Disclaimer: I do not own Halo, or any movies, media, or merchandise associated with said franchise. …But, if I did, my games would be unbeatable. …Just because Halo One ("Halo: Combat Evolved") on Legendary pissed me off (It Was Almost Impossible), and I would want to share that angry aggression—with love :D.


Before-You-Read Background: This BOLD, "Pre-Story Pretext," is my important, intrinsic, "Before-You-Read Background," and these "Before-Chapter-Author-Notes," will almost ALWAYS contain UPPER-CASE Letters, of SOME sort. Proper grammar, and other things are used CORRECTLY in these "Pretext Prologues," though. …And while you should know that, you should also know that the ACTUAL STORY WILL contain GREAT spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage-and-mechanics, syntax, and semantics. Reading/RETAINING the NEXT portion of BOLDED text of IMPORTANT INFORMATION is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! By stating the important information below, it will make this FanFic immensely more entertaining/enjoyable. Also, I am NOT insulting ANY reader's intelligence/intellect, OR, any reader's knowledge, or know-how of "The Halo-Universe," by explaining/elaborating on the following facts. I am simply giving the reader necessary information that he/she NEEDS in-order to properly understand my FanFic.

IMPORTANT INFO: Obviously if you wish, you can skip directly to the story, but if you do, then you risk missing important intrinsic, information. First and foremost, this story takes place in an "A.U.," also known as an "Alternate Universe," and thus, the facts, figures, and forerunner—and/or, folklore—of "The Halo Universe," are STILL FACTUAL/FUNDAMENTAL in this, MY "A.U.," BUT there are STARK differences between THIS universe, and the universe of the "ORIGINAL Halo Universe." …Anyways, there are some seriously and solemnly important things that you should keep in mind, while reading/reviewing this FanFic. First and foremost, I HAVE READ/RETAINED ANY/ALL of the information in ANY/ALL of the "Halo Books Series," and I am/will apply and alter that information and intelligence as I see fit. In THIS universe, the year that this FanFic STARTS in is the "26th Century, 2535 A.D.," and, HERE, in MY AU, the year "2535 A.D," (Which Is The Year, That This FanFic Begins In) is EXACTLY TEN YEARS AFTER "The Covenant," have attacked/abolished the OUTER-Colony, "Harvest," of "The UEG," which is the "United Earth Government." So, since then (Ten Years Ago), the "The UNSC/UNSCDF," which is short for, "The United Nations Space Command/United Nations Space Command Defense Force," (The "UNSC/UNSCDF," Is/Are The Protectors/Preservers Of Humanity, And They Act As The "Military-Might," Of The "UEG") have been fighting the "The Covenant," for TEN YEARS, and Humanity has been fighting/fleeing a LOSING WAR against "The Covenant." "The Covenant," is an "Alliance/Allegiance Of BRUTAL/BLOODTHIRSTY/BRIGHT Aggressive-Alien-Races," and these sects/species of aliens that are a part/piece of "The Covenant," include the following (Names That Humans Call These Aliens Races Are In Parentheses—These "Human Names," Are Called "Human Handles"): "The San 'Shyuum" ("Human Handle," Is: "The Prophets," And They Are The Reign/RULERS Of "The Covenant"); "The Sangheili"("Human Handle," Is: "The Elites," And They Are The Strongest/Smartest Of The Covenants' Species/Sects); "The Jiralhanae"("Human Handle," Is: "The Brutes"); "The Huragok" ("Human Handle," Is: "The Engineers," And They Are VERY PEACEFUL/PASSIVE, And They Are HARMLESS); "The Mgalekgolo"("Human Handle," Is: "The Hunters"); "The Yanme'e" ("Human Handle," Is: "The Drones"); "The Kig-Yar" ("Human Handle," Is: "The Jackals/Skirmishers"); AND, LAST (And LEAST), "The Unggoy" ("Human Handle," Is: "The Grunts"). "The Covenant," wishes to have a "Humanity Holocaust," and DESTROY/DECIMATE Humanity, because, their leader(s), "The Prophets," have acquired and analyzed the technology of a previous/PRIOR race of alien beings, known as "The Forerunners," and they wish to use/utilize this technology to progress/perfect themselves, BUT, because Humanity is the CLOSEST in size, shape, and stature to "The Forerunners," they believe that they MUST ANNIHILATE Humanity, in-order to properly/perfectly use the "Forerunner," technology, without any fear of interference from another species (A Lot Of "Forerunner" Technology Is DNA-Based, And Humans Share DNA With The Forerunners, Which Prevents A Large Obstacle For "The Prophets"). At this point in time, Humanity, under the "UEG," and the "UNSC," have colonized/constructed MANY/MULTIPLE planets/worlds, and as such, they have MANY/MULTIPLE Governments, on MANY/MULTIPLE planets, and thus, in-order to unify/unite Humanity, into ONE, OMINOUS Government, "The UEG," was created/constructed, and every country/colony was inducted/incorporated into this new Government. HOWEVER, there were MANY renegade rebels, who wished to escape and END "The-UEG/The-UNSC," and their "Progressive, Power-Hungry," ways. These "Renegade Rebels," believed that the "UEG/UNSC," Were FORCING MANY/MULTIPLE Human cultures, countries, and colonies, to FORCEFULLY assimilate, and thus LOSE their heritage, honor, and home-territory, and thus, they rebelled. Thus, a "Cruel Civil-War," between ANY/ALL of the "UEG/UNSC," and these "Renegade Rebels," began, and a LARGE WAR, between almost ALL of Humanity broke-out, and this war was known as "The Insurrections." Thus, to "Calm-And-Crush" this rebellion, against "The-UEG/The-UNSC," "O.N.I.," ("The Office of Naval Intelligence, Which Is A Department Of "The UNSC") created/constructed the "Spartan-II Perfection and Progression Program," which was a program, that captured, conned, and conscripted (Meaning, FORCED And/or, CRUELLY Coerced) six-year-old children into this "Spartan-II Perfection and Perfection Program," which, in-turn, taught and trained them, since they could remember, to do ONLY TWO things: to KILL, and to SURVIVE. Thus, during the "Human-Covenant Conflict," these "Spartan-IIs," are Humanities BEST/BRIGHTEST hope, and heroes AGAINST this unforeseen, unstoppable alien army ("The Covenant,") and their "Cruel-And-Crushing Campaign." Also, The "Human-Covenant Conflict," STARTS when these "Spartan-IIs," are ONLY SEVEN-YEARS-OLD, and when they are STILL going-through their training, tempering, and teaching. Thus, when the war between Humanity and The Covenant starts, the Spartan-IIs are NOT yet able to fight, but at the age of FOURTEEN-YEARS-OLD, they ARE put INTO the war, to fight—BOTH against the "Rebels," AND, against "The Covenant." HOWEVER, the OTHER ORDINARY Human soldiers of "The UNSC," do NOT openly trust/team-up with the Spartans (Because They Think That The "Spartans" Are "Murderous Monsters"), and thus "O.N.I." has planned another "program," for the "Spartan-IIs," to "participate-in," in-order to make them "More Wholly-Human." This FanFic starts in the year, "2535 A.D.," and it starts on "Planet Reach." "Reach" is a planet, colonized, controlled, and concentrated, by "The-UEG/UNSC." …Also, here, in MY AU, Lucy and Tom are Spartans-IIs, NOT Spartan-IIIs. Also, please note that in THIS AU—MY UNIVERSE—The characters' profiles, personalities, and personas, are ALL ADEQUATELY IN-CHARACTER, and whatever traits seem "OOC," Or "Out-Of-Character," can be attributed to the fact that this is NOT the "Original Halo Universe." Some of characters, and cast, have been given different back-stories here, and some traits are presented powerfully, while others are presented passively. It should be known that, TECHNICALLY, NO-ONE is "OOC," AT ALL, due to the AU.

