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sgtlegendkiller
Kevin Gregory
Artist | Student | Literature
United States
8'6
437LBS
Status: Welp
Current Residence: New York (Not the city, dummies)
Favourite genre of music: Groove/ Thrash metal (Pantera, Exhorder, Exodus, etc)
Operating System: Windows 8.1
Current MP3 player: iPod nano(6th gen)
Skin of choice: Anything sharp, rough edged, and shexy ... Like a Turian or Sangheili... :3
Personal Quote: "Im not rasist, im just an asshole!"~ me
Favorite Quote: "Getcha Pull!" ~Darrel "Dimebag" Abbot.
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SGTLEGENDKILLEЯ
Fate Continuum
Act IV
Chapter IV
“A Mistake of Placement”
H.D. 12:15 p.m. September 22nd, 2552

It had been several hours since the abrasion that K’an and Sig had went through.  It was fair to say that a majority of the cause was claimed by K’an’s doing.  He had found that he was quite under informed about the whole ‘Ring’ situation.  There had been some parasite that had all but devastated the Covenant forces both on the ground and in one of the major support ships of the fleet.  The fact of this made him quite worried; the Covenant had never found anything in which it either feared or backed down from.  The only exception was the Unggoy Rebellion many years ago and even that may have been glorified to be that of a great tale.

For what it was worth, Sig had gotten over his explosive behavior that had taken K’an by utter surprise.  After what had been a few hours, a mildly intoxicated Ryau had guided an absolutely drunken Sig back to the barracks.  Through all of the vomiting and sobbing he eventually had sobered up enough to apologize for hitting K’an with a clear mind.  Once the two had forgiven each other Sig bathed himself before passing out heavily on his bunk, leaving K’an to nap himself in his chair.  He had woken up from the sound of some sort of explosion that shook the ship.  It was to be revealed in yet another wave of confusion that the Humans had somehow destroyed the sacred ring.  How or why such a thing happened was beyond him, though he figured it had to do something with the parasite.  This ‘loss’ seemed to destroy a good bit of moral of the warriors of the Covenant.  Of course K’an couldn’t and did not care in the least; to him, it was all superstition.  In hopes to get away from the somber atmosphere he sought out the only two current warriors who were probably not freaking out; Naki and Ryau.  Unfortunately they were not to be found in Naki’s private quarters but rather at one of the last taverns serving food actively on the ship.

"Hello you two," K’an smiled as he slowed his chair down at the end of their table.

"Evening, K`an," Ryau replied as he looked up from the cup in his hand.

With a sigh, K’an lowered his chair to match a comfortable level to the table top.  He was fairly apprehensive about starting off strongly like he would normally.  Everyone on the ship seemed shaken up enough as it was and he wasn’t sure how it was effecting Naki and Ryau.  Eventually Naki verbally acknowledged him after a few moments.

"What brings you over?" She asked calmly after sipping from her own cup.

"I just want to be around good people…” K’an admitted truthfully.  “Everyone is scared out of their minds. Sig is asleep and D`rok is on another ship." K`an sighed. "I only know half of what the hell is going on."

"Well, it's basically calmed down now," Naki nodded slightly without explaining herself

"Could either of you perhaps explain to me what happened?" K`an asked, sitting up in his chair.” And do you think you could give me a bit more detail than whimpering the phrase 'we let it loose'?"

Naki took another sip of her drink. "The Flood, a parasitic lifeform was released on the ring by the Prophet's science lances by accident."

"And the Flood...is like a… what is the word... A carrier strain?" K`an speculated; this was the first he had heard of such a parasite.

Instead of giving him a direct yes or no answer, Naki pulled out her data pad.  With several swipes she brought a video captured from her helmet cam from several hours earlier to show him.  He took it from the table after she set it down before him.  He pressed play and quickly witnessed the assault of several mutated creatures that he had never seen before.  Even through the lens of Naki, the gore and globing limbs of the creatures wrenched K’an’s gut.  He could only stomach a few moments of the video before dropping the data pad on his lap after closing the video.

"Nope,” He cringed.  “Yuck, nope. No thank you."

"Now do you see why we do not want to talk about it?" Naki asked.

"Yeah…” He looked blankly down at the table to try and wipe the images away from view.  “What the fuck is that?"

"The Flood." Naki answered plainly.

"I hope D`rok didn't see any of that." K`an rest his head in his palms with a sigh.  That much gore and limb contortion would most likely be too much for even D’rok.  

"I'm quite sure he did…" Naki muttered as she reclaimed her glass.

"What do you mean?  He transferred out for psychiatric leave…" K`an questioned.

"Which sounds like a thing that happens after dealing with the Flood." Naki sighed with a hint of confusion.
.
"Uh, no. He took that because of his wedding… He transferred to Rtas' lance." K'an said.

Naki became slightly stiff before she looked to Ryau as if they knew something K’an didn’t. "K`an. have you not heard about what they did?"

“No?" K’an answered as he looked between the two.

"They were responsible for taking out the infection on the Infinite Succor." Naki said.

K`an’s mind went into a frenzy.  While it wasn’t openly known what had happened, everyone knew that the said ship had been reboarded and driven into the system’s sun. "Is he okay?!"

Ryau perked up at K’an’s concern.  "He's alive. But that's all I've heard."

"Has he contacted either of you?" K`an asked desperately.

"No, we just heard the reports," Ryau said.

"...This is too much…" K`an sighed. "I need a drink."

"Well this is a tavern" Ryau mumbled.

Ryau did have a point.  And so K’an looked down at the table console with a sigh.  With a few swipes of his finger he selected something cold and heavy on the alcoholic scale.  As he selected his drink Naki and Ryau were almost chillingly quiet as they ate their meals.  It wasn’t long before an Unggoy server delivered K’an’s drink.  With glass in hand he took a long sip and set the glass down heavily.

“I think I am about done with this war stuff.” He muttered as he stared longingly into his reflection in the glass.

The comment was enough to halt Ryau’s own drinking.  "What?"

"I'm tired of fighting, I'm tired of killing Humans for some religious cult." K`an grimaced. "I just want to get a house in the northern regions and just be alone."

"Well, as our conversation on the last planet went, it seems to be coming to an end," Ryau said.

"I hope." K’an deepened his gaze into his own self.

"What do you mean, alone, K`an? I thought you always had good luck with the females," Ryau asked.

"I have good luck laying with them, but I've never found one that really is all that compatible with me." K`an admitted softly.

"Ah…"

"I am not like you and Naki... You two make a great couple," K’an smiled slightly.

"Well um…" Ryau stuttered slightly.

"We're not actually together." Naki protested in accordance to Ryau.

K`an returned a smug look to the two. "Do not lie to me, 'Cimutee. I know you two are at least… slightly intimate."

"K`an, I can assure you, we haven't done anything like that." Ryau further argued.

"Ryau, shut up." K`an just waved his hand for Ryau to silence himself whilst looking intently at Naki.  "I have been doing this whole mating game for almost as long as you have been alive. I know intimacy when I see it. It is not in what you have done, but rather in how you two look, act, and speak with one another."

Ryau sighed heavily. "We work closely, but we aren't involved in anything."

"Professional relationship can look that way to people outside the science community." Naki quipped.

"Yes, because women having a dreamy look in their eyes are very professional." K`an smirked.

Naki rolled her eyes. "K`an, I think you're just getting old."

"You said so yourself," Ryau chuckled slightly.

"What if this old man thinks you two are hiding a secret?" K`an snorted.

"Then I would say that it is classified by the High Council." Naki grew a wide smirk as she half answered his question.

"Oh?" K`an raised his eyebrow victoriously. "Thank you for confirming what I thought."

"Oh, it’s not like that. The project we are working on does include the upgraded ACI unit… but the reason that we are working together is indeed classified by the High Council, punishable by death without trial.” She explained.  “So K`an, keep your nose out of our business."

"Would you rather my nose be placed elsewhere on you, other than just your business?" K`an chuckled.

"Do you always resort to sexual innuendoes when you've been cornered?"

"Maybe." K`an winked. "It is part of the 'Retmaree' package."

"I think we've discovered why you haven't found anyone, K`an." Naki muttered.

Her comment put K’an back a few motions as he was stricken with even more thoughts of his self-reflection.

After a moment of silence, Naki gave some sort of reprieve. “There is probably only one woman in this galaxy that could handle you."

"Maybe…" K`an set his glass down. "I guess I'm just looking for one who will spit similar jokes back."

"Just watch it be a Kig-Yar." Ryau joked to make light of the situation.

"Hmm… or a fucking Jiralhanae." K`an fueled Ryau’s streak. "I mean… I wouldn't mind. I have spent a few evenings with a Kig lady."

"Well, with your luck… it would be a Human." Ryau challenged.

"Who knows… that might be nice." K`an considered the thought.  A female was a female none the less. "What alien species would you sleep with, hmm?"

Ryau seemed to press against the table as if he was bothered.  "I would prefer not to answer that…"

"Oh come on!” K’an pried.  “Fine… name the alien species that you would not sleep with." he demanded.

Ryau began to give him an answer just as the ship’s intercom sounded off loudly overheard.  "SpecOps Science Major 'Cimutee, SpecOps Major 'Cinotee. Report to the bridge immediately."

Naki glanced up annoyed towards the speakers. "What could this be about…?” She sighed as she quickly paid for her meal.  Once she had done so, she and Ryau stood from the table as they prepared to leave.

"Oh look at you... You seem to be quite important." K`an half mocked playfully as he reversed his chair from the table.

"Well I am the lead scientist on board." Naki reasoned.

K`an chuckled. "If that is what they tell you."

"You have not met Alea if you think I'm not the lead." Naki rolled her eyes slightly.

"Well... I know for a fact she is good at… somethings…" K`an somehow held the audacity to refer to his previous ‘one on one’ session with one of Naki’s students.  How dare I?

Naki, clearly wishing to not discuss such a thing, simply sighed as she left the table, Ryau in tow.  Several warriors who had been waiting desperately for place to sit swarmed the table before K’an even had a chance to fully leave.  He quickly leveled his chair to desired traversing height before looking down to still see Naki’s data pad sitting on his lap.  Now he would have to chase her down and return it to her.  With the hum of the gravitational generators, K’an moved his chair out of the tavern and down the hall after the two.

It took a bit for him to catch up fully to the two.  He would have only needed a few dozen seconds had it not been for the hundreds of warriors littering the halls as they went about doing whatever things they wished.  It wasn’t until the two had reached a gravity conveyer that would lead directly towards the bridge.  He was jetted out of the tube a few paces behind Naki and Ryau who were stopped immediately by a lengthy line of people waiting for a security checkpoint.

He quickly called Naki to let her know that he was following her, same with K'an, which made sense as he never set foot on the Ring. It would be more surprising if he had come back positive.
The airlock was cycled and they were allowed into the command deck with an escort.

Eventually the three of them made it fully through the security checkpoint.  As soon as they had been cleared they went into the bridge only to be instantly confronted by the Shipmaster.

"Science Major Cimutee... it seems that the Mercy and Betrayal has arrived…" The ship master spoke in a sense of surprised after a brief salute.

Naki looked confused "Wasn't it supposed to arrive in five cycles?"

"Yes, that is why it is so unusual…” The Shipmaster explained.  “The bridge crew ran their clearance codes and identification which came back as correct, and I spoke with the Ministry and confirmed codes with them as well. The Shipmaster 'Vacumai is as confused as I am."

"Hmm," Naki stepped back and put her hand on the tips of her mandibles in thought. "There was a plethora of Slipspace technology on the Ring, it is possible that its destruction may have caused a distortion to Slipspace..." She paused. "Did they experience travel for five cycles or was it cut in half as well?"

The Shipmaster placed his hand to his helmet, clearly hearing some sort of broadcast "They say that they experienced a normal five cycle transit time..."

K’an was confused himself; this was the first legitimate instance of the theory of time dilation he had ever heard off, and he was quite a study in such things.

"Interesting…” Naki hummed. “I see no reason that this... issue would cause any long term harm. We should only worry if more ships start experiencing such an anomaly. Is it possible that I could stay for a few more cycles and observe, Shipmaster?"

The Shipmaster grew firm in his stance.  "No, the Mercy and Betrayal is preforming a hard dock with the top of the ship to transfer supplies as we speak. Shipmaster 'Vacumai was very insistent that he wants to get underway as soon as possible. Something about making a deadline." He sighed. "Gather your cargo and transfer, it has been a pleasure having your expertise on board."

"My transfer orders for Alea 'Vanika?" Naki pointed out in vain.

"I already forwarded it to the Ministry. I will dispatch a lance of Unggoy to your cargo hold to assist with transport." The Shipmaster nodded in response.

"Thank you, Shipmaster." Naki saluted before taking the lead of the party out of the bridge.

Still boggled by the Slipspace dilation instance, K’an wondered what the thoughts of a scientists would be. "Do you think that is the next step?"

"What?" Ryau, as he was right next to K’an, replied.

"The Slipspace dilation stuff." K`an elaborated. "Do you think that is the next step in achieving faster travel?"

"No,” Naki answered with a sigh “I don't… This is some sort of accident; this event is not something that can easily be replicated.

"Naki... you're a scientist…” K’an pressed her further.  “You should be asking the question on how we could easily replicate it."

"Replicating the destructive power that was released here and the amount of Slipspace technology that was destroyed would likely surpass the cost of constructing High Charity." Naki explained.

She did have a point; it would be worth keeping track of in any study produced from this.  "It could be a thing though... yes?  It would be quite a bound."

"It’s not a feasible thing to make" Naki retorted as if she was getting annoyed.

Due to his own confusion, K’an was trying awkwardly to form a conversation with her about it. "What if it was though?"

"K`an, it’s not worth the cost. It can be done but its demand for resources and funding far outweigh its usefulness." Naki snapped.

K`an flinched slightly.  He wasn’t trying to piss her off, yet he somehow was.  To avoid any further annoyance, he buried the conversation where it stood. "Hmm... you're probably right."  Why is it the intelligent ones are always intimidating to converse with?

Before long, K’an followed the two down to the cargo hold of the ship.  There were already a gathering of Unggoy rummaging and prepping several crates labeled ‘Ministry of Discovery.’

