Disclaimer : Note that this, the first chapter of this work, is the only time it appears. I do not own any of the base material, that being the fictional works that this story is based upon. Excluding the ideas and characters that I myself have made through my own thought process, with no input from anyone, or anything not of my own ownership, affiliated with the owners, subsidiaries, and other such groups that are involved with the ownership of the aforementioned fictional works, I own nothing. I, being the author of this work, receive no donations, make no money, or anything of monetary value by writing this work.

All Author's Notes are at the bottom, past three line thingies. So once you get to those you can go right to the next button, if you aren't interested in the Author's Notes that I wrote and want to continue on to the next chapter.

Once I actually get that chapter up that is…

If you do not wish to continue reading the close button is usually, depending on the software set up you are using, located at the upper right hand corner of the screen. That will allow you to close the window.

The Table of Reading

"Maweypeyyu" = Talking

"Miftxele" = Thinking

nìawnomum = Emphasis on talking, thinking, or otherwise

::Time is Power:: Written dialog

* = A quick note to explain something that I didn't/don't want to explain in the story

Chapter 1 : Halo - Part 1 : A New Beginning

It is dark and quiet as I slowly move forward, periodically I pause to check the scent trail that I have been following. It is fairly fresh now, maybe five minutes ahead of me, and going by the smell none the wiser either.

I had spent most of the night chasing them down and wearing them out, and ended up losing them a good two hours ago. I have been scouring the land in an effort to find them, and usually that wouldn't be difficult in the slightest, but with the heavy rain that had been pouring out of the clouds for the last day and a half it made it all but impossible to find them again.

Fortunately for me the rain had finally stopped some time ago and I happened across their trail recently. Coming up on the area that I know my prey to be in I slowed down and approached cautiously… checking the scent trail and the scents in the air to make sure there are no more surprises.

Glancing up to the sky I give it a glare. The clouds have cleared out for the most part to reveal the star covered sky, brightened by a full moon that casts its light upon the land. It destroys any chance of approaching unseen.

Still I know that it will be replaced with a far brighter celestial object an hour or two from now. If I'm right though, my prey should be just over this hill and my hunger will be sated soon enough.

Painstakingly slow I move up to the crest of the hill, checking every spot before I step there, keeping low as I can to the ground, and breathing slowly through my mouth to keep the noise I make to a minimum. Just before I get to the top I stop, my heart pounding and breathing quickening just enough to be noticed. Slowly I breathe in through my nose and as I smell what is in the air a grin forms on my face. My prey is just over the hill.

At least that is what my instincts are telling me and so far they haven't lead me astray, when I bothered to listen to them that is.

Body tensing with the anticipation I ease my head up and over the hill crest to see what is beyond. Most of the land in this area is large rolling hills that create miniature valleys with the smallest being several hundred feet wide. My prey has stopped in the middle of an average sized one, only a couple hundred feet of open land in every direction. Fortunately most of the group, numbering a good three to four dozen strong, seems to be asleep.

Thinking about how I should approach them, I see two ways of capturing my next meal. One is a straight up run and grab, noisy and obvious. "That and there is the mud to deal with. Granted it is only about four or five inches deep, but if I'm not careful I can slip fairly easy. So I'll have to take it slow, slow for me at any rate."

Next is slowly approaching them until they notice me and then running in for some much needed nutrition. "Slower, but it's still the same in the end … Well I can use this as training at any rate, and either way I need to get at least three of them to get through the upcoming day."

"Might as well see how close I can get. After all I came this far without letting them know I here and I am curious as to how far I can take this. Hmmmm." Giving myself a small nod as I come to my decision I start the process of slowly creeping towards my food.

Quietly I check the hill side, the torrent of recent rain helps keep my scent somewhat muted, but it makes moving up or down hills quietly a nightmare, though not impossible.

So knowing that I am most likely going to have to chase my food down, once again, I do my best to get as close as I can before the inevitable. It would be easy enough to go around the hill, a couple hundred or so feet to my left the hill is all but gone, but that would defeat the purpose of challenging myself to get better than I am now.

"Nice and easy … just take it slow." It is slow going but steadily I make my way down the hill side without the herd realizing that I'm present.

With the nearly silent slurping and slopping sound of the mud I make it about half way down the hill when I feel something change in the air. Freezing I quickly sniff the air, trying to see if there is anything other than my prey around, and then the wind suddenly shifts and I'm upwind to my prey.

I know it will take a good ten or so seconds for my scent to reach them and about five more for them to react after that. Now while the resident animals might not have equated my particular scent to danger and death just yet, having only hunted them for a few scant months, it just isn't worth the risk of losing them again.

I know panic will quickly set in when they realize I'm nearby, and once that is done the inevitable chase will begin. I'm not too worried about catching them, being faster than them even when I'm not running. More to the point I know that something will happen to level the odds a little more in the Moa's favor.

I know this because whenever I get close to closing up a successful ambush something happens to throw it out the window. It has gotten to the point that I am all but one hundred percent sure that I'm being screwed with in some way.

After all I know my luck isn't that bad … at least it wasn't before I got into this mess. Still what is done is done and I know that the mud will trouble the Moa far more than it will trouble me, more so with a little bit of panic sown into their group. Giving myself a mental shrug I abandon stealth and with a deep breath I let out a roar.

The effect upon the herd immediate and, setting aside the first time I woke up in this body, I've honestly never seen something go from sleeping to full on panic so fast.

Before I really start moving forward I come to a stand still for a few seconds as I stare at the group with a tightening jaw, not a single one of them slipped in the mud as they scrambled to their feet to run, or even as they begin running from me.

Even though I know that they don't stand a chance when it comes down to it … it just doesn't make up for this kind of unbalanced luck in my mind. Frustrated, tired, and angry I dig into the mud with my claws, using them to gain a semblance of a grip on the wet ground, and start to run the Moa down.

Diving after them I catch up to the stragglers of the herd before they managed a hundred feet, with one small leap I have the closest one in my jaws. Sliding through the mud I kill the Moa with one bone crushing squeeze and wait to come to a stop before I quickly devour the now cooling body of meat. Ripping through the muscle and bone as fast as I can it only takes seconds for the whole of the one hundred fifty to two hundred pound Moa to be finished off.

Looking up I see that most of the Moa herd is at the base of the next hill. However that unnatural luck that seemed to keep them from slipping in the mud finally seems to have worn off with the smell of blood heavy in the air, about a half of them are scrambling to their feet.

"I suppose that there are some advantages with the change in the wind." With a grin I quickly move to get the rest of my meal. Ignoring the cries of terror that comes from the next colorful animal as I catch, kill, and eat it. I quickly move on.

I look up the hill to see that the herd has, for the most part, made amazing progress in their attempt at escape. A good chunk of them are close to the top, but a small group of five Moa is only half way up the hill with a good dozen or so in between the main group and the stragglers. Their frantic movements and cries of panic only growing as they slowly make their way up the hill with me quickly catching up to them.

