Ok, here we go. My first attempt at a story with actual chapters as opposed to the one-shots I've been creating here and there. I hope you guys enjoy this one as much as the others. Happy reading.

BTW, I love writing cliffhangers. Carrying on.

Dom Santiago, member of Delta Squad of the COG army, almost ran straight into his squad leader Marcus Fenix. They had been powering through the aftermath of the most recent snow storm, keeping their blood pumped while they found the nearest COG checkpoint. Dom had looked to the right, looking for any rogue Locusts in the area. Control has said Locust activity was minimal in this region, but that didn't meant they could afford to keep their guard down. Marcus had abruptly stopped in front of him, his hand on his earpiece.

"Repeat!" he said in disbelief. "Soldier, I say again, repeat!"

Cole and Baird had also slowed their pace wondering what the hold up was. "Yo, what's up?" Cole asked, breathing heavily. His breaths came out in light clouds.

Marcus glared at him to keep quiet, and tapped his temple, telling him to activate his own earpiece. The others followed suit, and Dom could hear a voice screaming in his ear mixed with explosions and cries of fear. He could also the slithering voices of the Locusts in the background.

"This is Nathan Jarva!" yelled the voice. "Of rho squad, reporting that King Raven 763-1 has been hit by Reavers! I repeat, Raven 763-1 has been hit and possibly fallen underground. Anyone listening, please assist!"

"763…" Dom repeated slowly. The numbers were oddly familiar. Usually, he didn't pay attention to the unit number, but this numerical order stuck out. The more he thought about it, he realized where he had seen Raven before. "Isn't that Hoffman's personal carrier?"

Marcus nodded, but he didn't say anything. "Are there survivors?"

"Colonel Hoffman, Lieutenant Stroud and several Gears were on aboard to transfer sensitive material back to the control tower. Under heave fire, sir! We have no evidence that they survived-"

"You listen, and you listen good, Jarva," Marcus started, cutting off the voice.

Dom knew where this was going. He had been fighting beside Marcus for so long, he could tell what the squad leader was thinking even if he didn't shout out orders. Without even taking the time to ponder the possible outcome of Marcus' next words, he knew the man had every intention of finding the survivors of the King Raven.

"You're going to tell me exactly where that bird went down, soldier," Marcus said coolly.

"Uh…" the man stammered. For a few seconds, his voice was drowned out by gunfire. "Judging from street that we saw her fall from… I would say near the House of Sovereigns, sir!"

"Copy that," Marcus said. "Keep taking those bastards down."

"Sir, yes, sir!" Nathan yelled, and then the frequency was lost.

The four members of Delta Squad huddled in formation, each with a questionable expression on his face. "Well, déjà fucking vu," Dom said to break the silence. He and Marcus knew the place well. They had to clear that particular building shortly after he had sprung Marcus from jail.

"No kidding," said Marcus. "The Seeders must have jammed our radio frequency again. That mayday wasn't supposed to be directed to us. It was meant for control." He looked down at his Lancer, contemplating his next move.

"Hey, man, you want to go searching for her, I got your back," Dom assured. Whether or not Marcus figured "her" to be the King Raven or Anya, he decided to let it go. They needed to make a decision now; their comrades, if they were still alive, were depending on them. He also wanted to go underground to search for Maria, so any mission that would take them under, he welcomed.

Cole raised up his large muscular arms in encouragement. "Hey, baby, we been walking for three hours, and we haven't seen shit. I want something to shoot! You wanna go find the lost bird, I'm in." Dom wondered where the ex-linebacker found the energy to always be on the ready to take on the alien species head on. Walking through snow wasn't the easiest thing, and Cole made it seem like he was skipping through a meadow.

Dom nudged Baird in the shoulder. "What do you say, Baird?"

The blond squad member rolled his eyes and let out a theatrical heavy sigh. "Well, there goes my vacation. Well, you'll be happy to know that the trigger happy child in my heart just jumped for joy. So, let's go."

Marcus spoke into his earpiece again. His expression softened, and Dom figured that was the closest thing to appreciation they were going to see from Marcus. "Control, this is Delta. Request-"

"Hear you loud and clear, Delta," came an unknown voice. Despite the static, Dom could hear that the voice was computerized, probably a disguise to lure away from personal identification. "Raven is en route to your coordinates. Your new mission will be to find King Raven 763-1. Primary objective is to locate and extract the materials carried by Victor Hoffman and Anya Stroud. Secondary objective is to find and evacuate survivors."

"Copy that, Control," Marcus said gruffly. "Delta out."

He shared a concerned look with Dom, and suddenly he didn't have a good feeling about their new mission. It was too convenient, too easy. He shut off his earpiece, making sure only his squad could hear him. "What do you think, Marcus?" he asked skeptically. "I, for sure as hell didn't recognize that voice. Any idea who that was?"

"Not a damn clue," Marcus admitted, shaking his head. "Regardless, I'm not going to play hide and seek and waste more time out here."

"Can't argue with you there," Dom said. "I'll tell you right now though, I don't trust him."

"Well, what if it's a girl?" Baird chimed in, being a smartass again. He kept his gaze down, messing with the computer on his arm.

"Or her, if it is a woman," Dom glared at his teammate. "We could be going right into a trap. That transmission could have been easily picked up by the Locusts."

Cole shouldered his Lancer and sided with Dom. "Could be a million Locusts we pissed off because of the Lightmass Bomb. We're probably on the Queen's hitlist by now."

Dom couldn't agree more. Locusts were violent, bloodthirsty, sick, and ugly, but they weren't stupid. It's very possible that Delta made a reputation in the Locusts population, and their recent activities could have expressed orders for their immediate removal.

Marcus was deep in thought, patiently listening to each of his teammates concerns. "The mayday transmission was real, so regardless we're heading to the House of Sovereigns. As for who our "support" is… just keep your guard up. You pick anything up?" he asked Baird.

Baird had been checking the small terminal that had been fused to his armor. Since control had contacted them, he had been punching away at buttons on his left forearm. "Nothing… there's no ID on this guy. No name, no history, and usually I can find out anything about damn near anybody on our side. But the signal did come from the control tower. Far as hacking into the system to find out who he is, I keep getting blocked out."

That in itself caused more concern. It wasn't' the first time their own had kept secrets from them, but this time, there were more red flags going off in Dom's head. What could the higher ups be hiding from them this time? What was Prescott thinking? Was it even Prescott that ordered them to find 763-1?

Minutes later, to his surprise, a Raven could be seen on the horizon. The presence of their transport destroyed any chance of their new support being of the Locusts species, but he was going to take Marcus' advice. Friendly or not, he was going to keep his guard up. "I still got a bad feeling," Dom said, keeping his eyes on the bird.

"Yeah…" Marcus said. "I don't like surprises either."

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So here is the prologue. Of course, it doesn't carry the same effect as the one-shots, but bear with me. Also, I don't know anyone in the military nor have I been part of it. The terminology used in this story is based off of what I hear and observe from the games. So if something is not as realistic as it should be, I will apologize now. I'm not trying to be ignorant or lazy. If you liked this chapter, then stay tuned. I have every intention of updating quickly. Thanks for reading.

Kris