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A Rescue

Staff Sergeant Pierce Hae-jin Hayase walked slowly through a small hallway. The carpet floor under him was once white but now was black and gray from a heavy layer of ash and debris. The walls were black as well and on one section a large hole had been produced from what looked like a spike grenade from the small pieces of spikes along the other wall. He placed one boot in front of the other slowly trying ever so hard to prevent any kind of sound. Then a painting fell from the wall and crashed to the ground loudly. Pierce immediately dropped to his knees and leveled his M6G pistol. He held perfectly still as he waited for a reaction from any unknown Covenant. Nothing.

Slowly Pierce let himself get back up and walked to one of the rooms that connected with the hall. He restrained himself from cursing as he entered the door to go nose to nose with a downed Pelican. He could see blood covering the inside of the windshield but nothing inside. As he moved around it to the Pelicans left side he almost tripped on spent shell casings. An empty MA5C Assault Rifle in the arms of a dead Marine, in front of the Marine was four dead grunts and a jackal. Pierce kept moving slowly, it sounded like there was something inside the troop bay. Pierce wanted more than anything to grab the empty assault rifle and a magazine from the dead Marine but he knew that reloading the weapon would make to much noise. So with his pistol and the five rounds he had left he slowly stepped over the body of a second Marine then held his body against the Pelican’s hull. Taking a breath he quickly turned the corner with his pistol leveled. Nothing. Inside the bay were five bodies, four where civilians, probably being evacuated or rescued. He entered and looked around. The Marine lay on top of a man, Pierce turned him over and was sighed in relief. The Marine had a battle rifle across his chest, fully loaded along with ten magazines. Pierce took the weapon and continued to search the body. He grabbed extra ammunition for his pistol and three grenades. Then also grabbed a MA5C assault rifle and fifteen of the more abundant magazines. Pierce continued to look around, even entering the cockpit but stopped himself after seeing the fate of the two pilots. The copilot’s body lacked a head on its shoulders, instead it was on his lap. The pilot’s lower half had been blown away from underneath by what was probably a fuel rod round.

Pierce then looked at the bodies of the civilians. They had been given pistols and a kit of food stuffs and medical supplies, the basics of survival gear. There were three men and one woman who looked more like she was sleeping then dead. Pierce then grabbed two of the kits then searched the woman. She was Asian, black hair dyed to a reddish brown that came to her shoulders, her skin was lightly tanned and smooth to the touch, blood stained her torn and ragged blue jeans. Pierce reached across her body to grab her kit when brown eyes began to stare at him. Startled Pierce jumped back and tripped over an arm falling on his back. The woman was alive. "Shit.” He cursed to himself then went back. She looked at him and tried to open her mouth but was too weak to do so. He put his arm behind her head and lifted it up slowly bringing his canteen to her mouth. She eagerly drank quickly emptying half. Her eyes began to close again when Pierce shook her. “Stay awake!” he yelled in a harsh whisper. The eyes flickered to life again and looked at him. “What’s your name?” he asked as he used his other arm to search for a wound. Her rubbed her arms and legs and felt no breaks and smiled to himself when she tried to stop his hand from going to chest, he had simply meant to feel a heartbeat and feel for broken ribs but from her torn skirt and shirt in just the right areas he could understand why. Rape had become a common crime that was hard to control, men were getting scared with the Covenant’s presence and were afraid they wouldn’t get many chances.

“What’s your name I said!” Pierce whispered in another harsh voice trying to keep her conscious.

Hanako Asahina.” She whispered weakly.

“Nice to meet ya Hanako.” Pierce said, he felt blood between his fingers and tried to find a wound but realized the blood was from another person. “I’m Pierce.”

“Pierce.” She whispered again.

“That’s right, Hanako what is it you do?” Pierce grabbed the Marines canteen and brought it to her lips to drink again.

“Sing and dance.”

“That so?” Pierce tried to sound comforting but he was nervous, he had hoped to be completely silent to prevent any remaining Covenant from hearing.

“What do you do?”

Pierce smiled to himself, he thought it was somewhat a foolish question but he answered anyways. “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper.”

She looked up at his helmet, the covering hid his face and all she could see was her own reflection. She then recognized the uniform, she had seen many of the posters around office buildings. ODSTs were the best of the UNSC, a step down from Spartans.

“How old are you?” Pierce continued to question her then slowly moved her into a sitting position with her back against the hull.

“Twenty-one. You?” Hanako could feel herself finally awakening, she felt tired and weak still but seeing the soldier made her feel secured.

“Same, can you walk?” Pierce then took a drink for himself, he didn’t realize until now how thirsty he actually was. Hanako nodded slightly with hesitation, she wasn’t exactly sure for herself. Pierce threw the empty canteen away then helped bring Hanako to her feet, after getting up and slight corrections of her balance Pierce realized that she was pretty tall for an Asian. He had grown up around them as a kid and knew for the most part Asian women were somewhat short. But Hanako almost came up to his six feet stature. “Listen I gotta try and find a radio in this mess, can you watch my back?” He asked as Hanako straightened out her torn clothing. She looked at him with some hesitation then agreed, Pierce handed her his pistol. “Just point and shoot, don’t worry I’ll be right behind you, if you spot anything moving tell me first.” Pierce knew she wouldn’t be able to cover him well but he did know that giving her the duty she would stay focused and alert. Hanako took the pistol, it fit perfectly in her hands. She knelt to a need behind a piece of metal that was once connected to the hull the way she had seen the Marines do when they were rescuing her and the others. Pierce had no choice but to go back into the cockpit. He ignored the smell of gore and ignored the fact that the head on the copilot’s lap had its eyes open wide and staring directly at him. He tried the radio but no use, plasma had burned the interior away. Nothing to help them.

