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Nightmare

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Moveset:

Gender: Male

Species: Evil Spirit/Sword

Game Series: Soul Series

First Appearance: Soul Edge (1995)

Health: 1,050,000 HP Points

Voice Actor: Patrick Ryan

Power Ranking (Out of 7)

Intelligence: 3
Strength: 7
Speed: 5
Stamina: 5
Energy Projection: 5
Fighting Ability: 7

Assist Alpha: Soul Edge Guillotine (Direct, Tilt Down)
Assist HC: Soul Explosion
Assist Beta: Soul Edge Spear (Direct, Front)
Assist HC: Soul Explosion
Assist Gamma: Soul Wave (Direct, Instant)
Assist HC: Soul Explosion

Description:

There was a time when a man named Siegfried Schtauffen took control of the Soul Edge, becoming powerless under the power of the blade. He eventually was able to retrieve his mentality and used the power of the holy blade Soul Calibur in order to save his body. He was separated from his Nightmare form and became the new wielder of Soul Calibur, while Inferno made a pact with Zasalmel, who made him a new body of his own. Thus…Nightmare was born.

Entrance: Nightmare will have his back turned to his opponent. Then, swinging Soul Edge over his head, he'll turn around and get into his fighting stance.

Entrance Quotes:

#1: Give in to the Dark Abyss of Despair!

#2: Taste Fear!!~

#3: Tremble within my Darkness!!

#4: Your soul will soon become mine!

#5: My Power is absolute!

Against Ryu: Warrior of Legend…your soul shall be mine!

Against Akuma: Your soul is like that of my own…

Against Sentinel/Zero: Soulless being, be gone from my Sight!

Moves:

Attack Layout:

Ground Level

Standing Light: Sword Handle (51,000)

Standing Medium: High Kick (64,000)

Standing Light: Nightmare Gauntlet (80,000)

Standing Special: Soul Edge Upper Swing (90,000)

Crouched

Crouching Light: Low Kick (49,000)

Crouching Medium: Low Gauntlet (65,000)

Crouching Hard: Low Soul Edge Sweep (78,000)

Air Attacks

Air Light: Straight Kick (57,000)

Air Medium: Soul Edge Slash (70,000)

Air Hard: Soul Edge Slash #2 (80,000)

Air Special: Soul Edge Axe (90,000)

Unique Moves

Straight Stab (F + H) (85,000)

Nightmare Smash (F + M) (70,000)

Special Moves

NightMare Punch (Qcf + L) (90,000)

Charged with the powers of Soul Edge, Nightmare will do a straight punch charged with dark energy. The attack can stop fireballs if timed properly.

Soul Edge Guillotine (Qcf + M) (100,000)

Nightmare will bring down his Soul Edge on the opponent, the attack causing an OTG bounce and can stop projectiles.

Soul Edge Spear (Qcf + H) (110,000)

Nightmare's reach at its best. Nightmare will stick out his sword straight at the opponent. This attack can smash through any projectile in the game and takes up 2/3 of the screen in distance.

Knight Crusher (Dp + A) (140,000)

His standing Mashing Y/Triangle combo from SC4, Nightmare will smash down his sword a total of three times, the first two times causing a possible hit decay while the third strike causes a ground bounce.

Soul Crusher Side Slash (Qcb + L) (95,000)

Charged with electric blue soul power, Nightmare will swing his sword sideways, sending the opponent flying back. The attack can cancel out fireballs.

Soul Crusher Uppercut Slash (Qcb + M) (115,000)

Charged with electric blue soul power, Nightmare will uppercut his sword and the opponent with it. This attack can be air comboed into if the attack is timed right.

Soul Crusher Drop Kick (Qcb + H) (120,000)

Charged with electric blue soul power, Nightmare will do a double leg drop kick at the opponent, causing a wall bounce upon connecting with them.

Soul Wave (Down + Down + A) (100,000)

Nightmare will build up a large amount of energy within his body, then expelling it outward in a barrier-like burst. This attack causes an instant Wall bounce upon contact, even from the other side of the screen.

Hyper Combos

Flaming Souls (Qcf + AA) (300,000)

A quick one-hit armored Hyper combo, Nightmare will take Soul Edge in both hands and the blade will alight on fire. Nightmare will then lunge forward and uppercut it into the air, This attack has 2 hits of hyper armor and the flame lengthens the amount of distance on the hyper combo. This attack cancels out all projectile attacks and can even cancel out high priority hyper combos like C.Viper's Emergency Combination.

Soul Explosion (Dp + AA) (285,000)

Nightmare will charge Soul Edge with negative energy and do a lance stab with the sword, large amounts of dark energy flying around the sword as he does so, causing a large amount of combo damage.

Soul Destroyer (Down + Down + AA) (280,000)

A counter hyper combo, Nightmare will charge up a very large amount of energy within his body. If the opponent attacks him as he does so, he'll expel the energy outward in a shockwave, sending the opponent flying and causing a wall bounce.

Level 3: Critical Finish (Qcb + AA) (450,000)

Nightmare's Critical Finish from  is now his level 3 Hyper combo. The attack begins with an uppercut sword slash. If the attack connects with the opponent, Nightmare will throw his sword up into the air, which will air combo the opponent before bringing them back down into the ground. Soul Edge will then cause a giant area of dark energy to appear around the opponent as it combos them and explodes, ending the hyper combo.

Victory Pose:

Nightmare will take the Soul Edge in both hands, then raising it above his head, the sword shooting off Red Lightning from its tip into the air.

Victory Quotes:

#1: The Nightmare…will NEVER END!!

#2: Blood…Darkness…Come Unto Me!!

#3: Your souls…were rather good!

#4: Your Meager Souls are WORTHLESS!!!

#5: The Darkness is everlasting!!

#6: The End...is near!

Against Ryu/Akuma/Wolverine: Warrior…your soul shall surely satisfy me!

Assist Quotes:

Call Partner:

"Destroy!"

Switch-Out:

"Tremble in Fear!"

Last Person Switch Out:

"The Darkness is coming for you!!"

Color Scheme:

#1: Dark Blue

#2: Black

#3: Dark Red

#4: Dark Green

#5: Dark Brown

#6: Dark Purple

I hereby give Capcom full rights over this moveset and are welcome to use this in any way/shape/form that they desire.
"TREMBLE IN MY DARKNESS!!"

*Ahem* Well...I've been playing alot of Soul Calibur 4 lately and...well...I was tempted to make a moveset for possibly one of the best and coolest game villains ever, Nightmare from the Soul Calibur . This guy is one of the reasons I hope they expand to Namco vs. Capcom after Street Fighter X Tekken is done, for I'd use a team of Felicia and Nightmare (And Wesker if it's 3 vs 3) and be completely unstoppable! >8D

Anyways...enjoy everyone. :3
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As the young blond traced small details onto her map, she wiped a bit of sweat from her brow. For early fall, it sure was hot... Or perhaps that was just the heat of the furnace getting to her? Sighing, Fleet dropped her quill and stood up, dragging her hand through her short, fluffy hair. The day had been long, and the evidence of this was all over her body- Dirty clothes, a small smudge of coal dust on her left cheek... Not to mention the fact that her hands were stained with ink. But all the dirt, all of that dust had been worth it. It was always worth it. Sitting back down again, she didn't even notice the sun setting as she her mind floated in the lala land that most refer to as reverie. Nor did she notice the tall shadow striding towards her house, a diamond block in hand.

No, Fleet was far too lost in her thoughts to even realize that she'd left the door open. Too busy thinking about how she dove down into that cave everyday, and always hauled back such a huge load. Today was the day she'd actually done something a little different. Fleet had traveled far in order to find a new cave, and add to her map. The thought of fresh air just seemed great, really. And it was- Until she'd seen that tall ass stilty creature running around with a sand block in it's hand. She didn't even know how lucky she was that it hadn't noticed that she'd seen it... Or so she thought. She'd taken off too soon to even pay attention to what it was, dropping the diamond block she'd just crafted in the process. That had absolutely sucked. There were so many things she could've done with that diamond...

Fleet leaned back in her chair, letting out a yawn that turned into a startled yelp as the door slammed, jumping up a little. The jump caused her chair to scoot back a little and then fall over. Her eyes widened as the shadow creature from before stared down at her, just... Staring back. Both were frozen. The Enderman because it was being stared at, and the human because she was scared as NETHER. This fear spiked as Fleet's eyes drifted to the diamond block it was holding. She recognized that block. Did this thing follow her? She looked back at the Enderman, letting out yet another yelp as it seemed to have gotten closer, leaned in closer. Why in the Nether had it followed her all that way? And more importantly, it seemed hostile. Kinda. So if it was following her that whole way, it would've had a chance to kill her any time it wanted.

So, why didn't it? As she continued staring at the creature, she shuddered. That whispering... It was terrifying. Like listening to a ghost or something. Maybe it was a ghost? Gulping, she struggled not to blink. And failed. The Enderman took this chance to kneel down and lean in closer, it's long, gangly limbs dragging on the floor for quite a length. When Fleet opened her eyes again, she wasn't surprised that it was closer... But she still whimpered anyway. Was she going to die today? So, lying there upside down with her feet in the air, she was going to die. Sitting in a chair upside down. Whatever happened to creepers just exploding and sending your limbs flying? Or being arrowed to death? Since when did monsters act so personal when they killed you? Questions like these flooded the teen's mind as her heart pounded...

It was an interesting thing, being terrified. It was almost like being in love. Your heart felt like it was gonna explode in your chest, your emotions ran rampant, you felt like you were about to cry, and you're afraid to speak. They both sent adrenaline pumping through your veins. Was there really even a difference? The Enderman stared down at her, vaguely wondering when the girl was gonna give him a chance to move again. He didn't have long to wait- She shut her eyes to squeeze the tears away. He moved in closer, closer... Until his face was an inch from hers. Her eyes popped open, and the tears began to flow. Why keep from crying? She was going to die anyway... Maybe it was best to let her tear ducts have their way?

Unable to move, the Enderman merely stared at her with his glowing green eyes. The air felt tight. Fleet knew that if she closed her eyes one more time, she would die immediately. It would eat her, or something. The Enderman, of course, had other plans. Not that Fleet knew anything about them. In her pocket, her clock ticked. Her heart beat erratically when compared to the ticking. Ticking, thumping, inaudible whispers. Each second of it seemed to last an hour. Her eyes began to feel dry, and the tears made her eyelids feel a little crusty.

Just one blink, it would make it better... Wouldn't it? But just one blink... And she'd die, wouldn't she? But it didn't matter. No matter what, she'd die. It wasn't like she could attack... If she moved her gaze from this strange, tall shadow for even a second to pull out her sword, she'd still die. Fleet's eyelids began to droop, and the Enderman's eyes brightened a little. Suddenly, the girl was just... So... Tired. She just wanted to shut her eyes. There was nothing she could do now. No matter what, if she moved her eyes from the gangly beast at all, she'd die. Quietly, one last tear slipped from her left eye as they both closed for what she thought was forever.
Inspired by Minecraft's Enderman, obviously. xD
There will be two alternate endings to this. One is based on how a Herobrine and a creeper are made. :3
However, I'll take requests for endings... So I'll upload all ending requests. :3
God, I'm so uncreative with names. This Fleet is in no way related to my Ribbon Eel Girl Fleet. xD
Ending- Gone Forever [link]
Alternate Ending- Pity the Taken [link]
Romance Ending- Didn't mean to scare you, oops [link]

I love R&R~ It brings improvement, I think. :3
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Games > Elder Scroll Series > Pre Skyrim
Pairings: Cicero / Future Dragonborn - Listener
Location:  Bravil 188 4E (well before events at Helgen in 4E 201)


Story Status: Complete!
(All Chapters 1 - 6 posted)


Summary:  Tasked with delivering an important message to the Listener Alisanne Dupre in Bravil, a young and cocky Cicero let's curiosity get the best of him.  The Listener's stammering and seemingly meek apprentice Beatriz, he soon learns is but a year his junior.  She is also an "innocent" and not apart of the Dark Brotherhood.  At least not yet according to Alisanne and even though Cicero is ordered, during his short stay to help protect yet keep his distance from her apprentice, he cannot help but bend the rules.  To not just find out why Beatriz holds the Night Mother's interest but his as well.


~.~.~
~.~
.


Warning:  Again I choked up a little during writing this chapter.  So you may need a tissue too.


