Still not socializing

Still not socializing

Space-2545 AD

The UNSC Pelican flew away smoking and partially aflame from the carnage of the disastrous space battle it had been a part of. But as O'brien remembered, if there had ever been a space battle the UNSC had won, he was yet to hear about it. That was just the way things were: on the ground, humanity had a chance, however slim, but in space, they might as well be attacking the Covenant with insults.

Now that their frigate had been blasted to bits, O'brien was sure that he and his team's Pelican were the only survivors of the massacre. And as it stood, they weren't doing too well themselves. The nearby Covenant vessels had, as always, made the concerted effort to kill any and all humans present. The Covenant never took prisoners. It was said that they didn't even build brigs or holding cells on their ships. With their ship now damaged badly as a result of that zeal, there did not look to be much hope for O'brien and his fellow Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. But thankfully, they had still managed to slip through the cracks, and flew as far away as possible. Without a slipspace drive though, they were off just as badly. Right on cue, the cynical side of O'brien kicked in, and he felt the need to point out the obvious:

"If the Covvies don't kill us, floating dead in space for a few hours will"

"Shut up O'brien. You're not helping"

O'brien returned his sergeant Cortez's order with a glare but nevertheless kept his mouth shut. Cortez shouted out to the Pelican's pilot:

"Mickey, how are we doing?"

"Well uh, I hate to be the voice of doom here, but O'brien wasn't lying. If we don't find a planet, and fast, we're not going to survive."

Sergeant Cortez did not respond. Neither did O'brien, who turned to his other side to see Dutch, ever the pious one, in a prayful pose, and this time his praying was audible too. Well, they always said there was never an atheist in a foxhole…

Mickey suddenly spoke up again: "Hey, wait a minute! I see something!"

Their curiosity piqued, as well as the possibility that they might not actually die getting their attention as well, O'brien, Cortez, and Dutch sat up and looked out the window. And sure enough, the Pelican was staring down a medium-sized planet that looked stark white from their distance.

"Mickey, what-?"

"I don't know Sarge. But what I do know is that there is a planet, so with all due respect, I'm taking this bird down."

"Hold it Mickey, we don't know whether or not that planet can support life, it might be toxic—"

It was about then when Dutch spoke up: "Then I guess if that's the case we have to decide whether we want to go to G-d on a toxic world, or in the vacuum. Your call Sarge"

"Well we might have a chance down there, and we've got none up here, so set her down Mickey"

"Aye aye sir"

And so the damaged Pelican closed in on the white planet, its details becoming more noticeable as the Pelican drew nearer. The planet looked perfectly fine. It almost reminded the crew of Earth. That was a good sign. Finally, the pelican descended into the planet's atmosphere, and to the relief of the four ODSTS on board, their lungs didn't immediately explode from exposure to a toxic substance. No, they felt fine, and as they descended lower and lower onto the planet, its beautiful Mesozoic, rain-forest like landscape was presented fully before them. Eventually, the four ODSTS became comfortable enough to remove their helmets.

The Pelican descended lower and lower, finally landing on the planet's lush forest floor. Disembarking from their damaged vessel, the four ODSTS looked out at the massive rainforest that faced them. The whole environment looked just like Earth's Prehistoric period. But without the Dinosaurs.

"What do you want to do Sarge?"

Sergeant Cortez turned to Mickey: "We don't know what's on this planet but we can't stay here. Try and salvage the ship's communications, and if that doesn't work, take what you can from the storage. We may be here a while"

-X-

The Covenant Corvette Unrelenting Agenda, was out scouting the area of space where a battle had taken place and were looking for any humans that may have escaped. As the ship kept moving, the General in charge examined the utter blackness of space from his place on the bridge, seemingly staring at nothing, but really his ebony eyes were ever on the look-out for any human vermin with which to slaughter. Then he heard his helmsman's voice perk up:

"General, there is a nearby planet on our radar. If any humans survived the nearby battle with Glory and Triumph, they are likely to have fled there. What are your orders?"

"No human must survive to disgrace the Covenant. Take the ship down to the planet. If you are correct, then we will finish the humans off. If there are no humans there, then we will just claim the planet in the name of the Great Journey"

"Yes sir"

And so the Corvette made its way to the planet as well. Upon touching down, the General ordered several squads of troopers, each one backed up by a wraith, to disembark and comb the planet for any humans. Once the troop detachments were out and about, Unrelenting Agenda rose again as both it and the Phantoms it also unleashed took to combing the planet, looking desperately for any trace of humanity…

-X-

The four ODSTS had been making their way through the rain-forest for an hour or two now. As had been suspected, the communications on the Pelican were defunct, so the ODSTS took with them what weapons and supplies they could carry and trekked off through the rain-forest to make up camp. None of the ODSTS wanted to admit it, but they all had the gut feeling that they would not be leaving this planet. O'brien, though a part of him was itching to point this out, fought the urge and kept quiet. And he really didn't want to admit it either. So he just kept walking with the others in silence.

