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    Legacy: Zero Hour

    Shad0wChas3r
    Shad0wChas3r
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    Legacy: Zero Hour Empty Legacy: Zero Hour

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on January 31st 2019, 4:33 am

    "What do you remember? About what happened between Captain Krieg and your father?"

    "Dusk remembers it better. To be completely honest with you, I still don't think she's fully recovered from it."

    Puffed, sore eyes stared at the two brawling men. Dusk rubbed her eyes to try and clear her vision, watching her father stabbed by an unusual projectile.

    "Lorelei! GO!" her father barked at their mother, planting his boot firmly into the bad man's chest and kicking off. "ALALA systems, MAXIMUM CHARGE!"

    Dusk squirmed in her mother's' tight embrace, as Dawn continued to bawl beside her. She wanted to help her father, her heart rate intensifying when she saw the blood seeping out of the crack in his visor, and the puncture wound in his chest.

    He seemed to notice her, as he nodded his head. "Dawn. Dusk. Don't make the same mistakes your father did."

    She watched as his suit unnaturally vibrated, his movements were stuttered, like a frame by frame slideshow but way faster. A burst of golden energy erupted from the cracks in his suit, staggering the bad man long enough for their father to walk over.

    He wrapped his gigantic arms around the three of them. "I love you. Lily... do it now!"

    In the same motion that had led to his hug, their father had slid the two girls and their mother on their backs across the flawless metal surface into the shining green portal behind them. Dusk reached out, screaming at the top of her lungs.

    "DADDY!"

    "Sis? SIS!"

    The vision of the strange office they had arrived in molded on itself in a vortex, shaping into the familiar location of the Simulation room. Dusk stood beside Dawn, dressed in their finest dresses. Several men clad in the same armor as their father stood behind a lone man with a camera drone looming in front of him.

    Their mother was there, with Uncle Jorge and Aunt Katherine on either side of her. The girls glanced at each other in confusion, as a light fizzled just behind them. Dusk's eyes ran with tears as she reached up towards the hologram behind them. She didn't know it at the time, all she had seen was a perfect rendition of her father.

    "Face the camera, kiddies." the man with the drone said calmly. "It'll be over soon. If we're going to make a statue for you and your dad, we need you guys to cooperate."

    "Dad?!" Dusk stood up, her hands fazing through the hologram, but to no avail.

    She could hear her mother's cries behind her, followed by a pair of heavy footfalls. Dusk turned back to see the looming presence of Uncle Jorge above them.

    "I know you're hurtin' love." He crouched down, his helmet disassembling. "We're making a gift. For you and the future generations that he's helped."

    "Why won't he talk to me? Pick me up?" Dusk asked, her bottom lip trembling. "Daddy?!"

    Uncle Jorge shook his head, and his usually stern face softened as he pulled Dusk in for a close hug. "That's a hologram, love. It's not really your father."

    "I don't mean to sound impatient, but I really have a time crun-"

    "They've just lost their father." Jorge hissed, turning to face the man. "-and you dangle some hologram in front of them and expect them NOT to want to interact with him? You have the hologram, take a picture with me posing with the girls, when they've calmed, and then just super impose him into your blueprints."

    "Ms. Harlowe. Is your sister okay? "

    "You're the doctor, sir. I'm just a teenager with a dream of becoming a teacher, not a therapist."

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

    Dusk gasped as her sister's incessant tugging on her braided ponytail brought her back into reality. She stared at the mirror at the corner of the therapist's office. Her deep green eyes stared back at her, with a single lock of her snow white hair fluttering like a pendulum between her eyes.

    Brushing it out of the way, she glanced over at her twin, technically 'younger' sister Dawn. Her eyes met with Dawn's deep blue eyes, as they filled with tears again. Dawn's began to well up also, leaning forward and hugging her sister tightly.

    It had been eleven years since their father sacrificed himself to defeat the evil Daniel Krieg. As such, the twins had been recommended to seek help from a therapist, Doctor Earl Bogart, to help them reconcile the pain and move on with their lives.

    "What more is there to tell you?" Dusk said, giving a sideways glance at Earl. "We've been coming to you for eleven years, you know every bit of the story that we know."

    "True as that may be, Dusk." Earl sighed, readjusting his tiny spectacles down his crooked nose, the result of an unexpected outburst a few months prior. "It has become increasingly more clear that neither of you have exactly healed from the event."

    "What did you expect?" Dusk scoffed. "We essentially watched our father die, and then that very same day, were asked to sit pretty in front of a hologram of him for a fucking statue."

    "In fairness." Dawn piped up, always the optimist. "The statue was to commemorate him, and to remind us that he was a hero."

    "You can keep shoveling that bullshit story as much as you want." Dusk shrugged her sister off. "The point remains that a statue doesn't exactly bring him back. They can call it a 'gift', I call it a 'sick reminder' that Dad is dead."

    "If I may?" Dr. Bogart cleared his throat, combing his two sided full mustache with a hand. "Your father was a noble hero. The statue was in fact made as a reminder. Not that he had died, but that his actions were for you, your sister, and the future of Humanity and it's allies."

    "That still doesn't help the feeling I suffered!" Dusk stood, fists clenched, Dr. Bogart flinching. "Do you have any idea what it was like; to stare at a unresponsive, digital version of your father? Calling for a hug like he used to give you? To be ignored because you didn't realize it was a goddamn machine?!"

    "Dusk." Dawn stood, and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Dr. Bogart didn't kill Dad. I'm so, so sorry they did this to us, but the truth is everyone has been shaken up by Dad's death, even to this day."

    "Yes, the statue was poorly timed. You remember the explanation Mom gave us."

    " ' They wanted to capture you two as kids, to add the sense of his willingness to protect the innocent. ' " the twins spoke in unison, as if rehearsed.

    "I still feel like this isn't entirely about the statue." Dr. Bogart mused, easing up as the twins sat back down on the couch. "Dusk, I cannot help you heal if you do not tell me what's on your mind."

    Dusk relaxed her shoulders, as she placed her hands in her lap. She stared down at the gap between her clasped hands, as her vision swirled back to the scene just before he hugged them and sent them sliding on the floor.

    The bad man had disappeared like a black, inky cloud. Kind of like an evil spirit, a ghost. He had stabbed their father with something that, for once in their time ever witnessing their father harmed, caused him to bleed. She watched as the crimson fluid of her father's blood splattered onto the floor in front of them.

    "Lorelei! GO!" he barked once more, only this time, she recalled the bad man's head turning to face her.

    A face they had all once trusted beyond measure, and all she could see in Daniel's eyes were evil incarnate, twisted portals into a hell that she didn't want to think about... and both of them were staring right at her. Daniel became the cloud again, attempting to approach them, about the time their father's armor pulsed that golden light.

    The black, inky cloud faded and the evil man recoiled from it. When she returned her focus towards her father, who knelt down to hug them, she could see in the crack of his visor. His blue eyes, similar to Dawn's, looked at her with a sense of pride, but also immense sadness. Thinking back on it, her father hadn't been his usual stoic self, he was sad, as if he knew this was going to happen.

    When they slid along the floor, she saw that his back was to them, but his arms were splayed wide, like he was accepting Death. When Daniel tried to fling a projectile at them, her Dad caught it and threw it back to it's sender. In a weird shimmer of movement, however, his fists were at his side, with his back to her, but his head tilted to face them over his shoulder.

    "Forget about me." she could have sworn she heard him say, though she always chalked it up to her mind forcing her to suppress it.

    Tears streamed down her cheeks again, the droplets splashing against her wrists. She hunched forward, as the jerking sensation deep within her took over. She wrapped her arms around her knees, burying her face in between the knees.

    "He asked us to forget about him." she cried. "Or at least, I think that's what he said."

    "This is new." Bogart leaned forward, interest peaked. "Progress. Why do you think he would say such a thing?"

    "I got a look at his face, just before he sent my sister, my mother, and I through the portal. It was a face of sadness and acceptance." Dusk paused for a moment, her tears running down her jeans. "He knew he was going to die. He was planning on it."

    "Dusk?" Dawn asked, as she rested her head on her sister's shoulder. "He would have never asked such a thing. He loved us too much for that."

    Dr. Bogart leaned back in his chair as he pondered what was said. "Perhaps, in asking you to forget about him, he hoped to ease your mind?"

    "No." a familiar voice called from behind the two. They didn't need to turn to look to know it was their mother, Lorelei Harlowe.

    "If what Dusk says is true, than it was very much in Blaine's nature." she said, gently taking a seat between the sisters, outside of her armor but instead clad in her officer's uniform. "Blaine never knew his father when he was their age, at the time. The only man that he was 'told' was his father, he ended up going on a journey to seek him out. That was how Blaine got 'conscripted' into the Spartan program."

    "So you suggest that, he feared that they would seek similar pursuits? To go on some epic quest to find him, when in all reality he'll have long passed?"

    Lorelei's arms gently pulled her daughters closer, as she bowed her head. "Sadly, if I know him as well as I like to think I do... yes."

    Dusk and Dawn's eyes widened as they turned to face their mother. "He wouldn't have asked you to forget because he didn't love you two. There was no question how much he loved you. The damn fool loved you both so much he refused to hold either of you because he was afraid he would break you."

    "He gathered an entire armada of past allies and friends together, just to run diversion while he and I came to rescue you both. He pulled every favor he ever earned in his entire lifetime, just to make sure you both were safe."

    "He knew what it meant to grow up without a father, and so I firmly believe he wanted you not to 'forget' him, but to forget what happened to him."

    "-but why?" Dusk asked. "Why did it seem like he accepted his death? Why did he just leave us?"

    "Daniel was a sneaky, clever weasel of a man. If your father didn't completely ensure his demise, he knew that monster would come for you two, and without your father to defend you, he feared what would happen."

    "I assume the hour is up. I'm sorry that we've run over." Lorelei said hurriedly as she stood.

    "No no." Dr. Bogart held up a hand. "Mr. Harlowe was a hero to me, much like everyone else. I do feel like we've made some good practice today, though. I look forward to seeing you two again next week, in hopes that we may finally begin to heal, yes?"


    Last edited by Shad0wChas3r on February 4th 2019, 3:03 pm; edited 3 times in total


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    Shad0wChas3r
    Shad0wChas3r
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    Legacy: Zero Hour Empty Re: Legacy: Zero Hour

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 3rd 2019, 11:32 pm

    "Mom?" Dusk shifted nervously while they walked down the narrow sidewalk.

