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Fan Fiction

Apollo Team: Chapter 2
Posted By: Alex L (Greek Elite)<yoshi64y@aol.com>
Date: 27 November 2006, 11:03 pm

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AN: Not a whole lot I'll say here except that I apologize for some of the possible awkward scene changes in here. Baker was actually not intended to be included in the chapter, however I realized that telling another side of this story might help the reader foreshadow. In addition, I apologize for the jarry back and fourth transitions that you'll witness at the end...however I felt it somewhat neccisary. ENJOY!

Chapter 2: Weight of the World

Cool colored hues of plasma soared across the twilight sky as the once peaceful skies of a beautiful utopia had been deluded with war and violence. Covenant ships took their throne in the sky while UNSC ships had scattered the heavens in retaliation against the new threat.

While the heavens remained a masterpiece of the god of war, the actual battleground and city below hadn't looked much better. Once well paved, clean streets of the Utopia had now been spattered with blood of multiple species and littered with all sorts of debris, corpses, and other trinkets of war. The plaza, that held the Utopia's Capital at the peak of the city, was slowly being trimmed and deprived of its once beautiful flora and palm trees from Covenant and Human crossfire. At the same time, the housing and beautiful architectures that populated the gorgeous haven were wearing down from the battle itself.

Corporal Baker, and a group of other Marines, all took cover behind a Church while the battle continued to roar on. Baker shook his head in utter disappointment to see such a beautiful place, on such a heavenly planet, go to waste by the Covenant's raging grudge. He glanced back at his comrades, searching for any means of hope upon them, but could sense nothing but doubt and fear.

It wasn't looking good for them, his squad that is, since the loss of their Sergeant and two Privates. They were down to a total of six personnel in the squad, and none seemed to have a firm grasp upon their objective now...except for Baker.

He remembered his Sergeant's orders, clear as day: go to the city Capital (that was now under threat) and hold off the oncoming ground forces. Their secondary: search and protect target AI to ensure its safety from the Covenant and to use it for planetary defenses and tactical measures.

"We have to move on," Baker barked to the huddled group of Marines behind him. They all glanced at him as if he were crazy for a moment, but soon his confident, stern pose convinced them to proceed.

Baker assembled them in a line behind him, and they carefully crept against the ivory walls of the church, eyes constantly darting around for the slightest sign of enemy contact, however it seemed clear so far that the only Covenant able to be seen were those that had been airborne.

Baker continued to lead and finally reached to the corner of the wall where he was able to see a street ahead. The street seemed desolate at first glance, and the Corporal headed out first, leading a tail of vigilant soldiers in his wake.

Once upon the paved yet worn road things picked up in volume as gunfire from all around the plaza seemed to come from all directions except from behind. Although it wasn't safe to judge due to the billowing smoke around the plaza, Baker assumed the action was far from their own position. Regardless, Baker kept his own head and body as low and hunched as possible as he jogged forward, down the street.

Then it hit Baker, not very far ahead, he spotted enemy contact about 50 feet ahead of his position. He halted and raised a hand in the air, signaling for his comrades to do the same and to look ahead.

Baker hit one knee and took the liberty of using his BR scope for a means of binoculars to see who, or rather what, was ahead: Two Elites, three Grunts, and three Jackals. All had their backs to the Marines as they seemed to focus their plasma weapons upon a threat ahead. Violent flashes and distant humming of their weapons had confirmed that they were engaging an enemy on the other side of the bridge, on the upper north side of the plaza; and judging by the absent sound and sight of projectile weapons a blazing, the Covenant had their enemy pinned.

"Marines," Baker ordered in a low-tone, "Let's take those Covie bastards out, and lend our friends on the other side a hand."

"Roger, that," they complied, following the cocking of their Assault and Battle Rifles.

Baker lead his comrades up the road further, assuming a more direct and lethal assault position on the enemy. In any other situation, it might seem to be a risky plan, but since the enemy was preoccupied, Baker wanted to take every opportunity he had.

Once they were in about 20 to 30 feet within the enemy Baker went back to kneeling position, cocked his BR, and gave the signal to engage.

