Okay this isn't Authors Notes, but a quick apology for how long this has been taking. The rest will be at the bottom where the A.N. is suppose to be.

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, but I am willing to explain in an Author's Note.

Chapter 1 : Halo - Part 2 : Shifting Scape

"It's only been a week, huh?" I think from my perch. A large rock outcropping that over looks a large swath of land that is only unbroken by a single strip of road.

Looking up at the sky I lightly smile at the view. The atmosphere's unique properties, whatever they maybe, creates what seems to be a green shell of gas around the planet. I'm sure it has a lot to do with a certain amount of gases, or a unique kind of gas that is non-lethal to carbon based life forms, reacting with the magnetic field of the planet or some such, but I don't really care as it makes for an amazing view.

Watching the gases shift through what seems to be an innumerable number shades of green as they lazily move around far above is amazing, but their true beauty only comes out at sunset or sunrise. At sunrise and sunset the light hits the gases just right, causing the lightly glowing gases surrounding Reach to shimmer and seemingly come to life. Occasionally a different spot of color will appear as the light is filtered just right, but with the gases constantly shifting and the angle, and strength, of the light from the sun changing as well, the flashes of color only last for a split second.

This is only enhanced when there are good solid clouds in the sky. Not the hazy clouds that simply block out all light, but the large towering castles in the sky that create pillars of light and shadow that run throughout the sky. Those pillars of light and shadow create stunning contrast in the colors throughout the atmosphere and make for a breathtaking view as those clouds become painted with the rainbow of color from the coming light of day or the waxing stillness of the night. It doesn't happen often and that is why I stopped to watch the breathtaking spectacle.

I can only really compare it to a thousand dances playing out before me all at once. Each one has something truly unique and truly amazing about it, but my eyes are inexplicably drawn away a moment later by another point in the sky that has something just as amazing and just as unique as the spot before. There is no way for something like it to be described in its entirety, or even witnessed in it's full beauty.

"It's almost... perfect. My little piece of it." I look up, waiting for the sun to set in the next hour or so, but still enjoying how the gases shift around in the atmosphere. "Truly there are not many views like this one."

Looking down at the road I lazily recall my travels since leaving my last home, it hasn't been difficult really. A little cold at night sometimes but still fairly comfortable as I followed the highway, super way, or whatever they call it.

However it wasn't all fun and giggles. As careful as I've been, I still would have been discovered as I skirted the smaller settlements along the way if it wasn't for my sensitive nose. With my new nose its easy to tell when I'm coming up on a settlement, or any kind of dwelling, because the smell of human around the road becomes much stronger as I approach them.

"Though that supper city was a pain. I shudder to think how long it would have taken for me to get around it if the city designers had been more concerned with going out instead of up. Took me a day and a half as it was and I felt like I was being watched the whole time… creepy as all hell." I shudder at the thought, suddenly feeling the need to take a long hot bath to clean myself off again, but once again I don't have the hot water.

I figured that if I was spotted, then it was likely by some nature nut that has more time on their hands than they know what to do with or O.N.I., being paranoid as they are, has sensors and cameras watching the surrounding areas of the super cities.

The idea actually brought me up short. "Not that I'd blame them… exactly… yeah okay I blame them but back on track Spencer. Not that I blame them with a possible war going on, maybe some Rebels running around, and definitely wild animals that can rip through a small house without an issue, but if they saw me why haven't they started tracking me?" To be honest I hadn't been putting much thought into it as I was more concerned about other things, but as I look up to the sky the answer seems to suddenly hit me over the head with a 2X4. "Right, satellites." I promptly drop that line of thought as I find it extremely disturbing to ponder if I have people watching me as I use the great outdoors as nature intended.

I made it a point to follow my motto in life, 'Don't worry about something if there isn't a point to it.'. And while it is a simple way to lead life and one that has lead me through much, I have found that with my recent… change of pace I've been forced to make an addendum, 'However once a problem presents itself, DEAL WITH IT!'.

Still doesn't leave me in a position to do anything about O.N.I. though.

I take a deep breath of the gloriously fresh air and think, as I have many times before, "Of all the changes this is the one that agrees with me the most." For one of those few moments in my new life I feel a sense of peace overcome me and I settle quietly into it as I watch the sky, but per usual something interrupted my peace.

It tickled my nose at first, but it quickly became obvious that something in the air is wrong. Sniffing the air for several moments I make a mental list of the smells. "Can't miss the Guta or the burnt rubber." I pause as the smell of the burn rubber brings something to mind. A memory that that I can almost feel, touch, taste, and smell, but sits just outside the peripheral of my vision and soul.

Shaking my head to get rid of the feeling I continue with making a mental list of the smells, and it only took a moment to figure out the last one, "Human blood." Standing up I look over to the highway, that only place that I'm sure that those smells could be together, reasonably at least. "What are the chances that I would be nearby for two Guta/Human attacks in less than one year?"

I didn't bother answering the question as I already know the answer, but I still struggle with the choice to help or not. Trying to figure out if this is an impossible level of happenstance or a trap set for me to spring.

Looking down to my right hand I feel my mind settle down as two questions runs through me, "Has this physical change, changed who I am? Has it changed my soul?"

The answer that came to me a moment later fills me with longing and sorrow but also contentment and peace. "I am, and always will be, me."

With a nod of my head I jump down from the rock outcropping and quickly start moving towards the highway. Knowing that if it is a trap then O.N.I. will be more than willing to put their people in actual danger. However if it's actually some random people that ran into a Guta… well I have more reason to get there as quickly as I can.

"Clean Up One to Wrap Up, trap is set." She says into the mike.

"Clean Up One, your clear. Ten mikes, copy." A voice said into her ear.

"Copy Wrap Up, ten mi-"

"Clean Up Five reporting." Her teams sniper suddenly jumps in. "I have visual on Project Black Panther. Repeat visual on Project Black Panther."

A small window pops up on her HUD and sure enough there it is, laying down on a rock outcropping a good two and a half miles out. Swallowing hard once she sees the feed, she says, "Copy Clean Up Five. Wrap Up can you confirm the presence of Project Black Panther?"

She knows everyone can hear the slight tremble of fear in her voice, she can feel her heart beat pick up and the adrenaline beginning to flow but she doesn't care. In her mind that thing is a nightmare made flesh.

As the seconds tick by she remembers feeling of that massive jaw holding her, waiting to crush her body and armor like a dry twig. She feels a shiver run down her spine as she sees those lifeless eyes in her mind's eye. She is the only one of her original team that made it out of that encounter, and she doesn't know why.

She snaps out of the memory as she hears the voice behind Wrap Up talks to her. "Wrap Up confirms Project Black Panther is in target area, hold position."

"Copy Wrap Up, holding." The com line goes dead and she prays that it is just a fluke, some kind of computer error, but she trusts Clean Up Five enough to know that it isn't and knows that Wrap Up doesn't make mistake like that.

Nothing was said by her team members, they know that she encountered the Alien before, but their line of business doesn't exactly encourage affection between team members. They trust each other enough to watch each others backs, but the job is what really matters. Everything else is less than secondary.

Watching the mission timer approach the point of no return she almost let out a sigh of relief when Wrap Up comes online. "Clean Up One, your orders stand."