    Dawn's ears perked up at the sound of her sister's voice, who hadn't spoken since their appointment almost an hour before.

    "Yes, hon?" Lorelei paused to face her.

    "The day Dad died. D-did he say anything about wanting us to forget about him? I know you said to Dr. Bogart that it wasn't entirely impossible that he would have said it, but-"

    "I said that because Bogart is about as useless as a Grunt without a methane tank." Lorelei sighed. "In truth, I don't really know. He always kept people, even the ones he cared about, at an arm's length distance. Mostly I believe it was because he didn't want to see anyone hurt, because he was afraid of what he might do."

    Lorelei's hand glided over the hologram to signal oncoming traffic of the pedestrians about to cross the streets. The UI flashed for a brief moment before a holographic version of herself appeared before them in a typical 'walking' pose.

    "Do you girls remember the day Dusk was snatched up by a Forerunner Knight? You were very young then, so I doubt you would."

    "I do." Dusk said, rubbing the back of her head. "It was terrifying, until he showed up and saved me."

    "What you might not remember is what he did to his 'superior' officer shortly after he rescued you." Lorelei nervously fidgeted a pair of pristine dog-tags in her hand, his tags. "Had someone not been there to put him back into his right mind... he was liable to kill his supervisor."

    "He cared for you two so immensely that, I recall he took a nuke in close proximity for you two." Lorelei leaned her head back as they crossed the road, her eyes fixated on the evening clouds. "I still don't understand to this day how he managed to survive it, but he was still with us and that was good enough for me, I guess."

    "The idea of him wishing for you to forget about him sounds a bit uncharacteristic about him. Especially because I don't recall him saying anything of the kind. Though, then again, I could only hear my heart pounding when he suddenly slid us across the floor."

    "What I'll tell you is that I highly doubt he'd want you to totally forget about him. I think Bogart, for once in his worthless existence, actually got something right by telling you that Blaine would've wanted you two to exist without constantly thinking about him."

    Dusk took a moment to consider everything she had been told, her eyes meeting her sister's. The two took a moment of silent contemplation, as Lorelei suddenly stopped in her tracks. "That damned fool."

    Lorelei's fist clenched around the tags, tight enough so that her knuckles cracked and popped, but not enough to damage them completely.

    "The day you two were born, he told me that he would never wish you two a life without their father. The life he suffered, and then the stupid bastard did it anyways, with little regard for how it would hurt you two so." Lorelei sank to her knees. "It's been eleven years, and I still see how much his passing has influenced this world. It all feels so much darker, so... empty."

    Dusk and Dawn once again found each other's eyes, they had never seen their mother act this way before. Never had they witnessed her curse, let alone even at their father. Dawn, always the touchy-feely type, reached out and placed a hand on her mother's shoulder.

    "He forgot that I didn't have a family either. I lived with Aunt Katherine, even in our childhood before the Spartan program. We've been like sisters, because we practically were." Lorelei grit her teeth. "They treated me like family, and then they were ripped away from me and her. He was a thoughtful man, but he was also occasionally stupid and shortsighted."

    "Mom?" Dawn asked, as their mother curled forward, clutching the tags to her chest.

    "He promised me he'd be right behind us. That he'd kill the bastard Death, and then he'd see us on the other side." she cried. "I didn't know he cleverly meant 'the other side' on a figurative term."

    "Mom." Dawn said sharply, jolting her arm to shake her mother. "Please-"

    "You're right." Lorelei sniffed as she stood to her full height. "It's not fair of me to say those things. There was no way he could have possibly known, and even if he had, there was no way I would have gone along with him if I knew."

    There was a dull vibration from their mother's left arm. She sighed as she rubbed the tears from her puffy eyes, and slid a hand across her bracelet tech. "Praetorian Harlowe."

    "We've got a job, Mrs. Harlowe." a red holographic insignia twirled in front of their mother, Dusk was somewhat familiar with it as her Mother's new work, but not where it was from.

    The insignia was a pair of bladed weapons crossed behind what she could only imagine was some sort of Steer's Skull. They had seen it shortly after their father had slid them through the portal after his fight with the 'bad man'.

    "I just came back, it's my girl's bi-"

    "Mr. Law doesn't need excuses, Praetorian. He needs results, this one is... putting it delicately? Personal, to him and the company at large. "

    "I understand." Lorelei sighed, turning to her daughters. "Over and out."

    "Work again, huh?" Dawn asked.

    "It's the third birthday in a row." Dusk buried her hands in her pockets.

    "I know, I know, but at least I'm a year out from retirement. At least, if I stay with these guys, which is definitely much better than the decade the UNSC wanted from me."

    "You guys head back to the compound. Uncle Jorge and-"

    "Aunt Katherine will meet you there for cake, ice-cream, and games." Dawn and Dusk spoke in syncronized fashion.

    "That was... weird, but I guess I have said it a lot, huh?" Lorelei frowned, as she knelt down to their levels. "I'm really sorry girls, but I love you and I'll see you in a couple of days. Remember to study and take. your. medicine. Dusk?"

    "Yes ma'am." Dusk turned away as their mother pulled them in for a hug.

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

    "I always thought I knew your mother, but I guess ever since your dad passed, she's changed." their aunt sighed as she chopped the carrots for their dinner. "Though, I guess we all did, huh? Still, who can't skip work to be there for their children's birthday? I mean, Blaine didn't trust the bastards, why should she?"

    "Maybe she feels the UNSC betrayed her for allowing men like Death to exist so prominently within their ranks?" Dawn shrugged, as Katherine dropped her kukri knife.

    "Don't speak that bastard's name." Katherine snarled, causing Dawn to flinch. "I'm sorry sweetie. He just- was the greatest scumbag of all time, right under all of our noses. Giving that monster a name gives him a legacy."

    "I'm sorry." Dawn frowned, as she focused on the lettuce beneath her hand, tears dripping into their leaves.

    "No no." Katherine gently walked over, wrapping her arms around her niece. "I'm the one that should be sorry. That was completely uncalled for on my part. Dusk? Why don't you get Uncle Jorge? He's in the Sim Room, just tell him it's almost dinner time please?"

    Dusk returned her attention from the looming statue out in the courtyard of the compound they lived at. It was a housing complex and schooling zone all built in one, aptly named the Blaine Harlowe Shelter of Life and Learning. The statue, while only a few years old, still looked brand new. She caught herself looking at her face at her father's left side, standing almost as high as his ankle. She wasn't tiny, he was just massive.

    'Alright kiddos, smile nice with your Uncle Jorge, yeah?' the photographer said with his sickenly fake smile, while his drone fluttered in front of them, and in a blinding white flash, their pictures were taken.

    "Dusk?" Katherine asked again, slightly sharper but not in a mean sense.

    Dusk snapped back to reality, looking at Katherine before offering her a quiet, stern nod. She stepped off of the couch she had been lounging on, and briskly made for the door. Opening up the door, she gently closed it behind her.

    "Well well." a voice snickered behind her. "If it wasn't Dusk the Husk? Got any words today Husk?"

    Instead of responding to the young man behind her, she turned off in the direction of the Sim Room just down the hall. The delinquent's name was Lucas Herald. Ever since they were younger, the no-good weasel made it a habit to pick on Dusk, for reasons she never understood why.

    She yelped as her hair was pulled, causing her head to snap back and her to tumble onto her back. She grunted as she felt a sharp pain in her lower back.

    "Speak when spoken to, you stupid bitch." Lucas growled. "You and your weird ass sister, thinking you're better than all of us, just 'cause of who your family is."

    "That's not it." Dusk said, squirming to get her hair free of his grasp.

    "Oh, am I hurting you? I thought husks couldn't feel pain!"

    Dusk screamed as he pulled harder, feeling tufts of her hair forcibly removed from her skull. She gasped as his hand went for her throat, as he picked her up and slammed her against the wall.

    "You don't know the pain I'm about to put you in, you stupid slut." he growled, pressing his face to hers. "Your Aunt and Uncle think they can own us 'little people' just because they were connected to the bastard this place is named after. Making my Dad look bad because he needed a few hours of sleep?"

    "Well you're Uncle ain't here now, bitch." Lucas spat in her face. "Whose gonna come to save you? Mommy no-show? Or maybe the man himself, huh? The stupid bastard that actually fucked your mom and created you?"

    "Don't talk about my dad." Dusk said, grimacing at the slime running down her cheek.

    "I'll do whatever I want. That pathetic bastard has an entire school and complex named after him, and he calls himself a hero. Stupid bastard called himself a Spartan, a 'symbol of hope for humanity', but he dies to a goddamn unarmed human. What a louse, what a jo-"

    Dusk's breathing deepened as her right fist swung deep up and into his diaphragm. Lucas coughed as he doubled over, her knee striking him in the nose. Blood splashed up her knee, his head whipping back. Time slowed for her, as her own hand wrapped around his throat, spinning on her heel, she slammed him into the wall. Unlike how he had slammed her, however, her slam caused him to dent the metal wall, accompanied by some dull cracks of bones.

    The wall shook for a moment, and his eyes glared at her blankly. When she released him, he crumpled to the floor at her feet in a heap. Her breathing flared, and her heart thumped loudly in her ear, as several doors in the hall opened.

    "Lucas!" the shrill cry of a spoiled mother echoed in her ear as a tiny woman shuffled her way over. "You detestable harlot! How could you harm my sweet, sweet Lucas?"

    "Easily." Dusk spat on his face. "He wouldn't leave me alone, so I made him."

    "So you think you're funny, you little bitch?" A gruff man towered over her, Lucas' father, immediately recognizable by the similar facial structure. "Laugh about this."

    Dusk's face stung heavily as the back of his hand struck her across the cheek. A military man, Travis Herald was an ODST when conflict rose up, not that it did very often anymore. That was apparent as Dusk doubled over, nursing her cheek.

    "I hope the camera saw that, you asshole." Dusk growled, as he moved to strike again.

    "That'll be enough, Lieutenant." a gruffer, gravely voice echoed above Travis' shoulder. "Touch my niece again, and I'll break your arm off and use it to scratch my back when I get the itch. Do I make myself clear?"

    "Jorge-"

    "You will respond to me correctly, Lieutenant." Jorge snarled into the man's ear. "Or you will personally clean every family's latrine on every floor of this fucking compound with your toothbrush until you can eat a meal off of each and every one of them. Do I make myself clear?!"

