Chapter 9: Casualties

"What the hell happened here?" echoed the whisper from Tucker's lips. The Warthogs came to a gentle stop at the destroyed entrance to the village. Even from here they could feel the ominous air inside it. Simmons ordered for them all to depart and asked for their AI companions to lay out the land they were dealing with.

"One moment please," Delta requested as they all accessed the Ariel footage from the pelican before. Taking the footage, Delta broke it down into binary digits which he then allowed for others to use for mapping the terrain out grid by grid. Sarge rubbed his chin piece with a heavy gruff. "I don't know if we will be able to get in there from the looks of things."

"We have to," said one of the ODSTs. "We don't exactly have a choice. Orders are absolute!"

"Maybe to you three," snickered Grif earning a hardened and dangerous glare from them. The three walked all around the orange one as if separating him from his pack to see him become a helpless puppy, an easy target. "I don't know about you guys, but I like the idea of not having a dishonorable discharge stain on my record. Maybe you don't care, but we do. Some of us have a life beyond this armor, a life we want to be able to live without trouble again."

"Listen here you-," Grif was cut short as Simmons with a gentle and reassuring grip shook his head. "Let it go, we are all here to do a job and we will get it done. We can talk about these things once we are done here. Is that understood by everyone here?!"

Over the radio, they heard the cheery familiar voice of the pelican pilot. "Stop fighting down their beauties, it breaks my youth filled heart."

"I got this Muffins," Simmons reassured and blocked the line before hearing anything he may regret having his ears encounter. Donut looked up in the air as he heard the pelican return. From above, at the top of his lungs, they could all hear the crazy German man. "Why did you block my number?!"

"Yeah, you know, we may need him," Donut suggested as he also referred to the passenger aboard the pelican. Simmons was astute enough to note that their insane doctor companion was still able to communicate. "As for Muffins, let's just say I needed some space from him."

"You have like I don't know," Grif looked up from the ground. "Like 3000 meters of space from him. How much more do you need you selfish bastard?"

"Grif, do you want to be the one leading us inside the village?" and Simmons' friend found his voice to have sailed off far away. "I thought so Grif, I thought so."

"Caboose, you stay here," said Tucker as he checked his rifle. Caboose immediately felt the uneasiness in his friend's tone and pushed for a better excuse to tell him to remain behind. Church did not want for Caboose to follow either, but with both Iowa and Caboose on their case, it made it hard for them to come up with compelling reasons. The ODSTs went ahead of anyone else. If no one was willing to take the first step, then they were ready to do so everytime. That is after all their training, to step into the face of danger with iron feet and come out alive to the other side laughing. Simmons clapped his hands as he looked at the ODSTs now entering the village with a worn out, yet irritated feeling. "Quit your arguing, and where do you three think you are going? I'm in charge here!"

"Whatever your say brave maroon leader," one of them flicked him off as they entered followed by the rest. Grif wanted to hold back his sister, but he knew not to incur Simmons' wraith for while he maybe a pushover, even he had his limits. This is horrible, they all thought as they walked through the ruins ablaze. The ODSTs were quick to make notes, take pictures and capture every moment with their built in helmet cams. Sister held back her urge to puke as she saw the charred corpses. Simmons walked up to the three ODSTs and held one by the elbow. "You can defy my orders all you want outside of the battlefield, but here I want you guys to follow them."

"Let go," said the ODST as he continued his archival. "No one said you could be leader. That was something decided amongst your friends."

"And that alien baby rearing freak," added the most vocal one as he pushed past Simmons. "Oops, sorry great leader, I will make sure that doesn't happen again."

"What is your problem?" asked Tucker separating the ODST from Simmons. The bully ODST could feel a nerve pop out as his muscles flexed in a most irritated expression. "My problem is you and your friends. You guys have it easy, get taken care of by the UNSC, the royal treatment while we are out here fighting these battles. We have been fighting them longer than you, and now you are brought here, you all treat this like a walk in the park or some sort of fucking field trip. That is my problem. You people are not taking this seriously. On top of that, you helped the enemy by giving birth to one of them!"

