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Project: Shadow Spartan by Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Prologue
Date: 11 July 2003, 3:13 AM

~*Author's note*~

      Okay, there have been two stories made called "Project Shadow Spartan." The first one made by Shadow Spartan didn't get finished and the second one made by Shadow Spartan and Arinoth Koby didn't get finished. Well folks, I, Agent Shade plan to start a story called Project Shadow Spartan and finish it. Don't worry, I'm still doing Shadow Spartans with Arinoth Koby, but because of our busy schedules, we haven't had the time to get together and write the next one. Be prepared for both stories. Enjoy...

~*End note*~


      With the annihilation of the alien alliance known as the Covenant, Humanity began to rebuild her once blooming and powerful territory. Most planets used by past colonies had been completely taken out; however, terra-forming projects started by scientists in the UNSC began to prove successful. Systems like Jericho VII, Sigma Octanus IV, Reach and Eridanus were brought back and colonized. Since the Covenant were gone and the Flood infestation wiped out, various war weapons like the vast UNSC fleet and Marine Corp. were no longer needed and disbanded, leaving billions of people with no jobs, no money, and no place to live. The government made up a system that allowed people who served in the war to receive a certain amount of money, then be given a place in a system of their choice. At first, this system worked, but there was still one problem.

      The Spartans still existed, even in this time of peace and prosperity. At first, it was thought that the Spartan-IIIs could live peaceably around fellow humans, but because of their enhanced abilities and combat skills, they could not. The UNSC government realized they had once choice and it wasn't a good one.




       Spartan=213; Josh and the remainder of the Spartan-III group slept in the Barrack room 6-D, near the back of the semi-large military complex on the planet Linear. Josh was having a nightmare, like usual. He and his fellow Spartans were being lined up by masked UNSC marines. Josh and his Spartans had no protection whatsoever on them and these masked marines were armed. No weapon, no armor. Josh felt alone and naked as he stood there. It was cold and dark. He could barely make out the marines ushering them around. All forty-six Spartans stood in a single line, with a marine facing them. Suddenly, each marine raised their assault rifles and fired a full clip into each Spartan. Josh felt every single bullet impact. He watched his body tear apart as the bullets smashed into him, ripping through flesh and cartilage. Josh gasped, and choked on his own blood. He fell and like dominoes, the line of Spartans fell, blood pooling around them all. The marines walked away, leaving their bodies their too rot.

      At that moment, Josh bolted up, wide awake and alert. Before he could move, he heard a small cough, followed by a jolt of pain run through his neck. He could see movement near the entrance to the barrack room but as he tried to stand, he felt his entire body go numb. Slowly, Josh fell forward, out of bed, and just before he hit the cold cement floor, he blanked out.




      "Was their any trouble?"

      "No sir, we got them all while they were asleep"

      "Good, let's do this quickly" Josh could hear the voices far away as he fell into a swirling black vortex. Memories of his childhood and bad missions flew around him and as he tried to fight through, he couldn't. Although his brain was focused on this dream, Josh could feel that whatever device he was lying on, it was moving. He struggled to wake up, but couldn't. He knew he could if he wanted too, but the sleep drug in him wouldn't let him. Josh roared in his dream and the vortex disappeared and he merely floated their in empty space. He concentrated hard on waking up and did.

      His eyes snapped open and the sleeping face of Spartan-234; Ian stared back at him. Slowly, Josh turned his head and looked around briefly. From what he could tell, they were standing in a military hangar. Hangar 51 probably, he thought. There was a lot of noise, but not from vehicles, but from people. He lay on a stretcher, as did his fellow Spartans. The stretchers were lined up in a horizontal line, facing the entrance/exit to the hangar. Looking down on them, through observation windows, Josh could see shadowy figures moving around and pointing down at them. The leader of the Spartans put his head back down and saw Ian staring back at him. He raised his eyebrows, but Josh shook his head, rolling his eyes. Ian nodded, turned his head and lay there, waiting. Josh could see that all of his Spartans were awake, not moving. He caught some of their eyes, and motioned with his head and eyes to inform them to not move. There's gotta be a window of opportunity coming up, he thought, looking for any marines. Sure enough, his thought was answered.

      Forty-six masked men, all armed with assault rifles and protected with Ballistic body armor walked forward and approached the stretchers. Josh glanced around again and could feel anger surge through him. After all the work I've done, we've done, this is how they repay us, genocide, but I won't have that he said to himself, glaring forward. Some Spartans saw him and grinned evilly, and did the same to spread the message. The masked, armed marines stood beside a stretcher and turned to look up at the windows overlooking them. A single figure stood forward.

      "Wake them up and let's get this over with" he said, his voice echoing throughout the room. The marine beside Josh turned and looked at him. Josh looked up at him and glared at him. He could tell by the marine's sudden gasp and stoppage of movement that he was scared. John swung his legs around, grabbing hold of the marine's neck and breaking it. The marine fell and Josh stood. The other marines around the other Spartans met similar fates.

      As Josh stood, he could hear screams and shouting from all around. He stood over a dead marine, and picked up the man's assault rifle and pistol, along with the body armor he wore and extra ammo. The Spartans all wore gowns, similar to the ones used in hospitals. Josh knew that gowns wouldn't stop a 7.62 armor-piercing bullet, but the body armor would help. The Master Spartan (equivalent to the rank of Master Chief) turned and looked up at the people looking down at them.

      "You think you can just dispose of us like this, huh?" he roared, brandishing his assault rifle around. His Spartans stood around him, glaring up. The man who had spoke first looked at them.

      "What do you mean, we weren't thinking of disposing of you" he said, his voice full of worry.

      "Shut your lying mouth you coward. Seems the solution here is to kill us all. I don't know about my other Spartans, but I won't come easy" he growled. And with that, Josh raised his assault rifle and began firing at the man who had spoken to him. Four bullet impacts and the man fell. The Spartans emptied a full clip into the observation room windows, breaking them and killing several people inside.

      "Let's get out of here and find our armor" Josh yelled. Before they could get to the exit, the hangar door opened, revealing a fire team of twenty marines, holding MA7B battle rifles. The Spartans were quick though, and used M6D pistols and a few grenades to take out the team. Josh led the way out of the hangar and to a flight of stairs. He knew exactly where their armor was and so did the CO of this base.




      Sure enough, General Alan Kimble was rallying several divisions of marines and Orbital Drop Shock Troopers to the science lab on C-deck, which was were the Spartans were headed.

      "Where are the Spartans?" yelled the General, who stood in the main security room, looking at all the security camera video screens. A technician looked up at the General, sweat all over his face.

      "Science labs sir" he said. Kimble whirled around.

      "What?! Get everyone to the labs, now!" he roared. The video screens with alive with movement, showing marine and ODST divisions rushing through halls and stairs, and also showed forty-six Spartans getting their MJOLNIR armor on. Kimble couldn't believe this was happening. He watched two divisions of marines rush into the lab, only to be shot down by four Spartans standing guard.

      "There is no way we can kill them" he whispered, watching a division of ODSTs go down from continuous weapons fire. The Spartans began filing out of the room, armor on and weapons loaded. Kimble was running out of options as more and more divisions of marines fell.

      "That's it, order everyone to evacuate, I want every damn human in this building to get out of here" he ordered, turning on heel and leaving for his personal Pelican dropship. And so the war starts again thought Kimble as he rushed down the red colored hall, shaking his head at the UNSC government. He left the army base within seconds afterwards.




      Josh finished his clip into an approaching Marine regular, then motioned his team forward. They had entered a large lobby area, which led to Bay 19. The lobby was slowly filling up with marines and ODSTs trying to kill them. However, although vastly outnumbered, the Spartans used explosives and dodging techniques to pull through, leaving the lobby a blood mess. Bay 19 had four Pelican dropships waiting, guarded by an additional forty marines. Quickly, the Spartans moved forward, firing at the marines who were caught off guard. Within in minutes, half of their numbers were down, including their CO. Another few minutes, and the last marine let out a gurgled death cry as he fell. Josh motioned to all four Pelicans.

      "Ten Spartans here, here, here and here, the remaining six, split up as best you can and sit on someone's lap if you have too, we're getting out of here" yelled Josh, moving to the far left Pelican. The Spartans split up into small groups, jumping into the troop bays of the Pelicans and awaited take off. The doors to the lobby opened and another group of ODSTs moved in, only to be taken out by a group of Spartans who were covering their six.

      Josh climbed into the pilot's chair of the Pelican, activated the engine and adjusted himself to the controls. Ian climbed into the co-pilot's chair and flipped several switches, looking outside.

      "Looking good sir, rudders are moving, we have engine ignition" he reported.

      "Let's get out of here" said Josh. The small group of Pelicans lifted off the pads they sat on and drifted in the air for a second. Another group of marines rushed into the bay, but couldn't get a clear shot, as the Pelicans zoomed out of the bay and into the rolling sky above. And thus, began the Spartans rebellion against the UNSC...



Two weeks later...

      "Well, what the hell are we going to do about this?"

      "This is definitely a surprise sir, the Spartans were our best. We have nothing to fight them off with..."

      "There must be something we can do...make more Spartans?"

      "The technology we used to make them was destroyed sir, after the annihilation of the Covenant"

      "Damn...don't you think it's possible to overrun them with multiple assaults and overwhelming numbers?"

      "Sir, a good half of our ground and space forces was laid off, because of our recent victory. The Marine Corp has been disbanded; all of our warships are gone. The only types of resistance we have are small pockets of marine forces that still need to be sorted by that new system the government put out"

      "Is there anyone in this room who believes victory is possible here?" Vice Admiral Adam Jameson glared at his colleagues who sat around him at the conference table. Not a single one stirred and most stared at the floor.

      "Well?" Jameson asked again. A small voice at the far end of the table spoke up.

      "I do sir." Heads turned all the way down and Jameson squinted to see how it was.

      "I beg your pardon, but how are you?" asked Jameson. A large figure stepped forward, wearing his dress uniform that was covered in campaign ribbons and medals. Jameson gaped at him. The man, who looked slightly old, saluted.

      "Master Chief, Spartan-117 sir. My name is John" he said. Jameson gaped at him.

      "You're a Spartan-II?" he asked.

      "The only one left sir" John said.

      "And you feel you have an idea on victory John?"

      "Yes sir" John had been holding a folder in his left arm. He leaned forward, handing it to Jameson who took it. The usual stamps of Top Secret, Eyes Only littered the front page, but when Jameson turned the page, he grinned.

      "Project Shadow Spartan" he said, looking at everyone in the room, who all looked away.

      "Sir, I was the one who created that project, but because of our victory over the Covenant, it was shut down. I believe that when re-activated, Project Shadow Spartan will stop this rebellion" John explained. Jameson looked through a few of the notes, and then closed the folder.

      "Does anyone else have any ideas?" he asked. Once again, no one spoke. Jameson nodded.

      "We not only disbanded it because of the Covenant, but because of the risks involved. Do you still have a candidate?" asked Jameson.

      "Originally sir, I was planning on becoming the Shadow Spartan, but I felt it wouldn't be safe, so I had someone else do it. We were halfway through his training when the project was shut down" said John.

      "Where is he now then?" Jameson inquired.

      "Oh, he's still in the same lab I used sir, in hibernation. I felt the need to keep him around, just in case" said John. Jameson grinned/

      "So be it, from this day forward, Project Shadow Spartan is on. Don't take up too much time in his training John, the Spartan-IIIs have attacked four military outposts and taken lots of equipment. We need him now" said Jameson, staring at John. John saluted.

      "I will sir. He will be the best" John said. Jameson returned the salute, then stood, as did his colleagues.

      "Start tomorrow, dismissed" he said and with that, the entire assembly filed out of the room.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 1
Date: 11 July 2003, 11:09 PM

      "All set chief?"

      "All set Dan, thanks." The hatch on the back of the lifepod closed and John turned around in his seat. He slipped on a headset and could hear a countdown being said in his ears.

      "Brace for impact..." John held on, then the lifpod jolted forward, smashing out of the small bay that it was stationed in. As it rocketed away from the old Excalibur-class frigate, John grabbed hold off the controls and took control of the pod he sat in. Another voice entered his ears.

      "You good there Chief?" asked Captain Vladimir of the outdated frigate Redman. John nodded.

      "I'm good Captain, thanks for the lift" he replied. The Excalibur frigates had been put out of commission years before, during the beginning of the Human-Covenant war. However, this particular one was kept around. For this assignment, it was given a new slipstream engine, to travel to John's required destination fast. He knew that he would be counting on that frigate to take him back, but the seats behind him wouldn't be empty like they were now.

      As John headed for the planet; Elrond V, he began to reflect on the incidents that had happened which caused him to be where he was now.

      The Spartan-IIIs had gone rebellious. From what John had heard, it was scheduled for them to be executed, since they couldn't live among regular humans. However, the Spartans caught on to what was happening and prevented themselves from getting slaughtered, then escaped the Military base they were in, stealing four Pelican dropships and killing several Top Brass generals and close to a thousand Marine Regulars and Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. No doubt, these actions alone would send any man or woman to "the chair," but as John sped toward the atmosphere of Elrond V, he began to sympathize to them.

      If he had been in their situation, he would've done the exact same thing. Nobody would want to just be pushed away without a single thank you or anything, after doing so much. The Spartan-IIIs basically stopped the war, when they captured the Grand Master Prophet and had him executed. The thoughts with everyone would be that the war would escalate, however, it didn't. The remaining Covenant almost stopped fighting. Many didn't know that the Grand Master Prophet was dead, but others did and basically let the humans mow them down. If it hadn't been for the Spartan-IIIs, John would still be at Earth, helping with the clean up job.

      Everyone thought that Spartans couldn't live among humans and sure looked like they couldn't. Several citizens who didn't support the Spartan program had called them "freaks," when they arrived on Jericho VII, which immediately triggered all of the Spartans to attack the group of people who had gathered to insult them. How come they were called freaks and John wasn't.

      John had put down his weapons and armor when the invasion of the Covenant home world began. During the first few days of the invasion, John had settled into a small, growing community on Ceti-Alpha VI, and he was able to cope well with the others living around him. Truth be told, they didn't know he was a Spartan, plus, all of the Spartan-IIs were dead, so he didn't look suspicious when he got off the transport. In fact, John even married a beautiful woman named Laura, who had worked with the Spartan-II program. John not only was a husband, but a father to a five year old son named Samuel, who he named after his best friend in the Spartan project.

      John guessed that it was because his family was on the planet the Spartan-IIIs had gone rebellious on that made him angry towards them. After their initial attack, the Spartans had raided two military outposts, stealing weapons, vehicles and other supplies. Following that, they attacked a nearby city, where they killed innocent civilians and held others as hostage. John couldn't believe that they were doing this. In some ways, he could understand it, but in most ways, he hated it and wanted them to suffer just as much as those people they killed did. John would make sure that the Spartan-IIIs would die.






      John landed the lifepod on a patch of dirt, which he had used before as a landing pad. Since Elrond V was an empty planet, and didn't attract a lot of attention, John had created his research lab in the middle of an open field. It was a simple dome, made out of Titanium-A1 armor. John got out of the pod, locked it, and then jogged to his dome that towered over him. He typed in 1-1-7 into the keypad beside the large sliding door, which beeped in response and opened.

      John had designed the interior quite simply. There were no separate rooms; it was just one huge room. From where he stood, a cluster of computer consoles and a cryo-tube were off to the left and to the right was a firing range. Stuffed dummies were all over the place, and one part of the dome was covered in weapons and ammo. Punching bags, and a small little kitchen, all neatly organized into this dome. John smiled, breathing in the air, then shut the door behind him and walked to the cryo-tube in the corner.

      John decided to leave his candidate sleeping for a bit, while he took a moment to get used to his surroundings. He walked over to the table, and looked at the plasma screen that popped up. Normally, a list of possible foods would be there, but instead, the holographic projector showed a woman. John smiled.

      "Hello Cortana" he said. The "smart" AI construct named Cortana smiled at John.

      "Good to see you John, how have you been?" she asked.

      "Not bad, a situation has come up"

      "I know, I've been monitoring FLEETCOM traffic, doesn't sound good, the Spartan-IIIs, I would never have guessed" she said. John smiled and chuckled, as a list of foods popped up and he chose to eat some fries. Another holographic projector popped up and a carton of fires appeared. As he ate, he listened to Cortana.

      Cortana's life expectancy was around seven years, and she was getting to the end. She had around a year and a half left, before she would self-terminate. John didn't understand the AI system, but he would definitely miss her. As Cortana finished her report, he looked around for a second, curious.

      "Where is Lancelot?" he asked. Before Cortana could answer, a black knight, surrounded by purple flame appeared beside her, wielding a large sword and shield.

      "I am here" he whispered. Lancelot was a smart AI like Cortana, except younger. He still had five years left before he would stop functioning. John had requested a second AI from the UNSC, and since the technology for creating AIs was high, they gave him one. Lancelot and Cortana both worked hard to keep John's candidate alive and monitored him constantly. They usually helped out with the augmentations and gave the odd pointers whenever they felt necessary. John appreciated their help.

      As he finished off his fries, he ordered Cortana and Lancelot to start waking their candidate. As they did, John picked up the folder had brought with him, which was the same one had shown Vice Admiral Jameson during the meeting yesterday.

      Project Shadow Spartan was started to create, a Shadow Spartan. John's idea was that he would be all forty-six Spartan-IIIs compiled into one Spartan. Because John didn't wish to call him a Spartan, he invented the term Shadow Spartan. The one advantage that John had over the Spartan-III creators was that he had a cryo-rejuvenation tube. If John wanted too, he could leave the candidate alone for a few months, come back, and he would be a hell of a lot stronger than when he left him. The tube not only boosted all of the candidate's sub routines, but it did genetic-augmentations, replacing skin cells and other types of biological cells with better ones, thus making the candidate stronger, faster and smarter. All he would have to do was sleep. But because John had Cortana and Lancelot looking over him, the candidate would be better then ever. John didn't know all of the specifics though. He wasn't a scientist, and didn't wish to be one. His purpose was train the candidate in various martial arts and the usage of weapons. John opened the folder and looked over it.

      His candidate was his son, and decision John and his wife had made personally. It took Laura a while to agree to it, but eventually agreed, so long as she could overview it. At first, she did, but now it was unsafe for her to leave Anion (the planet that the Spartan-IIIs fought on), since the Spartans had shot down two civilian dropships in the last two days. Laura trusted him and John would never betray her. He would watch out for his son and make sure that he didn't come to any harm during the rest of his training.

      John knew that the training wouldn't take long, since they had covered a lot during the first few months from which they taught Sam. John planned to spend the rest of the week on training, and then send him into Anion. John slowly flipped through the pages of the folder.

      The armor Sam would wear was called MJOLNIR-X and was much better than the regular MJOLNIR armor worn by the Spartans. The armor's shell is made out of a multilayered alloy of remarkable strength, coated with a refractive glaze that would disperse projectile impacts. On top of that, the armor was able to camouflage into its surroundings, by the use of an environment mirror system that was added above the glaze. The interior of the armor was similar to the MJOLNIR, with reactive metal liquid crystals and a gel-filled layer.

      However, what John was most fond of, was two weapons that the Shadow Spartan would always have and Sam was even fonder of. Over the years in the war, the scientists at the Office of Naval Intelligence had created a type of weapon similar to the Covenant plasma swords. Most marines used regular combat knives; however, ONI had invented a type of active plasma coating that attached itself to the metal of the blade, thus making it three times as powerful. When a marine used the knife, the plasma would add to the amount of damage done. Yet, John didn't like a small twelve inch combat knife to be used by his Shadow Spartan.

      Instead, John, with the help of Lancelot, crafted two North Star battle blades, made out of the exact same material used in the MJOLNIR-X armor. Along with that, he coated both blades with the plasma gaze. During the ending of the war, John had been luckily enough to try the swords out and had cut an Elite, a Brute and several Jackals and Grunts in half, with one simple gesture. The strength and power in the sword's meter and a quarter blades was strong enough to kill them, but the plasma gaze helped cut through the shields of the Elite and Jackals. It would definitely be handy against the Spartans. The Shadow Spartan would wear them strapped across his back, diagonally opposite from each other. The other weapons that Sam would be able to carry would be up to him. However, Sam seemed to take a liking to the MA5B assault rifle and MA7B battle rifle.

      "John, Sam is coming around" said Cortana, appearing above the cryo-tube. John walked over to the steaming tube and stepped back as it opened with a whoosh, more steam flying into the dome. It was so thick, John couldn't see the huge figure that stepped out and stood by the tube. However, as John waved all the smoke and steam away, he stared at his son who stood before him.

      Sam was now twenty-eight years old, probably around eight feet in height, which was taller than John and even taller than John's ex-friend Samuel. His body structure was phenomenal. Abs, muscles, strong jaw, everything. He had grown his black hair back and his blue eyes twinkled in the light as he smiled at John.

      "Hey dad" he said. John grinned and embraced his son.

      "It's great to see you son, just great. I really wish I could catch up with you, but we have a situation that has come up. Get ready for the armor, Cortana will brief you" he said, still beaming up at his son. Sam nodded and walked over to a small cubicle near the kitchen, where he coated on a layer of bio-cesium, which would help with the gel-layer in the armor. As he listened to Cortana, John brought out the MJOLNIR-X armor.

      True to his name, the MJOLNIR-X armor was black, however, it could camouflage with its surroundings. John laid it on a table Lancelot had conjured, and then went for the swords. He grinned as he picked up the heavy things and placed them on top of the armor. As he finished, Sam walked over, his mouth wide open.

      "It's a joke right?" he asked.

      "Sorry Sam, it isn't, they even declared their independence yesterday" John said grimly, holding up the armor to Sam, who took it.

      "Shit" he muttered, as he stepped into the armor, and let John fix the various plates that needed to be planted on. Sam's head disappeared under a black helmet. The armor looked exactly like the regular MJOLNIR armor; however, the visor that covered Sam's eyes was more curved at the edges, making it look like he was glaring. John strapped on a headset.

      "Hey, can you hear me?" he said into the microphone near his mouth.

      "Yeah dad, loud and clear" replied his son.

      "Good, here is our pride and joy Sam" John said as he brought forward the battle blades. Sam took one and strapped it to himself, and did the same for the other. John looked at him.

      "Not to heavy at all?" he asked.

      "Course not dad, I've been in that tube for months now, I could probably carry four of these swords" he said. John chuckled, and then took off the headset. He reached for two punching pads, and held them up in front of him.

      "Okay, hit me" John said. Sam hesitated at first, and because of that, John struck out, smashing his enclosed fist into Sam's chest. John knew that that punch hurt him more than it did Sam, but he knew it irritated Sam.

      "He who hesitates, dies, now hit me son" he said again. John blinked and as he began to open his eyes again, an impact like the one of a Hunter's fuel rod canon struck him, sending him flying backwards. John opened his eyes and saw Sam standing with his fist outstretched. John had flown almost five meters from that single punch. He sat up; rubbing his back, then looked at his punching pads. The right one had a huge hole in it, shaped like a fist. John looked up at his son.

      "Maybe this training won't take awhile" he said.


TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 2
Date: 13 July 2003, 4:31 AM

      Military Outpost Gamma-Twelve was the last pocket of military resistance on Regal V. Since the recent rebellion by the Spartan-IIIs, security was beefed up all over the complex and they kept on receiving more and more survivors from other military outposts that had been attacked and destroyed by the Spartans.