Quietly she whispers out, "Copy Wrap Up." A moment later the line goes dead.

Taking a single moment to focus herself she gives the order. "Okay start em up."

As her team acknowledges her order she say one last thing. "If Black Panther interferes … do not engage. That is an order; it will tear straight through us if we fight it."

She knows that Clean Up Five might be able to kill it with his H.S.R., the only issue is hitting the damned thing. It moves too fast to get a bead on it and it always seems to know when the weapon is going to be fired. At which point you only end up pissing it off with a non-lethal shot.

That is how her last team was killed.

She just finished checking the Objectives location when she hears the roar of the Guta they brought in just for this occasion and from then on out simply watches the scene before her unfold. Hearing the Guta's roar again she knows that she would rather fight the Guta as it is right now. At least you stand something of a chance at getting away from it, maybe even killing it with a few very well-placed shots.

Just as it was suppose to the Guta, starved for last three days, races after the Moa that are being herded to the highway via a series of low powered sonic pulse generators. Right to the Objectives.

"On schedule, fifteen seconds." Clean Up Six tells her.

After three minutes of watching the Guta pummel the car she admits to herself that, just as their intel had said, it's very well made, but there is very little that can stand up to a Guta in a blood rage and starving on top of that. From the looks of it they don't have much more time on their hands. Then she hears the words that she had been dreading from Clean Up Five, "Project Black Panther is on the move and looks to be heading this way."

"Clean Up Two to Four is the trail clean?" She prays that it is because she wants to get the hell out of here, and be gone long before that damned creature gets here.

"Clean." Clean Up Three says.

"Double time it to extraction, none of us want to be here when that thing arrives." With that she quickly packed what little gear she had and started moving for the extraction point.

Approaching the source of the smells I hear screams of terror accompanied by the sound of metal being beaten and slowly giving way. Distracted by the noise I almost run right into a sizable rock outcropping, but I manage to jump over it in time. Soaring through the air for those few moments I take in what is before me.

A beaten and broken car with a smoking engine, and a man running as he yells at the Guta right behind him, trying to keep its attention on him, something he is succeeding at. However in a moment he'll be crushed by the Guta clawquickly coming down on him, swiftly and gruesomely ending his life.

On the other side of the car is a woman with blood steadily oozing from her left side as she runs for her life, a young child hanging over her right side with her arms outstretched towards her father, yelling for him as she watches what will be her Fathers inevitable death.

Hitting the ground I could do nothing as the Guta's claw crushed the Father.

I have always been a kind person, or soft as some would say, and I certainly never wanted to kill despite having to do just that at least twelve to fifteen times a week these last six months just to survive. However those that I had killed had been animals and I had come to accept that as a integral part of my new life.

An animal isn't a Sentient Being though.

For what feels like an hour or two I stare at the crushed body before me, numb as try to comprehend the lost potential of the life that was alive not moments ago. Staring at the body it hits me like a sudden surge of electricity, a scream that could only come from a young child.

Instantly I zero in and see the Guta passing the car as it lumbers over to the mother and daughter pair. A low and barely audible growl begins to build in my throat as a cold but burning anger builds inside of me, demanding that blood be paid with blood and in that anger I gladly heed that call.

Making sure to stay silent I moving as fast as my now very familiar body will carry me. In what feels like a single moment I'm behind the Guta and jump onto its back.

I almost losing my grip as I fall with the Guta to the ground, but with its neck firmly secure in my jaws I stay right where I am. Still falling I stab my tail into the soft flesh of the Guta's back and make use of the single most deadly part of my new body. The poison{1*} in my tail.

With a jarring crash the Guta hits the ground and I lose my grip. Rolling off of the Guta I take a few steps back and carefully watch the Guta as it stands up. Its angry snarls only take moments to turn into howls of agonizing pain, but just as quickly those cries begin to quiet down as my poison makes its way through the Guta's body. Looking at the panting Guta before me I couldn't help the slight unease that rises up through the fog of anger. Having never made use of the poison in my tail before I didn't know just how deadly it really is and now that I do it... worries me.

"I don't have time for this." With a shake of my head I turn towards the Mother and Daughter pair. In the back of my mind I admit that the Mother has covered quiet a bit of ground, she looks to be about eighty to a hundred feet from the edge of the forest.

Nowhere closes enough to escape though.

In another moment I'm almost on top of her and with a quick jump I pass over her and her daughter and land in front of them. Seeing me the woman screams out in terror and tries to change her direction, but she lands on her right foot wrong and I clearly hear it snap.

Wincing in sympathy I quickly step forward and catch her with my queue before she hits the ground, but it doesn't seem that the woman wants my help. Wriggling far too much for me to hold her, without hurting her that is, she slips out of my grip and I wince again as I hear the thud of her body hitting the ground and the sharp gasp of pain that came as a result.

Taking a step back I try to give off a non threatening air, though I doubt my current ability to do so. "Not that my efforts will really help with what she has recently gone through. She is justifiably terrified with what has happened, and it doesn't help that I'm certainly not a picture of beauty with blood dripping from my jaw and tail."

The child surprises me though as she quickly escapes her mothers grasp and grabbing a small rock she turns on me and throws it at me yelling, "Leave my Mom alone you monster!"

Slightly surprised as the rock bounces off of my nose I sneeze but, for obvious reasons, I'm not offended in the least at the accusation. However that isn't what is on my mind as I tilt my head to the side in nostalgia. "How long has it been since I've heard mine own language with my own ears?"

Its sad in a way, but as many other times before I have other things to worry about.

"Dorika! No!" I hear from behind the now named Dorika, who is suddenly pulled back and forced behind her mother.

Laying down I do my best to make myself look as harmless as possible as Dorika yells, "But that's the monster from the T.V. I couldn't just let it-."

Dorika's mother is now sitting up as she pulls her daughter to her side and keeping her eyes on me she yells. "Dorika!" From the look of shock on the child's face she isn't use to being yelled at. "You will be quite and stop this now, and you will listen to what I tell you!" She pulls her child into a hug and with a quiet but stern voice says, "Do you understand me."

I halfheartedly listen to the exchange as I ponder what the child, Dorika, said "Did they show my encounter with those hunters on public T.V.? What would the U.N.S.C. have to gain from that?"

Lightly shaking my head I file that though away for later as Dorika's Mother finishes chastising her Daughter, whatever was said seems to have taken out a lot of the fire that was burning in those young eyes.

Really looking at the two for the first time I see a young frightened girl that is now half hiding behind her mother now that her bout of bravery has left her and stares at me with a mixture of fear, awe, and curiosity. It looks like she is a little banged up, but nothing a few days of rest and relaxation couldn't handle. Though what psychological scars she will have from watching her father being crushed… only time can tell how that will affect her.

As for the mother, I can see the light shake in her body and smell the fear pouring off of her in waves, she is putting on a strong face but the pain in her eyes is plainly obvious. The gash in her side is still bleeding a fair bit; some medical attention would fix that up, looks like some bruising spread out on her body, and an obviously broken ankle. Frankly without medical attention she could easily die of a combination of blood loss, infection, and exposure. That is without considering the obvious, and not so obvious, emotional ramifications of this whole fiasco or the shock.