Tucker felt a gate open, it was one of anger. He pushed the ODST down to the ground, near the fire. When he tried to get back up, Tucker rested a foot on his gut. "First of all, my son is not one of them. Say that again and I won't hold back unlike right now. Second of all, we are taking this seriously. Just because the way you do things and we do them is different doesn't mean we don't intend on accomplishing the same thing you dipshit. You hate me, fine I get it, you don't like their kind, but hating us for not taking this seriously that you decided on unfounded accusations is not cool. We are all in this for the same thing. We all want to survive and go home. Hell, none of us wanted to leave and come here, but we were drafted just like you three. So deal with us or request to transfer, because I have just had about enough with this BS."

All felt silent, even the fire. Everyone looked quite bewildered at the aqua soldier. Simmons rubbed the back of his head wondering. "Are you really Tucker?"

"The one and only, and I'm here all day ladies."

"That's him," Sister answered in disgust. Grif agreed. "She would know him best I guess being in the same base as him and all. By the way, still not cool with that."

"Gosh, get off my case big bro, I'm legal now!"

"More like rebellious," Sarge noted. "Now back on task people."

"Thanks guys," Simmons noted having felt a sense of failure. He failed to keep control over the situation, and instead he fell victim to going along with the flow like so many other times. Donut on the side with Iowa and Caboose prayed for all the dead bodies. They clapped their hands in unison, spent an equal amount of time praying and clapped again in the hopes that these people have found peace. Moving deeper into the village, the whole crew started to find the silence to be eerie. As they continued to make their way to the other side, one of the ODSTs suddenly fell to the ground. The others inspected him. His back was impaled by numerous spikes piercing through to his spine. No doubt the work of the Needler!

"Enemy attack!" shouted Church. Simmons quickly looked around to get a bearing of their surroundings. "Get to cover!"

Ful stared at his comrade who retreated under Shexa's directions. "We will now get to our vehicles while they are disjointed. We also have them in our pit now. The Banshee pilots get to their vehicles, the rest of us provide suppressing fire while moving back slowly to our own."

"Yes ma'am!" shouted the rest. The BGC and the ODSTs looked up at the commotion and witnessed their enemy first hand. The ODSTs opened fire as they ordered for the rest to do the same. "Don't let them get to their vehicles. They are headed in the direction the Pelican reported they parked their ships in."

Like a light switch flipping off, they all peeked out of cover with the barrel of their guns opening fire. With every bullet fired, the enemy withdrew further. Shexa, Ful and their comrade opened fire as the Banshee pilots succeeded in reaching the safety confines of their planes. The engines revved and the BGC backed up. The noise was a clear warning from the aliens to them, that they stood no chance. The ODSTs motioned for all to retreat, but as they were running, one ODST got picked off in his tracks by a Banshee. The others stared in terror as their comrade was completely disintegrated into nothingness to their eyes.

"Oh fuck…," Grif felt his legs turn up to an eleven as they ran fast, faster than even he thought was possible. He ran out of the village both relieved and gasping for air. The others followed quickly, desperately wishing to avoid the fate of the second ODST victim. The final ODST, the bully looked up into the sky and took out his camera footage from the helmet. He held it up towards Tucker and pushed it onto him. "Here, get it back to HQ."

"What, what about you?" asked the aqua one as he saw the Banshee come over the horizon. The ODST smirked and noted. "You people seem to have the best luck out of everyone you tend to meet. It's only natural I pass it on to you to protect it. No matter what, this must get back to HQ."

"We don't have time for this conversation!" Simmons shouted as he boarded their Warthog. Tucker pulled the ODST away as they saw the Banshees lessen the distance. "You are riding with us."

"He is what?!" Church, taken by surprise looked at his aqua friend as to whether he had lost his mind or not. He pulled Tucker close as he began driving away. "You do remember that this is the same guy giving us shit before?"

"So, you want me to leave him behind?" Tucker shot a glare from the right side of his visor. Church needed no visual confirmation for he could tell through his link with Tucker. "Sometimes you are too nice for your own good man."