"Is this everything, Naki?" Ryau asked as she looked at the gathering of crates in great concern.

"No... I lost quite a few on the Ring." She grimaced. "Nothing that cannot be replaced though."  She admitted in light of her disgust as she waved to several of the Unggoy.

"What is inside all of these anyway?" Ryau asked.

"Sensor equipment, drones, biological sensors... everything from lab equipment to field rations." Naki said as she waited for the Unggoy to finish taking care of their given tasks.  

"I didn't mean to challenge you like that, Naki. I do greatly enjoy astrophysics." K`an, feeling a bit dickish from his attempt at conversation, apologized.

"Very well then, K`an." Naki rolled her eyes, making it none the less easy for him.

Seeing a bit of hostility in Naki, Ryau departed to mingle with the Unggoy.

"You know... if you ever want to talk in depth about the sciences I will, you know? Well... regardless... I wish you guys didn't have to leave."

Naki made an amused huff.

Bitch

"We live in the same state. I live on the only inhabited island in bay of Varo” Naki pointed out quickly.

"I do greatly enjoy you two's company." K`an nodded.

"Then why don't you stop by after this war is over?" Naki suggested after a pause.  She seemed to be calming down a bit.

"Alright... I guess I'll see you guys off then." He floated after her as she left the cargo bay to reunite with Ryau.

As they continued on towards the docking arm of the ship, K’an chose to make another attempt at conversation.  "Do they have you stationed on a big ship?"

"Not really,” She replied calmly. “The Mercy and Betrayal is a modified CCS-class."

"What guns do they have on it?"

Naki sighed. "The usual."

"They didn't rip out the Energy projectors or anything?" K`an sighed softly in desperation.

"No, we still roll with the regular fleet occasionally." Naki explained.

"Alright, any modifications to the engines or anything? Is its speed of any match to the Pious Inquisitor?

"It doesn't have any upgrades to its engine systems, so no." Naki seemed to not be liking this conversation either.

"Hmm... Would you ever want to pilot a ship like this?  I would."

"Good luck, these require whole crews to move," Naki scoffed.

K`an chuckled a bit nervously to break the feeling. "You know what I mean."

"The ship is upgraded to have more cargo space and lab space, along with an additional dedicated reactor for the labs, but that is the extent of the upgrades." She said.

"I might have to make a point to explore this ship later." K`an moved his chair closer to her.

"Maybe after the war." Naki nodded somehow calmly.

The sudden hissing sound of a ship preparing for departure sounded out behind them.

K`an's hover chair stopped as he turned to see the main airlock door that had just sealed for traveling behind them. "What the hell is that?"

"I... think the ship just detached." Ryau said.  "...Or we were ejected from the ship."

"No way, they wouldn't be that stupid to just leave after docking." K`an spoke in disbelief.

Naki turned to a wall console near her "Well, we were told this pickup was on very strict time constraints…"

"Still…" K`an shook his head as the airlock door finished sealing and it’s lights turning vivid red. The door was sealed and it's light glowed red. "Are you fucking serious?"

"Well I am," Naki said.

"Did I just get locked on this ship?"

"I think you did."

"Come on…” K’an growled.  “Let's get up to the bridge and stop them before they leave." He turned back down the hall towards the bridge.

He only was able to zoom several paces before the overhead speakers crackled with an announcement.  "Prepare for immediate Slipspace operations."

"Fuck..." K`an let loose an English curse that he held close to his hearts as he halted his chair as fast as he could to take hold of the closest bolted down object on the wall.

Surprisingly, the Slipspace jump was unusually smooth.  It was as if there was no drag or pull of the engines. Within moments, the hallway’s ‘Active Slipspace’ lights turned on.  That was strangely the lightest Slipspace' jump K’an had ever experienced.  Before he could let go of his grip to the wall, the intercom dinged overhead.

"Major 'Cimutee to the bridge immediately."

"I suppose he has no time to meet me on the ramp, typical." Naki grumbled as she briskly began to make her way to the bridge.  

“You're not good friends with this guy, yes?"  Asked as he joined Naki’s pace.

"Well he is the Shipmaster." Naki nodded.

"That is not a yes or no."

Naki sighed before looking up at the ceiling with a slight sense of despair.  "I sort of technically outrank him on this ship."

K`an smirked. "Mmm... that sounds like an ex-boyfriend"

She waved her hands in front of herself. "No, it's not like that. I've not had any relations with him, the ship was awarded to me at graduation. It just required a Shipmaster, as per regulation, but I still get to tell him what to do."

K’an understood now, she had to deal with the Shipmaster for logistical reason. "Don't you just love our Hierarchs?" He muttered under his breath.

"What was that?" Naki asked.

Not wanting to start another discussion with the already annoyed scientist, K’an dismissed his words.  “Forget it, let's go."

It wasn't long before they reached the bridge of the Mercy and Betrayal.  They entered the bridge to immediately come face to face with the Shipmaster.

“What is it 'Vacumai??” Naki demanded forcefully.

The Shipmaster turned to fully face them.  "Ah, Science Major 'Cimutee… welcome aboard."

"Why did you not meet me on the ramp?" Questioned as she put her hands on her hips.

‘Vacumai shrugged "I was charged with getting you and this ship to the assembly station in an exceedingly strict timeframe. Making the mandatory maneuvers required my presence on the bridge."

K’an gave an upset hum as he decided to join the bitching mate to Naki’s behalf. "So let me get this straight... You are under such strict orders, that you just ignored proper and almost required pre-docking and post-docking tests and protocols?"

'Vacumai smiled as if he was full of himself. “When the orders come from a Hierarch, we do."

"Well... aren't The Hierarchs the ones who spent a whole bunch of time and research due to the fact that several ships in the past had suffered substantial pressure loss from careless docking?" K`an challenged aggressively.

"In case you have not noticed, Major, we followed proper rapid supply-transfer-docking protocol Five-seven-seven-Gee. The docking corridor you passed through was the only pressurized docking port used."

"Well what about the protocol One-zero-two-dee… You know, the one that states that you have to, at least, identify all of those that enter each of your docking tubes, Shipmaster?" K`an crossed his arms.

The Shipmaster chuckled. "Ah, and I assume you have forgotten about the Mk-III Personnel Identification Disk you have embedded in your armor. Which, as I will remind you, tags you as soon as you come aboard. The same way that you are identified when boarding normally?"

Not budging on his stance, K’an continued. "Oh? So you're fully admitting that you willingly withdrew a warrior under the command roster of another commander? I would assume that Supreme Commander 'Vadamee would not be pleased."

"I am fully admitting that I took aboard a crippled rifleman under orders to accept all personnel transporting cargo." With a huff and a quick stride, ‘Vacumai reached over and snatched Naki’s data pad from K’an’s hover chair. "Which I thank you for bringing."

A growl of distaste escaped K’an’s throat. "You are lucky I am chair bound."

"Though I do not know what I'll do with you…" ‘Vacumai added with a snide smile before turning to face Naki and Ryau once more. "Naki, you know we are in Slipspace, correct?"

Naki crossed her arms. "Yes, I do."

"Well so do our sensors, but I hope you will be able to explain, this." 'Vacumai stepped to the side to present a holographic screen to Naki.

While it was specified to Naki, K’an and Ryau both pulled in closer to see what was to be of concern.  The screen seemed to show the view of one of the eternal cameras of the ship’s starboard hull.  Instead of total blackness of the lack of light in the void of Slipspace, there were numerous instances of blueish wisps of fog against the curtain of blackness.  Occasionally there was also streaks of color that seemed to zoom past the camera.  This struck quite a nervous nerve with K’an.  Slipspace was supposed to be a vat of darkness where it would be hard to make out the exterior of the ship from an inside view during a trip.

K’an pulled away from them to go check another screen on one of the nearby terminals.  On this screen there was an outline of the ship with several lines graphing the stream of Slipspace.  Normally the lines would be fully horizontal on the screen, and since the graph was for statistical data on how ships followed the stream, it wasn’t that important.  However, to much of his confusion, the lines were shown as bowing away from the ship slightly as if behind repelled somehow.

K’an sat up in his chair intently. "What are those lines across the graph and why are they bending around the middle?"  He asked, looking for validation of what he was looking at.

The three grew silent as Naki came over to inspect the screen. "That screen is supposed to be showing the topography of Slipspace, those lines should not be showing any deviation from straight… these are saying that it’s bowing out around us, like a bubble. Perhaps the detonation tore open a new dimension of Slipspace… It's so strange."

Naki sighed and looked away in deep thought. "I should get to my subordinates…"

"I would love to sit in on that to hear why… this is weird." K`an shifted in his chair.

"Well I don't know why yet, as I said earlier. This might be a different layer of Slipspace." Naki rubbed her chin. "Let's go." She turned and headed for the door.

Not wanting to stick around any further, K’an began to follow her.  This was until he remembered the initial conversation on the bridge.  "Just a quick note;” K’an stopped and turned to ‘Vacumai.  “I will be making a report on your forced transfer to the Supreme Commander."

"Have fun with that.”  Vacumai smirked.  “He will not be a Supreme Commander for long." He spoke with a chuckle.

K’an was going to retort, but before he could, Naki stepped up sternly besides him with a glare that might have the ability to kill at Vacumai.  "And you will not be commanding this ship any longer if you keep up this attitude."

Her sudden sternness and hardcore shunt on his demeanor caused the Shipmaster to seize up silently.  

"By the Gods…" K’an gave an amused huff as he slowly backed out of the bridge, leaving the Shipmaster silent and stricken with embarrassment.

Naki uncrossed her arms. "I will be keeping him on my security staff until we reach the end of the deployment cycle. Thank you 'Vacumai."  With that, she turned on her heel and exited the bridge with Ryau.  Once the door to the bridge closed she stopped and rubbed her face.

“Naki?”

“Yes?” She looked down at K’an.

“I think you are one of the first females of our kind to do that.”

“Do what?”

“Put someone of authority in their place.”


Author’s Note:  I don’t do these often, but I hate this chapter.
SGTLEGENDKILLEЯ
Fate Twister (Redux Edition)

Act 1

Chapter 3
“Of Wolf & Man”

It was unknown to Don on how long he had been asleep.  He felt physically plagued with pain and he didn't know whether it came from the crash, or something worse. He feared it may be the latter as he had some difficulty in breathing and opening his own eyes. With this, his mind quickly turned to panic as he now realized he could not move any of his limbs.  His eyes flew open and he was rendered terrified by the fact that even with them wide open, only a blurred plane of white was visible.  His ears rang painfully, overwhelmed by whatever acoustics were around him. It was almost as if they had never been used. Instinctively, he tried to wipe his eyes free of the dark and heavy haze that was inching into his view.  However, he found himself unable to do even that.  The feeling that his body had been bound down at not only the wrists and ankles, but at his thigh, midsection, and neck as well.  A surprisingly deep toned grunt left his startled throat. To add even more fuel to the strange feeling in his face, he felt his jaw part strangely in unison to the sound he found himself making.

Surprised greatly by this, he spouted? a confused questioning expletive. Unfortunately, his attempt at vocalizing against his situation went drastically south; his split jaws moved spastically with the words, and though he could barely hear what came out of his mouth, what he said like a deep tone version of his voice just stuttering off a random warbling line of noises. After throwing out whatever he had just said, he felt his gut twist. He could feel his jaw pull back together fearfully as they reflected his quickly diminishing mental stability.

"Sir! He is coming too." A voice off to his right spoke up suddenly.

"I know. I have been watching him." Another voice spoke next to his left side.

Don jerked against whatever it was that was holding him to the surface beneath him. He was delighted to hear and see the very faint outline of the people, as it was proof enough that he was far from dead, albeit it was hard to even in his condition.

"Jesus... I still can’t believe how big he is." The voice to the right spoke with a chuckle. "Is it too cliché to say I am kind of scared?"

"That is enough, Wates" the voice to the left seemed to snap at the other. "Donald..." he spoke a bit forcefully towards Don.

Upon hearing his name, Don did his best to turn his head as much as he could to look at the blurred figure. Due to the restraints, that was hardly any movement at all.

The voice to the left cursed under his breath. "C’mon you big bastard. Wake up."

The man hardly gave Don a moment to try to form even a nervous reply before a bright light was shining into his still eyes.  He felt his pupils construct harshly and his vision became clear within an instant.  Such a sudden sharpening was accompanied with a now clear sense of hearing.

"Interesting..." the left man noted with a gruff exhale. "They seem quite responsive to direct light”

To Don's surprise, his eyes suddenly could see in perfect clarity. Unfortunately what he found himself viewing was something that would do nothing to comfort him. Before him was a fairly bland small room.  All of the surfaces clad in a dark grey metal finish.  For the time being he could only see directly forward; he was still disoriented despite having clairvoyant vision.  On either side were two men, which the two voices belonged too. Other than the fact that they seemed quite small in relation to Don, Mr. Right really had nothing too much to deceive as he was in a medical scrub with a set of face and head coverings.

Mr. Left was greatly more of an interesting individual. Dressed fully in a black leather clad uniform, the man stood with a certain stance of authority as if he was something of importance. Everything about him screamed order and precision.  The well cared for and, carefully cut black hair on his head was combed back evenly, with just the right amount of bristle spacing and gel to keep the hair laying flat and smooth. The only thing that was not symmetrical with his wall shaven face, was a small vertical scar over the right side of his upper lip.  Don did happen to notice that on the man's leather jacket there were two patches on either shoulder. One, that he couldn’t seem to make out, and the other that simply had the elegance of multiple letters that spelt "Weaver."

"Ahh... it is good to see your awake, Donald" This Weaver man spoke with a grim smile.

Don, still quite terrified, stammered slightly.  His nervousness was at the care for the man's words and for his own sake. His mouth spread with each hawking failure at words. His mouth had become quite alien to him, yet he could feel some similarity in how the muscles worked.

"So let me get this straight..." The Weaver man turned slightly to take a file from a desk nearby.  "Donald H. Caster. Born April 15th, 1990. Six foot two, brown eyes, and brown hair." The man hummed as if intrigued.

Don stopped moving his strange mouth parts as the man began to rattle information about him. He looked down as far as he could just so much that he could just get a better look at the patches residing on the shoulder of the man. The emblem looked familiar to Don, though he could not quite place it.