From the look in her eyes she's desperate, likely thinking that I'm just studying them before I eat them, but something about the look in her eyes is strange… almost hopeful. As I look into her eyes and study them, I realize that she's doing the same with me, I find that... extremely odd.

"If the video of me rescuing the hunters got out then I suppose there would be someone out there that would think I'm not some dumb beast, but what are the chances of me running into someone that thinks that in this kind of situation?" Confused I lay my head down on the ground and let out a deep sigh, but make sure to keep my eyes locked with the woman in front of me. "I know I'm missing something … something big … but what?"

This continues on for a little less than a minute when I hear her whisper, "So… maybe intelligent." Whether or not she intended for me to hear that I don't know, but I take the opportunity to prove my intelligence.

Raising my head I give her a quick nod and almost grin at the blank look on her face; it's truly a beautiful B.S.O.D. moment. Waiting for her to come back to the real world I look between the mother and daughter pair and compare them to each other.

The first thing I notice is that they look a lot alike. Their hair is a golden blonde, but Dorika's is a little bit darker. The mother has deep brown eyes, while her daughter has blue eyes with bits of purple spread about in them. From the few seconds that I got to look at who I'm assuming is father it looks like Dorika has a fairly balanced mixture of her mother and fathers physical traits.

Who she got the spunk from though … well that is something that I'll have to figure out later, if I get the chance to.

The mother seems to finally come to when her daughter shifts and presses up against her wounded side, her hiss of pain is quickly cut off. "Dorika please don't press up against their right now, Mommy's hurt. Okay?"

Dorika looks up to her mother, obviously worried, but nods her head.

Seeing that the mother turns back to me, she has this look of confusion that is, oddly enough, mixed with something resembling anticipation and realization all at once. "Do you …" She started, but stopped as she looked down at her daughter for a few moments, almost like she's hardening her resolve, and then back to me. "Do you do understand me?"

I eagerly nod my head a few times, pleased to actually converse with someone, in any fashion, for the first time in a little more than six months. She lets out a sigh of obvious relief as her daughter looks at me with quickly growing awe.

"Could you help me back to that metal thing over there?" She asked while pointing to the, mostly, destroyed car back on the highway.

"She's rather quick to trust me … that's … really weird." Still I nod my head, quite eager to help despite how odd the situation is, and slowly reach over to pick her up with my queue.

"Dorika, I need you to walk on your feet and keep up with … this big guy here, were going straight to the car okay?" Dorika looks like she is going to say something, but stops as she sees her mother give her a sharp look.

The memory of her mother yelling at her obviously on her mind as she quietly says, "Yes Mom."

"Good." She turns to looks at me. "If you would please?"

I wait for Dorika to let go of her mother and then gently pick her up bridal style. I find it oddly useful that while my queue are not exactly intended to carry things they are handling the load rather well. I just chalk it up to the fact that she is so much more smaller than me.

Making sure to jostle my passenger as little as possible I slowly walk over to the car, but even then the pain filled grimace and the newly formed sweat bespeaks of the internal injuries that she must have.

"So the little one might be losing both her parents today…" It's a sobering thought, that the woman that I'm holding could very well die before she can get help. If the injuries are as bad as they could be that is.

At the same time though I know that there are many others with fates far worse in the world of Halo. That these two have the chance to say goodbye is far more than most have a chance to do with the genocidal war that the Covenant is waging upon Humanity. A cold and harsh way to look at it, no doubt, but unfortunately it is no less true.

Standing next to the car I start to gently set the mother down, but she stops me saying, "Bring me over there please." She said pointing to the trunk of the car.

Slightly confused at her request, the thing is beaten all to hell after all; I listen anyway and move her over to the trunk. Seeing her holding her hand out I ease her closer to the trunk of the car until she is able to press her right hand to a part of it. After a few seconds of nothing happening she sighs, "Well the scanner must be broken then … not much of a surprise really." With a light sigh she looks over to Dorika and gently asks, "Dorika could you see if you can pop open the trunk?"

Dorika slowly nods her head and then walked over to the car door as I put her mother down next to the trunk of the car. She stopped just before entering the car though, standing there at the precipice, staring at the beaten hunk of metal and glass, shaking as she clearly relieves some of what she remembers.

I reach out with one of my queue and gently place it on her shoulder. She jerks away from me at the feeling of someone touching her and looks at me. With her face filled with fear she quickly runs to her mother.

All but frozen I look at my queue, staring at it like it is some alien thing, for a few seconds as I feel an emptiness suddenly within me, the realization that I can't even give a simple touch of comfort to a young and frightened girl. That emptiness is there only for a few more moments before I banish it to the furthest reaches of my mind. Hoping that I can deal with that later, but I know it is a barely a glimmer of hope at best.

With a quick of my head I refocuse on helping that scared and frightened girl and her mother. Sighing I look to see the mother comforting her daughter, stroking her back as she cries into her lap and whispering to her, apologizing for trying to send her in there.

I walk around to the front of the car and study it. "Let's see, the front window is gone…" Crouching down I take a look at the inside of the vehicle. "I got ta admit that this thing had to tough to hold up to a Guta for any amount of time. Still I should be able to get my hand in there-" I look at the hood of the car. "-and I can use the hood to brace my elbow… hmmmm… might work."

My course decided I place my left hand on the hood and reach inside of the car with my right. Twisting my right hand until it was facing up I use the hood for leverage I slowly begin trying to push the top up.

Knowing just how strong this metal had to be for it to take such a beating from a Guta and not be a flattened piece of scrap I'm surprised when it gives begins to give way after ten or so seconds of pushing, but that surprise quickly turns to slight irritation when I can't seem to make anymore progress. Stopping for a few moments I give the car a calculating look and then bracing myself I put everything into one big push. For a moment nothing happens and then with a loud screech the metal gives away all at once.

Slipping from the sudden shift I quickly pull away from the car and look towards where I last saw the mother daughter pair to see if they are hurt, but let out a sigh of relief when I see that they are clear of the wreckage. The mother does look worse for the wear though, her face is even paler and to my ears her breathing sounds more… pained.

Watching as the mother turns to her daughter and cupping her face she says, "Dorika I know you are scared, I am too, but I need you to get the trunk open and grab my cell." She stops here and just stares into her eyes for a few moments. "I need that so I can call someone to help me, okay?" Hesitantly Dorika nods her head and turns towards the car once again.

I pull away from the car as the young girl walks over, the hesitant glances she is sending my way tells me enough. She stops just before entering the car once again, but after a few moments she takes a deep breath and then quickly climbs into car in search of what her mother needs.

"Can you hear me?" Slightly surprised I look over to the mother as I hear her quiet whispering and she gives me a strained smile as I meet her gaze.

"I'll take that as a yes, my name is Hajna and that is my daughter Dorika." Jumping over the car I land a good ten feet from Hajna and lay down as I nod my head at in response to what she said. I notice the surprise on her face but I'm far more concerned about how much more labored her breathing is now that Dorika is gone.

"Mom are you okay?" Dorika's yells out from the car.

She takes a deep breath, but cringes before the breath gets deep. She takes a moment and then calls back to Dorika. "Yes, Dorika I'm fine, please get what you went in there for."

Dorika didn't say anything to that, but the sounds of stuff being shuffled around is loud enough for Hajna to hear, looking back at me she says, "I'll say you're a lot more nimble than your size suggests, but please don't do that again." I nod my head at her request, realizing now that wasn't the best idea and how different I now am really seems to hit home once again.

