun, the Brute was decapicated, it's corpse falling on Anch. The other Brute's Spiker SMG fired at Anch, the body on top of the Elite providing him with the necessary cover. The Brute responsible for firing on Anch grunted, as Katherine's knife inserted into it's neck, before being dragged across.

    "Where I thought there was one of you, now there is four." Anch said. "You have our thanks, Warrior and kin. The source of this construct's power is through here. The apes sent out a search party, they picked up the scent of your vehicle, we have limited time."

    "If I had a million dollars for every time 'limited time' has been said in my life, I'd be pissing money." Craig shook his head.

    "How big?"

    "Thirty or so Jiralhanae."

    "That's not a patrol or search party, that's a Platoon." Blaine said, focusing. "Arm yourselves, Lorelei, stay here and help keep watch. Inform us when they've arrived. Katherine, Craig, with me."

    Katherine and Craig followed Blaine's lead into the cavern opening. As Blaine expected, the flawless gray metal the Forerunners used for their internal buildings meshed with the stone that formed the mountain range. The further inside they got, the more unnatural their surroundings became, even the snow didn't reach that far inside, despite being untouched for countless millennium.

    "Lily, give a quick local scan. Tell me what you can find." Blaine said. "Katherine, give me a quick sweep, ensure we don't have any guests. Craig, watch my back."

    "Always." Craig nodded.

    The room they found themselves in, after a minute or so of walking, was vast in size. Blaine figured it could hold twenty Pelicans, tail to nose and stacked on top of each other to fill the room. Towards the center of the room, an orange orb of light floated above a strange pedestal. Metallic rings no thicker than a common lunch tray encircled the orb, as if it was giving off it's own gravity, and they were in geosynchronous orbit around it, though their orbits allowed them to pass by each other unscathed.

    Further analysis of the room showed little else, except for some strange outcroppings in the wall that, at a glance, held no significance other than architectural cosmetics. More importantly to Blaine, however, was there was no looming sound of the Flood, as there had been on the Halo Ring just the day before.

    "Scan shows a terminal to your left. I've checked through it for booby traps, but it's clear." Lily spoke up. "You might find something of interest in it. Though I doubt it's the control switch, if this was the Forerunner's final resort against the Flood, they wouldn't have a turn off that the Flood could easily exploit."

    "Wouldn't hurt to see anyways." Blaine said, pressing his hand against the light up console in front of him.

    "In this hour of victory, we taste only defeat; I ask why?" a male's voice echoed throughout the room. "We are Forerunners- Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil."

    The voice paused for a moment, as if he was talking to a counsel. With the occasional shuffling of cloth and metal, Blaine could only imagine what it must have looked like, or even where this event had taken place.

    "Our strength is a luminous Sun towards which all intelligence blossoms, and the impervious shelter beneath which it has prospered." the male voice hissed. "I stand before you, accused of the 'sin' of ensuring Forerunner ascendancy. Of attempting to save our race from this fate where we are forced to... recede."

    Blaine felt a mutual respect for the individual speaking here. It was clear that this individual was against the Forerunner's pulling the trigger and wiping all life sustainable for the Flood out of existence in the known Universe. There are always different options in life, whether you seek them out or not is solely up to the individual. Despite his fear of the Flood, the Halo Rings cannot simply be the end all be all solution.

    "Humanity stands... as the greatest threat to the Galaxy-"

    "Wait, what?!" Blaine shook his head in disbelief.

    The Forerunner was going to stand there before that counsel and say that Humanity was the most threatening thing in the Galaxy? Humanity had only just discovered space travel a few hundred years before, and not once have they even once considered creating a light based super sonic blast that would eradicate all life forms bigger than a common house cat. Any respect Blaine had for this Forerunner went out the door immediately.

    "Refusing to eradicate their species is a fools' gambit." the Forerunner continued angrily. "We squander eons in the darkness, while they seize their triumphs for their own."

    "The Mantle of Responsibility for all things is meant for Forerunners alone." the Forerunner growled. "Think of my actions against Humanity as you will, but do not doubt the reality; the Reclamation has already begun."

    As the recording finished, a strange orange symbol flashed in Blaine's face. It's shape was a ring, connected midway down was what appeared to be a hexagon with a miniature rectangle just above it. Both the hexagon and the rectangle connected to the outer circles. Blaine pondered the new information for a moment, what did that Forerunner have against Humanity? He was glad that the other Forerunners clearly didn't hate Humans as well, considering he was still standing there.

    "Well that was interesting." Lily shook her avatar's head in his HUD. "I did a scan on that orange sphere in the middle of the room? That's the power source. Apparently, there isn't anything that can be done to shut it down traditionally. By that, I mean pew pews aren't going to cut it."

    "Suggestions?" Blaine shrugged. "I'm open."

    "Cortana and the Chief had a method they used on Halo, I read it in her file. By using the power supply on his Mjolnir, Cortana was able to use a short, controlled EMP burst to shut down the first Halo Ring's power systems." Lily's eyes met his. " -and hear this, turns out our friend Guilty Spark tried to kill the both of them when they did. Like there, the power supply will become operational again, but it'll be enough of a delay that Truth can't blast us all in the next few minutes."

    "Is it going to hurt?"

    "I can't promise it won't." Lily sighed. "Spartan, prepare medical care if necessary. We're trying something risky."

    Blaine stepped up to the Orange sphere, ducking below the rotating metallic spheres until he was in it's 'core'. He closed his eyes for a moment, feeling static form over his skin, even within the armor, before energy expelled itself from his armor. The room around them darkened for a bit, as he and the others activated their helmet, Craig having finally put on an ODST helmet.

    "Welp, the power's out for a bit." Blaine sighed. "I hope that shut down the barrier long enough for the Shadow of Intent to nuke that Control Room."

    "With our shit luck?" Craig scoffed. "I doubt it."

    "We've got Brutes in bound, sir." Lorelei stated. "They brought friends!"

    "Acknowledged, Spartan." Blaine said. "You heard the lady, double time it!"

    Despite the darkness, it was fairly simple for Blaine and the others to find their way out, considering the way out was the only source of light left for them, besides their flashlights. Upon exiting the cavern, they weren't surprised to see an exchange of Plasma fire and heavy weapon fire from Lorelei's sniper rifle.

    They found a pair of boulders to take cover behind. Blaine exchanged the shotgun in his hands for the DMR on his back. Occasionally, he would stand and fire on the Brutes. On several occasions, Brute Spiker rounds would strike his shields, bringing them severely low, to the point where sparks even would flutter from them.

    "Take cover for a second." Craig said. "Christ's sake, there's more than enough of us here to take down these Brute pricks."

    "I'm fine, Craig." Blaine said. "Don't worry about me."

    Craig sighed as he pressed his back tightly against the boulder they were using as cover. His mechanical eye twitched for a second, as it picked up some sort of movement off to his right, technically their left. The air shimmered for a moment, the only thing that clashed against the mountain was a single red light. As Craig was about to call it out, however, he saw a small cylindrical container flying straight at him.

    Turning to Blaine, whose shields still hadn't fully recovered, Craig pushed him as hard as he could. Blaine, who had not been expecting it, lost his balance for a moment and stumbled forward. As the cylinder flew towards him, Craig felt something splash against him.

    In an instant, everything became hot. Unspeakably hot, to the point where all Craig could do was scream uncontrollably. Blaine turned in shock and horror to see Craig fully engulfed in flames. The air in the distance shimmered for a moment, as Blaine took a few pot shots at the Brute Stealth Operator.

    With a grunt, the Brute crumpled into a heap. Blaine started grabbing snow by the arm full, throwing them on top of Craig to help extinguish the flames. As he did so, he saw Lily in his HUD with a pained and concerned expression.

    "Blaine?" Craig said weakly. "I-I can't breathe. P-please."

    Blaine glanced over Craig's form, the heat from the grenade had been enough to fuse parts of Craig's armor to his skin. The worst offender was the helmet he was wearing, which fused directly to his neck. Craig's arms, which were exposed from the forearm down, were covered in severely nasty burns, sections of his skin completely flaking off.

    "Blaine." Lily said, tears welling in her eyes. "It's not good. He's got fourth degree burns on seventy percent of his body."

    Blaine took his knife out of it's sheath and gently poked it into Craig's neck for an emergency Tracheotomy. Blaine took off the tip of a used biofoam canister on his hip, pressing the clean end into the incision he created.

    "I-I-I'm sorry." Craig shook his head, gasping harshly for breath. "F-for everything. I f-failed you."

    "You didn't fail me." Blaine said. "I wished that I one day could meet my parents, and it came true. It took a long time, and there were many hardships, but we're here, aren't we?"

    "I-I should have told everyone the truth." Craig's movements became sluggish. "I-I'm proud of you. I-I-"

    "Blaine please." Lily shook her head, virtual tears streaming down her face. "He's suffering. Don't make him suffer."

    Blaine's hands shook as tears began to well in his own eyes. On the one hand, he couldn't stand to see Craig in suffering, but on the other, he didn't want to kill his father. Blaine gently placed his hand behind Craig's back, slowly pulling him up to a hug.

    "I'm sorry." Blaine sobbed, his body shaking heavily as he spoke. "I'm so, so sorry Dad."

    "I-I love you." Craig shook. "L-Live your life. S-Start a family. F-Finish these bastards. H-Harlowe's don't die in bed..."

    Blaine pulled his pistol shakily off of his hip. For the first time in a very long time, his right arm actually felt heavy, as if all of his strength was sapped from him, and the Mjolnir suit was weighing him down. Blaine's teeth chattered against each other, as he turned his head away from the act he was about to commit. He almost lost complete control when Craig's hand firmly planted itself on his shoulder.

    There was a flash, followed by the ever echoing bang. Even with the gunfight happening behind Blaine, it was the only noise that resonated with him. Craig's body slouched in his arms, his eyes scanning the ODST helmet fruitlessly, a singular bullet hole embedded dead in the center. Over his head, Blaine could hear the Pelican dropship descending on their location.

    It's front and back fifty caliber turrets lit up, firing upon the remaining Jiralhanae troops. Lorelei and Katherine, when the coast was clear, appeared by Blaine's side. Rika and Anch stood behind him as well. Blaine silently wrapped his arms under Craig's back and beneath his knees. Without another word, Blaine trudged through the snow, down the bank, and to the Pelican drop ship.

    Blaine stepped up into the ship, as the others followed his suit. The other Spartans sat down, the Elites joining their side. Blaine however, stood near the ramp with Craig held still in his arms.

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

    As the Pelican lowered itself into the vehicle bay, Blaine stepped out before the ship fully had a chance to stop. Katherine and Lorelei looked at each other, then the Elites, before opting to follow him. To their surprise, Autumn met them personally. When she first saw Blaine, a huge smile crept up along her face, until she saw the body in his arms.

    "We need a doctor!" Autumn yelled.

    "No, no." Katherine walked up to her. "Don't do that, ma'am."

    Marines and ODSTs set up along the door glanced as Blaine passed through the door. For a ship docking bay the size of the Aura's there was nary a sound to be heard, not even a cough, with the single exception of Blaine's boots making contact with the floor in slow, methodical footsteps.

    "What's the big deal?" one Marine huffed. "We lost more men to the Flood getting the Chief to Truth."

    "The man just lost his father." Lorelei passed the Marine. "Show some respect to your Captain."

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

    Loud crashes and thuds filled the weight room. Marines and ODSTs alike gathered at the doors to stay in a mixture of fright and awe, as the massive Spartan hunched over one of the punching bags. Each slam of Blaine's fist caused an irreparable dent in the cloth bag, stuffing shooting out of the seams.

    "Damn." he heard one of the ODSTs say. "Can you imagine what one of those Covenant bastards must feel like after a second in the ring with him? I almost pity the fuckers. Emphasis on almost."

    At the sound of the ODST's cocky words, Blaine reeled his right fist back with the majority of his weight, letting loose a punch with the strength and velocity of three freight trains. One last thud echoed throughout the weight room, echoing into the halls, and through the better portion of that part of the ship.

    The punching bag itself erupted off of the chain holding it to the ceiling, it's stuffing and even the leather bag itself flying out in several directions. The ODSTs and Marines behind him parted ways as a pair of Spartans approached.

    "Get lost, the lot of you." Katherine barked. "Truth might be dead, but our fight is far from over. Get yourselves ready for combat at a moment's notice."

    The ODSTs and Marines saluted before hurriedly leaving the weight room. From what Katherine and Lorelei knew of Blaine, he never acted out in this fashion before. However, how could they blame him? Katherine's parents were gone since she was kidnapped, and Lorelei never knew hers. Blaine was abandoned by his so called father, met up with both his legal father and his biological father, only to have them both die in his presence.

    No Spartan in history, to their knowledge, had ever been through this. More over, no Spartan in history was trained to cope with these kinds of situations. How could they? Their only parental figures were Doctor Halsey and CPO Mendez.

    "Blaine, I-" Lorelei stepped forward. "I have no idea what's going through your mind right now, or even your heart. If it brings you any comfort, we're here for you."

    "That's what every single one of them said." Blaine grit his teeth, loading another punching bag onto the broken chain. "Josh, Phil, Craig, Morgan, all of them. I couldn't save any of them."

    "I didn't know any of them personally." Katherine said. "I can imagine they were pretty great people, in their own ways. Keep hold of those memories, and they'll last you forever. It's what I do when I think about my parents, or my siblings."

    "The war's finally over." Lorelei smiled, as she placed her hands gently on Blaine's shoulder. "Commander Stroud informed me that Truth was assassinated by the Arbiter little under a half hour ago, thanks to you delaying the power source."

    Blaine sighed for a moment, before nodding. He stood from the bench he rested on, tilting his head out the door. With his Spartans in tow, Blaine worked his way towards the bridge. Before he could get there, however, he heard some yelling, followed by some playful giggling. He paused for a moment as the door to the armory opened suddenly, Naomi sprinting past him.

    "She's still on board?!" Blaine asked, shaking his head. "Jesus Christ."

    He wasn't mad at the girl, but rather at himself for not getting her the escort ship the day before. Though, looking back on it now, the Aura did chase the Prophet before any sort of plan could be made. With a sigh, he approached the playful young girl.

    "Naomi." Blaine said, as the girl turned to him, smiling brightly.

    "Everyone has been really mean or really mad about something." Naomi said. "Not you though, you're a good guy! You're really nice!"

    "Where have you been for the past couple of days?" Blaine asked.

    "First I was by the nice lady's side for a while, but one of the big men asked me to go to bed." Naomi said. "He gave me an entire room to myself, but the bed hurt, so I slept on the floor."

    "I saw you a couple of times, but you were really busy." Naomi smiled. "Can we have that cake now?"

    In the heat of everything that had happened over the past couple of days, he had entirely forgotten that Naomi had told him her birthday had been this week. Taking a knee, Blaine held out his arms as she walked over to him. Wrapping his arms gently around her, he sat her in the fold between his arm and his shoulder.

    "Yeah kiddo, I think everyone needs some cake." Blaine said. "Come on, let's go talk to the nice lady."

    His heart was still heavy with grief, but the truth was that the kid seemed to make all of his negative emotions wash away. With Naomi now in tow, he walked the short distance to the bridge. The Forward unto Dawn hovered over what appeared to Blaine as another Halo ring, though this one seemed unfinished. It definitely hadn't been there when they arrived, that much he knew for certain. The Shadow of Intent itself was gone, with the majority of the Elite fleet either already gone or floatsam.

    "Hail the Dawn." Blaine ordered as he stepped onto the bridge. "I want a full sit rep of what happened from the Commander."

    "Sir, Commander Keyes is KIA." Autumn turned to him. "She ensured Truth couldn't fire the rings."

    "I see." Blaine paused, thankful Naomi didn't know what KIA stood for. "Who is next in line for the ship?"

    "Sergeant Major Johnson, the Master Chief managed to locate Cortana. Her solution is to blow this Halo ring, the ensuing explosion should destroy the Ark and the Flood in one fell swoop." Autumn reported.

    "Sorry Naomi, but it's time for adult talk." Blaine said, handing her off to Katherine. "We can all have that cake I promised when we go home, okay?"

    Naomi looked disappointed, but managed to nod her head. Once her and Katherine cleared the bridge, Blaine turned back to Autumn.

    "What about the Dawn? Will it have the time to make an exit vector for such a catalytic explosion? What about the crew?"

    "We stowed everyone on board. Johnson, the Chief, and even the Arbiter have opted to stay with the Dawn to ensure the Flood threat is neutralized." Autumn said.

    "Patch me through to the Master Chief." Blaine said, as his communications crackled. "Chief, this is Sierra-115, copy?"

    "Solid copy, sir." the Master Chief replied.

    "Come home safe, Spartan. We've lost too damn many in this war." Blaine said. "When you get back, I owe you a steak dinner."

    "Negative sir." John replied. "I seem to recall Blue Team owing you one."

    "God speed, John." Blaine said. "One-one-five, over and out. Nav, bring us home."

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

    It was strange for Blaine to finally be out of his suit of armor. It wasn't entirely liberating, but it was unique. Sweat trickled down his neck as the warm African sun beat down harshly on the back of his neck. His onyx black uniform with gold trim on the shoulders, and contrasting white hate didn't help the heat situation any.

    It had been several days since the battle at the Ark. Where the decisive victory over the Covenant had been established. Blaine honestly never though this day would come, and for good reasons. However, the day was actually upon them, and half of the Forward Unto Dawn jumped immediately from Slipspace just off the coast of Australia.

    Blaine and his team personally arrived at the seen to greet the Master Chief, Johnson, and the Arbiter, but were shocked when only the Arbiter was located. The Arbiter told Blaine about the fate of Sergeant Johnson to the traitorous Guilty Spark, and how the Master Chief had been trapped on the other side of the ship.

    Standing on this hillside, memories such as this, both recent and older than dust began to pour into his mind's eye. A swift yet stern reminder of all of the hell he and the countless billion other Humans fought through to get to this point. He remembered the days in the Orphanage, Spartan Training, meeting Cobalt Squad, everything in between.

    Lord Hood stood before a slab of the Dawn's hull, which Blaine himself had taken from the ship to use as a memorial shrine. As the Admiral spoke, Blaine's eyes scanned over the numerous photos, flowers, hats and rifles that were placed on the memorial. Many faces he recognized, others he didn't, but recognized their valor and bravery. Standing opposite of Lord Hood some few meters away, Anch, Rika and the Arbiter shifted restlessly, but respectfully, in tribute.

    "As we start to rebuild." Hood continued. "This hillside will remain barren, a memorial to heroes fallen."

    "They've ennobled all of us, and they shall never be forgotten."

    As Hood finished his speech, Blaine turned to Lorelei, Katherine, and the two handfuls of Marines in a line beside him. Blaine stepped out into the field just in front of the Elites. He positioned himself out of their line of sight, facing the Elites.

    "Present arms!" Blaine barked, as the line of Marines and two Spartans raised their BR55s. "Ready. Aim. Fire."

    Blaine repeated the command four more times, before saluting the men in the firing line, turning towards Lord Hood with a salute, and then returned to his place by their side. With Hood's formal dismissal, the Marines beside him and his Spartans saluted and shook their hands, before moving on. The Arbiter lumbered his way towards the memorial somberly and with respect, as Blaine and his Spartans walked past him with a respectful nod.

    Blaine approached Rika and Anch, who stood respectfully at his approach. Katherine and Lorelei kept their distance, understanding that Blaine would want to talk to them privately.

    "Hard to believe a month ago you both would have tried to kill me." Blaine said. "Yet here we stand, with the Covenant formally defeated and peace finally on the horizon."

    "I once despised your very essence, Warrior." Anch said humbly. "The more I encountered you, the more impressed you made me. You reminded me that I am not invincible, that I let my guard down way too much."

    "What Anch means to say is, he values the time he has been your ally." Rika clicked her mandibles.

    "Even when I had you on death's door, you still allied with me. Even knowing everything the Sangheili people did to yours. You risked your very nobility on my life, and for that, I am forever grateful." Anch bowed. "When there is enough time for both of our races to recover, I would be most honored to welcome you to Sangheilios as a guest."

    "I must thank you as well, Warrior." Rika said. "Had it not been for your sage knowledge and charisma, the Elites would not have allied with Humanity as easily as they did. Your actions led me to Anch, who I have decided to rebuild a Keep with."

    "Yes." Anch said. "When we have our first clutch, it is a time honored Sangheili tradition to name the first born offspring after a formidable opponent, or inspiring warrior in combat. We ask for your full name."

    "Blaine Angus Harlowe." Blaine replied.

    "Ankus?" Rika tried to reciprocate. "The middle name, our species cannot do it easily."

    "Farewell Warrior." Anch nodded as the Arbiter turned to face them. "It is time I returned to Sangheilios, I wish you and your kin well in the days ahead. With luck, we will see each other again."

    Blaine offered his hand, a gesture both Anch and Rika were still unaccustomed to. Hesitantly, the two Elites shook his hand, and met up with the Arbiter in time for a Phantom to drop low enough. Blaine watched as they were transported onto the ship.

    "Spartan, a word?" Lord Hood called over to him.

    Blaine turned and walked up onto the stage of the memorial to join Lord Hood in staring at the many pictures and trinkets left by broken hearted families.

    "It's a bitter sweet feeling, Spartan. Knowing that each of these people helped ensure peace for Humanity, but will never truly get to reap the benefits."

    "Such is the sacrifice of a soldier, sir." Blaine said somberly.

    "It's a tragic truth." Hood sighed. "This may not entirely be the best place to do this, but I feel some congratulations are in order."

    "You're actions here on the planet during the Flood invasion, coupled with your previous accolades shine brightly on you." Lord Hood said. "In the face of combat, you hold yourself with honor and grace, showing little mercy to those that stand in your way. You are a truly decorated soldier, and it's been my utmost pleasure to serve as your commander these past few days."

    "Because of this, I am authorizing for you a formal promotion to Rear Admiral of the Navy." Hood turned to him. "This rank is not really necessary considering Humanity has now since entered a time of peace. However, I felt a higher pay grade was necessary for a soldier of your convictions. I was informed that you are now the proud adoptive father to a young girl?"

    "Yes sir." Blaine nodded.

    "The extra credits should help you take care of her and find her a proper place to live instead of on a military ship." Hood said. "I'm also granting you and your crew four months paid leave to get some well deserved R&R."

    "Thank you sir." Blaine saluted him.

    "No, thank you, son." Hood saluted back. "The world is a lot darker without the Chief around. However, with a role model like you for the UNSC to strive towards from now on, it doesn't have to be quite as dark."

    Blaine and Lord Hood snapped out of their salutes, as Blaine began to walk away. Before he could descend the final step, however, Lord Hood called to his attention once more.

    "Before you go on paid leave, Deputy Director Daniel Krieg wished to speak with you."Lord Hood said. "While you're in the new ONI headquarters, I and the Director may have something further to discuss. For now, dismissed."


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 8th 2017, 5:10 am

    Author's Notes: With this latest update, so comes an end to Origins Arc 3: Last Stand.

    Though I'm hoping you've read all of this, I'll save the recap for a spoiler box to prevent you from spoiling the events that went down in this Arc.

    Spoiler:
    For a recap, because Last Stand was so astronomically long. In this arc we saw a devastated Blaine after extraction from Reach.We witnessed Blaine come to terms with the death of all of his old Spartan brothers and sisters.

    Craig and Josh, the last two remaining members of Cobalt Squad, met back up with Blaine and Autumn on their way off planet. There, Blaine encountered the enigmatic Mob boss and his son. What kind of significance will these two play on the story? That's to be determined at a later point, but we haven't forgotten about them. Anch also appeared, claiming to be branded a heretic and betrayed by the Prophets, despite his once unbreakable faith. He would become an indispensable ally.

    Blaine also learned a truth about Morgan and his mother Autumn from the leader of the Legion; Walter A. Law, widely regarded as War. We learn that Morgan, Autumn, and the majority of Cobalt Squad at one point actually served the Legion for extra payment than the UNSC was capable of delivering, but abandoned because of some dark, unknown secret unbeknowest to ourselves or Blaine.

    We learned that War sanctioned the assassination of Amber Harlowe the night Blaine was born, for acts of treason to the Legion. Horrors lurked within the Legion compound, as a freakish mutation of Butch, who Blaine had previously thought he had killed, was sent to kill Blaine on his way out.

    War and the Legion will be playing a bigger role in the story in this next arc, but before we go into that, we'll continue the recap. After Blaine linked back up with Autumn, Josh, Craig, Jaspar and the Mafia they saved, and Anch, Blaine was sent to emergency medical treatment due to injuries sustained on Reach and in his fight against Butch at the Legion compound.

    It was here that we discovered that Craig himself was the true father of Blaine all along, and that Morgan was the twin that was created as a result of the prototype cryogenic sleep their mother was put in hundreds of years before. After Blaine recovered, we see Blaine receive a promotion to the rank of Captain for his actions that saved thousands of lives on both Reach and the other planet where he encountered the Mafia.

    Along with this promotion, Blaine was granted his own Frigate for use of travel to whatever specialized missions he needed, instead of having to solely rely on a beaten down, old model ONI Prowler. Blaine discovers that John-117 is a survivor of Reach, just in time for the Covenant to appear on Earth's doorstep, and with Anch, Josh, and Craig in tow, proceeded to battle in the first fight for New Mombasa.

    Here, we are reintroduced to an old yet familiar character; Naomi. A young girl whose parents are savagely slaughtered in front of her, not even days after her ninth birthday. Blaine and Anch rescue the girl from the Brute responsible, and manage to clear the Dam to allow a beachhead to be formed against the Prophet of Regret's flagship.

    Master Chief and Blaine successfully destroy the Scarab that had been terrorizing the City. As the two are about to work together to tag team a joint op against the Prophet, they are forced to return to their respective ships and eventually give chase.

    The reason I decided to have Blaine chase here instead of staying to fight in New Mombasa, was because he was in too close proximity to the Slipspace detonation that he would have been evaporated like half of the city.

    More importantly, I desperately wanted him to have experience of a Halo ring, to experience the wonders of a Forerunner world, and the horrible secret they possessed first hand. It is also here that we are introduced to a new character, who unfortunately replaces an old one.

    By this, I mean Lily the Artificial Intelligence. Readers of my previous iterations will recall that Blaine did have an AI companion, however this one was extremely stuck up and full of himself. I am of course referring to Zeus. I decided not to bring Zeus back because, besides his constant power trip and mindset of a Greek God, he was really bland in comparison to Lily.

    I'll admit that a lot of Lily's concept comes from a lot of animes that I've been watching recently, which explains her cutesy but also spicy sassy personality. With Lily's assistance, Blaine and his rag tag squad explore the ring, where they learn the terrible of the Rings first hand.

    Josh succumbs to the Flood infection. My thought process here was to help build the foundation of why Blaine utterly fears the Flood. It is not fear to the point of uselessness, but it is enough to haunt his dreams for years to come. Blaine gets separated from the others, but manages to locate the Halo Control Room, where he and the Arbiter confront Tartarus.

    The original plan was for Blaine to witness all of this haplessly. However, not only is that an extremely boring story, it's completely nonsensical. Why the hell would a perfectly able Spartan stand still when the Universe was about to go boom?

    We see Blaine return to Earth to assist in the second battle of Earth, where we are briefly reintroduced to Doctor Bailey and her mysterious Spartan, John B694. Blaine assists with the AA guns holding the UNSC Homefleet at bay away from Truth's Dreadnaught.

    Of course, the Flood shows themselves again, this time hitting Earth itself. Blaine and the remainder of his team manage to help clear the plague to the best of their abilities, before Blaine gets a mysterious hail from some people in need. Once again we are reunited with Lorelei and Katherine, along with a short cameo from our old neighborhood childhood bully Charlie.

    After saving his fellow Spartans, Blaine meets with Hood, the Elites, and other crucial players in the joint task force of Humans and Elites. There, they learn of the Ark's true location and a solution for the Flood without resorting to using Halo.

    En route to the Ark, Blaine and Lorelei finally admit their inner most desires to be with one another. I don't think I need to paint more of a picture of the events that took place then, but they'll play a crucial part in the next arc.

    Upon arriving at the Ark, Blaine and his team are sent in two waves, Anch and the Elites start the assault on the Ark's power source to temporarily halt Truth's schemes. Here, Blaine learns of a Forerunner's distinct hatred for Humanity, hinting that many Forerunners might have had it out for their species way back then.

    This is where the story takes the biggest turn I think I've ever written. In a surprise attack from a stealth Brute, Craig is struck head on with an incendiary grenade, the chemical burns of which horribly burn and disfigure him to the point where his armor was fused directly to him. My thought process for such a graphic and tragic end for Craig was to reel Blaine back to reality once more. Not every hero dies in a blaze of glory in war. Sometimes, mercy needs to be granted.

    Blaine's inner turmoil, his fight to pull the trigger or try to save Craig is probably the biggest building block to his final psyche that I've made up to this point. The rest that happened since then is pretty much history, i.e the end of Halo 3.

    With the end of Halo 3 and Humanity's Last Stand come the next installment to this story. Origins: Arc 4: The Legion begins after this point. As mentioned before, War and his Legion will play a huge role in this part of Blaine's life. I can promise you we'll be seeing plenty of more old friends, some with and without new twists, and even some new folks to join Blaine in this tragic comedy he calls a life.

    Thank you so much for reading to this point. I understand many of you are still very far behind due to business personal or otherwise, or that some of you may not have an interest in the story. If you're reading this, I appreciate your support. As long as there is someone to read this, I will continue to write it.

    I'm very excited for what's to come in the future, and I hope you will be too.


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 9th 2017, 3:01 pm

    "Officer on deck!" Autumn barked as Blaine cleared the threshold into the bridge of the Aura.

    The crew all turned to Blaine, snapping to attention. He returned the favor, making his way to the Captain's seat. Actually seating himself upon it for the second time since he received the ship, Blaine turned to Autumn, who approached.

    "Welcome back sir. We received word of your promotion from Watchtower." Autumn smiled.

    Watchtower was the formal call-sign for Cairo station, namely Lord Hood, following the end of the Covenant-Human War. Blaine figured the reasoning behind the name was because Cairo station was the sole surviving defense platform left above Earth.

    "Thank you," Blaine replied. "It came as a shock to me. Get me a link to the rest of the ship."

    "Right away. Comm.?" Autumn said, as the young woman in charge of communications started tapping away.

    "It's done, Admiral." the woman said. "You're suit is rigged up to speak."

    "All hands, this is your Admiral speaking." Blaine said, wincing as his voice echoed in the bridge. "Let me first begin by congratulating you all on a fight well fought. I can't describe how immensely proud I am of all of you. Though I haven't been on board often enough to witness it first-hand, the very fact that this rig is still afloat is attributed to your actions."

    "I cannot promise that in this brief period of peace that I will be able to get to all of you, however, I would like to one day get to know all of you, the crew of this vessel, and thank you all for your service." Blaine continued. "However, I can start with this. Lord Hood has granted all of us a paid four month leave of absence to be with our families."

    Cheers echoed throughout the bridge as the crew heard the news. Blaine however, knew that many of the crew were likely from planets that had been glassed, or had no families to return to.

    "I know that some of you may or may not have a home or family to go to. Which is why I will personally see to it that you receive the housing and benefits you deserve." Blaine said proudly. "However, before I dismiss you for leave, I only ask that those of you in engineering and sanitation come aboard every once in a while to maintain the Aura."

    "Nav. bring us to dry-dock. Everyone, I'll see you in four months, enjoy your time." Blaine replied, before nodding to Comm.

    With the link shut off, Autumn turned back to Blaine with her arms crossed. Blaine figured she was the biggest reason for why he brought up the lack of homes and family. He had known about her situation since they were younger.

    "Before you say anything, I'll be meeting with Deputy Director Krieg after we've evacuated the ship." Blaine said. "Knowing him, I'll have another assignment to take on. Don't worry, I'll try and get you a place to stay."

    "I'm still an ONI operative." Autumn replied. "Knowing them, they'll probably take away my leave and bring me back to the Office."

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

    "Ah, Blaine." Daniel said with a polite nod. "Welcome back to us, and congratulations again on your promotion. I hope you'll understand if I don't refer to you by your rank."

    "I prefer it that way, sir." Blaine said.

    While his rank technically over-ruled Daniel, Blaine held immense respect for the Deputy-Director, as he did with the Master Chief. Blaine turned to Autumn, who stood towards the back with a salute.

    "Yes yes, come in Autumn." Daniel said. "I wasn't expecting you, but as one of my pupils, it doesn't hurt to have a brief visit. Helps you keep your humanity in this line of work."

    Autumn walked over to Blaine's side, before the both of them sat in a chair on the other end of Daniel's desk. Blaine couldn't help but remain mesmerized by the crystal formations outside of Daniel's windows. This far underground, even in a new base, the crystals were a welcome sight. Blaine was impressed with how quickly ONI had relocated, given the old HQ had been detonated remotely a day or two before.

    The office itself was cluttered with a few trinkets and all the supplies of a fresh new office. That was the biggest giveaway that they were in a new base, if nothing else.

    "There are some matters I wished to discuss with you, Blaine." Daniel folded his hands into a triangle. "Not in current company, of course. Which reminds me, to what do I owe this visit, Ms. Stroud?"

    "I asked her to tag along, sir." Blaine replied. "Not because of the matters you called me here for. She does not have a home to go to during the leave of absence Lord Hood authorized. I know the UNSC is likely the one in charge of taking care of their own, but as an ONI operative she-"

    "Though she is trained as an ONI operative, she is not the sole responsibility of the office." Daniel sighed. "That being said, I will see to it that we find an accommodation for Ms. Stroud, as I wouldn't feel right seeing my student on the streets."

