Posted By: Trivun<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 25 January 2012, 8:39 pm
ONYX SLIPSPACE BUBBLE - November 17th, 2552
Repetition. That was the worst part. Every day just felt the same, the same routines over and over again. Trying to find a way out. Trying to survive. For Tom, it was nothing like his life so far. He'd always been used to everything changing every day, new assignments and operations to plan, recruits to train, and orders changing all the time. True, military life was all about routine. But at least they varied. Not like this. He couldn't bear it any more.
Tom-B292. That was how they knew him. They who had looked up to him ever since joining the outfit. He was their mentor, their role model - and now he would be their leader. The younger Spartans had trained under Tom for years and now their commander was missing, presumed dead. They were stuck in a strange place, something the mysterious doctor kept referring to as a 'Dyson Sphere', whatever the hell that was. Every day they'd spent trying to escape, or looking for food and shelter and warmth. Something to help keep them all alive. And there were the frozen bodies too. The other SPARTAN-IIIs, trapped in cryogenic storage, but neither dead nor alive. From what Doctor Halsey had explained to them, the other Spartans knew that their comrades-in-arms were in Slipspace. Incredible, but true. It made no sense to any of them, but then again, they were just soldiers.
Looking at the others as Chief Petty Officer Mendez, now acting CO, tried to get a fire going, Tom thought back to the days when he was still a child, before he'd ever heard of the SPARTAN project. It had been a long way from here, the 'shield world' that these (what had Halsey called them? 'Forerunners') had built, and the cave the group was now hiding in. Uncertain of the local flora and fauna, the group had made their way through a series of valleys in the mountains of this world, hiding during the day and travelling at night, attempting to keep ahead in case any of the Covenant had succeeded in following them through the portal they had used to get here. Not knowing, of course, that there were no more Covenant to follow them. Not after Kurt's sacrifice.
Tom was reminded of the camaraderie he had felt back then, back in his early days. He'd been born on a distant world in the Outer Colonies. Tom had visited so many worlds since then, he could barely remember it now. While he was barely more than a child, his homeworld had been attacked by the Covenant. He'd watched through the windows of a UNSC ship as Covenant cruisers and destroyers had swarmed the planet. He'd seen the bulbous dropships as they flew down to the surface, filled with vicious Brutes and Elites, Grunts and Jackals, fully prepared for the massacre they were about to inflict upon a terrified populace. Tom had been there when the Covenant ships opened fire, raining down plasma and fire on the place he had known as home. When the onslaught had ended, and the evacuation ships were making their way out of the system to safety, nothing was left but glass and ash. Tom knew he would never forget that day. No matter how much he could remember of his world or his family and friends, he would never lose his memories of that simple brutality. It was what drove him on through the hard times, what kept him resolute. He'd spent days after landing on Arcadia, on a safe planet, searching among his fellow refugees, asking everyone he saw if they could help him find his parents. But on the fourth day he'd given up. He realised they'd never even made it off the planet, unlike him. A fear that was confirmed when the man from the government came to see him.
Tom had been put in a small room with a group of other children, somewhere in the refugee camp on Arcadia. He recognised one or two, people he'd seen and played with back home. They were all refugees like him, some from his own world, others from different places. Looking around, Tom knew that they all had one thing in common. They were all orphans of the Covenant. Remembering those days, he thought back to the words that had been spoken. Being told that they would all have a choice, to get revenge on the creatures responsible for their families deaths. To become the best that they could be, to fight with honour and to do a great service for all humankind. Tom had been spurred by those words, but not as much as another. He could recall seeing her for the first time, and noticing a kindred spirit among these strange children and the emotionless soldiers. Comparing their differences, and their similarities. He, grubby and snot-nosed, with messy black hair, standing tall despite everything he'd been through. Barely six years old, yet head and shoulders above most of the other kids in the room. A stark contrast to her, - clean, small and pale with short and tidy black locks and a tiny figure, barely noticeable among the group of children listening intently to the big man in the shiny armour. Though they were so different, Tom knew they were the ones most inspired by what the armoured man was saying. By the soldiers standing there with him. And by their memories of what the Covenant had done to them, and those they had loved. They would be the ones to fight the hardest when they had the chance. The ones who would truly understand what it meant to be a SPARTAN.
Tom would never forget the moment he first met Lucy. And everything they'd been through since. But looking back at the past couldn't be enough. He knew, all that mattered now... was the future.