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


    To Guard Humanity

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    Manny
    Freelancer Operative

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    To Guard Humanity

    Post  Manny on April 6th 2013, 5:58 pm

    Author's note: This will be a short story... On the longer side but still short compared to full length stories.

    Private Ethan Knight had been trained for a lot of things during his time at boot camp. Things he became good at, but never initially wanted. He had been one of the brightest students in high school, and a great athlete. Life was going so well, until he had a major injury that crushed his sports dreams.

    Ethan was heart broken, but he moved on. He was still in great shape, and he wanted to do something that required someone to be fit. So he joined the Marines, feeling that the UNSC could use men like him, to fend off any Covenant remnants.

    At boot camp however, they taught him to shoot and kill human targets first. Not real human targets but the dummies were pretty close, a little too close. Ethan wondered why they would train him for that, and that's when he learned about the Insurrection.

    It had been growing civil war between rebels and the UEG, long before Ethan was even born, cut short by the Covenant threat. Ethan had just turned 18 when the Human - Covenant war was officially over, so he had no idea humans still waged war with each other. He had heard about it, but he thought they had been minor skirmishes. The number of casualties was astounding to Ethan. Throughout his whole life, the bad guys had been the Covenant.

    After becoming accustomed to the "human" dummies, Ethan had no problem against Covenant dummies. They weren't human after all, and they had tried to wipe out Humanity. Anybody who attempted that wasn't going to be welcomed with open arms by Ethan.

    During boot camp Ethan had met a lot of guys who absolutely HATED the Covenant, and he couldn't blame them. Some of them had lost entire families to it. Ethan's best pal at boot camp, Jesse, had watched his family be torn to shreds at the hands of the Brutes in New Mombassa. Although Jesse and Ethan came from entirely different backgrounds, they became the best of friends.

    Ethan had two older and younger sisters, making him the middle child. As the sole male sibling, it was up to him to look out for all his sisters. Protecting the younger ones had been fairly simple, but the older ones were quite a problem. They would always bring home a new boyfriend every two weeks, and whenever those dudes got a chance they would tell Ethan about how they were fucking his sister or something. They would start to get into details and Ethan could do nothing but listen or leave because they did it IN his house when no one was around. That really pissed him off. Eventually, after bulking up and actually making the football team, Ethan knocked one of those dudes out right there in the living room. His sisters only hated him for it, and his parents disapproved of his behaviour. His mother said she had raised him better than that, and his father told him to take those things outside. Needless to say, Ethan was constantly under pressure to live up to certain expectations and to live up to them in a certain way.

    His friend Jesse had been the youngest of five brothers, and by quite a lot. Jesse had been the surprise of the family, his youngest brother being five years older than him. They were nice with him in early childhood but as soon as he hit 13, they began to get rough, stating that he had to "man up". Jesse always had his brothers to back him up in fights, but they put down in all other areas. Jesse actually wanted to go to college and get a professional job. His brothers and parents said that was nonsense and that he would make more money by starting to work early as a construction or factory worker. His brothers offered him a "manly" job if he decided to quit being a "pussy". Jesse joined the Marines trying to get a free ride to school, since no one in his family could, or would, pay for it. That and no one could call a Marine a pussy.

    So Ethan and Jesse became more than just friends really, they were the brothers they never had. The kind that didn't put each other down and offered support. They supported each other through thick and thin.

    Another guy who hated the Covenant was their drill instructor, Duncan. Apparently he had divorced his wife after he found her cheating, and he had moved with his kids to Seattle. Then the Covenant showed up a few weeks later. Some Drones picked up his children and dropped them to their deaths while he was helpless on the ground. Ethan didn't mic else besides that.

    Ethan himself had lost a few uncles and aunts, but he rarely saw them. Even so, he didn't trust the Covenant. He could only imagine what Jesse and Duncan felt.

    Duncan was a lot harder on them during Covenant training. He would yell for every little mistake they made, screaming things about what would have happened if they had done that on the battlefield.

