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Fan Fiction

Project: PEGASUS; Revelation
Posted By: (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher<rabid_masterchief@hotmail.com>
Date: 3 April 2009, 2:46 am

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Against the background of the city, Master Gunnery Sergeant Stacker was rubbing his temple as he leant against the side of a destroyed guard station, the insides of the four-walled shack rubbled out and obliterated from an artillery shell. The insides of the walls were blackened by the explosion, and virtually nothing but the flickering, damaged holo-screen of a computer was in there. Around him was his platoon, twenty one badass Shock Troopers who wanted nothing more than to kick some mercenary ass and take their women as their own. The aged trooper, one of the few who survived both Delta Halo and the Ark, was now feeling the eyes of his privates and sergeants on him.

Truth be told, he himself felt the air of invincibility around him.

“Master Guns, what are we doing?”

That came from his Master Sergeant, who was sitting next to his squad in an unorganized position. However, Lieutenant Henry Rojas spoke up first, looking at the giant, white complex in front of the platoon. The massive size of the building was not the majority of the facility: Most of the actual testing sites and other facilities were located underground, deep underneath the white ‘research’ complex.

“We’re waiting for the SPECTRE group to get here, then we’re escorting them inside.”

Top just shook his head and sat back down with his squad, not content to waiting. In the background of the foggy morning, distant gunfire and explosions could be heard, along with the crumbling of buildings and the screams of human, both men and women. Against the silent night stood the voices of men and death, and that was what made Pete Stacker actually fear: Not of his own death or his own short comings, but those haunting dreams, the menstruations of evil, the commonality of human nature itself.

Death and Stacker dance often, but they certainly don’t dance the frequent samba.

He heard the rumbling of an engine, that hard boiled sound of grinding and cranking of a Warthog. He turned his head, and in the background of darkness stood two beams of light, powerful but benign in their brightness. The vehicle’s outline came more into focus, the seemingly sleek but rough edges appeared out, and Stacker was confused at the last thought in his head. How can something both have that feature? A rough outline, but a sleek surface, it was indeed something of an enigma in its design. The lights burned out, deactivated by the driver himself, and the black-armored figure of the driver then jumped out of the seat, walking towards Lieutenant Rojas. The engine still ran.

“Lieutenant Rojas? Commander Harrison. I’m the SPECTRE Second Team Leader. Are you the supporting ODST platoon?”

“Yes, Commander. Once Alpha Company gets here, we’ll move out. But I’d rather wait until Echo Company’s tanks get here.”

“They got armored support?”

“Yes, sir, they got support. Mostly armored personnel carriers or IFVs, but I’d wait for our tanks to take care of them.”

The cool-blooded SPECTRE operative merely seemed to take this knowledge in stride, turning her armored head over to the rest of the warthog, making no sound but the other three soldiers immediately jumping out of the vehicle, the Warthog’s engine cutting out as it shut off its hydraulic system. They were, all three of them, of discerning height, but the shortest of the four was no higher than six foot. Each had an assortment of weapons on them, but their ‘normal’ weapons, the ones in their hands at the present, were seemingly standard issue.

Suddenly, the radio on Private Zaragoza flared to life.

Fox Two Alpha, this is Nightbringer, over.

Captain Fox, who had remained quiet and working with Zaragoza on relaying orders to other platoons, grabbed the receiver.

“Nightbringer, this is Fox Two Alpha. Read you, over.”

Fox Two Alpha, I got Hitman clearance you requested an hour ago. Still have those laser designators, over?

“Roger, Nightbringer, I have laser. How many flybys?”

Many as needed. All Longsword flights are in coordinates three, seven, six, alpha…break.

Captain Fox was typing down the coordinates on his wrist computer.

…foxtrot. 12 bombers ready to roll. Seems you got Red clearance, over.

The Captain turned to Rojas with a confused look, apparently this was the first time he ever had that type of clearance.