"I'll be blunt and to the point." Hajna said, continuing from where she left off. "I'm not going to make it. My husband …" She stops here for a few moments, her eyes shut tight as she fights back her pain.

"Norbert." She gasps out his name, like it was one of the most painful things she ever had to say. "He… was…" She pauses as she wipes away some tears. "a doctor and I learned quite a bit from him in our ten years of marriage."

"Chances are there is a lot of internal bleeding, I probably won't make it more than an hour, maybe two if I'm lucky, and with O.N.I. interfering even if I make the call I have no doubt that the emergency lift won't arrive until it's too late."

I hum in thought when Hajna reveals that she believes that O.N.I. likely had a hand in this. I know for a fact that they would be more than willing to do this if it could benefit them. "How would it benefit them though…" I let that line of thought go for the moment though in favor of listening to Hajna.

"Me and my husband were idealistic, we didn't believe in the way the U.N.S.C. was handling things, but I suppose that we were far too optimistic to believe that we could hide what we did forever."

Hajna stops as Dorika calls out, "Mom I got the phone and the trunk is open!"

I watch Hajna take breath and steel herself before she responds. "Good, now I want you to put on the heavy duty cloths that I got for you to use on the trip with Uncle Hunter."

Dorika just finished getting out of the car and gave her mother a confused look. "Why do I need to put them on? If we stay near the car and huddle together we should stay warm." She said as she jogged back over to Hajna, her confusion and curiosity clear as day.

I watch Dorika hand the phone over to Hajna, but before she could pull her hand back Hajna grabs it and says, "Dorika, please. Just listen." The strain in Hajna's voice now more evident. Whether or not Dorika picked up on it I don't know, but I find it hard to imagine that she didn't.

Dorika slowly nods her head in response and I can almost see the gears whirling in her head as she begins to peice together what is going on. Nodding her head again she turns back to the car to do as her mother asked.

Hajna takes a good ten seconds to do something on her phone, the software for these phones went right over my head, and then sets it down with a pained look on her face. Hajna looks over to see if Dorika is far enough away and then continues, "I know that we made mistakes, and that we would eventually pay for them, but I didn't think they would try to kill my daughter as well… just my husband and myself."

Hajna pauses as she watches her daughter for a few moments. "She is so strong, so smart-" Hajna lets out a small, pained filled laugh as she reaches up to wipe away another tear. "-but far too headstrong to do anything any other way than her own." Hajna's smile fades as she closes her eyes. "Despite that she isn't ready to stand on her own just yet, she just isn't ready." Hajna turns to look at me. "My husband and I may have supported the wrong people, but …" She lets out a tired sigh. "We became trapped in the situation, we couldn't turn from them no matter how much we wanted to after the fact, or they would reveal us."

"I won't make any excuses for the actions we took, they were, and are, Norbert's… and my own, but they tried to kill my baby, and they would have if you hadn't come along." She looked over to her daughter not bothering to wipe away the tears in her eyes. "I beg of you, please make sure my daughter gets to my Brother. She knows where he lives, and will be able to guide you to him."

She looks back at me and I can see something akin to wild desperation in her eyes as she says, "He knows nothing of what I and my husband have done; all I ask is that you escort my daughter there, nothing more. I don't trust anyone else with her, I know he will take care of her. Please."

I feel … lost as I ponder Hajna's words for a minute, wondering what kind of being would put me in this situation. "Of all the things for me to stumble upon in Halo, an O.N.I. fucking black fucking op... fuuuuuuck."

I already know that I would do as asked, I'm a complete sucker when it comes to helping people in need. Still there is one thing that I'm wondering about and in an effort to get my question across I point at her with one of my claws.

It takes her a few seconds for the look of realization to come across her face, but I never get an answer as Dorika just finished changing and is heading back. Hajna give me a desperate look and knowing what she wants I nod my head, letting her know that I will do as she asked.

Watching the relief flit across her face was something of a relief for me. Someone trusts me enough to protect the single most important person in their life, only knowing what I am now and not what I was before. With that realization I feel that sliver of hope inside me grow just a tiny bit.

"Mom what are we going to do?" Dorika asked sitting down next to her mother, looking up at her as she lightly leans into her right side.

She is wearing something that reminds me of a skullcap but with the way it is bulging out on the back side because of her hair it almost resembles a beanie. Her jacket is unzipped and looks fairly heavy, its hood looks like it can be pulled tight around her face to help keep the heat in, and the left side of the coat looks like something large inside is weighing it down. Her shirt looks fairly plain, I can only see the front of it, but heavy and I see a glint of metal around her neck signifying a necklace. To accompany it is a similar set of cargo pants that has a cargo pocket on the left with what might be some supplies in the pocket.

On right side of her pants are these three cylindrical objects, one I can see being a flash light, from the looks of it, but I can't really tell. As for the other two metal tubes... well I can't really see what they would be used for just from looking at them. She also has a set of gloves on that looks like leather styled with some odd designs and her boots are much the same as her gloves. Oddly enough all of it has this black and grey matte camouflage scheme on it.

Everything looks and smells new, and just from looking at the clothing it is obvious she didn't get her supplies from this times equivalent of Walmart, or Walmart itself for that matter..

Hajna gives Dorika a smile that is filled with happiness and joy, but her eyes are filled desperation and loss. I can only imagine Hajnas thoughts right now as she stares down at her child for what she must believe to be the last time. "Dorika I want you to listen to me very carefully."

"Mom?" Dorika asked, sensing the change in her mother's tone.

"Listen to me, okay?" Dorika nods her head in response. "I already called in help, and they are on their way, but I need you to get to your Uncle Hunter as soon as possible."

"Bu-"Dorika tried to say, only to get cut off.

"No, you agreed to listen. Now I will explain everything, but first you have to get to your Uncle, okay?" Hajna said, intensely staring down at her daughter until she nodded her head, and seeing that relief spread across Hajna's face.

"When you get there I need you to give this-" She pulls a necklace from around her neck that has a plastic rectangle, that resembles a USB, on it. "-to him. It is a message from me to him. Do you understand?"

Watching the pair I feel like a third wheel, someone intruding upon a moment that is precious. I almost get up to give them some privacy, but I don't want to spook Dorika with any sudden movements either, so I stay where I am.

"I … I understand, but how am I going to get there?" Dorika asked, she sounds confused as she tries to figure out what is going on, and sends me a glance filled with fear.

Hajna give Dorika a weary smile as she says, "You were, and always will be, too smart for your own good, my dear one. Yes the big guy over there will be taking you to your Uncle, and you need to guide him there."

Emotions danced across Dorika's face as I watch her try to find the words she wants to say, but after a minute or so she took the USB look alike and put it inside of one of her jackets inner pockets. Looking into her mother's eyes with a quietly but desperate voice she asks, "Am… I going to see you again?"

She is almost at the extraction point, just a few hundred more yards, and some air, then she's in the clear.

"Clean Up One, report." The voice of Wrap Up echoes in her ear.

"Approaching extraction Wrap Up." She responded.

"Objective incomplete Clean Up One."

