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

    Past of 324

    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1365
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 23
    Location : The Great White North (Canada)

    Past of 324

    Post  Manny on January 17th 2013, 11:06 pm

    Author's Note:
    This is a story about Spartans being used for evil rather than good. I thought it would be interesting to explore the possibility of Spartans committing crimes rather than heroic deeds. Soldiers today aren't always the "good guys" and human nature never changes. So what's to say that Spartans can't be used the same way? It would be easier in fact, since the Spartan program practically brainwashes children. Of course the UNSC does this for the sake of humanity, but who's to say that someone else couldn't do it with the intent of evil? I set about to explore that possibility.

    Classify this as non-canon if you wish, but for one reason or another my fellow writers here have taken a liking to it and have even included aspects of my story in theirs.

    Prologue: The Not so Secret Program

    Abandoned Base
    November, 2536

    Two men sat alone in a dark room, the only source of light being the lone light bulb above their heads. The windows were shut and the blinds were pulled down. The room smelled mouldy and dust could be seen in the light bulb's rays. Between them was a table and no other furniture, apart from the two chairs they were sitting on.

    On one end of the table stood a tall, muscular, blond haired man with red eyes. He must have been about in his late twenties or so. He looked at the man across from him, a Caucasian, black haired, blue eyed man. He was dressed in the outfit of an ONI agent, but he wasn't at ONI. They were no where near ONI, and if things had gone according to plan, ONI didn't even know they were here. They sat in silence for a while until the blond one spoke.

    "Did you get it?" he asked.

    The other man remained silent.

    "Well did you?"


    "Both of them?"


    "Then why the hesitation?"

    "What are you going to do with it?" the smaller, black haired man asked.

    "Nothing of importance. No one has to know. In fact I doubt anyone will. If you did everything I told you to, ONI probably doesn't even know that this meeting is taking place" the blonde haired man said. He then grabbed a large black, metal, suitcase and put it onto the table. Opening it, he revealed 5 000 000 cR. Quite a bribe indeed.

    "I've upheld my side of the bargain, and now you must uphold yours." the blonde man replied, a hint of annoyance in his voice.

    The other man slid a folder across the desk. The blonde man received it, and slid the suitcase towards the ONI agent.

    "Everything you need is in there for both programs. Names, pictures, dates, videos. Everything. Every document, paper, file, and recording available. This stuff wasn't easy to get, I was essentially risking my life. But here it is, all of it. Can I go now?" the ONI agent asked, clearly uneasy.

    "No not yet. Are the recruiting methods and training schedules here?" the blonde man asked.

    "Yes. I told you everything is in there. I did that on purpose to avoid any more questions from you. Please can I just go now?" he asked once again.

    "Excellent..." the blond man said, practically purring at this point. For once in his life, he was genuinely pleased. Closing the folder he looked up.

    "Those 5 million credits should be enough for you start over and live in luxury. If you choose to spend it all, that is not my problem. Invest it in something, or work... it won't last forever you know." he cautioned the agent.

    "Yeah I know. ONI won't be on my back right?" he asked.

    "ONI will never know. Even if they did, I would send you protection. I take care of my own. I will however require all your information to be able to assist you, should the impossible become reality." the blonde man said, sliding a car over the table.

    "That is where you can find me. I do hope you will cooperate. If not I will find you anyways, but let's hope it doesn't come to that, shall we?" he said smiling.

    The agent knew there was nothing friendly about that smile. All he wanted to do was leave.

    "Yeah no worries. I'll send you everything. Just keep ONI off my back." he said getting up to leave. Right before he was going to walk out the door the other man stood up.

    "It was nice doing business with you brother." he said. The agent shivered, shook his head, and walked away trying not to think about what he had done.

    The blonde man was left all alone in the dark shady room. Looking at the he read two words that would accomplish his dark dreams: SPARTAN PROGRAM.
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1365
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 23
    Location : The Great White North (Canada)

    Chapter 1: Blitzkreig

    Post  Manny on January 17th 2013, 11:16 pm

    This song is what I was trying to recreate in terms of feeling. Tell me if I did ok, or what I could work on.

    Insurrectionist Base
    January 15, 2546

    Melissa was overjoyed today because today she would see her husband again after months of him fighting on the front lines for the Insurrection. In her arms she held a 4 month old baby, who looked just like his father. Melissa smiled imagining the look on her husband's face when he saw his boy for the first time.

    The day was perfect as well. The sun was out, she sky was clear, and it was very warm. A perfect day for a picnic and that was exactly was going to happen. Melissa and her baby weren't the only ones waiting for family members to return, and after the troops got back the Insurrection planned to have a communal picnic. Today was going to be a day to remember.

    Then there it was. The Insurrection pelicans could be seen approaching the landing pad. All the families there waited with baited breath, waiting for their loved ones to exit the pelicans. When they finally did, they waved at the crowd jogging up to their families to see them. Not all reunions were happy though; some were informed that their loved ones had been killed on the battlefield. However the Insurrection supported its followers and quickly fellow families comforted those who had lost their loved ones to the UNSC.

    As Melissa looked around she couldn't find her husband and started worrying that perhaps he didn't make it out alive. Suddenly she spotted him among the throng of soldiers and shouted out his name.

    "Henry!" Melissa shouted.

    Henry looked away from the soldier he had been talking with, excused himself, and jogged over to Melissa. Melissa had tears of joy in her eyes and hugged Henry with one arm. Henry hugged her back, kissed her, and stepped back. Melissa held out the bundle of joy to Henry and he took it. Holding the child in his arms he smiled the biggest smile of his life.

    "What have you named him?" Henry asked.

    "Nothing yet, I've been waiting for you to come home." Melissa replied.

    "Well then, how about Charles?" Henry asked.

    "Charles. I think that's a good name"

    "Then it's settled. His name is Charles." Henry said smiling before kissing his wife again. As the couple with their baby were about to leave for the picnic Henry saw something in the sky, something that was approaching fast. As they got closer Henry could hear the whine of engines and that's when he suddenly realized what the objects in the sky were.

    "EVERYBODY GET OUT OF HERE! IT'S A BOMBING RUN!!!" Henry yelled out. The Insurrection soldiers moved quickly to evacuate their families but not quickly enough. Henry grabbed Melissa and ran with them as fast as he could to the exit of the base.

    Five Spartan II's sat in a falcon watching the mayhem occur below. Three were seated while the other two manned the turrets firing at any Insurrection soldiers that were brave enough to shoot down a Falcon with an assault rifle.

    The leader wore mainly red armour with a few white stripes. His helmet was that of an ODST's as were his shoulder pads. He wore a tactical/patrol chest piece, complete with the scarf like object near the neck. He had a tac pad on his right arm and was explaining the mission to his squad when someone cut him off.

    "War is one -blam!- genius. Blitzkrieg the damn base! Why didn't we think of that! It's a whole hell lot easier on us. We just go in, shoot some poor suckers up, get what we need, and leave. None of that stealth bull -blam!-" another Spartan said. This one had brown and yellow armour and was one of the more bulky Spartans of the group. His helmet was of the Grenadier variant, his shoulders the EVA variant, and his chest piece the HP/Parafoil variant. He was the demolitions expert of the group, not that it meant much. All of the Spartans in the group were equally capable of performing any task; their roles all depended on personal taste.

    "Yes Jakob, if you want to put it that way. Next time however, do not interrupt me while I'm speaking" the red armoured Spartan spoke.

    "You think just because you're the boss that you can-"

    "HEY! You heard the man! You even said so yourself, he's the boss. So just shut the -blam!- up!" the third Spartan spoke, clearly the second in command. This one was had an operator helmet on, commando shoulder pads, and a breacher chest piece, complete with the collar. His armour was white and yellow, and his visor was gold as well.

    "Thank you Miguel." The leader said.

    "No problem hermano" Miguel said to his best friend in the whole world. He would do anything for him, and would always stick up for him. It was the way Hispanics treated their friends.

    "Sorry boss" Jakob said. "I'm just itching for a fight you know?"

    "No problem. You can yell all you want when we get down there. It'll be hard to hear with the long swords still bombing the place" the leader said.

    "Hey, we got civilians down there!" an ice blue and steel grey armoured Spartan said in a French Canadian accent. This one wore a CQC helmet, standard Mark V shoulder pads, and a breacher chest piece just like Miguel's.

    "How many Claude?" the leader asked.

    "A lot, too many to count! I think there may be more than the soldiers!" Claude replied firing his turret.

    "What do we do about them?" the final Spartan said. He had brown and grey armour and it made him look angry all the time. He had a JFO helmet, operator shoulder pads, and the HP/Halo chest piece.

    "Kill them" a voice said from Manuel's tac pad. It was War, the owner of the private company of Spartans to which this squad belonged to.

    His hologram appeared revealing a man of German descent. He had blond hair, white skin, was about 6'5, and well built. The strangest feature about him was his eyes. They were red, something most humans didn't have. The man seemed to about 35, but he spoke as if he was much, much older.

    "You will kill these civilians and this base will be reduced to rubble. In fact once you are done here, I will have clean up crews come in and remove the debris. There is to be no witness left behind, and no evidence. Once we are done here gentlemen, no one will know this base existed. Any questions?" War asked folding his arms across his chest.

    "What about security tapes?" the leader asked.

    "They will be erased by the clean up crews. All you have to worry about is getting what I need out of there by any means possible. Remember gentlemen, we are not the military, so nothing you commit will be classified as a war crime." War stated reassuring the Spartans that they were allowed to do as they pleased.

    "Anything?" Andrew asked. The leader looked at him.

    "Anything but that." War stated, clearly guessing the dirty thoughts going through Andrew's mind.

    "It would take too long to remove your armour and who would put it back on? You?" War scoffed.

    "Someone of your intellect wouldn't be able to put something as complex as your armour back together. You mountain idiot!" War said. Andrew simply stayed quiet, ignoring War's remark about his background. He had grown up in a small town up in the Mountains of British Columbia, Canada on Earth. No one questioned War's authority unless he asked for your opinion and even then you had to be careful around him.

    The falcon touched down and Claude and Andrew started to gun down those who strayed too close. The leader sat there wondering what would happen on this mission.

    "Is that all we should know?" the red armoured Spartan asked.

    "Yes it is. And remember: "no survivors, no prisoners, no mercy" War said before his hologram disappeared.

    "Let's move!" the leader ordered his squad as they all moved out covering each other. The leader pulled out a DMR, Miguel pulled out two sub machine guns, Claude had an assault rifle, Andrew was shooting his prototype battle rifle, and Jakob had a shotgun.

    Jakob shot an unarmed man running by in the leg. The pellets completely destroyed the limb but the man also had pieces of shrapnel in torso. The man screamed in pain before Jakob took his head off with another shot.

    The red Spartan observed the damage done by the bullet. They were using expanding bullets first developed by the British Empire in mid 1870's. They were eventually banned because they were deemed too cruel. War however didn't care about rules and improved the design of the bullets. He called them shrapnel rounds, and the name was quite fitting.

    He snapped back to attention and shot a charging soldier in the neck, watching the bullet explode and take out the man's eyes as well. He saw a couple trying to flee and took very careful aim. He had a shot and squeezed the trigger, taking off the man's head. The women seemed unarmed by the shrapnel, and the Spartan felt relieved on the inside. He was quite uneasy with the orders War had given him.

    Suddenly the woman was gunned down by Claude who simply laughed at her demise.

    "Are you blind? She was right there!" Claude said as he killed another couple.

    Suddenly a twelve year old boy with a shotgun charged the red Spartan.

    "THAT WAS MY FATHER!" he yelled as he aimed the shot gun. The leader was unsure of what to do, so Miguel did it for him.

    The child was ripped apart by the hail of bullets streaming out from Miguel's sub machine guns. The leader simply stared at the corpse.

    "Pay attention next time boss" Miguel said as he continued to massacre the civilians. The leader shot a few more armed soldiers until he realized he was out of soldiers to shot at. Now it was either shoot the civilians, or face War for disobeying his orders.

    Suddenly some soldiers ran out of the base and returned fire. The squad took cover behind crates and Insurrection pelicans. It seems like the universe smiled upon him today.

    They could barely hear each other as the long swords continued their bombing run, determined to destroy all the building.

    "Grenades!" the leader barked out over the scream of the longswords. Once all the acknowledgement lights went off in his helmet the leader looked at his squad mates. He held up three fingers and slowly put them down. Once his hand was a fist he nodded and all five Spartans threw their grenades in sync.

    The squad moved forward firing their weapons as their leader gave them the order to advance with arm gestures. The soldiers that weren't killed or maimed were gunned down. They didn't even stand a chance.

    That's when the general of the base came out, their objective. He had lots of body armour on, an Insurrection juggernaut equipped with an LMG and riot shield on his back. He had a few special Insurrection soldiers protecting him. When they saw the Spartans, they ran for their lives.

    The chase was on; the Spartans shot, punched, knifed, and put down all resistance in their way. It didn't matter to them if they were civilians or not. The leader shot a few of the escorts in the neck, tearing their heads off. They were approaching an armoured Warthog, and the leader knew he couldn't fail War. There were no second chances with him.


    Jackob did as he was told and grabbed the gun off the ground. Firing it straight at the warthog he EMP'ed it. Firing again he blew it up this time. The Spartans walked up to the Warthog pulling out their magnums, also armed with shrapnel rounds. A few soldiers were weak and begged for mercy, only to be answered by gunshots. Miguel found the general, his body armour all ripped up.

    "Hey! I found him!" Miguel said tossing the man towards the leader. The man tried reaching for a magnum on the ground, only to have his wrist stomped on.

    "ARRRGGGHHHHH" the general yelled as his wrist was slowly crushed by red Spartan.

    "Tell me now, where is it?" the leader asked quite menacingly.

    "Where is what?" the general said.

    "You think we're stupid? You're in charge of this place. Tell us where it is NOW." The leader said as he shot the man in the arm, the shrapnel tearing through the entire limb.

    "Where's what? I honestly don't know" the general said, pleading for his life.

    The leader nodded at Jakob, who pulled out a long serrated knife. Jakob drove it into the man's thigh and pulled it down a little.

    "Every time you don't answer a question, he'll tear that knife down farther through you leg. Comprende?" the leader asked.

    The man simply nodded in fear.

    "So where is the 'thing' you owe War?" the leader asked again.

    "It's in the building where I came out. It's inside the far wall from the entrance. Clap you hands twice, and the wall will reveal a safe. The pass code is 3, 10, 13" the general said his voice quivering.

    "Miguel, go get the stuff" the leader said. Miguel ran off to get whatever it was in the safe.

    They waited there, Jakob still with the knife in the man's leg, until Miguel came back with a suitcase.

    "Is that it?" the leader asked.

    "Yes" the general said.

    "Good. Then our work here is done." The leader said.

    "So you'll let me go?" the general asked feebly. The leader remained silent.

    "Oh god no! Please! My brother just had his first child, a beautiful baby girl! I promised him I would be there for them! Please!" the general pleaded with the red armoured Spartan.

    "Well boss?" Andrew asked.

