Warning: Spoilers for Halo Reach ending ahead
Make it count.
That's what Jorge had asked of us.
For the last seventeen hours...I've been doing just that.
I've killed dozens of them by now. Grunts, Jackals, Elites. Picking them off, hit and run.
But now they have me cornered, and I'm almost out of ammo.
Reach burns around me...
There's nowhere left to go.
They scramble over the slopes now, like ravenous wolves looking to bring down wounded prey, plasma rifles, concussion blasters and and repeaters in their hands, blue bolts of fire pass by me, their aim is thrown off with the difficult terrain.
It wont last.
Their powerful legs are like a thunderous quake as their hooves beat against the rock, they snarl and hiss curses in their native tongue. Adding to the cacophony of their murderous charge.
I toss three plasmas in front of the horde to stall them, they scramble to get away. But there are too many, they trip themselves up, and I spot at least four minor elites get incinerated by the superheated energy as the grenades went off.
I pick up the mini-gun, It weighs so much now.
Had it always been this heavy?
I pull the trigger, and the barrels spin with a low whine for a brief instant before thunder and fire bellows out.
Armor piercing rounds rip through the shields of the xenos like rice paper; punching massive holes into the armor and flesh beneath it, saturating the air with misty bursts of dark purple blood.
They go down screaming.
I turn, feeling the familiar impact of a plasma round dissipating against my shield before I shoot again, this time killing a ranger that had gotten too close. Chunks of flesh fall to the floor.
He doesn't have time to scream.
They're all getting too close now, and plasma rifle shots are no longer just whizzing by, and more are beginning to hit my shields.
I spray out bullets in a wild arc, I just need to get them off me for a moment, I just need time to breathe. To think. To get to some ground I can actually defend myself in.
But there was no such place, Reach is burning, buildings little more than rubble for the carrion to make their nests on. There was no place to fall back to anymore here.
Its just me and the horde.
I keep sending bullets, wildly, trying to keep them suppressed as I back away to get some more distance.
But the elites are through with patience and their usual cautious tactics.. They know resistance is almost non-existant now.
For all I know. I may actually be the last human left on Reach. All of them want the 'honor' of killing a spartan on a planet that dies around us.
They renew their charge as one and pay no heed to the bullets.
They're pushing over the rocks and shifting stones even as their comrades die at their sides and rounds from the mini gun, zip past their own bodies, barely missing.
They scream hate at me, and I answer with more bullets, the barrel is glowing red hot by the time the first Zealot reaches me, energy sword in hand.
I whip the massive gun around, not to shoot, to hit him with it.
He doesn't expect this.
He's wide open.
The barrels, still glowing from the heat, smash into his face. The alien's already ugly appearance is all but destroyed as my enhanced strength delivers the blow, with bone crushing force.
He's dead before he hits the ground.
I drop the heavy weapon, pulling out my shotgun from my back. I shoot another approaching elite, I get the second I need.
I grab the dead Zealot's sword, lighting it with a hiss of overcharged ozone and crackling electricity fields.
The other elites charge even faster, angry.
I cock the shotgun as effectively as I can by twisting it under my arm as my other hand still holds the sword.
I shoot again, and now they're on top of me.
There's too many to keep track of, too many to fight. But I try to anyway. I twist and turn, dodging and weaving between their attacks as best I can. I stab one of them through the stomach, and sever another one's leg.
The hilt of one sword smashes against my visor in the melee. My world spins, the visor cracks, but I don't let it stop me. Not for a second. If I stop, I die. Keep them in the melee, keep this group confused, worried that they'll hit one of their own with a bad swing.
I keep moving, swinging that plasma sword for all I'm worth, slicing through energy shields and alien flesh. I don't know how many I bring down, or how long I even fought for. We could have been there for days as far as I cared.
All I knew were the cries of the elites, either in rage or in pain as they snarled and cursed. My arm was beginning to ache, and my eyes were darting this way and that way, enhanced reflexes making me react almost instantly to the incoming attacks.
But I cant keep this up forever. I know it...they know it. They press the attack.
Soon...someone lands a hit...a bad one.
I screamed, my entire body seizing up as lances of agony sear through every nerve in my body. Needles of pain splintering outwards everywhere.
The HUD is glaring with red lights and my suit's diagnostics equipment tells me where I've been hit.
My back, someone cut my back.
I lashed out with sheer instinct, kicking out with one foot behind me, fast as lightning. I hit something, I feel the alien's body break beneath the blow, armor and all.
I don't know if he's dead.
I hope he is.
The pain hits me again, a hundred times worse, and I fall onto my hands and knees, gasping in agony, trying to suck in a breath through the grille of a helmet that's all but suffocating me.
I realize my mistake a moment after I make it.
Frantically, I look around, finding only the armored feet of the elites surrounding me and I punch one in the knee, hard.
Bones give way, it stumbles and I pull it forward by its waist, the alien falls on top of me. It's screaming, I'm not sure if its just pain.
In half a second it doesn't matter.
A blow intended for me is taken by him, the energy blade sinking through its thick hide before I stand, screaming as I lash out with my own energy sword again, throwing the dead alien off of me as I sever an ugly head from it's shoulders.
One of the aliens grabs me from behind, seeking to restrain me. I don't know why it didn't just stab me, but at the moment, I don't really care. I reach up, feeling for the back of its neck, or what I think, is the back of its neck before gripping.
Too quick for the elite to react, something snaps, and it falls limp to the floor.
I turn, there are still so many of them.
Reach burns as they swarm over their dead.
I kill another, and another. But I'm getting slower, the wound along my back is excrutiating, the pain, all but crippling. They've almost won.
They've almost won.
But they haven't won yet.
