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Old New! STB: 2523-2524 (WIP)
Default 08-24-2012
Hells Sniper
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Hells Sniper is saving the world.

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This Solo Thread Backstory takes place during 2523 to 2524. This is a non-participation story, meant purely for reading. This STB is 100% Canon to the New! Halo RPG.

This STB is a WORK IN PROGRESS, therefore it will be posted with additions every chance I get. Until then, here is the beginning of Jacob Sharpmen's story. Enjoy.


Part One:
Pages: 22
Words: 6,857

Part Two:
Pages: 35
Words: 12,809



Major Characters:


Jacob Sharpmen
Character Sheet

Lisa Pinestar
Character Sheet

Sandra Nemes
Character Sheet

Nathan Ambrus
Character Sheet

Joseph Holender
Character Sheet

Tiffany Rogers
Character Sheet

Lee Adams
Character Sheet

Captain Fredward Harrison
Character Sheet

Staff Sergeant Andor Szendry
Character Sheet


Captain Lev Tolsoty
Character Sheet

James Victor Rowley
Character Sheet

Chief Petty Officer Brina-Z154
Character Sheet


George Sharpmen
Character Sheet

Heather Sharpmen
Character Sheet

Last edited by Hells Sniper; 10-22-2013 at 01:34 AM.
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Default 08-25-2012
Hells Sniper
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Hells Sniper is saving the world.

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User Title: Moderator
Posts: 9,565

March 1st – 2523


Kiva – Edge of Community – 0600

The Sharpmen’s were located 2 kilometers from the closest town, a quiet kiva, or homestead, with four other families. Six wind turbines powered the entire community, with a river for a constant supply of food and water.

Jacob was sitting by the river, a bow and sheath of arrows leaning on a rock next to him. The bow, carved from a yew tree, Jacob’s pride and joy, the thing that proved to him he was a man. However, he was young, taking the steps to become a man little by little.

Jacob sighed as he saw the sun rise above the horizon.

Jacob: And it begins.

Jacob grabbed his bow, and slung the arrows over his shoulder. It was one of his favorite activities, besides cooking the animals he would catch.

He walked towards the edge of the Kiva, and looked behind him. He heard the birds about to fly over him and loaded an arrow into his bow.

He looked up, watched the bird, pulled the arrow back and took a deep breath.

He trailed the bird and finally let the arrow fly. Within seconds, the bird was hit and came to a halt, falling to the ground. Jacob grabbed the bird and turned back to the community. He made his way home.


Sharpmen Residence – 0900

George: It is what he has always wanted. His brother left him here alone!

Heather: I will not stand for this George. I’ve already lost one son! I will not lose anoth---

The door slammed.

Jacob: Nice of you to talk about me when I’m not here.

Jacob dropped the bird on the kitchen table, and turned when he heard his mother.

Heather: Jacob, son, I can not let you leave.

Jacob: Mom, I already decided. I do not want to stay here; this life is not for me! It will never be for me!

George put a hand on Heather’s shoulder.

George: He is right. He was born for bigger and better things. It is not right to keep him here.

Heather sighed; she looked Jacob in the eyes. Her son, her only son as it felt to her.

Heather: Fine, but understand Jacob, I do not want to lose you.

Jacob smiled.

Jacob: You won’t mom. You won’t. I promise you, I will always be here can always call.

Heather smiled, she put her hands on Jacob's cheeks.

Heather: You are a good man Jacob. Don't forget that, don't become something you're not because you have to.

Jacob smiled and nodded, he kissed his mother on the forehead and then turned to his dad. His dad just smiled.

George: Just like your father, huh kid?

Jacob: Just like my father. To the UNSC and beyond?

George: Even farther.

His father put his hand on Jacob's shoulder and then embraced him. "Even Farther," it was something George's father had said to him before he left for the UNSC. He had continued it and Jacob knew exactly what it meant.

Be who you were born to be.

Jacob made his way to his room.

His duffle bag was sitting on his bed, packed and ready to go. He looked around the room, the life he would be leaving behind for a new one. He nodded, as if he approved of the conditions. He slung the bow onto his back and stuffed the arrows in his duffel.

He grabbed his duffel bag, took one deep breath, and turned.

He was leaving his old life behind him.


Reach Military Training Camp – 5 Kilometers from Utgard – 1100

Jacob jogged to the group of recruits standing around. One hundred new marines for the UNSC, a few of which he knew. His best pal, who everyone called Texas and Tiffany, one of the best girls he ever met, beautiful and smart. The three of them had grown up with each other since 2509.

Jacob: Good to see you two made it.

Texas: Jacob, didn't think you were gonna make it? Ya know, with your mom and all.

Jacob: She was sidetracked with Dallas, that’s all. And hey, she understands why I can't stay.

Texas nodded. Then, the three turned as they heard the footsteps of someone approaching. A Staff Sergeant, presumably their drill instructor.

Szendry: Recruits…Welcome to hell. I am your Staff Sergeant, Andor Szendry.

The instructor had a demanding tone with a thick Hungarian accent, and stared into each of the recruit’s eyes.

Szendry: For the next eight grueling weeks you will be training hard to become a marine. And not just any marine, a United Nations Space Command Marine. The frontline soldiers of every war since the Jovian Campaign. We, my trainers and I, will make you run so far you’re feet will bleed. Will make you do more sit-ups in one day than anyone in their entire life. If you are not prepared for this…

Szendry paused.

Szendry: Leave now.

Szendry waited a good ten seconds, and no one left. He nodded in approval.

Szendry: Woman to the left bunker, men to the right. We meet again at 1300, eat lunch, and get prepared for the first day of training.

Reach Military Training Camp – 5 Kilometers from Utgard – 1700

Szendry: Move it recruit! Keep up the pace you pansy ass!

Szendry was behind a large man, who everyone was calling “Wild Weben.” Jacob peered over his shoulder just as Weben dropped.

Szendry: Our first drop out ladies and gentlemen. Corporal, get him out of here!

A Corporal came over to assist Weben. Szendry looked up and saw the platoon was losing pace.

Szendry: Did I say to slow down? Go you little maggots! Run!

The platoon ran harder, faster, stronger. No one wanted to drop out, let alone the first day.

Jacob: Glad I did this shit every day for the past three years.

The platoon continued to run and eventually arrived at a large mountain. Steadily, they headed upwards, each man and woman slowing down from exhaustion, and lack of food.

Szendry ordered the platoon to halt at a nearby river. Each recruit filling their canteen and drinking as much as possible.

Jacob slid over to Tex and Tiffany.

Jacob: Drink slowly guys. You drink too fast, you’re going to drop.

Tiffany: This guy is tough.

Jacob: Yeah…but, hey, we can handle it.

Jacob smiled. And then the whip cracked again. The platoon was ordered to run back down the hill, and by now it was getting darker. Jacob knew there would be no sleeping tonight.

Reach Military Training Camp – 5 Kilometers from Utgard – 0700


Szendry had given every recruit a workout regime. Each one would take at least an hour under the best circumstances, and they were going to be given one every two hours.

Jacob had already finished his third and was exhausted. His bones were aching, his heart was racing, and his canteen was almost empty.

He however knew what had to be done and pushed forward.

Jacob: Staff Sergeant, sir! I have finished my third regiment, sir!

Szendry looked Jacob over, up and down for a few seconds. He nodded.

Szendry: Doing great recruit. Keep it up.

Szendry handed Jacob another sheet of paper. This workout was for more grueling, three miles of running, two hundred sit-ups, push-ups, and so forth. Jacob saluted and walked off to his section. He walked onto the track and began to run.

Jacob slowed his breathing, and looked around. He knew Tex and Tiffany were out there, pushing themselves, but he knew they were breaking down just like he was, perhaps even worse. He pushed the thought out of his mind and ran onward.

His mind was full of thoughts, especially of his family. He couldn’t forget that his father went through the same thing when he joined, and even his brother, who he had long forgotten had as well.

Jacob tried to focus on the here and now, but couldn’t get the thoughts out of his head. Twenty long hours of training would do that to a man. A man, he liked the thought, and focused on that.

Jacob: You go home, you’re manhood is gone. You leave this place, you drop out, and you’re done.

Jacob kept up these words of encouragement for another two miles before Szendry called the recruits.

Szendry: Seize workouts!

Almost immediately, half the platoon dropped to their knees, jugging their canteens.

Szendry: You have all gone at least twenty hours without sleep or food. This is the life of a marine in battle. We will not stop until 0900 tonight, where you will finally have your rest.

Groans of men and women filled the training grounds. Szendry laughed to himself.

Szendry: Just keep in mind…you are the future of the human race. If you can’t prove yourself here and now, how will you ever?

He paused.

Szendry: Continue.

The words stuck with Jacob as he began the final mile of his run again. He repeated them over and over.

Jacob: “If you can’t prove yourself here and now, how will you ever?”

He would remember that, no matter what this new found hell would bring him.

Seven Weeks Later – April 18th, 2523
Reach Military Training Camp – 5 Kilometers from Utgard – 0700


Szendry: Wake up Marines!

Szendry yelled into Jacob’s bunker. Thirty-two men left and only twenty-one women. Forty-seven recruits had dropped out in the past seven weeks, he was proud to say he, and his friends were not part of those recruits.

Jacob arose from his bunk as quickly as he could. He put on his gear for the day and made his way outside.

To his surprise, it was Szendry standing outside, with four other men in black overcoats. Within five minutes, everyone else was lined up and ready to go.

Szendry: You have lasted seven weeks. Congratulations. Today is evaluations. I have some guests here today that would like to speak with each and every one of you personally. We will continue to train, but it will be far less grueling. Inside the mess is a hearty breakfast for each of you.

Szendry paused.

Szendry: Today, seconds will be served to anyone who wants them.

The comment seemed to perk most of the recruits up.

Szendry: Get a move on recruits. We’re going alphabetically, so it may take all day. When you’re finished with your meal the other trainers will meet you outside to begin the day. Just some light workouts. Roll out, recruits.

Jacob walked to the mess hall, peering over his shoulders to watch Szendry talk to the four men for a few minutes. He rushed to his meal and met up with Tex and Tiffany, and all the recruits sat together.

Jacob: What do you think it’s all about?

Texas: I could care less right now. Seconds!? I’m so excited!

Jacob and Tiffany laughed.

Jacob: Don’t rush yourself Tex. I’m sure we’ll be taking enough time to eat this meal.

Jacob, Tiffany, and Texas began to chow down. The recruits talked about the past seven weeks and about the future. For a few short minutes they wondered about their parents, but let the thought go as more and more recruits were being called and only returning for their food. After they finished they headed outside to eat.

Reach Military Camp – Twelve Hours Later

Jacob whispered to one of the girls who were returning, Lisa Pinestar.

Jacob: Lisa, what’s going on?

Pinestar: Sorry Sharper, I was given strict orders not to tell anyone.

Jacob nodded.

One of the trainers called the next name.

Trainer: Rogers! Let’s go!

Jacob looked over and saw Tiffany walk into the building. He wondered what was happening in there. Only a few members returned with joy on their faces, and the others had the same blank stare they had when they entered.

Jacob: Which means it can’t be bad news…only an evaluation, and some good news for others.

Jacob tried to focus on his training, but the constant thought of what was approaching him kept creeping back into his mind. It felt like forever, but his name was finally called out.

Trainer: Sharpmen, you’re up!

Jacob stopped his training and headed for the building. He knew he was the last one to go forward as everyone else was returning for dinner. He took a deep breath and stepped inside.

He was directed to a small room with one table in it. The lighting was nice, but it felt eerie to him. He sat down in the chair and waited. Not five minutes later the four men in overcoats stepped in. Jacob stood and saluted. Szendry walked in directly afterwards and shut the door. The officers sat down.

Szendry: At ease Jacob, sit down.

Jacob sat down. He looked into each of the officer’s eyes. Szendry had Jacob’s file out and was reading through it.

Szendry: Jacob Sharpmen, sixteen years old, farmer’s boy, good education, and one of our best recruits. Excellent long-range skills and leadership abilities. Great personality. The list goes on, Captain.

One of the officers nodded. Jacob had a smirk on his face from the compliments.

Officer: Jacob, my name is Lev Tolstoy.

The officer had a thick Russian accent.

Tolstoy: I am a Captain of the UNSC Marine Corps, and part of the Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, or ODST team. Have you ever heard of us?

Jacob nodded.

Tolstoy: Good.

Szendry: Jacob, for the past twelve hours we have evaluated every single recruit on this training ground. You are the final one. Tolstoy has a proposition for you, considering your excellent boot camp record.

Jacob: Sir, I’m ready for it, sir.

