Okay, I'm doing reviews first, but I want everyone to know ahead of time that they will be short and to-the-point, as I'm kind of rushing the responses (I'm really sorry...homework takes priority) in order to get them out before I go to bed tonight. Seven in the morning is going to come a little early for my liking as it is...
The Not-So Addict: lol, no, I haven't sent it in yet. There's a lot of editing to be done first. As for your comment on Zeke and Blaine...to each their own, lol. I know that, if I had to pick one to send into a situation and take on hordes of enemies...it'd be Blaine. That's just me though. And as for my killing too many Spartans...well, just trust me: I've got plenty for my purposes. And to answer your question: the Elites are not "gone", per se. The Elites from Halo 3 have departed for their homeworld, Sangheilios. The only ones that I'm saying were wiped out were all of them that were on the Assault Carrier. And, just to clarify: those do not include Ahrmonro, U'svere, the Arbiter, Half-Jaw, or any of the other main characters besides Breka. Thanks!
killerman83ca: lol, glad you enjoyed it, if a little much. I'll be sure to check out End of the War as soon as I get a chance, but give me a bit: school's kinda killin' me right now, lol. Got four weeks left, and then I'm home free. And as for your comments on the sequel: I'll probably do something very similar to that. Thank you!
Taylor114: I'm glad it managed to prick your interest. Hopefully the book itself can maintain it. Thanks for all your input!
Snipess: Good to hear that you liked the excerpt. As for your question about cities: funny you should mention London and New York...those are actually specifically mentioned in the sequel very early on...though I'll let you read that when the time comes. But yes, they will have some more experience in the cities, of that you can be sure. Finally, in answer to your question about Zeke and the "Leave Out All the Rest" song...it's not really what I pictured him looking like, but that's part of the "book" feeling. You get to decide for yourself. I could show you a picture of the person he's based on, but it might ruin the notion for you. ;)
Mhop12: LOL! Don't worry...I won't be playing much Halo now...my LIVE card expires tomorrow (actually...today now...grrrr). So yeah...depressing.
armoured-blade: Yep, we've talked, lol. I'll remember the bit about the Bungie update. Who knows? This story might get a cool mention yet. ;) Thanks!
FireWolfFred: lol, glad to know that you're interested now. ;) And yeah, I love his idea too. I haven't heard from him since then though...so I don't know. Oh yeah, and I love the idea of a "grand celebration" for the sequel, lol, but you should know: I'm a college kid. I can't afford cake...or even cookies. ;) lol. Thanks for your review!
j3ssi3r0ck3r0n: haha. Yeah, curse papers, and really curse exams! Hope you enjoy the sequel!
ikldmrogers: Yeah, I can tell you: one of the greatest appeals to a story like Hell On Earth is that no one does it. No one dares to. To take the world that the Master Chief and the UNSC fought so hard to protect and turn it into a razed Hell is something that you don't see every day. I just hope I can pull it off. ;) And don't worry about the Epilogue...I wasn't fond of it either...at all. And don't worry about Zeke: as long as I had not one, but TWO books left to write, I couldn't do it without him. Finally, in answer to your question: that chapter takes place a few months after The Last Stand, in July of 2553. Thanks for all your support!
Sirkillalot23: hehehe...you might be right. ;) No promises though.
Samus117: Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and the Epilogue (as much as is possible given its crappy writing style...grrr). As for the sequel: there will be some rolled heads, though I can't give you much except to tell you that they are ONI. Also, gracias on the info on Bungie, and I will look into BHI as soon as I get a chance. I've been a little swamped lately. I should get to both that story and the one suggested by killerman83ca by Thursday evening. Thanks!
Drake Hellion: Wow, I feel bad. While I'm wrapping everything up, you're just starting to read through. I apologize in advance for the early chapters...you'll notice that my writing style and my...I don't know, "skill" changes slightly as I go along. If you've enjoyed the start, you should really enjoy it once you get farther in.
MrHotShotGolfer: hehehe, glad you liked the preview. Hopefully the sequel lives up to the standard it set. And yes, you'll get (hopefully all) your questions answered in the sequel, and many of them will come quickly (including Gael's message). Thanks for your reviews and your input, and I look forward to reading more of them later on! Enjoy the sequel!
ching965: lol, thank you. And yes, I've actually lost a bet that makes me submit this to Bungie for publication, lol, though I doubt anything comes of it. Still, it's a dream, right? Thanks for the compliments, and I hope you like the sequel just as much!
Thanks to everyone who reviewed, and I'll see you all in Hell On Earth!
And so, it ends. Finally, after roughly 20 months, better than a year and a half, Zulu Company: The Last Stand sees its final, ending chapter. For anyone who has read this the entire way through, and is still suffering through my rambling to this day, thank you for your attention and, in many cases, your support.
When I first posted the beginnings of this story of FanFiction, I never imagined for a second that I would end up finishing a story with well over 300,000 words, totaling 764 pages in the Internet Explorer's Print Preview (and that's without this last bit, lol). I had an idea and a girlfriend who was exceedingly adamant that I should do something more with it than write it for myself (which would have ended with the first few chapters being recorded and the rest of it doomed to the recesses of memory).
