Date and location: Classified, ONI Section 2.

Six moved slowly across a ridge to get a better look at the rebel camp. The jungle covering made it hard for her to see them, as did the thermals. But her motion tracker managed to pick them out from the treeline. She wasn't much of a sniper, but like all Spartans she trained with every weapon that the UNSC could get their hands on. In this case, she held onto a silenced sniper rifle with a modified scope to pick out each one of the rebels in the camp.

A silenced SMG was also attached to her leg, in case of those close quarter encounters. As she looked down the scope, she could make out the rebel troopers milling about. Moving weapons ammo and fuel. As they moved, she followed them with her rifle trying to get a good idea about what the camp looked like. Six's orders were to find the best place to designate for an airstrike, then make sure everyone in the base is dead.

Her scope acted as that laser designator, but she only wanted to turn it on when she had a chance for secondary explosions to wipe out the base. The small group who was carrying the ammo took it to a hut at the side of the compound and the fuel to another. A motor pool sat to the north, close to the fuel dump. She calculated where to place the laser, her eyes then settled on a hut close to all three main targets that would cause secondary explosions and wipe out the camp completely.

She then tapped the laser on her scope and painted the hut and waited. The weapon in her hand was as stable as humanly possible. Slowly she controlled her breathing to control how little the weapon moved. The high calibre weapon wasn't light by any means, that made it harder for her to keep the weapon level. But her training and enhanced body gave her the necessary tools to keep it stable.

The air then cracked as a short from a railgun hit the target. The blast then caused a chain reaction that took out the ammo dump, motor pool and fuel dump. One single blast levelled the entire compound and set parts of the surrounding area on fire. With that done, Six slung the rifle over her back and began to climb down the cliff face to the ground. As soon as her feet hit the dirt, she pulled up her SMG and began to move towards the compound. She kept her pace study so as not to disturb the wildlife too much. But her combined weight from her and her amour made the wood crack under her, so steal was hard to maintain.

It didn't take long for her to get to the compound. She stepped onto the Ash covered ground looking at the devastation. Dead bodies filled the area, men and women trying to escape the blast and fire. The heat and fire were still intense as the fuel and ammo burned with the former still popping off, but harmlessly as the casings were badly damaged. As she surveyed the scene she stopped as she looked at the hut she targeted. Inside were the bodies of children, burned and charred from the blast she targeted on them.

She dropped her weapon and approached the bodies. All of them were in some kind of school as there was the form of an adult at the far end. There were about 20 children inside the hut, 20 lives she snuffed out, 20 innocence she killed without a second thought. Reaching up, she took off her helmet and looked at the bodies that lay before her. Tears began to fall down her face as what she did finally dawned upon her.

OOOOO some time later.

The assault rifle barked as Six pulled the trigger. Four rounds hit the target, but not the bullseye. She fired again with another four-round burst, and another until the magazine was empty. Lowering the weapon, she brought the target to her. All rounds hit, each one enough to kill a human, maybe not so much for aliens. She ejected the spent magazine and placed both her rifle and magazine on the range stand and sighed.

"Fucking ONI," she muttered before walking out of the armoury.

"Will Spartan Erica B312 report to the briefing room," a voice announced.

Six said nothing as she made her way to the indicated room. It opened as she approached. An ONI spook was already sitting at the table with a pile of files in front of him. The door locked behind six as she sat.

"So, what can ONI do for you?" the spook asked not looking up from one of the reports he was reading.

"I want out of the headhunters," she said blandly.

That made him look up. "Oh, why?"

"I'm done being your executioner," she said, venom dripping from her lips.

"You aren't an…" he tried to see but Six quickly silenced him.

"Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes," she shot. "That base, wasn't an insurgent base, was it?"

"Spartan 312, that base was made up of rebels," the Oni sook replied.

"It had children as well," she shot back. "All of the bases I've been to, not once did they have children inside. Not one, and no, they weren't hostages,"

"Spartan 312, you are out of line," he said shooting her his best intimidating glare.

Six, didn't even react. "That's the pot calling the kettle black," she stood. "Do your own dirty work, form this point on: I will not take any orders from ONI," she walked out leaving.

The spook just sat there for a moment before writing down: Recommend transfer to Noble 6.

OOOOO September 7th 2552, Location Unknown, Paris-class frigate Dire-Wolf.

Six entered the bridge of the frigate as the ship exited slipsapce. But as it did there was a jerk and a loud groan of metal.

"That didn't sound good," Lynch muttered as he clicked onto the intercom for engineering. "Chief, what's happening down there?"

"The slipsapce drive is shot," he said making eyes look to one another. "We can get three, maybe four jumps out of the thing before we need to replace it. This ship was due for a major retrofit before we left,"

"Shit," Lynch muttered rubbing his hand over his short silver-grey hair. "That's complicates things,"

Rose and Lee entered behind Six as Lynch turned his chair to face the newcomers and explained the problem.

"Then what do we do?" Rose asked.

"That's easy, we head to Earth," Kai said, but the mood of the room made it clear the idea was too well liked.

"No," was Six said making eyes turn to her. "Reach was the last bastion before Earth. Setting aside my own bias, the Covenant will be heading towards Earth, all there is left to do is survive,"

"As much as I want to go back to Earth," Lynch said. "I agree, for now lets us survive,"

Kai looked around as the faces who were nodding. "Have all of you lost your minds?" he asked. "We are going to Earth,"

"Really?" Lynch asked, not fazed by the Spartan. "And just how are you doing to do that since we all agreed?"