The waiting and wondering what was going to happen next was the worst part.  Cicero kept his eyes to the floor in shame.  It festered inside of him over what happened.  Mentally he berated himself to pass the time.  All the while he absently wiggled his toes inside his beat up, simple black, leather boots.  They just started to hurt when the Listener returned alone.  Only then did he cautiously meet her jaded eyes.  Wanting to ask if Beatriz was feeling better but what he saw silenced him.


“You have greatly disappointed me and given what we do…” she let the chilling warning remain unspoken.  To let his imagination go wild and ponder over just how stupid he was to think he could get away with even bending the rules.  


“Come,” the Listener turned away and led them back to her office.  As they made their way up she explained, “I sent Beatriz home.  You will stay away from her and may only see her by my say so.  You will still be expected to protect her but as needed only.  Do you fully understand now?”


“Yes Mistress,” Cicero meekly promised.  A part of him wanted to ask for how long but thought better of it.  Instead he took comfort that the Listener was at least permitting him to lend aid to Beatriz like any Brother or Sister.  For what reason again he wanted to ask but dared not press his luck.


“Good,” She sighed out, sat down took out another sheet of parchment and started writing.  Absently she rubbed at her wrinkled brow as she scratched away with the quill.  Since Cicero was not told to sit down he remained standing respectfully and ignored his aching feet.  It was not until Mistress Dupre sealed the new letter with wax, collected the first did she speak to him again.


“Now take these both to Rasha.  The newest one outlines to your Speaker the… let’s call it punishment over what has happened today.  Oh but do not look so scared Cicero.”  Mistress Dupre muttered in frustration then added, “The Night Mother likes you for some dammed reason.”  Her face screwed up as if she did not want to say what came next.  “She wants you to know she admires your,” the Listener let out a growl then continued, “dedication.  In time you will serve her even more closely.  Help exert her will and uphold her ways.  But know this Cicero, that when that time comes all your foolishness will and must come to an end.”


As a future Listener perhaps?  Humm… no wonder Mistress is not happy.  Not happy at all.


He speculated and liked that theory very much.  Giving a short and serious nod Cicero inquired, “Is there anything else, Mistress?”


“Just one more thing who was Didiah?”


A shiver ran through him as his heart clenched at the name.  Feeling clammy and a little ill as the images of what he had done bombarded him.  The feel of reaching in to pull life from death, one sacrificing scream gave way to weak and confused cries.  Weaving he braced himself up by holding to the back of the seat he took earlier.  Numbly he worked out, “Um… Why?  Why do you want to know of her?”


The Listener leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms and offered evenly, “Our Unholy Matron mentioned her.”


“Oh?”  Cicero blanched and shivered as the Listener noticed.  Thankfully she did not press and just waited.  Looking about he tried to remain calm.  


“She… she was my mother,” he managed to get out.  And then, in the quietest of voices he told the Listener everything.  To give her an idea on how wonderful it was to have a family and especially a mother again.  


“My sister would not come into this world.  My family were simple farmers, too poor for a midwife.  Too far away from town for any healer to come and my… narrow minded and ignorant Father never allowed any of us to learn magic.  Selfless, gentle and sweet my… my dearest mother told me to not let the child die.  There was so much blood but well… after swaddling my new sister I tried to help my mother next.  But it was of no use.  So I did what I could to make her presentable for when father and brother returned.  Cleaned everything up, they were still displeased.”  Cicero paused to give a pained and weak smile.  “But I did as I was told.  What my mother wanted and so my sister did not die.”


With a pained look Mistress Dupre gently asked, “How... how old where you?”


“Almost thirteen Mistress, my sister was most unexpected.  Mother too old really to be having more but she was so very happy about it.  Even in the end before... before leaving she held her.  Then Father did not take Mother’s death well at all.  No, not at all…”  Trailing off Cicero could not hold the facade of cheer anymore.  His face pinched in pain as he forced himself to continue.  


“He was never happy after what I had to do.  He would get drunk at times and hurt me for it.  Oh!  But I don’t blame him for that.  I don’t!  But when he tried to hurt my dearest sister I… well I promised my mother.”  Cicero swallowed hard and it took everything in him not to cry.  “I vowed to never let my sister come to harm!  He tried to but I stopped him.  I may have gone too far.  I didn’t mean to and well… at least in the end one must look at it this way, he will never hurt her… ever.”  


He took a few breaths and thought back to how good it felt being held by Beatriz in the dark.  How she told him to not go but stay.  True she did not know any of this but someday he promised himself to tell her and prayed she would understand.  It felt good to let it out in a strange way even now, to the Listener.  


Regaining control Cicero felt a small smile return and finished with, “My brother Ramiro disagreed upon how I handled the problem,” he paused, his face twisted in rage and he spat.  “But then his new wife… Petronella did not help!  Dammed Nelly!  Went so far to tell him I should never ever return!  To never ever see my dearest sister Tullia again!”  Sucking in a breath then letting it out Cicero stuffed away the anger once again.  Cheerfully he next reassured, “Oh but that is then and this is now.  They take care of her now you see?  Since I am here and obviously cannot.  But all is well because I have a new family and hope to serve and keep you all so very well as if you were my mother or sister.”


With a shaking hand slipping over her mouth from under it  Mistress Dupre whispered, “That… that explains everything.  Why she has chosen you.”  Dropping her hand next, she snapped out of the dazed expression she was wearing and in a soft tone ordered, “You’re dismissed.  And please, stay safe Cicero.”


Cicero looked her over in confusion at her words.  Noticing the shadows under his Mistress's eyes curbed his excitement over how she had just said he was chosen by the Night Mother.  Genuinely concerned, he hesitated from leaving and worked up the courage to say, “Listener?  Are you not feeling well?  Is there anything that you need?  Anything I may fetch or do for you?”


Mistress Dupre gave a little laugh.  Cicero heard the force and nervousness in it as her thumbs circled one another.  He was pretty certain she was talking to the Night Mother when she mumbled, “My even now he does it!  A good match already too if...”  Finally meeting his eyes she answered, “No I’m sure everything will be fine.  Once this matter with the dealers is finished and we can reestablish what we have lost recently, I will sleep easier.  Thank you Cicero.”


He nodded and moved to leave but paused once again.  “I have no right to request anything of you but if I may...”


Turning away from him and trying to collect herself, she gave a thick and stuffy chuckle.  “Given that sting my little bee has put upon your neck, I’m feeling generous. Ask.”


“I was wondering if any punishments that you would deem to befall Beatriz over what happened, I ask you give to me instead, please.”


“No need, no punishment.”  Reaching the small window and looking out it she ordered, “Now go.”


“But Mistress, there is just one more thing you should know of.”


Straightening her spine and turning back to him she cocked a brow at him but still grinned and shook her head slowly.  “You’re really starting to push your luck again boy.  It’s best you begin your journey back to Cheydinhal.”


Stepping forward Cicero got to the point.  “Go I shall but I believe you would wish to know why Beatriz put that mark there.”


“Oh besides you spying on her from the shadows?”


Cicero blushed, rubbed at his throat and pointed out, “Well yes there was that but actually she thought I was sent by someone to hurt her or do maybe more.  Someone dressed as I.  A woman, a Nord and by what name she did not say but did say it was about two weeks ago.”


The Listener said nothing.  Did not move or bat an eye.  The humor only drained from them to nothing.  Impenetrable as the Void and prudently, Cicero took a few cautious steps back.  At one point she looked about to blow.  Instead his Mistress came back from wherever her mind went but only a little.  Her voice was too detached and terribly collected.  It was as if the Night Mother herself stood before him.


“Anything else, Cicero?”


“No, I’ve told you all that I know.”  


Tilting her head to the side and listening, Mistress Dupre dutifully repeated the orders given to her by the Night Mother, “Go to the Lady Luck Statue and retrieve our sister Astrid.  Tell her to return here with you.”


"Astrid! Astrid from the Bruma Sanctuary?"


"Yes, is there a problem?"


"Problem? No. No problem just..." Cicero trailed off to swallow hard. Opening the door he thought to ask, “What shall I do if our Sister Astrid refuses to cooperate? I ask only because she may not listen to me. Well because ah... her and I did not exactly part on the best of terms.” He gave a nervous laugh and hoped he would not have to explain what happened.


Having a bit of fun with a brother or sister was hardly against the rules. Cicero simply had no desire to even think about the mortifying fact that he was so besotted with his very first lover he happily indulged her every whim. He ignored the worrisome fact she refused to let him kiss or snuggle her. He was content to take what he could get and what she offered. He naively thought it would only be a matter of time before she would be tender with him. Yet after the deed was done, Astrid with a bored yawn tossed him aside after his understandably brief starting efforts. The tryst had lasted only weeks still she broke his heart, he in turn called her some pretty ugly names and the entire embarrassing matter was something Cicero did not wish to discuss with anyone.


Thankfully Mistress Dupre did not ask for details but her smile was nonetheless chilling. "If she will not obey the Night Mother's order, you must dispose of her but at your leisure. Your first priority is to kill the bard and to always keep my apprentice safe, is that understood?”


Cicero paled but nodded as he rushed to obey the Listener's orders.

csphire.deviantart.com/art/The… <--Chapter Three

Chapter Five-->csphire.deviantart.com/art/The…

11/24/2014 update: At the end of this chapter I added a new twist to the story along with adding tid bits here and there in some of the other chapters to reflect this change. I know Cicero and Astrid are a VERY unlikely pairing but I chuck it up they were both young, horny and/or misguided. I've wrestled with the idea for a long time and decided I just can't let go of it. I love how this is a possible explanation as to why Cicero often calls Astrid a "Harlot" along with a few choice other names.

Is it healthy or mature of Cicero to call Astrid a harlot? Nope.
Was it healthy or mature of Astrid to not be completely honest about what she wanted from Cicero? Nope.
Is Cicero and Beth or any of the characters in this story along with Death and Madness going to be politically and morally correct one hundred percent of the time? Hell nope, that would be boring. People screw up, homicidal assassins espiecally.

Also I know in his journals he states he was the only survivor but at that time he could have just been under that impression and until he crossed paths with other survivors. For convenience I guess, in my headcanon Cicero, Astrid and Beatriz were all originally from Bruma.

Please let me know via note of any unclear points, transitions problems from flashbacks, run-on sentences (yes like this one) and typos in general.

Who is Beatriz?
Beth future Listener to the Dark Brotherhood and Dovahkiin who's story will continue on in
Death and Madness -->  csphire.deviantart.com/art/Dea…


Huh? What!
As she crossed the border into Skyrim it was suggested out of caution she change her name.


I'm confused...
This story takes place well before Helgen when Beth and Cicero were teenagers.


I must profess my deepest thanks to Heiwako :iconheiwako: for feedback on this chapter but also suggesting the name of Beatriz to help further support why Beth and Cicero unknowingly reunite in Skyrim. :)


Cover art by my dearest friend :iconmakiloomis: Makiloomis! makiloomis.deviantart.com/art/… Be sure to check out her other artwork and give her lots and lots of love! <3


Cicero and other related Elder Scrolls stories, characters and games is Bethsesda's
Beth aka Beatriz and Story is mine. ;)

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Games > Elder Scroll Series > Pre Skyrim
Pairings: Cicero / Future Dragonborn - Listener
Location:  Bravil 188 4E (well before events at Helgen in 4E 201)


Story Status: Complete!
(All Chapters 1 - 6 posted)


Summary:  Tasked with delivering an important message to the Listener Alisanne Dupre in Bravil, a young and cocky Cicero let's curiosity get the best of him.  The Listener's stammering and seemingly meek apprentice Beatriz, he soon learns is but a year his junior.  She is also an "innocent" and not apart of the Dark Brotherhood.  At least not yet according to Alisanne and even though Cicero is ordered, during his short stay to help protect yet keep his distance from her apprentice, he cannot help but bend the rules.  To not just find out why Beatriz holds the Night Mother's interest but his as well.


~.~.~
~.~
.


Warning:  I choked up a little during writing this chapter.  So you may need a tissue too.


His hand upon her cheek told him what was coming more so than his at the moment useless eyes or her stammering word.  Cicero felt then heard her knife drop from his throat to clatter upon the wooden floor.  With it his fear and concerns fell away too.  All that remained was desire and a burning curiosity.  He never thought his first kiss would come to him like this.  But it was welcomed all the same, even though he knew only of her name, the sound of her sweet struggling voice and so very little of her face.  Yet he was content for now to learn the feel and taste of those slender lips.  


Teasing them back his left hand opened and closed.  Unsure where to go till he decided to cautiously rest it upon Beatriz’s hip.  Squeezing gently, silently telling her not to stop.  Encouraged she did not and he felt her stretch to tip toes to wrap her arms over his shoulders.  Dropping his hand from her face, he slipped both of them next to the small of her back.  Pulling her into a tight hug as a new urgency grew within him.  