    "No survivors, no prisoners, no mercy. Do what you want with him." The leader responded, to which the rest of the squad grinned devilishly at. Pulling out their long serrated knives they began to hack at the general who screams of pain filled the empty base.

    Walking away the leader saw a couple with a two month old baby trying to get a Warthog to work. Almost as if on instinct the Spartan shot the soldier dead with his magnum.

    "HENRY!" the women screamed as she saw her husband fall. The Spartan advanced, readying his magnum for another kill.

    "Please! No! I have a baby!" the women yelled as she held out her child like some sort of shield.

    "No." the leader said as he aimed the magnum at her head.

    "Oh god! Please take my child, let him live! He's so young!" the women said practically throwing herself at the Spartan's feet.

    "Give me the child" the Spartan replied.

    The women gave him the child, with a look of hope in her eyes. The Spartan held the child in one arm and point his magnum at the women with his other arm.

    "This is the end for you." he said.

    "NOOOOOOO-" the women's blood curdling scream was cut off, not by the leader, but by Andrew.

    "You were taking to long." Andrew said gruffly. Holstering his weapons he headed back to the Falcon, which had remained untouched during the blitzkrieg. Once everyone was in, the pilot took off and headed back towards War's base.

    "Hey, what's with the baby?" Miguel asked, poking it a little. Thankfully it was sleeping and didn't cry.

    "I'll take him to War, and see if he is genetically fit" the leader responded.

    "Genetically fit for what?" Jakob asked.

    "To become one of us dumbass" Claude replied.

    "Correct. Someone want to hold him? I need to contact war." The Spartan said as he held out the baby. None of the Spartans wanted to hold it, they were meant to take life not nurture it.

    "Fine whatever, I'll do it. Andrew open the suitcase and let's see what was so important." Miguel said as he took the child in his arms.

    Andrew opened the case to revel 10,000 cR. Everyone in the base had died because someone owed War 10,000 cR which was pocket change to him.

    The leader got on with business and activated his tac pad. War's hologram popped up, arms behind his back.

    "I presume you gentlemen were successful?" he asked.

    "Yes. We got the objective. We also have something extra for you." The leader replied.

    "Oh?" War asked.

    "A child." The leader said. War gave him a confused look.

    "Screen him for the genetic markers; see if he can be a Spartan."

    War finally understood and spoke again.

    "Why yes course. Good work solider. When you all get back to base I'll have a surprise for you as well. See you at base, Manuel-324".
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1365
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 23
    Location : The Great White North (Canada)

    Chapter 2: The Replacement

    Post  Manny on January 19th 2013, 2:29 pm

    War's Base
    January 15, 2536

    As the Falcon approached War's massive base Manuel had a perfect bird's eye view of it. It was rectangular but it was made up of three different shapes. In the middle there was a solid diamond, where War resided and did his work. On each side of the diamond were two hollow trapezoids stacked onto top of each other to form an hourglass shape. It was there in the hollow spaces where the Spartans sparred and exercised. Their training took place in the ground around the base. Finally, in order to seal off the building into a rectangle, there were two triangular landing pads.

    Every corner that was made by these shapes had a guard tower complete with state of the art machine guns, anti air canons, and radar. That was a grand total of ten guard towers, which Manuel thought was a bit too much. The base was in the middle of nowhere; he highly doubted anyone would attack it. What he really thought was that those towers were meant for was to keep the Spartans in.

    The falcon landed on the east side of the base, because that is where the Spartans IIs were kept. War kept his Spartan IIIs on the west side of the base, the two always being separated by the giant diamond building in the middle. They had seen each other, and knew of the each other's existence, but War always kept them segregated.

    War was waiting on the landing pad of the three story building, arms behind his back as if he had sent his Spartans on a walk in the park. The first person out of the falcon was the pilot who immediately started yelling at War.

    "I DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THIS! I NEED A JOB, BUT NOT THAT! THERE'S NO IN HELL I'M DRIVING THOSE INHUMANE MURDERERS AROUND ANY-"the pilot said before he stopped. Turning around to face the Spartans they saw a bullet hole in his forehead. The man fell to the ground, revealing War holding a silenced black magnum in his hand. War called the janitorial staff to the landing pad over his cell phone and then waved the Spartans over as if nothing had happened.

    "I don't have time for brutes like him" War said, pointing at the corpse. Walking along the five Spartans followed War to the third floor of the trapezoid structure, watching their fellow Spartans spar below through the reinforced glass walls. Suddenly the hallway ahead ended at a forty-five degree angle turn and they turned left.

    Walking down about halfway of the hallway, War suddenly stopped, and the five Spartans snapped to attention. Standing rigid, they awaited for War to turn around and say something. Manuel found it hard to stay rigid while holding the baby.

    "Calm down gentlemen" War said and the five men relaxed. War grabbed a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door. Walking down yet another hallway they found a red door at the end. War unlocked this door as well using a different key and the five stepped into a large room.

    Immediately five soldiers snapped to attention and saluted War saying "Heil War!" War waved them off, telling them that they could relax. They were War's security around the base, and they were also Spartans. Trained separately they felt no compassion towards their fellow Spartans, not that regular Spartans were the best of friends either. Their specialty was Spartan to Spartan combat, in case any Spartans went rouge.

    Composed of Spartan IIs and IIIs the two classes wore different armour. The Spartan IIs were placed in a higher position with better armour. The three Spartan IIIs wore military police helmets, UA/Base Security shoulder pads and chest piece, and FJ/Para knee pads. The two Spartan IIs had similar armour; the only difference was that they wore the Security helmet and shoulder pads instead. All five of the Spartans' armour was a pure silver colour, signifying that they were War's police force.

    War sat his huge desk and sat in his throne looking chair. It looked quite comfortable with the red padding and golden arm rests. It was quite big too, almost the size of War, who was 6'5.

    "Alright gentlemen, so we all know that your squad is lacking a sniper" War said with a tone of disappointment.

    "Your last sniper...Ching was his name I believe?" War asked looking at Manuel.

    "Chang. He died two months ago because he was too far back, and when the enemy found him we were too far away too help." Manuel said, recalling how Chang thought he was a big shot. To be honest Chang had been quite annoying, but Manuel wasn't hoping for him to die.

    "Ah well close enough" War said, acting as if Chang had never been a real person.

    "Anyways we're not here to talk about Chang, the failure of your squad; we are here to talk about your replacement for him." War said looking through some files.

    "Replacement? Sir I can't think of any Spartan IIs that are not in a squad at the moment" Manuel said.

    "That's because there are none. Good eye soldier, good eye." War said slowly clapping. Manuel was unsure if it was an insult or a compliment so he decided to stay quiet. Once War had finished clapping he laid the files out on the desk.

    "So as your leader has said, there are no Spartan IIs that can fill in Chang's position. Therefore, I will be assigning a Spartan III to your squad." War said. The entire squad stiffened at the mention. War was giving them an inferior soldier to replace Chang. Chang had been annoying, but at least he was a Spartan II, had been one of them.

    "Remove your helmets gentlemen. I want to see what you think" War ordered. The Spartans obliged, and looked at War.

    "You don't like it?" War said.

    No one spoke. No one dared question War. Manuel could see War's police force reaching for their magnums.

    "Don't play dumb. You, the Ukrainian one!" War said pointing at Jakob.

    "Do you like my idea?!" War ordered.

    "N... no, sir" Jakob said. The mighty Spartan was nothing compared to his master, and everyone in the room knew it.

    "Why?" War asked a little more calm.

    "You are giving us an inferior soldier to fight with us. It could hinder our ability to carry out whatever it is you need us to do." Jakob answered, thinking quickly of a way to stroke War's ego.

    "Ah...committed are you? Fear not, for I have made sure that this Spartan III isn't just any Spartan III, she is the best sniper out of all of them." War said looking at the file. If War didn't have his files, he wouldn't be able to tell his Spartans apart, Manuel thought. Then again, he was new to the benefactor thing. Manuel wondered if all Spartans were raised this way, with unforgiving discipline.

    Suddenly the baby started to cry. Manuel looked at the thing, horrified. He looked at his squad mates and simply stared back at him. None of them had any idea of what to do.

    War called in a nurse on his cell phone and within minutes a nurse came in to take the baby.

    "His name?" the nurse asked quietly.

    "Uh... Henry" Manuel said remembering what the child's mother had screamed when he had shot her husband dead.

    The nurse nodded and walked away. Soon there was silence again. Even the police force seemed tense after the baby's outburst.

    "As I was saying before that thing interrupted me was that this Spartan III is the best sniper out of all of them. She is also the smartest, hopefully something that will rub off on some of your squad" War said looking at Jakob and Andrew.

    The squad remained quiet. Not only were they stuck with a three but their new team mate was also a girl. War either thought that they were that good, or he wanted to bring them down.

    "Manuel, I'd like you to stay here. The rest of your squad is dismissed." War said waving the other Spartans out. They walked out without hesitation, except for Miguel. He looked Manuel in the eyes with concern, nodded, and walked out.

    "You can also be dismissed. Go on patrol or something" War said waving his police force away.

    "Now Manuel, as my favourite Spartan I feel like I should tell you everything about this sniper." War said getting up and grabbing a chair. He put it behind Manuel and gestured for him to sit down, which he did. Going back to his desk he continued.

    "She's excellent at her job, but sometimes she is a little...social per say." War said.

    "Social sir?" Manuel asked.

    War sighed. "Not all is right with the Spartan III program. Turns out their trainer had been exposing them to irrelevant things. I had to 'fire' him." War said rubbing his temples.

    "Irrelevant sir?" Manuel asked.

    "Things that you do not need to know. You may be my favourite but don't push it." War stated. Manuel nodded and decided to be more careful from now on.

    "The sniper's name is Alzira. Portuguese it says here. Her brother is also a Spartan III. I met him once, reminds me a lot of you. Of course there is no replacement for Manuel -324." War said.

    "Relevance sir?" Manuel asked.

    "Patience solider?" War said imitating Manuel.

    "Anyways as I was saying Alzira may be more sociable then what you or your squad are used to. As the alpha male of your squad, I expect you to put her in her place." War said grinning. It was an obvious sexist joke but Manuel couldn't help but smile. This was a one in a million, no one in a trillion chance to share a genuine smile with War. After a few moments however War stopped smiling, and so did Manuel.

    "Would you like to meet her?" War said.

    "Now, sir?" Manuel answered as he got up.

    "No, whenever you want. Yes now!" War said, stomping his foot on the ground as he also got up.

    "I suppose so sir. I've never met a Spartan III face to face." Manuel said as he put his helmet back on.

    "No, no! Take it off!" War said. Manuel obliged. War smiled as he rubbed his hands together. In reality he was testing the discipline of his Spartan II's. Alzira was more than sociable, and that was distracting a lot of Spartan IIIs. If War's Spartan IIs could resist then he wouldn't have any problems.

    War clapped his hands and Alzira walked in, wearing slimmed down MJONLIR armour, obviously designed for females. The primary colour was green and the secondary colour was light brown. She was wearing a tactical patrol chest piece like Manuel, a UGPS on her wrist and she had recon shoulder pads. She had light brown hair, amber eyes, lightly tanned skin, and a perfectly white smile. She held her Mark V[b] helmet in her right arm and waved at Manuel with her left hand.

    Manuel simply nodded and stood there, rigid as if he was receiving orders from War. His helmet was held in his right hand, and his DMR in his left. He couldn't really do much.

    "So is this the guy?" Alzira asked.

    "If by 'guy' you mean squad leader, then yes. One of the best Spartan IIs I have. Gets the job done every single time, and that's why he's my favourite." War said looking at his prized Spartan. So far Manuel seemed the same as he had always been: serious, silent, a true soldier. War doubted Alzira could change that.

    "Alzira W-935" she said smiling holding out her hand.

    "Manuel-324." Manuel said not returning the handshake, mainly because his hands were full. Manuel was doing better than War thought! Manuel not only simply ignored her, but was putting her in her place! War for once was genuinely pleased.

    "Tomorrow at 9:00AM your squad will leave to protect an investment I've made. Meet at the landing pad on the east side." War said looking at Manuel.

    "No training with...her?" Manuel said nodding his head at Alzira. She gave him a look of anger, talking about her as if she wasn't even there.

    "I think your squad can handle it. The five of you did just destroy an entire Insurrectionist base this morning, civilians and all. I think you five can work together well enough while Alzira covers you gentlemen." War said. Alzira's jaw dropped a bit when she heard "civilians and all".

    Manuel nodded and was about to leave the room when War said one last thing.

    "Oh and Manuel...you might need to show Alzira around the East side of the base seeing as how the Spartans are segregated and what not. We don't want her getting lost tomorrow."

    Manuel openly sighed as she bounded over to him. "Will do sir"

    "Good. Now get out!" War said as the doors close behind Manuel and Alzira. Manuel's only excuse for having some III tag along with him was "War's orders". That should shut anybody up, but Manuel still knew that his fellow IIs would talk about it. Alzira ran up again to catch up with Manuel's brisk walking pace.

    "Hey man slow down! We're not running a marathon here!" she said jokingly.

    Manuel looked at her and then spoke. "The faster we do this the better. This isn't fun and games." Manuel put on his helmet again and put his DMR on his back.

    "I have ways of making things fun." Alzira said still joking.

    It was going to be a long walk around base, Manuel could tell.
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    Chapter 3: The Walk

    Post  Manny on January 21st 2013, 11:52 pm

    Chapter 3: The Long Walk around Base

    Manuel stood there on first floor watching his fellow Spartan IIs spar with each other. Some sparring pairs had their armour on while others did not. For safety reasons unarmoured Spartan were not allowed to spar against those with armour on.

    "As you can see, this where the Spartan II's spar in their free time. I'm sure the area where we spar is the same as yours, since this base is symmetrical." Manuel explained.

    "You guys spar, in your free time?" Alzira asked.

    "Well, yes. What else is a Spartan supposed to do? Just keeping on training to be the best soldier out there; it's what a Spartan should do."

    "Yeah but come on! You seriously don't have anything better to do?" Alzira asked in exasperation. She really couldn't believe that the Spartan IIs trained 24/7. She had heard that they were pretty rigid but they couldn't be that rigid. There must have been something else they did.

    "Well..." Manuel said, Alzira's eyes widening.

    "We prefect our aim down at the firing range. That or we run mock missions in the forest around here." Manuel said. Alzira sighed and put her palm to her forehead. Manuel looked at her curiously, his face hidden by his mask.

    "Why do you ask? What do you threes do in your free time?" Manuel asked. War had mentioned that the Spartan III program had been, "contaminated". If they were doing things for themselves, and not for War it would have to be considered treason.

    "Oh! Um we, uh, t-tr-train just like you guys." Alzira said stuttering. She had been caught off guard. She needed to watch what she said around these twos, especially Manuel. Being War's right hand man, he would probably tell him anything that he found suspicious about her. Unless she could get him over onto her side, the side of the threes. Yes, that was she needed to do. Bring the favourite over and surely the rest would follow. Then Gregorio's plan could be put into action, all they needed was this one crucial piece.