“Uh, roger that Nightbringer. Fox Two Alpha out.”

The line cut, to which Captain Fox turned to Rojas.

“Lieutenant, get a designator on that motor pool.”

“Yes, sir.”

OPR1: This is Lieutenant Edelweiss, report.
SPEC1: Wolf, here. We’re waiting for air strike.
SPEC2: Stryker, here. We’ve secured the river base, and our escape vehicles are ready. Recap mission objectives, sir.
OPR1: Capture any intel you can, liberate the complex, and kill any mercenary…
SPEC1: Sir, about that…
OPR1: What, Wolf?
SPEC1: Even for mercenaries, these guys seem way too organized. They’re fighting the ODSTs tooth to tooth, kinda like Army or Marine regulars.
OPR1: Understood. I’ve already sent inquires about the mercs, but I’ve got no reply. Seems TOUCHDOWN won’t answer my calls.
SPEC2: Where’s the Colonel?
OPR1: Again, TOUCHDOWN won’t answer my calls.
SPEC1: You think Colonel Ackerson cut us off again?
OPR1: No, this is different…This is very different.
SPEC1: Update: I hear Longswords. About to begin operation.
OPR1: Roger that.

The explosion ripped through the Motor Pool, causing one Warthog to burst into flames, high in the air before smashing into the already collapsing ceiling. A nearby Scorpion tank with the mercenary colors turned its turret onto the Gauss-carrying Warthog, a huge HE round smacked into the side of the vehicle, causing it to flip into the air as it rippled through with a series of explosions.

“Move, move, move!” The voice of Captain Bannon roared through the comms on all of Alpha Company, the commanding officer of the armored company rolling through an attempted blockade made by two Warthogs. The tank’s treads plowed into the vehicles, flipping them away from his tank as the Captain pressed forward. His tank’s turret swerved and fired, the AP round aimed straight for the mercenary tank that was coming closer. The round penetrated the cockpit of the Scorpion, causing the pilot and the gunner to become jelly, blood exploding outwards from the tank.

“Target dope!”

“Sir, APC, northwest, AT.” The voice of his driver, Lieutenant

“Roger! Northwest, AT, confirmed! Locked on!”


The shell shot through the barrel at a frightening speed, smacking into the side of the Gauss Cannon APC that was rolling towards them. The AP round burst into the troop bay and exploded, killing most of the mercenary occupants inside the troop bay, the APC now a rolling husk.

“Anti-tank APC destroyed. Target dope!”

“Hold on…Only Warthogs. They’re retreating to the River Base.”

“Ooh rah! Ground-pounders moving in?”

“Yes, sir. But only on this side.”

Captain Bannon turned the turret forward, facing the bow of the tank.

“Why only this side?” Why not strike through both?”

“We don’t have enough men to hold off the reinforcements.”

“What?! Why?!”

“They took out the Latinas.”

The Resurgence was the first ship of its kind.

Modeled on the hull of a Marathon-class Cruiser, the Resurgence was made for only two purposes.

War, being the most obvious, but its other primary function was electronic and high-to-low wave frequency warfare.

The cruiser had numerous, smooth bubbles across its surface, littered with anti-fighter weapons and missile pods all upon the hull of the ship. The MAC cannon on the bow of the ship was high-powered, with nuclear warhead rounds and other such weapons that were banned by the UNSC almost two hundred years prior. The pods that held the ECM would glow blue when activated, the radiation was causing it to pulsate. It was a one-of-a-kind ship, and with a single-minded political crew, it was unstoppable.

The Captain of the Resurgence was Lambert’s aide de camp, a man by the name of William ‘Majestic’ Portnier. With the UNSC rank of Captain, he commanded his vessel with a quiet, but stern, outlook. Sitting on the bridge of the vessel, he gazed at the destruction that his ship had just caused.

A body smacked into the reinforced glass viewport in front of him, catching him off guard. For a second, before the body flew off of his vessel into space, he recognized the only the name and rank of the person, for his face was distorted and destroyed. It was Captain August, and he was dead.

