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The Great Journey: Episode 1 - The Journey Taken
Posted By: Random 14-Year-Old<i-rule-2008@sbcglobal.net>
Date: 21 January 2005, 5:58 AM

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            THE GREAT JOURNEY: Episode 1 - The Journey Taken

      "This one's for you, Polaski."
      This one's for you, Polaski.
      This one's for you, Polaski...

      These words raged in and out of his cluttered mind, zipping to and fro between his random thoughts. Yet there weren't many thoughts in the first place.
      The man was being held somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness, teetering on the gray line between the two. His mind seemed to be in a sort of twilight zone, because he was hardly conscious at all but could still see the area around him. His disposition was unstable and could fall at any time to wakefulness or eternal sleep.
      The man had no idea who he was, where he was, or why he even existed at all. Even more boggling was the incessant voice that kept running through his thoughts.
      "This one's for you, Polaski..."
      Whose voice was that? The man rummaged through his memories in search of the answer, but found there to be no memories to start with.
      Around him, strange clouds of neon gases swirled around and flew past his body, which began to accelerate.
      The man looked down at his body. He was wearing a black uniform with solid armor plating on his elbows, knees, and chest. Four letters were sewn into some fabric on his shoulder: O D S T. Letters! The man suddenly remembered that he could read a language called English. What could ODST stand for? he wondered. Odd Diapers Stand Tall? Probably not. Orbital Drop Shock Troopers? Nah. Officer Drugged Stupidly Throughout? Definitely.
      This man, whoever the hell he was, certainly felt like he had been drugged with an overdose of some strong medicine. He was hardly conscious, couldn't recall any memories, and kept seeing strange lights whizzing past him as his body zoomed through some unknown space toward a random destination.
      Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Why does this voice keep ringing through my head? What does ODST mean? Who is Polaski?
      Suddenly the man's body came to an abrupt halt. He glanced around himself at the pure darkness enveloping him. He tried to move but was somehow fixed in place. Before he knew it, the man was stuck in a black oblivion, with nothing to look at and nothing to feel.
      But then it all instantly changed. The man blinked, and when he reopened his eyes he was blinded by light that had somehow appeared. He felt ground under his feet, and a wispy breeze flowed through the air and brushed against his skin.
      It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust to the sudden burst of light, but soon the man was looking upon an endless field of grassy plain. The sky was pure blue, yet not a baby blue such as on Earth. It was plain, regular blue—
      EARTH! The man had another burst of memories—and lots of them. In fact, the man's entire life flooded back into his head. He could remember being accepted into the Marine Corps. He could remember his first battle with a hostile alien force. The same alien force that had...killed Warrant Officer Polaski.
      The man realized his own name, as well. Corporal Jeffery Locklear. The last thing he remembered was detonating an explosion that destroyed Dr. Halsey's crystal. Where was he now? How had he traveled from deep space to an inhabitable planet in such short time?
      "Aha!" a voice exclaimed without warning. Locklear quickly spun around and reached for his gun—but he wasn't carrying one. "Another Ape-Head!" the character went on. It was a short creature that moved briskly with its nimble spider-like legs, which seemed to be made of rusty steel. Its upper body only consisted of a giant, slimy mouth and two bulging eyes, all of which attached to a central, fleshy backbone that held the whole organism together. "We haven't seen one of you Ape-Heads for many Houlens!" One of the metal ligaments that sprouted from the creature's lower torso held an odd scepter, and the creature pointed it straight at Locklear.
      "Back off, buddy!" Locklear retorted, and kicked up his leg, aiming for the scepter. But his body was instantly frozen, and the hardcore ODST plopped to the ground in a motionless state. The creature leaned down and looked at the letters sewn into Locklear's uniform.
      "What's those mean, eh? Any indication of your home world?" the thing grunted through its monstrous, cartoon-like lips.
      "I am an Officer Drugged Stupidly Throughout—err, I mean, Orbital Drop Shock Trooper!" Locklear yelled in the monster's face. "You Covenant freaks are pissing me off, and you would be drowning in blood right now if I had a weapon."
      The monster contorted its ugly face in confusion. "Coven-what? I'm not very familiar with your tongue, and even other Ape-Heads talk different than you. Are you in good mental health?"
      "Of course I'm in good mental health!" Locklear cried angrily as he struggled to break free of the frozen bond. "And let me go before I feel like grinding your insides into slush! Wait—too late, I already do."
      The creature laughed and spit flew from its gruesome mouth. "Insides? I've got no insides. You have quite a mouth for a lowly Ape-Head! All the more reason to toss you into Raider Abyss!" The monster clicked something on its scepter, and Locklear's body was forced to float through the air in a seemingly random direction.
      "You're the freak with watermelons for lips and you say that I have the big mouth—" Locklear paused and stared at something in the tall grass. Where he had just been sitting, a jagged crystal lay on the ground. Its edges were sharp and broken, but nonetheless it shone with brilliant magnificence. It was Dr. Halsey's crystal! Locklear tried to reach for it, but as the creature moved in the opposite direction, Locklear's body automatically floated through the air and followed. "No! I need that!"
      The creature laughed again and replied, "You won't need nothing where you're going. Anyone and everyone who gets dropped here are thrown into the Raider Abyss. That includes you!"
      The words of this thing made no sense to Locklear, but his mind was on the crystal. He had made a promise to the doctor, a promise that he was determined to keep. Somehow he would break free of this monster's grasp, and not even this so-called "Raider Abyss" would hold him back from getting to that crystal. This world, this creature, they were only obstacles for Corporal Jeffery Locklear. Wherever he was in the universe, he knew that a hardcore ODST such as himself would get through it.