“Pierce…where’s the rest of your team?” Hanako asked quietly as he exited the cockpit with nothing more than a food bar he had taken from the pilot. Breaking it in half he handed Hanako the larger of the pieces and then removed his helmet. Hanako looked up at him as he stuffed the food bar into his mouth and chewed slowly. His hair was dark brown and short, the ends touching his eyebrows. Dark brown eyes stared out the gaping hole that was once a roof that the Pelican had crashed through, overhead a crow flew by. If Hanako had to guess he was half Asian.

“Gone.” Pierce said after swallowing. Hanako kept looking up at him and slowly ate the bar, she wouldn’t press the matter. “We got to go soon, this is Brute territory and I don’t know how far it is to friendly grounds.”

Pierce had wanted to put his helmet back on but kept it off, he felt that wearing it might frighten Hanako into thinking danger might be around. So far they had moved a couple miles away from the crash site and met no Covenant forces. But he figured it would be something that wouldn’t last for too long. Hanako had been a good trooper and kept up with Pierce’s quick but quick pace, she had not made a single noise besides accidently stepping on a piece of glass that quickly broke under her weight. Pierce had placed it there purposefully though, he wanted to see what she would do under the conditions, and she passed for the most part. When the glass cracked and made a loud snapping sound she held still for a moment but then realized what had to be done. She leveled her pistol outwards then knelt to the ground slowly to try to avoid touching the glass. Pierce then gave her small instructions of getting down as quickly as possible if something like it were to happen again later.

“Blood.” Hanako whispered hoarsely since she hadn’t spoken for hours. In an open room with part of the room caved in from lack of support of two walls was a thick layer of red blood. Pierce saw it and with his battle rifle leveled approached, Hanako followed close behind. Pierce knelt down next to it and put his finger into the pool, it was sticky and thick, too thick for human blood. He looked for the source and soon found a Brute hand jutting out from under a large piece of cement and debris.

Pierce turned around to see Hanako’s worried eyes, she must have been scared to death. Getting up he put an arm around her and walked her away from the scene when there was a roar followed by plasma fire. They both dropped instantly, Pierce on top of Hanako trying to cover her with his body. Hanako felt the pressure on her body and knew what Pierce was doing. But after what felt like an eternity they still heard the sounds of a battle but not around them. Getting up they went to the caved in roof and were able to get to the top over looking a park.

The park was once green, outlined with healthy trees and gardens of bright flowers. Near the center was a child’s jungle gym. A couple cemented sidewalks snaked their way around the park. But now it was different, the trees were blacked from being burned and some were broken in half at the trunk. The flowerbeds had been burned away, only a few spots left untouched but were soon covered with blood or trampled by feet. The grass had a thick layer of ash and blood on it, the playground was in ruins, bodies covered the area.

Pierce and Hanako looked out, watching a firefight. Elites had clashed with Brutes, each side numbering around or over a hundred. From what Pierce had heard earlier it seemed like the Elites had the first swing, quickly firing at the sight of the passing Brutes. Elites armed with Plasma Rifles, Carbines, Needlers, Beam Rifles, and Plasma Swords were at a standoff with the Brutes wielding, Maulers, Spike Rifles, Bruteshots, Carbines, and Gravity Hammers. From a distance the Elites made effective use of their snipers quickly taking down the lead elements or causing Brute Chieftains to use their heavy shielding early. Brutes with the grenade launching Bruteshots fired continuously to lob the explosives to the Elites. One unfortunate Elite was hit in quick succession wasting away his energy shield then blown to pieces. Other Brutes used pure strength to lob heavy spike grenades across the park to some effect. Elites dropped from the mass of spikes and shrapnel. The Brutes realized they were less effective at a ranged battle took cover wherever they could get it, some resulting in easy kills for Elite snipers. A Brute Chieftain wielding a gravity hammer different from the others waved behind him and let out a load roar. Then the ground began to tremble, A Golden clad Elite wielding two Plasma swords knew what was coming and made a similar command.

Soon Pierce and Hanako watched as a mass of three hundred small Grunts from each side charge and slaughter each other as they made their way across the park. “What do we do?” Hanako asked as she tried to take her eyes off the battle and to Pierce.

“Wait.” Pierce replied slowly as he watched, “Elites are now our allies, but if were did anything to help we’ll be attacked by Brutes real soon.” Pierce itched to use his battle rifle and use it against the Brutes but he stopped the urge. “We’ll wait and see what happens, for the most part start trying to look for a way towards the Elites.”

After the Grunts had slaughtered each other to the point only sixty or so remained they separated and still charged forward towards their enemies. Grunts sided with Elites charged the Brute line and were cut down by a hail of spike rounds. Grunts fighting with the Brutes were burned away from plasma fire. The Brute Chieftain yelled another command and now Jackals came towards the line. After going past they stopped formed a wall with their energy shields and left small firing holes for their sniper allies. The sniper Jackals got good hits but were countered by the Elite’s command.