    "Yes Captain, sir." Travis glared at Dusk. "Crystal clear."

    "Good. Now get back into your apartment, and keep your delinquent son away from her, or I'll have him running laps around the compound until his feet are nothing but nubs. Understood?" Jorge grunted, shoving the man away. "That goes for the rest of you. She's done nothing to any of ya's, yet you all treat her like she's some kind of side show. Get a move on and back to your homes."

    Slowly each member of every family returned to their respective homes, save one. They stood, holding their chin in their hand as they inspected the person shaped dent in their wall.

    "With all due respect Captain. How do we intend to have my wall fixed?" Mr. Debora, their next door neighbor and Dusk's math teacher, studied the wall. "Not that I think her actions were unjustified, I just can't very well explain a person shaped dent as feng shui to my guests."

    "I will make sure it is handled, Albert. Give me a few days and it should be taken care of."

    "I trust your methods, sir." he smiled, winking at Dusk. "Ms. Harlowe. While I don't condone violence. I must say you have a knack for really putting someone in the wall, and I mean that with all manner of respect. Just try not to make it a habit, yes? Even if it's for that detestable little worm."

    "I'm sorry, sir." Dusk said, her breathing somewhat normalizing as tears ran down her cheek.

    Jorge grunted as he knelt down beside her, pulling a handkerchief from an auxiliary pouch in his Mjolnir armor. He pulled a bottle of water from the same pouch, gently running some along the cloth before washing her cheek.

    "You know, unokahúg, even though my entire life has revolved around conflict, not everything is solved with punching." he sighed, cleaning her entire face with an unused portion of the cloth. "Your father was more of a speaker than a fighter... when the situation called for it. Sometimes you just can't help yourself. Unfortunately for us both, we can't use our enhanced strength to go around denting metal walls, even if it is with some snot nosed szarfej."

    "He wouldn't let me. I ignored him to come get you, and he-"

    "Pulled on your hair. Coward kakasfej."

    "He said that Dad was-"

    "If he said anything but a hero, the little bastard has the body weight of three adult men, and he's sixteen. I'd like to see him even remotely accomplish the things your father had at his age."

    "Katherine'll be incredibly upset at me for this, but I want you to come with me."

    Jorge offered her a hand up, as she clasped it, following him down the hall. "It is an actual birthday gift, meant for both of you. However, I don't see any harm in showing you it now. It might even do you some good. I've been slaving over it for months, but I think I've got it set and running. Spartan Darryl could've worked it faster, but he's not here, now is he?"


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

    Shad0wChas3r
    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1244
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    Legacy: Zero Hour Empty Re: Legacy: Zero Hour

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 4th 2019, 12:15 am

    Dusk's eyes stared longingly at the impossibly expansive room. It was covered by a strange grid like pattern along the walls, floors, and even the ceiling. While the room was unmistakably large, she had to compare it to even the largest of Pelican hangers she had seen, which severely dwarved normal factory warehouses.

    "It's been a very, very long time since you've been in here, Dusk." Jorge walked a considerable stride in front of her, his voice echoing throughout the vast space. "Welcome back, to the Simulation Room."

    "I thought we weren't allowed in here."

    "For combat reasons, yes. However, that's not why we're here." Jorge smirked, turning back to her with a winning grin and a solid thumb's up. "ALALA system, engage."

    Dusk froze in place, she had heard her father say those exact words in her childhood. She glanced at Jorge expectantly, but his armor did not vibrate, and there was no golden discharge of energy. Instead, the black walls around them swirled, and their patterns disappeared into a vast cityscape.

    Vibrant crimson leaves cascaded down from above, and when she glanced up to peer at them, she winced as the sun escaped the canopy of the old maple tree and pierced her vision. In her recoil, she couldn't help but admire the beauty of the setting.

    "It's been too long, Jorge." a voice called from behind her, causing her knees to weaken, and tears to form at the corners of her eyes. "-and, who is this? Lorelei?"

    "No." Dusk shook her head, wiping her eyes. "You're not real."

    "Dusk. I know it's a lot to take in, but- say hello to Project Odin. I've been working around the clock, in and out for eleven years, with the help of Doctors Bailey and Halsey, as well as some funding from your mother's new job, to create the latest generation of Advanced Artificial Intelligence." Jorge grinned, as Dusk turned to the visage of a giant of a man in deep blue armor. "An A³ , to be exact. It is beyond the capabilities of a regular smart AI. This is the closest thing to Human we've been able to create."

    "Dusk? Oh my-" the towering man behind her paused. "You've- you've grown."

    "He isn't your father in flesh, but we've almost perfectly synced up his personality and memories- those that we could fabricate from the actual Blaine's retelling, to make him the closest thing possible. We had limited resources, but your mother, Aunt Katherine, and I were incredibly impressed by what we've done."

    "A quiet one, huh?" the man smiled, as his helmet disassembled to reveal his onyx black hair, peppered with a bit of grey, and his familiar icy blue eyes. "You take after your mother and I alright."

    "You aren't real." Dusk clenched her fists, staring down at the floor.

    "Maybe not, but it's better than nothing at all, right?" he smiled, approaching.

    Dusk tensed as the hologram of her father approached, glancing away as he wrapped his arms around her. Her eyes shot wide as she felt him hug her, just the way he used to. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she sobbed into his shoulder. She felt her arms move on their own, wrapping as much as they could around his bulky armor.

    "Isn't this better?" he asked. "I may not be the real thing, but at least I can be here where he cannot."

    "I need to know one thing." Dusk shrugged him off, taking a step back. "Did you tell me to forget about you?"

    "Forget about me?" Blaine took a step back. "I wasn't there, obviously, so I wouldn't have any memories of that. Still, that doesn't seem like anything I would've said."

    "That's because you're a fabrication of my family's views on you." Dusk spoke apprehensively.

    "True, but also using the combined data extracted directly from Doctor Halsey's extensive research on him, er, me." Blaine crossed his arms in front of him, giving her an amused but sad smirk. "She ran all sorts of psychiatric tests on him, first when he was first conscripted, sometime when he was around your age, and finally when he briefly returned to Reach around the time of the fall. All of the results were used to program me."

    "I wasn't kidding, Dusk." Jorge stepped forward. "When I said that he is the closest thing to your father as we could get. He doesn't have any memories following the events of Genesis his first time through, but he's advanced enough to draw together the fabrics of memory we gave him that he could probably retell things better than your actual father."

    "Which reminds me." Blaine uncurled his arms. "Any time you or Dawn need to talk, you can come to me. This simulation room is used frequently, so you'll need to get some time scheduled for it, but my purpose is to be the father you never had. Though, I can tell from my past experiences with Jorge that he's probably doing better than I ever could."

    "Actually, speaking of those two." Jorge coughed to himself. "I suppose I'd better gather them along. You two enjoy your time together."

    "Hey Jorge?" Blaine snickered as his 'brother' walked away. "Remember she swings with a left hook, near the kidney."

    "Fuck off." Jorge grimaced, rubbing his lower left back. "This many years you'd think I'd remember my own wife's fucking sneak attacks."

    Dusk and Blaine watched as Jorge trailed off down the street of the simulated cityscape, before entering some door. Or at least from her perspective, that's what it looked like.

    "For what value it has to you." Blaine said, his eyes never leaving the closed door. "I never meant to hurt you. Even if you won't believe my simulation, I hope hearing it with his voice makes it a bit more comforting to you."

    "It does and it doesn't, because ever since that photo shoot, I've never trusted holograms. That's all I can view you as, a familiar hologram."

    "That's fair. While I don't know what 'photo shoot' you're talking about, I can understand not trusting them. Still, I'm here to help you heal. There may come a day when you won't need me anymore. That's the day I'll have fully served my purpose."

    "There's never a day where a daughter doesn't need her father." Dusk clenched her fist. "That's the reason I can't trust you. The real one left us, and a hologram just isn't a proper substitute."

    "Perhaps you need a visual example." He placed a hand firmly on her shoulder. "Hold on while I shift the room around. Something I always did when I had any doubts, especially about loved ones, I vented with a gym."

    "I broke many punching bags, but- I should be able to coach you on how to channel your anger, your sadness, and your fear and gain better control of it."

    "Mom won't allow us to train in combat. She thinks we'll take after you."

    "I can already tell by the way you act, that she won't change that. I'm only doing what a father can when his daughter starts exhibiting his traits." Blaine said, as the city-scape around them dissolved into a basic weight room. "Teach you with experience."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

    Shad0wChas3r
    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

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    Legacy: Zero Hour Empty Re: Legacy: Zero Hour

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 4th 2019, 4:01 am

    A dull thud could be heard echoing throughout the simulated gym every few seconds, as Dusk's fists struck the almost life-like punching bag in front of her.

    "Hmm. The strength is there, but it's misdirected." Blaine rubbed his chin. "Try imagining the bag is something you despise. Personalize the bag, mold it into something that you want to change about yourself. Strike with purpose, and don't overextend yourself."

    Dusk stared at the bag in front of her, a few dings had formed from her rapid hits, but nothing to really note in terms of progress. As she stared at the bag, she slowly saw Lucas' stupid fat face in front of her. Before she swung, however, she felt a arm brace her wrist.

    "Your face is one of anger and hate." Blaine shook his head. "Us Spartans were to train with a level head, even if our purpose was to kill. You aren't a soldier, though, you are a civilian. If you go around punching everyone you hate, you'll be a criminal, even if you were the one wronged."

    "If you swing at your hatred, you'll never learn to channel it. Instead, focus on the one thing that hurt you most. Pretend the bag is the thing you pictured, and that your fist is the solution to that problem. Don't let your anger control you, control your anger. Now, strike with purpose."

    Dusk glanced at the bag again, and instead of Lucas' fat face, she instead saw the shadowy figure. She clenched her fist and grit her teeth as the anger flared up in her, the sight of this monster that had ruined her life burning into her iris'. The simulation of Blaine moved once more to restrain her, as she closed her eyes and breathed deeply.

    Shifting her weight onto her right foot, she struck a solid blow to the 'kidney' of the aberration. It doubled over in pain, as she followed the momentum of her swing into a wide kick, way over her head. Her foot struck the side of the shadow's head, sending it several feet to her left.

    Her fists clenched once more and her teeth grit harder as she tackled the shadow figure before it could 'stand'. She growled as her fists struck blow for blow into it's head region.

    "YOU. TOOK. MY. HAPPINESS. YOU. BASTARD!" she yelled, her words matching the tempo of her punches.