    Ethan made a pretty stupid mistake once, and the Drill Instructor was merciless with him. They were doing some close quarters combat, and Ethan felt pretty confident about that. Being a former football star, he was a pretty big guy. Anyways, Ethan had been running around a corner when a Brute dummy popped out of nowhere. His team mates opened fired on it while Ethan "snuck up" on it and stabbed it in the neck from behind. Ethan leapt off, satisfied with his work.

    That's when Duncan yelled.

    "YOU'RE DEAD ETHAN! DEAD! D-E-A-D, DEAD! THAT SON OF A BITCH WOULD HAVE TURNED AROUND AND CRUSHED YOU WITH BARE HANDS!" Ethan just sat there and listened to Duncan shouted some more about even the legendary Spartans were careful around Brutes, and then a jab at his ego for being a football star and how that didn't count for shit on the battlefield.

    Life went on, and Ethan got yelled at plenty more time. Of course he wasn't the only one who got yelled at but Ethan still didn't liked being singled out. Eventually though, they got over it. All of them. They started to become Marines, and not city boys. If Ethan knew one thing about life, it was that nothing was permanent. Eventually they would graduate and eventually they would bid farewell to Duncan.

    After that the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and finally they graduated boot camp. Jesse and Ethan were lucky enough to be deployed together in the following weeks.

    Ethan knew that it wouldn't last, nothing did. He just didn't expect it to end so quickly.
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    Manny
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    Re: To Guard Humanity

    Post  Manny on April 7th 2013, 12:36 pm

    It had been two months since Ethan had graduated boot camp, and the bond between him and Jesse had only grown stronger. Ethan had been inspired by Jesse to do something with his life than just stay with the Marines. Eventually Ethan was going to get old, and he'd have to find another job. So Ethan began to brush up on his math skills to get an engineering degree at college. He figured that mechanical and electrical engineers were in high demand due to the rebuilding efforts all across the colonies.

    But today, Ethan's mind was not focused on college. Ethan and Jesse were crouched down behind a slab of concrete, popping out to kill some Grunts every now and then. Jesse was an expert with his magnum, killing Grunts in one shot. Ethan on the other hand was not so good with his magnum at long range. It usually took him two or three shots to down a grunt. Ethan knew he had to stay back and, according to Jesse, using their magnums on the little guys would save ammo for the bigger ones.

    They were evacuating some civilians, and these Brutes came out of nowhere, literally. They just came out of thin air, surrounding the Pelicans, marines, and civilians. The Pelicans were hit first by a barrage of what Ethan assumed were grenades. Large, black, and shaped somewhat like drumsticks, they stuck to the Pelicans and exploded. Spikes flew everywhere, impaling the civilians and marines closest to the Pelicans. The cockpits were torn to shreds, rending the aircraft inoperable.

    "Jesse run!" Ethan shouted, while leading a family away. The father had a magnum, and was using it to deter any Brutes that came too close. Ethan helped the man as best as he could, even throwing a grenade at two Brutes who had tripped over each other. Ethan could see Jesse running towards them at full speed, his assault rifle in his hands. When Jesse got there, Ethan threw him a magazine for his rifle and the small group ran ahead. The next LZ was about 5 blocks away, so they should get there if they stayed ahead if the Brutes.

    That was only an if though, and sure enough, Brutes were already at the second evacuation zone. The mother of the little girl covered her child's eyes to prevent her from seeing the massacre. Jesse looked away, not being able to see more people being torn apart while he could do nothing.

    Ethan decided to try the next evacuation point. Somebody had to be able to repel these things. He lead the group through some back alleys, staying clear of the main streets where the Covenant were starting to drop off regular infantry.

    Ethan ran around a corner, getting closer to the objective... And quite close to the Brute. He practically ran into the invisible thing, causing it to turn around and roar. Ethan fired without thinking, the bullets travelling into its open mouth.

    "Yeah! Eat lead bitch!" Ethan shouted before Jesse did so as well. However, Jessie's shouts were not celebratory. Caught from behind, Jesse had been lifted by a Brute. Two claws were dug into each of his shoulders, and they began to tear.

    It all seemed so slow to Ethan, but it was actually only a few seconds in real time. He didn't even get the chance to say goodbye. Ethan stood there in shock for about a half second before opening fire. The father of the family tried to run away with his wife an daughter, but Brutes travelled in packs.