She quickly stopped her running as her mind ran through those words a few times, an incomplete Objective means bad things for the ones that don't die trying to complete their objective. "Project Black Panther is in target area Wrap Up, operation FUBAR."

"Your team has already been rerouted. Join them and complete the Objective." The voice has nothing to it. A soul less husk that, in her eyes, needed to die about fifteen seconds ago.

She turns around and starts running back towards the Objective, at least against that Monster out there she will have a quick death. "En route, Clean Up One out."

Running back towards that Thing is one of the last things she thought she would be doing, but having to choose between a cold, and probably excessivly painful, death in some abandoned corner of the Galaxy or a painful, but extremely quick, death fighting something she can see…

A simple choice in her mind.

It takes her a good four more minutes of running to get back to the highway, and once there she joins up with her team. They already know what to do as they move into their positions.

"Clean Up One, Objective One and Objective Three are in sight, waiting on your order."

Taking in the view before her she immediately knows that something is wrong and as she watches Project Black Panther it only takes a few moments to know what it is. There, right before is the eyes that haunt her nightmares, but these eyes have one thing that the pair from her nightmares she remembers didn't have.


Instantly she knows that this is the chance that she didn't have before and the chance to avenge her fallen comrades. Clean Up One curses the fact that they only have one H.S.R., this was supposed to be a milk run. Still the mission comes first, on the other hand once the objectives are eliminated... A small grin forms on her face and a moment later Clean Up One gives her orders.

"Wait until they are together and then take them out … then eliminate Project Black Panther." She isn't going to take any risks, they have one of the few weapons capable of hurting this thing, outside of AP rounds and Covenant weaponry.

"Clean Up One confirm last Objective." Clean Up Five said.

"Project Black Panther is Objective Four, Clean Up Five. Take. It. Out."

It takes a few seconds for Clean Up Five to respond, "Objective confirmed, lining them up."

Just in time too, Objective Three is moving back to Objective One.

Smiling Hajna opens her mouth to say something, when I hear a sharp ping in the air. Even without my echolocation ability active I 'see' the vortex of sound that stabs through Hajna's head and splash against the pavement into nothing. As if she were a puppet just cut from the strings holding her up Hajna slumps forward.

In that single moment everything that Hajna told me and what I know the U.N.S.C. is capable of flashes through my mind. Surging forward I grab Dorika, who is trying to hold up her mother's slumping body, with my queue and quickly pull her away. A moment later I 'see' another sharp sound lash out and I 'watch' the shot pass through the space Dorika's head was not a moment ago.

I was in time though, and as I wrestled Dorika, who is kicking and screaming at the top of her lungs, under my neck I move for the trees. Diving into them I run away from this place as fast as I can.

Someone is hunting and I don't want Dorika or myself to be the prey.

For twenty minutes I focus on not dropping Doika as she yells and struggles against my queue all the while I do my best not to run into any trees. By the time I stop I know that I would be long since out of range of anything that the assassins might have brought with them. I doubt they came prepared to deal with me if they were after Hajna and her family.

Coming to a stop beside a pool of water, bath tub size for my current form, I set Dorika down in front of me. I watch her sobbing form; wishing that I could comfort her, but I already know that she fears me far too much for that to be possible.

"T-take me back!" She suddenly yells as she gets up to her feet, with anger burning in her eyes.

Shaking my head gently side to side I tell her no.

"I don't care what you think!" She runs at my right arm and starts to pound on it with her fists. "Bring me back! I want m-my M-mom." She stops there as she tries to hold in her tears but she breaks down crying on top of my clawed hand.

Slowly I lay down, making sure to carefully curl my body around her safely as I can. Easing my head closer to her I gently nuzzle her with the top of my head to get her attention. Sniffling she looks at me and I see the light bulb turn on in her head as she suddenly realizes where she is.

"Get away from me!" She yells as she tries to pull away. Before she could finish standing I wrap my queue around her chest to keep her in place.

My next move is something of a Hail-Mary, but I figure that she already hates me anyway so meh. I start purring, something I found that I could do about a month ago and quietly as well, when compared to my size that is. It is something that I tried out when I remembered how my cat can purr so quietly that I would only be able to tell when I had my hand on his chest. Doing it just right I can make it sound fairly close to a cat's purr, fortunately it isn't that hard for me to do.

Predictably though Dorika freezes, a slight improvement but she is probably thinking that I'm growling at her. Still as the seconds and then minutes crawl by with me only purring she eventually relaxed, kind of, but I can still hear the quiet telltale sniffles and feel the tears dropping onto my skin.

Closing my eyes I curse this form, wishing once again that I could speak, if only just for a single minute so I could offer this child some words of comfort, but I can't. So I lay there and offer the only real comfort I can, a 'shoulder' to cry on.

Carefully I pick her up and set her down on top of my right arm, at what would be the elbow area, and slowly unwrap my queue from around her chest. She brings her legs up to her chest, folds her arms over her knees, and rests her head against her arms with her hood pull over her head as she leans against my arm for support.

Eventually her sobs fade to the light breathing of sleep, "You get your rest now little one, I'll make sure nothing harms you." I rest my head just above her to keep the occasional gust of wind off of her as she sleeps. Slowly I stop purring and raise my quills to use echolocation I keep an 'eye' on the surrounding area.

Waking to the loud scream of a young girl yelling for her mother and father wasn't the first thing I expected when I awoke. As I look over for the source of the voice I see a young girl running from me, and with that I remember the events of the previous day.

"Of course I fell asleep …" Is my deadpanned thought as I watch Dorika pull out one of the three cylindrical metal tubes as she hides behind one of the trees in the clearing. Moments later I hear some moving metal and the telltale sound of a charge building up from what could only be the metal tube she pulled out.

Now the game series doesn't show it in all respects, but the Humans of the U.N.S.C. are in fact five hundred years ahead of the Humans that I came from. That would be hard to figure considering that Humanity, from the game, is still using what amounts to advanced modern day weaponry, of my time. This is mostly because of the Librarian's tampering, after all she herself admitted to the Master Chief that she set up Humanity so that they would 'design' and 'discover' technologies at a preset pace in Halo 4.

So in retrospect it isn't too surprising that I came from a time that the United States Navy is trying to make use of what amounts to, in very simplified terms, a directional energy weapon for point defense on their ships. While the Humanity of the game that I now resides in, is only just now starting to figure that kind of science out.

Still that doesn't mean that they didn't advance in other areas far beyond the Humanity I came from. Slipspace, basic gravity manipulation, advanced medical capabilities like flash cloning a missing limb, and curing most diseases, and that is without getting into what it takes to colonize planets outside of our own solar system.

Excluding a directional energy weapon the U.S. Navy is testing for operations, the U.N.S.C. is far more advanced that the Humanity I came from in every way possible, and even that is all but blow out of the water because of the Spartan Laser.

Frankly the only reason you don't see more advanced weaponry in the game is because it isn't a cost effective strategy for them to build their more advanced war machines and weapons.

So that in mind I warily keep my distance, ready to move out of the way of whatever this young, and very much so scared, girl could release. As the minutes passed by I heard the charge sound peak and start over about twelve times. I find myself on the other side of the small pond at this point, quite worried at what she has planned.

"I must be really out of sorts." Only now do I remember my echolocation.