    "I would assume so. It's not like a Spartan has anything else to do." Manuel said walking away from the sparring area. Alzira followed closely behind, thinking about how to get the infamous Manuel-324 onto their side. Rumours were spread about him amongst the Spartan threes. Some said that he was a cold hearted, merciless killer, thus putting him in high favour with War. Others said that secretly he wanted to overthrow War and take his place. Still others said that he was actually a spy from ONI sent to investigate the conditions of the Spartans under War's care. No one really knew, until now. Now Alzira knew that he wasn't a spy from ONI, based of what War had said back in his office. He was War's favourite which left two possibilities: he was trying to get close to War to overthrow him, or he truly was the killer that others made him out to be.

    They made one lap around the sparring area, receiving a few stares and glares along the way. They came across a dark red and grey Spartan wearing a standard Mark V helmet, one commando shoulder pad, a standard mark V shoulder pad, and an HP/Parafoil chest piece. His utility piece was a UA/NxRA. He put his hand on Manuel's shoulder and stopped him. Manuel grabbed the UA/Bracer on his wrist and pushed it of.

    "You want something Maxentius?" Manuel asked.

    "Why is this three here. The only threes allowed here are those in War's police force. So why is she here?" Maxentius asked.

    "Excuse me but this three is right here and has a mouth of her own!" Alzira interjected.

    "War's orders." Manuel responded curtly.

    "Any particular reason why?" Maxentius asked.

    "Any particular reason why you're asking?" Manuel asked.

    "Just wondering. Anyways, see you around." Maxentius said as he continued on his way to his quarters.

    "What's his deal?" Alzira asked. The conversation between Manuel and Maxentius seemed...tense.

    "Maxentius is the second best Spartan II here." Manuel answered.

    "So, who's the best?" Alzira asked.

    "You're looking at him." Manuel responded.

    "So it's that guy in blue armour over there?" Alzira asked. At the time of Manuel's comment she was watching Claude drink a bottle of water.

    Manuel looked at where she was looking and then realized what she meant.

    "No I was talking about me..." He said.

    "Oh. Sorry about that. Guess you guys are like rivals then. So are you really the best Spartan II around here?" Alzira asked with the curiosity of a child.

    "Officially, yes." Manuel responded.

    "Officially?" Alzira asked. You either were or weren't the best.

    "I carry favour with War because I complete all my missions one way or another. Even if I can't get to an objective I at least make the most of the situation and pave the way for others. However there a few Spartans here who could beat me in terms of strength, or speed, or agility, and so on. However I am number one because I actually get the job done." Manuel explained to Alzira.

    "I see. So you're not amazing at anything, but you're great all around?" she inquired.

    "If you want to look at it that way, then yes." Manuel said.

    The two went up to second floor where the sleeping quarters were. They were small rooms, meant to fit one person only. Manuel walked to his quarters and opened the door.

    "As you can see, they are quite small. All I have is one bed, two chairs, a table, a lamp, a closet, and a small bathroom. My closest actually holds my armour and clothes, since I don't have much." Manuel explained.

    "It's so bare in here" Alzira commented. Everything was grey, except for the bed, which was white, the green clothes in the closet, and the brown boots beside the bed.

    "You seem surprised. Are the quarters on the West side different?" Manuel asked. He had never been there, but he had assumed it was the same since the base was symmetrical.

    "What? Oh! Yeah, it's pretty much the same. I was just; you know hoping that the East side would offer something more interesting." Alzira said.

    "Sorry to disappoint." Manuel said as he closed the door to his room.

    "Ah well. Anything else here on the East side?" Alzira asked.

    "The third floor contains all the weapons. Most Spartans get their armour on in their mechanized closets, head up to third floor, grab some weapons, and head out to the landing pad." Manuel said describing the process.

    "Oh that's different. We Spartan threes just go up first, grab our weapons, and then go back and put on our armour. We like to see each other face to face in the mornings." Alzira explained.

    "Just a difference in method, not really much else." Manuel said thinking about it.

    "Oh I forgot to show you the eating area inside the central building. We'll have to go back down to first floor." Manuel said already heading down.

    They got to first floor and headed for the central building. War's office was on the third floor of the building but the first floor was divided into two halves. They walked into a triangular room where a few Spartans were sitting down and eating, some talking amongst themselves.

    "You see that wall over there?" Manuel pointed at the far wall.

    "Yeah?" Alzira said.

    "On the other side is where you threes eat." Manuel informed her.


    "Other than that there isn't much to see here." Manuel was about to walk back out until someone called out his name.

    "HEY MANUEL!" a voice called out from the far end of the room. A white and red Spartan approached Manuel. His colour scheme was the inverse of what Manuel had; white being the primary colour and red the secondary. He wore an EVA helmet that had blue visor, red commando shoulders, an assault/sapper kit on his chest, an assault wrist piece, and FJ/Para knee pads. He walked up and slapped Manuel on the back.

    "Hey how's it going man!" he said. Alzira looked at the Spartan with interest, he wasn't like the other Spartan IIs, he acted more like a III.

    "Not bad buddy, you?" Manuel said sounding quite happy. His smile was hidden by his helmet, but Alzira could tell from the tone in his voice that he was pleased to see this man.

    "Alright I guess. Just got back from a mission, but man I was SO hungry I just HAD to come and eat here first!" he said.

    "You always were a big eater Jamal." Manuel said.

    "Not as big of an eater as you! You remember that one day when we were kids? We decided to have an eating contest? Holy -blam!-! You ate like three times the amount I did!" Jamal said.

    Manuel laughed and patted Jamal on the shoulder. "Yeah, worst decision I ever made."

    Jamal looked over Manuel's shoulder to see Alzira quietly inspecting her helmet.

    "So who's this little lady?" Jamal asked.

    "She's a Spartan Three." Manuel said.

    "Woah, you know you're not supposed to do that! War will kill you!" Jamal said.

    "War ordered it. I have to show her around out side of the base. She's our replacement for Chang." Manuel explained.

    "Chang? What do you mean?" Jamal asked. His last mission was gathering intel, and he had been gone for the past two months.

    "Chang we couldn't save him. He's... he's dead Jamal." Manuel said.

    Jamal stiffened and stood there for a moment. Chang wasn't liked among his squad but he was liked by Jamal. Jamal was one of those people that everyone liked and no body hated.

    "His body? I want to pay my respects." Jamal said.

    "Jamal, we were on a mission. There was no time. Besides, you think War would have let us?" Manuel said, referring to having a funeral for Chang.

    Jamal looked around, and then whispered.

    "Screw War. Honestly that guy is a prick. I don't know why you just take his -blam!-." Jamal said.

    Alzira's eyes widened when she heard this. He's on our side!. She would have to tell Gregorio when she got back.

    "Jamal we've been over this a million times. Let's just not talk about him. Oh I never properly introduced you two." Manuel said changing the topic.

    "Yeah. Hi, my name's Alzira-W935. New sniper for Manuel's squad." She said holding out her hand.

    "Jamal-320. You can just call me Jamal little lady, none of that number bull-blam!-." Jamal said shaking Alzira's hand.

    "At least someone shakes hands around here" Alzira said looking straight at Manuel.

    "Well Jamal, it was nice talking to you but we better get going. You might want to finish eating before your food gets cold." Manuel suggested, ignoring Alzira's comment. His hands had been full at the time, so it wasn't his fault or problem.

    "Right. See you around man!" Jamal said before walking back to his table where the rest of his squad was waiting.

    "I like that guy." Alzira said as they headed for the exit of the cafeteria.

    "Everyone does. Jamal's the guy everyone just likes." Manuel responded.

    "I can see why. So how about you?" Alzira asked. She was interested to see how these Spartan IIs interacted with each other. They were perhaps the most interesting part of the East side because they behaved so differently from the Spartan IIIs.

    "I'm the guy that everyone respects or rather almost everyone." Manuel said.

    "Do they like you?" Alzira asked.

    "Being War's favourite brings enemies. It's not that everyone wants to be his favourite, it's just that they dislike how he treats me better." Manuel said.

    "I see." Alzira said. Manuel had enemies it seemed, so getting him on her side didn't guarantee the rest would come. The pair walked out of the cafeteria and was walking past the sparring area when suddenly one Spartan clad in green Commando armour with a Grenadier chest plate yelled out something.

    "What the HELL is THAT?!" He said pointing at Alzira. "Is it a dwarf or something? That CAN'T be a Spartan!" He went on, some of his buddies backing him up.

    "Yeah look at IT!" one exclaimed.

    "HEY! You got a problem with me?" Alzira said walking into the sparring area and approaching the green armoured Spartan.

    "Yeah, what the HELL are you doing here?!" the Spartan exclaimed, his voice showing hints of a German accent.

    "Armin, she's a Spartan Three." Manuel said walking in between the two, placing his hand on Armin's shoulder. Armin slapped it away and took a step forward.

    "This area is for SPARTAN II'S ONLY!" Armin yelled out. Manuel took a step back, pushing Alzira out of the way.

    "Hey! I can handle myself!" She protested.

    "Just...just stay there." Manuel said. She actually had no idea what she was going up against. Armin had the strength of a polar bear...and the intelligence of one as well. He could probably snap the smaller Spartan Three in half if he wanted to. Manuel looked up at the massive bulky 7'3 Spartan, who dwarfed the red armoured 6'10 medium build Spartan.

    "If you have a problem with it, you can take it up with War. They were his orders." Manuel said calmly.

    "My ass! Just because you're his favourite doesn't mean you can start making up bull-blam!- and doing whatever it is you want!" Armin yelled out again, this time drawing a knife.

    "Put that down. We're on the same side, no sense in attacking each other." Manuel said.

    "I don't think we're on the same side. You broke the biggest rule of them all by allowing a Spartan III into OUR side of the base!" Armin approached, his buddies also drawing their knives. The smallest in the squad was 7 feet tall.

    "Armin I told you, they were War's orders! She got assigned to our squad today!" Manuel tried to explain, hand on his magnum. Thankfully he was the only one with a gun on him, seeing as how he had just returned from a mission.

    "Oh really?" Armin asked, still unconvinced.

    "Obviously you -blam!-! I was there when War assigned her to our squad!" Miguel said appearing from seemingly no where. He walked up next to Manuel; hand on his magnum as well.

    "Oh look at this, the two butt buddies standing up for each other!" Armin sneered.

    "Well by that logic, your entire group of friends could be one big circle of insecure butt buddies." Claude said walking up to Manuel, Andrew and Jakob behind him.

    The two squads looked at each other intensely, everyone on the East side on the base completely quiet.

    "I'm sick of this. I'm sick of YOU thinking that you're better than everyone! You're always so 'professional' as if being War's favourite made you better than the rest of us! Well guess what, you're NOT and once I'm done with you War will think twice about giving you special treatment ever again!" Armin said charging Manuel. Manuel's legs tensed up, ready to move out of the way.

    Suddenly Armin was tackled by three grey Spartans in Security armour.

    "Get the HELL off me!" Armin said, kicking one in the chest. More Police came in to subdue the large Spartan.

    "ARMIN!" a voice boomed in the complex and everyone looked up. War was up on a balcony on the second floor. Armin immediately stopped kicking and the police force returned to their stations.

    "Explain to me, you hulking buffoon, what you think you are doing? That is, if you can think." War asked.

    "Sir this traitor brought THAT in here!" Armin said pointing at Alzira.

    "I'm not an IT! I'm a HER!" she shouted. Manuel put up his hand to silence her.

    "That, as she has said, is a her. A woman, something you no doubt have had little contact with." War said. Alzira chuckled but stopped when she realized that no one else was. What's wrong with these people? she wondered.

    "You also attempted to assault Manuel over there for no reason at all." War went on. Armin looked like he was about to speak when War silenced him.

    "Do you take me for an idiot?! I myself ordered Manuel to show her around the base! I saw the whole argument. When someone tells you that I ordered it, then you should believe them. If you have your doubts ask one the guards or myself directly, but do NOT attack your fellow Spartans! Do you understand?!" War shouted.

    "Yes sir" Armin said dropping to one knee and looking at the ground.

    "Bring him to my office, we have things to discuss." War said ominously. The police force grabbed Armin by the arms. As they passed by Manuel, Armin hissed "This isn't over!"

    The entire population of Spartan IIs was in silence. They knew that Armin would come out of War's office a different man, IF he came out at all.

    "You ok?" Miguel asked Manuel. Claude and the other nodded.

    "Yeah, thanks for helping me protect her." Manuel said.

    "We did it for you, not for her." Miguel said before walking off. Jakob and Andrew followed. Claude looked at Manuel for a moment and walked off as well. Manuel wasn't sure what Claude had been trying to tell him since they both had their helmets on. That is, if Claude had been trying to say anything at all.

    Manuel roughly grabbed Alzira by the shoulder and motioned for her to walk out. The other Spartan IIs were quietly going back to what they had been doing, those sparring doing so with much less enthusiasm. Others began to talk about what would happen to Armin, and some talking about the three.

    Manuel headed straight for the third floor. After that he made a bee line to the landing pad, not saying a single word. Once they got out there Manuel spoke.

    "This is where you have to be tomorrow morning. 9:00AM, not a second after. You want to arrive early, that's fine but you'll probably end up talking with War until everyone else arrives. You should probably go around the base to the West side. Things will be tense in the East side." Manuel said.

    "Hey man, you ok?" Alzira asked genuinely concerned. The red Spartan seemed tense.

    "I'm fine. Just concerned what will happen to Armin." Manuel said.

    "Don't be. That -blam!- doesn't know how to treat women at all. I could have taken him myself." She said.

    "If that's what you think" Manuel said looking out towards the forest on the horizon.

    "You don't believe me?!" She exclaimed.

    "No, not at all, to be honest." Manuel said. At his point he really didn't care about anything. He just wanted to go to his quarters and sleep. He knew that from now on, he'd be getting asked tons of questions and receiving loads of glares.

    "Why not? I'm a Spartan!" she protested, her free hand on her hip. She was still holding her Mark [b] V helmet.

    "You're a lightweight 6'7 Spartan Three, and he's a heavyweight 7'3 Spartan Two. The odds are stacked against you. He could have snapped you like a twig." Manuel said.

    "Is that why you stepped in? You felt bad for me, you felt pity?! Well for your information I don't NEED you! In fact I believe you NEED me to be your sniper!" Alzira said.

    "I stepped in because I wanted to avoid a fight. Turned out worse than I expected. By the way, my squad wiped out an entire Insurrectionist base this morning. I think we can handle ourselves." Manuel said still staring out at the forest.

    "Yeah, because it takes so much skill to kill unarmed civilians." She retorted. Manuel visibly tensed up.

    "You know what? If you have a problem with my squad and our missions, take it up with War. He's the one giving the orders, I just follow them." Manuel said turning away to go back into the base.

    "What kind of person are you?" Alzira asked. It was beyond her how someone could be so cold and emotionless.