    "Thank you, sir." Autumn nodded.

    "If there was nothing else, Ms. Stroud, I must speak to Blaine on matters most urgent." Daniel replied, with a wave of his hand. "Report to Kristine, just outside, she'll work her magic and find you a place to settle down when you're not serving."

    Autumn stood with a quick salute, before hurrying back to the elevator. Blaine turned to watch her leave, before facing Daniel again. Daniel gently rubbed the bridge of his nose with a sigh.

    "Where to begin." Daniel continued to rub for a moment, running a hand through his hair. "I believe you've met with a man named Walter A. Law?"

    "Yes." Blaine nodded, clenching his fists. "We've... interacted."

    Blaine remembered his time at the PMC's compound a few weeks back. How Walter had sanctioned the assault on New Alexandria and had killed his mother in the process, or the fact that Walter had somehow managed to resurrect Butch and horribly alter him.

    "Based on the tone of your voice, you share the same lack of respect for him as I do." Daniel replied. "The truth is, the Legion PMC that he oversees is in direct affiliation with ONI based upon a mutual understanding."

    "If you were not previously aware, the Legion runs off of the basis of Human domineering in the stars. That being said, Walter and his Company are extremely Xenophobic. Walter is the kind of businessman that takes what he wants, by whatever means necessary." Daniel continued. "After Humanity's brief introduction to Forerunner technology, instead of wishing it to be destroyed, Walter wishes to utilize it."

    "We in ONI fear that if he is allowed to harness the technology of the Forerunners, there may be an uprising." Daniel said. "That is why today I've called for you. ONI and the UNSC as a whole are going to need to prepare for the day that the Legion gets hasty enough to attempt a coup."

    "Doctor Jean-Bailey is waiting for you in conference room 1A." Daniel said. "She will brief you on your next assignment. I know you have four months of leave due, but this is crucial, Spartan. I'm sure you understand."

    "Yes sir." Blaine nodded.

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

    "Ah, Blaine." Bailey smirked, placing her hands on her hips. "It's been forever since I last saw you."

    "By this, you mean twelve hours." Blaine shook his head.

    "You need a sense of humor." Bailey chuckled to herself. "You're too tense all the time."

    "You don't win a war with laughter, ma'am." Blaine crossed his arms. "The Deputy-Director told me to report to you?"

    "Yes." Bailey replied. "You may have noticed a distinct lack of Legion support during the second Battle of Earth, right before the Aura went off to the Ark? That's because the Legion devoted their attention elsewhere."

    A holographic display of a Halo ring appeared before Blaine, causing him to shutter at it's sight. They were objects that were not to be trifled with.

    "This is the Halo ring you and your team were on a few days ago." Bailey replied. "Using reverse jump coordinates, Walter's ships managed to return there. Now, I am not condoning going to war with Walter. The last thing we need after stopping one war is to start another."

    "However, the Halo ring is still in a form of suspense after the failed activation." Bailey replied. "Further study of Cortana's data on the rings has shown a way to fully shut down the rings without resorting to destroying them and risk any potential Flood on site to spread."

    "ONI will be providing you with a Prowler. Your mission is to locate the Halo ring's source of power and disable it with this."

    Bailey held up a small disk shaped thing. On one end of it, was what Blaine assumed to be a suction cup, while the back was smooth metal. Bailey smirked for a second, before lightly tossing it at Blaine. Despite his reaction time, Blaine missed the disk, as it stuck to his chest.

    Blaine grunted as all functions in his suit failed in a millisecond. He was unable to move his armor, or anything for that matter. Bailey walked over and pulled the disk off of his chest. Suddenly, the lock up on his suit ended and he was permitted to move again.

    "That thing is dangerous." Blaine said.

    "If it shut down your suit, imagine what it would do to the ring?" Bailey replied. "It is now currently ONI and the UNSC's biggest designation to shut down the remaining Halo rings. It is as much asset denial to the Legion, as it is for the safety of all living beings in the Galaxy. Lord Hood and Director Parangosky wished to speak with you after you've returned."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 9th 2017, 10:01 pm

    It was definitely frightening for Blaine to be back to this place again. Even with Cortana's solution for the Flood menace, he wondered just how stopped the parasite truly was. The Legion he could handle if he engaged, but the Flood, if they got his Prowler, would become a threat once again.

    He had originally opted to bring Katherine and Lorelei with him, but after signing the papers to officially adopt Naomi, he needed someone to protect her. He would have preferred to find her a proper home, but in his time at the Orphanage, they had a hard enough time finding adopters during the Insurrectionist conflict. After a war like this, there were likely a lot of homeless children, and even fewer suitable parents for them.

    Spartans on child caretaking was the last thing he expected of them, but they didn't seem to mind when he last saw them. As the only soldier on board the Prowler, he knew that he didn't have to worry about a crew in case of a Flood infection. Working his way down to the vehicle bay, he left the Prowler drifting in stealth mode, leaving Lily on board to act as a beacon of sorts for his return.

    With a singular Pelican, Blaine dipped into the atmosphere of the Ring, no signs of the Legion or their ships were seen. As he broke the surface, he used the road-map that Bailey had laid out for him to find Halo's power source. Of course, according to these calculations, it was miles beneath the ground.

    As if by some cue, the ground beneath him opened up to show a giant metallic chasm. He gently lowered the bird into the hole, a flock of the drones scanning the Pelican for reasons unbeknownst to him. He found a decent place to land, before pulling his DMR off of his back. Stepping out of the ship, Blaine activated the remote ramp closure from his suit, closing the Pelican bay tight.

    Flood biomass covered the ground and walls of the landing zone. Boils in the wall seemed to jiggle in anticipation as he passed, a sight he would have been happier never to have seen. He figured that the parasite would be waiting for him, although nothing seemed to be around.

    "You have some nerve showing up here, Mr. Harlowe." Walter's voice suddenly crackled on his comm. "Don't think your little Pelican didn't get picked up by our sensors. What is your purpose here?"

    "Classified ONI business. They informed me of your alliance with them, however, you are not cleared to hear my mission briefing." Blaine continued as he walked along. "I suppose I could ask you the same question, but would get a similar response?"

    "Quite the contrary, if you must know, the Legion is here to ensure that no Covenant remnants are on this Ring that could remain a threat to Humanity." Walter replied. "Things will get no-where fast if we don't learn to trust each other, my friend."

    "After you sicced Butch on me at your compound, you honestly expect me to refer to you as a friend?" Blaine asked.

    "That was a matter of circumstance, if it brings you any closure, I wished to spectate your combat prowess first hand." Walter replied. "We do not need to be enemies, Mr. Harlowe. I firmly believe we could make a great team. An alliance, if you will."

    "As tempting as that is, my reason for being here is not to disturb the Legion." Blaine said. "I'm not at liberty to discuss my reasoning for being here, but I assure you it is not to antagonize you or your men. If you'll excuse me, I must continue my mission."

    "So be it." Walter said. "For your sake, I hope you're telling the truth."

    Blaine cut the communications, mumbling to himself as he found himself in a giant room covered in Flood biomass. Decaying, rotten flesh layered the walls and floors, massive tentacles that could easily sprawl the room, seemingly hastily ripped off, rotted throughout. Blaine wasn't entirely sure what horrors were once in this room, but it seemed like they had vacated.

    Using one of the tentacles, Blaine scaled it's length all the way down to the ground floor. He walked in liquid goo that seemed to be what solidified into the fleshy substance on the walls and floor. The very sloshing beneath his boots caused chills to run up his spine. Following the directions further led him to the center of the room. A bubble formed in the now solid fleshy biomass seemed to be Blaine's target.

    Grabbing his knife, Blaine plunged it into the fleshy goo, dragging it down enough to expose an orb of blueish green light. The orb was solid light, which was crazy for Blaine to consider, but with the Forerunners, anything was possible. He pulled the disk from a pouch on his hip and pressed it firmly to the power source.

    The Ring around him hummed as it's mechanical processes began to shut down. With a smirk, he expected Walter to contact him at any second, before working his way back to the tentacle.

    "I assume that was you?"

    "You know what they say about assumptions, Mr. Law." Blaine replied. "I don't know what the hell caused the shut-down just now, but it's as much a hindrance to my mission as I'm sure it is to yours."

    It was a bold faced lie to someone that even ONI feared. However, Blaine also knew that telling the truth would likely cause conflict between the two factions.

    "You know, Mr. Harlowe. Lying is a shameful act that has the tendency to lead to unnecessary blood shed." Walter replied.

    "Is that a threat?" Blaine scoffed.

    "A promise, I assure you." Walter gaffawed. "We've found what we needed to here. Should we meet in these circumstances again, it will not end pleasantly for you."

    "You mentioned something about trust before." Blaine replied with venom. "If you can't trust me, how can I trust you?"

    "Because, dear Blaine, I don't work for the likes of Death." Walter growled. "Daniel is about as much of a weasel as I'm sure he's told you I am."

    It was true that ONI were very shady individuals, considering what they had done to him and the other Spartans he had grown up with. However, Walter seemed like the kind of man that wouldn't just stop at smiling in your face while stabbing you in the back. He was the kind of man to stab you in the back, and hang your corpse in public as a warning.

    "Who I work for is not an accurate representation of me." Blaine replied. "I am here for the same reason as you, the betterment of Humanity's future."

    "Indeed." Walter mused. "I was right to believe you were more than a common, no questions asked kind of soldier. If you would only accept my offer, you could be so much more."

    "I'm sorry, I'm catching a lot of interference on my end." Blaine replied. "Say again?"

    Before Walter could reply, Blaine cut the line. If there was one thing he despised more than the Flood, it was talking to people like Walter. Ascending the dead tentacle once more, Blaine worked his way back through the way he had come. Entering the Pelican, Blaine began to ascend back through the chasm he had entered, the hole in the ground opening back up above him.

    As the Pelican ascending upwards towards the atmosphere of the Ring, Blaine's helmet blared a warning. Well before he could respond, the Pelican around him shuddered. The diagnostics of the machine showed that the rear half of the Pelican was completely destroyed. Bracing himself, the remainder of the Pelican crash landed harshly onto a lush hill, tumbling down.

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

    "Found him." a gruff voice grunted, Blaine's vision and hearing foggy.

    Blaine groaned as he felt himself being dragged from the wreckage of the Pelican. Attempting to stand, he felt a boot sharply smash into his helmet. His head slammed back down into the earth, a crack forming in his visor. As his vision cleared, he saw a Spartan II, much like himself, standing above him.

    He recognized this Spartan as General Manuel, of which they had met previously. Manuel reached down, clutching Blaine under his arms hand helping him to his feet. Blaine stumbled as he stood, only for Manuel's boot to snap into his gut again.

    "You think you're so fuckin' cute, don't you." Manuel hissed. "That you can disrespect Walter A. Law and get away with it? He may tolerate it, but I don't."

    "Says the guy beating a helpless victim of a spaceship crash." Blaine smirked beneath his helmet. "You want disrespect, that's about as big as it comes."

    Blaine grunted again as Manuel struck a fist upwards and into Blaine's stomach. A bit of bile expelled of Blaine's mouth and into the bottom of his helmet.

    "That's enough, General." Walter said from behind them. "I think he's learned his lesson."

    "Yeah lap dog." Blaine growled, shoving Manuel off of him. "Heel boy, heel."

    "That's enough out of you, Mr. Harlowe." Walter said. "I don't care if I have the clearance or not. You will be telling me what your mission on this Ring was, or I'll trap you here with no means of escape."

    "You shoot me out of the sky, sic your damn guard dog on me, and then expect me to answer you?" Blaine shook his head. "You really are ignorant of your surroundings."

    "No, I'm a business man." Walter said. "Your actions on this Ring have disrupted my business. So now you will be punished. Answer my question, and I'll leave a Pelican here so you can return to whatever ship dropped you here."

    "Here's a better idea." Blaine lifted his pistol, aiming it at Walter. "You give me a ride, or I kill you and these men here and take that bird over there, save the UNSC the trouble."

    "You're not really good at bargaining, are you?"

    "Nope." Blaine said. "Really good at killing things though. I was raised for it, actually."

    There was tension between the group for merely a moment, before Walter was on top of Blaine. A strong grip pushed Blaine's pistol hand away, knocking the pistol aside, before a flat palmed thrust struck his midsection. Blaine groaned as he stumbled back. Walter, on the other hand, collected himself. This time Blaine was certain Walter's eyes had glowed a deep red.

    "I see that you cannot be reasoned with." Walter sighed. "Just like those things you called your parents. General, I want you to send him to them."

    "Sir." Manuel turned to Walter. "I had respect for you, Spartan, but then you had to cross my people."

    "Fuck. You." Blaine crossed his arms. "Being here crosses my people, you don't see me kicking your ass for it when you're defenseless."

    Blaine rarely cursed in favor of keeping things mostly professional. In times like these however, it made him feel more inspired. Especially if the people he cursed to knew him, then they would know he was truly pissed at that point.

    With his words, Blaine prepared himself as Manuel reached for his back. Pulling some sort of shot baton like instrument, Manuel flicked his wrist, as a massive Trident shaped weapon extended from the baton.

    "A Trident?" Blaine shook his head. "Suspicions confirmed; you are a devil."

    "Scared?" Manuel said, flicking the Trident with his left hand, before tightening his grip. "You should be."

    Blaine cracked his neck, as Manuel charged him. Kicking the tips of the Trident away from him, Blaine swung his right fist out, fast as a cobra. The strike landed in the space between Manuel's helmet and chest piece. The General backed off for a moment, as Blaine moved in.

    Swinging his right fist again, Blaine clocked Manuel across the 'cheek', causing the Spartan's head to turn in that direction. Grabbing Manuel by the shoulder, Blaine brought his left fist up into the General's stomach, before finishing with a nasty headbutt.

    Manuel groaned, stumbling backwards, before composing himself. With one swift motion, the bottom of Manuel's Trident extended as he swept it, the extension striking Blaine on the side of the helmet. Manuel kept on the pressure, using the bottom of the handle to batter Blaine around as he advanced.

    With one mighty swing, the handle of the Trident held enough force to knock Blaine back into the wreckage of his Pelican. Blaine glanced around for a moment, only to find what appeared to be a pipe about as long as he was tall. Clasping the thick pipe in his hands, Blaine jumped out of the Pelican and towards Manuel.

    He swung the pipe downwards like a bludgeon, while Manuel brought the Trident up horizontally to block him. The two struggled for a moment, before Manuel put a foot to Blaine's chest and pushed him away. Following up, Manuel swung the bladed edge of the Trident down towards Blaine. Blaine held his pipe up, distancing himself enough so that he'd be safe in case the pipe held out.

    Blaine was glad he did when the blades cut through the pipe like butter. With two pipes, one for each hand, Blaine twirled them around expertly, before pointing one towards Manuel. Blaine jumped back a few feet, sprinting forward to gain momentum. Manuel sprinted towards Blaine as well, both jumping up into the air to gather leverage over the other.

    Blaine swung his pipes, and Manuel his Trident. At their speed, the weapons collided harmlessly against each other, but held enough force to turn their wielders in air. When both Spartans landed, they glared at each other for a fraction of a second.

    "Hold your fire." Blaine heard Walter say to one of the Legionaire Marines. "I want to see this one out."

    The distraction from this was enough for Manuel to close the gap between them. Blaine, however, saw the blur in his peripherals and raised his pipes in an X formation in front of him to block the swing. Without the previous tension, the blades at the tip did not in fact cut through the pipes, however the force was enough to push Blaine back several meters.

    Blaine glanced up at Manuel and charged forward, swinging each pipe in a swordsman dance. Manuel grunted as he blocked each swing, the force behind them rattling the weapon in his hand. With one last valiant strike, Blaine jumped backwards after Manuel blocked to avoid the follow up.

    Manuel bounded after Blaine, swinging his Trident as Blaine did. Their weapons clashed with one another in a flurry of blows unseen by normal human eyes. Both combatants were pushed back from each other from the stalemate. Blaine lowered onto his haunches, before blasting forward with his Spartan speed. Bouncing off of his left foot, he raising his right boot to kick Manuel, who used his Trident's handle to block it.

    Flipping backwards off of it, Blaine landed as Manuel advanced again. Manuel jumped at Blaine, swinging his Trident back and front in a flurry of strikes. Blaine met each one with a pipe half, before knocking aside Manuel's Trident. In one swift motion, while Manuel recovered, Blaine's pipe stuck the side of Manuel's ODST helmet.

    Manuel stumbled backwards, as Blaine twirled the weapons in his hands and moved up to follow his previous strike. Manuel raised his Trident in time to block the upper strike, the weapons clashing. Both Spartans, though Blaine was taller, stared into each other's visors with malice.

    Manuel used the bottom of his Trident to beat Blaine backwards, however. Blaine stumbled back, as Manuel dove towards him. Raising his pipes again to block the attack, Blaine grunted at the strength exhibited by his opponent. Manuel fell back from his aerial strike, twirling his Trident in his hands, holding it with both hands at his side, bladed edge facing Blaine.

    Blaine's eyes widened as he flipped backwards, clipping his pipes to his back, where his DMR and Assault Rifle should have been. He flipped and contorted himself to avoid the flurry of stabs from Manuel, as his boots found themselves on the edge of his downed Pelican.

    Bouncing off, Blaine flipped over Manuel's head, pulling the pipes off of his back. As Blaine was about to land, however, he raised the pipes above his head, roaring as he slammed them down harshly on the back of Manuel's helmet. The force of the blow was enough to knock the General onto his stomach, his Trident falling out of his hands and tumbling a few inches in front of him.

    As Manuel was about to stand, Blaine swung both of his pipes like golf clubs against the back of Manuel's helmet, causing the Spartan to tumble forward from the force. As he tumbled, however, Manuel managed to snatch his Trident and hold it safely as he rolled. When he stopped, he found himself back on his stomach, his Trident resting flatly across his chest.

    Manuel grit his teeth as he struggled to stand from the barrage of insanely heavy strikes, turning just in time for Blaine's left pipe to strike him just above his stomach in an upwards motion. Using his right pipe, Blaine struck Manuel just under his helmet. With the momentum from his swing, Blaine brought them both back across Manuel's helmet, knocking the Spartan's head aside.

    Swinging his right pipe at a downwards diagonal path, Blaine clouted the left side of Manuel's helmet, causing his opponent's head to sink slightly. With his left pipe, Blaine crossed in a similar downwards path across the right side of Manuel's helmet, stooping Manuel's head even further. Swinging his pipes up under Manuel's chin again, the blow had enough force to bump Manuel up into the air.

    Blaine sprung off of both his feet to gain enough height, flipping in air, and striking both of the pipes harshly into Manuel's midsection. Manuel tumbled back along the ground after Blaine's mighty spike, rolling for a few meters before spearing his Trident into the ground beneath him. Sliding a few meters to a stop, Manuel twirled his trident again.

    After landing, Blaine sprang off of his right foot to close the distance between them. Manuel growled loudly, before raising his Trident high above his head. As Blaine drew nearer, Manuel plunged the tip into the ground. As he did so, a massive circle of the ground beneath their feet fractured and was launched into the air by the anti-gravity effect. It almost reminded Blaine of Brute Gravity hammers, as he had seen used during the Battle for Earth.

    Blaine and the debris were launched far back, leaving Manuel standing in the crater of his own creation. Blaine growled as his two pipes landed pretty far distanced away from him to his right. Glaring at Manuel, Blaine instead began to heft the otherwise heavy boulders throwing them over his head at Manuel, who attempted to close the gap between them.

    As his boulders traveled towards Manuel, Blaine dove to regain the pipes. As he did so, Manuel swung his Trident down on Blaine. With only a second to spare, Blaine raised the pipes to block the strike. Both combatants swung their weapons, taking their fair share of strikes and blocks. Bouncing backwards, the two combatants huffed and puffed for a good moment, before Manuel dove upwards.

    Once again, the bladed edge of his Trident glowed a mysterious blue color, as it had before he plunged it into the ground before. Blaine grunted before throwing both of the pipes at Manuel's face. The metallic cylinders met their mark, Manuel flinching while Blaine sidestepped his aerial stab. Blaine ran up to meet the descending Spartan, using his sprint and full weight to smash his right fist into Manuel's helmet.

    The punch was aimed downwards, yet again spiking Manuel into the ground. Manuel grunted as he landed on his back, his Trident just out of his reach. Blaine kicked the weapon aside, before planting his boot firmly on Manuel's chest. Before Blaine could react, however, a mighty punch launched him off of his feet and back into the Pelican.

    Blaine grunted as he shakily stood. Crawling out of the wreckage, he saw Walter standing over his General. Handing the Spartan his Trident, he silently ordered the Manuel something. Manuel stood, glared at Blaine for a moment, before nodding hesitantly, walking away.

    "Your fights are very interesting to watch." Walter said. "You're adaptive, you use your enemies timing against them. It reminds me a lot of myself."

    Walter's eyes burned a deep dark red as he crossed his arms. Blaine stood as the businessman smirked. Gently, Walter pulled his business coat off, leaving underneath only a button up shirt and a vest. One Marine graciously took his coat off of his hands. Blaine was confused, as hard as Walter had hit him, he was so statistically weak body type wise. How was he so strong?

    "I can sense your confusion. You don't head a Private Military Company unless you experience combat, boy." Walter gently rolled his neck. "I want to spar with you, and because I'm a business man, I'll offer you this. If you can manage to hold me off for more than ten seconds, you can have a Pelican. If you can't... well, you'll be dead anyways."

    "Cute." Blaine coughed. "You aren't even a Spartan. What chance do you have."

    "Looks can be deceiving, child." Walter hissed, splaying his arms wide.

    Before Blaine could fully stand, Walter was on top of him. With a mighty strike to his abdominal region, Blaine felt a shock wave pulse through his body, which, had he not been augmented, likely would have liquidated his organs. Blaine felt the weight of the blow launch him back once again into his wrecked Pelican, and even through it.

    "You are weak." Walter growled as he stepped forward. "A mockery to a true warrior. Though you have been granted technology that gives you augmented strength, you are nothing to me. A bug that was meant to be squashed."

    Blaine struggled to stand to his feet, as Walter meandered towards him. Blaine winced, feeling his ribs, one of which was definitely broken. Painfully, Blaine fell to a knee as Walter continued to march towards him.

    "I am so much more than you. So much more than the feeble Humans you swore to protect." Walter ranted. "Humankind may be my charge, but I will not be bested by a mere peasant such as yourself!"

    "What are you?" Blaine asked, clutching his chest. "You refer to Humans as beneath you, are you Forerunner?"

    "The Forerunners were fools. I am above them as well." Walter said. "I am the rider of the Red Horse. The one who would steal peace, make Humanity and other races slay each other. The lord of bloodshed, the ultimate combatant."

    "I am a Horseman of the Apocalypse." Walter clutched Blaine by the throat. "War. You have no hopes to stop me."

    With little care, Walter tossed Blaine aside like a discarded banana peel. Blaine groaned as he tumbled along the ground. Blaine's vision blurred for a moment as he watched Walter continue to march towards him. Clenching his fist, Blaine struck the ground beneath him with his fist.

    He just finished the war with the Covenant, and could finally start to focus on his own life. Now here he was, fighting against what he could only assume was some sort of mythical being straight out of a book he never read.

    "Have faith in yourself, child." Blaine flinched as he heard a mysterious female voice call in his ear. "You will not die on this world. You are the Lamb of our people, no Horseman has the power to overwhelm you."

    Blaine had no idea what it meant, but it was definitely the spiritual and inspirational boost he desperately needed in this moment. Gritting his teeth, Blaine felt a new rush of energy welling up, his heart pounding with adrenaline. He felt his joints in his right hand pop as his fist tightened further. Striking it into the ground once more, his head snapped up to face Walter, whose gaze appeared to hold confusion.

    Blaine roared, feeling the fire in his stomach erupt like a raging volcano. His arms wrapped around Walter's torso as he sprinted forward, back through the wreckage. Diving forward, Blaine landed on top of Walter, as the two rolled across the floor. Blaine grunted as he landed on top, pinning Walter to the ground with his knees. With three mighty punches to Walter's face, the man beneath him swung his legs mightily into Blaine's back.

    Blaine rolled off, before turning to Walter. Walter stood, wiping blood from his broken nose. In a pulse of energy Blaine couldn't begin to comprehend, Walter was overtaken by a blackish red aura of energy. Blaine side stepped as Walter dashed towards him, holding his leg out. Walter grunted as he tripped over the leg, smashing his forehead on the Legion Pelican.

    As Blaine moved for the counter, Walter rolled away. Blaine's fist punctured the side of the Pelican, even moving the rig a few inches from it's original position. Wrenching his hand free, Blaine turned with grit teeth towards Walter, who sprinted towards him. Bracing himself, Blaine ducked low, wrapping his arms around Walter's waist.

    Blaine looked up in time to see Walter's look of shock. Smirking beneath his helmet, Blaine rested Walter in his grip, before jumping into the air. Diving backwards, Blaine smashed Walter's face into the ground in a massive suplex. Blaine growled as he stood, turning to Walter, who stood with little sign of pain.

    "Impressive." Walter huffed. "Very impressive, even for a primitive like yourself."

    "I've got more in me." Blaine craned his neck. "Come get it, or is War too afraid?"

    "You ingrate." Walter snarled, his once neat hair unfurled. "You land a few good blows on me and think you're superior?!"

    "Think?" Blaine crossed his arms, tapping the chin of his helmet. "Funny."

    Walter fumed, before sprinting head long into Blaine's chest. Stopping in his tracks, Blaine continued going for a few meters. Sprawled onto his back, Walter charged at him jumping in the air. While in air, Walter tucked in his right foot, as if he was going to stomp down on Blaine's chest.

    Rolling out of the way, Blaine felt the ground beneath him buckle when Walter landed. In that instance, he was glad he could still move, given how easily that could have killed him. Standing to his feet, Blaine tackled Walter to the ground, as the two rolled again. Before Blaine could strike, however, Walter pushed him off. Rolling to his feet, Blaine charged at Walter, striking his boot up and under Walter's chin.

    Blaine continued going to give himself distance, while Walter's head smashed painfully back onto the ground behind him. Blaine turned, just as Walter began to stand again. His hair was completely in disarray, and he huffed and puffed, glaring at Blaine with his piercing red eyes. Blood trickled down the corner of Walter's mouth, as he nonchalantly spat out a tooth.

    "In times of great need, such as an apocalypse, there will always be a time for someone to stand against it." Blaine growled. "I pride myself in my inability to go against the grain. What do you have? You relish in the deaths of others."

    "In all of my years, there has always been one to stand against me and my plans for this race." Walter growled. "In all of them, I sensed the same aura. You are different, however. Your aura matches theirs, but... it's active. They must have interfered."

    "It's been more than ten seconds." Walter sighed with a hint of annoyance. "I am a man of my word. You will have the Pelican you require. My men and I will wait here for a replacement. Understand that this scuffle destroys any hope you had of my offer ever coming true."

    "Piss on you and that deal." Blaine spat. "Stay off of the Halo rings, or we'll meet again."

    "I'm sure we will, either way." Walter mused, as he returned his business suit jacket back. "Inform the General and the men on board that this is the Spartan's transport now."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 12th 2017, 3:09 am

    "The sensors on the Prowler went off a while ago." Lily said, her avatar appearing above the pilot's seat. "Explosion in the lower quadrant, and the friendly Pelican fell off the radar. What happened down there?"

    "Nothing good." Blaine grunted as he placed himself into the seat.

    Without the adrenaline surge he had accumulated from his scuff with Manuel and Walter, Blaine was severely hurt. Thankfully for him, none of it was life threatening, but he would likely need some time to heal. Lily, however, continued to hold a look of concern towards him.

    "Try not to push yourself to hard now that the war is over." Lily said. "You have people that care about you now, and we can't have you risking your life daily."

    "That's been my every day for the past thirty-five years, Lily." Blaine grunted. "Old habits die hard. I mean, I've overcome fearing if I'm even going to wake up after I close my eyes. Now? I just do what I can while I can."

    Lily silently nodded, before turning her frame towards the console. Using the coordinate plan laid out for Earth, she initiated the auto-piloting system while Blaine carefully lifted her chip into his helmet. Like cold liquid, her system flooded back into his suit. It had been a several hours since she was in, so the chill of her system transferal was fresh.

    "That helmet's two days old, Blaine." Lily said. "That's a really bad crack."

    "Helmet's and I just never get along." Blaine grunted.

    "You're really beaten up, the hell did you fight against? Mutant space bears?" she asked.

    "You could say something like that." Blaine sighed. "What's our ETA?"

    "Unsure, Lord Hood tasked me with a detour to the outer edge of the Inner Colonies. The Oort Cloud, to be more specific. He said he wanted to meet you there."

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

    As the Prowler approached the spatial cloud, Blaine could barely make out a very large UNSC station hovering towards the cloud's center. From what he could make out, a giant husk of an almost cylindrical shape began to form. It looked almost like a starship, but heavily enlarged and gutted.

    "Unidentified UNSC vehicle, you are approaching a strictly classified station. Identify yourself or divert your course to the minimal safe distance of five light-years from this location, failure to do so will result in your vessel to be shot down."  a man's voice gruffly spoke into the communications system of Blaine's helmet.

    "I am Rear Admiral Blaine One-One-Five. I was instructed by Lord Admiral Terrance Hood to report to this location."

    "He speaks the truth, dispatch." Lord Hood's voice crackled in. "He's got the proper clearance, son, get him a docking site."

    Lily used the auto pilot to follow the docking vector laid out holographically in front of the Prowler to guid the ship into dry-dock. Working his way down to the vehicle bay of the Prowler, Blaine stepped out, only to be greeted personally by Lord Hood.

    "I'm glad to see you, son." Hood said. "Bump your head?"

    "No sir. I'll have a detailed report about my previous operation following this meeting." Blaine replied with a salute. "With respect, sir, where exactly are we?"

    "We're in a place that doesn't exist, Spartan." Hood smirked with the typical black ink smile of an ONI operative. "That is to say, there is no name to this place. It's what is inside that I want you to see."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 17th 2017, 11:04 pm

    "Isn't she a beautiful sight, Admiral?" Lord Hood stepped in time with Blaine, arms folded gently behind his back.

    "It's astonishing, to say the least sir." Blaine said.

    The unfathomably long vessel he had seen from the Prowler was in fact not a part of the station, but the pet project of it. From this angle, he could easily make out that this was in fact another UNSC ship, much larger and more imposing than anything he had ever seen before in his life.

    "Her name is Infinity." Hood said. "Commanders, a moment?"

    Hood and Blaine stopped as a young man with short brown hair and in standard Naval dress uniform. Beside the young man, however, a woman in a black undersuit similar to the Mjolnir model approached. Her sharp brown eyes glanced up at Blaine's helmet for a moment, before she smirked.

    "So you're a Spartan II." she snickered. "I thought you all took good care of your gear."

    "Gear is material." Blaine replied with a huff. "The lives of innocents mean more to me than mere tech. What's your excuse?"

    Blaine was of course talking of the gauze wrapped around her upper left torso, encompassing her shoulder and left arm. The woman chose to focus solely on his visor for a moment, before snickering.

    "More vocal than the few I've met too." she smiled. "Commander Sarah Palmer."

    "Rear Admiral Blaine-115." Blaine offered her a curt nod, before a hand. "It's refreshing to meet a fellow soldier with an open mind."

    "Likewise, sir." Palmer said.

    Hood grinned, placing his hand firmly on Blaine's back. As he did so, Blaine and the young man shook hands, the man introducing himself as Commander Thomas Lasky.

    "These two are very crucial to the Infinity." Hood said. "Hand picked by a few... representatives from ONI, myself, and a couple of Spartans."

    "Sir?" Blaine turned to Hood, who nodded his head forward, Blaine turning to see a somewhat familiar soldier in front of him.

    Months ago, on Reach, Blaine had seen this Spartan with Jorge's squad. Although, Blaine recalled that this Spartan had sat on the Falcon, for whatever purpose eluded him. Regardless, he approached Blaine with a crisp salute.

    "Rear Admiral, a pleasure to meet you face to face." the Spartan said, his helmet resting in his spare hand. "Jun-A266 Spartan III. Noble Team."

    "Noble Team." Blaine nodded. "That was Jorge's last hurrah, eh?"

    "You knew the big guy?" Jun asked. "Don't get me wrong, sir, Jorge was a detachment from the Spartan IIs. I had no idea he had any contact with the others of your group."

    "We don't just know each other." Blaine sighed, his hands going to Jorge's tags on his neck. "We're brothers. He wasn't the only detachment, but that doesn't mean we weren't trained with the others."

    "My apologies, sir." Jun said.

    "Stow the pity." Blaine said. "He's not gone, remember?"

    "Right, sorry sir."

    There was a whirring noise that gently echoed through the area, Blaine's sensitive ears picked it up from behind them. Turning on his boots, he saw a man in Naval dress on an automated wheelchair, gently scooting along the floor to their position.

    "Are you seriously letting this big lug bully you, Jun?" the man said. "One-one-five, it's been a very long time. Commander Musa. Though I suppose you once knew me as Spartan 096."

    "I'll be damned." Blaine said with a salute. "It's good to see one of the others again."

    "Indeed, sir." Musa nodded, snapping to a salute. "Lord Hood, sir, a pleasure as always."

    "Likewise son." Hood said. "I'll get you up to speed on the situation, along with the introductions. Spartan Jun and Commander Musa here are headed the next step for Spartans. The project hasn't been entirely pushed into motion, but it is the UNSC and ONI's best tactical motion to start another generation."