Six Hunters lumbered to the front and formed a small line, but this line wasn’t for protection. Each of their fuel rod cannons connected with their arms glowed bright green. Then after a moment six large beams knifed through the air and into the shielded lines. The Jackal’s shields burned away the second they were hit and their owners with them. The beams then worked their way across the line, at a steady pass the Jackals were disappearing. As only a ten remained the Hunters charged forward stopped then saw the new threat. As the Jackals were being decimated the Chieftain called for his last group of expendables, the Drones. As the Drones made their way to the battlefield they made their usual mistake of staying bunched together, two of the Hunters saw the opportunity and fired taking down a good amount of the insects. Then they began to spread making difficult targets. They swarmed around one Hunter and with their combined force tore away at his exposed orange flesh. The small worms that composed a Hunter were torn away and died as they hit the ground. The Hunter fell dead still with some of the drones on him, his partner fired and burned away the swarm off his dead brethren. Soon one more Hunter fell to the same style of attack by the Drones who were then defeated by the mass of fire coming from the Elites.

The Brute Chieftain roared once more, this time the whole of the Brute force came, they all stood and charged forward first with a barrage of grenades from Bruteshots and thrown spike grenades. From the mass of explosives another Hunter fell. The three remaining Hunters stood their ground for a moment as the Brutes charged forward, as they narrowed the empty space the Hunters fired taking away more Brutes then brought up their shielded arms and moved forward, with the momentum they swung down. One Brute was thrown into the air as all its bones were crushed then died when it hit the ground. Another was smashed into the ground as its blood and gore shot up into the air showering others. Another lost its head in a high swing.

Now the Elites charged forward, as they moved they fired on mass with their weapons taking down Brutes and as they got close they took their energy swords. The air cracked as they swords were activated. The Brutes and Elites clashed, an Elite cut a Brute in half only to be smashed to bits by a gravity hammer. The Brute Chieftain smashed through numbers of Elite as he made its way towards the golden clad Elite who did the same, slashing through skin to get near the Chieftain.

Pierce watched as Elites would slash at a Brute’s chest then with a weapon in the other hand fire the burning plasma into the head or already burning wound. He looked at Hanako who also watched closely, her hands were white knuckled as she held her pistol tighter and tighter. He had failed to notice he was doing the same. Now the most of the Hunters were dead, one even fell with its heavy body onto a Brute crushing him. The Elites and Brutes slaughtered each other, an even match. But the golden clad Elite knew that slowly the battle would turn to for the Brutes. Pierce knew this as well, so he aimed through his scope and fired a three round burst. The rounds sailed through the air and blew away the back of a Brute’s head as he was about to swing a gravity hammer at an Elite. Another Brute fell the same way then another. One Brute was hit in the back of the head but its shields were strong at the time and easily deflected the rounds however it turned its back to look for the shooter, leaving himself open. An Elite bursted forwards with two swords he had picked up from the fallen and thrusted each through the Brutes back exposing the ends at his chest.

“Hanako get out of here.” Pierce said harshly as he kept looking through the scope and fired another burst. She hesitated and said no. “You got to get out of here!” momentarily taking his eyes away from the scope to stare at her. She nodded her head no again. “Fuck, then at least go to that building there!” Pierce pointed to the building next to them, a small bridge connected the two. Hanako hesitated then slowly got up and went. Pierce knew that soon enough he would be under fire.

The Chieftain paused his attack forward towards the golden Elite to look at the source of the firing. When he saw a flash of burst fire he yelled and waved his arms, seven Brutes followed his command and went towards the attacker. One used a bruteshot and fired causing the sniper to stop.

Pierce coughed, dust covered him from the explosion. The grenade had hit low on the wall causing him to be thrown into the air. He had seen the seven Brutes coming but wasn’t fast enough to fire. Now he put his helmet on and was able to breathe filtered air. He new he had about a minute before the Brutes would reach him and he would make he most of it. He kept sniping, it was a stupid idea but he figured he’d be dead no matter how much he prepared for the incoming Brutes, might as well help out the Elites as much as he could.

Soske Straom was the golden clad Elite, he was in command of the entire force here. He witnessed as a number of Brutes fell from a hidden sniper, he had watched as the Brute Chieftain commanded for a group to attack the shooter. The sniper had helped him and his Elites, now he would help him.

Pierce fired his last burst and reloaded, the bastard’s shield still held. As he was about to fire on him again he saw the movement in the corner of his eye. He threw himself backwards then rolled to his right as spike rounds impacted the area he had just occupied. Recovering from his roll he brought the rifle up and squeezed off a quick burst, a lucky one at that. The Brute’s shielding was weak from previous battle as plasma had leaked from broken edges, the first round had broken the shield while the two others tore their way through the thick skull. The Brute collapsed firing the last few spike rounds into the air, one even broke through the second Brute’s shielding and dug an inch into its flesh.

Pierce fired another burst at a fully shielded Brute, he never saw that the second’s shield was already gone. He threw a grenade and dove again avoiding another volley of spikes. The grenade had been thrown in haste and with too much force rolling harmlessly behind them.

Hanako had ran into the edge of the building when she heard an explosion, she looked behind her when she saw Pierce fighting off six Brutes. She raised her pistol and fired but she was inexperienced and not prepared for the weapon’s kick. The pistol almost flew out of her grasp and the round went wide missing completely. She tried to get a better grasp but her hands shook as she watched Pierce diving into another roll as a grenade landed near him. The explosion knocked him down as he tried to get into a kneeling stance and soon a Brute had closed the distance to him. Hanako got the grasp and fired again, the round hit the Brute’s shoulder and made him hesitate for a moment, long enough for Pierce to place a grenade between the Brute’s large legs and get up to run. Hanako fired again as Pierce sprinted then dove as the grenade went off. The Brute went airborne then split into several pieces hitting the ground at different intervals.

