This is my first Fanfiction so go easy on me XD I hope you like it and I'd appreciate any comments or advice you may have to help me improve, or if you spot any mistakes. Thanks

Copyrights: All characters belong to Epic Games studios and Gears of War

The brush with the Corpser had been close...real close, Dom and Marcus had only just managed to jump into the King Raven before the ground belched open revealing the dangerous and vicious creature that had seemed hell bent on their demise. Now all Marcus could hear were the repetitive sounds of the helicopter rotors as the King Raven pilots transported them across Sera and within Marcus's mind, him away from the penitentiary. Dom had busted him out, Marcus was more thankful for that than he knew he could express, four years he had spent incarcerated there, four years too long even though it was only four of forty years he'd been sentenced to serve. Four years of darkness, four years of taunts and abuse from guards, four years worth of scars gained, and that wasn't even the worst of it, he sighed inwardly as his mind reassured him that it was four years he wouldn't be forgetting anytime soon.

Marcus took a few deep breaths, relishing in the fresh and decontaminated air that rushed into his lungs, soul cleansing compared to the dank and death smelling air of the prison. The squad leader, Lieutenant Kim was it? Offered a flask of water and it was taken without hesitation, just the feel of cool fresh water down his throat was a pleasure he couldn't compare to anything right then. Fine he'd managed to get water in the prison, but compared to this it might as well have been sewage he'd been drinking there; no what passed his lips now was pure heaven in a flask compared to the muck he had been surviving on.

Then the Lieutenant spoke to him while he watched the kid with the helmet shoot out of the side of the chopper

"Welcome to Delta squad"

Welcome? Ha he said it like he'd just been transferred from another squad not busted out of jail where Hoffman had left him to rot after letting everyone else go. Damn he couldn't bust the guy for not being polite, though he could tell from the look of the guy that he was a definite rule book follower, not just sticking to the rules but the sort that lived by them like everything else in life was garbage. It was all well and good Marcus thought to himself, but sometimes rules and orders needed to be flexed for people to survive and objectives to be made, but hell who was he to think like that, not ten minutes ago he was serving a sentence for dereliction of duty, he had no room to talk.

"Where are we going?" He found himself asking

"Embry Square...Colonel Hoffman is waiting for us" was the reply

"Hoffman...aww shit" Just what he needed, Colonel Hoffman in his face reminding him of what he did. How much damage he'd caused when he had left his post to try to save his no avail, like he needed reminding, like he hadn't thought and re-thought about it during all this time. The guy was going to rip him a new one and he knew it. He barely heard Dom beside him

"This is gonna be Awesome"

Yeah right he thought to himself

That crazy kid was still popping bullets out of the Raven and wasting ammo at that, like he could actually kill anything from this height. Marcus's thoughts on what kind of reception Hoffman was going to give him was interrupted as the kid twisted in his seat to talk to him.

"Hey, are you The Marcus Fenix? The one that fought at Aspho Fields?"

Damn...that was a whole bunch of memories he didn't want to drag up right now, and the way he'd said it made his stomach churn uncomfortably. 'The Marcus Fenix'. Like he was something he was a hero, despite whatever pedestal people liked to slap him on because of Aspho, Marcus believed he was no hero, and he cringed whenever he heard it. He just wasn't worth it, not to his mind anyway.

"Yep" That was all he could manage, what else was there to say?

"Wow Cool!" The tone said it all to Marcus, the tone that said awe. What was there to be in awe of? He'd done nothing special, hell he couldn't even save his damn best friend and everything but blood brother...Carlos. And here he was sitting next to his other best friend and Carlos's younger brother, he'd failed Carlos but he wouldn't fail Dom, not while he was still breathing...he'd made a promise.

"Not really" and he looked away while those unpleasant memories pecked at his conscious, and he prayed internally that they'd find some locust soon for him to kill and take his mind away from the past.

Marcus looked out of the side of the Raven after that, spotting another settled in a clearing with the all too familiar figure of Colonel Victor Hoffman waiting for theirs to land.

The chopper landed and Marcus ensured he was the first to get out, he wanted to get this over with as soon as possible, but damn the sooner was he on the ground armour clunking heavily in protest, than Hoffman was in his face, snarling expression and death's head cap in his wake. Shit.

"You! A traitor like you doesn't deserve to wear the uniform"

Huh yeah maybe not but you're not exactly brimming with options, does he really think I believe I deserve to be wearing it either? But then the COG's got plenty of blood on its hands, a little bit of mine isn't going to make any difference...especially if I can get the job done.