      Major Kyle Drayman stood in the control tower that overlooked the outpost. The design was very simple. A square shaped perimeter that was made out of ten foot tall Titanium-AC battle armor surrounded the inner complex. There were platforms that were set up on the wall, allowing marine snipers and rocket jockeys to perch themselves and pick off an enemy coming at them. There was also automated drone turrets positioned a few feet away from each other along the wall. The turrets were protected by a blast shield, which could deflect a 102mm rocket, fired from a Jackhammer. Inside the complex, a system of bunkers and trenches had been set up, along with more automated drone turrets and man-portable rocket launchers and turrets. They also had a small group of M12 LRVs (Warthogs) and a single M808B Scorpion tank positioned inside. The Major felt they were ready, but he also knew that victory was unlikely, which was why he had thirty Pelican dropships on standby, positioned in the mountains that overlooked the outpost from the south. There was nowhere to hide. It was either victory, or the planet would belong to the Spartans.

      Major Drayman scanned the surrounding vegetation. The outpost was positioned in a rocky desert, however, they was the odd positioned cluster of trees and bushes, which pissed the Major off. He lowered his binoculars and then watched the rolling thunder clouds approach.

      "Perfect" he muttered to himself. He turned on his heel and walked among the rows of computer consoles, all operated by technicians. He could tell they were nervous. Shaking hands, sweat on the forehead, constant staring around the room, but like always, he expected this and choose to ignore it, for the moment.

      "Status" he questioned. A nearby technician looked up.

      "Everyone's in position sir. We've planted fifteen Hellcat mines in the rocks and trees, and our marine snipers report no movement" he said quickly. Drayman nodded. He should be happy that there was no movement, but he knew that the Spartans were out there.

      "Keep everyone at full alert" he ordered. He received a few "aye sirs" but not a lot, which worried Drayman, as he stood near the window again. Beside him, Drayman's right hand man, Lieutenant Commander Hank Anural looked at him.

      "What do you feel sir?" he questioned. Drayman lowered his head.

      "They are out there Hank, I know it, and I just wish I could see them and kill them before they kill everyone in this base" he whispered.

      "How do you know they will kill everyone?"

      "Oh come now Hank, you've read the reports. These guys marched through three military outposts and four stationed base camps, without a single casualty. They moved so fast, but that was because they were unprepared. We are prepared and we know what we are up against. We will have a some what of a better chance then all the others who have died" he said. Hank nodded.



      Spartan-241; Matt looked beside him at his leader, Josh.

      "Got a lock" he said.

      "Take it"



      Hank Anural turned to walk away, when a bullet, fired from the bushes nearby, flew straight through the glass and punctured Hank's head. Major Drayman felt a spray of blood and brains hit him, before he turned and watched his headless friend fall to the floor. He quickly ducked and rolled as two more bullets came flying through the glass.

      "Shit! Open fire into the trees!" he yelled.



      Gunnery Sergeant Abe Johnson stood on the wall platform with a group of five marine rocket jockeys. He was crouched low, scanning the vegetation around him with a M6D pistol. Sadly, the 2x scope didn't help much, so he put it away.

      "Anyone see where the fuck that shot came from?" he questioned his marines around him. No one answered. As Abe brought his M 19 SSM rocket launcher up, his radio earpiece in his left ear began to static and beep. Finally, a single frantic voice entered his ear.

      "Fire at will! All forces fire at will!" Abe nodded.

      "Fire at will!" he roared. Abe however didn't know what they were shooting at, so he fired his first two rockets into the clusters of trees and bushes nearest to them, as did most of his men. He reloaded, and then fired two more into the vegetation behind the burning ones. He fired an additional two more rounds, before he stopped and listened.

      The wind had picked up speed and thunder boomed in the distance. Slowly, it was beginning to darken around them, but Abe kept his eyes peeled. Suddenly, the ground surrounding the base camp exploded.

      "Shit! Get down!" yelled a marine Sergeant near Abe. Johnson dropped to the ground, shaking his head.

      "Clever bastards" he murmured.

      "We're being attacked! Oh my god, we're gonna die!" screamed a PFC.

      "Shut up private, it's just our anti-tank mines going off" screamed Abe at the man, who fell silent.

      "Who did they see them?" asked Corporal Strider, crouching beside Abe. The Sergeant shook his head.

      "I have no clue" he said.

      "Sirs! Movement all around us!" screamed another PFC. Abe looked up over the wall, and sure enough, could see green-armored figures running around.

      "Fire!" he yelled, bringing up his Jackhammer. He and his team each fired off two rounds, but not a single Spartan went down. They reloaded and fired again, but received the same results.

      "They're too fast Sarge!" yelled Strider.

      "I know, just keep firing!" They kept up their onslaught for an additional five minutes, before their ammunition was out. The Spartans realized this and moved up. Corporal Strider took a bullet to his chest and fell back off the platform. Johnson grabbed a nearby MA5B assault rifle and began firing at the approaching behemoths. Around him, his marines did the same; however, Spartan snipers in the area picked many of them off. Two Privates were taken out by one bullet. A Corporal screamed and fell back as his arm was blow off. Abe slammed his last clip of 7.62 armor piercing bullets into his AR and fired a sustained three round burst. He could see a shimmer of energy in front of him and a Spartan retreated backwards slightly. I hit one, oh my god, I hit one, he thought to himself, before he finished off his clip. Abe tossed the AR aside, drew his pistol, when suddenly, bullets flew at him. Abe was about to get down, when four rounds caught him in the chest and shoulders. Johnson grunted, fell backwards, and flew off the platform. He hit the ground below, hard and groaned with pain. Blood flew from his wounds, but he stood and staggered over to a bunker.



      It was chaos all over the place, but Major Drayman was content. So far, the wall hadn't been breached. Sadly, he thought this too soon...



      Spartan-224; Sandra, handed Josh a remote detonator.

      "Mission complete sir, C-12 explosives planted at the base of wall junction a-5" she said.

      "Good, everyone, get ready to enter the base" he yelled, pressing the detonation switch. Two tones of non-nuclear explosives detonated, blowing a six meter gap into the wall. The marines who had been positioned around that wall, where either vaporized or blasted off the planet. Bodies rained down upon the ground, as did wreckage.

      "Move!" Josh ordered. The Spartans moved quickly, surrounding the hole and firing off rounds at the marines inside.

      "Sir, they've got more of those drone turrets and smaller portable ones. The ammo just tears away at the armor" reported Spartan-230; James.

      "Fire off quick bursts as suppression fire. Use fragmentation grenades. Let's get some Jackhammers over here people" yelled Josh. While a small group of Spartans did their best to keep the marines occupied, a larger group of Spartans moved farther to the left and began to climb the wall. They reached the platform, completely unnoticed and began to man the drone turrets. Josh received confirmation that they were ready, and then gave the order.

      Eight of the marine's drone turrets began spilling thousands of bullets onto them. Bullets struck the ground around the defenses like geysers, ripping apart humans and destroying vital equipment. As the marine defense forces turned to target the drone turrets, five 102mm rocket shells flew from the gap hole and smashed into a line of bunkers blocking their way. Bodies flew out in pieces, blood splashed on the ground. Small groups of marines retreated, but the Spartans charged inside.



      "They've breached the wall sir, they're moving inside" yelled a tech, looking up from his data console. Drayman already knew it though. He watched the wave of armored figures sprint in, firing off deadly accurate rounds at marines trying to hold their position.

      "Looking pretty bad down here sir" came the voice of ground commander, Lieutenant Ted Anderson.

      "Agreed, do your best to hold out Anderson, I'm sending the Pelicans to come and pick us up" he replied.

      "Roger." Drayman turned to his techs.

      "Get those Pelicans over here on the double, we need immediate evac" he said quickly. The response was fast and another tech reported the Pelicans were on the way. Drayman nodded, and then continued to watch his losing battle.



      Abe fired the last of his assault rifle rounds at a Spartan to his left. He cursed as the bullets flew past the blur of a Spartan. Johnson stood up, running off to a final line of defense the marines had established. As he did, more bullets flew over his head, but the Sergeant ran fast, doing his best to avoid them all. His wounds were still bleeding and by the amount of dizziness that had overcome him, Abe knew that he had lost a lot of blood. However, he sucked it up and crouched beside two marine snipers. However, as he turned to fire his AR again, both snipers' heads exploded, courtesy of Spartan snipers on the wall. Abe roared in anger, and began firing at the Spartans around him, hitting a few. He reloaded, fired again, reloaded and fired for the last time. He tossed the AR aside, then staggered to get up, but couldn't. His entire body was going numb.

      "No, not yet" he growled. However, before he could fight off the waves of nausea, a fragmentation grenade bounced on a rock, landed on his back, rolled off and hit the ground beside him. Abe looked at it.

      "No way..." he whispered. The grenade detonated and Abe began a corpse on the ground, just like his fellow marines.



      This battle was in the bag and Josh knew it. He watched his Spartans surround the final perimeter of bunkers and trenches, killing any marine who attempted to fire his/her gun. Josh had been worried at first about this battle. He knew that the marines here knew that they were coming and would be prepared; however, he knew they wouldn't be prepared very well. Josh was about to grin triumphantly, when the rumble of movement made him stop.

      A Scorpion tank appeared from behind a corner of the base, fully armed, and being escorted by four Warthogs. The chain guns on the back of the 'Hogs began turning, letting loose millions of bullets on his Spartans. The Scorpion tank fired at the bunkers and trenches, destroying them, the marines inside and wounding the Spartans around it. Josh rushed forward, tossing a frag grenade on the ground near him. A Warthog came at him, but he dived quickly to the left, just as the grenade detonated, sending the Warthog flying backwards, and its occupants around it. A marine landed beside Josh, who struck out with his fist, making contact with the man's face. The marine fell to his knees, stood, but Josh kicked him in the face again, snapping his neck back and killing the marine. He picked up the Jackhammer the marine had been holding, then targeted the Scorpion tank, which had five of his Spartans pinned down. He fired off one round, which hit the treads of the tank. He rushed forward, smashing his boot into a wounded marine's face, and then fired another round. This one struck the hatches which held both the pilot and the gunner. The Scorpion stopped moving and the pinned down Spartans moved out, firing at a Warthog.

      Josh watched another Warthog approach him. He took out his pistol and fired two bullets at the front tire, which exploded, tipping the Warthog over completely. The vehicle skidded along the ground, crushing the driver. The gunner and passenger bailed, and targeted Josh who fired an additional four rounds from his pistol, blowing off both of the marines heads.



      "Sir, Pelican dropships inbound" said a technician. Major Drayman nodded.

      "Okay, all of you, out of the control room and into the dropships now" he yelled. The techs didn't need to be told twice and moved quickly out. Drayman then grabbed a nearby radio.

      "Lieutenant Anderson, get your people out of there, pick up is here" he said.

      "Sir, this is Master Sergeant Owens. Anderson is dead, I am in charge and I am staying here to keep the Spartans away from those dropships, out." Drayman stared at the radio for a second, before turning and saluting the battlefield below. He then made a beeline for the exit, just as two Jackhammer rounds smashed into the control room, detonated the computers.



      Josh watched the last Warthog exploded in a ball of flame, thanks to the rocket that smashed right into it. The occupants were already dead. The last of the marines had converged inside the structure.

      "What is this, cat and mouse?" said Josh to Spartan-234; Ian, Josh's second in command. Ian merely shook his head and used his pistol to kill three marines rushing for the entrance. A roar of engines could be heard and Josh feared a Longsword was inbound with napalm bombs for them. It wasn't, and to Josh, it was much worse.

      Thirty Pelican dropships, all which had been positioned near the back of the base, took off into the air and headed out to space.

      "Fuck, take them down!" roared Josh. Seven 102mm rockets flew up at them, however, only one Pelican exploded, and another was wounded. The others all escaped. Josh's anger rose and he threw a grenade into the air in anger. The Spartans around him stood silently and watched their leader storm about pissed off. Josh decided to forget it for the time being and concentrate on the matter at hand.

      "Those marines must die, let's go get them" he said, breathing in deeply. The Spartans charged inside and hunted out the last of the military resistance on Regal V.



      Major Drayman stared out a small window on the Pelican he sat in and watched his military base become nothing but a floating planet in space. He sighed, and then watched the Pelican towards three UNSC ships, which was all that remained of the space fleet. Regal V now belongs to them thought Drayman.



      "Concentrate on your opponent's movements, feel what he or she is going to do" John said to his son. Samuel was out of the MJOLNIR-X armor and dueling it out with John. The two of them circled each other, fists up and eyes trained on each other. John made the first move and faked a punch to his Sam's head, then moved in with an uppercut to his stomach. Sam rolled to the side, grabbing John's arm and using it as a base for him to spin into the air, and kick at John's head. John lowered his head, but was brought down by Sam as he still held onto John's arm. However, the ex-Spartan was quick to get up and he was all over Sam with punches and kicks. Their movements were blurred as John punched and Sam blocked. Suddenly, the tables turned and Sam struck out with his fist, catching John in the chest. John staggered back, and then received to additional punches to his chest and stomach, followed by another to his face. John flipped over in the air and landed on the ground.

      "I think he's done" called Cortana from the other side of the room. John grinned, and then accepted Sam's hand, who pulled him up easily.

      "That was much better. You read my mind perfectly and matched yourself up with my movements. I believe your training in the martial arts is complete. We just have one more thing to do and that is, your swords" said John. Sam nodded.

      "John, a moment?" said Cortana, who appeared on a desk near John. Sam walked over to the weapons and began to practice with a MA5B assault rifle. John walked over to Cortana, whose face was grim.

      "What is it?" he asked.

      "Its Vice Admiral Jameson on the line" she said. John's brow furrowed and he looked at the small holographic video screen that appeared beside Cortana. Jameson's worried expression filled the screen.

      "Hello John" he said. John saluted.

      "Admiral Jameson, sir, I did not expect you to be calling" he said.

      "I know, but this is important and it's bad. The Spartans have control over Regal V. Military Outpost Gamma Twelve was destroyed this morning. It was our last pocket of military resistance down there. We need that Shadow Spartan John, or the Spartans will continue their reign of chaos" he said. The news struck John like one of Sam's punches, except deeper on an emotional level. He nodded.

      "Yes sir, he will be ready in two days" said John.

      "Good, I was hoping it would be that soon. Keep in touch. Jameson out." And with that, the Admiral's face disappeared, leaving John alone with his thoughts. Cortana looked at him.

      "Hey, you okay?" she asked. John shook his head and looked at Sam, who was firing off perfect bursts of ammo at a target.

      "Sam!" yelled John. His son put the weapon and stood at attention.

      "Come on, we must hurry" he said. Sam looked confused.

      "Hurry? You said I have another week to train" he said.

      "It's been shortened to two days I'm afraid" John said gravely. Sam's eyes widened.

      "What's happened?" he asked. John sighed deeply.

      "The Spartans took control of Regal V this morning; there is no UNSC military resistance on that planet. They need you sooner than a week" John explained quickly. Sam's gaze fell to the floor.

      "Mom?" he asked. John knew how Sam felt, since he felt the same way.

      "She's fine Sam, on the other side of the planet, but we need to hurry" he said. Sam looked up and nodded.

      "Yes sir" he said. John escorted Sam over to the MJOLNIR-X armor which hung on the wall. He helped Sam in, and then assisted him with the blades. As practice, Sam put his hands on the hilts of the blades and pulled them out, twirling them each one at the same time, then sheathing them. He did this a few times, before John raised his own two practice swords and looked Sam in the eye.

      "Time to learn a version of fighting, much like Kendo, except using swords that require one hand"

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 3
Date: 14 July 2003, 10:24 PM

      John raised a reanimated katana sword created by Lancelot and leveled it at his son, who was circling around him. Sam had put the MJOLNIR-X armor on for this part of his training and John watched how well he interacted with it. As John lowered his katana to striking position, Sam reached back and whipped out both of his crafted plasma battle blades given to him. He twirled them both in his hands and watched John as he swung his katana over his head and brought it down on Sam's head. Sam raised one of his blades to block the sword, and then used the other to slash at John's ribs. John back flipped away, Sam swiping at his feet. The ex-Spartan regained his balance and stabbed out at Sam quickly, who twirled one blade in front of him, snapping the katana in too. John cursed as he dropped his busted practice sword.

      "God damnit, that's the second you've broken" he said, chuckling afterwards. Sam shook his armored head and put both his blades back.

      "Dad, I'm having a problem with these swords" he said, taking them back out and observing them. John raised an eyebrow.

      "What's up?" he asked. Sam tossed one of the blades to John, who caught it.

      "I wish to fight with just one" he said, grabbing hold of his chosen blade and gripping it with both hands. John looked at him.

      "Just one? But son, you get more power with two" he protested.

      "Dad, I find I have better coordination with just one blade. I don't have to worry about what's in one of my hands, while using my other hand to block. It isn't easy, even for someone like me" he explained. John nodded, and then realized he should be a bit easier. His wife had even told him to let Sam feel comfortable in what he does and if this was what he wanted, this was what he'd get.

      "You're right there Sam. All right, you fight with that one, I will fight with this one" John said, raised the blade aloft and charging at Sam, who crouched low and came at John. John brought his blade down to Sam's side, but the Shadow Spartan spun away in the air, stopped and stabbed out at John, who smashed his son's sword away and came at him again. Sam spun with his sword and used his momentum to slash at his charging father. John watched the blade come and he brought up his own to block it. He was successful in blocking, yet the momentum Sam had had, sent John staggering backwards from the recoil. That was all Sam needed, who jumped over John and came up behind him, sword at his throat.

      "I win dad" he whispered and John smiled. He dropped his blade and turned. He took of his son's helmet and looked into his eyes.

      "I think you are ready" he said, staring at Sam who grinned.

      "You think so?" he asked. John nodded.

      "You've defeated me in every training exercise, ranging from martial arts, to various weapons to the way of the sword. You are ready" he said defiantly. Sam grinned and sheathed his sword.

      "What happens now?" he asked. John looked over at Lancelot, who stood by Cortana, watching them.

      "We do one more practice, this time, with an AI in your armor. Now, you've chosen Lancelot as your designated AI." At the sound of his name, Lancelot raised his sword at Sam. "Lancelot will then be integrated into your armor and you will fight me with my own armor, and I shall have Cortana with me" John said. Sam grinned.

      "Awesome" he said. John knew it would be and he knew why Sam was excited. He had never seen John in his armor, and because of the new enhancements that Cortana had given him, his armor would be better than it was before, almost like his son's.

      John yanked both Lancelot and Cortana, and then took out their processor cubes. He handed Sam, Lancelot's cube, while John walked over to his cot and began putting his own armor on. Sam inserted Lancelot's cube into one of his data slots in his helmet, then began chatting with the black knight. John began slapping on the parts off his armor, and finally finished it off by slipping helmet on. His Heads Up Display light up, showing him diagnostics and other valuable information. John adjusted his boot treads and glove sensitivity levels, then reached over and grabbed Cortana's cube. He inserted it into his data slot and Cortana slipped into the armor.

      "Just like old times John" she said, her voice echoing through the helmet's speakers. John grinned.

      "Just like old times" he repeated. John turned to face Sam, who was battling a fake opponent with a sword. John watched him for a moment, before clearing his throat. Sam turned and looked at John.

      "Dad, you look sweet" he said, marveling at John's appearance in his armor. John grinned, then grabbed one of the plasma battle blades and leveled it at Sam. Sam grabbed his own plasma blade, drew it out of its hilt and crouched low, both hands on the sword hilt. The two of them stared at each other, not moving. It was dead quiet. John couldn't even hear his breathing. He was about to charge, when Sam made the first move. He was almost on top of John, sword held aloft, when the entire complex shook violently, knocking them both to their feet.

      "What the fuck?" John roared standing and observing a data console nearby. There were cameras posted around the dome and five of them were gone. However, one camera eight, John could make out figures in green armor moving around the dome. He looked at Sam.

      "Shit! The Spartan-IIIs are here!" he cried out. Sam put his sword back.

      "Good, let's kill them" he said, rushing to the weapons rack and grabbed a MA5B assault rifle. John nodded and grabbed a MA7B battle rifle. The complex shook again and the two of them staggered to keep their balance. John looked around and could see dents along the roofing of the dome.

      "Cortana, what happened to the auto defenses?" he asked.

      "They aren't responding they must have planted electronic jamming devices in them" she said frantically.

      "How the hell did they get close to the dome without being spotted?" he asked, loading his battle rifle.

      "The camouflage I'm assuming. I honestly don't know" she said. John cursed. He hated it when Cortana didn't know. The ex-Spartan grabbed ten clips of ammo, then ran to the center of the room. He looked at his son, who was crouching low, assault rifle pointed at the door. John shook his head.

      "No son, you've got to get out of here" he said, looking at the door which was starting to bulge open. Sam looked at his father.

      "Don't be a hero dad, you can't take on all of them by yourself" he said.

      "That's not the point, if they discover you; they will destroy you before you even have a chance to fight them"

      "They won't destroy me, I will kill them" Sam replied.

      "I'm talking about your identity. If they find out you are my son, they will destroy you, if not totally, then emotionally" he said. Sam looked up at John, weapon still pointed.

      "Mom?" he asked. John nodded and Sam lowered his head.

      "But I can't leave you" he protested.

      "Son, I don't want to leave you either, but I've fought these guys before and I can hold them off, you must leave" he said, raising Sam to his feet.

      "How though, they've got the entrance surrounded." John ran to his cot, tossed it aside and revealed a trap door. He opened it, revealing a ladder than extended into a tunnel system below.

      "I dug out a tunnel in case something like this happened. Follow the tunnel, it will take you right to the lifepod" he said. Sam hesitated again, looking at John. John's patience was running thin.

      "Sam, just go! Now!" he yelled, shoving him into the tunnel. Reluctantly, Sam grabbed hold of the ladder and began to descend into the depths.

      "I will see you later dad" he called. John smiled.

      "I love you son!" he yelled, then slammed the trap door shut. He quickly covered it up, and then turned to face the door. Slowly, the Spartans were blowing their way through. John eyed the Jackhammers near the rows of weapons and grinned. He dropped his battle rifle, rushed to the weapon rack and took hold of two of the rocket launchers. He loaded them both and grabbed two extra rounds. He then leveled them at the door, grinning.

      "Plug you ears" he said to Cortana, who laughed. John pressed the firing triggers, and two 102mm rockets flew at the door, blowing it wide open. Light poured into the darkened room and John could make out three armored figures walk in, weapons up. John fired again, and then reloaded. As he did, he watched his rockets.

      His volley of rockets struck two Spartans dead on, blowing them up and wounding the third, who fell out of the complex and into the vegetation beyond. As John reloaded, he tossed two fragmentation grenades, and then repositioned himself as four Spartans rushed in, firing wildly. He fired, killing two more Spartans and wounding the other two. He reloaded quickly, fired his last rockets, killing the wounded Spartans, and then grabbed two SMG 900 sub machine guns. He cocked both weapons, grinned and walked forward, firing the weapons.



      Josh couldn't believe that six of his Spartans were dead. He had a Jackhammer out and was watched other Spartans back away from the entrance to the dome as bullets flew out. Two of his Spartans fell on the ground, wounded from bullets that had breached their shields. A single figure emerged from the dome, and stood on the dead Spartan's, wielding and firing two sub machine guns. Josh grinned.

      "It's the Master Chief! Kill him!" he roared, leveling his Jackhammer.



