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


    Origins: Reclamation

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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 28th 2017, 10:22 pm

    "Spartan, it's urgent that you get your team on the ground and find out what the hell brought the Aura and Infinity down here." Del Rio's pompous voice slithered through Blaine's ear like the serpent the man was.

    "Our first priority should be to take out any potential boarders." Blaine shook his head.

    "You were given the option of running this hip, Spartan." Del Rio hissed. "You chose to grovel in the mud, and for that, you're listening to me. Don't think for one second that your 'honorary' rank holds any precedence here."

    "We'll see whose laughing when I knock all your fucking teeth from your jaw." Blaine growled after Del Rio cut the line.

    He had standards, and while many people did refer to him as a Formal Admiral, and he did attend the Admiralty meetings, he was still only an honorary Rear Admiral. Lord Hood hadn't really given his rank any weight except to the Aura, but as it's Captain prior, there really served no purpose other than a pay grade increase.

    With Del Rio headed the Infinity and Blaine's true formal rank of Captain, he was powerless to stand against Del Rio, unless necessary actions deemed him unfit for duty. It was for that reason alone he regretted not taking the offer to begin with, but it was too much to ask of Autumn, as she would generally be the one at the helm of the ship.

    "Lily, orbital scans from our descent show anything?" Blaine asked, gesturing to Wyvern, Katherine, and Jorge to follow him onto the Pelican he had reserved for them.

    "Initial scans show a Forerunner structure in the heart of the thicket, several Kilometers from the Infinity." Lily's avatar appeared in his HUD. "Of course, dealing with the ship's current issue would be fine, except I'm pinging several unknown hostiles around the ship. Easily numbering the thousands."

    "He's no Mendez, that's for sure." Katherine huffed, shrugging with her shotgun at a ready carry.

    Blaine tapped the side of the Pelican after the last Spartan stepped on board. With a slight jerk, the aircraft hoisted itself into the air and out of the vehicle hanger. The first thing that stuck out to Blaine since the Infinity's impact was the giant black sphere in the distance. Matte grey was the proper description for it's overall coloration, with veins of what Blaine could only assume was orange energy exuded out of the cracks in the orb.

    Occasionally, the familiar orange scanning beam that had first incapacitated the Infinity would brush over her hull, as if the Orb was searching for something. Jorge tapped him on the shoulder, causing Blaine to come back from his distraction. Without a word, Jorge's helmeted head gestured towards the southern part of the dense jungle, nearing the base of Aura, which had also suffered a crash, same as the Infinity.

    Covenant troops swarmed her hull, and from what Blaine could see, they were trying to breach her. The sight chilled Blaine to his core, as he felt his hands ball into fists. Katherine's hand found purchase on his shoulder, as he turned to look at her. Her helmet depolarized, her blue eyes staring back at him with concern.

    "Infinity!" Blaine heard in his ear, causing him to jump slightly. "Unidentified hostiles on board the Aura of Armaggedon. Metallic, they do not match any known Forerunner technology."

    "Lorelei." Blaine said, as he heard her gasp in his hear, with a quick sob.

    "Blaine... they- they took Dusk."

    Boom.

    It was the most intense pain that Blaine had ever felt in his many years of life. His training, including the several broken bones, or countless organ transplants that he had taken. Even augmentations paled in comparison to the feeling, or lack there of, that Blaine felt in his chest.

    Naturally, a human being would feel their heart beating through their chest in times of high adrenaline. Blaine, on the other hand, felt an icy hand constricting his heart, wrapping itself around his lungs and squeezing the life from him. His mind swam with several thoughts, memories, old or yet to be made.

    "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!" Blaine's roar echoed through the open ramp of the Pelican and into the forest below.

    It wasn't just a pained roar from loss, it was all of his pent up anger, depression. Every emotion that he, as a professional Spartan, had bottled up throughout his insane career. Jorge, who was once highly regarded as one of the fearless Spartan IIs, actually felt himself sweat at the sound of Blaine's pained moan.

    Sinking to his knees, Blaine's mighty fist struck the metal of the floor, leaving a sizable dent in it. It was his fault that his daughters were on the Aura anyways. He had been foolish to assume that he could be allowed to have a normal life, raise some kids, especially with his responsibilities. He sacrificed everything about himself to be a Spartan, to protect other families.

    With another bellowed roar, each more pained than the last, Blaine slowly rose to his feet. His Spartan IVs looked nervously between themselves, as Blaine's shoulders tensed, his fists painfully squeezed, and his breathing heavy.

    "No. Not this time" Blaine growled, his mighty breath ridged. "I've given them everything. They are NOT taking my DAUGHTERS!"

    Katherine and the other Spartan IVs reached out for Blaine as he sprinted towards the open Pelican bay. Jorge however, stepped in front of them, arms spread wide, shaking his head.

    "Katherine, you should know better than anyone how Blaine takes family matters." Jorge said. "Our fight is elsewhere."

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

    Wind rushed past Blaine's helmet as he dove towards the Aura's landing site. He didn't care what Del Rio had to say about these actions, if they were going to court marshal him, he'd personally admit to every charge.

    Twisting and contorting his body to manipulate his fall, Lilly's eyes scanned his for a second. He noticed the gesture, but showed no sign of acknowledging it. The thrusters on his back helped mitigate his direction and change his speen in his descent. Flipping so that his feet would touch ground first, they met purchase on the back of a Hunter's back plate.

    The speed and force with which Blaine impacted slammed the front of the Hunter into the lush Jungle flooring. They slid for a bit, Blaine's impact into it's back causing the back plate to fragment and sever several of the orange worms, killing the beast on impact. The beast's bond brother, which had trudged along in front of him, turned in time with it's deceased brother's howl of pain.

    Blaine reached up to his back, drawing the Old God's Reproach off of his back in a slow yet intimidating manner. The Hunter, while characteristically known for being fearless, slowly started to back away from Blaine as he walked towards it. Increasing his speed as he walked towards it, his walk became a light jog, into a sprint.

    As easy as a knife through warm butter, Blaine's sword swam through the midsection of the Hunter, separating the creature directly in half where the chest piece and the legs of the creature met an unarmored 'belly' area.

    "Infidel!" Blaine heard an Elite roar over his shoulder, preparing a new Plasma like weapon. "I shall claim that sword from your hands and use it to cleave your head from your should- guh!"

    In the time the Elite had yelled at Blaine, his massive right arm struck it across the forehead, snapping it's head back and ultimately it's neck as well.

    "All mouth, when do you ever just learn to shut the fuck up." Blaine spat.

    In combat, Blaine had never really disrespected his opposition. Though he taunted them to open them up, he never once underestimated a single foe. In this moment, however, he had no respect for anything, only his undying rage and unquenchable blood lust.

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

    "I need a status report!" Autumn barked to her intelligence team, who were frantically checking over their terminals and processing the data it spewed as quickly as they possibly could.

    "Ma'am, boarding party numbers just keep escalating. Any and all Spartan troops, save one, are active and trying to repel the attack." one of the men barked.

    "What about outside? What's the status?"

    "The numbers are dwindling, ma'am!" One woman smiled as a hesitant smile began to form on her face. "External camera systems are showing several Storm Covenant corpses."

    "Any allied troops in the area?" Autumn began to sigh with relief. The ship was still under attack, sure, but reinforcements had arrived, and not a moment too soon.

    "Um, the sensors may be down, ma'am." the woman shook her head, her fingers swimming across her keyboard in front of her. Her eyes stared confusedly at the relays outside of the ship, only to find no sign of any UNSC troops, minus a singular Spartan.

    However, due to the nature of the camera and where it was located, the lone Spartan was difficult to make out, but their presence was notable.

    "Ma'am, it's a lone Spartan." the woman said, turning to the man who served as her partner. "That was a small army, easily four thousand troops, gone."

    "Aura bridge, Lily." Lily's avatar appeared to scale in front of Autumn.

    Autumn walked up to the avatar, which stood only a few inches shorter than her. The girl's green eyes stared up at Autumn with a mixture of fright, concern, and sadness. Her arms crossed over her chest uneasily, as if something had spooked her.

    Autumn had always been a supporter of AI emotions, believing that they were capable of developing actual personalities for themselves and essentially becoming their own person in their own right, even if they weren't 'alive' by scientific standards. Whatever Lily had witnessed, Blaine had witnessed as well, and it wasn't good.

    "Yes, Lily?" Autumn asked.

    "Open the door." Lily shuddered nervously. "Papa bear isn't happy."

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

    "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!" Blaine's fists struck the closed bulkhead that had been in place of the vehicle bay's usual opening like a drum. "RUAAAAAAAGH!"

    "The door's will be opened soon." Lily said meekly, as Blaine's eyes darted straight to hers. "You need to clear your head, slow and deliberate, reme-"

    Before she could finish, the bulkhead opened and Blaine spent no time clambering inside. Corpses of dead Marines, ODSTs, and repair technicians were piled throughout the vehicle bay, with the occasional orange wisp.

    It may have been the delusions he was suffering as a result of his unfathomable rage, but as he passed their corpses, he couldn't help but see all of the ODSTs he had known. The faces of his crew, no matter how bloodied or mangled, took on the visage of Morgan, Craig, Josh, Phil, and even sometimes his own Mother, Amber.

    The hallucination worsened as their heads turned to face him as he passed. Each had a look of sorrow, not towards their own deaths, but his own suffering. Blood painted the walls around him, the occasional random scrap of metal and orange goo intermingled as well. As he passed more of the dead crew, their facial features morphed into those of his dead Spartan recruits, those that had died from augmentation or the rigorous training that had taken place prior.

    As before, their visions turned to him as one of sorrow. His mind was as empty as their eyes. Butch's eyes turned to him, not the Butch Blaine had killed, but the Butch that he had known once upon a time. In the distance, he could hear muffled gunfire and the sounds of men and women screaming. As he continued to walk forward, a pair of corpses marked the end of his walk of carnage, Mrs. Sanders and that one boy he had killed when he was five.

    Both gave him a glance that painted an all too clear picture for him. Mrs. Sanders had sacrificed considerable amounts of resources to run the Orphanage and tackle a full time job. If she could do that, how come he couldn't keep his own family safe while doing his job? He was expected to lead people to their deaths, but he couldn't even protect the people that made him keep on fighting?

    Blaine then understood what Mendez had meant about wasting a life versus spending a life. He had been wasting his life fighting solely for himself and the occasional helpless civilian he stumbled upon. He wasn't getting any younger, and it was time that he started fighting his own battles, not the ones the UNSC sent him into.

    The door leading into the Mess Hall opened for Blaine, as a multitude of Marines, ODSTs, and his Spartan IVs fought desperately for their lives against the encroaching mechanical humanoids. Blaine had only taken notice of them just now. Most of the mechs stood a couple of feet higher than him.

    Bulky torsos made up the majority of their body, with to scale arms on both sides, though one arm generally consisted of a glowing orange blade. The other had odd weapons Blaine had never seen before, but they glowed the same ominous orange as the Orb outside of the Infinity.

    At the massive robot's feet were little dog sized creatures compared to Blaine, yet easily larger than the average man in height. Pulling his last remaining frag grenade from his waist, Blaine pressed the trigger and rolled it under one of the massive mech's legs, where a congregation of the small dog like things were clustered.

    The fireball erupted the small dogs into piles of broken scrap like he had seen outside in the hallway, with the mech above them melting from the legs down. Like orange, fiery ash, the creature's entire hull cracked with orange energy, evaporating into a small wisp of orange, like he had seen in the Vehicle bay.

    The remaining two turned to Blaine, their already intimidating face plates opening up to reveal orange human skulls inside. When they closed, the backs of the mechs opened up, as a pair of new machines fluttered out. The Spartan IVs and other soldiers took pot shots at the massive beasts and their new flying disk like companions from behind their over-turned tables, which seemed to be oddly effective for cover.

    The floating mechs make metallic chips as they exploded subtly from the stress of the firearms. The mechs beneath them, however, turned their foreign weapons at him. Blaine's current mood gave him the fabled Spartan slow-time as beams of orange light raced towards him.

    Contorting his body, whilst also allowing himself to sink to the floor, Blaine's right hand caught himself from entirely falling onto his face. His head snapped back up, as he once again drew the sword off of his back. The two Knights, as Blaine chose to call them, began to shamble towards him slowly and mechanically.

    Blasting towards them with his adrenaline fueled legs, Blaine slid under one's clotheslining swing of it's sword. As he slid, his sword slagged it's legs off. Unsheathing his combat knife into his left hand, Blaine turned using his forward momentum to slash across it's friend's back. The beast mechanically howled, it's face plate opening, as Blaine clambered onto it's hull, and plunged his knife into the exposed orange skull.

    It's form shuddered beneath him, before slowly diminishing into yet another plume of orange wisps. Before the rest of it could phase away, however, Blaine planted his boot onto it and flipped backwards. He landed, in time to lean back from a swing from it's friend, it's legs having repaired in time.

    Rolling to his side, Blaine recovered and plunged his hardened steel sword into it's bulky chest plate. Pressing the edge of his plasma sword to it's throat, he sliced and cleanly decapitated the mech without a second thought. With one last one towards the back of the Mess Hall left, Blaine turned to it. The Knight looked much different then the ones he had fought, however, instead of the normal pale white/gray metal of their hull, this one was onyx black, and orange stripes adorned it's back.

    "Blaine!" Lorelei called from behind him, covering Dawn's ears with her hands. "That one! It's that one!"

    Blaine's attention turned back from Lorelei to the Knight Commander. It's face plate and chest opened up simultaneously, the latter revealing Blaine's four year old daughter encapsulated inside. Blaine stood straight as his latest kill evaporated into nothing. Pointing the tip of his plasma long sword at it, Blaine's visor depolarized.

    "Do machines feel fear?" Blaine chuckled to himself as he slowly walked towards it, his pose never faltering. "You will."

    The Knight Commander began to sprint away through the opened door leading out to the loading docks. Usually used for supplies for the ship, it also did host an external exit from the ship. Blaine charged after the giant thing, hearing Lorelei order something to a pair of Spartan IVs, with a lone set of feet behind him.

    Sheathing the sword and knife to ensure he didn't accidentally hurt Dusk or himself, he ran down the Knight Commander, plunging his right hand into the back of it's hull. He could hear the muffled screech of terror from Dusk inside of it.

    "Where're you going?!" Blaine growled darkly. "Don't you know it's rude to leave when you're TALKED to?!"

    Using his strength, Blaine's hand tore a slag off of the Knight's bulky back plating, enough so that he could reach in and safely secure his daughter. Holding her in his arms, he turned swiftly to Lorelei, whom he knew had followed him. Handing her off with a gentle pat on the head, Blaine turned instead to the Knight, which was attempting to run.

    On any other day, he'd have been all for letting it go. However, it had done him the ultimate disrespect, and now, robotic or not, he was going to humiliate it. Chasing after it, he heard Lorelei call after him, but he didn't care, he was going to make it pay.

    Following it outside, Blaine tackled the monster out of the ship and down several feet to the jungle clearing where he had wasted several hundred Covenant. The two tumbled across the grass, as Blaine kicked off of it's form and permitted it to roll into a tree.

    "You can run," Blaine growled, gripping the hilt of his sword. "But I'll always catch you, and each time, I'll take a little piece of you. So that, when I'm done with you, I can rebuild you and do it ALL again."

    As the sword was unsheathed, Blaine felt an electrical current run up his arm and into the hilt of the sword. As this happened, the once blue plasma of the blade shined a bright white, flaring up so much that the surface of the hard light actually held dancing white flames. At the same time, his shields alarm blared in his ears, warning him that he was vulnerable.

    Swinging the sword in a wide arch in front of him, a visible trail of pure white fire could be seen following it. With his blade tip dragging gingerly across the dirt beneath his feet, Blaine slowly walked towards the Knight Commander, which turned to fire it's weapon at him. As a giant glob of red energy approached Blaine, however, he watched as it exploded prematurely. Above him, Lorelei waved with a sniper rifle pressed snuggly against her shoulder.

    She sat in the opening to the ship the two had come out of, and while her position didn't seem all that comfortable, it didn't seem to faze her one bit. Pulling his knife once again into his left hand, Blaine's slow walk towards the Knight Commander continued, as the mech itself replaced it's gun arm with yet another sword.

    It rushed at Blaine, who ducked under one swing and juked the second, stabbing his knife into the spot right next to it's already exposed hull. Turning faster than Blaine had anticipated, the beast's sword struck him in the midsection, the majority of the blunt being absorbed by his plasma sword.

    The force alone, however, was enough to cause Blaine to flip end over end onto his stomach. Luckily for him, his sword and been dislodged from his hand and scattered to the side, but didn't pose a threat for him as he finally settled to a halt. Grasping the hilt once more, he felt the heat change as it flourished once more into a white flame. Once again, his shields stopped outright, obviously fueling his sword.

    He heard the sniper rifle crack above him head, as the Knight Commander, which was standing above him, staggered backwards from him. Slowly standing, Blaine plunged his sword into the ground to help him regain his balance. Standing at his full height, he flourished the sword once more, rolling his neck.

    Sprinting at the Knight, Blaine swung his sword wide across it's torso. The beast jumped back, however, the wave of fire that surged forth from the top seared the once flawless metal of the Knight Commander. With each consecutive swing, the fires erupting from the front crackled and spat, some even making an explosion noise.

    Once again, the Knight Commander dove backwards, as Blaine sprinted and lunged at him. Swinging across it's torso, he heard the metal groan as he just barely tore into it's front. It wasn't enough damage to destroy the mech, but based off of the pained groans it made, it was sufficient.

    Thrusting his shoulder into the beast's hull, he felt the residual heat from it's body, the force of the push moving it back an inch or so. Jumping off of his right foot, Blaine used the extra weightiness of the sword to spin it in a full circle, twisting his body in the same three-sixty. A plume of fire erupted, creating a temporary ring around him as he spun.

    At the end of his flip, Blaine swung the blade down at the Knight's head. Once again, the Commander dove out of the way of his otherwise fatal strike. Jumping at the beast, Blaine thrust his blade into the ground, which returned with a small pillar of fire that erupted at it's feet.

    Holding his sword like it was a baseball bat, Blaine swung it upwards across the beast's torso, as a wave of fire traveled across the ground through the Knight and beyond. The Knight staggered backwards as the white flames licked and danced across it's hull. Smaller parts of it's metallic form began to drip and melt away as it's movements became sluggish and broken.

    Making his move, Blaine stepped forward and ran the beast through at an upwards angle, actually lifting it above his head. It's face plate opened, albeit with some issue, only to roar defiantly in his face. Pulling his helmet off with his spare hand, he glared back into the otherwise terrifying orange skull, and without hesitation-

    "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?! TO. SHUT. YOUR. FUCKING. MOUTH!" Blaine's roar echoed through the trees surrounding the two grounded ships, and into the sky above them, as he ran the sword the rest of the way through, tearing his prey in half vertically.

    Placing his sword back into his sheath, Blaine reclaimed his helmet off of the ground, wiped some dust off of it, and returned it to his head. As to be expected from the sudden rattling, Lily's avatar looked shaken, with messy hair and her iconic sun hat no-where to be seen.

    "You okay?" Blaine asked, catching his breath, and for the first time in the past half hour or so, actually felt his heart beating again.

    "That's a question better suited for you." she huffed, straightening her hair and replacing her hat. "I've never been better, though AI's such as myself don't feel."

    "You know I didn't mean that about you. I was talking to the Knight." Blaine sighed. "I'm sorry."

    "No need." Lily shrugged. "I was serious. I don't feel anything but the occasional raw emotion. Being four years old does that to an AI. Just wait another three."

    "Three?" Blaine asked as he began his way back into the Aura. "Why, what happens at seven?"

    "Rampancy." Lily's eyes seemed to water as she shuddered. "In other words, I'll go insane with knowledge... and be 'killed'."

    Blaine hadn't really had many interactions with Smart AI's with Lily to know the true repercussions of Rampancy. He had recalled that ONI had often replaced their Smart AI, but he never once thought of it anything other than a transfer, much like a certain Captain was being transferred the next time Blaine got the chance.

    "You should probably-" Lily started as Blaine climbed back into the vehicle bay. "Yep. Good to have you back."

    "I never went anywhere." Blaine sighed.


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 13th 2017, 11:26 pm

    "Daddy?" Dawn's eyes perked up as Blaine reentered the Mess Hall.

    Lorelei, Dawn, and Dusk stood behind a modest group of Blaine's personally trained Spartan IVs. At Blaine's approach, their demeanor relaxed, offering him a crisp salute.

    "At ease, Spartans." Blaine gave a rushed salute, sinking to his knees in front of his family. "Thank God."

    "I've seen you blow your top before, but that was something else." Lorelei gave him a concerned look. "What would have happened if something happened to you?"

    "Things have happened to me all our lives." Blaine gave her an honest grin, before it sank back into a serious frown. "Our family mean more to me than my personal health, you should know this."

    "I do." Lorelei smiled shyly, crouching beside him and resting her head on his shoulder. "Thank you. That Knight, it-"

    "Are you harmed?" Blaine turned his attention to her, as she silently shook her head. "Then there is no reason to apologize. I'm just glad you're all safe. Thajid, Maple? You two go help clean up efforts. If another wave of boarders are coming, our technicians are going to need the extra guns."

    "What about you? I thought you were helping Infinity?" Lorelei said.

    "I've been serving the UNSC for years. They can stand one day where I ensure the safety of my family." Blaine grunted as he stood. "C'mon, we're going to the bridge. It's safer there."

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

    "Oh thank goodness." Autumn sighed with relief at the sight of Blaine, Lorelei, and her two God-daughters. "I thought Del Rio had your hands tied?"

    "Very hard to tie me up unless it's plasma or dark matter." Blaine took a minute to flex his arms with a stern shrug, as if to prove his point. "I need Lasky on the line, Del Rio's in over his head if he's going to send out recon teams during a boarding action."

    "No dice, Admiral." Comm. Williams shook her head. "Commanders Lasky and Palmer were sent out into the Jungle in search of whatever took our convoy out of the Abyss, sir."

    "He sent out his Executive Officers out on a scouting run?" Lorelei turned to Blaine. "What kind of a nut did they put in the Infinity's possession?"

    "A politician." Blaine growled with annoyance. "Any word from Orange Team?"

    "It's shaky, but I think I can patch you through, sir." Williams' hands flew across the board in front of her, as Blaine stepped up to the Officer's chair at the front of the room, resting his left hand on Autumn's shoulder.

    "Bit odd gettin' a call from the Armaggedon. Captain Stroud?"

    "Negative, Jorge." Blaine shook his head.

    "Hihetetlen. It's good to hear from you, baratom. Did you-?"

    "Yes, Dawn and Dusk are both accounted for. I need a sit-rep." Blaine's eyes scanned the displays accounting for the ship's external cameras, as well as the communications line, depicting Jorge's face as it would be shown on his file.

    "Right. Not much for all of this 'Forerunner' nonsense." Jorge grumbled. "We found what appears to be a terminal, without Lily here to fully decypher it, we're dealing with Katherine's inane computer skills to gather as much as we can."

    "Anything useful so far?"

    "I'll put her on the line, it's my turn to watch anyways. Naomi, Édesem, swap out."

    "Blaine?" Katherine's voice piled out into the room, as Jorge's icon was replaced with hers.

    "Go ahead."

    "Lorelei and the kids, are they-?"

    "Safe and secure with me on Armaggedon's bridge. What have you found?"

    Blaine turned to face Lorelei, who was currently holding both Dawn and Dusk, one on each arm. Dusk, rightfully so, squirmed in a mixture of anxiety and her childlike energetics. Blaine carefully plucked her from Lorelei's grasp and sat her in his left arm, his attention returning to the displays.

    "The translations of this terminal make it seem like this planet was some sort of sanctuary... or prison. It's very unclear, the word keeps cycling between the two. Requiem is it's name."

    "Requiem? A song of the dead?" Autumn rubbed her chin. "You've been on Forerunner worlds before, Blaine, any of this mean anything to you?"

    "Based off of my limited times on Forerunner structures, the majority of them have been super weapons of some sort. Halo was the most notorious, as it could wipe out all life in the Galaxy faster than the speed of Light." Blaine made sure to cover Dusk's ears with his hand and chest as he spoke. "I would expect like a name like Requiem, this could be their hail mary in case the Halo Rings were a colossal failure."

    "Then again." Blaine rubbed the bottom of his helmet with his spare hand. "You said the word cycles from Sanctuary to Prison in the translation. That's a really broad spectrum. Is there anything else you've dug up?"

    "I'm thinking it's a prison. That black and orange orb that we saw scanning Infinity? It's called a Cryptum. It says here, loosely translated, that a Cryptum is an capsule of forced or voluntary meditation. Where the occupant doesn't... age?"

    "So... we have a prisoner from the Forerunner ages terrorizing the single most expensive piece of UNSC equipment. Great." Blaine shook his head. "Anything else?"

    "Besides the occasional Forerunner variant of a pop-up, there is this one thing available. It looks to be like some sort of audio or video log."

    "Share it if possible."

    "In this hour of victory we taste only defeat... I ask why?-"

    Blaine's ears perked up as he scrounged in his memories searching for the speech, as it was fed through the comm systems. He had heard it once before, while the Great War was still on the forefront of his mind. In that moment, the memory struck him. He had heard this speech several minutes before Craig, his father, had died to a Brute Stalker.

    "Katherine this is-"

    "The same recording from the Ark, years ago. Katherine cut him off.

    "Do you remember the symbol that showed up on the screen after we heard that recording?" Blaine asked, as Autumn, Lorelei, and most of the bridge staff turned to give him a confused look.

    "I do, and I'm looking right at it." Katherine paused for a moment. "Blaine... there's a Forerunner in that Cryptum-"

    "-And he has it out for Humanity." Blaine clenched his spare hand. "Pack up your things and return to the Infinity, I'll be there to meet with you all."

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

    Blaine stood on the Infinity's bridge staring out into the vast Jungles of Requiem as the Cryptum, by Katherine's words, retreated. All of the Forerunner mechs that had once assaulted both the Infinity and the Armaggedon had long since retreated. Folding his arms behind his back, as he had seen Mendez do several times in his life, Blaine began to wonder where John had been during this entire event.

