"There exists a large portion of the galaxy, beyond the Terminus Systems, of seemingly utter blackness. An area that spans five-hundred light years in every direction that seems to be completely devoid of starlight. Officials have dubbed it "The Gap", but have yet to discover the reason behind the utter lack of stars in this region. No Mass Relays that lead into the Gap have been found."



A thought nagged at him. Something familiar...uncanny. A world not really known to him stretched out before his eyes, green and bright and…so alive. There were people, all around him. People who talked without a voice, who laughed without sound. People who were living their lives, unburdened by the ever-present threat that loomed over them.

Alienated. Despised.

It changed. Now they looked at him, their stares hard and unyielding. He saw them move. Their bodies spoke for them, made their intent clear. They were hostile

For a few moments, he struggled to remember why he felt so indifferent towards them. There was an objective he had to complete. A goal he had to obtain. Someone needed him…

With a flash, he remembered who. And the moment that comprehension dawned on him, the people around him moved. Bowed over, fell to the ground and started twisting. Stretched to unnatural proportions, their features became blurry, while the sky itself shimmered and changed.

Images flashed before his eyes.

The alienated. The despised. A sacrifice, born out of shadows and darkness.

Tentacles sprung forth like maggots from a corpse, dark and slimy. Their nightmarish squirming, the unnatural vibrations – they echoed through his armor, gripping at his soul and beckoning him. Whispering to him. Clinging to his thoughts, attempting to break in.

He knew what they were. He had fought them before.

A disgrace. For her glory. Her unstained soul.

The fallen bodies stood, distorted and damaged as they were. Pale, sickly flesh, long tentacles that hung flaccidly by their sides. He was unarmed. A dark, green mist rose from what had once been a peaceful field of grass.

Of course. They would do anything to stop him from finding her.

He wouldn't them.

Unarmed, alone, a foe he could barely understand. Their numbers were overwhelming, their presence alone was enough to make him doubt himself.


He would find her. He had made a promise. And when he made a promise…

…he kept it.


Aboard unidentified derelict

Shepard glared at the shattered tube with mixed feelings. On one hand, this absolutely reeked of a Reaper attack. Samara's suspicions all but confirmed it. On the other…it didn't look like any Reaper tech she had seen before. The lack of nasty tubes and shimmering lights kind of gave it away. Some other experiment? Yet another Cerberus idea gone wrong?

Goddamnit, she had no idea. How had The Illusive Man even discovered this thing?

"I'm going to need more specifics, Samara," said Shepard.

"I am sorry Commander. I cannot explain more than I already have. The nature of this being is different from the races I am familiar with."

That could mean anything. A biotic amped up on Red Sand, soldiers completely dosed on combat-enhancing drugs…hell, it could even be the damn Collectors at this rate. "No reason to assume it's friendly then. Great. Stay sharp people."

She found two bodies that she overlooked earlier. They lay in the room opposite of the one that contained the cryo chamber. Both turian, both lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Killed with blunt force as well.

Shepard shook her head, took Samara and led her away from the odd research room, wondering who the hell would install a lab that close to the mess hall. Asari ergonomics…"Garrus, sound off!"

"I'm here Commander," the turian replied. "It seems all doors on-board the ship are off-limits, but whatever caused the lockdown left the maintenance shafts untouched."

The first good news of the day. "Nice. Switch to your rifles; it's going to be close quarters. Samara, take point."

"Yes Commander."

They obeyed her without question. From the mess hall and deeper into the ship, there were no more signs of combat.

But that quickly changed when Shepard heard a rifle go off in the distance and she pulled her Carnifex out. "Double time it!" she shouted, breaking into a sprint towards the sounds of combat. Automatic clatter of rifles, no explosions. Shouts, screaming.

Jane rounded the corner and ran into another hallway, with several rooms at the sides. Crew quarters. Bullet holes covered the walls at the sides –several long trails of impacts, starting at the bottom and moving up in position. More bodies as well, asari and turian. Dead, bloodied, discarded like broken dolls. Two turians stood at the far end of the hallway, firing at some unseen enemy beyond the corridor.

Blue Suns from the look of it, but at this moment, anything even remotely familiar could be considered an ally.

"Up ahead," Garrus called. "It's part of the crew!"

A barrage of gunfire impacted on the turians, Accurate, powerful. Like a marksman firing on full-auto, not missing one shot. The enemy fire nailed the head of the turian furthest away from Shepard. His kinetic barriers flared briefly before they overloaded, allowing the rounds to punch through his helmet and smear his blood all over the wall.