      John heard Josh's voice and turned to him, still firing his weapons. He watched the Spartan-IIIs leader fall back as continuous bullets weakened his shields. Finally, as John wounded two additional Spartans, his weapons stopped firing. He dropped them both and rushed at a Spartan. He swung his fist, catching the Spartan in the side. His enemy responded with a blow to the head, but John ducked, punching twice, and spinning in the air, kicking with both legs at his enemy's helmet. The Spartan fell over, unconscious. John felt pain sear through his back, and he turned to see another Spartan attacking him. John blocked two of his attackers' blows, and then lashed out with his knee, making contact with the Spartan's stomach. He could hear the sounds of weapons being loaded, then brought the wounded Spartan up to face him. Bullets fired from its colleagues slammed into the Spartan's back, who screamed out in pain. They stopped and John threw the nearly dead Spartan at them. Four Spartans collapsed in a heap. John was about to continue, when a 102mm rocket slammed into the ground in front of him, sending John flying backwards.

      Klaxon alarms filled John's ears as he skidded along the ground and smashed into a boulder sticking out of the ground. Cortana let out a yelp as well, then her cooling presence vanished. He lay there, defeated and watched through a cracked visor as the remaining Spartans surrounded him, weapons trained at him. John chuckled.

      "Well, go on now, pull the damn triggers" he growled. The group around him parted and Josh stepped forward, blood all over him.

      "You killed my Spartans you fucker" he growled back and John grinned.

      "They attacked my dome" he responded.

      "Why did you create this dome? What were you creating in the dome?" Josh asked. John shook his head.

      "You know as well as I do that I won't tell you" he said. Josh nodded.

      "Yes, I figured this" he said. And with that, Josh swung his rocket launcher forward at John, who saw nothing but blackness after that.



      Josh tossed the empty launcher aside and took off his helmet. He spat on his old mentor's armor, and then turned to look at the complex.

      "Begin searching that place, I want to know what the fuck he was doing in there" he said to his Spartans, who all rushed inside. Josh stood by John's body, looking down at him. He couldn't believe that this old Spartan had killed six of his young, deadly Spartans. It was unthinkable. Josh's group at lowered down to forty Spartans and this pissed him off. He shook his head, looking up at the sky.

      He and a small team of Spartans, the ones with him, had managed to capture an old, unused UNSC corvette that had been stored in Military Outpost Gamma Twelve. Josh knew of the threat that John exposed to them and also knew he had to be taken out. Josh didn't believe in going after John's wife and left her alone, hoping that John would be weak as he worried about her. They had been successful in hacking into the FLEETCOM data net and locating John at this dome. Whatever he had been creating here, was gone, making Josh even angrier.

      He stood up, staring at John's body once more, then reached down and pulled out the battle blade that was strapped to his back. His eyes gleamed maliciously as he stared at the awesome blade that shimmered plasma in his hands.

      "This is incredible" he whispered, turning it over in his hands, and then swinging it around him.

      "Maybe this was what he was creating?" he asked himself, unstrapping the sword's hilt from John and strapped on him. He sheathed the blade and stood ready for more weight on his back.

      There was none and Josh grinned. He turned and watched Ian approach him.

      "New weapon?" Ian asked and Josh nodded, taking out the sword again. Ian gazed at it.

      "Awesome. We have a problem" he said. Josh put the blade back and looked at Ian.

      "What now?" he sighed.

      "Roger reported that the corvette's sensors detected a small craft leaving this planet and calling for UNSC assistance. An Excalibur frigate known as Redman entered the system a few minutes later, picked up the craft and left" he explained. Josh looked at Ian, anger rising.

      "What was on the craft?" he asked. Ian shook his head.

      "I do not know. Roger couldn't catch up to it. He assumed it was a lifepod, because it didn't jump out of the system" he said. Josh decided not to take out his anger on his second in command and relaxed.

      "Very well, let's finish up here, then leave" he said, walking back to the dome, Ian behind him.



      Vice Admiral Jameson sat at his desk, head in his hands. He had just received the news that John's dome had been discovered by the Spartans. He sighed, and gulped down the last of the bottle of Jack Daniels that was beside him. He then raised the empty bottle to the window behind him.

      "To you John" he said, and then tossed the bottle aside. It seemed as if everything was doomed now. Jameson had hoped at least the Shadow Spartan or even John had survived, but it was reported that no survivors had been found. He sighed out loud, and leaned back in his chair. As he began to drift off, his door chimed.

      "Wha-Oh, come in" he said, sitting up. The door opened, revealing a darkened figure standing in the opening. Light from the hall prevented the Admiral from making out the person's face, but the huge bulk and size of the figure made him nervous.

      "Who...Who are you?" he asked. The figure stepped in, the door closed and Jameson stared at the huge Spartan that stood in his office.

      "Oh my god" he whispered. The Spartan looked at him.

      "Vice Admiral Jameson, I am Samuel, son of the Master Chief of the Spartan-IIs and created for one person; to kill the Spartan-IIIs" he said, his voice deep and booming. Jameson stood, still staring at the Spartan, and then grinned.

      "John's Shadow Spartan" he said.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 4
Date: 16 July 2003, 3:43 AM

      The UNSC transport ship Galahad sat in a geosynchronous orbit over Regal V. Since the entire UNSC fleet had been destroyed because of the possibility of an everlasting peace, the only ship in the system that Vice Admiral Jameson could use as a staging point for his operations was this ship. The few outdated frigates he had recovered were off trying to find pockets of UNSC military forces that still existed, but the UNSC had done a good job of wiping out everything.

      The Galahad's main control deck had been turned into a small war room, where the admiral and his colleagues had thought up plans. Jameson now stood, looking at the data that scrolled across a large table that had been set up. Beside him, Samuel stood, still wearing his MJOLNIR-X armor. Across from the admiral were two generals, staring suspiciously at Sam. As Jameson continued to overview the data, Sam turned to them.

      "Do you have a problem gentlemen?" he asked them. The Generals shook their heads, snapping out of their trance and looking at Sam.

      "What? Oh, uhhh, no" one of them said, while the other shook his head. Sam glared at them.

      "If you are bothered by the fact that I am a Spartan standing near your Vice Admiral, then deal with it another time, there is a mission here at hand, and you are worried about trusting me" he growled. This seemed to shut them up and they went back to work, allowing Sam to listen to Jameson.

      The data that was scrolling across the table was actually a holographic picture of Regal V, with blotches of red over it.

      "Ok." Jameson began, "we've confirmed via satellite images, that groups of Spartan-IIIs are positioned all over this bloody planet. Many of them have taken refuge in old UNSC marine forts and using the air defenses there to shut down our evac dropships that we send in. We still have a few pockets of marine forces that have survived the Spartan assaults and are awaiting transportation off that planet. We've sent in a total of four Pelican dropships and they've all been shot down, which isn't good for us, so I've stopped sending them down." As the Admiral continued explaining their situation, the vision of the planet changed to show the various marine forts positioned on the planet. It then changed again to show a terrain image of a desert area. "This is the Regal desert, most dangerous of all deserts we've encountered. Non-stop wind storms, horrible temperatures, a death place. However, it's the only region that the Spartans don't have covered, which makes it a likely position for you to be dropped off. Only problem is, we don't know how to get you in there" he said, looking crestfallen. Sam knew however.

      "What type of weapons or modes of transportation are on this vessel?" he inquired. The captain of the Galahad, Commander Ian Lars looked up from his Navigational officer's console.

      "We have four Pelicans, a handful of G-11 lifepods, the armory has outdated assault weapons like MA5Bs and MA2Bs. We also have a Longsword, and a HEV" he said. Perfect, thought Sam.

      "Does that Human Entry Vehicle work?" he asked. Commander Lars nodded.

      "Yes, it was scheduled to be destroyed, but we got delayed" he said.

      "Good. Vice Admiral, I will be using the HEV as my entry vehicle" he said. Jameson nodded.

      "Makes sense, small craft, almost undetectable. The HEVs are dangerous though and have often broken up while in the atmosphere" said the Admiral. Sam shrugged.

      "Risk is part of this game Admiral. Those Spartans must be stopped" he said with a shrug. Jameson nodded.

      "All right, follow me" he said, turning on his heel and leaving the control deck. Sam followed, giving a last look at the two Generals who watched him leave.

      Jameson and Sam walked through a long corridor, passing groups of crewmembers who gaped at Sam as he passed. Jameson glared at them.

      "Go about your business" he growled and the crewmembers hustled off. The two men entered an elevator, descended three levels, and then arrived in another corridor. Jameson walked a few feet, before opened a door to his right and entering it. Sam followed and entered a larger corridor that was empty. The unique thing about this corridor was the small doors spread out along the right wall. They lead to the vessels compliment of lifepods, but the last door held a HEV in it instead of the lifepod. Jameson motioned to it.

      "Here it is" he said. Sam nodded, and then looked at the Admiral.

      "I shall report in a few hours at a time at my progress, but I assume you shall be tracing me, so it may not be needed for me to report" he said. Jameson nodded.

      "All right, you take care down there and rid us of this problem" he said. Jameson saluted and Sam returned it. Jameson turned and headed back to the bridge, leaving Sam all alone. He checked his equipment first. MA5B assault rifle, fifteen extra ammo clips, M6D pistol, ten extra clips and his plasma battle blade. Nodding to himself, he looked at the HEV.

      John had briefly trained Sam in the use of them, and from what he understood, it was quite easy. The bridge would type in the designated landing coordinates and all Sam had to do was hang on and enjoy the ride. He nodded and opened the hatch.

      Once inside, Sam's hands were a blur as he fastened his harness, ran a few system checks, removed a few desired safeties, and then armed his pod to be ready to be blasted off. He checked the tiny computer view screen in front of him and realized that the Galahads computer had already calculated the required force to send Sam's HEV towards its landing zone. Sam hung on tight, and prayed that the pod's ceramic long enough for the chute to open.

      No sooner had the Shadow Spartan braced his boots against the bulkhead, the pod dropped, accelerated out of the ejection tube and plummeted to the planet below. Sam's stomach lurched and his heart rate spiked.

      The HEV shook violently and flipped end over end as the interior temperature rose to 98 degrees. Although Sam knew that his armor was trying to cool him down, sweat poured down his chiseled features. The view screen in front of Sam flicked on again, showing him the designated landing zone. All Sam could make out was sand flying around. As he tried to make out the surface of the desert, the HEV's skin started to slough away, revealing the alloy crash cage that contained him and his equipment. The air turned cold and seeped through the armor's vents. A moment later, the chute unfurled and assumed the shape of an airfoil. Sam winced as the pod decelerated with a bone-rattling jerk. Sam began to relax slightly as his HEV began to stabilize and he could make out the desert floor below. He waited a full five seconds, before bracing himself again.

      The HEV pod smashed into the sand. The sudden stoppage of movement, made Sam's stomach lurch again and his heart rate spiked even higher. He took a few seconds to relax, then began to detach himself from his harness and get out of the pod. As he peeled himself out and onto the sand, he swore to himself, he would never use an HEV again.



      Jameson grinned as the terrain footage that scrolled across the data table showed Sam up and okay. He was very worried the pod would break apart while descending since it was an old pod, but was glade that his prayers were answered and nothing happened. As he watched Sam get his equipment ready, a technician called Commander Lars over. Jameson looked up and watched the two converse, and then Lars nodded and walked over to the Admiral.

      "Two problems sir. One; that corvette the Spartans high-jacked is back and heading towards us. Two; a group of Spartan-IIIs must have detected the pod, since a small fire team is moving in on his position" Lars said. Jameson's eyes widened and he looked at a widened map of the area. Sure enough, a large red blotch could be seen moving in on Sam's position.

      "Shit" Jameson growled. He rushed over to the communications officer's console and pressed the radio button.

      "Jameson to Shadow Spartan" he said. There was a burst of static, followed by silence. Jameson swore and tried again. Still nothing.

      "Sir, the sand storm could be interfering with the signal" suggested Lars. Jameson shook his head and kept on trying.



      "Sam, someone is trying to contact us" Lancelot spoke for the first time. Sam stopped what he was doing and straightened himself.

      "Who is it?" he asked.

      "I do not know, I can't make out what this person is saying. I believe it's from the Galahad" he said. Sam raised an eyebrow.

      "Keep trying to connect" he said. Suddenly, Sam's motion tracker bleeped. He stood straight and froze.



      Spartan-231; Kyle struggled to jog through the thick sand as he climbed a large dune mountain. Behind him, Spartan-242 (Owen) and Spartan-229 (Jamie) climbed after him, breathing hard.

      "Jesus, this ain't fun" Owen whined as he fell over from a huge gust of wind that picked up. Kyle shook his head.

      "Come on, the pod is over here, we're almost there" he said. The three of them reached the top and crouched low. Jamie held a S2 AM sniper rifle and zoomed in on a lifepod in the sand below.

      "It's an HEV Kyle, so there's a lone marine in the desert" she chuckled. Kyle shook his head.

      "Any sign of our marine?" he asked. Jamie shook her head.

      "Negative, nothing" she said.

      "Ok, fan out, let's move in" Kyle ordered. He crouched up, his MA7B battle rifle trained at the pod as he slowly jogged down the dune. Jamie stayed where she was, and Owen went down the left side, his MA5B assault rifle up.



      Sam watched the two Spartans moved, and then sighted his aim on the sniper Spartan who hadn't moved. He uncovered himself from his hiding spot and moved in.



      Kyle stopped moving and crouched behind a piece of the pod that had broken off during the entry. He was roughly ten meters away from the HEV. Owen however was much closer and he stopped momentarily, awaiting orders. Kyle looked up at Jamie, who nodded at him. Kyle nodded back.

      "Owen, check it out" he whispered. Owen nodded and moved in.



      Sam was right behind the sniper and he watched the lone Spartan-III approach his entry pod. Sam took out a detonator and waited.



      Owen looked inside and saw nothing. The equipment crate had been opened, but everything was gone. He spotted two extra clips of 7.62 armor piercing rounds, which he scooped up. He then circled the pod twice, then looked over at Kyle, shrugging.



      Sam grinned and pressed the detonator.



      Kyle nodded at Owen and ordered him to fall back, when suddenly, the pod erupted. Kyle covered himself behind the piece of metal as a ball of huge fire rose into the air. Owen was blown to the right, his MJOLNIR armor in pieces around him.



      Jamie gasped and watched Owen's dead body hit the sand dune a few meters away and didn't move. She circled around, looking for a target, then was tapped from behind. She turned and saw the big black Spartan standing over her. She gasped again into her activated radio, then saw black.



      Kyle stood, looking at the burning pod, his mouth wide open. He turned to look at Jamie's position, but saw nothing. He raised an eyebrow.

      "Jamie, where are you?" he said into his radio. No one answered. He tried an additional four times, and then ran up the hill himself to find her. When he got to the top, he found her dead body sprawled out along the sand, her sniper rifle gone. Kyle froze. He knew his enemy was targeting him right now. He would have to be quick, but he could do it. He dropped his battle rifle and pistol, hoping that would make him run faster. He took in a deep breath, then rolled to his left, just as two sniper bullets flew at him. He rolled all the way down the hill, stood, and ran, not even bothering to look back.



      Sam grinned and watched the Spartan run. He targeted the last two sniper rounds at the man's legs and fired.



      Kyle felt the bullet impacts, then lost the feeling in both his legs. He fell forward, doing a face plant right into the sand. He groaned in pain, turned over and saw his legs a few feet away from him. He gaped at them, then looked up at the mountain he had been on and watched a figure in black armor approach him. He awaited his death, but it did not come. The figure in the black armor stood over Kyle, staring down at him. Kyle gaped at him.

      "You're...You're a Spartan?" he asked. He heard the man chuckle, then he crouched beside him.

      "Here is what I want you to do. When Josh comes and picks you up, you tell him, that the Shadow Spartan did this to you and your men. You tell him his turn will come as well" the man said. Kyle merely gaped at him still, then shook his head.

      "What?" he said. The Shadow Spartan chuckled again, then shouldered the Jamie's sniper rifle and walked off. Kyle caught a glimpse of a sword strapped to his back, then saw nothing. He groaned in pain, then activated his radio.

      "This is Kyle, I'm hit, and I need immediate evac" he said, then felt him lose all consciousness and faint.



      Jameson stood over the data table and grinned as he watched Sam walk away from his target.

      "And so it begins" he whispered.



A few hours later...

      Josh climbed out of the Pelican dropship and trudged slowly through the desert sand. A few feet away was Spartan-231; Kyle, who had reported in that he was hit and needed evac. Josh shook his head as he approached the Spartan and crouched beside him. Kyle was unconsciousness. Josh took off his helmet, revealing the Spartan's frozen features. Ian crouched on the other side and shook the man. Kyle's eyes opened and he looked around.

      "Oh thank god, Josh" he began, but Josh held his hand up.

      "What happened?" he asked. Kyle gulped.

      "I was ordered to investigate a lifepod that had crashed here with Jamie and Owen. When we came, we found out that the lifepod was actually an old Human Entry Vehicle, used by the Helljumpers. Owen went to investigate it, then the pod exploded and he was killed in the blast. I tried to find Jamie, but she had been killed at the top of that mountain there. Then, whoever stole her sniper rifle, used it to blast my legs off and I fell. Someone named the Shadow Spartan is on this planet. He said that what he did to Jamie, me and Owen, he will do to you" Kyle explained, looking up at his leader, who was slowly shaking with anger. Ian, who had left briefly, returned and shook his head.

      "Jamie and Owen are dead" he said. Josh looked at Kyle.

      "What was this person's name?" he asked. Kyle looked at him, frightened.

      "Shadow Spartan" he repeated. Josh stood, looking at Ian.

      "That was what John was working on" he whispered. Ian merely looked at Josh. He then looked at Kyle.

      "What do we do with him?" he asked. Josh looked at Kyle, who was confused and looked at the two of them. Josh shook his head.

      "There's no point, dispose of him" Josh said, walking off. Kyle looked at him, mouth open, and then looked at Ian.

      "But, you can't?" he started, but Ian raised his pistol and fired off one round, hitting Kyle in the face. The legless Spartan fell silent and Ian walked back to the Pelican, which lifted off. Josh sat in the back, clenching his fists.

      "So, he wants to play does he?" he growled...


TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 5
Date: 19 July 2003, 1:17 AM

~*Author's note*~

      Hey guys, just a word of warning, I changed my hotmail account (the other one got hacked and was filled with gay porn, not fun). New hotmail is shadow_agent13@hotmail.com Later.

~*End note*~

      Josh stood in the ruined control tower of Military Outpost Gamma Twelve, overlooking the surrounding rocky terrain and in deep thought. The past recent events had been very complicated and disturbing for the Master Spartan and he did not know what to do about them.

      First of all, nine of his Spartans were dead, including Kyle who he had had executed. Nevertheless, the sensation of having nine of your brothers and sisters dead wasn't fun for Josh and he could feel tears welling up in his eyes. He looked around the room quickly; making sure no one was looking. He let a few tears run down his chiseled face, which was a fixed glare at the glowing horizon in the distance. The Master Chief killed six and this new threat killed two and wounded another.

      The new threat was apparently named; Shadow Spartan, a name which had come up briefly while searching the installation John had been hiding in. Obviously, this Shadow Spartan was a weapon powerful than the Spartan-IIIs. This made Josh even angrier. Nothing was stronger than a Spartan, they were elite. However, his theories were wrong and this one Spartan was better.

      Josh had determined that the leader of the project to create the Shadow Spartan was John, but who the candidate was, Josh did not know. It was obvious it was someone close, but he wasn't sure. It couldn't be his wife, since his wife was too old. He searched his thoughts of John for any mention of a child, but found none.

      He swore out loud and smashed his Kevlar battle knife into the console beside him. Why couldn't Josh win? He had succeeded in taking over this planet, but now it was being taken back from him. He had to destroy this new threat, before it became a major problem, even though Josh knew it already was.

      He turned swiftly on his heel and opened the elevator in the far corner of the room. He then descended into the barracks of the base, watching out of the window of the elevator, as the horizon in the distance disappeared. The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened. Josh walked into the mess hall of Barracks D-12. This had been the final battle between the military resistance on Regal V. Josh remembered the marines sealing themselves in here, but the Spartans managed to break in. They put a good fight, which Josh commended them for. They had Jackhammer launchers, grenades, explosives which wounded a few of his Spartans, yet they were low in numbers. Josh had counted twenty-two bodies when the battle was over. Once the sergeant was killed, the planet was his.

      Josh walked behind the kitchen in the mess hall and stood in front of a large pantry door. Two of his Spartans, Charlie and William stood in front of it, in full armor. Josh nodded at them and they moved aside. Charlie opened the door and walked in, Josh following him and William right behind.

      The pantry was a large room, with shelves all over the place, filled with food. There were two other Spartans in here, James and Lisa, who saluted at Josh and lead them over to the far corner. Josh grinned.

      Strapped to a chair, bleeding from the nose, mouth and ear was Master Chief, Spartan 117, John. He had his eyes closed for the moment, but Josh knew he knew they were standing around him. After a few minutes of watching the frozen soldier, Josh balled his fist and smashed it into John's cheek. The Master Chief's eyes snapped open and he looked up at Josh. Josh showed no emotion on the outside, but on the inside, the glare given to him by his old mentor freaked him out. Josh knelt in front of him.

      "Well, it seems that your weapon you created has found its way here. Tell me John, does the words Shadow Spartan mean something to you?" he began, looking at John. John smirked.

      "Sure thing grasshopper" he said. Josh growled and punched John again. John had used that word while he had trained Josh during the way. John grinned.

      "That always bugged you" he whispered. Josh was about to punch him again, but he hesitated.

      "John, this weapon of yours is becoming a problem and I need answers. Who the fuck is he? What is his name?" he asked. John shrugged.

      "No idea" he said. Normally, Josh would've punched him, but he didn't. Instead, he grinned and stood up, nodding at Charlie beside him.

      The Spartan nodded back and took out a syringe. John took his eyes off Josh for a moment and looked at the needle.

      "You fucker" he whispered, looking back at Josh.

      "Sorry Master Chief, I need answers" Josh said with a shrug. Charlie leaned forward and injected the needle right into John's neck. The old Master Chief didn't even wince and glared up at Josh.

      "So, what is flowing through my flood grasshopper?" he asked Josh as Charlie put the syringe away. Josh knew that John knew what he was, but he told him anyway.

      "A Truth Serum naturally John" he said, and then crouched in front of him again. "Let's just wait awhile, let the medicine take affect." John shook his head and spat at Josh.

      "You won't get anything out of me" he said. Josh wiped the saliva off his face.

      "We will see about that" he said and merely waited, watching John begin to sweat a cold sweat and his eyes slowly roll into the back off his head.



      Samuel crouched low in a group of bushes and raised his captured sniper rifle. The Spartan-IIIs had left two sentries along the broken up perimeter wall that surrounded the Military Outpost Gamma Twelve. He sighted one of them and took careful aim at the Spartan's faceplate. He grinned and pulled the trigger. The successful shot left the one Spartan sentry without a head in its armor. Sam switched targets and fired again at the second sentry. The bullet punctured the shield surrounding the armor and drove through the data slot on the Spartan's head. If it didn't kill the Spartan, the resulting electrical shock from the malfunctioning data array would kill him.

      Sam's guess proved right and the Spartan grabbed his head in pain, which was shaking uncontrollably. He ripped it off, revealing a burned up face. Sam fired again, and the Spartan became headless. Quickly, Sam reloaded and rushed forward to the large hole in the wall, obviously created by the Spartan-IIIs when they had attacked. He crouched again, behind a large piece of destroyed metal and observed the interior compound with his M6D pistol. He could only see three Spartans, all standing near the entrance to the small military hangar. It was slowly getting dark out, which would prove to Sam's advantage. He waited as the three Spartans greeted a patrolling one, and then moved in.



