Hello! Ian Otter here. I'm back! (sort of)

For those of you who read my last story, Missing in Action, you'll know that the last five chapters I posted were not chapters per se, but one-shots involving characters from that story. In those one-shots, I was trying different things and writing techniques. This one-shot is in a similar vein to those one-shots only, it's not related to Missing in Action in the least bit which is why I'm posting this as a standalone as opposed to attaching it at the end of that story. As a result, reading my other stories is not required.

The background behind this story is pretty similar. When I was writing Missing in Action, I noticed in most chapters, I had a tendency to be overly verbose, which is weird to me because I'm normally not like that. The point of this one-shot was really just to see if I could actually write a short story that could still be somewhat decent. I'll leave it to you readers to decide.

The idea behind this story was inspired by a Halo/Mass Effect crossover fanfiction that I read once (which one, I can't recall unfortunately.) In that story, Noble VI ends up in the Mass Effect universe and at one point during the story, the Mass Effect characters mistakenly come under the impression that Noble VI's call sign was actually his name, not his designation. I don't know why, but for some reason that idea amused me so I decided to expand on it a bit. I ended up making Noble VI a woman in this story because I couldn't think of a man's name that would normally be shortened to "Vi."

Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy. As always, thanks for stopping by!


Noble, Vi

The sound of her breathing, coming in and out of her lungs in short spurts, echoed in her ears, drowning out all other sounds. Her blood was like fire, burning, writhing its way through her body before erupting out in short squirts from... everywhere.

The vivid red liquid splattered to the ground, creating a stark contrast in color with the dirt covered ground. She stared at the sight; that was all she do anymore. Stare and wait for the cold embrace of death.

She wasn't naive. She'd been in the business long enough. She'd seen people die. Good people. The best people. Her friends. Her family.

She'd been wounded before. She'd watched, just like she did now, as her blood had seeped out of a hole that didn't belong. Like grains in a sand dial, each drop of blood, what? A minute? A day? A year of her life, dripping away with each drop?

And then she had killed. God knew she had killed. How many? She would never know. But it was not enough. It was never enough.

And yet, despite all this, despite everything she had gone through, she had never quite shaken the feeling that she was special. That she was destined for something.

And yet, here she was.

It only went to show how unpredictable life really was. It didn't matter how strong you were. How fast. How smart. All it took was one.

One slip-up.

One mistake.

And now...

"Wort wort wort!"

…her world had just ended.

XXXXX

She was born Viola Noble. No middle name but since she was little, so many people called her "Vi" that might as well have been it. She had a father. She had a mother. She had two brothers. And that was all she remember.

She couldn't remember their names.

She couldn't remember their faces.

And on some rare occasions, she couldn't remember losing them.

She could have looked them up. She had the security clearance. And she had a name. It wasn't much. But it was more than what some of the other kids had.

But what would the point be?

The Noble part of her name died when the rest of her family did. Died, along with 1.7 billion other people when the Covenant turned their colony into glass.

The Viola part died when the men in uniform came to her. Found her and offered her a chance at revenge.

Revenge.

She had only been six years and three days old. Alive for only six years and three days and she was already filled with so much hatred, she was willing to give up everything for some vague concept of revenge.

Of course, what was left to give when you've already lost your soul?

She was given a new name. B312. And she was given another family. Kids like her. Looking and hoping for a chance for revenge. No matter what it took. Because at the end of the day, that was all they had.

But these kids weren't her family. Weren't able to fill the hole in her chest where her heart used to be. Comrades? Certainly. Friends? Maybe. But family?

In hindsight, it was probably a good thing she never got too attached to them. Because when they left to go die and she was left alone again, she felt... nothing. No pain, no sorrow.

She ended up getting transferred. Place under the directly command of one Colonel Ackerson. And then she told to kill. Humans.

At first she was upset. It had startled her when she identified that emotion. She didn't think she had any left.

But upset she was. After all, she had signed up to kill aliens, not humans. But after she botched her first mission, she realized what this was. It was a test. Like that ones Senior Chief Mendoza used to give. It was what life was all really about when you thought about it; one test after another. You either succeeded, or you didn't. And she had always been a winner.

It didn't take long for her to get noticed. And soon, people in the know began to whisper about her. About her and similarities to another one like her. A certain green clad warrior demon.

She heard the whispers of course. It was impossible not to. They surrounded her like ghosts.

And of course she had heard about Him. Everyone had, even civilians.

But she paid no mind to the whispers. They were both warriors, but that was where the similarities ended. Perhaps one day she could match his skill on the battlefield. But until then, she would keep fighting her battles.

And so she did.

Entire militias disappeared overnight by her hand. Entire armies. The bodies piled up and all the while, she wondered when she would know if she had passed the test.

Until one day, she did.

There was no ceremony. No warning. Only a simple message that said: "transferred..."

...to a team.

She wasn't sure how she felt about that. She'd been fighting by herself for so long, she wasn't sure how she would react around others. Others like her.

But then she found what the team was called. And what her call sign was to be

Noble Team. And she was to be Noble Six. Or, as how it was actually written out:

Noble VI.

And just like that, she had a name again.

XXXXX

It wasn't easy fitting in at first. The team had clearly lost someone important to them and they didn't appreciate this newcomer, this... stranger, taking his place.

For her part, she had a hard time remembering she no longer had to rely on herself, that she had others. Others to watch her back. Others to catch her when she fell. Others to help pick her back up.

But they managed to work things out and soon, she was discovering her family all over again.

Carter was like her father: firm, confident, and strong.

Kat was her mother: quick, wise, and always making plans.

Jun was like her younger brother: quiet, brooding, but always there.

Emile was like the baby of the family: loud, obnoxious, and yet stubborn in the best ways.

And then there was Jorge.

At first she wasn't sure how he fit in. But then she realized:

He was her friend. And that was enough.

And then just like that, she had a family again.

Just like that, she was home.

Home.

Now that was a word she hadn't used in a very long time.

...but just like the candle that burned the brightest, it wasn't to last.

XXXXX

Her new family fade away just as quickly as her first. First Jorge died. Then Kat. Jun. Carter. And when Emile's body fell to the ground, and she could no longer see his vitals, she found herself alone. Again.

But time it felt different.

This time, she knew what it was like to have a family.

To have friends.

To have loved and been loved.

And as death surrounded her once more, she realized something:

This is what she had been fighting for.

This was the reason she had survived for so long.

This is what she had been waiting for.

This right here.

This exact moment.

This was her destiny.

XXXXX

The sound of her breathing, coming in and out of her lungs in short spurts, echoed in her ears, drowning out all other sounds. Her blood was like fire, burning, writhing its way through her body before erupting out in short squirts from... everywhere.

She laid there, her blood dripping out like grains from a sand dial, and watched as the specter of death loom over her.

Watched as death raise her scythe for the last time.

And as she started to bring it down, the girl formerly known as Viola Noble, closed her eyes...

...and let the darkness envelope her.