|Episode One: Killed in Action|
November 27, 2013
"Welcome Agents, to Project Freelancer'."
- The Director to his new recruits
'Killed in Action' was released on the 27th of Novermber 2013. It is the first episode of a new Red vs. Blue fanon series call The Freelancer Archives. It premiered on website 'FanFiction' before anywhere else here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9837816/2/Red-vs-Blue-The-Freelancer-Archives-Season-One. It has been confirmed to be the longest episode in the first season.
- Director Leonard Church
- The Counselor
- Sarah Ashton
- Pelican Pilot
- Agent Alaska
- Agent Carolina
- Agent Iowa
- Agent Nevada
- Agent Rhode
- Agent Utah
- Agent Virginia
- Agent Wyoming
- Agent York
- Dex Kensie
- Bishop Kimball
- 'Briar Rose' Drill Sergeant
The episode opens with Allison's death at The Red Waste. After disobeying orders and sacrificing herself she tries to take down The Covenant army slowly making its way towards a nearbye town. The marine dies after failing to successfully plant a grenade on a Wraith. The scene then cuts to the funeral a short time later. Allison and her friend Dex Kensie are lowered into the ground as a distraught and broken Leonard Church refuses to accept that she has passed.
Years pass and various characters around the universe are shown, many being recruited by Leonard into a secret organization. First however the scene from the 'Pray' Trailer begins with a man and the Director's now grown daughter fighting at a club on the planet Reach.
A man named Ryan is shown at a Minnnesota bar People Like Grapes and is recruited by the Director and the The Counselor after engaging in a bar fight. A french patient at a hospital in Canada is recruited for her shooting and lock picking skills. An assassin snipes an English politician outside Buckingham Palace and escapes the scene dressed as a homeless civilian before being discovered by the Director and the Counselor.
A UNSC marine is shown being abused by his superior at boot camp before leaving the firing range. Upon being kidnapped by a woman named Girlie he realises that instead of capturing him she is really rescuing him. At the same bar that Ryan was recruited from a man Jackson ans his friend Thom act as bouncers before being shot by armed robbers.
In Japan another male walks home from his work as an IT engineer but returns to his home to find his family have been butchered by a rival family led by a ninja warrior Xiao Ma. He to is later wounded after, against all odds, sliced off the hand of the warrior master. In Australia another man enters a Casino and joins a private games of high stakes poker where he is caught cheating. After beating down those in the game who try to kill him he escapes. In The Hole a prisoner of war is infiltrated by Leonard Church.
The recruited agents are then brought to the under construction Mother of Invention where they first begin their careers as Agents under Project Freelancer. They are briefed by the Director, the Counsellor, F.I.L.S.S. and the ship's chief mechanic Sarah Ashton.
The episode concludes on a military naval vessel called 'The Turtle' where the Rookie who escaped the UNSC training facility. After being ignored by a new ally Archer, savior Girlie explains that he will soon join The Insurrection.
…Stop it, you're gonna make me late. They're waiting for me…
…Leonard, come on. I have to go. Don't make me hurt you…
…And don't worry, you'll see me again…
…But don't say goodbye. I hate goodbyes…
The Red Waste, Vevalon IX
The sandstorm had reached the wasteland long before she joined the others in the warthog. The first thing that she wondered was whether or not they'd be attacked. If they were attacked then they would barely be able to defend themselves. Firstly, the troop transportation hog wasn't equipped with any weaponry. Secondly the sand clouds were so thick that it was hard enough seeing who else was in the car with her.
'Do we know where they are?' she asked the driver.
'The Covenant?' he replied.
'They're just beyond these dust clouds past the mountain range along the outside of the Red Waste.'
'So we're safe here?' she asked.
The man driving the warthog, like her and the other passenger, was a UNSC marine. He was Lt. Jackson, a man who she'd met only once before. He seemed charming enough when he'd picked her up at Basecamp. He was supposed to help navigate her and Dex through the thick sandstorm through to the frontlines.
The warthog took a sharp turn left and nearly through Allison off. She braced herself and looked over the edge at the ground, there was no road. She wondered how the lieutenant knew where to go.
'You 'kay, Ali?' Dex asked her.
Good old, Dex. He was always there for her. Dex Kensie and her had graduated together. They were good soldiers but Dex was more intelligent then he was a capable fighter. She was thinking about him, and the old days. Then she thought about home, and her boyfriend... and her daughter.
'Hey, Blondie. Wakey-wakey. Are you in there, Allison?' he asked again.
Releasing she hadn't responded she replied.
'Uh, yeah. Just thinking about home.'
Dex had short browny-blonde hair and wore glasses. He was always there for her on the battlefield. She was actually quite thankful that he was on this mission with her. The two made quite a team, but Allison just hoped that the team would be strong enough to kill the aliens. The UNSC base was the only thing between the alien taskforce and the Vevalon IX farming colony.
The hog continued to drive when Allison heard thunder. She couldn't see the sky due to all the red of the sand. She knew it was day and sunny and wondered why thunder could be heard. The sound panicked her and she held her Assault Rifle tighter. A few short bursts of gunfire were heard.
Allison could tell something was wrong. She turned to look behind the hog so fast that her UNSC cap fell off and her long blonde hair fell loose. Wiping it from her eyes she looked forward. The warthog's bonnet was hidden by the dense sand and dust clouds all around her. She couldn't understand why the lieutenant and Dex were so calm.
A few light flashes of pink broke through the dust and seconds later the warthog swerved. The driver fell back in his chair as Dex braced himself. It had all happened so quickly, Allison pulled herself forward and noticed the pink needles jutting out of the driver's chest. He was dead. The Covenant were closer than they thought.
The warthog swerved more before spinning and tipping over to its left. It skidded and crashed into a large boulder, throwing both Allison and Dex out into the sound. She could barely see him and was distracted by the painful grazes on the palms of her hands. She looked around and saw his silhouette crawling towards the turned over warthog.
And she followed him, crawling, she noticed the blood all over the upturned warthog's windscreen. Was it possible that they had hit another marine? She was stunned. From behind her there was flashes of gold and white as several other marines passed her body. Those who ran were gunned down by an assortment of Covenant attacks coming from the cover of the dust storm.
'…-ison! Allison! Ali, get over here!' it was Dex.
She could see he was waving her over towards the cover of the overturned vehicle. She crawled more, her left arm had gone numb and the Assault Rifle that she had been previously holding on to was missing. Still she dragged herself towards her friend's position. Slowly the whirring in her ears ceased and she could hear the sound of his voice much clearer.
'What… -What happened?' she was dazed.
He was yelling something at her but she couldn't understand what he was saying. Covenant plasma sprayed over the top of the warthog, and bullets from charging UNSC soldiers were fired back in the direction of the Covenant. She couldn't understand a word Dex was saying.
She looked around for something, a weapon, anything. Her search was interrupted when she threw up. Instead of anything expected she coughed up blood, more than she thought possible. She looked down and crouched into a ball. Her belly was exposed and had been slashed by rocks, presumably from the crash.
Allison looked around, more marines fell. They weren't fighting, they were killing themselves. One fell and hit the ground but his body disappeared completely when it hit the ground.
'…eep it together Allison! Look at me! You're okay!' he spoke, clearer than ever.
'I- I'm okay.' She said as she coughed up a little more blood.
The marine that disappeared, he wasn't covered in the sand. He seemed to just sink. Turning towards Dex she slapped him in the chest and pointed towards the marine that had vanished.
'The trenches!' she said in words barely audible.
Still scores of men were cut down by their Covenant attackers. Allison turned back towards the warthog she was using as cover. A small weapons cache was sitting in the backseat. Opening it revealed a small frag grenade. Not the most powerful weapon, but one that she knew would help.
'What are you doing!?' Dex screamed at her.
'Saving our butts!'
She grabbed his left arm and pulled him up. The two crouched still behind the warthog. She tugged again and the two ran towards the disappeared marine. As she ran, Allison looked back at the warthog and squeezed on the frag grenade before releasing the pin. She threw it over her shoulder and didn't bother looking back. She didn't have to destroy the warthog, but in doing so she would at least be able to fake her death.
Then she tripped over, falling into the trenches with Dex somewhere on top of her. Below and above her UNSC corpses were littered. It was a massacre. Instinctively she pulled the Assault Rifle off a dead marine and looted his pockets for some spare cartridges. Dex had found a sniper rifle and perched himself on the trench edge looking through the scope towards where the Covenant were firing from.
'See anything?' she asked.
'Jack shit! There's so much dust!'
'We have to find Bishop!' she concluded.
Bishop Kimball was the third of her friendship group. She loved him, as much as she had Dex. Leonard had always said he was jealous of Bishop; but Allison had shut him up when she had a child with Leonard. Her daughter was the cutest little girl she had ever seen, and she was hers. The girl had green eyes like her father but red hair unlike anyone in either her father or mother's heritage. – Thinking of family helped her stay safe.
'And how exactly do we do that?' called Dex.
'He was stationed on the frontlines. He'll be he–' a large crash was heard and a bright orange and red light flooded her vision. Somewhere nearby a Pelican must have crashed. '–be here somewhere!' she finished.
It wasn't long before the two did find Bishop. He was ordering some of the Privates and Lieutenants to fire blindly into the sandstorm. It was his voice that Allison recognized first. She called out to him, interrupting him and stopping him from barking out orders.
'Allison! Glad you're alright!' he said to her before noticing Dex with the sniper rifle behind her. 'You too, Dex.'
Her quick greeting was interrupted when four or five small glowing blue orbs dropped from the sky and hit some of the marines in the trenches. In the short time they had, the marines desperately tried to pull the bubbles from their armor. Plasma Grenades. The frontline broke as seven to eight men exploded into a spray of red mist. Their puddles of blood catching fire, blue fire, when coming in contact with the blue of the plasma.
With the frontline broken there would be nothing to keep the alien horde in check. It was hard enough for Allison to accept that they'd reached the Red Waste but now they had successfully infiltrated the canyon. Without a frontline the Covenant would bush through to Basecamp and annihilate it.
Soaked with adrenaline she thought for a way out of this situation. Around her the men and women of the UNSC were nervous, but just as eager to fight.
'Charge!' she screamed.
Around her the marines run for their lives, vaulting out of the trench. Some were cut down immediately. There were scores of marines around her running into the unknown, running towards an inevitable doom. Behind her she could hear someone yelling.
'No! Allison! Allison!' a male voice, either Dex or Bishop.
She pushed her way through the thickest of the dust clouds until she could no longer see the allies charging around her. If she could just push through to the other side of the enemy lines then maybe she could outflank them. There was a very small but entirely possible chance of success.