Digging my claws deeper into the ground I try jumping up the hill. I'm not very successful in my attempt, only covering a measly thirty or so feet when I'm use to covering twice that with ease. Still it is faster than climbing up the hill and two more leaps is all I need to capture my next target.

After I finish off my third portion I take a moment to consider getting some more. Frankly, I am sated, but I know that I will be hungry before the new day is out, with the trip back to my cave, and I don't really want to deal with hunting for a snack later tonight.

The other four Moa didn't make it far as I come to my decision, and one more jump was all I needed to catch one of them. The dead Moa hanging limply in my jaws as I watch the rest move down the hill with all the grace they couldn't manage, a lot of slipping and sliding. I couldn't help but shake my head with a grin at that, and as I finish off the last Moa a thought comes to me.

"They are running from what is, in their eyes, a giant biological monster of death that is faster and more agile than any Guta could hope to be." I concede to that point after all I wouldn't fare any better against a Thanator before I became one myself.

I look down at what was once my right hand; it was a small white five fingered thing with a slight tan and a few scars, nothing unusual. It wasn't unique, strange, or abnormal in anyway … it was a very normal thing that I miss more and more every passing day.

Now it is a large two fingered, with one thumb like thing that I'm very thankful for, hand/paw thing colored black with a slight purplish tinge to it. At the end of each finger, and thumb, is a dull black claw that is somewhere in the ball park of fourteen to eighteen inches long, measurement is something of an issue for me as of late, and is very sharp.

Of course this … change wasn't just limited to my right hand.

Now I'm a walking black, with hints of purple, armored tank that has a tail, two tentacle like protrusions coming out the back of my skull called queue, six plates of flesh coming out the back of my skull, ten quills spread out among the aforementioned plates of flesh, and six legs each one equipped with a wicked set of claws.

It isn't easy being a Thanator, but I figure that I could've been taken and changed into something faaar worse. I didn't look at it like that at first of course, but now I'm glad that the change left me so capable.

At least I can defend myself like this.

Looking over the mud and blood covered ground for a few moments I turn my head up to the sky. I can see a star covered sky that has a massive green gas giant hanging prominently of the horizon, but as beautiful as that is, it is the rising and setting of the sun that I enjoy the most.

Watching the star covered sky I can't help but think about my situation. "It's still hard for me to believe that I've been brought here of all places … Why though?" Letting out a sigh I shake my head and look back at my right hand. "It doesn't matter right now … I am what I am now, but I will always be human where it really matters."

With a small nostalgic smile adorning my face, I've been trying not to smile … it isn't pretty; I turn to head back to my residence, a cave about a mornings run away. I take it easy on my way back, not really thinking about anything in particular, the weather, the mud, the tress around me and things like that just to pass the time.

Looking at the sun I figure it is somewhere around eight to nine in the morning, "Not bad time, considering that I was only jogging."

I was up the whole night hunting the Moa down actually, the rain had made it extremely difficult to track them at all, it still irks me actually. "I can smell something a good ten miles away, if the wind is blowing right, and I still had trouble tracking those feathered bastards." Sighing I let it go, to be honest I know that I was lucky enough to actually track them down at all with how bad the weather was.

Before I head inside I head over to the river nearby and clean of what I can of the mud and blood still on me. From there I spend an hour or so on a massive rock close by to dry off and then head back up the mountain side.

Walking into my makeshift home I quickly make myself comfortable on the floor. Not much in the way of comfort, but it keeps the rain and wind off of me so I don't complain. Closing my eyes I start to let my mind drift off as I take a nap, in my mind I've earned it.

A loud yawn escapes me as my mind surrenders to the bliss that is sleep.

For the next week things didn't change much, I would wake up later in the day, choose a direction and start exploring while keeping an eye out for anything to eat, and generally be lazy for the rest of the time.

Right now I'm lying down just outside of my cave just after waking up; I don't need any more than four to six hours of sleep, so I knock that out during the middle of the day. I can sleep more if I want, being a… large… cat like species, and today I decided to take to that cat napping quality. I don't usually do this, not wanting it to become a habit, but today I just couldn't help it for some reason.

Lying there, watching the land stretched out before me from my cave up in the mountain, I ponder my situation as I usually do after waking up.

"I could go and make contact, but I don't even know when I am in the timeline of Halo, or even if I am in the reality that I know at all. Granted the gas giant, Moa, and occasional Guta are heavy arguments in favor of being … would I think here, there, or then? Technically, from an outside perspective, anyone of them could be considered accurate, hmmmmmmmm … Here, but if I jump in without any foreknowledge then I might as well sign my death certificate right now."

"So making contact is a big no-no for me, at least without knowing when I exactly am, after all I don't want to screw up any plans the Librarian has moving forward. Whatever those may be could lead to very bad things."

"Well at least I have had the last… three months, about, to really think about this. If I didn't I would probably bum rush the job and end up with a whole bunch of people dead, maybe even a species or two …" I let my thoughts wander for a few minutes after that knowing for a fact that a species or two disappearing forever would be the least of my worries if I interfere in any truly significant way.

"Then there is the other issue, I'm on Reach. If I am truly in the Haloverse then there is the possibility that I have arrived before it has been glassed by the Covenant. If that's true than I would have to interact with the current planetary residents to live past that point, which could lead to a few problems, like the afore mentioned."

"Ultimately though I know that I will have to make a choice. Help them and possibly have that lead to the death of an unknown number of people and/or species, or don't help them and have that lead to my inevitable death anyway. Contending with ships glassing this bit of land from orbit is something that I know would be a no win situation for me, if I keep the status quo."

"What I know would have to be put to the way side if I do help them, but the only thing that I could offer them is, in fact, my knowledge about what is to come. After all the chances of them actually making any kind of technology that I could use to fight the Covenant by their side is … where is a damned A.I. when you need one?"

Startled out of my thoughts by a sudden loud cracking sound echoing off the mountain side. Looking around in confusion for the source of the noise, a moment later I hear a loud angry roar off in the distance. Grimacing as I hear more cracking noises echoing off the mountain side only to be accompanied by a roar that confirms what I fear.

Staring out in the direction of the racket I think, with a deadpanned tone that has a little more than just a hint of anger, "I avoid Guta, for good reason, and whoever those dumb asses are deserve the death that awaits them for their stupidity." I know that my attitude leaves much to be desired when I'm angry.

Sighing, I get up anyway and take a moment to stretch. That done I quickly start to move down the mountain side, just in time to hear some more gun shots and a few more angry roars to go with them. Honing in on their general direction I quickly set off to see if the people, who are dumb enough to tangle with a Guta, are still alive, and if I can save their sorry asses. Although that could be past tense soon enough if I don't hurry up.

"Not that they particularly need to continue on living, the possibility of them having children isn't something that I would be cheering about. In my mind they have awarded themselves The Darwin Award."

It is usually granted posthumously.

Still all kidding aside I know that if I don't, at the absolute minimum, try to help them then I will be kicking myself for it later, especially since I can help. It takes a good two minutes or so of maneuvering, moving as fast as I can, through the forest and rock outcroppings to find them.