Summary/Synopsis: The Spartans are a heavensent vanguard. The Sangheili are hellbent on vengeance. Alone, they are logical and lethal. Together, they are legendary and limitless. Together, they are the heavensent and hellbent heroes of Humanity. AU.

Author's Amendment: This story will have a lot of action, adventure, comedy, romance, and a very deep-and-intertwined plot-and-premise. I respect reviews, and the more that I receive, the faster I update, because the greater the demand for update, and faster-paced-posting, the swifter the story will progress, and the quicker the chapters will be posted/published. …ANYWAYS, I hope that you all read, review, and enjoy!

Heavensent and Hellbent: Heroes of Humanity

A FanFic By: D. Raj David

I. New Arrivals and New Assignments

PINPOINT PLACEMENT: Prowess Public High School, Bars City, Aföld State, Ütközet Province, Viery Territory, Planet Reach, Epsilon Eridani System; 0745 Hrs. (7:45 AM), 2535 A.D.

Her furiously fatal stare was burning a blazing hole through his head. He was an idiot—an intelligent idiot—but an idiot, nonetheless. Kelly had just met this boy, and she was already sure that he wouldn't survive the day. He wouldn't survive for one simple reason. Kelly was about to kill him. Kelly huffed in annoyance.

"Easy there, princess. It was only a joke." Will eloquently eased the situation. Kelly's brutal blue eyes harshly pierced directly through him as he spoke. Will chuckled comically. She made a decision immediately. She did not like Will.

The boy next to Will—the one named Fred—swiftly slapped Will in the back of his hardened head.

"Enough." he stated sternly—yet sincerely. "He is sincerely sorry. He will not repeat the action. I assure you." Fred aptly apologized for Will's rude remark. Kelly smiled half-heartedly at Fred. He was likable.

The elite eight teenagers had appeared and introduced themselves to Kelly, and almost immediately, they began to familiarize themselves with her.

The group of eight elite teens that surrounded Kelly were friendly and flattering, but their obviously odd attitude and appearances created an immediate, intriguing, and intimidating impression. The feeling of foreboding that was nestled deep down inside Kelly's mind only added to her alert awareness. She swiftly scanned and surveyed each and every one of the eight before her.

The apparent leader, Fred, seemed to be kind and caring, yet stern and solid. His blatant black hair had slight silver streaks, and his experienced eyes were never still—yet never frantic.

The apparent and clear comedian, Will, was tall, thin, and tan with an obvious muscular build. All of the eight teens had an obvious muscular build.

Linda was the redhead with the emerald eyes and amazing aim. Kelly had seen her enhanced eyesight, firsthand, during a demonstration of Linda's dexterity when she had propelled paper into an incredibly small trash bin across the hall.

The apparent jock, Joshua, held a stern, yet sincere, emotionless expression. His dark brown hair and blazing blue eyes were wary and worried, but at the same time, resigned and reassuring. He, along with Will, seemed to be second-in-command, closest to Fred's rank as the logical leader. These assertions and assumptions were never verbally voiced, but Kelly skillfully saw that this was the obvious order of ranks among the eight.

Then, the two pairs stood somewhat to the side. Adriana was leaning up against a locker, and some space behind her was Jai—who seemed to be the most aggressive and angry member of the group. Jai's light brown skin, dark hair and bold brown eyes exuded an extreme sense of animalistic aggression—except when his experienced eyes looked at Adriana.

Jai's dark hair clearly contrasted with Adriana's light brown hair, but they seemed to somehow complete and complement each other. Adriana's bluntly blue eyes searched and scanned Kelly with an air of friendliness that was genuine and gentle. She either did not notice Jai's gentle glances in her direction, or she chose to ignore, instead of interpret, his glare.

Then the two remaining members of the eight teens were the last to receive the reading stare that Kelly had swiftly shifted around the group. Tom and Lucy stood huddled together, while Tom's right arm was lightly draped around Lucy's lower left shoulder.

Lucy was, clearly and considerably, the smallest of the eight teens around her, and she was starkly silent as compared to the rest of the group. She had yet to utter a single word, and she was the only one of her friends that had stayed silent. The slight scar on her neck was a clear clue to the reasons for her silent stature. Lucy's bright black eyes and black hair perfectly matched Tom's own blatantly black hair and eyes. But, beneath her friendly exterior, Kelly sensed a familiar fatalness that loomed inside of Lucy. Lucy was little, but she was lethal.

Kelly was terrible at expressing emotions, and she was often cold and closed-off, but even she noted that Tom and Lucy made a cute couple.