The sandstorm had begun breaking up in sections and for a few short seconds Allison could see the bright blue sky. But then a moment of peace was silenced when she noticed the smoking Hornet, a UNSC airship flying through the sky. Behind it two purple spacecraft chased it down. They were recognizable by their high pitched whir, they were Banshees. A second later one of the Banshees dispersed a green ball of plasma and then her vision was obstructed by more clouds. She didn't need to know what happened next, the Banshees would no doubt destroy the Hornet.
Silhouettes began to appear in the distance through the sand. She raised her Assault Rifle and pulled down on the trigger. A heavy burst of machine gun fire shot from the weapon and knocked one of the shadows down. As she ran more appeared, some recognizable as Humans and even more as the aliens she was fighting.
A big flash of blue blinded her for a short moment and forced her to aim in a random direction and fire in hopes of clipping an enemy. She stopped when she realised she could be firing at her fellow comrades. As her vision returned she felt uncoordinated, she was lost. Had she been turned around?
For a second she sat crouched and waited for either faction to fire. This would show her the way to go. Plasma fire missed her head at close range followed by shots that appeared to be coming from a Beam Rifle. Two shots from the Beam Rifle were fired, both barely missing. She thought back to training, the Beam Rifle was a sniper rifle. If she was being fired at by a Sniper Rifle it was likely the aliens knew where she was.
She stood and immediately began sprinting towards the gunfire. Around her explosions could be heard, some closer than others. She dodged many, jumping to her sides to avoid sniper fire or artillery. Through the dust she could see a light red blinking, a visor light for the Covenant. Again she raised her weapon and fired the Assault Rifle, this time killing the alien sniper.
As she ran the sand cleared more and she could see further out. A large blue plasma explosion burst at her feet. The ground beneath her collapsed and she fell into a small crater where she once stood. Crouched, she threw up once more. More blood. She poked her head up for a moment but decided to stay within the hole, it would provide optimal cover.
One alien, an Elite as they are nicknamed, found her and aimed a Covenant Carbine at her. She was stunned, for the third time that day. In a moment she sensed her death. The Elite hesitated killing her, and she realised – the aliens were like the Humans, they fell victim to emotions just as much as the average person. This Elite didn't want to take a person's life. But this was war, this was kill or be killed. If she had waited a second longer she would be dead.
She pulled on the trigger. The MA5B Individual Combat Weapon System, the Assault Rifle: 660 rounds, 60 rounds per magazine, 11 magazines total. Misriah Armory became a millionaire asset company for the UNSC after the creation of this tool of death. It had a maximum range of 300 meters. It's only faults came with a faulty spring (that you almost never noticed) and great inaccuracy at long range (which didn't matter from this range).
All 60 bullets, flew from the nozzle of the Assault Rifle. All 60 hitting the Elite's head one after the other until the bastard's face was nothing but an empty socket bulling bizarre extraterrestrial bloods. The alien collapsed and toppled into the hole with her. It's blood spilling from the crevice in its face all over her armor.
Then the Wraith came, the Covenant tank. It hovered over the hole for a short moment. If Allison had reached a tank, then she would be close to the back of the Covenant army. She was nearly there. But she needed more men. In a desperate act to save some souls she looted the dead alien beside her and picked up a Covenant Plasma Grenade.
She activated it and planted the 'sticky' on the bottom of the tank as it began to move away. She knelt ready to push off out of the crater before the tank exploded. Then it stopped, and rolled back. Allison was forced to sink back in the crater as the Wraith rolled back over the hole.
Damn, she was so close. She looked for a way out, there's always a way out. But still the Plasma Grenade glowed from beneath the tank. There was no time – and no way out. The grenade exploded and Allison felt as her breath was pulled out of her. She choked and felt her legs fly out from under her, her spine pushed into the soil below. Her bones shattering with the explosion. She was dead. Then the Wraith, affected by the grenade blew up too. The young woman from Texas was dead.
Over the course of the next few hours the Covenant would push through the frontlines, rolling alien tanks over the top. They would push through the thickest of the sandstorm and wait. When the storm would pass, the UNSC would find an entire Covenant army on their doorstep and it will be too late.
She was so close, but she failed.
'Goldbrush' UNSC Requisitions Facility, Vevalon IX
Leonard watched as the coffin was lowered into the hole below. This was not how she was supposed to go out, this was not how she was supposed to die. She was his everything, he knew that part of him died with her.
He thought for a moment how selfish it was that Allison would go out like this, how selfish that she would just leave him to take care of their child. All the feelings of hate and betrayal ceased when he remembered that he loved her. She was his everything.
A little girl tugged at his arm at his right. She seemed so alien to him now. A little girl of four or five, he couldn't remember. She had long red hair and beautiful green eyes. But she wasn't good enough.
'Daddy, I need to go pee.' She whispered.
'In a minute.'
Beside him stood a faceless man, a nameless man. He was a counselor for the UNSC, a man who would rehabilitate the minds of those who lost loved ones to the war. The man of African American descent stared at him for a short time.
'I'm sorry for your loss.' The counselor said.
'It was no loss!' he said, forgetting about the little girl at his side.
As the dust settled at the funeral he swept the last tear away from his eye. He looked around, others weeped for the fallen. Side by side two coffins were lowered. Leonard had organized to do a joint funeral with the Kensie family. The two were best friends, it seemed fitting that Allison and Dex go down together.
Bishop, he had disappeared. He had escaped the UNSC facility as Covenant bowled it over. Rumor has it he did what he could for the colonists, but he didn't make it. These were merely rumors. Unlike Dex and unlike… unlike her, Bishop was listed Missing in Action.
Allison, she wasn't dead. The first thing they told Leonard when he asked to see the body was that 'there wasn't enough for us to salvage'. They did what they could but the contents of the coffin wasn't just her. There were bits of alien, bits of rubble, bits of Covenant technology. This wasn't her funeral at all.
She never said goodbye.
Therefore she isn't gone. She can't be gone. I won't let it be…
Leonard Church turned away, his daughter happily trailing in his footsteps.
'When will Mummy come home?' she asked.
'Soon, little one. Very, very soon.'
Red vs. Blue: The Freelancer Archives
Episode One: Killed in Action
Many Years Later…
Club Errera, Reach
She leant forward over the seat and paid the cab driver thirty dollars. He gave a quick nod before looking back at the map on the shuttle dashboard. Politely she turned towards the back seat door and exited. For the first time in years she noticed the height of the tower as the blood rushed to her head.
Club Errera was situated atop one of the tallest towers in Reach's capital New Alexandria. She heard the song Pray playing within the club. It reminded her of the sparring she used to do with her father when she was younger.
- I ain't tricking the narrative.
Behind her flowed blue tassels off and over her black skirt. A sleeveless white corset wrapped around her upper body as she approached the club entrance. The muffled music vibrated the floor beneath her boot high-heels. As the door opened the loud music filled her ears.
- People say its suicide or its arrogance.
This hadn't been her first time inside the club. In the past her and her friends had gone there to pick up. But she was always disinterested. Today she felt different though, tonight she was angry and tonight she was ready. She had tied her long red hair into a ponytail behind her head as she entered the club.
- Crucify me as heretic. Parascend to embarrassment.
The club was dark, with the exception of the flashing neon lights. Arrays of reds, blues, greens and yellows lit the room dramatically. The blinding white of strobe lights encouraging the dancers to lose their minds.
- Heralding under marriages. Pocketed in its garishness.
Dance like this is your last night on Earth. It was an old saying she used to hear, she figured it was old because she hadn't been to Earth in years. She'd left her father there a few months earlier and moving out decided to live in the city. Moving to the paradise world of Reach was the best decision she'd ever made.
- Murders splurges is fervently. Gather me its inheritance.
She pushed through the crowds, not happy nor sad. She'd start by the bar. A woman with a drink in their hand would likely be approached in an instant by a determined guy. If a girl was in her twenties, which she was, it was supposedly impossible to not hook up at Errera.
- Kill the messenger.
As she weaved through the scores of people she looked up, the floor above held the VIPs and officials of the club. There the DJ played his beats to the best of his ability. She recognized him from the last time she'd been to Errera. They called him 'The Animal' or something just as stupid. She looked at him and nodded, half expecting him to nod back.
- Knock em' down.
She tugged on the leather glove on her right hand. She was nervous, in the past she'd never tried to find a guy. She'd entered the club excited but unaware of whether or not she was looking for a man to settle down with or a boy to spend a night with.
- And blow across a blessed verse.
Reach was once hit by the aliens during the first Covenant war. Club Errera was one of the buildings to be destroyed. Since the second Covenant war, Reach had not been hit. Reach was one of the heaviest protected planets under the UNSC defence committee. There was never any fear that the colony world would fall again.
- Massacre the hours till the power aches and seconds hurts.
Stepping out of the dancing crowds she saw the bar. It was almost completely empty with the exception of one guy, about her age, sitting alone. He wore a short sleeved straight black shirt. For a moment she considered socializing but panicked upon considering that she might not actually be appropriately dressed.
- Fate is half a mistress. But the rest of hers a passenger.
By this stage her friends would have awkwardly pushed her into the guy's arms in order to introduce them. This would, in theory, stop her from chickening out. It didn't. Her friends weren't here anymore. She stared at him a moment longer, he was definitely alone.
- She is tragedy to those whose death defines and makes her work.
She strode over towards the bar, eyeing the seat. She next wondered whether it would be someone she knew. Then again, there were two reasons why that was a load of crap. One, she didn't know anyone on Reach. Two, she didn't know any boys…anywhere.
- I don't believe in time. Stick a knife into my spine.
She seated herself on the bar stool and patiently waited for the bartender to make his way to her. She saw that the boy next to her was sipping lightly on a reddish drink, similar in appearance to what she liked to order.
- Watch the shadow bleed me dry. Then take my eyes and leave me blind.
The bartender was a tall bald man, similar to what you'd expect a bouncer to look like. He approached her, wiping the bar with a dry towel as he dead.
'What can I getcha?' he asked.
'Scotch with raspberry.' She replied.
'Ah, so a Ballet Breakup.'
'You know that drink?' she asked, surprised.
'They don't call Reach the paradise planet for nothing now, so they.' He smiled before turning to the taps behind him
He poured a bottle of scotch into a small glass before squirting a tube of red fluid from a bar hose into the drink. A short few seconds later she received her drink. He slid it across the bar a few centimeters and she caught it, just like it happened in the old Western movies.
- Heaven's hell is no surprise. I'm just here to scrutinize the euthanized.
'Enjoy.' He said before turning away.
She looked down at the drink. As appealing as it looked, it wasn't as perfect as she had seen on other worlds. Out of her peripheral vision she saw the boy, he was staring at her. Embarrassed and confronted she turned to him.
'Can I help you?' she confronted him.
'Yeah. Would it be cheesy of me to offer that to go on my tab?' he asked.