"You live in Winnemucca Nevada and own a... " He paused as he flopped to another page. "You own a... modified 2013 Shelby GT500.   I would also assume that Morgan Chase is your significant other and that you were a Lance Corporal of the United States Marine Corps... with a… Michael Brook... am I missing anything basic about you, Donald?" He asked as he looked back towards Don.

Don stammered again for but a moment as he tried to triangulate his muscles to answer. "No..."

"Huh... I didn't think so." He paused as he straightened himself once again. "Now... what i am trying to figure out is why you do not like the man in his picture." He grew a slight snarl on his lips as he pointed down towards the paper.

"Huh??" Don choked out slightly. He knew something about him was very different then he should be, but his response was of pure disbelief.

"Listen, Donald. My peers and I have leading theories of 'Trans-universal' placement throughout the planes of reality and such. This might explain what happened to you and your friend..." Mr. Weaver shook his head as if he was challenged. "However... those same theories do not involve aliens."

Don stammered yet again slightly. The words of this man were nearly too much for him to mentally handle. This situation was far too excessive. It had to be a dream of some kind "I... don't understand..." His voice seemed even more deep as he struggled with his words.  He now definitively knew he was quite far from being ‘human.’

Mr. Weaver grimaced heavily as he turned towards the table once again. This time he brought a mirror with him that he quickly held up before Don. What the mirror would show caused his guts to knot tightly.

In the mirror, the reflection that Don found himself looking at was, as he expected, far from human.  Instead of the face he had grown several decades to know had an alien look to it.  The first thing that he noticed directly was that his eyes had become bright green in color and that his pupils had formed into vertical slits.  His nose had become flat and broad, leaving a blunt shaped contour mid face.  The last notable thing was that his mouth was no longer the basic two lips, but rather two pairs of mandibles lined with pointed teeth that left his maw widely open.  This was not the face of who he had once been; this was the face of a Sangheili, known better in game as an Elite.

"Who are you really, Donald?" Mr. Weaver challenged. "You are not the man on this license."

Don sat for a brief moment of gaping silence, hardly able to speak from shock. "You... who are you and what have you done to me?!"

"We have done nothing to you..." Mr. Weaver said as he crossed his arms. "What have you done to yourself?" He snarled slightly. "How did you two get here?"

Don cleared his throat slightly. "I don't know."

Mr. Weaver hummed as if he was displeased. "What were you doing before you crashed?" It seemed as if he preferred to jump straight into the questions.

"We were..." Don paused as he slightly flexed the muscles of his new mandibles. They were making speaking quite difficult. "We were driving."

"At what time of day was it? Where was your destination and how fast were you heading there?"

Don blinked with a slightly stutter "It was..." Don paused as he tried to replace the details. "It was late evening. We...were heading home and... uh"

"How fast?" Mr. Weaver was on point as he cut Don off as if to make sure he didn't stray from the question.

Don looked down in frustrated thought. "I don't know."

"I need to know how fast." Mr. Weaver stated tautly.

"Listen!" Don felt a growl gurgle from his throat. He did not do it intentionally, but it seemed to come with his growing senses of anxiety, fear, and frustration. "I have no idea on the hows or whys of how we got here!" He stopped abruptly in surprise at how loud his voice was projecting. It wasn't like him to really yell, but it had been loud enough to make Mr. Weaver's assistant to jump slightly.

Mr. Weaver's arms tightened in front of him as he grimaced. "Wates?"

"Yes sir?" Wates asked nervously.

"Leave the room please."

"Sir?"

"You heard me. Just leave."

"Yes sir." The masked assistant quickly complied as he scurried out of the room.

As the timid of the two left the room, Mr. Weaver became quite rigid as he began to approach Don's side once again. "These almost supernatural reality rift things have been happening for several hundred years and yet we absolutely know nothing about them." He paused for a moment to watch Don's reaction to this. "These things will ripple throughout multiple star systems with such force that every radio, television, chatter, and microwaves will spaz out for over a minute until stopping. We don’t know what it is. All we get is the weird signal and then we will find an old helicopter or something from hundreds, or thousands, of years in the past." Mr. Weaver paused to pass a few breaths

Don just sat there in a state of confusion. Though he had his doubts, he hoped that maybe something would dawn on his sense of understanding.  Of course Mr. Weaver's excitement was a bit unsettling as he couldn’t tell if it was that he was upset or not.

"We have the brightest people in the history of man trying to figure this out." Mr. Weaver continued. "Yet, like I have said... not one in the Office of Naval Intelligence has any idea on what the fuck these rifts are."

Don swallowed slightly at the mention of ONI. First he clearly recognized his newly gained strong resemblance to Halo Elite, and now he was finding that the man who was talking to him was from the real life equivalent to the KGB or CIA of the same lore.

"Let's think... you are from the 21st century... so you would know of the "Wow Signal' from 1977” He paused.  “It is a very specific signal, yet it is quite widely heard.”

"Sort of..." Don answered nervously.

"That was the first ever recorded instance of the rift frequency..." Mr. Weaver sighed heavily.  "Do you like conspiracy theories, Donald?"

"Not really..."

"That is a shame... your kind of part of one now."

"What? Why?" Don jerked slightly at his restraints.

"Because you and your companion are the only living creatures to come through and live."

"Huh..." Don didn't know what to even say to something like that.

"So... that being said. I urge you to answer my questions as well as you can." He suggested firmly. "Now tell me... what were you doing before you got here?"

Don sighed heavily with a sense of annoyance "I’ve already told you."

A scowl grew across Mr. Weaver’s face.  “I know you know something about how you are here, Donald, and I intend to find out whether or not I have to rip it out of your throat.”

“You can’t rip anything from me that I have not already told you!”

Mr. Weaver hummed with a smile.  “Nothing you say?  What is your favorite color?”

A lowly growl escaped Don’s throat.  “Red.” You snarky bastard. “Why?”

“Oh… No reason.”  He gloated slightly.  “That was not too difficult… Though I wonder if it will be that easy to remove more information from you…”  He turned from Don for a moment.  “What color do you bleed, creature?  Do you think it is red like your favorite color?  Or something else?”

Oh fuck no. Don stiffened, not caring to really answer as he saw this going downhill quite quickly.

“I think we should find out.” Mr. Weaver gave a crooked smile and leaned forward over Don’s chest to firmly grip his lower right mandible.  He could see Mr. Weaver now possessed some sort of instrument.

Don could do little more than straining against his restraints wiggle hopelessly as he tried to stop the man.  However, the ONI bastard came wielding a vice grip, and with it he took ahold of the furthest back molar on the mandible.  With the greatest fight the Human could, he quickly wrestled the tooth from its root.  It was an excruciating experience.  It felt as if a part of his face was being removed.  Once the bastard had removed Don’s tooth, he was left without hardly any feeling in half of his face.  He could feel the warmth of his blood dripping heavily from his mouth, leaving the hardly noticeable putrid taste of gore in his mouth.  Despite the taste and the blinding pain, he gave only a few screams from this.  His mind itself had been tortured enough with the transfer over to this world.  Though he would hate to admit it, it helped him through this endeavor.

“Intriguing!  Your tooth structure is simply amazing!” Mr. Weaver chuckled with a smug face.

“You fuck!” Don screamed out in anger, despair, and agonizing pain.

“Oh, you have seen nothing yet Don.  I am going to get what you know at any cost.  Now if you want this to end now just tell me how you are here.”

“I told you!” Don yelled.  “I don’t fucking know!”  The pain and the blood rendered it a bit more difficult for him to speak.

“Do you know what the worse part of being someone as methodical as myself?” Mr. Weaver skirted around Don’s answer as if uninterested.  “Most of the people like me suffer from Obsessive Compulsion Disorder.  And today…” He smiled widely.  “I am finding that I am quite tick-full today.  Your teeth are now not symmetrical and it is bothering me immensely.”  He chuckled darkly.  “Let me fix that.”  With this, he leaned in and proceeded to pull the other three rear molars from Don’s other mandibles.

Mr. Weaver eventually left Don to deal with his pained and bleeding face after removing the other molars.  The silence did little to help his situation.  It forced him to listen to his own soft whimpers as the pain in his mouth very slowly dimmed on his swollen face.  He had always thought he had a high pain tolerance, but this all was something else.  In reality he just wanted to go home to Morgan and his family while forgetting this.  What stung the most was that this was real.  All of it was terrifyingly real.  This was no nightmare.  Now here he sat, in the body of a Sangheili, on an ONI interrogation table.  He knew his chances of survival were essentially zero.  It was all too clear that Weaver was either never going to be satisfied with the answers Don would give him, or that he was crazy.  Don failed to figure which was more life threatening.  Of course this whole situation was obviously frightening to him, but the situation was overbearing in mental urgency.  His time alone was minimal as Weaver soon would return for more.  By this time Don had been plagued by the injuries in his mouth.  His mouth and cheeks, if he even had such a thing anymore, were still mildly swollen.  It would have seemed that somehow he was healing fine despite the slight stinging taste of blood that still formed slowly in his maw.

With the sly smile of a fox, Weaver returned with a few items that Don could not quite make out.  “Well, hello there, friend.  I see you’re doing well from our earlier encounter.”
A low, rumbling growl escaped Don’s pained throat.

“Oh stop that.” Weaver playfully mocked.  “You’re doing fine.  Though I think you would do much better if you actually told me the truth.”  He crossed his arms as he said this.

“I can’t tell you what I don’t know!” Don protested, his mouth still stinging as it moved.  

“What was the color of the rift?” Weaver challenged loudly as he ignored Don’s plea.

“I don’t remember!  Whitish yellow?  What the fuck does it matter?!”

“I will ask the questions around here!” Weaver sternly spoke as he prodded his extended index finger harshly against Don’s chest. “Were there arks of electricity?  Flames?  Smoke?”

“I. Don’t. Know.”

“Damn it!  Your kind made this anomaly, and you’re going to tell me how this shit works!” Weaver yelled.

“How about this...”  Don growled lowly.  “You go ahead and take your questions and shove them up your fucking ass!” Don shouted, knowing full well that Weaver was going to most likely be the death of him.

At this strong vocalization, Weaver’s faces twitched very slightly.  “Very well.”

With the tautest face that he had shown yet, Weaver moved around behind Don with the unseen items that he had entered the room with.  Before he knew it, the surface he was strapped to began to tilt backwards until his head was lower than the rest of him.  As the surface stopped Weaver came into view.  In his hands were what Don would assume was a garden hose and a large cloth.  

So this is how it is going to be Don thought, knowing exactly what Weaver was going to do.

Without a word, Weaver turned the hose onto a calm stream before he draped the cloth over Don’s head.  Don breathed in part way and held his breath just moments before Weaver began to let the water flow over the cloth.  The fabric became soaked instantly, it’s sheet clung damply to Don’s face as the water quickly filled his nose.  Luckily Don had trained for such a thing earlier in his life.  The main obstacle with waterboarding was the mental aspect.  Close the airways to your nose in the back of your throat and just let your sinuses fill with water.  Once it is, then it’s no worse than swimming.  Hold your breath and close your eyes and wait it out.  Weaver seemed to be a bit rough with it to begin with.  Judging by how tightly he had been holding the cloth around Don’s face and the length of time he was going with each duration of spraying water showed that he had it clearly set out for Don.  It was quite the displeasing situation, but he managed to handle it well.  He even tried his best to strain a bit against the restraints to play along.

Eventually, after several long minutes in fact, Weaver removed the cloth as he quickly tilted the surface forward.  Once Don was once again upright, Weaver moved around to face him.  As the ONI came around to view, he couldn’t help but smile just ever so slightly in defiance.

“That… did not bother you?” Weaver asked with a slight frog in his throat.  He sounded quite surprised.  

Don responded by ejecting the water in his nasal cavity with a exhale through his nose.  “No.  It didn’t”

Weaver cursed softly.  “You know this just means that I have to escalate things now, right?”

“My answers won’t change…” He spoke and breathed calmly.  “I have told you what I know and I will not give you false information.”  

Weaver paused for the slightest moment.  “I admire your modesty, but I don’t really believe you.”

“Of course.”  Don rolled his eyes.  “Though I suggest you try more legitimate methods of interrogation.”

“Excuse me?” Weaver twitched again.

“You heard me, Weaver.”  Don knew his chances were already zero, so if he was going to meet his means out of this life, he would be as much of a prick as he could be.

Weaver stammered slightly as he tried to figure what to say.  After a moment of saying nothing, he simply straightened his jacket and hair before leaving the room silently.  After he had left the room, and the door closed tightly behind him, the room grew silent.  Don sighed at this lightly in relief.  He knew his time was to come, but at least he now had more time to try to figure out what the hell was happening.  This thought was in vain of course, as he still had no inkling on what had happened to him.  He was stuck alone and unsure on the surface as he wondered what Weaver would try next, and what he might be doing to Mike.

Don had fallen asleep for a good portion of what he could imagine as a good length of the day.  While it was far from the desired time to sleep, it felt nice to feel something else besides pain and fear.  Even though the rest was dreamless, it did a lot to ease his current situation.  He was woken up abruptly by the opening of the door.  His eyes opened quickly to see Weaver entering the door briskly with a revolver clutched in his hands.

“Alright, Donald  It has been 40 hours since I gave you time to think.” Weaver spoke loudly and quite aggressively.  “I want you to tell me everything you know…  Who you are, where you are from, and how the the rifts work.”

Don tensed up slightly at his demeanor.  “We have already been over this all before…”

“That sucks for you.” With that he placed a round in the cylinder and flicked it closed.

“Listen.  I can’t give you any more information than I have!” Don pleaded, growing very nervous against his attempts to not be.  He was tired and weak from the lack of food.  “Is this your way to look for inconsistencies?!”

Without a moment's notice, Weaver leaned forward quickly at Don and forcefully shoved the barrel of the revolver into his mouth.  The metal of the weapon stamping against the back of his throat caused him to yelp out in a tearful scream of pain.  His stomach wrenched harshly as he desperately fought with his gag reflex as Weaver fiddled with the specific position of the gun.