      Spartan-251; Lance nodded at Spartan-245; Paul who had appeared near them.

      "All right Paul?" he asked. The patrolling Spartan nodded.

      "Good, almost time to radio check in, just thought I'd pop out here for a bit" he said. Lance shrugged.

      "Nothing moving, quiet as a tomb" he said. Paul nodded.

      "I'll be seeing you" he said and disappeared inside the hangar. Lance turned to his colleagues, Ted (Spartan-228) and Kieran (Spartan-239). Kieran leaned against the base wall, staring at the horizon through the large hole in the wall. Lance looked at him.

      "Hey Kieran, you awake?" he asked. Kieran held up a finger, looked around him, then looked at his friend.

      "Thought I saw something move through the hole" he said. Ted chuckled.

      "Man, there's nothing out here and if you're worried bout the dark Spartan or whatever, he was last reported five miles from here, it's all good" Ted said. Kieran didn't answer and kept looking. Ted laughed out loud.

      "Fine, I will go look and see if it's clear, you'll see" he said and walked off towards the hole. Because of the setting sun, the shadow of the surrounding walls towered close to them and Ted disappeared into them as he continued to walk there. Lance stopped watched and looked at Kieran.

      "He's right you know dude, there's nothing here" he said. Kieran shook his head.

      "I know what I saw and was no animal" he said, his hand gripping the MA5B assault rifle beside him. Lance sighed, and then looked back at the hole. He frowned slightly.

      "Ted, anything?" he called. There was no answer. Lance shook his head.

      "Stupid jokester, come on, this ain't funny, come out" he yelled. Still no answer. Kieran stood straight after awhile, weapon up. Lance steadied him.

      "Easy man, he's just playing" he said and continued to call Ted's name.



      Sam gripped the handle of his plasma battle blade strapped around his back then walked out of the darkness, behind the Spartan calling for his dead friend. He grinned, whipped out the blade and swung at the Spartan's head.



      Kieran felt water hit him and looked down at his suit. His mouth dropped when he saw blood all over his armor and not water. He looked up and saw Lance's corpse fall, a shadowy figure standing over him, a shimmering blade in his hands. Kieran gasped and was about to scream, when the blade was raised into the air and brought down on Kieran's head.



      Josh walked back into the pantry room and looked at Charlie who was standing near the shaky John.

      "Is he ready?" he asked. Charlie checked John's pulse and nodded. Josh crouched in front of him the Master Chief and looked at him.

      "Listen to me John; you are going to tell me exactly what I wish to here. Any question I ask, you answer, do you understand?" he said slowly and calmly. John looked like a zombie who scared Josh, but he looked at John, whose eyes were back into his head. John nodded.

      "Good, now tell me, tell me what a Shadow Spartan is?" he asked. John sat there, shaking and sweating. He let out a few gurgles, and then nodded again.

      "Shadow Spartan...is...secret project....candidate becomes weapon...powerful" he muttered. Josh nodded.

      "Okay. Do you know of the Shadow Spartan you created?" he asked John. The Master Chief nodded. "Who was your candidate you used for the Shadow Spartan project?" Josh asked. John took awhile to answer the question and Josh knew he was trying to fight the serum. Josh knew it wouldn't work. Normally, interrogators would put a single test tube of the serum into a victim, but because Spartans were a lot stronger then a regular human, Josh had put in seven tubes of the serum. It was working. John's mouth moved, but Josh couldn't hear what he said.

      "What? Answer me John" he said. Slowly, John spoke out the words.

      "My...my...s-s-son...S-S-Samuel" he stammered. Josh grinned evilly and stood.

      "Thank you John, you may rest" he said and walked out of the room, feeling very good about himself. As he left, John became aware of what he just did and tears began flowing out of his eyes, which now faced forward. He looked up at the Spartan beside him and growled viciously. The Spartan known as Charlie stepped back, frightened. John shook his head and watched Josh leave.

      "It makes no difference grasshopper, he will still destroy you!" John yelled. Josh stopped and looked at the Master Chief.

      "Shadows stay in front of behind John, your son shall feel pain in all ways" he growled and left the room. John knew what was going to happen and swore.



      As Josh walked through the mess hall, the elevator door opened and Ian walked in, fully armored and carrying Josh's armor. Josh raised an eyebrow at his friend and stopped.

      "What is it?" he asked. Ian stood in front of him.

      "Our nuisance is here" he said. Josh's eyes widened and he spread his arms, allowing Ian to strap his armor on.

      "How many dead?" he asked. Ian attached the chest plate first.

      "Did a radio wide check in, five Spartans didn't report in" he said. Josh swore.

      "Get the entire base at full alert, we must find him" he said, and then grabbed the helmet handed to him, strapped it on and rushed to the elevator.



      Sam stood in the control room of the Military Outpost, looking at the compound below as groups of Spartans moved out along the walls, flashlights on. Floodlights positioned around the place were activated and Sam retracted himself from the window, as several lights passed near him. He couldn't stay here long, so he called for the elevator, by pressing the button near the steel doors. The elevator took awhile and Sam took out his battle blade again. Sure enough, the door opened and a Spartan stood in the compact room. It looked at Sam, who waved at the Spartan, then stabbed his sword into the Spartan's stomach. He watched as the plasma and steel blade cut through the Spartan's shields, tore a hole in his alloyed armor and pierced the skin. The Spartan let out a yelp and fell to his knees, clutching his stomach. Sam watched it reach to activate his radio, but he swung the sword at his neck and beheaded the man. He walked into the elevator and headed to the bottom floor, marked; Barrack D-12.



      Josh stood near the entrance to the hangar, watching his Spartans search the compound. Josh knew that the Shadow Spartan wasn't there, but he still had to seem like he knew where he was. He looked at the five beheaded bodies in front of him, grimacing at the gruesome death his brothers in arms had gone under. He looked away, then frowned and looked up at the control room.

      "Where is Fred, I told him to activate the spot lights in the tower" he asked Ian who stood beside him. Suddenly, it his Josh and he looked at Ian, who looked at him. Josh swore.

      "Everyone! Search the interior! Now!" he yelled. Josh rushed back into the hangar, grabbing a MA5B assault rifle as he did, then headed for the hangar doors, Ian and the other Spartans behind him.



      The elevator stopped and opened, revealing the mess hall of Barrack D-12. There were two Spartans in the room, who looked at the elevator. Sam walked out, sniper rifle in his hands. He fired two quick rounds and the Spartans dropped dead, before they even had a chance to raise their weapons. Sam looked around, seeing if anyone else was in the area, then headed for the kitchen. Why was he going this way? It was if something was calling him. Another Spartan was hiding behind the counter and Sam killed him quickly with his sword. He walked to the pantry door and turned the knob. It didn't move. Growling, he raised his sword and cut open a hole in the steel door. He walked in and felt bullets ping off around the walls around him. He rolled forward, assault rifle up and he fired sustained bursts at his attacks. He could see shields shimmering around the shelve units in the pantry, and he targeted them, firing full auto at them. One shield went out, and Sam heard a scream, followed by a body hitting the floor. The second Spartan rushed at Sam, who dropped his assault rifle and blocked the two punches aimed at him. The Spartan followed up with a kick, but Sam spun to the left, avoiding it and elbowing the Spartan in the back of the head. Temporarily dazed, the Spartan stumbled forward, and then swung his fist. Sam grabbed it and sent the Spartan flying into the shelving units he had been hiding around. The Spartan stood, but Sam jumped into the air, sticking out his leg and making contact with the Spartan's visor. It shattered, the glass cutting at the Spartan's face. Josh grinned and finished the man off with a punch to his exposed face. The Spartan dropped, unconscious. Sighing, Sam searched around the pantry, and then gaped at what he found in the far corner.

      His father, Spartan-117, John sat strapped in a chair, blood flowing from wounds on his face. He looked up at Sam and grinned.

      "Samuel!" he said and Sam ran to him. He was about to hug him, but checked his motion, since he would most likely crush him. Instead, he began untying him.

      "Told you I'd see you soon" he said causing John to chuckle and spit up blood. Sam shook his head.

      "Don't talk dad" he said, but John shook his head.

      "You gotta get out of here Sam, I mean it, and I'm not being a hero. The Spartans called for assistance when they called for their friends outside and heard nothing. Josh, the whole lot is coming" he said. Sam was about to protest when he heard footsteps outside. He backed away from his father as the door opened and a Spartan walked in, assault rifle up.



      Josh scanned his surroundings and saw the bodies of Charlie and Lisa in the room. Holding back his anger, he swung around, looking behind the door and saw nothing. He turned again and moved farther into the room. He knew Ian was behind him, along with the rest of the Spartans at the base. As Ian walked in, Josh heard movement to his left. He turned, and then felt something grab him from behind.



      Sam grabbed hold of the Spartan around the stomach, took his out blade and brought it to his neck.

      "Any movement and this blade slit your throat" he whispered. The Spartan looked at him.

      "Ah, you must be Samuel, son of John" he said. These words hit Sam like a Jackhammer rocket. He whirled the Spartan around, put his blade away and took out his pistol, pointing it at the Spartan's visor.

      "I see you and my father have had a talk together" he whispered. The Spartan nodded.

      "Yes Sam, we have. My name is Josh, I am the leader of the Spartan-IIIs" he said

      "Sorry mate, you mean the ex-leader. Your rebellion here has ended" he growled. Josh laughed.

      "Oh no young Spartan, I'm afraid it hasn't, it has only begun" he said. Sam heard the sound of a weapon being cocked. He grabbed the hilt of his sword and looked into the corner. A Spartan was dragging John forward, a combat knife held to his head. Sam's eyes widened and he looked back at Josh.

      "Well, nice little situation here isn't it?" he asked Sam, who looked back at his dad. John looked up at Sam and grinned. Sam shook his head.

      "Let go of me Sam, you can't win here" Josh said. Sam watched four Spartans enter the room, weapons pointed at Sam. He swore and looked at Josh.

      "I always win Josh" he said. Josh shook his head.

      "Other way around Sam, I always win" he said. Sam heard John clear his throat and he looked at him. John was mouthing something to him. Sam squinted and watched his lips move. Find...find...mum...find mom he said to himself. He nodded and John nodded back. Sam suddenly saw the tears in his eyes. He looked at his dad and watched him blow him a kiss. Sam's eyes widened.

      "No!" he roared, but it was too late. John had managed to get both his hands free. He grabbed the Spartan's knife and smashed it away. He stood; grabbing the chair used to hold him and swung it around, smashing it over the Spartan's head. Sam moved quickly, hitting Josh over the head with his pistol and rolled backwards, avoiding the bullets fired at him. He brought his pistol up and fired off quick rounds, killing two of the Spartans firing at him. However, the third wasn't firing at him and Sam looked in the direction of his fire.

      Time seemed to slow down as the bullets that exited the Spartan's weapon flew at John, who was grabbing another chair to smash at the wounded Spartan who had been holding him. Time sped up and the bullets struck home.

      "Dad!" Sam roared, standing and grabbing his blade, chopping the Spartan in half and rushing at his falling father. John looked up at him.

      "Find mom Sam, find your mother" he wheezed. Sam held him.

      "Always the hero dad" he said, tears welling up in his eyes. John grinned.

      "Love you son" he said, then went limp. Sam looked at John's blank eyes. The last Spartan-II, Master Chief, Spartan-117, was dead. Sam felt anger rise into him. The door to the pantry opened and the Spartans outside began rushing in. He slowly dropped his father, closing his eyes then whipped out his sword and screaming in anger as he charged at the Spartans, swinging in around him.

      There were only seven Spartans in the mess hall. Sam moved quickly, stabbing into the first one, spinning and bringing his blade about, stabbing a second one. He held the blade aloft and brought it down on a third Spartan's head. The remaining four circled Sam, firing their weapons. A few bullets hit his shields, but Sam ignored them and charged at the two Spartans facing himself. He jumped at them, stuck his sword out into the air and spun. Like a whirlwind, he cut both the Spartans down. He stood straight, and threw his sword like a javelin at the sixth Spartan. It pierced the visor and dug into the man's skull. Blood squirted out and the Spartan fell. Sam raised his fists as the last Spartan charged at him with a knife. Sam grabbed the man's hand with the knife, hit him on the elbow and felt the man drop the knife. He let go of the Spartan's hand and smashed his fist into the Spartan's stomach. Although the armor took in the bulk of the blast, the Spartan was still winded. He crouched low, clutching his stomach. Sam walked over to his sword, pulled it out of the man's head and swung it around at his side like a rope. He then brought it up into the air, slicing through the Spartan's head. Then, it was quiet.

      Sam stood frozen for a full two seconds, before he grabbed a Spartan's assault rifle and a few clips, and then rushed for the stairs. He ran up them, encountering no resistance, and then reached another hallway. He turned left, sprinting down the corridor. He turned right then faced large doors marked "HANGAR"

      Grinning, Sam opened them and walked into the small hangar. Two Spartans stood in there. They raised their weapons, but Sam had already thrown a grenade. It exploded, wounding them both. He finished them off with two quick bullets. There was still one Pelican dropship docked in the hangar, which he climbed into via the troop bay. He sat in the pilot's chair and activated the dropship's engines. He cycled through a few system checks, then grabbed hold of the controls. Slowly, he eased the Pelican into the air and backed moved it forward. As he did, the hangar doors opened and Josh, along with a group of Spartans rushed in. Josh pointed at the dropship and fired his pistol. Sam heard the rounds bounce off the hull, but he was already in the air. He eased his way around the door and into the air. He pulled back on the stick, sending the Pelican straight up. He leveled out and sped off into the setting sun. He looked back at the base, paying his final respects to his father.

      "So long dad" he said, then turned the Pelican eastwardly and headed for his mother.



      Josh watched the Pelican disappear. He roared in anger, and threw his pistol on the ground. The Spartans around him backed off and went back into the base. Ian walked up to him, rubbing his bruised head. Josh looked at him.

      "Call all the Spartans to this base. Where is everyone?" he asked. Ian stopped rubbing his head.

      "Carl and his group are north, Amy is south, Judy is east and Zachary is west" he said. Josh had posted large groups of his Spartans across the planet, incase the UNSC assaulted. He would definitely need everyone back together again.

      "Call them here, we need to destroy the Shadow Spartan" he said. Ian looked at him.

      "How sir?" he asked. Josh grinned at this, feeling a small amount of happiness return to him.

      "It's time we visit John's wife, Sam's mother; Laura" he said.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 6
Date: 21 July 2003, 4:27 AM

      Sam was floating in an empty blackness, relaxed and calm. He could hear his name being called and opened his eyes. Naturally, it wasn't much different then closing them. He couldn't see a thing. The individual calling his name seemed to be close. He looked around him, but couldn't see. Suddenly, he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He whirled around and looked into the eyes of his father, John. John smiled and waved. His mouth moved but Sam couldn't hear anything. He raised an eyebrow and tried to touch him, but John floated backwards. His father continued to smile at him. Sam longed to see him again, but he continued to disappear. Suddenly, his image faded completely and new one appeared. Sam gasped. In front of him was the village his mother lived in, except it was burning. Fire roared in the slowly disintegrating houses. People ran around screaming. Sam could make out huge shadowy figures walking through the streets. He watched them all surround him, and then looked on the ground in front of him. The bodies of his mother and father lay sprawled out along the ground, filled with bullets and blood all over their faces. Sam looked at them with shock, anger and sadness. He could feel tears forming in his eyes. Suddenly, a single shadowy figure stepped forward. He was wearing MJOLNIR armor and was looking right at Sam. Sam growled and watched the Spartan take his helmet off. It was Josh. Without thinking, Sam launched himself forward, fist raised and attempted to punch the Spartan, but the entire image faded and Sam began to fall.

      His eyes opened first, and then Sam sat straight up, cold sweat covering his face. He looked from left to right and saw the contents of a Pelican dropship's troop bay. He sighed and tried to calm his heartbeat, which was thumping loudly in his chest. He stood wearily, and then walked to the front of the ship.

      Sam had integrated his AI Lancelot into the Pelican, so that he could get some shut eye. He entered the cockpit of the ship and saw the holographic figure of his AI standing on the main control console. He turned and raised his sword at Sam as he sat down.

      "Good sleep?" the AI asked. Sam shook his head. Lancelot lowered his sword.

      "Another dream?" he asked. Sam nodded, and then looked out the window. Lancelot watched him.

      "Dreams and reality are totally different Sam, what happens in dreams do not happen in life" he said. Sam nodded and bowed his head.

      "I know Lancelot, I know, but just the scene of my parents lying on the ground dead is disturbing to me. Even if you were a real human and watching these scenes of torture and death flow through your mind, you would think its real" Sam said, raising his head to look at the AI. Lancelot nodded.

      "I probably would, but I'm not a human, but I am your AI and your friend. Let's make sure that my statement of dreams and reality stays true by saving your mother" he said. Sam nodded, feeling better, then peered out the main window.

      "Position?" he asked. Lancelot's sword nudged a little as he calculated their current trajectory.

      "Grid fifteen by twenty, exactly two miles away. At this speed, we will reach the town in thirty minutes" he said. Sam nodded, watching the rolling country side pass by as the Pelican flew through the air. He stood.

      "I'm going to check the equipment crate" he said, heading towards the troop bay. However, as he exited the cockpit, he heard a small Klaxon alarm start beeping. Sam turned to look at his AI.

      "What is it?" he asked. Lancelot didn't answer at first. He turned to look at Sam.

      "Long range sensors are picking up another Pelican dropship following us, same speed as us" he said. Sam's eyes widened and he returned to his seat, typing in coordinates into a keypad in front of him.

      "Position of the Pelican?" he asked Lancelot.

      "Grid thirteen by sixteen, pretty close. At their speed, they will reach Balmora in forty five minutes" he said. Sam swore, and then took hold of the controls.

      "Full power to the engines Lancelot, we must get there first" he said. Lancelot nodded, and a second later, the Pelican fired her thrusters and zoomed forward with increased speed. Sam looked out the window and prayed the other Pelican's wouldn't do the same.



      A mile and a half away, Spartan-223; Zachary watched on the radar screen in the Pelican dropship as Sam's dropship sped up. He grinned.

      "Match their speed and velocity" he ordered. In front of him, Spartan-205; Paul nodded and their Pelican jumped forward with increased speed. Zachary leaned back and watched the single blinking dot on the radar screen return. He grinned. You can't escape from me he said to himself. The big Spartan turned around to look in the troop bay.

      Josh had given him thirteen Spartans when he was told to patrol the large capital city of Gnosis, in case the UNSC decided to try and retake the planet. Luckily, they encountered no problems at all, but since most of the Spartans with Josh were killed by this Shadow Spartan, Zachary had been ordered back to the Military Outpost.

      He wasn't the only one ordered back. Carl, Amy and Judy were also told to return. The four of them were respected leaders of individual fire teams of at least twenty Spartans. Zach only had thirteen when he was at Gnosis, but he was given two additional Spartans by Josh for this particular mission.

      Zach's second in command sat in the pilot's seat behind him. Paul and Zach were good friends, just like Josh and Ian were. The two of them had been friends already when they were drafted into the Spartan-III program. If anything happened to him, Zach didn't know what he would do. He turned back around to face the cockpit and looked at his friend.

      "How much longer?" he asked. Paul looked at a scope near him.

      "Forty minutes" he muttered, looking up at Zach. The Spartan swore.

      "Is there any other way we can speed this thing up?" he asked, looking around him. Paul checked various schematics and systems. He nodded.

      "If we cut power to various minor and primary systems, we can increase our speed, yes" he said. Zach nodded to this.

      "Do it, Josh expects success on this mission and we are going to give it to him" he said. Paul nodded, flipped a few switches and pressed some buttons. The lighting in the ship went out, followed by the lowering the power in the life support array. Zach felt the temperature drop, but his suit compensated. With these system adjustments, the Pelican zoomed forward again.



      "They're speeding up" Lancelot reported. Sam had been resting in the troop bay, but at these sudden words, he sat up and banged his head on the overhead rack.

      "Fuck!" he yelled, both in response to Lancelot's statement and to the large red mark forming on his forehead. He walked into the cockpit again.

      "How? This is the Pelican's fastest speed" he said, looking at the control board. Lancelot shrugged.

      "They must've cut power to minor and primary systems and transferred it over to engine power" he suggested. Sam looked at him.

      "Well, how come you never did that in the first place?" he asked. Lancelot shrugged again.

      "You never stated you wished to go faster" he said. Sam's face went red and he bawled his fists.

      "Lancelot, be a good AI and SPEED US UP!" he yelled, standing up. Lancelot chuckled and nodded. A moment later, the lights went out, the temperature dropped rapidly and the windshield wipers on the Pelican fell off. Sam watched them fall, then looked at Lancelot.

      "They use power, even when they aren't being used?" he asked. Lancelot nodded. Sam shook his head, then ran into the back and got into his armor, since he was freezing in the little ship.



      "Sir, they've sped up as well, but they're going faster than us" Paul reported. Zach sat in the troop bay as well. He stood, banging his unarmored head on the ceiling of the troop bay, and then walked to the cockpit, mumbling swear words and rubbing his hair.

      "How can that be? There's only a certain number of systems you can cut power too" he said, looking at the radar screen.

      "They must've found additional systems that aren't needed" Paul suggested. Zach nodded.

      "All right, search the entire ship's data array and find those systems that aren't needed" he ordered. Paul nodded and put the ship on autopilot as he accessed a computer in front of him. Zach took a seat in the co-pilot's chair and looked at the computer in front of him.

      "Got to speed us up" he muttered to himself and began to access program files on the Pelican.



      "They're slipping out of the radar, but I'm sure they will be back" Lancelot reported. Sam shrugged.

      "Doesn't matter, we have a lead on them now, let's move fast" he said relaxing slightly in his chair.



      Zach swore out loud. He couldn't find a single system that could be taken offline. Suddenly, a single program caught his attention as he scrolled through a list of them. He looked over at Paul.

      "What's this Pelican armed with?" he asked. Paul turned and grinned.

      "Devilhorn missiles" he said, nodding at his leader. Zach grinned as well.

      "Good, bring them online and target that Pelican before we lose it" he ordered. Paul nodded and flipped a large switch box, pressing the red button beneath. Immediately, the cockpit went red as a small Klaxon alarm rang. The radar screen in front of Zach changed to show a first person view of the Pelican as it flew across the rolling country landscape. The Pelican in front of them was barely within weapons range, so Zach had to be quick. The Devilhorn missiles had been the newest types of heat seeking, non-nuclear missiles next to the Archer missiles. Zach was quite glad he had them on his side. A targeting cursor appeared on the screen and blinked red as Zach aimed it over the Pelican. He grinned, and then pressed the firing trigger. The small dropship rumbled slightly as the large missile left pod A. It flew ahead of them and accelerated at top speed after the other Pelican. Zach relaxed. He would get there first.



      The entire computer console in front of Sam started to beep alarms at him and the cockpit went red. Sam sat up.

      "What the fuck?" he yelled over the alarms. Lancelot's image appeared in front of him.

      "Missile lock on" he said. Sam's eyes widened.

      "What?! How?" he asked.

      "The other Pelican must be a warhorse, I don't know, they just happen to have missiles" he said. Sam nodded.