The ODST stared at the aqua soldier in bewilderment himself. "Why would you be this kind after all that I have done to you?"

"We are in this hell together, so we may as well survive it together."

"But can you really work alongside me after how shitty I tried to make you feel?"

"Is that regret I sense?" Tucker said with a smile underneath his helmet. The ODST looked away in embarrassment as he did his best to keep it from being detected. Too late for him however as Church was able to get a facial recognition scan thanks to his enhanced vision. "You are still a freak for having an alien child."

"Well at least he is back to his normal self," said Church with some amusement behind his voice. He looked up and saw the Banshees now only meters away. "You may want to step on it!"

"We are going as fast as the vehicles allow for already!"

Simmons looked back and opened fire with the mounted turret. The ODST and the rest did the same. The enemy was quick to respond in kind, it opened fire nearly hitting the vehicles with every shot. The turbulence was of no help to the drivers as they stabilized the cars. Grif looked in the rear view mirror and narrowly avoided yet another enemy shot. "This isn't good, think of something O' great leader!"

"Everyone, bail!" Simmons was ready to jump as he saw the questionable looks. Grif nearly let go of the wheel in an urge to smack him. "Have you lost it?!"

"Yeah, yeah guys I don't like pain," Caboose noted just at the prospect of skidding against the rough ground. Donut agreed. "That and the fact that it would ruin my pristine shiny armor. Ugh, who can stand to even work in a dirty armor?"

"Guys, not the time!" said Simmons as he opened fire again. Having brought that one down, Simmons found himself at the mercy of air superiority. Their guns overheated, their bullets, declining fast and their hope wavering, they found themselves at the mercy of their enemy. As if in an act of guidance and protection, their Pelican came from the back and shot the remaining Banshee out of the air. Iowa looked up with the wave of his arms. "You da best Muffins!"

"And don't you forget it baby," spoke the German pilot as he turned the Pelican around. "By the way, heads up, you are going to have multiple tank bogeys headed your way, with love, Muffins."

"Oh well that sounds dandy," Sarge noted as he saw the first tank far off behind them. Simmons looked at his comrades and was just about ready to tell them to scatter to confuse the enemy, but then they would be easier pickings. "Open fire on the enemy tanks!"

Almost as if their bullets were sponge pellets, the tanks brushed off their attempts and continued the chase. With a loud burst of thunderous noise, the energy shot curved through the air, and as it fell like heavy rain, it nailed its target on the wheel. Tucker lost all steering control as the wheel came off its hinges and went about its way. With a hard landing of the gears scraping against the ground, the three men looked at one another and shouted. "Get out now!"

Donut's and Grif's car were quick to pick up the strays. The pelican flew around and began firing down at the tanks. But the enemy was not willing to sit back and accept the raining bullets. Shexa looked through her targeting reticule. "Bring that annoying bug down!"

"You sure you got this Muffins?" asked Church as he saw the Pelican de-stabilize about in the air, dancing like a bird struggling against the heavenly winds. Muffins looked to his left, then to his right immediately as he fiddled with the controls. Increased the speed, thrusted back on the throttle, decreased the speed, curved right and repeated all over again. "Oh ja, they don't have anything on my sexy bum. They know they want a piece of me, but they ain't ever gonna get it, those naughty aliens."

"Yup, he sounds like he has it under control," noted Grif as he could see the checkpoint in sight. "We are almost there!"

"Don't you dare jinx us now!" Donut screamed at the top of his lungs, nearly in an emasculated voice. Sarge looked all around and suggested that Simmons fired at the thrusters on the enemy tanks. "Sarge, you know I'm not that good of a shot!"

"You won't know until you try Simmons," he encouraged aiming his shotgun towards the enemy. "Remember, don't count yourself out, always have faith!"

"More lessons for our up and coming leader?!" Tucker noted as he felt his heart rush at the sight of the enemy tank pull up beside them. Church opened fire sticking the gun in his friend's vision. "Get that shit out of here!"