    Blaine's simulation moved to stop her, as she suddenly gasped. Grasping at her throat, she struggled to find air as she slammed spine first into the ground. His eyes widened as he witnessed this happening, moving to her. He effortlessly knelt down and scooped her into his arms, before turning to the door.

    The door opened before he could take a step. Jorge, Katherine, and who he could only assume based solely off of appearance as Dawn stood before him. Unsurprisingly, the look on Dawn's face said it all, as tears welled in her eyes. Jorge and Katherine felt the same, although for a different reason entirely.

    "JORGE!" Katherine snarled.

    "They were just talking when I left!" Jorge growled as he fumbled into his suit's satchels. "Did you two take your medicine? Dawn?!"

    "I did but-" Dawn said, her eyes not leaving Blaine's form. "Oh my god. She ran out yesterday!"

    "What's happening to her?" Blaine asked, as Katherine and Jorge jogged over.

    "You didn't live long enough to find out. Apparently biological children of Spartan I's tended to have adverse effects, and that effect is magnified when those children have Spartan II augments as well as being a Spartan 1.1." Katherine said. "Dawn and Dusk's bodies are partially augmented on the genetic side of things. Jorge?!"

    "Got it!" Jorge grunted as he pulled a syringe from the satchel, forcing it into Dusk's leg.

    "So, they are only partially augmented?" Blaine asked.

    "Only the genetic augments, obviously." Katherine said. "Some of the physical traits we acquired, because we were nearing our 'puberty' became integrated with our DNA. Even though both of you were Spartan II's, YOU were a Spartan 1.1 on top of that. The Orion augments have magnified the level they were genetically augmented."

    "What you're saying is, they're augmented just enough that it can cause serious damage or sickness to them, but not enough to be 'safe'."

    "Yes, and because Lorelei wants them to live civilian lives in your honor and dying wish, Halsey and Bailey were able to devise a capsule that could suppress a lot of their augments. However, when they over exert themselves, it can cause their issues to flare up, ESPECIALLY if they don't take their medicine."

    Dusk's breathing returned to normal, as she lay limp in his simulated arms. Jorge sighed as he gently pulled her from Blaine's grasp. "Why a gym, Blaine?"

    "You know the answer to that." Blaine said.

    "She's not you." Jorge sighed.

    "I'm not 'me'." Blaine grunted, glancing over her unconscious form. "She's troubled. Just like I was in my days in the Orphanage. Only she's already augmented and not allowed to vent properly. I wanted her to channel her issues, use a gym as a vent, not someone else."

    "She's a very accomplished student in her class, her and Dawn rank top of the class." Katherine said. "She doesn't need a vent."

    "Then you two aren't paying close enough attention. You two knew me as a kid. You saw how I was always quiet, focused, and ignored most social interactions with anyone I didn't trust or know."

    "She's wounded, not just from my death, but also the lack of help she's truly getting. She can't trust a hologram for fuck's sake, because apparently, someone thought it was a good idea to show a scarred little girl a hologram of her father the DAY he DIED." Blaine grit his teeth. "She needs the same release that I could afford. She needs a punching bag, and she needs to release physical steam. You think whatever sickness is killing her? Obsessing herself on my death is just one of many ways."

    "Lorelei won't like this." Katherine glanced at Jorge, who sighed and nodded sagely.

    "'He' does have a point. Dusk put a kid in the wall effortlessly for pulling her hair and insulting her father. If we don't provide her the vent she really needs, when will it stop? When she's killed the boy?" Jorge glanced between Dusk in his arms, and Dawn beside Katherine, before glancing back at Blaine. "We all know what happened to Blaine when he was pushed into a corner."

    The three Spartans nodded together, as Dawn stared in confusion between them. Not only confusion at the fact her father was standing literally in front of her talking like nothing had happened to him, but also in curiosity to what exactly her father did.

    "How?" Dawn asked, as Blaine turned to face her.

    "Dawn." he smiled. "I'm sorry kiddo. I'm sure you're very confused. Jorge can explain it better than I can."

    "I'll take her." Katherine said, reaching out for Dusk. "-but Jorge, 'Blaine'. No. Combat."

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

    "Auntie?" Dusk spoke hoarsely, her hand reaching out.

    "I'm here sweetie." Katherine said, sitting beside Dusk's bed.

    "What- What happened?"

    "You apparently got a bit too excited in your excursion with the simulation and... flared up your sickness."

    "-but I heard you talking. It's not a sickness."

    "Not in the actual sense, no." her aunt shook her said. "However, you're body is not built properly to control it, and so it can very easily kill you."

    "It's really him, isn't it?"

    "No, not really." Katherine frowned. "Though, even I felt some familiarity with him."

    "It was so surreal." Dusk smiled, an act Katherine never thought she'd ever witness. "He- he made me feel happy again. Even though I know he wasn't real- he made me feel like I wasn't alone anymore."

    "You aren't alone, sweetie." Katherine gently pulled Dusk in. "You have Uncle Jorge, myself, Dawn, and your mother. Not to mention your older brother and sister Naomi and David."

    "That's not what I mean. Ever since that day, when the shadowy man killed Dad... I've felt empty, isolated. This simulation, even if he's not the real Dad. I- I actually felt something real."

    "Well, at least some good has come out of it then, huh?" Katherine smiled as she brushed a white lock of hair out of Dusk's eyes. "I'll have to tell Jorge and the others that worked on Project Odin."

    "Can I see him again?" Dusk asked. "He- he was helping me with my emptiness. I could feel it, when I punched that bag. I could feel the emptiness slowly getting smaller."

    "He was right." Katherine shook her head. "You do take after him. I'm not sure if Lorelei is going to like that or not. Get some rest, you have class in the morning."

    Katherine pecked her gently on the forehead, as she stood to full height. As she moved to leave the room, she heard Dusk shuffle behind her.

    "You didn't answer my question."

    "He was a birthday gift for the both of you. Of course you can, but you're not allowed to do any physical venting with him unless you take your medicine." Katherine turned and stared sternly at her. "-and you remember to remind us before you run out so we can order more."

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

    "Did you take your medicine today?" Blaine asked, hands folded behind his back.

    Dusk nodded as she showed him the capsules on her tongue, before promptly swallowing. Satisfied, he twisted the simulation room once more into a boxing ring. This was the third week since receiving the advanced AI that Dusk had been coming here. Her and Dawn took turns, Dawn talked to him about anything and everything, and she came in to relieve many years of pent up aggression.

    "Today I want to work on your stamina. Recently we've been working on developing a 'tell' for when your condition flares up, now, I want you to run." Blaine pointed to the treadmills in the corner of the room. "When I wasn't able to go to a gym to punch a bag, I always found running was a good way to clear my head."

    "What about the punching bag? I was kind of hoping we could try hitting it again?" she asked, as he placed a hand on her shoulder.

    "Dawn told me about that Lucas prick that's been bullying you. If I could leave this simulation room, I'd have a few choice words with him." he shook his head. "Unfortunately, I don't have that ability, and you can't go hitting him, even when he's being an insufferable douchebag. Sorry, I shouldn't have cursed."

    "My point is, you can't always get a punching bag. Sometimes you just need a nice refreshing run. We'll find your stride on the treadmill, and then I'll shift the room into a much more relaxing locale for us to jog in, okay?"

    He lead her over to the treadmill and started it easy, increasing the speed until she was challenged, but capable. When he was satisfied, he lowered the speed a bit and, as he promised, the visuals of the gym disappeared and swelled into a remote country side. The path they ran on was a road unlike any she had ever seen. Instead of concrete or metal, it was purely dirt and rock.

    Lines of trees gathered on each side of the road, but somehow the midday's sun beat down on them through the canopy. Song birds chirped gleefully, as the wind rustled through the leaves. Still keeping her pace, she glanced at her father beside her. He wasn't wearing his armor this time, instead opting for military fatigues.

    "Even if it's just a simulation, it's nice to have a wardrobe change."

    "Can you actually feel pain?"

    "I'm highly advanced, but, thankfully not that advanced." Blaine snickered.

    "I'm sorry I was so apprehensive of you before." Dusk said, glancing at the road in front of her that went seemingly on forever. "I just couldn't grasp the idea of actually meeting you, even if you aren't real. I guess not having my actual dad this long, I wasn't prepared for when I actually got to meet you again."

    "Death is permanent, yes. I believe what Jorge and the others that developed me were intending was to give the two of you some pleasant memories of me, artificial as they are, to help counter balance the mostly negative memories you've had of me."

    "Well." Dusk's bottom lip quivered. "We both watched you die twice. Except the first time... you actually came back."

    "Requiem." Blaine shook his head. "-and just after Autumn... Jesus Christ."

    "I thought it was bad having lost my best friend and my crew. I never even began to think about what happened to you two. You watched her die, you watched me sacrifice myself to save you, and then-" Blaine stopped his run, and Dusk did the same. "I became so caught up in everything going on in my life that I didn't stop to see what I was doing to you two. I was so unbelievably selfish that I didn't even realize the irreversible damage I was causing you."

    "We were young enough that we didn't remember most of it." Dusk said, walking up to him. "I mean, a lot of it is a blur. I know it doesn't mean much, but I kind of hope the real Dad can hear this. I forgive you."

    Even though he was a simulation, the hologram of her father looked up at her with a pair of sorrowful eyes, the same eyes she had seen beneath his helmet all those years ago.

    "I hope so too, because I feel relief."

    "DUSK!" Dawn's voice trailed from far off behind them. Dusk turned back to witness her twin sister sprinting after them, failing to realize the distance they had actually ran.

    As her sister caught up to them, Dawn placed her hands on her knees and took breaths in and out, Blaine reaching down to her. "Did you take your medicine?"

    "Yes." Dawn gasped for air. "It's Mom."

    "What happened?!" Dusk asked.

    "She's gone missing!" Dawn glared into her sister's eyes. "Remember how she left on our birthday? We just assumed for the past three weeks that something came up?"

    "Oh my god." Dusk said, as Blaine tensed beside her.

    "I overheard Uncle Jorge chewing out some higher up within the company Mom works for."

    "Company." Blaine growled. "What company?"

    "Uncle Jorge says it's one you-" Dusk started, as his fists clenched angrily at his side.

    "The Legion." Blaine snarled, much to the fear of the sisters.

    "They're the ones that funded this simulation room and the school yard we attend." Dawn said, confusedly glancing between Dusk and Dawn.