    "I'm not, I'm a Spartan." Manuel said before walking into the base.
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    Chapter 4: Preparations

    Post  Manny on January 31st 2013, 1:11 am

    War's Base
    January 16th, 2546

    Manuel woke up and looked to his left. On the table he saw a red 8:00AM on his black digital clock. Groaning he rubbed his eyes and got back up. He took of his clothes and put on a green shirt and pants. He walked into the bathroom and washed his face and teeth. Afterwards he headed out of his room, and onto the main part of the second floor. He found the staircase on the far right side and headed down. Walking past the sparring area he headed for the cafeteria. Once inside he saw his squad sitting down together, Jamal with them. He went to grab some food, put it onto a tray, and headed for their table.

    "Hey man, how you doing?" Jamal asked. The rest of the squad turned to look at him. Claude looked wide awake, his blond hair and green eyes seemed to shine. Jakob's brown hair and brown eyes also gave off a similar effect. They were both morning people, unlike Manuel, Miguel, and Andrew. Miguel was yawning, his eyelids covering his dark brown eyes. Once he was done yawning he tried to fix his bed head running his fingers through his black hair like a comb. Andrew never had that problem, he was bald. His blue eyes however revealed that he was quite tired. They, like Manuel, were not good looking people in the mornings. Jamal was just your average guy in the mornings, a little tired but not to the same extent as Manuel, Miguel, and Andrew.

    "Tired as usual. How are you guys doing?" Manuel responded as he sat down and took a bite out of his toast.

    "You gotta go check that out. You can't ALWAYS be tired in the mornings." Jamal said jokingly.

    "You're right. I'm not always tired in the morning. If I wake up at 11, I'm fine." Manuel said with a small grin on his face. In this base, it was the little things you had to cherish.
    Jamal chuckled to himself, everyone else smiling.

    "I hate to break up the laughs but, Manuel do you know what happened to Armin?" Jakob asked.

    "No...why do you ask?" Manuel asked.

    "I was just wondering that perhaps War might have told you something." Jakob replied. Manuel exhaled deeply then took another breath in. His squad knew that he was War's favourite, everyone did. However it still bothered him when people mentioned it, but it wasn't their fault. It was a reasonable idea.

    "No he didn't." Manuel said.

    "I heard about that." Jamal said.

    "I'm pretty sure everyone did." Manuel replied.

    "Speaking about yesterday, what ever happened with that little lady friend of yours?" Jamal asked changing the topic to something he thought was a happier one.

    "Don't know, don't care. I told her to be at the landing pad at 9:00AM. Nothing more, nothing less." Manuel said.

    "You spent over two hours together and that's all you could say?"

    "I was just showing her around the base because War ordered me to. You think I would have done that voluntarily?" Manuel asked.

    "I dunno. I'm just saying, I thought it was more than that." Jamal said shrugging.

    "Well it wasn't. So there." Manuel huffed.

    "Are we going to have any problems?" Miguel asked concerned. He could tell things hadn't gone well the day before between them.

    "I would assume not. I'm the leader, she's my squad mate. She will follow my orders, as expected." Manuel said.

    "I wasn't talking about her, I was talking about you." Miguel said narrowing his eyes.

    "I've lead our squad for years, I don't think I'll start having problems now." Manuel replied calmly, finishing his toast and taking another drink from his glass of milk.

    "It better be that way" Miguel replied, taking a long sip of his drink.

    "It's 8:25" Jakob said getting up to leave. Claude and Andrew were also getting up to go get ready. Jamal, Miguel, and Manuel all still had one slice of toast left and half a glass of milk left. The three men looked at each other in silence, and then all of sudden they were each shoving the toast into their mouths trying to finish it. Finishing the toast in the blink of an eye they started to chug their milk. Manuel was the first one done, Miguel the second, and Jamal the last.

    "You serious? I LOST?" Jamal said in pretend shock.

    "The only real competition was between you and me for second place..." Miguel said standing up.

    "That's true. Anyways, I'll let you two boys get on with your mission." Jamal was about to leave when he said one last thing.

    "Oh, Manuel? Keep it smooth." Jamal said smiling before he jogged out of the cafeteria.

    "Keep it smooth..." Miguel grumbled as he and Manuel walked out of the cafeteria.

    "Miguel if you have doubts about my leadership just say so. Our squad record is exemplary. I don't plan to ruin it." Manuel said.

    Miguel was quiet for a bit. They stopped in front of Manuel's quarters and waited for a moment until Miguel spoke.

    "I have my concerns. However prove me wrong and I won't doubt you again." Miguel said patting Manuel on the shoulder before walking away. Manuel watched him walk away for a moment before heading into his quarters. He seemed to be very uncomfortable with the new addition to their squad.

    Opening the door to his quarters he sighed, and headed into his personal bathroom. He washed his face and brushed his teeth. While doing so he began to think about the man named 'Henry' whom he killed yesterday morning. He had probably started the day brushing his teeth as well, just like Manuel. Despite being a Spartan, there were some things he shared in common with the normal humans. Amazing, Manuel thought to himself. He wondered what else normal humans did in their daily lives.

    He remembered the women who had screamed when her husband had been shot. It was such a horrid scene, but only because they had been in love. Manuel thought about the possibility of having someone who cared about him, worry about him, and above all love him.

    "I am everything that you will ever need!" War suddenly shouted in his mind, a memory Manuel had from his days of training. It was true though, War provided them with everything: food, shelter, and water. What else could a human being ask for? Why would I need anyone else when I have War? Manuel asked himself.

    Spitting the mix of salvia and toothpaste out of his mouth he rinsed his mouth with water. He washed his toothbrush clean of any toothpaste and then dried it off. He began to undress and took a very quick shower. Drying off and wrapping the towel around his waist he headed for the closet, put on undergarments, and also put on the black suit that Spartans wore underneath their armour. When he was done with that, he pressed a blue button on the side of the wall.

    The doors slid open to reveal the complexity of the closet. The clothing rack was pulled up into the roof, the shelves were pulled into the walls, and the drawers were pulled down into the floor. Stepping into the bare closet the door closed behind Manuel.

    A series of mechanical arms holding pieces of his armour appeared from the walls and commenced the process of putting on his armour. The first thing that was put on was his boots and then the shins. The knee guards were next, the arms shaking them to make sure they were attached properly. Next the arms retrieved the armour for Manuel's thighs and placed those in position as well, followed by the armour around his waist, and then the chest piece. The chest piece was put together piece by piece, slowly taking shape. Finally when it was pieced together the arms pushed together until there was a loud click and then they let go. The chest piece stayed there in place and the arms moved onto his arms. Piecing the armour together all that was left now was his helmet. A single arm came down from the roof holding Manuel's ODST helmet. He took it from the arm and put it on himself.

    Finally the door revealed a single flat blue circle that projected a beam onto Manuel's helmet. It scanned him down from head to toe and then a robotic feminine voice said "Armour Assembly Complete". Next six green dots appeared, one on each wall. Manuel was to look at each one to make sure his HUD was working properly. He passed the test with no problems, the voice announcing his success by saying "Heads Up Display Configuration Complete."

    The doors of the closet slid open and Manuel walked out. He hit the same blue button right beside the closet and it returned to its normal state. He looked around his room to make sure he wasn't forgetting anything. After he was sure, he walked out of his room and closed the door behind him.

    Heading up the third floor Manuel walked towards the mid/long ranged armoury. It was but one of the armouries, the other being for short range and explosive weapons. They were quite large, each one taking up one wall length of the compound. Opening the door and heading inside, Manuel found various Spartans grabbing weapons for whatever missions they had at hand. What Manuel liked about his fellow Spartans was that no one got attached to a specific weapon. They had different tastes in weapons, but any weapon of that model would do. Manuel himself was a good example of that. He walked over to the DMR rack and picked one at random. He didn't care if it had been the one he had used yesterday, or if it was the one he was going to use tomorrow, it was DMR and that was that.

    He saw Andrew inspecting a prototype battle rifle thoroughly before putting it on his back. The Spartans that used those had to inspect them very thoroughly, since they were prone to failure. Once he was satisfied that his rifle would work, he went over to the magnum rack, grabbed one, inspected it, and put it on his hip.

    "Still using prototypes?" Manuel asked.

    "Word around base is we'll get a shipment of the finished products soon." Andrew replied.

    "That's good I suppose"

    "Damn right it is. I want a weapon I know will work on the battlefield. Prototypes are too...iffy." Andrew replied.

    "I would assume so. Well, I better get ready myself." Manuel said as Andrew nodded and walked out.

    Inspecting his DMR, he saw that everything seemed to be all right. He looked down the scope to double check if it was centered and it was.

    Through the scope he saw Cassandra-329, and her unique armour colour scheme. Her primary ODST helmet colour, right arm, and Tactical/Patrol chest piece were mainly purple, and her FJ/PARA shoulder pads and thigh pads all purple. Her secondary ODST helmet colour, right arm, and chest piece all had a little bit of yellow on them, and her left forearm was almost all yellow. Her boots were yellow as well, with red knee pads to contrast. The other red part of her armour was the scarf like object around her neck, and as if red, purple, and yellow weren't enough colours her visor was blue and the UGPS on her left forearm glowed orange. Manuel honestly didn't see how she could run around on a battlefield like that.

    She was inspecting her magnum's scope, making sure it was smart linked properly to her helmet. He walked by her and grabbed a magnum, checking if the scope was smart linked to his helmet as well. The two inspected their weapons in silence until Manuel decided to speak.

    "Soooo, why did you choose those colours?" he asked.

    "I'm the assault specialist in our squad. I run in there, and these colours generally attract attention. I WANT that, because it means they're focused on me, and not my squad." she replied.

    "That's...actually somewhat smart."

    "I wouldn't wear this for looks..." she replied dryly.

    "I don't think any of us wear armour for looks." Manuel answered. Cassandra chuckled for a little bit. Laughs were generally short lived around base.

    "I suppose not. Hey can I ask you a question?"

    "I don't see why not."

    "Who was that girl you were with yesterday?" she asked.

    "The newest member of my squad, a replacement for Chang" Manuel said, not delving into any details.

    "I haven't seen her around here before." Cassandra said, holstering her magnum to her hip. "Did she...come from the other side?"

    "Yes. According to War she is the best sniper out of all of them. Hopefully she'll do her job." Manuel said, keeping the tone in his voice neutral, apart from the emphasises on War. No one would openly question his decisions to put a Spartan III in a Spartan II squad.

    "I see. Well, don't let me keep you. You seem set to go, and I'm sure we both have other things to do than sit here and talk all day." She said walking out of the armoury, patting Manuel on the shoulder. Manuel watched her walk away and realized that she was the first Spartan, apart from his friends, to ask about Alzira. Manuel doubted she would be the last. He looked at the door for a few moments, double checked his weapons, and grabbed some extra ammunition on his way out.

    On the other side of the compound he could see Miguel and Jakob talking. Jakob had a rocket launcher on his back, and a shotgun in his hands. Miguel had two submachine guns on his hips and a grenade launcher in his hands. Jakob was pointing and gesturing to the various parts of the gun, so Manuel could only assume that Jakob was giving Miguel a crash course in how to use a grenade launcher properly.

    The two were father up than he was and he was about to run ahead and join them, when suddenly Manuel was grabbed by the shoulders from behind. Whirling around, gun raised, Manuel saw who had grabbed him.

    "Calm down." Maxentius said. Obviously if he was here, he wanted something. The two never really talked much, unless it was about something important. They were seen as the best two on base. One by skill, the other through hard work. Manuel had been the one to work his way up, earning War's favour. For that Maxentius had always resented him. Manuel lowered his weapon, waiting to hear what the other Spartan would say.

    "You remember that incident with 327 yesterday?" Maxentius asked. He was referring to Armin, but he referred to all Spartans by their numbers.

    "I'd rather I didn't but... I do." Manuel said.

    "I would like to thank you. 327 and his squad had started becoming troublesome for many of them." There it was. Them. He always referred to the other Spartans as them, as if to say he and Manuel were in a different class altogether. That always got under Manuel's skin because he viewed no Spartan II as inferior.

    "And you couldn't handle-?" Manuel started before he was cut off.

    "I was away on recon with your friend Jamal. Yesterday as I'm sure he so eagerly told you was our first day back on base." he countered.

    "What is the point here 328?" Manuel replied. He wasn't a fan of calling people by their numbers but... this guy had no right to feel superior.

    "Do not think of using your influence to protect others. The rest of us are to be treated fairly, even if you are privileged. Extending your influence to others would cause a rift between those under your care, and those outside of it. Conflict is not what we need to serve War, but unity. Understood?" Maxentius said his finger against Manuel's chest.

    Manuel slapped the finger away. He didn't like the commanding tone in his voice, but he did raise a good point. War would more or less protect those whom Manuel wanted to protect, and that would indeed cause more people to feel like Armin had. Internal conflict was not needed here, when there was so much out there in the world. This was their home, and they had to maintain it.

    "I see what you're saying. I'll try to avoid those kinds of situations." Manuel said walking away to the landing pad.

    8:00AM on the West side
    Alzira woke up, bright and early being the morning person she was. It was those night ops that she really had trouble with. First thing she did was shower and reflect upon what she had seen yesterday. The Spartan II's seemed content to do as War said, no matter what that may be. That presented quite the obstacle, but she was sure that her brother could find some way to get around it.

    Stepping out of the shower she dried herself, got changed into her green army fatigues, and headed down to the eating area. It was there that she saw her friend Folami-W900 grabbing some food to eat. Alzira walked up to her and snatched the toast right out of her hands. Devouring it before Folami could respond she ran off the grab a tray. Folami stood there waiting for her to return, and when she did the muscular lady spoke.

    "Why? Why can't you just grab your own toast? Why mine?" she asked.

    Alzira looked up at her large, dark skinned, 6'9 friend. She was quite a force to be reckoned with. She made some of the male Spartan III's look soft. The Spartan II's however...they were a completely different story she recalled, thinking of Armin.

    "Stealing it is a lot more fun." Alzira responded smirking. Folami simply sighed and grabbed another piece of toast. She wondered how something so small and slim like Alzira ended up toying around with something as large and powerful as her. Ah well she thought. They were friends and that's all that mattered.

    The two found a table to sit at and started to eat. Alzira was about to eat her first piece of toast when Folami snatched it out of her hands.

    "Now we're even." Folami said before taking a bite out of it. Around them were other groups of Spartans chatting and talking quite openly with each other. The atmosphere was quite friendly, despite these soldiers being essentially mercenaries. Folami and Alzira had been in the same squad, but today things were going to change. They ate in silence until Folami broke the silence.

    "So... what are those Spartan IIs like? They as tough as they say they are?" she asked gruffly.

    "Tough in what way?" Alzira asked.

    "In general. Mentally, physically... you know" she said, taking another bite out of her toast.

    "Mmmmm, physically most of them are superior to us. You're probably about just a little smaller than they are. Some of them are huge though." Alzira said, taking a sip of orange juice.

    "How big?" Folami asked. She has yet to meet a Spartan as well built as her.

    "This one guy was a heavy weight 7'3" Alzira said. Folami simply gawked. She thought she was tough.