"Oh well I'm sorry that I'm just trying to save our asses," said the robotic companion. Lopez looked at the chaos with the shake of his head. He turned to Donut and demanded the following. "[Get me in position you fools. I will go take care of the tank.]"

"Now is not the time to be admiring the day Lopez, in case you forgot, we are in a warzone!" Donut exclaimed with Lopez taking out his pistol. If I shot him right now, no one will have to know, I could say it was a freak accident, so tempting. He restrained himself however as he could see the distance lessen between their car and the enemy tank. He released the turret much to the surprise of his companions. Donut looked into the rear view mirror at the approaching tank and with a gulp he asked. "What are you doing Lopez?"

With the quick boost from his jets, Lopez jumped off the Warthog and onto the Wraith. Shexa looked at the soldier that dared to step aboard her instrument of war. She swerved the Wraith around from left to right with immediate jolts. She could feel the gravity and momentum doing its work. Lopez however quickly activated his gravity boots that stuck him down to the metal body. He bent down and punched through the exterior. "[Eat grenade you wannabe tank.]"

He stuck a sticky grenade inside the hole and jumped off to the next Wraith. With the aid of his jets, he boosted himself onto the second Wraith. Behind the two Wraiths he could tell of the two Ghosts trailing closely. Shexa quickly jumped out of her tank just as the grenade went off. She eyed the Mexican robot, as he did the same getting a clear picture of their enemy. Just as he was about to impale Ful's tank, he found his shields drained upon the irritation from the two Ghosts. Donut took the risk and pulled up beside the Wraith. "Quickly Lopez, jump!"

Having made their escape, Ful ordered for the rest to stop. Shexa looked at her troops from afar and demanded his reasoning for ordering them so. "We need to make sure our brothers are alright before proceeding any further. We have suffered too many losses to chase down a scouting party."

"That doesn't matter, what matters is their death you foolish boy!"

"Sister!" he shouted quickly silencing her. There was an ominous weight behind his voice, as if the eeriness in his voice exponentially increased. He gathered their troops together and exited the vehicle. "Do not come talking to me about being foolish after losing the commander's vehicle. I'm not the one that allowed the enemy to escape in the first place with that surprise attack. If you had just let the Banshees handle this to begin with while inside the village, we wouldn't be here like this. Now come, we must report back."

Caboose looked to the back of their vehicles and nervously asked. "So what will we tell that nice commander man back at the base?"

"The truth," said Simmons. "As much as it is a shame we didn't complete our mission, we know that the enemy has made its way to their doorsteps, we need to let the commander know that the battlefield has stretched."

Inside of the human base, the commander stared at the map wearing a fatigued and defeated expression. To think that the base would fall and the village as well, he moved towards the line of soldiers in his tent awaiting their next orders. "You no longer need to worry about the supplies we sent you with. Instead I'm assigning you with a new mission."

"We are ready," Simmons replied as he saw the commander grow silent. The ODST soldier looked at the others, worn out himself, he was left to wonder the source of their energy. The commander nodded his head in mutual respect. "I appreciate the willingness. I hope you are able to show the same once I give you your mission. Your mission will be to chase this group of Elites down and interrogate them, if that's not possible, kill them."

The others instantly felt alarms go off in their heads. They looked at one another in uncertainty as they could feel their chest pounding. Donut cleared his throat as he with a somewhat shaky voice inquired. "Go after them sir?"

"Yes, we have some information on this group you mentioned," the commander walked over to his computer and extracted all that he could. He handed the drive to Sarge. "In there is all that we know about that squad. They have been going around destroying human settlements, so they are no strangers to us. But they are a resilient bunch, so take care in confronting them. Whatever other leads you need will be left for you to find. If we come across any information, you will be informed."

So much for that luck, thought Tucker as he looked around at the clearly tired postures. Church's consciousness spoke up from within him. What else did we expect by telling the commander everything? Honestly, we should have thought this out more. Tucker looked at his friend to his left who maintained a forward gaze. Well Church, not all of us can be perfect. But we did fuck up. I guess we gotta take responsibility now. The commander looked at the whole line and inquired. "Any questions?"