      "Do we have any decoys?" he asked. Lancelot shook his armored head.

      "Fuck, all right, prepare to be yanked" Sam said, running into the troop bay. He grabbed his helmet and immediately fastened it on. He rushed back into the cockpit where Lancelot was ready. Sam reached into a data slot below the AI and grabbed hold of the processor cube inside. Lancelot's image faded and the cube was in Sam's hands. He immediately inserted the cube into his primary data slot on his helmet and felt Lancelot's cooling presence arrive.

      "You have fifteen seconds to get out of here" he said. Sam looked at the ramp that was closed at the troop bay. It would take him at least a minute to open it. He shook his head.

      "Will the missile destroy the Pelican?" he asked.

      "Not likely, since we're moving at a large velocity" Lancelot answered. Sam nodded, then ran back into the cockpit and strapped himself in.

      "Here it comes" Lancelot said. Sam tightened his harness and held on tight to it, praying his luck would hold.

      The single Devilhorn missile zoomed forward and smashed right into the tail of the Pelican, ripping it completely apart and sending the Pelican into a nose dive to the ground below. Sparks flew in the cockpit and a view screen in front of the co-pilot's chair exploded, showering the area with glass. Sam watched the ground rapidly approach as they fell. He was shaking so hard, but managed to rip off his harness and climb out of the cockpit. He jumped into the first seat of the troop bay and strapped himself back in.

      "What are you doing?" Lancelot asked.

      "A nose dive like this will crush me had I stayed in the cock pit" Sam merely said, hanging on for dear life.

      "Right" Lancelot said. Without warning, the Pelican smashed nose first into the ground, plowing through it. Sam felt the bulkhead to his right disappear and before he knew it, he was flying out of the Pelican and smashed onto the ground, blacking out afterwards.



      Zach grinned as he saw a tower of smoke begin to billow into the air in the distance. The Pelican on the radar was gone and Paul reported the elimination of their target. As they flew by, Zach could see the main bulk of their destroyed Pelican burning in the meadow. He grinned.

      "Well, that will slow him down. Reactivate those systems you took offline Paul, we don't need to worry about racing there now" he said, laughing. Paul nodded and pressed several switches. The lights came back on and the temperature rose to normal. Zach leaned back and relaxed. It was going to be a good day.



      "Sam? Can you hear me? Samuel, get up!" Sam could hear Lancelot's voice but couldn't reach it. He was floating again in the empty blackness. The same image of his dead parents arrived. Sam shook his head at it.

      "You're not real! This isn't true!" he yelled. However, no sound came out of his mouth. The Spartans appeared again and began to jump on him. Sam was swallowed up in the blackness.

      "No!" he screamed and sat up. Immediately, he felt pain sear through his spine and he lay back down. He opened his eyes and saw sun shining down on him. Birds were singing nearby and Sam felt like he was home. However, when a trail of smoke appeared in his field of vision, he knew he wasn't. Sam sat up again and felt no pain. He looked straight ahead and looked at his destroyed Pelican. Shaking his head, he slowly stood up. His legs were weak from the fall, but he was able to regain his balance after falling once. Lancelot's presence returned.

      "Phew, thought you were dead" he said. Sam shook his head.

      "Can't get rid of me that easy" he said and began to walk towards the wreckage of the Pelican.

      "That Pelican passed us, but has reduced its speed. They will arrive at the village in ten minutes" Lancelot reported. Sam swore.

      "How about me?" he asked.

      "That depends on whether you walk there or run" he said.

      "I will be running Lancelot" he said. Sam heard his AI chuckle.

      "Then it will take you around twenty minutes, maybe less" he said. Sam swore. It twenty minutes, his mother could be dead. As he searched around, he found the equipment crate filled with his required weapons. He picked up a MA5B assault rifle along with eleven extra clips of ammo. He also acquired a M6D pistol. Holstering the pistol and slinging his assault rifle, Sam stretched his legs and jogged on the spot for a bit. He took in a deep breath, and then readied himself.

      "Twenty minutes, time me" he said to Lancelot, who laughed in response. Without a second thought, Sam took off, sprinting away from his Pelican and zooming through the meadow. It would definitely be a long twenty minutes.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade

~*Author's note*~

      I realize this is shorter than normal, but I'm also working on the Shadow Spartans series, so I'm going to try and keep this kind of short. Hope you enjoy.

~*End note*~



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 7
Date: 23 July 2003, 1:24 AM

      The village of Balmora was located on a single hill that overlooked most of the other hills around it. Some say it was a mountain, but the people who lived there believed it was too small to be a mountain. Surrounding the city were the Grasslands. Endless meadows and valleys of field grass and the odd cluster of rolling hills. It was a perfect farming spot for the people at Balmora, who were all farmers. The city usually supplied food for military bases and cities. When the taxes were collected, the farmers would give up close to half of their crops to the military. They still did that now, but since all the military officials were either off the planet or dead, taxes hadn't been collected.

      Balmora consisted of a large cluster of huts and houses that circled around a main courtyard. There was only one entrance to the town, which would usually be guarded by a few UNSC marines, but since the war was over, all the military personnel had been called away, leaving the town defenseless. There was a single ten feet high wall that encircled the entire edge of the hill, allowing room for expansion within the town. However, on this day, the usual peaceful atmosphere was gone.

      Sam approached Balmora from the north, still sprinting and extremely tired. He stopped dead at the base of the mountain and nearly collapsed. He panted heavily, then took off his helmet and spat out the saliva that was in his throat. He coughed a few times and strapped his helmet back on.

      "How long?" he asked his AI Lancelot. He heard the AI chuckle.

      "Twenty-one minutes and ten seconds" he said.

      "Damn, oh well, close enough" Sam said, shaking. He leaned back, and then slowly climbed up the steep hill. The entrance to the town was on the other side of the wall, which forced Sam to scale the entire perimeter until he reached his destination. However, he did not step right in between the pillars that made up the entrance. He poked his head around the corner.

      All he saw was the side of the troop bay of a Pelican dropship staring back at him. Sam swore and tried to get a better angle, but the entire ship blocked his view. He retracted his head and began to feel the wall around him, trying to find some grooves. He stood over seven feet tall, yet the perimeter wall still towered over him. He reached the corner and found some grooves, which he immediately grabbed hold off. Using his right hand, he pulled himself up so his left hand grabbed the top of the wall. He then pushed himself up, grabbing hold of the wall with his right hand as well and bracing himself on the groove with his right leg. He pushed off with his leg and flipped over the wall, landing in the compound feet first.

      Sam grabbed hold of the hilt of his sword, but there was no sign of hostility. He looked to his left and could see the Pelican dropship's cockpit looking at him. Sam rolled forward to a nearby hut and looked around him.

      "Motion tracker shows all clear Sam" Lancelot reported. Sam nodded and began to move quickly in between the houses, his left hand still on his sword hilt. Which one was it?, he continued to ask himself, looking through the windows of the houses. Suddenly he stopped as his motion tracker painted a red dot a few meters away. Sam stopped and pressed his back against the wall of the house he was near. He poked his head around the corner and watched a patrol of three Spartans pass him by. Swearing, Sam began jogging in between the houses. He was getting so desperate that he was whispering his mother's name, even though he knew she couldn't hear him. Finally, he came to the house he wanted.

      He remembered clearly from childhood, him always surprising his mother by running through the old back door, which had a broken lock on it. He grinned and walked up to his desired house, grabbing hold of the knob of the back door and turning it. It didn't move. Sam frowned and tried it again. It still didn't move.

      "Must've fixed it" he muttered, looking in the windows. He was definitely at the right house. Sam remembered waiting at the dinner table for his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Giving up, he went up to the door again and punched his fist through the glass. He felt around for the interior knob and turned it. He heard a click, and then the door opened. Sam walked in and heard another click. This one however was a gun being cocked.

      Sam froze. He could barely make out his target to his right, hiding in the curtains. He didn't move a muscle, but after awhile, he raised his hands, dropping his MA5B assault rifle on the ground and kicked it away.

      "Your pistol" he heard a female voice snap at him. Slowly, Sam grabbed hold of his holstered pistol, whipped it out and dropped it. His attacker appeared out of the curtains, gun held straight at his head. Sam grinned as the women stepped right in front of him.

      It was his mother's house maiden and also a good friend; Sarah Morningwell. She glared up at Sam.

      "Who are you? Are you one of those green armored assholes trying to kill us?" he demanded. Sam shook his head.

      "Sarah, it's me, Samuel" he said. He could tell Sarah recognized his voice. She relaxed her grip on the assault rifle she held.

      "How do you know my name?" she asked. Still grinning, Sam reached up and took his helmet off, revealing his face. At that moment, Sarah gasped and dropped her weapon.

      "Bless the lord! It's Sam. Laura! Come quick, it's Samuel" she screaming, embracing the armored Spartan. Sam grinned and let Sarah escort him to the lobby. Sam watched happily as his 56 year old mother, Laura Culling (her maiden name) bounded down the stairs and embraced her son.

      "My son" she said. Sam wanted to enjoy this moment as best as possible, but he knew he couldn't. He finally let go of his weeping mother.

      "Mom, as much as I'm glad to see you, we don't have time for this. I need you to pack up a small bag with clothes and food, then we must leave" he said sternly, looking at his petit mother. Laura looked at him, confused.

      "Whatever for?" she asked.

      "There's a reason why the Spartans are here" he said, looking right into his mother's eyes. Laura gasped.

      "They found out who you are?" she cried. Sam nodded and was about to tell her to move, but she continued to babbly about.

      "But, how? How could they have, you are in your suit, they can't see your...where is John?" Sam didn't want to answer this and a flashback appeared in his mind and he watched his father fall from continuous gun shots.

      "I'm sorry mom, there is no time to explain, you need to leave now" he said.

      "He's right Laura, the Spartans are five houses away" said Sarah, who was peering out the window. Laura looked around, obviously confused, but nodded.

      "All right" she said and leapt up the stairs. Sam watched her go, and then looked at Sarah.

      "I have got to get her out of here, she is in great danger. You are welcome to come along Sarah, but I can't promise your protection" he said to her. The maid nodded.

      "I shall remain here Sam" she said firmly. Sam nodded.

      "You better get into some normal clothes; the Spartans will know you are a maid by your apparel. He said, looking at her black and white dress. Sarah nodded and rushed up the stairs as well. Sam looked out the window nearest to him and cursed as the Spartans knocked on the door next to them. He was about to yell, when Laura came down the stairs, a duffle back around her shoulder and wearing what looked like traveling clothes. Sam nodded as Sarah quickly followed, buttoning up a pink dress shirt.

      "Good, let's go" he said, walking towards the back door. Suddenly, as he neared the kitchen, he heard a knock on the front door. Sam whirled around and could see a Spartan looking through the window. He immediately grabbed his mother and pulled her to the ground near him. Sarah watched them, and then moved to the door, opening it.



      Zach watched the door open and looked at the tall woman standing in the frame way. She glared at him.

      "What?" she asked. Zach grinned.

      "I'm looking for someone named Laura Culling, would this happen to be her household?" he asked, even though he knew it was. The woman shook her head.

      "Sorry pal, ain't no one named Laura lives here" she said, hand moving to the door. Zach saw this and chuckled at the woman's movements.

      "Then perhaps you could explain this" he said, motioning for Paul. The big Spartan took out a piece of paper, which he raised to the woman's face. It was a letter, written by John and sent to Laura. It had the exact address and everything. The woman shook her head again.

      "Sorry, can't explain that, you have the wrong address" she said. Zach was growing impatient. He was fingering his M6D pistol at his side.

      "Miss, this is the right address, there is someone here named Laura Culling and I need her now" he growled. The woman glared right back at him.

      "Read my lips. Laura-Culling-does-not-live-here" she said. Zach had had enough.

      "So be it" he said. He grabbed the hilt of his pistol and raised it.



      Sam saw the Spartan grab his pistol. He heard his mother gasp and was about to scream for her friend, but Sam covered up her mouth. The Spartan fired a single round into Sarah's head. The bullet drove right through her skull, puncturing her brain. The single round exploded out of the back of her head, spilling blood and brain tissue all over the wall behind her. Sarah's body fell backwards, her eyes rolled back into her head. Laura was screaming, but Sam had a tight grip on her mouth. Suddenly, he could hear movement near him. He looked up from under the table and could see three Spartans walking to the back door.

      "Fuck" he said. The door opened and the Spartans walked in, guns up. Sam however had his sword drawn already. He stabbed it through the first Spartan. The tip of his battle blade pierced the second Spartan behind the now dead one. The last one watched his comrades fall dead as Sam withdrew the blade, then brought it down on Sam's head. Quickly, he rushed out of the back door, pulling his mother along with her.

      "Run" he yelled at her. Laura sprinted after Sam. The Shadow Spartan had been able to pick up his MA5B assault rifle and pistol before leaving the house. He loaded both the weapons, holstered his pistol and raised his assault rifle. They moved quickly, rushing towards the entrance.



      Zach walked into the house, followed by four other Spartans. They fanned out around him, some going upstairs, others going down. Zach walked into the small dining room, observing various pictures on the mantle of the fireplace and tables. He saw pictures of Josh's mentor, John, with Laura and a tall boy. Zach grabbed the photograph and raised it in front of him. He looked at the boy being hugged by both his parents. Zach never knew his parents and this single picture brought hatred into him. However, he knew that the boy he was looking at was the Shadow Spartan that was hunting them down. Zach growled and threw the photograph into the fireplace. He walked into the kitchen and stopped dead in his tracks.

      The bodies of Greg, Oliver and Katie lay in front of him, pools of blood all around them. He could feel his fists shaking with anger. Zach pulled his pistol out and stepped out of the opened back door. He looked to his left and saw nothing. However, when he looked to his right, he could see two individuals running among the houses. Zach leveled his pistol at them and fired a few shots. He missed, but he didn't care.

      "Paul! Let's move!" Zach yelled, reloading his pistol and taking out his assault rifle. He sprinted down the length of the houses, his friend and three other Spartans right behind him.



      Sam felt the bullets ping around him. He stopped, grabbed his mother and pulled her down. He looked behind them and could see a group of Spartans rushing after them. He raised his assault rifle and fired several quick bursts at them. He watched some of them stop as their shields flared from the bullet impacts. Sam, still holding onto his mother, stood up, and continued to run, firing random shots over his head, hoping to scare the Spartans. He heard gun fire behind him, so he turned right sharply, ran between two houses and emerged into the courtyard.

      Several villagers were standing in a group, five Spartans looking over them. Sam could make out the same patrol of Spartans ahead of him. All eight Spartans stopped and turned to him, leveling their weapons. Sam crouched low, ordering his mom to find cover, and then he fired off shots at his enemies. He reloaded quickly, the put his assault rifle in one hand, followed by putting his pistol in the other. He cocked both the weapons and stood, raising them both and firing in two different directions. As he did this, he ran to his mom.

      "Go go go!" he yelled at her, using his body to protect her as he ran. The two of them ran to the Pelican, bullets flying all around them. The weapons Sam held stopped firing. He dropped both of them and bolted after his mother. Parallel lines of bullets chased them all the way to the entrance to the troop bay. There was a single Spartan standing in it. Sam grabbed hold of him and tossed him out. The Spartan got up, but Sam slapped away his weapon and smashed his boot into the Spartan's visor. The green armored figure fell over, grabbing his helmet and screaming in pain. Sam rushed in and closed the troop bay doors. He jumped into the pilot's chair of the Pelican and inserted Lancelot's processor cube. The Black Knight's holographic image appeared on the console between him and the co-pilots chair, which was occupied by his mom. Lancelot raised his sword at her.

      "A pleasure to see you again Ms. Culling, now let's get moving" he said. The Pelican's engines rumbled and slowly, the dropship ascended into the air. It shook violently as more and more bullets smashed into the titanium armor.

      "Hold on" Lancelot said as he drove the Pelican straight forward, skimming the tip of the entrance pillars. Slowly, he raised the ship into the air and leveled the ship. Sam grinned and embraced his mother. She was safe.



      Zach lowered his weapon and watched the dropship disappear into the sky. He threw his weapon on the ground.

      "Fuck!" he roared, smashing his fist into the wall of a large hut near him. He could feel pain, but ignored it. He looked around as his Spartans gathered around him. He slowly controlled his temper.

      "All right, he has our dropship. Everyone begin searching the village for transportation" he ordered. The Spartans dispersed, walking towards garages near houses and entering huts and homes. Zach watched them for a second, and then ran after Paul.



      Sam sat in the troop bay of the Pelican, comforting his mother. He had his armor off, allowing him to actually touch her. Sam had just told her what happened, including the death of his father, her husband. Laura wept in Sam's shoulder and all he could do was rub her back and hold her. Tears of sadness ran down his face as well. The two of them remained like this for awhile, until finally, Sam let go of her.

      "Come on mom, you know dad wouldn't want us to be like this. We need to be strong now; all we have is each other. I for one am proud of my dad and I plan to avenge his death, for both of us" he said, looking at his mom, who did not make eye contact. She wiped her face with her shirt, and then looked to the cockpit, still avoiding his eyes.

      "What are you going to do?" she asked him, finally turning to look at him. Sam broke eye contact and looked out the cockpit window.

      "I'm going to kill every single one of them" he growled.



      Zach walked into the courtyard where Paul and two other Spartans stood waiting. Surrounding his friend were twenty vehicles which Zach had never seen before. He nodded at Paul.

      "What's this?" he asked Paul was grinning in his suit.

      "The farmers here call them hover bikes, which is what I would call them too. They use them to get to their crop fields east of here. Quite fast and are able to hold two people" he said. The design of the bike was simple. It had a main body, which had the seating, along with the controls and the engine inside the casing. The hover engines were small, and there were thrusters on the back. Attached on either side of the back part were two huge rocket tubes. Attached to the front was a system of long bars connected to what looked like wind panels, used for steering. The tubes however interested Zach the most. Paul nodded at them.

      "Normally, they are equipped with equipment used for farming. Dirt spikes, seeds, stuff like that, but I can outfit them to hold 102mm rockets" he said. Zach turned to his friend and grinned.

      "I'm glad you're with me Paul. I'll team everyone up, you outfit them" he said. Paul nodded and went to work. Zach called all of his Spartans to him. He still had time to win.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 8
Date: 24 July 2003, 2:38 AM

      "Anything on radar?"

      "For the seventh and final time Samuel, no, there is nothing on the radar; there is no way those Spartans can catch up with us." Sam looked at his AI Lancelot, who stood over his console, shaking his armored head.

      "Think about it. What are the chances that they can catch up? That town has no mode of transportation at all. Those Spartans will be walking after us Sam. Walking! We are in a Pelican dropship" he said. Sam nodded.

      "All right, I'm sorry, but now that we have my mom, I'm a lot more worried about losing her" he said. Lancelot nodded.

      "I understand, but you must face facts. We are safe" he said. Sam nodded, and then looked behind him as his mother walked into the cockpit, her eyes all red and puffy. She still hadn't recovered from Sam's story about John's death. Sam knew that it would bug her forever. He knew how close the two of them had been and he had observed it all during his childhood and during his training. However, he couldn't set his mind on his dead father. He had a mission to complete. He had to get his mother to safety. Suddenly, the radio began to crackle with static. Lancelot appeared.

      "Vice Admiral Jameson on channel 1" he said. Sam nodded and leaned forward to the view screen in front of him. He pressed a single button, and the admiral's face filled the screen.

      "Sam! Thank god" he said, grinning at the Shadow Spartan.

      "Yes sir, I'm still alive" he said.

      "What's your situation?" Jameson asked. Sam motioned beside him.

      "Admiral Jameson, may I introduce the Deputy Director of Project Shadow Spartan and my mother, Laura Culling" Sam said. The view screen in front of Laura activated and the Admiral bowed his head.

      "Miss Culling, it is a pleasure to meet you" he said. Laura merely nodded, then bowed her head. Sam quickly switched her screen off and looked at the admiral.

      "I'm currently trying to find a safe area to keep her while I finish the mission" he explained. Jameson nodded.

      "Go to coordinates grid nineteen by thirty-four. We recently received a shipment of Pelicans and a few divisions of marines. I have them stationed there. Give them Miss Culling and they will bring her up here. There will be supplies there for you as well. Those marine forces will remain there until you arrive" he said. Sam nodded. He hoped the admiral didn't plan on having the marines stay with him. As if he was reading his thoughts, Jameson continued, "Once you've arrived and picked up some supplies, the marines will return to the Galahad" he said.

      "Thank you Admiral, the help is much appreciated" he said. Jameson nodded.

      "Well, I better not keep you. Good luck Shadow Spartan, Jameson out" The view screen clicked off and Lancelot reappeared.

      "I have the coordinates marked in Sam, we will be there in twenty minutes" he said. Sam nodded, and then looked at his mother who was sniffing back tears and keeping her head bowed. Sam had no idea what to do with her. He wasn't a therapist and was never trained to be one. He had no experience in these matters, so he let his mother do whatever she pleased. After awhile, Sam let Lancelot take over, allowing him to get his armor back on.



      Zach sat on the lead hover bike, watching the Pelican just above him. Behind him, Paul had his sniper rifle out.

      "Troop bay is closed sir" he said.

      "Damn, well, we will have to open them" Zach growled. The farmers had briefed them about how to use the firing mechanisms on the bikes. Paul had successfully outfitted five of the nine hover bikes around them with 102mm rockets loaded in the firing pods. Zach looked at the small computer console in front of him and turned it on. The small screen showed a first person image of his bike, along with a targeting cursor. Zach looked at the Pelican on the screen and pressed on it. The cursor hovered over the vehicle and blinked red. Zach grinned and received confirmations that his other rocket bikes had locks.

      "Fire!" he yelled, pressing down on the triggers on the handles that stuck out on the sides of the bike. Ten 102mm rockets flew into the air at the Pelican, only four of them hitting their ship.



      Sam was knocked right off his feet as the bulkhead in front of him literally exploded. He landed on the deck hard, tasting blood in the back of his mouth. He stood, and then felt additional impacts strike their ship. The troop bay ramp exploded, blasting Sam straight back into the cockpit, where Laura was screaming as she hung on for dear life. Sam stood.

      "Lancelot! What the fuck is going on?" he screamed over the noise of the whistling wind. Lancelot appeared.

      "The Spartans are here!" was all he screamed. Cursing again, Sam went to the equipment crate near the troop bay, opened it and took out one of the Jackhammer launchers. He loaded it and took four additional rockets. He then walked towards the edge of the troop bay.



      Spartan-252; Matt was out of Jackhammer rockets, but his partner who sat behind him had his SMG 900 sub machine gun loaded and up. Matt looked back at his friend, Spartan-247; Vince, who shook his head.

      "I can't see shit Matt" he yelled, lowering his weapon. Mat nodded.

      "I'll try and get you in closer" he yelled, pushing the bike to its limits and accelerating forward. That proved to be a big mistake.



      Zach watched Matt and Vince move in closer, and then watched a 102mm rocket slam right into the front part of the bike, which flipped right over and detonated.

      "Shit!" he yelled.



      Sam held the steaming Jackhammer launcher in his hands, and then targeted his last rocket on a hover bike that was slowly backing away. The he felt a plume of smoke erupt from the tube, and then a single rocket flew through it and smashed into the driver's head. Sam bent down and reloaded.



      Zach felt Paul tap him on the shoulder.

      "It's him, the Shadow Spartan, he's got a fucking Jackhammer launcher" Paul yelled. Zach nodded.

      "Take him down" he yelled back. Paul raised his sniper rifle, ordering their Spartan team to open fire.