Tolstoy let out a slight smile.

Tolstoy: Glad to hear it, you’re going to need it where you’re going. The ODST’s are a special branch of the UNSC Marine forces, part of NavSpecWar. We are a special operations unit, with many roles and groups to our name. The ODST’s are not some group to be messed with. We are “Helljumpers,” as the nickname is.

Tolstoy paused.

Tolstoy: Szendry here has recommended you to come to the ODST training grounds and given a chance to become an ODST. We were reluctant to see rookies at first, but our minds were changed. My fellow officers and I have looked over your service record especially and gladly invite you to join the ODSTs.

Tolstoy looked at Szendry.

Szendry: It is a great honor to be chosen for this, not many are chosen, and many will fail. Of course, you will finish out you’re training here and be granted the rank of Private in the UNSC, but you will be taken to the ODST training grounds to train further.

Szendry paused.

Szendry: I believe you can make it, and become an ODST. What do you say?

Jacob pondered the question. He thought about his family, becoming an ODST may very well mean he would never see them again. He thought about what his father had said.

Jacob: “He was born for bigger and better things. It is not right to keep him here.”

He then realized what he had to do. Jacob looked at Szendry, then at Tolstoy.

Jacob: I’ll do it, sir.

Tolstoy smiled and nodded.

Tolstoy: Your family will be notified. I will see you in a week.

The officers stood, as did Jacob. They walked out one by one. It was only Szendry and Jacob in the room.

Szendry: Sharpmen, good choice. I believe you can do it. Get some rest, training continues.

Jacob nodded and saluted. He left the building and headed to his room for the night. He smiled to himself.

Jacob: And another Sharpmen leaves Reach…

Reach Military Camp – One Week Later

The recruits were all standing outside. It was pouring rain and none of them had hats or anything. Yet, the ceremony had to go on and the marines were taught to endure.

Szendry stood in front of the fifty-three men and women, staring at each and every one of them. He began to yell over the pouring rain.

Szendry: Today is the day I no longer call you maggots, pansies, or recruits. You have endured eight weeks of brutal UNSC Marine training. You have lasted through the harshness of weather like this, through the brutality of me and my fellow trainers.

Szendry paused.

Szendry: Today, I give you the name of Marine! How does that sound!?

All: Oorah, Staff Sergeant!

Szendry smiled and nodded.

Szendry: Congratulations to all of you. You all deserve it.

Szendry paused and pulled out a PDA.

Szendry: Ambrus, Bondar, Gombos, Holender, Lantos, Nemes, Pinestar, Sharpmen. The eight of you report to building seven for further orders. The rest of you, report to building five for your orders. Congratulations Marines, let’s go give those “innies” some hell.

Jacob began walking towards building seven, looking behind him to see Rogers and Texas moving towards building five. He frowned.

Jacob: And the trio is separated…

He turned back to the seven other marines near him, three women; Pinestar, Holender, and Nemes, five guys. He wondered if these were going to be his fellow ODSTs.
Once they arrived in building seven, they all took a seat.

Ambrus; Well…you guys were offered ODST positions too?

Everyone nodded.

Ambrus: So this is the crew…

A few laughed.

Jacob: I guess we showed them something no one else did.

Pinestar: Of course, that is why we’re here.

Holender: What do you think it’ll be like? ODST training?

Jacob: I’m sure what we encountered here will be a picnic compared to ODSTs. They jump out of starships for Christ’s sake. Szendry said this was hell, I don’t even think we’re there yet.

Tolstoy: That’s exactly right, Sharpmen.

All eight soldiers jumped out of their seats and saluted at Tolstoy.

Tolstoy: As you were marines.

Tolstoy walked over as the marines sat down. Two other officers and Szendry followed behind him.

Tolstoy stood as the others sat.

Tolstoy: Marines, today you evolve into something greater in life. You become a symbol of humanity. ODSTs are an elite group of the UNSC Marine forces, ones not to be messed with. And they value their squad mates’ lives over their own.

Jacob: Well that’ll be tough considering Lantos and Bondar hate me.

Tolstoy: Before we begin your training. I am telling you this. We are leaving Reach.

Tolstoy paused.

Tolstoy: We are heading to Mars, where you will endure harsh combat training, as well as survival techniques. Training will be tough, and Szendry might have taught you pain, but we’re going to increase that twenty-fold.

Tolstoy looked at the marines.

Tolstoy: Any of you who wish to stay on Reach, should head to building five now.

No one left. Tolstoy nodded. Szendry stood.

Szendry: It has been my honor to train you all, and I hope to see you all again in the future, and next time…I’ll probably be saluting you.

A few marines laughed, including Jacob.

Szendry: Good luck on Mars. Make sure you show these ODSTs I trained you right, oorah?

All: Oorah!

UNSC Ultimate Glory – Orbiting Mars– Four Days Later - 0700

Jacob and Pinestar were sitting in the armory, talking about things and working on guns.

Jacob: I’m sure our families are doing fine, Pine.

Pinestar: But, how do you know?

Jacob: I don’t. I just…they knew what we were getting into, and I’m sure they’ll understand why we chose this path.

Pinestar: You mean to get away from that hellhole?

Jacob laughed.

Jacob: Yeah, but c'mon, it is still our home.

Pinestar nodded.

Pinestar: I know. I know.

Jacob pulled the stock back on his magnum.

Jacob: Done.

Pinestar: Damnit Jacob. How do you do it so fast?

Jacob shrugged. He helped Pinestar finish up with her magnum and they left the armory. The Ultimate Glory was a nice ship. Destroyer-class, and one that had definitely seen combat. And its commander had an even more impressive background. A PhD in Aerospace at twenty-six years old, and a Captain by twenty-nine, he was one hell of a guy.

Jacob: I heard he’s kind of a hard ass though.

Pinestar: Aren’t they all like that?

Jacob: I don’t know…I only met one before, and that was in high school, when he was recruiting. He was nice, but I think that was a show.

Jacob and Pinestar were two of the one hundred and fifty marines who were being sent to Mars for ODST training. He had met most of them so far, but couldn’t keep track.
They walked into the mess hall and grabbed some breakfast. The two sat down with a few other ODSTs and began to eat.

Marine: Officer on deck!

The entire mess hall snapped to attention. Jacob turned around and saluted at the Captain. Fredward Harrison, the Captain of the Ultimate Glory. Harrison was only twenty-nine years old and already a Captain, and one with a very impressive background. He began command of the ship at age twenty, received a PhD in Aerospace at twenty-four, and well, designed ships. He was a big guy, compared to Jacob, and his hair was pure black.

Harrison: ODSTs in Training, you will begin orientation today. Meet me in the HEV bay, prepare for immediate departure.

His voice was stern and demanding, as he left the mess hall.

Jacob turned and sat down.

Jacob: Well, cheers.

Pinestar: To what?

Jacob: To a long life ahead of us, passing of training and hey, a bit of luck!

The marines hit their coffee mugs together and chugged the drinks down. They then went their separate ways to grab their gear and equipment.

UNSC Ultimate Glory – Orbiting Mars– Ten Minutes Later

The last marine entered the HEV bay, as the other 75 were standing around. Harrison was at the front of the crowd.

Harrison: Marines, for the past four days you have been debriefed about what will happen in the next two months. Harsh training. Intense workouts. ODST Hell. The Ultimate Glory will be your “HQ” for the next two months. Your HEV drops will happen here, and they will begin today. You have all experienced it, now it’s time for the real thing.

Harrison paused. Tolstoy walked up behind him.

Harrison: Captain Tolstoy will train you; I will be standing by aboard this ship in case any of you drop out. Which in most cases, two-thirds of you will…Their all yours Tolstoy.

Tolstoy: Thank you Captain.

Tolstoy looked at the 75 men and women.

Tolstoy: Your mission today is simple. You are going to be dropped in some of the harshest conditions possible on Mars. You must survive for the next month if you wish to continue your training.

Tolstoy paused.

Tolstoy: We have all of you linked up to the ships computers, if we see any of your vitals dropping, we will come and check on you.

Tolstoy paused again.

Tolstoy: If you encounter each other on this expedition you may work together, you are all a team, keep that in mind. Any equipment you had with you when you arrived on this trip is already in your HEV bay, unless we deemed it unnecessary.

Tolstoy looked at marines standing in the armory and nodded at them.

Tolstoy: Give up your duffels now. You must survive on only what is given. Good luck. I’ll see you in two months.

Marines started to grab duffels from everyone and the ODSTs in training headed to their HEV pods.

Jacob: I better have my bow and arrows in there.

Jacob walked to his HEV pod and saw Pinestar one unit down.

Jacob: Pinestar.

Jacob spoke under his breath, and checked over his gear he had on.

Jacob: Remember that tune we learned in boot?

Pinestar let out a slight smirk and nodded.

Jacob: Keep your eyes and ears alert, I’ll see you down there.

Jacob got into his pod and strapped in.

Tolstoy: Good luck marines!

That was the last voice he heard before the HEV pod shut. The light was red, and then he heard the HEV bay open after everyone had left. Jacob took a deep breath, he had on his ODST body armor, and it felt right. He heard three beeps, and the light turned green.

Jacob: Here we go…

The HEV pod was let go, and it hurtled down towards Mars. Jacob had felt the G-forces against him as soon as it let go. He slowed his breathing, just like training. He watched the countdown til he hit the ground.

He was entering the atmosphere now, as he felt the flaps open up, the G-forces lightened up on him.

3000 meters.

He continued to breath, slowly.

2000 meters.

He took long deep breaths.

1500 meters.

The HEV pod was slowing down.

1250 meters.



He looked out and could see where he was headed.

500 meters. A dense forest.

250 meters.

Jacob: Forests. Which means plenty of game, and when there’s game, there’s water.

The HEV pod hit the ground, and Jacob bent his knees a little.

Before he opened the pod he checked himself over. No injuries, he was good. He looked around the pod and checked the motion tracker, nothing, even better.

Jacob opened the pod and hopped out. First thing he did was set his watch. It was 0720. He looked inside the HEV and found a sniper with two magazines, a magnum with five magazines.

Jacob: No bow…damn. Not worth trying to make one either.

He continued to search and found a health kit, the radio Tolstoy had told them about, two ration packs, and bottled water.

Then he checked another compartment, nothing. Jacob frowned.

Jacob: Better start moving, didn’t see any other pods land near, so I might as well try and find a river.

Jacob moved through the forest, quietly and quickly. He couldn’t hear any animals nearby, and didn’t hear one trickle of water. He took a break and pulled out the bottled water.

Jacob: 24 ounces. One ounce an hour and I’ll have enough for a day. And for now, only half rations a day.

Jacob then heard a twig snap. He looked up, a deer.

He smiled.

Jacob: Animals mean water.

Jacob got up and followed the deer for a little bit, until it ran off. He began to follow tracks, and feel the air for humidity. He felt he was getting closer, but wasn’t sure.
It felt like forever, but when he checked his watch it had only been a few minutes.

Jacob sighed and kept moving. He took a sip of the water and marked the time in his head.


He began to whistle the tune he had learned in boot camp.

The UNSC anthem.

He continued to whistle and track animals, but he was nowhere close to finding water, and killing an animal this early was a bad idea.

Jacob: If I can just find a small puddle, it’ll do for now.

Jacob stepped again, and felt the ground soften.

Jacob: Mud…water is close.

He continued to walk for an hour or two. Taking two sips of water and continuing to move.

By the time he checked his watch again it was 1025. He was due for a sip of his water any minute now. He sighed, time was going by too slow for him, and he needed to do something. As he walked, he began to whistle the UNSC anthem again.

Jacob: Hope someone’s out there…

He then heard the tune repeat when he stopped.

He looked around.

Jacob: Pine?

Pinestar: Jacob?

Jacob: Get out here…

Jacob heard footsteps to his left and looked over. Pinestar was walking over to him, in her full body armor and magnum in hand.

Jacob: You’re not gonna need that with me.

He smiled and Pinestar laughed, she holstered the magnum.

Pinestar: Need some water?

Pinestar held out two canteens worth. Jacob removed his helmet.

Jacob: Where?

Pinestar: My pod landed twenty meters from it, a lake. I’ve been searching around that area mainly.

Jacob nodded in approval.

Jacob: Take me to it, please.

Pinestar: Of course, wanna set up base camp there?

Jacob nodded.

Jacob: It’s near a pod…so that’s even better.

The two began to walk towards Pinestar’s HEV pod.

Pinestar had a smile on her face, they were approaching the lake, and Jacob could hear the running waters.

Jacob: I love the smell of water in the morning.