A smile came across the Resurgence’s Captain, a face that held so much honor and courage within its vestige, a quality that Captain August found so fearing; how could someone who’s killing people in the name of rebellion after interstellar war be so close to the Core Values?

It scared some people.

The other ships escorting the Resurgence were not nearby, instead searching the system for any sign of the Orpheus.

“Sir, incoming message from General Lambert!”

The comm. officer got the Captain’s attention. He turned his face towards the Lieutenant, his cold green eyes catching the Lieutenant off-guard. His face was clean-shaven, but gaunt; pale skin was a common feature for him in the rigors of space combat. His eyes reflected a glow that could stop men dead in the tracks.

Captain Portnier. How easy was it?

Lambert didn’t need to elaborate.

“Hard, sir. Be that as they allowed countless atrocities by their own hand, I still cannot kill a human easily.”

Let’s hope this stops here. Is the army still hold up on Cerberus?

“Yes, sir. Our newfound ally has them still bottled up on the planet.”

Good. It’s amazing to threat someone’s wife and then to simply convince them that you’re right…They fold too easily. I can’t believe we got a high-ranking ONI specialist on our side…the Colonel will make a fine addition to the Order…more so than the hired guns. Those mercenaries were not from our mold, be there abilities frighteningly…strong. And Doctor Aximus?

“He’s there as well. Too bad the recording was fake; he is proving to be more than a little bit of trouble.”

If they see him alive, then they will suspect foul play…I do not doubt the UNSC will kill them. I expect you here soon, Captain. We are about to launch the endgame.

“Yes, sir.”

Lambert out.

OPR1: This is Den Mother. Wolf, report.
SPEC1: This is Wolf, we’re inside. We’re passing through Biogenetics and deeper into the Science Wing. How’s Stryker?
OPR1: She’s under fire right now at the river base, but your extraction is still green. Getting off planet is another problem.
SPEC1: Why, what’s the matter?
OPR1: The Latinas was destroyed. The Insurrectionist Fleet had a Marathon, some sort of ECM ship with added firepower, easily dispatched her. The Orpheus is on the run, playing cloak and dagger games with them.
SPEC1: What’s going on? There’s no way this is a planet rebelling…What’s happening on Earth?
OPR1: ONI hasn’t been answering my calls. I’m working with Colonel Dobbs…He’s on Hades Secundus, still working hard on getting a connection, but we’re being blocked…
SPEC1: You thinkin’ Ackerson?
OPR1: It has to be…In the meantime, secure Doctor Aximus’ office…Wolf, I got a bad feeling about this mission. Have you seen Hans or Doctor Aximus at all? Not to mention these so-called clone troopers?
SPEC1: No…And Hideaki didn’t see anything like that on the secure systems either. It’s like they don’t exist, sir. That scares me. Lieutenant Eldeweiss…what do you think?
OPR1:…I don’t like this…Just secure the room, grab intel, and then get out of there.
SPEC1: Yes sir. Wolf out.

Doctor Nathaniel Aximus was the key.

He realized when Lambert requested his help that he had ultimate power in the course of this conflict. Working tirelessly, he had finished what he had to build, and now they were keeping him alive in his office, feeding and drinking him. He was forty-five, with a bald head and black skin, a trait still not common after five hundred years of inter-racial aspects being driven into the scientific community.

At least, in astro-communication.

He was sitting at his desk writing down memos to the rest of his staff about the objective that they need to fill. His hands softly worked over a stylus and pad, writing down the information carefully and slowly, having no need to rush to get the information out to his team. He had no doubt the UNSC found it fishy that a Doctor had direct access to the failed CYGNUS program forty years ago; he himself found the actual program to be funny, but the backdrop that a bunch of cloned soldiers rebelling with a SPECTRE team leader was too much to resist.

And they fell for the trap.