    The message from the Chief had not been fabricated, as Blaine had originally thought, especially considering that no matter how advanced the Forerunners were, they couldn't have possibly have known his significance to the UNSC. Del Rio, the coward that he was, had retreated to the designated 'safety' room during the majority of the invasion, remotely commanding the ship and it's company.

    While Blaine wasn't entirely pleased with the way Del Rio had sent out a mass of perfectly able bodied Spartan IVs to scout while the ship itself was under attack, he still did not feel that he was at a point of leverage to strip the command from Del Rio. Besides which, a mutiny of this level would be unwise during a time where the Infinity was anchored to a planet with no current means of escape. Instead, Blaine wanted to wait for his chance, if not a little longer of a wait.

    The doors leading to the bridge opened behind Blaine, as Commanders Palmer and Lasky stepped inside. Blaine turned in time to see Master Chief walk slowly in, his old armor seemingly modified, though Blaine didn't have the time to ask how. Stepping up to the table, Blaine offered John a hand, to which his childhood friend, and daresay rival, took it.

    "Good to see you again, Chief, I-"

    "What I want to know, people, is where the hell did those things come from?"

    Cortana's small blue avatar stood at the edge of the holotable in the middle of the room, one arm placed with sass on a hip, while the other rubbed her gentle chin in thought. After a moment, a hologram of a Promethean Knight, as the terminal Katherine had found called them, began to swivel in front of her. Crossing her arms formally behind her back, Cortana spoke with grace and clarity.

    "It's possible they are native to Requiem... or whatever counts as 'native' for a Forerunner AI."

    "We've never seen this kind of offensive reaction from any of the other Installations."

    "Frankly, Captain, you've never been on one of the Installations before. Countless Sentinels and-"

    "You're out of line, Spartan." Del Rio sneered.

    "Other Installations?" John asked, turning between Del Rio and Blaine in his confusion.

    "Lasky?" Del Rio replied, a hint of anger and annoyance layering his voice.

    "Infinity and the Armaggedon's mission has been to locate and disable the remaining Halo Rings. We're establishing permanent bases to study them for decommission." Thomas held his arms behind his back as the hologram shifted from the Knight to a Halo Ring. "We've got locations set up on Installations Five and Three, but, lately they've run into some... setbacks."

    "One unfortunate set of scientists-" Blaine began to speak, as Del Rio cut him off.

    "A science team was zapped while excavating a Forerunner artifact. This sensor data was all that was left." Del Rio glared at Blaine, as the hologram shifted to a set of four columns of Forerunner glyphs.

    "Interesting... these symbols are a derivation of the Forerunner glyph system."

    "Our geeks managed to pull some coordinates. You get three guesses as to where they led." Del Rio turned to John.

    "Sir. Gypsy and Wyvern are set to move out on your orders." Palmer walked over to the table, passing a tablet to Del Rio, whom punched a few things in and passed it back.

    "Thank you Palmer." Del Rio grunted, before passing the tablet to Lasky. "Lasky, I want you and the Captain here on point. Boots on the ground in sixty."

    "I've got my own ship to deal with." Blaine said. "Gypsy will be fine without Wyvern, or my presence."

    "Are you defying me, Captain?" Del Rio turned to him with a grouch.

    "No. The Aura is my responsibility, and Wyvern is a fire-team on board my ship." Blaine stepped forward. "I did not sanction myself for this operation, and-"

    "Overruled. Until Infinity hits UNSC air-space, the acts of your ship and your crew are mine. Do as I say, or I will have Commander Palmer here place you under due arrest for negligence and resisting following a commanding officer's orders, are we clear?"

    "Yes."

    "Yes what?" Del Rio grinned, relishing on Blaine's reluctance.

    "Yes sir." Blaine grit his teeth, fighting every urge in his body not to throttle this man through the far wall.

    "Captain." John spoke up with a hint of irritability from across the table. "What about the Didact?"

    "This is a first contact scenario, Master Chief." Del Rio seemed to formalize, but still hold his air of superiority over the Spartan. "You should know better than most here what that means. Our priority is to free Infinity of the chains holding her down and file a threat assessment back at Fleetcom."

    "We're leaving?!" Cortana shook her head, exasperated.

    "Sir, Infinity drove the Didact back. He's vulnerable-."

    "He isn't the only one." Del Rio's eyes glanced back and forth between the two present Spartan IIs. "Y'know, I would think you of all people, would appreciate the benefit of fighting another day."

    With that, Del Rio marched his way out of the bridge, leaving Blaine, Lasky, Cortana, and Chief to glance at one another. Chief's attention turned to Cortana, and hers returned his. Lasky sighed as he glanced down at the tablet, with a silent nod, he walked past the Chief and Cortana, as the duo turned to face Blaine.

    "Well he's... pleasant." Cortana struggled.

    "No, he's a cunt." Blaine spat. "C'mon Chief. Let's show the humble Captain what happens when you cross Spartans."

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

    "With the Aura in the air and Infinity at her flank, I'm much more confident of Lorelei and the others." Katherine mulled to herself. "The question remains, why do you look like someone just slapped you across the face backwards with a shark?"

    "He undermined me." Blaine crossed his arms powerfully across his chest. "We were trained to respect our superiors as children, and while my rank is only formal with no real weight, he treats us Spartan IIs like we're just fresh cadets."

    "Remind you of Mendez?" Jorge snorted.

    "At least Mendez had mutual respect for all of us." Blaine shook his head. "This jackass only respects himself and his authority over us. Once the Infinity is free from her shackles on this planet and we get back to UNSC space, I'm giving him a piece of my mind."

    "Isn't he the only UNSC official that doesn't seem to acknowledge your formal position?" Naomi asked. "I mean, you attend Admiralty board consensus' for cryin' out loud. If that doesn't count you as an Admiral, real or not, I dunno what does."

    "It's like Blaine said," Lorelei sighed as she fitted her helmet on her head. "Del Rio is a politician playing military veteran. He gets a paper cut from the paperwork he files and treats it like he got ambushed by a Sangheili general. No doubt he'll want accolades for 'defending the Infinity from a newly discovered, hostile Forerunner AI'."

    "More like his ass, my size twenty three boot." Blaine growled.

    The new model Pelican that Wyvern and Orange team were passengers for listed slightly. Blaine had seen the Chief and several Spartan IVs from Gypsy company pile inside. His communications flickered as a direct message from Infinity's bridge appeared in his HUD.

    Holding a hand up to silence the bickering, he allowed Del Rio's hologram to stand in the middle of the Pelican. Del Rio's face which was televised between the two Pelicans, swept the two bays as he folded his arms behind his back.

    "Infinity to all ground units. The air corridor to the gravity well is blocked by a clutch of Particle Cannons. Infinity, and by rights the Armaggedon's shields are still down. You will be opening the lane to permit our ships access to provide air support."

    "Captain." John's voice crackled in the mic. "What's Force Recon's assessment of the terrain?"

    Del Rio's hologram stared in the same direction as Blaine, to Del Rio's left, indicating that John was standing in a similar position in the other Pelican. With a look of being flabbergasted, Del Rio's brow furrowed as he stared at Blaine's slot.

    "I know you've been off the field a while, Master Chief, but this is a Blow-Through OP. Sending in Recon would only stand to hinder our progress. Telemetry indicates the Particle Cannons are being controlled from a command post just south of our position. Del Rio turned to address the rest of the two Pelican's staff. "You will roll on that target, and neutralize it. We'll meet on the other side. Infinity out."

    "I dunno about you, but I like some intel with my intel."

    "In case you haven't realized yet-" Lily spoke up, her avatar displaying the same level of frustration as Blaine was feeling. "He isn't too bright."

    The Pelican's pace slowed as the weight shifted, indicating the Pelicans were spinning to grant the Spartans the best possible cover during their insertion. As the bay ramp opened, the visage of a desert setting came into view, the artificial sun of the planet glimmering harshly off of the reddish orange rocks.

    Jorge, Katherine, Lorelei, Blaine, Naomi, David, May, and Chris all stepped out of their Pelican and onto the rocky terrain. Turning his attention to the left, Blaine could see John and three of Infinity's Spartan IVs and a pair of Marines step out from the Pelican.

    "Del Rio thinks he's running this thing from the air." Blaine shook his head as he turned to the others. "You run orders through me. If Del Rio asks you for something, turn it aside. They can't court marshal all of you."

    "Lorelei, May, you've got the best eyes in this group. You'll be taking up sniper's posts on top of the Mammoth. David, Jorge, you're their back-up. Naomi, Katherine, you're with Chris on overall Mammoth defense. I don't want to see a single Stormie claw or hand print on this rig."

    "You, sir?" Naomi asked.

    "I have business to discuss with Commander Lasky, during the OP, I'll be juggling between general Mammoth defense and potential go-for tasks. Whatever the Mammoth needs, I'll be there." Blaine said. "On board, double time."

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

    "I know he's a bit over bearing, but it's only because he fears you." Lasky said as Blaine approached.

    "You realize he takes the majority of the credit for the acts that the Infinity's staff accomplishes, even operations he didn't even sanction?" Blaine grunted, crossing his arms.

    "Frankly, I think he's a piece of shit, but we're stuck with him until after we're off Requiem." Lasky sighed. "If what you and the Chief say about a living Forerunner in play is true, our primary focus should have been taking him out."

    "It's as if he doesn't realize the potential devastation that leaving that Forerunner alive could accomplish." Blaine shook his head. "That gravity well is keeping us here as well as him. If we took him out now, we'd have no problems in the future."

    "Unfortunately, sir, you're preaching to the choir." Lasky sighed. "For what it's worth, Sarah and I both acknowledge and respect your authority as an Admiral of the UNSC, even if that isn't your true rank."

    "I'm needed below, running the ops center inside. Can I count on you being my eyes out here, sir?" Lasky asked, as Blaine nodded curtly. "Thank you."

    The UNSC Mammoth was an impressive vehicle. Standing at it's front, Blaine was easily several stories above the planet's surface. Not only was she filled to the brim with Spartan IIs and IVs, but a multitude of tried and true Marines. She was outfitted with several rocket launcher pods on either side, a trio of Warthogs. Two of the chain-gun variety and the last was a Gauss cannon variant.

    Her most important feature, however, was the miniature MAC cannon planted firmly on top of her. It was more than enough fire-power to render a Covenant Phantom into a pile of gore and sheet metal. The UNSC had certainly come a long way in the four plus years since the end of their greatest war to date. They whom had once been the underdogs now stood tall and proud, doing everything they could to rid the Universe of any Forerunner technology capable of Apocalyptic level events.

    However, something began to eat away at him. Yes, his two daughters were safe and sound now that the Armaggedon was accompanied by the Infinity, but something in particular made him extremely anxious. Just as his mind had thought when he was younger, something was coming soon, and it was likely bigger than anyone could have imagined.


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 17th 2017, 2:20 pm

    The Mammoth continued down the plateau in the direction of the Forerunner Particle Beam Cannon's location. Blaine's mental trance came to a stand-still as a trio of Pelicans, one of which contained a target designator for the Mammoth's psuedo MAC gun.

    "Airbourne units, lower your trajectory! You're dead center in the kill zone!" Palmer barked, before a giant beam of orange hardlight struck the leading Pelican head on.

    "Shit! The pilot's KIA and I'm losing control of her! Mayday, mayday! "

    Blaine tensed as the other two Pelicans veered off to avoid detection from the Particle Cannon, while the disabled Pelican lurched further inland. Storm Covenant Phantoms began to descend from over the horizon, headed straight for the downed Pelican.

    "Delta-1, I have the Target Designator, but we're being swarmed by Covvies right now!"

    "Hold out, Delta-1." Blaine spoke sternly, hurrying his way inside the Mammoth. "Spartan 115 inbound with immediate med-evac. Chief, the Designator."

    "Affirmative." Chief gave him the green acknowledgement light. "Moving for asset retrieval."

    Passing the threshold to enter the Mammoth's internal Ops center, Blaine gave a stern nod to Lasky, before jumping into the emergency Troop variant Warthog's driver seat. The off-loading ramp for the Warthogs opened, as Naomi and Chris moved into position. Katherine, on the other hand, hopped into the passenger seat, preparing her emergency trauma kit.

    Chief, on the other hand, manned the Gauss 'Hog. A duo of Spartan IVs hopped into the passenger and gunner positions. Blaine nodded to his fellow Spartan II, as well as the fresh meat. With the classic roar of the Warthogs' engines, the two recon vehicles backed out of the Mammoth.

    Blaine clasped his M6C Officer's Magnum in his left hand, while working the wheel with his knees. Two Elites, a small group of five or so Grunts, and a pair of Jackal marksmen had begun the workings of setting up a crow's nest encampment to lockdown the area. Blaine's pistol snapped immediately to the Jackals with two satisfying pops. When the avian reptilian hybrids crumpled into a heap, Blaine's pistol focused on the Grunts.

    With the lot of them dead and his clip completely emptied, Blaine returned the handgun to his hip, placing his left hand back on the wheel. The two Elites roared, charging at the Warthog with Energy Swords alight. With his right hand, Blaine shifted the Warthog down and jolted the steering wheel to the right. The sudden shift in direction caused the tail end of the Troop 'Hog to whip around and strike the Elites with bone-crushing force.

    "Remember to look both ways before crossing." Blaine chuckled to himself, as Katherine gave him a confused look. "What? It's something Ms. Sanders taught me when I was younger."

    "-And that's important to the matter... how?"

    "Listen, I've had a really shitty day." Blaine shrugged, stomping on the accelerator, maneuvering towards the Pelican's blue flare smoke. "I needed to say something witty, gather myself."

    "Personally, I would've said something like; 'I'll share my insurance details with you... in hell!'" Lily shrugged, her avatar trying it's hardest to suppress a grin.

    "I'm with her." Katherine chuckled.

    "Sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of my courageous heroism."

    "Whatever helps you sleep at night, Blaine."

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

    "Oh thank god!" one of the Marine's sighed in relief at the sight of the two Spartans. "Some backup!"

    "How many wounded?" Blaine asked, leaving the engine running as he hopped out.

    "Three, Pilot's toast though." he said. "Men, move like you've got a purpose!"

    "Sir, Benitez is not responding." one of the Marine's held a young woman's hand. "She's not breathing either."

    "We'll take care of her." Katherine stepped forward. "I'll stay here, I'll need one of you to assist me with her. The rest of you, get to the 'Hog."

    "Yes'm." the wounded Marines said, albeit cautiously.

    Blaine pulled his DMR off of his back, scanning the open field for further sign of Covenant forces. A pair of destroyed Ghosts were the only visuals on enemy troops he could make out, though he knew all too well the invisibility prowess of the Sangheili. As the Marines were loading in, Blaine slowly worked his way to the Warthog. Before he could sit in the seat, the valley suddenly exploded with a loud crashing sound, as a Phantom looming overhead erupted into a mass of metal and goo.

    "Ooh fucking rah!" the first Marine cheered from the passenger seat.

    Blaine hopped into the driver seat, giving one last glance at Katherine, who was administering Bio-foam to the downed Marine. Turning the wheel, the Warthog sped off, Blaine turned his attention to the Gauss 'Hog that Chief had manned. Instead of the Chief driving, a Spartan IV had taken his place, with the Chief in the passenger seat and the tiny Target Designator in his hands.

    "Spartan, I've got some unsettling news to share with you." the Marine said from the passenger seat. "There's something big over the crest, 'bout South-Southwest of here. It's not a Particle Cannon, but it's also not Covenant."

    "Was it a giant black orb with orange cracks?" Blaine asked, as the Marine shook his head.

    "No sir, it was like... a giant cat, except it wasn't a cat. It was a machine, that's for sure, easily ten meters tall." he spoke, almost horrified about what he was saying. "It's two appendages lifted off the ground, started glowing heavily. It was aimin' at us, that much was for certain."

    "Doesn't sound like anything Del Rio mentioned in his briefing-"

    "The Captain's a joke, sir. One huge cosmic joke, 'cept all us Roughnecks are the damn punch-line."

    "I like you, Marine." Blaine snickered, placing a hand on the man's shoulder. "Name?"

    "Brent, sir, Brent Abrahms. Ex-ODST. Got knocked out of my division after I abandoned my post on Reach." he grunted. "Had some people I cared about, local Orphanage, but by the time I arrived, they were already evacuated."

    "Small world." Blaine chuckled quietly to himself, illiciting a confused stare from the Marine.

    "Sir?"

    "Don't mind me, Abrahms." Blaine turned to face him. "Focus on your men."

    Blaine couldn't believe it, the Marine sitting in the seat beside him had been the young boy all of those years ago at the Orphanage that had stood up for him the day he walked out of the place. As much as he wanted to thank Brent for his assistance then, he knew that Lucy and Charlie knowing his true identity was already too much for ONI's liking.

    "I didn't catch your name, Spartan?" Brent asked. "I like to know the people I owe favors to."

    "You don't owe me a damn thing." Blaine shook his head, this time Lily's avatar giving him a confused glance. "It's all part of the job."

    "Ain't that the truth, sir." Brent shook his head. "Well, maybe when we get back to the Infinity, I can buy you a drink, eh?"

    "I'm actually in service to the Aura, no can do." Blaine said, tongue in cheek. "Here we are."

    Pulling the Warthog into the back of the Mammoth, Blaine turned off the engine, twisting his body to the three Marines sitting in the back. Hopping out of the driver's seat, Blaine helped the most injured out of her seat, escorting her to the nearest medical unit on board.

    "Thanks for clearing that up, sir." Lasky smiled.

    "We've got trouble over the ridge. I'm gonna need to take Spartans 052, 102, and 076 to handle it." Blaine crossed his arms over his chest. "Need a Pelican too, if possible."

    "Not with those Cannon's in the air. We've got jet-pack modules topside, though." Lasky said. "Aerial recon suggests the river ahead is caustic, but thankfully this baby is built with all terrains in mind- well, what we've come to see of the Forerunners so far."

    "Take those jet-packs if you want." Lasky nodded. "I'll tell Del Rio you're on the ground assisting the troops."

    With a stern, yet sincere nod, Blaine turned to the stairways leading up and out of the Mammoth. As he walked past Naomi and Chris, he placed a hand on Naomi's shoulder, offering a thumbs up to both of them.

    "Orange Team, form up on my position." Blaine said. "Katherine, another 'Hog is inbound for your patient, we'll converge on you."

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

    "This must be some nasty business if the gang's finally all here." Jorge rubbed his wrists. "Kinda makes you wonder what it'd be like if Butch were still around, eh?"

    Blaine felt his heart jump an extra beat, and both of his fists clenched tightly at the mention. Lorelei and Katherine glanced at him, none of the group had had the stomach to inform Jorge of Butch's treachery and final demise.

    "Whatever was on the side of that ridge took aim at our Pelicans, but it wasn't a Particle Cannon." Blaine reported. "Ten meters in height, Forerunner creation, hostile. That's enough grounds for four Spartan IIs to get involved."

    Blaine tossed the jet-pack module he had brought special to Katherine, who fitted it snugly to the receptacle on her suit's lower back. With the four of them outfitted and prepped for war, the four Spartans followed Blaine's lead to the alleged 'caustic river' ahead of them.

    Blaine broke into a dead sprint, ever the one to ensure the safety of the others before his own. Initiating the jet-pack function, Blaine's boots narrowly avoided skidding the caustic fluid in the river. After the brief pick up, he allowed the thrusters on his suit to give him the extra boost across the wide gap.

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

    "Doctor Halsey."

    Halsey's brilliant, yet dimming elderly eyes flickered back into reality as she turned back towards her interrogator. The man sat at the edge of his seat, hands folded firmly in front of him. Halsey's eyes knowingly met with his, with her typical wit and sass that many in ONI knew her to possess.

    "I know what you're going to ask me." Halsey shook her head. "My Spartans are the leaders Humanity needs. To be ready for every scenario and tackle it head on. They are brilliant, they are disciplined, they are what we can become as a species."

    "Of the known Spartan II 'subjects' in your program, more than half exhibit suicidal thoughts/actions or fits of traumatic stress." the man said. "I hardly would consider that leadership material."

    "You cannot hope to see the Spartans as I did, and still continue to do so." she said, shaking her head. "You are almost as blind as Ackerson."

    "Ackerson saw the Spartans for what they were; children turned into military assets. He knew they would one day turn against us, with no-one to stand against them."

    "They are still Human." Halsey chuckled to herself. "That is the bit that you fail to recognize. They have transcended the gap, and will become the shining example of what Humanity can be."

    "They lost their Humanity when your staff took to them with the electrical batons. You turned each and every one of them into high functioning sociopaths, and we know it."

    There was silence and deep tension building in the room. Neither her escort nor Halsey herself spoke for the longest time. Curious as ever, Halsey's eyes began to scan the man's face for some time, before a smile curled on her lips.

    "You know one of the Spartans, don't you?" Halsey asked. "This anger towards me, the look of vengeance plastered on your face tells it all."

    "You stole their right to a happy life!" the man growled, his fist striking the metal table in front of him.

    Halsey smiled internally, she had finally done it. It was indeed a harsh choice, but she intended to be killed rather than continue to be ONI's prisoner of war. Her actions were morally questionable, sure, but she had in turn brought about Humanity's only chance at survival. Her Spartans, especially the ones currently on the Forerunner planet below, were the stellar examples of that.

    "Tell me about one-one-five." the man reserved himself. "Of the Spartans we've recently conducted psyche reports on, he is the only one who, remarkably, has shown none of the aforementioned tendencies that his fellow recruits did."

    Halsey paused at the mention of Blaine's number. Her eyes flicked over the man's shoulder, and she remembered clear as day the morning on that patio. Jacob's stern as ever face glaring down at the boy whom only wanted some food. How such a sweet, intelligent young boy had only wanted to search for his father, and how she had manipulated him into following along with her.

    Yes, Blaine-115 had proved to be a pivotal success in comparison to the Spartan II trainees. He and John had both been nearly on par with each other in almost every way. Though, while John's driving force was his competitive spirit, Blaine's had been one of family and protection.

    She smiled as she thought fondly of the times Blaine had subjected himself to so much more to protect and encourage his squad. She recalled watching on the monitors as Blaine had gathered small portions of his team's food in sanitized MRE bags to give to John's team.

    Her smile soured, however, as she recalled the whole reason she had met with Blaine. The poor child had been the victim of torture and harassment from not only his peers in an Orphanage, but had actually killed a kid his age and horribly maimed the caretaker responsible. She had taken the boy from that scenario, and threw him right back into it, only this time, Mendez punished him whenever he stood up for himself.

    "It's... a difficult request for me to-"

    "I'm not playing your mind games, Katherine." the man snarled. "Tell me about Spartan 115."

    Halsey's eyes scoured the table in front of her, as if searching for the answer she was seeking. Why was Blaine so mentally stable, considering everything he had been through? In her time since returning from Onyx, she had spent times in ONI's database reading his combat record. Blaine had witnessed the death of nearly every member of his known family, and yet showed no signs of PTSD.

    It was then she remembered Mendez talking to her about him. How he had been hiding a secret deep inside, something that he very rarely loosed unto the world.

    "Blaine is a very... unusual Spartan." Halsey said. "Despite everything he was subjected to, prior and post Spartan bootcamp, he has, as you suggested, never once been recorded showing any form of trauma."

    "Do you think that Spartan One-One-Five is a time bomb, waiting for release?" the man asked. "I, as well as others in ONI, are frankly waiting for the moment this Spartan erupts."

    "You do not understand." Halsey shook her head. "Blaine exhibits a distinct level of respect and charisma for those around him. His only character flaw is his willingness to take the bullet for anyone and everyone he holds close or highly respects."

    "Doctor Halsey, we have records of Spartan 115 using a Fist of Sparta, in a public zone, on Spartan 061." the man shook his head. "Substantial property damage was sustained, as well as the total annihilation of Spartan 061."

    "Butch?" Halsey shook her head. "I had figured he had died. If you were looking for insane, that Spartan exhibited the worst mood swings. Understandably, of course, because his own uncle put him willingly in the program."

    "That still does not appropriate Blaine's wanton destruction of the Zoo property, as well as the use of highly experimental atomic weaponry in public zones."

    "Blaine is a problem-solver. His quick thinking and strong foundation is what allows him to turn a bad situation into a victory." Halsey shook her head.

    "Doctor Halsey. I was in the Orphanage the day Blaine killed that kid." the operative said sternly. "He killed a kid before he became a Spartan, but you knew that already, didn't you?"

    Halsey's eyes widened as she scanned the man's face several times again.

    "Who are you?" Halsey asked.

    "Agent Robert Crawford." the agent replied, arms folded. "I was one of Blaine's bullies in that Orphanage. He killed my friend."

    "So you're seeking revenge?" Halsey asked.

    "On the contrary. I'm here to see him formally retired. He's fought enough battles in his life. He needs to settle down, take off the helmet, and live the life you stole from him." Robert said. "I know just based off of how I and the others before me treated him that he is not mentally stable."

    "I want you to be honest with me, instead of gripping that ridiculous idea of what an 'ideal Spartan' is, for one second." he leaned forward, eyes peering into hers. "If he finally snaps and he kills a UNSC personnel as a result, what is Humanity's only course of action? Euthanasia."

    Standing from his chair, Robert placed his face directly into hers. Halsey stared back at him with a mixture of confidence, mixed slightly with fear.

    "When is he going to snap, Doctor Halsey?" Robert said. "What steps do we have to take, before we can cycle him out of active duty, to ensure he's mentally stable enough for it?"

    "Protect anyone he holds near and dear to him." Halsey said, before her eyes snapped wide open, her hands grasping at Agent Crawford's shirt. "His daughters! Blaine has twin daughters on board the Aura."

    "He put his own daughters on his ship? While it was on active duty? Just what the hell did you do to the Spartans?" Crawford asked, as her grip tightened on him. "Relax, we can keep him under control so long as we keep the kids safe. If not, I have a team on standby to suppress him long enough for us to take his augments out."

    Halsey's clingy grasp loosed for a second, as she sat herself straight upright. Fixing her hair to the best of her abilities while cuffed, she placed her hands delicately in her laps.

    "I've seen his fighting spirit in action first hand, Agent Crawford." Halsey replied. "If Blaine does snaps, it'll take more than you or whatever team you've assembled to stop him. Even then, it's not a matter of how you stop him. The question, rather, becomes; can you?"