“I don’t care if you say you know it or not.  You are going to tell me what I want to know.  Do you understand?” Weaver questioned angrily at Don.  “This is your first strike.” With that he pulled the trigger.  Click  

Don jerked heavily as Weaver pulled the gun from his mouth; his throat heaved heavily as it was now freed from obstruction.

“Get talking!” Weaver barked as he held the weapon limply in his hand.

Don inhaled painful as he tried to choke an answer.  “Wh- what do you want to know?!”

“You already know what I want, Donald!”  Weaver aimed the revolver towards Don’s chest and pulled the trigger.  Click  “You got four more tries left to tell me about the rifts!”

“I don’t know anything about them!”

Click

“Fuck!” Don, now legitimately fearing, yelped.  “It was whitish in color!”

“And?!”  Weaver yelled as he held the gun against Don’s chest.

“And what?!” Don spat back at the deranged man.

Click  “Do not fuck with me, Don!  What else!?”

Don’s mind raced in a panic for details.  “Our car went crazy and accelerated through it!”

Weaver stopped instantly, his body losing all rigidness.  “What was that?”

“Our car…” Don swallowed.  “Something hit the car and caused it to accelerate out of control.  We passed through the rift thing that came out of nowhere and we… we fell through a void.”

“...And?”

“And we ended up here!  That is it!” This was the best explanation Don had been able to give thus far.  He hoped it was enough.

“That is interesting…”

“That is what happened and that is all I know.  I can’t say anything else!”

Weaver seemed to consider this. “Well…  you passed.”

“P.... Passed?”

“You passed positive for the inconsistency.”

“What?!”

Before Don could say anything else, Weaver spun the revolver around his finger so he could catch it by the barrel.  Using the handle as a club, he repeatedly struck Don upside the head with it.  Each strike caused his ears to ring and his vision blacken.  He could taste blood and his vision was growing a dark purplish in the many times that Weaver dealt blows.  It was so many infact,  that Don had lost count.  They abruptly stopped and the sound of a click sounded out.  His vision quickly was returning to him just in time to see Weaver shove the barrel against his forehead.

“Last chance, Don.” Weaver demanded chillingly.  “How do the rifts work?!”

Don spat out a soft tearing sob.  “Just kill me.” He cried out softly as he closed his eyes tightly.

Weaver shrugged slightly. “Alright.” He smirked as he pulled the trigger.

To much of Don’s surprise, the sharp pain of the round entering his head and the feeling of death did not come to meet him.  What came instead was the sound of the click of the hammer against the strike plate, followed by Weaver’s maniacal laughter building swiftly in his ears.  Don opened his eyes confused.

“You thought there was a real bullet in there?!” He yelled out before breaking into another session of hysterical laughter.

Don gawked slightly, not knowing what to feel or think.

“It was a dud!” Weaver proclaimed as he pulled the cartridge from the cylinder to reveal it had no primer.  “My lord!  You’re gullible aren’t you?”

Don felt his face twitch violently as a feral growl escaped his throat quickly.

“I just wanted to toy with you one last time before we parted!” Weaver smiled proudly.  “Oh?  Yeah we are going to put you two in cryo sleep and send you both to Reach so we can pull you apart and see what we can find out.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

“I would if I could.  So long, Donald.”  Weaver took himself, and his gun, out of the room.

The quiet left by Weaver’s exit was short lived as several individuals in scrubs entered the room.  They gathered around Don as they tilted the surface back so that he was horizontal.  Before he knew it, the entire rig he was strapped to was being shoved out of the room.  The staff then began to push his rig down hallway.  After a few moments of getting pushed down the corridor, the squeaking wheels of another rig and the sound of a disgruntled voice crying out in protest could be heard.  Though at a passing listen the voice may have not been recognized by Don, with a careful listen it was the deeper tone version of none other than Mike.

“Let me fucking go you sick sons of bitches!” Mike demanded at the top of his terrified bellowing voice.

“Mike!” Don shouted out quickly.

“Don!?  Where the fuck are we?!” Mike, recognizing who the voice belonged to, demanded.  “What the fuck is happening?!”

“I don’t know!”

“Be quiet!” One of the men pushing Mike’s rig shouted.

“Why don’t you make me you fucking gook!” Mike shouted

“I swear to god-” The man shouted back.

“What are you gunna do that you already haven’t done to me?!” Mike retorted loudly.  “Let me out of here!”  Before he could say more, the sound of something electrical buzzing loudly could be heard before he let out a panicked scream.

With Mike left in quite audible tears, the rigs were pushed even farther until they came to a turn into a place that Don could only assume was a shower room.  One of the men called all but two of the staff off to the hallway to guard the door as the rigs were slowed to stop.  Their rigs were tilted up quickly before most of the staff left.  Once upright, several clicks were heard from the rigs.  The restraints suddenly unclamped from around the two, leaving them to fall limply to the floor.  It was only by reflex of Don putting down before him to catch himself from busting his face on the floor.  Standing freely now that they were off was impossible for the both of them.  Their legs, as hard as they might, did not want to not work properly from the lack of tenseness in the unused muscles.  Before they could hardly get their bearings, the ONI staff began their hose assault on them.

The water the ONI staff sprayed onto them was unpleasantly hot. It was of the temperature that was not quite hot enough to scald the skin, yet it caused discomfort. Whether it was intentional by the staff was unknown as Don and Mike knew nothing about the new skin now possessed. The washing went on for a good few minutes and the two went nowhere. Every time they attempted to get up the staff would blast the stream of water at them until they were knocked over.

While Mike had spent most of his time shouting profanity and slipping around frantically, Don was thinking critically about their situation. It would be quite a stretch, but he thought that they could possible push back and escape this facility.  The staff had stupidly let Don and Mike free of their harness.

After several minutes of wearing the two down with the hose, the staff duo stopped the waterflow. Don and Mike both laid still as they breathed heavily as they tried to clear their mouths of liquid. The two ONI staff muttered amongst themselves briefly before the one without the hose approached Mike.  As the man drew close, Mike barked out a demand to be left alone.  His loud booming voice and sudden jerk caused the two ONI men to flinch.

Taking advantage of the pause, Don pushed himself off the floor and took hold of hose still clasped in the one staff member’s hands.  Somehow the movement was not awkward and cumbersome for him, as if driven by some sort of instinctful will.  As he took a tight hold of the hose, the ONI staff let go and stumbled away with a loud curse.  The orderly quickly tried to pull, what Don would assume to be a side arm, out of his right pocket.  Before he could, Don shifted slightly in his stance as he swung the end of the hose like a medieval flail.  To much of the effect, the weighted head of the hose violently struck the side of the ONI staff’s head.  The force of the collision was enough to instantly dispatch the man as his skull was caved in, leaving his body to fall heavily to the floor; the glint of his sidearm scattered onto the floor.  Don scrambled slightly to pick up the gun before finding Mike slamming the other medical staffman’s head against the floor.

“Mike!” Don called out to him as he stood, pistol in hand.

“What?!” Mike huffed as he looked up from the man he had just killed.

“Check his side for a gun!”  

At this point, the sound of the door opening could be heard.  Don quickly turned himself to the towards the noise with the weapon raised, just in time for him to pull off a shot towards the rest of the medical staff that were entering.  The off handed shot was surprisingly well placed, clearly well translated from his muscle memory, leading one of the men to fall to the floor from a bullet to the head.  The others tried to scatter for cover as they struggled with their own weapons.  Don and Mike too moved to the protection of two pillars in the center of the shower room.  

Don quickly peered out from behind his pillar to see three frantically placed medical staff that were trying to get themselves out of sight.  Don raised the weapon to take two quick shots at one of them.  One of the rounds clipped the man in the leg and the other struck the center of his chest, effectively killing him.  Don snuck back into cover just as a small volley of rounds ricocheted off the edge of the pillar next to his head, causing him to jump and tighten his stance.  Mike took a quick chance to help out by yelling and quickly waving his hands around the pillar with a swift glance.  Of course the frightened men took several shots at Mike even after ducked back into cover.  Using this as a distraction, Don turned around the other side of pillar and hastily fired another two shots that would hit the head and neck regions of the two remaining men.

“Fuck!” Mike exclaimed as he looked around to see no one else shooting at them.  “Nice shot.”

“Mike, go get a gun and quit fucking around.” Don barked softly as he glanced at the doorway to see if anyone else was coming through.

Luckily for the two, no other ONI personnel were currently entering the room.  With a brief pause in action, Don inspected the weapon that he had been using.  The bronze colored firearm was tiny in his hand; it felt like he was holding a sub compact handgun.  On the side of the weapon read ‘Mirasha Armories’ and it stated that it was a 12.7 model ‘M6C.’  Despite its simplicity, much like a Colt M1911, there was some grace to be seen in it’s design.

With a fresh magazine of 8, Don pulled the slide back to chamber a round.  With a definitive weapon, the two of them could make a better stand against the ONI personnel.   While he stayed conscious of the now closed door, he began to go around the shower house as he turned all of the faucets with the hot knobs on full.

"Oh look at you!" Mike admired slightly. "I'll get the rest. Watch the door."

Don gave a quick nod before returning to his pillar. The air soon became heavy with the mist from the showers. The steam would give an improvised screen to make it difficult for anyone coming in. Even if the attackers would have infrared sights or visors, the steam would hopefully throw that off. It was a bit unnerving at how long it had been since someone had entered the room, however the sounds of men rushing to the ship section could be heard racing down the hallway. Don's grip tightened around the awkwardly small grip of the pistol.

Two men in what could be assumed as armored combat uniforms entered the large room cautiously. They were armed with two handed weapons that Don recognized from the games as Assault Rifles. They were of bullpup designs and were quite comparable to the FN F2000.With their ARs raised, they crept into the room as they scanned around for either Don or Mike.

Don and Mike waited for several silent moments as the soldiers slowly made their way through the room. As soon as they got within a few paces from the two pillars, Don popped himself slightly out just to fire a round directly into the face of one of them. He quickly ducked back into cover as an volley of automatic fire graced the corner of his pillar. None of the rounds compromised the corner as it was seemingly made from metal. Mike, taking the distraction that Don had started, turned and fired twice into the shooting man. With a scream and the clattering of his armor and weapon to the floor. Mike fired several more shots towards the door and ended up emptying his pistol.

"I'm out!" Mike growled in annoyance.

"Grab one of those guns on the ground! The one closest to you!" Don nodded his head to show he was ready.

Mike checked quickly for a clear window before swiftly going for the AR. However, as he moved out of cover, a fast flying object flew through the air and struck Mike in the center of the chest. The object, which could be easily seen as a weapon loaded bean bag bounced harshly off him as he toppled over with a yelp. With Mike on the floor clutching his chest, Don lost his concern for cover and speedily attempted to pull his friend from the line of fire. This decision would show to be their downfall as the attackers were at the ready. Don felt something heavily prick into his neck just behind his jaws. Immediately he felt his nerves becoming numb, his vision harshly blurred as his limbs felt weak. Within seconds he lost sense of where he was and was soon met by the cold wetness of the floor.

"Well, look at you..." the somewhat faint sound of Weaver's voice. "I can promise you one thing, Donald. I will be sure that you are awake when they tear you open."
SGTLEGENDKILLEЯ
Fate Twister (Redux Edition)

Act I

Chapter II
“The Ashes in the Wake”

It had grown quite dark for me.  After I had fallen unconscious I found myself in a strange state of limbo; it was a niche in between the great mortal divide, where one is not necessarily dead but you know you're not quite alive.  Unfortunately, there seemed to be no light to look up to from the darkness. Time had no meaning here as there only seemed to be the blanket of the void around me.  My body failed to respond to any sort of motion I attempted as if I had been paralyzed from the neck down.  The only thing that I really could hear was the sound of my constricted breath.  The fact that I could not keep track of time was probably the most frightening part of the experience.  It caused everything to fade together as I was wallowed in the darkness.

Eventually, after the ‘brisk’ eternity of nothingness dissipated, visions and feelings of every memory of pain and discomfort that I had ever experienced began to project before me at, what seemed like, a thousand miles per hour.  These painful mementos started to surface from the earliest corners of my childhood.  Everything from throwing up from the flu to the feeling every time that my mother’s hand graced my ass in discipline.  Once these had played out, then came my teen years.  Past all of the scrapes and breaks and fractures from playing football, and onto the vivid pains of my adulthood.  Two that stuck out in the montage of hell were the times in which I had taken a round from an AK-47, right through the meat of my left thigh and when I had received a concussion from falling two stories off the drop rope of a UH 60 Blackhawk in the Marines.  Luckily, once these had run their course through the filter that was my memory, the pleasantries of more desirable times began to play before me.  They seemed to be mainly of those who had been close to me in my life.

I always had the fondest memories with my father.  He had always been quite stern on teaching the lessons of life to me.  Yet, despite this, there was always a sense of deviance to him that would allow much fun to be had.  To best describe him would be that he was one of those guys who would race the muscle cars from the 1970s around the streets, while blasting early Exodus and Metallica tapes.  He was very supportive of most of the decisions I made in my life; from the basic interests I had as a child, even up into my enlistment into the military.  As much as I could not really tell him about my post military life, we still had kept close; if he wasn’t at my house working on a car, I was at his spending time with him and my mother.

One time in particular that stuck out to was our most recent project car, a 1969 Plymouth GTX that they had purchased from a farmer in a neighboring town.  It was quite the extensive project, needing full restoration and a huge level of replacement parts from the decades of sitting in a corn field.  The most ironic part of the project was towards the end when it had nearly reached completion.  We had just replaced the engine with a totally rebuilt, 440 Six Pack, and had thrown it in perfectly only to find out the hard way that the fuel rails had not been fastened.  This wonderfully stupid mistake resulted in a gasoline fire that almost took down the whole garage… I had never heard my father curse so much in his entire life.

Of course he never cursed around my mother; for she was a well-mannered and a firm stay at home woman who took literally no amount of shit from anyone, though she always meant well with an overly optimistic outlook on life.  No matter how many times she had to scream our full name across the property or how many times she had to exert her authority, she would punish and send Mike and myself down the right direction on being well behaved and gentlemanly.  It was what we needed.  What I received from them was a good outlook on life and a strong work ethic.  One of the greatest times I had with my mother was seeing how much she lost her head over seeing Morgan and myself off to senior prom.  It is such a weird transition period in which a parent realizes that their child has now blossomed into an adult.  I knew my mother felt this as I looked in the rearview to see her standing in the doorway of our home crying in the arms of my father as we left for the evening all dressed up in my father’s Chevelle.