He turned his head over to the picture of him and his father at his graduation from the University of Luna, and he smiled, before he continued to write.

As he thought more about General Augustus Lambert and how he had duped the UNSC, he himself began to think it was a mistake.

He was not a political science major, but he did understand the effects of what was happening. Any sort of alien race could take this opportunity and attack them, but he knew how the UN worked in the first place. How could someone even think about killing another human over politics?

He thought the whole matter to be silly on Lambert’s part, to be truthful.

He stopped writing; the realization that he needed to urinate was almost too much to handle, and he knew he needed to act fast.

He stood up and walked around his desk to the front of his office, opening the door.

In front of the door were three dead mercenaries, very bloody, their black uniforms stained by red. Standing directly in front of the door was a man in heavy armor, but it appeared slim around his waist, his helmet reminding the Doctor of pilot helmets. It was black, with UNSC armor identification symbols on the left pauldron, with the legs being slim as well. It looked skin tight, but it looked powerful, judging by how much scarring there was.

“Get the fuck inside!” The armored soldier said through a female tone, and a heavy accent. Nathaniel did not waste time, running right back in. He feared it was the UNSC, but he was downright horrified at the thought that this could be SPECTRE.

Three other soldiers followed her inside.

The tallest one spoke first to the Doctor.

“I’m Lieutenant Commander Henderson, of the UNSC. Who are you?”

He breathed in, thinking for a second. One of them didn’t have a weapon in his hand, only a knife, and it was bloody…If they found out he lied, he didn’t want to deal with the menacing looking SPECTRE. Already, one of them ran to his computer and started to work as he attached a wire to his wrist-computer, with the female checking the room for something. That left this Commander Henderson and the other SPECTRE with the knife…Great.

“I’m Doctor Nathaniel Aximus, PhD in Astro-Communication and electronic intermission phase technology.”

“Bullshit.” The SPECTRE at the computer said, looking up from the data.

“You’re the Doctor who reported the distress call. Where’s Hans?”

Oh, they want him. Thank god.

“He’s on the Resurgence with Captain Portnier. They’ve captured a few ODST troopers as reassurance. You know, Ark Mission Heroes. They’re going to Earth and forcefully remove the Chairman of the UN and replace it with a military oligarchy.”

Wolf and the other SPECTRE looked at each like they found out who killed Cock Robin.

“Lanner, Samurai; Cormorant and I will head for Communications, see if we can warn Earth and Gallagher. You too, head to the river exit. We’ll meet you there.”

“Yes, sir!”

Wolf turned to look at the Doctor, closing the distance between him and the man.

“If you’re lying, I’ll send you to Section Three. You do know they don’t fall under the Articles of Interrogation, right?”

Doctor Aximus immediately regretted having ever sided with Lambert.

A Warthog exploded.

Commander Harrison, given command of the SPECTRE Ground Teams and the rank that had to follow with that, cursed as she ducked, with her fellow operatives around her. They had their backs to the river, their evacuation boat already sunk by the anti-vehicle rockets that the mercenaries had. A tipped-over forklift was providing cover for not her, but for the senior enlisted man for the Orbital Drop and Shock Trooper detachment covering them; Master Gunnery Sergeant Pete Stacker.

“We’re under heavy fire, Commander! My men are low on gun juice!” He said over the mercenary fire, letting loose with his MA5C ICWS over the forklift’s side, his blind fire not scoring any sort of kill. Next to the forklift was a pile of heavy, titanium shipping containers; the rest of the surviving ODST detachment and the three other SPECTRE team members that comprised the Recon Team. The sun was gone, replaced by black skies and two moons obscured by the cloud-cover.

zzt! This is Reynolds. I’m bringing in cavalry.

“Friend of yours?” Stryker asked, her Scottish accent almost ear-catching over the gunfire. Stacker stuck his shoulder into the forklift.

