A Halo Reach Fan Fiction by Marianne Bennet

Opening Author's Note:

This is my first Halo anything fan fic (exciting) so bear that in mind. I'm writing two thousand word snippets that will span the length of the game and its characters (tragic) stories. I'm trying to write one every few days but my life is pretty hectic so bear with me if I don't update on a regular basis, alright?

The Number Six in this story is my own creation. The other various characters belong in varying degrees to the Halo franchise.

Enjoy! Please review as constructive feedback is always welcome!

One: Omens

She could feel every bump in the road through the truck's worn seat. Through her armor too but the suit had felt like a second skin for as long as she cared to remember. Remembering or rather the wanting of kept memories was a new thing: something she didn't bother to prep herself for.

She hadn't needed to remember before. Survival is something she found to be instinctual, whether she was holding a stick or her favorite DMR, and she was a natural predator. She told herself that she remembered impulses, not emotions, that her Spartan armor could protect her from most things but not the internal elements of heartbreak and loss. People died in her field of work; whether enemies or allies, she didn't want to memorize their faces and she wouldn't wish the same on anyone else. Better to go nameless, faceless. Numbers were safer and if people saw her as a shell, then so what?

It was a new day and a new number, as she was constantly reminded by the helmet in her hands with its new paintjob: B312. She had insisted on doing it herself. It was a process for her; so what if the lettering toward the right was slightly bigger than that on the left? She was never one for superficial first impressions; she let her gun do the talking.

It wasn't as though she didn't remember anything about her past life. It was more as though her past was a movie that she watched with only slight interest that rolled on behind her like the landscape around her. She could recall names, dates, places, but they were all like they belonged to someone else. They didn't matter much to her anyway.

"We're coming up on Noble Team's base of operations," the driver called to her over the white noise of the wheels. "It's just over that ridge there."

"You call that a ridge?"

He considered. "Nah, more like a bump. But you can't see it yet. You want to put your helmet on? The dust gets in your eyes, doesn't it?"

"Not enough to make me want to put it on." She liked the open spaces.

"Suit yourself."

"Noble Team's got a base? I thought they were on the move." She knew they were on the move; she did her homework before she let herself get signed onto anything.

"Sure they are. They go wherever they're needed."

"On Reach?"

"Yep. You born here?"

"No." She paused. "Harmony. What do you know about Noble Team?"

"Not much to be honest. They're all very hush-hush. But I guess you'll find out." They'd crossed over the "ridge." "There."

The base looked like a box with two Falcons perched beside it. She put on her helmet, feeling the familiar coolness well around her face and its weight settle down upon her shoulders. "What do you know about Noble One?"

"Not much."

"What have you heard about him?"

"Hey, don't look at me; I'm just the delivery boy."

"And I'm the package," she observed with a mixture of bitterness and satisfaction.

"Why do you want to know about him anyway?"

"I like to know something about who's gonna be sending me out under enemy fire."

"Reach isn't that bad. You know: farmers and ONI hush-hush."

"All the same," she shrugged. "Did you hear happened to their last Number Six?"

"No but I'm guessing that you did."

"Threw himself down on a suicide bomber. Locked his armor. Saved the rest of his team."


"I like to know what I'm getting into."

"They got an, ah, history of self-sacrifice?" They came to a halt between the Falcons.

She pushed herself out of the truck and grabbed her DMR and grenades. She raised her eyebrows even though she knew the driver couldn't see. "You tell me," she said breezily and she crossed over towards the compound.

Well aware that someone was watching her from the interior of the Falcon –she saw his sniper rifle and already her fingers itched to get their hands on it, just for a test run or longer if she could get away with it –she shrugged her rifle onto her back and continued on, never stepping out of stride. Keep moving.

"…the Office of Naval Intelligence believes the deployment of a Spartan team to be a misallocation of valuable resources. I disagree."

She could feel the judgment coming on as she entered the tin box of an outpost. Two pairs of eyes –one obscured by his helmet, the other barefaced –rose to her approach and she could feel them studying her every movement, or so she suspected. Call her paranoid but this team sounded something like a family and here she was the cuckoo bird. Her suspicions were confirmed as another Spartan –this one another woman and without her helmet–crossed in front of her, cutting off her path towards the monitors and whom she suspected to be Noble Leader.

"Commander," said the woman and the Spartan at the monitor turned to look at her.

"So that's our new Number Six," observed the man with the large gun at his side and she unconsciously tried to stand a little taller.

"And you're my new team," she said in return, glancing at each of them, scrutinizing them boldly: an advantage to the helmet's presence.

"Kat," said the Spartan with a splattered skull smeared across his visor, "you read her file?"

Kat –the woman in turquoise armor –shrugged. "Only the parts that weren't covered in black ink."

She thought she saw the man that had first spoke cover a smile in the corner of her vision. Looking to the Spartan at the monitor –"Commander," Kat had called him –she saw that he had turned back to his conversation.

"Anyone claim responsibility, sir?" he asked, laying a hand upon the helmet perched upon the desk.