      Sam felt bullets ping of the Pelican's armor around him, but he knew it was no use. He finished reloading and fired two more rockets, killing two additional hover bikes. The Spartans only had four left. Sam bent down to reload, when suddenly, the Pelican shook from the amount of damage it had and the Jackhammer fell out of his hands. Swearing, Sam walked back to the equipment crate and took out the two bandoliers of frag grenades. He laid them on the floor, unpinned one, waited a full three seconds, and then tossed it. The grenade detonated in the air as it fell, sending shrapnel and smoke at the bikes, which veered apart. Immediately, Sam began doing this at a fast constant pace, forcing the hover bikes to fall back. However, the Spartan knew out to time the frags and knew how far to throw them.



      Zach watched another frag explode near him and he looked away as shrapnel slammed into him. He cursed and looked at Paul.

      "We gotta take him out!" he yelled.

      "I can't hit him Zach, the vehicles are moving to fast, my bullet goes off in the other direction" he said. Zach swore and turned sharply as another frag exploded near him.



      Sam tossed his last frag grenade, and then threw both bandoliers out of the dropship. He went back to the crate and pulled out his last defense weapon. He loaded the S2 AM sniper rifle with a magazine of four 14.5mm rounds and aimed directly at a hover bike. Sadly, the sniper rifle only came with eight rounds, but Sam didn't care.



      Spartan-240; Max growled viciously and elbowed his partner in the ribs. Spartan 251; Peter responded by punched Max in the back.

      "Come on man! Get closer so I can peg this SOB" he ordered. Max shook his head again.

      "For the last fucking time Pete, we get to close; he's going to blow us away with one of his fucking frags. Get some logic in that empty skull of yours" he yelled.

      "You're a fucking coward Max. Risk is part of our job, now get closer" he yelled. Max was about to turn around and punch his partner, when Peter's visor exploded, followed by a fountain of blood spray out and onto Max. He gasped as Pete's body fell off the bike and hit the ground hard.

      "Fuck!" Max yelled and quickly strafed to the left as two additional sniper bullets were fired in his direction. Max activated his radio.

      "Zach! He's fucking sniping us off!" he screamed.



      Zach acknowledged Max, but already knew it. He had seen Pete fall and was quite disturbed by it. He began to strafe from side to side, then watched another sniper bullet smash into Fredrick's head. The driver of their fourth hover bike slumped forward, putting all of his weight on the handles off the bike. The speeding vehicle came to a sudden stop and because the friction was so high, the end of the bike slammed into the sand, flipping over and sending the gunman in the back flying.

      "Mark their position with a NAV point, we will collect him later" Zach said. He watched more sniper bullets fly and felt one strike his bike. "God damnit, everyone strafe around, give him a harder target!" he yelled into his radio.



      Sam eventually got pissed off with missing all the time; he tossed his sniper rifle out and turned to look at his AI in the cockpit.

      "How much longer?" he yelled.

      "We still have at least ten minutes!" Lancelot shouted. Sam swore and then watched Laura climb out of the cockpit and sit in the troop bay.

      "Surrender seems obvious here"

      "I am not surrendering you to them. They will kill us both or just me and torture you. We cannot surrender" he said turning to look at his mother.



      "Zach, I don't seem him, get me closer and I will toss a frag in there" Paul said from behind Zach. The Spartan nodded and accelerated the bike beyond its speed recommendations. For pieces of junk that hadn't been used in awhile, they handled well and Zach praised them. He was almost right below the Pelican when Paul told him to stop. The felt the bike shudder as Paul literally stood, unpinned and frag and put all of his weight into the throw. The frag grenade disappeared inside the troop bay. He quickly sat down and Zach backed up.

      "Move back!" he yelled at his remaining Spartans.



      Paul turned and watched, horrified as the single frag grenade flew past him, bounced once on the ground and landed right in the cockpit. Sam ducked, grabbed his mother and covering her.

      The grenade detonated and many of the consoles in the cockpit detonated as well. Sam felt the Pelican's engines go out, followed by a steep descent to the ground. Before he slipped, he grabbed a tight hold of his mom, and jumped out of the troop bay, turning himself in mid air so that his back faced the ground and slammed hard into it.

      Sam yelped in pain as the bones in his body shook. He knew something was broken, but didn't know what, since the wind had been knocked right out of him. He let go of Laura, who was unconscious and merely fell over to Sam's left. In the distance, the Pelican stopped moving and slammed right into the ground. There were smaller secondary explosions and slowly, the dropship burned. Sam was about to stand and try and carry his mother, but the sound of engines made him stop. He turned and watched three hover bikes zoom up to them and then slow down as they approached. Sam swore as he had no weapons and watched the bike surround him. Four Spartans jumped off the bikes and raised their weapons, but the fifth Spartan was slow to move. Sam knew that this must be Josh. The Spartan chuckled.

      "You've killed a lot of my Spartans today Sam" he said.

      "Self defense isn't murder Josh, they attacked me first, and I was just trying to rescue my mom here before your filth got hold of her" he growled. The Spartan chuckled again.

      "Sorry Sam, I'm not Josh. My name is Zach. I'm one of Josh's general's you could say. The Spartans you've killed today were all under my command and I'm going to make you pay" he said, his voice lowering to a venom-filled growl. Sam merely glared back at Zach, bawling his fists. He would fight, but the pain in his back told him not too. The Spartan named Zach laughed.

      "Well, seems that I've won here. Now I'm not allowed to kill you, because I know that Josh wants to make you suffer. In fact, my boss wanted me to tell you that if you want to see your mother alive, you will approach Military Outpost Gamma Twelve tomorrow at sundown and surrender yourself in" Zach said. Sam shook his head.

      "And if I don't?" he asked. Sam watched Zach look at his mother, and then look back at him.

      "I believe that's self-explanatory" he said, laughing afterwards. Sam was about to jump forward and attack, when he felt a huge impact hit in him the back of the head, and then all went black.



      Paul stood over Sam, his hand raised over the motionless Spartan, holding his M6D pistol with the butt end up. Zach nodded at him.

      "Nice, now let's get out of here. I'll ride with the prize here. Paul, you ride with Max. Darren and Richard, you two stick together. Let's go get Eddie and then we head back" Zach said to his remaining Spartans. They moved quickly and jumped onto their acquired hover bikes. Zach strapped Laura to bike and also strapped her arms around his stomach, so that she wouldn't fall off. Zach activated the engine of his bike, took a long look at the motionless Shadow Spartan, and then zoomed off, the other two bikes right behind him.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 9
Date: 28 July 2003, 2:03 AM

      Sam opened his eyes and was in the same dream that he always was. The burning town, his parent's bodies, the Spartans looming over them, and then attacking Sam as he screamed at them. This time however, it was different. Sam felt each blow hit him as the Spartans punched him. He floated there; completely defenseless as each Spartan punched him. Eventually, they drew back and began to shoot him with their various weapons. It was amazing the amount of pain Sam was feeling, but he couldn't do a thing about it. He watched his body virtually erupt with blood as the bullets hit him. The Spartans went through a whole clip on him, and then stopped. Sam watched weakly as Josh stepped forward, grinning evilly.

      "It's over Sam, you can't win" he whispered, his voice echoing throughout the emptiness. The Spartans disappeared and Sam fell into the black, Josh's voice still echoing in his head.

      "No!!!" Sam sat straight up again, feeling his entire body scream at him with pain as he did so. His senses returned to him and Sam realized the amount of pain he was in. He lowered himself back to the ground, wondering what he had done to his body. He looked around.

      He still lay in the meadow valley that virtually made up Regal V. Sam suddenly remembered what had happened. One of Josh's commanders; Zach, took his mother from them and left him here to die. He looked behind him and could see his Pelican dropship still burning. Slowly, Sam could feel himself slipping into unconsciousness again, but just before his eyes closed, the roar of engines could be heard and he could make out figures approaching him. Finally, he went blacked out.



      Josh stood in the control tower of Military Outpost Gamma Twelve like always, watching the sun slowly rise in the distance and observing the surrounding rocky valley the outpost was positioned in.

      The last few days had been tough for the Master Spartan. He had seen death, like he's never seen it before and was so desperate for assistance; he had to call all of his so called "commanders" back to help him out. That didn't make him happy. The reason he had designated those individuals as commanders, was so that he wouldn't have to see them. There was always conflict within the Spartan program and this was one of them. Josh hated Carl, Lisa, Judy and Zach, just like they hated him, which is why he always sent them away to guard some other place, just so he wouldn't have to see them. Now, he had to have them with him, and worst of all, it was because he screwed up.

      The elevator chimed, revealing five Spartans who stepped out and walked towards him. Josh stood motionless near the windows, his armor off. The individuals walking in had their armor on, but had taken their helmets off. Josh turned and recognized the faces of three of the four people he hated and Ian.

      "What?" Josh asked.

      "No word yet on Zachary, Josh. These three want to go out and find him" Ian said. Like Josh, Ian hated the other four Spartans, which is why Josh always had Ian with him. Josh looked at Carl, Lisa and Judy, who stared back at him.

      "I'm sure Zach is fine, there's no need to panic. After all, he can apparently handle himself or so he's said" Josh said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. The three Spartans picked it up immediately and glared at him.

      "Oh yes, he can handle himself, which is why he is out there looking for that old woman and not you" Carl sneered, causing the other two to chuckle. Josh could feel his temper rise.

      "Get out of here, all of you, or I will send you out there on burial detail to look for Zach's body parts" he growled. The three Spartans grinned to each other, and left without a word. Josh watched them leave, and then turned to Ian.

      "God damnit, I wish they were dead and not my Spartans" Josh said, banging his fist against the window, cracking it. Ian nodded.

      "Nevertheless Josh, Zach has been awhile, I think we should let them go out, it would definitely prove to our advantage" Ian said. Josh shook his head as he watched four speeding objects slowly approach the base from the west.

      "Fashionably late as always" Josh muttered, turning on heel and walking to the elevator. Ian noticed the objects as well and followed Josh.



      Zach watched the military outpost approach them fast as he and the rest of his Spartans zoomed towards the main entrance, since Josh was having most of the Spartans fix up the hole they had made when assaulting the base. The two huge titanium doors opened and Zach and his group zoomed in. Zach felt his hover bike stutter, then collapse onto the ground. He quickly jumped off to avoid being hurt and stabilized the unconscious Laura as she fell forward. The other hover bikes all collapsed as well. Zach unhooked Laura from the broken bike, threw her over his shoulder and walked up to the main base. The hangar doors were opened and Zach could make out Josh walking towards him, accompanied by Carl, Judy, Lisa and Ian. Zach stopped walking and let Josh approach him. His leader looked at him.

      "Where is the Pelican I let you use?" he asked. Zach was about to punch him, but he knew he didn't want too.

      "Hey, I just traveled over a hundred miles to find you this woman all right? I've lost a lot of my Spartans, I'm tired, I'm pissed, so lay off and just take her" Zach growled, dropping Laura onto the ground. Josh picked her up and handed her to Ian, who walked off into the hangar, accompanied by a Spartan. Josh grinned.

      "Thought you said you could handle yourself?" he asked. Zach bawled his fists and stepped forward.

      "Better than you can" he growled. Josh's grin turned into a glare and he too bawled his fist.

      "Well guess what pal? Your day isn't over yet. Get over there and help with rebuilding the wall, all of you" he ordered, looking behind him. Carl laughed.

      "You are going to make us?" he asked. Josh nodded and four Spartans stepped forward, weapons raised. Carl took a step forward, his fist raised, but the Spartan behind him, grabbed his fist and held him back. Zach launched himself forward as well, but another Spartan grabbed hold of him and held him back. Additional Spartans appeared and held weapons to the heads of Zach and Carl, who stopped resisting. Lisa and Judy slammed their helmets on and walked off, staring back at Josh. Reluctantly, Carl and Zach followed, accompanied by two Spartans each. Josh watched them go, then turned on his heel and walked inside. He took the elevator down to Barracks D-12 and entered the same pantry that they had kept John in. In the same chair that John had been strapped too, Laura Culling sat in it, strapped in and slowly coming awake again. Ian and two other Spartans stood around her and the three of them saluted as Josh walked in. He slowly watched Laura raise her head and look around her. Josh grinned as she gasped at the sight of Josh.

      "Josh! You son of a bitch, what am I doing here?" she demanded, glaring at Josh the same why John always did. This brought back a few fears of John into Josh, but he pushed them away and smiled.

      "Hello Laura, it's good to see you too" he said. Laura spat at him.

      "I wish I never laid eyes upon you. John and I knew you were trouble from the start. I can't believe you killed him" she growled. Josh shrugged.

      "To be honest, I didn't kill him, I just gave the order to kill him, nevertheless, he is dead and I'm happy. However Laura, lately, I've grown quite unhappy with your son" he said. Laura grinned.

      "Just you wait till he gets here Josh, he's going to slice you into pieces" she said. Josh shook his head.

      "Amazing how women like you have so much anger in them. Yet, I always win Laura and it will most likely end up with me slicing him into pieces, just like what he's done to my Spartans" he said.

      "They all deserved it Josh" she said. Josh stepped forward and smacked Laura across the face.

      "Don't you ever say something like that about my Spartans ever again. You're lucky just to be alive right now Culling" he growled venomously. Laura looked up, blood dripping from her nose.

      "Why don't you just kill me" she said.

      "Because that would make Sam go on a rage and most likely kill us all, which is why I'm keeping you alive and using you as bait" he said.

      "He will never fall for a trap like that, he's been trained well" she said. Josh grinned.

      "We shall see" Josh said, taking out a syringe and injecting a black out serum. Immediately, Laura's head fell to one side and she slipped back into unconsciousness. Josh and Ian walked out of the pantry and began to make plans.



      Sam woke up again, but instead of the usual setting sun or empty blackness vision, he was surprised to see a huge blast of light greet him. He shielded his eyes until his pupils contracted to adapt to the light and he looked around.

      He was in some sort of medical tent. The walls and ceiling were made out of a strong cotton fabric and flapped around. Sam could also hear the wind whistling outside. He sat up, looking around him, then realized that there was no pain searing up through his back. He reached behind him and ran his fingers along his spine. As he reached his tail bone, he could feel some sort of bandage over it. Slowly, he felt under it and his fingers touched a large scar.

      "I wouldn't touch that." Sam whirled his head around and laid eyes upon Vice Admiral Jameson, who stood in the entrance to the tent. He wore a full combat camouflage uniform with hat and his eyes were full of worry.

      "Are you all right?" he asked. Sam nodded and swung his legs around. He realized he wore nothing but a pair of his own grey and black combat fatigues. He looked at his huge forearms and shoulders', realizing nothing was wrong. He looked at the admiral.

      "What happened?" he asked. Jameson sat in a small chair near him.

      "When we first contacted you, you were about ten or twenty minutes away from us, so we expected you in ten or twenty minutes. However, when an hour passed, I knew something was wrong. We had been able to track you by radar, after receiving your radio signal and when we activated the tracking radar, your Pelican's signal had stopped, and so we assumed you had crashed. I and two divisions of troops moved out in Pelican dropships and found you. You had broken your tail bone after some sort of hard landing, so we took you in and had you transported back here. Also, we recovered your AI, Lancelot" he explained. Sam digested the information fast and could remember hearing the sounds of engines just before he had blacked out again. He nodded as this made sense. Jameson continued to stare at him. "What happened?" he asked.

      Sam went into the long story of being chased by Zach and his Spartans, then jumping out of the Pelican with his mother just before it crashed. At the mention of his mother, Sam stopped talking and he looked at the Vice Admiral, who shrugged.

      "We have no idea Sam. However took Laura, left to fast for us to find them. I assume they took her to their base of operations" Jameson said. Sam nodded at this. He knew exactly were their command centre was.

      "What did you manage to salvage?" he asked Jameson. The Admiral grinned and stood.

      "Get dressed and I will show you" he said and walked out. Sam nodded. He slipped out of his fatigues and zipped up his black combat jumpsuit. He noticed his clean, repaired and polished armor hanging in the corner. He unhooked it and immediately assembled it to his body. He finished off by strapped his helmet to his head, and then walking outside.

      Vice Admiral Jameson and the forces he had received had assembled on top of a canyon wall that faced the meadow valley which stretched on for miles. Several rows of barrack tents made up a large portion of the camp, but additional camps made for the armory and medical tents were positioned around the barrack tents. The marine forces had constructed fox holes, which many of their snipers and rocket jockeys were hiding in. Sandbag perimeters and bunkers also helped create a stable defense. A separate area had been smoothed out for four Pelican dropships and two Longsword fights. Sam grinned and walked up to the Admiral who surveyed it all.

      "Incredible sir" Sam said, standing next to the man. Jameson grinned.

      "My scouts managed to find an active military space port, orbiting Vega Prime. We managed to assemble several divisions of veteran Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, plus a dozen platoons of ONI Special Ops forces. These guys had been trained with the Spartan-III program and from what I've heard; some of them were able to kill Spartan soldiers in training. These troops were placed throughout four UNSC Avenger-class destroyers. We have them up in orbit right now, still transporting troops and equipment down. There's also a larger squad of Longsword fighters in the lead ship of the battle group; Vengeance. Scorpion tanks, M12 LRVs, additional Pelican dropships and enough ammo to go around" Jameson explained, grinning as he did. Sam nodded. He wasn't impressed much, but he was impressed now. Jameson turned to look at the Shadow Spartan.

      "I know you stated that you didn't want any help, but I think with what I've been able to scrounge up, we'd definitely make a difference in taking out the Spartans" he said. Sam nodded.

      "Admiral, if you had assembled a small group of marines with one Warthog, I would've accepted their help. The situation as become much more complicated now that they have my mother" he said, looking at Jameson, who grinned.

      "You're the field commander here Sam, you have a plan?" he asked. Sam nodded.

      "I do. I know where the Spartan's Command Centre is. Military Outpost Gamma Twelve and I wouldn't blame them. The place is positioned right inside a small bulge in a mountain, and overlooks the surrounding rocky landscape. Here's what I propose. Longsword fighters open up the assault with bombing runs in the interior compound. Following that, Scorpion tanks, positioned well out of range of the Spartan's fire power, will then barrage the main entrance, hopefully blowing it open and continue to do so. While this is happening, the Longswords will be still bombing naturally, but we'll use our entire compliment of Warthogs to storm the base. Once we've confirmed that the compound is ours, Pelican dropships will move in and drop off Special Forces infantry, and we will then move in throughout the base and take out what remains" he stated. Jameson nodded.

      "Sounds good. The landscape surrounding that outpost is mostly rolling hills of rock and odd bushes if my memory serves me correctly, so the Scorpion's won't have a problem. I'm assuming we will hide the Warthogs?" he asked. Sam nodded.

      "They should be hidden pretty much right in front of the Scorpions and when I give the signal, we move in" he said.

      "Who will you use in the 'Hogs during the frontal assault?" Jameson asked.

      "Helljumper divisions will be in the Warthogs, and if there aren't enough of the jeeps, the extras can run to the base if they want or just stay with the Scorpions" Sam answered.

      "Right and then we'll use the Special forces for the interior"

      "That's it" Sam said.

      "I don't see any other option. You have more experience then me when it comes to the layout of the base. The plan sounds good. I will assemble the division and platoon leaders and brief them. You figure out how to get your mother back" Jameson said. Sam nodded and saluted. Jameson returned it and marched off to the rows of tents, leaving Sam alone with his thoughts.



      Vice Admiral Jameson stood in the command tent and looked at the thirty or so officers assembled around him.

      "All right people, listen up. We have to hurry, because we're moving out tonight. The Spartans have held up in Military Outpost Gamma Twelve and don't plan on moving, which makes it easier for us to take them out. The design of the base is simple. There is a wall that runs the length of the bulge that the base sits in and seals off the interior compound from the outside. Here is what is going to happen. We will move our six Main Battle Scorpion tanks to the surrounding hills tonight, along with all of our Warthogs. For the moment, we keep the tanks behind their specified hills, but at exactly 7:01 in the morning, I want those Scorpions up on the hills and firing at the outpost from a distance because at 7:00, Longsword fighters will be bombing the area with Archer IV and Devilhorn missiles. Once the main entrance to the base has been blown open, the Warthogs that will be hiding in front of the tanks will move out and enter the base, taking out whatever resides inside the compound. These Warthogs will have the Helljumper divisions in them. If there aren't enough 'Hogs, then the extra troops can either run or stay with the Scorpions. Now, once the interior compound has been secured, Pelican dropships will move in and drop off our compliment of Special Forces, who will then take out what is left inside the base. Once everything is all wrapped, we go home smiling" Jameson said. There was a holographic map activated behind him, which the Admiral used as a reference to show to the officers assembled with him. "Any questions?" the Admiral finished. Major Derek Conrath stood.

      "As much as I agree with the power behind our forces, isn't that Shadow Spartan going to help us out?" asked the Major. Jameson nodded.

      "He'll be leading the Warthog assault and also the base assault with the Special Forces" Jameson said. Major Conrath nodded and sat down. "Plus, I will be joining the assault on all fronts" finished Jameson. This caused everyone to gasp and look at each other.

      "You can't sir, there's too much risk involve, you could be killed" Lieutenant Commander Adrian Dela Cruz cried. Others voiced their opinions, but Jameson shook his head.

      "Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be no need for my services after this battle. Once the Spartans are killed, then peace will be achieved at last and military commanders like myself won't be needed. It doesn't matter if I get killed or not. I just want to fight one last time and get the feel of combat" he said, his eyes glazing over for a second. There was a long moment of silence, before the military officers around Jameson stood and saluted. Jameson returned it.

      "Now let's move, we got an outpost to take back" he said. There was a roar of approval, and then the officers filed out. Jameson stood there alone with his thoughts. After awhile, Sam entered the tent, looking grave.

      "I've just been told that you're fighting with us" he said. Jameson nodded.

      "It isn't a lie Shadow Spartan" he said. Sam shook his head.

      "Why risk your life sir? We can do it" he said.

      "It's not a question of that Sam. I want revenge. They killed a good friend of mine, your father. I want to make him feel the amount of pain he's made the men and woman on this planet feel" he said. Sam nodded.

      "Just keep a cool head out there sir and don't do anything stupid" he said. Jameson nodded back.

      "I will Sam" he said. The two of them saluted each other, then walked out, prepared for the battle of their lives.



      Josh stood in the control room once again, but this was for a different reason. The systems here at the base barely worked, but Ian had been able to set up a small radar system, with one of the station's antennas. The radar screen painted a large red dot moving towards them. They didn't know what it was and this worried Josh. He stood in the tower, cursing the night which had fallen around them. He couldn't see a damn thing. Finally, after scanning the area with floodlights, Josh gave up and turned to Ian.

      "Have everyone be prepared for an attack. Looks like our marines friends might be back" he said. Ian nodded and left the room, leaving Josh all alone. He didn't stay there in case someone was targeting him with a sniper rifle. He quickly left.

      "Something isn't right" he said.

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 10
Date: 29 July 2003, 3:09 AM

      As the Spartans slowly began to prepare for a possible assault at Military Outpost Gamma Twelve, the battle plan for the UNSC was slowly beginning to come into play. Already, the Scorpion battle tanks and M12 LRVs were in position, surrounding the outpost and hidden between the large rocky hills. They just waited for everyone's mission clock to hit 7:00, then all hell would break lose. Samuel was sitting in the side seat of Shadow One, the call sign given to the command 'Hog. Just beside him was Vice Admiral Jameson's Warthog. He had decided to drive instead of shoot. Beside him was Special Ops sniper, Corporal Ryan McConnell, who shouldered a S2 AM sniper rifle. Jameson looked at him.

