A/N: This fic took over my brain all day at work until I had to write it. The origin of Jorge's scar.

Warning: If anything I've ever written deserves a T rating it's this. Rated for torture and general violence.



When I Am Done I Will Face East

There were three steps for dealing with Spartans. William Sarka read them off the browned paper pinned to the wall as the screaming started in the next room.

The first step was grenade. It gave you distance and confused them and might even crack the armor.

The second step was go for the face. There weren't really any weak points on the helmet, but they had delicate components that could be jostled. That, and no one liked something flying toward their face.

The third step was run away.

From the sounds of the screaming he thought he might be needed, so he swung his legs off the bed and pushed the curtain aside to enter the next room.

The Spartan's hands were clamped behind his back with something that William had last seen in used on a tire bolt. Ada had taken the helmet off so that it was all burnt patches and skin from the left side of the Spartan's chest to his crown. In the corner of the room, Serge bent over his desk with a recorder in one hand, waiting for proof of something.

Ada prodded the Spartan with a captured DMR. "Again. English."

His eyes were dark and beady. He growled out six syllables, formatted like a landing code.

William Sarka could speak English. That was why he was here, in this Insurrectionist cell with people he had known for...months, now?

The Spartan could speak Hungarian. That, William presumed, was why he was here.

William said, "They're landing codes. Probably a plant."

"'Probably?" Ada was shaped like a hawk; all hackles and points. Her bony wrists flicked and suddenly there was a knife in her hand, no more than three inches long, produced from the folds in her jacket.

William shrugged.

Ada turned, sliced with the knife down and across. Blood pooled fast above the Spartan's right eye. He did not move. She said, "Fakes?"

The Spartan blinked at her as the blood oozed down onto his eye.

Ada hackled again. William thought she might take the eye entirely, but instead the knife point paused inside the Spartan's cheek. More blood. The Spartan closed his left eye too and sighed. Ada said, "We could have figured that out by the fact that you were here."

William thought, if he's Hungarian, really, if we kill him I will arrange his body facing east, so that bad luck does not fall back on me.

This was the one thing he remembered best from his grandmother's superstitions. The other was the first line from the creation myth. One must descend from some place.

Ada dragged the knife down. She said, "Come on…"

The Spartan moved. William figured out a few seconds later that he had ripped the chair out of the bolts that locked it to the floor and thrown it, shadows gathering at its base, so that it hit Ada and then Serge and his table. The Spartan's hands were still tied and then the iron clamp was slamming against the ground at William's feet. So fast. William backed against the wall, feeling the corrugated ridges against his palm. The Spartan was just another wall pushing forward, red blood pushing over black blood on his cheek and adding to the mess across his shoulder.

William found the door to the next room and ran.

This room had no door. It was filled with wire-frame beds and one window, which brought in yellow light and showed how wide the plains outside were.

Step one: grenade.

He didn't have one on hand but the cache was there by the door and he ducked out to grab it. Ada and Serge were somewhere under the desk and chair. William raised his head to look at the rest and the Spartan hit him.

The wooden ceiling was crumbling and William was under part of it. He hadn't pulled the pin. He looked up and saw the Spartan turn that mess of bloody shoulder toward him and look away. There were other people in the doorway—Brad and Yvonne. They'd been standing guard outside, smoking. Yvonne still had a cigarette in her hand next to her rifle. Tracers haloed the Spartan's head, and William ducked again. Slivers and dust filled the air, gone orange from the thickness of the discharge smoke.

Step two: go for the face.

William looked at the bunks behind him. One must descend from some place. He picked up a metal-sided brief case from someone's bunk -Serge's, this was Serge's camera case—and swung for the side of the Spartan's head.

The Spartan reached back with his grenade-burnt arm and pulled William forward.

Step three: run.

The Spartan swung him around. William's throat was closing and then Yvonne killed him; he felt her shot go through the back of his shoulder and then she gave a gasp that had a scream on the end like the smoke behind a jet. The Spartan dropped him and one cleft-armored foot flexed and stepped over him. William wondered where the sun was.