A small part of it was to wiggle free and make a run for it.  Since if the Listener caught them like this, Cicero was pretty sure he would face serious consequences.  Breaking at least one of the tenets although as of yet technically he was not disobeying his superior.  Or so he reasoned as he gave into the denied and forbidden that was the Listener's, not so innocent after all apprentice.  Beatriz still could not see him, at least not clearly as he could only see so much of her as well.  And when she asked who he was he gave the lie the Listener provided easily.


Regardless the other and larger part of him wanted more.  Not just kissing but to simply get to know her better.  Seemingly meek but full of surprises, he wondered what others she had in store.  Cicero could only hope to deliver more messages to their Mistress or even a contract to bring him back at least once more to Bravil.  To Beatriz but for now Cicero tried to push all worries and daydreams of such things aside.  To focus upon the here and now, Beatriz's lips and the clean and somehow cooling taste of them.  As if she had just munched upon a few carrots for a snack.


When her tongue at last shyly sought and met his Cicero trembled.  It took all his self-control to not rush in like a brute and taste her deeper.  Instead he wanted to feel what she was going to do next.  The slow, careful yet intense kiss alone was more than he ever expected.  At the most he hoped to just share a few words, get her to laugh and leave her with a smile.  


But a hard life taught him the value of keeping the bar low.  Or better still to not expect much from anyone.  Before becoming an assassin and since the bloody moment of his baby sister’s birth Cicero still tried.  He had tried so very hard to be good by hunting to provide coin from pelts and meat upon his family’s table.  All for his baby sister while helping his older brother keep their drunken abusive father in check.  


Also Cicero knew from such an experience that surprises unlike the ones from Beatriz were for the most part unpleasant.  Everything took work and failure could certainly result in despair and death.  Just like how things did not work out for his father but at least now Cicero was here and alive.  He was for the moment happy with just kissing Beatriz and being a part of a new family.  His older brother, Ramiro was better suited to be a father to their baby sister anyways.  


Cicero tried not to think about them or his life before the Dark Brotherhood.  However in moments of calm such as now his older brother’s painful last words haunted him.


“You… he’s dead Cicero.  First Mother and now Father?  As if what you did to her wasn’t-”


“He struck her for laughing!  Not me, HER!  And he was going to hit her again!“  


“Still how could you!”


“I promised!  I promised Mother to keep her safe from harm!”


“Tell him to leave Ramiro!  I told you he is unfit to be around Tullia.  I told you!” Peronella his brother's new wife snipped and looked upon him with utter discust.


Ramiro signed wearily, "You are right Nelly, of course."


Cicero tried to protest, “But brother-“


“I'm sorry Cicero but you must go and never come back.”


When he moved to give his wailing sister one last hug, Peronella snatched her up shrieking, "Leave!  Leave now or I'll summon the guards you filthy murderer!"


"Please just go brother.  We'll take care of her now," Ramiro pleaded as his wife tried to calm Tullia.


"Cic-Cic want Cic," the two year old girl hiccuped between sobs.


Cicero let out a small whimper against Beatriz's lips.  The wails from his baby sister rang in his mind now as they did in his ears then.  The stinging blush which had started upon his pale cheeks spread over his entire face.  Mortified at the loss of control over his emotions the urge to flee from the room rose up swiftly in him again.  


...


The moment Beatriz felt the Messenger’s lips still, worry bubbled in her stomach.  It felt as if he was fading away as the fire inside of him was dying down.  When he started shaking, gave a small sad sound and tried to pull back she tightened her grip upon the front of his robes.  


“Forgive me Beatriz, I should-“


“Stay,” she whispered and heard him suck in a ragged breath.  She listened as he kept taking one more after another.  Each one seemed to give him some strength.  Yet between upon exhales he still gave a small sound of pain.  As she tried to think of a way to comfort him Beatriz insisted, “P-p-p-please stay.  Don’t la-leave just yet.”


“Really?  You really want me to stay?  To not go?  But if only you-”


“Yes,” she interrupted and pulled him closer.  Resting her cheek and hand upon his chest the hammering of his heart boomed in her ear.


Hugging her about the shoulders he struggled with something and confessed, “But I ruin everything.  I’m a terrible-”


“Sta-stop it!  D-d-don’t even sssay that!” Beatriz winced at the hardness in her tone.  Yet she could not stand him to continue, his self-loathing was so terribly clear.  Shyly she reached to stroke his face and ask him why he would even think that but at his throat she felt the cut.  


“Oh n-no! I … I hur-hurt you!”  She moved to fetch him a healing potion.  He clung tightly to her hand as she pulled him along.  “S-sorry um…”  


“It’s just a scratch.  I’ve been cut worse before,” he sniffed but took the vial offered.  “Still, I thank you.”  


After a time and hearing him set it down empty Beatriz wrapped her arms about his waist.  Pulling him close again, she smiled.  When he snuggled his face into her neck with a sigh it grew.  At the hot tears she felt next it faded.  Leaving her to hold onto him only tighter and worry over what was bothering him.


“You must think I’m a fool.”  He pulled back just enough to press his forehead against hers and sniff wetly.


“F-f-fools d-don’t cry.  They laugh sssilly,” she weakly joked.  


He snorted and did that funny humming chuckle again then teased, “Oh I’ll make you pay for that.”  


“Wa-why?  Whe-when la-laughter tastes better than pa-potion.  It's all-always there to help ease pa-pain, d-don't you know?”  


"I can think of at least one thing that tastes and feels far-far better."


"Oh? Wah-what?"


His lips coaxing hers to part but this time more was his answer.  She felt a deep rumbling groan as her fingers checked then teased over the healed cut at his throat.  Squirming in his arms she felt him slip deeper and demand more.  Sucking back just as hard and eager she pressed closer as he moaned happily back.  He felt and even tasted so very good.   Trembling, Beatriz savored the sweet and spiciness to his kisses.  At least until the apprehension of their Mistress possibly finding them finally set in.


"W-what if-"


"I don't care.  Mistress said I should only try not to be seen by you.  It’s dark now is it not?"  His muffled yet playful words had caused something low and deep in her stomach to flip-flop about.  His hands sliding to hips to cup her bottom set it wild.  At her shocked gasp into his mouth he jerked them back to her hips.  He even went so far to break the kiss to squeak, "Um Sorry! I-oh!  Oh my!  You’re just as bad!"


Letting him know what he had done was more than welcome, she had settled for action rather than struggle with words.  Quickly she ran her hands down his chest, sides and promptly squeezed his ass right back.  “Shhh or sh-she wa-will hear us,” Beatriz giggled, grasped her hands about his waist to pull him close and kissed him again before he could get any louder.  


"You're so... unexpected... but... I like that!  I really do," he mumbled out between soft and slow pecks.  Pulling her down to sit in his lap on the closest chair they could find.  He tucked an arm under her primly closed knees as his other hugged along her back to keep her upon it.  


Beatriz relaxed when he kept his hands where they were at.  Besides what happened earlier this boy seemed respectful and in no rush to take things too far.  Instead he worked a trail of small light kisses along her jaw to her ear.  When he started to nibble upon it Beatriz whimpered at finding out how very sensitive they were.  How good it felt till she remembered he had yet to get to and puzzle over the tiny point to it.  


"Mmm like that eh?"


She did but nervously started to squirm and when that did not work she spoke up. "Kah-kiss me, again."


She would have asked but always struggled over pronouncing the word please or any word that started with that particular letter the most.  His soft chuckle tickled her ear and she swore she could feel him grinning as he whispered, "If that is your wish... then I'll oblige."


His voice.  His taste.  Sweet divines, help me.  I want him forever and always.


Or so she naively thought and let loose another nervous yet happy laugh.  One he joined in on until he did as he was told.  His gasps echoing hers as their hands once again started to wander.  Mostly to dive in one another's hair or stroke tenderly a cheek, chin or ear.


...


The more time passed, the more Cicero's fingers tingled the very thought slipping lower.  For now his right hand had moved from her knees to massage her left shoulder as his other teasing up and down her back.  Holding his breath he debated over whether or not to dare brush his palm lightly over the rise of her modest breast.  When she broke the kiss only to moan and catch her breath, Cicero with a sigh settled for keeping it where it was.  His greater wish was to see her face, to watch carefully and know the moment he was taking it too far so he could stop.  


The opening of the room's door suddenly made the wish moot.  In their Mistress’s eyes, he had indeed taken it too far.  The dally with the Listener's Apprentice was coming to an end.  And the Listener for the Dark Brotherhood was not in the least bit amused from the sounds of things.  


Actually it was the lack thereof for she made none, at least at first.  Probably in utter shock over how Cicero did not bother to flinch but instead stubbornly refused to stop what he was doing to her apprentice.  Reasoning he was going to probably be killed for this, Cicero just simply closed his eyes tighter, stole one more kiss from Beatriz and awaited hopefully a swift death.


His dearest Beatriz however had other plans.  She sprang up and out of his lap moments later as if he just cast a flame cloak spell.  Shielding her face too from the bright light that spilled in from the hallway she scrambled to get between them and promptly spilled her guts.  Surprisingly and fortunately she did not stammer much.  


"M-mistress!  I made him do it!  I swear!  P-p-please don't pun-punish him!  I blew out the candles, sa-pa-prised him, p-put a knife to his throat.  Told him to-to explain himself, he said he was your m-messenger and-"


"That is enough Beatriz.   Yet from the look of things he did not appear upon my arrival terribly put out by your demand."  The Listener's voice was utterly calm and collected as Cicero jumped to stand.  Her hands folded behind her back as she slowly made her way around the two of them.


Cicero felt terrible as he heard Beatriz start to cry but dared not to look up.  He only risked taking her hand as it bumped his.  And he wanted to smile in bittersweet joy when she squeezed it back and struggled to collect herself.


"D-don't pun-pun-p-punish him!  M-mis-misss-tress p-please."  


She kept on speaking as the Listener just remained silent as the Night Mother to the rest of her children.  Every word she uttered next was choked out.  Cicero thought it must have only brought Beatriz more pain and embarrassment.  Yet she would not stop.  


And it was all done for him, the lowliest of assassins, brought into the fold for killing his drunken father.  Who raged and understandably went mad at what his middle son had done.  But Cicero had to do it.  He always did what he was told and for mother always.  He had to save his dearest sister, especially since his mother told him that everything would be all right.  So as told he cut her out.  


“Good boy Cicero.  My good boy.  You did the right thing.  I’m so proud of you.  So very-very proud of… my brave boy!  She’s so…”


“Mother?  Mother no!  No!  You said-you said everything would be... Oh Mother!  No please!  NO! Don't go!”


Pushing the painful memories of his mother’s last words and the anguish came next; Cicero finally dared to meet the Listeners eyes.  Scowling and tightening his grip upon her apprentice’s hand he whispered, "Please no more, sweetest Beatriz.  Wipe away those tears for I think our Mistress has listened enough and understands perfectly.  I thank you but trouble yourself no further upon me, for I do not deserve it."


But Beatriz would not listen.  She only tried again and sobbed harder as her Mistress slowly pried her fingers loose from his.  All the while she shushed softly and gently then pulled her apprentice away to the kitchen.


Cicero could not even bear to look now and see the pain which probably contorted Beatriz’s flushed wet face.  Instead he kept his head low.  Did not even need to be told to remain and stood right there not moving one inch as the door closed behind them.  The darkness enfolded around him once again.  Only this time it gave no comfort.  For this time he was now alone.

 csphire.deviantart.com/art/The… <--Chapter Two 

Chapter Four --> csphire.deviantart.com/art/The…



Please let me know via note of any unclear points, transitions problems from flash backs, run-on sentences (yes like this one) and typos in general.

Who is Beatriz? 
Beth future Listener to the Dark Brotherhood and Dovahkiin who's story will continue on in 
Death and Madness -->  csphire.deviantart.com/art/Dea…

Huh? What! 
As she crossed the border into Skyrim with her father, he suggested out of caution she change her name. 

I'm confused...
This story takes place well before Helgen when Beth and Cicero were teenagers.

I must profess my deepest thanks to Heiwako :iconheiwako: for feedback on this chapter but also suggesting the name of Beatriz to help further support why Beth and Cicero unknowingly reunite in Skyrim. :)

Cover art by my dearest friend :iconmakiloomis: Makiloomis! makiloomis.deviantart.com/art/… Be sure to check out her other artwork and give her lots and lots of love! <3

Cicero and other related Elder Scrolls stories, characters and games is Bethsesda's
Beth aka Beatriz and Story is mine. ;)
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(Requested by Dekler :3)
Fleet waited.
And waited.
And waited.