      "Anything there Corporal?" he asked. McConnell slowly scanned the wall of the outpost and shook his head.

      "I don't see anything. They have their usual three sentries, but that's it" he said. Jameson looked over at Sam who shrugged. They wouldn't be a problem once the artillery raids started. He glanced at his own clock, which read 6:58. Slowly, the sun was peeping over the horizon and beginning to shed light on the rock wasteland. Jameson activated his radio.

      "All right people, here we go, let's waste these assholes" he said. A few people answered with cheers of approval, or didn't say anything at all. Nevertheless, Sam knew they were ready. Suddenly, all of their mission clocks beeped as the numbers struck 7:00. No sooner did the clocks stop beeping, the sound of high speed engines could be heard overhead. Sam looked up and watched a cluster of eight dots in the sky fly down and become large Longsword intercept fighters. Sam grinned.



      Spartan-255; Barry heard the sound of engines before anyone else did. He had been doing his patrol route across the middle of the courtyard, but this sound made him stop in his tracks. He looked up into the sky and his mouth dropped open. Before he could even make a sound, sixteen Devilhorn bombs were released from the Longswords and smashed into the outpost. All Barry saw was a flash of light, and then he was engulfed in the resulting explosions.



      The sound of the bombs hitting the ground could be heard from anywhere. Josh looked up from his armor that he was strapping on and then activated his radio.

      "To arms!" he yelled, fastening his helmet on and rushing out the armory door, MA7B battle rifle in his hand.



      The Longswords completed another pass, then when back up to rearm. The moment their last bomb was dropped on the outpost, Jameson gave the order for the tanks to move up. Six Scorpion tanks slowly trudged up their hills, stopped and opened fire. The High Velocity canons let loose six depleted 107mm uranium shells, which all detonated along the wall surrounding the base. Sam watched through a sniper rifle he had acquired as the ten feet high wall began to crumble. The Scorpions then targeted the main entrance and fired. The solid titanium doors were blown wide open, scattering wreckage and fire into the compound below. Sam saw the large opening and tossed his sniper rifle aside.

      "Charge!" he yelled into his radio, patting the Helljumper Corporal in the driver's seat on the shoulder. Immediately, all thirty-two Warthogs sped forward over the hill and stormed down the field, firing their LAAG chain guns. Sam was in the lead 'Hog, a Jackhammer in his hands. He watched a single Spartan hefting a sniper rifle appear on the wall, but he fired off a quick round, which slammed right into him.



      Josh rushed out of the hangar and looked at the devastation in front of him. The entire interior compound had been blown into large gashes and craters in the ground. The sentry units he had put on guard lay scattered around the area, base, dead. Josh watched a Spartan sniper suddenly explode in blood as a Jackhammer rocket slammed through him and detonated onto the base. Growling, he assembled his Spartans.

      "Get on the walls and shoot whatever moves!" he roared into his radio. Twenty-seven Spartans rushed out of the hangar and climbed the ladders onto the catwalk along the wall. They held a wide assortment of weapons, including Jackhammer launchers. As they engaged the enemy, Josh turned to the next group of Spartans emerging from the hangar.



      Sam watched dozens of Spartans appear on the wall and open fire at the Warthogs. As his Warthog swerved from left to right, he contacted the Scorpion tanks to put some fire on their position. A heart beat afterwards, six uranium shells slammed into the walls, killing dozens of Spartans. However, more took their place and open fired with Jackhammer launchers. 107mm rockets flew at the Warthog brigade, blowing four up and flipping two others. Sam fired his own Jackhammer and killed two Spartans trying to drag a wounded Spartan off the wall. Suddenly, another group of Spartans appeared and strapped themselves into the wall mounted gun turrets that had yet to be destroyed. Immediately, traces of chain gun ammo flew at the Warthogs, along with MD-HAP grenades. Two more Warthogs detonated in a ball of fire. The Warthog beside Sam's took a hit to its tire. It flipped right over and smashed into the 'Hog behind Sam's. Bullets sprayed across the windshield, forcing Sam to duck as his shields flared. The Scorpion tanks fired, but four of the shells missed. The remaining two hit the walls, killing a few Spartans.

      "This is Dagger One, we are inbound to the target area, red hot" came the voice of First Lieutenant Joe Graham, leader of the flight of Longswords flying bombing runs.

      "Roger that Dagger One" replied Sam and ordered the brigade to slow down. Not a second later, more Devilhorn bombs smashed into the compound, killing Spartans moving across it. The Longswords turned sharply and dropped off their last load of bombs right onto the wall of the outpost. Sam watched as the titanium wall crumbled and exploded into pieces, blasting Spartans into pieces and destroying the turrets. Grinning, Sam ordered a full out charge and the Warthogs moved into the base.



      Josh dove backwards as the last bomb dropped from the Longswords detonated in front of him, engulfing two young Spartans he had sent out. Swearing, he tossed two frags at the Warthogs rushing into the base. Two of them flipped over from the resulting explosions. He then retreated back inside the hangar, where another group of his Spartans were ready in the outpost's compliment of Warthogs and Scorpion tanks. Josh jumped into the gunner seat of a Warthog and ordered their compliment of vehicles to move out. They spilled out of the hangar, firing at the oncoming Warthog assault.



      Sam watched the vehicles rush out of the hangar and fired his last two Jackhammer rounds. They hit two Warthogs, blowing them backwards. The Scorpion tanks fired their artillery assault again, and destroyed a good number of the vehicles. But there were still lots left and more ammunition slammed into their army. The gunner of the Warthog behind his slumped over dead, forcing the marine in the side seat to climb over and strap himself in. However, as he did, the driver swerved to avoid a Jackhammer rocket, and the marine flew right out, and was run over by four additional Warthogs. A salvo of Scorpion shells slammed into infiltrating Warthogs, killing marines and six more 'Hogs. Slowly, their numbers were beginning to dwindle, but Sam wasn't going to give up. His 'Hog flew over the destroyed wall and ran over a Spartan retreating backwards. The Shadow Spartan fired his MA5B assault rifle at a Warthog and watched the gunner fall over, dead. More Warthogs drove in, accompanied by Vice Admiral Jameson's Warthog, who lead the charge behind Sam. They strafed back and forth, interchanging lines of fire being created. The air was filled with ammunition and lead as the two forces shot at each other. The Spartans had more experience and eliminated a good half of the UNSC force, yet the UNSC had more people than them and used this power to send a tidal wave of fire power at the remaining vehicles. A Warthog flipped over, slamming into a Spartan Scorpion tank, which fired, hitting the Warthog and blew the two of them up. The last Scorpion tank fired a single round at the UNSC tanks still barraging the compound with explosive shells. The single 107mm shell slammed into one of the tanks, destroying it and killing three marines. The remaining five began moving down the field, firing their own canons. The last Spartan tank exploded after being hit by at least four tanks shots and even more Warthogs.



      Josh watched the last tank explode, and then ordered a retreat. He fired the last of the chain gun's bullets at a Warthog, killing the driver, and then jumped out and rushed inside the hangar, firing his battle rifle at the strafing Warthogs. Only seven Spartans joined him. The eight of them quickly tossed a few more frag grenades, and then rushed inside the base.



      As the remaining Spartan vehicles were abandoned, Sam jumped out of his Warthog and searched the remains of the compound with additional UNSC forces. The tanks rolled into the base and fired their canons inside the hangar, blowing open the wall and killing two Spartans who had been left behind there. The tanks came to a halt and under the command of Admiral Jameson, were positioned around the compound. The Warthogs were all abandoned and the surviving Helljumpers gathered around Jameson.

      "Okay, phase one of the plan is completely gentlemen, we've taken control of the compound. It's obvious the Spartans weren't prepared for this phase, but for phase two, they will give us everything they got. The Special Ops dropships are coming in now. You men man your vehicles and if anything that is wearing green armor walks out of the base, shoot it" he said. A cheer arose from the survivors and the Helljumpers fanned out to their vehicles. As they did, Sam checked the casualty figures.

      Out of thirty-two Warthogs, they had nineteen left, not including three 'Hogs that had been flipped or their occupants had all been killed. Infantry casualties rated in the hundreds, which worried Sam. If they needed backup, they wouldn't be able to spare a lot of ODSTs. Nevertheless, Sam was confident in the thirty soldiers that made up the Special Ops force that would be moving through the facility with him.

      No sooner did he put away the data pad; three Pelican dropships descended into the compound and unloaded two more Warthogs, another Scorpion tank and the Special Ops force known as the "Iron Raiders." Their leader, Major Adam Chambers saluted at Vice Admiral Jameson, who pointed to Sam. The men and women of the force marched over and stood at attention. Chambers saluted Sam.

      "Sir, Iron Raiders reporting for duty" he said briskly. Sam nodded and returned the salute.

      "Thank you Major, at ease everybody, let's make this quick" he said. The Special Ops relaxed and stared at Sam as he outlined the interior battle plan.

      "This is a rough sketch of the base. As you can clearly see, most of the base is inside this mountain. The base consists of five levels, each connected by two or three elevators. The Spartans are most likely spread out all over the place, so we will be splitting up into groups. Six person fire teams, which means five groups, one group for each level. Since the Spartan numbers have been reduced a lot, you won't encounter a large group of them. If you do, fall back and wait for reinforcements. Major Chambers will be in charge of Team One, which is exploring the first level and control tower. Lieutenant Hayes, you are leading Team Two. Lieutenant Scott, in charge of Team Three, Master Sergeant McGrath, Team Four, First Sergeant O'Neill, Team Five, and finally, I will be leading Team Six. Got it?" The entire group of Special Ops nodded at Sam, none of them asking a question. Major Chambers barked out several orders and they all dispersed into their various fire teams. Sam was then faced with five Special Ops soldiers, who stood at attention. Sam looked at each of them and they called out their names.

      "Sergeant Abe Reynolds sir!"

      "Sir, Corporal John Lawley"

      "Corporal Bryan Andrews, reporting for duty!"

      "Corporal Jose Dela Cruz sir"

      "Sir, Corporal David Elliott, reporting for duty." Sam nodded and saluted at each of them, then told them all to take a knee.

      "All right, listen up; we have the hardest of the five levels. Our objectives are too wipe out all the Spartans and rescue Laura Culling. Miss Culling is located on the floor we are supposed to search, which means you can bet there will be a lot of security around her. The fifth floor is designated as Barracks D-12. There is only one elevator that leads down to it and thankfully, I know which one it is. When the door opens, we will arrive in the mess hall, which will most likely have a large amount of Spartans guarding it. Use the tables and chairs as cover. Try not to use grenades; there are too many obstacles in the room, which could deflect the grenade back at us. We take out the Spartans there; search the rest of the Barracks just in case, then move into a pantry behind the kitchen. This is where Laura is being held. We take out however is left in there, grab the package, and leave immediately. If things get too messy, we will call for ODST support, but I have confidence that we will be fine" Sam explained. "Arm yourselves with assault weapons only. I know some of you have designated weapons you have to use, but sniper rifles and Jackhammers aren't the best to use in this kind of close quarter combat. Assault rifles, SMG 900s and Battle rifles are the main choice here folks." The members of his group nodded. When no hands were raised for questions, they moved to a large ammunition pile that was being gathered near a cluster of wreckage from the wall. Two ODSTs stood around it and were handing out ammo clips and weapons. Sam approached one of them, when suddenly, the man's head exploded, splattering them all with blood and brains. Following that, the second ODST let out a scream as his shoulder was blown right apart and his arm flew off.

      "Snipers above!" screamed a nearby. Sam looked up at the control room and watched four Jackhammer rounds fly towards four Warthogs. The occupants jumped out, just as the rockets slammed into them, destroying the jeeps and blasting the Helljumpers around it flying. The air was soon thick with gun fire again as Spartans positioned in the control tower opened fire on the UNSC forces below. Lances of bullets flew along the ground and cut down marines gathering their weapons. Sam tossed a frag grenade all the way inside. A second later, they heard a dull thump, and then two Spartans flew out of the destroyed windows and plummeted to the ground below. However, there were still more, who fired another salvo of Jackhammer rockets. A Scorpion tank exploded, killing two marines in the process. Another marine was blasted right off his feet from a rocket that slammed in front of him. Quickly, Sam rushed forward; tossing two more frag grenades, then rushed toward the hangar.

      "Special Ops, let's move!" he yelled into his radio. The Iron Raiders rushed after him, firing random shots at the tower above them. They all gathered inside the hangar, split up into their groups, and then moved inside the structure, Sam in the lead. It was time for revenge and victory...

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 11
Date: 2 August 2003, 4:03 AM

      Zachary and Judy stood in the control tower of Naval Base Gamma Twelve, watching the UNSC Helljumpers below run for cover as the Spartans surrounding them opened fire with S2 AM sniper rifles, SMG 900 sub machine guns, Jackhammer rocket launchers and other weapons. Zach took out his pistol and fired a single round, which punctured the helmet of a Helljumper jumping into one of the Scorpion tanks. He sighed.

      "This is so boring, why can't we go find that dark Spartan?" he whined, firing another round at an ODST Lieutenant. Judy had a MA7B Battle rifle in her hands and was shooting at a M12 LRV driving around the compound.

      "Oh quit it, I'm just as mad as you are" he growled, finishing her clip of 7.62 armor-piercing rounds into the driver of the Warthog. As she reloaded, Zach turned around and sat down in a padded chair, crossing his arms across his chest.

      "Just isn't fair. I go through all that hell to bring that Laura person here and now I'm stuck up in this tower with clean up duty" he said. Judy turned around, cocking her weapon.

      "Zach, just shut up ok? Either help us kill these marines off or go whine somewhere else" she growled. Zach stood.

      "Fine" he said and walked off to the elevator. However, as he reached out to push the button, the elevator pinged and the doors began to part. Judy turned back around to face Zach and gasped.

      A team of six individuals all wearing heavy black armor stood in the elevator, all holding M90 shotguns. The six figures raised their weapons, pointing the nozzles at Zach who stood in front of them.

      "Oh..." Zach whispered, watching the weapons aim at him. The Special Ops soldiers each fired eight gauge magnum rounds, which made contact with Zach's body. The Spartan's shields were taken out immediately and at the range the weapons were fired, not a single round missed. Zach fell backwards, huge holes of blood and flesh covering him. He landed hard on the ground and ceased to exist.



      Samuel and his team were on the main floor, looking for the single elevator that would take them straight to level 5. Sam led the way, his assault rifle up and ready. He came to a corner, crouched low and motioned Corporal Lawley forward. The Special Ops demolitions expert held a SMG 900 up and rolled into the opening, weapon up. He nodded and covered Sam as he continued to lead the way, the rest of the team following him. The hall eventually stopped ahead, a door preventing them from going further. Sam grinned as he heard it ping and open, revealing a small compartment, which was their elevator.

      Unfortunately, what stood inside the elevator was not friendly. Four Spartans stood in it, each holding a MA5B assault rifle. Immediately, they sprayed the hall with gunfire, forcing Sam and his team to fall back, Sam firing quick bursts at them. Sergeant Reynolds stood and tossed a frag grenade, which detonated right in front of the elevator. One of the Spartans was weakened incredibly from the blast and Sam finished him off with a few quick bursts. The remaining three began to move out of the small elevator and walk down the hall. Sam's weapon stopped fired and an empty ammo clip fell into the floor. He slung his weapon, and grabbed the hilt of his plasma battle blade. He raised it out of its casing and brought it down on the lead Spartan's head, chopping the man in two. Immediately, Sam walked forward and twirled, swinging his sword around him and slashing it across the second Spartan's chest. Blood spewed out of the large scar and the Spartan fell over, clutching his wound. The last Spartan began to run backwards, firing his assault rifle. Sam ran after him and stabbed the sword right through the Spartan's stomach. The Spartan stopped, grabbed the blade and fell to his knees. Sam pulled it out and the man fell over, dead. Sheathing his blade, Sam reloaded his assault rifle and turned to his team, who stood in front of him, mouths wide open. Sam chuckled.

      "What are you waiting for? Let's move" he yelled. They snapped out of their trance and walked into the elevator. The doors closed and all that was heard was their breathing. Sam swore he could hear some sort of music playing. Sergeant Reynolds looked at the row of buttons near him.

      "Uhh...there it is" he said, pressing a button. The music stopped playing. The man shook his head.

      "Always hated that" he said and pressed another button. Slowly, the elevator began to descend into the bottom of the outpost.



      Judy watched Zach's dead form fall. She swore out loud and brought her battle rifle up, but the team of Special Ops soldiers rushed into the room, and fired their own shotguns. Judy felt several impacts slam into her armor. The shield bar began blinking red. She quickly dove, but additional shotgun rounds slammed into her. She felt the armor surrounding her left hip shatter and a round pierced her skin. She screamed out and fell, holding her wound as blood began to flow out. The Spartans around her turned to open fire, but met similar fates as Zach. Two Spartans were blasted right out of the control room. Two others dropped to their knees and fell over as continuous shotgun cartridges hit them, creating huge holes on their armor. Judy was left with one Spartan left, who held his leg in pain. She winced, stood up and fired several rounds from her battle rifle. The sound of someone screaming and a body hitting the floor pleased her, but the soldiers returned fire. She felt bullets hit her weapon, then her hand. When she brought her arm down, her battle rifle had holes in it and two of her fingers were gone. She gasped at it.

      "Fuck" she whispered. Beside her, the wounded Spartan fell over, blood flowing from a hole in his shoulder. He looked up at Judy, who stared at him. He shook his head and slowly lowered his head. Judy growled viciously and stood, holding a single frag grenade in her good hand. She watched as the five figures dressed in black surrounded her, the nozzles of their shotguns pointed right at her head. She smirked.

      "I'm not that easy to kill" she whispered and unpinned the frag. She heard the soldiers around her gasp, and then she threw her head back and laughed.

      The grenade detonated, ripping apart Judy's armor and spraying her exposed body with fire and shrapnel. The explosion blew her corpse right out the window and she fell into the compound below.



      Josh was hiding in the pantry, accompanied by Ian, Carl and four other Spartans. Ian and the others had their attention focused on the door, while Josh and Carl tried to raise the Spartans positioned throughout the base. Carl had his helmet off and put his head in his hands.

      "I can't get a hold of Zach or Judy" he said. Josh looked at the man, but quite frankly, didn't care. He was more worried about the fifteen or so other Spartans he couldn't get on the radio.

      "What the fuck is happening here? How could Orbital Drop Shock Troopers take out my Spartans" he whispered, turning his radio off. Carl raised his head.

      "You fool; the people invading this outpost aren't Helljumpers. Didn't you see their armor, it isn't standard Ballistic armor, its Special Ops" he snarled at Josh. The Master Spartan shook his head and lowered it.

      "Well, looks like this is the last floor they haven't taken over. Let's make sure they don't get it" he growled, grabbing his M90 shotgun and pumped it several times. Carl shook his head and slammed his helmet on. He grabbed his SMG 900 and loaded the weapon. The two of them then joined Ian and the others and waited for the action to start.



      Slowly, Sam could feel the elevator slowing down. He raised his assault rifle.

      "All right people, get ready. There's bound to be Spartans waiting when we get out. Get out of this elevator as fast as possible, and then spread out throughout the mess hall. Take out the Spartans, and then move through the rest of the barracks. I'll head to the pantry and get Culling. We rendezvous back in the mess hall, then head back up to the surface, clear?" The soldiers around him mumbled "yes" and "clear." Sam nodded and cocked his assault rifle. The elevator stopped abruptly and the doors began to open.



      Lisa sat in one of the mess hall chairs, hey eyes fixed on the wall near her. She was bored and tired. The sounds of gunfire and screaming could be heard around her, but she couldn't do a thing. She was stuck in a mess hall, located deep underground. She leaned back and yawned. There were five other Spartans with her, all bored as well and sitting in chairs, their weapons on the tables. Three of them were chatting while the remaining two had started a game of Black Jack. Lisa watched Spartan 238; Jim bust out with 22.

      "Damnit, that's the third time that's happened" he cried, throwing his cards on the table. Across from him, Spartan-251; Peter smiled and shook his head and revealed his cards. Lisa laughed at the ace and king that had appeared on the table. Jim stood.

      "You're cheating man, I know it" he said. Peter shook his head and merely laughed as he gathered the cards up.

      Suddenly, the elevator that led into the mess hall pinged and the doors began to open. Lisa turned and her eyes went wide with surprise as a Spartan dressed in black armor, accompanied by five other figures in black armor walked into the room. They held an assortment of weapons and all of them were raised at Lisa and her Spartans. The Shadow Spartan tossed a frag grenade right into the middle of Lisa and the others. She screamed and covered herself.

      The grenade exploded, spraying everyone with pieces of shrapnel and blasting them all off the chairs they sat on. Lisa's shields went out immediately and she tumbled backwards of her chair, pieces of shrapnel sticking out of her armor. Jim and Peter, who had been closest when the grenade went off, stood weakly, brushing the sharp pieces of metal of them. However, gunfire poured out of the nozzles of the weapons held by the dark intruders. The two Spartans stood for a second, and then crumbled from continuous gun fire. Lisa stood and felt several bullets hit her. She rolled to the right quickly and crouched up, firing her sub machine gun at the Shadow Spartan. The Spartan however was too quick and strafed to the left, avoid the bullets. He then jumped over the table in front of him, grabbing the hilt of his blade strapped to his back and brought it down on one of Lisa's Spartans. She gasped as the Spartan's head exploded and the corpse fell. The Shadow Spartan began to walk towards Lisa, who screamed and brought her SMG up. The Shadow Spartan leaned over and whacked it out of the way. Lisa stood and bawled her fists.

      "You fucker!" she screamed and punched at the man's head. The Shadow Spartan watched the fist come at him, then brought his sword up and cut off her hand. She screamed in pain and stumbled backwards, holding her stump. The Spartan towered over her and brought his blade up. At the last second, Lisa activated her radio.

      "Carl!" she screamed.



      Sam swung the sword and cut the Spartan's head off. He sheathed his sword and motioned for the Special Ops troops to move out. He looked at the pantry door.



      Beside Josh, Carl grabbed his helmet.

      "Lisa? Lisa!!" she screamed.

      "What is it man!" roared Josh, holding Carl still, who was weeping in his armor.

      "She's gone...she's gone" he said, shaking his head. Josh looked at the pantry door.

      "Oh shit" he whispered and ducked. The titanium door exploded, ripping away from its hinges and flew into the room, crushing a Spartan who almost stood in front of it. Shrapnel flew in among them. Josh's shields flared and took the damage. He heard Carl and Ian fall over as well. Moaning filled his radio. Josh stood and watched through the smoke a head roll into the room. Carl stood beside him and gasped. It was the head of Lisa. Josh looked away, but Carl didn't. His fists trembled and he began to walk to the entrance. However, walking to the entrance was a Spartan dressed in black armor.

      "Sam" muttered Josh.



      Sam watched a single Spartan approach him and he could by his fist that he was pissed. The Spartan pointed at him.

