Mission From SATU part 4: A Vow of Grief
Posted By: Chuckles
Date: 13 August 2004, 9:10 AM
Mission From SATU part 4: A Vow of Grief
Walking to school . . . men grabbing him . . . deep sleep . . . waking up to a new world . . . being herded into a transport . . . trying to think . . . thinking hurts . . . where's dad?
Someone was pushing him into an auditorium. Other kids were there wiping sleep from their eyes, and like him accompanied by a stern adult. A pretty lady was standing in front of everyone, and she looked sad. She began to speak, but the words didn't seem to make sense. Then she said words that were as clear as they were horrifying. She said that they could never return to their parents. He tried to stand up, but his trainer's large hands forced him down.
His family had been close. Him and his father did everything together and Lexicus hadn't thought life could go on without him. He looked around; was his father waiting for him outside? It became harder to breathe. He needed his dad. His trainer leaned forward and whispered, "I'm gonna be your daddy now, trainee."
Six years old, and Lexicus had already lost everything.
As he grew he learned to mask his grief, and in his grief he found purpose. He became one of the best and most trusted of the Spartans, but he never forgot that they were all kidnapped. He never forgot the friends who died before they could be mankind's greatest hope. And he never, ever forgot what his trainer had said to him when he was a weak, frightened six-year old who woke up an orphan.
He did forget some things. By the time he was ten, he could no longer remember what his mother looked like. But he had vowed nothing concerning his mother. It hurt, but he buried it, used it, and worked harder. He had, however, made vows concerning his father. Not the vows one makes in passing, to be forgotten or left unfulfilled when anger subsides. No. His vows found their substance and origin in his grief—and once his memories had faded, grief was all he had.
Grief. It is spoken of easily enough, but seldom with any understanding. Those who have never grieved deeply don't know, and those who have don't tell, so grief's true nature is to all either a mystery or a secret.
Grief is a horrible, ugly thing that is pain to look at, and agony to touch. But nobody merely looks or touches: they embrace it with a violence. The healthy eventually accept and move on: the rest hold on harder, and the worse it hurts, the harder they hold. Though the pain and torment may be horrible, it is the only continuing affectation of the loved one they lost. To lose it is to lose the loved one; finally and completely. Lexicus held tightly to his vows. Holding them caused pain, and in the pain he touched his father.
Memories fade, and the day came when Lexicus could no longer remember his father's face. That day he vowed that the SPARTAN program would not outlive him. That day, starting with his smart-mouthed trainer, he began to fulfill his vows. As the blood pumped out of the hole Lex had punched in his trainer's chest, he leaned forward and whispered, "Sorry daddy, your little man doesn't know his own strength."
He was fourteen years old.
Lexicus had backhanded the SpecOps liaison, shattering his helmet and killing him instantly.
"Lex! What are you—" Chuckles stopped short as he looked at the picture on the data pad. In a rare fit of rage, the Clown kicked the dead liaison, sending the body thirty yards. As a soldier, Chuckles knew that every now and then you had to make a deal with Devil. Fine, but he had made his last deal with Ackerson.
The picture on the data pad was of young Spartans, fresh from augmentation treatment, and thus not yet in their armor. They were all dead; probably slaughtered minutes before the team had arrived. The text under the picture said: "IF YOU WANT THE DOE, THREATEN HER FAWNS. THEY ARE SEVEN KLICKS STRAIGHT NORTH."
Chuckles spoke, his voice barely controlled. "You sure pick good partners, old friend. I ought to kill you for saving his life." Lexicus didn't reply. What could he say?
Lex marveled at Ackerson's atrocity. It was not only cruel, something the Colonel was known for, it was stupid, something he was not known for. The Masterchief was not a docile animal that could be flushed out by maternal instinct. No, he would see this clumsy tactic for exactly what it was—and turn the tables: they were now the prey, and he was the hunter.
Ackerson must have left at least one of the young Spartans alive to contact the Masterchief. They would have to assume that, at the very least, John, Linda and Fred would be coming after them. They would also have to assume that they had seen the Pelicans arrive. They'll start looking around here, and we won't be hard to follow. Crap.
"Red team, this is Lexicus. Consider our locations compromised. Repeat: consider our locations compromised. Gather your gear and rendezvous with us immediately at—"
A mist of blood sprayed his helmet and two meters away Hogg hit the ground dead.
"Get low and head for the tree-line!" Lexicus grabbed a box of Jackhammer rockets and ran. They all ran. The tree-line wasn't far, a mere half-mile, but this sniper was good. Before he had taken two steps Freedomman's head exploded, and a second later a shot ripped through Krusty's shoulder. Lexicus got to the trees first.
He was the only one who made it.
"Free is dead," Chuckles told Lex through the com, "and Krusty is wounded. We're gonna lose more if we try to move." Lexicus looked east across the clearing and up to the hill where the shots had come from. He knew of only three snipers that could score kills from that distance, and two of them were on his team. It had to be Linda, and Lex had no chance of hitting her from where he was. As he was about to contact Red team he heard a noise, spun around and found himself staring directly into the barrel of a shotgun.
"Hounds to the hunter, Lexicus" Fred said without malice or humor. "I really didn't think you would fall for it."