Pierce reached for his battle rifle but realized that it did not survive the blast, it had split in two. He grabbed the assault rifle still on his back and fired a long burst sweeping the barrel right then left then right again. One Brute staggered as its shield dropped and a round hit its thigh. Pierce watched the ammunition counter hit 00 and knew he was done for, he wouldn’t have time to reload, maybe time for another grenade then run towards them to give Hanako time to run. But it was too late, another Brute approached him and picked him up by his arm. Pierce threw a weak punch to the Brute’s face when it brought him up to his level. Pissed now the Brute reached for his spike rifle to impale Pierce. But then Soske’s command intervened.

A Phantom drop ship panted green came to a stop hovering fifteen above the roof, its turret burned red as it unleashed a stream of plasma at the Brutes furthest away, a Grunt fired with the side plasma turret as well as six black armored Elites leapt down and fired with carbines. The Brute holding Pierce had turned his attention away giving Pierce a chance. He reached for the spike grenade at its waist, grabbed hold and activated it. Then with all his might he brought the grenade down onto the Brute’s neck where it met the shoulders, the side spikes dug deep into flesh cutting through bone and stayed, then in another movement Pierce brought his legs upwards onto the chest, he legs folded tight. As the Brute roared from the pain Pierce kicked escaping the grip and fell a few feet away. The Brute reached for the grenade but it was too late, it went off taking away its upper body with it.

Hanako ran to him when he landed on the roof, he seemed limp as he lay there. She knelt there beside him shaking at his armor trying to make him move. “PIERCE!” She yelled not hearing the footsteps come near her. When she did hear them she turned around with the pistol in one hand and the other still on his armor. The Elite stepped back as he raised his arms slightly.

“Don’t shoot, we are here to provide assistance.” The Elite spoke through his translator, he took not of the watery eyed female and knew he would have to be careful of how he handled things. “Let my medic take a look at him.”

Hanako slowly lowered her pistol letting it fall out of her hand and hit the ground. Another Elite approached and took off the helmet, blood trickled down from the inside of Pierce’s mouth. His eyes were closed and he seemed at peace. The Elite brought up a small purple pad and held it to Pierce’s forehead, “Unconscious, nothing is serious, he will live to fight another day.”

“We will take you to our encampment, it will be safer there but we must hurry.” The Elite replied, then two others picked up Pierce carefully as Hanako followed gently holding his hand. They then boarded the Phantom through its gravity lift and were off again.

Soske stood in front of a fire, it was primitive but for some reason found it more satisfying then their field heaters. Many of the others thought so to, they had formed many groups and huddled around numerous fires. Soske’s force had won the battle at a heavy price, his Unggoy were gone and he only had two Lekgolo left. As for his Sangheili, of the original hundred-fifty that had begun the battle only sixty-seven remained. The remaining would be his best, they survived a hard fight that he himself thought would die. However they had won and he had to give some credit to the humans. The human in black armor had taken down a number of his enemies, giving Soske the chance to face the Brute Chieftain. Now the Chieftain’s prices gravity hammer, the hammer had differed from the rest. At each end was a spiked tip that could easily pierce the thick skin of a Brute, behind the hammer were three large blades fanning out. Soske had watched as the Chieftain had used the blades to impale one of his Sangheili then in another movement swung the hammer onto the back of another Sangheili distracted by battle, the force had broken its back and sent him sailing into a wall. But now the hammer stood perfectly erect in the park they had fought on with the Chieftains had placed on top, underneath it carefully hidden was a plasma mine ready to burn away the hammer and anyone foolish enough to try and take it.

“The human has regained consciousness sir.” A Sangheili said from behind Soske.

“Good, take me to him, then rest and eat. Refresh yourself and be ready for another battle soon to come.” Soske said putting his hand on the others shoulder, Soske had taken notice during the battle of his kills, at least fifteen Brutes. Soske then walked to where the humans had been placed. There was a fire on both side, as one Human was asleep and the other sitting, they held hands, surrounding them were Sangheili busy with different tasks ranging from eating, sleeping, preparing, or just normal conversation. Seeing the one in the armor sitting Soske stopped behind him and knelt down to his level, many began to watch. “Are you well human?”

Pierce turned his head slowly at the golden Elite squat down beside him. “Yes sir, thanks to you and your Elites.” Pierce felt nervous, for three years the Elites were his enemy and now in the past two weeks they had become his allies.

“And the other?”

Pierce looked at Hanako as she slept peacefully, when he had awoke she was already asleep and still holding his hand, he hadn’t let go. “She’s okay.”

“I want to thank you for your assistance during the battle with the Brutes.” Soske said taking a seat next to the ODST, though they had once been enemies he know viewed him as a valuable ally.

“Thank you for saving her.” Pierce said quietly. “Sir, may I ask what your force is doing here?” Pierce had wondered about it earlier, there shouldn’t be any friendly forces nearby.

“Our cruiser, Resilient Faith, was attacked and I ordered we abandon ship and take the fight to the ground, we are trying to fight our way back toward your lines now.” Soske remembered running with his officers through burning hallways aboard the ship as it had been ambushed by four Brute ships, he had taken down one and damaged another before taking to many hits. “And you?” he saw the ODSTs eyes fade and stare out, he had learned that it was similar to what his kind did as well.