Coming up on the group of idiots I slow down to see if they even need help. Making sure not to attract any attention with my arrival I come to a stop when I see them. Watching the situation for a few moments I could only wish for some popcorn.

They had ended up getting pinned in a large box canyon in the side of the mountain, one I avoid because, even for me, there is only one way out. The Guta has been shot numerous times from the looks of it and the humans that were dumb enough to mess with it didn't look hurt, at least physically. Their pride might never survive if this ever gets out though. They had retreated under a massive slab of rock that is just low enough to ensure protection against something as large as a Guta, but its width left a lot to be desired.

The Guta is just running from one side to another reaching in at the humans who, showing a modicum of intelligence, move to the other side. Of course the slab of rock is the only cover that they can use, without being chased down by the Guta at least, so they are forced back under the rock every time the Guta comes around to the other side in its effort to kill them.

For a few moments, from my perspective, it is like watching an episode of Tom and Jerry. The Guta being Tom and the Humans playing the part of multiple Jerry's. With them running back and forth like they are the resemblance is actually uncanny … only objectively though.

"Ah … popcorn I miss thee." My craving for popcorn aside, as far as I'm concerned they could deal with it for a little while longer. I wince as I hear the crack of a rifle and a pained angry roar a moment later.

Since they haven't actually killed the Guta just yet I can only assume they didn't come out to hunt one at least, points for them. After all their weapons are only pissing the Guta off, but the afore mentioned points are lost, with a ton of interest, with how they keep shooting the Guta and thus keep it angry. Still all things come to an end and this little bit of time is no different

As the Guta is moving to one side of the slab of rock it must have decided that this needed to end, and starts to take its club like hands and use them like hammers on the slab of rock. After a few moments of this the Humans must have realized what is about to happen when one of them tries to run further into the canyon. He must have thought this to be a golden opportunity to save himself, or he was trying to allow his buddies a chance to escape.

Either way the Guta sees him and started after him, in that moment I make my choice.

"It had been such a nice day too …" Still I haven't really tested myself against a Guta just yet, mostly because I had been actively avoiding them since that first time I accidentally ran into one.

Not the best of memories that encounter.

I haven't gone out of my way to get into fights that I wasn't sure I could win, still adapting to this body and all that, but that isn't much of a problem now. I've been putting it off really.

Doing the only thing I know would save the human I let out the loudest roar I can manage. It didn't take a moment for me to receive a roar in response to my challenge as the Guta whirled around to face me. Entering what is for me a small clearing I make sure to keep letting out a low growl, punctuated with the occasional snarl.

Standing my ground at the edge of the trees I watch as the Guta takes a few steps forward and roar at me. On autopilot at this point I let out a low hissing sound as my quills rise up and my tail waves up and down dangerously, waiting for an opportunity to strike.

We do this dance for a little while longer when I notice that the humans are out of the line of fire, so to speak. Knowing that if I tried to retreat now the Guta would likely charge after me, and I don't like the prospect of getting attacked from behind, I decide to finish this.

"Time to die." I hide it well, but I really don't like to lose.

I quickly start to funnel air through a unique biological system that I now have. It allows air to be sucked into one hole and blown out another. Allowing for a constant flow of oxygen for my body to use, a large contributor to my amazing stamina. There is another benefit to using this system however.

Manipulating it just so I can create a very loud whistle like sound that is well beyond the ability for humans to hear, this is where my quills come in. They pick up the sound and create a mental three dimensional image of my surroundings via echolocation.

I 'look' at the massive wall of rock to my right and grin as a plan pops into my head that I know this beast won't see coming. Charging the Guta it responded, just as I thought it would, with a charge of its own. For me I'm moving achingly slow because I want the Guta to be right where I want him, and once that moment arrived I throw everything into one move.

Jumping straight at the wall of rock to my right I use it like a spring board to throw myself straight at the Guta's upper body. The Guta, unable to keep up, is defenseless as I slam into its side hard enough to throw both of us to the ground.

Hitting the ground hard I grunt from the impact as I roll for a moment before righting myself and let the momentum carry me for a moment. Looking over to the Guta I find that it just stopped rolling and its back is completely exposed to me. Taking the opportunity I jump straight for the Guta's back.

Quickly I dig in my claws into its hide in case it starts to thrash around. However before it could start thrashing around I secure its skull in my jaws, and for a single moment a sharp roar of agonizing pain echoes across the country side before it was suddenly cut off as I crush most of the of the Guta's skull with my jaws{*1}. Letting the tension slowly ease out of me as I let off my echolocation and slowly ease back into normal breathing.

"That was easy." I look down at the Guta still under me, pulped brain matter, crushed bone, and the viscous blood oozing out the back of the Guta's head. I turn the side and spit the brain, bone, and blood out of my mouth.

"Far too easy … I didn't even need my tail."

It's a sobering thought that the greatest land predator, that I know of, on Reach fell to me so easily once I figured this body out.

Shaking my head I let it go, there isn't much point to letting this get to me. Nodding my head I get off of the body of the dead Guta and walk to the tree line. Before I leave I turn back to the Guta and bow my head in a moment of silence for the first life that I didn't need to take.

"I have no doubt that I will kill in the future… but I will never take pleasure in it." Feeling slightly better after that I head back to my cave.

Turning to leave I stop, surprised, as I see that one of the Humans had stayed behind to watch and record the fight. From the looks of the device in his hands I assume that was what he was doing.

He is slowly moving backward, obviously scared now that I am watching him. I tilt my head to the side as I watch him slowly back away, closely scrutinizing the clothing he is wearing and comparing it to the clothes that I remember the civilian would wear in Halo: Reach. It doesn't match, but the stuff they made for the civilians to wear in the game was fairly generic and not very varied. The disk had only so much space on it for something that isn't that important to the plot after all.

It's then I notice some others behind hiding behind the trees and rocks, and even though I don't understand what they are saying I can tell they are trying to get him to run away. Watching them stage whisper to their friend I roll my eyes and shake my head.

"If I really wanted to kill them they wouldn't make it twenty feet." Fortunately I have no desire, what so ever, to taste human flesh. For obvious reasons the appeal just isn't there.

I would have made my way back to my cave at this point, but they are blocking off the most direct route, not that it really matters I haven't hunted today yet. Fortunately for me I got a rather fresh kill right here. A little odd eating something that you just gave a moment of silence to, but I don't really care to go hunting when I have a readily available source of food right here for me to take advantage of.

Turning back to the Guta carcass I start at the shoulder area and work my way from there. As I eat I raise my quills just a smidgen and make use of my echolocation. While they aren't as effective lowered it doesn't mean they aren't picking things up, it just means that I don't 'see' as far. Of course distance is very subjective for me, I can easily 'see' the humans behind me and the one is still recording me as I eat.

I don't really care too much for them though; I'm far more worried about what the U.N.S.C. is going to do when they find out about me. "Well at most I imagine that they would just do their best to capture me after observing me for a period of time, maybe a week or so before I start noticing the smell of other humans around my cave and a month, max, before they try to capture me."