    They had taught Ethan that at boot camp, but it didn't click until he saw the little girl fly violently into a concrete wall, a terrible snapping noise coming from her little body and a behemoth appear out of nowhere.

    As expected, her father went nuts with his magnum, but it proved no match for the thing's power armour. The Brute tore through the man like tissue, and then proceeded to do the same with his wife who had run to comfort her child, going so far as to retrieve the girl's teddy bear.

    And what was Ethan doing during all this? He had dropped a grenade underneath the gloating bastard that had ripped Jesse in two. Sure enough the dumb shit didn't realize it and received serious wounds. Ethan was merciful enough to put it out of its misery.

    But he made the grave error of turning his back to the second Brute. Ethan turned around just in time to step back from a swipe of the Brute's claws, but the nails still cut his chest with enough force to knock him down.

    Ethan scrambled to draw his magnum but the Brute swatted the fire arm out of his hands. Grabbing a slab of broken concrete the Brute lifted it above his head. He was going to smash Ethan to death.

    Was going to. The Brute never got around to it. The slab of concrete fell to its side as the Brute grasped it's neck, trying to plug a fountain of spurting blood.

    Ethan looked around, watching this Brute being attacked by something. Suddenly, the Brute's neck was jerked back but most of it came off the torso, leaving behind a massive mess of blood. The Brute fell to the ground dead, and from behind it a man appeared out of thin air, like the Brutes.

    A Spartan to be exact. This Spartan wore black armour, some of it looked like ODST armour, except for the red visor. The Spartan was greeted by a chorus of roars and even Ethan knew that a Spartan could only last so long against a horde of those things.

    But today, everybody on the battlefield had decided to become invisible. A group of about 20 Spartans materialized behind the black and red one, all of them opening fire without a word. The ones at the very back were using Stanchion sniper rifles, which tore through the Brutes like nothing. Not much can stand up to a Gauss round after all.

    Dazed and bleeding out, Ethan watched as the Spartans made short work of the Brutes. He saw some approach him, two of them starting to preform first aid on him. That was of minor interest to Ethan though. He sat there watching the black and red armoured one, ordering the rest of the Spartans to make sure each Brute was dead. They obeyed without question, going through the corpses and putting a bullet through the head of each one.

    The most interesting thing Ethan saw before blacking out was the black armoured leader walk towards the little girl's broken body.

    "MEDIC!" The leader shouted, and immediately a Spartan rushed to his side. Ethan couldn't hear what the medic told him but clearly the leader didn't like it.

    "THAT'S AN ORDER!" He shouted.

    "I don't have a choice, and neither do you. It's too late. There are some things that can't be fixed... I'm sorry sir," the medic said walking away. Ethan put the pieces together.

    The little girl was dying, the force of the impact causing massive internal damage. All the Spartan could do was hold the dying girl in his arms.

    Ethan was too far away to hear the girl, but he saw the Spartan shake his head "no". Maybe she had been asking if her parents were alright. Ethan didn't ponder the situation too much.

    The next thing the Spartan did was take off his helmet, but Ethan could only see the back of his black haired head. The Spartan didn't do much after that. After a while, he bowed his head and put on his helmet. He got up, laying the girl on the floor. Ethan had seen enough dead bodies to know the child had died, but she was missing something. Her teddy bear. Ethan's eyes scanned for it, and he found it in the trembling left hand of the Spartan.

    Two of his subordinates approach him, dragging a Chieftain by its arms. Ethan could see that the knees were bent at bizarre angles, and so were its elbows. The Chieftain was still alive, brought in for questioning no doubt.

    The black armoured Spartan simply nodded and the Spartans dropped the Brute like a sack of meat. The Brute attempted to speak in English, but the Spartan simply punched the Brute across the face. Then the Spartan did it again... And again and again. He continued to do so, no shouts or yells except for the Brute's. All that could be heard from the Spartan was his fist smashing into the Brute's face.

    Then Ethan blacked out.
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    Manny
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    Legionnaire in the Making

    Post  Manny on April 17th 2013, 10:55 pm

    Was going to wait until I had at least two chapters in advance... But due to the slow pace of thing, I suppose a one chapter buffer is alright.