....

She opened her eyes, and saw that the Enderman had backed away slightly, and was now holding out a hand to help her up. The blond stared. What... Why on earth? In utter confusion, she grabbed it's hand and let out a yelp as it hoisted her to her feet with ease and held out the diamond block she'd abandoned when she'd run away. But why? Fleet tilted her head and took the block, looking into the Enderman's eyes. It stared back and seemed to quiver a little, but it could still move. Why? Just... Why?

The answer was because it liked those big bright blue eyes, and the shiny hair. The Enderman wondered whether or not the hair was soft. Fleet didn't understand why it was staring at her hair... Did it want to pet her or someth- Her question was answered as it raised it's hand to her head and ran it through her short hair. It sent a small shock through her, jolting her body. It was indeed soft, and the Enderman could detect a faint sugary scent wafting from the pretty locks. Fleet on the other hand just felt sort of awkward. This was sorta weird... A faint blush appeared on her cheeks, because she was so confused and embarrassed. Did this tall gangly thing just follow her to her house to pet her, or what?

She looked at the floor, down at the Enderman's feet. The second she did, she saw him take a step forward and looked up in surprise- SURPRISE! Much to her absolute confusion, she'd looked up and locked lips with the Enderman. Almost immediately, she took a step away. However, the Enderman just wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close again. He liked her. He liked her a lot. He liked the feelings his tummy had when he looked into her eyes, and he especially liked the feeling that he'd had just now. Fleet's face was bright red... This was so awkward. Did this beast.. No, this person have no idea what was coursing through her mind right now? In all honesty, it was like it had a crush on her or something... Oh god. Oh god. Her eye's widened, and she looked up at the tall, dark shadow she was being hugged by. Despite being rather naive when it came to love, she knew what she saw in those eyes. Infatuation. Curiosity. But no lust. That was interesting. But still awkward. Here she was being apparently courted by him, even though he'd just been terrifying the hell out of her a few minutes ago. What. The. Heck? She thought, unconsciously leaning her head onto his chest.

The Enderman let out a gleeful whisper and hugged her tighter, wishing it could speak to her. But it couldn't, not in this realm. In this realm, he was paralyzed by the stares of everyone until they looked away. And for some reason, after they stopped looking at him, he would attack most of them. He didn't understand why, though. Nor did he understand how this girl was any different, other than the fact that he liked her a lot. But he didn't know if she knew. What if... he took her to his realm, to The End? After all, he couldn't court her correctly, otherwise. When Endermen found mates, they went to the Great and wise Enderdragon and asked for a scale with which to propose to their mate. The dragon would give them the scale, and they in turn would give the scale to the lucky Enderman/woman. Or, in this case, Human. The idea in his head felt great, so the Enderman went with it. He let go of Fleet, who'd been sort of comfortable for a while there and tore one of her heavy curtains from the window, draping it over himself. It was daytime now, so they needed to make a break towards the portal.

Fleet stared, not really happy with him for ripping her curtains off of their hinges, even if it was probably to protect him from the light. However, she had no time to say anything about it, because the Enderman grabbed her by the hand after wrapping himself tight with the curtain and threw one of his Enderpearls to the ground. Fleet let out a yelp of surprise- Not the first one today- as they were instantly warped to the inside of a Stronghold, in front of a large glowing square with lava below it. Fleet had no idea what it was, she only knew that the seemingly suicidal Enderman was pulling her along with him into the portal, straight towards the lava. "Are you crazy?!" She screamed in total horror, not wanting to die today. However, they didn't die. The bright portal blocks caught them instead, and they fazed away instantly. Fleet blinked.

Then unblinked. Suddenly, the two of them were in a strange world, where there were Ender people everywhere. They looked up with interest, seeing one of their brethren covered in a strange cloth, and him holding hands with a pale skinned girl. One of the female Enderman came up to him and asked, "What is this?" In a whispery voice. She wasn't mean about it, just inquisitive. Another one came up. "A ghost?" He suggested, tilting his head. Fleet's Enderman shook his head. "No... Human." He stated, smiling. Within the actual realm of The End, one could actually see an Enderman's features quite well. Fleet was confused. "Umm.." She murmured, tilting her head. The Enderwoman looked up in surprise. "You can... Speak?" She asked innocently, so much so that Fleet had to crack a smile. "Well, yeah. But... Um... Where are we?" She asked, tilting her head. The Enderwoman smiled back and giggled. "In The End, of course. Ec'e Has brought you here, for reasons we don't know..." She explained, reaching up suddenly to run a hand through Fleet's golden hair. It shone brightly within the dim light of The End, making her truly seem like a ghost. Fleet blushed a little, not used to so much attention. However, she turned to Ec'e, the Enderman who had brought her here, and whom she'd seemed to develop a small attachment to. "Why did you bring me here... Ec'e?" The young woman asked, tilting her head. Ec'e Looked away slightly, and a tinge of purple came to his cheeks. "I can't ask you until I go get something." He explained, then turned to the Enderwoman who was busy petting Fleet. "Eun'e, can you maybe show her around while I go do something?" He asked, and Eun'e nodded. She knew exactly what was going on. But first, she looked at Fleet, who had a look of confusion plastered onto her pretty face. "What's your name?" She asked, smiling as she led her off towards god knows where. "I'm Fleet. Nice to meet you." She said happily. Eun'e's smile widened. "I am Eun'e, as you know. Nice to meet you as well, Fleet. I'm Ec'e's sister, by the way." The two walked off, with a few other Enderpeople following along to question the Human about her world. In the meantime, it was up to Ec'e to get a scale from the Almighty Enderdragon.

It wasn't all that hard to scale the islands of Whitestone to get to the Enderdragon. What was hard was getting him to give him permission to become lifemates with the human girl, Fleet. The dragon simply did not understand. "You..." It rumbled in it's deep voice, which still had an echoey tone to it, "Wish to take a human. Not from this realm, not even your own species... That's interesting. But why do you wish to do so?  Is it because she's a shiny new toy, to show off to all the others?" It asked, tilting it's head as it inspected it's huge claws. Ec'e shook his head, but had trouble finding the words to speak. The dragon smirking and leaned in close, until his large snout was a mere inch away from Ec'e's face. "So. You don't want to show the human off. I can see into your mind, why you like this human. No Enderperson has ever caught your eye, but when you saw the human today, you felt a flipping in your stomach, didn't you? Something new, special, pretty, full of wonder and life. Something you could fall in love with." It murmured, making Ec'e's face go dark purple. That was exactly how he felt. But the way the Great Enderdragon had put it, it sounded like it was shallow and not even real love.

Suddenly, the dragon turned away and let out a great, laughing, roar. He plucked a scale from his hide and turned around, handing it to Ec'e. "Go now, little Enderman. Just go." He ordered, still chuckling. Ec'e booked it off the mountain, grinning like a madman. He was going to get Fleet, and take her. They would be each others. As long as she accepted the scale.

And you now what?

She did.
xD Ending requested by :icondekler:
I fail at cute endings, so it's really super duper uber sappy. xD
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Dear Halo - A Collection of Previously Unread Letters from Various Characters in the Halo Universe

Dear Dare,

I wouldn't bother, Buck's already got a regular thing going with a certain Detective Beckett.

Sincerely,

That's the thing about crazy people.

---

Dear Allied Hunters,

You'd come in real handy right about now.

Sincerely,

That's a truckload of Flood.

---

Dear JFO Helmet,

Still having trouble reading your name without hearing swear words...

Sincerely,

Just F--- Off

---

Dear Emile,

Emo Spartans, whatever will they think of next?

Sincerely,

Lucy-B091's already done that trick.

---

Dear Commander Shepard,

I-Oh wait, wrong game.

Sincerely,

You've received a new message at your private terminal.

---

Dear Winter Contingency on Legendary Difficulty,

Look I know you're the intro level and all but could you at least try to be challenging?

Sincerely,

Be begging for you when I hit Nightfall...

---

Dear Armour Lock,

I think we might finally be getting somewhere in this relationship.

Sincerely,

Just killed my first Ghost by crouching.

---

Dear Recon,

How does it feel to be stuck on our level you elitist BLEEP?

Sincerely,

The other armour permeations.

---

Dear John,

She chose me first.

Sincerely,

I have it, do you?

---

Dear Enemy Team,

Where the heck are you?!

Sincerely,

BTB on Spire.

---

Dear UNSC Frigates,

Why does everything you do seem to be a one way trip?

Sincerely,

I've been in Mongeese with better longevity than that!

---

Dear Emile,

Smile, the world's not gonna end...oh, wait.

Sincerely,

Don't worry, be happy...

---

Dear Banshee,

Would you kindly learn the meaning of balance?

Sincerely,

DMR Starts PLOX!

---

Dear Kat,

Never. Drive. Again.

Sincerely,

Driven off the cliff at ONI.

(Courtesy of Namae no Nai Shoujo on FanFiction.net)

---

Dear Jack,

You're a HO.

Sincerely,

Geoff.

---

Dear Halo 3 Jackal Snipers on Legendary,

GO BACK TO COD YOU FREAKIN' NO SCOPING JERKS!!!

Sincerely,

How about playing a game that doesn't require a twitch in your trigger finger?

---

Dear 343 Guilty Spark,

If I didn't know any better I'd say you're trying to come on to me with all this "oh mighty reclaimer!" business.

Sincerely,

Going to enjoy melting your face off you little perv...

---

Dear Dr. Halsey,

Mummy it's so nice to see you again!

Sincerely,

Jorge.

---

Dear Wraith,

Oh please.

Sincerely,

The Scorpion.

---

Dear Focus Rifle,

Nothing like giving away my hard won sniper position with a nice glowy beam huh?

Sincerely,

Have you people not heard of projectile weapons?

---

Dear Miranda Keyes,

Killed by a cripple...

Sincerely,

FAIL.

---

Dear Warthog Rush,

Bigger, better, more badass cousin says hi.

Sincerely,

Scarab Rush.

---

Dear Jun,

Bet you thought you were the lucky one huh?

Sincerely,

Guess who the Covenant is going to be gunning for now homie?

---

Dear UNSC High Command,

Just for future reference, flamethrowers do not stand up as an effective alternative to sniper fire.

Sincerely,

Scoped & Dropped.

---

Dear Scarab Rush,

Oh yeah? Why don't you find out what happens if all three of us go Warthogs?

Sincerely,

You'd be amazed how effective it is.

---

Dear Serena,

Really? The burning building and decimated assault force didn't give it away at all.

Sincerely,

The enemy may be planning to attack here.
A collection of previously unread and unseen letters to and from various characters in the Halo Universe. For the first time, gain true insight into the collective minds of these legendary heroes and vile enemies...

Part 2: [link]

Another entry to tide you over, enjoy!

-DA.
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The waste land behind the fire station is always silent. No birds sing there, and even the wild rabbits and feral cats avoid it. Weedy wildflowers nod their seasonal heads in the breeze. Lying fallow in the midst of housing developments, shopping malls, the new movie theater — the vacant lot stands out like a knife wound on a woman’s placid face, shocking, brazen, ugly.

It is always empty. Except for one thing: a ragged heap of old trash, all nasty black tar paper and vicious snarls of rusted wire, car parts and broken glass and other junkyard jetsam. The embodiment of injury waiting to happen, an invitation to a tetanus shot...  the city never hauled it away. No one ever wants anywhere near it; it radiates an eerie sense of calculating watchfulness.

And at night, it wanders.

When darkness falls, and the last cars heading into the hives of tract housing stop illuminating the asphalt with moving-picture shadows, it… unfolds. Bitter, broken tangles, grotesquely moving sharp angles, it is the embodiment of malice, and haunts the quiet hours of night, moving with dreadful creaking deliberation around its desolate domain.

It has been this way for many years, now. Legends have collected around it like tumbleweeds. Like the bare bleached bones of animals littering the lich-yard field. 

Locals call it The Trundler, when they feel like scaring each other over one-too-many beers at the bar. But every one of them avoids thinking of it at all when they drive past the empty lot. Like whistling in the dark, they don't look at where the junk heap should be — for fear that it won’t be. And no one — no one — walks past that lot once the sun has gone down.

Except for me. And I only did it once.
Inspiration hit me, driving to the farmers market this morning. My first foray into the realm of the spooky... even though I promised :iconlaffeetaffeeff: that I'd write up my ghost stories. (I will! I promise!)