Kelly surely shifted her fixed facial expression back to Fred, and she waited for his voice to alert her of the sudden shift that she expected to come in this meeting.

After some time, Fred spoke.

"It is nice to formally and finally 'meet' you, Kelly." he stated amiably. Kelly nodded in response, but the way that he said the word "meet" made her foggy feeling of doubt deepen. She did not truly know if she had ever met this boy before, and that fact frightened her somewhat—and Kelly was never afraid.

"Likewise." Kelly stated in her short tone. She continued scrutinizing Fred's face, searching for insincerity or important information.

Fred chuckled comically at her response, as if he expected it—as if he knew her.

She narrowed her eyes at this action, but another action entirely grabbed her immediate interest.

She swiftly swept her head around—her brown ponytail whipping around as she did so—to view this new event.

At the far end of the hallway, the doors of Prowess Public High School forcefully flung open, and through them strode a tall teenage male with chaotically organized brown hair and brown eyes that held a bold blue streak within his irises. He walked in holding a piece of paper in his hand, and Kelly knew that he was a new student, just as she was. He gingerly glanced at the paper one time, before dropping it out of his sight.

He had not read the slip that held his schedule, but he did not want to seem as though he needed aid or assistance of any kind. He was proud. He wanted others to believe that he had power, and he was persuasive in swaying others to believe that he held this power. He couldn't convince everyone though. He couldn't convince Kelly.

He strode through the hall, his head held high, never noticing the piece of paper in his hands. There were several striking facts that Kelly could ascertain from his entrance. First, she gathered that he was strong—very strong. Second, she learned that he was swift—almost as speedy as she was. Third, she learned that he had readily reactive reflexes that were quick and clever—as he, without surprise, expertly evaded the football that was accidentally thrown at his head, while managing to catch the football

The boy that had thrown the football quickly and quietly approached the tall teen. He was a well-built, blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy. He seemed scared as he neared the newcomer's vicinity, but the new student simply held the football out and handed it back to the second boy with an emotionless expression.

The boy swiftly snatched the football back and retreated back from whence he came.

The teenager looked oddly at the boy as he retreated, but he shook it off. Then, just as he began to continue his purposeful and resolute route down the corridor, a girl approached him—an attractive one.

Kelly had an immediately reflexive reaction. She clenched her fists.

The girl smiled shyly at the new student, and he half-heartedly returned the favor. She then engaged him in conversation, and the eight teens—along with Kelly—found it fairly easy to eavesdrop on their conversation. Kelly did not find it odd that she could hear clearly across the hallway—but she knew that she should have found that fact odd.

"I'm sorry about Peter. He can be an idiot sometimes." the girl said, indicating the somewhat scared boy that had thrown the football.

The teenager took notice, and he nodded in response. "That's quite alright." he responded, his expression still emotionless.

The girl's smile shrunk somewhat. He wasn't even smiling. She began to think that approaching him was a terrible idea. Kelly sensed her tepid and tentative attitude, and she smiled somewhat. She wasn't sure what the reason was, but Kelly was happy for the girl's uncomfortable uneasiness.

Will was the only one of the eight that noticed Kelly's slight change in facial features, and he smirked. He then returned his attention to the conversation between the attractive girl, and the new student.

"…So, um…are you, y'know, new here?" she asked awkwardly.

The boy nodded in response. "Yes." he stated simply.

The girl wanted to frown. She had failed.

"…So, um, what's your name? …Y'know, if you have one." she asked.

The boy looked at her curiously. "John." he replied plainly.

The girl did frown. "Another one-word answer, huh? I bet you'd give anything to find a one-word way to say: 'just please go away.'" she said sadly.

John looked startled. "Why would I say that?" he asked, and she looked up at him.

"You don't exactly seem to be enjoying my company, mister…" she trailed off, expecting him to complete her comment.

"John. It's just John. …Also, I am enjoying this conversation. I apologize for the fact that I have not been actively participating in it. I would just rather hear you speak. It's certainly a better alternative to hearing my own voice." he replied.

She blushed a deep red. Kelly wanted to make her bleed deep red.

"…I'm sorry. Did I say something wrong?" he inquired intricately.

She looked up at him, her amber eyes looking both excited and embarrassed. "No. That's the problem. You said everything right." she said, lowering her head once again.

"I do not understand." he said in response, and she straightened up to face him, her bright blonde hair briefly bouncing the light from the fixtures overhead into his eyes. He didn't dare look away from her though. He was far too intrigued.

"That's funny, because I was just thinking the same thing." she responded, smiling. For the first time since he entered the school, the hardened, hardcore teenager named John smiled sincerely at the girl in front of him.

"Well, I'm glad that I'm keeping you interested." John teased. The girl giggled. He chuckled. He was dangerously distant from his zone of comfort, but this affectionate atmosphere and the intriguingly interesting girl in front of him allowed him to not care.

"…Well, if you would like, I can school you some more on my boring life—say Saturday, at '8:00?'" she proposed, her cheeks searing scarlet once again.

"Boring means 'consistent,' and I like consistent people. They're dependable, and dependable people are astoundingly amazing at working on a team—in a pair." John stated sincerely, obviously meaning every elaborate word, and he smiled again at her. "I would enjoy hearing more about your 'consistent' life. Saturday sounds good." he said simply.

Kelly's clearly clenched fists almost drew blood. Will grinned. Kelly had a difficult time expressing emotions, but becoming aggressive and angry were two traits that she excelled at exuding.

The girl beamed at him. Then, she became frantically frenzied. "Oh no! I thought I had my notebook with me! Dammit, I don't have anything to write my number on!" she exclaimed, embarrassed once again.

John chuckled again. "I have quite the memory. I'm sure I won't forget it, if you tell me. I tend to keep track of the important things." he said, smirking this time. Her face flamed red, and she just nodded dumbly.

"…Um, it's: 'Zeta-Code, 555-7657.'" she slowly but surely answered him. He nodded, retaining and remembering every piece of the important information she had relayed to him.

"It would be nice to know your name as well. I would like to be able to actually ask for you—not just the boring, but beautiful, blonde girl." John said comically, and she immediately became embarrassed again.

"…Oh, sorry. I'm Natalia. Natalia Serkhov." she replied, and he nodded.