Kai just pulled out a pistol and aimed it at one of the bridge crew. Everyone who had a weapon pulled it, but were hesitant at who to aim it at.

"This is not a democracy," he declared. "We are going back to Earth! Anyone who disobeys will be executed,"

Dan tapped Kai's shoulder making the Spartan look towards him before his head exploded. Kai fell down dead with grey matter leaking from the big hole in his head.

"Well…" Lee said after a moment of surprise. "That takes care of that, but what know,"

"We need a new slip-space drive either way," Lynch said.

"Agreed," Rose nodded not taking her eyes of the dead Spartan. "I'll see if anyone knows about any pirate stations,"

"I'll make a list of ONI bases," Six with Dan nodding. "But we'll have to go for the one's least used so we don't run into trouble,"

"Good plan," Lynch nodded. "We'll keep and eye out," he then looked to the body on the floor. "Going to do anything with that?"

"Dan and I will get him out of the suit and toss his body into space," Six said. "We need spare parts for our armour,"

Lynch nodded. "Just get him out and clean up the mess,"

OOOOO present

John and Kelly made their way back home after the session they went to. "Well, that was interesting," John muttered.

"Yeah," his sister shrugged as she drove the car. "There tends to be less people every month as they find their true calling,"

John nodded. "I understand that," he looked over to her. "What made you decide to quit fighting?"

Kelly fell silent for a moment. "I just didn't see the point anymore," she admitted. "For every grunt, every rebel it seems that there was two more to take it's place. In the end, I just got tired of it all. Never ending war… it became clear that what I was doing wasn't doing much to bring peace to the galaxy. I discovered that there were other things to life than just fighting,"

"Like being a mother," John smiled.

"That came later down the line," Kelly smiled. "The years before I even met Alex, I was just on this life binge. Cinemas, parties, disco's, a lot of things. Living life before I hit a low point and began to sulk. That's when I met Alex," her expression became blissful, "Ahh those days,"

John just nodded at that. "I think I understand," he responded, to which Kelly just patted his arm.

"No, you don't," she said. "But that's ok, you haven't been though the same thing the rest of us have,"

Kelly then pulled into the parking section of Spartan hights. Once she parked up, and the two exited, Kelly spied a blue-black truck off to the side. She smiled as both she and John made their way up to her flat. As soon as she opened the door, Johns eyes widened as he saw two people waiting in the living room for him. The two looked toward him, one of them having a big smile on his face.

"And here's our brother," Fred said as he got up and met John inside the apartment with a hug. "Frozen for 15 years, and still doesn't look a day over 40,"

John just stifled a scoff and hugged his bother. "It's good to see you Fred, Linda,"

The silent sniper smiled and nodded as she drank her tea. Fred broke the hug and brought Kelly and John to the living room. The two newcomers sat down as Linda poured some tea into two cups and handed them to John and Kelly.

"So," Fred asked. "How's things?"

"Rough," John muttered as he took a sip of tea. "I woke up about a week ago," he shook his head. "Everything that happened in the year's I've been asleep…. It's overwhelming,"

"I… don't know how to relate," Fred nodded.

"Neither can I," Linda added as she took a sip of her own.

John nodded as he took his bother and sister in. Both hadn't changed much. Fred was still his quick-witted self and Linda was still the silent killer. But their clothing had changed. While John still wore his armour, Fred and Linda however didn't wear their armour. Fred wore just a leather hooded jacket and jeans, while Linda wore more baggy clothing giving her a monk like look.

He made a mental note to get some new clothing.

"But it's still good o see you all," John smiled.

"Well, you're going to see us for a long time," Fred smiled as he handed John a letter.

"Orders?" the chief asked with a nod.

"Me and Linda have been assigned to Special Task Force Blue as Co-commanders," Fred said.

John smiled. "So Blue is more or less complete,"

OOOOO

Katarina sat in front of a computer and slowly typed something onto it as Parisa walked into the room.

"Key Pari," Kat said not taking her eyes of the screen in front of her.

"Kat," Parisa nodded as she walked up next to the chief scientist and looked to a suspended cylindrical object in the middle of the room.

The room was set out in a crescent like shape with a central pillar in the middle. Around it was a set of lockers, each one containing a set of MJOLNIR like armour in them. Each one a different colour, while the middle one was the only one that was a different armour set. That being primarily a set of white EVA armour with the words 'Maine' over the locker.

"How's everything going?" Parisa asked.

"Slowly," Kat said as she got up and walked up next to the President. "That Church guy knew what he was doing, but…" she shook her head. "I think he was going about it the wrong way. Not to mention what happened to his wife didn't help," she walked up to the central pillar. "At least the equipment in use was well made,"

"Despite the fact they needed AI to operate," Parisa added with Kat nodding.

"Yeah," the doctor muttered. "How I wish Halsey was still around,"

"She's likely be in chains the rest of her life," Parisa commented. "If I was feeling generous," she walked up to Kat. "How much longer? We don't have a lot of time,"

"Not much longer," Kat said as she turned to look at the President. "The shields will be ready in two weeks, after that…. I cannot say which one will be complete," to which Parisa just nodded.

"Prioritise," the President said as she walked out. "As you know, you've got a blank check, use it well," she then left the lab leaving Kat alone with her thoughts.

Kat turned to look at the object in the middle of the room with a sigh. "Just what are you trying to tell me?" she asked.