With a cry of rage, the second turian charged towards the thing that had called his friend, sprinting right out of Shepard's view and into the corridor.

"Wait!" she cried, but it was too late. There was a short, wet crack and the turian's corpse was violently flung back again. It impacted against the wall and fell to the ground, limp and broken.

"We're close Shepard!" Garrus told her. "Let's get this thing!"

Ignoring the fact that her target had just thrown a bloody turian through the air with the greatest of ease, the Commander discarded her krogan-theory completely. Few krogan could aim their rifles that accurately.

"We need to keep moving," Samara urgently said. Her face was calm, but there was something in her voice that was…off.

They had just missed their window and more people had died because of it. "EDI, is there anything you can tell me?"

The Normandy's AI took a while before she replied. In the time EDI took to respond, Shepard had already crossed over to the turian bodies, confirmed their status as KIA and turned her attention to another hallway. "Negative, Commander. Keeping this encrypted channel open is the extent of my possibilities. This system is not secure."

This system WAS not secure…Geth? It could be. But…again, that didn't make a lot of sense. Why steal weapons when they had their own? How did Geth fight in such lopsided melee combat and how could one trooper beat a turian Blue Sun trooper to death in the time it had taken Jane to set three steps?

Geth…krogans, biotics…those possible enemies didn't have anything in common except for the fact that they could kill. And a kid with a gun could kill. To leave this carnage? She had no idea what it was.

"Up ahead," she yelled, falling into a sprint once more. Her boots echoed off of the metal floor as she double-timed it towards the corridor, jumping over the large pool of blood that was the consequence of the turians' attempt to fend off their invader. She was the first to emerge on the other side of the corner and as such, was the first to catch a glimpse of what they were chasing after.

Not asari. Too large, too bulky. Metal plating, dark green-

The thing dove underneath a closing bulkhead and jumped at…something. It was just so fast –no organic could move with such speed. It was gone before she could get a better view of it.

"The bulkhead's closing too fast!" Garrus snapped, close on Shepard's heels. "We're not going to make it!"

"We'll make it!" Snapped Jane. "Samara, buy us some time!"

"On it!" the asari replied, enveloping herself in a corona of biotic power. She bowed her head, just slightly, before she launched herself forwards and slid underneath the rapidly-descending bulkhead. There, she twisted underneath the bulkhead and grabbed a hold of it with her biotics, stopping it from closing all the way.

"Nice work," Shepard said, but before she could say anything else the Justicar looked over her shoulder and released the bulkhead again.

"Commander, it's here." The blue aura of her biotic power faded away and the bulkhead slammed shut, cutting Samara off from the rest of the squad.

Jane nearly growled with frustration. "Damnit! Samara, can you hear me? Samara?"

Something exploded on the other side of the bulkhead with such a force that the Commander could feel the shockwaves washing over her, in spite of the thick metal between her and the source. There was a series of rapid impacts, slower than automatic weapon firing.

Which was then quickly followed by the real automatic weapon firing. Short bursts first, which became longer and longer.

"Garrus, look for another way around. EDI, I need schematics!"

An object of immense power struck the bulkheads, denting it. The air was thick with the latent force of biotic energy, stimulating Shepard as well as alarming her. Most of the Justicar's fights tended to end quickly.

"Commander, I have discovered a maintenance shaft that will allow you to circumvent the bulkhead. It is manually activated. To your left, in one of the rooms behind a console."

"Got it. Garrus, on me!"

Jane didn't waste a second in moving towards the mentioned room. The sounds of combat didn't stop, which could mean a lot of things.

"Shepard, did you see what we're chasing?" Garrus asked.

"A part of it," she replied as she walked into the room and pulled the console aside, revealing a small hatch where she and Garrus could move through. "It was big. Nothing like Jack."

"So how did it get here, anyway? Was it on the derelict?" he paused, clicking his mandibles as he did. "Oh crap…it's not rachni, is it?"

"Sure didn't look like a bug to me," Shepard replied, making her way through the narrow maintenance shaft. Judging by the awkward bumping and breathing behind her, the shaft wasn't made with turians in mind. Which sort of added the question of why there would be turians on this ship at all. "At least, I don't think so. It used a weapon, remember? And the rachni had…other ways of killing."

Like acid, or exploding, or claws or…neutron purges.

She reached the end of the maintenance shaft, much to her relief. She hated having to crawl through cramped quarters like that. It reminded her of Mindoir.

Well, more things reminded her of Mindoir.