    Blaine's heart palpitated for a moment as he heard this. The UNSC and ONI wanted to create another generation of Spartans? It was a time of peace, for what purpose would another generation serve, unless it was to completely replace himself and the remaining Spartans still in service?

    "Spartan Jun and Commander Musa have been hard at work locating and enlisting ODST and highly decorated Marines to undertake the augmentations. This will be Generation IV of SPARTAN." Hood said, before tilting his head towards Commander Palmer. "Ms. Palmer will be one of the second wave of soldiers to undergo the augmentations. If we are properly greenlit by the UEG and other members of HIGHCOM, the Spartan IVs will be serving on board the Infinity."

    "Three highly decorated soldiers have been suggested to take the position to command her." Hood continued. "I have brought you here, because I would like to extend this to you. The Infinity is your bird, should you accept. You and the Infinity will be the face of the UNSC Home Fleet."

    Blaine couldn't believe what he was hearing, Lord Hood was offering him to take the most powerful warship in Human history to be his. To essentially be a Fleet Admiral that would hold command over the majority of Humanity's fleet. However, he had always been a soldier that served better on the ground. He was determined to one day act as the Captain of the Aura as he was originally promoted to do.

    He wouldn't have been able to accept that responsibility of being safe on the bridge, while his men were dying on the ground. The very fact he was able to leave the Aura to Autumn and not have bitter feelings from the crew was remarkable enough.

    "Sir, it would be an honor." Blaine shook his head. "However, I respectfully decline. Spartans serve with our boots on the ground, the Aura is plenty enough of a responsibility for me, sir."

    "I may not fully understand, I can respect your decision." Hood said. "Director Parangosky and myself will have to determine that then. As the Aura's acting chief of staff, you understand that the Aura, while under your discretion, will be serving as an escort/guide for the Infinity during her tours of duty?"

    "I do." Blaine said.

    "Very good." Hood said. "You've had a long day, Spartan. However, before you go on leave, Dr. Bailey is here. It appears she may have forgotten to share with you earlier."

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

    "I leave you alone for a few hours and you have a crack in your visor." Bailey shook her head. "You Spartans certainly are reckless."

    "Doc, if I had a thousand credits for every time I heard that today, I could buy a fresh suit to replace it." Blaine sighed, arms crossed.

    "I don't even know how you feasibly overloaded this suit of armor." Bailey shook her head in disbelief. "The Mark VI was only granted to you a few days ago."

    "Ending a war is very taxing, on both man and machine." Blaine grunted. "You think this is bad, I could only imagine the Chief's-"

    Blaine paused as he mentioned the Master Chief, remembering that the Forward Unto Dawn hadn't actually returned in whole, meaning that the Master Chief was likely drifting through space. Anywhere from Earth to the outer rim of the Milky Way. By the time the UNSC found him, he'd be long dead, unless the cryo tubes magically worked.

    "Well thankfully, you won't have to worry about it anymore. We can scrap the old armor in favor of this." Bailey said, causing Blaine to turn to face her.

    On an armor rack laid a sleek, yet more slender variant of Mjolnir armor. It wasn't quite as bulky as the armor had always been, but still had that sense of respect it always seemed to demand. In the typical blueberry blue and brick red color scheme Blaine had followed all his years, the angular leg, body, and arm pieces also sported a brushed silver highlight. The helmet above it almost reminded Blaine of an inverted triangle, with some sort of stealth design hinted by it's overall look.

    "Welcome to Generation 2 Mjolnir. It's designed to even further increase your mobility and overall strength than ever before for a fraction of the weight. That doesn't mean that the armor lacks proper defenses. The energy shielding systems have been greatly increased to offer better protection to the wearer." Bailey smiled. "My favorite part is the thrusters feature. As you sprint, the thrusters on the shoulder blades will heat up and actually give you more of a speed boost."

    "There are also stabilization jets in the boots, ankles, calves, and on the back. When activated, they can slow the wearer's descent to a survivable velocity. Test subjects also suggested that when activated, you can levitate in air for a matter of seconds before they disperse, allowing you to get in a shot." Bailey said. "Recon models of the armor are still in construction. However, Deputy Director Krieg himself specifically requisitioned this armor for you."

    "VENATOR-Class Helmet with ACHILLES-Class Armor." Bailey said. "Of course, you'll need to put on a new undersuit to properly interface with the suit. When you've done that, call me back into the room."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 17th 2017, 11:15 pm



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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 18th 2017, 8:25 pm

    (The Following Week)

    Blaine could tell just how uncomfortable both Lorelei and Katherine were outside of their armor in public. None of Halsey's Spartans had been out of their armor in public since they were extremely young, hell, it was even before they were even introduced to the first variation of Mjolnir.

    "Oh wow, look at that one!" Naomi giggled as she pointed at the creature in the enclosure.

    Blaine had never been to a Zoo before in his life. It also didn't help that being a Reach native, most of the Earth native fauna that other Humans were accustomed to were completely alien to him. This creature was unlike anything he had ever seen before, even in his childhood studies with Déjà. The creature sat upon a rocky outcrop in the simulated environment Blaine assumed it came from.

    Bluish gray fur covered the majority of the creature's form, with the exception of it's torso, which was darker gray and bare. It's arms were bulky and imposing, even for Blaine, as well as it's hind legs. From what Blaine could make out from it's sitting posture, it likely slumped forward, using it's arms to assist it in locomotion. The hair on it's legs, and some that Blaine could see on it's back whenever the creature raised it's arm was silver in coloration.

    "Isn't he majestic?" one woman in beige attire approached them. "His name is Abuntabu."

    "That's an interesting name." Blaine turned to the woman. "What does it mean?"

    "Well, it's actually something I came up with, with little origin." the woman replied with a smile. "It's a mixture of the words Abundance and Tabuu. He's a Silverback Gorilla. If you can believe it, Abuntabu's species once faced extinction several generations ago."

    "Based off of what Humanity's been through recently, that's not entirely hard to believe." Blaine turned, as the gorilla opened it's mouth wide in a yawn, baring a set of four sharp fangs. "It's got some chompers on him, doesn't he?"

    "While mountain gorillas of his nature are herbivores, they have elongated canine teeth to help them break open fruits and other such sources of sustenance they would have trouble accessing with their bare hands."

    Blaine nodded at the thought of the creature taking a hard shelled fruit and biting down on it to open it. At the thought of food, however, his stomach grumbled. It was obvious to all around who it originated from, as Blaine chuckled.

    "Well, I guess I can understand that." Blaine laughed. "I'll go get some food. You want anything kiddo?"

    "Cotton candy!" Naomi said.

    Though Blaine himself couldn't really stand much in the ways of sweet anymore, considering he very rarely had sweets, he decided she deserved one little treat, as he never actually did get her that cake he promised her. Katherine and Lorelei silently shook their heads, as Blaine walked away.

    Approaching a concession stand, he ordered himself a cheeseburger and a container of cotton candy. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before, the consistency of which reminded him more of fiber than candy. Then again, he hadn't actually ever had cotton candy before in his life. With a mental shrug, he paid the credits for the food and worked his way back to the Gorilla enclosure.

    As he was approaching, however, he heard the employee scream, turning towards Blaine with fear in her eyes. Blaine dropped the food, sprinting over, with Naomi no-where in sight. Lorelei and Katherine stared over the edge of the enclosure and down into the pen. Blaine approached, glancing down at the miniature environment.

    The fall wasn't nearly enough for Naomi to have been hurt, but it was definitely enough to make it so he couldn't exactly reach down to grab her. Worse enough, Abuntabu began to rise into a standing position, snorting at the intruder to his enclosure.

    "Oh my god, oh my god." the employee said behind Blaine. "Abuntabu's handler isn't here today. She had the day off."

    Abuntabu walked cautiously over towards Naomi, who pressed herself nervously up against the glass used by the lower levels. The gorilla stopped just before Naomi, sniffing her hair gently, before lifting her by the back of her shirt. The ten year old girl was definitely afraid of what was going on, but didn't want to anger the Gorilla, which Blaine was thankful for.

    Abuntabu took Naomi back to his rocky outcrop, before sitting crosslegged, picking at her hair. Behind Blaine, he could hear the employee, who was still freaking out, release a sigh of relief.

    "He's grooming her. That's good." the employee said. "Dammit Denise, pick up the phone! We had a kid fall in Abuntabu's enclosure!"

    "Relax." Blaine said. "Katherine, Lorelei, I'll need your help for this."

    "No sir, I cannot allow you down there." the woman said. "We need Abuntabu's handler to approach him. She taught him sign language to communicate."

    Blaine paused for a moment at her words, before shrugging and vaulting over the fence and into the pit. Standing tall, Blaine wasn't surprised to see the gorilla stand, obviously challenged. Blaine didn't know much about the creature, other than it was an obvious danger to Naomi if she tried to leave with him.

    Creatures like the gorillas, which reminded Blaine to some degree of Guetas, were generally benign unless challenged. Turning his head away to avoid eye contact, Blaine began to use sign language, something he rarely used, but was trained by Déjà on the off chance it would one day be useful for information. The gorilla, which had at first felt threatened, relaxed slightly. When Blaine thought it was safe to do so, he turned his head back to face the gorilla.

    "Calm." the gorilla signed back to him.

    "Thank you." Blaine's hands worked calmly to say. "I am a friend."

    "Why here?"

    Blaine nodded gently, keeping his feet firmly planted, as he gestured towards Naomi, who looked a mixture of scared and surprised at Blaine's ability to remain calm in this situation. He began to mull over in his head exactly what words he could say that the ape might be able to understand.

    "Young. My young." Blaine pointed to his chest as he did so.

    "Young is yours?" the ape signed, before carefully looking down at Naomi with thoughtful eyes. "Smells of fruit. Is nice. Keep safe."

    "I'll protect her." Blaine nodded, to which the ape huffed.

    "Young is friend." the ape signed. "Young stay."

    "Young needs to come with me." Blaine moved his hands firmly. "She's my family, pack."

    Around him, he could see people from behind the glass staring in a mixture of fear and amazement as this strange man stood in the enclosure, signing to the gorilla with little fear. Above him, he could feel Katherine and Lorelei ready to assist if necessary, and imagined the employee was praying to keep her job.

    "I like young." the ape said, gently brushing Naomi's hair. "Young is nice, young not like other young. Other young challenge me"

    Blaine could understand the feeling of having unwanted attention, it was the very thing that bothered himself and the other Spartan IIs all day. He could only imagine the amount of kids screaming in excitement, or banging on the glass, or imitating Abuntabu to get a rise out of him.

    "Young is nice." Blaine smiled. "Young means lots to me."

    "I be punished." Abuntabu signed, dipping his head. "Not first young in here, no food punished."

    Blaine understood that feeling as well, Mendez' most notorious punishment for their training was to go hungry. It helped teach them urgency, as if they were being punished in training, it was to symbolize that they would likely die where they screwed up in combat.

    "I'll do what I can." Blaine signed, before turning to the employee.

    Abuntabu huffed through his nose, before looking down at Naomi, tears forming in her eyes. Gently, he lowered his head down to hers, giving her a light peck on the forehead, before lifting her by the back of the shirt again to put her on her feet before him. Naomi looked for a moment at Abuntabu, before glancing at Blaine. Blaine gave her a calm yet stern nod.

    She slowly turned to Abuntabu and smiled at him, before slowly walking her way towards Blaine. When she was behind him, the crowds beyond the glass and even above them began to cheer and applaud, as Blaine held up his hands to stop them.

    "Thank you." Blaine signed. "I will get you food. Speaking to others."

    "Abuntabu was kind enough to let her go without payment." Blaine said to the employee above him. "He also informed me that you all starve him when a child falls into the enclosure. He has shown that he is not hostile to children, yet you punish him for it?"

    "Zoo policy." the employee said meekly.

    "He's already subjected to countless hours of being watched and observed from a containment. You even starve him for protecting children that fall in?" Blaine shook his head. "Bring him some damn food, now."

    "U-uh I c-can't."

    "Then get someone who can." Blaine growled. "Don't worry about the two of us, we are in no danger here."

    "You can talk to gorillas?" Naomi asked quietly from behind him.

    Blaine knelt down beside her, before gently wrapping his arms around her with a chuckle.

    "No kiddo. Abuntabu was taught sign language, so I use that to talk to him." Blaine said. "I can't actually speak gorilla. Are you okay? Did you get hurt by the fall?"

    "No." Naomi shook her head. "I'm sorry."

    "You have to be more careful." Blaine said sternly. "You could have been really hurt, and we're lucky that Abuntabu is friendly with kids."

    "Do you have a shot?" Blaine heard above him, his eyes widening.

    Blaine glanced up to see a man with a strange beige hat, almost like an old bowler, standing next to a man with a rifle. Blaine glanced up at Lorelei and Katherine, and with a quick nod, the two of them easily disarmed the man with a rifle.

    "I said food for Abuntabu to eat, not a fucking bullet." Blaine growled, before looking over to Abuntabu. "Do not be scared."

    Blaine instructed Naomi to stay there, while Blaine walked over in front of Abuntabu. At first, the gorilla was confused, until Blaine turned his back to the gorilla, spreading his arms wide.

    "Abuntabu only wanted to make sure my child was safe. Why shoot him?" Blaine growled. "I don't care about your Zoo's policies, no-one is harmed, and I'd like to keep it that way."

    "Sir, we have got a ladder for you and your daughter." the man said. "However, such behavior for this gorilla is unacceptable?"

    "What behavior?" Blaine shook his head in disbelief. "Abuntabu has done nothing to harm her. She fell down here on accident, and he has only been watching out for her."

    "I must insist that you step out of that enclosure." the manager replied. "Ma'am, hand the rifle back to the employee."

    "Katherine." Blaine called up to her. "Disable it."

    Without hesitation, Katherine removed the bullet from the chamber, and pulled the magazine from the gun, before tossing it down to Blaine. Blaine pocketed the magazine, before turning to Abuntabu with a nod.

    "Your ethics for animal treatment will be brought to the attention of the local authorities." Blaine said. "Starving creatures for being natural is not proper. I will see to it that you are ripped from your position, and someone more competent and compassionate towards animals take you place. Apprehend them."

    Katherine and Lorelei took little time subduing the two men with whatever they could to tie their hands behind their backs. One man, at the top of the enclosure, whistled to Blaine. Blaine glanced over to see a spherical green object in the man's hand. Tossing it down to Blaine, he caught it with ease, before turning and offering it to Abuntabu.

    The gorilla sniffed the fruit for a moment, before placing it gently between his feet to hold it. With his arms free, he quickly signed to Blaine, and Blaine could have sworn the gorilla smiled.

    "Friend." Abuntabu signed with a huff.

    "Friend." Blaine smiled, signing back.

    The same man from earlier lowered the ladder, as Blaine gently placed Naomi on one of the rungs, midway up. Climbing up behind her, he kept his hand on her back enough to support her. After they had finished climbing, Blaine turned to the man.

    "Thanks for your help." Blaine nodded. "May I ask your name, sir?"

    "I'm a Zoo keeper here. Roger Lewis." the man replied. "I feel the same way you do whenever someone falls into Abuntabu's enclosure. The parents are always blaming him for their children falling in there."

    "Personally, I've always felt that netting at the top that would stop kids from falling in would work." the man shrugged. "You and your daughter are different. You didn't blame him, instead, you supported him. You have my thanks."

    "Admiral Blaine, UNSC Navy." Blaine said. "Last thing I expect during my leave is stuff like this. Can you call the authorities?"

    "Already did." the man said, twirling a small PDA in his hands. "See Dad? I told you that your bullshit mistreatment of animals was going to get noticed."

    "I'm liable to sue you and your cronies for this." the man growled from underneath Lorelei. "This is assault!"

    "It's over, Dad." Roger said. "Animal abuse weighs a lot more heavily than assault."

    "I wouldn't worry about us anyways." Blaine said. "We've been through far worse than a court."

    "I'm sure you have." Roger nodded. "Thank you and these two for their service to all of us. Please, take this card and enjoy the rest of your day, on me. If you won't accept it for that, then consider it a thank you for saving Abuntabu's life."

    Blaine nodded, accepting the small card. On it, along with the Zoo's name, it held a picture of a gorilla giving a thumb's up, with the word's Day Voucher on it.

    "As I am the son of the owner, I'll be running things until everything is settled, and I assure you we'll be taking the utmost care of Abuntabu. Hopefully starting with a much larger enclosure."
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 19th 2017, 4:29 pm

    "Doc." Blaine said, with a curt nod to Roger, before walking away, talking to the communication on his wrist. "Had a bit of a situation at the Zoo on my pos."

    "I'll inform ONI to pass the message to the local authorities." Bailey replied. "I won't question your judgement, but please try not to get too much unnecessary attention during your leave?"

    "Were it so easy." Blaine huffed. "We stick out in crowds like sore thumbs at a hand convention."

    Bailey's response was muffled suddenly, as the deafening roar of a Pelican drop-ship loomed overhead. Blaine recognized the insignia emblazoned on the side of the Pelican, while the crowd that had formed on the gorilla enclosure suddenly dispersed in fear. Blaine turned to Naomi, Katherine, Lorelei, and Roger, who were across the courtyard from him.

    Katherine and Lorelei were tense, while Roger and Naomi stared up in confusion, with more fear in Naomi's eyes. The front of the Pelican turned to face Blaine, as the chaingun on the front began to spin up. Blaine's eyes narrowed before he sprinted to his right. He could hear the bullets pinging the concrete behind him as he desperately searched for substantial cover.

    Blaine had to be careful in such a widely populated area to avoid running into civilians. The Legion was known for their goal to advance and protect Humanity, but if they were willing to open fire on him in public, he feared what other sacrifices to their codex they were willing to make.

    Blaine managed to find cover behind a giant concrete pillar, the likes of which wasn't likely to withstand much fire. Blaine glanced around for a moment for a way to be on the Pelican's level that wasn't immediately crowded.

    "Doctor, we've got a situation here." Blaine growled. "A Legion Pelican has opened fire."

    "There isn't much I can do from here." Bailey said. "Your new armor is under maintenance, and your old suit has already been disposed of for parts."

    "Anything to take this Pelican out of the skies?" Blaine said. "I know it'll likely land and cause property damage, but I need options here."

    "I've loaded Lily into a Pelican dropship armed with an EMP system, it can direct an EMP current to the other Pelican. That's about the extent I can do currently." Bailey replied.

    "That'll help." Blaine sighed in annoyance. "Lily, what's your ETA?"

    "I'm just out the door, sir." his AI companion replied. "Making my approach, I'll need a couple of minutes."

    Blaine grit his teeth, before dashing from behind his almost completely destroyed pillar cover to the nearest concession stand. He heard the basic wood of the shelter splinter behind him while he passed it. As Blaine continued to zigzag between cover, trying to buy Lily enough time to use her Pelican to shut down the enemy ship, he couldn't help but look over to see if the others were fine.

    Neither of them were by the gorilla enclosure, which was a relief to Blaine, but also gave him a sense of fear. His brief moment of distraction almost cost him, as Blaine nearly ran into a concrete wall. Thankfully, he saw the cold gray material in his peripherals, instead running up the wall a short way, before bounding off to his right. Rolling over his shoulder, he could hear the Pelican Lily was controlling roar over head, the snapping sound of a current of electricity arcing overhead.

    Blaine turned, knowing that the chaingun would be offline from the EMP, to look at the Legion Pelican. Crash landing just before the concession stand where he had bought the cheeseburger and cotton candy, Blaine check again to see Katherine and Lorelei trotting back to his position.

    "We moved Roger and Naomi to a save location for now." Katherine said.

    "Good, thank you." Blaine sighed with relief, as his focus turned towards the Pelican. "I despise the Legion for different reasons, but I at least know a bit of their mantra. Why did they open fire here?"

    There was a loud crash from the back of the pelican, it's ramp denting. Blaine and the other Spartans behind him tensed. The size of the dent was easily comparable to a beach ball, had it been a full sphere. With another crash on the ramp, this time the entire Pelican shook from the impact.

    "I think we're gonna find out." Lorelei said. "I'm with you."

    With one last crash, the ramp of the Pelican blew off of it's hinges, crashing into a cartoonish sign of another animal in the Zoo. Blaine's fists clenched as a lone man stepped out of the back of the Pelican. His torso was impossibly bulky, giving off the appearance that his head was a grape in comparison.

    "That's not possible." Katherine shook her head in disbelief. "I watched you die."

    "Oh looky." the man snarled. "The old gang's all here. Where's Jorge?"

    At the mention of Jorge's name, Blaine's knuckles popped further, eliciting confused stares from both Katherine and Lorelei. Blaine had forgotten that they hadn't known Butch was actually still alive. Or the fact that the two had fought on two separate occasions.

    "Look at you all." Butch grunted. "Standing here in this place, watching animals suffer the same as we did."

    "Katherine and I tried to help you." Blaine said. "You were the one who decided not to rely on us to help you through it."

    "Our last couple of fights proved to me that you didn't truly care about my well being." Butch snarled. "You always were good at manipulating your words to lull people into false senses of security. I once trusted you."

    "Not enough to hold on at that cliff." Blaine growled.

    "I don't see your ODST friends around." Butch snickered. "Guess they couldn't make the cut, eh?"

    Blaine's eye twitched at the mention of Phil, Josh, and Craig, all of which had helped him fight Butch. It was Butch that had taken Craig's eye then. Blaine held his arm up to the others, informing them that this was his fight to deal with.

    There was a stifling silence in the Zoo, as the majority of the civilians had been relocated to a safer location. The wind gently picked up, brushing litter across the paved walkways of the establishment. Both Blaine and Butch stared each other down, challenging each other to make the first move.

    With a twitch of his right leg, Blaine bolted for Butch. Butch smirked, holding up only his left arm. Blaine's fist struck the arm, which held little effect against his adversary. Butch snickered, wrapping his mighty hand around Blaine's throat.

    "I got a few upgrades since the last time we encountered." Butch said with a toothy grin. "You like 'em?"

    With little care, Butch tossed Blaine into the nearest concession stand. Without his armor, the impact hurt considerably, but not nearly the level of pain he was used to receiving. Standing to his feet, Blaine saw Butch charging at him like a raging bull.

    Waiting for his moment, Blaine jumped just as Butch was within punching range, vaulting over the monster's impossibly large shoulders. Landing on his feet, Blaine turned in time to see Butch's massive fist swinging straight for his chest. Jumping backwards, Blaine narrowly avoided the strike.

    Butch snarled like some primal creature, before using his hulking arms to run on all fours towards Blaine. Jumping off of his right foot, Butch swung one of his tree trunk arms down at Blaine, who jumped up with a flying kick. Their force of impact was more than enough to send both parties back a few feet each, but no real damage had been done.

    "You're surprisingly quick for the oaf I fought back at the Legion HQ." Blaine grunted.

    "Like I said, I got a few upgrades."

    Together they ran at each other, each time they stuck and simultaneously blocked the other's attacks. As they struck each other, so to did their combat speed up. For any civilians left in the area, they were left solely in awe with how blindingly fast the two combatants were fighting.

    Blaine pulled his combat knife, which he had concealed on his right arm under his shirt, swinging it with expertise at Butch. Butch vaulted over Blaine, who turned in time to dash towards Butch and swing his knife at his adversary's throat. Butch sank way low onto his ankles, his back pressed flatly against the concrete beneath them.

    Blaine was prepared to stab again as Butch's meaty hand grabbed the knife by the blade. No matter how much it sliced him, he managed to wrench it from Blaine and toss it away. Blaine watched with horror as Butch's hand began to convulse, new flesh and skin forming over the deep laceration, before making it look completely new again.

    At some point during their fighting, the magazine Blaine had pocketed ended up on the concrete in front of Lorelei and Katherine. Without having to speak a word, Katherine ran in to snatch the clip, tossing it to Lorelei, who picked up the unloaded rifle from earlier. Aiming down the sights, she began to fire with her trademark precision at Butch.

    Blaine on the other hand, nursed his wrist, which had nearly been pulled out of socket by Butch's pull. Blaine looked from his wrist to Butch, who was gleefully blocking bullets with his tree trunk like appendage. The bullets only seemed to penetrate the skin, before popping back out of their holes, which sealed up faster than Lorelei could make them.

    With Butch's distraction, Blaine glanced down at his wrist, gently popping it back into place. Clenching his fingers in for a punch, he heard his knuckles crack, before swinging as hard as he could into Butch's face. Butch groaned in legitimate pain as the swing broke his nose. Blaine kept the advantage, stepping towards Butch and using his strength to throw as much weight and power behind each punch as he could.

    Whether or not they were effective to Butch was to be determined, but it was enough to cause him to stumble backwards. With Butch properly stunned, Blaine thrust his boot firmly into Butch's chest, the strength of which send Butch skidding several meters down the concrete. With his meaty arms, he plunged them into the concrete with little regard for his arms, as the crushed rocks and other materials sliced his flesh.

    With his craters also came a few trails of Butch's blood, but the wounds healed before he even recovered from the kick. Blaine walked over to his knife, which had been stuck in a wooden concession stand. Useless as he knew it would be against Butch, he couldn't leave it behind.

    Butch roared, catching Blaine off guard and striking him in the jaw with one of his meaty club arms. Blaine's knife went flying, and Blaine along with it down the concrete path further. Upon landing, Blaine stood quickly, picking up his knife and holding it ready.

    "You think after all we went through on that damn mountain, that we can just forget it?!" Butch snarled, stomping towards Blaine.

    "We'll never forget what happened." Blaine growled, rubbing his jaw. "Sticking together is what got us through it."

    It wasn't entirely the truth, Blaine had spent most of his life actually away from his Spartan brothers and sisters. His coping had come in the form of at least meeting his father, and people related to him. It helped him feel Human, where otherwise he would have felt like a machine.

    "Then why has it been that the last few times we've met, I've only seen you?" Butch growled. "Face it, Blaine, you're a filthy liar and a degenerate."

    "Says the one that left a place of torture and experimentation, for an organization that also made you even less Human." Blaine scoffed.

    "The difference is; I HAD A CHOICE!" Butch roared, charging at Blaine, who dove to the side to avoid him.

    "You also had the choice to hold onto my hand and be a member of my team." Blaine shook his head. "Yet you chose to fall. Abandon the people that cared about you in that hell hole, and because a monster."

    Once again, the two combatants locked themselves into combat. Each strike against each other was ineffective, but enough to create a muffled thud in the surrounding area. In the distance, he could hear Katherine speak.

    "Lorelei, stay here. You shouldn't be fighting."

    Blaine jumped backwards to avoid a sneak attack from Butch, just in time for Katherine to appear. Her fist struck up and under Butch's chin, with more than enough force to knock him away.

    "You don't have to act alone anymore, y'know?" She smirked.

    Blaine had been so used to flying solo, that he was so used to not having back up. Especially with his constant concern for Katherine and Lorelei's well being, he only wanted to make sure they stayed safe, now that they were both back in his life.

    "Right." Blaine nodded. "Thanks."

    "Thank me after we put this skeleton back in his closet." Katherine said, tensing.

    "I wonder when you were gonna step in." Butch growled. "Always wanting to protect him, but no-one else."

    "You've got shit memory, Butch." Katherine grit her teeth. "I was there, trying to save you."

    "You favored Blaine then, just as you do now." Butch snapped. "Don't give me that bullshit."

    Blaine used the moment of distraction to rush up on Butch, swinging a fully body punch into Butch's face. The weight and power of which was enough to snap Butch's tiny in comparison head and upper torso back. Katherine charged up, wrapping her legs around his head, using her own weight and strength to flip him up over her, slamming him into the ground.

    Rolling back to her feet like a professional gymnast, Katherine bounced from foot to foot, rubbing the back of her left fist against her cheek. Blaine had to hand it to her, her energy in combat was almost unrivaled. Of course, what good was he if he didn't get into it himself?

    As Butch began to stand, Blaine swung his foot up and into Butch's chin, causing Butch to slam onto his back again. Butch roared in anger, rolling back up to his feet. Blaine moved in for a follow up, as Butch's trunk like arm struck him in his side, knocking him aside. With both hands, Butch hoisted Katherine into the air, before throwing her over his head and into the side of the Pelican.

    "Auntie!" Blaine's heart plummeted as he heard Naomi scream.

    Turning his head towards the source, he saw Naomi standing there with an extremely frightened Roger, who was trying to get her to follow him without laying his hands on her. Blaine and Lorelei hadn't been the only one to notice Naomi's scream, however, as Butch turned to face the girl.

    "Auntie?" Butch snarled, before glancing briefly at Katherine. "You and Lorelei must be Mum and Dad, eh?"

    "Go near her." Blaine stepped out of the rubble he had ended up in. "-and I will delete you from existence."

    "Your threats are as empty as my respect for you." Butch snarled, before bounding towards Naomi and Roger.

    There was a resounding roar from behind the Pelican, near Lorelei's position. Abuntabu, Blaine's newfound gorilla friend, stood beside Lorelei, beating his fists on his chest. Blaine had forgotten in the heat of the moment, that no-one had removed the ladder from his enclosure.

    As fast as the gorilla could muster, he tackled Butch to the side, just as he was about to reach Naomi. Rolling off of Butch, Abuntabu released a full on roar, the sounds of his mighty fists pounding on his bare chest echoed through the immediate area. Blaine nodded towards Katherine, who had recovered from her impact on the Pelican. She clutched her ribs, but she gave him a nod of understanding.

    She hustled over towards Naomi and Roger, instructing Naomi to stay with Roger wherever they had been previously. Blaine, on the other hand, ran up behind Blaine, striking his fist on the back of Butch's head in time to stun Butch. Abuntabu grasped one of Butch's arm, pulling as Blaine held Butch in restraint.

    Blaine grunted as Butch's arm was torn from it's socket, blood splashing in his face. Abuntabu roared as he tossed Butch's arm away, slamming his palms flat against the concrete with a huff. Butch's head snapped back, striking Blaine in the forehead, which was enough to dislodge him. Blaine stumbled back, watching Butch growl in anger at his arm.

    It was a disturbing sight to say the least, as Butch's arm very slowly began to form. It was so slow that Blaine knew they had a few minutes to fight Butch without an extra arm. Abuntabu roared, diving at Butch. Butch on the other hand, grasped the gorilla by his throat, slamming him into the concrete beside him.

    Blaine moved to advance, as Butch mule kicked Blaine in the gut. Grunting, Blaine tried to advance again at Abuntabu's roars of pain. Using his other foot to pin the gorilla to the ground, Butch grasped Abuntabu's fang, ripping it painfully out of his jaw, and stabbing him square in the chest with it.

    Blaine grit his teeth as astronomical pain suddenly struck his heart. He felt his pulse speed up, and the burning sensation in his stomach ignite again. Thrusting himself at Butch, Blaine roared as he tackled Butch to the floor. Thrusting fist after fist into Butch's face, Blaine rolled off of Butch in time to miss the easily expected kickoff that Butch was going to employ.

    Slamming his boot down on the side of Butch's face, he heard the sickening crack of Butch's bones breaking and his neck snapping. It obviously wasn't fatal, however, as Butch managed to crack it back into place with little trouble. This didn't stop Blaine, however, as he grasped Butch's feet, hoisting the massively muscular being into the air.

    Swinging around in circles, Blaine tossed Butch at the Pelican, as Butch had done to Katherine. Breathing deeply, Blaine's eyes scanned to Abuntabu, who weakly raised his hands to sign to Blaine.

    "Friend." Abuntabu snorted one last time, his movements slowing, until he stopped moving.

    "Friend." Blaine said with a growl.

    Katherine, and even Lorelei stood by Blaine's side as Butch wrenched himself from the massive dent he had put into the side of the Pelican. Roaring with all of his strength, Butch hoisted the Pelican above his head, tossing it at Blaine, Lorelei, and Katherine. The three Spartans jumped backwards to avoid the Pelican and whatever rolls it would commit to.

    As they were recovering from their jumps, Butch's mighty fist penetrated the crumpled Pelican, shattering it into two halves. As Blaine was avoiding the right half of the Pelican, he brought his wrist communication up.

    "Do we have anything to end this guy?"

    "We can't get you three your armor, Blaine." Bailey replied. "I have a highly experimental prototype weapon that could work. It atomizes whatever is in it's path, think a suped up Spartan Laser. In it's current iteration, it only holds one charge, and because it's a prototype, it works by word activation."

    "Send it, what's the phrase?"

    "Atomic Fire. The longer you hold the word Atomic, the more power it holds." Bailey said. "I'm sending it with Lily, but it'll be a few more minutes."

    "Orange Team." Blaine said, as Lorelei and Katherine prepared themselves. "Neutralize."


    _________________


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    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 19th 2017, 11:02 pm

    With silent confirmation from both Lorelei and Katherine, the two behind him branched out to Butch's left and right, while Blaine rushed from the front. At this point, Butch's arm was regenerating just before the elbow. The pace was much slower, as the wounds he had sustained from the others in that time were also healing simultaneously.

    "The wolf pack maneuver?" Butch scoffed. "You fools really did listen to their drivel."

    "It was either that or starve to death." Blaine said. "We chose life."

    Blaine ducked beneath Butch's mighty punch, using his momentum to swing his right fist mightily up into Butch's stomach. Lorelei, how had been on the side of the missing arm, jumped into the air and lashed her right foot across his cheek. Katherine followed up with a running punch across Butch's opposite cheek, striking in time with Lorelei's.

    Blaine desperately wanted to know what technology the Legion had used on Butch, to ensure that it would never be used again. For such a strange disproportion, Butch moved about as quick as any of the others, something that should not have been possible.