No one spoke up. The officer was quick to dismiss them then. Outside of the tent, the others looked at one another dumb founded before turning their attention to Sarge and Simmons. "Well what the hell are we supposed to do now?"

"Yeah," Sister spoke up. "That commander in there was kinda hot. I don't want to leave this base!"

"Not the time," Grif spoke while tightly gripping Sister's shoulder. She found herself immediately silenced. Doc stepped forward. "I know we agreed and all in there, but honestly I'm getting cold feet right now."

"So are the rest of us I presume," noted Simmons much to everyone's surprise. Donut tapped his fingers on his arm as if expecting more. "So then why did you agree in there?"

The maroon one looked towards the red leader. The two men shared a brief moment of silence with a respectful nod. Simmons looked around at everyone. His gaze was one of confidence even if it feared uncertainty. "Because nothing would change with us just complaining about things. So rather than moaning about this, how about we try to focus on the task huh guys?"

"He does have a point," said Sarge as he stepped forward to Simmons' defense. "You boys and girls have always pulled through no matter what in the end. Remember, we have one another."

Under the open skies, a structural map of metal buildings stood. Ful and Shexa looked down at the floor while showing respect to their elder. In front of the two stood an older Sangheili. He was their direct commander. He walked around the two with disappointment glimmering from his eyes. "Raise your heads."

With his hands behind his back, he looked up out the window. "Explain your failure."

"We succeeded in our mission of destroying the village as per your instructions fathe-," before Ful could finish the sentence, he was met with a disapproving glare. "…as per your instructions sir."

"Yet the enemy that witnessed your unit and its actions escaped, why?"

"I gave the order to pursue," Shexa glared to her left at the male she referred to as younger brother. "But it seems we had some opposition in following my orders."

The commander looked at his children with quickly depleting patience. "Make some sense, or else I will force for you to soon enough."

The two children found themselves under the downtrodden stare of their father which bore heavy on their shoulders. Shexa lowered her head further. "Sir, we had engaged the humans in combat, but after losing my Wraith, Ful gave the order for others to not follow."

"Ful?" the father looked at his son with an unsurprised look. "You again, everyone leave. Ful and I need to talk."

Shexa got up with a most sinister smirk. Whatever is coming towards you, you deserve it for royally screwing up the pursue. Alongside the other guards, she quickly left the room and closed the door behind her. The father ordered for his son to raise his head. "Stand up and explain your choice. Depending on your explanation, be prepared to be properly reprimanded."

"Sir, I believed it was more important to ensure the safety of our own squad than to risk anymore casualties."

"At the risk of letting them get away?"


"And at the risk of knowing that they now know of the perpetrators behind the incident, as well as the fact that they know that the battlefield creeps closer to them? We have lost our element of surprise."

"I realize that."

"Even after all that, you are satisfied with your decision?"

"Yes," Ful looked straight into his father's eyes. With an authoritative tone he spoke. "You know I do not oppose our cause father, but my methods and Shexa's are different. There is a limit to what we should be able to do. Why should we risk anymore than necessary just to eliminate those filthy humans?"

The commander stood up as he took heavy steps towards his son. He rested a hand on his shoulder and with a surprise of intense strength; he pushed the young one against the wall. "I thought I taught you better than that. The sacrifices don't matter, only the results do."

Ful felt his world go round and round from the impact. He scoffed at the pain standing back up. "There is no victory if you do it at the risk of your comrades' lives."

The father looked rather disappointed in the back talk from Ful. He pointed a finger at him and his sister standing outside. "You and Shexa are to hunt them down. You will not return here until you find them and squeeze the very life out of their bodies. If you fail, I will ensure that your lives will be forfeit. Leave!"

With a frown of displeasure, Ful stepped out to the gazes of his squad mates. Shexa stopped him from walking past them in silence. "Well, what happened?"

He averted his gaze from her as she forced herself into his view. "We are to…hunt them down."


"That is my, our punishment."

"I think you mean just yours," corrected the sister as she pushed him against a wall. "Because of your screw up, the rest of us have to now help you hunt those humans down?"