- Despite the sacrifice. But never eulogize.
The boy was charming, she could give him that. He was wearing denim jeans and leather shoes. He seemed a lot more broad shouldered than she had seen from behind. From the front she recognized that he had short brown hair, spiked at the fringe.
'Not in the slightest.' She replied.
We waved to the barman casually before pointing at both the girl's drink and then to him. The barman then gave an understanding nod. She was flattered, usually she would be quite aggressive and try to scare the first guy off. This was different.
- I swore to elegance decantently in sentences.
'So I notice you're drinking a scotch and raspberry.' He began.
'Why yes I am.'
'So am I.' he said, smiling cheekily.
'So?' she asked, playing him for a better response.
- Maybe I'm just a veteran. Running out of his medicine.
He was silent, desperately trying to search for words to say, but none came to him. His tongue slipped out of his mouth and licked his lower lip before biting on it. He was lost. She had played him and won.
'Shit.' He said suddenly, defeated.
'Nice attempt at a pick up line.' She joked to him before looking back at her drink.
She sipped the 'ballet breakup' once and then again. The scotch burned the back of her throat, but cleared away her sins all the same.
- Maybe a definite epitaph would have been generous.
The boy said nothing, he was defeated and sulking in his chair. He was hunched and it was clear to see that she'd bothered him. She thought for a moment and wondered whether she would apologize. But she didn't, why should she?
- But all I get's a whisper. Yo, where the fuck are the terrorists?
'You wouldn't happen to have a lighter on you, would you?' he spoke, finally.
As a matter of fact she did. She reached into her corset and pulled out a lighter. It was one branded 'Club Errera' which she'd received on her first visit. She showed it to him and his eyes lit up like a child discovering Christmas for the first time.
'Oh, cheers.' He said excitedly.
- Pray for the day the lies don't find you.
He held out his hand for her, hoping she would place the lighter in it. She didn't. Instead she was distracted by spectacle behind her. It was 'rain o'clock' in the club. For an hour every weekend the fire sprinklers on the roof would release water onto the dance floor. This was that hour.
Behind them guys and girls lost themselves in the adrenaline of passion. As they dance the rapid strobe lights reflected off the sweat soaked bodies of the clubbers. As they moved the droplets from the roof bounced off floor, with each stamp of a foot puddles splashed about the room. The lower level roof over the bar stopped the water from hitting the patrons, and small holes the size of skin pores were supposedly layered in the floors to drain the water during the day when the club was closed down.
She turned to the boy at her left. He was looking at her, and she realised she'd forgotten to give him the Club Errera branded lighter. She flicked the thing to him and he caught it with ease. He pulled out a cigarette from his denim pants pocket and began to light it up.
- Pray that the end is right behind you.
'Hey you!' the bartender called. 'You're not allowed to smoke in here.'
He was confused, as if the bartender was speaking another language. After a good long ten seconds he put the cigarette back into the box in his pocket and flicked it back at her.
'Thanks' he said to her, despite not being able to use it.
'Don't be, it's not your fault THE BARTENDER'S AN ASS!' he raised his voice.
The Bartender ignored him.
'So what brings you to Reach?' he asked her.
'What makes you say I'm not local?'
'Well you're dressed up and you're carrying around an Errera lighter.'
'So wouldn't that mean I've been here before?' she asked, confused.
'Yes, but not all the time. If you were here all the time you wouldn't be carrying a tourist lighter on yourself.'
'Maybe so.' She smiled. 'But if I was here all the time I would know that smoking isn't allowed.'
'I don't smoke.' The boy replied.
She was confused. Not seconds earlier she had seen him pull out a cigarette to light with her lighter.
'I don't smoke much.' He corrected.
She rolled her eyes. The two were getting along quite well. She was actually quite surprised, he was quite charming. He actually had looked like quite a jerk when she moved towards the bar before.
'You didn't answer my question.' He said.
'Sorry, what was that?'
'What brings you to Reach?' he reminded her.
'Trying to escape an utterly shit life.' She laughed. He did too. 'You here with anyone?'
'Me? Nope. I'm a bit of a loner. Most of my friends have gone to fight in the war.'
'Too scared?' she provoked.
'No, but the aliens should be when they see me coming. I have signed up but I'm waiting for them to approve my forms.' He looked down at his drink.
'You look worried.'
'Nah, just…' he took a swig of the scotch. 'It doesn't look likely that I'll get in. I've got a criminal history. I own an apartment but no keys to it. So I lockpick.'
She laughed, predicting where the story was going to go.
'I got arrested for breaking into my own home.' He concluded. 'They let me out, but it's still on my official record.'
The bartender walked past the two again and refilled both of their drinks before winking at her. She felt slightly disgusted, before she probably would have been flattered but something was different now. When she turned to the guy she could see pure jealousy. He parted his hair briefly with his hand as he stared at the bartender.
'So what music do you like?' she asked, desperate to make conversation.
'This.' He said, pointing up to an invisible spot above him.
'Pray? Oh god, I love this song.'
'Same, it's freaking beautiful.'
Sure, beautiful is a word for it.'
He leant forward and looked toward the upper levels of the club, hoping to catch the lyrics of the song. She sat back and closing her eyes, did the same.
- Yo, listen, yo.
The beats bounced across the building's walls and reverberated through all the patrons. Reverberating through her chest it became as familiar as her own heartbeat. It made sense, because her heart was racing. The beats and music were lyrical in time with the lighting display.
She turned to her new found friend who was not even paying attention to what was going on behind him. Either he really was a local, or he was a zombie.
- So pick your poison. Shotgun shell to the face?
'Evening, ma'am.' Came a voice from behind her.
She turned to see who it was but found no one. She looked back at her friend only to find that the man who had spoken to her had wedged himself between the two. He was a pig, bald (like the bartender) with an overgrown moustache.
'Whatcha drinking?' he asked.
'Scotch and raspberry.'
After a few seconds he snorted and burst out laughing. That's when she realised that the man had two other friends that were behind her. They too were laughing aloud.
'What's so funny?' she asked, slightly pissed off.
'Scotch? Ain't that a bit strong for a lady?'
'Excuse me?' she said, offended. 'What the hell do you know about ladies?'
'Enough to get me laid. So, you up for it?'
'No!' she spat. 'Never, not with you!'
She sat forward and continued drinking her drink. She could almost imagine that the man was pissed off, looking at the table in shock. Instead she heard laughter from past him, from the guy she had been talking to.
'What's so funny?' the man said turning towards him.
'Oh, nothing.' He said, pretending to hold in the laughter before bursting out again.
'I said, what's funny?'
'It's just- it's just the thought of a dickhead, such as yourself, thinking you have a chance with such a girl as this.'
'Didn't hear me? Or are you deaf as well as stupid.' He chuckled.
The man bashed his fist against the bar as the bartender turned away. She jumped at the sound of the thud.
'Now I'm going to pretend you're just gonna shut your face. I also suggest that you fuck off…'
- Or pull this sidearm from my waist?
Again the bald man turned his attention to her. He sniffed, the snot dribbling from his nostrils being sucked back up as he did.
'Now, listen lady. I'm gonna give you one chance to open your legs before I force you too.' He said, angrily.
She turned to him, fists clenched. She would have hit him too if it weren't for the interruption. Her friend stood up and pulled on the man's shoulders. He quickly turned and swung his right fist launching it straight at the guy's jaw.
Her friend fell down out of sight before the man reached out at her. So next she delivered a blow. It was a punch that shattered his jaw, some of the combat she'd gained had begun to surface. He fell to his knees but collapsed on a stool, using it to pull himself to his feet.
'You're gonna regret that, you son of a bi—'
Her friend had stood up, his glass of scotch now shattered over the man's head. Scotch and blood combined and swirled around the shards of glass slicing into his head.
- You'll ruin the whole scene.
In a second the man's two friends were onto her protector (not that she needed a protector). One held him back, pinning his arms behind him. The other swinging a punch.
The flashing of the lights in time with the music provided the perfect cover. In an instance of darkness her friend ducked. The blow landed into his suppressor's temple. Two men were collapsed on the ground, the final was then knocked down when she kicked him. The heel of her leather shoe crushing a small section of his spine. All three were on the ground.
Her friend wiped away the blood. The two of them standing and looking at their downed attackers. She stood fists at the ready to throw another devastating punch. He cracked his knuckles but stopped suddenly when he turned around.
Around them the music was still playing, but the patron's had stopped. All the staff, and many of the dancers stood at the ready to attack.
- And I ain't comin from a civilized place.
They were all members of the club, as was the man that the two had just beaten. Now, all stood at the ready to attack the two; to kill the two.
'Well this is gonna be fun.' Said her friend sarcastically.
'You up for a fight?'
'Without a doubt.'
As the music reached a crescendo the two ran towards the crowd in the direction of the door. They were halted, she was forced to throw a blow in the first person in front of her. Luckily the patron she had just knocked unconscious was one of the members, one of her attackers.
As the boy in the black shirt turned both briefly glimpsed the bartender. He threw a baseball bat at one of the three first people that they had beat down. Two more bats going to the others.
Their attackers charged waving the baseball bats above their heads. At least they aren't Grifball hammers, she thought to herself. The first of the men with a baseball bat swung at her head but she lunged at him tackling him to the ground. As he fell back the bat slipped from her fingers, as he hit the ground he lost his breath.
'Move!' she heard a voice behind her call.
So doing as was asked of her, she rolled over. In a split second she witnessed the boy's boot stomp on the man's face. As he lifted it she saw that the attacker's nose was flattened and he was left unconscious.
- Where violence is preferred to sittin and saying grace.
She slid her foot under the bat and flicked it up. The bat was thrown in the air and she caught it, quickly spinning around to knock down one of the unarmed members. As he fell to the ground behind her she noticed that the two were being circled. From over the bar another of the unarmed attackers smashed the bottle of scotch that she had seen not long before.
Slowly some of her attackers rolled in, some charging. One of the attackers with the baseball bat (not the one who had abused her but one the 'cronies') moved in and swung the bat at her friend.
He blocked the blow with he arms, but the impact still knocked him to the ground. So she dropped to the ground and spinning on the floor kicked the man's feet out from underneath him. He slipped on his back and splashed in the puddles that were forming on the floor.
- The young warlocks ain't got patience or respect.
'Pick it up!' she said to him pointing to the bat.
He shook his head.
'Are you kidding? I fight better without.' He replied.
The next of the members charged at her but instead of attacking she merely threw the baseball bat at him. The bat crashed into his head and immediately knocked him out, his arms falling limp at his sides and body twitching as it fell to the ground.
- Cos the animal within don't even speak that dialect.
She felt a hand grasp at her ankle and pull her down. It belonged to the man with the now shattered nose. His eyes were now bloodshot and he was frothing at the mouth. In retaliation she knelt down and elbowed him in the spot where his nose had once been. He released his grip in pain.