"Well, Natalia, I look forward to Saturday." he ended their conversation, before she smiled sincerely and left his side, slightly stupefied.

John smiled shortly after her, before wiping his face clean of any trace of emotion and carefully continuing his trip towards his first class. His path was blocked by Will.

"It's your first day here, and a pretty girl asks you out during your first five minutes in the building." Will stated factually. John raised an eyebrow.

"That is impressive." Will commented, complimenting John. John elevated his eyebrow even higher.

"What he means to say, is: 'I am happy to make your acquaintance.'" Joshua corrected condescendingly. Will rolled his eyes. Perhaps Kelly had misjudged him. Perhaps he and Joshua were not equally even. Perhaps he was not the second-in-command.

"My friend fails to appreciate the social skills required to survive and stay alive in school—the skills required to act wholly human." Will readily responded, and his combative comment left Joshua somewhat speechless. Perhaps Kelly was right the first time. Will was a comedian, but he made sense when he spoke—even when he joked.

John did not speak. He swiftly scanned the group, and his eyes lingered on only a single person, the aggressively angry and strikingly silent girl—the one with brown hair and blue eyes.

She noticed his solemn stare, and she defiantly locked eyes with him. Her blazing blue eyes met his bold, bashful brown ones, and the two felt a flurry of emotions enter their minds. None of those emotions made a single shred of sense.

Their serious stares continued to bore into the one another, until John broke away, scanning and surveying the rest of the group.

"I'm Fred. That's Will, Josh, Jai, Adriana, Lucy, and Tom." Fed interjected, introducing everyone, respectively.

John nodded, and then he refocused his gaze on Kelly. He waited. She did not speak.

"That's Kelly. You can call her princess." Will said on her behalf. She turned to him and shot him a sinister stare. He cringed slightly.

"She doesn't like that. That's what makes it so fun." he said, smirking as he did so. Kelly rolled her eyes. Will was idiot—an intelligent idiot—but she couldn't deny the disheartening and daunting fact that—even though she had just met him—he knew things about Kelly, and he knew them very well. Again, a sense of foreboding flooded her body.

"John." John replied regretfully. He did not like disclosing information.

Fred nodded, seeming to be satisfied with the response. Kelly, however, was nowhere near satisfied.

"You seemed to have had no trouble introducing yourself to a stranger mere moments ago, yet—even though we weren't wary of you—you have an unhealthy uneasiness around us." she stated suggestively. She was accusing him.

John raised an eyebrow and eagerly and expertly eyed the blue-eyed girl. She was bold, blatant, blunt, and bashful. John wanted to hate her. He wanted to hate every fiber of her being with every fiber of his being. But, he was far to enticed by her to hate her. He swiftly surveyed her. He wanted to study her, but he did not have enough time to do so. He hated the fact that she was so very enigmatically enticing to him. He hated her, because he liked her.

"Apparently, I had the skillful sense to be wary of you all—especially you. You know a great deal about me, and that puts me at a disadvantage. I do not like being at a disadvantage." he swiftly shot back at her.

"Regardless, you are at one, and I always win, so it would do you no better to be at an advantage." she retorted, rather vehemently.

"We are not competing." he stated simply.

"You should count yourself lucky." she said in return.

John smirked. "I assume that you pay so much attention and study and scrutinize only the people who you perceive as the threats. In which case, I would warily assume that you consider me a threat—and rightfully so. You, Kelly, are the one who should count yourself lucky." he commented cunningly, reversing her logic.

Kelly furrowed her brows, and John's stern stare hardened. Will grinned even wider than before, and Lucy caught this action. She silently shook her head at Will, and Will put his hand to his ear, telling her that he had not heard her. Lucy scowled, and he smirked. Tom saw this, and he frowned at Will. Will's smirk solidified.

Kelly opened her mouth, intending to utter some clever comeback to John, but the bell rung throughout the hallways, swiftly silencing Kelly. The bell told the students that they had five minutes to enter their first period class in a timely manner.

John and Kelly simply stared at the other, both unmoving and unnerved. Fred broke the silence.

"We had originally come here to ask you if you would consider joining the 'Prowess Perfection Program,' here at school." he stated cautiously.

Both John and Kelly ignored him. He continued carefully.

"It's a ridiculously rigorous program to push and progress one's physical fitness, and mental magnitude, and each school in the area puts their best and brightest 'Perfection Program Participants' to compete locally and largely against the participants of other schools. Our trainer has personally recommended you to us. It is the reason that you have been transferred to 'Prowess Public High School,' to compete with our team. We would be honored if you would join us." Fred finished.

John and Kelly answered simultaneously, never removing their gaze from the other. They both knew about the program. It was one of the reasons that they had chosen to come to this school. "We have heard. Where do you meet?" they inquired in unison.

"We meet after school, in the school's main gym." Fred responded. John and Kelly nodded, and once again, they spoke simultaneously.

"I'll be there." they stated surely, and with that they both turned to face Fred. He nodded in response.

"Very well then. I'll see you both after school." he replied readily. John and Kelly nodded in response.

They began to leave the group, and as they were walking away, they both realized that they were veering in the same direction.

Kelly narrowed her eyes at John as they walked. "Where are you going?" she asked.

"AP Biology." he responded. She huffed whole-heartedly. That was her destination as well.

"It looks like we are competitors after all." she commented, and out of her peripherals, she noticed a small smirk creep onto John's lips.

"Good." he replied earnestly. Kelly sighed. This was going to be a long day.

Back at their lockers, the eight elite teens talked among themselves.

"William, you are going to ruin this if you continue being so blunt, so bold, and so brainless." Fred chastised his friend.

"Look, 'leader,' you know that the only reason that you're commanding us is because John and Kelly have no idea what is happening. I would appreciate reverence and respect to be shown to me. I am just as skilled, smart, strong, and sensible as you are, 'Fredric.' We all are." Will said, gesturing to any and all of his friends. They all nodded in response.

"I realize that, and I respect you all. If you feel that another among us is better suited to lead us, then please verbally voice your opinion, and I shall swiftly step-down. But, until that time, I give orders, and you follow them. That is how a 'team,' works." he replied, and Will was silent for a time, before he narrowly nodded. The others silently acknowledged and accepted his declaration as the truth.

