Aboard the lead Phantom, Rtas Vadum addressed his Sangheili squad. These were his best Elites, all veterans of the Human Covenant War and Flood Covenant War. They had done it all, seen it all.

Rtas began with the usual chant, "When we joined the Covenant, we took an Oath."

"According to our station, all without exception!" the Sangheili chanted.

"On the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons, we swore to uphold the Covenant!" Rtas continued.

"Even till our dying breath!" the Sangheili chanted back.

"Those who break this Oath are Heretics, worthy of neither pity nor mercy, to be beaten down with the unholy humans!" Rtas growled

"We shall grind them into dust!" The Sangheili roared.

"And continue our march, to glorious salvation!" Rtas roared back, as the Phantom approached its landing zone. The stormtroopers in the town were aware of the attack, and fired on the Phantoms. One was hit, and tumbled to the ground in a streak of fire, but the other followed Rtas' in, under the fire, and to the drop site.

"Follow me, brothers," Rtas called, "Into the fray!"

Rtas ignited his energy sword and jumped into the gravity lift as it lowered him to the surface of the planet. His personal energy shield flared before he even saw what was happening or his feet touched the ground. Red bolts of energy he took to be lasers whizzed past him, and he ducked into cover as the Phantom emptied its load. The other Elites found their own cover, but it seemed this drop had been a mistake. The Covenant squad was pinned down and they could not see what was shooting at them.

"Rtas to Arbiter," Rtas called in.

"What do you require, Shipmaster?" the Arbiter asked.

"Something has us pinned down with heavy fire. We're outnumbered here I think. They use laser weapons that do a number on shields. This definitely is not the UNSC," Rtas concluded.

"So we have discovered," Arbiter said, "Do you require reinforcements?"

"Yes," Rtas replied, "We don't need to use our vehicles, just send me some more Phantoms and this outpost will fall."

"I will see to it that you get what you need," Arbiter assured him, "but your location is too hot for me to send anymore Phantoms, I'll need you to clear it out."

"It shall be done," Rtas confirmed.

Rtas cut the transmission and turned to his Elites, still ducked behind cover and awaiting orders, "We shall cleanse this area with our mighty blades, and make it worthy for the Covenant!"

Rtas then sheathed his energy sword and pulled a carbine off his back. He leaped out from behind the rock and charged through the rocky desert towards the outpost. Red lasers whizzed past him or were absorbed by his shields, but now he could clearly see who was responsible. There were beings in full white armor and strange, bucket like helmets atop the wall. His shield flared as more bolts hit him, but still he continued. Rtas used his carbine to pick several enemies off of the wall, but even as he did, the shields on some of his Sangheili cracked and they were felled.

Atop the wall, a First Order scout trooper with a sniper rifle ducked behind cover as green and blue projectiles whizzed past her. She ran behind cover until she reached a position atop one of the outpost's watchtowers. The trooper assigned to it was already dead.

The trooper set up and got on the scope. The aliens were getting closer, but she had time for a few shots. She chose her target, an alien near the front. Her shot hit it solidly on the head. The creature's shields were strong, but her high powered bolt cracked the shield and fried its brain. It fell without a sound. The bright green pulse had to have been seen by the aliens, but surprisingly, she thought, they did not even flinch or move closer to cover. These aliens were either brave, careless or stupid. Maybe even all three.

The trooper picked off another, and this time got a reaction. The alien in the white armor turned and fired several green projectiles at her position. When she ducked back into cover, she looked up at the sky. A gigantic alien ship, the size of a Resurgent Class hung in the air above her. This little outpost would fall, she was sure. SHe just wondered what would happen when they surrendered.

Rtas, after blasting at a sniper, switched back to his energy sword as he approached the wall. He leaped high up the wall and used his energy sword to pull himself up, stabbing into the wall and using it as a ladder.

Rtas climbed over the top of the wall and landed on the walkway. Two of the white armored things stood in front of him, looking surprised. He ended them both with one swing of his blade, as his Elites made it to the top of the wall.

"Destroy those big guns," Rtas commanded, "Our Phantoms cannot land with them online!"

The Elites nodded, and split into two groups, one, following Rtas and the other following a Sangheili Zealot. Led his group out of cover and back into the battle.

"Jedis!" one of the bucket heads yelled, upon seeing him. Rtas cut him down with a swing of his energy swords.

"What's a Jedi?" one of Rtas' Elites asked, while firing his plasma rifle.

"Who knows?" Rtas said, while cutting through more troopers.

