"Both of you be careful out there. I don't want to lose you two," Ryan said, patting the shoulders of his two adopted sons, Samir and Raynor.
"No promises," said Samir, chuckling. Raynor gave him a harsh stare that shut him up.
"We'll be ok, Ry'buir. Don't you worry, we'll be back in a week," Raynor said, putting on his Spartan helmet. The pair of Spartans walked away towards the landing pad. "You need to stop picking on buir, he's going to die of a heart attack because of us one of these days."
"Calm down, Raynor. We all know it's in good fun. So, what base did you pull this time?" Samir asked, putting his GUNGNIR helmet on and adjusting his Verpine Sniper Rifle and G-36C Assault Rifle.
"Small time fire base on Vessl Negla. You?" Raynor asked his brother.
"Farming planet on the edge of Flood Loyalist space. It looked nice on the charts though. 'Welcome to our planet, we have surf, casinos, and merciless parasidic aliens who want to kill you.' Yep, this will be a blast." Samir retorted. Raynor gave a quick laugh and turned off to his transport.
"Good luck, vod'ika," Raynor said over the comlink.
"You too brother, you too." Samir got on his transport and sat down, waiting for the 2 day ride to the middle of no where.
South signed the contract. She was sitting with an ambitious Shadow Alliance Commander who thought that assassinating a Coalition Colonel would get him a promotion. South slid the contract back to the commander and took the first half of her pay. It's nice to get payed in advance, she thought. She turned and walked out of the room and began to move towards the stealth ship they provided her with. Time to move out, I guess. She took off and entered slipspace.
Chapter 1: Hell's ParadiseEdit
Samir looked out the window of the dropship as it entered the atmosphere to see a planet of woods and farmland. Reminds me of home. Although he had only been to Mandalore twice, whenever he saw something that reminded him of it, he thought of home. His helmet said he was 5 miles out of the base, so he began to get ready to depart. A few moments later, they were 1500 meters out and starting to drop. He looked out the window one last time, just soon enough to see the wooded canopy move. Weird, he thought, and made a note to ask about what could move around the trees that much. The ship began to descend rapidly, and he felt the familiar clunk of the ship's landing gear hitting the ground. Here we go again.
Slipping into Coalition space, easy.
Getting by the planetary defenses, piece of cake.
Locating the base, no problem.
Finding a place to land the 45 meter long ship in a fully wooded area without attracting attention, harder than the actual assassination mission.
She finnally found a spot where the ship could land and go unnoticed by both aerial view and ground level. As she began her descent, she saw a Coalition dropship beginning to fly by. She checked again to make sure the ship's cloaking was active, even though she knew it was. Dammit South, if it was off, you'd either be dead or in a Coalition interigation room right now. Yeah, wonder which would be worse. The arguement in her head continued to rage as she landed her ship and shut it down. She grabbed hold of her sniper rifle and began the short trek, only about half a klick, to where she wanted to take her shot. Dissembarking the ship, she turned, rifle aimed, to where she thought she heard a branch break. Now you're just being stupid, she thought to herself and continued her walk to her sniping nest.
1 Hour Later
Samir and the Colonel walked out of the base's armory into an open courtyard. Samir had barely payed attention to what he had to say past the bases needs. In the courtyard, Samir stopped and looked up at the valley's ridge above him.
"Problem, Lieutenant D1/0026?" asked the Colonel.
"First off, it's Samir. And I was going to say that you guys have a nice view here. Every base has one plus, I guess," Samir said, continuing to watch the ridge. The Colonel watched him for a second and began again.
"Ahem, I guess I shall now take you through the rest of the base now, Spartan," he said as he grabbed Samir's arm and attempted pulled him. Samir just shrugged the hand off.
"No, you won't. I believe I've seen enough," Samir said, taking off his helmet and wiping the sweat off of his face.
"You will follow orders! Put your helmet back on and follow me now, clone!" the Colonel said harshly, but not loud enough for the rest of the base to hear.
"You will never call me clone, you pathetic mongrel officer-" Samir was cut off by the sound of 3 sniper shots. Samir had his helmet on and his rifle in hand in under 5 seconds. The Colonel lay on the ground, hands over his head. Samir looked back up at the ridge and began jogging towards it. The Colonel looked up at him as he ran.
"Get back here! That's an order!" Samir turned around and looked at him. He fired a single shot in his direction, hitting the ground in front of him. He covered his head again and when he looked up, Samir was holding up a middle finger to him. Samir then turned around and jogged away.