She wasn't through with him yet and proceeded to knee him brutally into his lower jaw. The sound of the crunch signaled he was finally out cold. She stood and spat on him before preparing for the next of her attackers.
- And all they know is war.
She dove forward, rolling before standing up beside her partner. They were facing the same direction when she heard footsteps. From behind a man was approaching, so she ducked, spun and delivered an uppercut right into the member's groin. He collapsed and a split second later she realised it had been the bartender with the smashed scotch bottle.
- So you better come correct.
'Be right back.' Said her partner.
She turned to see him sprinting towards a gap in their attackers' circle. He was headed straight for a staircase leading up towards the upper levels of the club. She was deserted but guessed he had a plan up his sleeve.
Alone she took on one attacker at a time, holding her ground. First a roundhouse kick to the chest then a left handed uppercut to the jaw. Then another kick on a third person's back before stomping on them with the right boot.
- They'll catch a bullet to the head.
'Hey assholes!' her partner called.
For a split second all the members of the club, all the patrons, and ever her; they all looked towards him waving at the top of the stairs. In a split second she pulled out initiative and pushed through the distracted crowd. Some of the members whom she pushed through noticed and tried to follow her – but she was too quick.
- Just for dramatic effect.
'What's the plan?' she asked him as she reached the top of the stairs.
'Plan? There's supposed to be a plan?' he replied, concerned.
Suddenly most of the members began sprinting towards the stairs. Others remained below and searched for things to use as weapons. She knew it wouldn't be long before someone found a gun.
- These savages is mean and only understand gunfire.
One by one the members fell. First they'd run up the stairs and one of the two would push them back down. The top floor was completely emptied and she had assumed that they'd evacuated the club owner as to protect him.
She searched the upstairs VIP level for a way out, they couldn't keep fighting on the stairs. She saw the back room, ones that they used for private dancers and paying members. She tugged on her partner's sleeve and got his attention before pointing at the exit.
He threw one last punch to know a guy, one of the biggest, onto his knees. She then initiated a 'jump-kick' that pushed him downstairs, knocking down the others like a snowball effect.
The two ran as fast as they could into the private rooms and he locked the room behind them. There was a moment of peace before she looked out the room's window. Below she saw the lower levels where they had only just escaped from.
There were no civilians. The place had been evacuated. All that remained were the members who were fighting.
'There's gonna be police!' she panicked.
'Nah, they know they started it. If the police came they'd arrest all the members as well as us. We're fine.' He reassured her.
- Don't get caught slippin up in the jungle squire.
The two pushed down the door on the other side of the room which took them up to another evacuated area of the upper level. Perched over one of the balconies was the DJ's sound desk. The DJ had escaped but the music was still playing.
She wanted to take a moment to soak in the vibrations from the beats and the sound from the speakers – but knew that doing so could cause them to get surrounded and caught.
Her listening was interrupted by a crash. The two turned around and saw that the members had broken down the door that her friend had locked. He pulled on her shoulder and pointed to the VIP bar before running. She followed.
The two vaulted over the bar and ducked into cover behind it.
'They'll know we're here.' She whispered.
'Then let's fight!'
They both stood up to find members charging at them. She picked up the first thing she could, a bottle, and threw it at one of the attackers. The next few moments were a flurry of attacks, the two throwing multiple objects and the members. They threw bottles, glasses, taps, and even the desk phone.
As they were running out of things to throw they were saved by the liquids that had pooled on the other side of the bar. Their attackers continued to run towards them but kept slipping in the puddles of alcohol.
- They want your armor.
He grabbed an umbrella from the 'lost and found' bucket beside the bar. It was yellow in color she could see that he could use it as a club or something. He lightly punched her arm as to get her attention.
'Let's go!' he said to her.
'Lead the way.'
- So believe in one simple fact.
The two circled around their stunned attackers (who had slipped over into an odd mess). Some stood up and attacked. Four men in particular, and a woman began throwing their bottles at him. So he opened his umbrella and used it as a shield.
The opened shield of the umbrella deflected most of the drinks and managed to defend them as the two pushed towards a small staff elevator. She only hoped that they could get inside, that it would move to the bottom floor quick enough so that they could escape.
As two more attackers stood up from the alcohol soaked piles of bodies he collapsed the umbrella and used it as a bat. Knocking down the two oncoming members they continued to circle around to the lift which was situated beside the door to the private dancer's room.
- Just for that they'll take your face off.
From the doorway pushed through two of the thugs. The two thugs that had started this fight. The pig man with the shards of glass in his head spat and was the first to point out the their position. They charged, both armed with baseball bats.
The ugliest, the first one that caused the trouble was in front. He swung the bat down on her friend, but he ducked to the side and the baseball bat missed. He then pushed the umbrella forward past the man's right ear before opening it and pulling it – this pulled the man in closer to both her and her partner.
Now closer to her than he had been before the man looked grizzly. Again, her friend saved the day. He threw the umbrella at point blanc as if it were a spear. The umbrella was forced into the eye of the bald man impaling it.
A squelch sound was heard as a clear liquid squirted from the man's tear ducts. Following this blackish red blood began to ooze from where the umbrella was jutting out, perfectly in his right eye.
The man let out a loud scream of pain before collapsing. In a split moment her partner tried to pull the umbrella from the man's eye socket but it wouldn't come free.
- Just like that.
They were within five or so meters to the lift now. York only a little stunned at what he had just done. The second of the two lead attackers now swung his bat at her, but she ducked and kicked up above her head into the man's neck. She swung her foot around, bringing his head along with it until the man was pushed against the balcony overlooking the ground floor.
He slipped on the puddle of spirits at his feet, and having been kicked by her fell. He fell down off the level and hit the floor. The man landed on his head and his body collapsed, hunched over his head. He was dead. York was stunned too, wide eyed and somewhat frightened.
'Come on, there's no time!' she exclaimed as she looked back at the members who were quickly untangling themselves from the mess back at the bar.
- Lies and deceit. Disguise and critique.
She desperately pressed on the call lift button as the people regained themselves and made their way towards both her and her unnamed male ally. Finally the doors to the lift burst open, and a man inside lunged at her friend with a shattered glass bottle. The neck was swung at her before jutted towards her friend's general direction.
She grabbed the man's attacking arm and elbowed his elbow so that it snapped. In pain the man twisted and lunged back towards her. She sidestepped and the bartender's glass bottle stabbed one of the member's necks.
She pushed her partner into the lift and pressed the ground floor button. As the doors shut she looked out through the glass and saw that the bartender had stabbed the DJ in the neck with the bottle. Blood squirted out of the cuts as the boy desperately tried to pick himself up, grasping at the balcony rails but slipping as his blood soaked fingers let go.
- The O's and P's and Q's with everybody you meet.
He could live, she reassured herself. The lift propelled downwards with quick speed before coming to a halt on the bottom level. The exit was unguarded but the members were desperately running down the stairs to get to them. There was only a split second of time they could jump at; a split second was all they could allow themselves to get to the exit.
- And trust is a weakness on this side of the fleet.
A cold and bloodied blade pressed against her throat and halted her movement. Her friend had been ahead of her but now stopped to see what had caused her to stop running.
She looked up and saw a man with a broken face, a bald man drooling blood. His eye socket spitting up a reddish black fluid. How did he beat her down there? She asked herself, but the knife tightened in against her neck. She could feel the knife about to slice open her neck. If even a small incision was made, his blood already on the knife would mix with hers and she'd probably die from that.
She stepped back with her right foot, stepping into his. It didn't disarm him and instead pulled him into. The knife stung like a snake's bite. She was willing to embrace death if she had too, but she wouldn't. This was a 'hostage situation' yes, but it wasn't a deadly one. If he had to he would kill her without a doubt, but—
A gunshot was heard and interrupted her train of thought. She adapted, rolling forward as it happened. The pig faced man was still wrapped around her, but being rolled over the top of her received a bullet to the leg.
- Cos they'll fake showing love.
The two sprinted for the door glancing to see if the man was dead, he wasn't. The music was still playing and now she began to finally appreciate the beats. The doors to the exit opened wide and a cold gust of wind chilled her. She shivered.
- And leave you bleedin in the street.
The doors were closing, as they did the two stared back. Their attackers didn't follow. They knew they had lost. A million thoughts rushed through her head. What had started as a simple bar brawl turned into a gunfight within minutes. With the doors shut the music muffled and she felt the vibrations only through the floor now.
- And that's real.
She had noticed that she was panting. Cardio, it was her strength and weakness. She was deadly fast, but struggled to keep sprinting with a stable stamina. She turned to her right, the boy who had fought alongside her was leaning against the wall. He too was panting.
She looked outwards and saw all the patrons that had been evacuated. They were all staring at the two, she gave a nervous smile and they all seemed to smile back.
- Pray for the day the lies don't find you.
By the time the two had regained their breaths many of the patrons had taken cabs off the premises. No one had followed the two out, they knew that if the police were involved it would be all the club's members that would take the fall.
'So, that cigarette?' he asked her.
She pulled the lighter out again and set up the flame. The wind blew it back down again. The boy awkwardly held out his hand again, chewing on the end of his cigarette. Instead she approached him and covered the cigarette with her left hand, lighting it with her right. She fell flustered at how close she was to him.
Once the cigarette was alight she turned away.
- Pray that the end is right behind you.
'I only live a short distance away.' He offered.
'I own like a paradise apartment, glass walls overlooking the city. Tonight you could be a lucky guest who gets to spent at least one night inside.'
She giggled. When she realised how foolish she sounded she coughed. Girls are giggly, you're a lady, she reminded herself.
'So, where is this paradise apartment?' she asked him.
He pointed over the edge of the club and up to a skyscraper not far off. He pointed to the apartment, which was not much higher than where the club was situated. The apartment did overlook the club, it would be a spectacular view. It began to rain, so he stood around her so she was close to the wall. Like a gentleman he protected her from the rain.
'So, you got a name?' he asked.
He was still waiting for an answer as he lit another cigarette. He blew a puff into the air and it swirled in the wind. As soon as he'd lit it he flicked the cigarette away.
She replied, '…it's Church. And you can keep the lighter.'
'Got a first name, Church?'
'People Like Grapes' Bar, Minnesota, Earth
The music playing was a load of shit.
'Turn that crap off, Earl.' Yelled a man at the bar.
He was sick to shit of this new pop crap being played on the damn radio. It all sounded the same to him. First it was Emmel Ryder singing 'Disco Dreams', then it was SamnXess the German boy band singing songs that no one understood. Where the hell was Earl.
'Hey Earl, you alive back there?' he joked.