    "Yeah, so they can keep tabs on you." Blaine grit his teeth. "The man that you say killed me, Daniel Krieg? He was an operative of the Legion, a plant by the head honcho into ONI to keep a foothold in the UNSC."

    "Mom's working for the guys that killed you?!" Dusk grit her teeth and clenched her fists.

    "The Legion didn't kill you, Krieg did, sure, but the Legion's been really nice to us." Dawn shuffled her feet.

    "The bastard that runs that place doesn't 'do' nice." Blaine clenched his fists. "It was him that funded the White Solaris, and it was his plant Daniel that killed my mother and tormented my father."

    ''I don't know how or why I died, other than you told me Daniel Krieg was involved." Blaine stared at his right fist. "All I know is that, by affiliation, Walter A. Law and his Horsemen are not to be trusted."

    "So that's why they called Daniel 'Death'." Dusk snapped her fingers. "What about Mom, though?"

    "Remember when she got called onto the mission? Apparently that Walter A. Law person had a personal favor for her to attend to?"

    Blaine made a motion forward, as his visual flashed for a moment and winked entirely out of existence. The sisters looked at each other, finding themselves back in the Simulation room.

    "Some nights I lie in a foreign bed and I think; what drives me to do the things I do?" Lucas' voice echoed through out the room.

    "Lucas, now isn't the tim-" Dawn said, as the boy whistled with sinister intent, twiddling an AI chip in his hands.

    "Then I think of all the wonderful sweets that I get showered with. Sure, not all of those sweets are actually sweet, but the satisfaction in devouring them sure is!" Lucas smiled widely. "So, was that the fabled 'Blaine Harlowe' I kept hearing about? How absolutely pathetic."

    "Then you didn't see the man he was." Dawn said. "Now, put the chip down!"

    "Why would I do that?" Lucas shrugged. "Some hero he must be that he's confined into one. little. chip!"

    Tossing the chip in the air, Lucas laughed devilishly as he would purposefully drop it, and every time it clattered onto the floor, Dusk would feel her muscles tense and flare up. Lucas stared at her, his eyes wide and his mouth agape. His pupils narrowed, as he taunted her with his face.

    "Dusk, it's not worth it." Dawn said, reaching out to her sister.

    "It is to me." Dusk growled.

    Dawn barely blinked and nearly missed her sister's kick off. Dusk sprinted towards Lucas, who flinched at the speed she shot towards him at. Pulling all of her weight into her fist, she remembered the lesson to strike with purpose.

    -and today her purpose was to dent his skull. Slamming the full weight of her punch into the middle of his face, she grimaced as his flesh squelched and blood splattered on her arm. Lucas grunted as he was sent careening backwards from the force of the punch, tossing and turning on the floor.

    Dusk stood to her full height, as she glanced down at the chip he dropped. Minorly damaged, but nothing that couldn't be repaired. As she reached for it, however, she heard the sickening sound of flesh tearing, bones crunching and squelching from Lucas' general direction.

    "He told me to keep an eye on you twerps, make sure you weren't following your Dad's footsteps." Lucas' voice morphed and twisted within the indistinguishable form in front of them.

    Bones creaked, cracked, and broke as his body convulsed and shifted, morphing into a new form. Dusk, legitimately frightened, took a hesitant step backwards. As the hulking mass grew to full height, he stood at a gigantic eight feet in total.

    "Guess you weren't just your father's disappointment after all!" the beast roared. "I haven't felt pain in a long time, and you thought my brother's work caused you pain?! When I'm through with you, you'll be BEGGING to go back to the whole 'waaah Daddy's dead' routine!"

    "W-who are you?!" Dusk asked.

    "I go by many names, hell if I can remember my current one." the monster snickered. "Guess we'll just go by my call sign. You can call me Famine. Not that it'll matter for long."

    "Dawn!" Dusk said. "RUN!"

    Before Dawn could budge, however, the gargantuan struck Dusk in the right flank, causing her to tumble end over end to the far side of the hanger. She gasped for breath, but miraculously retained consciousness, if not suffering from either fractured or broken ribs.

    Dusk struggled to her knees as she found the slot where the AI chip belonged. In the distance, she could see Dawn sprinting away from the monster. Dusk glanced at the chip, gripping it tightly.

    "Dad, I know this is only a simulation, but I know that you're solid. Help us, please!"

    Slamming the chip into the slot, electricity fizzled from the console as Dusk staggered to her feet. She was hurt, but felt the pain numbing as the figure of her father appeared in a kneeling position in front of her, his fist planted firmly into the floor.

    He was covered in head to toe with his Mjolnir armor, the same set he wore the day he died, unlike the familiar one he had worn in their previous visitations. His helmet was disassembled, as his eyes glared at the beast chasing down one of his daughters. His teeth clenched enough that he didn't realize part of his cheek was clenched in it, simulated blood running down the corner of his mouth and down his neck.

    "You made a mistake coming in here, monster." Blaine stood to his full height, fists at his side. "'Cause now I'm gonna rip your fucking heart out."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

    Shad0wChas3r
    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

    Posts : 1244
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 24

    Legacy: Zero Hour Empty Re: Legacy: Zero Hour

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 4th 2019, 4:50 am

    The room around them shifted into an unknown Forerunner world, something Dawn and Dusk hadn't seen in over a decade. The change was drastic enough to get the gargantuan beast's attention, at least off of Dawn.

    "W-what?" Dusk glanced down at herself, clad from head to toe in Mjolnir armor of her own.

    "This is a simulation room. The Mjolnir I'm simulating on you is drastically stunted to accommodate your unique body signature." Blaine turned his helmet to face her. "Remember what I said about restraining yourself? Not when family is at stake. You save your sister, I'll tend to this beast."

    The beast roared as his fists slammed the fresh earth beneath him. Slabs of stone, metal, and soil erupted from the ground in a wide berth around the monster. The shockwave was enough to send Dawn up into the air. Dawn started to sprint, but noticed that her previous fastest seemed slow.

    She felt the thrusters on the back of her armor boot up, and the Forerunner world around her bloomed and tunneled around her. In a flash of speed, she was off. The ground blistered beneath her feet as she sprinted at a speed that seemed completely out of her realm of possibilities.

    One of the slabs of metal careened dangerously close to her, as she swerved out of the way. Again the thrusters behind her booted up, and her forward charge cleared much more area. A ring of smoke erupted from behind her as a slab of rock and soil cascaded towards her. Falling onto her back, she slid as she had seen her friends in softball perform.

    With her speed, and the boosted strength of her augments as well as Mjolnir, she erupted through the dense slab of soil and rock. To her right, she could see her father's hologram expertly dodge and weave past the debris, even faster than she had been. A giant slab of metal cascaded towards him, but instead of flinching or dodging, he spiraled himself in a short hop, swinging his fist into the metal.

    With a mixture of his raw strength, the momentum, and the boost from Mjolnir, the metal groaned and shattered around him, almost like denser glass. Dawn screamed as the beast moved to swipe her in the air with it's massive arm. Dusk continued with her momentum, sprinting as she had seen him, though she relied more heavily on the thrusters behind her.

    It was bizarre, she had never operated a suit before but, it all felt so natural, almost instinctual. Like her very thoughts were guiding the machine, she felt... complete. Sprinting up a short distance behind her father, she hopped off of his back, above one of the tree trunk like arms of the beast.

    He, on the other hand, batted the appendage aside like it was weightless. Dusk shot past the beast's head, wrapping her arms around her sister. Her feet found purchase on the ground, but she stumbled on her landing. Crashing, she shifted her weight as they tumbled so that her armor would always land down, protecting her sister from crushing.

    As she stood, she flinched as one of the massive appendages swung down on them. Blaine stood just before them, his massive arms reaching up and stopping the swing in it's track.

    "Know one of my favorite classical rock songs?" Blaine snickered beneath his helmet, as his thrusters roared to life.

    With a mighty leap and the assistance of his thrusters, Blaine and the beast soared moderately high in the air. Twisting the monster in a circle, Blaine roared as he tossed the creature away from his daughters.

    "FREE FALLIN'!" Blaine roared, as the monster crashed against the turf, tumbling through the rocks.

    Landing just before the twins, Blaine stood with his back to them, fists at his side. Dusk recognized this pose, it was the very one she thought she had heard him-.

    "Forget about me." Blaine grunted, looking over his shoulder at Dusk, causing her heart to sink. "Not 'me' as in your father. 'Me' as in the AI. I'll hold this monster off as long as I can. Get your Uncle and Aunt, and get the hell out of here."

    "It'll destroy you!" Dusk protested.

    "You're no stranger to losing me." Blaine said sternly. "-but I know that the actual Blaine would die a million times over before he lost either of his daughters. NOW GO!"

    "You gave me this suit, let me help you!" Dusk refused to budge.

    "I gave it to you because it would boost your speed and get you in and out of here quicker. This monster is much more than you think he is, and you need to leave, NOW!"

    "Dusk!" Dawn yelled. "He's a simulation. It's not worth us losing our lives over it. They can always build us another."

    "No." Dusk's eyes watered as she stared at him. "I couldn't help Dad last time. Now is my chance. He may be a simulation, but I can't keep losing him like this. Not again."

    "Than let this be the last time." Blaine said, as the scenery behind him became a timer. "This room is set to explode in five minutes. I cannot risk this monster leaving and endangering you two, and if that means this is the last time you ever get to interact with your father, than so be it."

    "I can't, I don't want to lose you again." Dusk shook her head, as Dawn tugged on her arm.

    In the distance, the creature stirred as it struggled to stand, dazed by the impact. Blaine tensed, as he turned to her, planting both hands on her shoulder.

    "The dead only die if you refuse to remember them." Blaine said, depolarizing his visor. "Blaine Harlowe may be dead in the flesh, but it is his memory that should satisfy you. He gave his life so that you could live, focus. on. that. He can't hug you, he can't tuck you in at night. He can't tell you how much he loves you."

    "You need to realize that he does love you, even post mortem! I was created to give you closure, to give you peace of mind, and so that you could hear in his own voice how immensely proud of you he would be. He loved you with every fiber of his being, so DO NOT SQUANDER HIS SACRIFICE AND LET YOURSELF GET KILLED!"

    "I love you." Dusk said, as he wrapped his arms around them.

    "and I love you too. Which is why I need to do this!"