“He’s got a Warthog Double Tee squad with some more of my boys. Damn…I wish I had Farrior here.” He said to himself as he watched an ODST struck with a shoulder wound wallow against the container, looking around for a medic.

Across the fifty foot stretch of no man’s land, and in front of the docking facility, there was a slight road that led up to the base camp. In the distance, Stacker began to see the small convoy of Troop Transports. They were a mixed unit, with many black armored ODSTs as there were Marines, but the Warthogs continued their journey, covered by hills.

But that’s when it went to Hell.

Rebecca tore her head up from cover to catch a glimpse at the enemy line; with the backdrop of the square military-eqse guardhouse, and against the covered filled areas where the mercenaries waited, there was a man in black armor not like the ODSTs. Darker, and full encompassing, it rivaled the aura that was the SPARTAN armor as well.

It was a SPECTRE.

“William.” She whispered.

“What, Commander?!”

“SPECTRE! Eagle, Raven, all of you, get down!” Harrison screamed into her communicator, trying her best to sound-out over the fire. The two SPECTRE agents who were named immediately jumped down onto the ground, going quickly into the prone position. However, one of the SPECTREs did not hear her, or maybe didn’t register her words. Either way, it didn’t matter.

Lieutenant William Holtz, the leader of SPECTRE Team Four, fired a round from his M99.

The SPECTREs head exploded. Bloody parts flew around all over the ODST troops, covering them in blood as the SPECTRE’s body slumped to the ground.

Harrison growled.

“God damn you, William!” She screamed, causing him to look towards the forklift with his M99, lowering it for a second.

The firing stopped as he raised his hand, making his sign to stop firing, staring out across the fifty foot no man’s land.

“You just killed Bear! You fucking trained him in GHOSTTOWN!” She screamed, making mention of the Special Operations group basic training, raising her head over the forklift, followed by her body. The ODSTs and the two other SPECTREs stopped their assault as well, watching the dialogue between the two.

“It was necessary, Rebecca.” His voice was downright quiet, speaking over the comm. system rather than yelling, like Stryker was.

“Why are you betraying the thing we fought for, for so long?! Why are you killing your own brothers and sisters, William!?”

“It’s hard, Rebecca. But justified. Ask Lord Hood about the combat on Negramore, or the fighting around Arsana. General Lambert showed me what was going on, and then I showed Hans. We’re firm believers in the Insurrectionists, now that we realized what we’ve been fighting for is wrong…Wholly wrong. I’m not fighting for a government that takes kids and turns them into…monsters.”

Rebecca growled as the stalemate continued.

“I’m not betraying my honor, Stryker. I’m done fighting for corruption. I stayed in there for the War, but now, it needs to stop.”

“William…The UNSC is my honor. It’s OUR honor. And you dare to tell me that you’re justifying murdering your own brothers and sisters for honor?! You’re not a SPECTRE…you’re a monster.”

Stacker held up his index finger, signaling one minute.

“I’m not fighting you, Stryker. Bear was a loss. But a necessary one.”

He turned, and ran out of the area, the mercenaries resuming fire.

“Dammit, he’s getting away! Master Guns, can you give me an escort to take him out?” She screamed over the resuming fire, the SPECTRE agents behind the shipping container prepping a make-shift weapon. Stacker gave her a hard glare through his visor, his face hidden but the stare and stillness of his head gave that impression. He was sent to capture and hold the extraction point, but now this seemed to contradict the orders from Hood himself. But still, this had to take precedence. The elimination of the leadership was important.

And offing one SPECTRE agent in supped-up power armor would help.

“I’ll come with you. But we wait until Reynolds’ reinforcements are here.” He spoke, his voice carrying over, firing off potshots with his BR55. Rebecca shoved her shoulder into the forklift and began to push, making more room for herself.

The Warthogs plowed through the barbed-wire entrance to the small compound, assault rifle fire raining from the troop compartments onto the mercenary positions. Timed fire began to lace through their cover, and rockets blasted from some of the Marines and ODSTs. Mercenaries screamed as they were ripped to shreds or thrown into the sky. They panicked. They fell into disarray.