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

    "I think I still prefer to keep my boots on the ground." Jorge shook his head, shrugging the jet-pack unit off, it's energy spent.

    "Maybe if you had lighter and less bulky armor like the rest of us, you wouldn't waste so much fuel." Lorelei shrugged with a chuckle.

    "How else would I intimidate my enemies?" Jorge snickered.

    "Show them your fisticuffs... or Bertha." Blaine tapped him on the shoulder with his fist endearingly.
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on April 26th 2017, 2:29 am

    "Aura of Armaggedon bridge, emergency hail to Infinity bridge!" the Spartan IIs paused their banter as Autumn's voice echoed through the comms.

    "This better be important, Armaggedon." Andrew Del Rio's voice echoed throughout the comms.

    "Unknown entity has been detected assaulting our ship, Captain." Autumn said. "We can't shake her, and all our weapon systems are still offline."

    There was a loud rumbling above the canyon as Blaine and the other Spartan II's gazes rose skyward. The Aura of Armaggedon loomed overhead. As Autumn had reported, the bipedal mech was easily several stories in height, using one of it's arm like appendages to carve into the ship.

    "Aura bridge, you are moving too close to the kill-zone!" Lasky said. "Correct your course!"

    "All controls are offline, and not responding to our interactions. Whatever this thing is... it's controlling us." Autumn's face appeared on Blaine's HUD. "Admiral, we-."

    THUUM. A loud pulse erupted into the atmosphere, the light of the weapon luminescent enough to actually darken the surrounding plateau. Blaine's eyes never once left his ship, as a giant hole was sheared directly through the direct center of the ship.

    "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Lorelei's blood-curdling screams echoed in Blaine's ears, as he sank to his knees.

    Jorge and Katherine's fists clenched as Blaine stared, hopeless, as his ship began it's slow descent into the canyon below. If any of the crew had survived the initial shot, they were doomed to the inevitable crash. That, of course, included his daughters. Blaine's legs became the consistency of jelly, and his armor within itself felt far too heavy for him to sit upright.

    "One day, Blaine, when you grow up and find yourself a loving wife? I think you'll make an excellent father." Mrs. Sander's voice echoed prominently in the back of his mind. "I sense great things in you, perhaps you'll be a politician? Make change for the world?"

    "Like a super-hero?" Blaine remembered asking, to which she chuckled warm heartedly, before hugging him.

    "Like a super-hero."

    "Throw me." Blaine said gruffly, as Jorge turned to face him.

    "Come again, Blaine?" Jorge asked, as Blaine stood slowly.

    "Throw. Me."

    "That ship's going down." Jorge shook his head. "You go in there, there's a chance you aren't coming back, baratom."

    "Didn't stop you." Blaine growled. "Throw me. NOW."

    Jorge solemnly nodded, placing his machine-turret on the ground. Blaine gathered some distance between himself and Jorge at the cliff-side. Jorge lowered himself into a ready stance, as Blaine charged at him. Diving himself forwards, Blaine was not surprised as Jorge grunted, using his momentum to swing Blaine in a wide-arc.

    "Come back to us, One-One-Five." Jorge grunted.

    At the apex of Jorge's swing, the gargantuan of a Spartan released Blaine from his grasp upwards and towards the descending ship. Blaine was in a head spin as a result of his posture, using his jetpack to straighten himself. Pulling his sword from his back, Blaine plunged the energy longsword into the hull of his doomed ship.

    He sank a few inches, before stabilizing. The unknown entity seemed to notice his arrival, turning it's bipedal form towards him. Motioning it's entire form to swing at him, Blaine jumped off the wall, using his jetpack to maintain his altitude. Grasping onto it's lodged red oak sized apendage, Blaine stood on it, and began to charge towards the cockpit.

    Were it not for the other arm and legs being used to keep the machine lodged on the side of the ship to continue it's assault, the Forerunner mech would have likely tried to swat him off. Instead, Blaine used this to his advantage and close the gap between them. Instead of focusing on the mech, however, he dove into the hole it had created.

    The destroyed hallway leading to the maintenance room was a mess of oil, machine parts, and the occasional unlucky victim. The twins had been in the bridge with Autumn this entire time, and he knew it wasn't that far away. Charging down the hallway, he could hear the hull buckling and groaning as the robot on the outside seemingly tracked him.

    The door to the bridge opened, and the carnage enough was enough to make his heart and stomach sink. Bodies of the bridge's crew were rattled across the room, the gaping hole from where the beam had struck it leaving a perfect half-pipe structure in the floor beneath him.  His time was limited, but he refused to believe his children were among the bodies.

    Saying a silent prayer for each of them, Blaine searched drastically for them.

    "Is the intercom working on the ship?" Blaine asked Lily hurriedly.

    "No." she shook her head, virtual tears forming in her eyes. "I don't like to think about it, but-"

    "Then don't." Blaine growled, before his eyes fell upon a troubling sight. Bloodied bare foot prints no larger than a little kid's worked their way out back through the door he had come. "How did I not see those?!"

    Following them back out the door, he followed the small footsteps. Ahead of him, the door to the maintenance room closed firmly. Blaine sprinted after the noise, hurriedly knocking on the door.

    "DAWN?! DUSK?!" he yelled into the door. "C'mon kiddos, open the door!"

    The door opened to a dimly lit maintenance room. The light on the ceiling was flickering ever so eerily, as the visage of a small child stepped into the less lit portion of the room. Blaine followed, activating the light on his helmet.

    Autumn laid against the workbench, clutching her midsection tightly. Blood trickled gently out of the corner of her mouth. Blood pulled on her shoulder and the floor beneath her, his two daughters curled up a few feet from her.

    "Thank god." Blaine shook his head. "How hurt are you?"

    "It's not good." Autumn shook her head weakly. "Dawn saw I was hurt, so she went to go look for a me-cough-medkit."

    Removing her hand from her wound showed Blaine a mortifying sight, her entrails were hanging out, and her hand was desperately trying to keep them in so as not to concern the girls.

    "I'm sorry I lost your ship."

    "Don't talk like that. I'm getting you-"

    "No." Autumn said sternly, for the first time since he had known her. "There is no way you can carry the three of us. Especially with me as I am right now."

    "You saved my life once already." she said, as she began to sob. "Now, I can only hope to return the favor by getting you out of here with your girls."

    Dawn and Dusk silently rushed past Autumn and behind Blaine's legs. Autumn weakly raised her spare hand enough to show Blaine the pistol she had hidden from the girls. Stepping over to her, Blaine knelt down to her level, and wrapped his arms firmly around her torso.

    "I'm so sorry, Autumn." he shook his head, tears rolling down his own cheeks.

    "Why?" she whispered back. "The years I've known you have been the best years of my life. You showed me the best Humanity could be. With you around, I have high hopes for Humanity."

    "When you see Del Rio?" Autumn's eyes stared into his visor. "Punch the son of a bitch."

    Blaine stood, turning to his daughters at his side. Quickly, he plucked them both off of the floor and into his arms. They squirmed in protest as Autumn wasn't joining them, but stopped soon afterwards when they realized their dad wasn't going to let them go. Blaine quickly glanced at the trench through the hole in the hull. He knew the Aura was about to make landfall any minute now, and she was likely going to blow up on impact.

    "Grab Daddy's neck and don't let go, okay?" Blaine asked, as the two girls practically hugged each other around his neck. "Good job, we're almost done."

    Grunting, Blaine jumped out through the hole and activated the jetpack enough to lift him upwards onto the hull. Using his sword as a pick of sorts, he climbed, albeit with some difficulty, onto the flatter part of the ship's hull. Returning the sword to the hilt on his back, he wrapped both of his arms under his daughter's legs and began to run upwards the length of his doomed ship.

    As he ran, he heard the metal of her hull buckled and groaning from it's impact into the valley's pit below. Around him, the hull sank and shuddered as the structural integrity of the ship began to worsen further. His eyes narrowed as he focused on the nearby ledge, towards the rear section of the ship.

    Putting everything he had into his sprint he jumped off of the Aura's hull and towards the cliff side. Using his jetpack for extra lift, Blaine wrested his children's grip from his neck and tossed them gently onto the cliff-edge, knowing he wasn't going to make the jump. The two kids landed firmly on their rears, as Blaine sank down over the edge.

    Turning his back, the Aura continued to crumple on itself, and would explode in a matter of seconds. Plunging his hand into the rock wall, Blaine used the last of the jetpack's fuel to swing his body upwards. Landing firmly on the cliff-side, Blaine's hands instinctively shot down and plucked his daughters off the ground. Sprinting for several meters still, until even he was gasping for air, Blaine quickly sank to his knees, using his body to shield them.

    BOOOM!

    Behind Blaine, the valley was engulfed in a giant crimson fireball. The ground along the cliffside he and the girls had once stood fractured as fissures trailed in their direction for some distance. Dust, pebbles, rocks, and other debris began to descend around Blaine, who was staring intensely at his motion sensor for anything that would be considered directly above them.

    When the hail of debris stopped, Blaine remained where he was positioned. Dawn and Dusk both stared up and into his visor in a mixture of confusion and fright.

    "I know you two are scared, but you need to stay with Daddy and be brave now, can you do that?" Blaine asked, as they shifted nervously. "Mommy's waiting for us. Stay with me, and if I tell you to hide, you hide, okay? Don't come out unless I say Olly Olly Oxen Free."

    As Blaine began to stand, however, the ground in front of him trembled. Dawn and Dusk screamed in fear as the bipedal robot touched down several feet away from them. Blaine did look puny in comparison to the much larger machine, it's long tail like appendage, which Blaine hadn't noticed until now, swayed behind it's legs.

    Having a much better look at the machine now, it's design seemed rather familiar to him. Of course, he had never seen one of these machines before, but what it appeared to be based on was almost striking in resemblance. At it's full height, the mech stood on it's two bent legs, it's massive, yet tiny in comparison to the rest of the rig's arms resting by it's torso.

    Though the machine lacked the snout, there was no doubt that the machine was saurian in design. That being said, it almost reminded him of Lucy and his favorite dinosaur; the T-Rex. A force unlike anything Blaine had ever felt pulsed from the beast, causing the ground to quake beneath them, and push Blaine and his children back a few feet.

    "Hide. Now." Blaine instructed, as his twin daughters sprinted for the nearest set of rocks, before turning his head towards the mech. "As for you. I've got a very high level of patience."

    "There's very little in this world that gets my blood boiling to the point where I could literally explode, and no-one would question how it happened." Blaine's eyes turned to the bloodied footprints of Dawn's across the likely very warm rocks. "You, through sheer arrogance or stupidity, managed to do them all at once."

    "I'm not just going to hurt you." he rolled his neck, with loud, sickening pops following the motion. "I am going to end you. Whatever you are, whatever you were? All will cease to exist."

    "And while your soul is atomizing back into the nexus that you freaks derive from?" Blaine grinned to himself. "You'll tell your friends horror stories of me, until you all will know nothing besides pure, unaltered fear."

    Sprinting across the rock, Blaine watched as it's massive arms rocketed towards him. Bounding off of his right foot, Blaine landed on top of the arm, charging up it's length. Pulling his sword from his back, he flipped over the easily predictable wipe. In his flip, Blaine's blade slashed the arm at it's thinnest zone, the metal slag left over fizzling out of existence.

    Landing firmly on his feet, Blaine continued his sprint up the length of it's arm. Dragging the sword behind him, he had every intention of doing as much damage to the machine as he could, hoping his Spartans would show up and hopefully find his daughters.

    Jumping off of his right foot, Blaine lunged in a downwards strike with his sword. Grunting, he was struck in the midsection by the stumpy arms, the force of which launching him down the plateau. Grunting, he rolled across the ground, before plunging his sword into the stone, slowing himself down to a stop.

    His suit sparked heavily from the strike, and he found he couldn't move his left arm. Glancing down at it, the arm wasn't broken, but the armor itself was malfunctioning. His shields continually flickered, as the suit attempted to recharge them, only to fail.

    "Your left arm systems are malfunctioning." Lily said. "I can't repair it  from here, I'm sorry."

    "Ditch it." Blaine grunted, blood trickling down his nose and the corners of his mouth.

    "If you take another hit like that, you're going to die." Lily shook her head.

    "Then I won't get hit, will I?" Blaine smirked uneasily.

    He heard a hiss as Lily manually removed the Mjolnir armor from Blaine's entire left arm. It left him completely exposed as a result, but it was better to have the functional arm than a stiffened one. His left fist tightened as he slowly stood.

    "How much power is left in the suit?"

    "Not enough for your shield systems." Lily said.

    "Was the battery damaged?"

    "Mildly, but it's still 87% functional." Lily's eyes squinted. "You're not seriously doing what I think you're doing?"

    "Release it."

    "Those children need their father-"

    "Those children need their lives, and they're not going to get it unless I take this thing out. Now."

    With another hiss, he felt the back plating on his suit disengage, exposing the energy core of the suit. The suit would still function as long as there was some juice in the systems, but not for long. To his right, he could see his fellow Spartan II's in the distance. Silently, he focused on his daughter's location to 'ping' them for the others to pick up.

    Glancing down at the makeshift explosive in his right hand, Blaine punched a few codes into it. Sheathing the blade back onto his suit, he shakily stood, nursing his stomach with his left hand. Glancing over to Lorelei, who crouched down to hug their children, his visor met with hers, as he gave her a meek nod.

    Sprinting towards the massive Forerunner construct, Blaine grunted as it grabbed him, bringing it up to it's cockpit. Holding his makeshift explosive out in front of him, he felt a tingling sensation run up the length of his body for a mere moment, as his left hand struck the detonation button on the end of the power cell.

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

    Lorelei, Jorge, and Katherine watched in horror as the Forerunner machine lurched backwards in the intense explosion. It's torso had been blown entirely off, evaporated into the nothing. The mech's legs, however, stumbled backwards, before falling and disintegrating into nothing.

    Jorge had been wise to move himself to prevent Blaine's daughters from seeing the event occur. He himself, however, hung his head in sorrow as his brother passed into nothing. Katherine's fist struck the rock wall beside her, as Lorelei's somber sobs were masked in her helmet, as she clutched her two children.

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

    "I'm dead." Blaine grunted to himself, as he slowly sat up.

    Everything about him ached, as if he had been picked apart and hastily put together again. Reaching up to his face, he gently rubbed the bridge of his nose, in a fruitless effort to reduce the severe headache he was experiencing.

    Glancing down, his armor was in shambles on the flawless metal floor beneath him. Shaking his head, he instinctively reached down for the armor, to test and see if it was real. Surely enough, it was, real as the pain running along his everything. If he was dead, why was he still capable of feeling pain?

    Turning behind him, he found his lone helmet, the only part of his armor that had seemingly been untouched. Looking it over, he pulled the AI chip out to check and see if there was any damage, knowing full well that Lily couldn't communicate to him without power to the helmet.

    "You're finally here." a feminine voice called from behind him.

    "Have we... met before?" Blaine turned back to face the voice, as a robed woman like creature floated in the chasm in front of him.

    "Once, a very- very long time ago." she spoke softly, as if motherly. "I am the Librarian, cultivator of life. I am a Forerunner, but who I am is not vital. It is you, child."

    "How could we have met?" Blaine shook his head, dumbfounded. "I have never seen a Forerunner before."

    "When the Didact and Humanity went to war countless millennium ago, and your specie's extinction was all but assured," she paused, turning to the artificial sun in the distance. "I ensured that your race would continue, and within your race, I placed seeds that would one day lead to an eventuality."

    "Your race had always been known for it's violence, but when you attacked our worlds, you did so with an unseen fervor that caught us surprised." she spoke softly. "It wasn't until we had already bested you in war, that we discovered what it was you were doing. You were not on a path of conquest... you were running."

    "The Parasite hit the Forerunners when we were still recovering from the war between our two species." the Librarian said. "Before we fired the rings, I left a Geas within your species."

    "I cultivated your specie's advanced ancilla," she gestured to the chip in Blaine's hand, as well as the tattered remains of Blaine's armor. "Your combat skin, and even your... brethren."

    "The Spartans?" Blaine shook his head. "You made us?"

    "I sculpted within your species the capability to advance yourself drastically faster than you once had. I had hoped you would be much more advanced upon my reunion with you, but I see that isn't the case." she frowned. "Irrelevant to the point, one such Geas, or 'Destiny' that I placed within your species was that of the Lord of Admirals."

    "The Lord of Admirals was the human responsible for all of Humanity, he was the one that had made the break-neck decision to take on the Parasite, even on our worlds, to ensure Universal peace." the Librarian said. "You possess his fighting spirit. His drive to do what is right for the sake of all, no matter what cost. Come, there is much I wish to discuss with you."

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

    Blaine gasped for air again as the two of them were now in a central room. A massive orange holographic sphere illuminated the room, rings much like Saturn possessed slid endlessly across it's surface, swiveling under and over each other.

    "We are at the Nexus." the Librarian said. "This is where I have bid my time, awaiting the inevitable return of Humanity. You may not have been aware, but I am merely an ancilla of the true Librarian."

    "It's... amazing." Blaine glanced at the sphere, the longer he stared, however, he took notice of what appeared to be a window in time.

    With a grunt, however, he felt an itching in the back of his mind, as blood trickled down his nose. Grasping his forehead, he opened his eyes to find himself standing on Reach. More importantly, he was standing in a field, the sky above him filled with ash, fire, and plasma.

    Around his feet, corpses of Grunts and Elites were practically piled. Stepping forward, Blaine saw a familiar blue and red suit of armor lying in the field, beside it, however, was a Spartan clad is brown and black armor.

    Anch I'Bortee himself stood over the blue and red armored Spartan, not seeming to notice Blaine. With a snort, the Elite cloaked himself and fled, as a trio of ODSTs descended in a Pelican.

    "Yer not dyin' on me yet, kiddo!" he heard a familiar male voice growl through the lead ODSTs helmet.

    "Morgan?" Blaine asked, shaking his head in disbelief.

    Before he could continue the visual, however, he found himself back in the room with the Librarian and the intricate sphere. She floated just to his right, towering over him as she did so.

    "You had a vision, did you not?"

    "Yeah, I think I saw myself, as well as my family on a field. But... that never happened."

    "Maybe not to you." the Librarian shook her head. "Or rather, this version of you."

    "Wait." Blaine's eyes fluttered rapidly as he shook his head again. "This version of me?"

    "The Nexus is a technology that was not created by the Forerunners. Instead, the ones before us, the Precursors, were the creators of this instrument. They were, in a sense, obsessed with the idea of 'what if'. This machine was the tool they used to see and manipulate the Multi-verse." the Librarian spoke, turning to him. "Everything that was, is, and will be exists and is documented within it. That vision you had came from an iteration of your life where the S.C.O.R.E initiative was canceled shortly after your arrival."

    "Why did you show me this?" Blaine asked, shaking his head.

    "Because I sense your inner doubts. Your inhibitions that prevent you from being the driving force your species needs." she spoke. "For every mistake you have made, across countless timelines, all of them have been inconsequential, as the only Multi-verse that failed was the one where you went rogue."

    "Whatever fears you have, are noble as a cause to fight for yours and the lives of those you care for." the Librarian continued. "Continue your fight, your greatest trials are ahead, but I assure you that if you see them through, you will receive that of which you have sought since you were young."

    "There is another that I must speak to." the Librarian said. "Prepare yourself, your next step is to prepare your people for the Didact."

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

    "When's Daddy coming?" Dawn asked, as Lorelei gently pat her on the back, Katherine carrying Dusk.

    "He had to go." Jorge said nervously. "-but Uncle Jorge promises you'll see'm again."

    "He's- He's not... dead is he?" Dusk asked, sobbing.

    Lorelei and Katherine looked at each other for a moment, while Jorge keep his eyes peeled on the landscape ahead of them. Directly ahead, they could make out the Mammoth, which seemed fairly damaged, but in one piece.

    "It fought hard." Katherine, Lorelei, Jorge, and the girl's hearts fluttered at the sound of Blaine's voice. "But I beat 'em up for my girls."

    They turned in time to see Blaine with his helmet tucked firmly under his shoulder. His walking was a bit uneasy, but ultimately he was much better for wear than they had originally thought. As he approached, Dawn and Dusk practically jumped out of their respective guardians' arms and into his. With a chuckle, Blaine sank to his knees, and hugged the both of them.

    Tears ran down his cheeks and onto their hair, as Dawn looked up at him.

    "Why are you crying, Daddy?" Dawn asked. "Are you sad?"

    It was true that he was deeply saddened at the loss of everyone on board the Aura, especially one of his older friends and companions. However, the emotions Blaine had been feeling were the assortment of his entire day and a half bundled into one.

    "I am sad kiddo." Blaine said, as his hug on the both of them tightened slightly. "More importantly, I'm just happy you both are safe."

    "We're going to a new ship." Blaine stood, holding the both of his girls on his arms. "-and Daddy's going to have a kind word with his boss."

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

    Blaine sighed as the Captain's quarter's door closed snugly. Lorelei and their two girls had fallen asleep on the bed. As much as it disgusted Blaine to know that Del Rio had likely slept in that bed once, he was very happy for the service members on the Infinity who did such an excellent job cleaning and changing the bed-spreads.

    "Are they okay?" Sarah Palmer asked from over his shoulder.

    "Sleeping soundly with their mother." Blaine smiled. "Thank you for the concern."

    "For what it's worth, words cannot express my emotions. I... I will fight for all of the men and women lost today." Palmer shrugged for a moment, before nudging him. "Yes, even the eggheads."

    "I appreciate the attempt, Sarah." Blaine placed a hand firmly on her shoulder. "Not a single one of them had to die, where's Del Rio?"

    "On the bridge. I was actually instructed to bring you to him."

    "That's the last mistake he's making today." Blaine muttered.

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

    "Where did you go?!" Del Rio barked as Blaine, and Commander Palmer stepped into the bridge.

    Blaine ignored every word, as he walked towards the holo-table. It was apparent by the look in Del Rio's eyes that this wasn't the first time he was chewed out today. Even Lasky had a look of concern and frustration on his brow, before removing himself from the bridge, in search of what, Blaine didn't really care.

    "Hellooo?" Del Rio snarled, waving at Blaine. "I am talking to you!"

    Without another word, Blaine's fist struck Del Rio in the side of his cheek, just beside his nose. With a sickening crack and a yelp from Del Rio, all personnel on the bridge froze to stare as their Captain fell to the floor.

    "You have some fucking nerve, you walking woman's feminine product!" Blaine growled through clenched teeth, steam practically fuming out of his mouth and nose.

    "How dare you hit a superior officer?!" Del Rio scrambled to his feet, glancing at Palmer for support. "Well?! Arrest him!"

    "He's well within his right, sir." Palmer crossed her arms. "Your negligence cost him the lives of nearly all personnel on board his vessel, not to mention the ship itself, or almost his children."

    "Then I'll summon Crimson to do it. God know's they'll do anything no questions asked..." Del Rio grunted, reaching for the nearby tablet, as Blaine's hand raced out and snatched the older man's wrist.

    "You no longer have authority over the Infinity, asshole." Blaine growled. "For charges of extreme negligence to allied troops, acts of defamation, and let's not forget the supreme misuse of troops during all acts of combat, I, Admiral Blaine Harlowe, am relieving you of active duty."

    "You are unfit to run this ship and command her soldiers, and it was proven when you neglected to send aid to one of your allied ships, while suppressing their Captain during their may-day calls." Blaine squeezed until Del Rio turned red in the face from the pain. "Ms. Palmer, if you'd be so kind as to drag this filth to the bridge?"

    Blaine practically tossed the man over to Sarah Palmer, who stood there, unsure of what exactly she should do. She respected Blaine as her superior officer, but Del Rio did call the shots on board the ship. As she weighed her options, Del Rio turned to Blaine, pointing a single finger at him.

    "You-" Del Rio growled. "You big, lumbering OAF! Don't you see when we get back to UNSC air-space, I'll just tell Lord Hood of your own negligence, bringing your children on board active military vessels?"

    "That bitch you call their mother, and those brats will be separated, and then we'll see who- GUH!"

    Blaine's right hand wrapped firmly around Del Rio's throat, as Blaine pinned him against the metal wall. Blaine pressed his face against Del Rio's, his eyes staring directly into the older man's pupils.

    "What did you call my wife and my children?" Blaine growled darkly, as he felt Sarah attempt to pull him off. "ANSWER ME!"

    Slamming Del Rio's back against the wall, Blaine pressed his face against the vile man's again. Del Rio's eyes frantically scanned Blaine's in genuine fear, any sense of remaining bravado ebbing away into nothingness.

    "I'M TALKING TO YOU, NUMB NUTS!" Blaine roared in the man's face. "OR IS THAT HONKING NOSE BLOCKING YOUR EARS?!"

    With a mighty roar, Blaine tossed the ragdoll of a man to the side. Del Rio stood, planting his feet as Blaine approached. Thrusting his fist into Blaine's stomach, Blaine relished as the man's wrist practically broke on Blaine's abs. Cracking his neck, Blaine snickered.

    Wrapping his mighty paw of a right hand over Del Rio's face, Blaine charged across the room and slammed Del Rio into the far wall. Blood trickled down Del Rio's nose and out of his mouth, as Blaine released a flurry of relatively light, yet extremely devastating to a normal human, blows into Del Rio's body and face.

    Blood splashed out of Del Rio's mouth and nose as every strike was like a miniature freight train. Sarah Palmer and a handful of Spartan IVs rushed across the room to try and stop Blaine. Grabbing one by the helmet, Blaine pushed him away to continue his frenzy. With one solid punch to Del Rio's torso, the old man fell to the floor, battered and beaten.

    "Lasky tells me you fear me? Good." Blaine sneered as he lifted the man by his hair, steadying him on the wall. "'Cause if you say anything about my family in a way I don't like? I'll kill ya where you stand."

    To drive his point home, Blaine launched a mighty punch into Del Rio's left kidney. The strike itself was enough to cause a geyser of blood and bile to pool out of his mouth. Del Rio, through swollen eyes, glanced up at Blaine, and what little of Blaine he could see terrified him to the core.

    "I have fought on several theaters of war, same as the Master Chief. Countless of my Spartans have given everything they've got to make sure weasels like you get to live another day." Blaine pulled him up to face level. "So how dare you try and tell John he should be glad he gets to fight another day?"