"We have to slowly ease John and Kelly back in. We have to slowly, but surely, re-induct and reintroduce them back into the program, while retaining their humanity. That is the whole point of this program." Fred stated, and all eight of his friends nodded, except for Jai.

Jai brutally banged his hand into a nearby locker—leaving a very noticeable dent as he did so—and he exploded in his vehemently venomous voice.

"No. The 'whole point,' of this 'program,' is to make us more appealing and acceptable to the soldiers that make us out to be monsters. This 'program' is meant to makes us more able to be readily accepted by the 'UNSC Forces,' so that they'll feel comfortable dying with us. We aren't learning to become more human, to help, heal, or harden us. We're learning to be 'more human,' to help and heal the soldiers—and the civilians—who do not accept us as soldiers, saviors, or sentinels. This 'program,' is meant to make the general populace of humanity—the same populace that forced us into 'compulsory conscription,'—to be able to accept and appreciate us. They put us here, for their protection, and yet somehow, we're still the murderous monsters—the ones that they turned us into. The 'whole point,' of this 'program,' is bull—" Jai was immediately interrupted by Fred.

"That's enough, Jai." he said sternly. Jai looked at him with a fatal ferocity in his brown eyes, but he stayed silent. The entire group of eight agreed with Jai—although not a single soul said so.

"'O.N.I.' is probably listening to every word we utter right now. You would all be wise to mark your mouth and watch your words." Fred instructed.

The mere moment that 'O.N.I.' was mentioned, Jai became taught and tensed. Adriana laid a hand on his shoulder, and her tender touch calmed him down almost immediately.

"We should get to class." Fred instructed. The elite eight nodded in agreement.

They all glanced at their schedules and dispersed in their desired directions. Lucy and Tom shared a quick kiss before going their separate ways, and Jai and Lucy walked together towards their first period class—'Physical Fitness."

As they were walking, Lucy felt frustrated feelings being openly and energetically emitted from Jai. She stopped him, and she silently signed to him, 'What is the matter? Are you angry?'

Jai understood her signs, and he quickly responded with silent signs of his own.

'No. I'm fine. Really.' he swiftly signed back.

Lucy scowled. He was lying, and she knew it. Jai quickly and quietly changed the subject before she could press or push him any further.

'We have defensive tactics lessons today, in Physical Fitness.' Jai signed, and she nodded, already knowing this fact

'Just try not kill anyone on the first day. It would look a little conspicuous if the shrimp slammed some huge girl in a DT fight.' he signed, and Lucy smirked in return, before rolling her eyes. Jai didn't speak about his sentiments, or express empathy, and although Lucy wanted to know what he was thinking, she seemed to honor that he did not want to talk, and she did not push him. The rest of their route was filled with silence.

Lucy was suddenly slammed by the sickening silence. The scar on her throat now physically pained her.

The two sped silently towards their class, neither saying a word. One liked the silence. One did not. The silence was delightful to one, and it was deafening to the other.

PINPOINT PLACEMENT: "High Charity Covenant Carrier City," In Orbit Around Planet Pegasi Delta, 51 Pegasi System; 0820 Hrs. (8:20 AM), 2535 A.D.

Thel 'Vadamee walked warily throughout the halls of the Covenant carrier, his arm slung securely around the small shoulders of Mea 'Nadakaee, his female fiancée. His slick, silky skin held its usual shadowy stature, and as he walked, he seemed to be a living, lethal, shadow. Although Mea was darker in complexion than Thel, she looker lighter, somehow, as if her calm, cool, and collected demeanor had somehow spread to her outward appearances.

His experienced eyes gently gazed down at his escort, and she responded by slightly shaping her upper mandibles in an upward fashion—a semi-smile.

Thel nodded narrowly, and he continued down the corridor, a narcotic nervousness and a sense of fearfulness taking hold of him.

After some time, the two silent Sangheili reached their destination.

The two Sangheili stood at the deadlocked doors that led to the Profits' "Council Chamber."

Thel was worried. This fruitlessly fearful fact was surprising to him, because his skill, strength, speed, and sense were of legendary status—especially, due the amazing actuality that he was years younger than most Sangheili soldiers—and he was one who never became fearful easily. He was usually fearless. He was afraid today, though.

He wasn't fearful for his health, though. He was fearful for her health.

Mea had always been peaceful and passive, and his reasons for choosing her as a mate had spawned from years of her affectionate actions towards him. From the moment that her father was expectedly ended—executed—by the "Covenant High Council," Thel had taken it upon himself to see that his childhood friend, Mea, was safe, secure, and silent.

Her voice was always scanned, scrutinized, and studied for any sign of treachery. Her father was accused of heresy, and she was always being watched.

Thel had proclaimed this his protection of the girl was nothing more than a favor for a friend. He lied to himself, though. Her caring kindness kept him sane, especially through the treacheries and terrors that the young Thel 'Vadamee had endured.

Through his connection with her, he became stronger, smarter, and saner. He became connectedly complete. He realized that she was his living lifeline—his reason for his enduring effort, energy, and emotional ecstasy. Thel had little reason to rejoice. She was the only reason. She was the only thing that made his life livable. She was his, and he was hers. They belonged to each other.

Of course, with his rising to the ranks of "Covenant Combatant," and thus being actually allowed to fight alongside his brothers, Thel needed a wife to complete his honor.

The proposal was prepared and presented with great care and caution. He feared rejection—and the skilled Sangheili soldier, Thel 'Vadamee, never feared rejection. Of course, rejection never occurred, after her eager and excited acceptance, there stood Thel, smiling for first feasible time in ages.

Now, his fearfulness had returned. He was not afraid of rejection, however. He was afraid, for her. The "Covenant High Council," although buried and busy with the ongoing war effort, had called the young Thel—and his fiancée—specifically to their chamber.

This never occurred, especially for a Sangheili as young as he was. Thel was sure that this was a "Charging Council," to try his mate. Thinking of this possibility, he immediately became ill.

He couldn't lose her. He wouldn't allow it. But, he could do nothing if the Council decided to end her. His immobilizing illness became unbearable.