Pinestar: As do I…

Pinestar led Jacob to her pod, where he kicked off some of his gear. He laid down his rifle and magnum.

Jacob: How many mags they give you?

Pinestar: Five mags for the magnum, four for the assault rifle.

Jacob: Good, should be enough.

Pinestar: Planning for an attack?

Jacob turned and smiled at Pinestar.

Jacob: Doesn’t hurt to be cautious Lisa.

Pinestar took a seat in her HEV pod. She leaned backwards.

Jacob: Tired already?

Pinestar: Nope, just listening to nature.

Jacob: Well, I’m gonna see if I can go catch some food, I’ll be back in an hour or two…keep a lookout for anymore of our buddies. I’m sure they’ll need water.

Pinestar: Will do, find me some rabbit.

Jacob smiled and nodded.

He holstered his magnum and walked off.

The woods were tranquil for Jacob; he would always leave early in the morning, take a jog, and be off in his own world. They were truly his home away from home, and they were on every planet humanity knew of, and if not, humanity made them. Jacob made his way to an area at least a mile from the pod. He kneeled and looked at the forest floor, he could see tracks, rabbit mainly.

He smiled.

He took a few steps forward when he saw something jump from the corner of his eye.

A rabbit, pure white hair. A thing of beauty... and perfect to eat.

He raised his silence magnum, and shot. A clean shot, right through the eye. Jacob nodded.

Jacob: Looks like I’m a little lucky after all.

Jacob continued on this trail for a few minutes, stringing up any animal he caught. By the end, two rabbit and a squirrel. Enough for a few days at least. By the time he headed back, it was close to 1300.

Pinestar: What’d ya get me?

Jacob: Two rabbit and a squirrel, somehow we need to keep it from the flies.

Pinestar: The pod?

Jacob: For now, it’ll have to do.

Jacob stuck the rabbits in the pod and set the squirrel in the fire Pinestar had set up.

Jacob: No others?

Pinestar shook her head. Jacob frowned; he knew it was gonna be hell with just the two of them.

Jacob: You think Tolstoy’s gonna throw any surprises at us?

Pinestar: What do you mean?

Jacob: Well, think about it…this can’t just be about “survival.” We’re colony kids, half of us farmer families. It has to be more than that, they only gave us concussive rounds, so maybe we're not supposed to hurt each other? Maybe, it's going to be UNSC personnel attacking us? Or a Counter-Insurgency Op?

Pinestar: You think so?

As soon as the words left her mouth, an explosion was heard down the river. Jacob looked at Pinestar, they both dimmed their visors.

Jacob: I know so!

Pinestar: Get to higher ground! I’ll use the pod for cover.

Jacob pulled out his Socom.

Jacob: Like hell I’m leaving your side right now…

Pinestar smiled. She nodded and Jacob took point. He held his Socom up and headed to an overturned tree. He slid into cover and Pinestar followed. His radio began to muffle with sounds.

Ambrus; Does…*static* this? There’s been *static*… I don’t know *static* I’m with four ot--*static* Someone HEL---*static*

Jacob: Pine?

Pinestar: I heard it.

Another voice came on the radio, this time the radio was fine.

Harrison: This is Captain Harrison…as many of you just heard five of your fellow ODSTs have just fallen. They are not confirmed KIA. We believe the Insurrection is behind this…you must find and eliminate the Insurrectionists. Save your fellow ODSTs if possible. Good luck.

Jacob cursed under his breath.

Pinestar: Is he for real?

Jacob: I have no idea Pine, let’s keep moving. Stay close.

Jacob moved through the forest quickly, jumping over sticks, running through the trees. It was like his home, he knew a forest without ever being in one. He turned around, Pinestar was keeping up, and he smiled and kept moving. Eventually they reached the area of the explosion. It was huge, a giant circle of nothing. The circle was at least a dozen meters in diameter and absolutely no life in the middle of it.

Jacob: Shit.

Jacob knelt down, he scanned the area. There was no one on his tracker or anyone he could see.

Jacob: Anything for you?

Pinestar: Nope.

Just then a lone ODST walked into the circle, just a few inches in, but very visible as the rest of the area was barren.

Pinestar: That’s Nemes…

Jacob: You sure?

Pinestar: Positive, you think we sho—

Before Pinestar could finish her sentence, Nemes was taken by two Marines in black armor. She struggled for a bit and finally managed to break free. She threw a punch at one of ht marines and kicked the other in the groin. She made a run for it across the barren field.

Jacob stood and starting singing the UNSC tune he learned in boot camp.

Nemes looked around and spotted Jacob, she ran towards them.

Nemes: We need to move now!

Jacob and Pinestar nodded and ran back towards Pine’s HEV pod. It took them a few extra minutes with Nemes on their trail, but they made it.

Nemes: You guys have a nice set up.

Jacob: Nemes! What the hell happened!

Nemes: I have no idea Sharp…I got the transmission from Ambrus, then Harrison, then I was being attacked.

Pinestar: It’s gotta be real then…the insurrection attacked our training grounds?

Jacob: No way! The Ultimate Glory is in orbit, how could they have not seen this…it’s training. We were given concussive rounds!

Nemes: The guys who grabbed me...they had live rounds.

Jacob: How do you know?

Nemes; The trees were shot at, no concussive rounds can do that.

Jacob: Alright, well we can’t let this happen to any of the other ODSTs…we have to get back there, regroup with as many others as possible. If these are real insurrectionists...and the Glory doesn't know, we have to make sure no one else goes there.

Nemes and Pinestar nodded.

Jacob: Fill your canteens, gather equipment, we leave in fifteen minutes.

UNSC Ultimate glory – In Orbit above Mars – 1035


Harrison: Initiate Phase 1 – Alpha Counter-Insurgency Op. Target the five ODSTs, the ones with Ambrus.

Officer: Aye aye, sir. Missiles going out, sending ten UNSC marines disguised as insurrectionists into the training grounds. Alpha Counter-Insurgency Op is beginning.

Harrison: Good, good. What is the status of the other ODSTs?

Officer: There are approximately eight groups of three or more. Everyone else is in duos or alone.

Harrison nodded. After a few minutes he heard reports from the ODSTs on the ground.

Officer: Ambrus is attempting to send out a transmission, scrambling it.

Ambrus; Does…*static* this? There’s been *static*… I don’t know *static* I’m with four ot--*static* Someone HEL---*static*

Harrison nodded. He leaned onto the command console and pressed a button.

Harrison: This is Captain Harrison…as many of you just heard five of your fellow ODSTs have just fallen. They are not confirmed KIA. We believe the Insurrection is behind this…you must find and eliminate the Insurrectionists. Save your fellow ODSTs if possible. Good luck.

Harrison took his hand off the button. He figured that should keep the ODSTs occupied for the next few days, besides Phase 2 wasn’t supposed to begin for another week anyway.

Harrison: If anything comes up, notify me. I will be in my office.

Officer: Aye, aye sir.

Harrison made his way to his office, on the way their Tolstoy met up with him.

Tolstoy: Captain, what’s the situation of the ODSTs?

Harrison: Phase 1 began just a few minutes ago.

Tolstoy stopped dead in his tracks.

Tolstoy: Already!? I thought we agreed three days!

Harrison: They were regrouping far faster than we imagined. I deemed it necessary to disorganize them.

Tolstoy: Are you crazy!

Harrison turned.

Harrison: First of all, it’s “Are you crazy, SIR.”

Harrison paused.

Harrison: Secondly, I am not crazy. These marines need to be turned into hardened ODSTs…that will not happen unless something big happens. Five of their friends have just been taken hostage by an unknown threat, how will they go about doing this?

As Harrison finished his speech, an officer contacted him.

Officer: Captain, two of the ODSTs have arrived at the crater..wait, make that three.

Harrison: Is one of them alone?

Officer: Yes, sir.

Harrison: Take the ODST. Shove some more fear into the hearts of these soldiers…it will sort out the weak.

Officer: Attempting..wait, no. She hit our guys, she’s gone. She’s regrouping with the other two.

Harrison smiled.

Harrison: And that is why we begin Phase 1 early. Lieutenant, get our “insurrectionists” out of that area. Fall back to the Base HQ for them, keep the hostages there, and keep me updated on the ODSTs.

Officer: Done, sir.

Harrison began walking again, Tolstoy followed.

Tolstoy: So you think this is acceptable? Just letting them fe—

Harrison: It’s completely acceptable. In one weeks time, Phase 2 will begin, the ODSTs will face the Insurrection we have set up, and they will enter a combat situation. They jumped into hell, we might as well make it feel like it.

Tolstoy nodded. He understood.

Tolstoy: Yes, sir. I will be watching the ODSTs, sir.

Tolstoy saluted and walked away. Harrison continued on to his office.

Tolstoy continued to walk towards his quarters, when he arrived he shut and locked his door. He went over to his PDA and began to type a message. It was short, it needed to be short. The message read five simple words, each encrypted and sent to a secure link.

Phase 1 Began - Send Troops

Tolstoy smiled, he knew they would respond in force.

Mars Training Grounds – 2100


Jacob was lying in the grass on top of a cliff; he was a few hundred meters away from the “crater.” He had a perfect view of everything around the area. Pinestar and Nemes were just a few meters from the crater; they were running a patrol of the area. Since the incident with Nemes the marines in black disappeared. They were nowhere to be found and no ODSTs had approached the site. Jacob had found this area a few hours earlier, a perfect place for a sniper and it had a direct route back to level ground. No one could get them from surprise.

Finally, Jacob contacted Pinestar after an hour of searching.

Jacob: Pine, I’m seeing nothing up here. Get back to camp, we’ll figure it out later.

Pinestar: On our way.

Jacob crawled backwards and set his sniper propped up against a rock. He removed his helmet, finally letting the wind blow across his face for the first time in a few hours. He closed his eyes for a few minutes until he heard footsteps.

He raised his Socom.

Pinestar: Wow, just us Jacob.

Jacob: Sorry, I’m getting a little jumpy.

Pinestar and Nemes sat down near Jacob; Nemes began a fire to keep them warm. The night was getting colder and it was getting darker out.

Jacob: So, tomorrow, we spread our search out…start heading west.

Nemes: You think that’s a good idea? There are only three of us.

Jacob: Stay within radio contact, if we want to find any of our buddies we can’t stay here. And no way can we rescue five marines with just the three of us. We still don’t know what else it out there.

Nemes: Well, when those guys grabbed me they were reporting to someone that they caught another…although, no one can catch me.

Pinestar laughed.

Pinestar: Good to know.

Jacob: In any case, we need to find some others... We move at dawn. I’ll take the first watch, get some sleep guys.

Jacob stood and grabbed his sniper, he walked towards the edge of the cliff. He sat down, letting his feet hang off. Within a few minutes he knew Pinestar and Nemes were sleeping. So, he sat there, listening to the forest and watching the time click by. He knew that they were here for another four, grueling weeks. Each day would send new surprises, each day would send another conflict, and somehow he and the other ODSTs would have to solve them.

Jacob picked up a stick with some rabbit meat on it and removed his helmet. He began to eat the meat slowly, taking in the sights of Mars.

Jacob: So...this is what it's like, not living on Reach.

Jacob could see some faint flares very far in the distance, other ODSTs he assumed.

He sighed, he was with two great ODSTs, but he didn't know what would happen next.

Once he finished the rabbit he looked up to the stars.

He could see hundreds of stars, just like at home, just like Reach. In the distance, he could see the outline of the Ultimate Glory, the ship he'd live on in a few months.

If he made it that far.

He wondered where his brother was, if he was offered to be an ODST, if he accepted to be an ODST and how he fared in training. He could imagine his brother, trying to survive just like he was, trying to find a place in the stars.

Jacob smiled at the thought, of his brother having a nice life, of his family being happy. It hadn't been that way for a few years, but sooner or later things had to get better for them.

Just as he closed his eyes, he saw the bright outline of another explosion in the distance. He quickly threw his helmet on and stood, sniper in hand.

He scanned the area, the explosion was nowhere near him, or anywhere in the forest. That's when he saw the flare in the sky.

The Ultimate Glory's outline was glowing red, they had been hit by something. Enemy or not, Jacob was helpless, he couldn't do anything.

That's when he saw the engines of the Glory give out, and two frigates appear behind it.

To Jacob's surprise, the Ultimate Glory came hurtling down to Mars' surface.

I hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of my STB. Part 2 is in the works and is coming soon!

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Damn, really liking it thus far. Very good.

Defiantly worth some rep on that! Cannot wait for Part 2.

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It's been over a year.

Now it's time to go back to his story.

Back to his beginnings.