    After Jesse's death he did some research into who those people that saved him were. He had noticed small little red flags painted onto the arms of each Spartan's armour. It reminded him of a pirate flag, except with a different skull and swords. The background was red and the symbol black, which matched the colouring of whom he had assumed was the leader.

    For once in his life, the Internet provided no concrete answers. So he had to ask around. He had a friend who had a spook for a friend. So he managed to contact this spook and sure enough, he learned about the Legion.

    After reading their doctrine, and seeing the pay, Ethan transferred from the Marines into the Legion. He was now a mercenary under ONI employment.

    Legionnaires were expected to be warriors of the highest caliber, so the majority were Spartans. However the Legion needed more numbers of Humans, so they began to recruit regular personnel to fight. That didn't mean they went easy on them.

    Recruits were trained for six months in a program that resembled that of the Spartan program. Most recruits were already soldiers and in good physical shape, so they could begin with harder tasks. They were forced to eat strict diets though, so no alcohol or junk food. Tactics were reviewed and new tactics were taught. Training in Covenant weaponry was also provided, which was a shocker to everybody there. Training in the driving of various military vehicles was also provided, but for most recruits it was just practice, except for the Ghosts and Choppers. Needless to say, the alien portion of training was the hardest.

    Academic classes were taken as seriously as physical training. A pass was an 80% and recruits were taught basic physics, calculus, chemistry, biology, and vehicle mechanics. Advanced algebra military history, and English were added onto these, but only a 75% was required to pass these courses. If you didn't pass ONE of the courses, you had to redo the WHOLE training program again, both academic and physical. It was quite a motivator to pass.

    Then there was The Doctrine, which was central to them and every recruit was expected to memorize the code of conduct within it. Ethan agreed with a lot of the points in the book actually. The former Covenant was not something people should be trusting so easily.

    After the six months, most Legionnaires were in the best shape they had ever been in. There was one last step however, augmentations. Ethan had heard about how Spartans trained for years and were later augmented. He'd also been hearing about a new generation of Spartans, those who could be augmented as adults. Ethan wasn't sure if that's what they were meant to become. The job description didn't say anything about Spartans... then again he didn't exactly read all the fine print in his contract.

    The recruits stood there, watching a very tall man walk into the room. Wearing an officer's uniform of some sort and having a sword at his side made Ethan think he was stuck in the past.

    The man looked at the crowd, his eerie red eyes seemingly peering into their very souls.

    "I am Walter A. Law, or "War" as many people know me by." Ethan now understood the double meaning of "The Legion of War". It was this guy's personal army. The UNSC served the UEG, who in turn served Humanity. The Legion served one man... And Ethan wondered what would happen if he sided with the Innies but War was adamant about protecting Humanity. The Doctrine supported this, so Ethan put that concern in the back of his mind. War's voice brought him back to the present moment.

    "Today you have all proven yourself to be both mentally and physically strong. Today you will undergo augmentations, but do not think these increase your abilities. No, these augmentations simply allow you reach your full potential. The augmentations do not define the warrior, the human defines the warrior. You have all proven yourselves worthy of the name 'Legionnaire'".

    Ethan smiled at this. He had heard being a Legionnaire was tough, and it was. There were times were he thought he wouldn't make it through training.

    "These augmentations are a stepping stone. Before I explain, allow me to give you a brief history lesson. Spartans, such as the famous Master Chief, are not the first attempt to create super soldiers. There was another project, informally known as the 'Spartan I' program, and their augmentations are what you will receive today.

    Prove yourself on the battlefield, and perhaps you too can receive the title of Spartan with FULL augmentation!" War bellowed, the recruits saluting him. The "Spartan I" program was news to Ethan, but he didn't question it, ONI did a lot of shady things. This was a new beginning. Starting today, Ethan would take the first step in helping secure Humanity's safety.
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    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: To Guard Humanity

    Post  Bad John on April 18th 2013, 9:07 am

    ALGEBRA?!

    NO ALCHOHOL?!!

    War has gone too far! D:<

    Lolgoodchapter.
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    Manny
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    Re: To Guard Humanity

    Post  Manny on April 18th 2013, 11:55 pm

    Bad John wrote:ALGEBRA?!

