Posted By: Kellen Squire<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 25 May 2004, 5:28 AM
The boy's feet hit the concrete evenly. No obstacle broke his pace. In fact, nothing in his way registered enough to present a difficulty. There was nothing before him, nothing that mattered. Only what was behind.
*They're coming. They're behind you. Run!* Grasping his burned shoulder, he moaned briefly and quickly drew his hand away. He staggered as he rounded a corner. He reached out automatically to balance himself and found his stride again. He ran as fast as he could. He bounded over rubble strewn in the streets. He dodged past destroyed cars and dead bodied. His lungs burned like fire.
But he kept running. Noises dwindled into almost nothing. Not perceiving his surroundings, he kept running, and running, and running.
Suddenly, a sharp noise. Hypersensitive to such sounds through hours of intensive training, his head snapped around to assess the danger. And he found himself a mere ten feet from the ominous barrel of a Covenant plasma rifle... and the towering form of an Elite.
The boy looked around, quickly. Nobody was around. Not a soul. This was good- nobody else would get hurt. Of course, nobody else could call HQ and tell them he was in trouble, either. His gun had been dropped somewhere in the confusion and running- which was also just as well, he had used up all the ammunition in the sawed-off shotgun he'd scavenged, and it wouldn't have done him any good here. Not at this range, not against a gold Elite.
He looked around quickly, for anything that might aid his escape. Something to distract the alien- something to save his life! But it was to no avail. Nobody else was even around to see him meet his demise- Mama would know, though. She told him not to go out raiding for food. She said they had enough, and to stay put and the Covies would leave them alone.
And, of course, like an idiot, he hadn't listened. They hadn't had anything to eat in over a week, he'd pointed out. The Covenant didn't care if they lived or died.
His left shoulder was apparently still on fire, or so the pain receivers in his brain were screaming- of course, that was not uncommon when superheated plasma met human flesh.
His biggest regret at the moment was not being able to do anything for Mama, who would certainly starve to death now, or be put to death by the Covenant for "subversion" or "crimes against the Gods". That, in and of itself, would have normally brought him to his knees. The thought of Mama suffering because he'd faild her. But it was totally irrelevant now, as he faced death at the barrel of a plasma rifle.
This wasn't good. The boy suddenly realized he didn't want to die. With an extreme passion.
The Elite appeared to be speaking to him. It was in slow motion. His mouth mandibles moved as if he had a mouthfull of peanut butter, and Fulcrum could only discern a deep, bass rumble from what was the alien's crude attempt at speaking English.
*This is not good,* the boy kept thinking over and over again. He started to breath faster and faster. *Have to think, have to get out of this, have to live, have to save Mama...*
The Elite's mouth stopped moving, and so did the bass rumble. The boy looked into the alien's eyes eyes- they seemed to light up with a cold, dark pleasure as the alien adjusted his aim until the rifle was pointed directly into his eyes.
The boy watched as time stretched out into inifnity. The Elite's primary finger slid onto the plasma rifle's trigger plate and sllooowwwllyy began to move backwards.
The boy closed his eyes. It'd be all over in a moment. Wouldn't be time to feel anything.
*At least I tried to help Mama,* was the last thing through his mind.
The gun fired. Once... twice... three times. The boy waited again, waited for the end to come.
Suddenly, an explosion.
It took him a moment to realize it was his heart.
He was still alive.
The boy forced himself to open his eyes... and was treated with the sight of the Elite, dead on the street, his head blown apart and chest ripped open. A fine mist of bluish-purple liquid covered the front of his ragged and tattered clothes. Confused, the boy looked around. Why wasn't he dead? He just didn't understand...
... and then, the boy's mouth dropped open. His eyes flew wide with amazement. A towering form in a green battle suit stood, battle rifle held at a precise fourty-five degree angle across his body. It was *him*! Almost as intimidated by the green armored solider as the Elite, the boy took off as fast as his legs would carry him, in the direction of home.
The green armored solider watched the boy run off into the ruined landscape.