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Dark Halo – Chronicles of Fright (part 05): Drabble This
Posted By: Wado<wyamauchi@msn.com>
Date: 11 October 2005, 1:33 am

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Drabble This
An encryption found in a gutted Covenant cruiser recovered near Reach. No known author, but written presumably by the one dead Spartan found amongst the corpses of many fallen Elites. It goes...

To be a Spartan on the inside...

Fear and discipline... always.
It isn't about the fight or the glory.
It isn't about the killing or the rush.
It isn't even about saving humanity.

It is about being the one, so that others don't have to be.

It is better that the Gold Elite charges you with his plasma sword.
Better you than some innocent, because you can handle it.

It is about you putting yourself in harms way, so that others, innocents, don't have to.

      These were the last words of a demon. I know because I was there. I found him near death, blood and corpses everywhere. He had engraved the words using the expended hilt of an energy sword. He had nothing left. He lacked the strength to stand, but he still stared in my general direction as if to say "bring it on."

      I put a plasma bolt through his left eye, boiling his brain into a pasty soup.

      He did not fall, instead his burned out body remained rigid, frozen in time -- A monument of defiance. It wasn't until I turned to leave that his body finally released. Like a long awaited exhale, his body then collapsed into its eternal slumber amongst the many dead that littered the deck.

      That would be the last I would see of these demons. I was in short order unconditionally let go from my obligations.

      Clearly this demon had taken the honorable lives of many Sangheili warriors in battle. Who was I to take his life? This honor was the right of those far superior to my station. There was a disagreement. Well not really. Apparently they disagreed with my actions, and I told them "I don't give a damn."

      As far as I was concerned, it was just one less demon in this universe. There were plenty more to go. I had been fighting demons ever since I could remember. As far as I figure, it started when I was only four or five cycles old.

      They were in my dreams...

      It was a bright white light that clouded my vision, and then three dark and faceless demons pulled the life from me. My happy thoughts of love and joy, and my innocents flashed before me. I fell as if cast from the heavens. Falling, falling, falling I never hit ground. Instead I awoke in a daze. I knew I had been dreaming, I remember the dream, but I did not know who I was. I could not remember the day before. I had no happy memories, no memories at all. Those demons had taken them from me. I was so young, and I had nothing.

      Life just spiraled downward from there. I lived on the edge. There was no part of the city I wouldn't walk right through. I met plenty of demons in the back alleys of society. Won a few, got my ass handed back to me on many occasions, but I never went down. I always was back the next day.

      Damn I was foolish. I was going nowhere fast. Got in some trouble with the wrong folks at the right time and ended up serving -- Pulling double duty as a supply officer by day and black market enforcer at night. Got myself a nice tour of duty on a deep space listening post… I always figured someone high up was looking out for me. I just wondered when and what they wanted in return.

      But that was all over after this last demon slaying. Kicked out and blacklisted, after seventeen cycles of front line duty awarded the highest honors that could be given someone of my station, I was once again a civilian.

      Maybe it was time I got out of the business. I found a job as an attendant at an orphanage for disabled children. Good honest work. The orphanage was in what some would call a bad part of town, a very bad part.

      Sirens and plasma fire constantly heard during the night. No one slept near windows. Even the local law officials would announce beforehand when they were making a surprise weekly crackdown of the neighborhood. This gave the real bad asses plenty of warning to put any contraband and weapons out of sight. The law officers had better things to do than get themselves killed over some illegal smokes. Like clockwork, they would come in, treat the criminals with the utmost respect, arrest a few transients and high tail it out of there. Once again, declaring a muttered victory over the city's criminal elements.

      The same routine went on for months. The orphanage always managed to stay out of harms way. A few random plasma shots fizzled off of the outer walls every once and a while, but mostly the bad folks stayed clear. That was until yesterday. Yesterday it all changed.

      It was just before lights out when the main hall exploded in fire and shrapnel. The work of plasma rifles, military grade. Everyone hit the ground and crawled behind anything that looked solid enough to protect them. Shots exploded, some ricocheted -- explosions rained shrapnel sideways, from all around.

      Everyone was scared out of their wits. Even the big talking tough fellows were frozen to the floor. I was scared too, but I wasn't going to lie there and do nothing. I rolled over to the utility closet and pulled out a gravity sprocket. Basically a long shaft with a big heavy head on one end used to open water access veins. It made a really fine whooping stick.

      I ran out the front door towards flashes of plasma. I weaved between cover as searing bolts whizzed over my head. I could not really see anything, it was too dark and the flashes too many and random. I followed my ears -- I followed back the trail of sucking popping sounds caused by the vacuum behind the plasma bolts. The vacuum created as a plasma bolt burns the atmosphere away.

      I yelled, "I'm coming for you!" For lack of anything better to say, I said it again, "I'm coming for YOU!" Maybe it worked because the firing stopped. Again I yelled, "I'm coming for you!"

      There was only silence that followed. I charged up some stairs until I found myself on a roof top. There he was. The culprit was cowering away in a corner near the edge of the roof. His plasma rifles cast aside, power cells empty. He reeked of urine and feces -- The stench coming from the pool that must have formed inside his own body armor.

      I recognized him as Hounorus A'tilla, a once notorious Sangheili warrior. What had become of him? I shook my head scolding him, "What the heck are you thinking, there's children in there."

      "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, please have mercy," he whimpered. Then he took his hands away from covering his eyes. He looked up at me. His tone changed. "What, how dare you miserable Unggoy," he said in a fierce roar. "How dare you question a Sangheili warrior."

      He wasn't much for talk. Like an animal he leaped at me with a battle cry. I moved off the line of his attack, clipping his arm out of the way. I knew better than to take the full force of a Sangheili charge.

      He staggered to regain his balance, but even so, he still managed to strike out in all directions. His sharpened claws ripped across my shoulder, only a finger's width from a major artery.

      I felt no pain. Pain was the last thing on my mind. He was ready to charge right back at me again. Even quick as he was, I had an opening. I spun 360 degrees into him. Halfway through the rotation, my ripped up shoulder collided into his chest, knocking him backwards. I finished the turn bringing the gravity sprocket over the top at a downward 45 degree angle. The sprocket's heavy head hit full force into his chest. His armor and bones shattered.

      His face turned pale as all the blood left it. His eyes glazed over. He moved back to the edge of the roof. His body teetered, almost falling off. When he realized he was about to fall, he caught his balance.

      I held out my hand to bring him in, to the safety of more stable footing. He looked at my hand then he looked right looked right at me as if I was transparent. He whispered, "I see demons, they're everywhere." He looked around me, as if I was surrounded.

      All I could do is watch as he threw himself backwards, off the edge.

      I reached for him. "Nooooo!" I uttered as I watched him fall. He fell and he fell, he hit the bottom and his body broke in half.

      The next day, I said my farewells to the staff and children at the orphanage. I had received a message earlier in the day. Apparently my services are once again of value to someone high up. I got my full commission restored plus a promotion. I guess the war isn't going as good as they want and a lot of the old-timers are being called up. You know what? I still don't give a damn.

      My name is Zax Rellius, Unggoy. And this is my story.