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April 29th, 2523
UNSC Ultimate Glory - Orbiting Mars - 2045

Harrison was sitting in his office, sifting through the ODSTs in training files. He was going through names, trying to get a feel of who complimented each other, and who did worse with each other. Harrison sat in his seat and rubbed his eyes. Moments later, his radio beeped. He could hear someone talk from it.

Marine: Captain, sir?

Harrison sat upright and grabbed his earpiece.

Harrison: What do you need, soldier?

Marine: The ODSTs aren’t talking; they’re doing well all things considered. Any orders, sir?

Harrison: Excellent news. Keep pounding on them…if anyone cracks let me know. In the meantime, the main thing I need you to do is completely seclude the ODSTs from their counterparts. Let them get a bit more freaked out.

Marine: Yes, sir. We do have one slight problem.

Harrison: That is?

Marine: Private Ambrus tried to escape three times already. Private Holender is also proving to be a pain.

Harrison chuckled.

Harrison: I figured they would. Just keep their morale down; let’s see how long they last.

Marine: Yes, sir.

Harrison cut communication with the marine and stood up. He stretched his back and looked behind him, staring into a window, staring out into space, watching the stars. He grabbed his coffee and took a sip from his cup. He smiled; he loved the taste of coffee over the stars. He began his walk to the bridge.

He stepped onto his bridge and took a seat in the command chair, the rest of his crew working on the mission parameters and monitoring the UNSC chatternet. Before Harrison could begin his usual night routine, one of the officer’s stations blinked red and beeped. The officer turned to face Harrison.

Officer: Captain. I’m detecting two incoming frigates.

Harrison: That is odd; no one is supposed to come here for at least another three weeks. What are their IFFs?

Officer: The UNSC Maximus of Blade and UNSC Lonely Apollo. I’ve cross-referenced the name with the database…and uhm, sir?

Harrison: Spit it out, Lieutenant.

Officer: These two ships were supposedly destroyed six months ago, all hands KIA.

Harrison stood from his chair, he was slightly confused, but he also knew what was about to happen. He was about to begin speaking, but then he heard a signal from the weapons terminal.

Weapons Officer: They have a lock on us; they’re firing their missiles, sir!

Harrison hit the communications device for the ship.

Harrison: All hands, brace for impact!

As Harrison spoke the words, the Ultimate Glory was hit by a barrage of archer missile pods. Its engines flared, trying to regain power, but lost. A fire blazed for only a moment on the port side of the ship, being extinguished by the vacuum of space. Another barrage hit the Ultimate Glory. The first barrage ripped away the exterior, as the second made the breaches in the hull even larger and was able to hit the interior of the ship.

The bridge dimmed as the Glory lost power, the lights flickered and they rebooted from emergency power.

Officer: Captain! Multiple hull breaches on all decks! Decks 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 19, and 21 are all venting atmosphere!

Harrison: Lock down the decks, begin evacuation! Status of the frigates?

Officer: They are moving past us…wait, no, they are coming back around! Weapons are offline and engines are faltering, Captain! We are dead in the water.

Harrison: No. Not yet. Work on getting weapons back to full power!

Harrison slammed his fist down on the communications device.

Harrison: All hands abandon ship! I say again, abandon ship!

Harrison turned to face his bridge crew.

Harrison: There is a life pod on this deck waiting for all of you. Go.

Not one crew member moved. Harrison stood.

Harrison: This is not a day for heroism! All of you get to the life pod and get down to Mars! Link up with others when you hit.

The crew members didn’t speak, they knew Harrison would go down with the ship, and they knew he would hate them if they stayed. Reluctantly, the crew began to leave and Harrison took his seat at his command terminal. He looked at the weapons status, only a dozen or so archer missile pods operational.

He only had one chance to give the guys on the ship and on the ground time to move.

Harrison began to move his hands across the terminal at rapid speed, locking onto certain areas of the incoming frigates making sure to squeeze enough damage out of the missiles as possible. An alarm beeped next to him, confirming that the frigates had a lock on. Then another alarm, the life pods on the ship had begun to launch.

Harrison smiled; he had configured the weapons system to launch on his command. His knowledge of aerospace design helped him find weak points in the frigates.

So, as the Ultimate Glory drifted down into Mars’ atmosphere, Harrison took a look around the bridge. Ten years of service, ten years of sweat and tears, ten years of one great ship.

Somehow, Harrison always knew it would end like this.

The alarm beeped again, only about 35% of the pods were evacuated, but the frigates were too close.

Harrison took a deep breath and confirmed the weapons lock.

He hit the button and the last few dozen archer missile pods fired at the incoming frigates. The missiles impacted against the hangar bays, engines, and multiple decks of the two frigates, but they continued on.

Harrison sighed.

Harrison: Well…here it goes.

Harrison closed his eyes as the alarm sounded for the third and final time. A few seconds later the Ultimate Glory was struck by another barrage of archer missiles, rendering it beyond repair.

The UNSC destroyer dimmed, its emergency power not enough to get it back online.

The Ultimate Glory fell towards Mars’ gravity at full speed, the heat shields blocking out some of the fire building up.

Harrison could feel the g-forces building and he looked outside the bridge. The last thing he saw was the beauty of a planet crafted by humanity. The last thing he saw were the forests of Mars.

The Ultimate Glory hit the ground with a tremendous force, exposing sides of the ship and causing fires to ignite from the air. Every single system was dead; there was nothing they could do to power it up again.

The UNSC Ultimate Glory was utterly destroyed.

April 29th, 2523
Mars Training Grounds - 2110

Jacob was speechless; he had just watched a UNSC ship crash onto the surface of Mars…with absolutely no way to stop it. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, he just watched. Finally, he awoke from his motionlessness and turned to his two fellow ODSTs.

Jacob: Pinestar! Nemes! Get the fuck up!

Pinestar and Nemes slowly began to rise, but as they got up, they saw the fire in the distance and threw on their gear.

Pinestar: Holy Shit Jacob! What the…

Jacob: It’s the Glory…

Pinestar and Nemes both turned to him.

Pinestar: I’m sorry?

Jacob: I saw the whole thing! The Glory was just drifting in space and then two frigates appeared, hit it twice and then it came crashing down!

Pinestar: That means…

Jacob: That means we have to move to that crash site right fucking now and secure the area!

Pinestar and Nemes both nodded.

Nemes: We should try and contact some of the other ODSTs.

Jacob: Alright…Pinestar get on—

Pinestar: No…comms are being jammed, I can’t get anything out.

Jacob: Then…it’s up to us three, and hopefully the other ODSTs have the idea of heading there, too.

The three quickly gathered their gear, dusted out the fire they had made and traveled down the hill. Jacob had taken point and moved through the forest as quickly as he could, but trying to make as little noise as possible. They were making pretty quick time, but the crash had to be a few thousand meters out.

All of a sudden, Jacob could hear the chatter of a few people; he quickly knelt in the dirt. Pinestar and Nemes did the same.

Pinestar: I hear it, too.

Jacob scanned the area with his sniper, the chatting was coming from the West and he could see a trail of smoke. He held up his hand, a signal for Nemes and Pinestar to follow.

Slowly, Jacob crept over to the smoking area. As he got closer, trees were fallen and the chattering got louder.

Voice 1: You’re kidding me Phil? Half the military force probably died from the first hit, and the other half probably died from the crash!

Voice 2: Johnson! There’s still some hope.

Jacob moved in, he could see the two naval officers arguing. Another six surrounded them.

Jacob walked over.

Jacob: Would you two please keep it down!

All of the naval officers jumped and turned to Jacob. They all sighed a breath of relief.

Voice 2: Private, it’s damn good to see a friendly face. I’m Commander Phil Farley. This is Lieutenant Johnson.

Jacob saluted.

Jacob: Sir, Private Sharpmen reporting. What happened, sir?

Farley: To be honest Private, we have no idea. The first thing we knew was that two UNSC frigates entered Mars’ system. Then, they attacked us and left us dead in the water, knew exactly where to hit us.

Johnson: And then, here’s the kicker! They came back around to finish us off!

Jacob was listening intently, trying to understand the situation.

Jacob: Sir, if you guys made it out, then where’s the Captain, sir?

Johnson and the others fell silent and looked at the ground. Farley was the only one to speak up.

Farley: He stayed behind to give the crew some time to escape…most likely killed from the impact.

Jacob checked his gear. He nodded at Farley and Johnson.

Jacob: Well…most likely doesn’t mean “is.” I am heading to the crash site to secure the bridge, sir. Private Pinestar and Private Nemes are capable fighters, they can protect you.

The group just stared at Jacob.

Farley: I’m sorry; private…you’re doing what now?

Jacob looked at Farley.

Jacob: Unless he is confirmed dead…he is still the Commanding officer of this situation…and I will find him. And if we are in a state of combat, we must get to the ship and destroy all classified intelligence before the enemy finds it, sir.

Farley: Private, do not even think about leaving this area! That is an order!

Jacob: My orders are to stick to my mission, sir! And an ODST would go find their Captain and destroy that intelligence, Commander Farley!

Farley glared at Jacob as he began to walk away. Pinestar tried to stop Jacob.

Pinestar: Jacob, they’re probably right, he’s gone…no one could have survived that.

Jacob: Well…if no one survived, then the enemy has the Intel…we’re the only hope in stopping them. And a ship would provide nice cover in a combat zone.

Johnson: He does have a point, Commander. That ship is where every lifeboat, every ODST, and any enemy will be headed…food, water, weapons, it’s all there.

Johnson paused and then added.

Johnson: And the intelligence must be destroyed. The contingency plan dictates that.

Farley: Our best bet is to wait for reinforcements.

Jacob: Comms are dead…and unless you got a transmission out before that ship crashed, no one is coming for us Commander.

Farley nodded, he stared at the ground. Moments later, he looked around at the naval officers.

Farley: Grab any equipment you can carry from the Bumblebee, we’ll make our way to the Glory. Private Sharpmen, you take point.

Jacob smiled under his helmet; he had won his first argument against a superior. Something not many people get away with doing.

He checked his gear, grabbed a bag from the bumblebee and once the others were ready made his way to the crash site. Nemes followed behind him, Pinestar protecting the rear. The eight naval officers had only a magnum on them, with probably just a clip or two. Jacob, Nemes, and Pinestar were the only military force they would use to take the bridge of the ship.

It felt like hours to Jacob, as he had to take his time slowly going over each area, making sure the officers kept up. By the time they arrived it had to have been the next morning. Eventually, they reached the crash site of the Ultimate Glory, half of it was on fire, and the other half was missing.

Farley: My God…those insurrectionists knew where to hit us.

Johnson: Goddamn traitors…those were UNSC vessels, it ha--

Jacob shushed the group.

Jacob: Would you guys please stay silent?

Jacob sighed and turned to Nemes and Pinestar.

Jacob: You got what I got on sensors? Three unknowns?

The two nodded. Jacob turned and propped up the sniper on his knee. He looked to the far right to see three marines, not ODSTs, but possible UNSC.

Jacob motioned to Nemes and Pinestar to stay behind, as he slowly crawled closer to the group.

His heart rate was rushing as he approached the group; he took a deep breath and yelled to them.

Jacob: Star!

The three marines raised their weapons in Jacobs direction, Jacob was about to fire before one of them yelled out.

Voice: Ranger!

Jacob smiled, they were UNSC. He stood from the grass and waved his hands in the air. The three marines came rushing towards him, each of them had some bruising and cuts on their uniforms.

Marine: Private, goddamn mess this is. I’m Sergeant Petrovan. This is PFC Milod, and Corporal Wargo.

Jacob saluted to the group.

Jacob: Private Sharpmen, sir. We were coming to investigate the crash.

Petrovan: We?

Jacob: Yes, sir. Myself, two other ODSTs as well as the surviving bridge crew of the Glory.

Petrovan: I see. Lead the way lad, I am going to debrief with the crew.

Jacob nodded and made his way back to the group he was with. When he arrived it seemed that Petrovan knew Farley and Johnson.

Petrovan: Glad to see you made it, Farley.

Farley nodded and shook hands with Petrovan.

Petrovan: What are you guys doing so close to the crash?

Farley: We came to secure the bridge, get food, water, medicine.

Petrovan shook his head, something was obviously wrong.

Petrovan: We saw at least a dozen pelicans head towards the prow of the ship. No way can five marines and eight naval officers with pea shooters take it.

Farley: Insurrection?

Petrovan: Has to be. I couldn’t think of anyone else to do this.

Farley nodded. He paced back and forth, the bridge was obviously the place to be and any remnants of the UNSC force or even the ODSTs would go there. It was a few minutes and no one was talking, so Jacob began.