“Move!” Rebecca screamed.

Stacker wished he had stayed home.

Ackerson couldn’t believe what he was doing.

He was going against every single principle in the name of the UNSC to do what he felt was right.

This needed to happen.

He continued to whisper that, to justify himself, as he walked the busy hallways of NavSpecWar in ONI headquarters. He wasn’t dressed in his normal dress greens, but the onimus look of his camoflauge BDUs, the digital MARPAT noticeably standing out in the hallway, not to mention the M6D Standard Pistol on his hostler, a deadly look in his eyes as he walked towards Colonel Gallagher’s office, ignoring the rest of the eyes staring at him.

This was for the good of humanity.

He stopped at the entrance, knocking on the door three times, the force hard and tough.

“This is Colonel Ackerson. Open up!”

No answer.

“Colonel Gallagher, you have two seconds to open your door.”

No answer.

“Dammit.” Ackerson yelled as he turned his head to look down the beige hallway, people shuffling out of it. His eyes locked with a security guard, and with a little wave of his hand the security guard sprinted over, across the hallway, to Ackerson.

“Sergeant…Wayland. I need you to open this door.”

“Need a reason, Colonel.”


The Sergeant immediately pulled out his ID card and swiped it against the door lock. The doors opened at their regular pace, giving off the hint that they were not tampered with. Ackerson let the other man follow him into the office, his sidearm at his side, with the guard’s securely locked into his holster. There was no secretary, nor was their any hint that Gallagher had been in that day.


“Colonel, you said treason?”

“I’ll put out an order. You stay here and guard this fucking door. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

Ackerson walked with a quickness in his step out of the office towards his own, his mind on a one-way track to it. He holstered his sidearm and continued to walk, even with all of the looks he was gathering from the people in the hallway. He didn’t care anymore. He had to do what he thought was right, and this was the only way.

He walked into the room before his office, his secretary looking up at him.

It was Miranda today.

“Sir, you have two calls and a man was looking for you.”

“I’m busy, Miranda, but thank you. Delete the calls unless they’re from Admiral Hood. I’m not available, otherwise.”

“Yes, sir.”

And then Ackerson shut himself out from the rest of the Pentagon, trying to secure a channel to his now-close ally...

William was backed up against the wall, the two commandos in front of him, blocking him into a corner. The SPECTRE, in the same armor as Rebecca, was hunched over, his hands curled, ready to strike at either the ODST or his friend, his eyes hidden but possessing a hungry quality. He could see the details of Rebecca’s battle rifle, the intricate notches on the ODST’s rifle butt.

He could see…and quickly.

“This is it, William. The penalty for treason is death.”

“You cold-blooded whore…” He whispered, his hand reaching up for his helmet, attempting to push on his forehead, wincing behind his visor. He clenched his teeth as he felt a ball of pain rush into his head, falling to his knees. He was screaming, pulling his helmet off, revealing his unnatural pale skin. His screams were blood curdling, his eyes staring, closing tightly with a sudden movement, blood dripping out of his nose. He threw up whatever he had for lunch in front of him.

“William! What’s wrong?!”

He didn’t have much time. He looked up, coughing, speaking softly but slowly.

“Implants…Hans…all of us…”

Rebecca lowered her weapon and took a step forward. The pain disengaged, snapping back to reality. His movements were sudden and sharp, allowing William to growl and stand up, rushing to Harrison in the blink of an eye. Stacker barely moved his barrel when he grabbed ahold of the rifle, attempting to twist it towards Rebecca, but she fought on, and it was a stalemate, the rifle between them facing the ceiling, the rifle finally trained on William, but he held the trigger.

William kicked his left leg up, slamming into her gut, growling, twisting the rifle back her way, squeezing the trigger. A snapshot. She twisted her body in mid-fall, rolling and punching him in the stomach as he attempted to bring it back on her. The strength of her arm, and her natural speed, forced him to let go of the rifle. It fell to the ground, Stacker amazed.