    NO ALCHOHOL?!!

    War has gone too far! D:<

    Lolgoodchapter.
    lol.

    Legionnaires give up many things...for the glory of Humanity.

    You know...the more I think about it...the Legion could be some kind of precursor to the Imperium of Man or something.

    With thousands and thousands of years in between obviously.
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    Bad John
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    Re: To Guard Humanity

    Post  Bad John on April 19th 2013, 12:01 am

    I'm just worried about the imbalance in power nowadays.

    The Freelancers have a solid combat roster and all, but they only have about 100 or so full blooded Spartans, and most of them are Response Teams for emergencies. The rest of the FL combat force is normal humans.

    Y'all got the Black Guard, and hundreds of augmented legionnaires, all with the opportunity to receive Spartan IV augments. O_o
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    Manny
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: To Guard Humanity

    Post  Manny on April 19th 2013, 12:52 am

    Well... unlike Bailey, War has had CENTURIES to expand his financial empire.

    Simply put, he has more money and due to his war like nature he happily spends a large amount of it on military research. ONI happily supports this as well, since the two are similar in their views on Humanity. Don't trust the former Covenant client species.

    Anyways, the Black Guard aren't anything super special. They're more tolerant to pain, and somewhat stronger than the average human...but they lack any sophisticated intelligence.

    I imagine the ferals as attack dogs really. Vicious and loyal, but not all too bright.

    The refined ones...well this story will explain that some more.

    Either way, the Black Guard fill the same role as the Grunts did in the Covenant: cannon fodder.

    As for regular personnel... as you can see it's no easy feat to pass training and even then they are given measly Spartan I augments. Sargent Johnson was a Spartan I...perhaps the biggest benefit I see is being immune to Flood infection.

    Basically Legion Boot Camp REALLY differentiates between "good" and "great". Which is why pay is high, but numbers are nowhere near the numbers of the UNSC Marines.

    But War sets out to build an army. He knows he can't win by pure numbers alone, the UNSC is too large. But if he can increase the quality of his soldiers, it would be like having massive amounts of regular human soldiers. Which is why even the lowest ranking personnel are still great soldiers by average standards and are able to "upgrade" into a Spartan IV.

    But the UNSC still has the advantage of numbers and space superiority.
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    Manny
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: To Guard Humanity

    Post  Manny on June 7th 2013, 12:48 am

    Ethan had gone through what was perhaps the most painful experience of his life. Augmentations. FULL augmentations. The kind that made someone a full fledged Spartan, able to wear MJOLNIR and compete with the legends past. Ethan could be like his war time hero, the Master Chief. A hero for Humanity.

    Ethan was beaming with pride at being given the chance to be a Spartan. To become one of the greatest soldiers Humanity had. A protector of Humanity, and a "Demon" to its enemies.

    Ethan walked into the armoury where he saw various Spartan IVs gearing up to go on missions or having their armour removed as they returned from them. Needless to say, Ethan was quite excited at the prospect of working alongside his fellow Spartans.

    "This'll be your armoury unit, Ethan" the women beside him said. Ethan turned to see his guide, Selena De Leon. Her helmet was in her hand, exposing her face. He looked at her skin, trying to guess her ethnicity and to give him something to talk about rather than just what he was supposed to know.

    "If you step onto the platform, you can go ahead and get a feel for your armour," Selena suggested. Ethan stepped forward, still trying to think of a way to chalk up a conversation.

    The machine did its work as Ethan watched. When the device spun him around and suspended him in mid air, Ethan smiled like a boy on a ride. He was enjoying this very much.

    Eventually the device finished, and Ethan looked out through his helmet. He could see fairly well, the HUD not so different from what was installed onto the LHTH he was issued previously.

    "Interesting..." Selena mused as she looked at Ethan's armour. Ethan looked down at it, noticing the main colour, black.

    "What?" Ethan asked through his recruit helmet.

    "It's black like yours, so what?" He added.

    "It's all black, and you might want to take a look at the visor..." She replied. Ethan obliged and took of his recruit helmet. Ethan was taken aback by it, immediately recalling the Spartan who beat the Chieftain to death the day Jesse died. The visor was red, much like the Spartan's.

