Posted By: Frensa Geran<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 19 August 2003, 12:49 AM
Jernid still sat behind a bucket of now heated water. The man with the shotgun stared around the room slowly, sniffing like a dog. "Whateva' you are, sure smell!" He said with a cackling laughter.
Jernid lifted his arm and smelled his armpit, nodding his head in agreement. He knew if he gave up, he'd be shot in the chest faster than he could realize. But if he stayed, he'd be killed slower, as the man had said.
The Man cocked his gun again, and fired at a bucket of water, sending gallons onto the dusty floor, filling it up to his ankles. "Now look what you made me do!" He said.
"Am I gonna have to find ye meself?" He screamed, knocking over buckets with ease, sending more water to the ground. Every step made Jernid shudder with fear. The clear water couldn't conceal him forever.
"Prophet Fang, High Command has just approved the glassing of Nolly. Schedule shows it will be destroyed in 5 hours." The Jackal Assistant said nervously, seeing the menacing smile on the Prophets face.
"Excellent work Jackal. Tell the phase cannon teams to prepare the glassing. I don't want a second to wait after I give the order." He replied.
"Y-yes, your majesty." The Jackal replied, running from the room in terror, hearing the cackling laugh of the Prophet.
Xexec and Sarong turned towards the voice, perplexed.
"I said, let go of her." The deep voice replied from over the hill.
"WHO'S THERE!?" Xexec shouted, firing a bolt of plasma into the air.
Sarong got up from his feet, letting go of his hold on Marla. He knew who it was. He knew he had failed. Master Chief, a SPARTAN from centuries ago, was back. "XEXEC! RUN!" He shouted, grabbing the girl and running from John.
"I don't think so." The voice said, coming over the hill.
Marla was the first to see him. His bulky armor silhouetted in the fading sunlight. His visor still reflected what light was left, casting an orange glow on the Elites. In both his mighty hands, lay two weapons.
"I'll give you to the count of three." John said, lifting his Battle Rifles.
Marla stared at him, still confused as of who he was. Her mind was a blank, when she suddenly remembered the passage she read on her ship:
"Green was his skin, glistening above all that challenged him. Gold was his eyes, peering through the dark times like a glimmer of light."
"God?" She muttered under her breath.
"One." The booming voice said, cocking the guns.
Xexec roared, "You pitiful human. You're behind the times. Those things can hurt us!"
"Two." John replied.
"GOD." Marla shouted, fighting to free herself from Sarong's grip.
"Arm yourself Xexec, he won't win!" Sarong said, pulling his rifle from the holster.
"FIRE!" Xexec shouted, pulling his trigger. Two streams of green light emanated from both Elites, both missing the SPARTAN, who tucked and rolled towards them.
"Times up." He shouted, chucking a grenade at Xexec. The explosion rattled the ground, sending Sarong backwards, losing his grip on Marla.
Xexec was pushed upward from the blast, his armor ripped and shredded. Holes the size of fists oozed purple blood, and his face was mutilated. Death came to him before he hit the ground.
Marla dusted herself off, and ran to John, her eyes watery with happiness. She'd done it. She'd found the Hero of Humanity, and finally the Human race would be saved. "It's you, it really is you!" She yelled, hugging him fully. The Chief struggled to stay upright from the force of a 19-year-old girl slamming into him.
"GET DOWN!" He yelled, finding another green plasma stream coming at them. Marla ducked quickly, covering her head, while the Chief took the blast straight to the chest. Marla screamed. Had she lost him already?
She looked up at the Hero, finding a golden veil of energy wrapped around him. "I'm alright. Shield saved me. But those plasma rifles took them down a lot." He said, lifting her up.
Sarong was lying dead on the ground with a bullet in his head. Blood was dripping from it, making a purple puddle. Marla cringed at the sight, and turned back to the Hero, hugging him tighter.
"Hey, get off!" He said, pushing her away. "I'm honored that you appreciate me saving you. But it isn't like you haven't seen a SPARTAN before." John said, wiping just from his chest plate.
"A what?" Marla replied.
Reality suddenly hit John. He had comforted himself with the thought that all Marines were SPARTANS. It appeared not so. "Never mind." He said, continuing to walk. "Can you show me where the nearest city is?"
Marla giggled, "City? I don't think Humans have cities anymore." She said as she walked with him.
John stopped and held his head in confusion. "What? So we dwell in space now?"
Marla rolled her eyes, "No way, Covenant own space."
These tidbits of information were starting to come together, making John's stomach churn. "Marla?" He asked serenely, "How... how many Humans are there?"
Marla looked down, shaking her head, a small tear in her eye. "Last count, which was ten years ago, was about 2,000."
John felt like a sledgehammer hit him. "Two... two thousand? ? He said.
Marla nodded. "Most live on this planet. It's the only place that is virtually all human. The rest live on Covenant controlled colonies, like where my family live. It's more like a prison"
John felt like he couldn't move. This future, this nightmare he wanted to be nothing apart of. He wanted to crawl back in that cryo-tube and wait another thousand years.
Marla's head jerked up, a small smile on her face, "But it'll all change, now that I found you!" She said as he walked on.
"Me?" John said. "Why am I so important?"
Marla looked like she'd seen a ghost. Her cheeks turned a very deep pale. "You're... the Hero of Humanity. You're... you! You destroyed countless Covenant Worlds with your bare hands and gave peace to the old home world." She said, dropping to her knees in fright.