ZOMGWTFBBQ!!! My first DD!!! Thank you all so much for your comments, critiques, features and faves... I'll thank you all in person once I've flown home! Thanks to :iconjohnmin93: for texting me about the DD while I was out of the country!

A huge thank you to :iconbruxing: for suggesting the story, and to :iconirrevocablefate: for featuring me!!!
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Alex Mercer.

The name sounds both familiar and alien. Or maybe it only sounds familiar because I feel I should know it, I know I should know it - but I don't. It rolls off my tongue with the distinct air of trying out a stranger's name for the first time. It navigates uncharted territory as it passes over my lips, striking no chord of acquaintance with my ears. Alex Mercer. Two words, spoken over a dead man's body at his autopsy.

It's my name, and somehow I don't know it. I don't know anything. All I know is that I'm not nearly as dead as I should be.

Can it really be my name, the moniker that defines and encompasses me in four simple syllables, four flicks of the tongue and vibrating vocal cords? What does that even mean? I understand very little - some muscle memory has slipped effortlessly into a slightly loping walk, and I can remember these sounds to form language and communicate, but my mind is empty, obscured, as if whatever experiences defined me were wiped away, leaving only a functioning shell of whoever I was. And it seems inherently wrong that the first time I should ever hear my name is fifteen minutes ago.

And I wonder why I can still trouble myself with trivialities such as this when pain devours my world and my heart pounds to the frantic rhythm of the hunted. Why it feels like I've only just been born, and yet I'm already pursued by death itself.

0o0o0

"Hey, I knew this guy."

Awareness. Dull, sluggish, but awareness nonetheless. A voice breaks through my slumber, and I awaken for what feels like the first time.

"He was Blacklight."

The sounds resonate meaninglessly within my ears for a few timeless moments before they coalesce into recognizable words and form even the barest semblance of importance. Even then, they have little impact. What are they talking about? What's going on?

"Yeah, well, now he's ex-Blacklight."

It's a different voice this time, lower and more gravelly. But it's all the same, more words, more out-of-context jargon that makes no sense. Other things start to trickle into my field of awareness - the air is cool and dry, I can smell the harsh bite of antiseptic, and a fierce ache permeates my body, centering in several stinging jabs across my chest. Where am I? I try to open my eyes, but they feel glued shut.

"His name is... Mercer." Back to the first speaker. "Alex J. Next of kin, Mercer, Dana A. Is that his wife?"

It begins to dawn on me that perhaps I'm the subject of their conversation. Still, the words - the names - that they say spark no recognition. I try to recall my own name, only to realize I can't. A little further prying and I only have more questions; how did I get here, who's speaking, why does it hurt? All asked in futility; there's simply nothing to grasp. Where a lifetime's worth of experiences and memories should be, there's a void, a blank slate. Alex J. Mercer... for all I know, it's me. Or it isn't. More frightening than the gap in my memory - the gap in my identity - is the apathy of my own reaction to it.

"Dunno."

I try to move, to speak, to give myself some reassurance that I'm still alive and not just watching the scene from afar like a detached spirit of the ether. But the only response my body affords me is a renewed sense of pain. It bites at me in sharp, nerve-wracking waves.

"Does this have anything to do with the test subject on 51?"

These things mean nothing to me, but it doesn't stop me from straining to hear his answer. Anything, anything to shed light on this engulfing confusion.

"I have no idea. And even more, I don't want to know."

Apparently, luck doesn't feel like cutting me a break. Joy.

"Just give me the 8-inch blade."

I still don't fully understand, but there's something distinctly ominous afoot as the sounds of rummaging and plastic scraping metal resound above me. I'm beginning to visualize words here and there, and the mention of a blade is unnerving. The first vestiges of control return to me as my limbs begin to tense in anticipation, reacting to the suddenly oppressive sentiment in the room.

"We'll start by going through the torso."

On pure reflex, I recoil, somehow sensing some imminent danger I can't see. My eyes finally snap open as I jerk upright - god, that hurts - every inch of my body screaming in protest as I struggle for breath.

Everything is hazy; I can hardly see, and the light shocks my eyes, instigating a throbbing headache. There are two faces close to mine, and a hand with a glittering strip of steel, but as my sight becomes clearer, they're not real faces, just two navy hood-helmets with a reflective black band where the eyes should be. My vision is swimming. Dizziness overwhelms me as I try to straighten up, and I totter sideways, my arm grazing metal as I fall off whatever raised platform I'd been on. I tumble to the floor in a heap.

Reaching out blindly, I stiffen as my hand clamps onto cold metal, but try to pull myself up anyways. The table-cart's post emits a whining creak as I rise. The voices had fallen silent over the past few moments of my sensory overload, but suddenly they were back.

"Get the fuck out!"

Wait, wait, don't leave! But I can't form the words yet; all my mouth can do is heave and gasp, desperately pulling in the sterile air.

"Get the kill team in here, now!"

Before I can try to comprehend that through the dizzy pain, a warning klaxon starts to shriek. The shrill cacophony alone causes me to stagger back; if my head hadn't felt like it was on the verge of splitting before, it certainly does now. Reeling, I catch a fleeting glimpse of the suit-clad men clamoring out of the room, tripping over themselves in their haste. As they flee into the hallway, some feeble flicker of recognition is stirred. I've seen the dark, full-body outfit before; I can place it as being scientist's gear, but my memories go no further than that.

I want to follow them, but I'm having enough difficulty remaining upright. It takes a couple of falls before I finally stabilize my posture against a table, one with an array of sharp-looking instruments. There's a light weight on my head, like a strip of cloth, but a quick shake doesn't dislodge it. Clumsily, I look around; I'm seeing trails. The room I'm in is mostly bare and uninviting, with machinery humming faintly among the walls. There's the surgical table I'm propped against, and the metal cart I'd been lying on when I woke up. If it's a bed, it's a pretty crappy one - no pillows, and only a rumpled thin white sheet covering it. Other than that, there's virtually nothing here. A morgue, my mind supplies, conjuring the word out of the blue. A place to store and examine dead bodies. But what would I be doing in one of them? Does that make me dead? But I'm not... A glance down at my feet, and I stiffen.

My eyes don't travel down any farther than my chest. I'm wearing a leather jacket and two undershirts, one gray, one white. Or they used to be gray and white. My entire front is splattered with rusty brown, still plainly crimson around what are clearly several bullet holes. Somewhere in this past I don't remember, somewhere recently, somebody had emptied the contents of a gun into my upper ribcage.

Almost dreamlike, I finger the edge of one of the wounds. The jolt of nerve-wracking agony that results is anything but dreamlike.

But I'm alive. I'm clearly alive. There has to have been an accident. Something, a mistake. Some sort of residual medical knowledge tells me I'm in shock, that there's a reason nothing's clear right now.

The sirens continue to wail in the background, red lights flashing in patterns painful to my dazed eyes, and a thought materializes.

Run. Escape.

It's not so much in words as it is a feeling. Something deep and inexorable, permanent and tangible, something that had always been within me - how long has always been? There's nothing but haze and confusion - but that had gone unnoticed up until now. It's a sensation, a notion of pure and undiluted intent, but I understand exactly what it commands. It preceeds language, preceeds self-awareness and this utter perplexion that must accompany it. In the end, it doesn't matter what it is - something is telling me that staying where I am is a very bad idea, and I'm feeling less and less at ease by the second.

So I follow it. There's nothing else to do.

Moving is a daunting task at first, but it only takes a few tentative steps before my stride is in rhythm. The real problem is the disorientation, not the act itself. It's like my body remembers things better than my mind does. Still, my gait is hardly dignified, staggering and stumbling, arms waving like the tentacles of some eldritch sea creature in a drunken bid for balance. The corridors pass in a reeling blur of coruscating lights and slate-colored walls.

I have to find those men before they get away. I have to figure out what's going on.

Dimly, I wonder how the hell I know where I'm going. This place is full of side halls and winding turns. But somehow, I can just sense where the two scientists went. It's almost like a scent, if that sort of thing were possible to chase; I can practically taste the rubber and disinfectant in the air.

Whatever I'm tracking, it doesn't lead me astray. I can't tell how much time elapses, but the gray halls give way to a back exit. I can practically feel a suffocating weight lift from my shoulders as I stumble out of the claustrophobic building and into the open.

It's nighttime, but no less bright than it had been indoors - harsh white light is everywhere, blazing from signs and lampposts and windows. The air is crisp and chill, and a little refreshing; a few deep gulps of it and I can feel this dizzy stupor I'm in beginning to recede. I'm in a parking lot, surrounding a stylized skyscraper that brings up those faint traces of almost-recognition when I look at it. There's a sign, inscribed in white block letters - GENTEK. Another name, another piece in this puzzle.

Peering above the rows of parked cars, I can see that the two men from earlier are on the far end of the lot. They've been joined by a third one who wears the same raiment. They're standing in a loose circle; one of them is gesticulating wildly, while another shakes his head. I hesitate briefly - something instinctual balks at the idea of revealing myself - but I steel myself. I need answers. However, before I can start towards them, a shadow falls upon the asphalt.

I look up. The belly of a great black machine is descending from the sky - somehow, I know it as a helicopter - maneuvering carefully between the tall building and the concrete walls fencing off the lot. I pull back as it draws close to the ground.

"Move, move, move!"

Men were pouring out of the helicopter, in pairs of two. There was something immediately unsettling about them, something intentional, as if they'd had fear in mind as they cultivated their image. They were clad head to toe in black, a segmented mix of mesh and kevlar. Their combination of gasmasks and helmets completely obscured their faces, and glowing ocular scopes replaced their eyes.

The people who'd been in the morgue, I would have asked my questions to. But not these men. I don't know much, but I know danger when I see it. I hang back behind the corner, watching the scene unfold warily.

It's immediately clear that the new arrivals are a part of something. My guess is that they're soldiers of some sort - they act in perfect unison, each one molded into an acting copy of a single entity. They hold long-barreled guns with the confidence of weapons masters, and there's something predatory and stalking in the way that they move. But they didn't seem to have noticed me, because they're heading in the opposite direction, towards the scientists.

Keeping low to the ground, I slide between the rows of cars, trying to remain hidden while getting a better view. I'm waiting to see how things play out, but I can't really tell what's going on between the scientists and the mooks. It looks like they're arguing, going by the angry gestures and aggressive stances, but I can hardly hear what's being said. I focus as best I can on the speaking soldier.

"I'm authorized to shoot and burn your fucking corpses."

I blink. That definitely does not sound good.

A moment later, it's terribly clear that he wasn't bluffing. He raises a hand as a signal, and the two men flanking him lift their guns, peppering the scientists with bullets with mechanical apathy. In sequence, the trio crumple to their knees like deflated paper sacks. It didn't look like they'd been planning to resist the soldiers - what the hell had that been for? I don't know if I've ever seen anyone die before, but there's something in it that shakes me - that those two voices I'd heard earlier were never going to speak again. Three lives, gone with the flick of a finger.

It dawns on me that waking up in a morgue may not actually be my greatest problem at the moment.

"Ah, shit."

I'm cursing inwardly before the words have finished leaving my mouth. Stupid, stupid! Bodies swivel towards me, where I'm only half-concealed by a parked Mazda - more or less a sitting target. On instinct, I bolt, but quickly find my poorly attempted escape stymied by a wall. When I turn around, the entire contingent of soldiers has me in their sights. In disturbing unison, a series of machine guns are trained on me. "All points, priority target, priority target!"

My panic spikes up several notches. What had I done? I don't want trouble; I lift my arms in surrender. "Woah, wait, wait-"

"Take him down!"

"Aaaugh!"

I'd almost forgotten about the pain in my chest up until now, but I can't help but scream as it returns with a vengeance, hailing the entry of a few dozen rounds. There's copper on my tongue as I hack and cough, head nearly hitting the pavement. And...

And something's wrong. Any moment, darkness should creep up from the corners of my vision and smother me. Or maybe it's supposed to happen in the space of a heartbeat. But it's not. I should be dying, but if I am, I can't feel anything of the sort. There's no denying that I was just shot several times at a lethally close range - it hurts enough to testify that - but nothing's happening.

My hands slip on blood as I try to push myself back to my feet, groaning with exertion. I choke out the only thing that comes to mind. "What's happening to me?"

Nobody spares me an answer. Except myself, and it's not much of one.

Jump. Climb.

To the side, I can see a dumpster, a single and highly inadequate step towards the towering, razorwire-tipped wall directly behind it. I look at the rough but handhold-devoid expanse of white concrete. Then at the squadron of soldiers, who had retreated a few paces, but were still aiming at me. Then back at the wall.