    The thrusters in his back erupted as he sprinted with each of his daughters thrown over his shoulders. The monster's earth quaking steps behind him rattled their teeth as he sprinted between trees, rocks, and forerunner structures in search of the exit door. Dusk glanced at the timer, with only a minute left before detonation.

    "Dusk, Dawn. I have cherished our three weeks together, and my only regret is I wasn't your actual father, nor that I get to see you grow and blossom into beautiful people." Blaine said. "Become my legacy, and live the life I never could!"

    Stopping suddenly, Dusk and Dawn screamed as they tumbled through the emergency exit to the simulation room, dumping them into the outer courtyard. Outside of the confines of the simulation room, the Mjolnir armor encompassing Dusk faded into obscurity. The two sisters stood as their father's figure stood in the doorway, offering them a crisp salute.

    "-and please." Blaine said. "Don't make the same mistake twice. Do not make another me. Accept my death and remember me always."

    A bestial roar echoed from behind Blaine, as his helmet disassembled once more. He sighed, closing his eyes firmly as a lone tear trickled down his cheek. "I heard you the first time. Girls, I hope your mother returns to you soon. Do not trust the Legion. Live well."

    The door slammed shut, cutting them off from the room as Dawn grabbed Dusk by the arm, practically dragging her several feet away. Dusk stared with fearful eyes as the simulation room detonated, sending a crimson fireball several kilometers into the air. Debris rained down around them, as alarms from every angle blared in the distance.

    Dusk's eyes scanned the charred building, even as several hours passed and she was wrapped in a snug warm blanket with hot chocolate, while crews continued to assess what had happened.

    "Had a look inside, chief." a crewman said, holding up a tablet. "Console inside had a foreign object jammed into it. Caused the room's power source to go critical. Then... Boom."

    "You two were in there, right?" the chief turned to them.

    Dusk's eyes continued to stare in the direction of the burning building, her eyes misty with what remained of her tears. Dawn glanced her up and down, feeling only sorrow. She had long come to terms with her father's death, but she knew Dusk still couldn't let it go, and it had essentially just happened again.

    "We were." Dawn said. "My sister and I, we were testing our new experimental AI. It- it had been functioning properly for the past three weeks, but-"

    "Today it didn't." the chief said. "What about the story you told us with the monster? We didn't find any remains of any monster in there."

    "It was a simulation." Dusk said coldly, shrugging off her blanket. "It was all just a simulation."


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    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 4th 2019, 5:34 am

    "I know it was that little bitch!" Travis Herald screamed in front of the prosecutor. "My son is dead and it's all that little skank's fault!"

    While the sister's knew the truth, the news of Lucas Herald, the real Lucas Herald's disappearance remained completely a mystery to the world. Dusk stood in silence within the courtroom, with her Uncle, Aunt, and sister sitting in the crowd behind her.

    "While I do not find favor in your sickening choice of vocabulary, Mr. Herald." the judge, a woman in her earlier years, spoke sternly. "The substantial evidence is there, in the form of a motive and eye witness reports of violence enacted by the accused."

    "Ms. Harlowe. While I firmly believe you are not capable of murder, and wish to go with my gut and trust your character witnesses, I just cannot bring myself to let a potential criminal go free. Unfortunately there has been a lack of evidence disproving any involvement you have had with the disappearance and implied murder of Lucas Herald, and it is with these factors in mind that I will offer you a clear and present choice."

    "Your record shows you come from a military family. With you Father, Mother, two siblings by adoption, an aunt, and an uncle currently serving or have served. You will either suffer a penalty of no less than twenty years in prison, or rehabilitative service within the military."

    "Your honor, under what charge?" her defendant lawyer asked, placing a hand firmly on her shoulder.

    "I'm wavering between involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. It's apparent to me that this young woman had no prior intent to kill the victim, however I cannot determine if the potential motive is enough to warrant her potential actions are voluntary or not. Without verbal testimony from the accused, we cannot confirm or deconstruct any motive."

    "Your honor." Dr. Bogart stood from his seat beside Dusk. "My patient is a sufferer of PTSD as a result of her father's passing eleven years ago. One of the many symptoms we have witnessed is her inability to speak."

    "Inability or lack of desiring to?" the judge asked.

    "In many cases, either or." Dr. Bogart said. "In her case, she generally lacks the ability to communicate when she suffers an attack."

    "Dr. Bogart." the prosecutor stood. "Is it true that the accused of this case also happened to assault you as a result of one of these said, 'PTSD' attacks. Remembering, of course, that you are under oath in this court."

    "Yes, but in her defense, I had said something to spur about her PTSD. The fault was my own as her primary therapist, to be able to avoid triggering an attack."

    "The prosecution would like to note that Dr. Bogart did not deny that the accused has violent outbursts as a result of PTSD. With that in mind, prosecution would like to see the accused sentenced strictly to jail for no less than thirty years without parole, or chance for acquittal."

    "The prosecution has no say in this court. I do." the Judge sneered at the man. "I have delivered my sentence. The accused will decide. Twenty years without parole, or mandatory military service."

    "Blink once if you want jail." Dusk's defense attorney turned to her. "Twice if you choose military service."

    With a pair of rapid blinks from Dusk, he sighed in relief as he adjusted his tie. "My client chooses military service."

    "BULLSHIT!" Travis growled from his seat, as the judge's gavel struck the desk in front of her.

    "I will hold you in contempt of court, Mr. Herald, with another outburst like that."

    "Your honor, that lowlife scum killed my son, and you're going to sentence it to be trained to kill more things? Doesn't that seem grossly negligent to you?"

    "You are an ODST, and yet during this entire proceeding I've seen more discipline from the accused than you, Mr. Herald. I still don't believe she is entirely guilty of the charges against her, but to deny possible justice from being served WOULD be grossly negligent on my part. If she murdered your son, which I doubt immensely, the UNSC will eat her alive. If she didn't, and she's the law abiding citizen I have a gut feeling she is, she'll excel there. Either way, this is the best possible outcome for everyone."

    "Not my son!" Travis stood, pointing an accusatory finger at Dusk. "Lucas is dead and that bitch walks free in MY corps!"

    "Killing her, or wrongly imprisoning someone potentially innocent will not bring your son back, sir." the judge replied sharply. "Now shut your mouth before Mr. Valdez escorts you to the jail cell SHE would have occupied if she was truly guilty."

    "Ms. Harlowe. While I regret to say this, I must do my due diligence, as must we all. You are sentenced by this court on the charge of involuntary manslaughter. You have opted to serve your punishment with mandatory service to the military for no less than ten years. For your sake, I hope God has mercy on your soul."

    Dusk stared blankly at the judge, as she took a cautionary glance back at her sister, her aunt, and her uncle. While there still have been no word of Lorelei, she could only silently fear how her mother would have responded to all of this.

    Instead, she glanced at the baliff who approached her with his ring of keys, followed by the pair of suited men in military dress uniforms.

    "Miss." one of them said. "We're here on behalf of the UNSC's various branches of service. We need to fill the proper forms with you to get you fully suited for service. Have you made any thought to which branch you will serve in? I know it's sudden, but as per your sentencing, we need to know today so that you may start tomorrow."

    "SPARTAN." Dusk said sharply, as the two of them glanced at each other, before gaffawing.

    "No no no. Criminals don't become Spartans." one of them said. "The Navy and Spartans are closely related."

    "My family are Spartans. I want to join their ranks." Dusk said sternly.

    "Listen here, brat." one of them lost his friendly demeanor. "Only conscripted soldiers with recommendations get into Spartans."

    "Wouldn't you know it, then." Jorge's stiff voice growled from behind her. "She has my recommendation."

    "She not conscripted." the man protested.

    "That's why you're here, dipshit." Jorge grunted. "Conscript her."

    "Just so you know, Captain, she can't serve under you." the man sneered back at him.

    "Very few in the SPARTAN ranks that wouldn't take her, given her name and connections. Now, finish that paperwork and get the fuck away from my niece."


    _________________


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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 4th 2019, 5:55 am

    AuthorNotes:

    Phew, finally finished the prologue. I've had it partially typed for a while now, but I managed to grind it all out within the past couple of days.

    Before I continue further, please allow me to welcome you to the first Author's Notes for Legacy.

    If it wasn't made abundantly clear, this story is a filler between when Blaine died, and to the end of Origin where Dawn is telling her students his story. This tale, however, isn't about Dawn. This is about Dusk, her slightly older, more troubled sister. Though I know you've well discovered that already.

    My aim with this story is to show you a glimpse into the lives of the characters of Origins and how they have been managing without Blaine Harlowe to shine their way.

    I know it might have been a bit overbearing with the whole 'daddy's dead boo hoo' for the first few posts. To be completely honest with you, I was in a very depressed mood that day and I just needed to vent/write. Before you ask, everything is good now, especially because the vent worked very well in kick starting this story... however it might have been laid on a bit too thick.

    Speaking of thick, I know I've made a dense array of characters, but not given them much time to shine. I'll clarify this now, however. Dawn will not be showcased as widely in this story. Based off of previous stories, redacted as they are, I've depicted her enough. She's the same character you've always known, but she now has a twin, and she'll be the focus of this story.

    Other Spartans will be involved with this story, some cameos, others will be familiar in house characters that didn't see any air time in Origin either because they didn't fit or I couldn't be bothered.

    Manuel, if you're reading this and clacking away going 'oh god, here's the "Legion is full of villains"', you can relax. Blaine didn't trust the Legion, but they will be somewhat prominent in this story, and yes, there is some involvement in Lorelei's disappearance, but you'll have to read and see in what way. Just trust that this is not a Legion hate story, and they will not, to the best of my ability, be misrepresented.

    Famine showed up at the end of the prologue there, and while I'm sure you're questioning just how fast Blaine and Dusk were going, keep in mind that she is partially augmented and her suit was specially simulated to handle her unique body signature. Blaine was blazing about as fast as your average Spartan, which to someone like Dusk who never experienced that, would look like Sonic the fucking hedgehog!

    Speaking of Blaine. I hope you enjoyed this bit of closure I gave the sisters with their father. I regretted not giving him enough wholesome moments with his daughters while he was alive, and I didn't want to just redact his death.

    I wanted him to inspire growth from Dusk, while also having a wholesome memory with her and her sister. Even if it was inevitably destroyed by Famine. I know Smart AI's are the canonical limitations of Human science in the actual lore, but I figured after eleven years, Humanity might've found something more advanced but still not entirely sentient, ESPECIALLY after the shit Cortana pulls in Halo 5.