    "Isn't this like that one guy's?" Ethan asked.

    "'That one guy's'. Yeah totally Ethan, that one guy. I totally know who you're talking about," Selena replied.

    "Like..." Ethan started.

    "I'm kidding Ethan! There's only one man who wears those colours," Selena said, spotting the man she was talking about on the far end of the armoury. He stood there, arms crossed, conversing with... War himself.

    "His," Ethan nodded at the Spartan.

    "Yeah,"

    "Does he have a name?" Ethan asked.

    "Manuel I believe it is. He goes by 324 though," Selena answered.

    "Why?" Ethan asked. What was up with the number?

    "Spartan IIs and IIIs have numbers attached to the end of their names. His is 324, and he'd prefer that his subordinates refer to him as such,"

    "Weird," Ethan said, stepping away from his armour unit.

    "Tell me about it," Selena replied, rolling her eyes. Clearly she wasn't a fan of calling people by numbers either.

    "So... Anything else I should know?" Ethan asked.

    "I'll show you where the simulation room is... Mr. Knight," Selena grinned, and so did Ethan. He understood whom she meant to imitate. From the few times he had heard War speak, he always referred to people as such.

    They walked down a series of hallways until they got to a large gateway. Selena put her eye in front of a scanner, and then placed her finger on another. The doorway opened up and the pair walked through to the second gateway. There were two grey Spartans, far taller than either Spartan IV.

    They were about the same height as the Spartans Ethan saw that fateful day. They were Spartan IIs, the most legendary of all the Spartan generations.

    “Halt. Identification?” one of them asked, stepping forward.

    “Selena de Leon, Spartan IV,” Selena said pulling out a chip. The hologram from the grey Spartan’s TACPAD produced Selena’s profile, which included everything from her date of birth to her most recent operations. The liberation of New York was among them.

    “Purpose?” the Spartan asked.

    “Escort Spartan recruit Ethan Knight to the simulation room for registration and tutorials” Selena said, giving the chip to the Spartan, who plugged it into his TACPAD. Some green lights went off, which Ethan assumed meant that everything went fine.

    “You are clear to go,” the Spartan replied stepping back as his companion typed in a code to open the doors. They slid open and Selena walked into, looking behind to make sure Ethan was following.

    They walked into a room full of monitors that depicted what happened within the various training areas and series of vital signs. He could see some Spartans fighting off Insurrectionists in a fairly cruel manner. They were being used as live meat shields, discarded when they were riddled with far too many bullets holes. Ethan looked at another monitor to see a squad of Spartans take down a Chieftain, working in unison like a pack of wolves. Ethan wondered what he'd be doing today.

    "So now what?" Ethan asked.

    "We register you," Selena said stepping into a fairly small room. Ethan followed and found what looked like a cryo tube.

    "Just step in there, and let the machine do its thing," Selena told him. Ethan got in, and the tube closed around him. Beams of light shot out from the walls of the container, scanning him thoroughly.

    “Scanning complete, exit the pod,” an A.I. ordered. Ethan stepped out, somewhat caught of guard by the commanding A.I. because they were usually so polite or willing to serve.

    “Thanks, Leo” Selena said to whom Ethan assumed was the A.I.

    “It’s my duty, not a favour. No need to thank me,” the A.I appeared, revealing itself to be nothing more than a simple Legionnaire, like Ethan used to be. He observed the way it stood, rifle at the ready, safeties always off. Whoever programmed this A.I. got even the details right.

    “Alright, let’s break him into the system shall we?” Selena asked, putting on her helmet. Ethan looked at her, and then the A.I.

    “Are we running a sim?” Ethan asked.

    “Indeed you are Spartan! Alright, let’s see...” The A.I. said stroking its holographic goatee. Ethan assumed that the gesture was its way of going through thousands of files and trying to put a simulation together.

    “With all the buzz about Requiem, and the intel that’s come back, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to prepare for Promethan hostiles. We’ll start out with something simple; artifact recovery. They don’t seem to be very good at sharing, so let’s working on stealing their stuff. You two ready?” the A.I. asked.