He took another swig of his beer. The liquor was just what he needed to calm his nerves. Tonight would be the night, the night he got his revenge on that dipshit who stole his girl. He was waiting for the redneck 'Scott'. He expected the man to roll on in higher then life.
Behind him a bell chimed, he looked back. As the door swung open a man with glasses waltzed in, an African American behind him. Neither of them were Scott. All he needed was time.
I'm not generally a violent person, he told himself. But stealing my girl is an act of war.
He turned back towards the two patrons that entered. They didn't look local, but then again neither was he. This didn't seem their place. They looked like egg heads from here, UNSC scientists or whatnot.
Then the bell chimed again. He turned suddenly and watched Scott enter. Worried he'd just been busted he turned back towards the bar. He was quiet, listening to that Pop stuff again. God did he want to yell for Earl. But the blasted manager was nowhere to be found.
The lump of a man sat himself on the stool beside him. He looked around, recognizing him.
'Hey, look who it is!' Scott began.
'I did, to your girlfriend.' He spat.
'That doesn't even make sense, but I guess it would to an illiterate such as yourself.'
The lump sat back in his chair. Slammed a glass onto the bar before standing up. He waved his arms about as if deranged and began to rile up the crowd. He was surely drunk, or just an idiot… or both.
'Hear that?' he began. 'This asshole right over here just called us all illinants!'
Idiot, illiterates not illinants! He stood, grabbing his bottle of beer. As the man began to twirl around like a ballerina on crack, he punched him square in the face. Scott fell back, his head bouncing off a vertical wooden pillar connecting the floor to the roof. As he fell back, he slammed the glass bottle into his mouth.
Scott's lips were sliced open in several places, he began to scream.
'Bill me next time, Earl.' He shouted as he began to stroll out the bar.
Suddenly he felt to hands cup his shoulders before pulling him back and swinging him around the room. He was practically thrown onto a table, the very same table occupied by the two men that interested him before.
'Hi there, the name's Ryan.' He introduced himself.
The man with glasses nodded and the man beside him held out a hand. But before Ryan could reply the handshake he was thrown back once more. He spun around, his face slamming into the very same pole he'd beaten Scott with.
'You know, we'be been togeva' for years now.' Scott tried to say, his lips tearing open wider with each word.
His attempts to speech struck a nerve. The bitch cheated on me? He thought.
Like a mountain lion he pounced on his prey. He threw Scott onto another patron's table. Upon impact the table cracked a small hole was made where the lump of a man's head was pushed through.
He punched him again and again until he would get up no more.
'What the hell is this!?' came a voice from behind the bar.
Ryan glanced but continued to beat him down again and again. The man was Earl.
'Stop that! Ryan, get the fuck out of my bar!' he yelled.
Scott's face was a mess. Yellow and blue bruises already forming. Ryan stopped.
'Don't worry Earl. I'm done here.'
'Nup,' the manager stopped him. 'You're done. I'm calling the cops.'
'No! That won't be necessary.' Came a voice, a southern accent. 'By order of the UNSC I order you to stay as you are.' It was the man with glasses. 'You, come have a drink with us.'
'Vancouver Zero' Medical Facility, Canada, Earth
When she came to her vision was blurred. White flooded her eyes and she had wondered whether she had passed overnight. She didn't want to die, but had accepted that it was a possibility right from the time she was brought here. This was the third time she had awoken since she was hospitalized a month ago, as far as she could remember.
Around her the hospital life buzzed. Beeps of computers and medical equipment could be heard, groaning patients winged, doctors rushed between patients and surgeons yelled out seeking assistance. Yet all was hidden behind the green curtains surrounding her bed.
She looked into her arm and noticed the tube, a blood bag connecting to a tube had been feeding her of life juice. Was the tube in her last time? She couldn't remember. She sank back into her pillow and tried to sleep again. Again she began to fear, there was always a possibility that she wouldn't wake up.
Looking around the room she noticed the clipboard. On it a sheet containing a list of prescribed medicines, medical conditions and surgeries that she had undergone after her accident. The curtains rustled and the doctor entered. He was a different doctor than her previous one, but his white lab coat made him unmistakable.
'Sarah Chantelle?' he asked as he picked up another clipboard at the end of the bed.
'Yes.' She spoke in her usual French accent.
'Are we awake today?' the doctor grinned.
'Barely. Have you ever been hit by a shotgun, monsieur?'
The doctor chuckled. 'Why no I have not. But I can imagine it would not be comfortable.'
'They say I have to go into zero gravity surgery tomorrow.'
'And why is that?'
'You are the doctor, you tell me!' she said confused.
'I'm sorry if I implied that, Sarah, but I am not the doctor.'
She sat up, panicked. 'You are not the doctor?!'
'Calm down,' he began. 'I am a doctor but I am not the doctor.'
She looked around the room. Was this man dangerous? What did he want with her? Questions weren't the problem, and they certainly weren't the solution. Where was the staff call button?
'What do you want with me?' she asked.
'I hear you are an excellent shot.'
'I was an excellent shot.' She corrected. 'How do you think I ended up in this place?'
'Oh, I know how you ended up in this place. I am also aware of your… other talents.'
She searched him, hoping to find what he meant. His bright green eyes were not easy to read, especially not behind the large round glasses that allowed her to misinterpret what he was saying.
'Other talents,' he continued without waiting for her. 'such as lock picking. You could be our infiltration specialist.'
'Oui, I am good at breaking in to places. But I am a better shot than I am an infiltration artist.' She explained. 'I can hit an elk in the eye from half a mile away with no obstacles nine times out of ten.'
'Oh we are very aware of how skilled you are.'
'We, who do you mean by we?'
'Me and my associate. He is waiting outside, ensuring that we are not interrupted.' He continued.
'What do I get out of helping you?' she asked him, intrigued now by the point he was trying to make.
'A way out, a way out of a criminal life.'
She thought for a moment. 'I'll consider.'
'That is good enough for me. Counselor!' he called out behind the curtains.
Suddenly a second man entered Sarah quarters armed with a syringe and jabbed it into her left arm just below where the tube entered under her skin. The pain seared at first throughout her arms but then spread with her veins, coursing throughout her body. Soon all consciousness left her and she fell into darkness. Asleep.
Buckingham Palace, England, Earth
The shot was lined up beautifully. The old bugger's bald head was centered in his crosshairs. He couldn't imagine anything better than this paycheck. All he had to so was squeeze the trigger between fingers. The old man's brains would be splattered all over the carriage doors.
At the moment the politician was walking alongside the Queen's horse drawn carriage. He was accompanying her out towards the palace gates. It was just outside the palace where the people stood, crowds of hundreds gathered to watch the two shake hands. Pathetic.
A professional assassin always hides out of plain sight, everyone knew that. And that was exactly why he was sniping from a public park. The Queen's royal guard were searching the rooftops, the civilians were all crowded around the palace. He was well hidden. Hidden within a bush under a blanket was where he was perched. He looked like a tramp.
Then he realised that he'd almost forgot the most obvious thing. He'd forgotten to check wind. At this distance, with this kind of resistance, the wind would likely carry the bullet half a meter in the wrong direction. He considered a moment of a path he could take. Fire the bullet off target to be carried with the wind? Or wait until the wind died down?
'Come on, think, think.'
As it turned out he didn't need to wait for the wind to die down. As the carriage began to turn (as if making a circle) he could clearly see that the wind was being halted. In the cover of the carriage the target waited for the horses to complete their turn. The wind was now off his face and the target scratched his bald head.
He squeezed the trigger, not angling the crosshair off the target whatsoever. Bam! And a second later the man's brains painted the walls of the Queen's carriage. In the background after the sound of the gunshot cleared, distant screams could be heard. The Royal Guards rushed to surround and protect the Queen's carriage which retreated behind BuckinghamPalace. Fools, they had no idea that Queen Isabella wasn't the target.
He lifted the blanket up off of his head and left the scene immediately. Luckily there were no civilians to witness him in the park. The street was another matter entirely. He had left the sniper rifle in the park, surely the military would pick it up later. It was a low quality gun anyway. He had worn leather chaps to hide his fingerprints. And the gun itself had been modified to accept three different ammunition types, none of which were available to purchase on Britain's Black Market and one of which was used to kill the asset.
Dressed from head to toe in a drifter's dust coat and rags he fled the park. Black smudges of dirt hid his face, his (real) thick moustache covering part of his mouth. He his short brown hair under a beanie. He looked to be about thirty to forty years old, and that was without all the makeup.
Running through the streets he brushed past several people, some of which must have recognized he could have been the killer. Many of those who had witnessed the victim's head spontaneously erupting were likely still around Buckingham.
Continuing down the main road he tried to remember his escape route. He realised though, that he hadn't at all left the sniper rifle at the scene. In a moment of adrenaline soaked action he had slid the rifle into a small leather bag and slung it over his back. To most it must have looked like a pair of golf clubs, 'civvies' must have thought he'd stolen them.
He remembered that about three or four blocks away was a side street. He couldn't recall the name of the side street but he remembered its name reminded him of his nephew's pet goldfish. …his late nephew's pet goldfish. …actually, his late nephew's even later pet goldfish. He wasn't far now. In the distance he could hear the sounds of sirens. Police or Ambo? He couldn't tell.
One thing was for certain, if he didn't back to his apartment before eleven he'd– The assassin toppled over, crashing into two tourists walking the opposite direction from where he came.
'Watch where you're going!' he said.
'I should say the same to you.' Replied one of the tourists, who through his accent showed that he was clearly American. …either that or Welsh (he could never tell the difference).
Pushing through he continued until the back street was in his sight. He sidestepped down the street that sat only two and a half metres wide. He spotted a dumpster in the alleyway and a pile of cardboard boxes beside it. The sirens grew louder and he could tell that they were after him. Immediately he ditched the rifle into the dumpster and dropped down into the cardboard boxes. It was there that he waited.
It was only a matter of hours before he returned to his apartment. He took off his beanie and let the room's air conditioner blow air through his hair. The building was quiet and warm, usually. On this instance however it had felt less homely. In another room of the apartment he heard a light tapping. Someone had to have been in the apartment with him.
He casually strolled into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Within a small zip lock bag on the top shelf was a small pistol. He opened the bag and pulled it out before suddenly swiveling around and aiming it at a man seated on a stool behind him.
'You don't want to do that.' The man said.
Suddenly the assassin pulled on the trigger three times. Nothing. He pulled on it more. Nothing.
'Really? Isn't it a little cliché to hide your gun in the fridge?' asked another man.
He had not noticed the second person seated behind the man on the stool. The second was seated on a couch in the lounge, a room connected and entirely a part of the kitchen where he was. They had taken the ammo.
The assassin chuckled.
'Ha, so what do you want with me?' he said now turning away from the two intruders casually and making his way towards the toaster.
'We got that one too, the gun I mean.' Said the first, a man with glasses.