    Long winded notes aside. The overall goal of this story is to hopefully tie up some loose ends, as well as wrap up some outstanding story archs of the various other characters. While I love Blaine and his accompaniment of characters, I honestly just don't know how the future of Halo will go.

    So I want their story to be immortalized, with no influence from any potential Halo 6. When this story is done, however long it takes me, I hope you'll join me in happily sending my own piece of Database lore officially to bed, in hopes of brave new adventures and casts to come.

    Yes, this is the last of the Blaine Harlowe legacy saga, and no, I won't be rewriting this in five years. Welcome to Legacy: The Valkyrie.


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    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 8th 2019, 2:41 pm

    "When I said; 'See you soon', I wasn't expecting it to be this soon, sis." Naomi said with a solemn sigh, hugging her younger sister. "Jorge told me all about what happened, what you and Dawn swore happened. I believe you that you are innocent. It was that bastard Death who killed Dad, so I wouldn't be surprised if his cohorts were looking to keep an eye out on you, Mom, and Dawn."

    Dusk nodded silently, as she glanced about the giant chamber within the UNSC Jotunheim . It was a sprawling UNSC Destroyer, larger than most Marathon class vehicles, but still easily dwarved by the immense Infinity. She was no stranger to this ship, however, as she had been on it a few times before and after her father passed away, given that this was his replacement for the Aura of Armaggedon.

    "I heard we were expecting a new face- but when Benitez told me who it was, I punched him in the face and told him to get serious." another familiar voice echoed from behind them. "Guess I owe him an apology."

    "Summer." Naomi stood to full height, her full Spartan augments causing her to tower over Dusk. "Try not to make light of this. Dusk was wrongly accused of a crime she didn't commit."

    "You don't have to appeal to me, Naomi." Summer pulled her helmet off, her light brown hair cascading down her shoulders. "The twins were always really easy going and well behaved. Though, knowing their father, I can see why. He had an aura about him that practically demanded respect."

    "You remember Summer, right Dusk?" Naomi asked, turning towards her, who merely nodded in response. "Hey, you can talk freely around us. We'll probably be the least stuck up Spartans you'll encounter here."

    "That's not the issue." Katherine's voice called out from behind her. "You heard the story from Jorge, but he forgot to mention to you that she essentially watched her father die a second time. She's said only maybe ten words since then."

    "No, I guess he hadn't said that." Naomi frowned as she knelt down. "I'm so sorry. I can't promise your time here will be easy, but David and I are making the motions to get you assigned to our tutelage."

    "That's why I'm here." Katherine said. "You, Summer, and David have her complete custody. I pulled some strings with the Captain of this rig, had her transferred without a hitch."

    "We'll take good care of her." Summer nodded. "Anything we should know?"

    "Medication." Katherine said. "We've requisitioned some medication for her condition, you've both seen it. Make sure that she takes it before ANY training, no less than a hour before. After she undergoes.."

    Katherine paused, coming to the realization of just what was coming, she turned her head away. "-augmentation, the medicine will no longer be necessary."

    "Sorry, looks like there is a bit of a crowd here." Doctor Bailey knocked on the doorframe the group had been standing just outside of. "I was running my annual checkup, but I couldn't help overhearing what you were just talking about?"

    "I can fill you in later Doc." Katherine sighed.

    "I know enough." Bailey frowned. "Due to the twins' unique physiology as a result of the augments their father and mother managed to pass down to them, her augments will have to rely on a very careful combination of Spartan II and ORCHID augmentations."

    "I have informed the military court of her unique circumstances, and they have permitted that for her first six months of service that she may undergo intensive training to increase her body's acceptance to the augmentation." Bailey folded her arms behind her back. "I'm sorry this happened dear, but we'll have to make due with what we can."

    Dusk frowned but nodded, as the always kind Doctor Bailey gave her a deep hug. When they released, the Doctor offered a kind nod to each of the Spartans, before retreating back into the officespace she had arrived.

    "Ship's company, this is your Captain speaking. We'll be taking off for our next tour of the Outer Colony patrols in T minus twenty minutes. All guests aboard our fine vessel are being asked to swiftly yet orderly vacate the ship please. If you are lost, a crewman will be able to escort you to an exit. As you were."

    "Shit." Katherine shook her head, her eyes getting slightly misty. "I thought there would be more time. Dusk, sweetie, just know that your Uncle and I are going to try our absolute best to find a way to reduce your sentence. We both love you, and we're always a Waypoint call away. Please be safe, as safe as you can with this decision."

    Dusk rushed over to Katherine and hugged her tightly, her body shivering in a mixture of anxiety and fear. "Please take me home. I didn't do it."

    The words were enough to send Katherine over the edge, as she knelt down and tightly hugged Dusk, burying her niece's head into the shoulder of her Mjolnir. "We all know you were innocent sweetie. That's why your Uncle and I are trying to get any scrap of evidence to your story from the remains of that damn Simulation Room. If we could prove that the Lucas kid was some kind of monster, like you claimed, we could imply that the monster killed Lucas and framed it on you."

    "Come on." Naomi said softly, placing a hand on Dusk's shoulder. "Aunt Katherine's got to go, and unfortunately we have to play along with the court until they can find anything that proves you're innocent."

    "I only wish you had chosen something that wasn't so permanent, like Spartan augments." Summer frowned. "ONI'll be hard pressed to let someone, even at your age, leave service fully augmented."

    "I- I just thought that-" Dusk said, as Summer smiled, planting a hand on her head.

    "That we are your family, and that you would be safer here. You aren't entirely wrong about that. Blaine was always hesitant when it came to the Spartan program, especially when children were involved."

    "-but with our case, he saw potential in us. That we sought a purpose. He always said that the Spartan program gave his life purpose when he had nothing, and after this many years, I can believe it." Naomi smiled. "It's hard, and trust me when I say that this is not a game. However, I do believe that if he was here, and no matter how much he protested the courts to your innocence, he'd be proud of your decision, even if it would sadden him to see his daughter forced into military service."

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

    The Following Day

    "Wake up!" Naomi grunted, scaring the daylight out of Dusk. "It's your first day of training."

    Dusk groaned as she slowly sat up in her cot, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. The room she had been stationed in was shared by David, Naomi, Summer, and now herself. Summer and David, though present when they had gone to bed the 'night' before, were no-where to be seen.

    "As a Spartan, you will need to be ready to wake up at a moment's notice. As Humanity's greatest soldiers, we must be ready and able to take on all of our foes with skill and precision, even when running on almost no sleep." Naomi instructed. "I brought you your medication, some water, and some protein bars to help tide you over until breakfast Mess. Changing room's just down the hall and to the left, get some fatigues on. We meet at the simulation room, remember where that is?"

    "Yeah." Dusk nodded, as Naomi placed a hand on her head.

    "Good. However, in the presence of anyone else, you'll reply to my questions as 'yes, ma'am or no, ma'am." Okay?"

    "Yes ma'am." Dusk wiped some more sleep from her eyes before stretching.

    She glanced down at the medicine cup, the bottle of water, and the bars presented to her. Opting first for the medicine, she downed the capsules and took a brave swig of water. She cringed at the taste of the medicine, as she always had, before taking a bite of the protein bar. She grimaced at it's lack of any taste or flavor, but with the promise of breakfast later, she powered through the bar, washing it down with the rest of the bottle of water.

    "We wake up at 04:00 hours every morning for our usual training. This includes weight room lifting, jogging in the Simulation Room, calisthenics, and other tasks that you will learn and be expected to maintain." Naomi said. "To make sure you follow this routine, from tomorrow onward, tardiness to wake up on time and be present for role-call will result in forfeiture of breakfast. This will only be temporary until you get into the hang of it."

    "Yes ma'am."

    "You can just say 'okay' or 'understood' for those situations." Naomi smiled, running a hand along her sister's cheek. "Now then, I'll be in the Simulation room with the rest of our squad. I told you where the changing room is, you'll find everything you need there. Don't be any later than 05:30. I let you sleep in today, just don't make it a habit."

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

    "Looking good." David said as Dusk finally entered the Simulation room, jogging over. "Sorry I wasn't around too much yesterday, I was busy working on this room and getting it set up for your training. Besides, I figured we'd be seeing a lot more of each other from now on, so I hope I didn't offend you too much."

    Dusk gingerly shook her head, as Summer and Naomi jogged over. "She's... under a lot of stress right now. She talks but it's very seldom."

    "Good thing she didn't get a typical training Sergeant." David cringed. "Blaine was gruff during our training, but those people are downright mean."

    "Anyways-" Naomi cut in, approaching Dusk. "You're no stranger to Simulation Rooms. For this time every morning, we will be using this room as a hybrid of a weight room, a trail to jog, mountains to climb, and other physical activities to boost your strength, stamina, and endurance."

    "We'll start today with a base check. You'll be running all of our daily exercises, and timed to see your performance. We'll then demonstrate to you what will become possible for you when you have completed your training." Naomi produced a stop watch. "The aim here is that, when you have completed your training; we'll be able to compare your times then, to the times you establish now, and see how much you've improved over the next six months."

    The room shifted around them to form a weight room complete with punching bags, weights to lift, as well as various machines for different body training regiments. Dusk found herself between a Butterfly press and a treadmill. While Summer and David scooted along towards the bench press, Naomi guided Dusk over to the punching bag.

    "Strike with purpose. Guide any anger and hatred you had into controlled energy, not raw power."

    "He told me that once." Dusk said with a nod. "He was just a simulation, but-"

    Naomi placed a hand on her shoulder. "Simulation or not. His lesson was no less truthful. I saw Jorge's prototype, and it was stunning how near real they were able to emulate him. Push those thoughts out of your mind, though. He wouldn't want you to dwell on it."

    Dusk glanced over the black material of the bag. As her father had instructed, she pictured the face of the monster that had terrorized her and her sister, and had inevitably planted her in this mess. She planted her feet, her eyes unmoving from the monster's milky white eyes. She remembered the grace and intent with which her simulated father had moved across that open plain.

    How his strength was more than enough to catch a mighty swing from the beast, and knock it away with little more than a slap. Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply, twisting her torso to the right. She wound up her punch, as she took a step to the left, using her momentum from the step to follow through.

    Her fist struck the material with a muffled thud, followed by the clanging of tense chains groaning and snapping. A hole had been ripped in the material, as the sand inside seeped out onto the floor in front of her, while the bag itself and the rack that contained it groaned, lifting partially out of it's bolted lugs. David coughed for a second as the barbell fell onto his chest, with Summer's help, they returned the barbell to it's notch.