Salvos of human weaponry burst savagely at the bridge, totally throwing off the enemy and taking them by surprise. Two of the Grunts and an Elite were the first to fall, leaving the remaining five to respond with hardly enough time.

In no time the final Elite and Grunt were down by a constant amount of gunfire while a well placed grenades cleaned up the remainder; just a couple of Jackals.

It was silent on their front once more and Baker preceded forward to the arching bridge, his comrades obediently following behind, reloading their weapons. Baker rested at the foot of the bridge, taking a quick glance to confirm that below was where they had started off. Baker snorted, finding it completely stupid for the UNSC not to grant them a Pelican extract rather then sending them on foot with only a few vehicles.

Despite his own disgust with their vigorous journey, Baker moved on and felt a ping of warmth within his heart to see, on the other side, a group of Marines hiding behind a smoking Warthog.

"Finally!" Cried out a Marine, "More humans!"

"Will the owner of the brown Über chassis, license code P0-WND, please return to your vehicle."

John and Hailey had finally arrived at John's departure checkpoint, the Terminal, and both had looked reluctant to see the Bullet Train. While civilians, military personnel, and all the like began entering the high-speed rail car, John and Hailey glanced at each other, both feeling a mutual sorrow fill their hearts as they knew what it had come down to.

"Well," John began, filtering their awkward silence while strangers had glanced curiously at the cute couple, "This is it."

"You're coming back, aren't you?" She asked, refusing to let go of his strong, romantic gaze.

John took a moment of silence before coming to an answer. "Of course," he said, now holding her close and kissing her on the forehead.

They shared one last kiss, dragging it out and enjoying it as long as possible, not sure if it'd be their last. It lasted longer then any of theirs before and had drawn the attention of those entering the train for this reason. Despite it, neither of them cared, for they were far too more concerned with each other's warmth, lips, and love then their own surroundings.

Their lips had finally parted after a moment and Hailey retreated the Marine's own grasp, smiling sweetly as she did. "I'll be sure to take good care of Jasper," she said.

John smiled, reminiscing over the adorable face of the pup he received as a Birthday gift. "You'd better," he said finally, and they both waved as each other departed: one to their comfortable home in Chicago, the other to an ominous train that could have been taking him to the gates of hell as far as he knew or cared.

Baxter had been one of the last people to enter the train as the doors shut closed behind him and a few others. His eyes scanned around, taking in the scenery carefully. It was packed, that was for sure.

"Will all passengers, at this time, please find a seat and/or brace themselves for departure."

Baxter struggled to find a place to sit, or at least a bracing pulley to hang onto, as he nervously searched through the train. People had been giving him weird looks as he passed on by with his large bag of luggage and his slung Sniper Rifle. Constantly he apologized as his bag nudged into others, or as the muzzle of his Rifle had gotten dangerously close to one of the passengers. He obviously wasn't the most popular one on the train.

It was when he had come close to the rear of the car when he knew it would be a long trip to his destination as he stumbled over some elderly woman's suitcase. He fell flat, hard on the floor with his luggage slamming down on her pudgy feet and his Rifle slipping off his shoulder onto her lap.

"SWEET JESUS! Watch where you're walking you moronic Jarhead!"

Baxter cringed and attempted to get to his feet, however found it hard to with his luggage partially weighing him done, and with the congestion of the isle.

"I apologize, ma'am," Baxter pleaded, still finding it nearly impossible to return to his feet.

"That's right, you ungrateful military maggot! Now get this damn gun off my lap before I get your sorry ass court marshaled you lazy excuse for…"

The old woman's words trailed off in John's mind, resonating as verbal garbage that he could have cared less about. He sighed deeply at his own anguish, and as he attempted to get to his feet a hand extended in front of him. Looking up from his unfortunate position, he saw who the hand belonged to; a young man, about his age, wearing a very identical, crisp military uniform. The man also wore a pair of glasses upon his prominent nose which hid his nonchalant brown eyes. His jet black hair had grown rapidly ever since his last military buzz and was kept neat and slicked back with gel. Over his ears had been a pair of headphones, that trailed down to a CD player resting upon his lap.