After getting several of the obligatory "introduction" chapters done and successfully introducing most of the characters that would become Zulu Company, I got to take these Spartans – my Spartans – and plunge them into their first challenges. They went to Phoenix, both as a test for them and as one for me, to see if I could pull off a Spartan VS Covenant fight scene with any real flair.
Turns out, I can, most of the time.
Since that day in Phoenix, Zulu Company has moved all over the map; to Los Angeles and a near-death encounter to save the world from its own great weapons: the NOVA-class Nuclear Warheads. To Argentina, where they were introduced to Earth's newest, greatest warship: the Atonement of Reach. And then they were pushed even farther, into the cold, harsh void of space, where I finally got to put them up against the galaxy's greatest enemy: the Flood.
It's been a great, long ride.
And, with that ride coming to a close, there's a massive amount of credit due to a lot of people other than myself. And when I say "massive", I mean freakin' enormous, like in such a way that not posting it would likely result in my immediate burst into flames from the severity of such an injustice.
Oh, and for the record: these are in no particular order. They are in whatever order that my tired, useless brain decided to give them to me in.
1 way ticket - Obviously the first person on the list, the girl who decided to make it her mission to get me to post the beginnings of a story that I doubt she fully understood even the background to and knew full-well that it wasn't her type of reading. My girlfriend of almost two-and-a-half years, she's still putting up with me today when I get to come home from college and bother her for a weekend. I love her dearly and any of you who enjoyed this story can thank her for the ability to read it. Without her, it'd be a series of forgotten scenes lost in the dark void that is my empty head after a college exam. So thank you, Denalz, for choosing that time to start nagging me. :) More than that, she's occasionally proofread for me and I've bounced more than a few ideas off her head (during which time she was kind enough to work to understand my incoherent rambling about new Spartans, implanted weapons, infected soldiers, big explosions, BIGGER explosions, and all-out-war). She's the best girlfriend that I could ever ask for (better, actually). I mean, how many girls would let their guys go on and on about a science-fiction work (that THEY are writing) based off a video game where you shoot aliens all freakin' day long? :) Thank you Denali, for everything. I hope you're still putting up with me by the time I finish the sequel. :)
And to those reading, I'm reminded of a quote: "Behind every great man, there's a woman rolling her eyes, folks." I don't know about the "great" part...but I bet she's rolling her eyes and sighing by now. ;) Thank you, Jim Carrey.
Oh, and something she's been trying to get me to admit for months: she was also the inspiration for a certain female Spartan with a spitfire attitude and a dangerous love for Energy Swords. Compassionate, yet solid; moral and convicted; quick on her feet and ready to go. Ladies and gentlemen: Victoria Small.
Samson00 - Also a name that everyone who enjoyed this story should know. He started reading just a little over twenty chapters into it, and has been literally vital in keeping this story going since then. Anything I ever needed, he was ready to go, from proofreading (not just for spelling or grammar, but for content as well, to tell me when I'd lost my mind and needed change some things. :) hehehe) to throwing names out for the Sangheili that appear in The Last Stand (that's right. If you like Ahrmonro or U'svere, you know who to thank). And, perhaps his greatest (and certainly most time-consuming) contribution: the Atonement of Reach. I may have painted the picture for all of you, but he painted it for me first. The pulse, the giant MAC Gun (before we realized that Halopedia lied, lol), the ship's armament, complement, and makeup...everything awesome that came from the Atonement (including its freakin' NAME) were courtesy of Samson00. Since then, he's helped me come up with some killer fight-scenes, work to incorporate Nova Company after I sprung their appearance on him and the rest of you, fix the kinks in the space-section (I am not without my flawed ideas, lol), and now he's helping me with the beginnings of Hell On Earth. And Jake, I apologize: I'm SURE I left out things that I didn't remember...but know that it is all appreciated, and that I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks.
Oh yeah, before I forget: any of you who likes Samuel "Goliath" King: this is him, in the flesh. He's a born leader with a long fuse (something that's proven invaluable with the members of Zulu Company) and a "can-do", "let's go" attitude...this is something that he needed when working with me, even more so than Samuel needed it. ;)
Gormanuyai - Everyone reading: meet Blaine Everson. Not down to a "T", as he's one of the characters that changed a little over the course of the story, but the inspiration for the Covie-kicking character that is now associated with two things: a Gravity Hammer and the "Hunter-toss." Ironically, he hated (and probably still hates it...he hasn't told me in a while) the Gravity Hammer, but I insisted that I needed someone to wield the giant, Covenant bludgeon. And who better than a half-Cyborg Spartan with a super-powered upper-body and a bad attitude? That being said, Gormanuyai helped me a lot early on in The Last Stand, including in helping me with the details of their training program (time spent, age taken, where, when, etc), and even helping come up with the company name and the title of the book. In all these things, he was the greatest of assets to me in starting this book, and I owe him a great deal. Later on, school and the like served to keep him busy, and his help slowed down a little bit (about the time that Samson00 came in, thankfully), but he still managed to be my greatest critic and to keep my head from getting too big over the props and compliments that chapters received. It might be because he's known me for so long that he can tell you all (and me) when I'm slacking off and need to get my head back in the game.