I tense my legs.

"Get him!"

And I explode into the air, feeling the dumpster buckle under my shoes as I leap skyward. The ground speeds away at an illogical rate - it's like jumping on a trampoline, putting in a little effort for a lot of turnout, but far more magnified. Even as nauseous and hurt as I am, clearing the top of the wall is child's play. I don't even graze myself on the barbed wire.

Only when I land, cracking the pavement at impact, do I feel reality sink in with a hard jolt. How had that been possible? Why the hell had I even tried? A glance over my shoulder reveals that the concrete I'd cleared was at least ten feet high, and it had been lower on the other side as well. Nobody could do that. It just wasn't possible. Wasn't human.

Just like it wasn't possible to survive getting shot dozens of times at point-blank range.

"That was... easy," I murmur to myself, disbelieving.

My priorities have flipped, and taken a definite turn for the worse. Figuring out what the hell was happening now took second fiddle to getting away from those gun-toting psychopaths. Now that I'm safe, as transient as the development is, I have time to examine myself. There are fresh bullet wounds in my chest, brighter rings of red than before coloring the stained canvas of my shirt. Backing up against a wall, I allow myself a moment to buckle over and cringe away from the pain, gradually slumping to the ground. But then I have to murder the strangled whine that forms in my throat. Can't give away my position, can't make a sound. Just breathe. Breathe and survive.

Gritting my teeth, I look around. I'm in some sort of alleyway, dark and narrow with grimy walls. Exactly the sort of place to hide, if it wasn't so close to the source of danger. Where the nook met the open streets, another wall loomed up, this one metal bars with stratified slats of wire crossing the gaps.

"I need to get the fuck out of here... I can't keep this up forever..."

Everything I know is telling me that there's no way I can clear the barbed wire, that jumps are made in inches, not yards - but I had just pulled it off a minute ago, haven't I? If I stay here, those men are going to catch up to me, and I've got no idea how much more I can take. I should be dead by now.

I gather up my strength as I walk towards it. I don't feel as... as confident as I did when I was jumping away from those soldiers. I didn't have time to think then. I definitely didn't have time to consider the biting holes in my chest, or the strange weariness that falls heavily upon my limbs. It seems like it's not really affecting my ability to do anything, but I still feel like crap.

Despite the fact that my legs are burning and my torso feels like I just wrestled with a bed of nails, I don't have much trouble. When I kick off from the ground, I'm propelled higher than anyone has a right to go. The rush of air tousles my hood as I casually ignore several laws of physics.

As I sail over the top, a muted sound catches my attention above the rest of the disjointed street ambience. In itself, it's no more interesting than the raucous car horns and subtle vibrations of the subway trains underneath, but my neck is starting to prickle as my feet touch down on the sidewalk, none too gently. It takes me a second to realize that the odd thrumming, beating sound is coming from above me.

I look up just in time to see a helicopter pull up and start firing.

"No, no, no," I pant, horrified. There's more of those soldiers, and they're right here - but I don't want to run, it hurts...

I vault myself over a moving taxi and dash across the street. Bullets tear into the asphalt around me, the air turning bitter with gunpowder and smoke. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a young man stumble to the ground, the tiniest telltale spot of blood blossoming on his argyle sweater, but I don't have the time to dwell on it. The gunship's wings pound the air as it banks, trying to follow me; I'm forced to skid to a halt as bullets rain down from the front, heralding the arrival of a second vehicle. A deadly hail marks my tracks. I duck into an adjacent alley, hoping that the tall buildings will at least protect me from the helicopter's cannons. But I can't stay here. I have to get somewhere where they won't look for me, somewhere far away. Another street, a few corners - hell, I'm running as fast as the cars are driving, but the gunships are still overheard, bearing down after me. Now I'm in a park - the frozen moments of shock are over, and people are screaming and panicking full throttle as the well-tended grass is incinerated by explosive rockets. I feel like joining them - I'm just as confused - but I only have time to comprehend getting the hell out of firing range. I shove several people aside as I run, knocking over a few benches and trash cans in my haste to get away, get away!

Running straight ahead isn't going to shake pursuit, so when I'm surrounded by enough people to hide me for a moment, I change direction and flee to the side, where more dead-end sidestreets flank the surrounding road. The city apparently has no shortage of decrepit alleys. I'm not complaining.

I stagger sideways and briefly prop myself against a brick wall. I can hear the thrum of the helicopter overhead, but the firing's stopped for now. I don't think they can see me. This ache in my chest is growing. I don't know what it is; it makes sense that it'd be the bullet wounds that litter my torso would be bothering me, but they aren't. It's less of a stinging pain and more of a burning. Somehow, this feels deeper, more internal. But then again, who knows? I've never been shot before. Or maybe I have. I can't remember anything, anything that led up to this little slice of hell.

Before I can get too comfortable, a pair of those black-clad men emerge from nowhere on the other side. Where did they come from? This chase has barely begun and I'm already getting sloppy. How am I ever going to make it out of this alive?

"It's him! Get him!" A series of cracks resonate as two submachine guns are emptied in my general direction.

Shit. I'm on my feet again, stumbling with a short cry as a hail of bullets clip my shoulder. I burst out of the insufficient shelter and race back up the open street. More screams, more shots, more chaos. Everything is falling into a surreal pattern, this whole impossible flight-for-life, all undertoned by the staccato thud-thud-thud of my footsteps.

Heat rushes over my skin as a fiery explosion blossoms behind me, only this strange speed I possess managing to keep me from instant immolation. A quick glance over my shoulder spurs on a fresh wave of panic - one of the gunships is back, hovering above the crowded intersection and sending missiles nigh indiscriminately. Two more fiery flowers bloom in my tracks, and then one hits its target. Another facet of pain inserts itself into my battered perspective as I sprawl forward and hit the ground flat on my back, opening my eyes just in time to see a spinning taxi cab about to join me.

"Shit!"

And the next thing I know, I'm on my feet again, bracing myself against the unlikely projectile. The car's frame screeches and warps as I hold my ground against it, forcing it to a stop. Without thinking, I wrap my arms around the edges and hoist the vehicle over my head.

"What are you going to throw at me next, huh?" I roar. "What do you want from me?"

Ropes dangle down from the helicopter - soldiers are starting to slide down, and it's like a series of lead weights are piling on top of my hopes. There's too many of them already, and I don't want to have to fight any more...

I hurl the taxi. It spins top-over-bottom as it flies in an upwards arc, crossing at least fifty feet before it collides with my pursuer. The gunship explodes, descending soldiers and all. I can't process it. One second, there was a helicopter and a taxi. The next, there was a fireball, a raging minisun falling to earth.

For a moment, all I can do is stare like an idiot.

"I can't believe what I just did..."

What the hell am I? The thought of a few spandex-clad figures briefly occurs to me, and I'm not sure whether to laugh at the notion of being some screwed-up superhero or actually consider it. This isn't normal - everything I know tells me what I'm doing is wrong, and everything I don't remember fails to lend any insight on that conclusion. Was I always like this? Was that the reason why I had ended up in a morgue?

So many questions... and so many dangers. I can't stop to think - the chase isn't over, not even close, and I definitely don't have the time to stand around, slack-jawed. Removing one enemy from the picture isn't going to save me. I have to get away. Where can I go? I despair. It's all the same, bright streets wedged between towering buildings, with dead-end alleys providing little more than a moment's respite from what seems like an army's worth of pursuit.

And it occurs to me that I'm just not thinking creatively enough. The buildings. The soldiers I'm running from can't jump as high as I can. The mere thought of higher ground appeals to me on a base level; just thinking about it chips away at the panic coiled in my heart. Running around in the streets is leaving me open and accessable, the instinctual equivalent of allowing a foe to press a knife to my throat. In height, I might find safety.

There's a low drugstore among the skyscrapers, and I start with that, no longer caring about the terror my preternatural jump solicits from the pedestrians. With the way my pursuit has been tearing up the streets, I'm astounded that there's a single person out there who hasn't gone running for cover yet. Not my fault if they're going to be idiots and get caught in the crossfire. I have bigger concerns at the moment. From the drugstore, I leap to a mall complex. The sunroof shatters under my weight, and it's only through the grace of these unbelievable reflexes that I don't plummet three stories down into a claustrophobic trap full of shoppers. Hell, what can't I do? I set my sights on a high-rise hotel on the other side of the road. That sort of height is exactly what I crave. I gather as much strength as I can muster and vault off the mall's roof.

Almost immediately, I realize that I won't make it. My battered legs just aren't willing to put forth the effort needed to scale dozens of stories, and getting cocky doesn't pay well. The slapdash bricks and windows are rushing towards me at unnerving speed, and I grit my teeth, waiting for the inevitable impact, arching my back so that my hands and feet might take the brunt of it.

There's a jolt; jarring, but not painful. Instinct kicks in, and the dark stone blurs before me, interspersed with short bursts of light. A few moments amble by before I can process what I'm seeing.

And... oh, hell. Oh, hell.

I'm running up the wall. Running up the goddamn wall.

If I wasn't furiously trying to keep myself two steps ahead of death, I'd have stopped right then and there. Out of all the things I'd done so far, this one seemed to hit me the hardest. I start laughing; not out of any amusement, but because I can literally feel reality slipping out of my fingers. Or maybe I'm the one escaping reality's grasp?

The unhinged giggle gradually burns itself out as I reach the top of the hotel, clambering over the scaffolding and pulling myself onto the roof. I enjoy relative security for about a second.

Then it hits me. It was pretty stupid to assume I was safe on high ground anyways, because while normal people cannot blatantly disregard gravity and all those other hard laws of physics, I'm running away from helicopters. Helicopters fly, as readily shown by the two that are homing in on me from afar.

Stay. Fight.

How? Even if I could reach them without falling to my death, I'm unarmed. What am I supposed to do? It's not like I can punch a well-engineered war machine down from the sky with a single blow. Fists don't work that way. But I'm operating off faulty information as it is, because whatever science I have down as a default logic system also tells me that I can't jump a story high, run alongside cars, and then pick them up and throw them around for good measure. Actually, that had taken out the first helicopter pretty well...

"Now I've gotta kill them, too." I finish that train of thought aloud. I don't have anything on hand to throw at them, but if the helicopters got close enough, I could take yet another foray into insanity and try to bring them down with my bare hands.

One of them makes a pass over the roof, launching a guided rocket before it. I hurl myself to the side and leap upwards, slamming my knee in a snap kick towards the vehicle's middle. Acrid smoke pours like a dragon's breath from the collossal dent. I reach down and pull myself towards the helicopter's tail, using at as leverage to halt my jump, and slam my fists into the rudder like a madman. It splinters off, and I tumble back down to the rooftop, buffeted in the slipstream and showered with metal parts.

The aircraft is not so lucky. Flames are spreading from the damaged areas, and without a tail, it can't balance itself. It careens towards the streets in a shower of thick smoke and sparks.

The other gunship hovers a ways off from the building, too far to hit. My eyes flick from side to side, scanning for any loose objects to use as a makeshift projectile, but the rooftop is barren save for a radiator on the far end. It was soldered to the concrete - there's no way I can move it.

Or isn't there? Everything's gone absolutely batshit insane already, anyways. Hadn't I just picked up a car? I'm still not sure if this isn't just some acid trip or crazy nightmare, but if it is, I haven't woken up yet. A single bound and I'm at the device, wrenching it nigh effortlessly from its stand. It's sailing through the air towards the vehicle before the second's over, and I still don't feel any more winded.

The second helicopter erupted into bits of flaming metal along with the radiator, shapeless fireworks in the moonlit cityscape. Radio chatter screams in dissonant terror as the embers rain down, seeming to float gently in some sort of shock-induced slow motion.

"This can't be happening," I mutter aloud.

I shake my head in vain, hoping to clear it - I don't have time to pay attention to the destruction I'm able to cause. High ground was a mistake. It's only making me easier to spot. Without thinking, I spring off the side of building. Forty-six stories rush by in a matter of moments, and the impact is only a jolt to my legs, even if it was enough to shatter the sidewalk below into a spiderweb of cracks and chunks of concrete.

Now that the immediate threat is gone, I can feel the weariness bear down upon me like a tsunami, harder than before. I knew that I couldn't keep up this escape for long, but now I can really feel it - I'm at my breaking point. People are pointing and screaming at me; some run while others stand dumbfounded. The noise hurts my ears. They're holding me up. I'm starting to stumble again as I force them out of my way, losing my balance. My chest feels positively on fire now, and it's flaring up whenever I come into contact with these aimless, mewling sheep. Everything's falling out of focus, and it's an uphill battle to remain aware. I can't shake the feeling that it's all for nothing, and that I'm going to die no matter what I do.