Morgan was an amazing woman from Winnemucca that I had come to know through a football game in her junior year of high school.  She was at the game rooting for the Winnemucca team; after they had won the game, she had approached me she to simply ask to borrow a dollar for a bag of popcorn.  I of course offered to just buy the popcorn for her and we ended up talking for quite the extensive amount of time; little did I know this woman would become the love of my life.  She had stuck with me faithfully through my tour in the Marines and through all of the time that Mike and I had spent away from home on our ‘security sale’ rounds around the world.  It was quite saddening to me to now know that our trip home had been halted.  I was planning to get engaged to her.

The instances that were running through my mind were not all pleasant.  One that heavily sparked my attention was one scenario from his tour of duty with the USMC in 2010; it was of first serious firefight I had ever been through.  It was here where I would learn that, in combat, no one has time to grieve the dead and dying.  In the later parts of that year, Mike and I had been placed into a Company that was located in Afghanistan.  One day there was to be quite a high value of altitude sensitive material to be transferred from our base to another.  With a convoy made up of six Humvees, a pair of M1120 HEMMTs, and a single LAV-AT, we were heavily defended for our moderate trek.  I had been set up with my M240L in the third Humvee of the three leading the train.  Behind us was the LAV followed by another Humvee.  After the fourth Humvee was the two HEMMTs with the remaining two Humvees bringing up the rear.

Though the temperature was blazing compared to what most Americans were used too, I don’t remember it being as hot as it would normally be.  To be fair, it was always hot in Afghanistan and that was even with shade and a fresh supply of water.  For what it was worth, the scenery made up for the somewhat hellish climate that seemed to stay as a constant.  Even from the thick window of the back seat of a Humvee, the mountain ranges gave quite a view; it sort of reminded me of home.

“So… This isn’t all that hot for you, is it?”  The Marine in the seat next to me asked.  

He was a fellow leatherneck hailing from Idaho named Nikolai Garstrov.  He was quite the interesting character to say the least; due to the fact of his near stereotypical Russian name without portraying even the slightest accent led me to dub him with the fond nickname of the “Pseudo-Ruskie.”  Nikolai had always been easy to get along with as he was a good fit for the usual bullshit that Mike would throw my way.

“It is, kinda…”

“Really?” He gawked as if he was surprised with me.  “I haven’t heard you complain about it yet.”

“I don’t like to complain.” I responded with a slight shrug before looking back out the window.

“Well, I know that…  It seems like you like what you are doing here, though.” He pointed out.

“I do.” I answered with yet another shrug.

“Are you going to be a Lifer?” Nikolai questioned.

Before I could answer, our driver, Chad, spoke up.  “I bet you both one hundred bucks that he is!” He laughed towards the other passenger, James, and Nikolai.

“Nah man!  Have you seen his lady back home?  He ain’t staying in the corps away from that.”

I just smiled and shook my head from such antics; all of this made the time go by.

As we passed through a town on the route, our conversation would soon be cut short as the deafening sound of an explosion from behind shook our Humvee.  The startling sound sent everyone into a panic as we tried to figure out what the hell had just happened.  We would soon piece together that an improvised explosive device, that had been set in the middle of the street we were passing through, detonated just between the middle Humvee and the first HEMMT, causing crippling damage to each of the vehicles.  In our attempts to collectively piece together the situation, we failed to notice a rocket sailing its way directly at our vehicle from the roof of a nearby building.

The rocket slammed into the hood of our Humvee, causing a deafening force of concussion to tear throughout the cabin as the front of the truck was split open like an anchovy can.  Even though my ears took a beating and my consciousness was quite shunted from reality, it was obvious that Chad and James had been killed from the explosive’s force on the front of the truck.  The next moments were blurred heavily and I was rendered solidly numb until Nicolai desperately was shaking my shoulder in attempts to bring me back to clarity.

“Don!”  He screamed, terrified.  “Get the fuck up, man!  C’mon!  Don’t die on me!”

To give him some sort of answer, I gave him a quick wave as I sluggishly began to check myself for any damage.  Happily, there was none, I was fine.

“We need to get the fuck out of the truck!  The convoy stopped!”

I could barely hear him to begin with, but I could just faintly make out the sounds of a firefight building quickly.  He was right though; we could not stay here.  I popped open the door and got out as fast as I could in my still heavily dazed state.  Once my boots hit the sand I found that it was somewhat difficult to stand for a moment.  To counter this, I had to rest my weight briefly against the rear wheel well of the Humvee as I secured my M240L.  There was hardly time to even gain my thoughts as it would seem, for I looked up just in time to see a trio of insurgence members turn down the alleyway that was right next to our, now, destroyed truck.  With hardly a questioning second, I raised the weight of my light machine gun with the trigger held.  Despite my weapon making quick work of the insurgents, seeing them die was devastating to me.  These were my first kills.  

Dissociation is key; they tried to kill you and so you acted.  It is only natural.

As their bodies fell in shambles, I felt my nerves numb and my veins race as the need to act was quickly becoming apparent.  My hearing was met with the sounds of nearly endless weapons fire with the occasional shouting.  Nikolai soon came to my side of the Humvee as several rounds from enemy fire pinged off of the rear of the truck.  Both of our heads ducked down behind our cover as we looked back in time to see the LAV roll forward as its rotary 20mm began to spray at whatever contact it had towards the enemy.  Back with the convoy, one of the transports had been hit with a rocket in the front grill and had come to a stop at an angle that nearly blocked the entire street the convoy was going through.  The other Humvees had moved around to form a sort of brace line before the transports.  Sgt. Stacker, the head guy of the convoy, could be heard over the radio for Don and Nikolai to fall back to them.

With the cover of the light armor and the suppressing fire of the convoy’s blockade, we ducked our heads down and frantically ran toward the others.  Miraculously, Nikolai and I somehow avoided the enemy fire that would occasionally strike the sand besides us. To our relief, we eventually found ourselves sliding into the safety of the Humvees of the blockade.  With the mass of steel and armor, it would take a lot of luck on the insurgency’s part to get a direct hit on anyone still alive in the convoy.  We hardly got a second’s rest before the Sergeant began to bark out orders to us.  It was to be expected; if we were to both ward off the insurgence and survive the attack, we would need to act accordingly.

“Caster!  Get that ‘Pig’ up on something and fucking help suppress those bastards!” The Sergeant yelled as he pulled himself down into cover from firing his M4A1 over the sloped rear of one of the Humvees.

I yelled back quickly to confirm his order before I moved with haste to the other side of the Humvee that I was currently behind.  I swiftly extended the bipod of my M240L before setting it up on the hood.  My lungs hurt; my breathing was desperate and panicky.  I had never seen combat like this in my life, it was all so new to me.  Despite this, I did what I had been trained to do as I did my best to get any hits, or suppress the enemy.  It didn’t help that there seemed to be a never ending supply of them.  I knew that our cargo was fairly important, but the insurgents seemed to want it a bit too much.  Nevertheless, the blockade was not going anywhere.

Several minutes passed in a frantic blur.  Of course this seemed like an eternity to me.  Nikolai provided me ammo belts in between reloads so that the weapons could remain free and of use.  The .50 M2 machine guns on the Humvees were essential to our effort as we waited for both reinforcements or for the end of the fight to come.  As much help as the LAV had provided earlier on, it ended up not aiding us for very long as it was destroyed after a few long moments by several rockets from the insurgents.  To great fortune, we were very soon after joined by a pair of M1127 Stryker Recon Vehicles and a single M1128 Mobile 105mm gun that were on a nearby patrol and had responded to our convoy’s call to arms.  It was a surprising amount of mobile armor to just roll into our fight, but as we saw the trio of Strykers slam through a stone wall off to the right side of the roadway just in front of us, our spirits were greatly lifted.
SGTLEGENDKILLEЯ
Fate Continuum
Act IV
Chapter III
“The Return to The Fleet”
H.D. 2:26 p.m. September 21th, 2552

After the whole emotional debacle that was their previous mission, the Phantom had been ordered to go to one of the three ships that were close above the ring.  According to the Covenant Battlenet, the Parasite had gotten off the Sacred Ring and onto an agricultural ship of the fleet.  The ship, the now ill-fated Infinite Succor, was boarded by a Lance of Special Operations who retook control of the ship and sent into the sun of the solar system.  After that instance, the fleet had designated three ships nearest to the Ring that had been immobilized by the Human Ship that crashed on the surface.  

Those three ships were now serving as a quarantine for all of the troops that were desperately fleeing the parasite.  The security was quite tightly knit and very precise; there were no weapons allowed off the transports and showers were mandatory whether a warrior was covered in gore or not.  Clad with white covered Ranger class armor, they had led everyone coming onboard the ships off of their transport and to where the majority of the warriors were staying until the quarantine was lifted.  It was done with great distinction and effectiveness that even Sig was impressed.  Though at this point he would be impressed by a poorly made cup of creamed coffee; anything was better in contrast to the parasite.  As the situation currently stood, the ship that the Lance had fled to was undergoing the process of being stripped of its materials.  The materials could be easily seen in stacks of individual panes on the furthest side of the Hangar.
Once they had cleared through the security Sig led them what was left of the Lance towards the mess hall section of the ship.  There was bound to be no food there, but it was the most spacious section of the ship still intact, save for the hangars.  Most of the ship had been hollowed out from the stripping.  In fact, there were sections of the ship that one could see almost clearly to the other side of the shell.  He was quite persistent on finding a place for his Warriors that was a bit more secluded from the rest of quarantined warriors.  Eventually they came upon an observation deck just outside of a non-operational N’vek’s diner.  There were several settings of seating that the Lance quickly moved to huddle around in the corner of the deck.  Everyone sat heavily and silently.  With the exception of the group of Kig Yar who were very quietly squawking to one another, the three remaining Sangheili were wordless.  The Pilot of the Phantom was emotionlessly looking out of the projected window into space at Threshold and the Minor Sangheili was still trying his damnedest to hide the fact he was still crying.  Sig sighed empathetically for the youth.  He too had shed his terrified tears on the Phantom ride up, but the tears of the Minor were of loss.
Sig sighed heavily as he took his helmet off and dropped it between his hooves.  “Minor…” He looked up towards the young Sangheili after a moment of rubbing his eyes.
The Minor picked up his head and sniffled sharply to swallow his tears. “Yes sir?” He straightened up as he choked slightly on his words.

“What is your name?” Sig asked him softly.

“My name…” He whimpered slightly.  “My name is Cazo Malkamee, sir.”

Sig smiled slightly as he began to try to distract Cazo and himself from the situation.  “It is nice to meet you.” Sig smiled politely.

Cazo got quiet for a moment while giving Sig a slightly confused look.

“Where are you from?”

Cazo swallowed again after he wiped his face.  “Cleveatte…. I uh…” He paused for a moment. “I am from Cleveatte.”

“Oh very nice.  They have a nice network of fishing piers.”  Sig nodded slightly.  

“Yeah… I guess.” Cazo looked down as he nodded slightly.

“They had great food there.” Sig was happy to see that he could recourse the conversation.

Cazo paused briefly. “I don’t think it was as good as the Varo seaside though.”

“Maybe not in terms of value or quantity,” Sig sighed softly.  “but... it has a certain quaintness that I just love.”

“You’re right…” The youth got quiet.  “Kosa and I used to go there all of the time as children…”  Cazo’s throat struggled slightly. “We…  In our early we would collect the stones that the fishermen would remove from the belly of the large fish they would bring in.  He and I would take them to the waterfront and attempt to build great ‘water walls’ with the stones to save a crudely made sand fortress...”  He looked down quietly as a tear fell from his mandible tips.

“What was his name, Cazo?” Sig asked softly.

“Kosa… Kosa Nadamee.”

Sig’s smile faded slightly.  “Coza.  When we return home I want you to tell me when and where his service will be… For I shall pass on word of his honor myself.”

Cazo and the Pilot both looked sharply at him as if surprised.  

“Sir?” Cazo questioned with a sniffle.

“Sig.  My name is Sig.”

Cazo just stared in complete disbelief.  “You would do that?”

“Yes, I promise that I will if you’d allow me too.”

“...It would be an honor to his name, Valhamee.”

Sig simply nodded in response.

“You impress me, Major.” The Pilot noted suddenly.

“Why?” Sig asked.

“You seem to be unsure on how to play the role you have been given, yet you act upon your duties with the grace and care that not even the most experienced Ultras would provide.”

“Is that because I legitimately care for my warriors?”

“In a matter of speaking…” He sat forward with a sigh.

“I vowed to act on my followers as my leaders cared for me.”

“You show it well.”

“I am delighted to give such a presentation.” Sig said with a sense of pride.

Now with Cazo more calm than he had been, the group was left in silence for a good long while.  There was not much to pass the time for the most of them.  The Kig Yar were either sleeping or quietly having a conversation with each other.  The Pilot silently watched the Ring through the projection pane as he had been, Cazo had found himself asleep after a little while, and Sig had been distracting himself with numerous extensive cooking recipes that he had saved on his data pad.  If his mind was ever riddled with unrest he would sometimes read recipes and try to imagine the taste of the resulting food.

“Have you any children waiting for you back home?” The Pilot asked to once again break the silence.

“No…  I do not.” Sig sighed with his gaze still at his data pad.

“May I ask why not?” He asked Sig as he sat forward, interested.

“Well…” Sig set down his data pad.  “I just have not found anyone to match who I am.”

“Oh…” He shifted slightly.  “I did not mean to pry, however I noticed that earlier when Major Quetanee were exchanging stories you were silent… I noticed the Far Beyond Provocation emblem on your armor.”

“Oh… That is nothing really.”

“Do not play me for a fool, Valhamee…” He crossed his arms.  “I have been a transport pilot for almost 67 years.  I have heard a good number of tales of that kill team.”

Sig chuckled very slightly.  “Maybe in a little bit, sir.  I’ll have to think of whether what I could tell you is allowed for your ears.”

The Pilot snorted and smiled slightly.  “How did you get the emblem?”