Jacob: Sir, with all due respect, we need that bridge. Or at least we need to get a signal out to our forces to warn them.

Petrovan: You’re correct, private. But, the crew knows what to do.

Jacob: And what about us ODSTs? We’re just training…we’re not full-blown. Our first instinct would be to head to the crash site.

Jacob paused.

Jacob: Besides! I still have men captured out there! I need to save them, too!

Farley and Johnson both looked at each other. Farley nodded and looked away. Johnson looked at Jacob.

Johnson: It was all part of the training Jacob…they were captured by UNSC marines, given the same type of armor, just painted black, and the same weapons.

It was here that Nemes butted in.

Nemes: Same ammo too? Because those marines were sure as hell shooting live ammunition at me!

Farley turned and looked at Nemes.

Farley: Repeat that…did you say live?

Nemes nodded.

Nemes: They hit the tree the same way live ammo would. It was NOT concussive.

Farley shook his head. He wouldn’t believe it.

Petrovan: That can only mean one thing, Commander. Someone requisitioned them live ammunition before they left the ship. All of those men are rebels.

Johnson: Which means there is a traitor in an officer position.

Jacob cursed under his breath. He couldn’t believe it. Everything was going to hell.

Jacob: Then we have to get inside this ship…take some REAL weapons, and move to the prow. We don’t know who’s a traitor and who’s loyal.

Jacob looked around.

Jacob: I’m going to the armory…anyone who cares to join me can follow.

Jacob didn’t wait for a response; he simply turned around and headed towards the Glory’s crash site. Nemes and Pinestar both followed, behind them some of the bridge crew followed. Jacob however, could still hear voices down the way.

Petrovan: I’ll give him this…he sure knows how to take command.

Johnson: I have a feeling he’s going to be a pain in the ass for some naval officer one day.

Farley laughed and began to walk forward.

Farley: At this rate he’s going to be a naval officer.

Petrovan and Johnson both looked at each other…and then followed.

April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory – Armory - 1500

Jacob looked around the armory. There were seventeen fellow soldiers and sailors standing around. The group had managed to pick up four more on the way to the armory, all badly banged up from the crash. They were still stuck inside when the ship went down.

And by the looks of the entire ship, a good part of the crew was still inside the ship when it crashed. Crates crushed men, sailors could be seen on top of beams, and entire rooms lay empty because of a breach in the hull. So many men dragged into the abyss of space with no hope of surviving. But Jacob knew he could still save some…still save the seventeen in this room.

Even if it cost him his life.

After a few more moments, Jacob stood; he had grabbed sniper rounds and magnum rounds, along with an extra assault rifle and three magazines. He knew this training was about to get bloody. Jacob saw Johnson conversing with Petrovan. Moments later, he was approaching him.

Johnson: Private…

Johnson’s voice was grimy and raspy.

Jacob: Yes, sir?

Johnson: I have been thinking of a way to get us out of this mess without risking everything.

Jacob: Why go to me, sir? Sergeant Petrovan and his marines are the right choice.

Johnson: Commander Farley is unable to perform his duties as CO right now, and both Petrovan and I have decided to task this situation to you because we need people to protect us here.

Jacob smiled under his helmet and nodded.

Johnson: The ship seems pretty quiet right now, and we will most likely be able to hold out here. Petrovan and I decided we’ll go to the mess and grab whatever MRE’s we can. And then we will periodically move around the ship, evading any patrols and trying to hold out as long as possible.

Johnson paused.

Johnson: We still don’t know who’s fighting us and it would be best if we avoided them as much as possible until we found out what they are after. And until we get a transmission out, we won’t have any help or any damn clue.

Jacob nodded.

Jacob: And that’s where I come in?

Johnson: Exactly, son. Head to the bridge, avoid the patrols and find out who and what we are dealing with. If possible find the Captain, send out a distress signal, and destroy the ship’s mainframe.

Johnson handed Jacob a PDA.

Johnson: Just insert that into the Admiral’s command station and it will begin the termination process.

Jacob: I can do that, sir.

Johnson smiled, the dirt on his face showed his wrinkles, he was older, much older than Jacob originally thought. Johnson then handed Jacob a small radio.

Johnson: This is a short wave radio…only about 750 meters before we lose each other. We’ll stay here for the next hour or so and then move. Contact me on this when you finished.

Jacob: Yes, sir.

Johnson smiled; he put his hand on Jacob’s shoulder.

Johnson: You’re going to be a fine ODST, son. Good luck.

Johnson turned to leave, but Jacob grabbed his arm.

Jacob: Sir, one request.

Johnson stared at Jacob.

Jacob: If I don’t make it back…either now…or at the end of this mission, tell my parents I did something…tell them I tried…

Johnson nodded.

Johnson: I can do that, Private.

Jacob let go of Johnson’s arm and nodded. He held his assault rifle and turned to the door behind him. He was about to head into a combat zone with no recon assistance, no help from anyone, no radio contact. It was then that Jacob realized he was the recon, he was the help, and he was the radio contact.

He took a deep breath and walked off.

April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory – Bridge – 1300

Harrison shook his head, it pounded and he could feel burns and scrapes all over his body. He shook again and his vision began to restore itself. He was still on his ship, but he was sitting in a chair. Slowly he began to regain his senses and noted that he was in fact tied to the chair he was sitting in.

As he looked up, he noticed several ODSTs walking around, their armor was the usual color, but they had no rank, no insignia, not even an emblem to identify them as a military force. They were carrying equipment, weapons, ammo, etc across his field of view. He didn’t even know if he was still on the bridge or not. He looked to his right and his left, noticing one thing.

Captain Lev Tolstoy was tied to a chair next to him, unconscious. He could tell he was wounded, that’s when Harrison began to realize the situation he was in. He was tied to a chair, with an unknown enemy standing in front of him, walking around in the ruins of his ship…whose data core was very well salvageable. He began to look around for anything he could use to escape, a pipe from the wall, another chair, a knife.

That’s when he heard a voice near him.

Unknown ODST: Commander, the Captain’s awake.

The ODST walked over to Harrison and stood near his side. Eventually, Harrison heard footsteps and noticed a very burly man walking over to him. The man stopped a few feet directly in front of him. He held his hands behind his back, his helmet still on.

Unknown Commander: Captain Harrison. My God you’ve seen better days haven’t you?

The Commander paused and looked at Harrison. Harrison simply remained silent and stared back.

Unknown Commander: You may be wondering who I am, who WE are, why we attacked you, and why we are on your ship, right. I mean…if I were you, I’d be wondering those exact questions. Any Naval man would…

The Commander shrugged.

Unknown Commander: Then again…I don’t really look like the best naval officer right now.

The Commander approached Harrison and looked at him.

Unknown Commander: I have a few questions regarding your ship.

Harrison knew this was the next step. First take the prisoner. Secondly, play nice, some indirect threats here and there, and a mention of whom you are without giving away everything about you.

And then the interrogation…Harrison didn’t even have to think, he began to rattle off his name, rank, and service code.

Harrison: Captain Fredward Jeremy Harrison, UNSC Navy. Service ID: Foxtrot-2-Juliet-4-Hotel-9-November-3-6-2-Uniform-Golf.

The Commander chuckled.

Unknown Commander: You haven’t changed a bit, Harrison.

Harrison looked at the Commander.

Unknown Commander: Allow me to reintroduce myself, Captain.

The Commander began to remove his helmet and once he did, Harrison’s jaw dropped.

The man had a five o’clock shadow, with almost pure white hair to be so young. His face was smooth, his eyes dark and narrow, staring, unyielding. The Commander looked strong, dark, and fierce.

Unknown Commander: Commander Rowley. Commander James Victor Rowley, at your service, Captain.

Harrison shook his head and immediately began to repeat his information.

Harrison: Captain Fredward Jeremy Harrison, UNSC Navy. Service code: Foxtrot-2-Juli---

Rowley: Oh God…just shut him up, Corp.

The ODST next to Rowley nodded and slammed the butt of his assault rifle into Harrison’s face.

Harrison’s vision went black and soon after he lost consciousness.

Rowley: God damn Harrison.

Rowley turned to Tolstoy.

Rowley: Get the fuck up Lev…he’s out.

Lev lifted his head. He stood upwards and stretched his arms.

Lev: I told you he won’t talk that easily.

Rowley: I was hoping being in control of his ship would loosen his grip on reality…you’re up next.

Lev rolled his eyes.

Lev: We should have just killed him and left the ship to burn.

Rowley glared at Lev. He towered over him like a machine.

Rowley: You know…as well as I do…that’s not what they want. We need Harrison’s information…we need his crew…we need the ODST grounds destroyed…and of course, we need the armory.

Lev shrugged and pointed outside the window of the bridge.

Lev: You got one objective already.

Outside the window, Lev and Rowley could see Mars’ landscape burning; the area surrounding the ship was already black. Each passing moment more and more of the training grounds began to burn as Rowley’s troops searched the area in a Search and Burn formation.

Rowley: Now we just need the other two…

Rowley turned to Lev and motioned him to follow.

Rowley: Let’s go Captain…we’ve got work to do.

Lev nodded and followed Rowley away from Harrison.

April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory –Unknown Location – 1530

Jacob had been walking through the ship for about a half hour by now. He was trying to make his way to the bridge, but the ship had been so badly damaged in the crash, that he didn’t even know where he was in it. As Jacob walked, he collected the tags of anyone he passed, friend or foe, he had no idea.

All he knew was that these were soldiers with ID and they needed to be remembered.

The entire ship was hell compared to what Jacob knew. Jacob didn’t even know anything, and all he could do was focus on what he was seeing. Entire parts of the ship blown away, bodies strewn across the floor, crushed by crates, equipment, even a vehicle or two. The ship was still on fire, with parts of it being inaccessible for Jacob to even go near.

Jacob had never seen a crash site before, not even in the Insurrectionist propaganda films did Jacob see this amount of damage. It was new, confusing, and it made Jacob nervous. Jacob held his assault rifle high, as he couldn’t use his sniper rifle in such confined positioning. He walked through the ship, climbing over obstacle past obstacle until he ran into something familiar.

Lying about five meters in front of him was the body of an ODST. The ODST was hanging off the hull, the legs dangling over Mars’ surface below. Jacob approached the body. The ODST had a bright orange band around its left shoulder. Something all ODSTs in training were given to identify them. Jacob sighed; he knelt near the body and inspected the scene.

An M7S SMG was about two feet from the ODSTs hands. Jacob assumed that the ODST had tossed his weapon onto the hull and then jumped up, trying to get inside. Jacob inspected the ODSTs body; his back was facing Jacob as he looked over it.

Jacob then noticed something right above the ODSTs back, but below his helmet. It was a bullet wound.

Jacob: Goddamn…they didn’t even look him in the eyes.

Jacob again assumed whoever killed the ODST did it as he was just climbing up the hull of the ship. They just shot him, in cold blood.

Jacob took a deep breath and flipped the body over. He inspected the front of the body and grabbed the ammo he had for his sidearm. Jacob then reached under his chest plate and grabbed his dog tags. He looked at them and read the name.

Jacob: Private James Lopel.

Jacob nodded, he knew the ODST from a brief talk during a training exercise. He was a nice guy, Earth-born, two brothers in the Corps, and a family back home. The little chat they had didn’t say much, but Jacob knew he had potential.

Jacob: I wish I could’ve gotten you out of here James…

Jacob sighed and tucked the tags in a pouch with the dozens of others he had. He stood up and checked the surroundings. It was still clear as Jacob kept walking towards a two-way intersection. That’s when he heard voices approaching. He immediately dove towards the left, behind a few crates and went prone. Jacob looked over one of the crates and watched as two ODSTs, who bore no rank or emblem, walked into the area he was in.

ODST 1: I don’t know why we have to check this area again. We just did a patrol here fifteen minutes ago.

ODST 2: You heard the Commander. Nonstop patrols until all 75 ODSTs are accounted for.

Jacob’s eyes widened when he heard that. Whoever these people were, they were after him and the others.

ODST 1: Oh, fuck that.

The ODSTs stopped in the middle of the room. The first one sat on a crate and removed his helmet, pulling out a cigarette from his pocket.

ODST 1: It really is bullshit, this whole thing.

The ODST stuck the cigarette in his mouth, but continued to talk.

ODST 1: They should have just sent in a mole and got the information that way.

The ODST began to try and light his cigarette as the other spoke. Jacob shifted upwards, getting a better look and listening even more.

ODST 2: Well…it wasn’t just for the information Harrison had. It was for destroying the training grounds, too.

The ODST shrugged.