'What do you mean? I just wanted toast.'
He opened a plastic bag concealing a loaf of bread but dropped it and spontaneously grasped the toaster. He swung the metal object around and lobbed it towards the man on the couch. The man dove off and the old man in the chair… well he stood, pulled out a magnum and aimed it at the assassin. Magnum, UNSC standard issue. This man was a man of the military.
'UNSC? What do you want?' he said angrily.
'Your expertise.' He began. 'That was a good shot you fired. You were very thorough.'
The assassin began thinking, where could he go next? There were more guns around the kitchen but he wondered which ones these men had confiscated.
'One on the shelves, one in the oven, two in the pantry, three in the cupboards, one in the fruit bowl and another behind the microwave.' He said as if he could read the assassin's mind.
'Excellent.' The assassin chuckled. 'But there's one place you didn't check.'
Suddenly he pulled out a silenced pistol that had been tucked in behind his pants. With his left hand he disarmed the man with glasses. He fired upon the two but no bullets left the gun.
'We've been watching you for a while.' Said the man with the glasses.
And then it occurred to him, these two men he had seen before. He had seen them in the street as he fled the police after the last assassination.
'Join us.' Said the man who seconds before he'd thrown a toaster at.
'Sorry chaps, I'd love to but I'm terribly busy. I've still got another name on my list. The money is big on this one, Scottish lassie by the name of–'
'We can pay.' Interrupted the old man. 'We can pay you as if you did complete it and pay you that same price for every month you work for us.'
Now he was interested.
He held out his hand.
'You can call me Reginald.'
'Briar Rose' UNSC Training Facility, CLASSIFIED LOCATION
He pulled the trigger again, and again, and again until there was no ammo left in his gun. He'd hit the target one time, one time out of the fifteen times he'd tried. He couldn't use handguns for shit! A rifle, now that was a weapon.
'Raise you fucking arm!' the drill sergeant screamed.
So he did. But again it did not work. If he just had a god damned rifle he would be able to hit the son of a bitch every time.
'Don't lock your knees, spastic! He yelled again.
'Your back's tense! Untense your fucking back!' was the next order
'Lower your arm! I told you to lower your arm! You are a fucking waste of my time!'
That god damned drill sergeant had been driving him for days. He didn't need a secondary weapon, he was careful with his ammo and only needed to use his rifle. A DMR any day could do more damage than this shitty pistol. Hell, even a Battle Rifle would be easier!
The rookie placed the gun on the table. He was at the firing range, and considered using the weapon on the drill sergeant. He could say that he accidentally shot the mentor because he mistook him for a dummy. The resemblance was uncanny, for one they both had fat heads. Two, they were only good for soaking up small pieces of metal.
He turned and left the firing range, still under the cover and heading towards the main bunker. Behind him his asshole instructor was shouting something, but he couldn't care less about what it was.
Entering the bunker he was relieved at the fresh cool air that blew against his face. He had just taken off his helmet, his hair soaked in sweat under his helmet. Outside it was scorching hot, but it was better under cover and even better inside the base. He let out a sigh, a fresh breath of cold air.
He stepped past a pair of marines. Their armor, like his, was dark green. It was standard issue UNSC gear. He wondered at first why he had to wear a heavy helmet at a safe location and none of the other marines did. But then he remember: the drill sergeant was a asshole.
A hand grasped at his shoulder and pulled him down. Before he knew it the world went dark and he noticed his helmet was gone.
'Shhh, shut up!' a woman's voice.
'Wh—th—ell… uh' he tried to yell but she held his mouth closed.
He was being held in a head lock, and felt his back pushed up against something hard – like armor. He felt safe, like as if she was saving him. He recognized himself to be in a broom closet as his eyes adjusted in the darkness. The only external source of light came from the slits in the door looking out into the highway where he had just been standing.
He could see his helmet on the floor. Two marines merely walked over it, a third trailing behind did not. He stopped and bent over, staring at the helmet for a short time before looking towards the closed drawer of the broom closet.
He opened it wide.
'Oh, son of a bit—' he began to say before the girl dove out of the closet, swinging a large knife in the direction of the marine. The knife impaled the curious marine's neck, blood pouring out across the hallway.
The rookie stood in shock. The woman was beautiful, and right before him had just slaughtered an innocent person. She couldn't be a good guy, she just killed a member of the UNSC. Her long blonde hair trailed behind her head as she looked up and down the hallway. Hanging from her hips were more of the blades, many more of the blades. All had a heart symbol cutout in the spine of them, a clear decorative figure.
Her armor was not of the UNSC, but a white UNSC logo was painted to her chest piece. Her armor was red with a black secondary color and detail. Painted on her chest was also a pair of pink lips centered within a dark red heart.
'Quit staring.' She said, not taking her eyes off both exits of the hallway.
'I wasn't, just… who are you?' asked the Rookie.
'Does my savior have a name?'
'Do you?' she asked.
'No. Now answer my question.' He said, concerned with her need of information.
'Call me Girlie.' She replied before stopping.
Suddenly an ear piercing alarm rang across the base. It was the alarm they normally rang for Covenant Attack. But this was no attack, at least not by the covenant. When the covenant attacked there was also supposed to be a lockdown. There was no lockdown. The UNSC did not expect to be attacked from the inside.
Girlie pulled out what seemed to be a Magnum and pulled on the rookie. Then she began to run. She made her way down the hallway, the rookie close behind her. At a point where the hallway met another she looked left and right. She fired two shots to the right and a third to the left before continuing forward.
As he caught up, the rookie saw corpses strewn down the hallways to his left and right where he'd seen Girlie fire. Blood had been sprayed across the walls. He was not far from the exit before he noticed he'd lost sight of the 'Girlie' person. He had assumed she had been leading him to the exit but that was far from right.
He had approached the front reception when he heard gunfire. It had come from behind him, behind him was where the enemy was. Three UNSC guards had begun wandering down the hallway to him with large bulletproof riot shields up. Girlie was nowhere to be found.
'I surrender!' yelled the Rookie upon realizing he had wanted none of this to happen.
He held up his hands but instead of stopping each of the guards raised their handguns. His end would have come to a close it that frag grenade hadn't landed at their feet. From somewhere hidden Girlie had lobbed a hand grenade at the guards. A second later a red mist filled the room like a fog, the riot shields were the only acknowledgement that UNSC personnel had just been standing there.
He wandered into the mist, carefully wading through the smoke and rubble caused by the explosion and the puddles of blood already forming. It was through the smoke that he saw Girlie once more. She took no notice of him and was aiming down yet another hallway to his right.
When he approached her she slapped him.
'You idiot! Follow me. They'd no doubt have a firing line waiting for us out the front.' She lectured.
'What? How is this my fault? I didn't even want to leave!'
'I'm not blaming you, asshole! We were heading for the back entrance!'
The rookie thought for a moment. He had wandered Rose's military halls scores of times…hundreds of times. There was no other way out, except for the hangar. But the hangar only allowed for Vertical Takeoff.
'There is no other exits.' He corrected her at last.
She ignored him and pulled on his arm again. She leapt out of the rubble she had caused with the grenade and headed in the direction she was aiming. He hadn't noticed it before but there was a large green 'EXIT' sign above the door. The rookie was dumbstruck.
Two UNSC soldiers outflanked them, appearing at the rear. Girlie pushed the rookie's back against the wall and began firing on the soldiers. The rookie swung the door open to find a UNSC soldier waiting for them. He was armed with a DMR and at such close range (less then five feet) a single shot was likely to kill him.
The world seemed to move in slow motion, but it was still not enough time to make a decision. Dive out of the way or shoot? Live or die? The trouble was working out which approach would lead to which outcome. In an instant his decision was made for him. A fountain of blood erupted from the soldier's left eye socket and spouted all over the rookie's armor.
As the soldier fell the rookie noticed another soldier, red and black like Girlie, in the distant. He was outside. The grey rocky landscape reminded him of where he was. The large wooden fence surrounding this exit reminded him that he was a prisoner. The large cylindrical pipe that cleared through the fence reminded him that there was hope. The pipe was pouring out green waste and it was through the other side that he could see the red and black soldier seated in the driver's seat of a warthog.
Behind him Girlie pushed past, this was just as the hog arrived and ran down a small section of the towering fence. This soldier was wearing a helmet unlike Girlie. His helmet seemed to belong to an ODST.
'Better late than never, Archer.' Girlie said to him.
That was when the rookie noticed the large retractable longbow around the neck of the soldier. Looking back at the man he'd killed he noticed the large pointed arrow jutting out of the UNSC soldier's eye.
Girlie pulled herself up onto the heavy machine gun turret of the warthog.
'This the one?' asked Archer to Girlie.
'You sure you chose the right one?' he asked her.
'Listen, I've been watching him for weeks.'
'Hey, Rookie.' Archer said now turning his attention towards the marine still in his greens. 'Are you coming or what?'
Soon the rookie brought himself to the warthog before vaulting into the passenger's seat. 'Shotgun' was where he felt comfortable, he was a skilled navigator. However, he didn't know the destination. He felt—
'You son-of-a-bitch!' came a man's voice from the doorway that Girlie had just come from.
It was the drill sergeant.
'I will fuck you up!' he yelled.
A large ear ringing sound echoed through the rookie's ears. Upon raising his head he witnessed the mowing down of his old mentor. Hundreds of bullets left the heavy machine gun, cutting through the already wounded sergeant. Blood splashed across the ground with each shot. If the bullets didn't kill him, blood loss would have. Then, after about twenty seconds of endless fire one bullet did pierce his skull. The sergeant was finally put out of his misery – though the rookie felt he deserved what was coming to him.
'Come on, we gotta hurry. Sleeves is preparing the Hornet and we gotta be there in ten.' Spoke Archer before the three disappeared into the mountainous wasteland around them.
'People Like Grapes' Bar, Minnesota, Earth
The cool night breeze blew Jackson's hair back across his face. He and Thom had been best friends since they were young'uns. Now they were back on Earth, back on Minnesota and working as bouncers for a bar.
Recently the bar had been badly damaged by, what the manager called 'a psycho and his military friends.' So the two had been posted at People Love Grapes in order to prevent the incident from occurring again.
'So, you watched the game yet?' asked Thom.
'No. How could I? I've been right here.' Jackson replied.
'Oh really? So during that bathroom break you didn't try to check the scores?'
A gunshot was heard, like a loud clap coming from between the two bouncers. Jackson wondered whether his friend had noticed it but upon turning realised it was obvious. Two more gunshots rang out.
Thom pushed through the bar's doors first pulling out a revolver that the manager had lent him. Jackson soon followed but was interrupted by another two gunshots. One of which burst out into the stomach of Thom.
'No, Thom!' Jackson called as his friend fell backwards onto the streets.