An Alien boot hits my ribs, and I fall onto my side, the wind knocked out of me.
The elites are ready to pounce, all but salivating at the thought of killing me.
I reach down to my holster, feeling the familiar weight of a grenade in hand.
I pull the pin with my thumb, and toss the whole bag barely a foot infront of me.
The elites notice it too late.
With a thought, I lock my armor.
The grenades go off.
When I wake, I could swear for a moment it was all a dream, its so quiet.
I don't hear the snarls, the curses in alien tongue, I don't feel my heart beating so hard against my chest it hurts.
I don't feel the aches and pains of my injuries, of three days of fighting. Of the hollow emptiness that's all but consumed the thoughts I keep locked away in all but the darkest corners of my mind with the death of noble team.
Could it have all been a dream?
I open my eyes and Reach still burns.
'Tell them to make it count.'
My fists clench and I grit my teeth beneath my helmet. I wasn't just going to lie here and wait for death.
I'm going to die today...That's certain.
I may as well make that count.
I turn over, struggling to get to my feet. Struggling to suck in a proper breath.
Breathe...I need to breathe...
If I could just breathe, maybe I can fight down the nausea in my gut, maybe I could stop my head from spinning, my temples of pounding, maybe I can focus enough to push the pains of my body away.
I just need to...
The helmet comes off with a hiss, and I toss it to the side, relieved to be free of it.
The heat stings my face, the air burns my lungs, the grit laced wind stings my eyes like alcohol over a wound.
Reach is dying.
But I don't pay attention to that now.
I will burn as Reach burns.
But so will they.
I see a rifle in front of me. I crawl towards it, on hands and knees.
I reach for it and I see soon enough that it has a full clip. Reach is kind to me in its death throes.
I pull out the magnum still strapped to my hip.
The elites are coming back now, Minors, Rangers, Zealots, Alphas, Field marshals.
I shoot, and I scream back their hate at them as they charge and snarl, shooting blue fire as they come
One reaches me. I throw my elbow into his ugly face, then another and this one, I hit with the but of the rifle.
I feel, and see its neck twist too far.
I go back to shooting, my finger pulling at the magnum's trigger, launching slugs into one lizard's chest.
The other finger hasn't left the trigger. The rifle sputters out bullets towards the elites, a few stumble back, injured or stunned.
But there are so many more that keep coming...keep shooting.
Plasma shots hit me. My shields are gone now and the shots burn through my armor, hitting flesh, and spreading agony through my stomach and chest as they burn over my skin.
My arm shakes, the weight of the gun seems so much greater now. It wasn't always like this was it?
I keep shooting.
I don't notice the Zealot reaching my side until the rifle is out of ammo.
By then its too late.
A fist smashes against my face and I fall, the back of my head smacking against dirt and rock and my vision swims and blurs.
But I still see him standing there, sword in hand, ready to kill me.
I lash out with my foot. But I'm too weak now, I know that, it doesn't have the same bone shattering strength it would have normally had. The elite stumbles back, in pain, but he's still standing.
I shoot him in the head. Bastard's shields deflect it. Magnum's out of ammo now.
Another elite grabs me by the arm, I don't think about it before pistol whipping him across the face. If they want to kill me they're going to have to work for it.
It snarls and recovers, turning to me with hate in its eyes.
There was no more of the slow approach, no more savoring the kill: He pounces, sword in hand, and as he does the Zealot I'd kicked away earlier comes back and does the same.
The blades cuts through my armor into my stomach and out the other side.
Its as though a fire has been lit in my gut. I convulse, feeling my legs twitch as my hands grip at their wrists, weakly now, trying to push them away, I glare into the eyes of the elite, and spit bloody saliva onto its face. It gives no reaction.
They pull back, and the blades are removed, but the pain remains firmly in place.
I groan, one hand clutches at my wound. It barely bleeds, the openings, cauterized by the superheated energy swords.
The alien's look down on me, their blades still in hand watching me die.
I hear one speak, but I can only think of finding something else. I need to keep fighting. I need to make these bastards pay for every inch of ground they've taken, for every life they've stolen here.
I need to make it count.
I see a plasma pistol nearby, I reach for it.
My hands shake, and as I stretch, my fingers curl into red-brown dirt; Too far from the weapon's handle.
Why is it so far away?
The Zealot's hoof falls over the weapon, its sword still at the ready and he kicks it away.
I cough, and the metal coppery taste of my blood is now undeniable as it trails down my cheek
When had it gotten so cold?
My eyes grow heavy, and even as they darken, the burning skies of reach still pierce through the veil.
Reach was burning as I lay dying.
I think back to Keyes the AI...the Pillar of Autumn that has safely escaped this dying world.
Somehow...I know that things will be alright. That humanity will survive this enemy, overcome it.
And I think...
"Jorge...we made it count."
I wrote this just after finishing Halo Reach which has one of the best and most frustrating endings I've ever seen in a shooter game.
I liked the game and I recommend it to anyone who ever liked Halo (Before Halo 3) It does the series justice.
As for this Oneshot, I was purposefully ambiguous on the gender of Noble six since some people prefer female to male characters or vice versa.
As for the content of this story, Spartan physical strength, from what I've read in forums and such is freaking ridiculous, with their suits weighing half a ton, being able to flip a warthog end over end and so on and so forth. Given the weight speed, and phisical strength their augmentations they have naturally plus the additional power provided by the MJOLNIR armor in my mind, makes the spartan more than capable of snapping elite necks and breaking bones easily.
In conclusion I MIGHT. And I stress MIGHT extend this one shot into a story. If I do It wont be for a while, as I have other projects I've neglected and wish to finish before I take on another story, even though this one would be short if I do decide to continue it.