Thinking about it for a few minutes I figure that there is little to nothing I can really do if they actually want to capture me, after all I don't have any technology. So at the absolute least they should think that I am an unknown species on Reach they haven't discovered. Far more likely though, is that they think I'm some kind of stranded alien, O.N.I. is paranoid like that … Granted it is for good reason, at this point and time, but that famous paranoia doesn't really help me in this situation.

Finishing my meal I look at the leftovers of the Guta's body after I have eaten my fill, well over half of it is still there. Shrugging I move away from the body and, after letting go of my echolocation, look at the humans once again.

Looking at them I almost wish that they had left when I arrived, at least then I wouldn't have to deal with the one with the camera, if that is what it is. Still not much to do about that so I look around to check where I am, I had memorized the area immediately around my cave, in relation to my size that is.

Slightly peeved, but far more amused, about my location I look back at the Humans again and shrug. They had put themselves right at the only exit, unknowingly or not I don't know, but their past actions lead me to believe that they are just, in fact, that stupid.

Shaking my head at this I just start to walk out and ignore them as most of them run away from me. Slightly insulting really considering I just saved them and just finished eating my fill. "Well just ignore them, I need to get to the river and wash off, don't want to end up like that first time I didn't wash the blood off." I almost shudder at the prospect, it took me most of the next few days to get the blood off with how sticky it became once it dried most of the way.

As I get to the edge of the trees I look over at the lone human who stood his ground, of course the one who has the camera. Looking at him curiously I couldn't help the thought that passed through my mind, "I thought that I would never meet someone this stupid … then again he looks like he's too shocked to really do anything."

Watching him for a little longer I slowly reach out with one of my queue and pat him on the head and that finally seemed to get a reaction from him. I watch as he falls to the ground, fainting from the looks of it.

I roll my eyes and shake my head.

Turning to leave I hear a crack of a gun and my right shoulder suddenly feels like it was just hit very hard by something very small, and it hurt quite a bit. What obviously was a bullet didn't penetrate, but it hurt.

Slowly turning my head to my right I see one of the hunters standing next to a tree a good thirty feet away. Glaring at him I watch as he starts to shake in fear, taking a whiff of the air I smell the fear. Frankly I could care less with that bout of supreme stupidity on his part.

With one jump I land in front of him as he drops his gun and lands on his ass. Staring down at him as I let out a low rumbling growl that I'm know he is feeling in his bones. Reaching out with my right hand{*2}, before he could get too much further with his scrambling, I grab his legs and pull him back.

Letting him go I quickly pin him to the ground with my hand over his chest. Ignoring his screams of terror I curl my middle claw until it rest just over his face I lower it until it is sitting on his right cheek. He tries to pull away, but he can't really move with me pinning him to the ground. I just line my claw back up.

I hear the yells of the other hunters accompanied by the crack of their rifles and feel more bullets hit me, but I completely ignore them. After all their bullets aren't penetrate my body's natural armor either, instead I watch the now frozen hunter pinned beneath me.

"Killing you would be pointless … Now you will live and remember this, but that doesn't mean that you will be getting away without a souvenir." As much as I wish that I could remove his ability to contaminate the gene pool, that isn't something I could do to another male without very, very, very good reason. Unfortunately stupidity, of this level, isn't enough of a reason.

So instead I give the claw on his cheek one quick tug and leave him with a gash along his face. Ignoring the scream of pain I lean in close to his face to look right into his eyes and growled as low as I can, hoping that the reminder will keep him from doing similarly stupid things in the future. Not that I am hope to run into him in the future.

Taking my right hand off of him I jump to the side to avoid one of the charging hunters who, in keeping with this groups level of intelligence, intended to stab me with what would be a large knife for them from the looks of it, but is smaller than one of my claws.

Looking back to see if they are still try chasing me off like some common animal. I find that the one that charged at me now has his rifle leveled at me, locking eyes with him I watch as he swallows deeply. It stays like that for a few more seconds when the rest of the group catch up to them, minus the fainted one, only to find that outside of some light bruising and the cut, he is fine.

What sounds like an argument ensues and eventually the others force him to lower his weapon. Letting out a slight humming sound, that I know the group hears, I look over to the bloodied hunter and locking eyes with him for a few seconds I nod my head to him and then leave, making my way over to the river to wash off.

"Well that could have gone better." To be honest I'm fairly nervous about how that will be received, but I could frankly careless. They shot first and that was after I saved their sorry asses.

"Well, however that is received I'm pretty sure that they realize that I saved them and such." Letting out a sigh as I pick up the pace, I can feel the blood begging to dry on me. "I really would prefer not having to deal with them sending some ODST to hunt me down. I wouldn't stand a chance against that group if they came prepared … and they would."

"As durable as I am, I know that I wouldn't stand a chance against a well-trained and well equipped O.D.S.T. that is prepared for me. One well aimed burst of armor piercing rounds and I'd be done for and six feet under."

Arriving at the river I busied myself with cleaning up; once that is done I head back to my cave. I thought about what would be coming for me, normal Marines, O.D.S.T., or maybe the fabled and respected Spartans themselves. I'm currently in the 'I'm-scared-shitless-of-them' category, but I don't know what is to come.

"Whatever comes for me." I stop with a sigh and feel a single tear fall from my face, as I remember some of the life that I once lived. Looking up just in time to watch the sun set beginning to give way to the glittering stars in the inky black sky. "I can only pray that I will be ready for what is to come, for my past and the unknown of the future is all that haunts me now."

It has been a little less than three months since I had my run in with the hunters, and I haven't seen hide nor hair of anything related to the U.N.S.C., but I have smelled something on the wind that smelled human enough occasionally. I would, of course, find nothing as I went in search for the source, worried would be a word that I would use for my state of mind right now.

"I know they made it back to town, I went over their tracks two days after we met. It went straight to a small farming town that's a good three hard days run away. Hmmmmmm." At this point I only have a couple of theories.

"One is that they did tell the U.N.S.C. but they discarded their tale as a group of hunters that had a brush with death, but then there is the recording, if that was a camera. On the other hand if the U.N.S.C. did believe them then they would likely be observing me with some satellites right now. It isn't like I'm hiding, much less trying to hide, so I shouldn't be that hard to find."

"The second theory is that the hunters decided not to tell anyone about what happened. Why they would do that I don't know. It could be because I saved them or that they believe that the U.N.S.C. wouldn't believe them. It could be any number of things really, and trying to guess what happened would only get me another headache."

Curling my hands into fists I rub my head as I try to ease the tension, "I'm driving myself crazy doing this." Sighing for what felt like the umpteenth time I lay down. "I'm not going to get anything done by stressing myself out over this, so just let it go."

Looking over to the cave entrance I sigh, I need to go hunting again. I do enjoy the hunting, after all I don't like starving, the thrill of it is exhilarating. But it also gets tedious when hunting and exploring an area I've already gone through several times is all I've had to do for the last five and a half months.