Instead of checking on the bar's patrons and preventing the shooting from escalating he turned to check on his friend. A heavy something fell onto the back of Jackson's head as he fell forward. A brick.
But he wasn't knocked out. On his knees beside his wounded and groaning best friend Jackson turned to see three men in black morph suits exiting the bar with garbage bags full to the brim with what could only be assumed to be cash – or the cash register.
Jackson fired but the gun did not work. It jolted forwards but no bullets actually left the gun. Turning it on it's side he noticed the bullet jam. The delay caused one of the thieves to notice him and aim another gun at him. Jackson rolled back and kicked the knee of his attacker inwards dislocating it instantly.
The second of the three robbers then turned and fired at Jackson. The first shot missed but the second ricocheted off the gravel and clipped his shoulder. In retaliation (and reflex) Jackson through his revolver at his attacker. The gun bounced off the thief's head and rendered him unconscious.
The final thief aimed the gun at Jackson but then dropped it and ran, a coward. Another gunshot rang out and deafened Jackson for a short time. The wounded and likely dying Thom had fired another shot into the spine of the final thief. If the thief wasn't dead he'd at least be paralyzed.
He wanted to faint.
Everything went black.
Then white again as he turned towards his friend.
His friend was unconscious – at least he hoped it was only unconsciousness – but again the light left his eyes as the sound of repetitive sirens flooded his ears. Car doors slammed and the shouts of paramedics could be heard. Despite falling asleep, despite not seeing Jackson could paint a clear image of what was happening purely by sound.
A southern American voice called to him.
'You are going to be okay Jackson, we will look after you here.'
Here? Where was here?
Ionohai Temple, Japan, Earth
There was a hint of roast in the air. Something meaty was being cooked in the distance, it smelled good. He wanted to eat it, he wanted to eat all of it. All day he had slaved away in his office, for twelve hours he sat at his computer and programmed tasks and scripts for his other employees.
His family hated his job, it was 'shameful'. His family lived at the TempleIonohai where they trained other Japanese citizens to fight like warriors in respect to the fallen samurai who had died centuries before. His family, a wealthy one, were the leaders of a legacy that kept family names alive.
His father was Korean and his mother was Japanese. His mother's father was the mentor warrior at Ionohai. Grandfather Truong was his teacher. In recent years his family had set him up so that mentor Truong could train him to fight. But he was no good, he was the worst of the Ionohai warriors. An opposing family led by a ninja warrior named Xiao Ma were his family's only enemy.
Xiao Ma led the White Talon a group of terrorists, cutthroats and thieves working under a cult name to bring the downfall of his family. Xiao Ma was as old as the young apprentice's father had been; in fact, Xiao Ma had brought the death of his Korean father.
Continuing home down the main road he thought at first about his work and then to his IT classroom where he was taught advanced engineering in the way of computer consoles and networks. He thought back to TempleIonohai. They were two very different worlds.
His office and classroom where smelly, small and enclosed. The Temple was a large expanse of land filled with lakes, ponds, beautiful gardens, training warriors, families in ritualistic robes and large dojos and houses extremely reminiscent of the ancient samurai temples.
The smell again filled his nostrils. It was unusual for the Ionohai warriors to be cooking such nice meals. Their ideology was based around living off the land. But the roast, it smelled so good. Looking to his left the temple rooftops could be seen over the row of small shops running along the main road. Any minute he'd arrive at Ionohai and find out the source of the cooked meat. Beef? Lamb? Pork? Chicken? It was an unfamiliar aroma but one he had accepted nonetheless.
Around him the small crappy shops were all closed. One closer to the temple entrance had its windows shattered. He was appalled, what had once been a peaceful neighborhood was changing and not for the better. Smoke filled his nostrils accompanying the smell, he choked and for a moment lost his breath. Darkness grabbed at him until he collapsed on the ground.
What seemed like hours (but had only been minutes) passed and he awoke. He was facing the Temple's entrance now. The sky had changed from a dull grey to a strong red. The clouds reflected a purple color as lights began to flash off of it. The good smell had become stronger and far more overpowering.
He entered the temple grounds.
The colorful plant life, burnt to ash.
The temples and houses, on fire and crumbling.
The ponds and lakes, now red with the bleeding corpses who had fallen within.
TempleIonohai had fallen. Around him he saw families on fire and samurai warriors defending civilians. Men completely covered in black, ninjas, traveled throughout the place cutting down anyone who wasn't one of their own. They fired crossbow bolts and slashed at enemies with the sabers and knives. It was a bloodbath. Ninjas ran across rooftops and flipped off buildings. Others burned the dead, the elderly and the young. That good smell of cooked animal…
It wasn't animal…
He looked around desperately and found his mentor Truong on a bridge hanging over one of Ionohai's lakes. He was surrounded but was not fighting. Instead none of the ninja warriors attacked him. Then one of the ninjas removed his mask, a man of forty was revealed underneath. He unsheathed a cutlass he had hung from his back.
The cutlass was unmistakably familiar. The man wielding it was Xiao Ma.
The apprentice screamed and ran towards the enemy master. Xiao Ma swung his sword upwards and disarmed Truong before spinning around and slicing open the elder's belly.
'No!' the apprentice screamed.
Something hard and metallic flicked at his ankle and he fell to the ground. A crossbow bolt had clipped his foot and tripped him up. Looking back he noticed another of the fifty something ninjas. He was perched atop a rooftop with a crossbow in his hands. A red laser pointer showed that the warrior had hit exactly where he had aimed.
'The Unnamed Warrior of the White Talon' was what the people of Japan called this one. The crossbowman was the White Talon's champion. He never missed. So the boy tried to stand and looked up, surprised to find Xiao Ma towering over him.
'Long time no see, you pathetic shit.' Spat the warrior through closed teeth.
Before standing he grasped for a fallen samurai warrior's sword. Holding it in the enclosed palm of his hand he readied himself to parry a strike from the White Talon leader.
The leader opened with a chuckle before laughing more harshly.
'You? You are coming up against me? You are no fighter. You are a disgrace!' he yelled in plain English.
It was true. The apprentice had been the worst fighter in his family, and the worst fighter the world had probably seen. Last time Xiao Ma infiltrated the Temple, Truong held Ma back. One Talon however nearly sliced Truong's throat, when the apprentice tried to save him it was too late. The ninja warrior merely pushed him down and tried to drive a needle into his gut. The wounded Truong however saved him.
The apprentice in anger, upon remembering the death of his mentor, lunged at the master Ma and caught the towering man off guard. Ma dropped his sword and the apprentice brought down his own sword, the blade hit the ninja's hand and sliced most of the flesh off at the wrist. Blood squirted from it and pushed the apprentice's blade back out. So he swung again but this time the black hit him closer to the elbow. The impact was so heavy that the last thread of skin hanging from the wrist tore and Xiao Ma's hand dropped to the ground.
The Unnamed Warrior of the White Talon fired another crossbow bolt. The bolt clipped his shoulder this time and pushed him to the ground once more. This time by a pond. He was on his back, his hair soaking in the lake and his body limp from the extremely brief dual. Around him the fires rose and he wondered, he hoped that the fire would eventually take him too.
Mark Nutt's Casino, Perth, Australia
Bling bling bling. Boh-bow. Rioooh, rioooh. Bling bling. Bwwwwoeep. Bwoooeep. Eeeeohhh. Eeeohh. Bling bling caching!
Ah, the language of the casino. A series of bleeps and bloops, sirens and wails. It is the language of money. But that's not why he was here oh, no. He was here for the high stakes game. The high stakes game. Last time was here he…oh, no hang on. He hadn't actually played at Nutt's before. He was just thinking about the time he had won 50,000 chips while smashed on tequila. No, that was in Sydney…or was it Melbourne. No he had gotten hammered at Melbourne, and at Sydney, and at Broome, Alice Springs, Darwin…
After passing the thousands of unlucky gamblers in the main complex he found the red curtains covering another doorway. A long outstretched hallway took him to a door guarded by a large and bald white man in a suit.
'Password?' he asked calmly.
'Nevada's principles ain't no city of mine.'
The man stepped aside and let him in. Within was a small and cramped room lit only by a hanging light. A wooden table with what appeared to be green synthetic grass was rolled over the top. Six men were playing Poker when he entered.
'Who are you?' one asked.
'I think you're lost, mate.' Another asked.
He sat at the final empty seat and replied. 'Sit down and shut up. I'm playing.'
The other players were stunned and did just as he said. He had picked up chips from the front counter. 6,000 to start himself off. The games began, and did not last long.
'Howzat one!' one of the gamblers asked, clearing 400 chips with a pair of kings.
'Shit yeah!' said another as he cleared 250 with a pair of threes.
'Fiiiiiiisshh!' screamed one of the other patrons who won 2,000 chips off a royal flush.
'You're going down, new boy.' Said another who cleared 1,300 of the gamblers chips from a full house.
He was getting cleared out. But it was his turn to serve and he had a good ol' trick up his sleeve. And by trick he meant an Ace of Hearts and a Jack of Hearts which he'd smuggled in.
Soon he was left holding a two of spades and a six of spades. Upon the table sat a Jack of Hearts, a Queen of Hearts and a Ten of Hearts. Soon a King of Hearts was flipped over. It was if it was meant to be. He pulled his neck back as if to crack it and lowered his cards below the table. From under his sleeve he released his Ace of Hearts and Jack of Hearts and swapped them for what he had.
'You fucking cheat!' yelled one of the gamblers.
He was caught off guard and looked down into his suit jacket sleeve only to find one of the cards still sticking out.
'You fucking, fucking cheat!' he yelled again.
There was no excuse he could use that wouldn't get him killed in this situation.
One of the men pulled a gun as everyone stood. The gambler grabbed the shooter head and slammed it into the table before kicking the table over and into another of the patrons. A third dove at him but the gambler ducked before elbowing him in the throat once he'd hit the ground. Two more threw decks of cards at him as a distraction. One blind kick into the cloud of Hearts, Clubs, Spades and Diamonds managed to clip another patron and make him collapse. As the last of the cards fell he noticed only one other patron standing. The attacker punched towards him. Instead the gambler countered in, elbowing his enemy's elbow and dislocating it. He pulled him past and threw him towards the wall and watched as he collided.
He began looting the unconscious bodies for wallets and spare change. Instead of taking the cash out he merely put whole wallets into his pockets. He found the body of the gunman and pulled out a silenced pistol. He pulled off the silencer and threw it behind him towards a wall.
He continued to loot the bodies when he heard the door creak. Blindly he fired once behind him and searched some more. A second later there was a loud thud, it was most likely the body of the door guard. Grabbing the last of the cash he turned towards the door. He didn't know if there was going to be resistance but he should at least be prepared. He wouldn't kill an innocent, just scare them.