"Need a hand?" He asked, taking off his headphones and letting them rest on his neck. John's frustration slowly escaped him, as he found his first sign of mercy and compassion on this long trip to hell. Baxter accepted the fellow soldier's assistance as he was brought back to his feet and the soldier continued his services as, "Looking for a seat?"

"Yea, kind of," Baxter replied, snatching up his luggage and misplaced Sniper Rifle, "Is it always this packed on the bullet train?"

"Your guess is as good as mine," replied the generous man, "But as long as you're here, have a seat."

The soldier whom originally had two seats to himself, the vacant one supporting his own luggage, moved down as Baxter parked himself next to him. He rested his Sniper Rifle carefully at the side of his seat, making sure it was easily accessible at any moment…for over obsessive reasons.

"So what's your name?"

"Baxter," John replied, "Private John Baxter."

"Glad to meet you, Private Baxter," the other man said, expressing a short salute as well, "The name's Easton Foster, or Private Foster if you prefer."

The two Marines shook and Easton went back to listening to his music while Baxter noticed the old wind bag in front of him was still rattling on about his rudeness and such, using profanity whenever she found it appropriate.

"Damn, does she ever shut up?" Baxter asked, under his breath.

Foster chuckled, "Unfortunately no. I had to put up with her ever since she got on this train. Even with my CD player at max, I could still hear her gabbing on and on about nonsense."

They both laughed and the train jerked forward and continued to excel in speed exponentially.

Baker and his men slowly proceeded over the bridge, receiving praise and applause from his brothers in arms on the North side of the plaza. Baker and his comrades hooted and cried back in victory as they crossed, knowing once they were united things would get a whole lot easier…


Baker glanced towards his left and quickly sprinted as a giant glob of plasma arched dangerously through the air, straight for the bridge. The warning, unfortunately, was not responded to quick enough as Baker and two other Marines from his squad stumbled forward from the blast while his two others weren't so lucky.

The bridge, including the two other Marines, had been obliterated by the Wraith's mortar, cutting off transportation back to the South side of the plaza.

Baker groaned and slowly got back to his feet, glancing over to see what the status of his comrades were. He only spotted two: one was just bruised like him, the other wasn't as fortunate. Baker and his last tie to his original squad gathered around the charred, mangled corpse, finding no hope for his resuscitation.

Baker held back a growing sorrow for the man, and the other two whom shared a more catastrophic death then this one, and ripped off the Marine's dog tag.

"He was a good man…" Baker's remaining comrade murmured, trying his best not to choke on his own emotions.

"…but we have to keep going," Baker replied sternly, turning his back on the carcass and heading for the reinforcements at the burning Warthog.

"You guys all right?" Called out one of the Marines behind the trashed vehicle.

"Just got knocked off our feet, we're able to fight," Baker replied, "But we lost three of our men. How about you guys?"

"We lost two," replied another Marine, referencing two badly seared carcasses propped up against the Warthog, "The rest of us are still operable, however."

Baker examined the other four Marines carefully: they were all Privates, and by careful judgment they all needed ammo.

"Stern," Baker ordered, "Fix these gentlemen up with some ammo. We're leaving immediately…"

"Sir," piped up one of the other Marines, "We need to get to the capitol, ASAP."

Before Baker could reply the Marine showed him a sort of data chip, no bigger then the palm of his hand. Baker's eyes went wide seeing the artifact and glanced hopefully at the Marine, "Is this….?


"Is there anything I can get for you, sir?"

"No thank you. I'm fine," Schafer replied, looking a little uneasy at the airline stewardess.

She continued her way down the isle of the first class section of the plane, nonchalant yet cheery. Schafer turned in his seat, admiring the stewardess' features as she proceeded to serve others. The truth was, there was something he needed, whether it be a relief from his lustful tension or the quenching of an undying hunger for vengeance…he did not know. Both sins seemed appealing to him in his mind, however he knew she could service him in neither way, for she was too pure for him, and vengeance was something he had to do on his own.

He glanced out the window, trying to admire a heavenly view out into the atmosphere, but no peace would come to him. He tried to think of the old days when he wasn't this way, this tense, this troubled. It was a distant memory for him, something nearly impossible to explore now. Now there was only the present and future…the now.

"Hey Schafer," said a familiar voice from behind him.