Shepard emerged from the improvised hallway on the other side of the bulkhead, sweeping the area with her Carnifex. It looked like a whole team of krogan battlemasters had gone nuts here; the previous firefight had left a mess, but this one? No scorch-marks, just large patches of hull that had been disintegrated. Destroyed by biotics unmatched among most humans. Bullet holes that originated from long bursts of sustained fire. Massive, man-sized dents and holes created by who knew what.

In the middle of the destruction lay Samara, streaks of dark, alien blood gathered underneath her.

"Samara!" Jane rushed towards her fallen ally at once, kneeling next to her and checking for a pulse. It didn't take long to find one, but it was faint.

She immediately applied medi-gel to the asari's wounds, hoping that she could at least prevent further damage from spreading. There was a single, fist-sized imprint left on the asari's chest. Larger than any fist she had seen before. "Can you hear me?"

There was no response. She was out cold.

"I thought asari Justicars were the best of the galaxy?" Garrus demanded. No, not demanded. He sounded angry, enraged even. But none of it was aimed at her. "How the hell did that thing take her down?"

"I don't know," Shepard replied. Her options and ideas had just been thrown out of the airlock; she had no clue what this thing was. Absolutely no clue. "But she needs medical attention. Doctor Chakwas can patch her up."

Gunfire. Again. In the distance. Their enemy was on the move again. She had to put a stop to it.. "Garrus, take Samara back to the Normandy."

Vakarian's mandibles clicked in frustration. Clearly recognizable, this time. "Shepard, I'm not leaving you here with this thing-"

Unfortunately, Shepard could not have that at this moment. "Too bad. I gave you an order and I expect you to follow it."

Garrus looked at the slumped-over Samara and then back at the Commander. She could see the helplessness and anger in his eyes. That didn't help. "As soon as I get Samara to safety…"

"I'll be done by then," Shepard replied with a smirk. "If she wakes up in the meantime, tell her that it was on my order."

"Right. Watch your back Shepard -I'm not losing you again."

Cheeky bastard. "I'm not the one who took a rocket to the face, Vakarian. Now get moving."

"Ouch. Right in the face. Good luck."

Shepard turned around, wondering how she was going to take care of this. An enemy that could take out a Justicar in close combat…if need be, she would evacuate the Frigate and blow it completely to hell. See if getting spaced did anything to this thing.

She ignored the fact that it just might not.


Something was wrong. Badly. Voices, disturbances. His limbs trembled, something nagged at the back of his mind. Like he was still stuck in a dream, unable to wake up.

There was something he needed to do. Something of extreme importance. Where was he?

White light flashed before his eyes, pulling him away from the weary and drowsy state of sleep and towards the arms of reality. Pain on his skin. Irritation from the cryo process. Irrelevant for now.

He blinked and slowly moved his head from the left to the right. The light faded away, but not fast enough. The inside of the cryo tube wasn't as frozen as he had expected. Less ice, more water. A heat-up process that didn't work very well.

His head hurt. Joints ached. Old wounds flared with pain. No exhaustion yet. Good.

Figures moved in front of him. Odd, wavering. Warped by the glass tube. It hadn't opened yet. Why was he being woken? Why had he gone in cryo in the first place?

A face flashed in front of his eyes. Human, yet not human. A female, attractive and familiar. Something was wrong though; she looked distressed. Her purple, near-blue features contorted in confusion and she spoke, yet without sound.

Now he felt a hint of that panic as well. He knew her.


The Master Chief took a deep breath and attempted to move his arms. They responded, but slow. Too slow. His body hadn't been thawed properly. Someone had bodged the process. His mind was awake, but his body was still half-asleep.

He formed a fist with his right hand and slammed it against the inside of the cryo tube, causing the glass to crack. The voices picked up in intensity and started shouting. More figures darted back and forth in front of the cryo tube.

Another strike, this time with his elbow. He smashed straight through the material and shattered it, creating a hole large enough to work with. Several more strikes were needed to fully get rid of the glass and in the meantime, his ears caught several noises as well. Voices yelling in a foreign language, female and male.

Male with a double voice, strangely malformed. Flanged.

The plate gave away under his fourth strike and fell to the ground in pieces. The Chief stepped out of the cryo tube and had to grab its metal frame for support when his knees nearly collapsed. His legs were weak, still asleep.

He banished the discomfort and forced himself upright. He had to –there were hostiles in the room with him even as he attempted to recover.

It never ended. Aliens –strange, one humanoid and one not. The former had blue skin and strange, tentacle-like structures on their scalps. All female. The others were males, with reptile-like faces and fringes on their heads. Sharp teeth, bright eyes and armed.