    "Go back to being a politician, pal." Blaine tossed the crumpled heap of a man to Palmer's feet. "Because if you stay in my military any longer than this trip back to Earth? I'll have you swab this entire ship from head to toe with the shirt on your fucking back, twice."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1180
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 22

    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on May 9th 2017, 2:14 pm

    "Admiral Blaine. Spartan One-Fifteen." Serin Osman's gruff voice echoed  throughout the room.

    Though Blaine had tried to stage his mutiny in time to keep the Infinity around to assist the Chief hunt the Didact, he had been too late. The course back to Earth had been set, and without the Aura joining them, the trip had been that much quicker.

    Much to Blaine's relief, Lord Hood had personally promoted Thomas Lasky to the rank of Captain, and granted him the honor of commanding the Infinity. As for Del Rio, despite the condition he was brought to Cairo station in, his actions against the Aura and her crew brought him a dishonorable discharge from the military. Blaine had been severely agitated, however, as Del Rio's political buddies managed to weasel him out of the punishment he was due for Blaine's crew's death.

    "Killing him won't bring them back, son." Lord Hood had said, shaking his head in sorrow. "For what it's worth, you have my sincerest condolences, each and every one of those men and women were good soldiers, and even greater people."

    Now, however, Blaine stood before a counsel of ONI's highest ranking associates. Cuffs had been formally wrapped around his wrists, though he knew with certainty that he could have broken them with relative ease. Serin Osman, who now took Parangosky's position as director of ONI, was one such ONI personnel to sit before him, as well as Daniel Kruger.

    "You are here today, charged with the attempted manslaughter of former Captain Andrew Del Rio." Serin continued to speak, anger seeping through her teeth. "What say you in your defense?"

    "What do I say?" Blaine snickered to himself through gritted teeth. "I say that the man was a waste of oxygen, and frankly, he should have died during the Great War!"

    "His actions cost the lives of several hundred of my men, and the UNSC Destroyer I was charged with protecting." Blaine's entire form shook with unyielding anger. "Aside from my daughters, and the woman that is their mother, everyone on that ship was like a member of my family."

    "Del Rio's choice to neglect the crew's distress signal led to the death, of countless members of my family." Blaine shook his head. "-yet his friends in the Government-"

    "That is enough." Serin's voice cut through the darkness. "We are not here to discuss the actions of Del Rio. We are here to discuss YOUR behavior, as a result of his actions."

    There was silence in the room, as the singular light acting as a spotlight for Blaine flickered above him. His head was cast down to the floor, tears streaming from his cheeks and splashing against the floor like drops of rain.

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

    "Why are we here?" Serin asked, as Blaine, Jorge, Katherine, Lorelei, and Butch took shelter beneath the trees.

    A harsh downpour left the air smelling earthy and alive. The forest they were currently occupying had been a part of Mendez' latest training exercises. The trainees had only been in their training for a few months, and already a small handful of the children had died during these training operations.

    "We're here because we'll be the saviors of Humanity." Jorge scoffed, turning to Blaine. "Right?"

    "Yeah." Blaine frowned, his mind currently occupied on Lucy and his friends at the Orphanage. Did they miss him? Did they even know he was gone?

    "So to be heroes, we had to be stolen from our homes?" Serin growled. "Treated like animals?!"

    "If there is one thing I remember from my parents, before I ran away," Jorge growled. "Is that they always said that people will go to inhuman lengths to fight for what they think is right, or to preserve the things they think are right, but turn out to be wrong."

    There was silence among the group of children. Blaine was still adjusting to being around so many people that could actually tolerate him. Despite the anxiety their company had given him at the beginning, he felt relieved to finally have people that cared about him.

    Tears began to stream down his face, as he stood, the canopy of leaves above him protecting him from the majority of the rain-drops.

    "Just because Mendez and the rest of our supervisors treat us like we're animals," he clenched his fists, staring at his right fist as he did so. "Doesn't mean we are animals. My Orphanage taught me this."

    "I was treated like a no-body there, like I was just someone's punching bag." Blaine continued. "Until I finally stood up and said No."

    "The last thing I remember my dad telling me, before I ran away from that Orphanage, was that I shouldn't be afraid of people like Charlie." Blaine growled, his body shivering in a mixture of his emotions and the cold of the rain.

    "Mendez can treat us however he wants, but at the end of the day, we choose who we are. They took our names, and gave us numbers. So let's make those numbers mean something, something that WE choose."

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

    "I recall telling you once that I wasn't a dog in the military." Blaine's eyes glanced up to Serin. "I chose to be who I am. I take my orders from those that will respect me, and disobey those that would disrespect me or the people I care about."

    "Spartan One-Fifteen is the name on several thousand people's lips ever since they left Planet Reach." Blaine continued. "Even though I disobeyed orders to do so."

    "I am a beacon of Hope to humanity, and my actions against Del Rio were the result of him refusing to respect me or my people." Blaine growled. "Everything about my life, I have sacrificed it for the betterment of Humanity. I gave my *name* to fight for these people, just for people like Del Rio to throw it in the trash."

    "You will notice that I left Del Rio alive, because I wanted him and the rest of the UNSC to know that I have killed people for FAR less in the past." Blaine took a step forward. "I am Spartan One-One-Five, Blaine Harlowe. My fight is for Humanity, for the kids who can't fight for themselves, for the men and women that want to live their lives, and for the elderly that pass their sage knowledge to the next generation."

    "If you would have me killed, or demoted for my actions against Del Rio, then you are punishing a hero whose only goal in life is everlasting peace for all." Blaine stood firm, his eyes still red and puffy.

    "Director Osman, I told you once that we all choose who we are." Blaine glared at her. "Your decision for how I should be dealt with will forever decide, to me, who you are. We are Spartans, both of us. You decide what that means to you."

    With no further words, Blaine stood there, his eyes never leaving Osman's. Though she and the others were drenched in shadows, his enhanced sight allowed him to see the basic forms of them from his location. The other members of the panel shifted in their chairs, uncertain of how to react, as Daniel turned his attention to her.

    Osman herself was known for being like a much younger Parangosky, which showed considering she had been Margaret's successor and student. In this moment, however, her once stiff face softened, as she stared at the same determined blue eyes of Blaine. He, unlike many of their fellow Spartan II brethren, had accepted his role. However, he was not blind about his acceptance, he knew very well what being a Spartan was about, and for that, she couldn't help but feel humbled.

    "You're very bold, considering this panel would decide whether execution would be necessary for your behavior." Serin spoke firmly.

    "With all respect, Director," Blaine snickered. "I've been facing death since I was five years old, but you already knew that."

    "Which is precisely why I won't have you die to your own people." Osman smiled briskly. "You've given too much to Humanity for me to just wantonly send you to death by the hands of the very people you've sacrificed everything to protect."

    Daniel smirked proudly, as he turned his attention back to Blaine. A pair of ODSTs, serving as the guards in the counsel approached him. Producing the necessary key, the unlocked his restraints, as Blaine gently nursed his wrists.

    "I chose to become the head of ONI, to see to it that the atrocities that people like Doctor Halsey committed will never be repeated again." she spoke sternly. "With someone as open minded as you serving as a beacon to the UNSC and her colonies, my job will be that much easier."

    "This is not me giving you the go-ahead to actively assault your superiors, but consider this a formal thank you, for that lesson you taught me." Serin nodded. "And my way of paying my respects to your fallen troops."

    "You will have no penalty on your rank or status as a result of this incident, and you will forever be universally recognized as an Admiral in the UNSC Navy." Serin stood, with a crisp salute. "Now get the hell out of my face before I change my mind, Spartan."

    Blaine grinned from ear to ear, standing straight as he snapped firmly into a salute. "Gladly, ma'am."

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

    July 27th, 2557. Undisclosed Location, Planet Earth.

    The rolling hills of green were a welcomed sight to Blaine, even if his reasons for being present were less than wanted. The sky, despite the mood of the crowd, was bright and hopeful. He, along with Lorelei, Jorge and Katherine, stood at the head of the rectangular hole in the Earth.

    The four Spartans dressed in their best formal uniforms, while the series of mourners wore the traditional black. It was the third funeral they had attended in the day, but Blaine and the others had made it a point to attend each and every one. Naomi and David, by Blaine's request, were asked to watch over Dusk and Dawn.

    A beautifully ornate casket rested gently in the hole, covered by the beautiful UNSC flag. This time, however, Blaine was not in charge of the Marines giving the 21 gun salute. He was one of the mourners, as were the crowd of people gazing at the casket from the left of the hole.

    As each shot rang out, he painfully remembered the day that Orange Team had met Autumn. She had been an unexpected detour in the mission, someone he had openly left the combat zone to retrieve. The scars on his back from where the needler rounds had struck him during their exit burned as each of the 21 blanks echoed throughout the hills.

    Glancing at the mourners, he took note of one little girl. Though he and Autumn had little time to talk, she had spoken briefly of her elder sister who had left their family on Harvest to pursue a career in the medical field. After she and Blaine had been removed from active S.C.O.R.E related duties, Autumn had searched out her older sister, and discovered that she had a niece.

    The priest's sermon continued to echo over the hills for some time, though he himself had finished talking well before. In that moment, Blaine felt the most human he had since his augmentations. His memories flickered from when he had, embarrassingly, grabbed her rear while trying to rescue her, to the day she was embracing his daughters after their birth, and finally the day she embraced them, before she died.

    Whether she knew it or not, he always viewed her as a sister of sorts. She was, for the most part, the anchor left to his humanity. It wasn't until the dirt started to hit the casket that the reality of the situation settled in, in the form of a young voice crying out.

    "Mommy? Why are they putting all that dirt on Auntie?"

    "They're... burying her, dear." the mother said somberly.

    "B-but if they bury Auntie, how will she be able to play with me when she retires from her work next year?"

    "Sweetheart-" the mother sobbed, gently raising her daughter.

    "What are you doing?!" the girl cried out to Blaine as he and the other three Spartans gently filled the hole with dirt. "Auntie has a lot of work to do before we can play with each other!"

    Every shovel full of dirt was unbearably heavy, as the members of Orange Team continued to slowly fill the hole. Blaine's eyes refused to glance at the girl as she cried out in refusal to accept the reality of the situation. He could only imagine what would happen if Lorelei or himself had died, how Dusk or Dawn would take it.

    "Stop it!" she cried, reaching out for Blaine. "Stop putting dirt on her! AUNTIE!"

    "Hush now sweetie." Blaine heard the mother say, holding her daughter tightly. "Let auntie rest."

    Blaine and the others stepped back as the hole had been properly filled. Blaine held his shovel downwards with his left hand, before snapping to attention. He wasn't just saluting Autumn, one of his closest friends in his darkest times, he was saluting her sister and niece.

    His eyes met with the mother of the young girl, as she stared back at him with somber acceptance. The little girl's teary eyes were what ultimately destroyed him. Tipping his officer's hat down, he tilted his head back, maintaining the salute, but trying his damned to hide the tears from them both.

    "It's a terrible day for rain." Blaine said quietly, as Lorelei turned to him.

    "It's not rain-" she stopped herself, as she saw the tears rolling down his cheeks, and stuck in the firmest of salutes she had ever seen him do.

    Lowering her head solemnly, she followed his lead and snapped to a salute, facing the casket and the mourners. Jorge and Katherine, shortly after their noticing the others, joined in. This was only the third funeral they had attended, and there were still so many more to do.


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on May 9th 2017, 5:00 pm

    August 1st, 2557. UNSC Infinity, Armory

    "If I might... have a moment of your time?" Doctor Bailey asked somberly, Spartan John and Nicole behind her. "There were some matters I wished to discuss with you."

    "I see no reason why not." Blaine sighed, glancing into his personal locker.

    Assorted pictures he had taken with his ODSTs back in the day, as well as several images he had taken with the crew of the Aura were displayed lovingly along the metallic walls lining the locker. His eyes paused on one particular image, where Autumn, her sister, her niece, Blaine, Lorelei, and their kids were beaming brightly.

    "They wouldn't want me constantly mourning them all." Blaine gently closed the locker, turning to her.

    He himself hadn't seen active duty since the first Battle of Requiem. He had requested the past couple of months of leave, for not only himself, but for the members of Orange team, as well as Wyvern, and what remained of the Spartan IVs he had trained. They were only sixteen, and they had been taken so quickly.

    He followed Doctor Bailey and her Spartan III escorts through the winding halls of the Infinity. Every now and again, he could catch John and even his newest comrade Nicole sneaking the occasional somber glance at him. Very few executive, even senior officers lost as many troops in one sitting as Blaine had, even fewer lived to tell the tale.

    "Are- are your kids alright?" Nicole spoke up softly, much to the surprise of all involved.

    "Dawn and Dusk are safe." Blaine smiled for a second. "Just as lively as they always are."

    There was another air of silence among the three of them, as Doctor Bailey led them into her personal office on board the ship. Even though she had well established a base for her and her Freelancers, they were occasionally known to utilize the Infinity in their travels.

    The room was initially dark, until Bailey entered the room. The lights automatically turned on to reveal a sleek suit of Mjolnir armor in a glass case. Jorge stood against the wall, arms crossed. Katherine and Lorelei stood by his side, Dawn and Dusk in each of their arms.

    "I don't know if you realized, but I was present when ONI addressed you about your conduct with Andrew Del Rio." Bailey turned to him. "What you said then resonated well with me, although, I couldn't help but feel confused about what meeting you had with Serin before."

    Bailey turned to his Spartan IIs along the wall, smiling warmly as she glanced at each of them.

    "At the young age of six, despite everything the Spartan program did to you, you discovered your own individuality, and dedicated yourself to the betterment of the all, for the sake of all."

    "I also didn't tell you of something I found on the remnants of Reach, a couple of years ago." Bailey turned to the suit of armor. "The others told me that it was well known that Doctor Halsey favored the Master Chief over most of you."

    "However, the schematic to this suit of Mjolnir armor was entitled; Project 115." Bailey said. "As an expert armor smith, I took on the challenge of building what was once a experimental prototype, and perfected her design."

    "It was literally built for you, Blaine." she turned back to him. "I call it ALALA, after the Greek personification of the War-Cry. When you are on the field, your actions are heard all throughout the stars and beyond."

    The armor itself still maintained Blaine's signature deep dark blueberry coloration, with the actual fabric loincloth on the legs and hip in a varied checkerboard pattern of blue and brick red. Blaine stepped forward to inspect and further appreciate the old Knight styled armor.

    Beside the armor in the case, was the plasma longsword that Anch had delivered to him. He had initially thought he lost it after his fight with that Forerunner mech, but it was there and fully intact.

    "Jorge found the sword after your disappearance." Lorelei said. "I still won't begin to understand how you survived a nuclear explosion at point blank range, but I won't dwell on it either."

    Blaine watched as the case opened, and the machine arms began to move. Before they did, however, the armor digitized into a flat disk, about as wide in circumference as Blaine was. It clattered to the ground. Blaine gave it a confused look, before John gave him a nudge on the back.

    "You're supposed to stand on it." he snickered. "Go on, big guy."

    Blaine took a hesitant step onto the disk, turning around. He waited for the disk to do something, as the group stared at him with bated breath. Doctor Bailey, on the other hand, snickered loudly.

    "You've got to say; Alala systems online." she said. "I programmed it to only work if the person saying it is on the disk, and after you've said it, the suit will only respond to your voice."

    "Alala systems, online." Blaine spoke, straightening his back, and holding his arms out as he had always been used to when assembling his armor.

    Surely, the armor began to digitize around Blaine's legs, solidifying into a solid set of armor. It continued to form it's way up his body, much faster than a normal suit could be put on, but not so fast that it was instantaneous. Finally, from the chest armor of the suit, his helmet began to build up the contours of his face. When the suit had finished assembling, the suit's HUD activated.

    "ALALA systems green. Hello Blaine Harlowe." Lily's voice echoed in his helmet.

    "Lily?" Blaine asked, as there was silence for a moment, his heart skipped a beat. He hadn't been able to check with her since they had returned from Requiem, as yesterday had been the last of the Funerals he had attended since their return.

    "I'm only kidding you." Lily smiled, her avatar appearing on his HUD. "I haven't gone rampant and replaced yet."

    "This is a nice suit you've got here, try not to break this one?"

    "I'll try not to scratch the paint." Blaine smiled.

    "In comparison to most other Gen 2 models of Mjolnir, this suit has hyper sensitivity to your thoughts and emotions. If you thought suits were responsive in the past, this suit will give you response times that are borderline impossible." Doctor Bailey grinned proudly. "The suit also has a set of hyper experimental servos installed that, when activated, will temporarily enhance your suit's enhancements to you."

    "In other words, when the servos are initiated, instead of the suit increasing your weight lifting capacity by double, it quadruples your lifting power. Just be aware that this will drain your shield recharging systems, so you won't be able to recharge your shields if you activate these servos." she said.

    "How do I activate it?" Blaine asked, as Bailey politely shook her head.

    "I can't tell you, because I'm afraid if you use it too soon, you'll get addicted to the enhancements it creates." she said. "After you've utilized the systems for some time, you can ask Lorelei. I've told her what command to use."

    "For now, I know the girls' birthdays are coming up on the ninth." Bailey smiled. "Hang up the armor for now so I can tweak it a little bit, and enjoy these next few days with your girls."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on July 7th 2017, 3:17 am

    [Months Later]

    "Ah, Admiral. Just the person I was looking for." the younger ONI operative nodded his shiny, balding head. "Commander Jameson Locke, ONI field agent. Fireteam Osiris."

    In the months since his suit's latest upgrades, Blaine had resorted himself to lighter fared work, considering the Covenant, for the most part, were still present. The Infinity had every intention of contesting and disabling Requiem, but Blaine, the losses he and his entourage had suffered, couldn't bring himself to do it.

    Wyvern and the remainder of his Spartan IVs, contractually obligated to serve on board the Infinity as a result of their augments, had been serving the second Requiem Campaign for some time. For him and the rest of Orange Team, however, they had established a UNSC outpost on some of the farther reaches of the Outer Colonies, in a full scale attempt to recolonize the deep space.

    With the Great War a distant memory, and the looming threat of the Forerunners return on the horizon, the UNSC wanted to establish militia and colonies to settle in the case of a catastrophic event that would immobilize or destroy Earth. Spear-headed the code-named Exodus program, Blaine would be the relay between the Inner Colonies and the establishing bases in the Outer Colonies for all things UNSC related.

    "Yes, Commander?" Blaine glanced up from the holo-tablet currently in his hand, as he glanced out towards the surface of Theia, the latest planetoid for their efforts.

    "I had a surface report from the ground teams in the regards of surveillance, sir." Jameson snapped into a crisp salute, as the handful of Spartan IV members of his team stood attentive.

    Sighing, he ran a hand through his slightly longer than standard hair, before placing the tablet down on the desk in front of him. As much as he was feeling restless for wanting to be on the ground clearing the way from hostile life, his annoyance really came from the constant reminders the surface kept him with. When the last time Worker A used the pot, or how many cigarette breaks Worker B used in a five hour span. "I have no interest in learning about the daily affairs of the workers, unless someone was seriously injured."

    "That's precisely what this report is about, sir." Locke grunted, nodded his head towards Lily's avatar.

    Sighing with about as much annoyance as Blaine, she removed her digital hat and held it up, preparing to receive any data he tossed at her, like a baseball glove. With a flick from his left hand over the hologram on his right arm, Locke transferred the data to Lily, who projected it to fill the room.

    "Orbital scans on the far end of the planet have shown unusual seismic activity on a scale very reminiscent of a Covenant outpost's creation." Locke reported, as the small orange ring surged outwards in a radar like fashion, towards the Planet's south-eastern hemisphere. "However, upon our initial search, even with anti-cloaking measures, our searches were inconclusive."

    "So it's a covert Covenant deployment that is so covert it doesn't exist." Blaine rubbed his chin with a peaked interest. "Any cave systems nearby that a Phantom could tuck away in?"

    "We're way ahead of you, sir." Locke nodded sharply, before flicking another data stream to Lily, who projected a still image of a rather large cave mouth. "We located this, even in the blackness of night. Without proper reinforcements, however, Osiris retreated. We believe, as I'm sure you've deduced, that the Covenant are setting shop inside."

    "I see. I have limited forces at my disposal. With these time crunches, the majority of our forces are still back on Talon VIII. What little forces I have left here on Theia are used for the protection of the construction employees." Blaine grit his teeth as he rubbed the back of his neck, a single bead of sweat rolling down his forehead and down his cheek. "Clever bastards know this station is capable of orbital bombardment, and must've passed through when the latest meteor shower arrived."

    "What are your orders, sir?" Locke said. "I will not order my men in that cave without backup."

    "Spartans don't usually get reinforcements, Commander Locke." Blaine glanced up at him with disapproval. "I spent most of the Great War with only Lily as my company. I managed to accomplish far greater feats than destroying a fledgling Covenant base. You have four very competent Spartans among you, Commander. If it will ease your mind, I'll spare a few combat Mantis units and the Marines that pilot them. Will three ONI Mantis' be sufficient?"

    "More than enough, sir." Locke nodded.

    "Keep me posted, I'll do what I can in the way of further reinforcements on the off chance things get dicey down there." Blaine clicked his tongue against the inside of his cheeks, as his eyes fluttered across the desk in front of him. "The most important thing is that you make sure you don't over step. If you think the situation is unwinnable, you get your men out of there. Don't try to be a hero unless you know your life will mean something."

    "Yes sir." Locke nodded with a salute, as the other Spartans in Osiris snapped to attention.

    "God speed, Spartans." Blaine stood and granted them a stiff salute. "Happy hunting."

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

    "Oh, so now you want my help? Just a moment ago, you were content with screaming in my face like a madwoman."

    Blaine's eyes flickered at the young teenager in the dumpster. A rotten banana peel rested on her blouse, as she stared up at him with fearful green eyes. Tears fought desperately to release from the wells at the corner of her eyes, and her face was covered with the dust and soot that was to be expected of destroyed buildings.


    "I thought you were an alien." the girl replied shyly, gently brushing the banana peel off with her hand.

    "Ouch."

    While in no physical pain, he remembered the time where his helmet was his only public outlook. Where he was unrecognizable to anyone except his fellow Spartans, CPO Mendez, or Doctor Halsey. Back when his life was defined solely by the three numbers he'd associated with his life for several decades now.

    The alleyway he was standing in slowly molded away, shifting twenty something years ahead. That young girl in the dumpster had grown into a beautiful young woman, and the concerned look in her eyes killed him, especially now.

    "You need to stop delaying." Blaine scolded her, as she was notorious for failing to thaw him from cryo on time.

    "I'm sorry. I just want you to take a moment to catch a breather. At the end of the day, you're only Human."

    Blaine's right hand moved it's way to the woman's shoulder, as she faded like dust, and the ever expansive abyss that was space and the surface of Magnolia shifted once more to the Engine Room aboard the Aura of Armaggedon. Once again the woman, though showing signs of her age, smiled at him warmly. Her predicament, however, was no reason to smile.

    Her left hand was pressed firmly to her midsection, blood stains littering her uniform, the undershirt, various patches of her skin, and even on her face. Dawn and Dusk sat on either side of her, glancing with concern at her, as she had done for him so many times in the past.

    "I'm sorry I lost your ship."

    "Don't talk like that." he said, glancing over her weakened, wounded form.

    This time, instead of him reaching out to comfort her, she reached up to him and gently brought him in for a hug with her last remaining free hand. He could feel her body shifting in between sobs, as tears ran down her cheeks. Dawn and Dusk were beside him, their tiny arms wrapping around wherever they could, joining her in the hug.

    "You've saved my life more times than I can count." she whispered into his ear. "Now I can only hope to return the favor and ensure you and your daughters get out of here."

    "The years I knew you were the best of my life. With you at the forefront of our race, I have high hopes for Humanity's future." she spoke softly, before fading into a cloud of colors.

    The colors swirled and manifested themselves together to form the life-sized avatar of Lily, who stared in an unamused, concerned fashion, into his eyes.

    "You day dreaming, Blaine?" she asked, as his eyes shyly scanned over his desk.

    He corrected his once slouched posture into the chair correctly, as he quickly ran his fingers through his hair. Lily had her fists resting on her hips, as she gave him a stern stare.

    "You were mourning them again, weren't you?"

    "It's something that doesn't leave you, Lily." Blaine frowned with a shaky sigh. "I knew Autumn since I was fourteen years old. She was the only girl my age that wasn't a Spartan that I had befriended since becoming a Spartan."

    "I stuck my neck out for her on more occasions that I thought were humanly possible. She was the anchor to my dwindling Humanity, the reality check that constantly reminded me that no matter what insane lengths I go to as a Spartan, at the end of the day, I'm Human." Blaine shook his head. "I assume you have something to say to me?"

    "Yes, the workers down on the surface are reporting more seismic activity welling up closer to the work zone. If it's Covenant, they're gonna be attacked from below." Lily reported, turning to what appeared to be a floating clipboard, which she accepted into her avatar's hands. "Fireteam Osiris and the Mantis have lost contact officially, however, based off of their latest attempts at a transmission, they are unharmed. Planetary crust is likely causing interference."

    "For my credits?" Blaine scoffed at the notion. "I can contact Lord Hood from half the Galaxy away practically in real time. No, I'm sooner thinking that it's a jamming signal. Either way, I've done enough sitting around. Bailey hand crafted that fine suit, and I'd sure hate to see such craftsmanship go to waste without a proper field test."


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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on July 12th 2017, 7:16 pm

    "Come out here, you damn menace." the man growled in anger, tauntingly slamming a wrench in his hands for good measure. "You stow away on a UNSC ship, and steal my lunch? You've got some nerve."

    "So what if I did? You're a working man, you can buy another." the young voice echoed throughout the long since finished alleyway.

    "May I remind you that you wouldn't be starving if you hadn't stowed on a ship destined to be out in space for what could be years?" he snarled impatiently. "At least work your keep while you're here, instead of stealing from us honest folk."

    "There's nothing honest about you, any of you."

    A shadow danced along the wall as the sun began to break over the horizon. The figure was plastered larger than life on the far wall, indicating the thief's location perfectly. Picking up his pace, the man jogged around the corner, only to grunt in pain when a sharp light flashed in his eyes. Gritting his teeth, he felt expert hands run along him, as his credit chit and other valuables were plucked from his person.

