Note: It is highly suggested you read 2632:Prologue before reading this section.
0300 HOURS, OCTOBER 17, 2632 (MILITARY CALENDAR)/
ABOARD COVENANT CRUISER UNMOVING FAITH
INTERSTELLAR SPACE, SECTOR Y-366
Jen fell to the floor of the massive hangar, her vision becoming momentarily blurred by the impact. She lay a moment, trying to come to her senses. A large, darkened shape appeared over her. Her mind was working at the proper responses but her body and muscles refused to respond. The large figure bent down and jammed something into her neck. She could feel a sharp point pierce her skin. Darkness encroached at the edges of her vision. Jen struggled, attempting in vain to fight it back. Slowly, more of her vision began to fade to black, until eventually there was but a small spot of light. She felt, rather than saw, the presence of more brutes. There tones echoed through her mind as it slipped into the shadows. All was dark and her mind clouded over.
Rafas, the brute pack leader, stood over the body of the fallen demon. He looked at the red stripe around the demon's arm and thigh. Rafas grunted in thought.
"Let us kill it!" said one of the lesser brutes.
"No, it lives. We must keep it to study it. Up till now we have not defeated one in combat. We must learn their secrets," replied Rafas. The younger brute began to argue but was silenced by Rafas' held-up paw. "The decision is final! It lives
for now." With a guttural grunt he motioned the body to be carried away.
The three lesser brutes grabbed the body, one at each leg and one carrying her by the shoulders. The view of the hangar was sobering and enraging all at once. Bodies of grunts, jackals, and, most importantly, brutes littered the floor. In one aspect the brutes were sorrowful at the death of their comrades and at the same time extremely angered by the cowardice shown by their fleeing enemies. They wanted revenge, now, but orders were orders and if they killed this demon they would be killed by Rafas. Unless
they were protecting themselves. Oh, it would be all too easy.
The double doors slid open revealing an open hallway, leading to a lift. This lift was of old technology, like the rest of the ship, and was much like a human elevator. They carried the body down the hall, planning the story of the demon's death. The brutes paused before going on to the lift.
"Our pack leader will be waiting for us at the top; he has been informed of the demon's capture. We must act quickly. Rafas was quick to tell him. The Chieftain will be angered but he will understand that we had to kill it," said the ring leader of the brutes. The other brutes nodded in agreement. The brute holding Jen's shoulder's turned to punch the switch to bring the lift down.
Jen watched from half-open eyes and listened through half-deafened ears as the brutes plotted her demise. Oh, no you don't, she thought. Timing her action, she waited till the lead brute had turned to summon the lift. Quickly, her hands, obeying her now, flew to her thighs, pulling two magnums off of them. She raised the pistols at the two brutes hefting her legs, which had still barely had time to register any action at all. Two shots rang out and the heavy .50 caliber slugs rammed into the brutes' skulls. The brutes' shields had been down because the fighting had ceased and the rounds easily penetrated their thick skulls. The bodies fell away, releasing Jen's legs. The last brute let go of her shoulders as it tried to react. Jen was too quick and slammed the grip of the pistol into its temple as she climbed to her feet. The unshielded brute crumpled to the floor, lifeless. Jen stepped over the dead body and into the lift. The Chieftain was about to get a rude surprise.
The Chieftain stepped to the double doors of the lift. He could here it rising rapidly upwards. With a "ding" the doors parted. The lift was empty. The Chieftain grunted in confusion and stepped forward. A black arm extended around the corner of the lift. The Chieftain barely had time to reach for his war hammer before the object impacted him in the face.
Jen felt the thud as the spike grenade plunged into the brute's face. She spun around the corner and sprinted forward, shoving the brute into the lift. The door closed and she heard the dull thump of the grenade detonating within. On the floor lay the brute's powerful hammer. She hefted the hammer and stuck it to her back via the magnetic weapon holding system. Ahead of her she could see the control room, and for the first time noticed just how many beings were staring at her.
At first the brutes just stared in amazement. Stunned both by the death of their leader and the sudden appearance of a threat. It did not take them long to regain their composure and mount an attack. They had to defend the control room at all costs. It appeared as though another enemy detachment of demons had breached their engine room while they had been distracted by the demons in the hangar.
Jen's heart skipped a beat as she realized what faced her. She turned and tried to re-enter the lift, but the quick actions of a brute in the control room had sealed it off. Glancing quickly around, she tried to assess another route of escape and much to her dismay found none. There was no way out of this one, she was going to go down and take as many with her as possible.