“I am one of the founding members.” Sig smiled a bit.

“Really… You do not look hardly old enough for such a feat.”

“Ah, but it is true.”

“If you still you have their colors painted on your armor, then why are you not with them now?”

“The kill team is currently unassigned.  Two key members are currently not present for duty.” Sig sighed as he looked down.

“Well… That is a simple enough reason.” He nodded and sat back against the wall and looked back out into space, leaving the conversation quiet.

Eventually one of the Kig Yar, the T’vaoan Sig had pulled into the Phantom earlier, broke his silence as he complained in his own native language about the lack of food in his belly.  

“You know… they must have some sort of food on this ship.  Why not you and I go find some for the rest of the Lance.”  Sig offered.

As Sig looked at the T’vaoan curiously, he received quite the surprised collection of glares from the entire group of Kig Yar.  They all seemed to tilt their heads at the Sangheili could just openly understand their species’ language.

“I am multilingual… Come now… Gawking at my knowledge of speech will not help us find provisions.”  Sig stood with a slight smile.

Sig waited for a moment while the T’vaoan got up from his seat before heading from the observation deck for the mess hall.  With the time that they had been there it had seemed like a great amount of troops had arrived from the Ring.  The mess hall was quite tightly packed with all species alike.  He thought there could be many things that could go wrong with how everyone was in one place; while it would be much easier for the security forces to keep an eye on everyone if they were all in one place, but if there was an outbreak, they would stand absolutely no chance against such a seemingly instantaneously spreading parasite.  Despite this setup, there was a near full staff of security workers who were quickly distributing food and water rations to the warriors in the mess hall.  The Security officers had called that only Majors and other Leaders come forward for their Lance’s provision.  Given this, Sig and the Kig Yar two ended up waiting in a lengthy line for said provisions.

“What other languages can you speak, sir?” The T’vaoan asked from beside Sig.

“Well…  I can speak, read, and write the languages of every major Covenant species.  This includes Jiralhanae, Unggoy, San Shyuum…” Sig paused briefly to think.  “and though I cannot speak it for the lack of a beak, I quite fluently understand the Kig Yar language.” He nodded slightly.

“Intriguing…” The T’vaoan hummed softly.  “Are their other languages you understand?”

“Plenty.  I also Understand Forerunner, Human, a bit of Yamne’e” Sig shook his head slightly as his mind wandered slightly.  “I also speak ‘blatant sarcasm’ if the situation calls for it…” he sighed delightfully; he greatly missed K’an.

“You like to read it seems.”

“Very much so!” Sig crossed his arms.

“Why not be with the Science Division then?  If you enjoy it so much?”

“I would have…  However, when I joined the military, that division was not really as popular as it is now and even that isn’t much.  I just stuck with where I was placed and did the best I could.”

“I see…”

Sig hummed.  “What is your name?”

“Your species would pronounce it ‘Fal’Tahn” He smiled.

“Nice to meet you, Fal.” Sig smiled back as the two shook hands.

“Either way...I think you have done well for yourself…  Your kill team has been around a long time.  It’s an honor to be besides someone with such a history to him.” The T’vaoan admired.

“I honestly would not like to reflect on it.  I do not like war, but it is what I’m good at.” Sig sighed.  “I may as well see this war through and just mark our last operation as a failure…”

Fal gave a frown.  “I would not call our last mission a total failure…”

“What would you call it then?” Sig uncrossed his arms.

“Well…  Yes, it was a failure.  The objective was not completed and we retreated.”

Sig gave a slight grunt in response.

“However…  A decent number of us survived because of you giving the order to retreat.”

“I guess so…”

“I once was in a similar position, Sig.  At one time I held the rank of Champion.  I lead my Lances into battle as well as anyone else could…”

“What happened?” Sig looked down at Fal with concern.

“We ran into a trio of Demons as we were patrolling some mountain side routes on the last Human planet the fleet invaded.”

“Oh my… How bad were the casualties?”

“Everyone besides myself....” Fal sighed heavily.  “I should have made a call for shelter or fleeing, but I did not.  We stuck to our ground and tried to make an attempt at slaying the Demons.”

“...I assume that did not go well.”

“No.  The Demons were using a vehicle to simply run over us like a simple nuisance.  What is worse is that they turned around and made several bounds through the Lance with the vehicle.” He paused a moment to give a growl of distaste.  “I know you Sangheili have a strange sense of respect of the Demons, but we Kig Yar fail to share that outlook on them.  What they did was quite lacking in honor; there is nothing noble about simply running over your opposition with a vehicle that is the third weight of a Wrath.”

The two were silent for a moment.

“Adding an insult to my name, I was demoted and rendered unable to be placed in a leadership position of troops.”  He grimaced.

Sig put a supportive hand on Fal’s shoulder.  “Well… if I continue to lead troops and you stay with my Lance, I will put you in charge of the rest of the Kig Yar.”  he gave a slight smile of assurance.

A slight warble escaped Fal’s beak.  “What of the hierarchs?”

“If they have an issue with it, they can fondle my stones.” Sig smiled widely.

Fal huffed in amusement.  “You must have some heavy stones if you are open to publicly disagreeing to the words of the Prophets.”  Sig had never seen a Kig Yar smile so widely before in his life.

“Oh… They are not that heavy, I assure you.” Sig replied with a slight blush.

Fal got a good chuckle from that comment.  

It wasn’t before long that it was their turn to receive rations.  Sig gave a count of how many were left in his Lance and the Fleet Security officers handed him the right amount of rations.  With an appropriate supply of provisions for the Lance, the two quickly made their way back to the observation deck.  The rations were well received and quickly eaten by all.  Once their bellies were filled, they all returned to their resting position and waiting for the quarantine to be called off.

Unfortunately, most of the time spent waiting was drawn out.  The Lance had been on the ship for about 14 hours before the quarantine had been lifted.  After a little bit more waiting after they had eaten, the quarantine had been called off and now the security forces were giving out directions towards the appropriate of one of numerous hangar.  For each hangar there were several transports that would take the troops to several ships in the fleet.  Direction to which craft was going to which fleet was provided once the Lances arrived at the hangar.  At the far end of hangar that they had arrived at, there was a pair of Phantoms heading to the Leveling Strength.  Outside of the Phantoms were several bins that contained all of their gear that had clearly been ran through a steam decontamination spray.  Despite the dampness of their gear, the Lance gathered their gear and entered the surprisingly empty transports.

“Were we the only ones from our ship on the Ring to return?” Cazo asked softly as the Lance began to get themselves settled on their Phantom.

“I certainly hope not…” Sig frowned slightly.

To the group’s surprise, the sounds of more people climbing onto the ramp side door of the transport could be heard.  The group grew silent as they curiously turned to see that the ones joining them were none other than Naki and Ryau.

“By the gods!  Ryau! Naki!” Sig exclaimed delightfully. “We thought you had perished in the tunnels below!”

“It was quite difficult to make it to the surface, but we managed to get out intact.” Naki answered as she entered the troop bay with her group. “They are not something that should be engaged in close quarters.”

“I would not imagine…” Sig paused as he lightly shook his head.  He couldn’t imagine fighting those creatures in hand to hand combat.  There was too many of them.  “We barely had made an escape and we were on the surface!  I have never seen anything like those… things.” He felt his smile fade as his mind was taken back to the surface of the ring.

“They are… meant to be a challenge for those that find the Sacred Rings. It is something that has been overlooked on many accounts,” Naki sighed.

Sig had analyzed the holy texts much like every other book he read, and with her mention, he remembered that minor detail that was never really expanded upon in sermon.  “Yes…  The ‘Flood’ as they were called… I had forgotten such a minor detail.” He sighed heavily as the words ‘curse the Forerunners’ escaped his hushed yet upset breath.

With all the members of the Leveling Strength that had survived accounted for, the pilot of the Phantom entered the craft and shut the ramp door.  “Warriors.” The Pilot spoke loud enough for them all to hear him.  “I would secure yourself in the seats of the craft.  The Fleet Security has been disassembling all engine components of the transport crafts and throwing them into space.
I fear there may be quite the amount of debris because of this.  You have a minute or so to secure yourselves before we disembark.” He gave a nod before heading into the cabin of the transport.

Sig sighed softly and left his two friends to make sure that his Lance were able to get themselves situated before the craft took off.  Once they had all been secured in their seats, he returned to Naki and Ryau.  

“I suppose we’re headed back to our ship, finally gonna be safe.” Ryau hoped as leaned back into a seat.

“One can only hope so…” Sig sighed as he pulled his plasma repeater from his back before sitting next to Ryau.  

Sig looked down at his weapon to inspect it.  It felt damp as if it had been thrown into water.  Though this was not something that would cause great concern, it was clear that, as he inspected the internals of the gun for condensation, that the weapon had been steam washed by the security of the ship.  He hoped silently that whatever they had done was enough to combat the parasite.

Ryau gave a shrug. “I’m quite confident in saying that things will be coming to a conclusion, very soon.”

“Well…” Sig chuckled quite slightly as he pressed the heat cover release button to close the sides of the weapon. “Would it be cliché to say that I think this might only be the beginning of what we faced?”

“For us,” Naki looked to Sig around Ryau. “I do hope that it isn't.”

“Well…  This was only one Ring…” Sig pointed out as he remembered the Holy Texts stating that there were multiple Rings.  The implication was truly terrifying.

“And I don’t want to be anywhere near the next, if the Covenant finds another.” Ryau chipped in. “I know for a fact, that I am not going down to this one again.”

“I second that notion.”  Sig nods slightly.  “However, it would be best to stay far from D’rok, K’an, and I if that is your goal.  Such situational luck seems to follow us.”

“What? I’m not going to anywhere else. I’ve already grown use to you and K`an’s sense of humor.” Ryau chuckled slightly.

Sig leaned back heavily against the side of the Phantom with a pleasant smile.  “I am glad you have… You and Naki make for good company.”

“How did you handle leading a group, Sig?” Naki asked after a brief moment of silence.

Sig had actually put a lot of thought into that.  This was the first time he was experiencing some time as an Officer.  From what the Lance was saying he was doing quite well, save for the unavoidable deaths on the past mission.  “I seem to be doing an alright job… though I would prefer a less stressful situation next time.”

“Wouldn’t we all…” She sighed.

The trip rest of the trip had been silent.  Of course the length from the quarantine ship to the fleet had not been that long of a journey, at the most it had 20 minutes or so.  It was a good change of pace from all of the recent landings and takeoffs that Sig had been through in recent times.  The Phantom lightly braked and settled peacefully into a landing pad in one of the hangar bays of the Leveling Strength.  Once the craft had come to a resting halt.  Sig undid his harness and went over to his Lance.

“Well Warriors… I guess this is where we depart.” Sig nodded slightly to them as they too released themselves from their own harnesses.

“It is a shame that it is, Valhamee.” The Pilot sighed

“It really is…”  Sig’s shoulders sagged slightly.

“Do you think you will lead again?” The Pilot smiled slightly.

“I just might…  and I can guarantee that I shall need an aged and well experienced pilot, sir.” Sig smiled at him.

“Grekan…” The Pilot corrected. “Grekan Vorkamee, 502nd Phantom graduate division

“It is an honor, Vorkamee” Sig bowed his head respectably.

“Likewise, Valhamee”

“So what now, Sig?” Fal asked Sig with the slight tilt of his head.

“You are no longer under my command… However, I plan to go the bar later this day... and I would like to buy you all drinks if you will let me.”  Sig offered with a smile.

“Of course” Fal nodded “You already have our contact information.”

“Then I shall tell you all when I am heading to whichever bar.” Sig smiled.  “Farewell.”

They all nodded back in respect.

With a sigh, Sig returned to Naki and Ryau as they were getting off the Phantom.  No one really was vocal on the way back to the barracks. There wasn’t all that much to be said that had not already been discussed. They were all just tired and they wanted to sleep it off as heavily as they could. Eventually they had reached the barracks. Ryau, being the first one to the barracks doorway, opened it only to receive a hot barrage of K’an’s seemingly excited remarks.

“My gods!” K’an exclaimed loudly at him as the door had just finished opening. “It took you long enough to get back here!” He seemed quite annoyed.

“Ah, well if it isn't the cripple.” Ryau said starkly as he walked fully through the doorway and towards the bunk section of the barracks.

“Ha ha, funny.” K’an seemed uninterested in jesting now as he began to stand from his resting position with the help of his newly fixed leg brace. “What the fuck is happening out there?” He demanded.

Sig sighed and shook his head at the demand. They had all just lived through that nightmare and spent hours trying to forget it only to have some pompous jerk demand they mentally relive it once again.  Sig had not the patience to deal with it, yet he felt for Naki and Ryau’s sake that he could not leave.  Being as this was, he just would do his best to ignore K’an by laying down on his bed that he so craved.

“It was the Parasite…” Naki said as she decided to take the plunge in answering K’an.

“What does that even mean?!” K’an pried with a sense of entitled agitation.  “I have spent the last eight hours trying to figure this shit out!  The security on the ship has been jumpy and frantic as hell, everyone is evacuating the ring, and all anyone has mentioned is a very sparsely heard ‘oh it is the Parasite.’  What the fuck is this parasite!?” K’an wobbled slightly with a cringe as he waved his arms a bit with his speech

“K’an, have you never read about the Halo Rings?” She continued in annoyance. “The Parasite, the Flood.”

“Read those inflated and bastardization of the holy texts they give to the public??  HA!  Too hell with reading that dry shit!”  K’an mocked loudly.

“K’an… Lighten off it.” Sig pleaded with a sigh as he sat on his bunk heavily; he was only trying to ease the situation.

“And why the hell should I do such a thing?!” K’an demanded in retort.

“Maybe we would not wish to speak of what happened.” Sig tried to leave a heavy hint for K’an.

“Sig!” K’an pointed at Sig with a slight growl of annoyance.  “Shut your fucking mouth and let the grownups talk.”  He looked back to Ryau and Naki.  “I’ll ask again.  What the fuck are is going on?!”

“Look up the Flood, K`an.” Naki said. “I don’t want to go around explaining them and throwing up.”

K’an stared at Naki in total disbelief.  “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Sig unclenched his jaws from distaste as he stood from his bed to defend himself. “K’an.  Stop it.” He spoke with as much abrasion as he could as he balled his fists at his sides.  He would not allow K’an to continue speaking that way too him.