Pierce couldn’t help but squeeze hard on Hanako’s hand when the Elite had asked the question, hard enough for Hanako to wake. She slowly opened her eyes and stared at Pierce who hadn’t noticed her awakening.

“My platoon was ordered to engage from our frigate Kaze when the Brutes entered the area. We were sent ahead of the main force as scouts when we got engaged.” Pierce thought back to when he rushed off the Pelican ramp and onto an empty street. After the platoon spread out to different positions they began receiving fire after only being in the area for a little over an hour. “My squad were holding off Brutes and waiting to be evacuated when we were hit with Wraiths, then Banshees took out our Pelicans. One by one my guys fell till it was just me and a private.” The private was one of the newer guys Pierce remembered then thought of his face. “We made a fighting retreat then ran for it until a Banshee took him out. Then it was just me, till I found Hanako here.”

Soske imagined the soldier’s fight as his men fell. “How long have you been here?”

“That was about four days ago. I found her early today.” Pierce looked at what he thought was a sleeping Hanako. Instead she had heard every word. “What are you and your Elites going to do now?”

“We will fight our way to Separatists grounds.” Soske said he looked around at his Sangheili who gave him approving nods. “It is best you stay with us, we can both gain.” He watched the soldier nod his head, “We have some of your weapons that we found, once you’re done resting please inspect them and do as you like with them. Though we are allies we prefer our own weapons.”

“Yes sir.” Pierce got up and Soske asked for one of the Elites beside him to guide him to the weapons. They walked through multiple groups of Elites with their burning fires, they gave looks at him but didn’t mind so much. Actually now that he really thought about it, he was terrified, he had never been so close to the Elites without trying to kill them.

“Here they are, please keep in the mind we leave in two days time.” The Elite said then turned away after Pierce gave him a salute, he wasn’t sure who pulled higher rank but he wanted to show respect to his former enemy. The Elite left and Pierce turned to see stacked against the large purple supply containers were the dark grey outlines of human weapons. There was a sniper rifle and plenty of ammunition, assault rifles, a shotgun, and a pair of M7s, more than what he could carry. He checked the ammunition of each weapon and calculated the weight, so he opted for just taking the sniper rifle and shotgun, he also brought with him the M7, Hanako should take one just in case. He looked around, and sat wanting to be alone.

Pierce wondering about the other guys he had served with, her remembered only a few of them. He remembered his first mission, his baptism of fire, how he had to risk running to a crashed Pelican and help the crew, that was when he was still a marine and only a Corporal. Now he had become an ODST and for some reason found himself in the middle of an Elite camp with a Japanese girl who sings and dances. Odd but he preferred it to combat, mainly because combat had taught him to appreciate the small things in life. To fully appreciate peace you had to experience the hell of war. And he felt that he began to experience some peace, when he woke and felt the softness of her skin on her hand, it had been warm and strangely comforting. Thinking of her he realized that he began to miss her, could he have fallen in love? He had never felt it before at least he didn’t think so, he had previously had close bonds with his comrades but they were now looking down on him from what he believed would be heaven. Now he missed her and wanted to be by her side, after this odds were he wouldn’t see her again and she would be the last female contact outside of military.

He got up and walked with the weapons at hand, he passed by a group of Elites and saw Soske was there talking to them, the golden Elite looked at him and nodded his head towards him. Pierce shifting the shotgun to his other hand gave the Elite a salute. The others looked at them, some of the Elites were resentful, they had fought the humans for so long and now allies. However some even welcomed their new partners, the humans had proven themselves as strong opponents. Pierce continued on his way towards Hanako still lying down. He sat beside her looking into her closed eyes, some of her dyed hair fell in the way and he slowly brushed it aside but her hand stopped him. “Sleep.” She said quietly holding his hand. Pierce smiled softly and kept looking at her closed eyes.

“Soon.” He replied then moved away, he didn’t want to but they were still in a combat zone and he wanted to check the weapons once more. Pierce sat for a moment, he wasn’t really sure on what to do, maybe he would just stay there or maybe he would actually get some sleep. He always tried to plan things out before hand but now everything was up in the air. He smiled to himself then lay next to Hanako. Hanako tugged at his shoulders and he slowly moved himself closer until he saw a soft smile crease her face. Pierce laid there for a while somewhat nervous of what to do when she took his hand again. “Baka,” she whispered with closed eyes, “go to sleep.”

Pierce smiled and closed his eyes bringing his face close to hers, “Hai, hai.” Then slowly feel asleep. He felt warmth that he hadn’t before, it was nice. Now he had a real reason he would fight.

Pierce woke up to see Hanako looking down on him, she was sitting next to him with a cup as steam rose from the top. “Ohaiyo.” She said quietly, “Coffee?” Pierce got up and slowly and took the cup and sipped, it wasn’t the way he liked it but he didn’t mind at the moment.

“How’d you get this?”

“There was a coffee shop right there, most of the food was ruined though, there was one coffee maker so.” Hanako said bring her knees up to her chest then resting her head on them. “What are we going to do today?” He sat up and looked around, the Elites had set up guards now. Well actually they were probably up last night as well, it was stupid of him not to notice, he had let his guard down. “The Elites are going to stay one more day then we got to move again.”

“Will we follow them?”

“Yeah, I’m going to go talk to their leader. Politics and all.” Pierce said with a slight smile. Hanako gave him a look and pushed his shoulder.