"I…," she pushed herself away with a most displeasured look. "I did not come to this planet to go on a cat and mice hunt. I came here to bring about the glorious justice for the universe we have always meant to bring. I will not help you Ful, you brought this on yourself."

"If you do not," Ful began gathering the attention of all in his squad. "Then our lives are forfeit. That was our father's ultimatum to me."

As if in a sudden bout of anger, she kicked a nearby rock hard enough to dent one of the outer walls. "Then listen well, now you follow my orders to the letter. I do not care if you have a problem with them, I do not care if you hate me, I want obedient followers. You will follow me!"

Ful remained quiet as he simply lowered his head with everyone walking past him. He could feel their anger, their displeasure in these turn of events. I did not come here to go on a merry chase either sister. I only wanted revenge against the human army. This retribution, justice and cleansing interests me little. But sometimes I wonder who the real scourge is.

In the human base, Simmons made his round to the others, and one by one he informed them to rest, for the task they have been given may not afford them many opportunities in the future to. He saw Sister with Grif, interacting like usual, but the knowledge that Grif cared enough for her birthday somehow shone a new light in his mind between the two. He walked over and gently bumped his fist on Grif's helmet. "So, want to make sure you stuff your face before we leave? You never know when we will just get up and go."

"Trust me, I tried," Grif noted with an irritated voice. "But they said we are only allowed limited rations because of the finite supplies."

"You should have seen him try and reason so miserably with those guys," Sister interjected with a giggle. "It was hilarious."

"You know what else will be hilarious?" asked Grif as he took her shake of the head as her answer. "Me taking this picture of Simmons that you carry around like a stalker all the time and burning it to ash."

"How did you find that?!" She suddenly froze up at the stare of the maroon soldier. "Um, I mean what picture, that is not my picture which is one of the totally hot guy."

"I don't know if I should feel flattered or creeped out," Simmons slowly backed away, although truthfully he felt flattered even if her actions rang alarms to run away. He knew best to not get involved with such crazy women. Sarge approached the group with a suggestion in mind. "Simmons, I have been reviewing the data we received from the commander here. How about we go and visit some of the old sites that were attacked?"

"You know that's asking of us to go into the heart of the battlefield, right Sarge?"

"Yup," the older man acknowledged as he looked upwards towards the sky with hopeful eyes. "But I have faith you will pull through. Look at us, we always have."

"You put too much faith in us," Grif spoke up a little jaded by how high he holds their abilities to be. "Honestly, if you ask me to drive in there, I would just turn around and get the fuck off this planet. Hell, I would just take the jets off of whatever I can find, attach it to the car and buzz off."

"I don't think it works like that," said Simmons in his usual nerdy tone. Grif crossed his arms as he stared in rebellion. "You don't know that!"

"Actually I do," Simmons replied back in a matter-of-fact tone. "It's physics dumbass."

"Hey, how dare you accuse me of being dumb?" Grif spoke back with Sister agree. "Yeah, he is plenty smart, and only an ass!"

"Shut up, not helping."

"No, I would agree with that assessment," said Church walking into the crowd with the rest. Grif looked all around wide eyed. "Jesus, where are all of you coming from. It's like you are all popping out of thin air right on queue to annoy the crap out of me."

"We missed you to Grif," Tucker replied as he crossed his arms. He looked towards their leader in training and asked. "So, what is this plan that I overheard Sarge telling you about? Sounds like suicide."

"[Nothing new with you idiots.]"

"You are right Lopez, I do need me some burritos right now," Donut mentioned with an enthusiastic nod of his head. "It's Mexican food night back home right now after all."

"Did I hear Mexican food?" Caboose perked his head up at the thought of taco. "I love me some Mexican food, and spicy ones."

"Yeah, you guys should see Caboose drink the whole bottle of tobacco sauce like it's nothing," Iowa followed up as he motioned to wave some air around him. "I don't know how he does it."

"Pure talent and raw grit I imagine ja," Muffins walked up to the gang just as he finished maintenance on the craft. "So my sexies, what comes next?"