ODST 2: They’re just trying to distract the UNSC and the UEG a bit before they make their move.

The first ODST took a long, steady drag of his cigarette when he finally lit it. He grunted.

ODST 1: Bah! I still call bullshit. We’re using two of our most recent frigates to do this. When all we really need is one, plus Misriah Armory is right here, we could literally just hit that for weapons.

ODST 2: Quit your bellyaching. Orders are orders.

Jacob watched as the second ODST approached Lopel’s body. He chuckled and pointed his gun at the body in front of him.

ODST 2: At least we get to kill some people.

The other ODST laughed and jumped from his seat, walking over to Lopel’s body, and smoking his cigarette.

ODST 1: Who got this one?

The ODST knelt near the body and took another drag.

ODST 2: I think it was Big Al.

The first ODST laughed and stood back up, stretching his arms and tossing the cigarette out the side of the ship.

ODST 1: Of course it was.

The ODST turned away and grabbed his helmet, sliding it back on his head and grabbing his weapon.

ODST 1: Now, let’s go. This area is clear.

The second ODST nodded and turned around, following the first ODST out of the room. Jacob, after a few minutes, finally stood up and surveyed the area.

Jacob: So…Harrison’s data, destruction of the training grounds, and us. Possibly even the armory, too.

Jacob nodded.

Jacob: Son of a bitch.

Jacob had little time before the next patrol would go through, he would have to find his way to the bridge and find Harrison. Jacob watched the ODSTs leave the area and knew that the quickest route to the bridge would be to the right.

Without wasting any more time, Jacob hurtled over the crates he was hiding behind and took the door to the right. As he walked forward, he could hear the faint sound of movement, and lots of it.

Jacob kept walking until he reached another door; he stood next to it and then peered inside of it. Jacob’s eyes widened as to what he saw. It was room, one he had recognized as to being right near the bridge. But, instead of being empty and devoid like the others, it was full of dozens of unmarked ODSTs. The ODSTs were carrying anything from radio equipment to ammunition across the room. Jacob continued to look inside, looking for anything related to his objective. He knew he wasn’t on the bridge yet, but he could do something.

He could send out the distress signal if he got near the radio equipment. But he couldn’t just walk in there and pretend to be one of them. His uniform did, after all, have emblems on it. Jacob sighed and turned back into cover. He thought for a moment and looked around the room. And that’s when he saw it.

About five feet in front of him was a black crate. Jacob immediately read the crate, and like a gift from God it was exactly what he needed. On the side of it, the crate simply read:

“ODST Uniforms – Unmarked – Ready for Processing.”

Jacob grinned, his luck was finally turning; he ran to the crate and immediately opened it. Inside was ODST armor, all of it black with no emblem or insignia in sight. Jacob smiled and immediately began to dawn the armor. A few minutes passed when he finally placed the new helmet on his head, linking it with his old HUD.

He set his sniper on the ground; he would come back for it later if needed. He took a deep breath and grabbed his assault rifle.

The next thing he did was head straight for the room.

Jacob simply walked inside and approached the first radio he could see. So far no one was saying anything and people simply walked by him, carrying on with their daily lives. Jacob smiled under his helmet. He was in, and thankfully no one had approached him---

ODST: Get over here!

Jacob turned to see a large ODST pointing at him, and nudging him over to him. Jacob took a deep breath and jogged over.

Jacob: Sir?

ODST: I don’t know what the hell you think you’re doing, but I got something for you.

Jacob simply nodded, his heart was almost beating out of his chest and he began to sweat.

ODST: The Commander needs a few ODSTs to transfer Captain Harrison to the brig with his other soldiers. Commander Rowley needs some ODSTs to do it, and you’re one of ‘em.

Jacob grinned.

Jacob: Yes, sir, I can do that.

The ODST nodded and pointed into the next room.

ODST: Then move it soldier!

Jacob nodded and jogged off into the next room, he was even closer to his objective than he could have dreamed. All he had to do was sneak the PDA into Harrison’s command terminal and then escort the Captain to the brig and bust him out.

Jacob looked around and noticed most of the people in the bridge were doing something, too focused on their job to even notice Jacob enter. Jacob looked around and looked for Harrison’s command terminal. It was about five feet in front of him. To his left, he could see a group of ODSTs, about seven of them, forming up in front of someone tied to a chair.

Jacob knew who the person was. It was Captain Harrison, and he looked like hell. Just as Jacob was about to proceed to his terminal, he heard another voice call to him.

???: Over here!

Jacob turned and then jogged over to the group. Leading the group was an ODST without a helmet.

???: Alright, that’s eight. You men know your objective; get Captain Harrison here down to the brig. Kill anyone else you see on the way down.

The ODSTs all nodded as the two in the middle grabbed Harrison by his arms and hefted him upwards, forcing him to begin the walk.

???: Enjoy your stay, Captain.

Harrison grunted, continuing to walk past Jacob and the other ODSTs.

Jacob formed up in the rear with the ODST next to him and followed the group towards the brig. He watched the command terminal pass him by and sighed. He was so close…

One Hour Later - 1645

Jacob, along with the other ODSTs he was with, had managed to bring Harrison to the brig after a painful process of maneuvering through debris, fire, and bodies. It took them a lot longer than expected…

Jacob: No wonder they wanted eight men…

Eventually however, they put Harrison into the second cell and shut the doors behind him. The door was solid steel and only had one window in the center of it. Harrison simply sat on the cot and stared at the floor. Two ODSTs were already waiting, guarding the other door.

The ODST group turned to each other and faced their Commanding Officer.

ODST 1: These guards cell duty is up…we need two more.

The ODST who was in charge pointed to the ODST standing next to Jacob and then pointed to Jacob.

ODST 1: You two, stay here. Six hour shift before someone relieves you.

Jacob and the ODST looked at each other and nodded as the other six ODSTs left. Jacob looked around the area, the cells all seemed empty. He continued to scan the environment until the ODST spoke to him.

ODST: So…I’m Al…but everyone here calls be Big Al. I haven’t seen you around, you just drop in?

Jacob looked at him. Big Al…the killer of Lopel.

Jacob: I’m Jacob. And yeah…I took the last bird out.

The ODST nodded as he took a seat near Harrison’s cell. Jacob did the same, sitting across from him.

Big Al: Oh, so you’re with Ninth Platoon?

Jacob: Yeah.

Big Al: Ah, well, good for you. Ninth’s got a good commander.

Jacob simply nodded as he looked around.

Big Al: Hey, don’t be so jumpy, man…cell duty is always quiet. Not much happens

Big Al yawned as Jacob nodded and sat back. Big Al put his weapon on the table next to him and stretched in his chair.

Big Al: I’m part of the First Platoon…unfortunately for us; our CO was replaced by Rowley’s second in command, some big ex-UNSC guy who was still with the UNSC planning this whole operation.

Jacob nodded; hopefully he could get as much information out of this guy before he noticed him.

Big Al: I dunno. He seems like an alright guy. Uptight though, like most ODST Drill Sergeants are...

Jacob’s eyes widened. ODST drill instructor?

That could only mean one person on the Ultimate Glory. That would mean it was Tolstoy.

Big Al looked around.

Big Al: Not much to do for the next six hours.

Jacob: Unfortunately not.

Jacob paused. He had to know for sure.

Jacob: You get anyone since ya dropped?

Big Al: Yeah, I got one when we were still on the “shoot-to-kill” order. Some ODST trying to climb into the hull. Shot him right in the back of the neck.

Big Al smiled; Jacob could see it through his visor being dimmed.

Big Al: He got one of our guys before going down though…he was basically making a one-man assault on the ship.

Big Al shook his head.

Big Al: Stupid idea to climb before shooting though.

Jacob nodded, even though on the inside he wanted to kill Big Al right then and there, he knew he would have to wait. In order to get Harrison out, he would wait until Big Al was asleep. Just as he thought this, Big Al yawned.

Jacob: Hey man, I can take first watch. Get some rest.

Big Al nodded, he rest his head on the wall behind him.

Big Al: Yeah…I think that’d *yawn* be best. I haven’t—

Without finishing the sentence, Big Al fell asleep and started snoring. Jacob stood up and rolled his eyes.

Jacob: Fucking bastard.

Jacob looked around the area once more, it was all clear. He approached the cell door and looked inside the window. The only thing he saw was Harrison sitting on the cot staring at the ground. Jacob used his finger and knocked on the glass window. Harrison looked over, he raised an eyebrow.

Jacob: Captain?

Harrison: Who the hell are you?

Jacob smiled underneath his helmet and dimmed his visor, revealing his face. Harrison stood up and approached the window.

Jacob: Private Jacob Sharpmen, I’m one of the ODSTs that dropped for training.

Harrison, for the first time in at least 24 hours, smiled.

Harrison: By God, you're a sight for sore eyes.

Jacob nodded.

Jacob: Sir.

Harrison looked around the area.

Jacob: Don’t worry; the other guard is asleep. It’s just me and you.

Harrison sighed a breath of relief and backed away from the window.

Harrison: What’s the situation then, soldier?

Jacob shrugged, he shook his head.

Jacob: Not good, sir. Everything is scattered, and I’m sure you know the situation with your ship.

Harrison simply nodded.

Jacob: I managed to group up with your bridge crew after the ship crashed; Commander Farley and Lieutenant Johnson. There’s about seventeen of us regrouped inside of the ship, periodically moving every half hour or so. Other than that, sir, I have no idea what’s going on. Dozens are dead…including some of the training ODSTs, and whoever these guys are…

Jacob motioned his hand over to the ODST sitting in the chair.

Jacob: They know what they’re after.

Harrison: Do you?

Jacob smiled and nodded.

Jacob: Actually yes.

Jacob paused as Harrison moved closer. Jacob held up three fingers.

Jacob: Three things…The destruction of Mars’ training grounds, some type of data pertaining to you and your studies I’m assuming. One of the ODSTs also mentioned the Misriah armory, and finally…Us, the ODSTs in training. What I heard was that whoever these guys were, they wanted to distract the UEG and UNSC for something big.

Harrison nodded and rubbed his forehead.

Harrison: The destruction of the training grounds, my data, and even the armory I can understand. But the ODSTs are a different story.

Harrison shook his head, he looked at Jacob.

Harrison: Right now, who gave you your current objective and what was it?

Jacob: Lieutenant Johnson asked me to do four things. Find out who these people are and what they want. Find you, send out a distress signal, and destroy the ship’s mainframe.

Harrison nodded.

Harrison: Good. I’m glad Johnson still understands the contingency plan.

Jacob raised an eyebrow.

Jacob: Sir?

Harrison nodded.

Harrison: Right, you wouldn’t know...

Harrison paused.

Harrison: The contingency plan I am talking about is called “The Final Stance.” It is, for all intents and purposes, the plan put in purpose when the commanding frigate goes down from Insurrectionist forces with soldiers scattered and data still available. It is, the only thing that keeps a force of several thousand scattered soldiers and sailors under the chain of command. It is the last thing keeping us together.

Harrison paused again and looked at Jacob.

Harrison: You need to do what Johnson said. Get a distress signal out and destroy this ship’s mainframe. He gave you a PDA right?

Jacob nodded.

Harrison: Good, just insert that PDA in my personal terminal in my office and the bridge’s main terminal. Hard to miss, huge device right in front of the Captain’s chair.

Jacob: And what about you and these people?

Harrison: Leave me until the other two objectives are completed, I won’t do much good strutting about. If anything falls into these people’s hands we are done.

Harrison paused.

Harrison: As for them, try to get as much information as possible. When you’re done, regroup with your team and come back here.

Jacob nodded.

Harrison: That ODST said six hours until the next shift change right?

Jacob: Yes, sir.

Harrison: That means you have four hours. Destroy the mainframe, send the signal, regroup with your guys and get back here. And keep it as quiet as you can, first sign of trouble, they’ll come running to me.

Jacob nodded. He looked at Big Al.

Jacob: And Big Al?

Jacob turned back to Harrison, who was simply staring at him.

Harrison: You signed on for this, Private. I…I know it won’t be easy. It never is, Jacob.

Harrison turned away, going back to sit on the cot. He didn’t say another word. It was all up to Jacob now.

Jacob, however, stood entranced in the window. For several moments he just stood there, before finally turning to look at Big Al. He looked at the ODST sitting there, in the chair, snoring. He was just doing his job, just working for whoever these people were.

He shook his head; he knew what had to be done.

Big Al chose to work for these people; he chose to work for enemies of the UNSC. And even if he didn’t choose, he is still living the lifestyle. He is still murdering his comrades in cold blood. Jacob rolled his shoulders and removed his combat knife from his forearm. Jacob approached Big Al, standing directly in front of him. He took a deep breath and then raised his knife upwards.