So he marched out into the lobby guns ablazing.
'The Hole', The Red Waste, Vevalon IX
He had escaped, he had been so sure he was free. He had pulled open the bolted titanium door and crawled out of the dungeon he had been concealed within. He opened the door to the exit and breathed in cold air before he was knocked out again.
They had been toying with him. He had been locked in this bunker's cell for six months! He was a sniper for the UNSC before he was kidnapped by Vevalon IX loyalists. These loyalists went rogue and locked him inside this mudbrick bunker.
When he escaped they tortured him, they beat him until he was numb both inside and out. He was sitting in the corner of his dungeon, black beard knotty and hair in tatters. His white rag for clothing was stained and his chest and back where scarred all over from being beaten by barb wire wrapped clubs.
From the other side of the door he heard a loud crash and gunfire. More psychological torture, or just more hallucinations. The rogues had drugged him so much with home 'brewed' heroine he couldn't think straight. He had become desensitized, and hadn't even been injected for a month. But still he dreamt and still he wanted to die.
The metal door burst open and the marine crawled into the corner of the room.
Men and women, soldiers, in silver armor and ODST helmets burst in and found him. Five entered and many more passed the halls outside of his hall.
'We have him, sir.' Said one of them to no one in particular.
The prisoner was dragged out of the cell down the halls. He watched as these men in silver gunned down the loyalist's rogue against a wall. Execution was a terrible thing he had been forced to bear witness to. And even his saviors were doing it. This was not justice.
Outside the silhouettes of two figures approached, two figured in the red dust clouds of the red waste. They were not in armor, but in clothing that he could not see.
'There you are.' One said.
En route to a CLASSIFIED Destination...
Several Weeks Later…
Pelican's were the coolest of all the spacecraft in the UNSC inventory. They were heavy dropships designed to drop off marines into battle locations. He stroked his spiked brown hair and looked at the others around him.
There was an elite soldier dressed in yellow armor, two dressed entirely in white, three dressed entirely in blue, one dressed in brown and green camouflage colors and himself who wore Khaki armor. His girlfriend, the fine gal with the long red hair wore blue armor like the other three. They were nine elite soldiers in the back of a dropship with no idea where they were going.
Ever since he'd met her at Club Errera he couldn't take his eyes off her, they were here together and would die together. They were going to war.
'Where are we actually going?' he finally asked the pilot.
'You'll soon find out.' A woman replied.
In what was nearing a three hour flight he had not noticed once that the pilot silver armor was a woman. And apparently some of the other soldiers hadn't either.
'Oh my god, you're a woman?' asked one of the soldiers, surprised. He spoke with an Australian accent.
'I hadn't noticed at all!' spoke a British person seated beside the Australian.
'And why does it matter if she is a woman?' asked his girlfriend at last.
'Why does it matter?' asked the Australian as if it was rhetorical.
'It doesn't.' said the man in the fancy yellow armor.
'Women don't matter?' asked another of the soldiers in blue. She was a woman with a heavy French accent.
'Quit your bitching back there! We're coming in!' yelled the pilot.
The Pelican shook violently as it approached it's docking point (wherever that was exactly was unclear).
The soldiers stepped out of the Pelican once it landed on the space station. Many of the other soldiers were wearing helmets. Inside the space station were plenty of eagerly working mechanics and soldiers wearing the same silver armor that the professor's escorts had been wearing.
He knew he was now working for the UNSC, but this must have been a different branch entirely. Around him the space station was still being built. The essential mechanics had been installed as to allow oxygen to flow freely throughout the base. It wasn't perfectly but he predicted it was about 75% completed.
He looked back to the Pelican and watched as it took off, the pilot clearly not planning on waiting around.
Two figures approached, the one with glasses and the one who stood by his side. In basic training the soldiers had been briefed to call the one in glasses, their leader, 'The Director'. And the other was to be called 'Counselor'.
The soldiers stood at attention. And then he remembered, they weren't soldiers anymore they were…
'Welcome Agents, to Project Freelancer.' Said the Director.
The nine agents stood at attention and saluted.
'You all know me as The Director and my chief of staff as the Counselor. Today you will receive a fresh start as warriors for the UNSC.'
The Director stopped walking and stood still in front of his agents.
'FILSS,' he began 'please welcome our newest recruits.'
'Welcome Agents to Project Freelancer, I trust you will have an excellent time serving under the Project. I wish you luck.'
'Who is that?' asked a surprised soldier, one in white with an American accent.
'That is FILSS. She is our Artificial Intelligence that helps run the Mother of Invention. She is the: Freelancer Integrated Logistics and Security System.'
Her voice was comforting and he felt it would be easy to think of her as a real person. The Mother of Invention was rumored to be a prototype UNSC vessel that would lead the war against the Covenant. Recently the project had been ditched in order to make way for a new vessel the Scepter of Sharron or something like that. He was surprised but excited to find that the Mother of Invention was to be their flagship.
He couldn't help but wonder where the father of his girlfriend, who he would start calling The Director, got enough money to start a UNSC project in such short of time.
'Hi there.' Came a woman's voice.
Another soldier in silver approached the agents from behind the Counselor.
'Ah, Ashton meet our first recruits.' The Director smiled.
'Hello.' The agents all replied in unison (though mainly the males).
The Director continued. 'Sarah Ashton is our chief mechanic aboard the Mother of Invention. You will get to know her over your time assisting Project Freelancer.'
The woman giggled and twirled the spanner she held in her hand.
'I trust you understand the naming mechanics for you Agents. In briefings we discussed a fresh start and a new identity. As of now your names mean nothing, you have none – but I am about to give you one. Each of you will be named after an American State.'
He had been clear on naming mechanics since the day he was recruited.
First the Director looked towards one of the agents in blue. She wore a Mark VI helmet, Security shoulder pads and a Scout Chest Plate. Her armor was a primary coloring of cobalt. Her secondary armor color was teal and she had aqua details on her right arm.
She was an expert shooter who had fled France after the 2042 revolution and hid out in Canada. It was in Canada she had been involved in a hunting accident that put her in a coma for days.
The Director then shifted over to the next agent. An agent in Cyan armor with a Teal secondary colour and teal armor details. He wore a CQB Helmet and a CQB Chest Plate. He also had equipped the Recon left and right shoulder pads.
This Agent had been involved in a bar fight in Minnesota. He had one, an excellent fighter in hand to hand combat. He could also take a hit.
The Director's gaze then turned to the third agent. A man in all white wearing a Mark VI helmet, shoulder pads and chest piece. He was a sniper, a British sniper. Rumor had it that this Agent was an assassin in his 'past life'. On the Pelican he had introduced himself as Reginald.
Next the Director turned to his girlfriend with the long red hair, the Director's daughter. It was clear the two were related on account of their green eyes. She wore Cyan coloured armor as her primary and secondary colours with white as her armor detail. She also wore a Rogue class helmet which she was currently carrying under her arm. Mark VI shoulder pads and a Mark VI chest piece is what she wore to protect herself.
Both he and her had fought alongside each other on Reach at Club Errera. She had proven herself to be a skilled fighter in battle but he still had much to prove. And her father, an intimidating son-of-a-bitch, he was likely to have already proven himself with a gun in battle.
Next the Director changed his gaze towards him, towards he who had been trying to work out what was going on since he first landed. He looked down at himself, at the Mark VI shoulder pads and Chest Piece and the Mark VI helmet he too carried under his arm. He was wearing Khaki armor with white armor detail.
Breaking a line of sight the Director turned to the person on York's right. He wore white armor with a pale secondary colour and khaki details. He wore a Mark VI helmet like most of the other agents but EVA shoulder pads and a Recon Chest plate.
This agent had been a bouncer at a bar before he was gunned down by robbers. His friend nearly died, as did he. In the Pelican he had introduced himself as Jackson. He seemed nice enough but it was too early to tell.
To Utah's right was the Freelancer with the fancy gold armor. He had been wearing a Hayabusa helmet, Hayabusa shoulder pads and a Hayabusa Chest Piece. Attached to his back was a sheathe concealing what appeared to be a sword or katana. He actually had a Gold primary colour and an Orange secondary colour with yellow details.
This agent had lost his entire family in a war with extremist super ninjas in Japan. He was only a kid and it had only been a few months, he barely survived. Since the death of his family he had trained endlessly to become a warrior in hopes of fulfilling a revenge. – but the guy was a hoot, he was hilarious and probably one of the nicest guys anyone would ever get to meet.
Next the Director's gaze turned to the second last of the nine agents. The final agent wearing all blue. He wore a Mark VI helmet and EOD shoulder pads and chest plate. His armor's primary colour was Teal with a Blue secondary colour and Cobalt armor detail.
This Freelancer had been responsible for the Mark Nutt shootout. York never quite understood this, Mark Nutt was an English Archer; so why was there a shootout inside of him. The Agent was an Australian.
The final Freelancer still stood at attention and patiently awaited his 'initiation by name'. He wore Sage armor with Brown secondary coloration and a brown detail on his right arm. He wore a unique Security helmet with a CQB right shoulder plate, Scout left shoulder plate and Recon chest piece.
He had been locked away for almost a year with little to no human contact other than a few torturers and interrogators who beat the man for fun. He had been one of the UNSC's most tactically skilled and stealthy snipers until he had been captured. Now he was free.
'And Agent Virginia.'
Sarah Ashton bowed once more before turning away, the Director followed. The Counselor neared the agents as they broke attention. It was time for their first briefing.
'The Turtle', Pacific Ocean
The Turtle was a massive ship, that's how Girlie had described it. From the sky it looked like a platform, a near flat top deck barely poking out of the water. But when it sunk…well it was a submersible.
'Where are we going?' the Rookie asked Archer.
Archer ignored him and wandered away into the captain's cabin. Girlie approached the Rookie and slapped his back.
'Don't worry, we're going to base.' She said as she flicked her blonde hair.
'I thought The Turtle was our base?'
'Are you kidding,' she giggled 'this small thing? We're going to the others.'
'The others?' Rookie asked confused.
'Yeah, the others. So we can welcome you.'
'Welcome me to what?'
'Welcome you to the Insurrection.'
- This episode contains many references to other Rooster Teeth Productions' videos:
- The name of the bar People Like Grapes is a quote said by Rooster Teeth Employee Gavin Free during a Rooster Teeth podcast.
- The name of the casino Mark Nutt's Casino is based on the belief that employee Gavin Free somewhat idolises the British Olympic Archer.
- The expression used in the Australian poker game 'Fiiiiishhh!' is a running joke used in the Rooster Teeth/Achievement Hunter series 'Vs.'
- Episode One: Killed in Action has been confirmed to be the longest episode in the first season.
- This Episode contains most of the 'Pray' Trailer in addition to many more added scenes.