"Frankly I need something else to do, or at least a new area to explore." The issue with that is finding another cave, the chances of me finding another cave that will fit my purposes are fairly slim at best.

Thinking about it for a few minute I come to the conclusion that if I do stay here then I might just start hearing things, going insane is a good motivator as any really.

"I'll miss this place." Feeling a soothing wave of contentment about my decision I lay my head down for one last bout of rest, in what had slowly become something of a home for me over the last five and a half months.

Opening my eyes I feel… I can't explain it. It's like I'm sluggish, slow, and cramped, but at the same time I feel fine… I just don't feel the need to do anything but watch the four people in front of me.

The first is a man who, like the other three, is sitting around a round table watching something. He looks old, but it is a more refined way and somehow he looks more… real… in someway that I can't describe.

Kind of like an HD TV with a picture that is too sharp, that is the only way I can think of describing what I'm seeing. Glancing at the other three I find that they all have the too sharp look to them and I find that odd. It doesn't really fit, but it feels right somehow.

My attention is drawn back to the first one, focusing on him I find that he looks like he could be tall, for a human, but with him sitting down I can't really tell, he has a nice tan, salt and pepper hair, dark purple eyes, and is clean shaven.

An odd combination, but for one reason or another it fits.

I turn to look at the others once again but it is only now I notice that they are gone, and oddly enough I can't remember anything about the others. Looking back at the man I find him still sitting down looking over at me, and from the looks of it studying me as well.

I don't know how long we just looked at each other, but eventually he stood up and as he did the table and chairs disappeared.

"I didn't expect you so soon, it's rather odd, but nothing about this situation is normal I suppose." With those words he walks over and stands right in front of me.

He sighs looks around for a few moments, as if looking for something, and then turns back to me and says, "To be completely honest I don't know what to say. I could go on the whole friendly route, the evil guy path, or somewhere inbetween. But…"

The man in front of me trials off looks off in the distance and just stares. He whispers out something that has to do with time, but I don't rally catch it.

A moment later he shakes his head and then continues, "As I was saying earlier, but none of that matters in the end and all I can say is that I am sorry for what you will go through and I wish it wasn't necessary."

He reaches out and sets his hand on my nose and breathing in through my nose I catch his scent, I can't describe it in any real way. There are so many different aspects to it that it smell like it could be anything, but all of those aspects somehow mix into something that reminds me of paper.

I couldn't help but find that very odd because it isn't like he just spends a lot of time around books, rather it is like his is a piece of living, breathing, and walking paper. I can smell it in his very flesh.

Withdrawing his hand he walks a few feet away and then turns around and moves to sit down, however he didn't just fall to the ground. A simple, yet elegant, chair appeared out of nowhere and without any of the usual showy stuff you would expect from beings with godlike powers.

A quote come to my mind, "Warning Will Robinson! Warning!"

"Still wishing isn't something that will get either of us anywhere, so what to do with you." His demeanor changes and suddenly I feel like I'm the prey in this situation, that quote suddenly has some very real meaning to me.

"To be honest I can't really do much to you right now, after all there are rules and when there are rules something is there to enforce them." He gives me a little knowing smile. "Everything in its own time however."

He takes a few moments to drink from a bottle that had just appeared in his hands. "Ahhhh, much better. Now I can do something for you right now, whether or not you receive my gift is up to you. I will warn you though, there are amazing advantages to this gift, even by my standards. It will help you immensely, but there are nearly crippling disadvantages to it as well."

He smiles in a predatory fashion and then take another drink. "I will tell you what the gift is if you decide to not take it, but if you do decide to take it you will only get a vague hint and you will have to figure it out on your own from their."

"All you have to do is nod or shake your head, you will find that you can do that now, but I would suggest not doing either until you have decided. Such decisions are tricky things, and you don't want to make a mistake that could cost you either way. Now do you?" He falls silent and his demeanor becomes completely neutral as time streatches on.

I find that while I can't exactly think I am, somehow, quiet capable of doing so now. "Weird, but I suppose that doesn't matter right now… a gift huh? Well whatever it could be I get the feeling that it will be very useful, but he did say that there will be quite the disadvantage to it, and the way he worded it, it sounds like it will be one of those things that won't be immediately obvious. Hmmmmmmmm…"

Not knowing what the gift could be I can't weigh the pros and cons, but I know that I would rather have something and not need it rather than need it and not have it. "In my situation I can use all the advantages I can get."

I nod my head and then I feel that same not caring feeling come over me again as I lose control of my body.

"Huh you didn't take very long, but I did make a promise." He stands up, walks over, and places his hand against my nose again and instead of the paper smell I smell burnt paper.

I feel something pass into me and something changes inside of me I can't really tell what, but it is there waiting for me to find it.

The hand lowers and with the largest grin I have ever seen he says, "This is your hint, knowledge is my forte and while I didn't give it to you out right I have changed something about your mind that will help you when you eventually come to find the second part of your gift. That is it for the hint."

He pauses here and giving me a conspiratorial smile he says, "Despite what the others think, now that I have met you, I now know that the trials I have setup for you likely wont be enough to stop you at this point. Hell you will very likely make it through all of our trials, but that doesn't matter right now."

His hand goes back to my nose and I notice that he is back to his 'normal' paper smell. "To be honest this has been fun, next time we met and I have no doubt that we will, we will have a good long talk, just between the two of us and without anyone listening in. Farewell, and until we meet again Spencer Grimm."

With those words everything goes black.

Opening my eyes I find myself in a cave, similar to the one I have been inhabiting but immediately I notice one very big difference. In the center of the cave there is a circular dirt island about two of my body lengths wide with a pool of water circling the island. Looking at the water I figure I would be able to clear it with a running jump.

That isn't what caught my attention though, at the center of the island is a little bit of floating fire, at head level no less, just above a large pedestal of rock. The fire itself is the size of on you would see from a normal, human sized, lit candle.

The fire isn't burning from wick though or anything for that matter.

"Well at least I'm not pinned down by… whatever that was." I have no doubt that what I saw is real. "I can still smell the paper like smell of his flesh, burning and not, and feel his hand on my nose."

While I'm not being forced to not care about anything I do feel a tug, or a pull, towards the fire in the center of the room. "Hmmm, I don't feel like I'm being forced this time, like that thing is… asking me to come to it?"

That alone gives it a large amount of brownie points, but I'm not exactly in a normal situation either, so I sit down and just think it over for a little bit, but I do come to a conclusion eventually. "Well I don't have much to lose and I'm not being forced."

Walking to the candle sized bit of fire I stop just short of the water, a feeling of complete and utter terror grips me and I don't know how I know, but I know for a certain that if I touch this water, even in the smallest of manners, I will suffer greatly for it.

Not wanting to tempt fate, another thing that hasn't been kind as of late, I slowly pull back and walk over to the edge of the cave. "Just enough room for me to get enough momentum to make the jump." Humming for a few seconds I start funneling air through my body and once I feel that I'm ready I start running as fast as I can.