"What?" John said, "No. That's not true. I... I've never even been to Earth. I just got on the Pillar of Autumn, went to HALO and found myself here a thousand years later." He said, explaining as fast as he could.
All these words were foreign to Marla. "HALO? Pillar of what? I don't understand. You... you're not him?"
John shook his head. He felt so bad that he couldn't help in this world. Maybe another SPARTAN did all these things. Maybe he was presumed dead. Earth might have saved the Project, and Dr Halsey might've lived after Reach. So many things to catch up on, he thought.
"I... I don't understand. The book, the prophecy! You have to be him!" Marla yelled, her hands clenched in fists, as a tear dropped from her eye and onto her cheek. Her sadness turned to anger, and began punching John's armor futilely, bruising her hands.
"My whole life wasted!" She said, crawling onto her knees under the Chief's shadow. "We'll never win now. It's over..." She said, more tears dropping to the dusty ground.
We don't lose, John thought. All those times a thousand years ago with his Spartans, they never lost.
"Except Reach..." He murmured.
Marla got up, wiping off her knees. Reach, I've heard that somewhere, she said in her head.
" "Once upon a great war, life hung in the balance. The footsteps of men grew softer after each battle with the devils. Reach was gone forever—"
She never knew what reach was. To her, it was a verb, to reach out and touch something. Now it was something different. "Reach? What is Reach?"
"The most powerful and industrial of all of the original Human Colonies. Lost more than a thousand years ago. That's where I was made." He said grimly.
Jernid was moments away from capture. Sweat beaded down his blue skin, his oxygen mask was silent. He didn't want to die; he had so much to live for. There are so many shiny things still to see, and so many people to meet and take advantage of. Life was too good to be lost for a couple gallons of water.
"AH HA!" The Man yelled, seeing Jernid for the first time. "Oh you're in for it now my friend." He said, raising his gun.
"NO! Please, don't kill me! I'll.... I'll uh make water! I'll make food; I'll be your slave! PLEASE!" He screamed with a high-pitched voice, making the Man cover his ears.
"Ok ok, shut up!" He said in pain.
The next day, Jernid sat out in a field, a hoe lying on his back. He never imagined farming being so hard. Even with the nice shiny tools, it still was awful.
"Maybe I can sell it..." He thought, taping his long chin.
"Hey! Get back to work Grunt!" The Man said from inside his white, one-story house. The Man sipped tea and had a fan on him, smiling widely.
Jernid gave out a few murmured swears, and continued working. "The Covenant wasn't this much of an asshole..."
Hundrid colony, where Marla first arrived, was in a bustle. The ugly shopkeepers and merchants ran as fast as they could to the main plaza. Sitting on the long broken fountain was a sleek purple orb ship, and a blue clad Elite sitting next to it.
"People of Nolly." He shouted, "In less that 24 hours, this planet will be glassed."
Screams of panic and the angry yells of old men shouted back at the Elite, who meanwhile held a huge grin with his upper mandible. "Enjoy your race's last few hours!" He said, and flew away without another word.
A few murmurs came from the crowd, mostly swears. They all looked up at the sky, eyeing the large purple city getting closer, gleaming in the setting sun. The Apocalypse was at hand.
"It should be just over this hill." Marla said, pushing a bush out of her way. Ahead she could see the clearing where she first met Jack. She was back in Hundrid, and she couldn't of been happier.
As she made it to the center of the clearing, she looked to where the town was supposed to be. The entire town was gone. A large black crater stood in its place.
"My God. What happened here?" John said.
Marla's mouth was still open, "I—I dunno. It should be here. The Covenant must have wiped it out. But... why?" She said.
"They knew too much." A voice said behind them.
Sitting where Jack sat before Marla set into the woods a few days ago, a blue armor clad Elite sat, waving his rifle angrily.
"Drop your weapon green one!" He shouted.
Marla eyed John's visor, rippling in her stationary tears. "John... God." She whispered.
They stared at each other for what seemed like an hour, before the Elite yelled again. "I said drop it!"
"I don't think so." John said angrily, rolling to the side. Before the Elite could respond, two bullets launched from his Battle Rifles. One clanged off the Elites armor, the other missed.
"John no!" Marla shouted, ducking behind a tree. She could only watch in horror as two beams of plasma flew close to John's head. John fired back, and two bullets went straight into an unarmored part of the Elite's leg.
The animal screamed in pain, clutching its leg. John fired at its hands, ripping them to pieces. The Elite feel to the floor, a puddle of purple blood growing around him.
"Marla!" John said, throwing the Plasma Rifle. "Take it, and use it if you run into trouble."
Marla's eyes widened before she could even ask the question. "But, no! I'm coming with you! I can help you take town that ship up there! Please, I must stay with you. I've been searching for you my whole life!"
John looked to the floor. "You can't. I can't let another Human die in what appears to be their darkest hour. Go, go back to your ship, fly away from this planet. Avoid the Covenant and head back to your Father. I'll take care of this ship, and save this planet."
His deep words touched Marla's heart like nothing she'd ever heard. She was 19, and he was more than 1000 years old, but love was inescapable. Without another word, John set off towards the crater, finding the Elite's purple craft.
She watched as he set off into the dusk sky, becoming just a twinkle of light, and finally disappearing forever.
Marla didn't leave. She merely sat by a tree, eyeing the Capital Ship. Hopefully it would explode soon, or else she'd be gone.
Hours past, but tiredness escaped her. A couple times Jackals came out of the trees, but she idly shot them and stared back up.
Something was happening...
To Be Continued...