    "And mentally these guys follow War without question, except for one." Alzira added.

    "Is this one the 'favourite'?" a male voice asked from behind them. It was Gregorio-W934, Alzira's brother. A fine Spartan III, most looked to him for guidance. He had his golden yellow armour on, except for his HAZOP helmet. He sat down beside his sister, his CQC shoulders shoving her aside.

    "Hey!" Alzira protested playfully. She didn't really mind, but it was hard to fight back considering she didn't have any armour on. All she could really do was playfully punch his HP/Halo chest piece.

    "So tell me, is your new squad leader with or against War?" Gregorio asked, still grinning about shoving his sister aside.

    "With him. He follows his orders without question. He wiped out an Insurrectionist base yesterday morning, civilians and all" Alzira said, recalling what War had said before.

    Gregorio's grin disappeared but he wasn't too surprised by this, unlike his sister had been. As a sniper, she was usually assigned the more important targets to kill who were usually the 'bad guys'. Gregorio knew the world wasn't black and white; it was various shades of grey. Gregorio himself tried to avoid situations were innocents would be harmed. However there were a few cases where they would be hurt, but not on purpose. Thankfully, his squad had never been assigned any missions where the slaughter of civilians was required. "At least not yet" he thought.

    "So, tell me more about War's favourite. From what you've told me, I already know he's male. Anything else we should know?" Gregorio asked.

    Alzira sat there chewing her toast before answering. She sipped on her orange juice still thinking. There wasn't much to tell. Manuel had been fairly straight forward yesterday.

    "Well?" Gregorio asked. Alzira gulped down the juice in her mouth and finally answered.

    "Well he's Hispanic. So he's kinda like us, except I don't think he speaks Portuguese. Black hair, tan skin, very dark brown eyes...so dark you'd think they were black at a glance. You can check the video feed from my helmet later if you really want to." She said, taking another sip from her glass.

    Folami finally interjected into their conversation. "Is he big?" she asked. Gregorio also seemed interested to know this, in case he would be an enemy of theirs.

    "He's about 6'10 armoured. I don't know about un-armoured, I haven't seen him out of it. He's got guts though, stood up to that 7'3 guy yesterday." She mentioned. Gregorio seemed quite interested in this bit.

    "What happened? Is there infighting amongst them?" Gregorio asked.

    "No, maybe, I don't know. What I DO know is that Armin, the big guy, was being a total douche bag towards me. Manuel tried to defuse the situation and he charged Manuel, but War's police force subdued him before War himself appeared." Alzira explained. Gregorio eyebrows furrowed together in thought.

    "He has enemies Gregorio. Like any other person does. Actually because he is the favourite is why he has enemies. His relationship with his fellow Spartans is very different from yours with us." Alzira elaborated.

    "Well...how do they act?" Folami asked.

    "They're not the best of friends between each other, that's for sure. They're pretty cold, although there are a few friendships amongst some of them. They are pretty stone cold with outsiders though..." Alzira answered.

    "Damn." Gregorio simply said.

    "Well, there is one Spartan II, who acts a lot like us. His name is Jamal-320. He prefers to be called just Jamal. He's really friendly and friends with Manuel." Alzira said.

    "Hmmm... one Spartan might make the difference. Is he in your new squad?" Gregorio asked.

    "No, he's part of a different squad. Not sure how to tell him about our plan without alerting any of the other Spartan IIs." Alzira said, deep in thought.

    "You know, in a lot of ways, they seem like Gregorio from what you've told us" Folami said suddenly. She had been making her own conclusions.

    "How so?" Gregorio asked.

    "They're very serious, on or off the battlefield it seems. They also have friendships, but they don't go around with their pals all the time, much like you. You're always off planning something." Folami said.

    "And you wear your armour a lot of time. Most of them were wearing their armour while I was getting the grand tour of the place." Alzira added.

    "I see If they're like me but loyal to War, we're going to have problems." Gregorio said, pondering about what to do.

    "I'll tell you anything else that might be useful when I get back. What time is it?" Alzira said getting up.

    Gregorio looked at his TACPAD.
    "Well its 8:40, so I better get going. Don't want to be late." He said as he walked away, his DMR and magnum already with him.
    "8:40? Oh -blam!-." Alzira said, getting up and finishing her last piece of toast. Saying goodbye to her friend she ran off to her quarters and quickly cleaned herself up. Brushing her teeth, putting her hair in a pony tail and going into the mechanized closet to put on her armour she was finally ready. Her clock said it was 8:50 AM.
    Alzira quickly ran up to the armoury to grab her gear as soon as possible. She had been chatting with Folami and her brother too much at breakfast. Finally she was in the armoury, grabbed a sniper rifle, checked the scope really quickly and bolted out of the armoury. The nice thing about War's base was that the weapons there were kept in very good condition and the armoury was organized as well.

    She burst out of armoury only to run into the HP/Halo chest piece of a blue and orange Spartan. She sat there on the ground, sniper nearby. She went to go grab it when the Spartan standing in front of it grabbed it for her.

    "Sorry about that." he said, holding out his gloved hand. Alzira looked up expecting to see the man's face, only to find herself looking at a Commando helmet. Alzira took his hand and got up, putting the sniper on her back. 

    "Thanks" she said turning to head towards the East side of the base. Before she even placed her foot forward the man's hand was on her shoulder.

    "Aren't you forgetting a sidearm?" he asked, inspecting her.

    "Ahh... -blam!-" she said realizing that there was no magnum on her thigh. The man gestured towards the armory again, holding the door open. They two walked in, heading straight for the magnums. 

    "Hey, um... I never got your name..." Alzira asked feeling very awkward. She knew almost all the Spartan IIIs on base by name. She could care less about their numbers. 

    "No surprise you don't remember me." he said taking off his helmet. Underneath the blue Commando helmet was a young man who looked like he was in his only 18. Most Spartans looked like they were in their early twenties, even though they were only actually 16. Trained to fight and think on their feet, these Spartans acted far more serious then their teenage civilian counterparts. 

    He man grinned as Alzira looked him over. She tried her hardest to remember who he was. He had brown hair, some stubble... which didn't really suit him, and light brown eyes. His skin was lightly tanned, even lighter than hers.

    "Name's Fabian-W901. My squad went missing for two months. Took us a while to establish contact with War again. It was pretty hectic, being on the run from Insurrectionists and their sympathizers." he said, acting like it was no big deal. Was he trying to impress her? It wasn't working at all. Going into dangerous missions was the whole point of being one of War's Spartans.

    "I would assume so., but I really got to get going." she replied heading out of the armoury.

    "Hey where are you going?" Fabian asked. She was getting slightly annoyed.

    "On a mission" she said, walking slightly faster.

    "Where to? Landing pad is that way." Fabian said pointing to the opposite direction she was walking in. He was trying to be helpful but obviously he wasn't aware of the squad changes.

    "East Side." she answered.

    "Why?" Jesus Christ, this guy wants to know everything about me! Alzira thought.

    "War's orders" she said, hoping that Manuel's phrase would have the same effect on Fabian as it did with most Spartan IIs.

    "Really? What for?" Fabian still asked. Ooooohhh. My. God Alzira's patience was running out.

    "Just...because." she said stopping.

    "Look I'm really busy, and I need to get there on time. Maybe we can chat when I get back but I don't have time right now." she said, VERY annoyed. With that she left poor Fabian behind, walking towards War's office.

    When she got there, she showed the two grey Spartans her green pass card which allowed her entrance to the East Side. They escorted her through, until the door of the landing pad. Without a word they left her and returned to their post. She found that VERY creepy, how they rarely said anything. She had only spoken with one of them. His name was Jerry-W9...something, something. She couldn't remember but he seemed like a nice guy. She guessed he was new to their force because the older ones NEVER said a word unless it was about security measures.

    She ran up the stairs to the roof, hoping to be on time and ready to start her first mission with her new squad. She bit her lip, since she was somewhat nervous and unsure of what to expect. The squad had come to Manuel's aid yesterday, but would they extend that courtesy to her as well? Would she get along with stone cold Spartans? Would they see her as an equal? A million questions were flying through her head. There's only one way to find out the answer she said, stepping through the door and onto the landing pad.

    Help with spelling or grammatical errors would be greatly appreciated! I apologize if this wasn't exciting, because it didn't feel exciting to me. Not that it was supposed to be.
    Freelancer Operative

    Posts : 1365
    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 23
    Location : The Great White North (Canada)

    Chapter 5: The Journey

    Post  Manny on January 31st 2013, 12:54 pm

    Please bear with me if this chapter seems really slow and boring. I was more or less experimenting with the interactions between the squad members. Testing some things, you know? This chapter could almost be seen as optional, which IS poor writing but I really wasn't sure what to do.

    Manuel stood there, his squad in a single file line all of them waiting as War looked through some files. Manuel was a little annoyed at the fact that his sniper was running late.

    Alzira burst through the door at that exact moment. She had her sniper in one hand, and a magnum in the other. Clipping the magnum to her waist she approached the group, a little nervous about what War would say. 

    "Ms. Alzira... It is 9:02 AM. Do you know what that means?" War asked, a hint of annoyance in his voice.

    "I'm late?"

    "Indeed. I expect my soldiers to have high standards. Those who have not met those expectations were... dealt with" War said ominously. 

    "I was TWO minutes late! Come on!" Alzira protested. This caught the attention of her new squad, who looked at each other. They had never seen anyone argue with War so... confidently.

    "Aren't you guys going to stand up for your squad mate?" she asked.

    "The Spartan Twos here have demonstrated that they are high quality soldiers. Perhaps you will learn a thing or two from them in time." War responded cooly. Alzira didn't like how he described the Spartan IIs. "High quality" made them sounds like things, rather than men.

    "Sir the mission?" Manuel asked, eager to change to topic. 

    War looked down at his files once again, flipping through a few pages. He pulled out some pictures, and handed them to Manuel.

    "These men are in charge of a company that has been mining valuable minerals on my behalf. I hired them for their effectiveness, not their trustworthiness. I knew that if things went sour, I would be able to get what I wanted regardless." War explained.

    "So we are to eliminate these men?" Claude asked.

    "If necessary. Attempt to talk them into honoring their end of the bargain. Should they refuse, attempt to intimidate them. Should they still refuse, then beat some sense into them. I would imagine that they are intelligent enough to realize that their death would be pointless. Then again, I suppose weak brutes have no place in this world. Should you reach the point where force is necessary, make an example of them."

    "Understood sir" Manuel replied. 

    "Wait... What do you mean 'make an example" of them?" Alzira asked.

    War looked at her as if the answer was obvious. "Simply put, make sure the other miners see their corpses so that others do not attempt to rob me of what is mine. Do what you see fit to the corpses, but make it... Gruesome" 

    Alzira looked at him and was about to speak when Manuel put a hand on her shoulder. 

    "Orders are orders"

    "You can't be serious! Those are civilians!" she protested, shaking off Manuel's hand.

    "War isn't humane Ms. Alzira. I suggest you become accustomed to it, if you have not already" War replied. She couldn't tell if he was talking about warfare or referring to himself in the third person. Generally War gave Spartan IIs the jobs of "enforcing" War's will.

    "Anything else to know?" Andrew spoke as Manuel handed him the pictures, which he put into his soft case.

    "The mine is on a different planet. You will have to fly to a secret hanger on this planet and from there make your way to the mine. The Falcon to your right shall take you to the hangar." War gestured to it with his right arm.

    The Spartan IIs immediately headed for the aircraft, Manuel waiting for War and Alzira who were making their way towards the aircraft.

    "Ms. Alzira, I am expecting you to behave according to Spartan II standards" War said as they walked, staring at the Falcon.
    Alzira didn't say anything.

    "Listen to me carefully W-935, for I am not going to repeat myself. I have no problem disposing of Spartans that were meant to be expendable. I MADE you, without me you are nothing. The only reason you are here now is because of this squad's lack of a sniper. If Mr. Chang was still alive, you wouldn't be here." War replied, never making eye contact. Even so, Alzira got the feeling that by "here" he meant the simple fact that she even got up this morning.

    The pair arrived at the Falcon, watching Jakob climb into the pilot's seat. Claude and Andrew were on the turrets, as usual. Alzira sat on the middle seat of the left row. Manuel and Miguel sat across from her.

    "Do not fail me Spartans. The metal in this mine will be of great importance to me." War said over the noise of the Falcon.

    "Understood sir" 324 nodded as the Falcon flew off. War stood there watching it, his soldiers flying off to do his bidding. Turning around War walked to another Falcon, ready to give another squad another mission.
    The six Spartans sat there in awkward silence. Normally, Chang had been a pain in the ass talking about how many kills he would get, but at least trying to get him to shut up was something to do. But Chang wasn't here anymore, so Manuel activated his tac pad and out popped a holographic map.

    "What's that?" Miguel asked.

    "The mine" Manuel responded. The map showed a simple cliff side with a gaping hole in it.

    "All the metal is deep underground. This is the only way in and out. Our sniper-"

    "Alzira" she interrupted. She liked to be called by name. She was a person. Manuel simply looked at her. He didn't like to be interrupted.

    "Look, I'm not sure how you IIIs think or act but here the squad listens to the squad leader." he said.

    "Yeah" Miguel added. This new sniper pissed him off. Too much attitude.

    "I don't see a problem with calling me by name. I don't see you calling him '325' or 'the close quarters combatant." she protested pointing at Miguel. He simply gave her the finger, a gesture of hate he had seen directed at him many times. Claude and Andrew looked over their shoulders still holding onto their turrets. There really wasn't much to look out for on this planet. It wasn't really colonized, there were only a few companies here and there that extracted natural resources from the place.

    Manuel sighed. Facts were facts. She was the only one not being called by name. As squad leader, he had to make this team work.

    "Look, I'm going to be honest with you. You're filling in some shoes the rest of the squad would rather leave unfilled." Manuel confessed.

    "What about you?" she asked.

    "Me? I'm just glad we're back up to full strength. I've read your file. That attitude stays behind, we're a squad with a squad leader. Understood?"

    "Yes sir" Alzira grumbled. Miguel sat back, folding his arms across his chest. Alzira narrowed her eyes, she could just imagine the smug look on his face.

    Manuel cleared his throat, and continued on with the briefing.

    "Alzira here is going to watch the entrance to the mine. The rest of us go in and do what War sent us in to do. Nothing too difficult."

    "I wouldn't think so. They're just a bunch of civilians. It'll be easy, even easier than the Insurrectionist base yesterday!" Miguel added. It was quite apparent to Alzira that most of these Spartans didn't see a problem with what they were doing. Maybe that had something to do with War keeping a closer eye on them throughout training. For all she knew, War was their father figure... A scary thought indeed.

    "What should I look out for?" Alzira asked. She had to gain her squad's trust somehow.

    "Anyone that escapes, or intruders. We don't need people poking their heads in." Manuel said, turning off his TACPAD. The map disappeared and the Falcon was quiet. Claude and Andrew turned their attention back to the scenery outside.

    "So... How did you guys become a team?" Alzira asked.