He shook his head.

Jacob: Fuck this training.

Jacob simply did it; he shoved the knife directly into Big Al’s throat. The ODST didn’t even have time to respond, as soon as the knife hit the back of his throat, he was dead.

Jacob backed away, removing the knife from Big Al’s throat. He shook his head. His knife and hand were completely covered in Al’s blood. But, he couldn’t think twice about it. Jacob turned around and immediately left the brig. He scraped his knife on his arm to get the blood off and then sheathed it. He had to head to the mainframe and destroy it. He had to stop whoever these people were from getting Harrison’s information and he had to send out a distress signal. The UNSC needed to be alerted as soon as possible.

Jacob headed straight back the way they had come from. He knew for a fact that they would start data-mining Harrison’s personal office as well as the bridge. The first thing he needed to do was get to Harrison’s office, if he did that, he could destroy his data and work his way towards the mainframe.

April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory – Harrison’s Office – 1750

Jacob looked around, for the most part, he had evaded almost every single other ODST in the area. He was right on schedule and he was right outside of the door to Harrison’s office. Inside would be Harrison’s personal terminal and everything he had, every piece of data that the enemy wanted was inside this room.

Jacob raised his assault rifle and hit the keypad on the side of the door to open it. The door flew open and Jacob stepped inside as the door shut behind him. Inside were four enemy ODSTs. Two of them looked up at Jacob, who lowered his weapon immediately and walked inside. Jacob was heading straight towards the two ODSTs in front of him.

ODST: What do you want?

Jacob looked at the ODST and walked towards him.

Jacob: Boss thought you guys could use a hand.

The ODSTs laughed.

ODST: With that exactly?

Jacob shrugged. He noticed the ODSTs behind the terminal were scratching their heads; they were obviously having trouble with the terminal.

Jacob: Well, for starters, moving this process along. I can tell your boys don’t really know what they’re doing.

The ODSTs behind the terminal grunted and shrugged, both of them taking a seat on the chair and table. The other two ODSTs laughed and moved out of the way for Jacob. Jacob walked up to the terminal and in the most casual way he could, removed the PDA he had on him and attached it the terminal with a hard uplink.

The ODSTs weren’t paying attention to him. They simply let him do his thing.

ODST 2: You hear what Rowley wants us to do now?

ODST 3: Yeah, the attack on the armory, right?

Jacob turned his head ever so slightly, as he watched the download and data wipe commence.

ODST 2: Yeah, said if we could get our hands on the equipment and stock there, we’d have more than enough armament to take out the UEG’s headquarters.

ODST 3: That’d be pretty easy all things considered.

The ODST nodded.

ODST 2: Definitely. He’s got the security codes from that UNSC guy. I don’t think an all-out assault would work well, but he is the boss man.

Jacob sighed; he looked back at the terminal. These two ODSTs just confirmed the fact about the armory, wherever it was, they were about to take it down. Moments later, he looked up at the other two ODSTs were walking out of the room.

ODST: We’re going on patrol. You guys will be good right?

The ODSTs nodded, as did Jacob. The two ODSTs left the room, leaving Jacob and two others inside. Jacob continued to type away at the computer, rapidly moving through some files and other things of importance, trying to speed the PDA process up. It was around this time that Jacob had noticed the other two ODSTs had stopped talking. Jacob turned around to see them both staring at him, weapons in their laps.

Jacob: What?

The ODST on his left shrugged, while the one on his right spoke.

ODST: Just trying to figure out which platoon you’re with.

Jacob: The Ninth.

Jacob spoke bluntly. Immediately he realized that may have been a bad idea, considering the members of the Ninth platoon would know each other. What if these two ODSTs were part of Ninth? What if they were about to see—

ODST: Funny you say the Ninth. My buddy here is from the Ninth and he doesn’t recognize you one bit.

Jacob inhaled deeply. It was just as he thought. The two ODSTs stood upwards and began to approach Jacob.

ODST: I’m from the Ninth, too. The platoon leader actually and I don’t recognize you at all. Now…who exactly are you?

Jacob didn’t have any more time. Who knows where the rest of his team was, and who knew how much time he would have before the mainframe was broken into. He had to do it.

In a flash all of his training came back to him. In one fluent motion Jacob moved to the side of the ODST closest to the desk and grabbed his head, smashing it against the desk. Jacob removed his knife just as quickly as the second ODST turned to face him. He smashed the knife upwards, into the ODST’s jaw and subsequently his skull. The ODST dropped backwards as the knife slid out.

Jacob turned; the first ODST was lying against the table. Jacob shook his head.

Three lives.

In a flash he slammed the knife down into the ODSTs visor, killing him instantly and causing the knife to become imbedded in the desk underneath.

Jacob backed away slowly, he was covered in blood. He closed his eyes and shook his head. He had taken three lives in a matter of just an hour or two. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Exhale. Deep inhale through the nose.

Exhale through the mouth.

Jacob opened his eyes just as the terminal beeped. He couldn’t stay here. He dashed over to the terminal and made sure everything was wiped before removing the PDA from its slot. As he did the entire terminal off-lined itself. It was done; at least, Harrison’s personal data was gone. Jacob turned around and looked at the ODST on the ground. He fell to his knees in front of him and grabbed his tags. It was then that he saw a strap of grenades wrapped around his waist.

Jacob: These will come in handy.

Jacob grabbed the grenades and wrapped them around his waist. He stood upwards and turned around. Jacob darted around the desk and headed straight for the door. Jacob hit the keypad with his fist and immediately opened. He walked out, as casual as he could, and headed for the bridge. Jacob knew exactly where to go, he had studied the layout of the bridge deck before they even left Reach.

Left, 100 meters down, take a right. Up the staircase, turn le---

In front of him were at least six ODSTs, all moving towards him. If he turned around it would look too suspicious. Jacob’s only choice was to keep walking, he was so close.

He didn’t even realize that the ODSTs might notice the blood stained on his armor until he was only a few feet away. He clenched the assault rifle in his hand so tightly that he could hear his gloves stretch.

As Jacob began to walk by, one of the ODSTs began to yell.

ODST: Looks like this one got his kill!

The other ODSTs began to chant, and before Jacob even realized what was happening, he was high-fiving some of them. He nodded as much as he could, and high-fived or fist-bumped anyone that reached out to him. They all congratulated him on his “kill” and kept walking. Jacob did as well, he took a deep breath.

He was in. The bridge was right in front of him. He was right there.

That moment of joy was almost immediately smashed when he heard the ODSTs start to head downstairs. His heart skipped a beat, if they went to the office….

Jacob only had one word on his mind.


In just a few seconds, he went from a casual walk to an incredible run. His heart started racing, his body started pumping, his head started pounded. He needed to get to the bridge and wipe every single byte of data he could. It wasn’t until he was inside the bridge that he slowed his walk. Jacob didn’t even look around, he saw the terminal and he headed straight for it. There had to have been at least two dozen enemies in there, none of whom were paying attention to him.

Jacob took a deep breath as he approached the bridge’s main terminal. It was exactly where Harrison said it was; in front of the Captain’s chair was a huge terminal that stretched from one end of the bridge to the other. Jacob surmised the first, second, third officer, and so on, would be stationed on this terminal. That was the mainframe.

Jacob looked around and casually stuck the PDA into the first uplink he could find in front of the Captain’s chair. Immediately, the screen lit up and began to download and delete necessary files. The termination was beginning with at least two minutes left to go.

Jacob nodded and turned around; he began to walk around the bridge. Hopefully, the ODSTs who cheered him on before wouldn’t return any time soo—

ODST: Ninth Platoon leader’s dead!

Jacob’s eyes widened, he could feel his heart stop. The voice was coming from down the hallway. Jacob looked around, what could he do? Where could he go? Jacob could hear the footsteps getting closer, and he could see people stop working and look towards the hallway.

Jacob knew that these ODSTs would question him. It didn’t help that he had left his knife lodged inside one of the ODST’s throats.

Jacob shook his head, he had to move. Now.

Almost without realizing Jacob began to back away into the crowd that was no forming near the hallway. He moved slowly, stepping backwards as he approached the door to another hallway.

Thankfully, he told himself, all that studying of this level was about to pay off. As soon as Jacob was clear, he entered the door closest to him and was in an empty hallway.

Jacob could still hear the ODSTs in the other room as he stood there, wide-eyed.

ODST: What do you mean dead?

ODST: I mean there is a knife wound right above his neck stretching into his skull. Along with his second in command being impaled into a fucking table!

Jacob shrugged proudly; he had managed to kill both the Platoon leader and his second in command.

ODST: Who did that?

A few other conversations broke out; Jacob couldn’t hear a damn word. He started to back up again, into another hallway a few feet from the first door. Jacob checked his time, it had been three minutes. The PDA was surely done.

That was when he heard a very distinctive voice yell over the others.

???: Never mind the fact that they’re dead. Would someone care to explain why there is a PDA in the main bridge console?

Jacob inhaled deeply. He knew that voice, but he had to be sure. Slowly, he began to walk back to the door, assault rifle clenched tightly in his hands. He approached the door slowly as heard people began to chat in side conversations.

That’s when he saw him, standing there in front of the terminal, PDA in hand.

It was Lev Tolstoy.

His commander, his fellow soldier, his friend.

Lev: We have a mole in our ranks, soldiers. Weapons up. Visors dimmed. Fan out.

Lev looked at the PDA in his hand and strapped it to his belt. Jacob cursed softly, he needed that PDA. Jacob sighed and it was then he realized that Lev may have removed it prior to its completion of the wipe.

Lev: Shoot to kill orders are back on, gents.

Jacob watched Lev turn away and head down another hallway; most likely towards his office he was given. The bastard was still using the ship as a command center. Jacob shook his head. He only had one choice.

He looked to his belt and saw the grenades he had picked up earlier. Jacob was going to have to destroy this mainframe the old fashioned way. He took a deep breath as he watched the ODSTs fan out and began searching the immediate area.

He put his back to the wall and looked at the ceiling, breathing heavily.

Jacob thought to himself, he wondered if he was actually able to do all of this. He had taken three lives already, one on an order, and the other two because he had to. He could kill. Surely, he could do that. But was he ready for this?

He remembered what he had seen just a day earlier. The Ultimate Glory’s crash, the destruction of so much, the deaths of dozens, fallen comrades, captured officers, traitors. This was war, the war they never showed back home. This is what he signed on for. As an ODST this is what he would have to encounter every day. It was this, this war that was causing humanity to teeter. The insurrections moving from planet to planet, asteroid to asteroid, destroying things humanity tried so hard to gain.

Jacob thought about so much in what seemed like only a few seconds. His parents back on reach, his dad most likely about to start planting and his mom getting ready for the new season, selling the goods they had left at the market. His friends, Texas and Tiffany, wherever they were he hoped they were doing a bit better than he was. His home, his cozy little life back on Reach, farming and hunting. His brother, Dallas, God only knows where he was, but he still thought of him. He still remembered that he was an ODST, that he was fighting the same fight. Jacob took a deep breath. He was ready. It wasn’t because he had killed, or because he had thought of his parents, brother, friends, and home. It was because at this instant. The instant when he took the badge of the UNSC and was sent on board a star ship, when he finally left Reach…that he realized:

Jacob Sharpmen was born for the UNSC.

Jacob smiled and nodded his head. He exhaled slowly as he pulled the pin on the first grenade in the belt and tossed it into the middle of the room, directly in front of the bridge’s console.

ODST: Grena---

There was a loud explosion as all three grenades went off, destroying the console and killing anyone within five feet of the blast. Jacob nodded, dimmed his visor, and flicked the safety of his rifle.

He broke from cover and scanned the room, it was smoky. He activated VISR mode and everything lit up instantly.

Three enemies on the left, four on the right, two moving in on the console, another two at the far end, and a final three near the door he needed to enter. Fourteen enemies. He had killed at least four in the blast.

Jacob didn’t begin to shoot, he took it as a more relaxed approach and acted just like anyone else would. He moved into the smoke, weapon raised, hoping no one would approach him.

Hoping no one would shoot him.

To his luck, no one did. He moved to the other end of the room and watched as everyone began to form up on each other. Jacob saw his chance as the three ODSTs near the door moved and formed up with each other. He took the chance and darted.

This caused him to become the target however, as the ODSTs on the far end of the room called him out and began firing.

ODST: He’s running! Shoot him! Shoot him!