    "You ride on the glory of the men and women that died during the Great War. You call yourselves heroes, but I know heroism." the young voice replied from behind him. "The Master Chief, the Spartans he belonged with? Those are true heroes."

    "You can tell that to Admiral Blaine when I bring your ass in for disturbing the peace and theft." he grit through clenched teeth, nursing his eyes. "You might be a bit broken when he gets you."

    "You'll have to catch me first, beer gut!"

    A load, angered roar echoed throughout the alleyway as the young thief pocketed their loot. Sprinting down the alleyway, their left exit, the direction they had came, was flooded by a crowd of angry workers. Glancing straight ahead, their legs motioned for them to sprint forward, as a pair of meaty hands landed firmly on their shoulders.

    "Eep!" the thief squeaked, the angered, partially blinded worker's hands forcing down on their shoulders.

    Like a trapped animal, the young thief's elbow rammed into the man's diaphragm, knocking the wind straight out of him. The worker doubled over, his companions rushing to his aid. The thief exited the alley and made their way down the street. Before they could barely get more than five feet, however, there was a crack in the air above them. Glancing up, they barely had a moment to recognize the suit of armor descending on top of them.

    Like a deer stuck in the headlights, the youth glanced up at the Spartan's suit of armor in a mixture of awe and fear. They had been had, and their attempts at living freely and discretely over. The ground several feet in front of them quaked upon the impact of the Spartan, whose fist drove into the pavement a foot or so. Dust settled around his knightly armor, as the cloth standard on his hip swayed in the gentle morning breeze.

    "Landings still need work." he grunted, standing, as his visor met with the youth's eyes.

    Before he could utter a word in protest, however, the thief was gone. They knew they had no chance of outrunning a Spartan, no less the one that had currently landed in front of them. Around the corner into an adjacent alleyway, past the varied amounts of dumpsters, which were still filled with any disposable materials that were none recyclable. While it wasn't their most fun plan, the thief turned to the closest one in their path and hurriedly opened the lid, jumping in.

    "That little brat stowed away on our ship, and has been stealing our food supplies!" the youth couldn't help but overhear the angered worker they had assaulted.

    "While I don't condone their actions against you, I see you are wielding a wrench as a weapon. You wouldn't seriously hit a teenager,
    would you?
    "

    Cowering at the authority of the Spartan's voice, the youth sunk down further into the grime and muck of the dumpster, feeling things shifting around them. A lone banana peel splat against their forehead, sticking nastily to the locks of their hair.

    "Sir, the little shit attacked me."

    "Listen, if a teenager is giving you this much trouble, than a Covenant attack is worst case scenario." the Spartan replied. "Speaking of which, nothing is set in stone, but I need you all to retreat back to the ship for protection. Construction of the city is to be halted until I give the all-clear."

    The sound of the crowd of workers dispersed, much to the thief's relief. They opened the lid just enough to peek to see if the coast was clear. During the Great War, even when they were only a child, they had learned to run and avoid the Covenant. So whatever contingent showed up, if any, they could avoid.

    As the lid opened just a crack, the thief's breath stuck in their throat at the sight of the blue and red armored Spartan meandering down the alley. His visor scanned throughout, and the thief wasn't entirely sure they had been had or not. That is, until the lid opened, and they were face to visor with the Spartan.

    "Why is it always a dumpster?" the Spartan sighed to himself. "No use in running, kiddo."

    "You- You're Blaine Harlowe, Spartan One-One-Five." the youth mused.

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

    "You could tell that easily, eh?" Blaine smirked beneath his visor. "Guess I never really thought of my reputation proceeding me."

    The youth in the dumpster in front of him was filthy, although regrettably, not much worse than he had seen them moments before. The worker he had talked to had had watery eyes, as if his eyes were highly irritated, and he clutched his stomach as if he had been hit with a sledgehammer.

    However, the youth in front of Blaine had no physique to cause such damage, so either the worker was embellishing his story, or this kid was less than ordinary. Dirty blonde hair was concealed within the woven, ornately patterned wool cap on the individual's head. A pair of piercing emerald eyes stared back at him.

    "It's not fitting of a young lady such as yourself to steal from people, only to hide in a dumpster." Blaine offered a hand to the young woman, who was no older than her late teens.

    The look of shock on her face was all Blaine needed to verify his suspicions, as her emerald eyes widened in shock. Depolarizing his helmet, Blaine's eyes met with hers, as he offered a knowing wink. She hesitantly looked at his hand, before accepting it and, with Blaine's help, pulled herself out of the muck.

    "How did you know?" she asked, dusting what she could off of her ragged clothes.

    "I have two daughters, one of which has green eyes almost similar to yours." Blaine chuckled. "Besides, it was my turn to guess something about you."

    "So you're not mad?" she asked, staring up at the towering Spartan.

    "Why would I be mad?" he shook his head. "I wasn't the one you assaulted and stole from. I'm not entirely convinced why you felt the need to stow away on a UNSC vessel just to live in the Outer Colonies."

    "There are... people in the Inner Colonies I'd sooner avoid than stay with." she rubbed her arm. "I wanted to talk with you, get enlisted."

    "You'd rather serve the UNSC than deal with whatever troubles you have back home?" Blaine frowned.

    His entire life had been in service to the UNSC, and while in his youth a day had never passed by where he had wondered what normal civilian life was like, now he could only think of it in passing. The idea of joining the UNSC by choice, not by force like he had, was an idea still somewhat foreign to him. Yet people did it every day.

    "I don't think you're qualified." Blaine said, albeit a bit bluntly. "The UNSC requires a very particular mindset, one that I think you may possess, but would waste on the front lines."

    "My mother was in the UNSC. She enlisted when she was my age, I'm certain of it."

    "Is that so?" Blaine said. "Who is she? Perhaps I can get you transferred to her station so she can-"

    "She left." the youth frowned, crossing her arms nervously across her torso. "When I was six. Left me with that horrible excuse for a father."

    Shaking her head, the youth began to walk away. Tears began to well up in the corner of her eyes, as she grit her teeth to anticipate the sobs that were likely to erupt out.

    "You wouldn't know about that though." she sobbed once, doubling over. "You're parent-"

    "Dead, both of them." Blaine stepped forward, as the youth's watery eyes turned towards him. "My mother died shortly after I was born, and my father died in the line of duty a few years back. Even so, I hardly knew either of them."

    "I'm sorry."

    Placing a hand on her shoulder, Blaine knelt to her level. His depolarized visor stared into the youth's face, as he gave her concerned eyes.

    "I won't hold anything against you, despite your assault on one of my workers, or the theft... or the stowing away." Blaine said. "I'll help you find your mother."

    The ground beneath them quaked, as Blaine's attention returned to the whole reason he went planet-side in the first place. What little time he had to prepare was now gone. The street he had entered from fractured outwards, as a giant beam of pulsating green plasma energy shot up. Debris rocketed towards the sky, as the ground beneath them buckled in lieu of the new insect like machine that sprouted out of the ground.

    "A Scarab?!" Lily shook her avatar's head in disbelief. "How'd they manage to get their hands on one of these?"

    "We'll finish this later." Blaine stood, plucking the DMR off of his back.

    As he sprinted towards the Scarab, however, a much more immediate threat emerged from the hole. A trio of Brutes, two majors and a Chieftain, roared as they exited the hole. Spikers raised, the three opened fire on the two Humans directly in front of them. Blaine's right glove glowed blue for a second, as he thrust it outwards, producing a hard-light shield big enough for both him and the youth behind him.

    With his left hand, Blaine took pot shots at the Brutes, three shots were enough to disarm each of the ape-like beasts. They shook their hands in anger, glaring up at him with fangs bared. An howling war-cry was emitted from one of the Majors, to which the Chieftain lashed out a fist and struck in the jaw.

    "Siege him. I'll feast upon the pup."

    Blaine turned to the youth behind him, and with merely a nod of his head, she ran in the direction they had come from. Above them, the Scarab mining vessel began to stomp off in the opposite direction, it's front laser canon slicing through the completed or semi-completed buildings of the city.

    The Chieftain roared, it's massive, lengthy fangs dripping drool as it beat it's chest. Sprinting in Blaine's direction, the Spartan's hand shot out, grasping the beast by the tuft of fur on it's chin, before spinning around and tossing him back at the others.

    "I challenge you three to one on one combat." Blaine rolled his neck. "If you beat me, the girl is all yours."

    "If you don't however, you won't have to worry about being a Chieftain to your tribe anymore."

    The Brutes growled at the challenge, turning to their Chieftain. With a snort, the Chieftain shed the Gravity Hammer from it's back, and dropped it to the floor. While Jiralhanae weren't prideful like the Elites, Blaine knew they couldn't stand a challenge to their dominance. The Chieftain turned to one of his Majors, and with a huff, snort, and few Jiralhanae words that even Lily couldn't translate, the shorter of the two stepped forward.

    "The runt?" Blaine snickered. "Child's play."

    Lowering himself into a ready stance, Blaine waved his left hand at the Major. It's eyes flickered with red as it enraged, reverting to it's much more primal nature, the berserking Brute sprinted towards him on all fours. Leaning backwards to avoid it's highly predictable swipe at his face, Blaine watched as the claws just narrowly avoided his visor.

    With his foe now overextended, Blaine swung a mighty left hook into it's face. The sheer force of the blow was enough to break the Major's bottom right fang, snapping it's head back with tremendous inertia. The beast stumbled backwards, nursing it's bleeding lip, as it's primal eyes narrowed at him.

    Before it could fully recover, however, Blaine was on top of him with a full body right haymaker to the jaw. Twisting his body for the follow up, Blaine swung a mighty left cross. The other fang on the bottom half of the creature's mouth snapped off, clattering to the pavement. Blaine's left and right volleys continued, one right after another, each getting progressively harder and harder.

    The dull thuds of his gloves meeting the toughened hide of the Jiralhanae's face echoed throughout the street. The sounds were oddly reminiscent to a bowl of semi-soggy crackers being crunched into soup. On Blaine's final right swing, he dipped it low and brought it up to a full body uppercut. The force of the strike was more than enough to snap the Major's newly disfigured face backwards, snapping his neck, as the last of his upper two fangs splurt out of his mouth.

    Blaine watched as the lifeless corpse of the smaller Major sank to it's knees, before crumpling into a heap at his feet. Rolling his neck with a satisfying pop, Blaine rolled his right shoulder tauntingly. The Chieftain, angered at the loss of it's tribe, slapped the other Major on the back of it's head, before tossing it at him.

    "I don't have time for this." Blaine sighed, winding up his right fist.

    The Major, having landed on it's dead friend, roared in anger and stood. Blaine's right fist shot out right at it's head level as it stood, but right as he was about to make contact, the Brute swayed backwards, showing an unheard of flexibility that Blaine was not expecting. Baring it's fang in it's own mockery, the Major swung it's meaty right fist up at Blaine's helmet.

    By no means was the strike going to be enough to be fatal, but Brutes were no joke in punching strength. Such a hit would put Blaine at a severe disadvantage against the Chieftain if he was dazed by such a blow. Gritting his teeth, his body descended into Spartan Time, slowing the approach of the fist enough to give himself time to think. Leaning against the punch, Blaine was relieved when the last knuckle of the fist just barely grazed his visor. Grinning to himself, and with the Brute in such a punishable position, Blaine made his move.

    Swinging his full body down on top of his right fist, his punch took purchase on the Brute's mid-face, shattering it's nose, cheekbones, and orbitals all in a single punch. The force was enough to cave the face in, wrapping it around his gloved hand, as he slammed the back of the Brute's head into the pavement.

    The force of the strike was loud enough to make the entire street echo it off like a gunshot. The sound rang out for miles, as the Brute Major's lifeless body bounced harshly off of the pavement beneath them, crumpling into a heap alongside it ally.

    Blaine's cocky smirk turned to grimace, however, as he felt a hot spike enter his lower right back. Turning back, a lone Grunt stood there, with the smoking barrel of a Spiker in his hand, as well as a Plasma Pistol that had recently been discharged. His shield systems blared in his ears, as the celebrating Grunt's head exploded into fragments of bone and cyan blue blood.

    Just behind the creature, as it's corpse crumpled to the sidewalk, was the youth... with his pistol. Smoke gently escaped the barrel of the pistol, as she stood there shakily, staring at the giant spike in his lower back, on the right side. As Blaine's eyes met with hers, however, a powerful jolt ran down his spine, and his head felt as though it had been split open with an axe.

    "You saved me in that dumpster." Autumn's familiar voice rang out in his ears. "You could have ignored me to answer the call for duty,
    but you chose me.
    "

    "That matters little." Blaine replied, turning away. "It is my sworn duty to protect Humanity, no matter the cost."

    "You aren't a machine, Blaine. You don't have a primary directive." Autumn smiled, placing her hand delicately on his jaw. "Your actions prove that. You put others before yourself, and always make it a point to help whoever you can during a mission."

    "I've asked so much of you in the past but Blaine... there's someone I want you to meet-." she sighed. "I have a da-"

    Dust settled around Blaine, as his vision cleared, and he came to. The Brute Chieftain was on top of the youth, his Gravity Hammer ready to swing down on top of her. As Blaine slowly stood, the shield systems blared their endless warning in his ear. His heart-rate monitor was showing that it was steady, but the spike had been driven in further by the impact he had with the wall.

    "Why didn't you just tell me." Blaine shook his head. "That you had a daughter? Were you ashamed?"

    As he moved, the assortment of bricks and metal around him shifted, gathering the attention of the Brute Chieftain. Tossing her aside, Blaine flinched as she struck the side of a dumpster. His heart rate dipped low for a moment, as Lily, who was all too familiar with this by now, frowned.

    "I'm bleeding out, faster than I should be." Blaine growled.

    "The nanites are having a hard time eating through the spike and stitching you up." Lily replied.

    "Even so, I have to stop the Covenant." he grit his teeth, climbing out of the wreckage.

    "You were instructed not to use it unless your shields were up. You'll be vulnerable."

    "She said it to me once, about who I am." he clenched his fists.

    The Chieftain raised it's Gravity Hammer with a mighty roar, before charging towards the youth. Blaine watched as she slowly came to in the corner of his eye, her green eyes staring at him in a mixture of fear and hope. Blaine felt his suit begin to gently vibrate as the suit began to enter it's experimental boosting protocol. While it still needed the user's authentication, the motors themselves within the suit whirred up to be ready.

    "The beacon of hope for Humanity!" Blaine's voice echoed fiercely throughout the street, as golden light shimmer from the cracks in his armor. "DUSK TO DAWN."

    The Brute's feral eyes turned to stare at Blaine, whose new golden light glowed throughout his blue and red armor. Turning it's locomotion towards him, he watched it activate it's Invincibility projector. The thrusters on the back of Blaine's suit whirred into overdrive, before he burst forwards, right fist cocked back.

    "Ryaaaaaaaaaagh!" Blaine roared as his fist met head on with the Brute Chieftain's Gravity Hammer's head.

    A pulse of unknown origins blasted outwards from the two combatant's positions, causing the youth's hair to blow off and trail away. She struggled to maintain grip on the dumpster's handle to keep herself from blowing away. The Gravity Hammer in the Chieftain's hand shattered upon the impact, rendering it completely useless.

    "I am invincible!" the Chieftain roared.

    "Yeah?!" Blaine challenged. "What about it?! Nnnnnngh!"

    Blaine's right fist swung forward, striking the Chieftain's head on. Following up with his left, the Chieftain met with his fist. As promised by the Chieftain, none of his punches hosted any effect on the creature, if only to stall him out. He swung a volley of rapid, strong punches as a result of his experimental systems. The Brute struggled to keep up, but managed to block the majority of Blaine's strikes.

    Their punches continued to produce a nonstop cyclone of wind originating on their position. The youth gasped as a pair of hands latched onto her shoulders. Turning back, a trio of Spartans stood upright, despite the inclement level winds blustering through the narrow passage. The one with their hands on her shoulder gave her a stern nod, as she let go.

    "That's an invincible Brute Chieftain, and he's going to fight it head on?" the man's voice echoed through the helmet.

    "They're so fast. I'm actually kind of jealous." a woman's voice spoke up from the youth's right.

    "It's not like we can do anything at the moment, I can't get any closer as is."

    "You said you were invincible right now, but there's only so much time that you are." Blaine growled.

    One solid punch made it's way to the Brute's chest, and he could have sworn he saw the Invincibility projector flicker for a second, as the over shield projected on it fractured on impact. Blaine grunted in pain as the Brute's fist took advantage of his distraction and struck him on his side, the same side where the Spiker was placed. His eyes narrowed, as he allowed himself to focus on the fight ahead. Every augment he had been giving was in use at the moment, and the high speed concentration embedded in his mind was fully used in that moment.

    His suit's experimental boosters kicked in again, increasing the speed and damage of his punches considerably to it's second tier. The concrete beneath them buckled, as glass from the unscathed buildings in the vicinity shattered. Dust and debris from the hole in the sidewalk spouted into the heavens from the sheer force of the two combatants.

    "So you think you can tussle with me big guy?" Blaine growled. "If your Invincibility projector can last as it is right now, then I'll have to kick it up a notch and force you to submit!"

    The Chieftain's face noticeably softened in fear, as Blaine's authoritative voice echoed into the alleyway. The youth stood there in sheer awe, thankful for the Spartan anchoring her to the ground, as they too, stood dumbfounded at the spectacle they were witnessing. In the Chieftain's surprise, Blaine managed to land a few sucker punches that caused the Invincibility projector to flicker more.

    "He's really hurt." she said, turning to the Spartans.

    "I can see that." the black and blue armored Spartan replied. "The experimental drivers in his suit are preventing the nanites from doing their work, and every punch he's throwing... is causing the spike lodged in his side to cause further damage."

    "RAUUUUUGH!" Blaine roared, as he managed to finally get a solid blow on the Jiralhanae's chest.

    The force of the Tier 3 boosted punch was enough to send the Chieftain rolling across the street, into the destroyed building and out the other side. Blaine gave chase, as the youth and her three Spartan bystanders followed suit. Blaine's boosts to his suit focused on his legs, allowing him to jump at incredible speed and height to allow him to catch up to the Brute in it's tumble.

    "As a soldier," Blaine's voice echoed as he descended on the Brute, which had since recovered from it's tumble, his fist clotheslining the pouncing beast. "-it is our sworn duty to protect the masses, by any means necessary."

    Blaine crossed his arms over his face to block the reactionary punch to his face. Deflecting it while the two were in mid-air, Blaine pushed back, using his thrusters to put himself back on top in their mid-air fumble. The Brute's back hovered just over the pavement, as Blaine ground pound his boot into it's face. The pavement beneath them buckled, as loosened pieces of tarmac erupted from the impact. The Brute's Invincibility projector flickered more harshly, as it's body bounced behind Blaine.

    Catching himself upon landing, Blaine turned on his boots and sprinted towards the bounced Brute. Blaine's thrusters engaged as he jumped up, wrapping his arms around the Chieftain's beefy right arm.

    "Hyuuuuuh!" Blaine growled as he span in air with the Chieftain. "RYAAAAAAAAUGH!"

    With all of his boosted strength and momentum, Blaine finished his next revolution, before tossing the Brute at the now practically destroyed street. The pavement buckled, as a massive crater several feet in diameter was embedded into the earth beneath it. The Chieftain's Invincibility Projector flickered once more, before dying out completely. Blaine landed beside it with all of his force, causing the debris around to rise swiftly.

    "Now, there's one thing you should know about me." Blaine growled, as the suits boosters went beyond overdrive, surpassing even Tier 4 boosting and straight to Tier 5. "I absolutely despise those that prey on the weak or defenseless. So now I'll show you how I treat those people!"

    Winding his right fist back, Blaine felt the entire suit move with him, as if all of the Spartan IIs that had been successfully augmented were there, lending their full strength in that one punch. The fist itself glowed golden, as a burst of wind traveled with it forward.

    "I. WILL. RIP. YOUR-" Blaine roared, smashing his fist into it's midsection, as a geyser of purple-red blood and bile splashed his helmet, the beast's stomach popping like a water balloon. "HEART OUT!"

    The Scarab, which had managed to make consider able distance, had at one point turned around to investigate the absurd seismic activity that Blaine and the Brute had managed in their scuffle. At the point of impact from Blaine's fist, all of the energy that had surrounded his fist expelled into one, almost explosive reaction, launching the Brute Chieftain at break neck speed in the direction of the Scarab. The ground beneath his feet once again shattered, as debris flung itself into the air.

    The Chieftain's lifeless form struck one of the legs of the Scarab, the weight and speed of the creature, while not enough for significant damage, was enough to jam the leg. The Chieftain's corpse, however, had splattered on impact, much like a bug struck with a fly swatter. Standing shakily, Blaine covered the left side of his visor until it polarized, the system's Sun momentarily blinding him as it finally crested over the horizon.

    He couldn't help but stare at the ball of gas for a moment, as the pieces of the puzzle finally fit themselves into place. He didn't have time to be haunted by his past, he could only look for the new tomorrow, alongside Humanity.

    "Tell me I'm seeing things." Jorge spoke from Blaine's left. "You just sent that Chieftain flying for easily a Klick."

    Katherine and Lorelei couldn't help but stare in awe at the malfunctioning Scarab in the distance, unable to say a word edgewise. The youth, however, removed herself from Jorge's grasp and jumped into the air with a cheer.

    "That was seriously the coolest fucking thing I've ever seen!" she squealed. "That was like a fatality from the game Immortal Conflict! You beat that 'invincibility' right out of him!"

    "So that's what Bailey's new experimental drives can do." Katherine mused. "It's a wonder that isn't a liability."

    "You really are something, Blaine." Lorelei smiled, depolarizing her visor. "Uh Blaine?"

    "He's fine. The suit's power source was emptied in that overdrive at the end. The suit's just rebooting." Lily spoke from an external speaker on his helmet. "I set the spike to top priority for the nanites. So his shields'll stay down a little longer while they work."

    After a moment, Blaine's locked up armor released and allowed him to move again. Rolling his shoulders, and stretching his legs, he turned in time to see the youth sprinting off again. Jorge and the others made the motion to follow her.

    "You three deal with that Scarab." Blaine said. "Her and I have an unfinished conversation."

    "She looks familiar." Jorge rubbed the chin of his helmet.

    "She hid in a dumpster from me, sound familiar?" Blaine asked, before jogging after her.

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

    "I know you're back in there." Blaine sighed as he lightly tapped on the dumpster. "Though now I know where you get it from."

    "So you do know my mother?" the girl's voice echoed from inside the metal box.

    "Autumn Stroud. Admiral of the UNSC Navy." Blaine slid down the wall beside the dumpster. "You know? I met your mother in a very similar scenario to this."

    "I saved her from the Covenant in her home town on Harvest, when I was not much younger than you are now." Blaine chuckled. "Of course, I was much more formal then. She was a very close friend of mine."

    "So she's dead?" he heard her sob.

    "Yes." he sighed. "But she died a hero."

    "Who did she save?" the youth asked, as Blaine paused for a moment in silence.

    "My two little girls." Blaine shook his head. "She went out of her way to save them, and protected them for me until I could show up to rescue them. She- she didn't make it during the rescue. Her injuries she had sustained were too much."

    "She was ashamed of me."

    "Not freakin' likely, kiddo." Blaine shook his head. "While she never directly told me, I would occasionally catch her staring at a picture of a little girl. I knew she wasn't either of mine, so I could only guess."

    "My father was angry at my Mother, because she left me with him. He always said that he'd rather be out getting tail than sitting home dealing with the child of an unfaithful bitch." the girl cried.

    "Come on out." Blaine grunted as he stood, opening the lid of the dumpster.

    Thankfully for either of them, this one was completely devoid of any waste. Helping her out of the empty metal container, Blaine stood proudly above her, as his helmet slowly dismantled back into his chest armor. Jet black hair and deep blue eyes met with the youth's emerald ones.

    Before she could react, he knelt to her level and wrapped his arms gently around her. He could feel her holding the urge to cry desperately, as he rubbed her back.

    "I know what it feels to be unwanted, too." Blaine spoke to the dumpster behind her. "For the longest time in my life, I thought my parents didn't want me. That I was just something they were ashamed of."

    "But that wasn't true. My father informed me of that before he died to those Brute creatures in the Great War." Blaine said, as she cried onto his shoulder.

    "Like you, I always told myself that I wanted to be a hero. To do what I could for the sake of everyone that couldn't defend themselves. Whether it be age, inexperience, or otherwise, I was going to protect people." Blaine said. "Your mother helped me realize that dream, reminded me that I am a hero."

    "What is your name?" Blaine slowly stood, as the gentle morning breeze caught his lengthy hair, and moved his beard.

    "Summer Stroud." she replied, glancing up at him.

    The sky above them was still blueish red, as a result of the rising sun. A beam of light managed to break through the alleyway and light it up.

    "Young woman. I thank you for freeing me of the shame I felt from your mother's untimely passing. For reminding me how good it felt to fight to save a life, and what my purpose in life will forever be." Blaine stood firmly. "For my entire life, there have been stories of heroes in the Military. How their actions had such great effect on civilization. Most of them had one thing in common; laying everything on the line to save another's life."

    "You'll forever be worthless, you little bitch!" Summer's eyes watered as she reheard her father's final words to her, before kicking her onto the street. "Hopefully you'll die in a gutter alongside that cunt mother of yours."

    Summer's hands gripped at the ratty, concealing shirt she was wearing, as she clutched at her heart. Tears streamed down her cheeks, as she practically doubled over. The young woman's cries brought her down to her knees, her hands practically clutching her heart, as she trembled from the raw emotion.

    "I want to be like Blaine Harlowe some day!" she had told herself. "Anyone can be a beacon of hope for Humanity! Dusk to Dawn!"

    "Young Summer." Blaine's eyes glanced at the youth, his eyes seeing a lot of Autumn's mannerisms in her. "Your mother thought I was her hero, but the truth is, she was my hero. She was the one that reminded me what being Human was."

    "Summer Stroud. You too, can be a beacon of hope for Humanity." Blaine took a step forward, offering a hand to her. "Like your mother was to me."