"Suicide apparently," Church remarked sarcastically. Muffins gasped in shock as he shook his head vigorously. "No, no, no, I do not condemn suicide. I'm not into dead ones. I very much prefer my sexies to be alive."

"Wow, you just had to go there didn't you?" asked Doc. Sister quickly felt the shivers go up her spine. "Keep the creepy German man away from me, plus he is old and he stinks!"

"Seriously though guys, what other suggestions do you have?" Simmons inquired all around. He even asked it of the fragments. There was no better suggestion on the table right now, this was their only choice to try and obtain a lead. "Looks like we go with Sarge's suggestion then."

"Oh great," Doc moaned as he could already foresee this going South. Simmons asked for the fragments to mark the positions they needed to investigate on the world map. A total of six recorded locations appeared. Grif unfolded his arms as he stood up with a slight surprise. "We are going to go to all of those places?"


"I think you have lost it," Grif noted making a loopy gesture beside his head. "You have been hanging around Sarge too much now days haven't you Simmons?"

The cork of a shotgun quickly brought back the silence. Sarge smirked underneath the helmet as he holstered it back. "Quit your whining numb nuts and get to it. Muffins will be in the air anyways to provide us with support. Doc is there to help band aid any scratches you may get. So stop getting your panties in a bunch."

"Says you guys," Tucker replied as he slumped his shoulders. "Things are gonna go tits up, speaking of tits up, bow-chika-bow-wow!"

Sister looked at the aqua one with an exaggerated emotion of disgust. She hid behind her big brother while holding back the bile. "Keep the pervert away from me big bro!"

"What's gotten into her all of a sudden?" asked Church pointing out the abnormal behavior. Grif face palmed his visor with a heavy sigh as he pushed her out. "Her birthday is coming up soon, so she wants me to baby her."

"Aw, that's so cute," Donut clapped his hands together. "It's a shame we are not back home, otherwise I would have baked you the biggest cake ever filled with lots of pink love!"

"And I would have sang you the best ever birthday song," Caboose exclaimed with Iowa agreeing to the same. "Then we all would have eaten dinosaur eggs and called it a night!"

"As entertaining as this sounds, we should probably rest up first," Church interjected as everyone faced towards him. Simmons agreed suggesting for everyone to use this opportunity to get some sleep. They don't know how long before they would get to see another bed after all. "Also, someone go inform that ODST."

Everyone suddenly looked at Tucker. "Yeah, I thought you guys might do this to me. You know, just because he and I have exchanged words, it doesn't mean he and I are best buddies."

"And yet you are the one who has spoken most with him," Church mentioned as he patted his friend's shoulder while walking past him. "Good luck bud."

Everyone quickly dispersed. Simmons thanked Tucker one last time before heading off himself. Tucker looked at the others and restrained himself greatly from going on a mad middle finger shooting spree. "Maybe I should create a mutiny and overthrow Simmons. Then I can order others around to do this sort of shit."

"I would not advise that," Sigma appeared as the flames on his body were as bright as ever. Tucker waved the fragment off with a reassuring tone. "Relax Sig, I was just kidding."

Having reached the ODST soldier, Tucker began to explain the situation. Most others lay in bed, thinking of what is to come. Simmons sat at a work desk silently working away at the cell phone, making small progress. He looked at the bag of parts and noticed that he was halfway through them already. Hopefully I can stock up again somewhere. He put down the phone and looked outside at the clouds. He stretched his arms and neck and turned back around. I should take my own advice and get some rest myself. A leader is no good to anyone if he is operating like a zombie after all. Simmons lied down in bed and removed his helmet. He closed shut his eyes and felt the touch of young Edwards and his Grandmother Elsie standing beside him. He smiled in their general direction, the two smiled back and yet his smile was quickly replaced by a frown of guilt. He looked away and with a silent apology, he drifted off to a deep slumber.

A/N: That was a long chapter! What did you think about it?

I guess you can now see the direction the story will take in terms of flow for a while perhaps. Feedback is much appreciated as it can help improve the overall product!

I hope to catch you all again next time!

~ Monty