"ONI thinks it might be the local insurrection," was his answer. "Five months ago, they pulled a similar job on Harmony…"

"You came from Harmony, didn't you?" she was asked by the big man. "I'm Jorge by the way. That's Kat, Emile, and Jun's out by the Falcon."

"I saw him when I came in."

"Don't miss much, do you?"

"Trained for it, sir."

"It's Jorge, actually. Carter's the 'sir' around here."

"That's the one that's too busy to acknowledge your presence is Carter," said Emile in a low, slightly mocking tone.

She glanced to Carter: Noble Leader didn't bat an eyelash though he must have heard them. "He's busy," she allowed.

"If you saw Jun, that means he saw you too. He's our snip."

"I noticed."

"Any chance he, uh, saw you without the helmet?"

"Doubtful." Still, she fought down an unwelcome smile.

"And what do we call you?" Jorge leaned forward.

"Six," she replied with a little quirk of the lips she knew they could not see. "Isn't that what we're supposed to call each other when we're on duty?"

Kat and Jorge exchanged a look; she did not miss Kat's smirk.

"…Sir, consider it done," they heard Carter say and all fell quiet.

"Then I'll see you on the other side. Holland out."

"I take it you're Jennifer," Carter turned to her and held out a hand before she could blink, or so it felt like.

She flinched. He hesitated. "Would you rather I call you something else?" She could hear Emile's snort and Jorge's chuckle. Her face flamed red. "Do you go by Jen? Jenny?" She saw Kat smirk again.

Turning away from his easy smile, she replied with a lie, "Not since I entered the service. Its Six now and I hope it will be that way for a while."

He didn't falter; perhaps he had encountered equally enigmatic soldiers in his past. "Six then. I hope so too. I'm Carter, Noble-One, Jun –that's Noble 4 –is outside, that's Kat, Emile, Jorge, Two, Three, and Five respectively. Those last two are the ones that probably damaged my reputation by you beyond repair."

"We're setting you up to look good for the newbie," replied Emile, slightly snarky.

"We need to get moving, commander," said Kat, shooting Emile a look.

She led the rest of the team filed out of the room in quick procession; Jorge dropped Six a quick wink before Carter shifted his weight, obscuring the exit from her view. "I've gotta be honest with you, Six: Thom was an integral part of this team. He was a good soldier and a good man and sometimes those things don't go hand in hand like you'd think they might. I'm not gonna pretend that things aren't going to be pretty rough for you these first couple of weeks but an attitude isn't going to help anybody. You understand?"

"Sir," she said, pushing down any feelings of resentment that might have come bubbling up to the surface.

"So, you came from Harmony?"

"Yes, sir. I was with a Special Ops group there. We were the ones that took down the rebels there."

"You don't need to impress me twice, lieutenant; I already read your file."

She cursed under her breath. "Any of you haven't?"

"Emile's not big on reading and I don't think Jorge bothered but that's about it," he sat himself down in the Falcon. Jorge slid in beside him and shot Carter a look of good natured annoyance before sliding his helmet over his head.

Six rested her palms upon her knees. "Is this a psychological check-up then? Sir."

"Don't feel the pressure or anything."

"I'm feeling it," said Jorge easily. "You got a past you'd like to tell us about, Spartan, or is it all in numbers?" She said nothing in return. "Don't like to talk about it?"

"Do you?"

Emile's voice came over the comm. as the Falcons began to take off, one after the other. "Don't ask Jorge to start talking now, newbie. Trust me: he won't stop."

She chuckled despite herself, unwillingly falling into what seemed an open and easy camaraderie despite Carter's warnings. She looked to the commander. "You figured out that I've got all my marbles yet?"

"I think I hear some rolling in your head coming over the comm.," he replied. Did anything phase him? "There was one thing about your file."

"You get through all the censors?"

"Yes, in fact." She whistled in slow appreciation. "I saw everything, even the parts they didn't want me to. I'm glad to have someone with your skill set and I'm happy enough to have Noble Team back up to full strength." There seemed a heavy silence over the comm. "But that lone wolf stuff has got to stay behind. We're a team. You understand?"

"Got it." She'd have met his eyes if she could. "Looks like someone's done his homework."

"I take it you did too."

"I'm feeling the tension," voiced Emile dryly.

"No tension here, Emile," said Carter. He looked to Six. "You, lieutenant?"

"Negative, sir."

"Then we've got no problems." Carter settled back into his seat.

Six pursed her lips and kept quiet. No point in making enemies, not now. Noble One seemed as though he would like to make friends; that wasn't going to happen on her watch. She told herself that she was here to tread the fine line traced around friendship, to get them to care about her enough to keep her alive but nothing further. Caring was an easy trap but she trusted her abilities to toe the line.

Jorge appeared lost in thought, his helmet's visor turned toward the ever moving landscape. She wondered if he was remembering the previous Six. Had he rode with Carter and Jorge? Had he occupied this very seat? Was she trying to fill a hole that she could only fall into and be lost in? Well, there was no point in remembering someone she had never known. Better make the rare moment of memory count for somebody important.