    "We were matched up by War. He watched us train and grow, did some psyche evaluations. I'd assume he did the same thing he did to you." Manuel asked, leaning back in his seat.

    "...Yeah" Alzira replied. Now that she thought about it, she had just been told with which to work. She got along great with her old squad, but she was never give a choice.

    "Doesn't it bother you that you didn't even pick your squads?" she asked.

    "Nope" Manuel responded.


    "Yeah" he said, looking hanging his head down sighing. He wasn't ashamed or embarrassed, he was just tired of all the questions.

    "We're approaching the hanger!" Jakob announced. The squad looked out the right side of the Falcon, seeing the hanger built into the side of a mountain.
    The Falcon entered slowly and gracefully, touching down softly onto the floor. The propellers continued to spin lazily until they came to a stop.

    Five grey Spartans approached the vehicle. Two were Spartans IIs, the other three belonging to the "lower class". The only thing that set them apart was their armour and size.

    "Identification?" what seemed to be the leader asked. The Spartan Two stood there, shotgun in his arms.

    "Manuel-324" Manuel said, taking off his helmet. A Spartan Three looked at his TACPAD, which showed a picture of Manuel's face.

    "Next." the shotgun wielding Spartan said to the Spartan on Manuel's right.

    "Miguel-325" the second in command replied, taking his helmet off as well.










    "Alzira. W. 9.3.5."

    "Spartan III? Can I get a verification?" he said turning to the Spartan III with the TACPAD.

    "Latest roster update says so." the smaller man reported, scrolling through a list of names.

    "When was that?"

    "Two days ago sir"

    "I see. Alright Team Alpha, you're clear to go." the Spartan II announced. Manuel saluted the Security squad leader and he returned it. Each squad did the same. The gesture was to promote unity between the two forces, War's army and War's Police Force.

    "See ya Jerry!" Alzira said before walking out. The rest of the Security squad turned to look at their fellow comrade.

    "She knows you by name?" their leader asked, taking a step towards 'Jerry'.

    "We better go" Manuel whispered, his hands on Alzira's shoulders trying to hurry her.

    "Wait what's going on?" she asked, but by then Manuel had shoved her out of the hanger, and a door had slammed behind them. From the other side of the door the sound of shattering glass and a yelp of pain could be heard.

    "Security personnel are not supposed to have personal relationships with other Spartans. They distance themselves so that they can do their jobs without bias or hesitation." Miguel explained the situation.

    "All he did was tell me his name once..."

    "Even giving out their name is considered a breach of their policy" Miguel replied.

    Andrew turned to look at him. "Waaait. How do you know so much?"

    "Let's just say someone told me more than they should have. Their fate for such a major breach is probably obvious." he answered.

    "Well I don't like them. War is keeping secrets, things that the rest of don't know, not even Manuel...right?" Claude interjected.

    "Does War tell you things the rest of us don't know?" Jakob added.

    Manuel thought about it. War favored him, but did he trust him? Manuel wasn't too sure. Then again, War had told him about the 'problems' their sniper had. Something he didn't tell the rest of the squad.

    Manuel looked over at Alzira, his golden visor hiding his facial expression. "Nothing of importance" Manuel said, opening a door.

    Behind the door was another hanger, except this one was full of spacecraft, not aircraft. There were a few long swords being checked over by engineers. Normal humans under War's employment. Something Manuel didn't see too often. The only normal humans Manuel saw on a regular basis were pilots, medical staff, and engineers. Manuel could see why War didn't want them on the battlefield. Too weak.

    Yet another security squad approached them, ready to perform their basic clearance procedure.

    "Team Alpha?" their leader asked, yet another a Spartan II.

    "Yes" replied Manuel. Generally the talking was done by the two squad leaders.


    "Investigate loss of communications with mine outpost. Secure underground metals for War. Intimidation preferred, violence if necessary."

    The Spartan II looked at his subordinate. The Spartan III was scrolling through a holographic screen projected from his TACPAD.

    "Affirmative" the Spartan III said.

    "Proceed" the Spartan II said, stepping out of their way. Before Team Alpha could move Manuel turned abruptly around.

    "Don't." he ordered, his finger point at his sniper.

    "I don't-"

    "Don't." Manuel didn't care. He didn't want any problems whatsoever. He couldn't see her face, but he could imagine a look of annoyance behind the visor.

    The rest of the squad moved along, climbing into a Chiroptera-class stealth vessel. The six Spartans climbed on board the bat like vessel and sat down. The ship sealed itself and the six Spartan prepared themselves for space flight.

    "Alright, buckle up. Exiting the atmosphere takes a lot of speed, and a lot of power." Jakob announced as he grabbed the controls of the Chiroptera. The vessel was just out of the hanger, and on its way up. The vessel began to move faster and higher, and the Spartans could feel the force of gravity pulling them down into their seats.

    The vessel began to rattle and shake, which always made Manuel nervous. Despite the numerous times he had exited atmosphere, he knew that something could go terribly wrong each time.

    After a few minutes of violent shaking, the blackness of space surrounded them and the vessel began to "fly" smoothly. It was at this point that an AI appeared in the middle of the cockpit, projecting itself from the ceiling.

    "Welcome soldiers of War" the AI said, its image that of a Valkyrie complete with a holographic horse.

    "Thank you Hildr" Manuel responded. Team Alpha had met with this 'dumb' AI a few times. "She" was generally assigned to long swords, ships meant to see battle. Her name did mean "battle" after all. Today she accompanied Team Alpha since almost all the long swords were under repair, or taken out.

    "Where does Lord War send his warriors to today?" Hildr asked.

    "A mine outpost" Manuel said, connecting his TACPAD to a terminal.

    The AI stood there, quickly twirled her spear once, and then spoke. "I see." Twirling her spear was her way of processing information, which usually was only once. Massive amounts of information could prompt a slower twirl, and enormous amounts could prompt a second twirl. The only time Manuel had ever seen her twirl her spear more than once was whenever War sent her geographical information about entire planets.

    "Most strange indeed. They simply cut off communications... on an isolated planet. Either they have their own way off planet, or something happened." the AI said.

    "Do you have any intel on the company?" Manuel asked.


    "No?" Alzira asked.

    "I do not have a database to access that information from. I am a battle A.I. Intel is not my speciality. Piloting Long Swords is." she replied.

    Now Manuel understood the meaning of dumb A.I. They had one specific function. It had nothing to do with intelligence. Or so he thought.

    "Well how long until we get there?" Miguel asked.

    "Via slip space? About 6 hours real time" Hildr responded.

    "Well, I'm going to rest." Miguel leaned back in his chair.

    "I do not think it is wise to sleep in MJOLNIR armour Miguel" Jakob advised.

    "What could happen?"

    "You'll be stiff as hell when you wake up. You'll be useless on the battlefield, dumbass!" Andrew replied.

    "Hey I bet I could kick your ass, stiff or not!" Miguel replied.

    "Calm down gentlemen. Our enemy is in the mine, not here. Andrew does raise a good point. If you cannot fight properly, you are a liability not an asset." Manuel said. Miguel folded his arms across his chest, visibly mad that he couldn't rest. Manuel grinned at the childish gesture.

    The group sat in silence for a while afterwards. Manuel was reading a newspaper, a habit he shared with War. War liked to read, and he liked to read things he could hold. So ALL vessels had at least one newspaper in them, which was fortunate for Manuel.

    "Sooooooo" Alzira broke the awkward silence. "Is this what it's always been like?"

    "Been like this since you showed up" Miguel said, staring at the ceiling.

    "What he means to say is that it wasn't like this before. With Chang we were constantly trying to keep him quiet" Jakob explained.

    "-blam!- didn't know when to shut the -blam!- up." Andrew said from across the room.

    "Seems like you guys got along well" Alzira replied.

    "Despite our quarrels, Chang was like our annoying brother. We failed him on that mission." Jakob said.

    "What happened?" she asked.

    "He died." Manuel answered. The tone in his voice suggested it was a topic he didn't want his squad discussing.

    "...and?" Alzira asked. She wanted to know more. She needed to know more. She had to know what happened to avoid a similar situation happening to her.

    "You replaced him. End of story" Manuel said, never putting down his newspaper.

    "But how?"

    That's when Miguel interrupted. "End. Of. Story. Not sure if you heard him"

    "Alright that's it, seriously, why are you being such a dick? You barely know me!" she said, getting up. She was sick of this.

    "You looking for a fight?" Miguel chuckled. Alzira's body language suggested she was. Her fists were balled up and she took slow steps.

    "I'm not scared of one"

    "Hohoho! We got a feisty one over here!" Miguel said getting up.

    Alzira turned back to Jakob. "You sure Chang was the -blam!-?"
    He said nothing. She turned back to Miguel, who leaning on the control panel.

    "Well? You said you weren't scared of a fight, and sure seems like you're looking for one." Miguel replied.

    "Me? What about you?!" she replied.

    "I'm not looking for a fight, besides I don't like to hit girls." He shrugged.

    "You're just sticking your nose into other people's business. We asked for a sniper, not a therapist." Miguel replied pointing at her.

    "All I need to know is how. I never asked how you felt, or how you're dealing with it." she countered.

    "And all I need is for both of you to return to your seats." Manuel said, putting down his newspaper. Both of them looked at him.

    "That's an order" he said, more sternly. The two went back to their seats, no doubt sulking.

    "Hildr how much time until we reach the mine?" Manuel said.

    "If my calculations are correct, 4 hours." she responded.

    "Thank you" Manuel said, leaning in his chair. He sighed. It was going to be a long journey there.

    "May I ask you a question sir?" Claude said, speaking for the first time.

    "Go ahead."

    "What happens if the miners are all dead?"

    "That's a peculiar question. What prompted you to ask that?"

    "They are not communicating for whatever reason. There have been no reports of a massive economic success for them in the media. Titanium is worth millions, surely something must have happened if they are not profiting." Claude answered.

    "How do you know they aren't profiting?" Manuel asked

    "There are stocks on the back of your newspaper. Stocks for both the company, Mynex inc, and the metal. If you were to extrapolate the company's chart back in time, you will find that the value is the same. Extrapolate the metal's chart back in time, and you will find it was worth less." Claude answered.

    Manuel looked at the last page of the newspaper. Doing some basic math he did what Claude told him to.

    "It would appear you are right. Strange." Manuel thought out loud.

    "Well could they be using it for something?" Alzira suggested.

    "What is Titanium used for?" Miguel asked, doubtful of her suggestion.

    "War" Manuel replied.

    "Well yeah, I'm sure he has his uses but-" Alzira said before being cut off.

    "No I mean warfare. Titanium is used on warships, and in MJOLNIR armour. Either these guys sold out to the UNSC, or the Innies want the Titanium" Manuel thought.

    "It's not the UNSC. Those stocks don't suggest any positive business dealings." Claude said.

    "So you think the Insurrection had something to do with this?" Manuel asked.

    "It's quite possible. They take what they want, when they want. I doubt they thought anybody would be looking for these miners" Claude said.

    "Nobody really is. We're just after the titanium. Those are our 'orders'" Alzira replied, clearly uncomfortable with War's orders of "intimidation".

    "And we'll follow those orders, regardless of whatever 'feelings' you may have. We're soldiers, not knights. We simply follow orders, we don't enforce a moral code" Manuel said. Nobody really argued with that. Being soldiers of War was their job, their life really. They didn't have anything else going for them.

    They stayed quiet, Manuel having put an end to any discussion. Simply put, the best way to prevent disobedience towards War was to prevent people from even questioning him.

    "Are we there yet?" Miguel asked. Hildr appeared again to answer the question.

    "The time until we reach the planet is approximately 3 hours and 38 minutes." she replied.

    "Thanks, I guess" Miguel said as the AI disappeared. Having six people, who didn't really get along, in a small space was a bad idea.

    Alzira decided she would try and make the best of it. "So, beside me and the security guys, have you guys seen a Spartan III?" she asked.

    "No. As you know, we are segregated. War has his reasons." Claude answered the question. Nobody else said anything because their answers were the same.

    "Didn't you ever wonder what your fellow Spartans were like?" she asked. She knew that she had always wanted to know what Spartan IIs were like. To see if they were any different.

    The Spartan IIs looked at each other. None of them had ever voiced the question.

    "No not really. Out of sight out of mind." Miguel said.

    "How about you?" Alzira asked Jakob next to her.

    Jakob seemed hesitant to speak. He looked at Manuel for a few seconds before returning his gaze to the floor.

    "You may speak. You have proven yourself to be a loyal soldier of War. The Spartan IIIs are also his soldiers." Manuel said. Did Jakob not trust him because he thought he would report him to War? This troubled Manuel a great deal.

    "I... I had wondered. I had noticed that the Spartan IIIs on security were smaller than most of us. So I wondered what they were like, and if War trained us harder than them. It was a question in the back of my mind for a long time." Jakob said.

    "And what do you think now?" Alzira asked.

    "I suppose we will find out when we reach the titanium mine." Jakob replied.

    "Fair enough. How about you two?" she asked Claude and Andrew.

    "I assumed you guys were weaker than us. I thought War had us separated for a reason. That's the best reason I can think of." Andrew said, cleaning his battle rifle.

    "I assumed the same." Claude answered.

    "I see... And you?" she said pointing to Manuel. His fellow Spartan IIs looked at him.

    "I deal with War on a regular basis. I really don't have time to be pondering things that don't affect me. Or at least didn't until now" Manuel replied.

    "You didn't even think about it once?" she asked.

    "I did." he said.


    "I decided it wasn't worth my time and stopped." Manuel replied.

    "You had no curiosity whatsoever? You didn't even ask War about it once, being his buddy and all?" she joked.

    "War is not a friend. He is our leader. They are two very different things. Leaders do what must be done, friends are sometimes held back by friendship itself." Manuel replied quite seriously.

    Damn, no wonder these guys don't make too many friends Alzira thought.

    Things went silent again for a little while. Until Manuel spoke up. Curiosity had gotten the better of him.

    "What did you think of Spartan IIs?" he asked.

    "I assumed they would be more...open." she said.

    "Open to what?" Manuel asked.

    "Their fellow Spartans" she replied.

    "We're not here to be best friends. We were all chosen by War to become the best soldiers we could be, not pals. We serve a common purpose, and that should be enough" Manuel replied. He was sorry he asked. He should have known she would have imagined some tight knit group among them.

    "And what purpose is that?" she asked.

    "To serve War. As soldiers we are instrumental in conflict. You cannot fight a war without soldiers." he replied.

    "Really? Is that what you REALLY think when you're killing people?" she asked.

    "I don't question my orders, I simply follow them 935, I suggest you do the same. I don't know where you got that mindset but I highly recommend that you keep your views to yourself." Manuel said.

    Alzira turned her chair around, her back to Manuel, and faced the window. All around them was the cold blackness of space.

    They returned to silence again, not really having much to say. Andrew was cleaning his magnum now, and Claude was doing push ups on the floor. Both were fairly impatient.

    Miguel seemed to be dozing off because on occasion he would bolt upright in his seat. Jakob simply fiddled with his shotgun, constantly taking the shells out and putting them back.