“Don’t screw us over baka.”

Pierce laughed, Hanako was pretty he admitted it. He liked her a lot but he wasn’t exactly sure of what to do. He never had a girlfriend or much of a relationship with a women before, funny how screwed up war was.

“What will happen after?” Hanako asked quietly.


“After all this. What’s going to happen?”

He looked into the cup. The black coffee made slow circles inside, steam still kept coming. Then he looked at Hanako, her face dug deeply into her knees. Her brown eyes seemed cloudy, even though there were two fires near them her body trembled slightly causing her hair to come over her face.

He didn’t know how to answer. After this what would happen was he would be put into another unit and into combat again while she was taken to an underground bunker. Contact would be strong at first then end up fading, he had seen his other squad members do the same in different situations but it all ended the same. “We can still see each other.” Pierce lied.

A smile broke her face, “Really?” He nodded, she didn’t really know much about the military but it would make her happy for now.

“Alright, I’m going to go talk to the Elite now, you stay here and try to get some food alright?” Pierce pushed himself up and gave her a smile and thumbs up. Hanako returned the smile and got up as well.

Hanako looked up Pierce, then surprised him and herself. She gave him a kiss. They held each other for a moment unsure of what to do, they let go slowly both shocked. “Ganbatte.” Hanako said softly then went away. Pierce watched her, she had wished him luck, maybe it was for him or to herself he wasn’t quite sure. Just the lingering thought of the kiss was on his mind, so much that he tripped over a rock and pulled himself up embarrassed as Elites watched with grins on their faces.

Soske watched as the human came towards his tent. Over the night they had set it up along with communications equipment, heaters, and chairs. He had prepared for this earlier knowing the human would probably want to talk. Soske knowing that they were still be resentment towards each other for the decades of war wanted to give him a gift as a show of trust.

Pierce came towards the tent’s entrance and entered, back straight and a crispy salute he tried to make himself as respectful to the Elites as he could. Soske walked towards him and towered over, “Have a seat please.” Pierce took the seat, it didn’t fit him well but whatever. “I’ve never liked politics.” Soske said calmly as he handed Pierce a glass, his Sangheili had found water earlier. “Yes well neither have I.” Pierce said somewhat nervous. He was no politician and had no idea on how to handle this situation. “But things must be done, we were enemies less then a month ago and no we fight side by side.”

“Yes, quite true. Though I’m unaware of how this war started, or why you were not asked to join our Covenant before this war all I know is that you were once an enemy. I destroyed your ships and fought your kind on multiple planets as I’m sure you have done the same.” Soske said matter of fact, he looked into Pierce’s eyes and saw no fear and also no sign of anger or revenge.

“But we are allies now, and to be honest how can we trust you? How many planets have you glassed. And like you said, you don’t even know the reasons for doing it.” Pierce said after drinking the water.

“I’m not sure how we can repay your kind for what has happened, but I intend to respect this alliance and hope we can avoid any other conflicts with each other.” Soske got up and went to a makeshift table. “Please accept this as a sign of trust.”

Pierce looked as Soske brought to him in both hands something wrapped. Soske even gave a slight bow to him and Pierce immediately stood up. Slowly he accepted the gift. He looked at Soske who nodded his head to open it. Slowly he pulled away a purple cloth to review the peace offering. At first he hadn’t recognized it, but after a moment he knew what it was. In his hands was the handle of a deactivated energy sword, it was engraved with a design that was beautiful and covered the handle. He grasped it and marveled at its deadly beauty, he had fought Elites wielding the weapon but never grasped it. “I know a weapon doesn’t make the best peace offering but know that we Sangheili use this as a sign of respect.”

Pierce looked at the weapon and back towards Soske. “I’m sorry, I have no gift to give you.”

“There is no need. Let us drink and rest for now ally.” Soske said drinking more of his water. He watched Pierce look at the weapon, he placed it by his side and thanked him again.

Hanako pushed over something burned black, it might have been a chair or table she really wasn’t sure. She had checked three restaurants so far and only found little things for her and Pierce to eat. She found some bread mainly and kept them in a small bag she had taken with her. She hummed to herself and softly moved herself around in her dance. She hadn’t told Pierce who she really was, actually she was somewhat disappointed he couldn’t tell from the beginning. But thinking of Pierce brought on the memory of the kiss. She stopped moving and the softness of her voice stopped as well. Slowly she brought her fingers to her lips, the feeling was unexpected. “Baka…what are you doing to yourself.” She whispered to herself. She knew Pierce had lied, she realized what would happen afterwards when they would be rescued.

Hanako sat down and leaned against a counter in the rubble of a restaurant, the tables and chairs were all turned over and covered with ash. She sighed and thought, but thinking of Pierce seemed to hurt. What was he doing? Was he thinking of her? “Baka…”

Hanako listened to the silence, but then heard footsteps. They were light and walking slowly, she wondered if it was Pierce but felt a chill run down her spine when she heard a birdlike chirp. She shook and ever so slowly tried to peer over the counter. Less than twenty feet away were the bright blue shields of a pair of Jackals. They hadn’t noticed her, preoccupied as they tried to maneuver around the Elite camp. There were four of them holding the round shields and a fifth behind them holding the long frame of a beam rifle. They chirped quietly to each other, then slowly they formed a wall with the shields. Hanako reached for her side, she had luckily taken a pistol with her. She grabbed it and slowly brought it up, in the process hitting a chair frame which in turn crashed to the ground with a thud. The Jackals turned in surprise and Hanako fired then screamed.