Bringing my quills up I 'see' that Dorika is still standing their clutching the metal tube and twisting it in her hands, I assume that is the method of manually charging the device. I can tell that she is frightened, her heart beating as fast as it is, her rapid short breaths, and the low sobbing whimpers tell me that much, but not what she is going to do.

I 'watch' as I hear one last charge peak and then she stops twisting it, weather that is the maximum number of charges or not, I don't know. She pokes her head around the tree to see where I am, the metal tube pointed straight out like some kind of a weapon tells me to avoid having it pointed at me, and when she sees me I slowly wave one of my queue at her.

Her face gives the impression of someone that is trying to figure out if what they are seeing is real or not and I almost crack a grin when I see that. Fortunately I stop myself, the months of previous practice helping me reign in that particular quirk. She pulls herself back around the tree as she seems to work on getting a hold of herself once again.

"She's definitely mature, like her mother said, managing to keeping her head somewhat on when she woke in an unknown place sleeping up against a creature that she sees as a monster. She managed to not only get away from me before I realized what is going on, regardless if I was half dead asleep or not and not that I was trying to keep her in my grasp, but also remembers, and prepares to utilize, a method of defense … very admirable for her age." I drop my quills as she moves to look at me and when she pokes her head around I can tell, and hear, that at her she has calmed down quite a bit. "Hopefully she realizes that I'm not hunting her or anything like that."

Slowly I get up, she tense up at that, and I very slowly move back around the pool of water and lay down where I ended up taking a cat nap for the night. Taking a few moments to think about how this is going to work, I slowly reach out with my right arm and begin to write a message in the ground.

::I made a promise to protect you, and so I will. I will not break such a promise young one, so please do not run from me. In your tongue my kind would be called Thanator, and my name is Spencer Grimm.::

That last part is the hardest for me to write, that being one of the more difficult parts for me to accept in all of this. A part of me that I can never replace was taken, and I can't even remember what it might have been, what I was once called by my family, but in the end it's something that I would gladly accept compared to some of the other things forced upon me.

I ponder this as I get up and walk back to the other side of the pond once again. Laying down a few feet from the water I watch as Dorika looks between me and the ground that I left my message in, I imagine that it was obvious that I was writing a message in the dirt, at least I'm hoping it was. After a while she eventually comes out from the cover, the tube pointed right at me as she slowly takes one step at a time towards the message in the dirt.

"What would I give if I get a chance to remember everything?" The question echoes back and forth in my mind, and I don't know the answer. "After all is said and done though … At what cost would such a thing come at?" I'm sure that that will be something I will come to know before too long.

"Spencer Grimm?" I hear her voice say, her confusion and disbelief plainly obvious in her voice. She looks over at me, confusion plain on her face and then back to the text before her, and as Dorika does this she slowly lowers the metal tube.

"Shame I didn't get mind reading powers with the change." The dry thought passes through my mind as I ponder what this young girl is thinking right now, her face is so adorable with her brow scrunched up like that in thought.

"So …" She looks lost now, not so sure of herself. "What … what am I going to do?" Her previous fear is still their but muted and replaced with a child that is only just holding herself together.

As I get up and walk over to Dorika she looks down at the dirt in front of her, trying to reign in her tears and pain from the looks of it. Quietly I move over to her and lay down next to her. Within her arms reach I gently reach over with my left queue and very gently nudge her shoulder.

Gasping as she looks over at me with fear in her tear filled eyes while shakily pointing the metal tube at me. Looking into her eyes I lift her chin with my left queue as my right queue carefully reaches over and wipes away the tears from her cheeks.

Pulling back my queue I reach out with my right paw and write another message into the ground. ::You shouldn't hold your pain in, it only hurts more that way.::

After wiping her tears from her eyes she looks over and reads my newest message, and I feel her shake as she finished reading. I lock eyes with her after a few moments and I can tell she is angry.

"And how do you know how I feel!? Your just some monster!" She yells at me. I jerk back as if struck at her declaration, her words striking me far more acutely than she could know.

A moment later all of her anger disappears from her face, her face clearly showing fear as she realizes who she just so callously insulted. Slowly she begins backing away, and ends up tripping on her own feet and landing on her back.

I watch Dorika bring her arms up to defend herself, in an obvious effort to block an attack that I know will never come. Looking away from her I couldn't help the tired sigh as I gaze at my right hand, thinking about her words for a few moments. Reaching out I smooth out the dirt in front of me and write another message.

::You may be right young one, but I do what I can to keep the promises that I make, and I promised your mother to protect you as I see you safely to your Uncle. So whether or not you consider me a monster I will ensure your safety, and make sure that you get to your Uncle. After that you never have to see me again.::

Looking back at Dorika I find her now sitting in the dirt, staring at me with a confused look. I nod towards the message in the dirt and wait for her to read it.

"Will … I ever … not be a monster in a child's eyes?" The thought

weighs heavy on my spirit, leaving me confused and scared, wondering what the future will hold for me and if there will be one with how I am now.

"You … promised Mom, to get me to Uncle Hunter?" I hear Dorika ask, obviously having finished reading what I wrote.

Looking back at her I find her still within her own arms reach of my left arm slightly surprised at that I nod my head. She looks away from me for a few moments, but then turns back to me. As she looks into my eyes I see regret but still plenty of fear, and just as she is opening her mouth to say something she stops. The words seemingly caught in her throat, and a few moments later I watch as the words wither and die.

After a few moment she hesitantly continues, "You … don't know how to get to Uncle Hunter do you?" Her question is said with a tone and expression that isn't desperate, more anxious and, oddly enough, hopeful.

Whether or not this is because of her inability to say what she first intended or not I don't know. To be honest that doesn't really matter because I don't know how to get there. Shaking my head I wipe away the last message and write. ::You know the way?::

Once she reads my question her response is immediate, "From the highway I would know the way, but …" She trails off after that, it isn't difficult for me to imagine that it would be hard for her to go back there.

I pat her shoulder gently to get her attention, and then point to the ground again as I start writing another message, ::I can take you further down the highway if you want, I'm sure that you can find our way to your Uncle's place from there.::

She nods her head lightly in response, from the looks of it far too deep in thought to say anything.

"Okay, I get to the highway and from there I just bring her back to her Uncle … Hmmmmmm. Does he live in a city? That is going to cause more than a few problems if he is, I can't exactly just leave Dorika to wander one of these cities by herself. She would be easy pickings for O.N.I., and I can't just go strolling about either."

::Does your Uncle live in a city?::

After reading my question Dorika lets out a rather unladylike snort before saying, "Nope, Uncle Hunter lives out in the middle of nowhere. We would have been there in an hour, yesterday … but …" Dorika trails off once again, the memory of her parents obviously on her mind once again.

"All of this talk … well maybe not talk, but anyways, all this talk about the events involving Dorika's parents and my own … difficulties is becoming a little too depressing." I look around and hear my stomach growl for food, Dorika jumps back when she hears it. "Yeah that's just grreaaat timing there." I think with a mental face palm, only just stopping myself from groaning in frustration.

Looking over at Dorika I find that she is still stand nearby, but a good four or five feet further out. "At least she isn't pointing the metal tube at me, that's about the only consolation I got in this case."