    Butch snarled as he swung his remaining arm at Lorelei, but growled in disgust as Katherine managed to catch it. Her eyes glared at Blaine for a second, as Lorelei flipped away.

    "Tell Lorelei to bugger off!" Katherine growled.

    "I can't stand idly by while you two fight!" Lorelei replied.

    "Now isn't the time for infighting." Blaine grit his teeth, ramming his shoulder into Butch's torso. "She's just as capable as you or I, Katherine."

    "She's pregnant with your child." Katherine hissed as Butch stumbled away. "I'm sorry to ruin the surprise, Lori, but he needs to protect you."

    Blaine's entire world collapsed in that one moment. It was one thing to adopt Naomi, who had once been someone else's kid. It was another to find out that you were the biological father of another Human being. In his moment of dumbstruck, he hadn't realized Butch was on top of him.

    Crumpling to the concrete, Blaine rolled down the walkway. Blaine nursed his stomach, as his roll came to a complete stop. His muscles screamed for him to stop, as he struggled to get himself back up. His right arm became jelly, before he collapsed.

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

    "Hold on everyone, he's awake." Blaine heard a woman's voice echo in his ears.

    His hearing was extremely muffled, though he wasn't surprised with how hard he had been struck that time. Blaine's eyes scanned around him to see, but found only blurry blobs of humanoid figures standing over him.

    "I failed." Blaine sighed, smashing his fist onto the ground. "He's too damn strong."

    "Bullshite." a man's familiar voice huffed in his ear. "You don't accept defeat."

    Gritting his teeth, Blaine willed himself to stand. It was odd, he felt pain only a moment ago, but the more conscious he became, the more the pain seemed to subside. Wincing as he stood, he rolled his shoulders, only to realize his torn shirt was completely intact.

    Opening his eyes, he immediately took a step back at the sight of all of the people surrounding him. Morgan stood beside Craig, his arms folded impatiently across his chest, while Craig lazed back against the cold metal wall, hands planted firmly in his pockets. Josh and Phil sat down at a coffee table, a pack of cards resting chaotically across the table in what appeared to be a Poker game.

    There was another man sitting across from the twins, but Blaine had no recollection of the man. In fact, the man's very visage was wispy and faint, and Blaine couldn't seem to shake the phenomenon. Morgan picked up on this with a toothy grin, before resting his arms at his sides.

    "You ne'er met him before." Morgan said. "Lieutenant Richard Caldwell. One of the finest soldiers I 'e'er met, an' he's your Uncle on yer mother's side."

    "Why is he not speaking?" Blaine asked with a shrug. "Did I die?"

    "Fuck no." Morgan chuckled. "But you got cold cocked pretty feckin' hard."

    Phil smiled to Blaine with a silent nod on his head, while Josh rolled his eyes, offering him a stiff wave. While the twins returned to their poker game, Blaine felt a pair of hands on his shoulder from behind him.

    "Look at you. All grown up." a woman said, as he turned around. "My what a handsome man you turned out to be."

    "M-Mom?" Blaine asked, as she silently nodded, a tear rolling down her cheek. "How can I see, or even hear you? I never met you?"

    "You can thank Morgan for that." Amber smiled, glancing over at her husband. "Stubborn old fool never could get over my death. Constantly played home videos of me to help him cope, it's no doubt you heard and saw my face during those times."

    Blaine took a moment to ponder everything that was going on. Morgan had told him he wasn't dead yet, but at the same time, he wasn't technically alive. If that was the case, was this some sort of purgatory?

    "You remind me of your father." Amber chuckled, glancing between Craig and Morgan. "Both of them. You always are very expressive when the mood hits you."

    "Morgan said I wasn't dead." Blaine said sternly. "If this isn't heaven, where am I?"

    "Your subconscious mind." Amber sighed. "All of us? We're just memories or fabrications of memories your mind created over your time with us."

    "The way you see me now? This is what you pictured me to be when you were in Spartan Boot Camp." Amber said, wiping a tear from her eye. "Everything I say is something you'd imagine I would say."

    "You've spent your entire life searching for your parents." Craig said from behind him.

    "You even made that wish on yer fifth birthday." Morgan nodded. "Well, the truth is, you met Craig and I. Unfortunately, you'll never truly get t' meet yer mother."

    "But that's okay." Amber turned Blaine's attention back towards her. "I may only be a vision of your sub conscious, but you and I both know that no-one in this room wants you to worry about them anymore."

    Blaine's eyes scanned around the room for a moment. Craig and Morgan grinned from ear to ear with a nod. Josh and Phil looked at each other, while Phil gave him a thumb's up, and Josh gave him the one fingered salute.

    "You always said that family was everything. You worried about Lorelei and Katherine for all of those years, and spent your entire life looking for your father and I." Amber said. "That cannot happen, but there is a family that you need to worry about now. If you truly want to remember us, keep that little girl of yours safe, and when you have that other child, never let them go."

    "I really wish I could have met you." Amber said. "-and perhaps one day I will. Until then, focus on the future, not the past. Cobalt Squad is with you, always."

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

    The muffled sounds of Katherine and Butch's blows on each other were quickly deafened as Blaine growled immensely. He felt it form from his toes, slowly traveling up the length of his legs, up his waist, past his torso, through his arms, and to his head. When it erupted out of his mouth, however, it was enough to cause time to stand still.

    Both Katherine and Butch stopped their combat in time to watch Blaine slowly stagger to his feet. He felt his balance shift for a moment, smashing his right fist into the ground to help him steady himself. As he slowly stood, his stance was low, ready for anything that could come his way.

    "Would you look at that." Butch sneered. "The power of love resurrected our friend, how cute."

    "It's not the power of love." Blaine smirked cockily. "You just really suck at fighting. No wonder Mendez hated you."

    "RAUUUUGH!" Butch roared, barreling towards Lorelei, who had been standing beside Blaine.

    Before Butch's fist could reach Lorelei's gut, however, Blaine's right hand stopped the blow in it's tracks. Butch stared in complete confusion as to how such a feat had been possible, before Blaine pitched his shoulder into Butch's shoulder. Blaine began to run, run like he had in Spartan training to protect Kelly and the others from the paintballs and rubber bullets.

    Blaine and Butch crashed through anything in their path, Butch's back and spine taking the majority of the blows. Stopping his momentum, Blaine watched as Butch tumbled along the ground. Cuts, bruises, and more appeared all along Butch's back, which was now bare of any clothing.

    "What are you?" Butch snarled as he struggled to stand. "Despite all these upgrades, and with you outside of your armor. HOW?! HOW DO YOU KEEP BEATING ME?!"

    "I'm just a man." Blaine said, clasping Butch's chin with his right hand. "Mendez told me to keep going, because he said that eventually, there would come a time when no-one else would. Had you actually listened to him, you would have understood."

    "You? You're a cannibal, a rogue, a danger to humanity and everyone." Blaine growled. "You told me on that rock face that you wanted to find your parents again. Ms. Lowry was a bitch, but how do you think she'd react if she saw her son this way?!"

    "You didn't want to accept your reality. Katherine, Lorelei, hell, even Jorge and I felt your 'death' on that mountain like we had lost a brother." Blaine shook his head, tears rolling down his cheeks. "You couldn't accept us as a family. Instead you adopted the idea that Orange Team had betrayed you."

    "Jorge is dead, and so is the Butch I knew!" Blaine barked. "Instead of realizing that we were your family, you tried to hunt me down. You went against the UNSC instead of being with the ONLY people left that cared about you."

    "Dropping package, sir." Lily said as the Pelican roared over head.

    "Every damn time I try and give you a second chance, you only fight for yourself." Blaine grit his teeth. "For the longest time, I though YOU were the only member of Orange Team alive, and I was ashamed that my actions did this to you. Now? Now I see you for what you are."

    Tossing Butch's tired body back down towards the concrete, he worked his way over towards the weapon pod Lily had dropped. As he passed Abuntabu's corpse, and with a solemn nod, grabbed the weapon in the pod. Butch struggled to stand, like the wounded Moose that the wolves had hunted.

    "A monster." Blaine growled. "ATOMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC-"

    As Blaine said the word and pulled the trigger on the weapon, a sphere of golden energy formed on the barrel of the gun. The longer he held the word, the more the sphere charged.

    "FIRE!" Blaine barked, as a blast of energy surged from the weapon, causing his medium length hair and beard to rustle in the shockwave.

    A vast cylinder of pure energy surged forward, completely enveloping Butch. The golden light caused Butch inside to be silhouetted, as the three remaining members of Orange Team watched his shadow slowly pixelate into nothing. The beam traveled for some time, decimating any concession stands or structures in it's path.

    It was moments like these where he was glad that the park had definitely been evacuated completely, putting no humans at risk. After the beam had disappeared, Blaine took a moment to appreciate the trench caused in the sidewalk. It was total destruction following that, but at least no animals were harmed. In fact, the damage of property was very minimal from the beam.

    At that moment, he could care less about the cost to fix it. His hands shakily dropped the gun, as he sank to his knees. Katherine and Lorelei were there immediately to support him. The beast Blaine had just evaporated may have been called Butch, but they knew it wasn't him, not anymore.

    "He was in there somewhere." Katherine said. "Too far gone, but you did him a favor."

    "Sure doesn't feel like it." Blaine shook his head. "Lily, round back for extraction. Katherine, go get Naomi, please."

    "On it." Katherine nodded.

    "When were you going to tell me?" Blaine turned to Lorelei.

    "Tonight, actually." Lorelei smiled. "Been a month, Bailey's been helping when she can."

    "I thought we couldn't have children?" Blaine asked as Lorelei chuckled.

    "It was bullshit to get our minds off of that and more into combat." Lorelei said. "Though, they may have to monitor the kid. Our augments may cause complications."

    Blaine took the thought in for a moment, his eyes solemnly glancing where Butch had been before. While it was true that this Butch had been nothing but trouble for himself and Humanity at large, it was still the same boy he knew in boot camp. With a sigh, Blaine stood, saying a silent 'prayer' to Butch.

    "Speaking of augments," Lorelei said. "I know now might not be the time, but you deserve to know. I figured sooner rather than later"

    "What is it?" Blaine asked.

    "Along with ODST and Marine candidates, ONI wants to try again with children." Lorelei shook her head in disbelief. "They want orphans this time... and Naomi's on that list."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 23rd 2017, 1:31 am

    Blaine needed a moment to breathe and collect his thoughts. So much information was being fired at him, seemingly nonstop, that it began to be too much. Even with the Spartan augmentations and their abilities to process thoughts and strategies much faster than a normal person, he found himself in a state of mental paralysis.

    Lorelei was pregnant with a child, had been for a month. Blaine was expected to train the next generation of Spartans, who like himself and the other II's, are small children. Orphans being the predominant focus, with Naomi at the top of their lists. Blaine winced at the wounds he had sustained during their conflict with Butch, who had finally been granted a proper death.

    "What?" Blaine spoke angrily, his voice blunt.

    "Deputy Director Krieg was the one who informed me of the project." Lorelei said. "For a spook, he seemed pretty upset when he mentioned you finding out."

    If there was one thing that Blaine could respect about Krieg, it was his decency when it really mattered. Other spooks had the tendency to hide their compassion beneath a rough, inhuman exterior, but Krieg had his moments where he let it slip through the cracks.

    "That explains why he managed to land us the credits for this week-long vacation." Blaine sighed. "He wanted to give Naomi a good time before subjecting her to the same thing we did."

    Though Butch had been so much of a pest the last few times Blaine had seen him, especially about his anti-UNSC views, Blaine couldn't help but wonder how Butch would have responded to this? To know that another generation of kids, although this time homeless and without parents, were about to go through the same experience.

    Blaine shook his head at the thought. He would be different than Mendez as their instructor. He would teach them how to be capable soldiers, but understand that they weren't machines. They would be the heroes of Humanity. Still, he wouldn't wish the augmentation procedure on anyone, especially children.

    "I can tell by that look in your eye that you're thinking about Mendez- and our past." Lorelei said, gently placing a hand on his shoulder. "CPO Mendez always saw something in both you and John. He saw natural leaders, with the charisma and skill to valiantly take their troops to the stars and beyond."

    "John had something none of us really did, his ability to be in the right place at the right time. You could call it luck. Many call it destiny." Lorelei said. "You, however, you're different. You have perseverance. The ability to stand up after you've been knocked down, and to hit your enemies twice as hard."

    "All of us Spartans had something that made us unique, something Halsey saw in all of us." Lorelei pursed her lips at the thought of the Doctor. "She told me that when she first met you, you looked a little worse for wear, but despite your small cuts and bruises from your fighting, you had a look of intellect and compassion in your eyes."

    Blaine smiled as Lorelei said her peace. He would personally never admit it, but he always prided himself in being about to stand back up after falling down, and even taunted his aggressors. Lorelei began to stand, as Blaine beat her to it, helping to raise her to her feet. Just as they stood, the roar of a Pelican's engines loomed over head.

    In that same time, Blaine and Lorelei worked their way to the dropship. As they approached the opening ramp, Katherine and Naomi walked over. Naomi sprinted past Katherine to Blaine, who knelt down and lifted her up, propping her on his mighty right shoulder.

    "You alright kiddo?" Blaine asked, as Roger began to storm up to him.

    "Just what exactly is the meaning of this?! Look at what's happened to this place!" Roger shook his head in disbelief. "Don't get me started on Abuntabu!"

    Blaine gently placed Naomi on the floor, silently nodding Katherine and Lorelei inside. Wrapping a mighty arm around the back of Roger's neck, Blaine held a hand out to gesture that they should walk for a bit.

    "That beast of a man that showed up was Insurrectionist." it was a half-truth, the other half was Blaine's ONI roots taking place. "With the end of the war, the UNSC has been expecting Insurrection insurgents to reprise while we're licking our wounds."

    "I'm sorry about Abuntabu, truly, I am." Blaine said solemnly. "He's Naomi's favorite from today. I can't promise you that the damages will be paid for, but I'll send a crew to come clean up the rubble and assist in whatever way they can."

    As soon as he and Roger were out of the immediate sight of the mixture of civilians and employees emerging from their hiding places, Blaine's grip on the man tightened enough to be uncomfortable, but not a threat.

    "You've been good to my family and I." Blaine said. "I wouldn't want anything negative to come to you. So heed my words very carefully, you would be wise to follow them. We weren't here today. Understood?"

    Without further word, Blaine quickly flashed his old ONI badge that he once used to access the lower floors of the facility in New Mombasa. At the sight of the pyramid with a circle in the center, Roger's eyes opened widely and with fear.

    "Don't be alarmed, just do as I say." Blaine said. "When the authorities come, tell them that ONI has inspected the scene and will take charge in the situation."

    "Y-yes, I will." Roger nodded hurriedly.

    "Good. I wish you well in your future endeavors." Blaine replied, patting him on the back. "Don't disobey me."

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

    "Well that was a shit show." Daniel rubbed the bridge of his nose, pinching it ever so slightly between his index and thumb. "How many witnesses?"

    "Of the initial attack, too many to count." Blaine stood stiff. "I would guess that no less than sixty people witnessed the Pelican fly in, but dispersed when it began to open fire."

    "Any casualties?" Daniel leaned back in his chair, resorting to rubbing his forehead this time.

    "If there were, they occurred outside of my understanding." Blaine said. "When I asked Lieutenant 076, she said that none of the civilians she had led to safety were harmed at the time of their arrival at the managerial headquarters."

    "Right." Daniel sighed, leaning forward, resting his elbows on his desk. "To your knowledge, were there any witnesses to your fight against the aggressor?"

    "Negative." Blaine shook his head. "It is my knowledge that everyone in the vicinity took shelter at the managerial headquarters, as I previously stated. No visual line of sight could really be made to the place."

    "Well, that's one less thing to cover up." Daniel rolled his neck gently. "Fucking hate my mattress, Spartan. Gives me intense muscle pain in my neck, and I think I'm allergic to my pillow case."

    "Sir?" Blaine asked.

    "Never mind. Just the musing of a man with a million things on his plate. Something I'm know without a doubt is something you're constantly dealing with." Daniel chuckled for a moment. "The use of experimental weapons was completely unsanctioned."

    "I disagree, sir." Blaine shook his head. "The target had been modified somehow. He-he regenerated from every attack we laid into him. It was very bizarre, but when Bailey informed me of the Fist of Sparta's atomizing properties, I stand by my decision to use it offensively against him."

    "Regeneration?" Daniel muttered, rubbing his chin. "That gluttonous bastard must be involved."

    "Sir?" Blaine asked, crossing his arms.

    "When you encountered Walter on that Halo Ring a few weeks ago, did he say anything to you that stood out?"

    "Yes." Blaine nodded. "Walter had called himself War. Something about being the penultimate warrior, and that a mere mortal such as myself should pose no threat to him. Regardless of that fact, I had only assumed he was off his rocker, until he nearly killed me."

    "You fought War... and lived?" Daniel shook his head in sheer amazement. "Well, you certainly are full of surprises. I suppose I should inform you of just how dire this attack was, then."

    "Are you familiar with the bible? Namely, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?"

    "Never really had time to read fictional stories, sir." Blaine said. "Between shooting and being shot at, and dealing with a parasite that made space zombies, made it really hard to be literate."

    It was less of the fact that Blaine was anti-religious, as it was more of the fact that he never really read a Bible. Daniel snickered at Blaine's words, offering Blaine a seat.

    "There are things that not even ONI knows, Blaine." Daniel said. "Not even Director Parangosky knows what I'm about to tell you. Understand that no matter how high of an asset you are, if I hear you speak a word of this, I will personally kill you myself."

    "I've never been known to tell secrets, sir." Blaine said.

    "I have long since known of the Forerunners." Daniel said, causing Blaine to blink his eyes in confusion. "They are... for lack of a better term, my creators."

    "Before you go on about how I'm a robot in disguise, no. I am just as flesh and bone as you are." Daniel continued. "Though I have lived much longer than you could possibly conceive. I have seen empires, kingdoms, entire forms of Government come and go."

    "I've even met your Grandfather." Daniel said. "You remind me a lot of him, in fact. Most decorated soldier in the Rainforest Wars."

    Blaine took a moment to think about how this was possible. How was a human physically capable of living so long. Especially to see past the firing of the Halo array and through so much conflict and war? Blaine's eyes darted left to right, as he thought of ways such a thing could be possible, though he didn't know the full extent of Forerunner technology and knowledge.

    "I sense your confusion, and I understand this will be a lot to take in." Daniel said. "It was towards the end of the Forerunner-Flood Wars. The Flood was a lot more intelligent back then, as it had the entirety of Forerunner vessels and technology at it's disposal."

    "The Forerunners had three options, all of which they explored, but one they favored." Daniel said, his eyes sharply glued to Blaine's. "They tried to turn flesh into metal, robotizing organic lifeforms temporarily to machine, to revert them when the Flood subsided after starvation."

    "There were complications returning organics to the flesh after they had been changed." Daniel said. "The second option, as you know of, is Halo. To fire a superweapon that would destroy all life in the galaxy to starve out the Flood."

    "Before the Halos, however, the Forerunners tried another plan. You see, Humanity did exist before the Halo Rings. We were much more advanced then, we actually rivaled the Forerunners, to paint a picture." Daniel said. "The Forerunners chose a handful of us to serve in their latest scheme against the Flood."

    "Much like you were augmented by Doctor Halsey to make you more than Human, so too were us four. Though our mutations varied. We were referred to as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Daniel tapped his fingers in a line across his desk. "Each of us had unique a ability that set us apart from the others."

    Blaine shook his head in disbelief. He had never read the Bible before in his life, but in his classes with the other Spartans, he did recall hearing of the Four Horsemen and how they played a pivotal role in the end of the world.

    "Though we did not have actual horses, the vehicles that we were gifted by the Forerunners served as our 'horses'." Daniel said. "Firstly came Klaus Von Himmelstein. He was granted a white 'horse', and found himself fascinated by disease and plague. That he would study the Flood infestation and find a way to change it to serve the Forerunner's purposes. He was known as Pestilence."

    "Secondly came Walter A. Law. He was gifted a red 'horse', and found himself consumed by Humanity's primal bloodlust, and thirst for conflict. His mission was to formulate a plan to protect Humanity and the Forerunners and combat the Flood in such a way that the Plague would concede. He is granted powers of immeasurable strength and unbridled strategic thought. He, as you know, was referred to as War."

    "Thirdly came the most repulsive of us; Lyle Debonair. He was granted a black horse. Unlike the rest of us, he had little regard for life, instead finding his hunger unsubsiding. He was created as a way to attempt to replicate the virus, but instead only received their insatiable hunger and volatile nature. He was animalistic and brash. With his power, instead of infecting a host and shifting their bodies to suit him, he instead consumed their flesh and gained whatever abilities they had." Daniel took a moment to cringe at what he was describing. "He was referred to as Famine."

    Blaine sat at the edge of his seat, his eyes never once leaving Daniel's for a moment. Daniel nodded silently, as Blaine began to lean back.

    "There is a reason why my hands are constantly covered in gloves." Daniel said. "The fourth to arrive, I, Daniel Krieg, was granted a pale horse. I am the truest embodiment of the end of life as a whole. My existence was not to combat the Flood, as rather, I was created to ensure that Forerunner and Human leadership died as they were supposed to."

    "Were you to touch my bare hands, you would be sapped of your life and die. Though, I have since learned the art of restraining my life vampiric life stealing. You'll understand that I never attempt it, however." Daniel lowered his head solemnly. "I am referred to, in title and as a callsign- as Death."

    "The other three were mutated with the Flood threat in mind. I was meant to be a referee for them, as well as do my part to ensure no-one was truly immortal." Daniel said. "As with anything, power corrupts. Walter, Klaus, and Lyle fled the Forerunners, with the others, and stationed themselves in a Shield World."

    "It's ironic how my job is to stop immortality, yet I am completely immortal, and immune to Halo's light." Daniel sighed. "I've told this all to you, because Walter likely now has a legitimate fear of you. Don't let this get to your head, he is still very much a threat."

    "His Legion, along with my station here at ONI, is for Humanity's best interest. I don't want a war with him, but now you'll understand why he needs to be respected. As it is, he's behaving exceptionally well given how powerful he truly is." Daniel said. "My guess is he's searching for the others. For now, this isn't a concern of yours. With this event at the Zoo, I'm afraid we can't have you in the public eye for right now."

    "We've gathered the recruits for your training. Most of them, like Naomi, are nine or ten years old. You've got a few months to train them before we need to augment them, same age as you did. I have high faith in you, Spartan." Daniel said. "Good luck."


    Last edited by Shad0wChas3r on January 23rd 2017, 2:49 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 23rd 2017, 1:38 am

    It was a rather quick little Arc. However, this is not the last we'll be seeing of the Legion. They will be playing a much bigger role the next time we see them, and before Manuel reads this and responds; No. The Legion is not going to be some villain syndicate that Blaine will be toppling. That's not fair to Manuel or the other characters you've chalked up for them.

    If anything, Origins: Legion (pt 1) was just a taste of what is to come. Butch was the only member of the Legion that actually died in this Arc for a reason. While he and the Legion didn't have much of a presence here, I just wanted them to not be forgotten, and more importantly add in some truths that Blaine now understands.

    The one questions to be asked though is; who talked to Blaine when he fought War on the Halo Ring? What did she mean that no Horseman could overcome him there? What is Walter after so desperately now that the war is over?

    We'll answer those questions in Origins: Legion (pt 2), which won't come back for some time. For now, however, we're going to transition into the next portion of Blaine's life. Origins: Generations, which will encompass his trials training a sizable group of children to follow in the footsteps of the II's and III's before them.

    Much like the ODST parents he was born under, Blaine will be tossing these children feet first into the boots of the Elite of the Elite in the UNSC Military; Spartan.

    Thank you for your continued reading of the story, and I sincerely hope this entire overhaul/reboot is entertaining. Thanks again!


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 31st 2017, 8:42 pm

    Blaine had fought on several theaters of war. Been present for the rise and fall of the Covenant invasion. Bore witness to the Flood parasite and combat it head on. He stepped upon ancient ring-worlds that were covering a dark secret. Standing in front of fifty plus kids, however, was something he had never been trained to handle.

    Along the wall, several Marines in full armor stood at attention on both sides of the amphitheater he found them all in. Blaine himself, opting not to instill fear into the children's hearts, had dressed himself in fine UNSC dress uniform. He very rarely wore the dress uniform, as was apparent by the completely flawless medals and accolades that were attached just above the breast on his left side.

    Blaine's eyes scanned across the room as the fifty or so kids, much like he had done at their age, sat with whomever seemed friendliest. He couldn't help but see himself in those children, frightened, confused, and seeking help. His attention turned to Katherine and Lorelei, who took up their place behind the children in the farthest row back.

    Though he felt nothing but nerves resonating deep within him, he knew now why Mendez did what he did. There was no way Mendez could hold such a facade on mere children and feel normal about it. However, if Blaine, or even Mendez, were supposed to raise the next Generation of child soldiers, they had to provide these children a strong figure to idolize.

    "Good afternoon children." Blaine puffed himself up. "I am Rear Admiral Blaine. Spartan One-One-Five."

    "I know many of you may be confused, or scared." Blaine said. "You no longer need to feel this way. You were brought here, because you have suffered loss, you have no homes to go to, no families left to return to."

    "You will look no further." Blaine continued, holding his back straight. "Every child to your left and right is now your family. From this day forward, you will work together to achieve the goals set upon you. You will never be alone again."

    "Welcome to Orion, Generation IV." Blaine said. "You were brought here today, confused and lost. When you leave this place, you will be the best we can make you. You will serve Earth and all of her Colonies to the best of your ability."

    "When you address me, you will refer to me as sir, or Admiral." Blaine's eyes hesitantly turned to Naomi in the crowd. "Nothing else."

    "Over the next few months, you will be pushed to your absolute limit. I cannot promise you that each of you will pass the test." Blaine said. "You will hurt, you will feel like giving up. You will heal, and you will not be permitted to quit. Single file lines, now."

    As Blaine said this, some of the children began to stand slowly. Those that did stepped out of their rows into the lanes on both the right and left side of the room, facing him. The rest that sat, Blaine gave a stern look to, before nodding his head. The Marines on his left and right produced electric batons, sparking them alight. The very sight of them caused him, and even Lorelei and Katherine in the back to flinch internally.

    The remaining seated kids heard the crackling of the batons and stood, as the Marines pressed the batons to their stomachs. He felt bad for the children, going through the same hell he had several decades before. However, he needed them to start listening. Much like his fellow Spartans, he knew these trainees would one day not require the batons.

    "Understand that I am not here to be a friend of yours. I am here to help you become strong, help you survive in the days ahead." Blaine said. "I will be fair, I will do my best to respect you, if you will learn to respect me. I had these men shock you today, because regardless of if you respect me or not, you will follow my orders when I give them. You will not drag your feet."

    The children that were shocked made their way to the single file lines, where Katherine and Lorelei stood. With a nod of his head, his two Spartan sisters lead his new recruits out of the amphitheater and to the Mess Hall. Sighing heavily, Blaine raised his right hand, he gave it a quick once over, as if wondering if what he was doing was any better than Halsey or Mendez.

    The electric batons weren't going to be used after this encounter, because he didn't want the children to fear them, as he had grown to. The Marines would continue to have them, but were strictly ordered to never use them unless strictly necessary.

    "That really fucking sucked, sir." one of the Marine's said. "I shocked one of them so hard she peed herself. They're just kids."

    "I know." Blaine said, walking off of the stage. "That's why I said we're not using them after today unless absolutely necessary. I just needed the kids to have a reason to listen to me."

    He passed the Marines, as they saluted during his passing. As he walked, Blaine held the salute in return for them, before exiting the room. The compound had been hidden in the mountainous region of Vermont, located in the URNA. Much like Menachite Mountain on Reach, Delta Compound was designed to give the children privacy during their training.

    He had explored it considerably after his latest talk with Daniel, so he knew where everything would be if necessary. Working his way down to the Mess Hall, Blaine stepped into the open door to see the children all sitting at the table. Much like Blaine and his fellow recruits had done, the children stared at the slop on their trays.

    "Officer on deck!" Katherine barked, as the children all jumped at the sudden noise, turning to look.

    Naomi, being introduced to the military setting and having watched it happen several times while on board the Aura, stood up from her seat and snapped to attention. Her form was definitely in need of improvement, but it was outstanding that she knew what to do regardless.

    Slowly, other kids within the cafeteria followed Naomi's lead, standing to their feet and trying to salute as best as they could. Blaine smirked before snapping into his own salute to meet their's.

    "Excellently done, Recruits." Blaine said. "At ease. Here is the Mess Hall. You will be brought here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. You will be given precisely thirty minutes during each meal to eat. I expect no waste to be found in this receptacle at the end of thirty minutes, with you all in your single file lines, waiting for future instruction."

    With his words, the children quickly sat themselves back down at the tables and began to eat their food. Many of them had disgusted looks on their face, something he could relate to, though it had been quite some time since he had a warm meal, instead of M.R.Es. Nodding his head to the other Spartans beside him, they passed through the line to gather trays of food, sitting at a table that was completely unoccupied.

    Blaine knew Mendez never ate in their presence when they were younger, but he wanted to do things slightly differently here. They had been trained by Mendez for years, where as Blaine only had a few months. If these kids were to trust him, he needed to show them that he was no different than them, except in rank alone.

    As he ate, he couldn't help but sneak a short glance at Naomi. Despite the other children's willingness to follow her lead just moments before, she sat alone. Her gaze didn't separate from the slop on her tray, while the children beside her completely ignored her presence, laughing audibly about something. His vision melted away for a moment, as he found himself back at the Orphanage from his childhood.

    He remembered when he had been that same kid, sitting at the table all alone. Though other kids would sit at the table, they never engaged him in conversation or anything. Watching Naomi in a similar situation caused his heart to plummet. Katherine and Lorelei picked up on this, as Lorelei gently placed a hand on his shoulder.

    The gesture wracked Blaine from his stupor for a moment. Shaking the flashback from his mind, his eyes turned to Lorelei. Dipping his head towards his own tray, he slid it over to the other two, before slowly standing. Lorelei reached out for him, as Katherine gently stopped her.

    "No." Katherine shook her head. "He needs to do this."

    Blaine marched over towards her table with his back straightened. His face was solid and unmoving, masking the true nature of his feelings in that moment. The kids around Naomi silenced for a moment, though her eyes didn't leave the tray. Kids at the neighboring tables all stared with fear as he approached.

    "Recruits." Blaine said gruffly. "You seem to be having a good time over here. What are you laughing at?"

    "N-Nothing, sir." one of the girls sitting beside Naomi said quietly, sinking into her chair, her hands gently covering her mouth.

    "I can tell you're lying, recruit." Blaine shook his head. "I could hear your laughter throughout this cafeteria with ease, and by that guilty look on your face, I can tell I'm right. What were you laughing at?!"

    Blaine hadn't meant for his voice to become so hostile in that moment, but he could tell by the look of fear on the other kid's faces, he had overdone it. The girl in question had tears welling up in her eyes, as one boy stood up quickly.

    "Just who do you think you are, picking on us little kids?" the boy scoffed.

    Blaine's eyes snapped to the kid's, matching his intensity with little effort. The boy realized his mistake, his demeanor slowly reverting back to the fear he had hosted just a moment before.

    "If you're going to at least step out of line, recruit, you would be wise to stick to your guns." Blaine said. "A soldier who has something to fight for, fights with all he's got."

    "You know what I think?" Blaine crossed his arms. "I think you were making fun of this recruit for following orders without question. Am I wrong?"

    "N-No sir." the first girl said quietly.

    "Speak up so I can hear you, recruit!" Blaine barked.

    "NO SIR."

    "SIR, NO SIR!" Blaine barked louder.

    "SIR, NO SIR!" the girl shrieked.

    As the girl's voice echoed throughout the cafeteria, the silence was thick like a morning fog on cold Autumn mornings. It was stifling, and even Blaine had to take a moment to compose himself, before standing straight up.

    "If you all are going to pass my trials and survive the days ahead, you will all have to learn to work together." Blaine's voice picked up, so he could address the entire room. "In the days ahead, you will learn this. I assure you."

    His attention turned back to the kids beside Naomi, who stared at their trays. With a snarl, the kids' attention turned back to him. Silently, Blaine raised his right index finger, gesturing them all to stand. The kids did so quickly and without hesitation.

    "You all will be coming with me." Blaine said. "We're going on a quick run."

    The kids grabbed their trays at his gesture, and began to follow him across the cafeteria. While the children were dumping their food, Blaine turned to the remainder of his recruits, belting his voice loud enough so they could hear him.

    "For every time I catch you, any of you, treating your fellow recruits poorly, you'll forfeit your food and go on a run with me. I will not be picking favorites, but you will be treating each other like family, one way or another." Blaine said, turning to the others. "You'll wish you had after my run."

    Blaine's eyes turned to Naomi, who stood up silently, bringing her tray over to the receptacle and dumped her food. Blaine looked at her with confusion, before her eyes met his. His adopted daughter's soft brown eyes seemed to pierce through his gruff facade, as she placed the tray on the dispenser.

    "What are you doing, recruit?" Blaine asked.

    "What you ordered, sir." Naomi kept her eyes with his. "You said all of us had to run."

    "This is a punishment for them." Blaine said. "You didn't do anything wrong, recruit."

    "I will if I make them run without me, sir." Naomi shook her head. "I can't sit idly by while they are out there, on the course, just because I didn't have the courage to stand up for myself."

    Blaine's stern face softened for a bit, as he felt a smile curling at the corner of his mouth. Placing a hand endearingly on her shoulder, Blaine nodded stoically.