It was Private Lager, or Froman as he was referred to now by his fellow comrades. Froman took a vacant seat next to Schafer and took in a long breath. Schafer glanced over at him and saw that he was not his usual spry, illuminated looking self. His face was sickly pale, his hair no longer in the neat fro that it was, and his eyes growing bloodshot.

"What's on your mind, Schafer? You're not looking so good."

Schafer snorted at Froman's remark, "You're the one to talk. You look like a wreck!"

"Oh," Froman chuckled, "I just got back from the bathroom. I went to throw up all of last night!"

"Fun," Schafer replied, in a sarcastic tone.

He groaned, "Remind me to never drink any sort of alcohol again!"

"It's just your first hangover. You'll get over it."

"Say, why weren't you at the party with me and the guys?"

Schafer hesitated a response, staring out the window as if an answer would fly right by the window and inspire him. "I-I just wasn't feeling up for it, last night."

"Why's that?"

No response.

"Seriously, man, you can't just stay this anti-social forever. You've gotta—"


The entire plane went quiet, and Schafer grew uneasy in his seat as dozens of eyes now focused on him. He did his best to avoid all their glares as he resorted to his favorite window once more, trying to find some sort of false peace within the passing clouds.

"I'm sorry," Schafer said, feeling it horribly awkward to let those two words pass through his own mouth, "It's just that…"

"You don't have to explain," Froman replied pateintly, "Whatever it is, it's your business, and I have no right to step into it. But if you do ever want to talk about it, just say so."

"Right. Thanks."

"No problem. Now if you'll excuse me," Froman said, getting up from his seat, "I have a stewardess to hit on."

Schafer sighed as he was left alone once more. It felt satisfying yet cold at the same time. Once more he glanced out his window, only to find his past staring back at him. He could have swore he saw her face in the clouds, and he sobbed silently to himself.

The sun had finally risen on the barren horizon of a military base in California. The sun's arrival had already beckoned the immediate awakening of all trainees stationed at the base, where they'd soon after meet outside just to get bitched at by their drill sergeants and let the Marine hazing begin. However, this morning was different for a visitor at this base whom had the comfort of a private bunk by orders from Colonel Procter himself.

The sun shone through the window of the personal bunk and had hit a burly, yet very at peace Sergeant Woodword. The morning's illumination had made a worthy attempt to seize the Marine's slumber, however he had been able to disregard it, and turn over in his sleep.

He subconsciously enjoyed the hours of sleep he had been getting lately. As a Private, sleep had been significantly reduced, and when he was stationed on Reach sleep did not exist.

After an hour more of sleeping in, there had come another interruption to his slumber…a knocking on his door. He mumbled in his sleep in response, subconsciously disregarding it to continue his well deserved rest. However, the knocking was persistent, and only got louder, faster, and more annoying after the last.

Finally, Woodword was awake, barely, and he made a slow, seething approach to the door. Violently he grabbed for the knob and swung it wide open seeing a scrawny, wide-eyed Marine standing very astute, perfect posture at his door. He was clearly a Private, and had respectively acknowledged Woodword's authority with a stiff salute.

"Sir! Sergeant Woodword, sir!" The scrawny Private acknowledged, being as awkwardly humble as possible and putting a great, and unnecessary stress on each 'sir'.

Woodword cocked an eyebrow at the Private and lazily returned his salute. "At ease, Private…"

"Harley, sir! My name is Private Harley, sir!"

"Private Harley, right…mind telling me why the hell you woke me up?"

"I apologize, sir. Orders from Colonel Proctor to get you up so that you may be prepared for the arrival of the anticipated Marines, sir!"

"Makes, sense," Woodword muttered to himself, wiping the drowsiness from his eyes, "When are they expected?"

"Within a few hours, sir!"

"All right. Tell Proctor that I'll be ready in half an hour after showering and getting into uniform."

"Sir, yes, sir!"

Woodword waited for Harley to depart and to go report to Procter however the Private merely stood there with perfect posture and a lost, spacing gaze. Woodword took a few more seconds, hoping the awkwardness would beckon him to leave…


"Sir, yes sir!"