    He watched as she sank further into the concrete of the alleyway, two small puddles forming beneath her as she cried openly into the air. Kneeling to her level, put a finger under her chin and pushed it up to look at him directly. With a warm smile, and a bit of a cocky grin, he helped her to her feet.

    Suddenly, she wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug.

    "It will be a slow process, but I will help you become a Spartan." Blaine said. "For now, I need you to return to the ship. Tell them that if they lay a finger on you, they'll deal with me."

    "What about you?" she asked.

    "The Covenant threat here hasn't been neutralized. Can't let the others have all the fun now, can I?" Blaine smirked. "Look for a woman named Claudia. She's been graciously looking over my daughter, your training starts by helping her look over my daughters while I'm away."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1180
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 22

    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 23rd 2017, 7:05 am

    "My head." Blaine grunted, clasping at his helmet, or at least he would have, had his wrists not been bound by something.

    Dealing with his over-drive and not allowing the suit proper amount to charge was definitely not the wisest choice he had made all day. Even with Orange Team in the fray alongside him, his one and only memory of the confrontation was a meaty club like appendage striking the back of his skull. Now, however, his vision was blurry and his head was spinning at a faster pace than that of a modified lightweight Scout Warthog.

    Around him, the air was thick, even through the filter of his helmet. It was oily, and the occasional drip every few moments enforced the idea that he wasn't dead... yet. Shaking the blur from his vision, the room was mostly dark, with the exception of a few dull lights trailing up the walls of whatever space he was currently occupying. The lights had a familiar coloration to them, and the ornate patterns that ran up the wall informed Blaine that he was not, in fact, in the Covenant Scarab he thought he had been, but rather a Forerunner structure.

    Despite his advanced eyesight thanks to his augments, Blaine had trouble making out if he was alone in the space or not. As if to confirm his expectations, a puff of some sort of smog erupted from a few feet in front of him. The dripping noise seemed to cease, as the echoing hiss of the smog faded away into nothing. Tension filled the air, it was his first time being a captive where he hadn't gone out of his way to be caught.

    "By the grace of Xerkas." a chorus of voices echoed around him, as a single beam of light trailed down onto what appeared to be a Persian.

    "Arp." the female San Shy'uum smiled, giving him a curtsy.

    The light trailed away from the Persian, and onto another Persian, just at her side. "Varp."

    With a grin, and a bow, the spotlight left the Persian and highlighted the next, at random, several feet from Blaine's right.

    "Brah'am." the Persian spread his arms out wide, presenting Blaine a cocky grin.

    "Sat' ah!" a female Persian twiddled with one of her dangling ear appendages, before giving him a smirk.

    The pace with which the light maneuvered to highlight each of the Persians increased, with each Persian announcing some random word, though Blaine could only assume it was likely their names.

    "Dronta." another female Persian, though not as energetic as her previous associate, sighed.

    "Tranft." a male Persian glared at him, energy sword in hand and alight.

    "Grah' Not." a much older female Persian glanced at the back of her armored hand, paying little attention to him.

    "Wurtu." another female Persian, beside the previous Persian, offered her own curtsy.

    "Mancto." a male Persian grinned, his arms crossed powerfully across his chest.

    "Wosh'tel." a female Persian, despite her obvious advantage, gave Blaine a nervous, almost frightened glance.

    "Dart'uu." a male Persian, definitely of higher nobility as based on his dialect, gave a wave of his hand dismissively as he spoke.

    "Wazca." another male Persian adjusted the forerunner-esque monocle over his right eye, before producing a curt nod.

    The spotlight, produced by what Blaine could now make out as a repurposed Forerunner Sentinel, moved to illuminate a pair of strikingly identical Persians.

    "Kaatzu!" the male Persian gave a quick once-over to what Blaine could only assume was a plasma bow, while he spoke powerfully.

    "Kuutzu." the female Persian beside Kaatzu spoke, while her eyes seemed to cautiously glance at her companion's bow, her voice much more reserved.

    "Vuru." another female Persian gingerly stepped forward, so as not to bump the one with the energy sword beside her.

    "Cruka!" yet another female Persian exclaimed, powerfully punching her fists together.

    "Vrako." a male Persian beside Cruka rolled his eyes as he observed what Blaine could only assume to be a Grunt's skull in his hands.

    "Prufto." another male Persian, more towards the middle of the crowd said half-heartedly, his attention more turned towards the Grunt's skull in Vrako's hand.

    "Mur' Ort." another male Persian, glaring at Blaine, though his eyes occasionally darted up at the Sentinel, as if begging the already overclocked Sentinel to pass him.

    U' urt!" the final Persian to be illuminated, a Male judging by his voice, said sadistically as he ran an energy dagger ever so gingerly down his exposed forearm, blade side down.

    Disturbing enough for Blaine that each and every one of them introduced themselves like foolish Saturday morning cartoon villains he had occasionally seen with Dawn and Dusk during his leave time, he found himself more sickened that the last Persian seemed to be enjoying his self harm.

    "XERKAS!" the lot of them chanted, as the lights in the room suddenly flashed on.

    Blaine, momentarily stunned by the sudden light, took the time to remind himself why the name had been so familiar. Try as he might, he couldn't place any of their names anywhere. In his confusion, he took in his surroundings, and realized precisely just what kind of predicament he was in.

    Not only were the Persians who were oh so willing to introduce themselves in the flashiest way possible in the room with him, but surrounding even himself and the Persians were an entire horde of Grunts, Brutes, Jackals, and even Elites. In the time since the end of the War, the times Blaine had actually seen Jiralhanae and Sangheili soldiers actually cooperating with each other had been almost as sparse as the hair on Admiral Hood's head.

    His moment of thought ended, however, as all creatures in the room, began to chant the names of the Persians that had introduced themselves. Increasing their speed and ferocity of their words until the chant sounded almost like a biblical chant of power. As if Blaine was about to be the sacrifice to some activation of Forerunner tech. Given the Covenant's track records of being completely hapless in such scenarios, Blaine knew instantly that it was likely the case.

    "Arp, Varp, Sat'ah, Vrako, Prufto, Mancto, Wosh'tel, Vuru, Dart'uu, Grah' not, Wazca, Mur' Ort, U' urt, Dronta, Tranft, Xerkas!"

    As the last of their voices echoed into the nothing, a pair of Persians, Mancto and U' urt respectively, stepped forward. Mancto's hand lashed out and grabbed Blaine by his helmet, forcing the Spartan to stare into his eyes. Despite Blaine's instinct telling him to go on the attack, in a room filled to the brim with this many Covenant forces, it'd be suicide. Even if he would have to go down fighting, he wanted to stall for a potential chance that Orange Team could triangulate his position.

    "So you think you've got bravado in abundance? With the power... to put us on the run?" Mancto scoffed in between cocky chuckles, before pushing him into U' urt's waiting arms. The Persian took no time gently running his energy dagger dangerously close to Blaine's visor, not enough to actually damage, more so for intimidation.

    "Well forgive us, these smiles on our faces." U' urt chuckled as he disengaged the blade and put it away, before dragging Blaine's visor to his eyes. "You'll know what power is when we are done!"

    "Scum." the two of them chuckled as they pushed Blaine back down onto his rear again, Mancto belting out an impressive sinister laugh.

    "You're playing with the big boys now." Mancto taunted, casually rolling his shoulders.

    "Playing with the big boys now." U'urt echoed his companion's words sadistically, pressing his face to Blaine's visor and staring at him with crazed, blood shot eyes.

    "Ooh that's pretty." Blaine scoffed, pulling away.

    "Every slice and gesture-" U' urt grinned, as Mancto pulled him off to lift Blaine effortlessly again.

    "-Shows you whose the best."

    "You're playing with the big boys now." U'urt echoed the words once more, laughing maniacally shortly afterwards.

    "BY THE GRACE OF XERKAS!" the crowd of aliens all around them boasted, before returning to chanting the names of the Persians again.

    "Xerkas, Arp, Varp, Sat' ah!"

    "Playing with the big boys now!" U' urt practically screamed as, whilst echoing Mancto, he ran his now relit energy dagger through one of his dangling ear appendages.

    "Vrako, Prufto, Mancto, Wosh'tel!" the Covenant chanted around them.

    "Stop, you foolish Heretic!"

    "Witness true Revelation!" U' urt screamed in painful joy as his energy dagger sliced cleanly through the dangly appendage, cutting just the slightest tip off.

    "A human extinction now!" Mancto growled, pulling Blaine's helmet from his shoulders and tossing it away carelessly, tossing Blaine in a separate direction.

    Blaine grunted as he rolled across the flawless metal floor of the oddly pristine Forerunner compound. Suddenly, his helmet was kicked back over towards him, nailing him square in the forehead. The force was enough to make his head spin, and Blaine thought his nose may have been partially broken from the impact.

    "Pick up your cowardly mask, boy."

    Blaine, rightly irritated, squirmed his way back into his helmet. As his HUD came back to life, he was honestly surprised that Lily was still actually in the helmet, considering the Covenant almost always wanted Human AI for crucial information. While he didn't have an exact guess as to why she remained, he was grateful they hadn't. She gave him a concerned look, which, if he knew here well enough by now, spelled 'This is the end, isn't it?'

    Rolling his neck, Blaine struggled back up to his feet. Most of the Persians he had been so graciously introduced to, had disappeared during the show of intimidation by U' urt and Mancto, leaving just the identical twins and the two he was currently glancing at. Most of the crowd had seemed to follow the Persians, leaving Blaine with a fairly sizable militia, and four Persians.

    "Arp, Varp, Sat'ah, Vrako, Prufto, Mancto, Wosh'tel, Vuru, Dart'uu, Grah' not, Wazca, Mur' Ort, U' urt, Dronta, Tranft, Xerkas!"

    "I should say that I'm flattered that you even bothered to put on such a... unique light show." Blaine rolled his shoulders the best that he could with the restraints on his arms. "If that was your attempt to intimidate me, however, I'll have you know you're sorely mistaken."

    The chanters continued to repeat themselves on a loop, occasionally introducing the unnamed Persians from time to time. Meanwhile, Blaine gestured towards U' urt to come at him with everything he had. With a quick wink to Lily, Blaine was unsurprised as the Persian bolted at him with his crazed look.

    U' Urt jumped slightly to perform a downward stab at Blaine's head, as the Spartan dodged backwards, bounding off of a stunned Jiralhanae's solid chest. Ramming his right knee upwards and into the vulnerable Persian's jaw, he heard the sickening pop of it's jaw dislocating or breaking, while the energy sword on his back, which they had been too foolish to disarm him, hissed out of it's scabbard, ejecting above him.

    Blaine raised his restraint upwards, catching the plasma 'ropes' with the blade of his sword, cutting himself free. Using his left foot, he planted it on the back of the Persians head and slammed all of his weight and momentum downwards. U' urt growled as his energy dagger scattered out of his hand, the Persian slamming face first into the flawless metal. Blaine's right arm shot up and, with lucky timing, snagged the hand of his plasma broadsword, bringing it down on the Persian U' urt's left shoulder blade.

    Flesh bubbled and sizzled as the Persian, to no surprise of Blaine, laughed and enjoyed every second of the pain. While Blaine was actually aiming for a finishing blow, motion in his peripheral vision identified Mancto charging at him with an energy sword. Releasing the sword from his target, Blaine used his thrusters to retreat from the Persians path at just the right moment.

    Mancto, stumbling over U' urt's current prone form, sank his sword deep into the chest of the Brute Blaine had used as a springboard. Sprinting at Mancto while he was struggling to pull the sword from the burly aped bipedial ape, Blaine bounded off of his right foot, using a brief boost of power from his suit's experimental drive to enhance the strength of the blow.

    His fist met it's mark, breaking every bone in the left side of the Persian's face, and sending him tumbling across the floor. To Blaine's honest surprise, none of the crowd seemed to want to be involved, as if the fight was a sort of trial to prove their worth as either the leaders or at least leading task force of the Neo-Covenant empire. Moncto laid sprawled out on the floor, temporarily out of commission, as Blaine witnessed the twin Persians flee. Whether it was to inform the others or a basic flight or fight instinct, he sighed in relief.

    His motion tracker bleeped, however, warning him of the impending danger still behind him. Using the strength in his legs to jump high, he used his thrusters to give him the extra upwards lift. Activating his magnetic boots, Blaine flipped around and found himself stuck to the ceiling. Glancing down at U' urt, who had definitely seen better days, his wounded arm hanging narrowly by a tendon of flesh, Blaine snickered rolling the sword in his hand. Throwing it straight towards U' urt with all his might, Blaine watched his plasma broadsword narrowly miss his target and sink slightly into the floor.

    With U' urt's distraction, Blaine bounced off the ceiling, disengaging his magnetic boots. Using his thrusters to increase his speed, Blaine cocked his right fist back and threw everything he had, without enhancements from the experimental drive, into the top of U' urt's skull. With a seize and a couple of blinks, the sadistic Persian's skull cracked, and he sprawled out onto the floor, bleeding profusely.

    Mancto struggled to stand, as Blaine sprinted over towards him. The Spartan grabbed the Persian by his throat, dashing towards the nearest wall. Slamming Mancto's back into the once flawless, now dented wall neck first, Blaine activated his magnetic boots and sprinted across the wall, dragging Mancto through whatever was once lining the walls, before throwing him with all of his might into the far wall.

    Disengaging his boots and landing with a thud. Blaine stood slowly to admire his handy work. With a smirk, he couldn't help but feel like a million bucks, especially when the odds were stacked so heavily against him.

    "You talk about 'playing with the big boys', and all I see are cry babies trying to be noticed by their peers." Blaine scoffed, his head still pounding from his semi-broken nose. "You can't even call yourself a 'big boy' if you can't manage to be taller than me."

    Behind him, he could hear the stumbled footfalls of U' urt trying desperately to continue his fight. In a way, Blaine had some respect for U' urt, as he was one of the fer San Shy'uum he had known that hadn't been a complete coward. The other Persians in the room had all scattered before even seeing him killed, and the twins had likely fled after the first sign that Blaine was still very much a threat.

    Nodding with a modicum of respect, Blaine sprinted for the wall, bounced off of it with a slight enhancement to his legs. Using his thrusters for the added momentum, Blaine swung his right boot wide, catching U' urt just under the chin and into his throat. The force and location of the hit cut off U' urt's air supply, and the force of the blow was enough to launch the Persian onto his back. Sliding across the floor, he managed to utter some pained laughs of enjoyment, before sliding through the still very much active plasma broadsword sticking out of the floor.

    Two halves of U' urt slid into the crowd of ever chanting Covenant, who seemed displeased by their supposed 'leaders' show of intimidation against a single Spartan. Many of the Covenant, strangely, were not armed, and while Blaine knew many of them were dangerous in unarmed combat, seemed to be more religious leaders than actual foot soldiers. Even the Grunts were seen in ceremonial armor, which made Blaine assume these were nothing but religious practitioners and preachers.

    Grabbing his plasma broadsword by it's hilt, he dislodged it from the floor, the cultists of the Persians all produced vials, before chugging the contents. Within moments, the entire crowd, from every Grunt, to even what Blaine had considered the most honorable; the Elites, died of what he could only guess was mass suicide. Shaking his head from the strangeness of the events, he heard Mancto growling with rage behind him.

    "How is this possible?!" Mancto growled through grit teeth, his breathing ragged and harsh. "We drank of Demon blood to be put on your levels. How is it that you unworthy scum, enemy of the holy Forerunners, can best us?! You are but lowly creatures!"

    "Lowly but determined." Blaine smirked, turning around. "Did you really think a Human would have just sat there and let you put on that little show, unless he was scheming his escape?"

    "Your first mistake was underestimating me, your second was sparing my life when you had me in a helpless position." Blaine rolled his neck, sheathing his broadsword once again. "Your final mistake, however, was believing that a grizzled war veteran like me was actually going to LET you take me away from my family without a fight!"

    The experimental enhancements on his legs boot into overdrive, offering him only a tier one boost. Pushing off with his right foot, Blaine swung his right fist across Mancto's jaw, breaking it. The Persian stumbled backwards, his disheveled breathing becoming more and more erratic with each second. Blaine wasn't familiar with San Shy'uum physiology, but he could only guess a rib had punctured a lung.

    "I-I will defeat you. Xerkas prophecised that the Great Journey, while foolish of the old Prophets, was soon to come to fruition." Mancto attempted to take a step forward, before shakily collapsing to a knee. "You?! You think you can stop the Pantheon of the Persians?!"

    "By myself?" Blaine snickered as he walked towards Mancto. "Hell no, I've had more than enough of you Covenant bastards to serve me a million lifetimes. I have 'Demons' that'll do it for me."

    Mancto's eyes widened as he inhaled sharply. "Blaine's helmet depolarized and permitted Mancto a full view of Blaine's cocky grin beneath his helmet. "I killed Xerkas in a much harder fight than either you or your companion here managed to give me combined. What makes you think any of that obnoxiously long list of Persians has any chance against me or my Spartans?"

    "The Forerunners were right to demand your extinction by our hands. Your race relishes in the deaths of the many."

    Blaine's hand shot out for Mancto's throat as he stared at the slowly dying Persian's eyes.

    "I'm not the de facto leader of a race that hosted genocide with extreme prejudice on a race that we ourselves didn't meet. Instead, you and your entire religion based your beliefs on the death of Humanity solely because a missing race of extreme intellect and advancement told you to."

    Blaine's hand released Mancto's throat as he slowly stood once more, glaring down at the weak, dying Persian.

    "Here's the kicker though. Humanity was on the track to actually surpass the Forerunners before they jumped the gun on us. So much for a race that wanted nothing but peace for the stars." Blaine shook his head. "-but hey, that's food for thought in your last few minutes of-"

    "He's dead Blaine, his heart stopped beating around the time you said Peace."

    "Too bad, I would have really enjoyed giving him that thought of despair in his final moments." Blaine sighed. "Scans?"

    "Orange Team is inbound. Don't ask me how, but we're deep in a Forerunner facility, miles below ground."

    "Last I checked, I had just separated from Autumn's niece and was chasing after a Scarab. How the hell did we end up here?"

    "The suit's systems weren't fully online when you went charging in, and your motion tracker, which was offline, couldn't warn us about the Persian that ended up side winding you." Lily shrugged, before her eyes turned to the viscous mixture of blood and mucus coming out of Mancto's deceased body's nose and mouth. "Serves him right, I guess."

    "Scan for any further hostiles. Or any Forerunner data you think we can utilize at the moment."

    "Well, it's funny that you mention that. You remember those seismic quakes earlier? Turns out the Scarab wasn't the only cause. Some Forerunner signal, since you reattached your helmet during that fiasco just now, has been broadcasting something about an 'awakening'."

    "Another dormant, man-hating Forerunner you suppose?" Blaine asked.

    "Nothing organic. That 'Cryptum' that the Didact had been located in for forced stasis, upon further scans from the wreckage above Earth, had shown some biological signs. These however, don't match that. Still, knowing our friends with more weapons of mass destruction than all societies of known Human history combined, this isn't likely going to be good."

    "Relay a message to Lorelei if you can to send back to the HQ. We need to isolate that signal and either shut it down or at least investigate the source. I want them on constant high alert, and if possible, keeping Dawn and Dusk safe." Blaine said. "Let her know we went further down past the suicide pact."

    "Sent, without the graphic detail."


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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1180
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 22

    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 26th 2017, 7:54 pm

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

    The temple was otherwise silent, despite the tension that had filled the air around Vadam Keep. The council room was surrounded by worker women who stood with heads bowed respectfully for the entrance of the Kaidon, an ornately armored Sangheili. His visitor, while also a Kaidon of his own keep, took a knee of respect in an allied faction's keep.

    "You may rise friend, your formalities are no good here." Thel Vadam, Kaidon to the Vadam keep, offered a hand.

    Anch I'bort accepted the hand, and allowed Thel to help him stand to height. While he was more than capable of standing on his own, Kaidon Vadam was so much more than just a Kaidon, he was destined to be the unifier of the Keeps, an Arbiter that no longer served the unjust Covenant filth, but would lead Sanghelios to a brighter future. This was his way of showing his respect.

    "I have come to speak with you of the Civil War outside of our keep's walls." Anch spoke sternly. "Clan I'Bort, it seems, has decided to take up arms with Jul 'Mdama against my wishes."

    "Is the keep no longer yours?" Thel cocked his head in confusion. "You understand that Vadam keep cannot assist you, as that would be an act of war."

    "I am aware, noble Arbiter." Anch bowed. "I entrusted I'Bort keep in the hands of my clutch brother, Aruk. He, being my elder, was widely respected within my clan, he and I share similar mindsets, but it appears he has betrayed my trust and led my clan astray."

    "I came here, not in asking for assistance, rather I wished to inform you that I do not stand by my clan's actions. Sunaion is a Covenant base now, and I inform you that I'Bort clan is very sizeable. I intend to make my way to Sunaion to rightly claim my place as Kaidon of my people, and with any luck, I intend to sway my people's thoughts." Anch turned away for a moment, clenching his fists. "I came to deem you farewell, should I perish by my own kin's hands."

    Anch began to walk away, but was halted as one of the Vadam keep females stepped out in front of him, before silently nodding her head in the direction of the Kaidon behind him. Turning back, Thel's Prophet's Bane ignited.

    "As a warrior and your ally, I offer you my blessings to enter clan Vadam, should you survive this encounter, but fail to reclaim your rightful place." Thel stepped forward. "I have one question to ask you, in regards to the Humans that I was informed you met with. Is the Demon still with them?"

    "When I met with the Admiral of their people, he did not seem optomistic about it. However, you and I both recall that it is not easy to kill the Spartans. I trust that he is alive." Anch clicked his mandibles before continuing. "I-"

    A loud thud echoed throughout the valley beyond the Vadam keep and well across the land beyond. The two grizzled ex-Covenant knew the sound all to familiarly, it was the sound of plasma torpedoes making contact with a target.

    "They got access to a Battlecruiser?!" Anch snarled. "My brother has made his final mistake. I must leave you now, Arbiter, but I assure of you of this. When next we meet, I will reclaim my rightful place as Kaidon of the I'Bort clan.

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

    "Are you Unggoy, or are you Sangheili?!" An armored Sangheili warrior stood over the children and women of his same race, whom were forced into polishing combat harnesses and plasma weaponry. "FASTER!"

    Anch did not recognize the warrior, but he was certain that they did not belong to clan I'Bort, based on his unique dialect. The females and children, however, were of his clan, and for that insolence, he would not stand.

    "HALT!" the guard called to Anch. "You seem like a Sangheili in his prime, why are you not at the barracks being suited up to join our holy cause?"

    "I have returned from a trip off-world." Anch clicked his mandibles. "You are not clan I'Bort."

    "Aye, this is true." the guard said. "I hail from clan 'Mdama, under he most holy; Jul 'Mdama; Hand of the Didact. The Kaidon of your clan has specifically ordered all his able bodied warriors to arms for our holy alliance."

    "I must speak with the... Kaidon." Anch spoke with a tinge of anger.

    "I shall escort you to him directly." the guard replied curtly. "Though should he order you to serve, I shall force you if I must."

    Anch knew the entire sea built city of Sunaion was under Covenant control because his clutch brother had usurped his title of Kaidon from behind his back. With this in mind, he knew it was unwise to start a conflict with the guards openly, or else he would surely die.

    "Scrub... Buffer... Rub... Dry it!" Anch could hear his people chanting from all corners of the city, as they were forced to do menial work for the Covenant against their wishes. Occasionally, he would hear one of the guards yell for them to increase their speed, followed by the cracking of a plasma whip.

    "Scrub, and polish! Buffer, and wax! Rub, and Dry it!" his people cried out.

    "FASTER!" the guards called, as Anch and his escort lead him through the once bustling streets of his sea based metropolis.

    "With the burns of the whip, on our shoulders~!" clan I'Bort chanted. "With the salt of our sweat, trickling dooown~!"

    "Anch I'bort, Kaidon on High. Do you hear your people cry~?"

    "Help us now, in our darkest hooour~!"

    Anch turned to see one fledgling Sangheili collapse from the strain of the labor, unmoving as the plasma whip struck his back time and time again. The guard responsible moved the child's corpse to the walkway, and dumped him into the grand sea below.

    "Deliver us~!" they chanted. "Heed our call, deliver us~!"

    "Kaidon of us, remember us, in this time most grim~."

    As Anch watched the youth's corpse cascade down into the raging ocean, he could hear their words echoing around him, as if the city itself was calling out to him.

    "Deliver us, to the freedom you promised us~!" they chanted, before slowly fading back into silence at the behest of their guards. "Deliver us, to the promised times~!"

    Anch's attention returned to his escort, as he was brought to the city's central elevator that would lead them up to the higher level, where his Keep was truly located. As the elevator climbed, Anch's right wrist flicked as his iconic plasma dagger ignited, and with a swift motion, he ran the dagger across the guard's neck, pushing his corpse down the exposed elevator shaft and into the ocean below.

    As the elevator made it's stop, the sight he saw was almost too much to bear. Corpses of discarded Sangheili lined the street, many of which Anch could clearly make out illnesses that were once thought to be erased from Sangheilos. The smell of burnt flesh rose from their bodies, as Anch continued to pass by them to his Keep. His advance stopped as the holographic displays lining his streets flickered to life with Aruk I'Bort's visage.

    "Those who refuse the holy words of Jul 'Mdama and the Didact shall seek divine retribution for their heresy."

    Anch turned to watch all of the doors to the various houses open along both sides of the walkway. What was usually the houses of his elders and nobility, these Sangheili looked downtrodden, almost mindless, as if their free will was stripped from them. They shuffled their feet and walked with little pride or shame, as they trudged their way to his Keep, following him every step of the way.

    Rika, his mate and old ally during the Great War, approached him. She had always been strong and assertive, even as his Keep Mother. Here, however, it was as if all life had been drained from her. Anch could tell that she bore even worse news than he had already witnessed. With a silent wave of her hand, she pointed to one pile of burnt corpses in particular. While the vast majority of the young were burnt beyond recognition, there was one among them that had seemed to avoid the flames.

    Anch's heart swelled in a mixture of pain and frustration as he glanced upon his only son, as well as whom he could only assume were his many daughters. While it was traditional for Sangheili to never actually meet their clutch, especially the warriors, he had left his clutch in the hands of his brother, Aruk, to raise them into future warriors or Keep members.