    Manuel sat there looking at the stocks, trying to extrapolate the graphs farther. Alzira just looked out the window, gazing at whatever appeared.

    They sat there for a LONG time, until their AI projected itself and spoke.

    "Estimated time to reach destination: 0.5 hours." the AI disappeared afterwards, activating the stealth capabilities of the Chiroptera class vessel.

    The squad began to look over their weapons, except Andrew. Miguel was inspecting the grenade launcher, Jakob getting up to help him with one final review of how to use it effectively. Alzira looked down the scope of her rifle, making sure it was all set. Claude looked over his assault rifle, checking to make sure the magazine clipped in all right. Manuel got up, loading his DMR and checking the scope one last time.

    "All right. Everyones' weapons are ready?" Manuel asked. His squad nodded.

    "Good. Everyone remember the plan?" he asked.

    "I watch the entrance and the rest of you go in." Alzira responded.

    "I'll take point" Miguel said.

    "I'll be right behind him." Jakob replied.

    "I'll be at the rear." Claude announced.

    "I got our left side." Andrew recalled.

    "And I have our right side. Good. Any questions?" he asked as the vessel approached the atmosphere.

    "What are the explosives for?" Jakob asked.

    "Cave ins. We'll need a way out. Needless to say, only use them when necessary." their leader answered.

    "Aye. Sir will we be going loud?" Claude asked.

    "Yes. Our primary goal is intimidation. We want them to know we're there." Manuel replied.

    "Do we?" Andrew asked.

    "I don't think the Insurrection is much of a problem. It's either greedy miners, or greedy Insurrectionists. Who else?"

    "The UNSC. I hear they got people like us. Better than the rest." Andrew replied.

    "ODSTs?" Miguel asked unconvinced. He was sure he could take on a few ODSTs.

    "No, Spartans." Claude responded.

    "Wait, so there are others?" Alzira asked.

    "Of course. UNSC wants to put down the Insurrection, so they create top of the line soldiers. They were thinking along the same lines as War. Create an unstoppable army to crush those that oppose you." Andrew said.

    "Why would they forcibly take a mine?" Miguel asked.

    "They've been given emergency powers. They could do whatever the hell they wanted. I know I would." Andrew replied.

    "We don't know if there's a UNSC presence there. We don't even know if these miners are alive. We just get in, find out what happened, take the best course of action, and go home. Now, is everyone ready?" Manuel asked. His squad nodded.

    "Get seated, we're entering atmosphere."

    I actually NEED help here guys. I'm not sure how to develop these people through dialogue. Like Chief, their actions define who they are more or less (as seen in the first chapter).
    Database Director

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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 31st 2013, 1:11 pm

    Your dialogue is fine Manuel. You really don't need help. However, if you do think you need it, I can try to help. I'm not the best Dialogue writer myself either, but I'd be willing to try. Send me a PM or in the chatbox next chance you get of some of your character's chats.
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

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    Location : A box in the United States.

    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Bad John on January 31st 2013, 1:14 pm

    The best way to develop characters, the BEST WAY, is to just have 'em talk, and visibly react to each-other.

    Like real people. We grow and effect each-other in a real way, so have the characters do so.

    Me, I'm just glad to see you writing again. Smile
    Freelancer Operative

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    Into the Deep

    Post  Manny on February 28th 2013, 10:53 pm

    Manuel approached the mouth of the mine, only to find it clogged with debris.

    "Hmmm...." Manuel thought about what to do. Within less than a minute he pointed at Jakob and then at the debris. "Blow it up".

    "As you wish", Jakob aimed the rocket launcher and fired, blowing away an opening just large enough for them to enter one at a time. Turning on the flashlight attached to his helmet Manuel motioned for his squad to follow suite.

    "You in position?" Manuel asked over the coms.

    "Yep. Don't worry about me, I'll be out here. Just watch yourself in there." Alzira replied.

    "I don't think we'll be in any real danger."

    "You never know."

    "Just watch our backs."

    "Take care"

    Manuel wasn't sure how to respond to that. Most of the time nobody really cared much for his safety. Danger was part of the job.

    "...Thanks" Manuel said while walking in. The cave was clearly man made, the walls far too smooth. The five Spartans entered and walked down, the natural sunlight was disappearing as they proceeded farther and farther into the tunnel.

    "I don't see signs of anyone trying to come out. I don't even hear calls for help..." Claude noticed.

    "Yeah I noticed that." Manuel replied.

    "Do you think they have already left?" Jakob asked.

    "Maybe... hold on." Manuel said reaching into his coms.


    "Yeesss?" she said. Manuel cringed. She didn't sound too serious.

    "I need you to check the surrounding area quickly. Any machinery or vehicles nearby?" Manuel said.

    "Lemme check, give me a sec" she said. There was silence for a few minutes before she spoke. "I can't see anything from here outside. Why?"

    "We're not finding anything in here either" Manuel responded.

    "Did they leave?"

    "It's a possibility. Keep an eye out for any activity, we're going to investigate this further" Manuel said before cutting the conversation.

    The squad walked along in silence, until they found a ladder that lead down deeper into the mines. They descended, checking their left and right before proceeding out into the main tunnel.

    They found a few pickaxes littered about, and a helmet. So far they hadn't made any contact...with anything. No working machinery, no people, not even animals.

    Miguel picked up the helmet. On the inside was a splash of blood. Somebody had been attacked.

    "Hey mang, I'm not getting a good feeling about this." Miguel replied.

    "You scared?" Andrew asked.

    "Piss off. This ain't natural. It's too..."

    "Quiet." Manuel finished. He reached for his coms.

    "Can you hear me?"

    "Sorta. It's really faint." Alzira replied.

    "Alright. Listen carefully. We're not sure what happened here but..." Manuel trailed off. Claude had found a dead body. It was...chewed.

    "What...the...f**k?" Miguel said rolling the body so that it was face up.

    "Damn!" Andrew yelled. The intestines were missing, it was just a huge gaping hole.

    "Quiet!" shouted Jakob. Whatever did this... had to be nearby.

    "What's going on?" Alzira shouted into Manuel's helmet apparently Andrew and Jakob had shouted loud enough for her to hear.

    "We've found a body, looks like something was eating it."

    "Eating it?! Are you serious?"

    "Do I seem to be joking? Keep an eye out for animals as well. We don't know what kind of wild life lives on this planet. Look for carnivores that wander in." Manuel answered.

    "Will do. Over and out" There was silence again in Manuel's helmet.

    Manuel crouched down to investigate the body. He dipped his finger in some blood. It was cold...which meant this happened a while ago. It might have been caved in along with the miners...it may have been the miners themselves.

    "Whatever did this can't be far away. Stay frosty." Manuel advised, pulling his DMR of his back. They walked down a tunnel finding a few overturned mining carts. Inside one they found yet another dead body. This one had cuts all over it, and the eyes had been punctured.

    "My god..." Jakob said, shutting the eyelids. Manuel wasn't sure if it was out of respect or because he didn't want to see the haunting holes anymore. Either way it didn't matter. They were here to secure the metal. Keep going with the mission Manuel said. It was more or less of an attempt to reassure himself.

    Returning to War empty handed was NOT an option. Manuel feared what might happen if he did, but... he had no idea what he was dealing with right here.

    "...Well we know this ain't Innies. Innies aren't quite as brutal as we are...and I don't think I'd cut out a man's eyes. That's overkill and pointless." Miguel said.

    "UNSC...?" Jakob asked, but they already knew the answer.

    "No way in hell. They would lose all support against the Insurrection." Andrew replied.

    "IF the public found out. This mine WAS caved in, remember? They might be trying to hide it." Miguel pointed out. It was possible, but they doubted it.

    "Wildlife?" Claude asked. It was perhaps the most reasonable answer yet. Manuel looked up from the body to realize that his squad was looking at him for an answer.

    "... I assume so" Manuel said half heartedly. They continued down the long winding tunnel, following the rails meant for mining carts. There was the constant dripping of water, and the footsteps of Alpha squad... But nothing else.

    "What kind of animals do you think they are?" Claude asked, shining the light of his flashlight around a corner, assault rifle drawn.

    "Not sure. Carnivores most likely..." Manuel responded. The attacks seemed fairly... Accurate. The intestines of one man gone and the eyes of another punctured. Manuel had seen a lot of death, but never this much gore...

    Eventually they reached a dead end with nothing but another ladder going down. Shining their flashlights downwards they descended one by one. This tunnel only led them straight ahead so they walked on. Each Spartan had their weapons up, safeties off and fingers on the trigger.

    The walls were full of metal ore and the ground was littered with pick axes. Miguel picked one up to examine it.

    "Not a terrible melee weapon, but I don't think they were up against any normal foe." He commented.

    "What?" asked Manuel.

    "There's something on the end of this pick axe. A thick viscous liquid of some sort."

    "Show me." Miguel obliged and pointed the light from his helmet at the tip of the pick axe. Sure enough there was a purplish liquid, which dripped off the tool like blood. Manuel touched it, and found that it was warm, just like the blood of the miner before.

    "I believe it may be blood." Manuel concluded.

    "Not human obviously." He added.

    "If we had more intel on the wildlife here, then maybe we would know what we are dealing with!" Miguel was clearly frustrated by the lack of knowledge. They weren't used to not knowing what they were dealing with.

    They continued on however, holding their weapons tightly. None of them were comfortable in these tight confines. There was a turn ahead which the Spartans slowly went through, weapons raised. The sight that met them at the end of the turn was shocking.

    "Holy s**t..." Andrew said. The rest of the squad was speechless. The cavern before them was massive and full of Titanium ore, but that wasn't the shocking part.

    In the center lay a pile of bones, human bones. All of them clean of any meat and a few bite marks here and there.

    "This is no animal. These bones look like chicken bones when a human has eaten. They aren't strewn about either, they are in one pile. This is something... More." Jakob concluded.

    "Are you suggesting that these are sapient beings?" Claude asked.

    "Only a creature with a higher level of intelligence can place these bones into such a neat pile" Jakob responded. Manuel noted that he never gave a direct answer.

    "So then what the hell are we dealing with?!" Andrew asked.

    "There is one other thing..." Manuel said. He had wanted to keep it a secret, but his squad had to know what they were up against. War had told him about a new "threat" to his interests.

    "This planet is fairly close to the Outer Colonies..." Manuel started, unsure of how to break the news to his squad. They had asked him if War shared secret information with him. He had lied and said "no" back at the hanger. Now he was going to betray that trust.

    "What about the Outer Colonies?" Miguel asked.

    "They're being destroyed one by one."

    "Destroyed? By what?" Jakob asked. This was news to them.

    "An alien alliance known as the Covenant." Manuel answered.

    "You knew about this before?" Andrew asked taking a step forwards.

    "Yes, but from what I know they don't do...that" Manuel gestured to the massive pile of bones.

    "But you knew before we even set foot into the mine?" Andrew asked again.


    "Why didn't you say something? We could have been ambushed by who knows what, and we would have no F**CKING clue what to do!" Miguel shouted. Manuel flinched under his helmet. He had promised his friend that he would prove to him his leadership abilities on THIS mission. He had failed him, and deserved what was coming.

    "Look I'm telling you now so that you can prepare. I didn't want to bring it up until I was sure this was it. I never expected to encounter them." Manuel replied.

    "No, we're a team ok? If we can't trust our leader to tell us everything, how do we know we're not walking into some suicide mission, huh?"

    "Because this information is sensitive! I'll bring it up with War and announce what we see here, but there's no point in causing concern with a threat we may never see. Their quarrel is with the UNSC, not us." Manuel answered.

    "Whatever. Anything else you'd care to share?" Miguel was upset, and with good reason. He HAD to trust his squad leader, because if he doubted his orders it could cost him his life. How could he follow his orders now if his squad leader could very well lead him to his death?

    "War's intel knows of three Covenant species: Grunts, Jackals, and Elites." Manuel held out his TACPAD and a hologram of each one came up.

    "Which one do you think did this?" Andrew asked.

    "Could be any of them. They have superior technology than us, their weapons fire plasma. Just one hit can melt off your skin."

    "I didn't see any burns on the bodies before." Claude noted.

    "So it must have been hand to hand combat. They were pretty cut up." Jakob added.

    "Hand to hand. Then it must of been the big guys. The 'Elites' as you said. Look at them, they could take on one of us and that size is normal of them... Right?" Miguel asked.


    "So they could easily overpower a regular human. And look at those teeth. They have four mandibles full of them. That would explain the bite marks." Miguel continued along, forming his theory.

    "I think that these big guys came in looking for something. Possibly the same metal we are since they wear armour. Then the sick bastards decided to chow down on the miners. They might still be around. All that warm blood suggests this was recent."

    "That's the best theory yet. Better than wildlife" Claude said. Manuel ignored it.

    "So we know what it is we need to do?" Manuel asked.

    "Stick to the mission." Miguel spoke first.

    "Secure the metal" Andrew said second.

    "If not possible report to War with intel" Claude added.

    "And return prepared" Jakob finished.

    "Good. Stay frosty, and search the area. If nothing is there, then we report to War and wait for his extraction team. If you see the... hostiles, then kill them." Manuel ordered. His squad nodded and spread out, ready to serve War until death.

    Manuel bent down to examine some of the bones. He brought up the hologram of the Elite. He inspected the bite marks carefully, and looked at the mandibles of the creature again. It might have been them, but the bite marks reminded Manuel of animals from Earth. Wolves, bears, lions, and such. None of which had mandibles.

    What Manuel did next made him squeamish but he had to test a theory. He removed his helmet. He put it down beside him slowly as he picked up a bone. He held it in both hands, the bone just in front of his face. He brought it closer to him, and reluctantly put his teeth around the bone.

    He kept his tongue as far back as possible while looking at the bite marks. They suggested a larger mouth, but one thing was clear. This creature did not have mandibles. It had a hinged jaw, like most mammals.

    Manuel dropped the bone and spit out the saliva in his mouth. He looked up to see Claude standing there, looking at him and stiff as a tree. His fingers were wrapped tightly around his assault rifle, finger on the trigger.

    "Mon Dieu..." He said, to a god he probably never thought about until now.

    "Easy there. I was testing a theory."

    "If you like human bones?" Claude took a step back.

    "No. The type of jaw these things have. It's NOT Elites." Manuel took a step forward. Claude held his ground.

    "So what are they? Cannibals?" Claude asked.

    "I'm not sure. It could possibly the smaller aliens. Keep an eye out." Manuel turned away, looking at the bone he had bit. He put on his helmet and touched the side of it, activating the coms system.

    "This is Manuel-324. We are NOT dealing with Elites. The bite marks suggest that whatever did this had a hinged jaw, like a human. Not mandibles. It may have been the smaller extraterrestrials. Keep an eye out." Five acknowledgement lights went off in his helmet. Claude was patrolling the center area, shining the light on his assault rifle into any all spaces where a creature may hide.

