Reach

July 25, 2552

In orbit over Reach…

Shipmaster Batsca Arassee' of the Unending Faith looked down upon the planet below him. It was a blue-green world, a garden world populated by the blights known simply to the Covenant people as one word.

"Humans." Krassee' said disdainfully. They were a disease, an unfortunate event, an eye sore. They were unneeded in the galaxy; which was why the Covenant had come here, to exterminate them with extreme prejudice. But first, their fleet would have to go down first, before the planet could be invaded, and then glassed. Glassing was the process in which a large fleet of warships, such as the Covenant's, would go into low orbit in tight formation. They would then use their "Cleansing Beams" to reduce the surface of the planet to radioactive sands. This was only after the human defenses were toppled, and only a handful remained. Krassee' gave the Sangheili equivalent of a smile as he thought about cleansing the human world.

"Shipmaster!" The navigations officer called.

"What is it?" Krassee' asked.

"Multiple energy readings coming from unidentified ships reported at the edge of this system. They are neither human nor our own." He said.

"Shipmaster, there is an incoming communication coming from the unidentified ships!" The comn officer called.

"Put it through!" Krassee' said sharply. On the view screen a helmeted human appeared. The human's helmet was grayish-black, with a black visor running up through the middle of the helmet, up the top, forming a sort of T shape.

"To the forces of the Covenant armada, your war of genocide ends here and now. Your gods cannot protect you from what is to come, and you will soon be on your news begging for mercy when we are through. I am Mand'alor the Preserver, and I side with the UNSC!" The screen went black. Elites had studied the basic language of humanity, and Krassee' had understood every word.

"Shipmaster, the unidentified ships have launched fighters!" The navigations officer cried out.

"Prepare our pulse lasers, divert full power to weapons!" Krassee' yelled.

"Sir, we have an incoming transmission from the Fleetmaster!" The comns officers said. The view screen showed an image of a Sangheili in golden armor.

"Brothers, we are being assaulted on two fronts. Deploy the bulk of your forces to the planet below, put leave a portion of them on your ship. We may be boarded, and not one ship must fall into the enemies' hands, lest they use our technology against us." The Fleetmaster said gravely. "I am sending targeting solutions to you all now. May the Gods be with us all." The Fleetmaster's image faded from the view screen. The targeting solutions arrived at the Unending Faith, and the battle for Reach began.

1000 years ago…

Unknown planet, Outer Rim…

The sharp blasts of blaster fire could be heard throughout the compound. Alarm claxons wailed, as did the wounded. Throughout the compound, bodies of humans and droids alike were scattered everywhere. Discarded gas cartridges were strewn about, nearly as numerous as the bodies. The combatants were those of the Exchange, a group of treacherous criminals in search of profit, versus the hardened veteran soldiers of the galaxy: the Mandalorians. The Exchange guards were the only ones that had fallen, as well as their droids. The Mandalorians would never fall to scumbags like these.

"Guard on your left Cassan!" A blue armored Mandalorian called to his comrade. The other blue armored Mandalorian, Cassan, spun to his left and let off a triple burst of sonic pulses. The pulses each hit their mark, deafening the Exchange guard before causing his internals to explode.

"Heavy droid coming up on your right Nacacs!" Cassan called to his comrade. Nacacs rolled backwards, seeking shelter from the droid's heavy fire. A Mandalorian in black armor and a T-visor rolled forward, throwing a thermal detonator at the droid. It hit the droid once in the head, bounced to the ground, and exploded in a ball of orange-white light. The blast caught the droid and three other guards. The Mandalorian dived into cover behind a pillar, and started taking short, 2 burst shots at a pair of guards hiding behind an overturned table. Cassan and Nacacs moved forward, suppressing the guards as other Mandalorians poured through the blast doors behind them. Several Mandalorians threw detonators at the opposite side of the room, killing off the remaining guards. A Mandalorian in red armor walked through, accompanied by two others in blue armor. The Mandalorian in black stood and looked at the one in red.

"About damn time you got here Kelborn!" The black one said.

"My apologies Mand'alor, they magnetically sealed several doors in our path, and we were forced to go around. I sent teams back to unseal them for a quicker escape." Kelborn said to his leader. Mand'alor nodded.

"Still should have gotten here faster, Kelborn. You must be getting old." Mand'alor said evilly. Kelborn crossed his arms over his chest and looked at his leader.

"Oh really, maybe you're the one getting old, allowing some simple mercs to get the drop on you like that." Kelborn replied.

"They had equipment that was messing with my sensors. If you want proof, here's one of them." Mand'alor said, pulling a small cylinder from his pocket. Kelborn face palmed himself.

"You have an answer to everything, don't you sir?" He asked. Mand'alor merely shrugged.

"Mand'alor, door's opened!" A Mandalorian sergeant called. The door opened, and a hail of blaster fire erupted from the room. The Mandalorians dove and rolled way from the door, seeking shelter anywhere they could.

