Chapter 25: Back to Square One

"Hold on everyone," the pilot of their small pelican pressed a few buttons. "We are now beginning atmospheric entry."

The ship's hull began to vibrate dramatically. The outside of the pelican was covered in a red and orange hue as the exterior metal battled the extreme temperatures of the atmosphere. Everyone hung tightly onto the safety bars fastened by their bodies. In a matter of minutes, the light within the seating area went from red to green. They were in the clear. Everyone cheered and looked outside to see the lush blue skies, the vibrant oceans and the little dots they figured were pieces of land. They were almost home.

"Check it out guys!" Donut exclaimed sticking his visor up close to the windows. Sarge leaned over the pink soldier and was relieved to see the familiar island. "Boys, get ready to crack out a can of beer because I am going to be celebrating all night."

"Finally, one plan I can get behind," Grif noted nodding his head. Even after all this time, Sarge felt a little weird to have the orange soldier agree with him. No matter how many times I hear it from him, it always disturbs me right down to my core. "Shut up Grif."

"Is Sheila okay?!" Caboose pushed the others out of the way to get a good look. They were too far away to get a clear picture, but from what they could tell, there were no more bodies on the ground. Strange, someone has been busy cleaning up. Tucker rubbed his chin and finally saw the mechanized killer machine walking out into the open. "There she is!"

Carolina stared at the floor of the pelican the whole time. Her mind was swirling in deep thought. Washington rested a palm on her shoulder and gave a reassuring nod. "Things will be fine, they will understand."

"I hope so," she looked at her family all piling on top of one another to get a clear view much to the annoyance of the pilot. "Whatever it is you are all doing back there, stop it! It's starting to shake the pelican!"

Simmons rummaged in one of his pockets and held up his USB. The base computer will probably need to be rebuilt, or at least upgraded. The pelican began to slow in its descent and with a gentle bump they touched down. The pilot turned off the engines and opened the back door. "Welcome home kiddies."

Sheila awaited the gang ever so excited to see them return. "Welcome back everyone, it is so good to see you all again!"

"Sheila!" Caboose ran out happily towards her and hugged her metallic legs. But just as quickly as he hugged her, he retreated in slight embarrassment and nervousness. Doc stepped out into the heat and stretched his legs. "Well, at least this place hasn't changed much, same old, same old."

"Except for the clear lack of dead bodies!" O'Malley complained finding the lack of corpses to be rather disappointing. "I could have used them for target practice!"

The ship crew looked at one another wondering, he is a medic right? Donut ran outside to eye his garden patch. It was still in tatters. I guess hoping that Sheila might have been able to do something about that was hoping for too much. He noticed the others depart from the ship one by one and let out a long and relieved sigh. They all agreed on one thing and that it was good to be home no matter how shitty it may look to others. Sister jumped out in excitement. "Now I can make even more in my every night rave parties. Remember boys, five bucks per head!"

Washington stood up from his seat and playfully bumped shoulders with Carolina. "Go on, tell them."

She cleared her throat with a heavy feeling in her chest. It was anxiety and the thoughts of disappointment they may have. But she had to do it, she had to tell them. "Ahem, I have something I want to say to you all."

Washington exited the pelican alone. The others stared up her way wondering why she chose to spoke from within the pelican. Carolina looked all around and let out a deep breath. She was ready. "I have decided to not stay here for now."

"You have what?!" Tucker nearly fell down from the surprise. Epsilon suddenly appeared near the group. "This shouldn't be a surprise considering how she left before without a word to you guys. At least this time we are telling you all. I would say this is definitely a step up from before."

"Yeah but still…," Simmons tried to argue only to see her staring his way. The two locked into a deep stare towards one another. Even if they could not see their eyes, he could tell that she was serious and her mind was made up just from her confident body language. "I know what I said was sudden but it is something I need to do."

"Where will you go?" Caboose inquired with an innocent and curious nature. She looked up at the sky and rested her elbows onto her hands. "I don't know, maybe I will go to Earth. I will meet new people, learn new things and just maybe get stronger."

"Okay, have fun!"

Everyone looked at Caboose with their jaws dropped wide open. Tucker stepped forward with his mind still in shock. "You are okay with it Caboose? Even if it means that Church may leave us again?"

"Well it's not like I won't miss him," Caboose explained with an optimistic tone. "But he will be safe with her. And if that is what she wants to do then we should encourage her as friends."

"You know what Caboose," Sarge nodded his head feeling a tear come to his eyes from such mature words. "You have the right idea."

The remaining BGC soldiers looked all around and finally gave in. They began to see how stopping her would be wrong just for their own selfish reasons. Carolina however did not feel satisfied with just that. So she made a promise with the crew she intended to keep no matter the obstacles in life. "Remember, I maybe gone but we will meet again someday. I promise to you all that we will."

"When that day comes, remember," Washington smiled from underneath his helmet. "My offer about the drinks will still stand."

"Thank you Wash," Carolina looked up from him to everyone else. "Thank you everyone. Remember to be strong, for if you are then no force in this universe will be able to stop you. United you are all strong."