I duck into another fortuitous alleyway, craving sanctuary, a place to hide. It doesn't feel like I'll get it, not for long, but the shadows are long and welcoming. They beckon in the all-penetrating, flickering lights of the city, and I embrace the hope of sanctity. A few turns through a labyrinth of faded brick walls, and I can't bring myself to move further. Whether this spot is sufficient or not is almost irrelevant now. I just don't have the strength to keep running.

Alex Mercer.

Briefly, I ponder the conglomerate of four syllables - what it is and what it means about me. But the pain is relentless, and panic all-consuming; such musings are lost as I double over, clutching my chest as if that might alleviate the hell that plagues it.

I want to sleep again, where I couldn't feel anything and had no inkling that I was being hunted. If this is what being awake is, I don't think I ever want to wake up at all. Or am I asleep, and this is the dream, not the other way around? It's surreal enough to be one, but dreams aren't supposed hurt like this.

And now there's a soldier nearby. I can sense him a few bends away. Rubbish rustles and stirs under his boots as he marches through the alley, taunting me as he seeks out his prey.

"Come out, germ. Don't ya wanna infect me?"

What the hell is he talking about...? What does he mean? I don't understand, and I don't have the strength to fathom it. I just want to sleep.

The footsteps come closer. Hard, jarring; steel-toed footgear clacks against the pavement without any rhythm. There's really no chance he won't find me, at this rate. It's over.

I can see him now. Close up, the soldiers' armor looks almost insectoid, like a wasp's dark thorax. And that mask, with those glowing lenses - it's not human. I'm staring into the devil's eyes.

"Hostile sighted, contact imminent." The words have the feel of a death sentence, but they're just broken syllables to my ears.

He cocks the gun, and I can't even bring myself to look up at him. I can't run anymore. There's nowhere to hide and I'm so very, very tired.

A single shot, the ping of a bullet and the dull rip as another round lodges itself in my chest. There's an air of finality to it, but nothing changes. Why can't I die? Why isn't it over? Why won't this nightmare end?

I slump further, more out of a sense of utter defeat rather than anything else. What was one more cartridge penetrating my ribs? Just another bite of cold metal, useless even with its Teflon coating. I was an idiot to hope that it even had a prayer of changing anything.

"Tango down," he announces into his communicator. "Terminated."

Hunger. Devour.

And those selfsame instincts that have propelled me this far rise up with more fury than I could have imagined. I'm moving before I realize that I'm off the ground, lurching to my feet with a frenzied, demented energy.

Rage - there was definitely rage. What the hell had I done to deserve getting chased by military-grade gunships across the city? Why couldn't I remember anything? What had happened? But they wouldn't explain anything. Wouldn't listen. They just wanted me dead, and suddenly, dying didn't seem like such a merciful escape anymore, because the hell if I'm going to give them what they want. But even so, it wasn't just anger. There was something deeper in this burst of sudden motivation, something utterly primal.

He turns around just in time to see my see my fingers curl around his arm. I absolutely relish his short-lived scream before my other hand closes around his thin neck, appreciating the fragile nubs of tendons and bones before I crush his frail windpipe. With a raw-throated yell of mingled pain and fury, I slam him headfirst into the pavement, feeling his vertebrae snap. But something strange was happening, an odd sensation beginning to form. There was a faint prickling across my midsection. Briefly, my gaze left the dying man, travelling downward, and there aren't words to encompass what I felt at what I saw.

I scream. Just a wordless, inarticulate cry, an attempt falling miserably flat in its futile attempt to express the deepest fear a mind can comprehend. My body was rippling, wavering, and mutating as things reach out from it, rearing like striking serpents. Four ropy, barbed tendrils extend from my stomach, two on each side, while other, more vestigial copies erupt across my clothes and skin alike. The shifting red and black tentacles move of their own accord, curling around the fallen soldier in a perverse parody of a caress before engulfing him.

Suddenly, it's not a man on the floor, but a nightmare mass of the same bloody material in the shape of one, and it's not even holding that form - as I watch, repulsed, those protruding tentacles begin to retract, pulling the shapeless, writhing thing towards me, and I scream again as my entire body breaks out into more of the nightmare appendages-

It feels so good.

The blazing tempest within - hunger, I realize belatedly with dim horror - is quelled, soothed by the dark and shifting mass I'm pulling inside. All of the aching, jaw-clenching hurt melts away. Part of me is screaming disgust and shock, a desperate litany of no, no, no, but the other, deeper half of me feels only satisfaction.

And then color explodes behind my eyes. I clutch at my head in pain; it's the worst migraine I can imagine and more. Images rush across my perception at lightning speeds and schizoid intervals, faster and faster. A face in the mirror, a face beneath that mask. A school, a house, a barracks - constant perception changes as if the world were seen from different heights with every vision. Am I hallucinating? It's not just sight - I can hear a young girl's bubbly laughter as I swing her back and forth, feel the blazing summer heat and my muscles burning as I struggle through an obstacle course alongside several other men in army fatigues, taste the cherry lipstick as I share a passionate kiss with a woman. Only as it recedes can I recognize the episode for what it is. It's a rush of memories, but they're not mine, not the past that's eluded me thus far. They're seen through the eyes of the man I just... I just...

What the hell was that? What had I done?

I'm not sure when I closed my eyes, but when I open them, the man is gone. No bones, no clothing. The only sign that he was ever there is a semiautomatic rifle, lying abandoned on the bloodstained asphalt.

He's gone, utterly gone. But the memories aren't. They're still inside, raging memoirs of a past that doesn't belong to me, but the man that I ate... no, consumed. I want to throw up, but whatever the hell my body is, it doesn't have that reflex. Looking down, a few traces of those black tentacles shiver and snake across my skin, before vanishing into the now-unblemished plane. The injuries I'd carried, the injuries that should have ended me, have vanished. My shirts are spotless, belying no sign of having been splatter-painted with blood moments prior. Hell, even the bullet holes are gone.

All at the cost of a life.

Running up walls, the power, the speed - it's meaningless. Nothing. Parlor tricks compared to this.

Physically, I feel brilliant - the exhaustion has turned to vigor, the pain to a dull and negligible phantom ache, and I'm brimming with energy. If those bastards want to come at me, I'm ready. I'll show them just who they decided to pick a fight with. I'll kill them all. I'm almost hoping they return. I want more.

Inside, I feel like I'm dying.

What have I done?

What have I become?

How can you have time to ponder a name you don't remember when the world is crashing down all around you? An interpretation of the first mission in the game.

I always found this scene a lot more tragic than others seem to interpret - Alex is so confused and lost and hurt, and everyone is trying to kill him for reasons he has no understanding of. He's forced to run and run until he simply can't run anymore... and then he's introduced to a measure of the truth of his new existence with an experience that's a pretty Lovecraftian level of disturbing. Poor guy. :(

Prototype belongs to Activision, etc.
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Chapter 01: Case File 001 "Beginnings"

The helmet in her hands shifted as the Warthog hit another obstacle. She held it a little tighter, as if it could give her the strength she knew she'd probably need. This new team… Noble Team, wasn't going to be inviting and if truth be told, she didn't want them either. She'd been perfectly fine with the small team of Marines, Seals or Airmen she was either paired with, or not. They weren't always the same, but they were friends, familiars…
Noble Team was an anomaly that she didn't want to be part of, but was forced to by command. It wasn't much fair to the team either, to stick her with them. Not so soon after losing the previous Noble Six, Thom. It took a lot to step into the shoes of someone who was well liked and trustworthy. She was the outsider, and it was going to be hell for a while, and probably longer until she was at least considered part of the team.
Replacing her helmet atop her head, she settled in for the rest of the bumpy ride, accompanied by the rotors of the Pelicans above, to where she would begin her time as just another number.
Welcome to Reach indeed.

End Case File 001.
Playing Reach has got me all flustered... Well, besides that, I just want to write a bunch of one shot things where we get a look into an AU sort of Noble Team. They had it rough and lost it all for Reach, the least I can do as a fan is imagine what it would be like if they had a happier ending.

Preview image (if it shows up) is of my own Noble Six. Yes, my Six is a Female... her name is also Luca.. Because she has to have something about her that's cute and feminine... besides the hair I slapped on her.


Next up: Case File 002 : Fix it
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Halo: A New Revival
Chapter 1
0030 Hours, September 24, 2552 (Revised. Military Calendar) \ Atei-Cêi, Delta-Eltradi System.