The Private snapped to attention, saluted, and marched off. Woodword slammed the door behind and shook his head in disbelief, "I swear to God, if he say's 'sir' one more time…"


Baker threw himself hard against the ground, as far from his own position as humanely possible as a cyan orb glowed spectacularly through the dusk sky and latched upon a preoccupied Private Stern's arm. His Assault Rifle had been a blazing with a savage firepower upon the enemies ahead of them, whom had positioned themselves far above and ahead of the pack of Marines on a set of marble steps leading to a cleared platform, beautiful garden, and a direct pathway to the City's Capital.

Stern had only noticed the orb attached to his arm at the last second, before it erupted in a fury of blue plasma. His scorched, mangled body detonated and landed elsewhere from the pack of Marines and thus queued the team for retaliating salvos.

Baker unloaded every shot in his Battle Rifle into the enemy's direction, not much caring for what species of the bastards he hit or the location of the shot; his blinded fury was enough to keep them on their toes.

The enemy, up the marble steps, fell swiftly to the bullets, rounds, and shrapnel that pierced through their armor, shielding, and confidence without getting much success against the Marines. Baker tried his best to catch his own breath while looking upon his new, mangled squad whom was now two short from when he last got a chance to breathe, and now he had to worry about two more Marines whom received plasma scorches on different places of their bodies.

It was down to a squad of four, and was dropping quickly.

Baker looked upon the sky, hoping to find an ounce of hope for he or his comrades, however little had changed but a drop of numbers in UNSC fleets. His heart ached from this battle, and his spirit was practically broken. The ounce of courage and will upon his Soul was shrinking to nothing, but remained in existence…however, he was unsure how long it would hold out for the hour as a new, unwelcoming sound came…

The ride to his destination suddenly became more cramped yet pleasant, for Private John Baxter, as he waited silently on a bus filled with Marines to get to his destination. Next to him was Private Foster, who was no longer listening to music, rather was locked into reading a non-fiction novel.

"What are you reading?" Baxter questioned.

"A book about the Covenant," Easton replied, hardly glancing up from the novel, "Some really interesting stuff about those bastards in here. Did you know that the Unggoy use their masks to support them with methane?"

"I don't even know what the hell an Unggoy is," Baxter replied, finding such a random fact to be completely useless.

The bus finally came to a halt and Foster immediately packed away his book into his luggage and the Marines began pouring out of the bus. Baxter had recalled his first bus trip to the Military site. Drill sergeants began pounding against their bus, screaming their lungs out at the "pathetic excuse for Marine potential". It felt like Hell had been literally raised that day…but now, now Baxter could safely walk off the bus with his comrades (all from different units) in peace, without having to worry about boot camp.

Stepping off the bus Baxter glanced out in the distance seeing a neat row of trainees, whom had all been standing abruptly still, praying that they wouldn't get chewed out by one of their drill sergeants; it brought back memories to John. He couldn't help to laugh as those horrible past memories that now seemed laughable.

"Those poor bastards," John chuckled.

"I know. It's going to suck for them once they hit incentive training," laughed another Marine whom stepped off the bus. The Marine had a huge grin on his pale face as he gazed out at the Marines. The outstanding feature, that seemed to grab Baxter's attention, was the man's outrageous fro that swayed in the dry wind of the camp.

"Guh, I hated incentive training," Foster grumbled as he stepped off the bus, taking the memories as more painful then laughable.

"Yeah, especially when they made us run back and fourth for water and just end up hurling after it all," another Marine added.

"Fortunately for you all, boot camp doesn't apply to any of you here," said a tall, built Sergeant whom began approaching those whom just got off the bus, "I'm looking for five Marines here, the rest of you should report to the chow hall for now. Desmond, Schafer, Foster, Baxter, and Liger."

"It's Lager, sir. And you can call me Froman, if you prefer," Froman corrected.

The burly Marine just stared at Lager for a moment with a bland, annoyed look before replying, "I'd prefer if you'd wipe that goofy smile off your face."

"Yes, sir," Lager replied, saluting and having a stern expression upon his face until the Sergeant turned his back.

"Follow me."