    "Very well then." he said with pride. "Come then, all of you. For the rest of you, you'll be following the other two out to meet with us then."

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

    "Alright recruits. We are about to perform what is known as a PT run. That is, a physical training run." Blaine had his arms folded behind his back as he addressed the children. "We will be running around the perimeter of this compound. You will run as a cluster, following behind me."

    "If you pass me, you will run an extra lap. If you hang back from the group for too long, you will run two extra laps. I will be chanting a PT chant. You will say everything and anything I say back after I have said it." Blaine continued. "Failure to do so will be one lap for every mistake. Am I understood?"

    "Sir, yes sir!" the kids said with a salute.

    "We'll be running twenty laps around the compound, recruits." Blaine said. "You're going to hurt at the end of this run. But you will run every lap you owe me. If you do not run, you will forfeit dinner tonight."

    Without warning, Blaine began to jog in the opposite direction. Behind him, he could hear the children's feet making footfalls. Checking over his shoulder, he could see all of them running in a cluster, it wasn't entirely a proper order, but they all seemed to be running at the same pace.

    Above them, the sun glared down on them. In comparison, it wasn't quite as intense as Epsilon Eridani, the star Reach used for it's solar light, but it was enough to cause discomfort to the kids. As it was technically winter in the local area that the compound had been located, ONI had kicked in a few extra credits to correctly keep the cold air out and keep the compound at a comfortable spring temperature.

    Blaine called out the PT chant that Mendez had recited to them several decades ago. While he caught a few mistakes from the kids behind him, he was impressed that they managed to keep up so far. As the sun moved across the sky, however, he caught many more mistakes from the children behind him.

    Their voices were ragged and labored, and their footsteps were off time. His eyes turned over his shoulder to see the kids stumbling, attempting to keep up. They had only been on their thirteenth lap so far, and many of them owed him another ten laps due to their mistakes.

    He wanted to stop to give them a chance to catch their breathes, however, he didn't get this way because Mendez gave them breaks. It was what taught him and the others discipline, and this was a punishment run for the others.

    "Permission *huff* to speak sir?" the girl from before spoke quietly. "We've *cough* learned our lesson, sir."

    "I'm sure you have." Blaine called back. "However, saying your sorry isn't what is going to help you survive. Take your punishment, and learn from it."

    Behind him, he could hear a couple of the kids groan. Had he been Mendez, he would have given them another two laps for bitching. Shaking the thought from his head, he continued his chant. He caught Naomi in his peripherals, she had been on a couple of his morning runs before she was enlisted into this program, so she was a bit more accustomed to this than the others, but he could tell she was reaching the limit.

    After they reached the twentieth lap, Blaine stopped for a moment, pointing out the two or so kids that owed him ten more laps. He turned to the others, who huffed and puffed. Thankfully, some of the Marines he had hired for assistance had left them a table with two water coolers. The kids all reached for the cups provided and began to guzzle it down.

    "Hold up." Blaine turned to the two kids forced to run with him. "Quench your thirsts. I'm here to toughen you up, not kill you."

    The two quickly grabbed some cups, filling them and guzzling them down, before filling them up and drinking again. After the third cup, however, Blaine stopped them. He had made the same mistake decades ago, too much water at once after a run would induce vomiting and only dehydrate them further.

    "You'll puke if you drink anymore, recruits." Blaine instructed them, before dumping the contents of the coolers on the ground. "You'll have more to drink at dinner. While the rest of us run, you'll be performing basic calisthenics. Push ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, the Marines here will instruct you."

    Blaine continued his jog, just now feeling the effects of the run. The two children followed behind him, trying their best to recite his words back to him and maintain their pace. After the next five, he opted out of the chant, instead deciding to give their voices a rest. As they ran, however, he couldn't help but think back to the cafeteria, just how defeated Naomi already looked.

    He wondered if she thought he was punishing her? That she was a bad kid and for that she and the other orphans were going to be punished. He didn't want to put her, or any of them for that matter, in this situation, however, he also couldn't argue with ONI. No matter what, these children would be trained, and Naomi would be included.

    If he didn't train them, he only feared a worse instructor would take his mantle and end up having them all killed. He decided that when it was time for the children to head for the barracks, he would find a way to speak to her privately, and assure her that this wasn't punishment.

    After the thirtieth lap around the compound, he turned to the two kids behind him. One of them was the girl who had addressed him at the table, while the other was the boy who had stood up to Blaine. The girl threw herself to the ground at the end of the lap, crying out loud as her hands grasped her calves. Blaine could see her muscles were super tense, and likely cramping in a very painful manner.

    Katherine jogged over, while Lorelei took their group of kids around the compound for the usual fifteen lap run they had agreed upon. Katherine placed herself beside the girl, whose fingertips were trying to dig into her skin.

    "I know it hurts, but I need you to relax." Katherine said calmly. "Marine, I need warm water, stat."

    "Yes, ma'am." one Marine nodded, as the group of kids Blaine was responsible for crowded around.

    "Continue your exercises." Blaine said. "She's going to be fine. She's got one of the best watching over her."

    Not to long after Blaine said this, the Marine came back with another water cooler, but as Blaine relinquished it from the man's grasp, he could feel the warmth of the water inside. It was a little bit warmer than Blaine felt it should be, but he brought it over to Katherine regardless.

    Holding it above the young girl, Blaine watched Katherine slowly released some water from the cooler onto a rag. Draping the rag over the girl's legs, Katherine slowly but firmly massaged the calf muscles. After a moment, Blaine watched the muscles in her legs begin to relax and not strain quite as hard.

    After a few minutes of rest, the girl was able to stand fully. Though her stance was shaky, she was back to somewhat normal. Blaine crouched beside the girl, causing her to flinch.

    "You did good today, recruit." Blaine said. "I'll only ask for twenty push ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks tonight."

    "The rest of you, we'll be headed back to the Mess Hall for dinner." Blaine turned to them, but what he saw was enough to visibly make him smile.

    The kids all grouped up beside the girl, and joined her in the push-ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks that she still had to do. He hadn't even given the order, they all just did it. Nodding his head proudly, he felt Katherine rest a hand on his shoulder.

    "Reminds me of the good ol' days." she chuckled.

    "Nothing good about them." Blaine smirked. "Well, that's not entirely true. What about the others?"

    "Looks like Lorelei's finishing up the run. We started with the aerobics to give you time to do your thing." Katherine nodded.

    "Good idea. Go talk to the chef, tell him we're adding dessert to the menu tonight."

    Katherine nodded and jogged inside, while Blaine turned his attention to his group of children. The three girls and two boys kind of reminded Blaine of Orange Team in their younger years, something that was both inspiring and saddening to watch. His eyes went up to the stars, as he silently prayed to his brothers.


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1190
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 22

    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 3rd 2017, 4:47 pm

    Hours later

    "Recruits, this is going to be goodnight." Blaine stood in the children's barracks.

    He had used some of the credits he had accrued over the years to kick in some slightly more comfortable bunk cots for the kids to sleep on. It wasn't a luxury that he and his Spartans had when they were younger, but it was one he wanted to offer these kids.

    "Tomorrow, you will be expected to wake at 0400 hours. You would be wise to sleep what you can." Blaine crossed his arms. "When you wake, you'll be expected to make your bed, and stand with your bunk mate at the foot of your beds, at full attention."

    Blaine approached each of the bunks as the children nestled into their blankets. His sheer height alone allowed him to interact with each of the children on both the top, and lower bunks as necessary. When he approached Naomi's bunk, he knelt down beside her.

    "Why are we here?" Naomi asked. "Did we do bad?"

    "No kiddo." Blaine smirked, placing his hand gently on her shoulder. "You all are here because you are good. One day, after this is all over, you'll understand. Sleep now, we'll see you tomorrow."

    He reached down and gave her a quick peck on the forehead, before standing tall. Walking his way over towards the exit of the barracks, he turned to the children, all of them. His eyes scanned the air for a moment, before he flipped the light switch, and engaged the locks on the door.

    As he left, he felt himself sink down the door for a moment. With a sigh to himself, he couldn't help but remember how he had felt after his first day of training. Confused, seemingly alone, no idea what the future would hold for him. Luckily for Naomi and the others, they hadn't been in here since they were five.

    "Just sleep." Blaine frowned, as he slowly stood. "Just dream."

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

    "Hey?" Naomi's eyes widened as the boy in the bunk above her said. "What's your name?"

    "Naomi." she said nervously. "You're the boy that stood up to my Dad, aren't you?"

    "He's your Dad?" the boy huffed. "How can he do this to us?"

    "You heard him." the girl from earlier said, just to Naomi's right. "He's here to make us strong."

    "After what his runs did to your legs?" the boy scoffed. "It's a surprise you don't hate him."

    Naomi frowned as she heard the boy express his disgust in her father. Sure, he had been very nice when she first met him, and he had even adopted her after he won against the aliens. It wasn't until after the Zoo incident that he had changed, he was much more strict with her, and she began to wonder if it had been because she fell in Abuntabu's cage.

    "Where do we have to go?" one of the other boys in the room called over. "Admiral Blaine and his people saved us. I don't know about the rest of you, but my parents died getting me off of Reach during the wars. They wouldn't want me eating trash and living on the streets."

    "So you want to trust him?" the boy above Naomi said. "His people shocked us with batons, they forced us to run when our breath hurt."

    "He did that to make us stronger." Naomi heard the girl beside her say. "You saw how he smiled when we worked together at the end."

    "I don't want excuses, I want answers." the boy above her said. "You're his daughter, why is he doing this to us?"

    "He adopted me." Naomi said. "He killed the alien that killed my parents. He's really nice, usually."

    She heard something to her right as the boy jumped off of his top bunk, standing over her. She heard his feet walk over towards the door Blaine had left, before flicking the light on. Walking his way back over to her, he lifted his shirt. She noticed a small burn from where the shock stick had touched his side.

    "This isn't the efforts of a 'nice' man." the boy said. "This is the exact opposite."

    "Oi!" Naomi heard the same boy from earlier say. "Turn off the light, man. You may not want to listen to the Admiral, but the rest of us are tired."

    It was then that Naomi heard the locks disengage from the door to their left. The other kids jolted upwards as her dad stood in the doorway. His face was stern, his eyes sweeping over the lot of them. She had noticed this feeling when she had first met him, his very presence demanding respect, exuding power unlike anything she had ever felt before.

    "What's the meaning of this?" he asked, as the boy on the top bunk from earlier pointed to the boy standing beside Naomi with his shirt open.

    "Ah." her dad said, nodding his head. "The boy from earlier. Please, tell me why the lights are on, recruit?"

    "I-I-"

    "You did it because you wanted to antagonize your fellow recruits again, didn't you?" he growled, stepping into the room.

    Naomi wanted to sink beneath her blankets. She had seen him in this mood before, when she was on his ship. He wasn't very approachable when he was like this, and she really didn't want to make him more mad. To her right, the boy seemed to swallow his fear and puff his chest out.

    "Naomi here just told me that you were her dad." the boy growled back. "How can you do this to us, let alone your own daughter?"

    The Admiral's composure remained as the boy spoke. Rolling his neck, Naomi could hear his muscles pop from where she had been lying. Her dad turned to the automatic door behind him and closed it. She winced as he did so, sinking further into her blankets.

    "How can I do this to you?" Blaine asked. "How can I do this to Naomi?"

    "I found Naomi months ago, in her apartment. Her parents were killed by a Covenant Brute." Blaine said. "After the war ended, she had no-where else to go. She would be stuck in an Orphanage."

    "So many families were broken after the War." Blaine continued. "With a show of hands, how many of you lost your parents in the War?"

    Naomi poked her head out as all of the kids around her slowly raised their hands. She joined them, albeit hesitantly. With a stern nod, her father's attention turned to the boy beside her.

    "Each and every one of you are orphans." Blaine said. "You lost your parents, in some way or another. With the amount of broken families from this war, there would be no-one looking to adopt. All of you kids would be stuck in Orphanages until you were eighteen, then? Then you'd be thrown into the streets to fend for yourself."

    "How could you know?!" the boy hissed. "You-"

    All of the kids, Naomi included, jumped as her father's fist struck the metal wall beside him. Although it was bare-handed, the blow dented the wall, as her father's head hung downwards. When he looked up at the boy beside Naomi, she felt her skin crawl all the way down her spine. His one soft, kind blue eyes were now fierce, shooting daggers at the boy beside her.

    She wasn't the recipient of the look, but she had never once in her life seen her father like this. His face was completely anger, not even the usual stoic that she expected of him.

    "How could I know?" Blaine asked. "My mother died the morning I was born. My father? He threw me into an Orphanage because he couldn't take care of me."

    "My father died in the War, same as most of you kids." he growled, venom dripping from his lips. "You know how I spent my childhood? A victim of the same bullying little shits like you put Naomi through. Isolated, hated, and beat upon for no good reason."

    "Everything I'm putting you through? Is actually the same thing I went through when I was your age." Blaine walked towards the boy, until there was nothing but a few feet between them. "Except I didn't get a break when my calves hurt. I was expected to do one hundred jumping jacks, one hundred push ups and sit ups."

    "If I didn't listen, I got shocked." Blaine said, lifting his tank top, revealing several burn marks. "That isn't plasma, kid."

    There was silence as all of the kids in the room observed the several scars, plasma or not burns along Blaine's back and torso. As they looked, Blaine replaced the shirt, pointing to the boys.

    "I didn't even have a name." Blaine said. "They gave me a number. They didn't tell Blaine to do anything, they told One-One-Five to run twenty laps."

    "One of my training partners, you may know him as the Master Chief? He only won this war for Humanity because of our training." Blaine growled, picking the boy up by the front of his shirt. "I let you keep your names, and I haven't shocked you since your briefing earlier this afternoon."

    "My job is to make you Humanity's next set of heroes." Blaine said. "Because like me, you won't have a future without it."

    Dropping the boy back down to the floor, Blaine's eyes turned to Naomi, causing her to squirm nervously. His expression softened for a moment, before he returned his gaze back to the boy.

    "I don't want to be your enemy. I don't want you to fear me, like I feared my instructor when I was in your boots." Blaine said. "However, I will do whatever is necessary to make sure that all fifty or so of you kids make it out of this alive."

    "The only way I can assure that is if you do as I say, when I say it." Blaine growled. "Otherwise, and there is no sugar coating it- you will die."

    Naomi's eyes widened as Blaine said this, her eyes scanning the other stupified children around the room. Many of the boys and girls had tears in their eyes, terrified by what was going on. With one last sigh, her father's shoulders slackened for a moment.

    "What is your name, recruit?" Blaine asked the boy.

    "David." the boy said.

    "I knew a kid just like you when I was in training." Blaine said. "Always wanted to disobey our instructor. You know where he's at?"

    David's head slowly shook as Blaine knelt down, putting his face on the same level as the boy's. David's eyes fearfully scanned Blaine's face.

    "He's dead. At the bottom of a cliff on Planet Reach." Blaine growled. "He wanted to run away from Lieutenants Lorelei, Katherine, and I. He ran himself off of a cliff, Katherine and I tried to save him."

    "No matter how much I, someone who wanted to listen and do as he was told, tried, he ended up letting his distrust in us kill him." Blaine shook his head. "In this training, you and your recruits will be in constant danger. If you continue to act like this, I guarantee you this- you will either join my friend, or you'll cost the life of one of your recruits."

    As Blaine stood, he sharply slapped the bottom of the boy's jaw twice. It wasn't enough to cause real pain, but it was almost like a wake up slap.

    "Smarten the fuck up, kid." Blaine said, standing. "You've got good leadership material in there somewhere. Don't walk your fellow recruits off the cliff, David."

    Her father slowly walked back over towards the light switch. His massive hand covered the switch, but just as he was about to flip it, Blaine sighed.

    "Each and everyone of you kids in this room have the potential to be the next great heroes of Humanity." Blaine said. "My promise to you all here and now, is that I will unlock this potential. You WILL become heroes in the eyes of Humanity. All I ask, is that you trust me to guide you through it."

    "I don't take pleasure in treating you kids like this." Blaine said. "In fact, I hate it. I would like to let you all be kids, but the world doesn't want it to be that way. Goodnight, recruits."

    Naomi silently sighed to herself as she noticed her father's old self returning with the end of his sentence. That was the man she had known for the past few weeks as her Dad. It was a relief to her, but everything he said caused her much discord. She didn't want to die, and now she knew why they were here.

    He was making them strong so that they could defend themselves, where their parents died during the war. She had seen him when he fought the alien that killed her father, if she could even do half of that, it would mean the world to her. As the light flickered off, and the door closed, she turned to David, whose breathing was shaken and rigid.

    "What does he mean his training partner is the Master Chief?" the girl from earlier spoke up.

    Naomi realized that she had been the only one of all of these kids that had seen Blaine in and out of his armor. She knew he was a Spartan, but the others likely didn't. She hesitated for a moment, before remembering all of the good things her father had done in the past few weeks.

    How could he do so much good when people treated him worse than they were being treated here? How did he manage to be a hero of Humanity, a Spartan, and not be angry about everything? All the questions swarmed in Naomi's head, before she turned to the girl.

    "Dad and Ms. Katherine and Lorelei are Spartans." Naomi said, as the children around her shifted in their cots.

    "Wait." David said, his voice almost hollow and fearful. "Admiral Blaine i-is, h-he's-?

    "A Spartan." Naomi replied, proudly.

    "I-I thought they were robots. Where's his armor?" David asked.

    "I don't know." Naomi shrugged. "I once saw him punch through a wall without it, though."

    Naomi paused as she heard liquid trickling against the floor to her right. Followed by a rather unpleasant smell, her eyes searched the darkness for David. Calmly, she reached her hand out, finding purchase on his hand.

    "He doesn't want to hurt us." Naomi smiled in the darkness, finally understanding. "He wants to make us Spartans, too."

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

    "Eyes up recruits." Blaine's voice echoed over the barracks.

    Many of the children jolted awake, swarming out of their beds. Making a top bunk was tricky, so Blaine gave the top bunk recruits a break to find a rhythm, but instead turned his attention to the children on the lower floor.

    As he passed down the aisle, several of the beds were almost perfect, something he was grateful to see. Turning back for another pass, however, some of them were sloppily done. He approached each of the children, one by one, berating them for their sub-standard job. The children perfected their beds, while he checked over the top bunks.

    When he was content with them, he walked down the aisle, as Naomi and the girl from the night before stood at attention, side by side. The other children in the room took their lead and snapped to attention as best as they could.

    "Not bad, recruits." Blaine nodded, impressed. "This will be your every morning from now on. You will wake up promptly at 0400 hours, make your beds, and stand at attention."

    "Those of you on the top bunk will be expected to finish at the same time as those beneath you on the ground level." Blaine said. "At ease."

    As the children all slacked, Blaine turned to the door, as Lorelei and Katherine walked in with a couple of bundles of clothing. As Lorelei and Katherine unhitched the bundles, several sets of clothing with first names only were sprawled out on each child's respective bed.

    "Lieutenant Lorelei and Katherine, along with I, will be waiting out in the hall. You will put on the clothes given to you. You will receive another set come this evening. After training, you will be expected to take your new set to the showers, you will wash, and put your old set in the laundry." Blaine said. "I shouldn't have to explain what you do with the new set, recruits. You have a minute to dress, recruits."

    Blaine and the others left the room, closing the door behind them to permit the children time to dress. After a minute, he opened the door to see the lot of them in two single filed lines, waiting for further instruction.

    "Well done recruits." Blaine nodded with a smirk. "I didn't even have to tell you. The Lieutenants will be taking you down to the Cafeteria for Breakfast. You will be meeting me outside for training today."

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

    "Alright then." Blaine had his arms folded behind his back, standing in the open field with the children. "Today, as with every day, we will be starting with the twenty lap run. After the run is done, Lorelei and Katherine will be taking you to this spot to do your exercises. Those that still owe me laps will be running with me until the debt is paid in full."

    "If we are speedy today, I will reward you." Blaine said. "In the Military, obedience is rewarded. Especially if the effort you put in is efficient to victory. You will see what I mean, if you can meet that expectation."

    Surely enough, and without warning, Blaine began to jog around the compound again. As before, the children followed him. With his chants, he heard their voices echo throughout the enclosed compound. It was different than the five he had behind him last night. With fifty plus kids, it was almost like a rhythmic chorus.

    Round and around they went, their footfalls echoing throughout the compound. Every few meters, Blaine checked behind him to check up on the children. Some of them stumbled, but managed to keep themselves composed. It was an improvement to the night before, but there was always room for more growth.

    To mix things up, Blaine turned around, jogging backwards to keep his eyes solely on the children. Most other drill sergeants took to the side or the rear, but he wanted to see their faces. The children were surprised by his sudden change, unsure if they had to twist as well.

    Naomi continued to jog, her location towards the middle of the pack. When his eyes were on her, he noticed her slip up and tumble to the ground. David, the boy from the night before, seemed to notice this as well. He hung back to help her to her feet. Based on the way Naomi was jogging, she hurt her ankle on the impact.

    David rested her on his shoulder, the two of them continued to jog together. Blaine gestured for the group to continue running, before jogging to the side of the pack, running alongside them. He continued his chant, the children echoing everything he called out. Finally, after the last children in the group passed the 'finish line', Blaine led them to a water cooler that he had watched his Marines set up.

    Before any of the children could grab a cup, however, Blaine took an entire stack in one hand, and plunged his combat knife into the bottom of it. Many of the kids stared with confusion, as Blaine took the water cooler and emptied three quarters of the contents out onto the ground in front of them. Replacing the mostly empty jug back onto the table, he stood in front of the children.

    "Recruits, you all did very well today." Blaine said. "However, this is another test."

    He turned to the hydration station behind him, gesturing to the only good cups and the reduced quantity of water. His eyes peered over each of the children, who smacked their lips at the sight of the water.

    "The run we went on this morning, you could consider a simulation of a real combat scenario." Blaine said. "Those twenty laps we ran around the compound was a retreat order from your superiors. Now that you've reached your destination, you find that you have time to hydrate and eat."

    "However, you find yourself unable to produce enough water for everyone to get a full portion." Blaine crossed his arms. "As a team, what do you do? Show me. David."

    David flinched as Blaine said his name, before stepping forward. David looked at Blaine, then to the cups and the jug of water. Blaine watched beads of sweat run down David's forehead, as he had not only just jogged so long, he also did the last few laps carrying someone else's weight as well.

    "Well?" Blaine asked. "You've shown to me that you have what it takes to stand up for your fellow recruits. How are you going to solve this problem? There isn't enough cups or water for everyone."

    David gingerly took a good cup and began to fill it with water. As it reached the safest limit of the cup, he watched as the water level in the jug declined incredibly fast. For David, there was probably four full cups worth of water left in the jug. If the others were as thirsty as he was in that moment, they would all want a full cup.

    "Time is of the essence, recruit. We're burning daylight." Blaine said. "If you're going to drink the cup, drink it."

    David turned to Naomi, bringing the cup over to her. He brought the cup to her mouth, as she hesitantly drank a mouthful. David went through the group one by one, giving them only a mouthful to whet their thirst. As the cup emptied, he brought it back to the jug to fill it, and continued to dole it out to each of them. After the last of the recruits were hydrated with what they could receive, David turned back to the jug, only to find it empty.

    Blaine stood high above David, his arms crossed. His eyes peered down at David, his face stone like and cold. Blaine knelt down again to David's level, putting his eyes on the same level as David's.

    "I told you to ration the drink so everyone got some, recruit." Blaine said. "You have not drank, why?"

    "Sir." David shook his head. "Naomi was wounded. She needed slightly more water than the rest because we had to carry each other. However, I couldn't deny the others their water, sir."

    "So you're telling me that you gave her your ration of water?" Blaine stood, arms folded behind his back.

    "Sir, yes sir." David nodded.

    "Do you understand why I did this exercise, David?" Blaine asked.

    "Yes sir." David said, turning to each of the children behind him. "It's because last night, you told me to stick to my teammates. You wanted me to ration the water, to prove to the others that I'm here for them."

    Blaine was beyond impressed at David's ability to interpret the test. With a smile curling at the corner of his mouth, Blaine placed a hand on David's shoulder.

    "That's the efficiency I was looking for." Blaine nodded. "Well done, David."

    Expertly, Blaine twirled a water bottle in his hand. He had been concealing it behind the jug. Handing it down to David, Blaine watched as David turned to the others. To Blaine's surprise, instead of taking his reward, David passed the bottle to the other members.

    "This wasn't a test, David." Blaine said. "That was your reward."

    "Sir," David said. "I want to prove to my fellow recruits that I am here for them. I'd rather climb the cliff than fall down it, sir."

    Blaine nodded with a smile, before turning on his boots. Lorelei and Katherine, as planned, arrived to take the children to do their daily regiment of exercise. Blaine, however, made his way to the building towards the center of the compound. He was waiting for the right moment to utilize the facility.

    Blaine opened the door to reveal a blank room. It was completely gray with no defining features whatsoever. Out of respect for Doctor Jean-Bailey, the creator of the facility, Blaine wiped his boots off and walked into the center of the room.

    "Welcome Admiral. Glad to see you again." Lily's familiar voice called over the intercom.

    "Likewise," Blaine chuckled. "Though I guess I can't really see you, now can I?"

    Suddenly, the avatar of Lily appeared to Blaine's right. She stood much taller than the previous times Blaine had summoned her, her head measuring to about his rib-cage. With her white sunhat, she tipped it, lifting one side of her summer dress to curtsy for him.

    "Better?" she asked.

    "It'll be better for the children, yes." Blaine said. "Will you be ready for today's lesson?"

    "Yes." Lily nodded. "Though, I was informed by Gunnery Sergeant O'Brien that you wanted to utilize the primary function of the room today?"

    "Affirmative." Blaine said. "I feel it's necessary to show the children just what will come of their training."

    Lily nodded her form, blinking out of existence. He heard a hiss to his right, as a trio of tubes began to rise out of the floor. Each of the tubes held Lorelei, Katherine, and his own Gen 2 Mjolnir suits.

    "That won't be necessary today, Lily." Blaine said. "I don't want them to know about the armor until it's time for them to don it themselves."

    Surely enough, the tubes to his right sank back into the floor, leaving the room completely blank once again. Behind him, he heard the door open, along with the footfalls of fifty plus children and the two Spartan instructors behind them.

    "Ah recruits, welcome to the Recreation Room." Blaine turned to face them. "You will be reporting here after the morning run and your exercises."

    "This is Lily." Blaine turned to the white avatar beside him. "She is my personal Smart AI assistant, and will be your teacher for the remainder of your time here."

    "She will teach you everything essential for combat operations, History, Basic and Advanced Mathematics, everything we believe you will require."

    Blaine turned to Lily with a nod, as she instructed the children to sit around her. From above, a projector appeared out of the ceiling, beginning to project the battle of Thermopylae. Blaine smiled at the nostalgia of looking at the virtual simulation of the battle from his childhood, before turning to Lorelei and Katherine.

    "Are you okay?" Blaine turned to Lorelei, whose hands were on her knees.

    "Yeah, I'm fine." she turned to him. "I'm just exhausted, that's all."

    Blaine began to ponder what she meant by that, until he recalled something Doctor Bailey had told him about pregnancy. How fatigue was widespread throughout the first few weeks and beyond.

    "Alright then, go take a rest." Blaine said. "I'll handle it for now. Don't overdo it. Katherine, help her please?"

    Katherine nodded as she gently placed a hand on Lorelei's shoulder. The two walked towards the door, closing it behind them as Lily spoke. Blaine stood against the nearest wall, arms folded behind his back. As Lily's lesson continued, he noticed several children asking her various questions about the fight, just the same as he and his Spartans had back in their day.

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

    "That concludes today's lesson, children." Lily said. "Thank you all for being so attentive and respectful."

    Blaine stepped forward as the children began to stand and stretch. With his arms folded behind his back, he stood proudly in front of them as they turned to listen to him.

    "Normally, this would be the time for lunch. For today, I will be pushing back lunch." Blaine said. "You all handled yourselves well in the PT run this morning, and David showed me the efficiency I was looking for in team-work between all of you."

    Blaine turned to Lily's avatar with a nod. The projector on the ceiling sealed itself back up flush with the rest of the surface. Suddenly, the room began to glow a bright white, with grids forming all around them, like a digital 3-D graph.

    "As I promised, you will receive a reward for your efforts." Blaine said. "This room isn't just for Lily to teach you all that you need to learn. No, this space is also a giant simulation zone."

    Around them, the once cold gray steel of the walls seemingly extended outwards for miles. Above them, a cobalt sky with white puffy clouds began to spew out of the ceiling like the smoke from a chimney, but in reverse. Great trees sprouted from the fresh dirt around them, sprawling far higher than the ceiling would allow.

    "While we are in this simulation, we are free to go wherever we please, within the limitations of the room." Blaine said, approaching the wall he had once stood near.

    To his and the children's eyes, it looked to be a hill sprawling upwards to a mountain top. However, as he approached the wall, he pressed his hands to it. Much like a floating liquid, a boundary began to ripple like a stone plunging into water from his touch.

    "The room can change locales as we act, simulating a walk up this hill if we wish to." Blaine continued. "For now, I have set the simulation to take place here, on this small plateau. For this simulation, you will be recognized by the enemy, but they cannot hurt you."

    "As for me, however," Blaine cracked his knuckles, readying himself for a fist fight. "They will actually shoot at me, and I will feel the actual pain of their fire."

    "Your prize is to see a Spartan in action, so that you know what will become of you at the end of our training."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1190
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 9th 2017, 3:02 am

    "Warzone simulation is now online, Admiral." Lily's voice echoed over the hills. "Legendary-tier difficulty setting."

    "Survive five rounds of Covenant enemies, each one progressively more difficult than the last." Lily said. "Marine reinforcements inbound."

    Above the children, the roar of a pair of Pelicans echoed through the trees, dirt and dead leaves at their feet were kicked up at the approach of the troop vehicles. Three groups of five Marines each dropped out of the bay of the Pelicans. One of the helmeted Marine's tossed Blaine a standard DMR. Blaine turned the rifle immediately into a readied carry, much faster than the children could watch.

    "Sweep the perimeter." Blaine barked to the Marine, the AI controlled soldiers saluting, before the fifteen Marines dispersed far beyond the barriers of the simulation.

    Blaine's eyes scanned the horizon over looking the plateau, when a shimmer caught his attention. The children seemed to notice as well, as a Covenant Spirit descended on their position. Blaine moved to the nearest tree within the limits of the room, taking position behind it. Without his armor, their plasma would hurt like hell, let alone the fact it'd likely kill him in a matter of seconds.

    The children watched as he moved, hurrying their way behind the inter-dispersed trees available to them. Above them, the Spirit's rear facing plasma cannon swept over their position, scanning for any sign of them. The sides of the two pronged ship swung open in a strange wave like fashion, as a multitude of Brutes, Grunts, and Jackals fell out like a swarm.

    Naomi in particular kept her eye on Blaine. In her time of knowing him, she had only seen him fight one enemy, beyond that, she had never actually seen in him in combat, let alone outside of his armor. She froze as his gaze turned back to her for only a moment, before he was off with a cloud of dust at his feet.

    The resounding cadence of his piercing rounds blasted through the local area, as a pair of the bird-like Jackals fell in a mixture of blood and bone. The Grunts showed their name sake, barking in their alien tongues at the unarmored Spartan charging at them. His combat boot met under the chin of one of the Grunts, denting it's methane rebreather into it's mouth.

    The creature, which stood slightly taller than the children, coughed and gagged in a muffled fashion at the object lodged further into it's mouth. Blaine's massive hand wrapped around the squirming stumpy creature's neck, before turning it's body towards the giant ape-like beasts. Industrial length spikes pierced the creature in Blaine's grasp, it's body slumping.

    Using it's dead body as a shield with one hand, Blaine's DMR fired from his spare hand, piercing the Brute's armor and it's skull after four or so shots. Tossing the mangled Grunt's body to the side, Blaine dashed towards the nearest Brute. His fist struck the side of it's jaw, causing one of it's fangs to snap painfully upon impact.

    The force of the punch was enough to skid the muscle and fur covered ape a few feet back, which was more than enough time for Blaine to bounce off of his left foot. The Brute's head snapped back from the previous strike, allowing Blaine's next downward strike to spike the creature into the earth.

    Blaine stood over the dazed Brute, before firing a single round into it's skull point blank. Behind him, he heard the final Brute growl in anger, tossing it's weapon aside. Blaine turned just in time to meet it's bulky arms. The two combatants grunted, trying to gain the upper hand on the other.

    Blaine grinned however, as he felt the Brute suddenly jerk and stumble in their locked battle of attrition. It's eyes slowly began to dull and gloss over, as he pulled his knife from it's pouch, bringing it up and into it's neck.

    Rolling it's corpse out of his arms, he turned to Naomi, who stood shakingly with a Brute Spiker in her hands. The shakiness in her hands caused her to drop the weapon, as she slowly began to walk away. With a smile, Blaine slowly walked over to her and crouched down to her level.

    "Thata girl." Blaine snickered, before wrapping his arm around her shoulder into a tight hug. "You did good."

    Standing tall, Blaine placed a hand on her shoulder before turning to the other children, who slowly began to creep out of their cover. The simulation around them began to slowly fade, reverting back to the dark gray room it once was.

    "I'll be honest with you children, I was lying when I said that those Covenant wouldn't hurt you." Blaine said. "The truth is, this was a test. I did indeed want to show you what a Spartan is capable without their suits, but I also wanted to see who was willing to break cover to come to another's aid."

    "Because of Naomi, the test was passed." Blaine's eyes scanned over each of them. "From now on, after your lessons with Lily every day, you will report to lunch, and then you will muster here for a simulation every day."