Just before I hit the water I throw myself into the air and I feel apprehensive as I come closer to the island. I realize that, yes while I will make it, that doesn't mean I will be able to stop all of my momentum before I hit the water on the other side of the island with my normal landing method. Which involves bleeding the momentum off in two, usually three, body lengths.


Grunting in pain as I hit the ground, I let most of my momentum be absorbed into the ground, I then take a few more steps to deal with the rest of my momentum. Standing there on the island I take a minute to slowly stretch my legs, grimacing as my joints protest at the abuse that they just endured.

"Not doing that again anytime soon." With that thought I look at the pedestal with the floating fire. Not knowing what to do I sit down and wait, in my experience touching fire usually leads to pain and I've had enough of that as of late.

After what feels like hours of just looks at the little bit of fire I feel something… the best way I could describe it is something brushing against my mind, but the description doesn't feel right. It is almost like it has been there, inside me, this whole time, just waiting for the moment it would be found.

Unconsciously I raise my right hand and mentally ask the fire to come to me and it comes to me. What scares me the most isn't that it responded, but rather that I knew that it would.

A shiver runs through me as I feel the gentle warmth of the… I feel the brushing sensation once again and I hear something.


The voice, if it could be described as such, feels primal in a way that I can't describe… but I know, once again not knowing how I know it, that this bit of fire is called a Flame and it is here to protect and guide me.

Confused, but knowing that I won't be harmed, I bring it to my chest and push it into my body.

I can't describe what I feel as the flame does its thing, but I know that it somehow spread throughout me and I will never be without it again. However as it disperses into me I feel the connection I have to it slowly weakens until it is just barely there. I also know that no matter what I do or where I am I will always feel the connection that I have with the Flame.

Along with that I feel different, its not a bad different but not a good one either. Just different, however I other concerns right now. "Huh… well." I look around. "How do I get out of here?"

"The water is safe for you now."

"What the hell?!" I look around for the source of the voice, but after a few moments of looking and not find anything or anyone, I remember that I have heard the voice before. "Right, okay then."

Walking forward to the other side of the island I look down at the water and as I slowly move my head towards the surface of the water I feel a subtle warmth fill my body and I know it is coming from the Flame inside of me. Sniffing the water I find that it is purer, in some way that defies the very concept of H2O, than any I have ever come across. I get the feeling that I will never come across its like again.

Grinning I take a step back and jump into the middle of the water. Entering the water I feel something akin to electricity run through my body, but it feels good and I've never felt so energized. Looking around I find that the pool is much deeper than it seemed to be, in fact it is big enough that it is more like an actual Thanator sized lake.

Looking towards the island I find something very odd and swimming closer I find that yes the island in the middle is actually floating in the water. Swimming under the island I come to the center and come to a stop.

Now I have plenty of experience with floating around in water and I could immediately tell that something was wrong, I'm not moving. There are always water currents under water, and even if there isn't you would sink to the bottom, but I'm not doing anything. I'm being held there by something, but I don't care it is actually pretty cool.

"That will make a great rest point." Grinning I swim off and just kept swimming through the water and after a while I realize something, "I haven't gone up for any air at all for… well I don't know how long I have been under the water, but I know that I should have gone up for some air by now."

Coming to a stop in the water I look up and I see the surface, and even though I intellectually know that I need to get some fresh air, I get the feeling that I could stay here in the water forever and never need to worry about anything.

So I stay.

I swim around, explore, find neat nicknacks like shells but it is four of them that really catch my attention and the Flame tells me that they are far more than they seem.

A black scale of some kind. It was just floating along the subtle underwater currents

A stone that changes color, about the size of a marble. This little thing was actually moving around all by itself and I had to chase it down.

A piece of glass without sharp edges. Oddly enough this one I found while looking for shells, I wouldn't have noticed it if it wasn't for the odd indentation it left in the sand.

A circle of something, similar to the water around it but solid. I only found it because it got lodged in my nose while I was swimming around.

There were many like those four actually, hundreds if not thousands, but they seemed… dead somehow, at least that is what the Flame told me. For a while it made the place seem like a graveyard of some kind, but that passed and even though that idea seemed to keep it place in my mind… I still felt more a peace now than ever before.

Eventually though I do get tired from swimming around so much. Swimming back to the island, I stop right under it and get comfortable, and as I float there in the warm water, closing my eyes for sleep, I think, "I wish I could stay here, but I know I can't… still… just one nap."

As that thought trails off I fall asleep and for the first time in what feels like something far longer than a scant five or so months, I would find peaceful dreams that are filled with laughter and joy as I rest.

Even though I will never be able to remember the dreams themselves… I never forget the feelings they left me with.

Pacing back and forth in his room Hunter looks around, nervous as he waits for his older sister to call. It had taken a lot of wrangling to acquire a secure set of video phones that are up to O.N.I. standards. His is on the coffee table next to a gallon jug of water, an accompanying cup, and schematics detailing some designs.

"Come on Hajna we need to talk." He mutters to himself as he stopped pacing and sits down.

Staring at the video phone innocently sitting on the desk in front of him, he ponders his situation. He knows that O.N.I. might not really approve, but he could care less, they put him in this position because of their over eagerness and left him the foremost expert in his field. Letting out a sigh as he hears the phone start to ring he reaches out and answers.

"Hajna what did I want to call our second dog at first?" He asked. It is a control question they came up with a long time ago, when their family started to rise through the ranks.

"You wanted to call him Snoopy at first. How about my third cat?" Seeing and hearing Hajna answer the question correctly and then ask the right response question fills him with relief, but first he needs to give the answer her counter question.

"Why Woodstock of course." Hunter answered with a grin.

"Now that we have that out of the way, where's the fire?" Hajna asks with a raised eyebrow, she is honestly curious about what her brother wants. He has been hinting at something big for almost three months now.

"Before we get to that, are you alone?" An 'I-know-something-you-don't' grin displayed proudly on his face. Watching as Hajna picks up the video phone and pan it across the room a few times helps relax his nerves.

"Now can you tell me?" While Hajna is usually all for this game they play, they haven't been able to talk much lately, she will need to put her daughter to bed again soon and she doesn't want her to get into anything.

"I'll do you one better." Hunter reaches over to the screen and press a few buttons. "I think you will find this interesting to see." Hajna rolls her eyes at his tone, but watches intently as a window pops up and starts to play some footage.

Watching her face lose more and more blood and the shock he knew would be there, the video goes on. He feels what Hajna lovingly refers to as his 'Shit Grin' forming over his face. Several minutes later the video ends and he waits for Hajna to respond.

He didn't have to wait too long. "You and you buddies have wasted any luck you might have had for the rest of you lives, and your friend that got pinned by the Alien is a fucking dumb ass."

"Well I can honestly tell you that I, and everyone else that was there, agrees with you on that point, but beyond that what do you think?" Hunter asks as he leans back into his chair, he means that first part too.

While Hajna doesn't recognize him as such, the idiot that first shot the Alien is also their younger brother. A very hot headed brother that had a bad falling out with Hajna, and now Hunter is stuck in between trying to help them reconcile, it doesn't look like that is going to happen anytime soon though.

