Now there's a bizarre sight, Captain Thomas Lasky thought to himself.

The soldier was over seven feet tall. He was clad in state-of-the-art MJOLNIR mark VI power armor. His body was enhanced by numerous augmentations provided by the Spartan II program making him stronger, faster, and smarter than a normal human was capable of becoming. He was the most experienced non-commissioned officer in the United Nations Space Command and had completed more operations, and killed more enemies, than any ten regular UNSC marines. His alien enemies called him "demon," and he had certainly earned that name as he regularly stole their victories from them and foiled their goal of human extinction. He was Master Chief Petty Officer Sierra 117, commonly known as the Master Chief, and he had saved the human race from annihilation more times than Lasky could count. He was a legend.

And he was currently standing in front of one of the space station's viewports, seemingly stargazing, and looking about as lost as a human possibly could.

Lasky had no idea what to do. How do you comfort a super-soldier? It's not like there was much precedent for his loss, either. Cortana, the artificial intelligence that had lived inside the Master Chief's armor and been among his closest companions, had recently died.

It was not as if it was unexpected. Smart AIs like Cortana only had a lifespan of about seven years before they went insane and ceased to function, a condition politely referred to as "rampancy." Still, every human alive had to die eventually, and it's not like knowing that fact made dealing with traditional "death" any easier.

Captain Lasky shook his head and decided to just improvise. "Mind if I join you?" he asked.

"Of course not, sir," the non-com said, saluting the commissioned officer.

Lasky smiled.

"At ease, Chief," he said, "It feels kinda odd to hear you call me 'Sir'." He would never admit it to anyone, but Captain Lasky looked up to the Master Chief. He had ever since the Chief had saved his life over 20 years before when Lasky had been just a fresh-faced cadet. It was strange to think that now the Master Chief may actually need his help.

"Beautiful, isn't she?" Captain Lasky said, referring to the earth, visible on the left side of the viewport. "I don't get to see her often enough. I grew up on New Harmony, attended Corbulo Military Academy. I never saw Earth in person until I was an adult, but...I still think of her as home." Lasky paused, uncertain of what to say next. The Spartan gave him no leads, continuing to stare out the viewport.

"You don't talk much, do you?" Lasky asked awkwardly, trying to inject a bit of levity into the conversation and failing miserably. He decided to drop the pretense and just be honest.

"Chief, I won't pretend to know how you feel. I've lost people I care about but...never anything like what you're going through," he said.

The Master Chief responded in a quiet, even voice which nonetheless startled Lasky.

"Our duty as soldiers is to protect humanity. Whatever the cost."

The relatively young Captain had no idea how to respond to that. He supposed it might be a reasonable way to cope with loss, but it sounded so...empty. Inhuman. Like something a robot would say. Even worse, he got the distinct impression that the man next to him didn't really believe it either.

"You say that like soldiers and humanity are two different things. Soldier's aren't machines. We're just people." The Master Chief quickly turned his head to look at Lasky. It was the most significant movement that he had made since the well-meaning officer had approached him.

Even though Lasky couldn't see his face behind the polarized faceplate, he could tell that the Master Chief was troubled by what he said. He decided it might be best to leave the Spartan alone now, hoping that his words would help the other man work through his grief in a more healthy mindset.

"I'll let you have the deck to yourself," Captain Lasky said before walking off.

Several minutes went by in absolute silence, the wearied super-soldier seemingly staring out into space.

"She said that to me once," John-117 said in a quiet voice no one could hear, "about being a machine."

So I bought Halo 5, played through it, and...yeah. Call me thoroughly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the game was fun to play but the writing... I think that the game missed so many fantastic storytelling opportunities in regard to the characters, the universe, and advancing the franchise as a whole. Not to mention that the entire add campaign was a lie. It emphasized an adversarial relationship between the Master Chief and Agent Locke, the nefarious nature of ONI, and the development of Blue Team rebelling against orders, all things that weren't present in the game. The adds suggested that Locke was out to kill the Chief to prevent him from doing something ONI didn't like and that's just not what happens. Locke only wants to capture the Chief and stop the Guardians and that's not what we were led to believe, not to mention it's significantly less interesting. And don't even get me started on what they did with Cortana. So, this is going to be my attempt to make things right. I'm going to be deviating pretty heavily from the canon story and trying to deliver what I feel the add campaign promised. Hopefully I'll be able to do the characters and the universe that I have loved for over ten years justice. Reviews and feedback are always appreciated provided they are constructive. I want to get this right and I appreciate any help you can offer.