    "We will be alternating between simulated combat and obstacle courses. Combat will be objective based, whether you will be ordered by me to hold a position or to handle a high valued target, whether they be friend or foe." Blaine said. "For now, let's get you all fed."

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

    0830 Hours, March 7, 2553 (Military Calender)/ Solar System, Covenant-Human War Monument, planet Earth.

    "Recruits." Blaine stood at the front of the five rows of pre-teens. "Behind me is what is known as the Mt. Killamanjaro Monument. The pictures you see across it's plate are all heroes from the Covenant-Human War."

    Lorelei sat in a chair overlooking the group, while Katherine stood by her side as both a protector and to keep the trainees in formation. Blaine's eyes scanned the ground in front of him as he thought back to the War, how it seemed like an eternity had passed since it's end, when it had merely been five months or so.

    "Admiral, sir?" David stepped forward. "Is my grandfather on the plaque, sir?"

    "What was his name? His rank?"

    "Sergeant Phillip Durgin, sir. ODST."

    Blaine's heart sank at the mention of the name. Turning his head to the plaque, there was no images of any of Cobalt Squad anywhere on it's surface. He had been told that they worked for ONI, despite being placed in the main infantry towards the end of the war, making them 'black ink' personnel. It was the sole reason none of his Spartan II's were noted, with the exception of John.

    "I'm afraid not, son." Blaine said, shaking his head. "Phil was ONI, and therefore not permitted to be involved on the plaque."

    "If it brings you any consolation, recruit." Blaine said. "I served many years with your father personally, before and after I ranked over him. He was a shining beacon of hope that never seemed to waver."

    "I had heard he died, before my mother." David said. "Do you know how he died, sir?"

    Blaine thought for a moment about the day Phil had died. He hadn't been there for the event, but definitely had seen Josh mourn over him when he and Craig met up with them. By the look of Phil's corpse at the time, he appeared to have been mauled by a Brute, but Blaine didn't want to tell David that.

    "He died a hero, son." Blaine nodded his head solemnly. "He saved my life, and the lives of your Uncle Joshua, and his cousin Craig."

    It was a stretch of the truth, for the sake of putting meaning in Phil's sacrifice. From what Blaine had gathered from Josh, Phil had essentially spat in a Brute Chieftain's face and told it to piss off. Something extremely uncharacteristic, but entirely noble of Phil to perform.

    "I knew it." David nodded, to himself, wiping a tear from his eye. "I knew he was a hero."

    Silence once again fell over the crowd, as Blaine turned to the Memorial, then to his Spartans to his left. Lorelei and Katherine both nodded, as Blaine took a deep breath.

    "The reason I have brought you all here was to bring you courage and hope for the events that will be taking place tonight and the weeks to follow." Blaine said firmly. "Today is the day you all will receive your final test. You will be augmented to become stronger, faster, and smarter than you are now. Today is the day you become Spartans."

    "By standing before this Monument, you pledge yourself to the sacred Spartan vow. You are here to defend the very Earth we stand on, and all of her colonies from evil, be that in the form of Insurrectionists, Covenant aliens, or the primeval Flood infestation." Blaine said.

    "There is always more that you recruits can learn, but for now, this is not a test of wisdom, or intelligence. This is bravery, this is constitution, this is physical. Regardless of the events that take place tonight, understand that you all are heroes in my eyes, and one day, the eyes of those you have now sworn to protect."

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

    "Cheer up big man." John said, sharpening his knife on a whetstone placed between his Gen 2's shoulder pauldron and arm vambraces. "Doctor Bailey told me that the Gen IV Spartan augmentations are easily double as safe as yours or mine. Shit, the kiddies'll even be able to breath underwater practically."

    "What's the percentile of possible survival to death?" Blaine asked, his arms crossed, planting his back against the wall.

    "On adult subjects?" Lucy, another Spartan III, stood beside John. "A complete success, with little in the ways of negative side-effects. Though, there are rumors that one of the adult subjects went insane shortly after, and nearly took the Infinity captive a few months back."

    "What about children?" Blaine asked. "They have to borrow some Generation II level augmentations for the children, because it permitted the children to be augmented correctly, most of the Gen IV augments are meant strictly for fully matured adults."

    "Yikes, that's gotta be rough." John said, as Lucy's fist shot sharply into his shoulder. "I mean, you've got some tough kids in there. I'm sure they'll be fine."

    Blaine sighed, nodding silently, before stepping inside the door. Passing the threshold, he could hear the muffled yelling of the two Spartan IIIs as they squabbled about the discussion. Paying no heed to it, his eyes instead fixated on the children all lying in two rows, on opposite sides of the room.

    "Admiral?" Doctor Bailey pulled herself away from one of the Doctors she had been talking with. "I wasn't expecting you to be here."

    "I can't abandon the children." Blaine said. "I had to come see it through."

    "I understand you're concerned, but the majority of the procedures we're using are completely harmless to the children." Bailey said, before mildly chuckling to herself. "Though, they'll have a bit of trouble walking after the first few days of recovery."

    "I distinctly remember reading in the file that Gen II augments were also being administered in place of the chemicals and physical augments designed solely for mature adults." Blaine said. "What's the mortality rate on that?"

    "Minimal at best." Bailey said, her once cheery expression dampening for a moment. "They'll be okay, Blaine. I have great respect for Doctor Halsey, but I'll know when to stop for the children."

    "For their sake, I hope you're right." Blaine said, placing a hand on her shoulder. "I shall remain here overnight, so I know first-hand if something goes wrong. You have my word that I will not get in the way."

    Blaine walked up one aisle, taking a moment at each unconscious child's bed to read up their names. As the training had gone on for the past couple of months, he had slowly made the mistake of calling them all by their first names, and he began to understand why Mendez had given them only just a number.

    It was for this moment, if any of those children died, he knew them, who they were and what they did. Everything about them was in a name, when he and his II's had their numbers, they weren't human for Mendez to mourn the loss of, they were all utensils. As he approached the girl whom he had once called out upon, his eyes scanned over her name on the board beside her.

    "May." Blaine stood over her, noticing the peace of sleep in her face.

    He knew she couldn't hear him, but he couldn't help but say their names a loud as he stood over them. As he had began to call them by their first names, instead of treating them like a soldier, he also began to feel a sense of protection for them. Instead of having solely Naomi as his adopted child, he had felt as if he had instead adopted all fifty of the children.

    For lack of better knowledge, he in fact did. Each and every one of them felt like a member of his family, and he couldn't bring himself to view any of them as mere objects, as Mendez had to him decades before. As he continued to march across the aisles, he said their names and silently wished them well in the hours ahead. They would all be forced to be awakened when the augmentations occurred, to ensure the body didn't reject them.

    After he finished his pass by each of the fifty unconscious children, Blaine took his seat at the far end of the room. He sat there for countless seconds, which turned to minutes, and inevitably hours. In that time, the various doctors in the room mulled over each of the children, who had long since awakened and laid still. The machines above the beds whirred to life, and the beginning augmentations began.

    He heard the countless cries of pain from the various children, each of their screams piercing his very fiber of being. Each one had as much impact as the rubber bullets and paint balls he had endured during that one PT run exercise when he was ten. The very run where he had protected Katherine and Lorelei.

    Blaine stood suddenly as one of the boys nearest him began to thrash against the bed. The screen above him flashed red, as the young pre-teen's head smashed violently against the bed, the boy desperately trying to break free of his restraints.

    Bailey sprinted over, followed by a pair of the other doctors. Except, however, the sound of more thrashing echoed throughout the room. Blaine's eyes stared horrifically into dead air, not focusing on anyone of the children reacting negatively to the procedure. He couldn't bring himself to.

    He had once been in that position, and he fought tooth and nail to stay alive through it. However, he had also bore witness to Beatrice-128 reacting the same way, except he had been splashed by her brain-matter and blood, as she effectively had cracked her skull off of the bed beside him.

    The sound of the flatlines brought Blaine back to his senses, as he turned to the red headed boy who had started flailing just a moment before. Tobias laid still, blood trickling out of the corners of his eyes and his nose. Blaine stepped over the young man's still body, frowning heavily, as he gently closed the boy's eyes.

    "I'm sorry, son." Blaine shook his head. "I hope you find your parents, and the will to forgive me."

    After a few minutes, with the flat-lines completely turned off, Blaine made his way to each of the deceased children. There was ten in total, of the fifty recruits. Though the percentage of mortality had been significantly less than his fellow II's, it didn't really soften the blow.

    "I-I-" Bailey shook her head, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. "Goddamn it!"

    "I'll inform the Aura." Blaine said, fighting the urge to tear up as she had. "Get the fallen ready for final transport."

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

    (One Month later)

    "Duty, honor." Blaine wore his best formal attire, Katherine and Lorelei standing on both sides of him in similar dress. "Self-sacrifice. Death does not diminish these qualities in a soldier."

    In a few rows before him, the freshly augmented Spartan IVs stood at attention as he spoke, Naomi and David standing before the group.

    "Here in the UNSC, we remember our dead." Blaine's eyes solemnly turned towards the ornate caskets behind him. "Their sacrifice was not a show of weakness, or lack of bravery. In fact, they were some of our strongest and bravest."

    "Tobias, Leyland, Norman, Tabitha, Kristen, Jefferey, Kaitlin, Turk, Leslie, and Nani all fought their final battle with the strength, courage, and dedication that was expected of them." Blaine said. "In this hour of solemnity and loss, we remember their smiles, their laughter, their loyalty to themselves and all of us."

    "They, as will all of you, are like my own children. Each one lost is another cut upon our backs that will never fully heal. We will use this pain going forward, to continue to strive to newer and bigger heights." Blaine wiped a tear from his eye, before straightening himself. "Honors, ah-ten-tion!"

    With ten repeated thuds across her hull, the Aura shook for a moment, as all ten caskets were jettisoned into the Sun. As each of them occurred, Blaine's mind went back to the day he, Lorelei, Jorge, and Katherine all stood with their fellow brothers and sisters, in the exact same scenario.

    It was also the day that he and John had learned the difference between wasted and spent lives. Back then, he had seen those of his brothers and sisters that had died as wasted, and to this day he still did, even for the ten floating out towards the Sun behind him. However, he felt it was necessary to address this, to convey the message to the next Generation, to help alleviate the pain they felt.

    "As Spartans, you will now understand that death is not avoidable, as much as UNSC propaganda would like to admit to you." Blaine said. "The same can be said about Lieutenant Katherine, Lorelei, and myself's own Spartans. We once stood where you do today, and while we cannot offer you much more than our condolences, I want you to know we feel your pain."

    "On the same day, I was taught by our instructor that there are sacrifices that must be made to complete a mission, when crafty thoughts and actions just isn't enough." Blaine continued. "I hope the day never comes, but to those of you that will be giving orders, you must understand that it is acceptable to lead your men to their deaths. If the mission is completed, their lives are spent. It is unacceptable, however, to waste those lives."

    "Those of you still here today have shown your continued support to your kinship and the UNSC as a whole. It will be with my distinct honor to instill each of you with your SPARTAN titles and ranks." Blaine said. "Not now, however, we will be returning to the compound. Take this time to gather your thoughts, and pay your respect. There is only one last piece of the puzzle to be dealt with, and I assure you that this is no test. This is your life-blood."

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

    "Admiral, sir?" Naomi stood just inside the door of Blaine's personal quarters on board the Aura.

    "I appreciate the notion, Naomi." Blaine said, turning his gaze towards her from the datapad on his desk. "When I'm not addressing you like a superior, you are welcome to call me Dad. That never changed."

    "I deserve no better treatment than the others, sir." Naomi said, shaking her head. "Even if I am your daughter."

    "Noble qualities, Naomi." Blaine said with a sigh. "To be honest with you, each and every one of your fellow classmates are like my children. I wouldn't be against it, if the others felt so inclined."

    "I came because I wanted to talk to you about what you said, at the end of that debriefing for... the others." Naomi bowed her head at the words. "What did you mean wasted and spent lives?"

    Blaine's eyes met with Naomi's as he stood with a sigh. Clasping his hand on her back, he gestured for the both of them to go on a walk. Together, the two worked their way down the hall to the nearest windowed hallway, so that they could get a full view of Earth in all of her majestic beauty.

    "When I was in your position, my superior told me that a good Leader should never be afraid to send his subordinates to their deaths. That so long as their sacrifice was used to complete the mission, it was a spent life to be honored." Blaine shook his head. "That it was unacceptable for a leader to waste the lives."

    "Of course, it was also acceptable to spend lives for retreat when necessary, if it means the entire team as a whole could get away." Blaine's eyes scanned the countless stars in the blackened void in front of him. "It's been more than twenty years since I heard those words, and to this day I still mull it over in my head about what it truly means."

    "If a good leader can spend their men's lives for the sake of the rest of Humanity, then a great leader should be able to save all of his or her men's lives." Blaine shook his head.

    "H-have you ever wasted a life, sir?" Naomi asked, turning her eyes up to Blaine.

    Blaine paused for a moment to solemnly recall the events someone directly under his command had died in a way that Mendez would have deemed unacceptable.

    "Three times, two if you don't count the first." Blaine frowned.

    "What happened to those men, sir?"

    "The first scenario was an ODST by the name of Morgan. At the time, I thought he had been my dad. Turns out, he was my Uncle. During a hit-and-run strike on a known Insurrectionist affiliate Company, we experienced difficulties in the mission." Blaine said. "The man I had spent the majority of Spartan training thinking he was my father, took the tactical nuclear device we had brought with us to permanently disable the ship, and essentially sacrificed himself to ensure the ship exploded."

    "Though there were complications, I always tell myself there was something that could have been done. That the ODST didn't have to die, especially because the ship was only a minor contingent of the branch, it wasn't the headquarters." Blaine shook his head. "I killed everyone planet-side that bore the logo."

    "The second account was an ODST of the same group, by the name of Josh. He is David's Uncle, as I'm sure you know. He was... the first victim to the Flood infestation that I witnessed." Blaine said. "He didn't have to die to the parasite, there was much more that I could have done. His death served no purpose other than to warn myself and the others of my fire-team of the threat the Flood posed."

    As Blaine thought of the last, his breath became rigid and uneasy. He felt a certain sickness building at the back of his throat, the likes of which was something he hadn't experienced since boot camp after a PT run. His frame shook for a moment, before he composed himself.

    "The last was my father." Blaine said. "The very same day the War ended. I had been too distracted that I had Katherine and your mother back in my life that I didn't notice the recon Brute sneaking up on us."

    "No matter how he tried to warn us, we were too focused on what we were shooting that I could even barely hear his screams of pain." Blaine continued, his eyes scanning the stars for answers to his own stupidity. "His armor adhered to his flesh, from the firebomb grenade. He begged me for the mercy of a swift and painless death, but I hesitated."

    "I had searched my entire life looking for my father, knowing that my mother had died the day I was born. The man I had searched for finally presented himself to me, only to die a few days later." Blaine's fist struck the enhanced glass, not even cracking it. "His death served nothing more than as a firm reminder that even with our armor, our augmentations, us Spartans cannot allow ourselves to get too cocky in the heat of battle. As it could lead to unnecessary death."

    There was silence between them for a moment, before Naomi's arms wrapped around his back from beneath his arms. Due to her augmentations, she had grown quite considerably, gaining an impressive two feet in that time. Blaine paused as he felt her hug, before pulling himself free to turn towards her.

    "You're not a bad leader." Naomi said. "A bad leader wouldn't mourn for their lost. They would view every person under their command dead as just a 'acceptable loss'. The others and I think the world of you, no matter how grueling your training regiment was."

    "We know you did it for us all to get stronger." Naomi said. "So we don't have to be afraid. More importantly, so that we can prevent more children like us from happening again."

    Once again, Naomi wrapped her arms around his torso in a tight hug, burying her head into his left shoulder. Blaine froze for a second, before returning the favor.

    "We don't hate you." Naomi said. "In fact- we thank you. You gave us another shot, where the rest of society would care less. You saw potential in all of us. For that, we are forever grateful."

    For the first time since Blaine had started training the children, he smiled for more than a second, resting his chin gently on the top of her head for the hug.

    "Someone's gotta care for us orphans." Blaine said softly.

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

    "Recruits, before you lies the next and final step of your journey to join the ranks of SPARTAN." Blaine said to the recruits, before turning to the rows of MJOLNIR Gen 2 armor sets on stands behind him. "This is MJOLNIR Gen 2. Some of you may have seen Spartans in combat wearing armor of similar nature, and now, in both title and rank, you are to join them."

    "SPARTAN Naomi, step forward." Blaine barked, as Naomi stepped out of rank and file, before snapping into a crisp salute. "As the honorary squad leader of this contingent of SPARTAN personnel, you will address them."

    "Thank you, sir." Naomi said, before turning towards the Spartans behind her. "It has been a long and painful journey for us all, some more than others. Though I distinctly remember one fateful night, at the start of our training."

    "Admiral Blaine-115... Dad." Naomi turned to him. "Told us of his fallen brother, who decided to fall down the mountain instead of climbing it. To betray his own instead of finding kinship and staying."

    "As I stand before you, I speak with utmost confidence that we have not only just climbed the mountain. No, we are far from the peak." Naomi said. "We will continue to climb, further and further each day, to reach the peak and join Admiral Blaine and his brothers and sisters. Am I wrong, Spartans?!"

    "Sir, no sir!" the Spartan trainees belted back at her.

    "We will continue to do our best to serve Humanity, and each other, in the days to come. We will not falter, and if we shall, we will pick each other up to live on another day." Naomi continued. "We will prove to our superior officer and father, Blaine, that he was right to place this much trust in us, won't we Spartans?!"

    "Hoo-ah! Hoo-ah! Hoo-ah!" the Spartans chanted, thrusting their fists into the air.

    Naomi turned to Blaine with one last salute, before turning back to her men.

    "Then put on your suits and earn your title as SPARTANs, comrades."

    As each of the remaining forty Spartans approached their designated suits of armor, each of them stopped before Blaine, offering him a crisp salute, before working their ways over to the armor sets. Blaine and Katherine, along with several engineers, helped the Spartans into their new suits.

    As this happened, Katherine and Blaine instructed them each to take their first few motions slowly and get used to the suit, as they had gotten used to theirs the first time they had put MJOLNIR on. With all of the children in their suits, Blaine turned to Lorelei, who now more than ever found herself in a chair.

    "Katherine, take the Spartans into their first official Legendary-tier Warzone simulation. Make sure they use the tactics we've taught them to keep each other safe, but don't coddle them." Blaine said, turning to Lorelei.

    Walking over, he offered her a hand, as she slowly began to stand. Five months of pregnancy were definitely beginning to show, but Lorelei showed no signs of stopping, although her motions were much slower and methodical to prevent any damage to herself or the child.

    "This really kind of sucks, you know." Lorelei said. "It's bad enough the baby's screwing with my body, but my skin crawls because I'm not able to keep up with my regiment."

    "I know the feeling. I'll be glad when I can finally start turning things up a notch for the Spartans." Blaine said with a smirk. "You're looking good, by the way."

    "This." Lorelei gestured to her stomach. "Is not 'looking good', but thank you anyways."

    As the two made their way slowly out of the room, Blaine helped her down the steps and out of the simulation room, closing the doors behind him. Lorelei took deep breaths in and out, enjoying the nice early April spring air.

    "It's been a while since we could just soak up nature, huh?" Lorelei said, as Blaine nodded silently to himself.

    "Yeah. It's a weird feeling." Blaine said. "Spent our entire childhoods training for a life of combat, but not what to do in a time of peace."

    "It seems like so long ago, and yeah, twenty years is a long time, but-" Lorelei paused for a second. "It also feels like it was only just yesterday you, Katherine, Jorge, Butch and I met."

    "Mmhmm." Blaine said. "You were a lot more shy then."

    "Don't think you were the most social boy either." Lorelei chuckled. "If memory serves me, and it does, Jorge was the one who initiated conversation with you."

    "Well, that was Jorge for you." Blaine snickered. "Remember when he ran up to Mendez and was all; 'Ah, hello. Ah nevum Jorge!', and Mendez hit him with one of those damned batons. Knocked the guy out for a couple of seconds."

    "Yeah, he was a card." Lorelei said, before her tone shifted. "Almost hard to believe he's gone."

    "Hard to believe all of them are." Blaine sighed. "I'm still waiting for the day the wool comes out from in front of our eyes and they're all just waiting for us. 'Surprise!' they would yell."

    "Having you and Katherine back in my life is enough, though." Blaine said. "So we don't have to feel totally alone."

    "Believe me when I say we both feel the same." Lorelei said. "Love that girl to death, but we were both worried sick about you and Jorge. Ever since the day you two were reassigned to a different group, we always feared we'd never see you again."


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 9th 2017, 3:08 am

    InspiringArtwork:

    Author's Notes:

    While this isn't my artwork, I saw this shortly after writing the latest addition to the story at large and couldn't help but see Blaine and Naomi's father/daughter hug in it. I figured I'd share it for the 'daww' moment.

    Not really much else to really say here. Thanks for continuing to follow the story if you are, if not, thanks for reading this one post Very Happy .

    Edit: Found the artist responsible for the drawing through a simple Google Image search. So out of fairness for the artist, here he/she is.

    Art credit: https://twitter.com/Drawing_4_life/media


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 11th 2017, 2:02 pm

    0900 Hours, August 9, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ Sol System, UNSC Aura of Armaggedon

    Several months had passed since the Spartan IVs that Blaine had trained had earned their Mjolnir armor. As per Blaine's request, the Spartans were assigned to work directly under him as the crew of the Aura. Though they were in a time of peace, Blaine had agreed to escort the now fully constructed UNSC Infinity in it's mission to disable any remaining Forerunner installations.

    Of course, the task of locating the Forerunner relics was about as easy as searching a vast ocean for a specific set of pebbles. Blaine's frustrations at the mission didn't entirely end there, Captain Andrew Del Rio, the man assigned to helm the UNSC Infinity, held no regard to military strategy or tradition. Instead, everything was made political as a result.

    Over the course of the past four months, Blaine had held the highest displeasure in having to interact with such a toxic human being. Being the Spartan that he was, trained in the way he was, he was expected to hold respect to high ranking officers, even if they did underclass his own.

    Thirty years of naval experience was enough to put Del Rio in the rank of Captain. However, Blaine scoffed at the notion, his actions alone having pushed him well above Captain in significantly less time. Del Rio may have had a history of bringing his ships home in one piece during the Great War, but at the behest of any respect from his crew.

    Everything about the man was a sin to the things Mendez had taught Blaine. How Del Rio would order his men out on completely unnecessary recon missions during a boarding action from the Covenant. The biggest sin Blaine had ever read of the man's file was his distinct lack of retaining valuable recon data he did manage to obtain, ultimately costing the lives of the soldiers in his command.

    Where Blaine had possibly wasted a handful of soldier's lives in his career as a commanding officer, Del Rio had in droves, easily tens of times more men lost for no reason. Still, a ship that large with a crew that massive, Blaine wasn't sure he was quite ready for such a commitment. The Aura was plenty enough, and he attributed the majority of the ship's success to Autumn. Overlooking Del Rio's monthly performance review, Blaine groaned as he hesitantly checked the 'proficient' box.

    "Admiral, you have an incoming message." Lily's avatar appeared from a small holo projector at the corner of his desk.

    "I'll hear it," Blaine took a sigh of relief, pushing the tablet he had been mulling over aside. "Thank you Lily."

    Lily's tiny avatar gave a curtsy before being replaced by a non descriptive sound wave. As the person on the other side spoke, the sound wave animation fluxuated based on the annunciation of the other party.

    "Admiral, Commander Lasky of the UNSC Infinity."

    Blaine had met the man once before, when Lord Hood had shown him the Infinity during production. The younger man seemed to have more martial knowledge than the man he served under by a wider margin. However, due to constrictions placed on him by Margaret Parangosky and Lord Hood, Lasky wasn't permitted to take the reigns, not unless something catastrophic took place, and Del Rio managed to screw up majorly.

    "Go ahead, Commander." Blaine leaned back in his chair. "Are we headed out into the void again?"

    "Negative, sir." Lasky replied. "We seem to have picked up a transmission from Earth that was meant for you. I've taken the liberty of having the message transferred correctly for you."

    "Playing messenger boy, Lasky?" Blaine chuckled. "That's one hell of a downgrade. Thank you for the head's up."

    "Heh, under the Captain? Anything's a promotion." Lasky chuckled. "Speaking of which, the Captain's out on some important meeting with Director Parangosky and Lord Hood. Infinity's parked until then."

    "Very good, Commander." Blaine nodded. "One-one-five, over and out."

    With a chirp, the transmission between Lasky and himself cut out. Lily returned, her avatar sitting beneath a tree seemingly reading a book. From what Blaine could make out, the white glowing book didn't seem to have any usual markings on it, instead looking like a blank slate.

    "Blankness, a story of Blank." Blaine chuckled. "Sounds fascinating."

    "Heh, no." Lily's avatar didn't turn her attention from the book, rather flipping another page. "It's Del Rio's file. The guy's a complete amateur. Anyways, I'll continue reading this, here's your message."

    "You really shouldn't be-" Blaine said, before the avatar disappeared. "Well played."

    "Admiral, it's Doctor Bailey." the good Doctor's voice seemed tense and serious, an otherwise uncharacteristic attitude for her. "It's time."

    "Time?" Blaine asked the message, though forgetting it was pre-recorded. "Lily, did I have any plans today?"

    Lily's avatar popped back up, but rather this time, instead of sitting under a tree reading Del Rio's file, she stood over a strange wooden cage like thing. The device was like a hybrid between a small bed and a table, with walls on each side of the bed, narrow enough that nothing could get through.

    "No." Lily said. "The message cut short, but I think this should be more of a hint? I found an image attachment to the corrupted message, and it showed this."

    "I have no idea what that thing is." Blaine shook his head, as Lily chuckled at his expense.

    "Blaine." Lily looked up at him, fists on her hips. "Lorelei's in labor."

    "Well, being pregnant tends to have strenuous effects on-." Blaine started for a second, before snapping to the conclusion. "Oh- OH. Can you get a Pelican prepped?"

    "Been burning fuel since you hung up with Lasky." Lily said.

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

    "Hey, congrats." John crossed his arms just outside of Doctor Bailey's office. "Your world just got a bit brighter."

    "I'm too late, aren't I?" Blaine shook his head, having sprinted down several flights of stairs from the landing pad on the roof.

    "Trust me, you didn't want to see what was going on anyways." John said. "When Lucy and I had Iola, she nearly put her fist through my chest."

    "Shut up." Lucy growled, turning to Blaine. "You should probably get in there, she'll want you to be there for this."

    Blaine nodded and took a deep breath in, before stepping in through the door. At his arrival, Katherine, and Lorelei turned to face him. Lorelei's face was covered in sweat and a look of defeat unlike anything he had every witnessed of her before. As for Katherine, she placed herself at Lorelei's side, patting her on the shoulder, beaming from ear to ear.

    "You're late." Katherine stood, crossing her arms across her chest.

    "There's no excuse for it." Blaine sighed. "I got Bailey's message, but something messed up and Infinity got it."

    "It's okay Katherine." Lorelei smiled. "He's here now, and that's all that matters."

    She turned her attention back towards Blaine with a faint smile. He slowly walked over to her and knelt down to her level on the chair. Placing her hand on his cheek, she ran her thumb gently across it.

    "Doctor Bailey is checking them both out to make sure they're healthy." Lorelei smiled meekly.

    "Wait." Blaine paused. "They? As in.. more than one?"

    "Twins." Katherine interjected behind him. "Both girls."

    "That's... wonderful." Blaine began a slow chuckle, before belting out into full laughter. "Two girls?"

    Blaine didn't really know what had come over him. He knew this day had been coming for the past nine months, but in the moment, it was as if everything wrong in his life had been pushed aside for something beautiful, something right. He didn't realize it until Lorelei began rubbing his cheeks again, that tears had actually started rolling from his eyes.

    "It's a medical marvel, really." Doctor Bailey said, walking in with two tightly knit bundles in pink cloth. "We've determined that one of the girls has your blue eyes, and the other has Lorelei's green eyes."

    Bailey stepped over to Lorelei, before handing her the two bundles. Lorelei looked them over for a moment, as Bailey pulled Blaine aside. Her face was serious, as her shoulders sagged.

    "You're not going to like what I have to say, but... difficulties arose from the children. Your biological enhancements, along with Lorelei's seemed to have impacted the children."

    "Are they going to be okay?" Blaine asked, his good mood suddenly stripped from him.

    "Only if you can answer me this truthfully; were either of your parents members of Orion Generation I?" Bailey asked.

    "Yes, both my mother and father." Blaine nodded, as Bailey sighed with relief.

    "As a Spartan 1.1, you not only benefit from your Spartan II augmentations, but also from the augmentations of both of your parents." Bailey replied. "The fact your Gen II augments didn't kill you as a result of your 1.1 attributes is a testament to your hardy nature."

    "I gave your daughters the shot that was given to all registered 1.1's to help their bodies cope with the Orion augments." she said, finding her smile again. "That being said, however, they seem to be reasonably healthy. We'll have to monitor them for the foreseeable future to see if anything is up."

    Blaine nodded thankfully towards her, before walking over towards Lorelei and his children. The thought of him being a father really hadn't sank in, despite looking at the two girls in Lorelei's hands. One of them, which had cried desperately earlier, had her blue eyes set on Blaine, staring up at him curiously.

    "I figured it was only fair if you got to name one, and I'd name the other." Lorelei smiled.

    Blaine glanced at the eyes of the daughter that stared up at him in such a curious sort. Kneeling down he pictured himself back on Reach, in the streets of New Alexandria. How he had escaped the Orphanage and sought out his father in such a fashion as she was staring at him.

    He remembered sleeping in that old maple tree with the bright red leaves, wishing for the better future he had always dreamed of. The very first sight, the day he became a Spartan and eventually a hero to society, however, had been the sun breaking gently over the horizon of the distant ocean.

    "Dawn." Blaine smiled at the infant in Lorelei's arms. "Her name is Dawn Evelyn Harlowe."

    "Dawn?" Lorelei smiled, as she looked into Dawn's sister's eyes. "Then it's only fitting we call her Dusk. Dusk- Amber Harlowe. As a tribute to your mother."

    The door behind them opened, as John, Lucy, and even Naomi walked inside. Naomi was still in her Mjolnir armor, but slowly walked over towards them. Blaine nearly forgot that Naomi was still twelve, despite the augmentations making her appear older and more mature.

    "Thank you for coming." Blaine said, hugging Naomi gently. "I thought it was only fair for you to meet your new siblings."

    Naomi glanced at Blaine for a second, before turning to Dawn and Dusk in Lorelei's arms. Blaine's hand firmly rested on Naomi's shoulder. Lorelei turned to Blaine, holding Dawn out to him.

    "She wants you to hold her." Lorelei smirked.

    "I-I can't do that." Blaine said, backing away slowly, only to feel John put his hands on Blaine's upper back.

    "Yes you can, big fella." John grunted. "Jesus, what do they feed you?!"

    "I'll hurt her, I know it." Blaine shook his head, attempting to resist.

    "You can't hurt her, unless you drop her." Lucy chuckled. "If you're half as stable with her as you are with a rifle, I assure you that you won't drop her either."

    Blaine closed his eyes for only a moment, taking easily the deepest breath in that he had ever taken. As he exhaled, he gently reached out and took the bundle into his hand. With some coaching for Lucy and Katherine, Blaine was able to gently nestle her in the crook of his arm, supporting Dawn's head correctly.

    Blaine's face, which had long since permanently fixated on being stoic and unmoving, drew into an ear to ear smile of pure joy. Dawn seemingly bubbled at the face, her arms and legs squirming in excitement. Gently, he raised the bundle up to his shoulder, supporting her head, neck, and upper back with his left hand, he gently rubbed her across the back with his right hand.

    He stood there for a moment like this, just enjoying the small psuedo hug from his daughter, before handing her back gently to Lorelei, only to do the same with Dusk. This time, however, David rushed into the room. Thankfully for Dusk, Blaine had gotten used to holding Dawn, and therefore had just enough stability to maintain his hold on her as David surprised him.

    "Oh, uh." David rubbed the back of his head as Blaine handed Dusk carefully back to Lorelei. "I was wondering why we were all in a hospital-"

    "What do you want?" Blaine asked, turning around. "What's so important that you had to run in here?"

    "Er, sorry, sir." David snapped to attention. "Infinity picked up an unknown UNSC signal far outside the reach of the Epsilon Eridani system. It was scrambled, but the same seven phrases were deciphered."

    "Out with it, then." Blaine growled.

    "Olly Olly Oxen Free?" David looked down at the tablet in his hand, his helmet tucked under his other arm. "Does that ring any bells?"

    At the mention of the old Spartan II callsign, Blaine turned to Katherine and Lorelei both, in turn, they gave him the same concerned look as he held on his own face.

    "Yes, that's a code for us Spartan IIs." Blaine said. "It's something we used all the time in training. Was there anything else you think we might know from the message?"

    "Only numbers, but I can't really understand them." David mulled over for a second. "Zero... eh, I think that's suppose to be a four?"

    "What's the last number?" Blaine asked, as his heart picked up it's pace.

    "Two, sir." David said, before slapping himself in the forehead. "Zero FIVE Two. Those are the-"

    "Lily, I need a Pelican, and I need it now." Blaine said into his watch, turning to Lorelei and Katherine. "You don't mind if I-?"

    "Mind?" Katherine scoffed, crossing her arms. "I'm coming with you."