"Well first that the Alien isn't as violent as the media had portrayed it, although that isn't too much of a surprise considering who controls the media. It's obviously intelligent, more than likely truly sentient." Hajna said as she brought her hand up and tapped her chin in thoughtfully as new possibilities spring up in her mind.

"Yes that is pretty much what I thought as well, and I'll explain why in a bit, but I'm nearly one hundred percent sure I know why we are dealing with a seemingly different Alien." Hunters grin is now gone and replaced with thoughtful contemplation. "I know a few more things that you don't, and they have painted a rather … disturbing picture."

"Oh and what has the shadow in the dark been hiding from the masses?" She asks, her brother has also been hinting that his recent work involves O.N.I. somehow.

"Well you see the ship that it came in on didn't destroy itself like O.N.I. claimed." He leans forward closer to the screen. "They have it, and they were studying it."

Several emotions passed through Hajna as she ponders her brother's words, chiefly among them being vindication. She doesn't buy into the O.N.I. cover up stories, and she honestly doubts that many do. "They aren't going to shoot you for telling me this?" She has no illusions as to how far O.N.I. would go to keep their secrets though.

"Like I said they were studying the ship." Hunter looks away from the screen with a grimace. "The person they put at the head of the project was … overzealous. He along with the whole team, and all of the personnel on the base paid the price." He stopped their looking down in thought. "I'm really the only one even half way qualified to study it now."

Hajna eyes widen with realization. "You're studying it now?" She asked, the disbelief obvious in her voice. Before she continues with her tirade she stops, watching her brothers face move through several emotions, the most prominent one being fear.

"This race, whatever they call themselves, is far more advanced than us, if they wanted to deal with us." Hunter stops for a moment as his eyes gain a far off look, seeing something that only he can. "If this ship is only an example of a single fighter, like our broadswords, then I can honestly say were better off fighting the Covenant then the beings this Alien hails from."

Hearing that, Hajna didn't know what to say. Her brother honestly believe that were better off fighting this war with the Covenant, the one they are slowly losing and sustaining horrific losses, than this new race. As much as she wishes that to not be true, she knows for a fact that when it comes to serious matters her little brother doesn't make shallow claims.

Swallowing hard her previous anger forgotten, Hajna whispers out, "How … what makes you think that?"

Hunter launches right into his explanation, "The previous team was led by one of the few people I can honestly say is better than me at what I do, but like I said, the team leader, Ted, moved too fast and he understood far too little." He leans back shaking his head as he let out an explosive sigh.

"Ted tried to force the thing open, and he succeeded." Hunter developed a slightly awed look. "Inside there is just enough room for one of the Aliens to move around, not much mind you, but it gives you an idea as to how large it really is. There weren't any controls we could find, just a spot for one of their kind to lay down and two odd indentations near where we think the head would be. Once inside Ted tried to hack the computers, he didn't succeed, but he must have triggered some kind of defense mechanism."

Watching her brothers face as it turns a little green, he turned away with a grimace. Hajna waited in silence wondering what could have made her brother react this way, but after a few minutes she said, "If you don't want to tell me …" She trailed off as she tried to give her brother an out for that bit of information.

"No." Hunter said and took a breath as he turned back to her and continued. "You know how I deal with theoretical nanotechnology?"

"Yes, but …" Hajna stops as she realizes the implications, and then she feels a little sick as well.

"It's worse than you think. The defense mechanism, which is some kind of nanoweapon, didn't just kill the people there; it destroyed the bodies as well … not a single drop of blood was spared."

Rubbing his eyes for a few seconds and then sighing Hunter continues, "After it dealt with the people there it wiped out everything on the base computers, except for the recordings that showed us what lead to the people on the base getting killed and the recording of the deaths of the personnel on the base." He leans forward, holding his face as he continues. "And that is a message if I've ever seen one."

Hajna watched as her brother leaned back into his chair looking drained, hunted, and scared. "So they can wipe us out without too much trouble?" Hunter tiredly nodded his head. "And our government has already hunted the Alien down and they thought they killed it, but it isn't dead. In fact it is alive and kicking, but it not some 'unholy machine of death and destruction' as the more extreme media outlets put it?"

"More or less. From the very limited amount of studying that I have done I can tell that their nanotech is so far beyond our own technology that we might as well be in the Industrial Revolution six hundred years back" Hunter said in response to his sister's question. "Were honestly fucked if this race decides to go to war for how we've been treating one of their own."

She took a few minutes to think it over, but eventually she expressed a question that had been bugging her. "Well if it wasn't some mindless killing machine then what the hell was it doing for those six months?" She is quite curious to know the answer.

"Now, I've had quite a bit of time to think about this so don't shoot it down right away." Hunter continued with his explanation once he saw Hajna nod her head. "Considering the technology obviously at the disposal of this race I wouldn't be surprised if it was some kind of override put in place that allows the nanomachines to take over the body. Thus increasing chances of survival in dangerous situations and allowing their kind to survive and flourish rather than die in new and unexpected situations."

Hunter saw Hjana's skeptical look, so he explained it a bit more. "Think about it, how much time did we spend not hunting the thing with deadly weapons? The fail safe probably thought it wasn't safe for the actual… mind, personality, person, what have you, it just wasn't safe, and we made it painfully clear that it wasn't."

Leaning forward once again Hunter says, "But that is only the tip of the iceberg. If this race is truly as capable as their technology has so far shown them to be, then destroying us would be as easy as pressing a button from orbit, and we would never be the wiser if they were there."

While she didn't trust the U.N.S.C., and more specifically O.N.I., she knows that the security around Reach is the best that Humanity has to offer. "If the security nets are ineffective, then there is no early warning ..." She let herself trail off for a moment, not very comfortable pondering just how vulnerable they seem to be to this new race.

Hunter nods his head and jumps in. "Publicly our sensors picked it up some time ago. On radar, and visually, it only seemed to be a size able asteroid that would miss us by almost a hundred thousand miles or so." He shrugs his shoulders for emphasis. "Nothing that would require more than a log in to the Astrodatabase, so that the incoming and outgoing ships would know that it is there."

Stopping for a moment he reaches over for his cup of water and finishes the whole cup off, pouring himself a new cup he continues. "What really happened was we didn't detect this thing until it was already in the atmosphere. I've seen the footage and it looks like a cloaking system was failing for some reason."

"So." Hajna jumps in. "We could have a much larger ship in orbit right now, capable of wiping us out and we wouldn't be able to defend ourselves? In theory at least." Hajna's faces pales as she sees her brother nods his head in response to her question.

"It is a possibility that I tried to convince O.N.I. of about two months after I was brought onto the project, about eight months ago. The way the Alien moved while being hunted for those six months was too ridged and mechanical to be a coincidence in my mind. That along with everything else I had seen, I became convinced that it was under the influence of something. Possibly even the ship itself, but they didn't want to listen. They were far too concerned with containment for some reason that they refused to divulge." He scoffs. "Wouldn't surprise me if O.N.I. got its ass handed to them in a very one sided cyber fight."

