Chapter 18

Welcome to the new Age.

Disclaimer: I dunna own any charas but echo and rookies personality.

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Rook sat in the lab and looked upon the small child in the cryogenic tube. It had been ten months since the freelancers took Dante in for her training. Rook and Emile had been coming to the lab everyday for the past ten months to keep watch over the growing child. Emile walked over to the tube and wrote down a few things on a data pad, he then looked over to Rook.
"Rook… he's almost of age… it wont be long now." He said as he sighed. "I hope she gets back in time for the birth process…"
"well there isn't much we can do if she isn't here though…" Rook groaned as he leaned on the desk.
"I know… it's been a long time already… I can't believe it's taken this long…" he looked into the glass tube and placed a hand on the glass. "I miss her too you know." His expression reflected back through the glass, it was sad and his eyes drooped slightly.
"I know… all we can do now is wait though…" Rook stood and walked over to the door. "We better go now Emile. We'll come back tomorrow to check on things again." He turned to the door and began to walk out. Emile followed him out sadly; he looked back and turned the lights out.
"Good night Riley. See you tomorrow." He closed the door and locked the facility before getting into the falcon.

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"Well here we are… back at the base." Rook said as he nudged Emile from the passenger seat.
"Yeah okay…" Emile said as he got out and walked back into the base. He looked out into the field before he closed the door. It was spring and the snow was just beginning to melt. "Rook?" Emile asked as he turned to face him.
"Yeah?"
"What month is it?" Emile asked as they began walking to the armory.
"Well it's May." Rook said as he looked at him. "Why?"
"just wondering." Emile said as he began to put his lab things away in a locker.
"Ah okay. Hey did you leave Dante's locker open when you were grabbing the DNA scanner?" Rook asked.
"No. she hated having her things left open…" Emile groaned as he stood and stretched.
"Well… her locker is open." He said as he walked over to it. "Huh…" he closed it and walked back over to his locker and placed his things in it. "Let's go check on lunch." Rook suggested as they walked out.

They began walking towards the kitchen in silence when they heard it. A melodious laugh that was very rare to hear. They ran into the kitchen and saw her. Sitting at the table and eating a piece of muffin. She turned and looked over to them.
"Oh. Hello Emile and Roo-" she stopped short as they rushed over and hugged her so hard that they fell onto the floor. "OH-!" she began laughing as they hugged her tightly.
"We missed you." Emile said as he squeezed her tightly.
"Yeah. We really did." Rook said as he kissed her on the forehead. "A lot." He smiled as they got up.
"Jeeze you two… if you had tried any harder I'm sure that you would have squeezed her organs out." Jorge said as he laughed.
Dante groaned as she stood and dusted her shorts off. "It's not that big of a deal." She muttered as she let a small smile grace her lips. "But there is… something I want to get right down to." She said as her voice turned from cheery to serious. Her eyes hooded as she walked past Jorge and stood in the doorway. "He… IS ready… right?" she asked as she let her head fall slightly.

Emile smiled and nodded, not knowing if she was watching him or not.
"Well… yes. We didn't carry on with the process just yet because well… we weren't sure you were here. Actually we thought you wouldn't be back for a lot longer than you had been gone for..." Rook piped up as he grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and took a swig.
"I'm going now then. Alone." She announced as she took off towards the vehicle bay.
"You're not going after her." Jorge stated as he grabbed Rookie's shoulder and sat him in a chair.
"Why not?" he asked as he glared slightly.
"This is something she has been waiting many years for. Let her have her moment alone with him when it happens…" Jorge said as he took a seat beside Rook.
"I… guess you're right." Rook muttered.
"Of course he is." Emile said as he took a seat across from Jorge. "So… when did she arrive?" he asked as he cocked an eyebrow.
"Well... shortly after you two left for the lab this morning." Jorge began. "She looked so tired earlier. And… worn. She went to her room for a while before joining me out here and that's when you to showed up." Jorge said with a shrug.
"Did she say anything about what happened…?" Rook asked as he failed to hide the concerned tone in his voice.
"Yes. She doesn't want me telling you all of it. She only said that it's over now." Jorge said as he took a sip of coffee and sighed.
"Well that tells us a lot." Emile said with a huff of annoyance. "At the very least we know she's alive." He said with a shake of his head.
They all nodded in agreement and left the room.