As the Chief turned to look at them, the females turned around and ran. The aliens did not. They raised their rifles-

-which immediately identified them as hostile. A clear enemy to fight and the Chief moved accordingly. He pushed himself off and away from the tube and stepped in front of the first alien before it could even fully raise its rifle, launching a snap-kick with his right leg and connecting with its protruding chest plate. Its chest cavity collapsed and shattered and the alien was flung across the room.

One hostile down.

The second one came closer to raising his gun before the Master Chief ducked underneath his weapon, tore it from his grasp and crushed it with one hand. Then, he followed up with two strikes to the creature's face and one to the side of its head. The bones in its neck cracked and its head spun in an unnatural direction, but the Chief couldn't risk alien physique surviving a broken neck. He grabbed the alien by the front of its armor and jumped upwards, slamming his knee into its chest to shatter its bones there as well.

It remained limp. Broken necks worked fine.

Throwing the dead body into the room where the other alien had landed, the Chief took a look around the hallway. A path to his left, a path to his right. Voices came from his right though.

If there were hostiles there, he needed to know what he was facing. He wasn't on the Forward Unto Dawn anymore, which meant no ordnance to use. But these weapons that they were using were…odd. Sleek at the top, with a small scope and a non-collapsible stock.

It didn't matter.

The Spartan made his way deeper into the ship, advancing towards the location of more hostile elements. His joints were stiff and though the internal software of his suit indicated a normal temperature, he still felt warmer than normal. That all became irrelevant when he encountered a door with a strange hologram in the middle, which seemed to float in front of the metal.


The hologram was orange, looking somewhat similar to Forerunner tech. But when he touched it, it seemed to reject him. Audibly so.

The Chief observed the locking mechanism for a few moments and was about to attempt a forced entry when the hologram spun around and became green, moments before opening. When it did, it revealed a large room with several rows of tables, connected to a few different rooms.

It also contained a prepared fireteam inside, which sprung at sharp attention the second the door opened. Upon seeing the Spartan, they all raised their weapons.

There were eight hostiles. Four of them were the blue-skinned humanoids with the tentacle-like structure on top of their heads. Again, all female. The other four were the same reptile-like aliens. Two fingers, one opposable thumb. Thick skin with plating, like Grunt carapace.

The blue-skins were armed with a variety of weapons, boxy and large. Two undoubtedly pistols. He should have taken the rifle with him.

The Master Chief took it all in in a split-second, analyzing the situation and deciding on the best course of action. His reflexes kicked in and time seemed to warp. Slowed down, sped up, interchanging. He bent his knees and kicked himself off, crossing the several meters between him and the closest target in less than a second. Just like its predecessor, the reptile-bird creature didn't get the time to fully raise its rifle before the Chief stepped up close and slammed his elbow against its jaw. The force of his 'blow cracked the alien's skull and knocked the alien off-balance, setting it up for a kick against its disproportionately-thin waist.

The rest of the aliens opened fire, riddling the walls and floor with bullets. Wasting no time, the Spartan launched himself towards his next target. Superior reflexes and powerful muscles allowed for him to get out of the way of the hail of fire before any of it could hit him and by the time he had reached the second alien, the rest had yet to shift their fire.

The Chief unleashed a series of rapid jabs at the chest armor of the alien, shattering it completely. As pieces of metal dropped to the ground, he whirled around the thing, grabbed a hold of its right arm and kicked its legs away from underneath its body. The alien smashed to the ground and the arm ripped free from its socket.

Soft. Weaker than Brutes or Elites. No use to waste his strength.

Giving a soft grunt of disapproval, the Chief moved to intercept one of the females as she rushed towards him, enveloping herself in bright, blue light. She moved slow. As if suspended in animation, her intentions simple and easy to read. Blue light concentrating in her right fist, her pistol held slackly in her left. A threat.

The Spartan ducked underneath another burst of fire, stepped close to the blue-skinned alien and side-stepped her barehanded strike. He tested her elbow joint with a straight jab and found that they were much easier to break than even a human's. Her neck was equally vulnerable; a simple jerk from his gauntlet –which obscured half her face- was enough to wrench her neck apart and drop her.

An orb of pulsating, blue light soared towards him. He dove towards the ground and rolled over his shoulders to avoid what had to be a lethal projectile, opening himself up for more gunfire as he did.

The orb smashed against the hull plating, leaving behind a dark, shimmering patch of damaged metal. His shield might not protect him against tech like that.