As they approached the big gun, resistance intensified. The enemies were setting up more prepared positions. Rtas was forced into cover as the enemies began firing streams of lasers from large, handheld weapons or mounted turrets. A missile of some sort hit nearby, killing two and injuring several more. The Elites were outnumbered, outgunned, and out positioned. Still, Rtas was not worried. Arbiter had given him a fall back plan should this situation arise.

"Sactr Regamee!" Rtas called to his second in command who was still aboard Shadow of Intent, acting as stand-in shipmaster, "We're pinned down behind one of the objectives! We cannot break through! I need you to use a plasma torpedo on these coordinates," Rtas forwarded some battlefield coordinates.

"Stand by for firing," Sactr said.

Rtas cut the transmission and turned to his Elites, "Orbital round incoming! Get back and into cover!"

Rtas led them back to a spot near where they had scaled the wall, then he ducked into cover as a plasma torpedo streaked down from the Shadow of Intent and destroyed the gun. At that time, the leader of the other Elite squad reported the other gun was being abandoned as the enemies fell back into the town. Rtas deduced that any civilians were in hiding or already dead.

"Arbiter!" Rtas hailed his superior, "the objectives are offline, and the path is clear for more Phantoms."

"Good," Arbiter replied, "When they get there, cleanse this place of any resistance, then roundup survivors. We are in desperate need of information. Also, see if you can capture any AIs or computers intact. That second part is non vital though, don't lose anymore Sangheili than you have to."

"Understood," Rtas replied, "Awaiting the Phantoms."

Rtas had his Elites spread out and covered the area, but they met no resistance, this battle was already over. Sure, Rtas thought, they would have to do some nasty building to building fighting, but they were not going to lose.

The Phantoms dropped in Grunt squads and a few Jackals, most with shields, but a couple with beam rifles. The Phantoms then used their powerful chin mounted turrets to blow down the gate so the Grunts could easily enter.

"Welcome to the Covenant's new home," Rtas greeted the Sangheili officer responsible for these squads, "The enemy has been driven into hiding, we need only clear these buildings and victory is ours!"

"The news is most welcome," the officer replied.

"Also, see if you can take some prisoners," Rtas added, "Arbiter wants information."

"It shall be done, Shipmaster," the officer turned and began giving orders to his squad.

Rtas went back to his Elite strike team, "While these Unggoy clear the living spaces, I'm taking you into their headquarters. We're going to capture their leadership!"

Rtas turned and led his squad carefully up the narrow street, the buildings were quiet, as was the base, which was draped in long red banners. As Rtas approached, the white armored beings began coming out of the base. They raised their hands and dropped their weapons. The Arbiter would have his prisoners.

"Clean up here," Rtas turned to one of his Zealots, "I need to get back to the Shadow of Intent."

The Sangheili Zealot nodded his agreement and turned to the other Elites as Rtas returned to a waiting Phantom.

"The Arbiter is expecting your report," the Sangheili pilot said.

"Tell him I am on my way," Rtas replied.

When Rtas arrived on the Shadow of Intent, the Arbiter was waiting on the bridge, "I heard the attack was a success," Arbiter began, "I hear you took a number of prisoners and captured the base intact."

"That is correct," Rtas said.

"The gods will look upon you favorably for this victory," Arbiter said, "As will the Prophets. I have a new mission for you. The Prophets wish to extend our influence in this galaxy. In addition to a shipyard here, they want a buffer to be established by taking all the nearby systems. While it will spread our fleet out, the longer we hold this world the more ships we can build."

"You expect a counterattack?" Rtas asked.

"I do," Arbiter said, "The ship that we destroyed did a vast amount of damage to the shields of the ships they hit, and they only got one volley off. Also, their shipmaster spoke of a First Order. It could have been a bluff, and I would assume everyone thinks their faction is the best, but I believe it is safe to assume that the First Order is at least as strong as the UNSC was, if not more so. In the meantime, I am sending you to this system here. Secure it for the Covenant. You will have the usual ships in attendance."

"Shall we try to remain hidden, or proclaim or presense to the galaxy?" Rtas asked.

"I think we ought to stay quiet, at least until we know what we are up against. Or AIs are going through the enemy's computer as we speak, and my good friend Tartarus is questioning prisoners," Arbiter said.

"Is that sarcasm I detect," Rtas laughed.

"You know I have no love for the Brutes, but I cannot argue with their methods," Arbiter said, "I doubt our prisoners will stay quiet for long."

"I doubt we will have prisoners for very long," Rtas said and they both laughed.

"Good luck, Shipmaster," Arbiter said, "May the gods look fondly upon us."