Hunter grins as he sees Hajna's wolfish smile at the thought of O.N.I. getting their asses handed to them in any manner and then pours himself another cup. "I'm sure that someone really high up on the food chain caught wind of the Alien coming back and decided to do something about it. For the moment they are only observing the Alien, pulling the whole coming back from the dead routine must have shook things up enough for them to realize just how far out of our depth we truly are."

Taking advantage of her brother's pause she jumps in, "First off you know I hate it when you interrupt like that. Second … well frankly I think you need a break from your work, you look like shit Little Bro."

Smiling he throws his head back and laughs for a few seconds and then lightly nods his head. "Well Big Sis, I know that you'll make sure of that while you're here for the family reunion. I know that little sprout of yours is eager to see me."

Hajna shakes her head at that. "You'd think that she would prefer to live with you rather than her own mother, with the way she has been going on about you the last few weeks." She raises an eyebrow and gazes at her brother with a thinly veiled accusation. "You wouldn't have anything to do with that, now would you?"

Hunter responds with a small knowing smile, but says nothing.

"I knew it!" A voice yells out from the door to the room.

Sighing as she gets up, Hajna turns around to intercepts a small golden haired missile that flies into her arms. Hunter watches as his sister spins his niece around for a few seconds and then sits back down in her chair with a bright eyed young girl sitting in her lap.

"Hi Uncle Hunter." The young girl calls out with all the enthusiasm that only a young girl her age could possess. "I can't wait for you to give me that present that you promised me!"

Hunter let out a sigh as he watches Hajna's eyes narrow. "You, little one, were supposed to keep that a secret." Hunter says, and then addresses Hajna with a, not so small anymore, grin. "And before you start it isn't anything like the ATV I got for her last birthday. Honestly with the way you've gone in the past you'd think I went out of my way to buy dangerous things all the time for my most responsible niece with my large, and mostly unused, bank account."

Quickly giving her brother a look that clearly told him that this conversation isn't over, she looks down to her daughter and says, "You are supposed to be in bed. I hope that your excuse isn't something along the lines of a glass of water or the bathroom this time."

"Nope!" She preened. "I wanted to talk to Uncle Hunter!"

"Did you come up with that excuse before or after you saw that I was talking to him?" She asked, already knowing the answer. True to Hajna's thoughts her daughter pauses just as she is going to answer, frozen in realization.

Deflating after a few seconds the ex-missile quietly answered, "I don't like my room." With a huff she turns her little head with an almost unbearably cute look of frustration on her face.

"Well if that is your best response, than I guess that I'll have to get your Father to make sure that you stay in bed this time then, now won't I?" Hajna asked with a raised eyebrow. She could never bring herself to punish her daughter, so her husband, Norbert, deals out the punishments, and fairly too if he knows what is good for him.

"Well I think that is my cue to get going for now." Hunter says once the by play between the mother and daughter pair is done.


"Nope." Hajna said cutting her daughter off. "You are going to bed, it's late and you and I need to be up early in the morning to get that set of new clothes that you Uncle here requested for you, but only if you go to bed." Looking to her brother she gives him a look as she says, "You wanted me to get something for outdoors right?"

It took him a moment to catch on, but he recovers gracefully enough and with a small nod says, "Yes, make sure it's heavy and has some camouflage to it." He looks over to his niece with a grin, who looks back with an excited smile. "You don't have to go wild with it, but knowing you that will be an issue even if I didn't say anything."

He locks eyes with Hajna and continues, "And knowing you, my dear sister, you wont be able to refuse your beautiful and pleading daughter." The last part was said with a knowing grin, and the look of pending revenge that he is getting from his sister, that will undoubtedly be served cold, is completely worth it in his mind.

"Your day will come Hunter … your day will come." Hajna said with an ominous tone that is seemingly filled with age and wisdom. Another plan already forming to get her recluse of a brother married off so that she can get his kids to torture him. It would take years for the plan to come to fruition, but she knows that it will worth it to use his own grin on him.

"Well I think it is time for this conversation to come to an end, so I will talk to you later Hunter." Hajna grabs her daughter as she stands up and lightly throws her daughter over her right shoulder with her giggling all the while. "It's time to get you to bed."

Lifting her head up from her mothers back she calls out to the screen, "Good night Uncle Hunter! I'll see you at the reunion!"

Giving her a grin as she is taken away by her mother Hunter says, "I'll make sure to see you there too, good night and sleep well little Dorika."

*1 : It is noted in the book James Cameron's Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide that the much smaller Viperwolf has a set of jaws capable of, and I quote, "a Viperwolf's jaws can exert four kilograms of pressure per square centimeter, easily enough to crush bone, or even stone." (end of second paragraph on page 104)

That is the equivalent of 8.81849 pounds for every 0.15500031 square inch, a little more than fifteen percent of one square inch.

Unfortunately it doesn't go into detail about the Thanators capability, but the fact is that the Thanator was made and designed to be the single most deadly land predator on Pandora, chew on that for a little bit.

*2 : For my own sanity I will refer to the paw/hand things on the front set of forelimbs of the Thanator as hands to avoid confusion as I write this. Writing it otherwise is something of a headache for me, especially since I am writing about myself.

In that vein of thought I will be referring to the limbs that have the said paw/hand thing as arms. The only real difference between a human arm and the front forelimbs of a Thanator, outside of the obvious at least, is that they use to walk with as well as manipulate their surroundings.

It should be noted that I know this logic is slightly skewed, but it works for me as I write so it shouldn't be too confusing.

For me at least.

Author's Notes:

First and foremost is that I am sorry this took so long to get done.

Hectic is a word that I use often, as of late, to describe my current life style.

I said that I would write more and here it is, it is something that I have been building up in my mind ever since I stopped my first attempt at this story, and I will say that it has been going everywhere and nowhere all at once in the inner workings of my mind. The first go around wasn't necessarily bad, but looking at it now I can't help but cringe at a fair amount of it.

Frankly I bum rushed the job, I think I actually alluded to that earlier in this chapter as well.

I wasn't expecting for the story to take on a life of its own. At first it was just a way for me to find out how I would write out a Thanators capability, how they would move, how they would fight, how they would work, and even how they would play. Alas I should have realized what it would become with how my mind works, but I'm happy with how things have turned out.

The first attempt showed me that this story can stand on its own, far away, in conception and more, from the trappings of the work that is still being developed in the background by me and my brothers. Now, if you will pardon the pun, it is its own animal and you will have found things quiet different in several ways, and others still the same.

However I will make it plainly clear now, this story will not be loyally following the works of Admiral Tigerclaws. A lot of what Admiral Tigerclaws wrote pertaining to the laws of reality travel and so forth will be there, but twisted again and again in to something else (i.e. there really is nothing left). No more shall be said on the subject because a lot of what is involved in that, and what isn't involved, is very plot oriented.

So be ready for something different and I hope you enjoy.

Good day to you fine readers.