Epsilon interjected and deeply agreed to Carolina's words. "Yeah, have faith in one another just like you always have. It will help you see yourself through any situation you can imagine. In the short time I was with you all, I just want to say that I want to get to know you all better next time."

The ship's crew began the take off preparations and she waved a goodbye to them. Caboose stood in front of everyone with his hands by the sides of his mouth and shouted. "This isn't goodbye Carolina!"

She was taken by surprise by such words. That's right. I just won't be here for a while. She happily stopped waving and wished them the best one last time before the doors closed. Over the radio they all heard the familiar and energetic as ever Muffin. "Tata my Blood Gulch hommies! Whereas this adventure comes to an end, another begins with my domination plans. Look out world, here comes Fuhrer Muffins! Mwhahahahha!"

The ship began to take off. Washington looked at the ascending bird and smiled happily for her. Safe travels Carolina. I hope you find what you are looking for on this journey.

"So," Grif looked all around clueless as to what their next actions should be. "What do we do now?"

"I have something I want to do first," Tucker chimed in looking towards a nice secluded and clear area. He went to fetch a large rock and carried it with some help from Washington and Donut. They put the rock down in the designated spot and Tucker carved a few letters onto the rock with his sword. Everyone stood behind Tucker to study the words and smiled proudly. Even if he was an enemy, he did do them good in the end. The rock marked the unofficial grave of Locus. The rock read, 'Here is to Locus, one of the bravest and strongest fighters we have ever known. For it was your courage to change and help us that we are still alive and well today. Thank you Locus and may you find peace in death.'

"It's not much, I know," Tucker rubbed the back of his head as he stood back from the rock. Washington shook his head and noted. "I am sure he would be happy to know that he is being honored like this. Knowing that his memory will be preserved will no doubt make him happy."

"Even if he was a scumbag," Sarge attracted a few glares before he finally clarified. "He was an honorable soldier to the end."

"That he was," Donut agreed happy to see the union amongst the group in such a tender moment. Tucker laughed to himself. "I never could really understand him in the end. He was always that type of complicated guy."

"Yeah," Washington lowered his head reminiscing all the times he interacted with the mercenary. "That he was."

They all lowered their head in a moment of silence for the brave and mysterious to the end mercenary. Their hearts heavy with the guilt of leaving him behind still haunted them, but with this they all hoped for his memory to be preserved through their minds. Through this makeshift grave, they will always pay him the respect and remembrance he earned.

Later that day, the reds and the blues split off into their respective bases. Donut was outside inspecting the garden he had begun to rebuild. He showered the garden patch with heavy amounts of water. You guys must be famished! He thought as the soil absorbed the water very quickly. Sarge sat in his own room recounting his moments of glory on this quest, and equally paying his respect to the dead. He brandished his shotgun in the air. Yup, this was one hell of an adventure.

Grif was in his room, and lazing around as everyone expected. As he put it, he was on a date with a can of cheddar cheese and nachos. Where he even got those things in the middle of a canyon was anyone's best guess at this point. Simmons was busy checking the computer's status as well as the data files. After a quick analysis, the files were all intact and security was still good.

Across the canyon and near blue base, Tucker was doing his best to instruct Caboose in the ways of the alien sword. Though his efforts meant nothing in the face of Caboose's childlike excitement, and Tucker had gotten to the near point of exploding from frustration. Caboose was too busy waving his sword around, trying to show off to Sheila and Freckles. Impress his friend and crush so to say, but it would seem Lopez won't let things go that smoothly for him. Caboose would pout at every attempt the Spanish robot made in disrupting his time with Sheila but quickly revert to his happy go lucky attitude.

Washington accessed the files on their computer through the data disk Locus provided. Such valuable information provided to us intentionally, he was planning on getting us involved all along. It's funny though, if he would have just asked then we might have said yes. I guess he just needed a guarantee. Washington erased the data from the disk and snapped in half. I think it's time we close this chapter for good. Wash walked towards the disposal bin and with clarity he threw the pieces inside it. Rest in peace Locus, and to all those who died in our struggle, rest in peace.

Atop red base, Simmons and Grif stood together looking out into the plain fields. Simmons turned towards Grif. "Hey."

"Yeah?" asked the orange soldier. He had an idea of what Simmons was going to say, but he could only hope for a different conversation. "Do you ever wonder w-"

"Okay, I am going to stop you right there," Grif drew his pistol. "If you finish that sentence, I swear to god I will shoot us both in the head right now."

"That's a little extreme don't you think?"

They looked towards the new voice joining the conversation. It was Tucker. He waved up hoping to have a few words with them. "So I have a little favor to ask. Do you think you can keep Caboose for the night? Oh and I promise he won't break anything with his sword, nothing of that sort."

"Gosh Tucker, you make such a sound argument, how could I say no?" Grif holstered his pistol and waved his hands around. Tucker tilted his head to the side in surprise. "Really?"