    Manuel inspected the large pile of bones. It appeared that the miners unfortunate enough to the caught here had their flesh stripped from their bodies. He could see a femur in the middle of the pile, and tibia off to one side. Not good. Manuel was sorting through the pile trying to figure out just how many miners had been killed. Even for someone like himself, he was finding this a bit hard to swallow.

    Suddenly he heard a voice inside his helmet.

    "Hey boss, I found something!" It was Miguel.

    He walked out holding a weapon. It was around the same length as an assault rifle, but much wider. There two long curved blades attached to the under side of... Whatever it was.

    "What is it?" Claude asked, voicing Manuel's thoughts.

    "Not sure" Miguel said, turning it around in his hands while being cautious of the blades. Manuel noticed a ring near the handle and how the weapon seemed to have a hand guard.

    "I think it's a gun". Manuel blurted out. The rest of squad turned their attention to him.

    "Miguel can you show me one of your SMGs?" Manuel asked.

    "Sure thing mang" He said pulling it out with his free hand.

    "What about it".

    "Look at the designs. The triggers are in the same spot, relative to the handles, and there are hand guards. The blades are at the end of the weapon, much like old fashioned bayonets."

    Miguel stared at the alien weapon in his hands, unsure of what to do.

    "Test it" Andrew said. Jakob nodded in agreement.


    "Test it." Andrew repeated.

    "Test what?" Miguel asked.

    "If it's a gun, idiot." Claude answered.

    "Fine." Miguel said, giving Claude a dirty look under his visor. He aimed the weapon at a wall.

    "Now what?"

    "Put your finger in the ring and see what happens. It should fire." Manuel answered. Miguel obliged and sure enough, a volley of projectiles flew out. A few meters away, the squad could see spikes sticking out of the rock.

    "Spikes?" Jakob asked. He wasn't asking anyone in specific. He grabbed one and pulled it out of the wall. It was a really long spike.

    No one spoke for a while. Miguel finally broke the silence. "Damn... Can you imagine that in your chest?"

    "Well I don't think it can penetrate MJOLNIR. This armour IS made of the same metal they use on warships. It would be a concern if spikes could rip through that." Manuel theorized.

    "But what about multiple spikes in a concentrated area? It buried itself into a rock wall, maybe it can dent titanium?" Jakob replied.

    "Perhaps... We'll have to keep this and bring it to war, and do another sweep of the mine for hostiles. Whatever left this behind is either long gone or still around. Stay frosty." Manuel said.

    They fanned out again, moving along the dark side corridors and checking the crevices. They had looked everywhere they could, everything seemed alright. Manuel walked around the pile of bones again and before he could call the squad in to regroup something inhuman roared.

    Manuel looked up towards the path ahead of him to see his squad already in place, weapons raised and aimed at the entrance. Jakob, Claude, Andrew...and Miguel? No, where was he?

    S**t Manuel thought as the gunfire neared closer. Miguel's helmet light came nearer, and an incredibly loud noise was heard. Suddenly the light flew towards them along with the rest of him . He rolled on the ground a few times, his SMGs nowhere to be seen, but the strange weapon was still on his waist. He grabbed it and aimed at the door while backing up.

    "Come mang, we gotta go!" he shouted, looking around at the other caverns. He seemed jumpy...and scared? What the hell? For as long as Manuel had know Miguel, he had never been scared of anything. Or at least he never showed it.

    "What for?" Manuel asked.

    "We. Gotta. GO!" He shouted, approaching the ladder. Another roar was heard coming from another cavern.

    "Stay here! Our orders are to secu-"

    "Screw the metal! If we don't leave we'll end up like them!" Miguel pointed at the pile of bones.

    "I don't think tha-" Manuel stopped when he heard more gunfire, and more roars. Whatever was down here, it wasn't alone.

    "What the hell is in there?!" Shouted Andrew, taking a few steps back himself. The rest of the squad looked back for a second.

    "THAT!" As soon as the word was out of Miguel's mouth, a behemoth appeared. Tall, muscular, and shaggy it roared. The four Spartans closest to it opened fired almost immediately, but the one red eyed creature would not fall. It swatted Jakob to the floor, who blocked its fist with his forearm. His armour dented and the beast pulled back for another swing.

    Andrew intervened and aimed for the head, the beast turning around, it's glowing red eye aimed straight at him. Andrew fired again, backing away. It began to charge him but Claude leaped on its back. The beast clawed at the human who was pulling its head back, trying to jam his knife its neck. In the struggle, Claude ripped its head right off, the red eye flying in the air and Claude being thrown off the beast. It advanced, and the outline produced by Spartans' VISR suggested it still had a head.

    "What the hell?" Manuel asked before having to duck a swing from the monster. He returned the favour with a swift kick to it's chest, sending a mild shock through his leg. This thing was pure muscle!

    "It's a helmet of sorts!" Jakob said, his shotgun punctuating the end of his sentence. The best howled in pain as it turned around to face Jakob.

    Miguel jogged up next to Manuel and when he got there, he threw a grenade. The explosive flew at the beast's face before exploding, ending its life. Its body landed with a thud, sending small vibrations through the ground.

    The five Spartans carefully advanced, their helmet and gun lights aimed at the corpse. It wasn't an Elite, and it most definitely wasn't a Grunt or Jackal.

    "Anything else you want to share?" Miguel asked, taking in a breath.

    "No... I don't have anything to share". Manuel was trying to wrap his head around this. They had just stumbled across a new species of extraterrestrials, and they had no idea if they belonged to this "Covenant" or not. Was it sentient? Didn't seem like it.

    Manuel opened his first aid kit and pulled out a small cloth. He dipped part of it in the alien's blood, for further study. He also pulled a tuft of hair from the beast, wrapping it in the same cloth. He began recording with his helmet cam as he walked around the corpse, turning it over. His VISR helped to distinguish where the body was, for the linked camera's sake. His enhanced night vision did most of the work for him. He shone his helmet light into the mouth of the beast.

    Andrew whistled upon inspection. Manuel nodded for him to come over. Andrew looked at Claude, Jakob, and then Miguel. They nodded, indicating that they would keep guard. The Spartans reloaded their weapons, eyeing the side tunnels.

    Andrew crouched across from Manuel, awaiting an order.

    "Hold the mouth open." Andrew obliged. He already had a pretty good idea what was going to happen next. Manuel reached into the beast's mouth and pulled out what Andrew assumed was canine and then a molar.

    "What do we do now?" asked Jakob amidst a series of growls. He pumped his shotgun, finger on the trigger.

    "Leave, and return with reinforcements. We'll come back prepared, exterminate whatever is down here, and secure the metal." Manuel said backing up, never turning his back to the various side tunnels from which the growling could be heard.

    The first to go up was Miguel, being the close quarters combat specialist. If anything was waiting up above, the person getting out would be in a CQC position. Jakob was second, his shotgun no doubt a useful aide. Thirdly was Claude, followed by Andrew. Manuel had volunteered to be last, after all he had plunged his squad into this situation without telling them what was happening.

    Manuel began to climb the ladder when he heard very audible sniffing. There were more of those things and they had been awakened he supposed. They howled and continued smelling, until finally they made a mad dash for the bottom of the ladder prompting the Spartan to rush to the top.

    He reached the top and his squad pulled him out, but that wasn't the end of their troubles. The things had jumped their way up, clawing and bounding off the walls of the shaft to make their way through. The one in the lead jumped up but was promptly sent back down with a shotgun blast to the chest.

    "Let's go!" Jakob shouted, firing another round, the howls of the beast drowning out his yell.

    The five Spartans raced their way to the tunnel, heading for the light. There they quickly climbed out the gap formed by Jakob's rocket launcher. Manuel and Miguel were the last two to exit, but they were have troubling deciding who would leave first.

    "Go! Get out, this is my fault as squad leader!" Manuel shouted, gunning down another beast.

    "Hell no, you go! I'm designed to handle CQC situations!" Miguel shouted back, roundhouse kicking an alien and gunning down another while in mid air.

    "Miguel, you can't handle all of them. There's about 20 here and who knows how many more farther down" Manuel argued. Miguel was stubborn and annoying in situations like this, but if Manuel had learned anything during his years of training, it was that Miguel DID listen to reason, eventually.

    "Neither can you!" Miguel shouted, frustrating Manuel more. Manuel felt guilty, and if something happened to his friend while he escaped... He wouldn't be able to live with it. So he decided to take matters into his own hands. Manuel tackled Miguel into the gap and clear out of the mine. Manuel began his crawl towards freedom, but as he was halfway through something grabbed his leg.

    Manuel grabbed the rocks around him, kicking the snout of a creature and relieving the pressure on his left foot. He began to crawl out again and soon found himself being dragged back in again by BOTH feet. Manuel struggled against the force, but his hands were slipping from the rocks.

    Suddenly he felt four hands on each of his arms pull him in the opposite direction. Manuel looked up to see his squad mates pulling against the beasts with all their super human strength.

    "What the hell is happening?!" shouted Alzira through Manuel's helmet. Now that they were back on the surface, communications had been restored.


    "You call people playing tug of war with you NOTHING?! I'm coming down" She shouted. Her yells were starting to hurt Manuel's ears. He'd rather listen to the beast's roars again.

    "No! Keep your rifle aimed at the gap! Shoot whatever comes out of there!" Manuel said, his right leg free now. He kicked something somewhere, but sure enough another pair of claws clamped around his leg.

    "What's down there anyways?!" Alzira asked.

    "I don't know. Just stay in position!" Manuel urged. If anyone was going to get hurt because of decisions, it was going to be him.

    "..Fine, but you can bet I'll be down there the moment I see your friends losing to... Whatever's down there" Alzira huffed.

    "Pull for fuck's sake!" Miguel shouted, the Spartans doubling their efforts. Manuel's arms started to feel the strain of four super soldiers tugging on them. Then again, his legs were also feeling the strain of those... Things.

    "Alright amigo we got you! We ain't letting go until your damn arms come off!" Miguel shouted. He had a strange way of comforting Manuel.

    "Just shoot the damn things in there!" Claude shouted letting to of Manuel's left arm. Thankfully Jakob was able to pick up the slack. Claude bent down over Manuel and fired his assault rifle into the gap. Sure enough, one of the beasts was hit, a roar being the confirmation.

    Claude continued to open fire, and the Spartans seemed close to winning the tug of war. Manuel's waist was out and the tips of his knees were visible.

    That's when things got ugly. One of the hairy beasts bit down on Manuel's knee, right in between the metal plates. Manuel shouted in pain as Claude shot the visible snout of the alien.

    "Pull!" Manuel shouted and his squad obeyed. Claude scrambled over to Jakob and pulled with all his might. The good news was Manuel was free from the gap, the bad news was his left shoulder was now dislocated.

    The biofoam in his suit set the shoulder in the "proper" place but never really put it back in. If Manuel had been lucky, the beasts would have stopped coming. But Manuel had never been a lucky one and as a result the hairy behemoths crawled out of the gap.

    His squad immediately opened fire, slowly surrounding Manuel. These things were just bullet sponges. Huge, hairy, bestial, armoured bullet sponges.

    Manuel noticed that it was the larger ones who usually wore armour, making them harder to kill. He attempted to stand, and he did, but he could only limp. His left arm was in no shape to fire a weapon, so Manuel was stuck using his right arm and magnum.

    Manuel shot one in the head, killing it instantly. He noticed the stark contrast between his killing time and those of his squad mates. The head was an instant kill.

    "GO FOR THE HEAD!" Manuel shouted, killing another beast to prove his point. After that, all gun fire was from the chest up, slowly wearing away at the helmets.

    The problem was, they were too close by the time the helmets were off. There were about seven of them outside, and more crawling out.

    "WE NEED SNIPER FIRE NOW!" Manuel shouted. He was trained for many things... But not for this. Never for this.

    He got no response. Best sniper among the the threes, War said.
    She'd be good, War said. Well...

    A CRACK Three thuds were heard as three corresponding beasts. Another one fell, and then another. The beasts started howling in rage, and the Spartans on the ground took the advantage to pop a few rounds into their heads.

    "Thanks for the sniper fire" Manuel said, watching the other Spartans actually push the beasts back into the opening. They were yelling obscenities at the them, as a form of primal dominance. They had won, they had marked the entrance as theirs... And they WOULD return. The metal was of too much value to War to simply be left in there.

    "No problem at all. Just don't yell next time, you almost threw off my aim," Alzira replied.

    Manuel limped over to the rock wall and leaned on it. His squad looked back at him, awaiting an order.

    "Seal it" Manuel said, gesturing to the pile of rubble in front of the entrance. Jakob nodded and pulled out his rocket launcher, blasting away at the rock wall above the entrance. Debris rained down, sealing away the beasts of the deep.

    Manuel began to walk towards their ship, which was a fair distance away. His limp impeded him, and he tripped over a rock.

    "Ah!" He landed on his left shoulder, causing more pain. His squad mates ran over to lift him up, supporting him in his time of need.

    "You alright?" Alzira asked through Manuel's helmet.


    "No, you're not. I can see you from here."

    "It's nothing major. I've seen other Spartans pull through worse." Manuel grinded his teeth together as his left was jostled by accident. He'd arrive on base, and probably be sent to the infirmary. While other Spartans were out completing missions, he was going to be stuck doing nothing.

    Alzira broke his chain of thoughts "I don't care about the others, I care about your well being. A squad needs a leader doesn't it?"

    "That is true. Just head back to the ship, and we'll head home"

    "Roger. Over and out". Alzira began her run back to the ship, where they would return to War's base with this "intel".

    Doctor Jensen
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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Doctor Jensen on March 2nd 2013, 12:59 am

    Ha, Manuel doesn't know how to respond to women. Oh lol.
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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Manny on March 2nd 2013, 12:03 pm

    Doctor Jensen wrote:Ha, Manuel doesn't know how to respond to women. Oh lol.
    Lololol. A lifetime of military training can prepare you for many things. There's logical reasoning behind tactics and whatnot.

    But nothing prepares you for women. You just gotta learn has you go.

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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Doctor Jensen on March 2nd 2013, 2:36 pm

    So many feels right now.

    Anyways, when's the next part gonna be up? Must read more please.
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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Manny on March 9th 2013, 5:42 pm

    ...Did anybody guess what the "beasts" were? I hope I made it clear enough.
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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on March 9th 2013, 10:06 pm

    Hunters? Razz

    Of course you made them clear enough! They're Grunts!
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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Manny on March 9th 2013, 10:36 pm

    Shad0wChas3r wrote:Hunters? Razz

    Of course you made them clear enough! They're Grunts!

    They were PROPHETS damn it!
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    Re: Past of 324

    Post  Bad John on March 9th 2013, 10:59 pm

    Hot damn. I'm glad I sat down to read this.

    "What the hell is happening?!" shouted Alzira through Manuel's helmet. Now that they were back on the surface, communications had been restored.


    That part made me laugh. Not sure why, it was just hilarious to picture that short exchange. :P

    The juxtaposition of Manuel, professional, intelligent, and a Spartan to boot, being so busy with the situation that he's not havin' a word from his team-mates. He may as well have shouted "Not now" or "Fuck off." XD

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    Re: Past of 324

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