"Looks to me like you need all the help you can get"

"Step aside" Yeah you know I'm right, not like you have any choice

Then the Colonel wandered off with Lieutenant Kim and Marcus only caught a bit of their conversation as they walked in the opposite direction

"Lieutenant...I've got good news...We have a plan to end this war, once and for all"

Marcus was out of the loop in terms of what the grubs were doing at the moment and how the COG were handling it, but he knew enough and Dom confirmed the rest

"Huh Yeah Right"

Then he heard her

"Sensors are picking up enemy movement...sir, close by" and there she was, Anya Stroud, stepping down carefully out of Hoffman's Raven. He hadn't even seen her up until that point, hell he hadn't seen her for four God Damn years.

She looked different...older, though stopped him in his tracks just like she always used to. He remembered that night after they'd collected their Embry Stars, remembered how formal and awful that dinner had been that his Father had insisted on, remembered seeing her in a new light after the shy and overshadowed Anya was replaced with a firm and confident Anya. They had gotten close after that point, then he was thrown in the slab and everything changed, he had insisted that she didn't visit, he didn't want her going into a hell hole like that, and he didn't want her to see him there either. He was ashamed of it, was that such a surprise? He didn't even want Dom visiting. Both had sent him letters though, only a few reached his eyes and Anya's neat hand writing had given him small moments of feeling and peace, even within those solid steel walls and even with wretches clanging on the bars above his head.

Normally he could keep his face in that well practiced blank expression but right then his face betrayed him and he couldn't help the look on his face when he saw her. She was beautiful still, like he'd think that would change somehow, but even though she was probably the same Anya he'd always known, he didn't want her to look at him. He wasn't even a day out of prison, he wasn't worthy of her eyes, he was dirty and he was ashamed and there was a whole mass of emotion in there that he was fighting with, pushing it back to the recesses of his mind where he would no doubt churn on it later. He couldn't work out what the expression she adorned was; he didn't really want to know, but before he could really think about it he saw her turn her head and then saw the bullets flying. At last...he had his grubs.

Hoffman and Kim were sprayed with bullets but none hit, they were threat shots, designed to intimidate, damn these grubs didn't know who they were starting on today. Marcus stood long enough to watch Anya clamber back into the Raven and assure himself that she was safely in cover before he decided to show the locust just who they were dealing with. All that anger, frustration, self loathing and hatred was going to come out now and the locusts were going to be on the receiving end every time...he had a score to settle.

He chucked himself into cover as if he'd never stopped being a Gear, he could slide into it no problem, heck we're talking about years of ingraining and fine tuning from the combat he'd experienced in the Pendulum wars as well as the years after didn't lose instincts like those over night, no matter where you'd spent them.

Standing up when he saw the opportunity he dropped two drones, one from each side, left to right and back again before dropping back into the sanctuary of his sandbag cover. Numbly he could hear Hoffman debrief Delta's squad leader, that wasn't his concern right now, he had drones to kill. An explosion jarred his teeth and he issued a warning

"Watch the sides" He didn't want an unnoticed frag to finish him or any of his new squad just yet, that's when he realised he was going to fight, do whatever it took to finish this.

"Now I'm pissed" He'd forgotten just how hard it was to bring these humanoid monsters down, and a couple of close calls were starting to try his patience as yet more bullets riddled the sandbags. Again another opportunity presented itself and he lifted to his feet with heavy determination, again firing from left to right and back and bringing down two more drones

"Oh Yeah!"

More firing from Dom and the kid...Carmine? Yet those drones were still coming and exploding the air around his cover

"How much can they take?" It was a rhetorical question that only the magazine clip in his Lancer assault rifle could answer, coupled with his will power.

That was it, he'd had enough and he wanted this little ambush finished

"Down to two!" then for the final time he raised to his feet and fired a barrage from one set of stairs to the other dropping the final two locust, blood spewing as they finally fell and silence ensued.

"All Clear"

He caught the last bit of Hoffman's debriefing, Anya was going to be staying with them and giving them Intel, so he was going to keep hearing that voice, he wouldn't be able to hide from that part of the past today. Maybe if he actually managed to live through this after being dropped well and truly in it, he might catch up with her, but what the hell was he going to say?

Before he could think more on it, Hoffman was back

"I expect you to give me 110% Fenix!"

"I'm not doing this for you"

No he wasn't, what was he doing it for?, he'd made his choice he'd gone to save his Father because he believed it was the right thing to do. No, he was doing it for Dom, he'd busted him out of jail, and Marcus was determined to keep an eye on his younger brother, he had a promise to keep. Anya...maybe he was doing it for her too, he'd work it out sooner or later, but right now he was contented in telling Hoffman...that there was no way in hell he was doing it for him.