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Dante ran down the steps of the lab and flew through the many room until she came to a complete stop by the door that would lead her to her brother.
"He's… in here… I can finally see him at last." She said as she leaned her forehead against the door and smiled. She placed her hand on a scanner and the door opened with a slight hiss. The light in the room flickered on and her eyes narrowed in on the crio tube across the room. He was there, floating in the tube as perfect as he had been the day he died. Many tubes adorned his childish body, his naked form a purple hue due to the liquid he was submerged in.

Her footsteps padded almost silently as she walked across the room and to the command console beside the tube.
"This is it, Little Brother… we will never be torn apart again." She said as she keyed in a pass code and the tube began to empty its liquid contents into a drainage system. Once the liquid was fully drained and alarm over head began to sound and the tube tipped onto its side, dumping the small child onto a hospital bed beside it. The many tubes and cords attached to him instantly released and left him lying on the bed in a slight sheen of liquid. He didn't breathe or move.

Dante cautiously approached him and slid her fingers through his hair. It was the same shade as hers, an awkward pink color. His skin in some places showed its color to be very pale, others it was hard to tell because of the shine and coloring of the liquid that covered his skin. She smiled and looked into his beautiful childish face; he was perfect down to every last strand of hair.
"Soon… it will be all over soon… I promise." She said as her finger tips slid off of him and instantly went to the computer beside her. She began inputting the new information and the A.I code began to upload. She then attached a medium sized machine to his head that clicked into place and began to buzz with life. The information that displayed across the screen lit up green indicating that the final preparations were complete. With the click of a button her brother would finally be back at her side.

She pressed the button and stood back as the machine began to hum louder as even more information pulsed through it and passed on into Riley's brain. In a matter of seconds it was all over. There was a loud hissing and the machine popped off of Riley's head and lay on the bed. The animation process was beautiful. A large glass tank covered the bed from the wall and a hissing sound could be heard followed by the site of a white mist that leaked into the chamber. This would be the antibacterial spray that would ensure that he wouldn't die as soon as he was animated. Next a green light began to flicker on and off as the chamber filled with steam. This was the thermal stage. The body would be heated up to 98.6°F. The steam released out of the chamber and static filled the air as the final pulse was activated. It acted like a defibulator and got the heart started.

The glass shifted away in time for Dante to watch Riley's first breath. It was like a deep sea diver coming up for his first breath of fresh air in a year. He sat up and greedily sucked air into his lungs, his eyes were as wide as a kittens milk saucer. He looked around wildly and his eyes came to rest upon Dante. He panted heavily and his left hand clutched as his chest, trying to steady his heart beat and breathing.
"WH-where… what happened… I thought I was dead…? Did my sister save me?" he asked in a rush. The words seemed to tumble out of his mouth. His voice was soft and lacey; it had a deep tone to it.
"No… I'm sorry to have to explain this to you…" Dante said softly as she sat at the edge of the bed. "I am Dante. Your sister. You remember that you died… right?"
he nodded, a look of sadness coming across his face.
"Well… I went on to become a Spartan… I went through a lot to finally come to this place… you don't remember coming to me in my dreams at all I take it…?" she asked as she watched his face and tried to gauge his expression.
"I…. yes. I do remember. Vuagly." He said as he looked up at her.
"Well… since the last time it has been a year. And the planet is re-built and I have learned many things over my time waiting to finally see you again." She reached out to him, her arms wide open.
He lunged into them without hesitation and began weeping into her chest; Dante couldn't help the steady flow of tears that refused to be held. They splashed onto Riley's hair and she laughed.
"I've missed you so much… from the moment that monster took you away from me… the only thing I have ever wanted was to finally have you back with me again…" she said as she squeezed him gently.
"I-I know… I have… memories of it… you… made me didn't you…? I am and artificial intelligence…" he said with a hint of sadness in his voice.
"I cannot deny that… but you are still you. Everything that I could remember I programmed for you… I can never bring you back fully… but this is at least a start…. I gave you memories of my own as well… so that you wouldn't be so confused about everything… so you wouldn't be scared of me." She explained as she stroked his hair.