Mea seemed to sense this, and she gently grazed his arm. He turned to her, and his mandibles snapped shut. He was solemnly scanning her. His upper mandibles slowly inched upward. He smiled at her. She opened her mouth to speak, but before she utter a single sound, the door in front of the two opened, and a strong silver-haired and silver-streaked Jiralhanae stepped through the threshold. He was the "Commanding Chieftain" of the Jiralhanae race. He was Tartarus.

He spoke with such fierce finality, that Thel himself felt fear rise in the atmosphere around him—but not in himself. Thel 'Vadamee was not afraid—never afraid.

"Thel 'Vadamee, The Prophets will see you now." Tartarus spoke solemnly.

Thel nodded, and approached the door Tartarus had just appeared from, his fiancée some feet in front of him. Tartarus stopped Mea, and the meticulous motion of his hand gracing her shoulder sent her some feet backwards, although she kept her footing.

"Your mate stays here." Tartarus commanded condescendingly. He spoke in English, a tell-tale sign that he was a high-ranking contact with the "Covenant High Council."

Mea nodded humbly, and she obediently obliged, but she was fretful and frightened. This did not please Thel. If one threatened Mea, then Thel threatened them. Thel killed threats. Tartarus was eagerly eyeing Mea, and he did not notice the swift Sangheili step in front of his mate.

"You will address her with respect." Thel commanded.

Tartarus expertly eyed the Sangheili soldier. "You will watch your words, young worm.'" Tartarus readily responded.

Thel did not appreciate that. "I would highly consider your options, ape. You will show remorse and respect to the female. …Or you will be shown none." Thel voiced vehemently.

Tartarus knew what was meant. That was the wording of a worthy warrior. Those that Thel did not show respect to, were the ones he killed. Soldiers did not threaten their superiors in an openly obvious way. That was a sure way to ensure execution. Thus, Thel did not openly or overtly threaten Tartarus. He threatened him in an obvious, yet well-concealed, fear-filled fashion. He threatened him conspicuously, yet covertly.

Tartarus huffed in hearty annoyance. He brutally brushed past Thel and his mate, brushing shoulders with Thel as he did so. Thel did move as Tartarus had intended him to. He stayed solidly still.

The two met in a silent stalemate. Thel and Tartarus aimed their experienced eyes at the other, and the moment that their deviously dark eyes met, a single truth was revealed to both of the soldiers.

That truth was simple one. The death of one would be caused by the other. That was the truth. It would end exactly as they had both sensed it would. One would kill the other. Tartarus smirked as walked away. He would enjoy killing Thel—if the Sangheili did not end the Chieftain first.

Thel turned to face his mate. She was still scared. He rubbed a gentle hand on her shoulder, before she looked up and gestured to the open door behind him. Thel nodded and smiled weakly.

He headed through the open door.

The three ruling and reigning Prophets of the Covenant sat silently upon their firm floating thrones.

The Prophet of Mercy and The Prophet of Regret sat silently on either side of their apparent leader, The Prophet of Truth. Truth seemed to sense the apprehension inside Thel, and he shifted his view to slowly, surely, scan and survey the Sangheili in his entirety. His loose, leathery skin seemed sag in a sickeningly solemn manner.

He raised a brown, bony finger to Thel, and he gestured for him to approach the three Prophets. Thel approached them.

"Thel 'Vadamee, you show promise." Truth spoke at last. Thel immediately noticed that the Prophet spoke in English—the language of heretics.

Thel bowed his head graciously. "The praise of the Prophets is true praise indeed." Thel responded respectfully.

"Thel, you may raise your head, young one." Mercy spoke to him. Thel raised his head. He expectantly eyed the Prophets.

"We speak in English, in the language of our enemies and of heretics. Yet, speaking this tongue does not corrupt us. On the contrary, it empowers us to expertly exterminate our enemies. We must act against our enemies to exterminate them, and acting against them requires knowledge of their teachings, their tactics, and their targets. This requires understanding them. This requires studying, surveying, and speaking as they do. We act as they do, so that we can act against what they do. My brother, they wish to destroy, desecrate, and decimate the holy path of perfection that we, our brethren, and the entire entity of the universe, as a whole, must travel to reach salvation. There are slayers of our salvation. There is only one name for these kinds of beings." Truth elaborately explained.

Thel nodded. He understood. Regret spoke next.

"What would you call these beings, Thel?" he asked the young Sangheili.

"Demons." Thel responded rightfully. The three prophets shifted their views to their two other cohorts, and then returned their godly gazes to Thel.

"I would concur." Truth stated seriously.

"Unfortunately, though, the humans are not the only beings that should be considered demons. There are others. There are heretics. They are the embodiment of evil, of enmity. That is why we have called you here, Thel." Truth said, severely eyeing the Sangheili.

This was the thing that Thel had feared. The Prophets were speaking of heresy, and the fact that Mea had been called here was certainly not a coincidence. Thel sighed deeply.

"You speak English, Thel. You learn like the humans, like the heretics. You are aptly able to act against them. You are younger—younger than any Sangheili of your rank—and you are years younger than the average Sangheili soldier, yet you have the heart, and harshness of an expertly experienced Covenant Combatant. You are ready." Truth stated simply. Thel and Truth locked eyes.

"What, exactly, am I ready for, your holiness?" Thel questioned carefully.

"You have performed admirably, and you have eagerly engaged the humans in combat. You are experienced. You are skilled strong, smart, and sensible. You are the perfect candidate to lead a party—to obliterate the camp of a heretic." Truth explained.

Thel was warily worried, and his caution and carefulness only increased after the latest comment Truth had uttered.

"Heretics?" Thel asked aptly.

"Yes. These are the separatists that have preached and practiced against our sacred ways. They are the ones who have called for an uprising against the Covenant. They are the ones who must be stopped." Truth said, and Thel erected to his full height.

"Of course, sir." Thel readily responded, eager to defeat this enemy of the Covenant.

"The Sangheili known as Sesa 'Refumee, now known as the heretic Sesa Refum, is commanding, controlling, and campaigning against us, my brother. He has an advanced armada, and if not addressed, the threat he and his heretic allies pose would do great harm to our cause." Truth clarified.

Thel nodded in understanding.

"You must stop him." Truth ordered ominously. Once again, Thel nodded.