The five Privates followed the Sergeant through the military complex until they reached their designation which was the Colonel's personal quarters and office. Entering upon it they saw an experienced, bold looking Colonel Procter whom was busy with some paperwork. Next to him, standing at attention, was someone Woodword recognized instantly; Private Harley.

Procter glanced up as his office door shut with the last Marine and abruptly stopped what he was doing and smirked delightfully seeing the small group of Marines all gathered before him. They all snapped to salute, "At ease, gentlemen."

Procter got up from his seat, behind his cluttered desk, and studied the soldiers momentarily, "All accounted for I take it, Woodword?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good," he said, "Then perhaps we should get to the point; why I've gathered you all here." Colonel stepped out in front of his desk and began pacing as he began to explain, "It has recently come to the UNSC's attention that our forces and attempts to thwart the Covenant have been rather scattered and uncoordinated in many cases. In addition, we've discovered how most UNSC ground forces have been primarily resorted to defensive action against the Covenant threat, rather then taking it head on. I took the liberty to reporting this issue to the UNSC Security Committee, and in return was given the quest to seek out the proper soldiers for a new approach on the Covenant."

"And what approach might that be, Colonel?" Baxter questioned.

"An offensive. We believe it's about time we get back at the Covenant through a direct assault…and I think you Marines may be just right for the job."

"Why is that, sir?" Foster inquired.

"All of you posses a set of diverse talents that'd qualify you all for being a more then suitable team for the missions and tasks we have in mind. Private Baxter has proven to be one of the Marine's finest marksmen and snipers through his training. Foster, not only are you one of the most daring of soldiers, yet you seem to have retain the most information of the Covenant and therefore gives you an exceptional advantage against them. Lager's shown an extreme amount of potential in both Endurance and resisting pain and discomfort…in addition to having beaten one of our Drill Sergeant's in an arm wrestling competition, I believe. Desmond, you have made yourself become the most interactive and cooperative soldier in training making you an important element as far as teamwork in this squad. Keeping this team together and offering your all around expertise will be valuable to your comrades. And Schafer has proven to be one of the fiercest soldiers that we've seen go through boot camp and training. We've noted your passion for wanting to go out and fight these Covenant bastards, and we admire your spunk…and that spunk is something this team could use."

"And what about him?" Woodword asked, nodding towards Harley.

Procter turned to Harley whom had a sort of lost and confused look on his face as he was referenced. The Colonel smiled at the Private and recognized the recruit's credentials, "Private Harley, here, will be your designated pilot and extra gun in the field."

"Pilot?" Woodword asked, as if the Colonel was absurd.

"Sergeant, the kid was the only Marine of his platoon who was able to fly a Pelican through improvised piloting. He hadn't touched an instruction manual nor had he seen a bird in his life, and he managed to extract his platoon from a training scenario and land safely back at base."

"I'm convinced," Baxter noted, finding such works to be quite impressive for another Private.

"Anyways," Procter continued, "You seven Marines will be working, as a team, to complete the objectives that the UNSC sets for you. Your missions will prove to be rigorous at times, and may even seem suicidal…however, know that I wouldn't trust any other Marines with this then you seven. Your records and reports of you all, through boot camp and your training, shows an extreme amount of potential, skill, and ability to improvise so I'll be expecting great things from you all."

"And who will be leading this team, sir?" Foster asked.

"Me," Woodword answered sternly.

"Sergeant Woodword has seen some of the most ugliest of scenarios and been through hell and back. Woodword is one of our strongest Marines, and has proven to obtain an infinite amount of bravery and leadership when the situation has called upon it. He'll also have had the most experience out of you all, being a soldier whom served in the defense of Reach just before it was glassed."

"How'd you make it back?" Desmond questioned.

"I was forced to escort a civilian transport ship from planet to out of orbit," he growled, sounding quite disappointed.

"Now, gentleman," Procter continued, now moving behind his desk again, "This is where I ask you all, if you are all willing and brave enough to accept the proposal I have offered you all; work together and accept the missions you are assigned to. If anyone chooses to decline, please leave."

Nobody moved.

Procter smiled, "Good. Then I think Apollo Team is ready for its first task."

"Pods…" Baker murmured in horror to himself as the shrilling noise of the infamous Covenant pods came skyrocketing from the doomed heavens.