He's in the Navy now, in training to serve the United States, and as his friend since we were freakin' six years old, I can say that I am proud to have grown up with him. He's got some great ideas of his own, if he'd just sit down and put them on paper. ;) So, whenever you get a chance to read through it: thanks Casey. It's been a blast, and you helped set the foundation for something that (while it needs a lot of work) I'm proud to have worked on.
Benaia Dre - Gormanuyai's older brother, and a person to whom I owe a lot of early proofing before I began to bother Samson on a constant, never-ending basis. He was there for me to bounce ideas off of and to do a better-than-fair amount of spelling and grammar checking that Microsoft Word elects not to. ;) Unfortunately, as it often does, life kind of got in the way and between two colleges and God-only-knows how many jobs, he's a little busy for me to bother with 8,000 word chapters nowadays. :) But I do appreciate the help I got, and at the time, the help was the most important thing I could get. Thanks a lot, Cory. Don't work too hard, man. ;)
Bubbles - A slacker (!) who just started reading recently. ;) She is to Samson what 1 way ticket is to me. I can only imagine her utter and complete disgust when the four of us would get together for pizza and talk about my book for 45 minutes to an hour and she would simply look at us and nod intermittently. But she finally took it upon herself to read through this (exceedingly long) story and figure out what in God's good name we were rambling on about. ;) She's given me feedback and I know Samson has talked with her some about both this story and the sequel, and it was great to have someone read through the story who didn't know what was coming and then talk about it in more than a series of reviews. Now whenever I let my narcissistic tendencies get out of hand and start talking about my book, she can do more than follow along; she can start throwing out her own ideas and comments. So thank you, Kristi, for all of that. And...more than anything I think, thank for you for not killing me due to the massive amount of time your boyfriend spends proofreading and working on my book instead of bothering you. ;)
Jeremiah Rogers - For the record: I hate you. ;) No, for anyone who has no freakin' clue who I'm talking to: this is my college roommate and a friend from high school. He's done what some would consider to be a negligable amount for this story...and they'd be right, except for one very important thing that he did help me with that I'll go into in just a second here. I've bounced a few ideas off of him; he's given me names for most of Nova Company (and the Elite, Breka), and what is most likely his most important contribution (apart from distracting me from the story to play X-Box Live) is that he helped me to fix a major time-span error at the end of The Last Stand. It's nothing that I want to go into, but the ending time of Halo 3, combined with the ending of my first space segment caused a little bit of a bump. Still, we got it ironed out, and all is well. So thanks, Jonathon. But if you ever post again, I will have to kill you. ;) Bye...
My Family - Specifically my parents, for giving me a Dell computer that served as the medium for this story. There's no way that the days (literally days) spent typing this could have been done on a desktop in the computer room at home or the library here at Miami. More than that, I appreciate their cooperation upon my making them promise not to read this, as I still maintain that a book by Crichton or King would be a better use of their time. So, while this really was my project, whatever (rather limited) talent I've developed really had to come from somewhere. ;)
armoured-blade, Spartan Ophir 06 - Two reviewers that have both had the occasion to read a message or e-mail asking them to waste their lives proofreading a chapter for me, of which both have kindly accepted. Normally, I'm not a fan of sending things out to anyone I don't know, but sometimes life gets in the way of the few people (or single person, lol) in charge of proofing for me. So I figured that they both deserved special attention.
Bungie & Microsoft - For creating a truly incredible trilogy of FPS video games with a storyline that somehow managed to leave so much to the imagination, all the while leaving very little to be desired. As an avid enjoyer of the games and the books, I'm honored to have been able to take what they had already developed and in some way make it my own. So thank you to those who worked to get the story of the Master Chief and the Covenant into our hands!
FanFiction - Obviously, for being an open public forum where aspiring writers and readers alike can come to critique and enjoy the works of others, free of charge. And how many entities can honestly use that word "free" anymore?
Lastly, I'd like to thank anyone and everyone who has taken the time to read through this story, and especially anyone who was kind enough to leave me their reviews of the chapters. It's because of the input that I recieved that I've been able to alter the story slightly in places and it's because of them that I realized how well this story was received.
And it's because of that that I've decided to write the sequel.
So, to all of you who read, to all of you who took the time to tell me what you liked, what you thought was a little off, what you wanted to see changed, and what you flat-out couldn't stand: thank you. It's because of the support and the sheer number of people telling me that they were interested that I continued to write this story and eventually arrived at the ending that I wanted to write from the start. It's been a really wild ride, and I couldn't have done it without the constant help.
And, with that, I end Zulu Company: The Last Stand. I hope you've all enjoyed it, and I'll see you when I post Hell On Earth!
- AJ (Raptor)