Pierce and Soske jumped from their seats when they heard the gunshots and a scream. Five shots rang out. “HANAKO!” Pierce jumped over the seat and sprinted towards the source of the shots and soon could see Soske running right beside him. Other Elites close by had already taken action by firing towards the building. However soon the camp received fire from all sides, it seemed as though the Brutes had surrounded them.

“HANAKO!” Pierce yelled again, he leaped over another obstacle and reached for the only weapon he had. The energy sword. Not really knowing how he activated it and felt the heat through his gloved hand. It cracked as the plasma formed the blade, he was close to the building now. He made another leap and saw the back of a Jackal firing a plasma pistol and immediately cut the birdlike creature in half. “HANAKO!”

“Here!” Soske said from the counter afterward he moved towards a broken window frame and fired a plasma rifle at a group of Grunts.

Pierce came to her side quickly, she was crying and balled up, the pistol by her side. Pierce didn’t speak, he could only search for any wounds. He finally breathed finding none. Hanako began to sob and Pierce hugged her. “It’s okay it’s okay.” He saw four bodies of other Jackals and realized what she had done. “You did great. It’s okay I’m here okay.” Hanako could only keep crying for now.

“We’re surrounded!” Soske said looking out as the camp took fire from all sides, he couldn’t be more grateful for the woman, because of her shots his Sangheili were not caught in complete surprise. He turned when he heard heavy footsteps and saw the large furred body of a Brute stand over him. Soske swung the plasma rifle with all his might, it met with the Brute’s face and the weapon snapped. With a second movement Soske reached for his energy sword, second nature kicked in and the weapon cut through the Brute’s body with ease. The Brute roared in pain and began to flinch, almost uncontrollably but then Soske saw the cause. A spike round flew through the Brute’s shoulder and almost made contact with Soske. He dived to the right just as more spike rounds pierced the dead Brute and exited through the chest. He brought the sword up and swung down cutting off an extended hand as it made its way through a doorway. The hand fell and dropped the spike rifle.

Pierce looked as multiple spike rounds hit the wall next to them, he saw Soske cut the hand off of a Brute. “Wait here!” He yelled and leapt forward activated the sword again and swung down on the Brute. The sword cut deep through the shoulder and into the chest. He swung again cutting at the knees and the Brute fell revealing cowering Grunts. He reached down and grabbed a large spike grenade and threw, it hit a Grunt in the chest and immediately impaled it, and then the explosion came. The floor shook with the detonation which quickly killed the Grunts. “Let’s get outa here!”

“Agreed!” Soske said, he grabbed the woman and lifted her over his shoulder to run as he saw Pierce take the fallen spike rifle and give them covering fire.

Pierce looked around, the camp was in a bad position, they were surrounded by buildings, few were even two stories which were taken advantage of by Jackal snipers. However they were being dealt with by a pair of Hunters. It seemed encouraging knowing that the two large behemoths were fighting on his side now. Looking back he saw that Soske and Hanako had reached cover, now it was his turn.

Hanako watched Pierce get up and sprint from his cover. Rubble was being kicked up around him as he made his way towards her. A plasma grenade went off behind him, the ground shook heavily and he stumbled forward but quickly picked himself up and continued. She saw him almost make it when he dove to the left and roll into a crater, she wondered why until another explosion shook the earth. It was heavy that rattled her bones. “Damned Brutes! Wraiths!” She heard Soske yell.

Pierce felt the ground stop shaking, he no longer wanted to move. He felt the coldness of the cement against his face. “PIERCE!” He heard and knew who it was. He rubbed his eyes and readied himself to run again. He came to the lip of the crater and was about to run when a trail of plasma swept past him. “FUCK MYSELF!” he yelled dropping back into the confines of the crater. A plasma turret was fixed on him and beginning to burn away his cover.

Soske traced the fire to its source, a Brute firing a turret from the hip on the roof of a building. Soske roared and immediately the Hunter pair clattered their way towards his position, he gave a command and the pair split. One headed towards Pierce’s position and the other stayed put, its weapon glowing. The green glow light the blue armor and warmed the space around them, then with a splash of heat a green trail made its way from the arm to the Brute.

Pierce slowly brought his head up, his cover stopped melting away, but the sun was gone from view and he was covered in a shadow. Then he noticed the large armored Hunter stand before him, its shield raised to protect them. Pierce took the opportunity and ran just as the other Hunter fired. He quickly looked over his shoulder at the target and saw the Brute become washed with the fire then burn away in an explosion.

Hanako waved Pierce over and he jumped into their cover and landed with a crash. He tried to catch his breath as he laid there for a moment stealing glances at Hanako from time to time. “Grab your sniper rifle! My left flank is folding!” Soske yelled interrupting. Pierce responded immediately, he ran in a zigzag back to where he and Hanako had stayed and found the weapons then quickly ran back to Soske.

“Look over her!” He yelled quickly putting the M7 in front of her, he stopped for a moment and gave her a kiss as well then got up and ran towards the left. Hanako watched him running and put on his helmet. She then took hold of the weapon, Pierce hadn’t quiet told her how to handle it but hopefully it’d be like the pistol she had used earlier.