"His soldiers are amassing on the former human world of Madrigal. His arrival on the planet will occur within the next several months. When that time comes, you will lead an attack on the planet. You will end this heretic." Truth stated, and Thel placed his hand over one of his hearts.

"You will be assured of my victory. The heretic will not live!" Thel readily replied. He was prepared for combat.

"Until that time, you will assemble your team—a sparse assortment of sensible, strong, and swift soldiers—and you will train and teach them. You have had experience on Madrigal beforehand. You fought—very valiantly—in the extermination of the human populace on Madrigal. You are the clear candidate for this assignment, 'Vadamee. You will not fail us!" Truth boomed boisterously, and his two comrades nodded in assenting agreement.

"I shall succeed!" Thel roared back, and Truth nodded, believing the words of the Sangheili as the truth.

"With this promotion, we assume that celebration will come before preparation. That is why we have called your mate here. The 'Chamber of Commemoration' is through the corridor outside, and to your left. It would be disadvantageous to waste time to retrace your steps to retrieve your mate. It is easier if she is already here—as we have already seen to." Mercy spoke semi-sincerely to Thel, and he nodded in thanks to the three Prophets.

He now understood. The Prophets did not wish to harm Mea in any way. They were being caring and considerate. Thel was thankful for this.

He had no worries remaining. He had only pride, power, and prowess. He would celebrate tonight. He would assemble his team tomorrow, and soon he would kill the heretic.

PINPOINT PLACEMENT: UNSC Combat Carrier, "Blades of Retribution," In Orbit Around Planet Aesir, Alpha Antini System; 0840 Hrs. (8:40 AM), 2535 A.D.

"The 'Covies,' while worth-while, are not the original objective! We are deploying to secure 'Site Six,' and ensure that the enemy does not gain access to the structure. Killing the Covenant is a second priority!" Commander Miranda Keyes yelled, her animatedly angry stare aimed at Major Antonia Silva. Major Silva was the Commanding Operating Officer of the "Orbital Drop Shock Troopers," that had been assigned to this mission.

"My men. My mission." Silva shot back, his brutally blazing brown eyes piercing her own enraged emerald eyes. She opened her mouth to utter a retort, but before she could, another man verbally voiced his own remark.

"Actually, Silva, it's my men, and my mission." the tall man addressed the Major. Silva looked taken aback. The newly noticed, tall, thin, man was obviously another "Hell-Jumper," a popular phrase used to identify "ODSTs."

He was a muscular man that shared the same bold brown hair as Commander Keyes—although his hair was short cropped—and he had gently gruesome golden eyes. He was heartfelt, yet hardened, in his sentiment and stature. He was experienced.

Silva shifted his gaze from Miranda to the man, and then back again. "Hmmph. Nepotism." Silva stated smugly.

The man opened his mouth, but Commander Keyes spoke swiftly, before he could even attempt to articulate a response.

"Captain Keyes, is indeed, leading the Helljumpers on this task. You can opt or object otherwise, but nothing will be changed. The original objective remains the primary task." Keyes stated surely.

Silva slumped into his chair. The other Helljumpers in the briefing room seemed to be obviously off-put by that fact that this novel newcomer was going to be leading them into battle. The unbearable silence became unbearable unrest. The many other Helljumpers in the briefing room began to voice their opinions.

Once the arguments became angrily articulated, two men shot from their seats, and they immediately found their way to the side of Commander Miranda Keyes. One of the men was a muscular middle-aged man, with dark hair and eyes, and an admiral rank clearly plastered on his UNSC lapel. He was Admiral Jacob Keyes. The second man was a dark-skinned, dark-eyed, dark-haired, UNSC Marine with a dark demeanor. He was not a Helljumper.

"Enough!" the Admiral screamed sternly, and almost immediately, the chaotic chatter ceased. The Helljumpers all turned their heads to the Admiral and his two comparable comrades.

"We are not following a child into combat, for crying-out—" a Helljumper named Corporal Taylor Miles voiced venomously, but he was immediately interrupted by Commander Keyes.

The dark-skinned marine was chuckling comically at the Helljumper's outburst, and he anxiously awaited the Commander's reply.

"That 'child,' is a well-trained, extremely experienced 'ODST,' and he is also my brother." commander Miranda Keyes stated seriously, eyeing each and every one of the Helljumpers. They all remained silent.

"…And my son." Admiral Jacob Keyes intricately input.

The ODSTs looked to their fellow silent soldiers. They were speechless.

It was at this point that the young man, the one that had assumed leadership of any and all of the Helljumpers in the room before him, stood and spoke.

"Gentlemen, I realize that respect is hard-earned. I realize that respect is hard-given. I realize that I am likely that last person that you wish to lead you in combat. I also realize that a large lot of us shall perish, and never set foot on dry land again. I am a newcomer, and apologize that the first mission with some of you will be my last as well. I will lead you as best as I can. I will be the first one on the battlefield, and I will be the last one off. I will do my best to bring you back alive, but I cannot guarantee a single shred of hope for your survival. We are facing a fight with brutal beings—beings that wish to destroy the lives that we have all strived, sacrificed, and slaved to build. These beings are belligerent, blunt, and bold. They will stop at nothing, and I realize that we are obviously outmatched. But, we want for this life—this life that they wish to destroy—to survive, for it to thrive. We are imperfect, but through our imperfections, we thirst and thrive to know more. We continue on in everything and anything that we undertake. We are human, and we are imperfect, but our imperfections are what makes us perfect. We are worth fighting for. Life is meant to learn, to survive. The Covenant want to kill—not survive. Due to that fact, they have stated that do not wish to live. And so, we will oblige them. I will lead the select soldiers among you that will accept me as your commander, Captain Michael Keyes, and we will jump, feet first, into hell." the young man sincerely spewed his speech to his soldiers.

"Look, kid, I may not like you. Hell, I hate you. But, I respect you, just as equally. I'd follow you into a fight." Major Silva spoke, splitting the silence.

The rest of the ODSTs seemed to nod in assent and agreement. Captain Keyes silently sighed a breath of relief. He had gained their respect. He smirked at his sister, and she rolled her eyes.

The dark-skinned man noticed Commander Miranda Keyes' emotional expression, and he performed an action that was obviously odd for him to execute. He smiled.