“Absolutely not!  Sig!  You need to quit being a little dyke!” K’an shouted violently at Sig.

As those harsh words hit Sig’s ears, his pupils constricted drastically as his mind was taken back to a time far before in his life; such words were the lines of hate and disrespect that his bastard of a father used to throw to him when he was a child.  It had not been a mere once or twice, but rather a vocal opinion that was a form of emotional harassment.  It was the reason he left his parents as soon as he was old enough too.  Back then he was too small and fearful to strike back, but now was different.

K’an looked away to continue firing his mouth at Naki and Ryau.  Unluckily for him, he had pushed Sig off the deep end without even knowing.  Sig, with his fists tightened as firmly as he could, took a single stride at K’an.  With as hard of a swing as Sig could, he drove his fist into K’an’s jaws.  K’an, being completely taken off guard and unready for such an attack, toppled over onto the floor.  Sig, leaving no chance for any retaliation, delivered several follow up strikes to the down Sangheili.  He did not stop until he was absolutely satisfied with what he delivered.  When he did stop, K’an was frozen in place as he held his hands up to protect himself from Sig’s assault.

“What the fuck…”  He gasped quietly as he stared frozen at the legs of the table next to him.  “Sig?”

“I told you to stop it you bigoted, womanizing piece of shit!” Sig growled aggressively as he stood over the stunned K’an.  “None of us wish to relive what happened on that disgusting ring!  And you are too insistent to pry!”

“Alright…” K’an lowered his hands slightly. “Calm down.”

“No!”  Sig yelled as overbearingly as he could.  “You do not call someone something like that and expect them to be just fine with it!” he paused for a few moments as he panted slightly from anger. “Now you stay there and think about how much of a dick you are!”

With that, Sig gave a displeased grunt as he took a step over K’an and made his way for the door of the barracks.  He dropped his weapons on the floor besides him and pressed his hand on the door controls.  Before leaving he stopped and looked at two others in the room.  “Naki?  Ryau? I am heading to the tavern to drink myself to oblivion with my previous Warriors.  Would you two like to join me?”

“Sure,” Ryau said as he got up from his bunk.

“I actually need to check on my Lance…” Naki answered as she stood herself.  “They told me they would be down in the one of the old lab bays.”

“Very well.  I promise not to get Ryau too drunk for you.” Sig nodded before leaving down the corridor for the Tavern.  With data pad in hand, and Ryau besides him, Sig was going to cash in on one of the few times he actually would attend himself to alcohol with the intent of total intoxication.
SGTLEGENDKILLEЯ
Fate Twister (Redux Edition)

Act I
“A Familiar Insertion”

Chapter I
“The Beginning”

Date: 2:12 P.M. August 5th, 2015

Home; a distant memory of what was one of the few peaceful segments that still lived on in my mind.  Deep within the horrific scars that make up most of my mind, hides a tender, young and optimistic individual.  Donald Harold Castor, a teen, or even more appropriately, a very young adult who had held a decent lifestyle at his home; a young and calmer tempered version of myself; a far more naive, uninformed, and much unprepared version of who I am today.  In that era of my life I had an entire road paved before me.  I had great grades, I was one of the most valued assets to my home town’s football team, I had a full scholarship to college, I even had a very steady relationship with a beautiful girl named Morgan Chase. Along with the grace of a car mechanic of a father and my stay at home mother.  I found myself however, using my abilities of advanced math and language skills, as well as my natural learning curve, physique, and intuition, not to get into some university, but instead to join the United States Marine Corps much like my father before me.  This is obviously held with no disrespect to the men and women in uniform, but I would soon come to realize that my decision to join had led to, easily, the least favored period of my entire life.  Nothing that my school teachers, the local Marine recruiter, or even the many stories of glory and hardship my father had shared with my family in the dark next to our fireplace could have prepared me for where the future would take me.  If I had to sum up the downward spiral quickly, and if it were at all be possible, it would most likely start around the year 2010.

In the middle of this year my lifelong friend, Michael Brook, and I both decided that after our final year of high school, we were to go through the ‘true American journey’ and join the military.  Within a few months of training for the physicals involved with the recruiter’s evaluation, we found ourselves walking into the local UMSC recruitment office located in one of the neighboring towns.  By this point we had become physically fit and were quite intelligent individuals, so we were enlisted with flying colors and were quite welcomed by the recruiter in result.  Once we had been enlisted it was only just a matter of waiting to ship out to basic.  The news and plan had already been fairly celebrated by my family, and many rounds of alcohol were passed about and consumed by everyone.  My father made promises of a getting me a, realistically, achievable car of my own if, and only if, we actually returned from our first tour of duty.  After this, goodbyes were the only thing shared before the two of us left to for Basic.
We did exceptionally well in basic training.  In fact, there wasn’t much that we found to be even considered as lackluster.  We simply handled everything that anyone threw at us with great performance and distinction.  Mike was clearly becoming quite the range man, though despite the both of us performing well with each other on an even level, I seemed to be the most well rounded of the two.  This trend continued on for us as we slipped into advanced training.  The only thing that seemed to hinder us was the excitement of finally getting assigned to a platoon and seeing some action.  We didn’t have to wait that long as we were quickly taken into the ranks and sent to Afghanistan.

After a little more than a year, we had made quite the name for ourselves.  Through several instances of seriously saving some lives in horrid situations, we had received the attention of some higher ups, and even some ‘privatized’ agencies.  Interestingly enough, we eventually found ourselves being pulled into a meeting with one of these agency representatives.  The representative informed us that we had been under evaluation ever since we were placed in advanced training. That the organization he was representing wished to offer us both positions of employment as mercenaries.  We were also informed that if we decided to accept the positions, they would wait for us to finish up the year of service in the military before we would be assigned for any sort of “job”.  With little thought of what we might face and the notion of being paid, and quite well at that, it didn’t take long before Mike and I accepted their proposition.

The few years to follow were all but slow paced.  We found ourselves bounding all around the world as private sector mercenaries for Skylark, the agency that had sought us out while still in training.  Through our many contracts and jobs, we had grown quite notorious as operatives; if there was anything serious that needed to be handled, we were on the top of the request list for many of our service’s clients.  Due to many high profile jobs, funded by some of the world’s most powerful companies and organizations I might add, we had racked up quite a profit over the years.  Sure, we had spent quite a decent chunk of it on our gear and traveling expenses, the rest went into a saving which we would split up evenly on occasion.  In the time that we were not on the other side of the planet, we spent it at home, in the same quiet area that we had been raised in.  Mike had his small house that was well adequate for whatever lady friend he would bring home.  I had my own place that I shared with my dog, Morgan, and a few restoration cars that my father and I would work on.  It was far from what we originally had wanted to do with our lives, but it was a decent living.

~*~

Their story would truly continue in the busy summer of 2015.  The two were currently seated on a homebound flight, on a Skylark owned Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, that was but a few minutes from landing at Papago Airfield in Phoenix, Arizona.  They had just finished up a lengthy ‘Hunter’ assignment and were heading home.  The flight had left Japan the morning before after an unsuccessful contract that had the two trying to catch a pair of targets from western Texas all the way to Seattle, Washington. Then eventually to the country of Japan.  It was grudgingly painful to admit that the two had willingly ended the hunt right before they would have achieved success.  It had been quite the expensive chase and would, in the end, be incredibly detrimental to their ratings within the company, as they were the main individuals on the contract.  The two weren't overly happy about it, but with a sense of tiredness and hungry bellies, they only wanted to rest in the comfort of their own homes.

Don was suddenly woken from his sleep by a painful smack on his shoulder.  He quickly looked over with a grimace only to see Mike pulling his hand back into his seat with a large shit-eating grin fit only for the finest jester.  To add insult to the injury, he was snorting loudly as he was doing his best to not laugh at such an action.

"Wake up, Don.” He spoke softly, still huffing softly as he struggled to keep himself from laughing. “It's time to get up and get ready school."

Don groaned loudly as he grimaced towards his accomplice.  “What the fuck, Mike… c’mon.” He sighed heavily before stretching back to check and make sure that his bag had remained untouched .

“Aww… Do you need five more minutes, honey?” Mike chuckled slightly as he gave his best impersonation of a woman’s voice.

“No… I need you to get off my ass about waking up.”

“How dare you!” Mike leaned away as if he was greatly offended.

“Mike.  Stop it.”

“That is no way to speak to your mother!” Mike proclaimed as the gag continued

“I swear to god I will break your fucking face.” Don glared at him.  As much as he hated Mike’s constant mouth, it was easily the most effective way to wake him up.

“Oh, calm your tits, fat ass.  Don’t get your panties in a fucking bunch.” Mike laughed loudly as he broke character.

Don just nodded as he rubbed his face in annoyance.

“Hey… Come on.  I will always be your hotdog, Don.” Mike gimmicked with a smile.

“Dude… I called you ‘Oscar Mayer’ once.  One fucking time!  That is it!”

“It only takes once to become a beef frank.”

“That doesn’t even make sense!”

“Neither does your face.”

“Fuck my life…”

“Maybe later… I have a very busy schedule with lots of shit to take care of first.” Mike stated as he looked at his smartphone as if he was swiping through such a schedule.

“What the hell do you have to do?”

“Well let’s see…” Mike hummed.  “I have three women planned for tonight, two bars to be kicked out of tomorrow, and then I have to join you with your family for the cliché ‘oh welcome home, baby boy’ picnic. He answered jokingly.

“You sound quite busy…” Don looked out the window of the plane at the sandy mountain scape of Arizona that seemed to slowly draw closer.

“Yeah!  I am!  Hell, I wish I could make that my job though…” Mike sighed.

“That job already exists…”

“Oh yeah?”

“It’s called being a porn star.” Don looked back, this time with a grin of his own.
Mike stopped for a moment to adjust himself.  “A star, huh?”

“Yes… a porn star.”

“Why not a rock star?  I could play guitar or something!”

“No… You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because an M82 is not an instrument.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“What it means is…” Don looked forward briefly to see a few other mercs in the plane watching the exchange as the plane shook as it began its landing pattern.  “Is I am saying you are a talentless fuck.”

Mike just shot a quick glare at Don.  “Yeah, well you’re gay.” He proclaimed, having no further valid argument.

“I am still not as gay as your neck tattoo.” Don chuckled.

“Hey!  It wraps up onto the front of my chin and shit.  It’s badass!”

“Yeah…  Badass if you were a prison bitch.”

Conversations like this were quite common between the two as they had been the best of friends since they were about two years of age.  The two had a weird stint of a relationship that could only be described best as non-legal step brothers.  This was mostly due to the fact that Don’s parents had practically raised Mike in the same household.  Unfortunately, that situation was caused to form when Mike’s mother had been killed in a car accident when he was at the age of five.  His father was nowhere to be found.  With no extended family willing to take him in, Don’s parents stood up to the plate and took care of him, without the legal system getting involved.  Supporting someone else’s child all the way through high school without even an extra penny or tax break was really an extensive gesture for even the best hearted people; it had really painted a clairvoyant image at how decent and loving the Castor family could really be.

Just a few minutes later the pair were walking down the rear ramp of the C17.  Before the two had even left the shade of the plane, Don put the pair of aviator cop glasses that he had in his backpack.  This of course was mocked immediately by Mike, but such apparel was nearly mandatory on such a day like it was in Phoenix.  Once they had left the plane, they took a quick shuttle into the small agency hangar nearby.  They turned in all of their weapons and bags so that all the contract sensitive material was stripped of their belongings before their things were returned.  After they got their things were returned, they left the hangar through the offices that were attached on the other side of the building.  From the offices they went over a small sky bridge into a several story parking garage.  When they were just about to get onto the elevator to reach where Don’s car was, his phone began to ring.

“Who is that?”  Mike asked, surprised as he had not even seen Don turn off the airplane mode.

“I don’t know…” He sighed as he pulled out his phone.  “It’s Morgan…”  He answered the call quickly. “Hello?”

“Oh, shit!  Hi babe!” Morgan said happily over the phone.

“Hi honey.” Don smiled, he always enjoyed hearing her voice.

“I didn’t think you’d be on the ground yet, but I was just checking in case you were.”

“Of course…We just got to Phoenix and I’m heading out to the car now.”

“Did Mike bug the shit out of you?”

“You know he did.” Don looked over to flip Mike off as the elevator dinged as it reached their floor.

“Oh well… We all know him I guess.” She giggled.

“Yeah… He has always been unbearable.” He chuckled back.

“Hey!  Fuck you, Don!” Mike yelled out next to him in protest.  “Oh and tell her I said hi!”

Don just shook his head.

“What am I going to do with you two?” She sighed.

“We will discuss that later tonight, alright?”  Don gave a sly smile.

“If you say so…” She paused briefly.  “Did Mr. Japan say ok?  Did you guys make the sale?”   Don and Mike had never mentioned anything about the mercenary work to her or anyone else outside of the industry, for obvious reasons.  To everyone else they were security consultants and salesmen.  It was kind of a far-fetched cover, but it worked well enough.

“Unfortunately…  It was a no go.”

“Well…  Sorry babe.  You were on the road for a while so you two must have sold at least some things right?”  She asked.

“Yeah…  We made some.  But that Japanese guy was the biggest account we had on this run.”

“That’s not good.”

“Nope… But hey, I’m gonna get on the road soon so I gotta let you go, sweetheart.”  He said as they got closer to the car.

“Ok.  How long will it be before you get here?”  She asked.

“Probably about… 12 hours.”

“Ok!  Call me if anything comes up.”

“Of course, darling.”

“I love you.”  She said softly.  “Please drive safe.”

“Oh I will… I love you too.  Bye.”

“Don, I love you too.” Mike teased as the phone conversation ended.

