Did you say goodbye at sunset?
'Cause you'll never see it rise.
If you'd known me like you thought you did,
You would've made sure I died.
Have you done all that you wanted?
You'd better finish while there's time.
If you've made bigger plans for your life,
You should've made sure I died.
Have you picked a grave and headstone?
A place where momma can cry?
If you'd wanted to save her sorrow and grief,
You could've made sure I died.
Not all death is for lack of breath
Not all life is the lack of death
How can I be at peace if I can't rest
I was your little pawn, now I'm your big mess
You're my enemy's thrall, all betrayal and lies
You lived through my fall, now you'll die when I rise
If you hadn't been so small, hadn't been so wise
You would've made sure I died.
THE RETURN Part two
Another corpse before sunrise meant another ruined breakfast. Turpertrator was tired of wasting food, tired of waiting 'til lunch to eat, and a bit disturbed at losing yet another man. To boot, it was a breach in the rules of engagement: no killing before sunrise. Crap.
Turp and Ydnar were on the ground level of their base, standing over the body of Rhinox. He was found on the other side of the first warp; the same place the body of his brother Xraf had been found the day before. Both had been killed with a shotgun at point blank range, and neither had discharged his weapon. This was strange, to say the least, but they would chew on the details later. First things first: blue team was going to pay.
"Ydnar, you take Darkboones and head through the tunnel. I'll take Firefly and go through warps, and have Hogg meet us on their side with a warthog." He checked his watch. "It's an hour before dawn. Let's show them how red plays in the dark. Ydnar, don't attack until—"
The blast was so close that they could hear the body hit the floor. It had come from the upper level, so it had to be Hogg. Turp and Ydnar scrambled past their stunned teammates and up the ladder. They found the room empty, but a smear of blood led across the floor and into the warp. Ydnar, Hogg's best friend, rushed to follow the trail but bounced off--the warp was blocked from the other side, and he knew by what.
Ydnar leapt to his feet and then, for a long moment stared into the darkness. To those watching it seemed that one questioned and one answered. None ventured to ask him then, and none saw him later, so none knew what transpired between him and the darkness, but when Ydnar finally spoke, it was in a voice they barely recognized. "I'm going on foot to flush him out. Boones, stay here and cover that ledge with your sniper rifle. Turp, you get up by the tunnel transition and wait for him to run. Either way he goes, you should be able to get him." He spoke as if they were retrieving a stray dog, or hunting a deer, instead of saving a dear friend. But the plan was good, and within minutes they were in place.
Turp lay on his belly near the ledge at the top of the tunnel, facing the ledge by the warp. Using his night vision he could see in the dark clearly, but Ydnar was nowhere in sight. Five minutes passed. Then ten. "Darkboones, do you see Ydnar anywhwere?" Silence. "Boony, are you there?" No answer. He adjusted his position to see the top of the base, and his breath came up short. Darkboones lay motionless.
"Ydnar? You there? Yd?" More silence. "Firefly?" Nothing. Like Ydnar minutes before, he lay speaking only to darkness, and not liking the answer.
Confused and as close to panic as he had ever been, he stood up and turned—and found himself face to face with another Spartan. Surprise was followed by recognition. "Simjanes?" Turp spoke weakly, "You're alive?" The question hung in the predawn silence like a waiting verdict. The answer was chillingly unsure.
"I'm back." Then Turp spoke again, his voice thin and pleading.
"Are you . . . on the other team?" Simjanes answered, his words dripping with bitterness.
"No team, no friends, no allies," he cocked his shotgun, "just enemies."
Simjanes brought his shotgun up and fired, but Turper sidestepped and swung his rifle like a bat into Simjanes chest, knocking him backward. Dropping the weapon, he grabbed for his pistol—and it wasn't there. In the hurry to save Hogg, he had left his pistol at the base. He dove at Simjane's knees, just as a shotgun blast to his back dropped his shields completely.
But Simjanes jumped. Turper found himself face-down with a foot on his back and shotgun to his head.
"Anything about this seem familiar to you, buddy?" Simjanes spoke in a cold, humorless voice. "Of course, I won't make the mistake you did."
"Simjanes," Turper pleaded, "I know what happened was bad, real bad. But we can start over. If I could, I'd change what happened. But I can't. What we can do is start over with you and me. We've worked together for years. We were friends. I know you—"
Simjanes cut him short. "You know me? Yeah. You betrayed me to my mortal enemy without making sure I was dead, so I'd say--"
"--you didn't know me at all." But Turper was no longer listening.
Dawn was minutes away, and somebody on blue team was sure to have heard those shots. He melted back into the twilight, behind a rock, beside the tunnel. Sure enough, someone did. Simjanes heard soft footfalls and then cautiously, a blue team member came out of the tunnel transition. It was Chuckles.
Simjanes took the toy clown that was more than a toy, held it in his hands a moment, and then put it back in his pocket. Slowly, he began walking over to Chuckles. The Clown was kneeling over Turpertator and facing the other way, so he didn't see him approach. Simjanes carefully placed the shotgun behind his head, and began to pull the trigger.
To Be Continued