5 Minutes Earlier
'South' laid there motionless, aiming down the scope of her sniper rifle. She watched as the armory door opened, or at least the part of the door she could see, which wasn't much, and saw the Colonel walk out. It appeared he was talking to someone that was blocked by the base's wall, but that didn't matter. She breathed in one last time and began to pull the trigger, but something fell onto her back. She flipped over and saw the sillouettes of dozens of Flood Infection Forms and Tank Forms. She shot three shots from her back as 4 Tank Forms charged her. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
Samir finished climbing the wall of the cliff and left his rappelling line on the edge. He drew his G-36C again and walked around the forest for a few minutes. He looked up to see a higher outcrop partially covered by trees. Might get a better view there he thought. He walked up and saw three .50 calibur bullet shells on the ground. Behind him, he heard a branch break. He shot up, gun aimed, to see a pile of Flood infection forms piled up together. Son of a bitch, I hate fucking Flood. He opened fire, emptying his entire clip into the pile. A few shots into the clip, he began to hear bangs, like they were hitting rocks or a metal plate. His clip gone, he reloaded and walked over to the bloody pile. In the pile, he saw a small patch of pink and green, but not the usual shit green the Flood were. The hell is this?
Samir began to kick off the dead bodies only to see a body that looked like a pink and green version of John-117. Well, this is great, he thought. He scanned the body with a computer on his gauntlet. It said the person was in fact alive and a girl.
"Well I'll be. Might as well bring you back to base," Samir said aloud. He strapped his rifle to his back and grabbed the female Spartan. He began to walk back to his rappelling line.
"God dammit girl, you're heavy," Samir said.
Chapter 2: All Alone With All Your EnemiesEdit
Samir set the girl down next to the cliff where his rappelling line was. He took off his helmet and looked back at the woods. Anyone else want some? Then, the smell of smoke and gunpowder filled his nose. He turned around to see the base he was at not a sole hour ago in flames. Holy shit. He listened to the screams of terror coming from the Coalition soldiers still fighting.
"Bloody hell, they are getting massacared. Oh well, nothing I can do for them now," Samir said to himself. He grabbed the top of his rappelling line and began to role it up. After a minute, he put it back on his belt and replaced his helmet on his head.
"You want to walk this time?" Samir said to the still unconcious Spartan. He noticed a hole on the front of her chest plate and made a note to try and work on that later. "Guess not," he said and picked her up again.
South woke up looking up at the branches of trees lit by an orange light. Her head ached like never before and her muscles were even more sore then when she trained with Project: Freelancer. She pulled her head up to see a small campfire with what appeared to be a being masked by the flames on the other side. She sat up to see a gray Spartan on the other side with her chest peice in his hands. She looked down to see both her chest and back plates taken off.
"Look who decided to wake up," the armored Spartan said.
"Why do you have my armor? Give it back," She tried to lunge forward a bit, but a burst of pain went through her body.
"Hey, careful. Here, this'll help," he said, South could tell it was a he by his armor and voice, and he walked over to her with a needle in hand. She slapped his hand away from herself and crawled backwards a little.
"Don't worry, it's just a painkiller. I'll put it away if you want," he said, putting it back in one of his belt pouches. He walked over and sat back down with the chest plate in his hands.
"Again, I ask, why do you have my armor?" she asked again, settling down again.
"There was a hole," he replied, holding the plate towards the sky. "Was a hole, not anymore." He picked up the two armor peices and placed them next to her.
"Anything else you took off of me?" she asked
"Nope, just the chest and back peices. You ok now?"
"Last I remember, I was on the bottom of a Flood dogpile. How I ended up here, I have no idea," she said, putting her armor back on.
"I heard your gunshots and came over to recon the situation. When I found you, they were trying to eat through your armor. I killed them all and tried to carry you out, but the entire area was destroyed. I got us this far, then you woke up," he explained.
"Ok then. Hey, how did you get Spartan armor anyway?" she asked.
"It was mostly standard issue, but I made a few, adjustments, might I say," he said with a slight chuckle.
"Standard issue you say? Who the hell do you get paid by? And what's your name, anyway?" she asked, finishing her armor and sitting upright.
"Name's Samir, Hellcat Squadran Special Forces," Samir said, cracking his neck. South jumped up and back away a few feet.
"Wait, your Coalition?"
"Phantom Legion, to be precise. Can I ask for a name from you, by the way?" he added.
"First, you cannot. Second, your telling me your SpecOps for one of the most elite groups in the galaxy?" she said
"Basically, yes. Why, problem with that?" Samir answered.
"Yes, there is," South said and turned. She ran for about 40 yards and turned around to see him still sitting on the ground. He's not chasing me? He must not really be here for me. Shit... She started walking back to him and sat down next to him.
"Call me South.." she said to him.
"Well then, South, you still want that painkiller?" Samir asked. South realised the pain was setting in again due to the adrenaline wearing off.
"Yes, please," she said, sticking out her arm. Samir stabbed the needle into her arm, and the pain began to go away.
Chapter 3: Burning HavenEdit
Ryan's personal comlink chirped while he was reviewing holomaps in the Phantom Legion Control Room. He walked out and listened to the message from Samir. "Ry'buir, Flood are taking the planet! Base has been destroyed, no survivors. Other advances unknown. Requesting evac immediatly." The entire 5 second message, filled with gunfire, haunted Ryan immediatly. He didn't know if it was good or bad that the message was recorded and sent to him. On one hand, he couldn't talk to his son. On the other, he didn't want to hear what was really going on planetside. He signed and opened up a new channel to Ethan and Jared.