Jacob ran low as fast as he could as he could hear the bullets fly by him. He got right up to the door and hit the keypad, the door flung open and he moved to the other side. Jacob didn’t waver, he took the butt of his rifle and slammed the keypad on the other side of the door, causing it to malfunction and close as bullets started to hit it.

Jacob took a deep breath. Not too bad, all things considered.

He turned around, rifle raised, and headed down the hallway.

Tolstoy’s office was the third one on the left. Why he could remember details like this, Jacob would never know. But he knew for a fact that Tolstoy had his desk facing the large window. He would stare out at the stars, a constant reminder of how little he actual was.

Those were often the talks Jacob had with Tolstoy. That humanity was so insignificant, no matter how far they had come. We were a speck of sand on a beach. Jacob didn’t believe that. Not for one second. They were the sandcastle on the beach, standing tall and strong against the adversary of the stars. He believed that. He fought for that.

Jacob turned into the doorway, his weapon raised. The office was empty, but Jacob could see the PDA sitting on Tolstoy’s desk. It was right there. Jacob walked inside and approached the desk. He went for the PDA, but as soon as he put his weapon down, he could hear the click of a magnum against his head.

Lev: Stand down, soldier.

Jacob didn’t move. He stood there, frozen. His old commander was now holding a gun to his head, with all intent to kill him.

Lev: Back away, slowly.

Jacob backed up. He didn’t want to take any chances.

Lev: Drop your rifle.

Jacob let the rifle drop to the ground next to him. He was disarmed, with only his magnum sitting in his side holster.

Lev: Turn.

Jacob didn’t move. He could feel the gun press against his helmet.

Lev: I said turn!

Jacob knew what he had to do. The same takedown that Tolstoy taught him on the way over to Mars. Jacob turned around, sweeping his feet under Tolstoy’s. Tolstoy lost his balance, falling backwards; Jacob used his momentum to grab Tolstoy from falling and throwing him into the desk in front of him. Tolstoy hit the desk hard, he was out cold.

Jacob backed up. He had the chance to kill him, to end his traitorous existence.

But he couldn’t. He remembered what his father had said to him a few years ago.

“True courage is not the ability to take a life, Jacob. It’s the ability to know when to spare one.”

Jacob nodded. He could not kill Tolstoy, not now, and definitely not like this. He simply moved over his body and grabbed the PDA, sliding it into his bag.

Jacob grabbed his weapon and then turned around. Just as he was about to leave, he realized something. The fact that he just opened fire on this ship, secured by these insurrectionists, would cause everyone to go on alarm. They would search the entire ship.

They would move Harrison.

They would jam all communications.

Jacob shook his head.

Jacob: Lisa…

Jacob darted out of the office. He had to find his team. He had to check on Harrison. He ran off and headed the opposite way he came from. He would have to double back to make sure he could get away safely. He knew he wouldn’t be able to get a distress signal out, not any more.

Jacob was focused on finding his friends and getting his Captain off this ship alive. He only hoped he could do it. For himself and for the future of this entire operation.

April 30th, 2523
The UNSC Lonely Apollo above Mars – Bridge – 1800

Commander Rowley was on board the bridge of the Lonely Apollo, he had given command to Tolstoy on the ground until the ODSTs were counted for and the invasion on the armory would begin. He would hope that Tolstoy would be able to handle it, with nine platoons under his command, he most certainly could.

Rowley was on the bridge, finishing up a conversation with one of his officers when the general alarm sounded.

Rowley: What is it?

One of his officers turned around.

Officer: The alarm has been sounded on the ground. Ninth platoon leader and second command are dead. The crew on the bridge is currently under fire from an unknown assailant.

Rowley: Goddamnit. Cease all communications on the ground. Reinforce their position with tenth and eleventh platoon. Get a squadron down to Harrison, I want him moved and taken to the Blade. I want that entire ship searched and secured immediately!

The officer nodded and turned around, everyone on the bridge was now scattering around to get the orders out. Rowley on the other hand stood still. The alarm was piercing his ears and he was angry that somebody, or a group of people, had gotten onto his bridge. His plans and the plans of his organization were being pushed backwards.

He would have to go to drastic measures to accomplish what his CO’s needed to be done. He would have to initiate the attack on Misriah armory as soon as the other platoons on the Maximus of Blade were ready to launch.

He would lead the attack personally; allowing Tolstoy the time to get the rest of the ODSTs in their hands, along with destroying the rest of the training grounds. It had to be done, in order for everything he worked for up until this day to be worth it. Rowley had no other choice but to speed up the operation.

Rowley: Send the word to the Blade, deploy all engineering teams to the training grounds, and destroy it. Now.

The officers stopped moving for a few moments, sending in the engineering teams without knowing what truly was down there was something unexpected from Rowley. Yet, they followed his command and sent the word out. Rowley hoped in that instant that he wasn’t making a mistake.

At least an hour had passed since the alarm was sounded. Rowley had moved to his office and had begun to prepare his officers for the invasion of the armory. The main objective was to kill all workers on site, acquire all weapons and equipment they could get onto the ship, and then destroy the entire armory. The operation would deal a major blow to the UNSC, the UEG, and the civilian populace’s morale; along with the equipment would bolster their entire output of weapons and equipment.

Rowley was explaining the infiltration part of the operation when one of his officers came through the door.

Officer: Commander!

Rowley turned, as the officer saluted. Rowley nodded.

Rowley: What is it?

Officer: Our boys downstairs found eight naval officers, along with twelve ODSTs and marines.

Rowley smiled immediately.

Rowley: Bring them here.

The officer nodded.

Officer: They are en route now Commander.

Rowley nodded and dismissed the officer. The Naval officers were most likely part of Harrison’s bridge crew. The rest could either be new ODSTs or marines already stationed on Harrison’s ship. Either way, this was a big deal. They now had a large portion of Harrison’s crew, along with twenty-one, plus the new additions, ODSTs in training. Twenty plus candidates, Rowley only hoped that a few of them were the ones his Commanders wanted.

He returned his attention to the officers in his room.

Rowley: Like I said, the assault begins in two days. Tomorrow morning, Sergeant Octov and his squadron will infiltrate the armory with a delivery. Tomorrow night, at approximately 2100, Octov and his men will set explosives up throughout the entire armory. Three hours later at zero hundred, they will set off the explosives. Third and fourth platoon are coming in from the North gate, with First and Second on the West.

Rowley paused as the officers acknowledged the events.

Rowley: Five, Six, and Seven, will be placed at any possible exit. Orders are to kill anyone on sight.

Rowley paused once more and hit a few buttons on the holotable. An image of the armory came up with a several landing pads being highlighted.

Rowley: Eighth and Ninth are in charge of dismantling and moved weapons and equipment to the landing pads, our pilots will start pick-ups a half hour after the explosives go.

Rowley hit another button, lighting up a singular building.

Rowley: My squad and I are going here. Inside should be the armories CEO. Orders are to bring him back to one of the Chairmen for a little talk. He’ll remain on the Blade until further notice.

The officers all nodded. They understood the events and were ready to debrief their men.

Rowley: Return to the Blade, brief your men. Launch time is in twenty-one hours. Dismissed.

After a few minutes, Rowley was left in his office alone. He sat on the edge of his desk, smiling. The day had actually turned in his favor, all things considered. He was proud of that. Rowley knew he could count on Tolstoy to turn things around, regardless of that ODST who knocked him out. He chuckled at what Tolstoy said to him a half hour ago. He was so angry, swearing to himself that he would kill the ODST that knocked him out. Leaving him there, still alive. To think, that ODST didn’t even have the guts to kill him, he was quite ashamed.
Rowley shook his head, he refocused on the present, at the operation at hand.

He didn’t want to fail this mission.

He didn’t want to lose to the UNSC.

Not again.

April 30th, 2523
The Ultimate Glory’s Crash Site – Unknown Location – 2045

Jacob had been moving through the Ultimate Glory for almost three hours. He had checked on Harrison, who had been moved by the time he got there. Big Al’s body was gone, too. At least they care for their dead. Once he was there, he double backed and made his way to the mess hall. He had to find his team, all seventeen of them that were still down here, grouped together. Vulnerable.

Jacob continued to listen as he walked though. Every now and then he would hear an explosion, or some gunfire. He was hoping that it was just to destroy the training grounds. He was hoping that whoever these people were they weren’t slaughtering his friends.

By the time Jacob reached their last known location, they were gone. Jacob had assumed this, but he would find them nonetheless. Next stop was the mess hall, and after that, anywhere inside this God forsaken crash site.

Jacob recognized the area they were in last. It was one of the many armories inside the Destroyer. Jacob looked around; he knew this one because he spent almost all his time on this one. The fourth and smallest armory on the ship, located three levels below the Mess hall. Jacob nodded, the crash site was in total disrepair past the sixth deck, but anything above that was intact.

Jacob left the armory and walked towards a staircase, to his luck, it was still in good condition and Jacob managed to get to the second deck in no time. He moved out of the staircase and towards the Mess hall. As Jacob turned into the mess hall, the first thing he noticed was the bodies. There were so many of them, piled on top of tables, on top of each other, buried beneath large objects. Jacob cringed, how many dead soldiers were in this place because they couldn’t get to the life pods in time?

Jacob came back to reality when he heard someone cough loudly. Jacob turned around, and lying against the wall a few feet away was Private Milod, one of the marines he had met earlier. Jacob immediately flung his assault rifle onto his back and ran to Milod’s side.

Jacob: Private, can you hear me?

Milod looked upwards at Jacob and smiled. Jacob grabbed his pack off his back and dug into it for the first aid.

Jacob: Hang in there man. I’m gonna help you.

Jacob looked up and grabbed a knife he had in his boot. He cut open Milod’s shirt and was surprised to see several bullet wounds, a lot more than he imagined. Milod lifted his hand and grabbed Jacob’s arm. Jacob felt the coldness of his hands and saw the amount of blood Milod was covered in.

Milod: They took them…to their frigate.

Jacob nodded, he grabbed Milod’s hand. They must have been attacked after they moved to the mess. Milod was the only one from the group still here, so the rest…The rest were on the frigate.

Milod: You ha—have to go. They ar—are looking for all of…you.

Jacob shook his head.

Jacob: I’m not going to leave you here.

Milod nodded, taking Jacob’s arm and moving it to the sidearm at Milod’s side.

Milod: No, you’re not, Private.

Jacob hands touched the gun. He looked at Milod, dimming his visor so he could his face. He shook his head, his expression overwhelmed with grief.

Milod: I’m not going to ma—make it, Private. Too mu—much blood. And you…you can’t…

Jacob nodded.

Jacob: I can’t risk having you wounded out here.

Milod nodded, Jacob understood. He had to do it, he had to put Milod out of his misery and finally face the facts. It wasn’t training anymore. It was real life. People were going to die.

Milod: My name…name is Lawrence Milod. From Harvest. My parents live there.

Jacob nodded, he knew what Milod was asking. He smiled and grabbed the magnum.

Jacob: I’ll tell them…and I’ll do this clean.

Milod nodded, he smiled. Jacob grabbed the knife he had placed to the side. He looked at Milod, holding his cold hand in his left hand, as the cold steel reflected his face in his right hand. Jacob pressed the knife against Milod’s chest. Jacob saw Milod’s necklace, seeing the Cross dangling in front of him, he nodded.

Jacob: God speed, Lawrence.

Jacob pressed the blade into Lawrence’s chest in one fluent push. Lawrence took a deep breath and smiled. Moments later, he was dead.

Jacob removed the blade and cleaned it. He grabbed Milod’s tags and sat there for some time. So many people were dead, dying, captured, or out there lost. He was alone…again. Jacob had to do something. It had to be big and it had to be done quickly.

Jacob darkened his visor and stood upwards. He grabbed his assault rifle and looked around.

Alright…they want a war.

Jacob clicked the safety of his assault rifle and left the mess hall.

They’ll get a war.

That concludes Part 2. Part 3 is in the works and we have barely scratched the surface.
First post has been updated with length and any necessary information.
Any guesses, concerns, or otherwise advice?
Leave it in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Hells Sniper; 10-22-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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Alright, I re-read the STB from the start, and I must say that this flows very well. I am realty enjoying this thus far. I won't drop any spoilers in my comments, but I will say that I have always been a huge fan of people dealing with really heavy stuff while under extreme pressure. I can say that you have executed this very well, and I really can feel Jacob's strife with the whole matter.

Jacob is basically a noob in this STB. He has ziltch experience, short of some basic training. I really liked how you portrayed Jacob less as a bloodthirsty new recruit, and more like an uneasy and unsure soldier. This fact alone really sold me on this STB. You did a really good job on part 2. Kudos. I look forward to part 3.

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