Riley laughed and looked up at her, a giant smile splayed across his face. "I don't care… so long as I am real enough to finally be with you again… to live… laugh and be myself again… this body… is it fake too…?" he asked as he looked himself over. "It's just that… I look exactly the same…" he said as he examined himself.
"no." Dante said with a smile and a ruffle of his hair. "You're body is one hundred percent authentic. I used my own DNA, the closest thing to yours left alive. And made a new body for you. It will grow and you can do with it what you want." She smiled.
Riley looked up at her and smiled even more. "I… can't believe we are here… together… now I guess… that you're the bigger sibling…" he said with a small chuckle.
Dante laughed and nodded. "Yeah I guess so, which means that I will protect you. No matter what. From now on we will always be together and I won't let anything tear us apart again." She said as she picked him up and kissed his cheek.

Riley giggled and squirmed out of her grasp. He landed on the floor and wobbled slightly.
"Don't worry; you will need some time to get used to everything again. I'll be right here beside you every step of the way, don't worry." She reassured as he took her hand and they began walking around the lab.
"Um… can I have some clothes?" Riley asked as they passed by a rack of medical lab coats.
"Oh… right." Dante said with a nervous laugh and walked him over to a small room with many boxes. "I wasn't sure what you would want to wear so I took the liberty of just buying almost everything that I knew you used to like. Go through the boxes and take whatever you like." She said as she watched over him.
He didn't hesitate and opened the first box he came across. Inside he found a pair of silk black shorts, grey briefs, a pair of sandals and a silk white muscle shirt. He began dressing himself when a thought came across his mind.
"Did you have sex with someone to make me?"
Dante stared at him, her jaw dropping and her eyes bulged. "Riley! No! Are you kidding me!? Of course not! I merely took an egg and sperm and put them in a bio tube. Nothing more! Sheesh… I can't believe you… I get that you're eight… but such a thing… how?" she asked as he finished dressing.
"Well… I guess that because my brain is simply a computer based program that I just know stuff." He said with a smile. "It's not like I'm a super smart person or anything. I just know the basics of life already I guess you can say.
"I wish you didn't… it's kind of embarrassing." She said with a slight chuckle.
"Oh it won't be bad. I promise!" he said as he hugged her around the waist. "I uh… I'm hungry." He said as a loud growl erupted from his stomach.
Dante laughed and grabbed his hand. "Okay, I'll take you home and get you something to eat. After that you can meet all of my friends and comrades." She said with a smile.
Riley grinned and began pulling on her hand to go faster. She obliged his wishes and began running with him.

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"What do you mean you're retiring and leaving noble base!?" Emile asked as he looked at Dante.
"Exactly what it sounds like Emile. I mean… I finally have my brother back and with all the money I have saved up from being in the military I can go and buy a house and not worry about anything…" she explained as she watched Riley scarf down a plate of food. Jorge sat with him and kept an eye over him while Dante talked with the rest of the team.
"But… you only just got back… and you're leaving us again?" Rook asked as he looked at her with sad eyes.
"Don't look at this like that. I don't mean I'm leaving Reach or anything. I won't even be that far away. I filed for a plot of land just outside the base's land hold. So I'll be walking distance away… you guys have to understand that now that Riley is back all I want to do is be with him…" she said as she looked at them.
"But can't you still do all that and not retire…? I mean if you retire you become just a regular citizen don't you?" Buck asked as he watched Rook's expression.
"Well… I guess I could… but then that still runs the risk of me having to leave him for reasons like fighting and such…" she said as she leaned against the wall.
"yeah but at the same time you can't protect Riley if you don't have any guns… and you know that citizens don't get to have guns, labs, warthogs or any of the stuff that you're used to… and what about your armor? You wouldn't get that anymore either. And think of us… we need you… to be our leader…" Dare said as she looked Dante in the eyes, she wasn't lying when she said they needed her.
"You guys… really don't think something like that… I'm sure that Jorge would make a good leader in my absence… don't you?"