"Et'ika, Ja'ika, where are you?"
"Lucky call, we're about to enter hyperspace. We really did a number on that terrorist facility," Ethan said.
"Good. All good with you?" Ryan asked.
"Yep, all good," Ethan responded.
"Well, it's not good with your brother. You know that planet he was inspecting? It's being invaded by Flood. He needs evac. Sending coordinates of last transmission,' Ryan said, typing something on his wrist mounted computer.
"On the way," Jared, this time, said. "You sending this in?"
"No, not yet. If I report this to IceBite, the Council will order the planet glassed. I'm not losing him," Ryan said.
"Ok. We'll go under then," Jared said.
"Good call, son. And good luck. You have 5 days, that's all I can give you," Ryan said, closing the link. He leaned against the hallway wall and let out a long, audible sign.
Samir and South were sprinting through the forest away from onslaughts of Flood behind them. South hadn't heard him speak in minutes and decided to break the verbal silence.
"So, this what you do for a living. Seems fun," she said jokingly. Samir stayed quiet. South signed and fired the rest of her sniper clip into the Flood Tank Forms behind them. A few seconds later, Samir called over to her.
"Sorry, was sending a message for evac. It may take a while, but they'll get us," he said while firing behind them.
"Wait, you could call for evac this entire time?"
"Not the entire time, but..." Samir said, stopping and kneeling next to a tree. South kept running for a few meters until she noticed he stopped.
"What are you doing?" she yelled, firing at the approaching Flood. Samir got up and began running over to her. He pulled her down behind another tree and took out a detenator. "May I ask?"
"You can watch," Samir said, hitting the button. Behind them, the tree Samir was at burst into flames. He aimed his rifle at another tree and held his breathe.
"I don't see how burning one tree helps us," South said, confused. Samir shot a single shot, ripping through part of a thin branch. The branch dangled down for a second before catching fire from the adjecent tree. Within seconds, a wall of fire had come between the two commandos and the horde of Flood.
"C'mon, let's get going. There should be a town just a little farther away," Samir said, grabbing South's hand and pulling her up.
"Ok." An hour later, this time without any complications, they got to a ridge where they could see the town.
"A small spaceport town called Haven should be right over this-oh god," Samir said.
"What? Oh shit." South and Samir looked at the town up in flames as they heard screams and gunshots coming from the town below.
"Well, let's get going. There's ought to be something down there," Samir said sliding down the cliff.
"Yeah, my guess is Flood," South said, sliding down behind him.
Chapter 4: Be Right Back, 30 MinutesEdit
The duo raced towards the town until they reached the first building. Both knelt down next to it and looked at each other.
"Ok, readings show that the spaceport is on the opposite side of the town, only about a klick. We'll get there quickly, and with luck there should be at least one ship still-".
"Shhh. Hear that." South said, cutting Samir off. They both quieted down and listened. Hearing nothing, Samir asked her what they were listening to.
"Nothing, that's just it," South said. "The gunfire and screams have died down."
"Oh, this is not good," Samir said, leaning over and looking around the corner of the house. He saw complete and utter devestation; destroyed buildings, piles of rubble, and small fires on the roads and on overturned cars.
"Well, this is great," South said, throwing her sniper rifle off to the side. "We're in a heated combat zone and I've got no ammo."
"Here, use this," Samir said, handing her his Verpine that he had strapped to his back. South carefully inspected the rifle before commenting.
"Never seen one of these before. What is it?" asked South.
"Verpine Sniper Rifle. Very expensive, very accurate, and very deadly. Do please aim before firing, one shot from that can go through the engine block of a Scorpion-class Main Battle Tank," Samir said. "And please, try not to scratch it."
"I'll make sure not to break the kid's toy."
"Watch it. I can just leave you here with the Flood," commented Samir, smirking underneath his helmet. South gave a quick laugh and pressed the butt of the gun against her shoulder.
"Ok, shall we get going towards that spaceport?" asked South, getting up from her crouched position.
"Nope. You're going up to the top of that church tower and are going to be my eye in the sky," Samir said.
"What!? You just want me to stay here and watch you run to safety?" yelled South.
"No, I want you to watch my back and give me sniper support while I clear a path for you to follow," Samir said, cocking his rifle.
"Ok, and what if I lose sight of you? My comm is fried. How will I know if the path is clear for me to follow, or if you're even alive?" asked South, questioning his idea.
"Easy. When I get within sight of the spaceport, and if there is a ship left, I'll come back within sight of you and wave you down. We meet up and make a break for the ship and get off of this rock. If there's no ship, we're right next to the woods and we can move on." Samir explained.
"What if the Flood get you? How long should i wait before going off on my own?"
"I'll be right back. 30 minutes," Samir said, getting up and turning the corner into the street.
"Samir, I..." South began to say.
"What?" Samir said, cutting her off. South sighed.
"....Good luck," she said. Samir noticed the hesitation she had for a moment, but chose to ignore it for the time being.
"You too, girl." With that, South raced towards the chuch as Samir ran down the road, sticking close to the walls.