"No," Grif shook his head in annoyance. "That was sarcasm Tucker."

"Man, you guys suck!" Tucker muttered something else under his breath as he walked away greatly dissatisfied. Simmons shouted back with good intentions. "Good luck with Caboose!"

But instead he only received a middle finger as a response. Simmons turned back to look at Grif, and then onto the fields. He reached inside his own pocket and gripped the mobile phone. We all made it Elsie, Walters, Ben and Edwards. We are all still alive, and it is thanks to you all. I will never forget you, and neither will I forget what I have learned from my experiences from this journey. I will never give into my hate ever again. For the sake of your memory and my sanity, I make that promise to you all.

In the caves, Doc sat at the very end with O'Malley busy planning in his head. "I shall now begin my conquest to take over this canyon first, and then the world again!"

"Ah, why not focus on making friends O'Malley?" Doc stretched his neck and heard several satisfying cracks.

"Can I explode them into little particles of blood?"


"Then I am not interested."

Doc let out a tired sigh as he stood up and stretched his back. I should go down to see how the garden is doing. Maybe I can finally suggest that new vegetable I have been reading about so much lately. He exited the cool cave to meet the welcomed heat of the sun. He stretched his arms, swung them back and forth. Doc walked out towards the canyon and looked at the two bases from the hill.

"Yes, all of this will be mine!" O'Malley exclaimed only to be pushed back mentally. "No, all of this is good as it is, home sweet home."

In the space region occupied by the 'Rise of Justice' space colony, several more UNSC ships warped in. A great many UNSC pelicans and rescue pods ejected from the space station carrying the station's civilian population onboard. Some also carried the New Order soldiers as prisoners of war to be judged accordingly. The last pelican departing from the station radioed into the main UNSC ship leading the fleet. "That's the last of them sir, all are accounted for according to the colony's database. The sweep team has also gotten everything that they needed from the station."

"Good work," the Captain replied looking towards his weapons officer. "Give the order."

"Give them hell sir," the pilot cut the line before taking off and flying away. Outside on the surface of the station were several explosives and jets. The weapons officer activated the remote explosions and tore the colony up into smaller pieces. The jets activated and drifted the pieces away from one another. The Captain looked at the colony pieces flying like an exploding asteroid and stopped the pieces in their tracks. He motioned for the fleet to prepare their weaponry. "It's time we end this legacy of hate they have built up once and for all."

The ships prepared to fire several missiles. The Captain raised his hand higher. "On my mark!"

This was the end. The legacy Equal worked hard to create was now coming to its own destruction. A legacy of hate was not one that would be tolerated so easily amongst the space pioneers and the UNSC military. May there be someone to still remember those who worked hard for their beliefs here. The Captain paid his last respects to a worthy foe and swung down his arm. "Fire!"

The missiles all shot off in an accurately calculated path. Slowly they progressed to their targets. The Captain watched with great concentration. One of his officers approached from his left. "Sir, what about those on the planet?"

"They will be rescued eventually," the Captain nodded his head in strong belief in their rescue efforts. "Once we know how to get past those dangerous clouds created by the New Order, we will go in for the rescue. No human left behind after all, right?"

"Yes sir," the officer nodded his head with a grateful smile. The missiles finally made contact creating a display of fireworks and debris. "Contact!"

Everyone cheered and all that Equal had worked so hard for finally came to a full circle of destruction. His legacy of hate and revenge now ended.

~ Fin ~ The New Order Trilogy

A/N: That is it, it is done. After quite a few months of working within the Red vs. Blue category, it certainly has made me come to have a greater appreciation for the show itself. What started as dissatisfaction with the official Season 14 grew to three fanfics that I am glad to have written and shared. Not to mention, since I don't write comedy or action as often, it definitely challenged me. I am sure that from my poor attempts at comedy, many of you may have been able to deduce that :).

What did you think of how things played out in the end?

What did you feel about the ending to the trilogy?

For those paying close attention, you may have noticed that I did leave an open story thread for another fanfic in here (a potential expansion). I do have an idea of what I would want to do with it (Carolina's journey). I really loved writing the bits about when Simmons and Carolina interacted with Elsie and Edwards. It was more or less, slice of life material (everyday adventures) imbued with character development that I hope came across well (or well enough at the very least).

So if I ever do write a "Red vs. Blue Season 17", it will no doubt be more or less a slice of life piece. It will still have some action and attempts at comedy but mostly focusing on Carolina's growth as a character. I will probably add other unlikely characters to that as well such as Donut for example. But that will all depend on how serious and dark I make the themes be. Simmons worked really well for this but same may not be true for Donut (in my opinion).

Anyways, before I ramble on anymore. Did you enjoy this trilogy as a package?

For now, I am going to go back to fictionpress and work on my fiction stories there. If you are interested in checking out my work there, I am under the same pen name of "Monty Mason". Drop me a line if you visit :).

As always, thank you for sticking with this through to the end. Thank you for your support and kind readership.

Catch you all some other time. Hope you all have a great day! :D

~ Monty Mason