    "A plague upon him." Anch growled, as the crippling sorrow wracked his body with tremors fueled by rage. "A plague upon him and his allies in the Covenant!

    "I send a swarm, I send the horde." his disembodied nobles and council of elders chanted, as they trudged towards the tower. "Thus saith I'Bort~!"

    "Once I called him brother, once I thought the chance to make him proud, was all I ever wanted."

    "I send thunder from my cries, I send fire raining down~!"

    "-and even now, I wish the Didact had chose another. Serving as his foe against his lies, is the last thing that I wanted!"

    "I send a burning hail, on ev'ry foe, on ev'ry fiend~!"

    Anch and his nobles marched towards the entrance to his Keep, and as they walked, Rika remained behind to mourn for her lost young. The very thought caused Anch's blood to boil.

    "This is our home, all this pain and devastation; how it tortures me inside." he clicked his mandibles, recalling the youth that had been thrown carelessly into the ocean. "All the innocents who suffered from his stubbornness and pride!"

    Anch flicked his right hand to ignite the Energy Sword hilt he had hidden on his person. Heaving his mighty boot into the door, once, twice, then three times, he managed to kick it open. The two honor guard, whom weren't even I'Bort clan, stumbled over themselves as he fluidly slashed their heads off with a single motion.

    "I send my scourge, I send my sword. Thus saith I'Bort~!"

    Aruk I'Bort, Anch's clutch brother and once most trusted elder council, stood in shock at the center of the room. His mandibles clicked in frustration, as he stood with his arms folded diligently behind his back.

    "Ah brother, I was sincerely hoping my friends the Pantheon of the Persians would have dealt with you. Especially after you betrayed our Keep by delivering OUR family heirloom to a mere Human." Aruk paced across the 'throne' room. "I will never understand how you could so blindly deny the truth and power of the Forerunners. The Didact offered his hand to Jul 'Mdama, and named the Sangheili his chosen people. Yet you and that arrogant fool, Thel Vadam, choose to oppose him, as well as other Keeps."

    "The Forerunners promise of god hood is a lie to cover up the atrocities of what they had to do to stop the Parasite." Anch snarled. "You who I called brother, why must you be so blind?"

    "I send my scourge, I send my sword~!"

    "Aruk, let my people go free." Anch snarled. "If you choose to take up arms with the Covenant, I will not stop you from throwing your life away. In fact, I offer you this one chance to walk away and leave Clan I'bort, or else you shall die for the atrocities you have committed on my people."

    "You are much too forgiving brother. Do you know how extravagant the screams of your heretical clutch were as I slew them all, one by one?"

    "Speak not one more word of them, Aruk." Anch clicked his mandibles in anger. "This is you final chance to walk away and leave Sunaion. Otherwise, I shall have you and those zealous fools slain and tossed into the ocean, as they have done with my people."

    "You made your choice when you gave our father's legendary sword to a mere HUMAN." Aruk roared, igniting a sword. "Brother, why is it you have come to hate me so? To send our only family heirloom of our proud, Covenant founding father, to our enemy. You knew this would come about, isn't this what you wanted when you betrayed our family?"

    "You think I wanted you to slay my children, enslave our Keep, and hand our City over to another Keep?!" Anch growled, tensing.

    "I send the swarm, I send the Horde~!"

    "So you do not see the promise of the Didact. In by making our people work for our glorious order, I have ensured their ascendancy to God-hood. Their death at the behest of our Lord and God the Didact, is inconsequential to the rewards they shall receive for their service." Aruk opened his arms wide, shouting to the heavens. "If their death is the cost to ensure proper peace for them all, then allow my heart be hardened from their deaths! Never mind how high the cost may grow, this will stll be so!"

    Glancing down at Anch, Aruk tensed, placing himself in a battle ready position.

    "I will never let your people go."

    "Thus saith I'Bort~!" Anch's elders and nobles chanted behind him, as he too dipped into a battle ready stance.

    "As Kaidon I'Bort, you will let my people be free. Thus saith I'Bort."

    "Make me."


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 28th 2017, 3:33 am

    The sizzles of the two energy swords meeting echoed throughout I'Bort Keep, each clash causing the dim lit space to illuminate, if only briefly. The two Sangheili clutch brothers stared into one another's eyes with a flaming hatred of truth and ideals, one not overwhelming the other.

    "A shame that you chose to serve the Human filth than a God, my brother." Aruk snarled, he and Anch's swords neither moving or slipping along each other.

    "You herald the Didact as a God, but fail to notice one simple notion!" Anch growled, thrusting his mighty hoof into Aruk's chest.

    With an opening between them, and Aruk's breath momentarily knocked out of him, Anch made his advance. His brother, while much older, was on equal terms as a swordsman of their people, and at one point had been almost like a second mentor to Anch. Aruk brought his sword up to meet with Anch's, once again locking the two saurians in a clash.

    "Oh, please enlighten me, younger brother?!"

    "What God have you ever heard of that's ever bled?!"

    It was Aruk's turn to push Anch off, regaining his composure and allowing his breath to catch, before pursuing his stumbling foe. Once more, their swords clashed, illuminating their scaly faces, forehead met with forehead, and they stare at each other.

    "Be wary, brother. What you say brings shame to clan I'Bortee."

    "You have shamed us with your lack of modesty to our people and ability to understand facts rather than myths!" Anch roared, pitching his head back and headbutting Aruk.

    Once more Aruk stumbled backwards, clutching at his forehead as Anch stood there. The priests and other orderlies of I'Bort clan had encircled the room, watching with a brief glimmer of hope that their occupation of tyranny would soon be over. Anch and Aruk, both breathless from their seemingly endless squabble, took a moment to gather themselves.

    "The Humans slayed your precious Didact." Anch hissed, tensing himself. "Was it not the Covenant that forced us to believe the Forerunners immortal? That by activating their rings, their people ascended to God-hood and watched us from afar?"

    "If that was truth, then why did the Didact slay countless of our brethren? Why did he oppose the rings?!" Anch continued, marching ever closer to Aruk. "Because he knew of their terrible secret. They do not grant immortality, you fool. On the contrary, they are built SOLELY to claim life."

    "LIES! All of what you speak are merely heretical rumors that the Humans infested you with!" Aruk shook his head angrily, casting aside his spare hand. "I wish to hear no more from you, except the rattle of death as your life leaves your pitiless form!"

    Once more the two swordsman closed the distance formed between them, and their blades of plasma met once another in vibrant clashes. Pulling back and swinging, the two combatants showed no signs of yielding to the other. Aruk knocked Anch's blade aside and, with an expert flick of his sword, sliced a tip off of one of his younger brother's mandibles, before thrusting an open palm up and into Anch's upper torso.

    Aruk slashed downwards in an attempt to catch Anch off guard and finish him, only in time for Anch to bring his sword up to catch it again. Plasma sparked as Aruk's blade traveled the length of Anch's. With the slight leverage he had, Anch knocked the blade aside. Aruk, knowing his was vulnerable, dove backwards. Anch, ever frustrated, slashed wildly at his opposition who aimed to flee. With a thrust of his sword, Anch narrowly missed Aruk's head, his sword embedding in the metal.

    Aruk, who was slightly off balance, ducked as Anch fluidly ran his sword horizontally through the metal in an attempt to decapitate him. Twisting on his hoof, Aruk struck Anch in the midsection, sending him skidding backwards a few feet. Anch lunged forward again, as their swords clashed vertically and horizontally. The two swordsman danced with their interlocked sword in an attempt to outmaneuver the other. Breaking off from their clash, the two swung at each other, countering the other's attempts.

    Their fight had moved them out into the balcony overlooking the sea. It's waves crashed against Sunaion's majestic, sturdy braces. Thunder arced across the sky, as one of Sunaion's infamous nightly storms began to stir. While the metal beneath their hooves was slick, the two seemed unfazed, as they were both trained to fight in all conditions. Anch, with the advantage, forced Aruk to make his way up the ramp to the over watch at the top of the Keep.

    "You went to fight for the glorious Covenant, right younger brother?!" Aruk snarled, almost hysterically, as the two combatant's swords clashed, time and time again.

    "Back when I was younger and foolish!"

    "You made a mockery of yourself then, and you'll die a mockery now!" Aruk lunged, as Anch narrowly side stepped the assault, kicking his hoof up and into Aruk's lower back.

    "I was no mockery, I was made humble. My hubris made me complacent, to believe that I was any higher than another was foolish. A trait that has long plagued our people. I found my match in a Spartan, a champion of his people. Then, and only then, did I realize just how truly wrong I had been."

    "Then you shall join them in the realm between the Light of Ascendancy and the bitter Darkness of the Void!" Aruk growled, as the two made for one final lunge at each other.

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

    "That was a mess up there." Jorge grunted, rubbing the back of his helmet. "You never cease to amaze me, baratom."

    Blaine waved off the compliment as he studied the Forerunner architecture lining the room he and Lily had discovered. It never made sense to Blaine why the Covenant would ever have only two Elites or Brutes guarding anything, especially something this valuable to them.

    "Lily, any ideas what any of this is?" Lorelei asked.

    "A bunch of Forerunner mumbo jumbo." Katherine sighed, her eyes plastered on the path the four of them had come from. "Usually something of mass destruction, if I had to guess."

    "I said the same thing." Lily chuckled through Blaine's external helmet speakers. "Unfortunately, this doesn't seem entirely-"

    The room around them began to quake, much more harshly this time. The once flawless metal of the Forerunner walls groaned and bent at the tectonic shift. Dust from the millennium old facility trickled down from the ceiling.

    "Lorelei, was the ship and all crews evacuated?!" Blaine braced himself on the strange ring like frame against the wall.

    "Affirmative!" Lorelei grunted as she held onto one of the terminals for all she was worth.

    "I've got movement back here!"

    The four Spartan's attention turned to the door they had come from, only to see Summer barely holding on to a hand railing. The tremor subsided for only a moment, allowing the Spartans to regain their composure, Blaine walked over to Summer and offered her a hand up.

    "I thought I told you to go back to the ship."

    "I couldn't make it to the Pelicans on time. I figured I'd stand a better chance with you."

    "How did you find me?" Blaine's visor depolarized.

    Summer sheepishly produced what appeared to be Blaine's out-dated wrist mounted communications tablet. Glancing down at his left arm, where it had once been docked, he found it's dock to be void.

    "We have seriously got to teach you not to steal things." Blaine sighed. "You're to stay with us until we get things settled down here. If I tell you to hide, you hide. If I tell you to run-"

    "I run, no questions." Summer nodded. "I promise I won't be a bother, sir."

    "Good." Blaine sighed, gently removing the wrist mounting dock for the tablet. "Hold still."

    Blaine gently fixed the wrist dock onto Summer's left arm, thankful for the all-in-one adjustments the old system had boasted. He rarely used the thing, only really finding use for it on Reach. However, the technology was still functional.

    "Put the tablet on this thing. Turn it to channel Foxtrot, Athens, Romeo, Tango." Blaine instructed. "It will give you an up to date, real time communication with any of us should we get separated, so long as we're on the same planet as each other. It also has a built in motion sensor, up to twenty five meters. If you see a red dot behind the triangle in the middle, you have an enemy behind you. If you see yellow, it's likely a friendly or a foe, so tread cautiously. If it's green, it's a friendly."

    "Wait wait." Summer shook her head. "Your guy's secret communication channel's password is F.A.R.T?"

    Blaine sighed, before silently gesturing towards Katherine who, true to form, stifled an almost childish laugh. Standing to his full height, Blaine pulled his magnum off of his hip and handed it to her.

    "This is for emergencies only. Make every shot count. Safety is to be on at all times, unless I state otherwise or you find yourself separated from us." Blaine instructed. "Never point it at anything or anyone unless you know for certain the thing you're pointing it at is a hostile. I don't think I have to say anything further?"

    "I used to go on gun ranges with my Uncle from time to time before he was hospitalized with Boren's Syndrome." Summer replied. "He said I had good form, I just needed to breath when I shot? I never understood what that meant, but maybe you can teach me?"

    "There's a time and a place for that." Jorge grunted. "For now, I advise we finish whatever search we were conducting here before another tremor causes a cave in."

    "I was just about to say the same thing." Blaine nodded.

    It was bizarre that Summer had mentioned her Uncle having Boren's Syndrome. It was a disease that he knew was fabricated for Spartan I's because of their altered DNA. Hell, even his own medical records listed him as having Boren's Syndrome, for the off chance he wasn't medically looked at by an ONI specialist. Shaking the thought from his head, he made his way back to the ring.

    "That seismic activity was close. While you were talking with Summer, I managed to sift through the information databanks you had me scan." Lily reported, as her holographic avatar appeared in Blaine's open right palm. "This ring like thing appears to be a multi-way master teleporter. I can't seem to get the algorithm to a science,
    but I can at least tell that it has several different outlets.
    "

    "So they had instantaneous travel anywhere throughout the Galaxy." Blaine mused. "At that point, what was the point of Slipspace?"

    "That's the interesting part; this portal utilizes Slipspace, but on a personal level. Besides, we've seen first-hand when the Didact assaulted Earth that Forerunners had much more sophisticated Slipspace jumps. They could pinpoint when and where they would arrive, at a fraction of the time that even the Covenant and our most modern iterations can handle." Lily shrugged. "What's strange about this portal in particular is that it, apparently, is capable of activating all outlets at once. While I can't pinpoint an exit vector, the portals appear to teleport ALL individuals, across all the different 'slave' portals, to a unified position."

    "What does that mean?" Summer asked, as the Spartans turned to face her.

    "Let's assume we're at Portal A, in a series of Portals A-Z. Portal A is a key to every Portal's activation." Lorelei explained. "Portal A has the ability to activate Portals B-Z remotely, and anyone that walks through those Portals will be teleported simultaneously to Portal A's destination."

    "Now if only Admiralty meetings could be so concise." Blaine sighed.

    "I managed to align the algorithm just so that the Portal could send us to a random location in the matrix. However, there is a distinct possibility that wherever we'd be sent to might not have transport." Lily shook her head. "I also managed to isolate the point of the seismic activity's origin points. It's way deeper in the ground than we could imagine. Like, the lower levels of the crust, almost borderline outer core of the planet."

    "Is it something with the planet itself?"

    "Based on the scan, it's Forerunner in origin. Remember what I said about the 'awakening' code I mentioned? Something is being wrested from a millennium old slumber, and is pretty cranky."

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

    Lightning struck out in the middle of the ocean, flashing over the city of Sunaion. With each strike of the two brother's swords, another flash of lightning wracked across the ocean's waves. Thoroughly soaked to the bone, the two Sangheili clutch brothers attacked with a flurry of blows, both sword and bare handed alike. Each thud of their off hand striking their opposition was like the thunder to the storm of blows they exchanged on each other.

    Slice after slice, expertly matching the other in timing, the scraping sizzle of their two plasma blades making each other sputter. Anch, using his sword, turned Aruk's away, swinging a wide, devastating kick to the side of his brother's head. Blood trickled down Aruk's forehead from the scales of his face being slightly dislodged. With a beastial snarl, Aruk flourished the two blades aside, ramming his shoulder mercilessly into Anch's chest.

    Anch stumbled backwards, falling onto his back, as Aruk pounced on him. Rolling out of the way, Anch deftly jumped up to his feet with his momentum, as Aruk pulled his sword out of the floor. Breathing heavily, Aruk glared Anch with an almost primal rage. With one last roar to the heavens, and a flash from the lightning, the brothers lunged for each other.

    The two master swordsmen danced with their blades, gathering whatever brutal, yet cheap strikes they could to gain the upper hand on the other. With one final clash of their swords, Anch's foot slipped from beneath him, as Aruk, with the much clearer advantageous stance, knocked Anch's blade aside. With his sword clear from his hand, Anch snarled as the energy dagger on his left wrist ignited.

    With a deft swing, Anch's dagger met purchase, slicing vertically down Aruk's face. The blade sizzled as it rendered his clutch brother's right eye completely useless. Aruk howled in pain, stumbling backwards, as Anch reached desperately for his sword. Grasping it's hilt, he saw Aruk marching up to him. His off hand nursed his wounded eye, while his sword was pulled back for the final stab.

    A discharge of a new model Beam Rifle echoed throughout the open air, as a lance of purple energy struck Aruk in the sword arm. Anch took his opening and swung the blade up, slashing off Aruk's sword arm with one fluid motion. Aruk's howl of pain was deafened by the boom of thunder directly over head, as Anch shakily stood to his feet.

    "I trusted you with my young!" Anch growled. "I trusted you with my people in my absence while I was out serving in the Great War."

    "You betrayed my trust, killed my clutch, YOUR family." Anch growled as he stumbled towards Aruk. "You enslaved our Keep, and used them to serve a force that would see them all killed, and for what?! A false promise that a race of much greater hubris than ours never once uttered?!"

    "You were my clutch brother. Did the pain I felt, taking Uncle's lashing during our youth mean nothing to you?!" Anch's hands shook as he spoke. "I even offered you forgiveness for all of the injustices you've committed on us, and you toss it aside like the words were uttered by a greedy, suckling Unggoy on the food teat."

    Aruk, at Anch's full mercy, fell to his knees, the wound of his disembodied arm had been well sealed by the heat of the blade as it had cut through him. His head bowed, as he knew death would soon follow, listening to each of Anch's cutting words.

    "What example did you prove to show to our young? That the Sangheili are slaves to a race long extinguished? That we are not the proud, noble people our ancestors used to be? That we were destined to be nothing more than subservient to a race that none currently alive have had communications with?" Anch stood over Aruk, the sword pointed fiercely just under Aruk's maw. "For all of these crimes against I'Bort Keep, I should have you killed to make an example of you."

    Aruk tensed for a moment, as Anch's sword disengaged. Aruk's eyes glanced up at Anch, who glared down at him. Placing the sword hilt on his lower back, attached to his ceremonial robes, Anch kicked Aruk's now disengaged sword off of the building and into the surf below.

    "I have decided that a merciful death is not befitting of a wretch like you." Anch growled, as Aruk trembled. "You shall be put into exile, no longer to be associated with I'Bort Keep. As such, you shall be killed on sight if you are seen anywhere near Sunaion, or our allies in the Vadam Keep and beyond."

    "Perhaps, as you are a zealot of the Covenant, you can find the honorable death you seek at the hands of a Human, serving them and their lies." Anch spat at the ground in front of Aruk, a technique he had seen a Human soldier do at one point.

    While no saliva actually came from Anch's mouth, the foreign act was enough to wrack Aruk with anger, as he stood suddenly, swinging his remaining hand up and into the lower, still tender mandibles of Anch's face. The force was not fatal, but just enough to make Anch stagger backwards to the railing behind him. Aruk stand with a chuckle.

    "That is where you and I differ, Anch." Aruk clicked his mandibles. "Where you seek to spare worthy foes, I would sooner kill them to rid any potential threat."

    Anch's attention turned to his benefactor, Rika, whom was now in the custody of two Storm Covenant Sangheili warriors of Clan 'Mdama. One of them, with a wave of Aruk's hand, plunged his sword deep into her midsection. Anch made a movement forward, as Aruk slammed him in the chest. Anch stumbled backwards into the railing, slipped from the water, and toppled over the edge. His hands grasped desperately for the railing, as Aruk stood triumphantly over him.

    "Throw her over the railing to feed the ocean. She won't be serving any purpose anymore." Aruk called to his guards, before turning back to Anch. "Your interactions with the Humans has made you complacent, Anch."

    Placing his hoof painfully on Anch's left hand, Aruk snickered as Anch was forced to let go, his right hand his only remaining thing keeping him from the ocean's mercy. Aruk leaned down, placing his boot just beside Anch's hand.

    "I never played fair."

    With one last might stomp, Anch's hand was forced to unclench out of instinct, and he cascaded into the roaring waves beneath Sunaion. In the corner of his eye, he could see Rika's dying form just beside him. She wasn't quite dead, but her injury was one that not any Sangheili, especially stranded in the ocean, had any hopes of surviving. With one painful smack, as he hit the ocean, his vision blackened.

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

    "I can barely stand more than six hours of sleep." Katherine sighed. "I think I could relate."

    "Wait a minute... I'm reading a friendly signature in the coding." Lily looked shock, her avatar holding a book in her hands, as she leafed through it. "Whoever or whatever it is, it's... Blaine! Terminal. Now!"

    The room around them shook even more violently, as Blaine's right hand practically slam dunked Lily's avatar into the Forerunner terminal that Lorelei had been using as a brace moments before. After a few moments, the ring like portal beside them activated. Lily's avatar appeared in Blaine's hand again.

    "Whatever it is, it's awake. If I'm reading this code correctly, this room is about to be no more." Lily pointed towards the Portal. "The infrastructure here is unstable, we need to go through."

    "Dawn and Dusk-" Lorelei frowned.

    "Claudia is one of the best Spartan IVs we have on board the Asgard's Lament." Blaine placed a hand on her shoulder. "They are monitoring me at all times, if at any point I disappear, the ship is ordered to retreat to the nearest safest junction to meet with other UNSC troops."

    With a moment more of hesitation, Lorelei nodded and jumped through the Portal, followed by Katherine and then Jorge. Blaine turned to Summer, and with a sigh, he effortlessly lifted her into a side carry, before diving through the Portal. Just before the sensation of pulling from all angles hit him, he heard the metal of the room buckling and breaking.


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 28th 2017, 5:19 am

    Blaine snapped back into consciousness as he found himself in some foreign terra firma. His hand instinctively went to his helmet, as he groaned in pain. With some effort, he lifted himself off of the ground, glancing around at his surroundings. A beautiful world, though a vivid mixture of artificial and natural, there was no doubt he was on a Forerunner world.

    However, unlike Requiem or even a Halo ring. This planet ebbed with an unseen life that made him feel like it had been a natural world, with the Forerunners building around it. Where Halo or Requiem were artificial, this world was organic, through and through. His thoughts were dismissed as he recalled that he had gone through the portal with Summer. His eyes darted around, until he saw her a few feet ahead of him.

    She, unlike him, had no training being thrust carelessly into and out of harms way. She lay on the ground with a stillness that was almost borderline fatal. Leaning down, he gently rolled her onto her back. The gentle nuance of her chest rising and falling with breath was all he needed to see. Her eyes cracked open, as she glanced at him. Offering her his hand, he helped her to her feet. In that same instance, she wrapped her arms around him again.

    Blaine, taken aback by the gesture, wrapped his left arm around her shoulders and placed his right hand gingerly on the back of her head, pulling her in. While she wasn't his daughter, he would forever treat her as such, if not for her sake, then for Autumn.

    "Where are we?" she asked as they detached from each other.

    "I didn't have time to study the code to see what star coordinates we ended at. I've been trying to contact any and all UNSC signals nearby.
    Any and all I've managed to hail never answered.
    " Lily's avatar appeared once more in his hands. "Well, with the exception of Orange Team. They're holed up just ahead."

    With a gesture of his head, Blaine and Summer began to walk up the path. With Orange Team in sight, Summer ran ahead to catch up with them. Katherine was in the middle of polishing her knife, while Lorelei was scanning the area through the scope of her sniper. Jorge, ever the stickler, polished his beloved chain gun.

    Blaine took a step forward, before hearing a rustling behind him. Tensing, he turned to face the origin of the noise. His attention was brought to a foreign liquid pooling at his feet, while the nearby flora rustled suddenly. His eyes briefly caught a glimpse of the flood of water, before he dove back and avoided the brunt of it. Now reduced once more to a trickle, he realized that whatever portals they had activated, one portal was likely underwater.

    The others in Orange Team tensed, as Lorelei, ever the persistent scout, remained with Summer to act as her guardian. Blaine held up a fist to Jorge and Katherine, ordering them to remain on guard but in their position. Stepping through the deep thicket, Blaine found a lone, yet now swampy clearing. In the center of the clearing was a lone Sangheili in ornamental robes.

    The robes were significantly different to those of the cultists he had encountered mere minutes before. Cautiously, Blaine pulled his knife to bear, on the off chance the Elite was a hostile. As he drew nearer, however, he noticed the all too familiar visage of an abdominal scar from a plunged energy sword. The Elite's breaths were ragged and labored, as Blaine made the motion to sheath it.

    "No." Lily shook her head in his HUD. "She's suffering. Don't let her bleed out."

    "She?" Blaine asked, glancing at the Elite. "Damn. What scoundrel did this to you?"

    "Someone I once cherished more than my own title." a familiar voice shakily uttered to Blaine's right.

    Blaine's attention turned to an ornately robed Sangheili dragging himself towards the center of the clearing. Water drenched him from head to toe, as if he had just been swimming in an ocean. The voice was familiar, as he watched the Elite fruitlessly drag himself towards the female in the center of the clearing.

    "Anch. I have failed you." she spoke softly to Blaine's left.

    As she said his ally's familiar name with her own equally familiar voice, Blaine's eyes widened. Rushing to Anch's side, Blaine took a knee and offered his friend and ally a hand. Anch grunted as he struggled to stand, Blaine could tell by the various bruises along his scaly skin that he had been in quite the tussle. Blaine wrapped Anch's arm over he shoulder, and helped him over to the female Elite on the ground.

    "Rika, my love." Anch knelt beside her weakly, as he placed his head on her chest. "It is I who has failed you."

    "The guards pursued me... I had hoped to shoot that wretch dead, but they staggered my shot." Rika replied, as a trickle of purple blood ran down the corner of her mandibles. "The elders that came before us call to me now."

    "Please, don't go." Anch shook his head in mourning. "I spared him when I should have killed him. I-"

    Rika's hand gently rested itself on the side of Anch's face, as she clicked her mandibles softly.

    "His failure to kill you will be his undoing. I know you, Anch I'Bort. When you make a mistake, you never make it again." Rika leaned upwards, wincing at the pain it caused her. "Be the sword of our people, and teach Aruk what happens when a sword is still sharpened."

    "Anch." Blaine spoke carefully, placing a hand on his shoulder. "She's suffering. If you want, I-"

    The massive Elite attempted to dismiss the gesture by shrugging him off. Anch's right eye glared at Blaine in a mixture of torment, anger, and sorrow. Blaine's eyes took notice that the tip of his upper most right mandible had been severed. Blaine bowed his head respectfully, as Rika softly spoke again.