Staring intuitively into the scope, SPARTAN-058 Linda was tracking the movement of a Covenant convoy on ONI’s orders. Taping into her COM, she opened an encrypted channel on E-Brand.
“Fred, come it.” Click.
Pause
“Did you spot them?” Replied a male voice.
“Yeah. I have a visual. The Covenant sure are in a hurry.”
“Can you see what they are sporting?
“Hold on.” Pause. “Yeah, there’s several Ghosts a good couple dozen Shadow Troop Transports along with a pair of Wraith Mortar Tanks. It doesn’t look like a large force. I’m guessing several dozen elites and a hundred grunts.” She peered back into the scope and re-examining the convoy. She then replied, “Request dust-off.”
“Negative. I’m getting reports that there is another convoy headed your general direction. Not as big but still packing some serious firepower. Wait until they pass. We don’t want to attract any attention with a Pelican. Wait for the all clear. Until then, do what you can and try to avoid using the COM if you can.”
“Roger.” Click.
Linda looked back down over the large cliff she was prone and watched the Covenant pass underneath and away into the distance. She then shouldered her S2 AM Sniper Rifle and moved back into the shadows of the moonlit forest. Moving back to the pickup zone, Linda heard two Banshees fly overhead. Freezing all movement, Linda stopped cold in her tracks. She slowly crouched down while using the thick forest setting as a cover to avoid detection.
After hearing the droning of the Banshees’ engines fade and die away, Linda started moving again. Deciding to stop to scope out the environment, she zoomed in with her binocular vision. An upgrade she received along side with her MJOLNIR Mk VI armor upon returning to Earth. At first she saw nothing but until she flicked on her headlights on her helmet, she saw the light bend. Automatically she put away her S2 Sniper and pulled out dual M7 Caseless Submachine Guns and kept moving at a faster pace away from the object. She knew it was a Spec-Ops Elite and didn’t want to attract attention toward her.
All of a sudden, a burst of plasma crashed on Linda’s armor and her shields flickered. The warning alarm was ringing inside of her helmet and she quickly dodged out of the way behind a boulder and let her shields recharge. As soon as her shield bar was at full, she jumped out of her hiding place and fired a controlled burst of bullets in the direction that the plasma emerged from. The bullets must’ve hit the stealth battery of the Spec-Ops’ suit since it was fully uncloaked and was shown by the bright moon. It howled in anger and pulled out another plasma rifle along with its plasma pistol and shot at Linda.
Being more prepared, she jumped out of the path of the hot plasma and slammed more bursts of bullets at the Spec-Ops Elite. It’s shields shimmering. It quickly dropped its two plasma weapons and unveiled an energy sword and charged at Linda. This time she emptied the remainder of bullets at the charging Elite. At first the Elite’s shields shimmered as the bullets pinged off. But then the shielding dissipated and the rest of the bullets tore away at the Elite’s torso. The Elite howled in pain as it caught it’s falling entrails before collapsing in a dead heap of it’s own blood and gore.
“Damn,” said Linda, “there’s more Elites scouting out here as well.” She reached for her COM despite risking the triangulation of her position by other Covenant.
Click. “Fred, are you there? I need an immediate dust-off. There are more other Covenant out here, from what I can tell, Spec Ops. Copy?”
Pause.
“Yeah I read you. Pelican dust-off ETA is ten minutes. Find some cover. Do not reveal your position until I give the all clear. That other convoy is approaching your position. Repeat, hot activity coming your way. Blue leader out.”
Click.
It felt weird that Fred assumed position of Squad Leader now that John, The Master Chief was on Earth on another mission. It had only been a week since she, Fred, Will, and John made it back to Earth as the only remaining SPARTANs. And now that the squad was three SPARTANs big, they needed each other’s teamwork and abilities more than ever. She found cover high in a tree and waited for the Pelican dropship to come.
The earth beneath Linda started to tremble as tiny figures from the distance emerged from the forest. It was the other Covenant convoy. Two columns of vehicles emerged from the shadows lit by the moonlight and the glow from the vehicles and plasma weapons. There were half a dozen Shadow Troop Carriers. There were a few Ghosts behind and in front of each of the columns of Shadows with a pair of Wraith Mortar Tanks protecting the rear and flanks.
Whoosh! A D77-TC Pelican armed to the teeth with secondary rocket pods came flying over the columns of Covenant vehicles. Startled, Grunts atop the Shadows jumped into and started firing the Shade Turrets at the Pelican. Making a 180 turn to face the Covenant, the Pelican rained hell upon the enemy with its powerful 70 mm chin gun, cutting through the Ghosts and damaging some of the Shadows. The Wraiths however was a different story. It’s thick armor remained impervious to the gunfire and retaliated by firing its own plasma cannons. The Pelican easily evaded the fire by dodging in and out and zoomed away from the firing. It turned around and flew straight for the Wraiths, making another run at the enemy, this time, obliterating them with its secondary 105 mm rocket pods.
As soon as the destruction stopped, a singsong like melody of six notes chirped over Linda’s com. “Oly Oly Oxen Free.”
Jumping out of the thick forest cover, Linda came face to face with another SPARTAN, SPARTAN-104 Fred, who was also outfitted with the new MJOLNIR Mk VI armor.
“Climb aboard quickly! We have enemy Banshees in the vicinity.” barked Fred. “Sorry for the delay, the Banshees were holding us up. We’ve managed to lose them for a sec.”
“And who do we have to thank for the flying?” Asked Linda
“That would be me ma’am,” chirped a new voice on the com. “Warrant Officer Richard King. Foehammer division.”
“Foehammer? No wonder. Excellent flying there.”
“Thank you ma’am. Now lets all get out of this hellhole. I’m reading two bogey signatures on sensors. Banshees more or less. You two might want to grab those 50’s back there.”
“Your call Warrant Officer.” replied Fred. “Linda, you get the 50 on the port side. I’ll get the other one.”
“Aye.”
The two SPARTANs boarded the D77-TC Pelican; a dropship designed for troop transport and could haul a Warthog Jeep to a Scorpion Tank, and armed the 50 mm chain gun mounted on either side of the Pelican. The 50 mm chain gun can easily rip through the softness of the Banshees’ armor and is used for anti-air or anti-infantry support.
Strapped in, Fred opened the Pelican’s COM to the cockpit. “Warrant Officer?”
“Yes sir?”
“Do what you do best. Get us the hell out of here before the bastards get to us.”
“Sir, yes sir!”
The Pelican lifted off just in time to see a pair of Banshees overshoot them.
“Damn, sorry sir but you might want to hold onto something back there.” blared W.O. King’s voice over the onboard COM system. “I’ll do what I can to lose them.”
King then pushed the Pelican to top speed and sped away. The two Banshees quickly noticed the large ship and followed after. The twin plasma cannons on the Banshees crackled with energy as a sign of the weapons powering up. The duo then shot hot plasma toward the UNSC dropship.
Flying and maneuvering away from plasma fire was a tough trick. Realizing that they were being slowed by excessive weight, King dislodged the two 105 mm rocket pods from underneath the wings. The pods exploded as the remaining rockets hit the forest floor from the fall. With much enthusiasm, King yelled “Ladies and gents, please keep your hands feet and personal belongings inside at all times during the flight while we get rid of these Covie bastards! That includes all weapons and ammo ‘cause we don’t want anything hitting anyone do we?”
Fred chuckled to himself slightly at King’s ability to make even the hottest times seem light with joy and laughter. He then re-armed the 50 mm chain gun and took aim at the Banshees.
Firing the 50 mm gun and trying to bring down a moving object proved a formidable task. With the Pelican’s erratic flight patterns and the Banshees’ attempt to follow and avoid the gunfire, it was hard to get a clear shot at either of the tailgating Covenant craft.
Out of nowhere, a loud boom rung in the ears of both SPARTANs and W.O. King’s ears. Fred sneaked a peek the outboard cameras to check for damage. Scanning around, Fred then spotted flames and tangled metal melted form the hot plasma that struck them on the starboard wing. Fred and Linda wasn’t the only one hinting from the explosion. W.O. King also saw a trail of smoke from the right wing of the wounded Pelican. Swearing under his breath, he tried to level the Pelican form rolling around. He then turned the onboard COM and said, “Sorry to bother, but I could use some more reliable cover fire!”
“Working on it.” said Linda through gritted teeth as she rained a hail of bullets into the side of a passing Banshee. “I nearly have this sucker.” Concentrating on her fire, Linda released a controlled series of bursts of gunfire into the wounded Banshee. The craft then smoked from the damage and burst into flames in midair. “Got one.” She said to King.
“Whew, thank you for that. Now just hold on back there y’all. I’m going to try something.”
“Will it get us killed?” retorted Fred.
“Why, was that a joke?”
“No, just a little something to keep you from getting too cocky.”
“Heh, funny.” King then pulled the controls upward causing the Pelican to pull a loop while the trailing Banshee overshot it and kept on going. King then re-leveled the Pelican facing the rear of the Banshee, and squeezed the trigger. The Pelican’s 70 mm chin gun opened fire on the Banshee and tore it to shreds in seconds.
“Yee-haw! I got the dumb bastard!”
“Good work. Want to take us home now?” asked Linda.
“My good pleasure ma’am.” Replied King as the dropship headed back to Alpha Base, home of the UNSC operations in the Delta-Eltradi system.

-*~+~*-

Alpha Base is a large UNSC installation constructed as a secondary military training ground just before the Covenant War. It is one of many bases and training grounds that now populate the planet of Atei-Cêi.
Due to the lack in abundance of Orbital MAC Stations, the Covenant could easily slip to the surface unknown. Of the stations that orbit Atei-Cêi are two Super MACs under construction and nine other regular MAC stations. No one really had the thought of the need of MAC Stations of such an unknown system until Reach’s fall.
Just a day ago, a Covenant cruiser conducting random slipspace jumps arrived in the Delta-Eltradi System. The same day SPARTAN-104, SPARTAN-045, and SPARTAN-058 (Fred, Will, and Linda respectively.) arrived to oversee the progress of an already developing SPARTAN project. Two corvette frigates were sent to intercept the cruiser and pummeled the unsuspecting Covenant but a few carrier dropships managed to make it to the surface away from the ill-stricken cruiser. Now Fred, Will, and Linda were sent, with orders from ONI and the UNSC High Admiralty, to hunt down the Covenant threat before the enemy could call for reinforcements.
But there was another reason that the Admiralty wanted to send the SPARTANs to Atei-Cêi. As soon as the Covenant War started, a second generation of SPARTANs was being trained on Reach. But as soon as the outer colonies were lost, ONI enacted the training of a third generation of SPARTANs, to back up the second generation in case it fell. And now that Reach has fallen and the Humans were badly losing the war, ONI was ready to bring out a new set of defenders of Humanity. Fred, Will, and Linda were also to foresee the training of the new SPARTANs. And with a number of Covenant battalions on the surface of Atei-Cêi, training and practicing hit and run exercises shouldn’t be at all hard. In fact, it should really give the new SPARTANs a real taste of the war.

*****

As the D77-TC Pelican landed, a Warthog Jeep drove up to the returning SPARTANs and marine. A Lieutenant climbed out of the Warthog and greeted the two SPARTANs and the marine with a crisp salute, which the three returned.
“Lieutenant Howard Day. I know it’s been a long night, but I have orders to take both of the SPARTANs to the Aqua level in the facility for a word with the Admiral.”
“No problem.” said King wearily. “Take them, they’re not mine to keep anyways.” He gave a small chortle and walked off to the mess hall. He then turned around to face Fred and Linda. “Hey, join me after for a bite. The night’s still young if you are up for it.”
“No thank you,” replied Linda. “We got more work anyways. Thanks for the offer though.”
“Anytime. Enjoy!” The Warrant Officer walked off.
“Now if you would follow me please.” said the Lieutenant. He led the two SPARTANs inside down an elevator down to the Aqua Test Facility Level. The facility’s PA COM system then called the Lieutenant’s name to the main hall.
“You’ll have to excuse me, I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave.” said Lt. Day. Just keep down this hall and take a right. Um, it’s the fourth door on the left. Good night to both of you.” He gave the SPARTANs a salute and turned around.
Fred and Linda continued down the hall and took a right as said and went into the assigned room, which they were greeted by Vice Admiral Vhenzsky who gave them a salute, which the SPARTANs' returned.
“Would you both like a to take a seat?” asked the Admiral.
“No thank you. I’m afraid the seats won’t be able to take the weight of our suits,” replied Fred.
“I understand. Now, I’m sure you’ve already been debriefed on your purpose here on Earth, am I right?”
“Yes sir.” replied Fred.
“I want you both to supervise the final training of our new SPARTANs. And take them for some hit and run exercises with the Covenant. I’m assuming there are several battalions of Covenant?”
“Yes. Me and Linda were able to eradicate a convoy just hours ago.”
“I understand you’ve been out there hunting for them the past 20 hours already but I need you both to go down to the Weapons Test Facility. I’m sure that the newbies are getting fit with the MJOLNIR Mk VI armor right now.”
“Yes sir. But may I ask how are we going to take them on exercises on the Covenant? From what I see, they’ve broken up on the surface. There are only small traces of battalions”
“Well, you see-”
The Admiral was interrupted when the door of the debriefing room opened. Another SPARTAN came in, except without his armor on. SPARTAN-045 Will.
“Sorry to interrupt, but you called me admiral?”
“Yes, can you please escort your teammates back to the Weapons Test Facility here on Aqua?
“Sure thing.” Will turned to Fred and Linda. “Com’on. Just follow me. I’ll give you the intel on everything so far.”
“Thank you.” Said Admiral Vhenzsky. He gave all three SPARTAN’s a salute and was returned.
Fred and Linda followed Will out of the room.
“So, new guys huh?” asked Linda
“Yup, a smaller group due to lack of time of observation. All twenty-two of them look sharp. They still don‘t know what is feels with these suits on. Nor have they been in real combat.” replied Will.
“Not like what they used to do.”
“So, how are we going to train them?” asked Fred.
Will then handed each of the others a manila folder that contained Intel. “We just spotted a whole gathering of a few battalions of Covenants half a dozen klicks from the city of Desa Cor VI. We have to take them out before they can assault the city.”
“I thought this whole planet was a military installation. Shouldn’t they be able to handle it?” asked Linda.
“The city is unarmed. It is mainly a rest stop for those who need it. No weapons in through the city. There are several gates that surround the city. Guards, emplaced weapons, stuff like that. But it won’t be able to take on four battalions of Covenant. Besides, who else to give this mission to than those who need the experience?” replied Fred.
“Exactly.” said Will. “The only problem we’re having is how to get a group of SPARTANs with half ton battle armor to a drop point without getting spotted.”
“We’ll take a small group at a time.” said Fred. “But until then, focus on the situation at hand. I’m sure we’ll be able to improvise and adapt. As usual of course.”
After a few twists and turns down several corridors full bustling UNSC personnel, Will led the other two SPARTANs to a guarded entrance by two MP’s. Recognizing the three super soldiers, they let them pass.
“Hello Will.” said a cool female voice. “A bit early doing target practice.”
“Nice to see you too Nadir” replied Will.
Nadir, a security AI, then asked for a retinal scans which Will performed.
“Thank you. You may proceed now.” said Nadir after a few seconds of silence.
The two large ironclad doors opened and the three SPARTANs proceeded.
Will said, “Right through here my friends, is the new revival.”
This deviation submitted by:

Ok I swear this is the last time I'm editing this. I just found a huge shitload of typos and mishaps and fragmented sentences. This is the final product Preview is found on google.

So I was bored and was browsing through the fan fic section of dA and saw the lack of Halo fanfics. So I did one of my own. I actually had fun with this and am looking foward to completing this.

A little background to this story. It is Sept 24th 2552. I don't give if you think that's the wrong date cuz you read the novels. I can back my end of my claim. As you may have noticed, the time and date fell back about a week in the novels. It was around Sept 22nd by the time Halo was destroyed. He then went to Reach were Dr Hasley did find a crystal that bent the time in Slipspace. Causing our "anomaly" of our time and shifted back to Sept 7th. The Unyeilding Heirophant was destroyed on Sept 13th and Sept 14 arrived back at Earth. This is about a week + after Linda, fred, Will, And John returned to Earth. Imagine what ONI had to say about the time flux
Enjoy.

NOTE! This Story has no correlation whatsoever to the timeline of HALO 3. The location and other characters in this story remains a work of fiction
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