They were moving fast, even for Stacker’s eyes.

William punched her in the chest, forcing her back, taking a step forward. Rebecca rolled backwards, picking up the Battle Rifle, and trying to bar it on William. The fast SPECTRE agent closed the distance in the blink of an eye, his hands on the rifle.

They both grunted, trying to push the barrel towards each other, but Rebecca was slowly gaining ground. William looked at her, still fighting, but the horrible gaze was enough. It was sad.

She pushed it far enough.

He pushed it back.

Stacker had his rifle trained on the group, his hands holding it carefully to stop his shaky hands. He fought with SPECTREs before, but he never noticed how fast they fought. Their reflexes, to Master Guns, was more quick and responsive than John 117’s. He saw how quick their arms moved and locked, trying to get the barrel to point at someone. Rebecca had the upper hand, sliding her leg forward and connecting with his knee on his right leg, bringing him down to one knee, the barrel now pushing into his forehead.


She squeezed the trigger, the bullet flying off away.

They still fought, the look in his eyes screaming. He did not need to speak as he still fought Rebecca for the control of the gun.

“Help me…” He whispered, staring into her eyes. He did not plead just with his mouth, but his eyes did it as well. A cast of purple and blue met on a battlefield, both of them fighting.

“DO IT!” His scream was loud, but sad.

She whispered back.

“I’m sorry…”

She squeezed the trigger.

The body in the armor slumped to the floor, blood oozing out of the neck, the head open and the blank expression not unlike the old William. Rebecca was afraid, because this wasn’t anything like William. The veteran UNSC Scout Sniper would never of betrayed the very thing he swore to protect. Stacker released his breath, his eyes trained on Rebecca. He saw some shit in his life as a Marine, but he never saw two humans fight so quick.

“…What did he mean, implants?” He asked, slowly kneeling to the ground, his hands touching something odd looking with the mess of blood and meat that exited the wound in the warrior’s neck. When he touched it, he felt the plastic texture, and how…alien…it felt to touch it.

Rebecca turned her head, holding her rifle now at the right pace, taking her time to speak, holding back the tears of a fallen comrade.

“Maybe that’s why he did this…it wasn’t his choice.”

Master Gunnery Sergeant Stacker took another at the body.

“I don’t know. We need to get back to the river.”

Lambert smiled as he sat down in front of the viewscreen. He had a three-way connection to the Captain and the Colonel, and he had everything ready.

The Captain’s face appeared first, after a few seconds, the grizzly look that appeared to be a trait among Lambert’s clan. Then came the Colonel’s, clean-shaven and appearing normal, his eyes holding that glare of importance. Both of them looked like they were having hard days.

“Captain Portnier. Anything new to report?”

The Marines and ODSTs wiped out the rest of the resistance forces. I took all of the forces I could from the planet before I left. Captain Vaiter is giving me a hell of a lot of trouble. We’re between Alpha Centauri and Earth right now. We’ll be back at Earth in about a few days times, four max.

“And Colonel?”

The rat got away again. He wasn’t in his office today. Otherwise, I managed to force an order onto Vaiter to keep her ship and the rest of the soldiers on Cerberus in that system. Pulled a lot of strings for that one, General.

“And I do not regret that, Colonel.”

I have to tend to my ship, General. Until I see you on Earth. Captain William Austin Portnier out.

The Captain disappeared, allowing the Colonel’s face to take all of Lambert’s attention.

“What about SPECTRE?”

Trust me, I got them under my finger.

“I trust you with that. I have to go as well, Colonel. Keep up the good work.”

I will, General.

The Colonel smiled, and saluted the screen, a fashion that spoke of respect and honor. His eyes were understanding, and the way he spoke told Lambert he was glad to be working with him.

Colonel Robert Anthony Gallagher out.