"I want a pack of cryo grenades in there, yesterday!" Kelborn yelled. A group of Mandalorians pulled small, blue grenades from their belts. Their comrades gave them cover as the dashed to the door, set off the grenades, and tossed them in. A few muffled thumps came from the room, and the veteran soldiers poured in. The cryo grenades had frozen the Exchange staff where they stood, and many had horrified expressions on their faces. One of them, a very important looking staff member had everything below his neck frozen solid. He was blubbering madness as Mand'alor approached.

"Are you Head of security here?" Mand'alor asked very calmly. The Exchange man nodded very quickly. "Good, 'cause you're going to give me the access codes to this compound's database, including all classified material. Otherwise, there will be a nice big hole right in between your eyes. How does that sound?" Mand'alor said very slowly, enunciating every word like he was talking to a toddler. The Exchange guard began to cry as he nodded.

"I-I-In my shirt pocket, upper-right side!" He managed to say before breaking out into a flood of tears. Mand'alor simply punched a hole in the ice where the pocket was located. He pulled the code key out of the pocket and looked at it.

"Thank you very much." Mand'alor said. The guard did not notice Mand'alor slowly reach for his blaster pistol.

"S-So you'll let me live?" The guard sobbed.

"Yes I will." Mand'alor said. The guard stopped sobbing; he looked as if he could faint from joy right now. "In the Afterlife, I mean." Mand'alor drew his pistol so fast the guard didn't even see the bolt of red light hit him dead between his eyes. As the guard's head slumped to his icy chest, Mand'alor walked over to the terminal directly behind the guard's corpse. He entered the code key as Kelborn walked over.

"All guards have been eliminated, Mand'alor." Kelborn said as Mand'alor punched in the code key. As the terminal started rolling off data Mand'alor turned back to his second.

"Good, have some on the boys take care of the weapons. Scavenge the base for whatever you can, and take it back to the ship. The clans of Mandalor will rise from the ashes with a vengeance." Mand'alor said triumphantly. Kelborn nodded, and then turned to walk away when more alarm klaxons went off. Mand'alor turned back to the terminal to see a warning symbol on the screen. Under the words, it said, "WARNING, EXPERIMENTAL WAR DROIDS REALEASED, WAR DROIDS ARE TRAGETING ALL ORGANICS AS HOSTILE!" "Kelborn, evacuate the boys to this location." Mand'alor said, bringing up a map and pointing to a large room that said, "CRYO TESTING LABORATORY."

"As you wish, Mand'alor." Kelborn said, bowing before dashing off.

"You two, Cassan and Nacacs, come over here, quickly!" Mand'alor said, waving over the two Mandalorians. The pair dashed over to their leader from their spot at the door. "I need you two to get to the ship and warn the others. If you don't hear back from me or Kelborn with in a full day, leave the planet and go back to Mandalore." He said quickly. He took something from his belt and handed it to Cassan. It was a cylindrical tube that was white with several buttons on it. "After that go to Courscant, Senatorial Residential Building #28,344 apartment number 117, and tell Mrs. Shan, I'm sorry, I didn't find him in time." Mand'alor said. He could only imagine the confused looks on these soldiers' faces as they listened to his instructions. They nodded and ran for the door. After they left, Mand'alor downloaded the data to his datapad and armor uplink. He shut down the terminal and ran for the Cryo lab as a hail of blue energy beams slammed into the wall where he just was. He sprinted down several corridors before reaching the door. The door slowly began to close and Mand'alor dived through, rolling with the impact.

"About time you got here, sir." Kelborn said. Mand'alor gave the Mandalorian equivalent of the middle finger to Kelborn as he stood. As Mand'alor observed the room, he noticed dozens of pods lying horizontal to the ground that contain beds.

"I'm assuming these pods flash freeze us for a specified amount of time, or until someone opens them." Mand'alor said to Kelborn.

"That seems to be the purpose, sir." Kelborn said. An artificial voice came over the intercom.

"WARNING, CRYOGENICS LAB DOORS HAVE BEEN MAGNETICALLY SEALED. PASSCODES ARE REQUIRED TO ACCESS THE LABS." The voice said. Mand'alor froze. He dashed to the doors and attempted to use the codes from the guard to open them. They didn't work at all.

"Stang, we're locked in! Cassan, do you read me?" Mand'alor said desperately, trying to contact the young Mandalorian. There was only static. For 2 hours the Mandalorian veterans attempt to open the doors, but nothing worked. "Gentlemen, it has been an honor serving with you, but I now must order you all too each get into one of the cryo pods. Hopefully someone will come back to get us, but we must wait out the lockdown. May your ancestors keep you safe." Mand'alor said. The Mandalorians replied in kind before going to their pods. Mand'alor slowly stepped into his pod, and watch the door close over the pod. He then felt a very cold sensation, and his eye lids became too heavy keep up. Before he drifted off, he swore he heard explosions in the background. Then he knew no more. Outside, Cassan and Nacacs stood waiting for a full day, afterwards they left the planet. They named it after their goal there, Resurrection. And for 1,000 years, Canderous Ordo, also called Mand'alor the Preserver, slept without disturbance…