0558 hours, August 30, 2552

"Sir," Kelly said. "Permission to lead the space-op."

John pondered for a second. He had originally intended to lead, but...

"Fred," he said, "You lead Red Team. I'm leading Blue. Kelly and James, you're with me."

Kelly was a proficient sniper, and her speed would prove more than invaluable on this mission. And he picked James because James never gave up; even when his hand had been burned off, he'd shrugged off the shock - at least for a while - helped them fight the Covenant Behemoths in Sigma Octanus IV. He'd need that kind of determination on this mission...


"Blue-Two!" John yelled. "I said, fall back!"A shower of needles sped towards him. John was about to move when something else flashed past him. Kelly.

She moved faster than ever before, fired at the crystalline projectiles, shattering a few and dropped an explosive behind her.

There was a bang and the shock wave hit her, accelerated her, and collided with James, their momentum carrying them fifty metres forward.

The rest of the needles hit the C12 and detonated. A subsonic fist slammed into John, pushing him backwards. The 20 kilograms of C12 detonated the Pelican, leaving a crater behind.

Raising his M6D and activating the scope, he fired into the aliens. The bullets richioted off their shields. More Covenant landing pod slammed into the space station. "Let's get out of here," yelled Kelly. Indicating towards the crater where the Pelican had been, John commented, "We have a way in."Kelly and James fired their thruster packs into Space Station Gamma. John followed them, firing at the hundreds of Elites and Jackals swarming towards them...


His tracker detected a motion behind Kelly. He had to warn her...

A plasma ball slammed into her back. She dropped, rolled and stepped back, MA5B up and firing. Two jackals toppled off the upper ledge and splattered on the floor.

Kelly entered the Pelican. "We're home free," she said.

James took the control of the Pelican and giving the engines a long burn, rocketed out of the Station.

Kelly took off her helmet as soon as the Pelican pressurized. A trickle of blood seeped out of her mouth. "Did we win?" she gasped.

John nodded. "I got the database."

Kelly smiled. "As always."

Captain Keyes sent a voice transmission through the COM, and instantly John was alert. He heard Fred's voice. "...Bad... Reactor number three... Set off those charges!... Be advised... Ground-side reactors falling. Too many. We'll have to use the nukes..."

Kelly's eyes mirrored his horror. Peering out the blood tray, John saw the multiple Cruisers casually sailing over the planet, glassing it.

He'd seen it millions of times before... But now his people were on it. dropship entered the Pillar of Autumns bay.

John tersely said to Kelly and James, "Prep the cryotubes. I'll talk to the Captain."

They nodded. They'd seen and understood, too.


Captain Keyes nodded to John on the bridge. "We won't be picking them up," he said quietly. John took a deep breath."Permission to take a dropship and retrieve them, sir."

Keyes fiddled with his pipe. "I'm sorry, Master Chief, but you three can't tackle what twenty-three can't."John nodded. "I understand," he muttered bitterly.

Cortana began sorting the Nav-Data onto Ensign Lovell's console. Keyes turned to him."Get us out of here, Lovell."

Space swirled around the Autumn as she disappeared.

John looked out into the inky darkness of no-where and found Kelly at his side. She looked up to him.

"Dr. Halsey's mission is even more important, sir." she said softly. John didn't respond. "John, we are humanity's last hope." John wondered about Kelly calling him "John" instead of sir. More personal, he decided. And he liked that.

Turning towards the cryobay, John nodded. "At least we're alive. I'm going to win this war."

"No matter what it takes," Kelly finished for him.

John stared at his reflection on the glass cryopod. The Master Chief Petty Officer Sierra 117. Not John.

His Spartans were his last link back to his old life. And it had been broken. Except for James... And Kelly. He pondered this too.

Did he love Kelly? Not just as a friend or a brother. He remembered how they had been best friends before Sam died. And now the rest of them; not only Sam, but Linda, Fred... Dr. Halsey. They were all gone. Glassed. Burnt to nothingness.

Slowly, he took off his armour, revealing the man under it. Not Master Chief. John.

He looked into the now closing cryotubes next to him. Kelly and James's bodies. Not just Spartans. People. His friends.

He stepped into the cryotube and dreamed of a life without war. Of peace. Something he could only begin to imagine.

The tube hissed shut.

Hello everyone again! I'm writing this after firerwolf told me it was healthy to slow down bit. This was intended to be a once on spinoff the Fall of Reach, but turn it into a real story. Thanx to all viewers. Please R&R. If there are problems, tell me. I will fix. Kimjel, out.

An Anon. guest told me this chapter failed. It did. I couldn't be stuffed to retype everything out of the Fall of Reach. Next chapters will be all my work and hopefully better. Kimjel, out.