Lightly shaking my head I reach out and wipe away the last message to put another message in the dirt. ::Don't worry, that is just my stomach making itself known. I haven't gone out hunting yet and I'm just hungry. Your stomach isn't as loud, but it does growl to let you know that you need to eat.::

"Well there goes food for the next couple of da-"

"I don't mind if you go hunting with me." I hear her say.

The 'what' and 'you got to be kidding me' must have been very plain on my face for her to see it, or I'm just that surprised, which I am.

"My … Father and Uncle were going to take me hunting with them this weekend. I wasn't going to do anything, but I would have seen them kill and clean the animal. Well that was … before."

I just stare at her for a minute, thinking about the validity of her statement as instincts that I didn't know I had suddenly wave a red flag in my face. However what Hajna said about Dorika's clothes and that they were purchased because of this trip comes to mind and after a minute of consideration decide what to write to the now slightly fidgeting child.

::I can go without food for now. As young as you are I personally don't think it would be a good idea for you to see me eating a meal, and please don't start with an I'm old enough speech. You're not going hunting with me until you're at least five years older than you are now.::

She lets out a loud and drawn out groan once she was done reading what I wrote and mutters out, "Why does every grown up I know say things like that?"

Only just holding back the grin and chuckling I reach over with my queue and pick her up to place her on my neck.

"Wait!" I had only just begun to wrap my queue around her when she stopped me. "I need to let the energy out of this thing." She wave the metal tube around. "If I don't it could accidentally fire while you're running, and I think that wouldn't be a good thing."

Pulling back my queue I look at the device warily and write the obvious question out for her to read. ::What does that metal tube do exactly?::

Dorika looks over to what I wrote and once she read my question she develops a wolf like grin as she excitedly says, "Its a high powered Sonic Pulse Generator, my …" She pauses here for a few moments, when she does continues she is nowhere near as exuberant as before. "Parents got it for me. They wanted me to have it in case I got separated from them and needed to use it to … t-to." I watch Dorika as stares at the metal tube, shuddering sighs and hiccups coming from her as she obviously tries to contain her emotions.

Knowing what happened last time I tried to give her advice, I figure that it isn't a good idea to try my luck a second time with something that dangerous in her hands. Deep in thought, thinking about what to write for a minute.

Suddenly I hear this high pitched noise that doesn't agree with my quills and ears. Reeling from the sudden pain I let out a roar of surprise it doesn't hurt too much to be honest, more like someone threw a rolled up sock at my head fairly hard and managed to hit my eye. The shock of it seemingly coming out of nowhere is where the roar comes from. I hear a gasp of surprise and then the pain goes from 'sock to the head' to 'being stabbed in the ear with knifes' in a split second and quickly climbs from there.

Stumbling to my right I distantly realize that Dorika is yelling something when I black out.

Slowly coming to I feel the single worst headache in my entire life painfully throb as I slowly get up. "If I ever find out who made those things…" I stop and let out a pathic whimper as a particular potent surge of pain worms its way from behind my eyes to the back of my head.

"I'll gladly put them through a shredder or let them experience what I had the pleasure of experiencing a good dozen times and then put them through a shredder." I wince as I open my eyes, their fairly sensitive to the light, but fortunately not migraine levels. "I'm definitely leaning towards the chipper/shredder thing on a very slow setting."

Looking around I find that I'm still in the clearing that I was with Dorika and checking the sky for the time I find that the sun is getting ready to set "Okay, I have been out of it for most of the day, but I know I didn't run too far out so why hasn't O.N.I. found us?"

It is then I realize something, I don't smell anyone else in the clearing with me.

Panicking I swing my head around to double check what my nose is telling me, but fall to the ground from the sudden vertigo and pain. Holding my head with my hands as I moan out in pain for several minutes as I recover from what has quickly made its way to the top of the top five in the Worst Morning Pains list with an ease that I despise.

Swallowing deeply I let out a low hiss of frustration as I realize what likely happened. "She ran, and probably because she is simply scared out of her wits. Still chances are that she wasn't picked up by O.N.I., else I would have been as well or at least detained some how." Slowly I stand up and look around. "So she has a good twelve hour lead on me. The good thing is that even if Dorika has been running for that twelve hours, which is highly doubtful, she wouldn't be half as fast as me going at a brisk walk."

Once I visually confirm that Dorika has in fact ran off I start searching for her scent trail. "Unfortunately the longer she is out there the more likely she will be killed by some of the animals out here, or even some of the … displaced animals that seem to be around here, so I really need to catch up to her."

As another throb graces me with its presence I painfully grin. "Well at least she isn't defenseless. That thing packs enough of a punch to drive a Guta off."

Lightly shaking my head to clear my thoughts as I find her scent trail, I focus on moving at a light run.

Coming to a stop I lie down and clutch my head. The pain has only been getting worse with the steady jostling of my light run.

"I just hope that this knife stabbing sensation I got going behind my eyes will subside soon… Well I've covered five miles at max, damn this headache. Although I'll admit that Dorika has a strong set of legs on her, I doubt that she will be able to continue on much longer. Her scent might be getting stronger too, can't really tell with my head pounding like it is though."

Looking around I try to get up only to feel my vision swim and I lose my balance. The result of course is that I fall to my right and my head ends bouncing off of the dirt, increasing the pain by leaps and bounds for a few moments and then begins to slowly settle down, over the course of an indeterminant amount of time, back to a normal stabbing sensation.

Slowly I stand back up I focus on secondary breathing system to help myself stay as still as possible as I think, "I really hate my life right now."

Several minutes later I feel the pain recede slightly, now it's more of an 'I'm running a pointy thing on your optic nerves for fun' kind of pain. Still better than what I was dealing with before though, so I can live with it... for the moment.

Switch back to breathing through my mouth and nose I smell the air around me, unfortunately I'm down wind so I can't really tell what is further down the trail. "Almost their Dorika, don't worry."

Continuing down Dorika's scent trail I think about what Hajna told me. "They got trapped helping a group, with Hajna saying that they were idealists chances are that they were helping the Rebels. Not many other options, and I doubt that it was the Covenant."

Checking the trail again I notice that the scent is in fact becoming stronger. Just to make sure that I don't surprise her enough to use that nifty sonic generator I start to take it a little slower, it also helps that it is easier on my head as well.

"If they were helping the Rebels then it's no wonder that O.N.I. got rid of them. Still it isn't really their style to kill when they don't think they have to, so why kill Dorika? Probably just didn't want to deal with Dorika, and how they killed her family off, hmmmmm."

Hearing a sound off in the distance I come to a stop, but before I could tell what it is, it cuts out. Tilting my head to the side in thought, I hear it again.

"A whistle, and from the looks of it, it is coming from the direction of Dorika's trail as well." Moving forward I hear the unmistakable sound of a wolfs howl{*2} coming from that exact same direction. Frozen for just a moment I immediately set off towards the whistling sound as fast as I can without blacking out from the pain.

I had run into a group of wolfs once, and while it was a shock to see wolfs on Reach I found that all I needed to scare them off was one loud roar. So if they are trying to attack Dorika I'm not worried about them, but I know that the faster I get there the safer she will be. Not that she's really defenseless.

Moving through the thin forest I do my best to keep up the pace, but slowly I start to lose speed, in the end though it didn't matter too much anyway. As I get closer to the source of the whistle and the sound of wolfs I found myself at a large tree. At the foot of the tree is a group of five wolfs and up a good fifteen feet up the tree is Dorika.

