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Glass and Steel, Part 12.5 - The End of Suffering
Posted By: Random 14-Year-Old<i-rule-2008@comcast.net>
Date: 31 March 2006, 6:26 am

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Glass and Steel

Part 12 ½ – The End of Suffering

Ren rolled over, coughing up spit and blood. His blood tasted nasty, like a cream-of-peas sandwich. No, worse than that, he thought. My blood tastes like ... blood.

Stop thinking nonsense,
he told himself. What am I going to do—lay here dying for the rest of my life? Or get up and brace myself for what I have to do?

Yeah, Ren knew what he had to do. At least, he knew what he had to not do. He could not just keep lying here in the dirt, waiting for nothing. At first he had been waiting for death, but it never came. He waited, and waited, and waited, but no matter how much he suffered he did not die.

Ren pushed himself to his knees, and raised his head to face the horizon. It was an excruciating vision, this landscape. So barren. So harsh, dead, and lifeless. Ren squinted his eyes, and rubbed them, to wipe away the tears that clouded his vision. At first he could not see anything in the sky but red haze, but before he knew it, a little pink dot appeared...

What the...

Ren watched in helpless horror as the Covenant carrier ship moved closer and closer, its bulbous purple curves becoming sharper in his vision. It was moving directly at him—

Why is it moving directly at me—?

Ren tried to crawl backward, even though he knew there was nothing to hide behind, nothing to cover himself—it had all been destroyed by the plasma shockwaves. But Ren tried to escape anyway; every inch he moved backward was one more inch he distanced himself from the monster that hovered above the horizon.

Ren forced himself to stand up, and run—the great fear that he had for the Covenant ship far exceeded his agonizing pain. His bones already weakened, they began to shatter with each step he took. Ren continued to run, not looking back—


Ren toppled over, screaming in horrible misery. Each of his legs had broken apart, their structure destroyed. Now that his bones were in several pieces, the only thing that kept his feet connected to his knees was a web of torn muscles that also threatened to tear apart.

Ren heard a terrible humming sound—and he looked up.


A pink beam shot down from the underside of the ship. Ren braced for the unbearable plasma blast—but when the beam surrounded him, he felt nothing. About to breathe a sigh of relief, Ren felt his body becoming weightless. His stomach grew nauseous, and he vomited.

Ren's body lifted off the ground, and he began to float upwards, through the pink beam. His legs—if you could still call them that—hurt more than ever now, since his feet were now hanging by the threads of his flesh.

And his flesh snapped.

Ren screamed, and he looked down to see his feet—and his blood—falling back to the ground. The lifeless flesh hit the ground with a dull thud.

But what was left of Ren's body still floated upwards in the pink beam. What was left of his body. His skin had burned off in the plasma waves. His flesh and muscles had melted away. Several of his bones had cracked and were now sticking out in the wrong places. And now his feet had fallen off.

Ren looked up into the dark interior of the Covenant ship, a strange feeling coming over him. He was going to fight this evil.

And no longer would he be fighting to avenge the death of Luther. No—the Covenant were seizing him specifically. This had become a personal vendetta.

Heart Embraced Ren, Evil Begat Evil, Greatness In Nothingness, Saving Ariana, Personal Rampages, Instilled Love, Facts, Opinions, Oppressing Lies—Enraged, Ren Yells.

Ren woke up to a prickling sensation across his body. It felt like his muscles had gone into spaz-mode or something. He was laying down, on some sort of hard metal surface. When he opened his eyes, Ren found himself inside a dark room, dimly lit by faint purple lights that blinked on the walls.

"Wort, wort, wort!"

Ren jumped instantly. He didn't realize he had been bound by chains until after he had broken them. He flew off the alien medical table before he even realized it was a medical table at all. Ren didn't ask questions—right now he was going to fight, and questions could be saved for later.

Ren lunged at the alien nearest him—he wasn't sure if there were more in the vicinity, but he was starting with this bastard right here. Despite the dim lighting, Ren's eyes were extremely sharp, and he focused his attention on the alien's grotesque figure. In just moments, and after Ren had landed five pinpoint precision punches into the alien's gut, he watched as the alien fell to the ground, dead.


Ren looked at his hands. A shiny blue material covered his hands, like strange gloves. And his body—whoa. The same strange material covered his body, like a high-tech suit. Or armor—

Ren heard a sound. It was so distant he almost thought it was his imagination. But he could tell—somehow—that the sound was outside the door, a few meters to the left, and inside the room two doors down.

"... awake ... impossible ... mere infidel ..."

The monster's voice rang crisply in Ren's ears. He looked down at his body again. What had happened while he was unconscious? How had he recovered from his wounds so quickly?

And how—how—was he so strong now, and so able?

And one more thing—why was a voice in the back of his head talking to him?

"Calm down, child. Calm down."

"Who the hell are you?" Ren demanded, speaking for the first time since he woke up. His throat was clear and fresh.

"I am Purity, an AI that has been implanted in your neural brainwaves. Please, calm down. Your heart rate is skyrocketing."

"What the—what the fuck—my brainwaves—?"

"Child. Calm down."

Ren tried to ignore the voice. Maybe it would go away. Maybe Ren was just insane, driven to the edge by the recent events. He began to calm down...

"There! Do not let him move!" a Covenant Elite roared when it stepped in the doorway. It pointed its knobby finger straight at Ren.

Ren lost his calm all over again. He was about to lunge forward to strike the alien when—

"Stop!" the voice said. "Do not move—let them help you. Let them make you stronger."

Ren froze. He stumbled backward, and slammed against the wall. He couldn't move—his muscles had shut down. He gritted his teeth and tried to lift his arm, but only his finger moved, slightly twitching.

"That's better, child."

The Elite advanced into the room, its plasma rifle pointed at Ren's head.

"Stop calling me child."

The Elite reached down to grab Ren.

"That's... better..."


Ren burst out of the control of the alien AI and sprang to his feet. He could hear the AI screaming in his head, apparently frustrated that it had lost control. With complete authority over his body once again, Ren made a mad dash for the exit, slamming the Elite out of his way. He rounded the corner before the alien could retaliate, and sprinted through the eerie hallway.

He ran for several minutes before he reached a massive glowing entryway, its pulsing violet lights immersing Ren in awe. The entryway opened, and Ren saw what was obviously the control room.

Howard Gaffer stood at the foot of a pedestal, his hand resting upon a bright blue sensor.

"What—you?" Ren muttered. He tore off the helmet he just now realized he had been wearing the entire time.

Howard turned his head, and stared blankly, unsurprisingly, at Ren.

"What are you doing here?" Ren said, suddenly feeling out of breath. "What the hell is going on?"

Howard grinned. His fingers twitched—and the blue sensor on the pedestal flickered.

"H—how did you get here—" Ren whispered. "Where are we—is this a Covenant ship?"

Howard opened his mouth. "This is not the time for questions, Ren. Not now. This is the time for revenge. For retribution. For justice."

Ren felt his body moving forward—his instinct, his feelings, his muscles—every part of him was screaming—he had to stop Howard—

But the maniac let his hand glide over the blue sensor, and it turned red—then the pedestal, and then the whole room glowed with a deep, blood red.

"We are beggars, Ren."

The explosion incinerated everything.

Even Ren's soul—finally, he was dead. Life was chaos—death meant peace.