    "Me-" Lorelei said, attempting to stand.

    "No." Blaine shook his head, gently lowering her back into the chair. "You're in no condition for combat right now. Once you've rested up and we've found a proper caretaker for Dawn and Dusk, then you can consider it. Right now, they need their mother."

    "Dad's about to go get the Uncle." Blaine turned to David. "Tell Infinity to get a lock on that signal. It's a Spartan II and they're calling for help."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 13th 2017, 4:08 am

    "I got the message from Lily," Autumn said with a smile as Blaine entered the bridge to the Aura. "Congratulations!"

    "Thank you." Blaine said. "Did you receive my second message?"

    "Affirmative." she nodded, turning to the navigation's officer. "Is Infinity on the move again?"

    "Negative ma'am." the woman shook her head. "Infinity's engines are cold and her crew are on standby."

    "We're operating outside of the Infinity now?" Autumn shook her head in confusion.

    "It's a personal OP. Sanctioned by yours truly." Blaine said. "Hopefully a simple snatch and grab. Lily, boost the signal of that transmission the Infinity picked up."

    "I've located and got a lock on it's position. You're not going to like this, but it's on the move." Lily said. "Slipspace tethers to any remaining relays in the Epsilon Eridani system are putting it near or on some unknown planet or colony."

    "No celestial body can move that fast in space." Blaine rubbed the chin of his helmet. "Not unless there's an engine attached. He's on a ship."

    "He? He who?"

    "A friend of mine." Blaine crossed his arms. "Hell, I'd sooner call him my brother. Ship's company, we're making an unexpected jump. Hold on to your hats and get ready for anything."

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

    ???? Hours, August 9, 2553 (Military Calendar)/ Epsilon Eridanus System, CSS Cruiser Praise and Penultimate Absolution, Unknown Planet.

    The air in the cargo hold of the all too familiar Covenant ship was thick with a musk of oil and death. Inhumane chitters and barks from the various species from the next cell over occasionally lead to the sound of flesh tearing and yips of pain from the occupants within. For a moment, Jorge almost wished he still had his damn helmet on.

    "Huh." he sighed to himself. "This is a bit of a pickle you've found yourself in, Jorge."

    His thoughts were a jumbled mess ever since he had blasted that Covenant Corvette and the Super Carrier above his home world to the next dimension and back. Unfortunately for him, that was in the most literal sense of the word, as he had joined most of the crew of that ship in the void of Other Space.

    He thanked Mendez for the years of training to keep focus that the CPO had embedded in him and his fellow Spartans for so long, if nothing else but to keep his sanity in that time. He also thanked whatever powers that be that the life support systems of the Corvette had remained as it was floating idly throughout whatever corner of the galaxy it had ended up in.

    He wondered if his efforts had truly halted the invasion of Reach? That if he did manage to find himself out of this cage that he could return there to link up with the rest of Noble, or even better, his fellow II's. His thoughts soured as he remembered the view of Reach he had seen in that brief moment he had been space-walking with Noble Six, prior to boarding the Pelican that would escort him and the bomb to the Super Carrier.

    He scoffed at the Pelican, cursing the worthless scrap of the old bird for putting him and Six in the position in the first place. Reach was burning on the surface, her people, hell, even his Spartan brethren were all down there fighting tooth and nail for their home, and he had been forced to spend the fight on the Covenant's turf. Not that he really minded taking the fight directly to the source, if it hadn't met taking another able bodied II off the field where he was needed most.

    He shook the thoughts from his head as a strangely ornate Elite, Field Marshal by the looks of his armor and color scheme, was tossed into the cell next to him. The very thought that these Elites were being imprisoned in their own ships only fueled his hatred for the aliens even more. They were so savage in their ways that they even resorted to imprisoning their own soldiers.

    Thinking back on it for a moment, he recalled that ONI was rumored to the very same. With that in mind, he shook the thought from his head altogether, instead turning to his new roommate. In truth, he preferred if the Elite would kill him here and now, at least then he wouldn't be required for more of those Covenant tests. Moreover, he wouldn't be able to be questioned for Earth's location.

    "A Spartan." the Elite said, much to Jorge's surprise.

    "What's it to you?" Jorge spat, crossing his arms. "If you've come to kill me, I'll gladly put up a fight."

    "That is the last thing on my mind." the Elite clicked his mandibles together. "Wait. You are not aware then, are you?"

    "Of the fact you can speak English?" Jorge shrugged. "I figured I was hallucinating."

    "No, not of that." the Elite shook his head. "You are not aware of the Great Schism. You do not know that the war with the Covenant is over."

    "Why do you say that like you're not one of them?" Jorge crossed his arms, fairly intrigued.

    The fact that the war was in fact over brought a little warmth to him in the cold cell. However, he couldn't truly trust the Elite at his word. He had only just met the creature, for all he knew it could be lulling him into a false sense of security.

    "I once belonged to their kind, yes." the Elite growled. "However, the Prophets lies became apparent to all that were of open mind and hearts, and we struck them down in a blaze of glory that would end the war once and for all."

    "So your kind finally met your makers and killed them." Jorge rubbed his bearded chin, regretting having lost his knife somewhere in other space. "Isn't that smarts."

    "The Sangheili are an intelligent race, yes." the Elite crossed his arms.

    "I-" Jorge chuckled. "It's a phrase us Human's use. It's something we say when we discover something extremely unbelievable is true."

    There was a moment of silence between them, as the Elite slowly nodded it's head in understanding to what Jorge had said. Jorge took the moment to break the silence once again, wishing to pry as much information about what had happened since his 'sacrifice' during the battle.

    "You really aren't like the others. You would have attacked me right off if you were." Jorge smirked. "So, how did the war end?"

    "It is a long story, and while we have the time to discuss it, I would much rather think of an escape, would you not agree?" the Elite said. "The long and short of it is that my race and yours, through help of the Demon and the Warrior's council, came together in a large scale final effort to destroy the Prophet and the parasite all in one massive swoop."

    "Parasite?" Jorge asked, before shaking his head. "You lost me there, but if it's been dealt with, I suppose I don't need to know. Who is this Warrior, and this Demon of which you speak?"

    "They are Spartans, much like you." the Elite said with a nod, his eyes scanning the floor. "I had little interaction with the one they called Demon, 117 I believe he called himself. Sera 117."

    "Sierra-117." Jorge corrected the creature. "So the Chief's still kickin'. Not really surprised about that."

    At that moment, Jorge's heart plummeted. Though the Elite mentioned there was another Spartan partially responsible for the end of the war, he wondered if Katherine, Lorelei, Blaine, or any of the others had made it off Reach. He had seen Blaine on Reach, when Blaine had finally stood up to that glory hungry group of Spartan IIIs that called themselves a functional team.

    However, he had no idea of what took place after he and Six flew up to the Corvette. For all he knew, John and the other Spartan II, alongside Jorge, were the only IIs left in active combat service. With a silent scoff to himself, he realized that he too wasn't really in a fighting fit way. He hadn't eaten anything but the few rations he had stored in one of his pockets, but like most M.R.E's, they were bland and held no nutritional significance.

    "What about that Warrior you mentioned? You said he was another Spartan, like me?"

    The Elite's reptilian eyelids slid over it's eyes, while it cocked it's head in such a way that made Jorge believe it was deep in thought. The Elite's mandibles clicked numerous times, the Elite's gaze turning from the floor beneath it to Jorge's face and back.

    "He was so much more than that." the Elite said. "His very demeanor in combat is unlike anything I had ever seen. Deadly when provoked, like a Helioskrill during the hunt. However, he was thoughtful to all life, preferring to always seek out different paths than just combat to complete his tasks."

    "To say he wasn't a friend of mine would be a blasphemous lie." the Elite continued. "He and I have saved each other's lives more times than I can count, despite the acts I've committed against him."

    "He gave me new purpose in this life, to see life as more than just honor, combat, and death." the Elite clicked it's mandibles in a positive way, or so Jorge could only guess. "You would refer to him as -"

    The Elite paused for a moment, the look on it's face seem to show that it was deep in thought, as if it had all but forgotten the identity of this Spartan.

    "I only referred to him as Warrior." the Elite said. "I am sorry, I do not recall his number, or his name."

    "We're all much more than a number, Elite." Jorge said. "Ah nevum Jorge."

    "Hm?" the Elite turned it's head in confusion. "Of which language do you speak?"

    "It means my name is Jorge." he said. "If we're gonna share a cell, I figure I at least can offer my name. Spartan 052."

    "I am Anch I'Bort. Right Hand of the High Kaidon, Thel 'Vadam." Anch bowed. "I was captured by these heathens, who still believe the Covenant's unholy curse. I was sent as an emissary from Sangheilios to meet with the Warrior. He is a ship-master of your people."

    "Ship-master? Like a Captain, or an Admiral?"

    "When last I spoke with the Warrior, I believe he was referred to as 'Captain', yes." Anch said. "I still have much to learn about your military, however. I am not entirely certain if he was 'Captain' or not."

    "Why were you going to speak with him?"

    "The Warrior spared my life when your race and I were still enemies. I have not forgotten his mercy, and on behalf of myself and my mate, as well as the Keep I have raised thanks to him, I was to deliver him a gift." Anch said. "It is on board my Phantom, of which they captured me on."

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

    "One minute out, sir." the navigation's officer said to Blaine. "Signature is coming from that strange planet."

    "It's unlike anything we've ever seen." she continued. "Looks Forerunner in origin though, that's for certain."

    "Great." Blaine sighed. "Get Fire-team Wyvern ready, they'll be joining me on this."

    Autumn nodded, holding only her left hand up flat as if to wave to Blaine, as was now customary whenever he left the bridge. Stepping outside, Katherine, who had leaned against the wall with her shotgun at the ready, followed alongside him.

    "We find him?"

    "Not entirely." Blaine said. "He's on a Forerunner Planet. That's about all we have gathered so far. Lily, where can I find you?"

    "My chip is currently in the vehicle bay, where you left me." she said in his internal comm. "Wyvern's prepping as we speak, I'll route them down here to meet with you when you get here."

    "Good work, thank you." Blaine said. "My idea is to at least get on the Pelican, in case it's an emergency. I'd rather be constantly on the move than waste time that could be spent looking for him."

    As the two Spartan IIs stepped into the elevator, Blaine pressed the keys down to the vehicle bay. Katherine pulled a DMR off of her back and handed it to Blaine. On the slipspace jump to the Epsilon Eridanus system, which had been reduced significantly thanks to reverse engineered Forerunner technology, Blaine took the liberty of suiting up. With a curt nod, he placed it firmly on his back.

    "I love Jorge as much as you do. As much as we all do." Katherine said, depolarizing her visor to turn to him. "I can't help but wonder why you're in such a rush to leave Lorelei and your newborn daughters to rush to him?"

    "I haven't seen any of you for nearly thirty years." Blaine shrugged. "Last time I saw Jorge, Reach burned. Same went for you two, but you guys actually came back to me."

    "He was the first friend I had in boot camp." Blaine said. "That's got to amount to something, right?"

    "Yeah." Katherine nodded as her visor repolarized. "Yeah it does."

    "Besides which, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not expecting to find a live body." Blaine said. "He was the victim of a Slip-space bomb, as the last person to see him alive reported to me. Not many people survive that, so we may only be going for... asset retrieval."

    "One way or another, I need the closure." Blaine said. "I think we all do."

    The elevator paused for a second as the doors opened. Four Spartan IVs stepped inside, putting themselves behind Blaine as he pressed the button again. Naomi, David, Colress and Evelyn, the members of Fireteam Wyvern, adorned in their still fairly new suits. Blaine was unsurprised that Evelyn had opted to join the group, as she had always felt bad for the way she, Colress, and David had picked on her during their first day of training.

    Evelyn had come a very long way from the girl who had cramped up so hard after the PT run all those months ago. The four of them alone had blasted past the other thirty six members of their classmates to form what Blaine could only see as the Blue or Orange team of his Spartan IVs. Blaine couldn't help but smirk at the look of Naomi's helmet, having just a personal touch added to her suit.

    Doctor Bailey had sanctioned a team of Spartan IVs to search over the glassed husk of Reach. As feared, the Forerunner ruins where Blaine and Anch had had their final showdown as enemies was all but destroyed as a result, however, miraculously in the wreckage, they had discovered a broken Recon helmet.

    After some work on it and updating it to Mjolnir Gen2 levels, they gave the old helmet a fresh coat of paint and a brand new visor. The old helmet of Blaine's past, which he had worn since his first day of Mjolnir, now rested solidly on Naomi's head. As much as Blaine had wanted it when Bailey introduced it to him, he declined, instead making it a part of Naomi's suit when she received it.

    This was the first time since she first received the armor that he had actually seen it on her head, and he couldn't be prouder of her.

    "Looks good on you." Blaine said, as Naomi silently nodded. "Wyvern, I know this is a bit unexpected. We'll be headed down onto a Forerunner Planet that has yet to be scoped out by Infinity in our efforts to shut the place down."

    "The reason we are all here is because a Spartan once thought MIA has reappeared and is asking for our help." Blaine turned to them. "The past few times we've been on Forerunner structures, there has been little in the ways of combat. However, we cannot afford to get too comfortable. Prepare for what could potentially be your first actual live-fire combat scenario, act swiftly and smart, and we'll all go home."

    "Significance of the Spartan, sir?" Colress asked from behind Blaine. "Of course, besides the fact that it's another Spartan II?"

    "He's a close friend of ours." Blaine gestured towards Katherine. "He's my brother, for all definitions of the word except blood."

    "All the more reason to get him then." David said. "We won't let you down, sir."

    "I know you won't." Blaine pat him on the shoulder, as they exited the elevator.

    Passing by a terminal, Blaine's hands flawlessly scooped Lily's chip out of the socket, sinking her into the back of his helmet in one flawless motion. Her avatar appeared in his HUD, and considering the speed and flawlessness of the maneuver, her avatar definitely appeared shook up.

    "A little warning would be nice." Lily sighed, straightening her hat and her dress.

    "I told you we were coming." Blaine said, jumping into the back of one of the newest model Pelicans. "Katherine, you're on pilot duty."

    "On it." her voice came over comm, brushing past him and towards the cockpit.

    "Aura bridge, anything to go off of?" Blaine asked.

    "Covenant Super Carrier hanging tight in the northern hemisphere." Autumn replied. "Signal seems to be coming from there."

    "Covenant? It's not Separatists?"

    "Affirmative. Purple coloration, not to mention being on this Forerunner planet is an active act against the treaty of peace signed in March." Autumn replied with a growl. "ONI likely won't mind if we take these ones out of commission, right?"

    "Don't fire, not until we've retrieved the source of the signal." Blaine said. "I'd rather not risk blowing the target up."

    "Just say the word, I'll have MACs spinning up when possible."

    "Let's turn and burn." Blaine tapped the door to the cockpit, as a green acknowledgement light flickered on his HUD. "Wyvern, this'll be your first combat op. This is no simulation, you know the music, it's time to dance."

    The Pelican roared to life, lifting immediately off of the landing pad and out to the abyss. Blaine walked over towards the exposed ramp leading into the bird to look out over the atmosphere of the artificial planet. The flora and fauna of the word, as they came into view, always looked so pristine and untouched. Though, if the terminals were true, they hadn't been disturbed in countless millennium.

    Holding on to the handle by the ramp release, Blaine dared to poke his head out to take a gander at the raging river directly beneath them. Forerunners were, from everything he experienced, masters of hiding something terrible behind something beautiful. He began to wonder what horrors this planet hosted.

    "We're on approach, Blaine." Katherine spoke in private comm. "They'll be expecting us."

    "Set the ship to auto-pilot, turn us half circle and maintain thrust." Blaine said. "Hold us right above the ship."

    Blaine turned to his right to a number pad on the wall. Typing in an authorization code, the screen blinked green for a time. The Spartan IVs shifted in confusion as the flooring beneath them opened up to reveal a football sized metallic cylinder. Twisting the cap of it, another number pad was revealed on the side.

    "We're going to nuke the ship?" David asked.

    "Yep." Blaine said, clipping the payload to his lower back. "These Covenant broke a treaty, and more importantly, they've got my brother in there. They deserve nothing less than the fury of nuclear fission."

    The door to the cockpit opened as Katherine stepped out. Blaine turned towards the open hanger, gripping his DMR tightly. They would only have another minute or so before the ship would open fire on their Pelican. With no further words, he sprinted out of the back, hearing the footfalls of the others behind him.

    Splaying his arms wide to slow his descent, he saw the other Spartans appear on his motion tracker. As expected, the Covenant Cruiser shot down the floating Pelican. At the sign of the energy shields lowering, Blaine and the other tilted into a nose dive. Upon passing through the energy shield, Blaine flipped so that his feet faced the ground.

    It was new technology, but something he needed to get used to inevitably. Activating the thrusters on his boots and on his shoulders, he felt the stabilizing jets kick in and reduce his incoming velocity. The coolest new feature, in his opinion, was the improved magnetic locks on his boots.

    As he, Katherine, and the members of Wyvern landed, they all engaged their mag boots. Blaine held a fist up for a second, before opening his palm, pulling his fingers in to gesture a 'move up' sign. Slowly, the six Spartans walked across the purple hull of the Covenant Super Carrier. It was a long stretch of ground to cover, but it was all bound to be worth it.

    "Any ideas where they'd detain him?" Katherine asked.

    "If the Covenant believe in brigs, I'd imagine in the brig." David shrugged.

    "They always gave me the Feudalistic society kind of feel." Blaine frowned. "Still, I would assume they have holding cells, considering I know an Elite who once was a 'heretic' in their religion, two actually."

    As they approached the nearest hanger bay, courtesy of Lily's extensive ONI knowledge on Covenant Super Carriers and other such ships, Blaine held a fist up. Pulling a grenade from a pouch, he gestured that he was going to push the activation switch and toss it in. For the majority of them, it was an indication of a breach and clear maneuver.

    Blaine disengaged his boots at the angle to allow him to drop inside. Flipping much like a falling cat, Blaine landed on both of his feet, pressed the activation button on his grenade, and proceeded to throw it at the feet of a pair of Elites. Even before his grenade had been visible, they turned their oddly shaped Plasma Rifles at him, clicking their mandibles in disgust.

    The three Elites closest to his grenade garbled as it exploded, taking them in a plume of crimson fire. The latest in UNSC weaponry, having been at his disposal, was firmly placed on his back magnets. Plucking the massive weapon off of his back, he replaced it with his DMR. The white colored weapon fit well in his massive hands. A massive drum cartridge sat at the bottom of the weapon, holding well over seventy explosive rounds in it.

    Behind him, the other Spartans thudded down, raising their weapons to bear. Katherine held her shotgun by the barrel with her left hand, while she fired her M6H Magnum into the crowd. With the group's combined fire, the Elites, Grunts, and Jackals in the room were easily dispatched. Blaine looked down at the SAW in his hand with a quick, impressed nod, before swapping it back out for his DMR.

    "Clear." Colress said, lowering his BR-55.

    "Clear." David checked behind a parked Phantom with his MA5D Assault Rifle.

    "All clear." Blaine nodded. "Form up on me."

    Green acknowledgement lights flickered across the board as Naomi, David, Colress, and Evelyn converged on Katherine and his location. Holding up his left wrist, a projected map of the Covenant Super Carrier circled in a holographic manner at visor level.

    "Through this bay door we'll find ourselves in close quarters. For this reason, I want Katherine on point with her shotgun. I'll take up the rear to make sure we are being followed." Blaine said, as the hologram zoomed in on a particular location towards the midsection of the ship. "Lily is suggesting that the holding cells are not too far from here. However, we know that these ships are highly populated, so make sure to check your corners and use your call outs."

    With no other words spoken, Katherine led the way through the door. Her shotgun was primed and ready, with David standing just behind her in a stacked formation to give her fire support with his AR. Naomi and Blaine, both users of DMRs, stayed toward the back to retain line of sight.

    "Something wasn't right with those Elites." Katherine's voice echoed through team comm. "There armor was different... more primitive than the combat harness' we've seen."

    "New Covenant, old tech?" Blaine asked. "Makes me wonder if all Elites are back into it again? Or if it's a select few?"

    "I don't think so," Katherine shook her head. "The Grunts and Jackals looked different too. More padding for the Grunt's methane tanks and rebreathers. Jackal shields are much larger and now cover their right hand instead of the left."

    "If we're lucky, this is the only contingent they've got." Blaine said. "I think it's safe to say that we've seen enough of the Covenant for a couple of lifetimes."

    "If John were here right now, we might just have that luck." Katherine chuckled.

    "If they were all here, we wouldn't need luck."


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 14th 2017, 1:00 am

    The closer the group approached the supposed location of the holding cells, the less talkative they found themselves. Colress and Evelyn swept the halls with their SMG and BR weapon combo to make sure there were no potential attackers to their left or right at any crossroads.

    "I don't like it." Katherine said. "It's a Covenant ship, so where the hell are they all?"

    "You're right, it's been way too easy so far." Blaine growled. "It's possible we're walking into a trap. Keep your eyes peeled and never lose grip on your guns."

    The group stacked up on the next door that would lead to the holding cells. As the doors slid open, it became abundantly clear as to why there had been little in the way of resistance. Dead Elite, Grunt, and Jackal corpses, even the occasional mangled Brute lay in a heap across the floor.

    "What the hell?" Blaine asked, as he approached one of the felled Brutes.

    "Is it the Flood?" Katherine asked, causing Blaine to shiver slightly.

    "No," Blaine shook his head. "The Flood enter the host through the chest cavity. Whatever killed these guys was Covenant, and far stronger than that."

    "Movement." Naomi turned to her team. "Cover me."

    As Naomi silently walked over, the group as a whole found what appeared to be a heavily armored San Shyuum. Much like the goat creatures that once took place as Prophets in the old Covenant. At the sight of Naomi, the creature hissed as a helmet formed around it's skull.

    With a flick of it's wrist, a green colored Energy Sword sparked to life. Blaine noticed time slow around him as the creature darted towards her. It's movements were much faster than an Elite, or even a Brute for that matter. In fact, it almost reminded Blaine of a Spartan's level of reaction time.

    Blaine sprinted past Naomi, holding his DMR up to block the inevitable slash. It was a waste of the rifle, but he did it to protect her. The creature, however, seemed to notice his movements on time with him, pushing Blaine aside with little regard to how heavy he actually was in armor.

    Blaine didn't hear much except for the sound of an Energy Sword making contact with Mjolnir armor, and the popping of Naomi's shields.

    "You will kill this enemy. Let your rage consume you, so that you will possess the strength to tear it's head from the rest of it's sniveling corpse." Blaine heard a much darker voice, similar to Lily's say in his helmet.

    The idea that Naomi had been run through with a sword did in fact cause Blaine's blood to boil. His eyes twitched in excess rage at his inability to save his first daughter's life in combat. All those months he had put her through hell, only for her to die on her first official mission.

    His fist struck the ground he knelt upon, denting the once flawless purple floor with a divet the size of a beach ball. Katherine, who had moved to assist him, took a step back as Blaine shambled back up to his feet. Blaine's head turned to face the augmented San Shyuum, which had by the looks of it, only grazed the front of her armor, not actually impaling her.

    Unfortunately for the creature, the damage had already been done. The Achilles armor that covered Blaine's chest, arms, and legs seemed to boot up into overdrive, steam itself pouring out of the cracks and into the open oily air. With no words to be said, Blaine merely pointed at the San Shyuum with his right index finger.

    In a flash, Blaine was on top of the creature, swinging his left boot down swiftly onto it's wrist. The strength behind the blow was more than enough to snap the once frail, now slightly bolstered arm of the goat like creature in half, causing it to drop it's sword. It whined in it's alien tongue, using it's spare arm to grab at it's wound.

    The creature stared up at Blaine with slight fear evident by it's body language. Blaine's right hand reached up for it's throat, squeezing hard enough that the air seemed to escape it's lungs. It's helmet began to malfunction and disassembled itself, showing only the goat like face of the creature once more.

    Blaine's visor depolarized so that the creature underneath could see his piercing blue eyes. Hoisting the augmented creature to his face level, Blaine roared in it's face, the sound echoing out of his external comms and amplified by the AI within.

    As hard as he could muster, Blaine threw the creature against the holding cell wall. The impact the creature made against the door dented it inwards. Lowering himself onto his haunches, Blaine began to sprint towards the creature, pitching his shoulder at it's face level.

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

    The door leading into the holding cells thudded once, causing both Jorge and his roommate Anch to both jump in surprise. Anch stood, helping Jorge to his feet as they glanced at the door. The Jackals in the cell next to them snarled and barked in response to the noise.

    After another second, the door thudded again, only this time it groaned on it's automatic hinges, before bursting forward like the barrel of a malfunctioned rifle. Jorge could barely see a blur pass them, past his cell, and into the far wall. There was a sickening crunch, followed by the splash of what he could only assume was blood against the wall and the floor.

    "That is the Warrior I know." Anch said.

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

    Blaine stood over the now flattened corpse of the San Shyuum on the wall. His rage had covered his vision, but if the lack of a skull was to say anything, the pressure Blaine had put on the creature when he shoulder tackled him into the wall was enough to squeeze everything out of him like a tube of toothpaste that was struck by a sledgehammer.

    Wiping the blood from his visor, Blaine's breathing was still heavy and sporatic in his rage. After a moment, however, he calmed himself back to his usual self, just in time for Lily to appear in his HUD. Instead of looking proud, however, she looked ultimately confused, and even a bit scared.

    "Your vitals just pinged KIA." Lily said.

    "Yeah? You were just speaking to me like a heavy rocker."

    "I didn't say anything." Lily shook her head. "Although, the Achilles armor you wear does posses an armor based AI that responds to your heart rate to improve the armor's efficiency. It's a longshot, but I'd be willing to bet it communicated to you using my voice."

    Blaine turned to the now burst open door, as Naomi, David, Colress, Evelyn, and Katherine walked in. Their weapons swept the room, while Katherine sprinted over towards his position.

    "What happened just then?" Katherine asked. "Your vitals were nonexistent, it's as if you were a corpse that came back to life."

    "I've seen it before." Naomi approached. "He did that the day he rescued me from that Brute that, well, he knows."

    Blaine turned to each of the cells, along with dead San Shyuum that looked disfigured and broken, there was also heaps of dead Elites, Grunts, Jackals, and Brutes. There was one cell littered with easily thirty Jackals, many of which were dead and partially eaten by their cell mates. Colress and Evelyn watched the open door for more potential reinforcements to show up.

    In the final cell was exactly whom Blaine was looking for. Blaine's DMR, which had thankfully not been slagged in half, was handed back to him by David. Blaine and the Spartan in the cell took a moment to stare at each other, before Blaine popped his helmet off of his head.

    "Next time you plan on disappearing," Blaine said, cradling his helmet under his arm. "Give us fair warning first?"

    "Baratom." Jorge smirked. "It's been too long."

    "Anch?" Blaine asked, turning to the Elite in the cell. "Why the hell are you in here?"

    "I was on my way to speak with you as a delegate of I'bort Keep and of the High Kaidon Thel Vadam." Anch bowed respectfully. "There are more of your kind than the last time I visited."

    "New generation." Blaine said, before replacing his helmet. "How do I get rid of this energy shield?"

    "There is a button, towards the back of the room." Anch nodded his head in the direction of a terminal. "If you press that, it will release all of us."

    "I see." Blaine turned to Katherine and Naomi. "Keep an eye on those feral Jackals."

    He walked his way over to the terminal, before smashing his fist into the screen. The energy shields on each of the cells flickered for a moment, before faltering. Gunfire echoed throughout the room as Katherine and Naomi made quick work of the Jackals remaining in the cell. Jorge stepped out, albeit uneasily, with only Anch available to help support him.

    "You good?" Blaine jogged over, holding a hand on Jorge's shoulder.

    "Never better." Jorge nodded with a nervous grin. "I see you got a nuke on your back. We need to blow this place, they've been studying me, and I think they're augmenting their soldiers."

    "Yeah," Blaine turned to the flattened San Shyuum in the back of the room. "We noticed. We can catch you up to speed when we're out of here. We found a functional Phantom in the hanger, we can work our way there."

    Pulling the SAW off of his back, Blaine gave it a light toss to Jorge, who held the weapon just as easily as Blaine had. Thankfully, despite missing his helmet, Jorge still had his armor on, along with all of the ammo pouches at his disposal. Blaine passed him the remainder of his SAW ammo drums.

    "She's not Bertha, but she'll do." Jorge snickered.

    "Same formation as before." Blaine barked to the crowd. "Katherine, David, you've got point. Naomi and the others, you take the rear with me. We're getting these two off ship. Double time."

    Taking a moment to review Lily's schematics for the ship, he was amazed by how close the engine room actually was to the holding cells. It made no sense structurally, though he guessed the Covenant weren't expecting frequent prison breaks. He typed the authorization code to the nuke, setting the timer for ten minutes, before nestling it in the heap of now dead Jackals.

    "We're low on time folks, run and gun if you gotta."


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 19th 2017, 12:06 am

    Blaine's attention kept turning to the timer that Lily had placed on his HUD, linking it up directly to the nuke's detonation timer. As the group burst back into the hanger, Blaine turned his DMR to the two doorways into their position. Katherine, Jorge, Anch, and Wyvern all entered the gravity well.

    Beside Blaine, the Phantom lurched suddenly, followed by an augmented, beastly roar. The force of the Phantom took Blaine by surprise, knocking him to the floor. His DMR slid across the ground, as he desperately crawled for it. As he reached out for it, however, Blaine felt a mighty foot step down on his hand.

    It wasn't enough to break the appendage, but it was definitely enough to pin him down. Stifling his urge to yell out in pain, the Spartan glanced up at an unnaturally bulky San Shyuum in similar power armor to that of the one he had crushed earlier.

    "I am a benevolent God." the San Shyuum lifted it's boot off of his hand, speaking in a voice deeper than the many members of it's species had ever been. "With the help of your Demon-kin, I have ascended far beyond even the old Gods, the Forerunners were mere louse in comparison to what I am capable of."

    "Stand against me, Demon, so that I may show you my divine promise." the San Shyuum dipped into a low crouch.

    "We're running low on time, sir." David said. "We gotta go, now!"

    "Go." Blaine grit his teeth, staring at the six or so Hunters piling into the room. "Get out of here, I'll catch up with you!"

    "That's out of the question, sir." Naomi said.

    "GOD DAMN IT!" Blaine barked as he stood to face the San Shyuum. " JUST DO AS I SAY!"

    Whatever had caused the Phantom to lurch had done so again, as Blaine heard something clatter to the floor behind him. The motion tracker didn't pick up a hostile or friendly signal, instead, he figured it was some sort of cargo on board the Phantom. His eyes, however, had not left the San Shyuum in front of him.

    "I am Xerkas." the San Shyuum spread it's arms out to it's side, as if to demand respect from it's surroundings. "Blight of the old Gods, Harbinger of the New Age."

    Blaine let out a sigh of relief as the Phantom roared to life behind him, dipping outside of the troop bay just before the volley of Hunter plasma blobs struck it. In the process, the Phantom rammed through several of them, killing them instantly. Those that remained turned to Xerkas, seemingly bowing at his presence.

    Five minutes. That's all that Blaine had left on the timer. Lily's avatar appeared in his HUD, her face furrowed with concern. His eyes stared at her, but his attention never truly left Xerkas'.

    "You must have a title among your people, I wish to know whom my foe is?" Xerkas huffed.

    "I've never really cared what people called me." Blaine said with a shrug. "Though I guess you may call me the Promiser."

    "The Promiser?" Xerkas snickered. "What kind of foolish nickname-?

    "-Because I promise that you're not making it out of this alive." Blaine said with a smirk, as he heard one of the Spartan IVs on the open mic groan in disgust.

    Xerkas gave a stern nod, before flicking his two wrists outwards. Mechanisms on his arms whirred to life to produce a pair of Energy Swords, each extending fully from each arm. Blaine jumped back as Xerkas moved quick as lightning towards him.

    Blaine took advantage of Xerkas' disadvantage, the San Shyuum's blades stuck in the floor. Blaine rolled over his shoulder, scooping up the DMR. Standing up fully, Blaine turned towards Xerkas, firing a trio of shots, each of the projectiles pinging off of Xerkas' exposed scalp.

    "My Persians and I are much harder to kill than that, demon." Xerkas snarled, turning to him, unfazed by the shots entirely. "Thanks to your friend, whom you've annoying let escape, we have learned to perfect what makes you Spartans tick. Mere projectiles like your primitive weapon will never kill me."

    Two minutes were all that was left on the timer, much to Blaine's surprise. Turning to the object that had clattered onto the floor, he couldn't make out the long yet narrow object, but it looked fairly familiar. In his distraction, Xerkas lunged forward. Blaine, however, raised his DMR to block the sword. The tips of the swords embedded themselves into the side of the DMR in his hand, the metal forming the rifle sizzling as a result.

    Blaine used this time to plant the top of his right boot under Xerkas' chin. The Persian commander's head snapped upwards, as Blaine pitched his shoulder into the Persian's midsection. Sprinting towards the nearest wall, Blaine smashed into the wall with Xerkas'. After their impact, Blaine wrapped his mighty hand across Xerkas' face, smashing his head into the wall behind him.

    With little more than a minute on his clock, Blaine turned to the object on the floor, which sat somewhat near the shield door leading out of the ship. Blaine sprinted towards it, scooping up the object and hitching it onto his back. Behind him, he could hear the Hunters and Xerkas lumbering after him.

    "H-Hey what are you doing?!" Lily asked.

    "Free falling." Blaine grunted before diving out of the ship, pitching his head forward.