    Selena nodded and so did Ethan despite being a little nervous. He’d fought every Covenant species except the Prophets, who weren’t known for their combat abilities. Now he was in for a whole new world of pain.

    Ethan barrel stuffed the roaring Promethan with his shotgun and opened fire, quickly silencing his enemy. Selena was almost done her job, which was picking up the "artifact" and sneaking out of there while Ethan ran distraction.

    "Ethan I have the package, I'm heading to the rendezvous point,"

    "Roger that," Ethan grunted as he dodge the blast of an Inceniration cannon. He could see Battlewagons making their way towards him. If he'd learned anything in past hour, it was that Battlewagons meant shit was about to go down.

    Ethan fired a few shotgun shells at the crawlers coming his way before running out of ammo. Ethan turned to run, but found himself face to face with a Knight. Without thinking, Ethan grabbed the gun like a club and smashed the Knight's faceplate in. The Knight shook it head and looked up, but Ethan was already long gone.

    The sound of a warthog starting up could be heard, drawing the Knight's attention. It turned around to look and saw the human vehicle rolling away before being shot in the face by a gauss round.

    "Drive faster!" Selena shouted to Ethan.

    "What for?!" He shouted.

    "They teleport!" She replied, just as a Battlewagon appeared in front of them. Selena swung the turret around to fire, exchanging blows with the Promethan. The Guass round tore through the Promethan, reducing it to nothing but flakes of hard light. The Incineration cannon had returned the favour, reducing the front of the Warthog to molten metal and ejecting the vehicle's passengers.

    Ethan got up on his knees, dazed and confused as lights of blue appeared around him. As his vision cleared a little, just enough to realize they were Promethan Knights.

    "Aw shit" Ethan muttered as one took a step forward with its scattershot. He could hear Selena saying something in the background.

    "New ally," the A.I. announced seconds before the Knight fired. Ethan winced but the shot never hit home.

    The gun had been slapped away, and something severed the Knight's head. It's fellow knights aimed at the spot where their ally had fallen, unsure of when to fire. The nearest two were sliced in half, before a black and red Spartan materialized out of nowhere, swinging some kind of trident by the end of its shaft.

    The Knights behind him were distracted by Selena, who opened fire with her DMR. She rolled out of the way of an incoming barrage of suppersor fire, finishing of one knight.

    "Ethan wake up!" Selena shouted, snapping Ethan out of his daze. Ethan got up, but before he could do anything a trident was lanced through the last Knight's head. Selena reloaded her rifle, and depolarized her visor to look at Ethan. He returned her stare, unsure of what she was trying to say with her facial expression. She seemed worried.

    "Focus next time," came a voice from behind Ethan, a leg shoving into his shoulder.

    "Hey, watch-" Ethan began, stopping when he realized who he was talking to. The Spartan had stopped, almost as if to see if Ethan would finish his sentence.

    "Watch what?" The infamous general asked.

    "Watch... Your back not mine..." Ethan said defeated. What could he say to the man in charge of all the Legion's military assests, second only to War himself?

    "You two were doing very well. I didn't want to see it end because you didn't know Promethans could teleport," The larger Spartan replied.

    "Thanks, I guess" Ethan replied.

    "Don't forget it. If this had been a real mission, you could have died. Real Spartans don't die on their knees,"

    "Yes sir," Ethan answered. Selena said nothing.

    "Alright end the simulation Leo, this mission is pretty much over. The extraction point was only fifty metres away anyways. I've seen what I needed to see,"

    "Will do general," The AI replied. The walls became dark and grey again, the three Spartans standing still. The general, Manuel-324, exited without a word.

    "What's his problem?" Ethan asked, approaching Selena.

    "Not sure, but I get the feeling he was watching our whole sim. Was he Leo?" Selena asked.

    "I'm not authorized to discuss the General's activities," the AI answered.

    "Might as well be a yes," Selena muttered as she and Ethan exited the simulation room. Ethan was bitter and frustrated. He wouldn't be making those mistakes again. He'd become a real Spartan, better than any of those older models. They'd see. They'd ALL see what it meant to be a Spartan.

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      Current date/time is November 19th 2017, 1:43 am