    The three Spartans stared in sheer awe at the strength she had already exhibited, glancing between each other, even across the room. Naomi grinned proudly from ear to ear, as she tapped the node on her wrist, resetting the weight room around them.

    "We're going to use a tougher bag." she snickered. "Very impressive. Again."


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    Post  Shad0wChas3r on February 8th 2019, 3:20 pm

    [Six Months Later]

    "It's not perfect, but at least she'll stand a better chance now than if we had done the procedure immediately." Bailey sighed, glancing over the unconscious form of Dusk. "Seeing her laying there, ready to be augmented into one of Humanity's greatest. I can only remember the hell it was, to watch all of those young souls transformed. It's still not any easier than it's ever been."

    "On the bright side." David shrugged. "At least she won't require that medication anymore. She also made the conscious decision to join SPARTAN. If anything, I think she knew the stakes going into it."

    "Did anyone even tell her how a Spartan is born?" Bailey asked sharply, as the Spartans in the room stood in silence. "So she doesn't even know the potentially lethal procedure she's about to endure. If Blaine really is watching over us, I hope he'll forgive my actions."

    "He would understand that there really wasn't a choice here, we all can agree on that. She got dealt a bad hand, and I think he would rather she at least undergo this procedure and training to ensure that she'd be more apt in surviving, especially if the Horsemen continue hunting her."

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

    Dusk recognized this dream. It was the same one that plagued her mind for over a decade at this point. The dream had stopped shortly after her brief encounters with the simulation of her father, but started back up shortly after the incident with Famine.

    She imagined herself in that flawless metal Forerunner hanger. Dawn and Lorelei were no-where to be seen. However, Daniel and her father had their hands locked in a struggle. Black daggers erupted out of Daniel's hands, piercing Blaine's hands. Her father grunted off the pain, but not before Daniel could become that black inky cloud, fazing through Blaine's hands.

    The man rematerialized just inside of Blaine's armspan, stabbing her father in the heart with one of the daggers. Blaine's helmet disassembled itself, his look of shock chilled her to the bone. His mouth gaped, blood trickling out and onto Daniel's shoulder. His eyes glazed over, as he collapsed to his knees.

    While she didn't know what truly went down, she always knew that her father was killed by this man. The dream always ended in a similar fashion, though on hopeful nights, Blaine also landed a mortal blow on the traitor, giving her the mental satisfaction that he avenged himself. Tonight was not one of those nights, and she continued to feel the chill in her bones start to spread.

    As her father's body collapsed to the floor lifelessly, however, she felt the cold sensation in her body flare into an unbearable heat. She grit her teeth as her heart threatened to beat out of her chest. She gasped as her heart actually managed to crack a rib.

    Daniel heard her pain, turning to face her. He smiled with malice, reaching out to her with his corrupt, elongated fingers of shadow and death. She batted his hand out of the way, the poison of his fingers seeping into her hand. The heat in her body flared up at the introduction of this poison.

    Her breathing stagnated, as she struggled to find any air. Clutching her throat, she stumbled backwards into the wall. Death snickered to himself, as he slowly meandered towards him. Every footfall sounded like a pin drop to her, as his face became obscured in shadow, replaced by a singular white light near where his eyes should be.

    His form molded into a cloaked figure, a scythe rested on it's back. The scythe was the length of her assailant, it's handle made entirely of a spine, the length of which trailed way below the cloak. Her choking continued as she tried to back away from the monster.

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

    "What's happening?!" Naomi screamed, as she held Dusk's hand, her younger sister thrashing in the bed.

    "Her body is rejecting it somehow. There's nothing we can do but pray that her body learns to accept it."

    "Isn't there something we can do?" David asked. "Besides sitting idly by?"

    "You all underwent a similar procedure." Bailey frowned. "Though her cocktail is a bit more... intense than yours were. This is the curse of watching a Spartan's birth."

    "You're helpless." Bailey sighed. "Either she lives and it was a success, she lives but is crippled for life, or she dies. There's nothing we can do except watch and wait."

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

    Dusk cowered as the looming creature's boney hand reached for her face. She could see wisps of herself trailing like mist towards the creature's hand. She clenched her fist, and grit her teeth. Breathing was still a struggle, but she glared at the creature's lone white 'eye'.

    Outside of the flawless Forerunner hanger, there was a loud crash of thunder, as a torrent of rain erupted from the sky. The thunder was loud and debilitating, but she felt her breathing start to normalize, as if the sudden sound jump started her. The beast hissed as it stopped in it's tracks. It glanced over it's shoulder to see Blaine's hands firmly grasping it's cloak.

    "You can't have her, asshole." Blaine snarled, before tugging on the cloak. "Finish what you started!"

    The abyss like cloak of the beast fluttered with his pull, as Daniel collapsed out of the cloak. He coughed a pool of wispy shadow onto the floor, before rubbing his mouth and standing. Turning back towards Blaine, Daniel swung his boot up and under Blaine's chin, causing her father to tumble across the hanger and over the edge.

    The storm picked up in ferocity as Dusk's legs wobbled like jelly, trying to fail her. What was once chill, than heat, became raw strength within her. Daniel flinched as he turned to see her sprinting at him, head tucked. The thunder crashed immensely just outside of the hanger opening, illuminating her approach.

    Her shoulder met purchase with his abdomen, as she dragged him and herself over the edge. As they cascaded into the abyss, lightning crashed down on both of them, and she felt a twinge of pain echoing over every appendage on her person. She screamed in pain as his hand clasped over her mouth. She saw the darkness forming on his fingertips, as they pierced her eyes.

    "I SAID." Blaine's voice echoed from the darkness she was cast into. "YOU. CAN'T. HAVE. HER!"

    The thunder struck again, illuminating the darkness again, for her to see the silhouette of her father lifting Daniel by the throat, before slamming him spine first into the floor. The 'ground' beneath her splintered and fissured, causing her to cascade down another layer. She gasped as she landed square on her back, blood trickling out of her nose and mouth.

    Daniel collapsed onto the floor of what now appeared to be the Zoo's walkway, the same Zoo where Blaine had fought side by side with the gorilla. Daniel, with no Blaine in sight, picked himself up and dusted himself off. His eyes milked over as he readjusted his neck, which had broken on impact.

    "She intends to hunt my siblings. The Lamb has failed in his duties."

    "I disagree." Blaine dropped in front of her, the ground shaking from the impact. "My goal was to take you down, and I did. Your ass is mine from now until eternity!"

    "I shall take her as my vessel, and I will destroy everything you hold dear!"

    "Like hell you will." Blaine growled, before turning to her with a smirk. "-because I believe in her to make the right choice."

    Daniel grasped his forehead as he roared to the heavens. Shadows erupted out of him, swelling way above his puny form to create a giant shadowy version of the Reaper.

    "Dusk." Blaine said. "To be a Spartan is to disregard fear. Your purpose is to incite hope into the people. You have no room for fear in your arsenal."

    "You will die where you are, right now, if you don't let me go." Blaine said. "I'm sorry I never got the chance to raise you, and I'm sorry that you won't have your father, but I know you have plenty of positive male role models to look up to."

    "I'm not entirely pleased that you became a Spartan, but that is a situation out of your control entirely." he continued. "If you so choose, you can become a part of the legacy I left behind. You can become the Valkyrie, and usher in a new generation as a new Beacon of Hope for Humanity."

    "Don't live for who I was. Live for who you can be, knowing that you are one of my proud daughters!" Blaine called out. "Don't forget I existed, but don't let my lack of existence run your life. Proudly declare to the world that the next generation of Harlowe has arrived, and that you will be better than I ever was."

    "Let's introduce you to the world." Blaine smiled, holding out a hand.

    Dusk, while it pained her, held out her right hand. It hurt considerably to move, but she endeavored to clasp her hand to his. As she did, she witnessed as he began to fade into the same golden light she had once seen him engulfed in.

    "Your name. Your augments. Your actions. They are all a reminder to yourself that I was here." Blaine's voice echoed behind her. "Face all opposition with the pride that I'll be watching over you, guiding you, protecting you."

    "Now, it's your turn."

    The golden mist that was her father's shape coalesced around her hand, as she clenched it into a fist. The light was blinding enough to drown out the shadowy figure looming above her. Daniel gasped as he was reduced back into his pitiful human form, as she cocked her fist back.

    As it trailed forward in her full weight haymaker, the golden light on it flared and swelled. "NGRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!"

    Her roar echoed throughout the abyss around her, as she reached up and towards her menace's face. He flinched, doubling backwards as her fist collided with his face. She heard the sickening crunch of bones as well as the squelch of a torn muscle and flesh.

    She followed through with her punch, allowing her weight to be brought down into her swing. She smirked as she spiked him face first into the dirt with a resounding crash and thud. The 'ground' beneath her quaked and tremored.

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

    "I can't believe it. She's stabilizing!" Naomi said with a cheer.

    "She's still seizing up, but at least her breathing, though accelerated, is at nominal levels." Summer reported.

    "C'mon kiddo." David whispered. "You can do this."

    "She's a Harlowe." Bailey said, though reserved. "Halsey, is this what you experienced with Blaine? Is she just as much of a fighter as he was?"

    The four tensed, however as her seizing stopped, followed by an echoing flatline. Summer and Naomi glanced at each other as their eyes misted up.

    However, the sound of a pitiful 'beep' echoed from the EKG machine beside Dusk. It continued small and pitiful, but stable. Suddenly, Dusk's torso rose out of her bed.

    "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she roared, much to the fear and relief of everyone present.

    Her voice carried for some time, before she fell back into the pillow. Her heart rate strengthened and stabilized over time, as well as her breathing. No longer did she seize, or tremor, only rest.

    "There's your answer, Doc." Naomi smiled. "That was a Harlowe 'last hoorah' roar. She's a fighter alright, and I don't think anyone would've been prouder than him."

    "He must have been watching over her." Bailey's tears flowed freely. "I've witnessed too many die to these things, and many were in better condition than she was before they passed."

    "We'll keep an eye on her for now, Doc." David said. "You should go unwind."

    "You all need to." Bailey wiped her eyes dry. "Someone should keep an eye on her at all times for at least a week. Any change, and I mean any, in her condition is to be reported to me immediately."


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!


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      Current date/time is September 21st 2019, 1:42 pm