He jumped to the side to avoid a burst of fire and, content that he now knew how best to take out the alien hostiles, started his bloody work. He whirled around one of the reptilian aliens, ripped a large knife from its armor, grabbed it by its shoulders and shifted his weight to his hind leg, smashing the creature against the metal floor with enough force to dent it. It tried to rise up, but the Chief stomped on its skull once and then it stayed down.

Hefting the large, alien knife, the Master Chief spotted movement in his peripheral vision. He jumped backwards just in time to avoid some heavy projectile from slamming into his side and quickly spun around to face the offending hostile. The duo of females, one with a large rifle and the other with a pistol. Taking his pick, the Chief threw the knife at the left one, skewering her shoulder with the unwieldy blade.

She gave a cry of pain and clutched her shoulder, but before she could do anything else, the Spartan grabbed her by her throat and kicked her partner against the side of her head, forcing her away. He then yanked the knife out of her shoulder and slammed it into her throat, silencing her.

Purple blood, he noticed as he tore the knife free again.

The second female didn't get the chance to get up. The Chief tackled one of the other aliens, crushed its throat with a swift strike and stole its rifle. In the time it took the blue creature to get up, he had already aligned the barrel of the odd rifle with her head.

He pulled the trigger and the alien's head snapped backwards when a burst of fire caught her between the eyes.

With one final enemy remaining, the Chief found himself with a conundrum. He needed intel, but all creatures were hostile. They didn't speak his language. They wouldn't bargain, probably. There was only one objective for him, anyway.


The alien attempted to strike the Spartan with the butt of his gun. The attack was slow and sluggish, but oddly human in nature. The Chief intercepted the weapon mid-strike with one hand, before lashing out with his leg. The creature flew several meters before it impacted on a bullet-riddled wall. It didn't try to get back up again.

He put a burst in its head nonetheless.

Once more, the Master Chief found himself covered in alien blood. Blue, purple. It did little to faze him, but he did wonder where this new enemy came from. It was always the same. There was always a new enemy who took the place of the old one.

But he had a goal. A promise to keep. A friend to save.

With his motivation kept at the front of his mind, the Spartan moved deeper into the ship. There was another hallway behind what had to be the mess hall, but it was locked down as well. A heavy door with an orange light once more.

However, the moment the Chief approached the locked door, the hologram sprang to green and allowed him access. Just like before. Strange. Was this supposed to be motion-triggered?

The doors slid open and he advanced. He detected motion behind him, but he ignored that for the moment, because he also had movement in front of him. An ambush? Another one? Very well. He would play along.

He approached what had to be the crew quarters, with several small rooms at both the left and right side. All of them were filled with enemy combatants.

And as the Chief walked down the hallway, they all emerged from their cover and jumped him. Aliens in yellow-brown, aliens in blue-white, aliens in dark blue. All of them hostile, all of them armed, all of them more susceptible to melee strikes and headshots than Elites. He backed down, opened fire and quickly discovered that the rifle had run dry. When he pulled the trigger, some alarm sounded and what looked like steam emerged. Possible overheating? Like Plasma?

He discarded the now-useless weapon and ripped a new one out of the hands of a blue-skin. She screamed as some of her fingers snapped, but quickly fell quiet when he struck her against the side of her head with the butt of the gun. He then whirled around and opened fire on the other creatures in the hallway, dropping to one knee to present a smaller target. Projectiles slammed against his shields, but the fire that they poured out was inaccurate and uncoordinated.

Left. Right. In the middle. Roundhouse kick at a charging foe. Right, silence.

He moved like a machine, snapping his rifle back and forth. Constantly staying on the move to avoid taking too much fire. When the last alien hit the deck, bleeding from its mouth and lifelessly staring at the ceiling, the Master Chief lowered his rifle and allowed himself a breath of relief. These aliens were easy to take out, but it appeared that they all had shielding. His headshots did not immediately kill, though close quarters combat seemed to be their weakness.

But they all had shielding. The females were humanoid and possessed special abilities. This wasn't Covenant. It couldn't be. Where was he? Why did these things attack him?

There was no way of knowing. And with that in his mind, he continued on. The hostiles that were chasing him were still around somewhere, but he couldn't afford to waste time. Cortana was waiting for him…somewhere. If this vessel had found her, there was no telling what they could do to her.

A door opened from behind him and two more of the reptile-bird things emerged. They started shooting him.

With a weary sigh, the Chief returned fire. His salvo overloaded the shields of one of the creatures and smeared its blood all over the wall, while the other one bellowed in rage and charged at him.