Admiral Keyes noticed this reaction from the marine, and he conspicuously cleared his throat. The dark skinned man smirked before slowly snapping to attention.

"Now that I have your undivided attention, we can return to the task at hand." Commander Keyes stated. The ODSTs nodded.

"Luxia! Bring up the mobile map of 'Area 72!'" the Commander order, and instantly, the A.I. named Luxia appeared on the hologram pad before her, and she projected a global map of the planet beneath them—Planet Aesir.

The planet was completely covered in water. It was an ocean—entirely an ocean. Only a few UNSC floating "Center Cities," manmade cities that exported weapons for the war effort, littered the planet's wet surface.

The map zoomed and zeroed in on a single site, "Area 72." This floating city was the site of the precious "Site Six," that O.N.I. had ordered defended or destroyed.

"You're objective is simple. Drop. Deploy. Infiltrate the city. Kill Covenant. Secure the site. Any questions?" the Commander intricately inquired, and in return she received not a single response.

"Good. Get prepped." she ordered, and the Helljumpers nodded, before the Admiral, Jacob Keyes, spoke.

"You're combat experience will be close-quarters Covenant combat. This will be difficult, and dangerous—very dangerous." Admiral Keyes stared sternly at his son as he said the word "dangerous." Captain Keyes expertly eyed his father, unflinching.

The Helljumpers seemed to understand. "That, is why we have him." the Admiral said, gesturing to the dark-skinned marine.

"This is Sergeant Major Avery Johnson. He has seen more combat and Covenant blood than any man in this room—even me. Hell, he spilt most of it. He is to instruct you on your technical tactics for combating Covenant at this range." Admiral Keyes stated, and at the utterance of his statement, Johnson stepped forward.

Commander Keyes had a sudden sincere expression cross her face. She looked at the Sergeant with worry. She did not know he would be venturing out on this mission as well.

"Hey, I thought you died on Harvest, you stubborn son-of-bitch!" Silva said, swiftly shooting up and shaking Johnson's hand.

Johnson smirked. "No. But I felt dead. It was probably the result of killing for living for so many years. …And being so damn good at it." he said, smirking. Miranda rolled her eyes.

Silva chuckled. Johnson was an ally, and he was alive. That was enough to make any soldier excitedly ecstatic at this point in the war. Many, many marines were dead.

At this point, two ODSTs approached the marine, and the Captain who led them all walked over as well. One of the ODSTs was dexterous dark-skinned man, and the other was young light-toned soldier.

Captain Michael Keyes noticed that one of the Helljumpers was the objecting ODST that had questioned his leadership. Michael remembered that his name was Corporal Taylor Miles.

"…I want to apologize for—" the Corporal started, but stopped when his Captain immediately interrupted him.

"Don't. Corporal Miles, save it for the battlefield." he stated sternly, and the Corporal nodded.

"Call me 'Dutch.'" he readily replied. "Sir." he finally finished his statement, and Captain Keyes gained a small smirk as a result.

"Will do, Dutch." he replied.

"Lance Corporal Koju Ago, sir." the second Helljumper introduced himself, extending his hand to Johnson. Johnson slowly shook the outstretched hand before him.

"Don't be so formal, kid. The Covenant sure as hell won't be." Johnson remarked reproachfully.

"Call me 'Romeo' and a few tips for Covie-killing would be greatly appreciated." the Lance Corporal replied readily.

Johnson raised an eyebrow. "Romeo? Look, kid, I know I'm irresistible and all, but I play for the other team." Johnson said sarcastically.

Lance Corporal Koju Agu seemed to enjoy this remark. "I guarantee you, sir, it's for the ladies." he replied. Johnson nodded. "…And, as for tips…?" he continued his comment from earlier.

"Tips? The Covenant—all of them, 'The Squidheads,' 'The Apes,' 'The Grunts,' all of them—are living. And, if they live, then they can die. That's the only tip, kid. Always remember that they can die—just like you and me. …And, if they can die, then you sure as hell make sure they know it." the hardened marine said, taking a cigar from his pocket and perfectly placing it in his mouth.

Before he could light it, though, Commander Miranda Keyes swiftly snatched the cigar out of his mouth and tossed it in the trash.

He scowled at her. She smirked at him. "Bad habit. It'll kill you." she stated simply.

He looked at her with disbelief and delight. "Tell you what, Commander, if those cigars kill me before the Covies do, everything in my will gets left to you." he said smugly, and she scowled at him.

"Alright. Everyone report to the prep rooms! On the double, troopers!" Admiral Keyes bellowed, and the Helljumpers were quick and quiet as they exited the briefing room, and traveled down the halls towards their armory, their armor, and their "Single Occupancy Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicles," their drop pods.

Johnson and Commander Keyes were the last two to remain in the room. Before they could exit, however, Admiral Keyes stopped them.

"Hold it, you two. I've got a special assignment for you. Johnson, you're going to give the ODSTs the important information that you have, and then report back here." Admiral Keyes ordered. Johnson looked sour. He didn't like missing a battle.

He opened his mouth to refute or retort the Admiral's words, but when he saw the hurt, heartfelt, and hardened expression of Miranda Keyes beside him, he swiftly shut his mouth. Hurting himself would hurt her more. He could care less about himself. But he refused to cause her pain.

"Sorry Johnson, you're sitting this one out." the Admiral said sorrowfully. Johnson nodded, and he promptly walked out of the briefing room.

When the two were left alone, Commander Keyes questioned her father. "What 'assignment?'" she asked aptly.

He sighed. "It's for an old friend." he replied. She raised an eyebrow.

"Who?" she inquired once again.

"Doctor Catherine Halsey." he said simply, before walking out of the briefing room.

Commander Keyes was stunned speechless. Miranda was left to rack her brain, and try to understand the shocking, surprising, and startling information that her father had just bestowed upon her. She wondered what working with the good doctor would mean. Only one word entered her mind. It was the word that depicted the trained, tortured, and tormented souls that Doctor Catherine Halsey had bestowed her maternal instincts upon—instead of her own daughter. Spartans.

A/N: Yes, Michael Keyes is an OC ("Original Character"). Well, that was certainly an interesting intro, was it not? R&R and stay tuned for the next update!