    "When Aruk sent for our clutch, I managed to hide at least Lasp. I sent her to Vadam Keep in good faith." Rika shivered. "Protect our only daughter, where I failed to protect our clutch."

    "I will." Anch nodded his head solemnly. "Mark my words, I shall avenge our clan properly and liberate Sunaion in the name of you and our clutch. Should I fail, may I burn a thousand torturous lifetimes in the void of death."

    "Ech awrak elskaru primak. Ech awrak elskaru natem."

    "A warrior in life. A warrior in death." Lily solemnly translated to Blaine.

    Anch's fingers wrapped around Blaine's combat knife, as his hand shakily went to Rika's heart. With a knowing nod, she clicked her mandibles one last time, before closing her eyes. Blaine turned his head away as Anch plunged the knife in with a subtle thud. Lily's avatar, in Blaine's HUD, flinched at the sound.

    "That knife has a warrior's blood on it now." Anch spoke softly. "I mean no disrespect to you, but I ask only to kill an enemy with it while it is still covered in my mate's blood."

    "Of course." Blaine stood. "Shall we bury her?"

    "My race does no such acts as covering our beloved with dirt. It, in our culture, is an insult. Instead, we are either left where we die, or we entomb our fallen and enshrine them." Anch turned to Blaine.

    "What happened?" Blaine asked.

    "My clutch brother and most trustworthy elder in my newly established Keep betrayed my trust and enslaved my people for the use of the Storm Covenant." Anch's hands balled into fists in anger. "I tried to show him compassion and mercy, as you had shown me on several occasions. He took my mercy as a sign of weakness, had his dogs deal a mortal blow to Rika, and cast us both into the ocean."

    Anch bowed his head one final time, before turning in the direction Blaine had come. His walking was much more stable, as if he had managed to regain some of his strength. Blaine watched after him, before following his steps.

    "Which reminds me, we were in the oceans of Sunaion prior to finding ourselves here." Anch paused, before bending down and picking up what appeared to Blaine as an ornately decorated energy sword hilt. "This is the wretch's energy sword. I shall use it to rend his head from his body."

    "My Spartans and I were in a Forerunner facility while working on Humanity's recolonization efforts. A world breaking catastrophe was in the works, and we activated a Forerunner multi way portal to escape in the nick of time." Blaine paused to let Anch soak in the information. "It appears that you and Rika were nearby one such portal when we activated it."

    The Elite and Spartan then silently worked their way back to where Orange Team had been stationed. Jorge and Katherine looked at the two, as Blaine solemnly shook his head. Summer glanced at Anch with confusion and curiosity, cowering behind Lorelei, who stood there with a bowed head.

    "Mourning for Rika will do us no good." Anch said, glancing at the Spartans. "To do so is wasting valuable time in avenging her. Each second is a dishonor on her memory."

    Blaine couldn't help but feel some mixture of acknowledgement and disgust. If Lorelei had passed, Blaine would likely be rendered immobile for a considerable amount of time. Whereas Anch didn't allow it to faze him on the slightest, at least, on the surface. In the same light, he knew it was the proper course of action for him to take in a given scenario.

    "He's right." Blaine sighed. "What's the status, any luck with locating those UNSC transponders?"

    "It seems like a downed Pelican and some ammo caches." Lorelei pointed south, south-west. "We tried hailing any personnel, but as far as we're concerned, we're all alone out here."

    "Speaking of, Lily, any luck telling us where we are?"

    Blaine's right hand extended out for Lily's avatar to appear once more. She glanced around the group of Spartans, Human, and Sangheili. With a bow of her head, she pulled the book, which had always been her choice of animation whenever she analyzed anything, from her satchel and began to give it a read.

    "It's a Forerunner world of extreme distinction. Every coding here mentions something major to the Forerunners. I had no luck decyphering that friendly signature that was awakening the anomaly,
    but I did manage to copy the awakening code and use it in the Portal.
    Lily put the book down for a second. "Wherever that anomaly was awakened from, we ended up. I'll have to analyze further."

    "For right now, I've started an SOS beacon to start a rescue effort.
    I have no idea how long it will be before we get found, but it's a start.
    " Lily sighed, putting the book back in the satchel. "I'll continue to study the book more later. Recommended course of action for all of you is to locate those UNSC caches and see if a repair can be done on the downed Pelican."

    Out of the corner of his eye, however, Blaine could see one strand of text from something Lily had put aside. Her HUD avatar gave a quick once over of the strand of words, before it disappeared. In the short time it was visible, however, Blaine was able to read it. Three words stood out to him, and one of them shook him to the core.

    GENESIS RAMPANCY MANTLE


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Origins: Reclamation

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 30th 2017, 2:05 am

    "It's bizarre." Katherine sighed, glancing over the UNSC tech, scattered randomly around the Pelican. "This is stuff we didn't even have with us during the recolonization efforts."

    "-and there were no accounts of any extra portal rooms like we had found prior to our discovery." Blaine mused, his vision swapping between the organized equipment and the forest's edge.

    Summer sat in the back of the downed Pelican, as she was instructed. Jorge and Lorelei were busy searching the length of the machine for any signs of substantial damage so that repairs could begin, if necessary. Anch, on the other hand, stood to himself at the edge of Blaine's vision. Whether it was the Sangheili mourning his losses, or perhaps plotting against the one that had betrayed him, Blaine wasn't entirely certain.

    "Even more concerning is the organization of this equipment. It doesn't match the status of the Pelican, and there's far more here than the Pelican should carry." Katherine lifted a destroyed MA6D Assault Rifle, before casting it aside in her 'junk' pile. "The organization implies Marines are also here, unless the fauna are adept at UNSC equipment functionality."

    "If that's the case, why are the communications not responding?" Blaine sighed. "Given the condition the weapons are in, they've been here some time, and it's likely they were teleported in a rush."

    "Well, we did establish that a friendly signature was activating that machine." Lily frowned. "If we could just find a terminal to work on, perhaps we could boost our signal wider. Perhaps we'd even be able to identify the one responsible for this."

    Blaine sighed in frustrated agreement. They would get no-where without at least gathering some intel on this place and just what exactly those 'awakenings' were. Still, he couldn't help but feel a tad suspicious of Lily's motives, he had not forgotten that weave of letters the she had decrypted, unless she had intended for Blaine to see them.

    Lily was put into service in late 2551, and transferred to Blaine's protection a year later, putting her ominously close to Rampancy. Ever since he and Lily had witnessed Cortana's bout on the Infinity during the Requiem campaign, he had dreaded the day that she showed symptoms. Unlike Cortana, who was clearly based off of Halsey's brain, Lily was made from the mind of a long dead teenager whose mother worked at ONI.

    "Sure thing. Everyone, I'm going on a solo recon OP. See what I can find, you all stay here."

    Summer began to move, as Katherine held up an arm. Blaine shook his head, as Summer persisted. With her off hand, Katherine tossed Blaine a new model DMR. Catching it expertly, he was grateful he at least still had some left over in his ammo pouch. Anch snorted angrily, before striding over to Blaine.

    "It could do me some good to visualize a new venue." Anch bowed his head. "With your permission, I wish to accompany you."

    "Of course." Blaine nodded, turning to a Forerunner facility that could just barely be seen over the canopy of the trees. "Our best bet is to go there, see what we could find. Maybe we'll link up with those Marines."

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

    "I know I am in no position to ask of you a favor," Anch clicked his mandibles, as the two continued their trek through the forest. "Now that I have informed you of my predicament-."

    "For reasons you could likely understand, the UNSC doesn't see any necessity in lending a hand in the Sangheili Civil War." Blaine sighed. "I can't say I wouldn't be honored to fight by your side. Circumstances that I cannot control, however, prevent me from lending you aid."

    "I see." Anch bowed his head, as Blaine frowned in discontent.

    "Make no mistake, I will try my damndest to get you the assistance you require, but I cannot promise one way or another the outcome."

    "Perhaps it is for the best. It is my fight, and I should see to it alone."

    "Not if the situation is as dire as you instructed me. The Sangheili occupying Sunaion will kill you on sight this time." Blaine stepped cautiously over a insanely high root. "You'll need all the firepower you can bring. If I can't get the permission from the brass, than I always have some favors I can call in."

    Anch bowed his head respectfully as the two cleared the forest finally. Just above them, as high up as they could see, was a building in the formation of a pure silver cube. Unlike the Prometheans that Blaine had encountered on Requiem, the building had streaks of blue energy coursing through it. The building was built into what appeared to be a large ocean, with one corner buried deep below the viridian tides. Directly in front of the two was a single, flawless ramp that lead up to the towering entrance of the cube.

    With a single glance at each other, Blaine and Anch began to scale the length of the ramp. The ocean view was tremendous, and just out of curiosity, Blaine found himself glancing up at the sky just to make sure it truly wasn't a Halo ring in disguise. With a sigh of relief, he continued to trudge on.

    Midway through the ramp was a platform, likely built by the Forerunners to sit outside, based on the octagonal shape of the platform. As Blaine's vision crested from the ramp to the platform, however, his heart sank into his stomach. Countless dead Marines and even Human civilians littered the ground, their blood pooling and long congealed.

    Silently, Blaine's right hand clenched into a fist, as he bowed his head in respect. While he had been long used to the sight, it was no less difficult to look at. Pulling his DMR from his back, Blaine pointed it further up the ramp, as some bloodied footprints, both Human and foreign in origin, continued upwards.

    "I know you're upset, but I really wouldn't recommend that." Lily projected her avatar on the lone terminal in the middle of the corpses. "Let's just use the terminal to see what we can find, and get the others. For all we know, some Promethean did this, as those footprints don't match any known creatures."

    With a silent, frustrated nod, Blaine gently stepped over the corpse of a young child, with a stuffed rabbit clutched in his hands. He stopped, however, as his vision narrowed on one man in particular. Blaine's entire body froze at his face. He had long known the face, even after all of the years he had been a Spartan.

    Charlie's eyes were filled with fear, but not one that a betrayal or alien could provide. No, this was the fear of a man who had been stripped from someone he loves. Blaine reached down and gently closed his old childhood tormentor's eyes, as he took another painful glance around him. Among the Marines were adults all wearing the same uniform, with an insignia he hadn't seen since he had been on Reach during the War. 'Sanders' Sanctuary' was the words emblazoned on the youth's t-shirts.

    Some of them he had recognized during the rescue he had made on them during the Invasion of Reach. Others appeared to be new, younger applicants. Knowing the way the Orphanage once ran things, some of them were likely the teenagers he had saved in that invasion. The front of Blaine's helmet disassembled itself into his chest plate, as he fell to both knees, placing his right hand over his face. His DMR fell ungracefully to his left.

    "Double time it, kid." Katherine shouted in the comms. "His heart-rate just pinged KIA."

    Too upset to bother reassembling his helmet, Blaine instead said a few words of respect to the fallen, and stood. Pulling Lily's hip from his helmet, he walked over to the terminal and held her chip out to it. Lily's avatar walked out and glanced at a lone structure that was now holographically displayed in front of him and the Elite.

    Lily looked over the corpses with a gaze of remorse and shame, before turning back to the hologram behind her. With a wave of her hand, it disappeared into the book in her left hand. As she rifled through the pictures, Blaine's motion tracker pinged green behind him. Turning back, Katherine, Jorge, Summer, and Lorelei broke the forest, and, upon seeing them, made their way up the incline. Blaine's helmet reassembled itself on the front, as he held a hand out.

    The group stopped, as Blaine gestured towards Lorelei to cover Summer's eyes. With some hesitation from Summer, Lorelei managed to finally convince her to cover her eyes. The Spartans and Summer made their way up the incline, as Jorge, Katherine, and Lorelei physically flinched at the sign of the bodies. Blaine replaced Lily's chip in his helmet, to her frustration, given her face in his HUD.

    He reached down and plucked the DMR from the ground. With reinforcements at his side, he didn't need any analysis for what did this, he was going to seek their vengeance. At the top of the ramp, the massive door leading into the building opened. As the door opened, Blaine saw the bloody footprints abruptly end. At the far end of the room, Blaine saw a heavily wounded Marine bleeding profusely, yet miraculously alive. Beside him were Lucy and Blair, Lucy's daughter.

    The door's opening caused the three to flinch, not from the light trailing in. Blaine held a fist up, before sprinting over towards them. Sliding on his hip, he stopped himself short. The other Spartans behind him fanned out, while Summer, in the corner of his vision, removed the shirt from over the magnum.

    "Lucy, are you harmed?" Blaine asked, as his childhood friend's eyes widened, Blair glancing at her mother with confusion.

    "You- how did you get here?" she asked, holding her daughter closely.

    "Long story, are you harmed?"

    Lucy shook her head,  holding Blair close. Blair shook her head as Blaine's head turned to her. With a stern nod, he turned to the Marine. He was in dire shape, but he would live, given the proper treatment. Blaine pulled a can of bio-foam from his waist and applied the nozzle to a severe wound on his knee.

    "Identify yourself." Blaine spoke, as the man's face turned to one of grimace. "I'm Admiral Blaine-115."

    "Stoddard. Lance Corporal Michael Stoddard, 61st Marine Division."

    "Where were you stationed?"

    "Gwenievere, sir." Stoddard grit his teeth as the biofoam continued to do it's work. "The Prometheans showed up on the Planet's surface, the UNSC sent a contingent of us to investigate why. The situation had grown too dire, so we were busy evacuating Sanders' Sanctuary. I and many others in my division managed to get the staff and children on the first birds out."

    "Then, this weird bird like mech shows up outta the fuckin' ground." Stoddard grit his teeth. "It initiates an almost instantaneous Slipspace jump, which naturally sucked in the three Pelicans we had. Our Pelican landed not too far from here, in the forest. The other two... lost control and collided with one another not too far above our crash site. Their contents rained down on top of us, before cascading somewhere in the ocean behind this building."

    "That crash site looks several days old, but-"

    "That?" Stoddard asked, gesturing out the door they had come. "That was about a half hour ago, sir."

    "How many were there?" Blaine asked, knowing that the Marine was likely weak from blood loss.

    "Just... one." he coughed, as a little blood trickled down the corner of his mouth, before slumping his head into his chest.

    Blaine's sensors took to scanning the Marine's life-signs via the man's systems. With a shake of Blaine's head, he stood. He didn't want to bring attention of the Marine's passing. The blood loss had been much more severe than Blaine had thought, but he was glad that he was at least able to ease the suffering somewhat.

    "Alright, we're getting you three back to that Pelican." Blaine stood, again, not wanting to hint to Blair or Lucy that the Marine had died.

    "Your reputation proceeds you, One-One-Five." a mechanical, yet noble voice echoed from behind him, but it was enough to cause Lucy and Blair to flinch. "Ever the hero. Putting others besides even yourself."

    "-and just who exactly are you?" Blaine stood, turning to face the massive robot, who stood considerably taller than him.

    Pieces of the robot floated off of his appendages, which was no different from some of the Prometheans he had encountered on Requiem. This machine, however, was much more different than the others. His face was skeletal in nature, formed of many smaller pieces of metal fixed on a haunting, orange glowing plate. Each piece moved to offer him a different expression of emotion, something he had not seen in any Forerunner mech before.

    "I am the Warden Eternal. I stand in defense to the one you call Cortana."

    "Cortana." Blaine shook his head as he echoed the Warden's words.

    He recalled the look on John's face after his scuffle with the Didact over Earth's atmosphere. John had informed him that Cortana had died in the line of duty to assist him in defeating the Didact. How was it that she was still alive? Or capable of anything without being plugged in?

    "You are not the one that I wish to speak with. I seek the one they call One-One-Seven."

    "You'll be disappointed to know he isn't here." Blaine stood. "That outside, was that you?"

    "Grizzly turn of events. They, much like yourself, are trespassing on this world." the Warden's attention turned to Orange Team, who fanned out around him.

    "They were brought here, by what? Why?" Blaine pulled his DMR, but kept it at carry.

    "It would appear they came with a Guardian. Their arrival here was not pre-ordained, and they were punished for it." the Warden shook his head. "Cortana told me of you, Blaine One-One-Five. She knows of your past, that you killed that young. Such wasted life, it is confusing to believe you are troubled by the events that took place outside."

    Blaine's eyes narrowed as his heart raced in his chest. Lucy, who was also present for the event, gasped. Katherine, Lorelei, and even Jorge stood in shock, as Summer gasped, taking a step back. He had never once told Orange Team of the boy he killed in the Orphanage, and had no reason to think of it until now.

    "That was an accident, it wasn't like I planned on murdering him."

    "You relished in it, you didn't even cry for the boy."

    "That isn't-!" Blaine started, before his eyes widened and he took a step back.

    As he thought about it, he had never truly mourned or even tried to make amends for the life he had taken before he was a Spartan. Everyone that had known him, with the exception of Lucy and a handful of others, likely thought of him as a young murderer.

    Everything that he was, everything that he would be, was born on the one basis that he killed that kid at the Orphanage. It was one of the biggest reasons he had run away, aside from seeking out Morgan. His stance on protecting the innocents, founded by a man who had killed an innocent life out of spite and hatred.

    "You are but a machine of your people. You say your efforts are for the preservation of peace, but are you truly given that much free reign? Are those thoughts your own, or are they merely seeds of indoctrination that Cortana's creator instilled on you to help you forget your misdeeds?"

    "That isn't true!" Summer yelled from behind Warden Eternal, and snapping Blaine from his doubt. "I don't claim to know everything about Mr. Harlowe. However, I know that every word he's ever said, he means it all!"

    "That's r-right!" Lucy slowly began to stand, much to Blair's fear. "That incident was the result of many years of torment, if anything, that boy was far from innocent! If I know Blaine, and I like to think I do, he would give anything to bring that boy back!"

    "He cried for all of our fallen." Lorelei growled. "-and he has mourned for every life that has been lost, even those who didn't deserve it."

    "They're all right." Blaine's right hand tightened on his rifle. "My life has been built on death, but through that death, I have grown stronger. Strong enough to ensure no-one else has to suffer."

    Tensing, Blaine raised his rifle, ready to fire.

    "How dare you imply that I am a heartless murderer, when you blatantly murdered all those innocent souls out there, without even giving them a chance!" Blaine growled, firing his DMR into the Warden's face. "Lucy, Blair, take Summer and run!"

    From Blaine's bullet, while it had little effect damage wise, the Warden staggered backwards. Orange team withheld fire, as Summer met with the other two running back out the door. As soon as they cleared the room, the four members of Orange Team opened fire. The Warden growled in annoyance, as his right arm formed into a massive sword.

    His first target was Lorelei, turning towards her, he lunged with a side swipe. Diving out of the way, Lorelei growled as the blade struck her against the midsection upon recovery, popping her shield and launching her into the far wall.

    "Lorrie!" Katherine shouted, advancing and firing her shotgun into his mid-section.

    "Your efforts are notable, but irrelevant."

    With a wave of his spare hand, Warden Eternal grabbed her by the helmet and tossed her in Lorelei's direction. The two Spartans collided, knocked out cold. Jorge growled, stomping in a wide circle around Warden. Warden flinched as the bullets dented and even destroyed little bits of his armor at a time.

    Blaine knew Jorge would have little time to out-maneuver Warden should he swing his sword down. Dashing over, Blaine held up his DMR to deflect the Warden's downward slash. The weapon bent in Blaine's hands, and the force was enough to cause Blaine's teeth to grit.

    "Get the others, get to the Pelican." Blaine growled. "He's mine."

    Jorge nodded, before rushing his way over towards Lorelei and Katherine. Katherine was the first to be able to stand, opting to lift Lorelei. She gave a look over towards Blaine, as he nodded his head. She returned the nod, helping Lorelei out the door. Gritting his teeth even harder, Blaine growled.

    "I am the beacon of Hope and Peace for Humanity." Blaine growled. "Dusk to Dawn!"

    His suit vibrated as it entered Tier One of it's boost. While it wasn't enough to over power the Warden, it would give him a slight advantage in avoiding future attacks. Dashing to the side, Blaine allowed the Warden's sword to make contact with the floor, his ruined DMR clattering aside. Anch, who had been delayed, likely saying a prayer for the fallen Humans, dashed to Blaine's side.

    His energy sword ignited as he sprinted for the Warden. The Forerunner mech noticed this, bringing his sword in a wide arch towards Anch. Blaine dodged backwards to avoid the slash, Anch, however, brought his sword up and blocked the attack. The plasma of the sword sizzled, melting through the metal. The Warden, visibly and audibly pained, bellowed out an echoed voice of pain.

    Anch continued his dash, in time for Warden's left foot to come wide, and blind-side Anch's advance. The Elite was tossed backwards into Blaine, who grunted as the two crashed into the far wall. Anch crumbled to a heap at Blaine's feet, as Blaine felt a burning sensation in his left arm.

    Turning his head, the knife he had lent Anch had accidentally been sent into his left arm. Warden snickered as he slowly began to walk forward. With Anch's unconscious form covering his lower torso, Blaine growled as the suit vibrated up and into Tier 2. He had no ways of telling how he would fair strength wise now, but at least he could push Anch off with his right arm.

    With the Warden on top of him, however, Blaine was entirely at the Warden's mercy. That was, however, until the sound of a Magnum discharging echoed from behind the Warden. With a pained yell, the Warden lurched forward, before turning back to see Summer with a smoking magnum in her hands.

    "You said my mother died saving someone else's life?" Summer echoed. "Then I guess I share a lot more than just looks!"

    "Pesky youth. Your death will be painful."

    "LIKE HELL YOU WILL!" Blaine roared as he savagely ripped the knife out of his left arm.

    Warden, who had cleared some distance in his charge towards Summer, stopped in time to see Blaine's armor, which shimmered with golden energy at the seams. Blaine's body trembled, whether it was from his suit's excess energy or his own raw, almost primal emotions, was to be determined. With a grunt, Blaine dashed forwards a few feet before bounding upwards off of his right foot. The thrusters on his suit stabilized him for a moment, as he ground pound his fist into the once flawless metal of the facility.

    The building around them shook immeasurably at the Tier 4 boosted punch, the floor groaned and crunched as a sheet of the metal shot up underneath the Warden, striking him in the chin. Blaine stood from the impact, as Warden staggered backwards.

    "I won't let you kill another innocent life." Blaine huffed an puffed. "NOT AS LONG AS I'M STILL KICKING!"

    His thrusters flared into overdrive as Warden began to recover from the blow. At their fullest charge, Blaine dashed forward at almost blinding speeds. Warden, unable to track him, grunted in true pain as Blaine's mighty fist struck his midsection full force. Blow after blow met with the Warden's midsection, causing the machine legitimate pain that he had never encountered before.

    Jumping backwards, Blaine ignited the Energy Broadsword on his back. With a brief second to aim, Blaine tossed the sword with his right arm, almost like a one handed javelin (by it's hilt, of course) at Warden's face. Warden scowled in pain as the top left part of his face slagged off as the sword passed through.

    With a roar of defiance, the Warden swung down his sword arm. Blaine, with his Tier 4 enhanced reflexes, easily dodged the attack. Blaine's right fist swung up and struck Warden Eternal in his face. The force of the blow caused a considerable gust of wind to be emitted, and the mech stumbled backwards, before falling on his back.

    "Stand up you fucking casual." Blaine clenched his right hand into a fist, the popping of his knuckles echoing throughout the chamber. "I'm about to teach you just how under prepared you really are."

    A pulse of energy erupted from the Warden, one that Blaine had no chance of avoiding, knocked Blaine backwards several feet. Wires exposed on Warden's chassis sparked as he struggled to stand, his sword arm malfunctioned, reverting back to it's standard shape. Before he could stand to full height, however, Blaine made another assault.

    With his right fist, Blaine struck the Warden's severely damaged face, knocking the Warden backwards. Blaine followed up with one, two, three, then four mighty punches, each more powerful and faster than the last. Blaine jumped backwards, anticipating another pulse. With the breathing room, Warden Eternal stood once more.

    "I see now why Cortana said what she-"

    "I didn't give you permission to speak; Maggot." Blaine growled, the thrusters on his back whirring up to full speed again.

    Warden, predicting a frontal assault, braced himself. Blaine bolted forward with the artificial boost in his thrusters and the armor itself. Instead of attacking, however, Blaine slid in between the Warden's legs.  Jumping slightly, Blaine bounded off of the far wall, and using his left over momentum, threw a punch with all of his weight into the back of Warden's left leg. The metal, broken and useless, scattered, as Blaine elbowed Warden's right calf to the same effect.

    His body falling onto his knees, quite literally, Warden turned and swung his right fist at Blaine's head. Blaine quickly ducked under it, avoiding Warden's right leg as it moved too. With the same motion, Blaine's right fist slammed into Warden's right thigh, blasting the metal away. With the entirety of his right leg gone, Warden fell onto his hands and remaining knee.

    "Remember this when you get back to your nexus-" Blaine growled as he jumped into the air, his suits boost permitting him to jump much higher than normal. "This is for all of those you killed!"

    Using up the last of his boosted energy, Blaine focused it all into his right fist, which now boasted his knife, before shooting downwards into the glowing blue sphere on the Warden's back. As his golden laced fist and knife struck the blue orb, Warden's head whipped back in a mechanical scream unlike anything Blaine had heard before.

    At that moment, the orb erupted into a small Slip-space field sucking up the Warden Eternal and all of his pieces. Blaine withdrew his hand and jumped away, as the slip-space that absorbed the broken Warden exploded with energy. With the last of his Tier 4 boost depleted, Blaine waited for the inevitable suit lock up.

    Summer cheered, as Jorge and the others offered Anch a hand onto his feet. Lucy and Blair turned to look at him, as he offered them a stiff nod.

    "That reminds me Lily. It was no accident we turned up here... was it?" Blaine asked, as Lily sighed.

    "Some good news and bad news." Lily sighed. "Good news is, my rampancy has been cured."

    "-and the bad news?"

    "I have allied myself to Cortana." Lily's avatar fizzled out, as Blaine pulled the chip out of his helmet.

    Sure enough, her presence wasn't still in the chip. She was out in the terminal below. He didn't know exactly why allying herself with Cortana was a bad thing, but if she stated it was, he took her words. Whether that was a plea for help or a declaration of war, however, he didn't know.


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!


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      Current date/time is September 21st 2017, 10:44 pm