The Chief waited until the alien was close enough and then charged forwards as well, positioning himself low and slamming his elbow into the sternum of the alien. It stumbled, clutching its ruined armor. The Chief then grabbed it by its head and threw it against the blood-smeared wall, finishing it off.

Not wanting to waste more time, he then turned around and quickly moved towards what he hoped was the bridge. Halfway through the hallway he passed underneath a bulkhead, which suddenly emerged from the ceiling and came down towards the floor.

Its timing was suspicious.

Finally, a room that wasn't a hallway. Double-tiered, with small balustrades where enemy infantry could take cover.

Flexing his muscles, the Spartan kicked off from the floor and jumped towards the first floor. At the same time, his motion tracker signaled a hostile right behind him and what felt like a giant, invisible hand pulled itself around his waist and pulled him back towards ground level. The balcony that he had aimed at warped and bent inwards, as if graced by the same thing that had ceased him.

The Chief impacted on the floor again, but he immediately rolled with the force and climbed to his feet again, facing another hostile

She was…different. Unlike the other aliens, unlike any race of the Covenant, this one radiated power. Pure, unbridled force, contained in an icy and calm vessel. Her body was very much human, with the same proportions and features. Fit and lean, well-developed. Her facial proportions were different from the other blue-skins though; her jawline was different and her eyes weren't empty and dull. They were large and sparkled, reflecting the ambient lighting. They looked familiar…how?

It looked like she wore a tiara or some sort. A tattoo made from metal, affixed to her skin. A red and black suit, not at all protective. A large, coruscating flow of blue energy seemed to emerge from her thin frame, like an aura of command. Regal. A prophet that could back up its claims with raw charisma and intimidation alone.

She spoke as she trained her rifle on him. Her voice was flat and emotionless, but the Master Chief did not understand a word that she said.

"Stand down," he barked at her, increasing his grip on the alien weapon in his hands. "And I won't hurt you."

She did not listen to him. The moment he spoke, she lashed out. Her aura exploded outwards with enough force to heavily dent the bulkhead behind her, which had fully sealed the two of them off from the rest. Waves of overpressure washed over the Spartan, but he stood fast and immediately opened fire.

The alien moved out of the way, employing that blue energy to quickly propel herself to the side. He was perfectly capable of keeping up with her though, as she did not move with superhuman speed. Her reflexes were nothing special, either.

It was just that her attacks were so powerful. She was ripping this atrium-room completely apart,

The bullets impacted on her shields, but did nothing to stop her. Her shields were stronger. Melee combat it would be.

The alien enveloped herself in more blue light and unleashed a powerful shockwave that damn near tore the floor apart. The Chief kicked off and jumped backwards, landing on the first floor once more. Her abilities could twist and destroy metal the moment they touched it.

He advanced along the catwalk, returning fire to the powerful alien in the hopes of whittling her shields down. Eventually, she unleashed several bolts of blue energy that disintegrated the floor underneath his feet.

The Chief jumped down, ducked low to dodge another searing wave of blue energy and then rolled aside when the spheres suddenly arced in the sky, impacting on his suit and nearly knocking his shields flat.

But he kept moving onwards and from the looks of it, the woman did not expect that. Her eyes widened when she saw him take her hits and advance in spite of that and by the time she had cycled her rifle again, it was too late.

The first few strikes she managed to keep up with him either dodging or dissipating his force with that strange energy manipulation. When he took a large step forwards and pretended to throw a hook at her face, she leant backwards to avoid his gauntlet-

- allowing him to seize her arm, dive underneath it and pin it behind her back. Then, he pulled her towards him and slammed her on the ground hard enough to dent the metal.

She did not get back up again.

The Chief frowned, wondering why these aliens looked so much like humans. None of the Covenant races looked so much like his people than these creatures did. There had to be something here he was missing.

The alien was still breathing; her chest was slowly rising and falling. Perhaps that was for the better; once he found Cortana, she might be able to get something useful out of a live specimen.

Just had to find her first. Find her, and then get away from wherever they were and get back to UNSC-controlled space.

He wouldn't let her down again.


"The vast, mysterious swath of space beyond the Terminus Systems had eluded the Citadel Council for centuries. Many erudite explorers have attempted to cross the Terminus Systems in an attempt to discover just what might await them on the other side of the galaxy. Few of these explorers ever return. Those who survive their journey, often return with wildly varying stories. A single fact always connects these accounts: there are no Mass Relays leading into this section of space.