    "Instead of the instantaneous death of the nuke, you chose plummeting to your death?" Lily shook her head. "Well, I suppose it's better than dying to your own bomb. It's been a pleasure, Blaine."

    Blaine heard the wind passing by his helmet as he situated himself, maneuvering around the various Banshee patrols. He didn't have time to explain his plan to Lily, because he was much to busy calculating what to do next. Spreading his arms and legs wide, he changed his wind resistance to help reduce his trajectory.

    Changing the direction of his body, he aimed for the nearest hillside. It was intermingled with trees, and while he didn't like the sight of all the Covenant looming throughout, it was still clear enough for him to make his entry. Flipping himself so that his feet faced downwards, he grunted as his suit and his augmented legs took the brunt of the impact, rolling over his shoulder to help distribute his inertia.

    Blaine used his momentum to roll back onto his feet, trudging down the snowy incline as the sound of the Covenant Super Carrier erupting blasted above him. One Elite snarled, pointing at him with it's weapon, only for Blaine's massive fist to strike him with all of his forward momentum and weight, snapping it's neck instantly.

    "Holy shit that actually worked." Lily said, her eyes widened and in shock.

    "Not my first rodeo, kiddo." Blaine smirked cockily. "Been doing this for thirty years, with countless free falls."

    Bounding off of his right foot, Blaine gained massive air, enough to put him easily ten feet from the level ground at the bottom of the incline. A troupe of Grunts and Jackals stared up at the sky as their Super Carrier fragmented and split in two, cascading down towards them. Blaine used the thrusters implemented into his boots and his legs to stabilize just enough, then thrust him down towards them.

    As his fist struck the ground, he felt the packed dirt and foliage in a five foot radius around his point of impact crater upwards, the mere shock-wave from the ground pound enough to rupture the frail creatures' vital organs. Not stopping to admire his work, Blaine's forward momentum kept him jogging down the incline.

    A lone Brute snarled, pressing it's clawed finger into an Elite's chest. Blaine, while on his approach, pulled his right fist back. Upon his arrival, Blaine's fist curled as it made impact with the creature's midsection. Tossing the Brute up and over his shoulder, Blaine pulled his magnum off of his clip, firing a salvo at the Elite as he passed, popping it's shield and killing it with a single head shot.

    Behind him, Blaine could hear the sound of one half of the Covenant Super Carrier crashing in a similar fashion at the top of the incline he was on. Trees groaned, popped, and snapped as it tumbled it's way after him. Blaine continued his advance, laying waste to anything directly in his way, favoring to leave anything not an immediate threat for the encroaching rubble behind him.

    All around him, fragments that had broken off from the Super Carrier, not to mention the countless troops located inside that had been jettisoned out of it, began to crash in a wide area around him. The ground beneath his feet quaked as the Super Carrier half's momentum picked up, bouncing every few feet, and gaining on him fast.

    "Blaine! Cliff!" Lily yelled as a waypoint appeared on his HUD, not even a few feet away.

    Behind him, the size of the tremors beneath his feet and the sound of the crashes from the broken ship grew closer with each passing second. Gritting his teeth and praying he timed it correctly, Blaine activated the front thrusters on his suit, the force of which tossed him back several feet. Thankfully for Blaine, it was more than enough to put him under and past the half of the Super carrier, as the impressively large hull of the now crumpled half ship cascaded over the cliff.

    Glancing up, he watched as the second half landed several kilometers away, rolling down a similar incline, but eventually coming to a stop at the bottom of the valley. Blaine rolled his shoulders with a sigh, before turning back to the destroyed forestation behind him, not to mention the countless corpses from the enemies he killed and the ones crushed by the ship.

    "Did you truly think it'd be that easy to kill me?" Xerkas' voice grunted behind Blaine.

    Blaine turned to the Persian, only to notice that his right arm was completely missing. Instead, the Persian's left arm remained, albeit worse for wear. Blaine tensed as the Persian smirked cockily, thrusting his left arm out, and with a sickening pop, it snapped back into place.

    "So about that thing you picked up?" Lily's avatar appeared. "I'm getting readings of plasma energy from it. If bullets won't work against this guy, maybe plasma will?"

    "Only one way to find out." Blaine said, reaching behind him with his left hand to grab the flat, yet very long object on his back.

    Holding it by his left hip, he noticed that at the end pointing towards Xerkas, the object narrowed further and took on a round shape. Grasping the very obvious handle, Blaine pulled it forward, where the satisfying noise of a sword being removed from a sheath echoed around them.

    The farther he pulled out the handle, the more the deep blue blade seemed to extend, before reaching well over a meter in total. The scabbard to the blade had been magnetic, so he fastened it to the magnetic holster on his left hip. Flicking his wrist out, a plasma cross guard erupted from the base of the sword, flaring in a deep red coloration.

    "W-where did you receive that weapon?" Xerkas snarled.

    "I found it." Blaine said. "You like it?"

    "I do. I will enjoy prying it from your cold, dead hands, filthy mongrel."

    Blaine's eyes twitched for a mere moment as Xerkas finished speaking. That was one of the very favorite things that Tasha Lowry preferred to say to him during his time in the Orphanage. His grasp on the sword tightened as Blaine began to hunch over, tensing.

    Lily seemed to notice Blaine's raw anger, deciding to remain silent and hide her avatar from his HUD to produce as much open viewing as she could muster for him. Blaine felt his left eye begin to stutter, the vision surrounding the Persian blurring, yet highlighting solely on his target.

    He had recalled during many combat scenarios while he was still in boot camp that other Spartans had held this phenomenon post augmentation, when nothing mattered more than their mission, whether it be self imposed or a direct order. How the rest of the Universe ceased to exist for all of a mere few seconds. He had always taken his missions seriously, but something about this one Persian caused every inch of his being to crawl.

    There was no vocals that came from Blaine, who stared down the creature with pure malice. His torso rose and fell with each mighty breath he took, allowing the feeling of his burning hatred for the word to course through his veins like pure adrenaline.

    "RAAAAAUGH!" Blaine roared, charging towards the Persian in a flash, the snow beneath his boots kicking up in a plume.

    Blaine held the sword high above his head, swinging down with enough force that Xerkas had to feint his swing and bring the sword up to block it. As the two plasma blades clashed, sparked erupted in all directions, as Blaine bore all of his weight down on the downwards slash.

    Xerkas grit his teeth as he struggled to maintain his stance from the sheer overbearing strength of the Spartan. Relieving the pressure, Blaine used his thrusters to hop backwards a few feet, before pitching his shoulder forward and ramming into the Persian with full force.

    Stopping his forward momentum, Blaine watched as Xerkas stumbled backwards into a tree. The once cocky San Shyuum's goat eyes widened as his back struck against one of the few trees left standing in the immediate area. Blaine's mind went back to Deja's training, where the Moose had been hunted by the wolves.

    Blaine felt a smirk creep up the right corner of his mouth, as he moved forward for another strike. Fear was all that could be seen in Xerkas' eyes, as he desperately maneuvered his sword into position to block Blaine's onslaught. As before, with each strike of the sword, the dark forest atmosphere lit up in a shower of sparks, until Blaine finally sliced the sword mechanism from the Persian by dismembering his forearm.

    Xerkas yelped in pain as Blaine's plasma long sword then pierced the right side thigh of the Persian. Reddish blood began to drip into the snow, as Xerkas began to stumble away. Blaine walked after him, intentionally leaving a few steps between them. Every few steps, the Persian would turn his head to see Blaine striding behind him, and with each time he saw Blaine, his stumbling worsened as he picked up the pace.

    "I-I concede!" Xerkas said. "I beg you for mercy! You have claimed one of my arms and severely wounded my leg."

    "That's cute." Blaine's voice trailed throughout the silent forest.

    Xerkas turned his head behind him to locate the Spartan, however, he couldn't see hide nor tale of the gargantuan armored Human anywhere. Turning his focus back to the path ahead of him, Xerkas yelped in surprise as his face made contact with Blaine's chestplate.

    Stumbling backwards in absolute fear, Xerkas found himself cascading onto his backside, using his fresh arm nub to try and drag himself backwards. Xerkas quickly stood to his feet, as Blaine slowly walked towards him, Xerkas reaching his nub arm out in a futile attempt to slow the Spartan's approach.

    "You once asked me what I was called." Blaine grunted. "I am known by many different alias'. I am the Guardian of Reach, I am a Vanguard to Humanity's survival, I am Spartan-115, and recently, I've been called Dad."

    Blaine's mighty left finger prodded Xerkas' chest, as the Persian found himself against a giant boulder with nowhere left to run. As Blaine did this, he brought his face level with Xerkas'.

    "You, however, can call me the Undertaker." Blaine growled, as Xerkas fell to his knees.

    "I beg you for mercy! Please, I have learned the errors of my ways!" Xerkas begged. "The old Gods were displeased with my heresy, and they have sent you here to- GUH!"

    Blaine snarled as his long-sword sank through the Persian's left shoulder and about halfway down it's torso. Oddly enough, as he tried to pull the sword out, he found it to be snagged slightly. Turning on his boots, Blaine used his weight to pull the blade out of Xerkas' chest cavity.

    With the sword dislodged, Blaine turned in a full swing, the sword meeting where Xerkas' shoulders met his neck. It had a snag for a mere second, before cutting cleanly through the Persian's neck, decapitating him.

    "You good?" Lily asked, reappearing on his HUD. "I've seen you angry, but this was something else."

    "Before I became a Spartan, some woman referred to me as a mongrel because of my family's UNSC connections." Blaine sighed. "The things they did in Spartan training were harsh, yes, but they still pale in comparison to the things she did to me before the age of five."

    "I'm picking up his signal." Katherine said. "Blaine?!"

    "Don't worry, I'm here." Blaine said, working his way back to the cliff-side. "Lily, set a beacon. We're done here. Get Aura to inform Infinity, this is their mess now."


    Last edited by Shad0wChas3r on February 25th 2017, 2:52 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Bad John
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Bad John on February 20th 2017, 8:01 pm

    "Blight of the old Gods, Harbinger of the New Age."

    Dayum. Chilling line.

    Anyway, don't mind me; I'm posting this so I get email updates when new chapters come out.

    I've got some catching up to do, but this looks like it's gonna be a solid read. I forgot where I left off, so I may as well start at the beginning.
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 20th 2017, 11:06 pm

    Bad John wrote:"Blight of the old Gods, Harbinger of the New Age."

    Dayum. Chilling line.

    Anyway, don't mind me; I'm posting this so I get email updates when new chapters come out.

    I've got some catching up to do, but this looks like it's gonna be a solid read. I forgot where I left off, so I may as well start at the beginning.

    Thank you for the feedback and the acknowledgement. I'm currently typing up the next one elsewhere, but I'm at an impass about where I want it to go, so it'll probably be up later tomorrow or Wednesday.


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 25th 2017, 5:13 pm

    "That was risky, too risky." Jorge grunted as he Blaine entered the Phantom via the gravity lift. "Still, can't help but appreciate a nice set of fireworks."

    "You know me." Blaine snickered as he pulled his helmet off and rested it on his lap, taking a seat by the Spartan IVs. "Subtlety is my specialty."

    "Maybe when we were kids." Jorge grinned, pointing his thumb over his shoulder at the still smoldering wreckage that was once part of a Covenant Super Carrier. "This is a little extravagant, even for Orange Team."

    At the mention of their childhood team name, however, Jorge's face seemed to sober up and return to it's usual stoic attitude. His shoulders slumped for a second, before he uneasily crossed his arms around his chest.

    "Lorelei, is she-?"

    "She's safe and sound." Blaine said with a nod. "I'll catch you up to speed as we return to the Aura."

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

    In the time it took for the Phantom to return to the Forerunner Planet's atmosphere where the Aura had been located, Blaine discussed the events following Reach to Jorge.

    "All of them gone." Jorge shook his head, echoing the same phrase every few seconds. Blaine knew entirely what he was feeling, to know that all of their brothers and sisters, for the most part, had perished on Reach. "Hmm. Well, I like to think their sacrifice on Reach is why we won this war."

    "My thoughts exactly." Blaine said, before snapping his fingers.

    Blaine reached onto the dogtags around his neck, before handing them over to Jorge. He separated Craig, Josh, Phil, and Morgan's from Jorge's, handing them to their rightful owner.

    "Six." Jorge scoffed. "I don't suppose that tough little bastard made it?"

    "It's possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath." Blaine frowned.

    There was silence between Jorge, Blaine, and the Spartan IVs, as Anch began to speak. His shoulders drooped, and his mandibles clicked in disgust.

    "If the Spartan you speak of wore silver colored armor, he met his fate protecting the ship you call 'Pillar of Autumn.'" Anch snarled. "My brother, Lak'ish I'bort, slew that Spartan."

    "How do you know this?" Jorge turned to him with a glare that could shatter most resolves.

    "Besides the fact he is my blood kin?" Anch's eyes flicked shut for a second while he was deep in thought. "It was before I succeeded from the Covenant, shortly after I had clashed with the Warrior in combat for the final time. It was all over the communications that my brother had slain a Spartan."

    "That weapon you host upon your back, Warrior, was crafted by one of my far reaching ancestors." Anch's long saurian neck turned to face Blaine directly. "It is a weapon revered in the old Covenant as the 'Old God's Reproach. It was wielded by the first Arbiter of the Covenant, who expressed great disapproval with the Covenant mantra."

    "Alas, he was killed, but the sword forever remained in High Charity as a symbol of oppression for Heretics that mocked the religion. It also served as a beacon of renewal for those that felt their faith faltering." Anch grunted. "It once led the Sangheili people, well before the San 'Shyuum met us, through trying times of constant strife."

    "Though the original sword was lost when High Charity was claimed by the parasite and destroyed by the one my people once referred to as the Demon, I remember it's design from memory." Anch nodded towards the scabbard on Blaine's hip. "Before I was inducted into the Covenant, I was one of the finest sword-smiths of the Sangheili homeworld. I was a bit rusty when I made that one, but I am very proud of the result."

    "A gift, from my new Keep, Rika and myself." Anch continued with a deep bow. "I forged this sword with the same fervor that forged our unbreakable kinship. May it stand forever as a symbol of the Sangheili/Human alliance, and it's blade cut down the treacherous scum that would shatter it."

    Blaine held the scabbard across his lap, admiring the design of the metallic holster for the plasma sword. Metallic engravings, almost runic in nature, along the side in what Blaine could only assume was Sangheili written language.

    "I speak of this gift, because my brother... he is not a member of our alliance." Anch growled. "He would rather see your race destroyed before he would even consider allying himself with you. If he discovered that our family's ancient relic, even if it is merely a duplicate, fell into the hands of Humanity, he would come for the sword."

    Blaine continued his examination as he listened to Anch speak about his brother and the potential threat he would become.

    "If he comes for the sword, then he'll get the sword." Blaine scoffed. "Though, not in the manner he'd expect. This gift is beyond repayable, Anch, I will cherish it."

    "Rika and I owe a life-debt to you. One that I would never see fully repaid. For this act alone, I bring you this sword, so that every encounter is one that I had a hand in assisting." Anch clicked his mandibles.

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

    "You said Lorelei was fine." Jorge groaned as he squirmed in his civilian clothes. "So why are we in a hospital?"

    "You'll see soon enough." Blaine said, with Katherine, Naomi, and the remainder of Wyvern behind him. Even Anch himself had tagged along, though he received many frightened stares from individuals throughout the hospital, and for good reason.

    All of them, with the exception of Anch, had taken off their armor when they had returned to the Aura. Naomi and the other Spartan IVs were slightly more comfortable in civilian wear, while Blaine, Katherine, and Jorge still didn't really feel used to it.

    As Blaine opened the door, the others followed in line behind him. In the order, it was Blaine, Jorge, Katherine, Naomi, David, Evelyn, Chris, and Anch. At the sight of Blaine, Lorelei smiled warmly, their two daughters bundled up gently in her arms. Both seemed to be sleeping, which was fine enough for Blaine.

    "Jorge." Lorelei smiled at his arrival. "I would stand and hug you, but I've got my arms full right now."

    "I can see that." Jorge nodded with a low, sheepish smile, before ramming his left elbow into Blaine's right arm. "These your kids?"

    "Yep." Blaine smiled as he quietly stepped over to Lorelei's side. "This one is Dawn, and this one is Dusk."

    "They're beautiful." Jorge said with a smile. "Congratulations."

    "Which reminds me." Lorelei turned to Blaine. "We never named the Godparents."

    "There is no other alternatives." Blaine turned to Katherine and Jorge, who stood side by side. "Lorelei and I would be honored if you two would list yourselves as their godparents. It's all a formality, but one I take very seriously."

    "As if we had a choice to begin with." Katherine crossed her arms, nudging Jorge. "Orange Team looks after it's own, and these two angels are our own."

    Anch looked curiously at the children in Lorelei's hands, daring not to move closer. Instead, he watched from afar with a mixture of curiosity and something else.

    "Those are human offspring?" Anch clicked his mandibles. "They look feeble. Like pink squishy skin sacks."

    "They're infants." Blaine turned to him. "They aren't supposed to defend themselves in combat. That's what Lorelei and I are for."

    "I meant no offense, Warrior. Offspring in the Sangheili culture never actually meet their fathers. We are instead raised by our Uncles until we are old enough to form our own families." Anch said. "When Rika has her first clutch soon, I will never meet any of my children. Yet they will be expected to grow strong and defend themselves."

    There was a shifting sound behind Blaine, as the two girls in Lorelei's arms began to squirm, wrestling themselves from their slumber. Blaine walked over and lifted Dawn up and into his arms, as he had done earlier that day.

    It was a moment he never wanted to end. For that brief moment, all of his worries melted away to nothing.


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Bad John on February 25th 2017, 6:51 pm

    Solid chapter. I like Blaine's toughness but sincerity. Still catching up, but it makes sense that Blaine would want to train his cadets in a way that improves on his own tough Spartan II training, with a more supportive bent. Solid use of lore on Anch's part, by the way.
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 26th 2017, 12:16 am

    "Trainee One-One Five." Mendez' voice snapped Blaine from his stupor.

    Glancing down, all he could see was grassy terrain. Every now and again, he could make out a few thumbtack sized insects scurrying through the blades of grass. Why was he back here? These were back in the days of Spartan Training. Glancing up to Jorge, Katherine, Lorelei, and even Butch, the majority of them stared at him with concern.

    The look on their faces alone told him that Mendez wasn't entirely pleased. Even then, he didn't need their subtle hints to tell him anything. At that moment, he was more focused on whether this was all a dream, or if his life leading up to the day his daughters had been born was an exhaustion related dream.

    Blaine grit his teeth as the iconic electric baton pierced his side. Muscles from the point of impact clenched and loosened as the surge branched outwards. Gritting his teeth, he jumped to his feet and saluted Mendez.

    "I'm sorry sir, it won't happen again, sir!" Blaine barked in his usual stern voice that he used when commanding troops, but found himself taken aback when the pre-pubescent squeak of his voice came out.

    "See to it that it doesn't, One-One-Five." Mendez replied sternly. "I assure you, we will get that fighting spirit out of you one of these days."

    "When that day happens, Trainee, you'll see me personally praying for each and every enemy that meets you on the battlefield." Mendez grunted. "Deja wanted to speak to you about something urgent, I don't know what's more urgent than you working on your core, but I'm not paid to think, recruit. Fall out, double time."

    Blaine's attention turned to the younger members of Orange Team, and then back up to Mendez. With a crisp salute, Blaine began to jog in the direction of Deja's classroom. Despite the years it had been, he still remembered exactly where it had been located. As the door opened, the young AI's avatar appeared before him. Her face was as gentle as he always remembered it, an unseen wind gently tugging at the corners of her toga.

    "Ah, One-One-Five. It is a pleasure to see you again."

    "Likewise, ma'am." Blaine nodded curtly. "CPO Mendez told me you were looking for me?"

    "Indeed. Doctor Halsey and myself have spoken extensively on your record during your time so far with us." Deja bowed gently, folding her hands at her front as she did so. "Though, unlike our most prominent trainee, you've always shown a certain promise that none of the others really have."

    "Ma'am?" Blaine cocked his head in confusion, stepping further into the room. "With all do respect, each Spartan out there is capable of great things. I just... I know it."

    "We do not doubt your words. I was present when Doctor Halsey and Mendez witnessed you sparring with Trainee One One Seven, who, arguably, is the most impressive member among your class." Blaine mentally sighed, he had always known Deja to be unintentionally blunt, showing very little in the way of common human compassion.

    "For every scenario we have thrown you under, initial results show you under-performing in all aspects. However, when you are emboldened by the company of your fellow Trainees, you mysteriously rise in the charts."

    "I don't follow, ma'am." Blaine shook his head, as she gave him a faint smile, a twinkle forming in the corner of one of her eyes.

    "You are a fighter, One-One-Five." Deja said, her avatar shimmering for a second as if she was busy doing something in the background. "When you are alone, you tend to make many mistakes that could be considered fatal. However, when you are in the accompaniment of your closest trainees, you shoot up through the charts."

    Suddenly, Deja's avatar flickered away, and instead Blaine saw the coast-line battlefield of Thermopylae. As it was only a holographic simulation of the actual events, the bodies of both the thousands of Persians, not to mention the corpses of the brave three hundred Spartans were scattered about.

    From the side of the overhead simulated map closest to him, however, Blaine saw a legion of several thousand Spartans, as well as the united Greece. What caught his eye, however, was a pair of figures standing to the side on the cliff over looking the barren wasteland. One was strong looking man, while the other was a somewhat petite woman.

    When he had learned of Sparta's revenge against the Persians in this classroom before, he had never actually seen these two figures before. Deja picked up on this, her avatar on the same scale as the simulated man and woman, as she walked between them, the view zooming in on them.

    "Based off of what we've gone over in this class, One-One-Five, would you care to take a guess as to whom these two individuals are?"

    "Ma'am, I have no clue who these two are."

    "This woman." Deja wrapped her arms gently around the frozen woman's shoulders. "Observe her."

    Blaine watched as Deja released her grip on the woman's shoulder as time in the simulation began to move again. The small woman produced a small bronze sword from somewhere on her person. As she moved, so too did the current leader of the Spartan forces in an almost identical fashion. In fact, they're motions were uncannily on time and as if she was controlling the Spartan's actions.

    The woman opened her otherwise small mouth, far wider than he could have felt possible. The hairs on the back of his neck and along his arms tingled as the impressive shout of some thousand Spartans and unified Greek warriors echoed throughout the classroom. The woman turned to the man, who gently placed a hand on her shoulder, before the two disappeared in a wisp.

    "They- they just disappeared!" Blaine shook his head in disbelief.

    If this was only a dream, than the future he had already lived showed him the Forerunners, whom he could only imagine had the technology to teleport such as this. Were these two Forerunners?

    "The man you saw was Ares, the Greek God of War. The woman accompanying him, however, was the daughter of Polemos. She is the embodiment of the war-cry. Deja returned to her normal state, removing the simulation. "Her name? Alala, attendant to Ares and his war band."

    "For you see, Blaine, Alala is what the united people of Greece would yell before a battle. The Greeks were the first armed forces in Human history to discover psychological warfare, and they started first with intimidation tactics. That a loud war-cry from a fierce army was more than enough to demoralize their enemies." Deja smiled. "Though she is represented as feminine, her contribution to wars throughout Human history has seen several revisions. Much like the woman you see there, you have the power in you to conspire forces en masse."

    "What I mean to say, Spartan, is that you were born to lead." Deja bowed. "Where the other Spartans are strong in feats of strength, speed, intellect, you excel in one thing; you bring out the best in people."

    "For it is not just you who has vastly improved in proximity to your fellow trainees. You have compassion, you know how to get into a enemy and ally's head alike, and bring that to your advantage." Deja reached out for him. "You are a modern day Alala, and as Mendez has said, one day that voice will be heard. When it is, the bells of the River Styx will toll, and awash the shores will be with thine enemies."

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

    Blaine shook himself awake as he found his right hand immediately brought up to his face. Feeling the familiar sensation of his now long since trimmed beard, he shook his head of the dream. For the past couple of weeks, visions of his past had been attacking him deep within the night.

    With each one feeling more real than the last, he began to wonder what was actually real and what wasn't. Suddenly, the urge to vomit crept up his throat, as he instinctively turned his head towards the nearest receptacle and let loose.

    It had been some time since he had used cryo-sleep, however, being on board the Infinity during this expedition so far out into the reach of space warranted most personnel to go under the frozen sleep than natural sleep.

    This one experience had been no different than the ones plaguing him the past few weeks. The Aura and his crew, to his knowledge, were still the Infinity's primary escort ship. However, he had been too busy introducing himself to the many thousands Spartan IVs on board the vessel that he hadn't really had the time to go back.

    It had been four long years now since Jorge had been brought back into his and the other members of Orange Team's lives, since his twin daughters had been brought into the world. Instead of focusing on a hometown life, however, the beginning of a new Covenant War were on the hushed whispers of brass every Admiralty board meeting he had attended.

    In that same time, Doctor Halsey, as well as Fred, Linda, and even Kelly were located on another Forerunner Planet not unlike the one he had saved Jorge above. As time went on, Blaine began to notice the trend of many Spartan IIs that had gone missing during the Covenant war were slowly coming out of the woodwork.

    Speaking of the good Doctor, Blaine remembered that they had promptly snapped a fresh pair of cuffs on her the second they found her. Not that Blaine could blame the one responsible. The newest Director of the Office, Serin Osman, once a Spartan II trainee like himself, she had been fixed of her permanent paralysis and taken under ex Director Parangosky's wing.

    Unfortunately for Blaine, he was forced to act as her baby sitter while she was on board the Infinity. Not that he had anything against her, having come to terms with her actions long ago. He still had some tender hatred for her for lying to him when he was five, but the amount of good he had been capable of doing thanks to her, in his opinion, helped ease the soreness.

    "Admiral, sorry for the quick thaw, sir." the ONI spook, a louse by the name of Ferenc Alistair, had been assigned to make sure Blaine didn't try and break her out. "I have been instructed to interview the captive. I'll ask that you come along, keep her in line."

    "You don't need me to baby-sit an old woman, Alastair." Blaine said. "I've got more important matters to attend to."

    "I know your two daughters are on your ship. If words got out to Osman, she'd remove them from you and-"

    "Are you threatening me with my own daughters, Lieutenant?" Blaine's icy cold blue eyes pierced into the lithe man's eyes.

    "It's a gross mis-allocation of personnel to baby-sit a pair of adolescents, sir."

    "The only 'gross mis-allocation' that I see in the foreseeable future is your organs if you bring up my girls one more time." Blaine snorted in the man's face. "Capiche?"

    Alistair's face shrank from foolish confidence to pure, unadulterated horror. With a slight gesture of his head, Blaine followed the spook to wherever he was going. As the days had been going on, as well as the distinct lack of sleep he got from nightmares such as that caused him to be grumpier.

    "I'm not saying a word, understood?" Blaine growled. "I'm only here because I want you to shut your corn-hole to me and be done with this."

    "S-sounds good." Alistair said, before clearing his throat and straightening himself.

    The door to the small containment room opened, and Blaine could barely see the small wisps of white, graying hair of the woman who had such an impact on his and several other people's lives. Doctor Halsey's eyes seemingly scanned the empty air of the room, paying no notice to either Blaine or the Spook himself.

    Her eyes, which had always been thoughtful with a hint of sass, now were sunken and filled with a mixture of grief and self destruction. He never assumed Doctor Halsey to be the suicidal type, but he never labeled her as an emotionless bitch either.

    "Tell me about the children." Alistair set right into it, as Blaine pressed himself into a corner, crossing his arms.

    Blaine froze for a moment as the words exited the spook's mouth. This interview was about him and his fellow Spartan IIs?! At the pit of his stomach, he felt like he wanted to maul the man. However, he also thought of this interview as a way to perhaps receive some answers to questions he normally wouldn't have gotten out of her.

    "Doctor Halsey." the man remained stern, prodding her from her daydream.

    Her soft, slightly sunken green eyes stared the man up and down for a moment, as if to show to him that he had her full attention. In typical fashion, however, she sat up straight and peered right at him with the same wit and sass Blaine had come to expect from her.

    "You already know everything." she spoke with dignity and a hint of venom.

    The man shook his head, and Blaine could see just barely that out of the corner of his eye, the man flicked a glance at Blaine. As he did so, his one hand rested on the coffee cup he had brought in, while the other opened up, accentuating everything he was saying.

    "You kidnapped them." the man growled.

    "Children's minds are more easily accepting of indoctrination. Their bodies more adaptable to augmentations." she nodded.

    At her words, he felt fire begin to roar in his midsection. He knew she had wanted children because they were easier to brainwash, and the augmentations had indeed succeeded on him, but not all of the trainees. The fact she seemed to brush off that her testing was on children didn't sit right with Blaine.

    "The result," Halsey's eyes flickered over to Blaine, who decided to step back into the light. "-was the ultimate soldier. With our success, when the Covenant invaded- we were ready."

    There was some truth to Halsey's words, but Blaine, as well as everyone else in the room, knew the true reasons for why he and the other children had been taken in. He knew she wasn't going to say anything incriminating to him in his presence, instead granting her a curt nod, and exiting the door.

    The spook seemed to be dumbstruck by Blaine's sudden departure, but as the Spartan was leaving, he could hear the faintest sound of the man continuing his interview. Finally free of the shackles of the damn ONI spook, Blaine decided it was finally high time to meet with the Infinity bridge.

    As he stepped into the long since familiar scenery of the bridge, he was greeted by Commander Lasky, Spartan Commander Palmer, and Captain Andrew Del Rio himself. Each with their own salutes, Blaine returned the gesture, his gaze first peering at the strange metallic sphere in front of the ship.

    "What's the situation?" Blaine asked, as Captain Del Rio turned to Lasky.

    Lasky gave a confused look at the Captain, before smiling up at Blaine and producing a tablet. Pressing a few keys on the button permitted a small hologram to be projected. Though it was only the standard wavy line of vocal levels, the voice emitted was extremely familiar.

    "For-ard un.. Da-n. UN-C Ma-da-. Sier-a 11-."

    Blaine's focus shifted as he heard the choppy message. Based off of the few words he could gather from it, he knew exactly who it was from. After four years of floating in space, the Chief was still out there.

    "Sierra One-One-Seven." Blaine said. "Source of the signal planetside?"

    "Yes sir." Lasky said. "We're plotting a course in hopes of finding the signal nearby. Communication has been choppy, but we've isolated a-"

    As Lasky spoke, however, the hull of the Infinity shuddered. It wasn't damaged, otherwise bells and whistles would have gone off. Instead, one of the shorter men in the back of the room stood suddenly.

    "Captain, we're idle. All control of the Infinity is lost."

    "How is that even possible?!" Del Rio growled, slamming his fist on the table. "This is the finest ship in the UNSC fleet, and an EMP hasn't even been set off."

    "That's a Forerunner planet." Blaine stepped towards the observation deck, turning to face the three of them. "It could be a defense mechanism."

    As suddenly as the Infinity had begun to halt, it started back up again, but against the behest of the navigation personnel. A rippling orange light passed through the window in front of Blaine, causing the Spartan to instinctively back away from it. However, despite his motions, the shield of light passed through him, with little effect against him.

    Behind him, however, the control terminals for the bridge crew sparked and showed no sign of response. The bird was dead in the water, but still moving forward on her own momentum. Turning towards the Forerunner planet, however, the side of the seemingly flawless metal sphere began to open up, and the all too familiar visage of perfect flora and fauna that Blaine had come to expect from the Forerunners was quickly visible through the inter dispersed clouds.

    "BRACE!" Blaine barked, as Del Rio and communications personnel began issuing a may-day to the Aura and beyond.

    He wasn't entirely sure what all to expect of the planet, but if it managed to stop the Infinity in her tracks and take her over with little effort, he new it wasn't likely to be pretty. As swiftly as he could, he pulled up his wrist watch, marching his way to the armory where his armor was waiting for him.

    "Katherine, Lorelei, Jorge?" Blaine asked, hurriedly walking through the now scrambling halls of the Infinity.

    "Lorelei here, what's going on?"

    "Something Forerunner has control of the Infinity's controls and it's dragging us down into the planet. What's the status with the Aura?"

    Rounding the corner, he brushed past a pair of Palmer's Spartan IVs and into the massive armory. As far as the eye could see, Spartan IVs and their armor stations lined several rows and columns from the massive hangar's impossibly high roof to it's floor. Approaching one station, he waited for one Naomi to suit up in front of him.

    "The Aura's stowed away on Infinity and the majority of her crew is in Cryo. I've set about waking everyone, but it's still a slow process."

    "Something big's going down when Infinity lands, whether crashed or not." Blaine said as he approached. "I'm suiting up now, have the others meet me on Infinity's vehicle hanger floor. For right now, get yourself and the girls some place safe."

    He disliked having Dawn and Dusk both on the Aura, but with no family to speak of to watch over them, as well as Blaine not wishing for them to be raised by someone else, he managed to pull some strings and have the twins on board the Aura for himself and Lorelei. Were it a normal Covenant attack, he'd have no issue leaving them the care of Autumn or a Spartan IV team he trained that was on leave.

    He knew Lorelei would be impartial about missing out on being there for him, Katherine, and Jorge, but this was one thing he didn't know what to expect, and he certainly wasn't going to take any unnecessary risks. With an acknowledgement light, the communication was severed, as he turned to Naomi.

    "Get Wyvern combat ready. Be ready for any scenario." Blaine said. "Even an unforseen one, just get yourselves prepared."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!


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      Current date/time is November 18th 2017, 10:48 am