Snarling at the wolfs I watch them spin around to face me and snarl at me in return. Their snarls quickly turn to yips and whines as they run from my roar though, once they left my sight I let quickly lower myself to the ground. The adrenalin, or whatever would pass for that with my new physiology, having finally worn off allows my headache to be felt in its full pounding glory, plus a good amount of interest.

Whimpering as I lower myself to the ground I just lay there and wait for the worst of the pain to fade away. "Running here… NOT… a good idea…"

It took longer than I'd like, not that I was able to keep track of time, but the headache finally subsided to a point that I'm able to notice sobbing noises. Carefully looking up I find Dorika holding herself with her eyes tightly shut and incoherently babbling, but I eventually piece together what she is trying to say.

"She's far more frightened than I thought she would be." Slowly walking over to the tree I see what could only be the sonic pulse generator laying on the ground a good twenty feet from the tree. "Well that explains why the wolfs were able to keep her in the tree, and why she is so much more frightened now."

Standing next to the tree I reach up into it with my queue and as I gently wrap my queue around her shaking, curled up form to lift her out of the tree as she says, "I-I didn't me-mean to … I just turned, pl-please don't hurt me."

Slowly I lay down as she continues to cry and quietly stutter out her apologizes, I have no doubt that in her mind she's pleading for her life as she shivers in my gentle hold. Holding her with my queue I set her down exactly where she was last night and once again purr, the only thing I know that I can do to show her that I mean her no harm.

The vibrations cause me some pain, but as her shivering and pleading slowly comes to an end I know it was more than worth the small amount of pain. Slowly I begin to pull back the last of my queue, but before I could pull away she grabs onto my queue and holds onto it. Pausing in surprise I freeze for a moment, but then a gentle warmth begins to fill me as I gently wrap my queue back around her chest.

Still that warmth is bittersweet as Dorika suddenly burst into tears, reminding me that this acceptance is brought on by desperation and loss that, in a sick way, puts us similar boats. So as I hold Dorika, who is now cring out for her parents as her emotions finally became too much for her to hide up in herself, I couldn't help but let out a few tears of my own.

Still, I keep up my purring as I once again curl myself around my right arm and do my best to not dwell on my own loss and pain. Instead I throw myself into planning the day ahead and what I will need to do to protect Dorika until I return her to her Uncle.

A little more than an hour later I notice that Dorika is slowly drifting off to sleep, curled upon my right arm and holding onto one of my queue. "Sleep well young one, I will guard you through the night."

Raising my quills I start observing my surroundings with echolocation, my headache throbs a little more, but it is worth it to make sure nothing comes close to Dorika again as I keep a silent vigil through the night.

This time I know I sleep wont be a problem.

*1 : Now I did some digging and on the Avatar Wiki I found this:

"The original scriptment, by James Cameron, mentions that the Thanator could easily defeat a T. Rex and eat the Alien Queen for breakfast." On the page that talks about the Thanator in the trivia section.

Knowing that while the natural body armor of the Thanator can take most fire arms that aren't armor piercing, but that's a whole other discussion that will pop up in the story later, it isn't originally intended for that. Realistically the natural body armor is more geared toward bites, cuts, and physical bludgeoning that could be delivered by another Thanator or many of the other species on Pandora. So outside of the acidic properties of the Alien Queens blood that handily takes care most of what the Alien Queen could use on a Thanator.

That still leaves the Thanator incapable of being able to eat the Alien Queen for breakfast though. The acidic blood that it has would melt straight through the jaw and body without a problem. With that in mind I thought that good ol Mr. Cameron was being a 'little' full of himself, but in the book The Art of Avatar you find this little tidbit that James Cameron himself wrote in the script of the movie.

"the most fearsome of the Pandoran land predators - a black, six-limbed panther, the size of a tractor trailer, with an armored head, a venomous, striking tail, and a massive, distensible, armored jaw with nine-inch fangs." That being word for word from the book on page fifty-six.

The tail is poisonous.

That changed the whole game, the poison would have to be capable of not only surviving inside of an Alien Queens blood, but also be potent enough to kill one as well and within a decent amount of time. Any poison that can not only survive in an Alien Queens blood, but kill it as well has to be, being completely honest here, deadly to the point of stupidity. Anything that isn't a Xenomorph would fall to this poison within fifteen seconds max, maybe a little longer if the poison isn't flowing through a major vein or artery, but otherwise… well if the poison is in your blood your screwed, and not the good kind of screwed.

I have to say though that the Thanator still wouldn't be able to eat the body of an Alien, much less an actual Alien Queen.

*2 : Now I don't know about most of you, but I know that a stable ecosystem is made up of more than a few species of fish and bird, with some Moa and Guta thrown in for shits and giggles. It just doesn't work, and as those are the only animals that I can remember, off hand, seeing in the game Halo: Reach … well… it doesn't look good for the ecosystem.

In reality there would be many more species and even some species that would have been transplanted, purposefully or not, from Earth to Reach and the other colony worlds that the Humans of the Haloverse reside in.

I almost wrote out this massive, several page long, thing that describes why they would need to bring in many different species to balance out the ecosystem once they introduced something new to it, and that would still completely and utterly fail to properly describe what is going on, but I didn't. Instead I am going to just say that in order for the ecosystem to work, once they introduced the fish they had to introduce many other species in order for them to counter balance each other.

Also I don't want to hear anything about those fish not being from Earth, the chances of the an aquatic animal evolving on another planet light years away from Earth and ending up exactly the same is … well it isn't a number that I care to imagine because it is just too damned small.

As for the Librarian making it so that the fish would be there … well while that is entirely possible I don't want to get into the stupidly nitty-gritty details of a plan that spans the course of more than a HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS! This is something that will remain as is because I choose to make it so and until the creators of Halo come out and say otherwise I am not changing my decision.

Author's Notes:

Okay I will keep this short and sweet because I feel that while I am the subject of this story that doesn't mean that you all get to know everything that is going on in my real life… so I don't feel like being too flowery with this. My life sucks simple as that and in between three moves, a family death, looking for work(Which I finally found about a month and a half ago), and generally trying to survive... I have little time to write.

That and about six months ago, from the time that I finally got around to releasing this on 11/18/2015/, I had a few chapters written up and a massive amount of lore and/or background material eaten up by the computer I was using at the time(Unfortunately I wasn't able to scrap the thing as it belong to my parents). It was extremely difficult to continue writing after that. I'm not saying that I won't be writing, but that I can't write at the pace that I was writing at when I first started writing this story.

I apologize to those that like the story, I happen to love writing it, but this is how the ball is rolling right now and I need to try and stay ahead of it or get run over by it.

So in closing I will say that I appreciate the reviews that I have gotten, yes even the bad ones as they gave me a few laughs... well okay I was actually giggling for the better part of three days because of the one that mentioned plot holes and unbeatable aliens or some such, which is what had me laughing really, but meh. Anyways I promise to continue writing, I hope this is proof enough for that, but I can't promise that I will be posting the next chapter anytime soon.

(Unless I get some MASSIVE break that is.)

Still I hope for the best and will continue to give my best.

Good day to you fine readers.