Jun shook his head and pointed at Dante. "You. You are a good leader. No one has ever been a better leader aside from Carter… if there is anyone that can lead this team it is you. If you retire then so do I." he said as he crossed his arms and looked at her with a serious face.
"Same here." Emile agreed as he nodded and crossed his arms against his chest.
"Then we do to." Romeo, Dutch and Mickey said at the same time with nods.
Rookie: guess I'm in too, I wouldn't want to be on this team with someone else as a leader, of course this is nothing against Jorge, but who's to say Holland wont chose another leader? I'm out too." He said as he stood beside his fellow ODST members.
"I'm out too. It's hard to find someone with good morale standing and good leadership skills." Buck said as he took a step back.
"I told you so." Dare said as she shook her head. "You leave then we all leave. A team stays together and that is how it should be."

Dante shook her head and sighed. "Why… why are all of you so keen on keeping me in this team…? I'm not even that great." She said as she shook her head again. "Please... you don't all have to do something like this just because of me…"
"Then I guess if you want us all to stay then you will too." Jun said as he nodded.
Dante shook her head. "Fine... I won't retire… but I won't stay here either. I'm building my own house…" she said as she scoffed and walked away.
"Phew… that was close…" Rook said as he bowed his head. "At least she isn't retiring… that was if anything happens at least she will be able to fight still…" he added as he sat on the couch and covered his eyes.
"Who are you kidding Rookie? You're only saying that because you're in love with her." Romeo said as he laughed.
"AM NOT!" Rook said as he stood and stormed out of the wreck room.
"We hit a sensitive spot." Dutch said with a huge grin and a chuckle.

Riley looked up from his finished plate of cheeseburgers and smiled at Dante.
"How much did he eat?" she asked with a chuckle.
"About five hot dogs and four cheeseburgers." Jorge said with a laugh. "I guess the boy's growing after all." He grinned.
Dante laughed and tousled Riley's hair. "That he is. Riley, we're going to go and draw up some things for a house okay? You can design how you want your room. Whatever you want I'll do for you okay?" she said as she kissed his cheek. He grinned and ran towards Dante's room, leaving them behind.
"Don't you think you're going to spoil him?" Jorge asked.
"No. not at all… how do you make up for him being dead for the last how many years? You can't. The only thing I can do is give him everything now. This is my way of making up for his death… this will at least make me feel slightly better about it." She said as she looked at Jorge sadly.
"I see… just try not to overdo it or anything. Okay?" he asked as she got up and went to follow Riley.
"That I won't do. I'm going to do everything I can for him now. Whatever he wants he's going to get…" she said as she walked away.

Riley sat on Dante's bed and drew with a marker on some blank paper. Dante watched over his shoulder curiously. He was drawing out a bedroom from the looks of it and it was fairly empty save for a few book shelves and a chest full of toys.
"This… looks like your old room." She said as she watched him draw.
"It is… this is how I want it… I want it to be like before I died…" he said with a sad smile. "Like before it got broken."
Dante leaned back and looked at the ceiling. He could have everything he ever wanted, but in the end, like her, all he wanted was to have that life back. To forget about everything it seemed.
"You know things can never be back that way, right?" she asked as she sighed.
"Yeah… but at least for something like this it can be. And I know it will never be the same. But to get the same feeling… to be in something familiar is all I want right now… just like being here with you. Is something that I thought would never again happen… so this is good." Riley said as he rested his head on her stomach. "To… just be with the people you love most…" he said as he drifted off to sleep.
Dante closed her eyes and rested a hand on his head. "Me too, Riley. Me too."

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Well there it is… probably long awaited too… I have to say that I really am so sorry… I just had this massive writer's block and whenever I went to write anything on this story my mind just went totally blank. But not now XD so I hope it was worth the wait. To finally have riley join the picture. Hopefully I'll update again soon.