Don ignored Mike’s banter as they turned the corner of the parking garage to see a blackened 2013 Shelby Mustang GT500; aka, Don’s car.  The beastly machine was the result of what he and his father had built together the year before.  While his dad had already given him a 2008 Dodge Challenger after Don had returned from his first tour of duty with the UMSC, he had a mutual bucket list entry of working on a racing Mustang.  With just a small amount of searching, Don was able to get a good deal on one that had already been mildly damaged.  Once they had it taken to his father’s garage, they would remove the engine and build a replacement one piece by piece.  Of course, they had done several other things to it, like the addition of dual straight pipes and upgrading all of the intake, fuel, and ignition systems.  The last things that were added were the metallic paint job and the set of darkened 20” Bullitt rims that fit quite nicely with the sports radials that were wrapped around them.  With a definite set of dark red stripes that ran along the sides and the top of the car, the machine held quite the menacing look.  Don smiled at the sight of his car.  With a smooth sense of motion, he drew his set of keys out of his pocket before catching the button dongle after spinning it around his finger.  He unlocked the trunk of the car before carefully placing his duffle bag inside.  Mike gave him a weird look.

“You’re putting the guns in the trunk?”  He tilted his head curiously.

“Uh, yeah.  They are full auto assault rifles, so of course I’m putting them in the fucking trunk.”

“Good point.” Mike shrugged.

Don closed the trunk before unlocking the doors to the car.  Before the two got in, they both set their backpacks in the back seat of the car.  Once in, Don spent a few minutes to make sure everything was where it had been when he had left; The Colt M1911 was stuck in a holster on the side of the center console, the pair of black fuzzy dice were still hanging from the mirror, and the seats had not even been moved from how they had been left as.  It was not that the agency’s security could not to be trusted, it was just the basic checklist to fulfil before inserting the keys.  With a moment to let the electronic systems to give their “all clear” on the dash, he turned the keys in the ignition.  With permission from its operator, the engine turned over before giving a loud growl that could be felt even in the protection of the enclosed cabin.  This voluminous bellow was softened as the engine calmed down to a soothing idle; its rumbling engine note could still be easily heard, but this was much more bearable in an enclosed parking garage.
He checked his mirrors before turning around to look out the rear window as he began to back out of the parking spot.  Once out of the snuggled resting place the car had been in, Don drove through the several levels of the garage before stopping at the security booths on the ground floor.  It only took a minute or so to clear through security.  As soon as Don had rolled several car lengths away from the booth, he stamped the accelerator down to the floor.  The tires spun as exhaust resonated madly throughout the parking garage.

“Tunnel bomb!” Mike hollered in excitement.

Don smiled; he always missed his car.

Before they hit the main roads to home, the duo made a quick stop at a gas station to fill up and inflate the tires to where Don wanted them.  The car, only sitting for a month, needed very little, and so they quickly were on their way to their hometown of Winnemucca, Nevada.  Most of the trip would be on US 95N, so with the GPS set, and the discography of Don’s mp3 player, the two relaxed in their seats and enjoyed the ride.

Later that evening, the trip had gone as expected.  They had made only a single stop just before Las Vegas to fill up once again and to get food.  They were making good time, and surprisingly, Mike had been quiet for the most of the trip as he had not hardly slept on the plane.  The clock now read 9:27 P.M. and the sun had set just two hours prior, and with only the small sliver of light from the new moon, this left the car’s headlights as the only light that was of any real significance to them.  There also was a somewhat lacking of other vehicles on the road.  It was not such a surprise to either of them though, it was a Wednesday night after all.

“You know what I don’t get?” Mike spoke up suddenly over the volume of the music.

“What is it?” Don asked as he turned the music down slightly.

“I don’t understand why we just let the two go…” Mike was referring to the last assignment that they had failed.

“We have been over this.” Don really did not want to discuss it again.

“Yeah, but still!” Mike sighed heavily.  “Dude… they were looking down the barrel of your gun!  Why the fuck did you just call it off then.”

“Because they were just kids, Mike.  What was I supposed to do?”

“He was a kid, that HIS Interceptor was not.”

“You know very well she was too.”

“Nope!  I am not going to that realm of mind fuckery!” Mike exclaimed. “That ‘she’ was a rogue autonomous Interceptor run by a rogue artificial intelligence… Jesus I’d never think I would say that!”

“Mike! Come on!” Don was getting a bit upset with this.

“Don’t you cmon me, you son of a bitch!  We chased a fucking robocar from Texas to Japan and then you just give up with it right in front of you!  What the fuck?!”

“You were in the air, jackass!  You were not the one with the gun on them, so you do not get to make that call!” Arguments like this, just like their joking, was another common attribute shared between the two.

“Quit referring to them as ‘them.’ It was just the guy and the Interceptor.  The car isn’t a her…”

“Her name was Mia.”

“I wouldn’t give a fuck if it called itself the ‘mystical, magical, amazing dildo printer machine!’” Mike proclaimed loudly.  “That thing was a computer thingy and you know it.”

“Why would a fucking AI grow attached to a regular guy then?!” Don challenged heavily.  “Why would it include the breathing of a distraught and scared woman?”

“I do not fucking know.  Who died and made you the fucking Socrates of Psychological Labeling?!”

“Hey!  at least I passed that class in school!” Don shot a glance at Mike.

Mike grumbled heavily; Don had delivered a hefty blow.  “It was the only class I failed in high school!”

“Yeah?  So what?!  You probably don’t even know who Socrates is!”

“Yes I do!” Mike struggled with this argument.

“Name one thing he did.”

“Oh go fuck yourself, Don!  You bring that fucking class up one more time I will seriously rip your guts out of your ass with a plastic spork!”  Mike admitted defeat.

“Whatever…” Don sighed. “The point is that the two were on the run together for a reason.  I saw their desperation and did what I would want if I was in their position.  Alright?”

“Fine.” Mike said tautly.

“Thank you…” Don exhaled as he now focused on the road again. The trip grew quiet for another few minutes.

“Ugh…” Mike grunted from the passenger seat.

“What?”  Don exhaled slowly.

“I hate this stretch of road.  We might even be home in an hour if you weren’t going so fucking slow!”

“I’m going the speed limit.”

“So??  You drove a Corvette at almost 200 just recently.  Balls up, big boy!  Let’s go!”  Mike exclaimed, once again referring to the previous assignment.

“No.  End of story.” Don did not feel like getting a speeding ticket.

“Why not?  Are you afraid this piece of shit can’t go that fast?”

“I bet it would.”

“You’re a fucking liar.”

“I am not fucking speeding!  So shut your trap and go back to sleep!”

Mike huffed.  “Why can’t you be let us have fun like we were having two weeks ago?”

“You are only saying that because you were flying a helicopter!” Don grumbled.

“You bet your ass I was!  And it was not just any helicopter!”

Don gritted his teeth.  “Yes… an Apache Long Bow.”

“A god damned Apache Mother Fucking Long Bow!  That is abso-fucking-lutely correct!” Mike answered immediately; as one could tell, he had always had been a huge fan of helicopters and flying in general.

Don did not give a response to this.

“Come on!  Let’s go, Speed Racer!

“Why?!”

“You reminded me Knight Rider.  Cmon!  Let’s get this KITT mobile going!”

“No.” Don answered without hesitation.

“Holy shit!  You are such a pussy!” Mike hollered.  “If you get into any trouble I will pay for it 100% in full; bail and all!”

Don, knowing full well that Mike would simply never give up, quickly downshifted into second as he slammed the gas pedal to the floor.  The rear tires squealed briefly at the sudden increase of horsepower and torque getting transferred to the road.  They quickly regained traction just before he shifted into third gear, effectively setting the both of them back in their seats as the engine began to tear through the gears.  Mike yelled in excitement as he was pressed harshly against the seat and Don smiled widely as he realized that the experience was as is just how he had always remembered it as.  The adrenaline from driving the needle towards one hundred and fifty miles per hour; the satisfying whine of the Whipple supercharger; it was all part of a dreamy experience that most would never get the chance to experience in their lifetime.  The experience was soon cut short as the car began to suddenly shutter as it swayed heavily to the left as it had nearly reached the one hundred and seventy-five mark on the speedometer.  Despite the seemingly random jarring of the vehicle’s mass, Don swerved slightly before regaining stability of the vehicle.

"Don!?  What the hell?!” Mike looked over sharply as Don began to slow down while returning to the middle of the road.

“I don’t know…” Don answered confused.

“Did we hit something?!”

As Don was going to answer, the Mustang lurched yet again.  This time, however, the engine screamed wildly as the two were yet again shoved back in their seats.  He cursed loudly in surprise as the car began to accelerate without him even touching either of the pedals.  The thought that the throttle cable had snapped quickly entered his mind as he attempted to hold down the clutch in efforts to end the acceleration.  For whatever reason, the clutch pedal would not depress to the floor even slightly.  A sense of fear quickly washed over him as he found that, much like the clutch pedal, the brake pedal, too had stiffened so much that it was stuck.  As the speedometer rapidly rose, he began to panic as he tried finally to rip the key from the ignition.

“Ok, Don!  You can stop now!” Mike shouted nervously over the screaming engine.

“I’m not fucking doing anything!”  Don yelled back fearfully before the head of the key broke off from the shaft.

Don’s gut sank as he looked at the key piece in his hand before looking over to see the needle bury against the speedometer’s maximum measurement of two hundred and twenty miles per hour.  He dropped the key and took a tight hold on the steering wheel as the Mustang continued to somehow accelerate well past what it had been built for.  Suddenly a supernaturally disk shape, basically, what could only be described as a rippling black hole, appeared ahead of the vehicle.  Before he had even a moment to try to turn the car from it, the Mustang barreled right into it.  As the vehicle raced through the aperture, a deafening explosion sounded out that left the two dazed and with pained ears.

They barely had a moment to regain some of their senses as the windshield was enveloped in complete and utter whiteness.  As their hearing began to return and their eyes somewhat adjusted, the could instantly feel the weightlessness of the car and themselves as there was a clear lacking of any surface under the wheels.  The two began to scream as the car seemed to nose dive towards an abyss of black below the current plane of existence that they had entered.  As the car freely fell into the abyss, all forms of noise and visual sense seemed to fade drastically to a numb nothingness for Don.  Their screams had been pulled from their throats and their sight had been hidden from their retinas.  The only thing to be felt was the chill of his body heat being sapped by the void.

After what seemed like an hour to his perception of time, he felt a growing burning within himself.  As strange as it was to describe it, he could hear himself shiver from this through his mental realm.  The shiver was followed by his own breathing that quickly became quite labored as the pain swiftly began to grow in intensity as it started to feel as if his skin was beginning to crawl in place.  A series of audible snaps sounded out, each shooting an extremely spike of pain throughout his body.  The snapping sounds went on for several moments, each leading to him convulsing heavily as he cried out in pain and agony from the experience.

The pain abruptly stopped as another flash revealed another light disk that appeared in the distance in front of the car.  There seemed to be a sudden ripple that roared through him.  As the concussive wave tore through his body, the cabin of the Mustang was illuminated in reddish light.  His vision was quickly blurred and his hearing had partially returned as he was once again shoved back into the seat as the car rocketed off towards the distant disk.  From the forces being exerted on his body and the lack of clear sense of vision, he could not begin to try figure how fast the car was traveling.  As the disk grew closer and closer, his nerves became stiff with fear as Mike began to scream next to him.

The next thing that the two could gather from their senses was that the car had once again entered a physical realm.  With their vision still quite out of focus and the car still traveling well over controllable speeds, the two were far from relieved.  Too much of his luck, Don could feel the pedals were once again able to be used.  Knowing this, he quickly stamped the brake to the floor.  This caused the tires to lock up and leave the car decelerating slowly from whatever speed it was traveling.  While the locked tires were working efficiently to slow the vehicle down, but it led to another complication as the car began to turn and sway.  He did his best to keep the car straight, but his arms felt weird and useless.  The right rear quarter panel of the car hit something solid as the car slide back in forth.  The impact sent the car swiftly towards the other direction and into a sideways roll as it continued on with its direction of momentum it had previously.  With their world spinning wildly, the two were completely at the whim of the forces until it decided to stop rolling.  The last thing Don could piece together was the quick passing view at an approaching wall that the car would soon slam against harshly.
Fate Twister Redux ActI ChI
So I am rewriting now.  :D  Enjoy this good stuff.

The Fate Twister Definitive Version.

Note:  This is a character insert story.  It may seem totally irrelevant to Halo now, but wait for a few more chapters.  This is all back story stuff.
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  • Listening to: The American Education System
  • Reading: The Text on This Text Box
  • Watching: The Screen
  • Playing: Life
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Eh, Had a Peach Tea Earlier... Yeah it Was Great.
So I feel really stupid.  I just finished a chapter of Fate Continuum and got on to post it... I was like... "Why the hell does it say the last chapter was posted in november 28?!  I finished chapter 4 on dec 20th?!"  Then it hit me... I finished chapter 4 and did not even post the damn thing!  So GUESS WHAT!!!  DoublePost time!

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:icongrouptree24:
GroupTree24 Featured By Owner May 8, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the favorites. :)
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:iconsgtlegendkiller:
sgtlegendkiller Featured By Owner May 10, 2016  Student Writer
Of course!
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:icondragunalb:
Dragunalb Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fave on =)
Thel and Kaeli by Dragunalb
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:iconsgtlegendkiller:
sgtlegendkiller Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2016  Student Writer
Anytime, Dragunalb!  You know I simply adore your art!
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:icondragunalb:
Dragunalb Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Indeed! That's why I thought it's about time for me to say thanks for your support on your profile for once. Oh man, I hope my watchers don't think I'm trying to suck up to them now XD
But really, I do appreciate your support!
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:iconsgtlegendkiller:
sgtlegendkiller Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2016  Student Writer
Well... i've been on D-art for over five years now and i've supported you since I first saw your ODST lady.  You've always been really chill and I really love your style.  Your Sangheili are amazing!
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(1 Reply)
:iconblackdonner:
BlackDonner Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot for faving, my friend.
:blamblam:NaNoEmo - Day 1 - Who's Number 1? SUPPRESSIVE FIREla-minator Salute Emoticon II AK aim and firela-minator NaNoEmo - Day 1 - Who's Number 1? :blamblam:
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:iconsgtlegendkiller:
sgtlegendkiller Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2015  Student Writer
As always, you're welcome!
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:icongingerdove:
gingerdove Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015
Thanks for the favorite!
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:iconsgtlegendkiller:
sgtlegendkiller Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015  Student Writer
Anytime.  Its good to see some other people drawing Sangheili.  :D
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