      "You've killed my friends, I'm going to fucking ripe your own head off!" he screamed and charged at him. Sam didn't have his sword up and brought his own fists up. The Spartan swung in with his left first, but Sam caught it. The right fist came in, yet Sam caught the other one. The two of them grappled for a second and Sam was surprised at the amount of strength behind this Spartan. He leaned his head back and swung it forward, smashing it into the Spartan's helmet. His face plate cracked and he recoiled backwards, letting go of Sam, who brought his leg up. However, the Spartan caught it and swung Sam into the kitchen cabinet. Plates and cutlery rained down and smashed on the floor around Sam, who stood and received a kick to the stomach. His armor took the bulk of the punch, but it still left him winded. The Spartan continued kicked him, until Sam brought his own feet up, twirled and tripped the Spartan. He stood, but the Spartan swung his leg up, hitting Sam right in the chin. He stumbled backwards, but then charged forward, making contact with the Spartan's stomach as he stood. The Spartan fell to his knees, but was able to lower his head to avoid a kick aimed at him. Sam stood back and let him recover. The Spartan stood and raised his fists, but Sam came in quickly. He faked a punch with his left and swung his right fist in, smashing it into the Spartan's cheek. The Spartan swung at him, but Sam caught his fist and yanked the Spartan forward, bringing his elbow up. The Spartan fell right into it and he heard the faceplate completely shatter. The Spartan stumbled into the kitchen, his face scratched with the glass. He turned to charge at Sam, but the Shadow Spartan grabbed his sword and threw it like a javelin. The tip of the sword flew through the opened face plate and sank right into the Spartan's face. Blood flew out like a fountain and Sam heard the Spartan gurgle loudly instead of screaming. He fell to his knees, holding the blade and gurgling very loudly. Sam could see blood flowing out of his helmet. He finally grabbed his sword hilt and yanked it out. The Spartan fell forward, dead.



      Josh grabbed hold of the unconscious Laura Culling and swung her over his shoulder. He turned and was about to dash off, however, standing in the doorway was Sam. His blade was in his one hand and he was breathing hard. Josh looked for Carl, but could see blood all over the blade. He shook his head.

      "You killed him?" he asked. Sam nodded and Josh laughed. "Thank you so much, you have no idea how much I hated him" he said.

      "Time for you to meet a similar fate" he growled. Josh shook his head.

      "I'm afraid not Sam" he said.

      "You're cornered Josh, there's no way out, it's over" Sam yelled. Josh shook his head and grinned.

      "You fail to take into account my hidden assets" he said.



      Sam could feel another presence in the room. He turned and stood face to face with another Spartan.



      Josh grinned.

      "Get him Ian" he said and made a dash for the door.



      The Spartan named Ian swung his fist and smashed it into Sam's chest. The strength behind the Spartan was incredible and he fell backwards into the shelves that hadn't been destroyed. He watched as Josh rushed out of the room, his mother over his shoulder.

      "No!" Sam screamed and stood right up, smashing his fist into Ian's chest. The two of them grappled briefly, but Sam knocked out Ian's legs. As Ian fell, he grabbed hold of Sam's arm and pulled him down with him.



      Josh exited the pantry and looked to his left. The body of Carl lay on the floor, a huge puddle of blood forming around his head. Josh shook his head and rushed for the kitchen. A team of Special Ops soldiers stood waiting in there. They opened fire on Josh, but the Master Spartan dropped Laura quickly and rolled, avoiding the bullets. He unslung his shotgun and fired quickly, hitting one of the marines in the head. As he fell over, he heard another marine roar out orders. Josh heard a grenade get unpinned. He stood quickly and fired, hitting the man who held the grenade. He fell to the floor, the grenade fall with him. It exploded. The rest of the marines were blasted out of the way. Josh reloaded his shotgun, then grabbed Laura and made a break for the elevator.



      Ian and Sam grappled with each other again. The two of them growled at each other and tried to break each other's grips but they were both even in strength. Finally, Ian let go and swung his leg up, sending Sam flying back into another shelving unit. He had had enough. He stood up quickly and whipped out his sword. The bright plasma blade light up the entire room and Sam grinned. However, Ian was not freaking out. Instead, he smirked.

      "Yeah, I got something like that" he said. Sam raised an eyebrow. Ian brought his fists up, and then twitched his head to the left. Four plasma daggers stuck out of his knuckles and glimmered in the room, adding more light (Wolverine). Sam's mouth dropped as he looked at the long daggers that were sticking out of the Spartan's knuckles. How could that be? It isn't possible he said to himself, marveling at the blades. Ian chuckled.

      "Nice little upgrade eh?" he said, then charged forward at Sam. The Shadow Spartan brought his blade up and cut down the other plasma blades aimed at him. However, they did not fall apart and Ian came back up and stabbed at him. Sam twirled his blade in front of him and blocked each blow aimed at him. He stopped and swung at Ian's neck, but the Spartan brought his own blades up and blocked the attack. He swung his other arm at Sam, but Samuel side stepped. He brought his blade over his head with one hand and aimed another blow at Ian, who blocked the vicious swing with both blades. Sam grabbed the hilt of his sword with both hands and pressed in as hard as he could. Slowly, his blade pushed forward, the tip glimmering at Ian's neck. The Spartan pushed equally as hard and Sam could feel his sword being pushed back. He stood as tall as he could and pushed downward, forcing Ian on his knees. Ian bent his back so that he was on the ground and pushed up. Sam knew that he couldn't win this. He moved quickly and twirled off to the right, bringing his blade down on Ian's exposed head. Luckily, he stood just as the force of Sam's sword was gone. Sam swung his sword above his head and brought it down on Ian's head, who blocked again. Instead of forcing Sam's blade up, he moved out of the way and Sam stumbled forward. He heard Ian yell and knew that he was about to be killed. Sam turned and watched Ian swung his left fist at Sam. Without thinking, Sam grabbed the blades sticking out of Ian's knuckles and stopped the attack. He felt the blades sear through his finger, but ignored the pain. Instead, he brought his sword up and chopped Ian's arm off from the elbow down.

      Ian howled and stumbled backwards as he clenched fist fell, along with the plasma blades. Sam grinned and lowered his sword, then brought it up quickly, chopping Ian's other arm. The Spartan screamed in pain and fell on the floor, blood flying out of his stumps (Monty Python and the Holy Grail lol). Sam stood over him and raised his sword. He dropped to one knee and brought it straight down onto Ian's chest, who screamed even louder. Sam brought it out and watched Ian writhe around in pain. Sam turned and walked out of the room, sheathing his sword.

      He walked back into the mess hall and sighed sadly as he looked at the bodies of Special Ops marines that lay around. He observed several of them that didn't look dead, and then came across Corporal Dela Cruz. The man's eyes were still open and he coughed up some blood. As Sam approached, the man grinned, showing his blood covered teeth.

      "Buenos Noches amigo" he said. Sam knelt beside him. He had been hit by a shotgun round above the hip and was covered with shrapnel.

      "You okay?" he asked. Jose coughed up some more blood.

      "I look bad, but I'll make it mi amigo" he said. Sam nodded and looked around him. Sergeant Reynolds lay sprawled out along a table, a part of his stomach missing. Corporal Lawley's head was gone. David Elliot lay against the wall near Jose, his face covered with shrapnel. Corporal Brian Andrews was nowhere to be found.

      "That Master Spartan dude came here and killed Lawley first. Andrews was about to frag him, but the Chico killed Brian before he could throw the thing. The grenade exploded, killed Elliot and Reynolds. I was the farthest from the explosion, but I was still hit from the shockwave. The shotgun round came from that asshole as he was leaving" Dela Cruz explained. Sam nodded and handed the Corporal Reynolds's radio.

      "Call for a medic Jose, you've done well today, I'll make sure you get treated properly" he said. Jose grinned.

      "Gracias amigo, now go kick some ass" he said. Sam nodded and walked into the elevator when it arrived. He nodded at Jose as the doors closed then felt the elevator lurch as it ascended back to the surface. Suddenly, Sam's radio beeped.

      "Jameson to Sam" it was Vice Admiral Jameson.

      "I'm here Admiral, are you okay?" asked Sam.

      "Worry bout that later son, we've spotted Josh, he's on top of the control tower. He's got a sniper rifle and is picking us off, get up-BANG!" Sam almost jumped as he heard the sound of gun fire. He listened closely.

      "...he's hit! Fuck, get a medic here!" he heard a marine screaming. Suddenly, the radio went dead. Sam bowed his head, and then could feel anger rising in him. Josh was going to pay deeply for everything he's done. He pressed the button for the control room and hoped that he would make it in time to save his mother. He would kill Josh and go home happy.



      Josh looked at his sniper rifle and loaded his last two rounds into it. He fired them, hitting a medic rushing to an officer's aide, then hit a marine Sergeant. Shaking his head, he then tossed the weapon aside and walked over to Laura. Even if he was killed today, he felt that he had won. He had shown the UNSC that they couldn't just kill Spartans by lining them up and firing at them. However, he still felt that he wished he had won this battle and wished that he could go on, torturing the UNSC for what they tried to do. During the Covenant wars, he had usually won by luck and it seemed that his luck was gone. He was alone now and before he died, he wanted/had to kill one more person. Samuel. Laura Culling awoke suddenly and stood.

      "Where are we?" she demanded. Josh shook his head.

      "At the end of our time Laura. Time for both of us to say goodbye" he said. Laura glared at him.

      "Look what the things you do accomplish Josh. You're beaten, there's no sense in trying to kill more people, and you're finished" she screamed. Josh rounded on her and grabbed her wrist.

      "I AM NO BEATEN, I ALWAYS WIN!" he roared violently in her ear. Laura screamed in pain as Josh tightened his grip.

      "Let her go..."

TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade



Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 12(Finale)
Date: 6 August 2003, 4:51 AM

~*Author's note*~

      Ah, my friends, the final chapter, hope you've enjoyed my series. Enjoy!

~*End note*~

      "Let her go..."

      Josh froze where he was standing. In front of him, Laura whimpered, and then turned to look behind the big Spartan.

      "Samuel!" she screamed. Josh turned and watched the Shadow Spartan stand up after climbing to get on top of the control tower.

      "Let go of her Josh, she has nothing to do with this" he repeated, staring straight at the Master Spartan. Josh laughed.

      "Oh, but she does, she has everything to do with this. She's the reason why you were created Sammy boy and because of that, she's going to die!" he growled and pulled Laura to her feet. He pulled out his M6D pistol and pointed it to her head.

      "No!" she screamed. Sam stood motionless on the spot, but he was fighting the urge to dive forward and save his mother. However, the chances of him grabbing the gun in time were very low on his side, so he checked his motion. Josh grinned evilly.

      "What are you going to do now Sammy? I have your birth mother" he said, laughing. He was pressing the nozzle of the gun so hard into Laura's skull; she was bending her head forward, trying to stop the pain. Sam didn't move. He had no idea what to do. Josh was a skilled fighter and an assassin, any move of his would result in the death of his mother. Laura looked up at Josh. Sam was praying she didn't do anything stupid.

      His thought betrayed him. Laura reached up quickly with her free hand and pressed a button on the back of Josh's head. His helmet suddenly came loose and popped off. He roared and released Laura, firing his pistol blindly as he tried to remove his helmet. Sam lunged forward and grabbed his mother's hand. He pulled to him and rushed her to the edge. A team of Special Ops soldiers were waiting in the control tower below. Sam slowly lowered her to them. She looked up at Sam as the soldiers grabbed her.

      "Stay alive" she said. Sam nodded and turned, making sure she didn't fall. However, when he turned his head to face Josh, a huge fist met his sight. Josh punched Sam right in the head and he stumbled backwards. The Spartan followed up with another punch to the head, but Sam grabbed his fist and pulled him forward. As Josh fell, Sam raised his knee and made contact with the Spartan's stomach. Josh vomited all over the roof of the tower and fell to his knees. His helmet lay on the roof a few feet away. Sam went to kick him, but the Spartan rolled over and took out Sam's legs with his own. Sam fell and was kicked in the ribs by Josh who stood over him.

      "I always win Sam!" he yelled and charged at Sam. The Shadow Spartan stood up and crouched low. He then tackled Josh as he came at him and threw him into the ground. Sam kneeled over him and slammed his fist into his bare head. He got two punches onto the man's face, but Josh swung his legs up and kicked Sam forward. He rolled, but stood quickly, allowing Josh to do the same. He spat blood, and then literally jumped at Sam. This surprised the Shadow Spartan and tried to get the heavy Spartan off. However, Josh was successful in ripping Sam's helmet off as well. Sam stumbled backwards, slightly confused, but was able to avoid the fist thrown at him. Josh and Sam circled each other, fists up. Josh punched first, but Sam blocked and punched back. Josh twisted his torso to avoid the punch and turned around, bringing his foot up. It made contact with Sam's chin. He stumbled backwards, blood coming out of his mouth. He ignored it and jumped forward, slamming his feet into Josh's chest. The Spartan stumbled backwards and fell. Sam had had enough. He stood over Josh and whipped out his plasma blade. He swung down at Josh, but he rolled to avoid it and ran to the other side of the roof. Sam came at him, but what Josh did next made him freeze on the spot.

      "Wow, that looks almost exactly like the sword I have here" Josh said, grinning as he raised a sword holder to Sam's face. Josh grabbed hold of the hilt of the sword and pulled, drawing the exact same plasma sword as the one Sam was using. Sam's mouth dropped open. It was his father's sword. Josh must've stolen it from him when they captured him. That explains how Ian had the plasma blades on his hands thought Sam. They used the technology from John's sword and crafted new blades for Ian. Sam could feel anger rising in him as Josh twirled the sword in his hands.

      "That sword belongs to my father, and I'm going to make sure I get it back!" Sam yelled and rushed forward, his own sword raised over his head. He brought it down on Josh's head, but the Spartan raised John's sword and blocked it.

      "Ha! You're pathetic Sam, I'm the one who's going to be using two plasma swords against your friends below" he said and pushed Sam away. Sam didn't go far and came back at Josh. The two of them swung their swords at each other, blocking and striking. The two of them were completely equal in strength as they pushed on each other's sword, trying to force the other to fall. However, neither one did and they broke away and circled each other.

      Sam's ears were pounding with rage as he walked around in a circle, glaring at Josh. The two of them didn't have their helmets on and their hair flew around their faces as the wind picked up. A lightning bolt flashed in the distance and thunder rolled through the clouds. Josh grinned and charged at Sam. Sam blocked the Spartan's attack and kicked at Josh, who fell backwards. Sam moved in quickly and slashed out at Josh's chest. The Spartan continued to stumble and the tip of Sam's sword just ripped open the armor and didn't pierce the skin. Josh regained himself and ran at Sam, jumping into the air, the sword over his head. Sam was worried Josh would crush him. He jumped up at the same time and kicked at Josh's stomach. The Spartan fell backwards again, but recovered himself quicker than Sam and came at him. Sam grabbed Josh's blade. He felt the edge of the blade rip through his glove and tear open his hand. He winced, but did not scream. Josh pushed in harder and Sam knew he had to let go. He brought his own sword up and cut off Josh's left ear.

      Surprisingly, the Spartan did not even flinch as he stood there, feeling the side of his head. Instead, this made him angrier and he struck Sam with a huge amount of force, which made Sam drop to his knees as he tried to hold back Josh's blade. The Spartan's eyes were wide and anger as he pushed harder on the blade. Sam struggled hard to keep it up, but he could feel Josh's sword slowly winning and overcoming him. Josh leaned forward.

      "I. Always. Win" he said slowly. Sam shook his head. He stood up suddenly, his head making contact with Josh's face. The Spartan fell backwards, howling in pain. Sam held his blade with both hands and rushed at Josh, striking outwards. Josh blocked and the two of them attacked each other on the roof of the control tower.

      Lightning flashed again and again, followed by the loud boom of thunder. Rain started falling from the clouds and night fell upon the military outpost. From a distance, the outpost was nothing but a blackened structure; however, two strands of light could be seen flying across the tower of the outpost. The two of them didn't even pause to breath and continued to fight. An obsession to kill the other was huge in their minds as they attacked.

      Sam attacked, but Josh blocked. Josh attacked, but Sam blocked. Sam stabbed his sword into the roof and used it as a base to swing himself forward and kick at Josh. When he landed, he pulled his sword out and brought it down on Josh's head. However, the Spartan was able to sidestep and avoid the attack. He stabbed at Sam and pierced the Spartan's chest armor. Sam watched the blade go in, but quickly drew himself back to prevent the tip of the sword pierce his skin. Josh grinned and attacked again, but Sam rolled to the left and avoided the attack. Josh turned and had to quickly duck to avoid the sword swung at his head. He crouched and kicked at Sam's legs, knocking him down. The Spartan stood and stabbed at Sam, but the Shadow Spartan rolled to avoid the attack. He kicked at Josh's legs and knocked him down, right on top of Sam.

      Without warning, the roof below them broke apart and collapsed. Sam looked at Josh, who looked at him and the two of them fell into the tower below. Sam hit the floor, but Josh fell on one of the Special Ops soldiers who had remained up in the tower. The soldier let out a yelp, but said nothing more as he was crushed by the weight of Josh. Sam stood and attacked Josh again, but the Spartan back flipped, avoiding the attack and landed beside another soldier. Josh grinned at him and slammed his fist into the soldier's face. The Special Ops trooper fell backwards, out of the control room and into the compound below. Josh turned and bent his head back, trying to avoid another attack by Sam. However, he didn't do it fast enough. The tip of the sword slashed right across Josh's face, ripping open the skin and leaving a bloody scar across his sweaty face. Josh watched his blood drip down his face. He roared and launched himself at Sam, who blocked the attacks, while backing up into a wall. Josh spun and swung his sword at Sam, who brought his own sword up to his face and blocked it. Josh kicked at Sam and knocked him into a corner. Josh stood over him and was about to finish him off, when the elevator door opened and a single figure limped into the room.

      Josh turned and gazed into the eyes of his friend, Ian. The Spartan was still wounded from Sam's attack, but he stood strong, still covered in blood. Josh looked at him.

      "What are you doing here? I thought you were dead?" he asked. Ian growled suddenly and Josh's eyes widened.

      "You left me to die you son of a bitch, I've never liked you Josh, I only pretended because I felt sorry for you. This crusade of yours has come to an end, it's time for you to die" he yelled at Josh. Without warning, Ian bent his shoulder forward and charged, tackling Josh, who fell into the wall near Sam. Josh looked up at Ian.

      "Stop this now!" he demanded. Although Ian didn't have his arms, he didn't care and kicked at Josh, knocking him back on the ground. Behind them, Sam slowly stood up and shook his head. Ian aimed another kick at Josh's head, but the Spartan dodged it and stabbed his sword out. Josh's sword sank straight through Ian's stomach and out the other side.

      Sam gasped and watched Ian look at the sword, then look back up at Josh. Blood flowed from the wound and from Ian's mouth. However, the Spartan didn't scream or anything. Instead, he walked forward, Josh's blade sticking out farther through Ian's back. The Spartan walked forward enough that he stood right in front of Josh, the sword still through his gut. He looked over at Sam and nodded, then smashed his head onto Josh's face, then spat in his eyes. Josh wiped the spit away, and yanked his sword out. Ian coughed up blood and dropped to one knee. However, instead of dying, he charged forward, flipping Josh right over. He stood, and then watched as Josh stood back up and cut off Ian's head. Josh's second in command Spartan fell to the floor, dead.

      Behind Josh, Sam rushed forward and stabbed his sword into Josh's back. The Spartan bent his back and screamed, forcing the blade farther into his back. Sam pulled it out and Josh tumbled forward, falling onto the ground. He looked up at Sam, blood all over his face from the scar. Sam knew he wasn't dead and stood ready as Josh stood up again and raised his sword. He was weak, but wasn't going to give up. He charged at Sam, faked an attack at his hip, and then brought the sword up at his face. Sam saw the blade and only had time to step back slightly. The tip of the sword tore across Sam's cheek, leaving a large blood scar there. He winced in pain and charged back at Josh, the two of them literally throwing their swords at each other. Sparks flew as the plasma blades met and the plasma glowing off the blades, light up the room. Lightning flashed again, and the lights went out. However, the glow of the swords filled the room with light and the fighters continued. Josh was able to kick at Sam and knock him back on the floor. As Josh stood over him, he laughed.

      "Now Sam, it's time for you to die. I must say, I was worried for a few seconds that both of us would die and not just you alone, but now my fears are gone. I have you" he said. As he said this, Sam pressed a transmitter device strapped to his arm. Vice Admiral Jameson had given it to him if he needed an air strike. He tapped it twice, signaling to the fleet in orbit an air strike on the control tower itself. He then grinned at Josh, who raised an eyebrow.

      "What are you laughing at Samuel? You are about to die, you should be begging for mercy" he said. Sam shook his head and looked out the window. Josh followed his movement and looked outside. He gasped.

      "What the hell is that?" he said, watching four dark figures in the air approach them. Sam laughed.

      "Those are Longsword intercept fighters' Joshy boy. They are on a direct attack course for this tower" he said. Josh looked down at Sam, who was standing up.

      "You're bluffing" he said. Sam shook his head and without warning, stabbed his sword straight into Josh's collar bone area. Josh let out a gurgle scream and fell to one knee, clutching the blade with his hands.

      "No!" he gasped, coughing up blood. Sam grinned and yanked the blade out. He then quickly rushed over and grabbed his father's blade. He kneeled in front of Josh and stabbed him again below the man's chest with the other blade. Josh howled in pain again, coughing up more blood. Sam waved the two blades in his hands.

      "Told you I would get them back, see you in hell" he said and kicked Josh over onto his back. The Spartan couldn't even speak as he choked on his blood. Sam quickly rushed to the elevator and moved down to the bottom floor.



      "This is Dagger One; we are inbound to the target red hot"

      "Missiles are locked, firing" Eight Archer V missiles flew from the wings of the intercept fighters and accelerated straight at the control tower. Josh was barely alive as he watched the missiles slam into the tower. The ground beneath him disappeared and the following explosion vaporized his body. He could do nothing about it. The last Spartan-III was dead.



      Sam staggered out into the hangar, still clutching the two swords. Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were rushing towards him, applauding him, but leading them was his mother, Laura Culling. Sam grinned and dropped his blades. The mother and son embraced in the hangar, the Helljumpers surrounding them, chanting Sam's name. He let go of his mother and grinned.

      "Let's go home mom" he said. Laura nodded, whipping the tears out of her eyes. Sam grinned and raised his fist, which was followed by a huge roar from the marines around him. He had won, just like he promised.



      Following the Spartan-III battle, the UNSC was successful in terminating all of its military operations and destroying its remaining vessels and disbanding the last of the Marine Corps. An everlasting peace was finally accomplished and they continued with their expansion throughout the galaxy, the threat of war, gone.

      Project Shadow Spartan was originally designed for the destruction of the Covenant race, but before it could be completed, the Covenant were eliminated. Instead, the Project's candidate eliminated the Spartan-IIIs, who rebelled against the UNSC, after they attempted to destroy the Spartans. After the small war, Project Shadow Spartan was terminated and the candidate went back to the city of Balmora on Regal V, where he spent the rest of his life, with his mother, Laura Culling. Sam hung both his plasma blade and his fathers above the gas fire place in his house, as a remembrance for his father. John had given his life to ensure Sam wasn't destroyed before he could complete his mission. Sam would make sure everyone would know the truth about what happened those few weeks in the valleys of Regal V. Sam died at the age of one hundred twenty-five. His mother, died at the age of one hundred-thirty, several years earlier. However, Project Shadow Spartan was told in stories all over the world and in other worlds. It was truly a huge success

THE END
By: Agent Shade

~*Author's note*~

      Thank you everyone for reading this series. I hope you will enjoy my series to come. Cheers.

~*End note*~





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