Eventually, the group came to a stop and started setting up a makeshift camp, using combat knives to cut branches off of trees, as well as gather plants, and nearby foliage to use. O'brien took to scanning the dense jungle with his sniper rifle. And then he saw it. He turned around and shouted out to his fellow ODSTS as they were making a make-shift tent:

"Hey guys, I hate to break it to you, but shit just got real"

The other three ODSTS turned and O'brien pointed up. Looking up, the ODSTS saw to their horror a Phantom on approach. Cortez gave the order for the group to scatter and take cover, and they did just that. O'brien nervously looked up from behind his cover as the Phantom passed the group, having not noticed them. O'brien cursed his position. He was going to die and he knew it. There was no white-haired SPARTAN to save him this time…

-X-

The General flexed his mandibles impatiently as each of his phantoms reported back to him with the same report: no humans to be found. The General was growing frustrated, and was also forced to acknowledge that maybe there were no humans here.

Nevertheless the General told them all to just keep searching. The General had to be sure. He needed every inch of the planet they were on searched for any human presence. Only then would he be satisfied.

And so it went on for several hours. The Covenant ships continued to scour the planet, searching desperately for any trace of humanity. The ODSTS for their part, did their best to keep out of sight, and set up some type of camp.

But then the hours turned into days, and still there was nothing to be found. Now incensed, the General gave out a new order: "Tell the Phantoms to begin bombarding the planet. If any humans are hidden there, we will flush them out."

And so the Phantoms began to rain their mortar and plasma cannons down on the dense jungle planet, destroying all life in their path in their unrelenting pursuit of the humans. But as the Phantoms were done bombing one area and moved onto the next, they neglected to notice that new plants sprouted up in green light amidst the devastation…

-X-

It didn't take the four ODSTS long to realize what was going on. They could hear the thundering barrages in the distance, and knew that it was only a matter of time before the Phantom's hellstorms of death would catch up to them and they'd finally be vaporized.

Still refusing to lie down and die though, the ODSTS kept moving, desperately attempting to avoid the Phantom's barrages. Up on Unrelenting Agenda, the Elite General could almost taste the human's blood, knowing that it was only a matter of time…

But then, as the devastation continued, the Elite General could suddenly see the planet glow green. Down below, as the four ODSTS looked on in awe, a field of green energy swept across the planet, putting out all of the fires and repairing the devastation caused by the Phantoms. Then, the ODSTS found themselves enveloped in a similar green energy and carried up into the air. Back on Unreleting Agenda, the Elite General and his crew looked on in horror as a large green circle with a bar on both the top and bottom appeared on the center of the planet.

The Elite General turned to his bridge crew: "Get us out of here!"

"But General—" the Helmsman protested "Our brothers are still on the pla—"

"NOW!"

And so Unrelenting Agenda took off, abandoning their troops and ships still on the glowing planet to their fate. But as Unrelenting Agenda continued to fly away, there was a flash of green on the planet's surface, and a surge of green energy surged out of the planet, trapping Unrelenting Agenda in an almost tractor-beam like grip. The beam continued to force the ship down as well as tear it apart, and the General, panicking, rushed to the escape pods, desperate to save his own skin.

But alas he wasn't quick enough. As the four ODSTS floating in the air courtesy of the green energy fields looked on, Unrelenting Agenda pulled further and further down into oblivion. The green ray vaporized the entire vessel as the ODSTS looked on in speechless awe.

Finally, the four ODSTS were pulled all the way back to where their Pelican still lay, now little more then an old wreck. As the four ODSTS looked on, another field of green energy enveloped the Pelican and its knocked off parts, and slowly but surely, the vehicle was fully repaired. Finally, the ODSTS were sent into the Pelican, and the vehicle was carried into the air by another field of green energy. As the Pelican flew away, its crew took one last look back at the planet that had saved their lives, and the odd logo that was prominently on it.

"What the hell was that…?"

Dutch turned to O'brien.

"Why are you asking me?"

"You're the religious one."

Dutch looked a little indignant, as if O'brien was mocking him, but Cortez interceded: "I don't think we'll be telling the brass about this one…"

"Yeah." Mickey agreed. "As if they would ever believe us. That thing was like something out of a comic book"

O'brien didn't say anything. He just drifted off into his usual thoughts when nothing was happening. Until he noticed it. Standing up, O'brien pushed aside the supply crates, as Cortez and Dutch looked on in confusion.

"O'brien what are you doing?"

"Hey guys, I found something…"

"What?"

And before either ODST could respond, O'brien brought it out: a glowing green object that looked like a lantern, or at the very least, what the ODSTS thought was a lantern. But it was definitely unusual. The four ODSTS could almost feel the great power it contained within. There were also, as they saw, four green rings as well.

"I think that planet left us something…"