"GET TO THE TOP OF THE STAIRS AND HOLD POSITION AT THAT CAPITAL!" Screamed Baker, as the first Pod made contact just behind them, 20 feet from their position.

The Marines did the best they could to carry their own dead weight up the large sets of steps, stumbling with their heavy weapons and utility packs as they did so. Baker followed his three remaining comrades up, nearly on all fours, trying his best to get up the steps as fast as possible.

Spec ops leader, Cane' Rustuloo, erupted from his Pod with rapture into the dieing battlegrounds of this new Human environment. Cane' admitted that this arena was a bit more luscious with plantation and more uniquely architected from the others he had fought on. He took in the scenery briefly as his brethren shortly crashed to the battlefield behind.

All emerged promptly as Cane' Rustuloo examined the only sights of the enemy whom were so conveniently headed towards their target: the Capital.

He glanced behind at his team, all adorned in Steal colored Spec Ops armor; two bore Carbines while the other possessed a Particle Beam Rifle.



Baker quickly ducked as blazing shots of violent green energy pelted into his allies' limp bodies. Another two gone, while he and another continued to crawl up the stairs, keeping as cautious to the fire as possible. Baker occasionally grimaced as a few Carbine shots pierced into his own body, but hurried as best as possible to get to the destination, and to catch up with his remaining comrade.

It was then that Baker realized that the remaining Marine was the one whom possessed the AI they sought to protect and secure. At this, Baker felt compelled to rush up the steps as fast as possible, but found his luck to run out as a Covenant Sniper shot flashed through the sky and hit the Marine square in the back.

Baker urgently stumbled up the steps to get to his injured man and threw himself down upon the steps again, to check on him, hardly even paying attention to the threat behind.

Blood spurted from the Marine's mouth as his body began trembling gravely. His eyes were wide and full of fear and lost hope that struck Baker more painful then anything else.

"Kid…Kid! You gotta get up! I need you to—"

Baker's words were interrupted from a second Sniper shot, this one at him, however less accurate then the last. Flesh and blood geysered from Baker's leg from the shot and he urgently tried to keep his composure with his dieing comrade, but it was too late.

The Marine was drifting off into an inevitable, eternal slumber. Baker angrily dug his bloody hand into the Marine's pack, searching desperately for the data chip, and stuffed the AI into his pocket.

"Silly humans," growled the Spec Ops Sniper as he began aligning the crosshairs upon the last human's skull.

"Wait…" Cane' muttered, raising his arm in the air with a halting poise, "Leave this one to me."

Cane' Rustuloo slowly began striding up the awkward human steps while his prey worked his way pathetically up, leaving a fresh trail of blood behind. He kept his stride to a fairly slow pace, giving the human somewhat of a 'head start'.

Once the human reached the top of the steps Cane' reached for the handle of his Energy blade and cracked it, giving it a violent hiss of ignition; this seemed to get the human's attention.

The pathetic creature turned upon his back and gazed gravely into the Spec Ops Leader's haunting eyes. Immediately, the human went to pick up his rifle, but his attempts were pathetically thwarted as Cane' gave one swing to the human and snapped the weapon in two. Cane' continued to approach the human…

Leaving the human with no other options, it retreated, his motives clearly targeted for the Capital. Unfortunately for the human, the Capital was no longer safe.

Surrounding the human, and the Capital's entrance, had been a circle of Elites all bearing Plasma Rifles. Hovering just above were two Phantoms, cannons fixed upon the human.

Cane' Rustuloo was no stranger to the familiar smell of fear and dismay…and the odor reeked within this one horribly. The smell was not something disgusting to Cane', however, rather it was like the looming fragrance of a exotic rose in the sweet summer air, satisfying a nerved mind.

The human dropped to his knees, finally collapsing under the weight of the world, crushed by every human soul that was eradicated by their Covenant. Every soul, every mission, every ounce of hope that was lost, failed, or shattered had brought the soldier down. Cane' could tell that he no longer had meaning, no longer had sanity, no longer had potential.

And before all his brethren, he took the human by it's pathetic skull, propped it back exposing the kill zone, and brought the Blade to his throat…declaring this human as a failure.