The first brutes began to pour down the hall, screaming and charging blindly. Jen calmed her nerves and opened fire with her M6 Magnums. These brutes had their shields activated and it was much more difficult to bring them down. She held off the first rush firing controlled and aimed shots to the head, dropping their shields quickly and finishing them with a single shot. The remaining brutes, more than twice what she had already faced, stared in anger as this single demon gunned down their comrades. Jen reloaded her magazines and could hear the brutes communicating with one another. She wasn't about to let them get coordinated. With the new clips secured in her pistols, she sprinted forward. Startled, the brutes did the only thing they could
Jen dropped the brutes one by one as she and the brutes both ran toward each other. As the magnums clicked on empty and the slides locked back, Jen dropped them to the floor. She grabbed her last spike grenade and hurled it into the next brute in line, whom she shoved out of the way as she sprinted into the control room. At the same time, she pulled the war hammer off her back, locking her eyes on a brute in gold armor who was the second in command. A brute wearing blue armor stepped out from behind a corner coming between Jen and the gold armored brute. She swung the hammer into its torso, smashing it to bloody paste. In the same fluid motion she dropped the unwieldy weapon and pulled a combat knife from her belt. The force of the hammer reverberated, dropping her shields partially. The gold armored brute drew a spiker and unleashed a volley of spikes at the charging demon.
Jen leaped into the air, flying straight for the brute, whose spikes now collapsed her shield. The impact of the Spartan dropped the brute's shields and the knife penetrated through its throat. The brute slammed backwards into the control room's dash, Jen braced against the brute. There heads were now but an inch apart and Jen stared into its mean eyes. She felt a weird pain in her gut as the brute let out a low moan. The moan rose in a crescendo to a deafening roar. Jen's audio input sensors automatically dulled to prevent her from going deaf.
Time seemed to stop for a full second before Jen was flying through the air. The brute launched her away towards the wall, climbing off the dash. It ripped the knife from its throat, letting blood squirt out onto the floor.
Jen crashed into the wall and slid to the floor. She blinked her eyes open; the brute was shaking its head and growling. Her left hand reached out for a chair to help pull her up. The brute looked up and saw her effort. It threw her own combat knife with startling accuracy. The knife punctured her unshielded arm and pinned it to the wall. The same feeling of pain returned and she looked down to find its source. Lodged by the blades was the brute's spiker in her abdomen. The brute seemed to gloat in its victory, prolonging her suffering. It walked over to its fallen comrades and retrieved the war hammer of its brother.
Jen wrapped her hand around the spiker and pulled it painfully from her gut. The brute heard the noise and turned to discover its cause. Leveled at its face was its very own spiker. A low bark uttered forth from deep within. Jen pulled the trigger and watched as the spikes tore through its face. She fired until the brute weapon was empty then let her hand slink to the floor. Completely devoid of any energy, she sat awaiting her death. The ship would soon dissolve into pieces, but she had done her job. She had saved her team, she had saved both teams, and she could ask for no better end.
Jen awoke to the sound of engines in her ears. The noise was followed by motion as she could feel the ship rock forward. Every bone and muscle in her body ached. A strong hand gripped her shoulder. She cleared her head and panicked as she saw a brute towering over her. Her arms and legs, however, were constrained by iron cuffs. She was pinned to floor of the ship.
"Demon, calm yourself," said the brute. Jen understood it through the translation software in her helmet. "I thought you might have a similar reaction; that is why you are restrained." Jen recognized this as the same brute which had yanked her out of the Pelican what seemed like days ago. "I trust you not to kill me now, demon," said the brute as it flicked a switch and the cuffs receded into the floor.
Jen flexed her hands as the cuffs released their grip on her armored body. She looked cautiously at the brute.
"I know you don't trust me demon, and you have good reason not too. Arfus was a fool. I am Rafas, honorable to all." The brute reached its paw out towards Jen. She slowly put her gauntlet into its firm grip and let it pull her up.
"Why spare me?" asked Jen.
"As I said," stated the brute. "Arfus was a dishonorable fool. He would have killed you while you were down, it is a good thing you killed him. But not I. I am more honorable than he and I would not kill you. More than that, you are a worthy adversary. In all my years of fighting I have not once seen one take down so many of my kind." Jen did not know what to think. Was this all a trap? Gain her trust, and then kill her? She looked out a viewport. They were in open space in a small ship, surrounded by stars.
"Where are we going?" asked Jen.
"Sol," said the brute. "You are going home, demon."
"Why are you coming? Why not send me off and stay with your own?"
"My own, demon? I have none. You killed my tribe." Jen looked out the aft view. Pieces of rubble drifted through space where once had been the mighty Covenant cruiser. The brute returned to the cockpit and dialed in commands. A portal opened and the ship passed through into slipspace. Jen settled into a seat along the side of ship. She noticed a weight on her hip and looked down to see a fully loaded brute spiker. Confident the brute would not betray her; she set her head back and fell into a much needed sleep.