Pierce sprinted and came to a sliding crash next to a pair of red clad Elites. He brought up the sniper rifle over their cover and snapped off two shots bringing down a Brute and Grunt as it tried to set up a turret. One of the Elites looked at him then nodded to the other. “Focus your fire on the heavy weapons! We will provide cover!” One yelled through a translator. Pierce only nodded before firing the other two shots blowing away the heads of Grunts who wielded Fuel Rod Guns. He dropped down and reloaded, he slammed in the clip and pulled the lever back and resurfaced to fire at his next target, a Brute Chieftain running towards the front with a Gravity hammer. He snapped off the first shot. The round knifed through the air and dug itself deep into the Chieftain’s right arm, it staggered and almost dropped the weapon but got back into its original pace. Another shot rang out this one hit the left shoulder, the round broke bone and caused the arm to go limp. Pierce was about to fire a third shot until an Elite finished the Chieftain off with a grenade.

Pierce saw Jackal snipers and took them out and dropped again to reload. As he fell back he saw the battle around him. The camp was being covered with incoming fire. Plasma and spike rounds filled the air, much of the ground became craters, the majority of the surrounding colors were shades of gray. He could see a pair of Elites firing carbines at a charging group of Brutes. One threw a plasma grenade which stuck to the chest of the lead Brute. The explosion came a second later which killed three in total and caused the last two to hesitate, their moment’s pause were their deaths as carbine fire brought them down. He glanced at Soske push Hanako down into the cover as spike rounds clattered around them, then the Hunters went into action and fired as one eliminating the threat. More Elites battled Brutes and slaughtered Grunts and Jackals that had dared to narrow the distance. A swarm of Drones had join the battle, two attempted to pull an Elite into the air but were quickly killed, the Elite himself ripped their limps apart with brute strength.

Pierce pulled himself up and leveled the rifle only to see that a Brute packed had come within fifty feet of him and the two Elites beside him. He heard two cracks and saw two long energy swords activate. The Elites leapt forward and rushed toward the pack, Pierce stunned for a moment looked to his hip and saw his own energy sword. He wouldn’t use it, he was better with a sniper rifle, but then he felt an impact something knocking the rifle out of his hands. He himself tripped over and fell on his back, he opened his eyes and caught his breath, the rifle had taken a spike round right into the center rendering it useless. “Fuck…” Having no other choice he took the sword and ran forward.

Pierce wasn’t sure why he was doing it, maybe adrenaline, anyways it was stupid. He came towards one Brute as the Elites reached their opponents. He slashed down then up and across in quick succession and hoped for the best. The Brute had been lucky, its armor took the hits but it was falling apart now. Pierce saw the gapping spots in the armor and lunged forward but the Brute dodged left and narrowly missed the blade. With its massive hands it swung down on Pierce’s back and caused him to fly forward, not able to control himself Pierce let his arms swing and heard a cry. The blade had cut the hand of the Brute.

Pierce pushed himself up and steadied his hand on the energy sword then looked at the Brute, its left hand was missing. He lunged forward again this time when the Brute dodged left again he swung the blade as well cutting the Brute across the hip and cutting him in half.

Pierce looked for another Brute, the more experienced Elites had already taken down three foes leaving four more. Pierce saw in the corner of his eye a spike rifle rise and aim at him. He dropped and rolled to the Brute and swung low cutting the legs apart. But as the body fell he felt a hit and then a sharp pain. He was thrown back and landed on his back, he tried to pull himself up with his left arm but couldn’t too much pain. Then he tried his right but found he couldn’t bring his left side up. He finally opened his eyes that he had kept shut from the pain. A spike round pierced right under his left collar bone, he could only guess that from the fall the other side of the round had dug itself in the ground. He tried to breathe but that only brought on more pain. Soon another Brute stood over him with a brute shot, it bent over and grabbed the spike round, he wiggled it around which brought on more pain and Pierce yelled out loud. Then in one quick motion the Brute pulled the round out which brought on more yelling from Pierce. With a grin the Brute then brandished the blade of the brute shot and brought it to his neck, Pierce closed his eyes and prayed for Hanako. There was a silence then a thud and Pierce couldn’t help but look. The Brute’s head lay beside him and the body fell to the side. The red clad Elite stood by with an energy sword and helped him up.

“Look! You’re comrades come to our aid!” The Elite said pointing over Pierce’s shoulder. He turned around and sure enough three Pelicans hovered and turned their rear to the Brutes letting crew chiefs fire their turrets for cover. As the Pelicans touched down Marines and ODSTs sprinted out and began firing as well. One ODST came to an Elite he pointed to the Pelican and back at the Elite, at first the Elite nodded with a negative tone but after more talking he seemed to agree.

“Sangheili gather the wounded and bring them to the Human ships, fight along side the Humans and bring a quick end to these Brutes!” The Elite yelled to his comrades. Soon others not busy with combat easily hefted up their wounded and brought them to the Pelicans as Marines fired on Brutes and Jackals.

Pierce reached for the shotgun across his back and looked for another target however an ODST grabbed him by the shoulder. “Staff Sergeant Pierce Ha…ya…se?” He yelled having trouble with the last name. Pierce nodded leveling the shotgun and giving it a pump. “Command has been looking for you! You and the girl need to get on a Pelican ASAP and I mean now!” Pierce nodded and began sprinting for Hanako. He didn’t quite want to leave the fight but he wanted her out now. But as he ran he wondered how command would even know about him or the Hanako, it was true they could have been spotted from orbiting satellites but odds were they wouldn’t waste the time or energy.

He jumped over a Brute body and kept running he fired a shot at the back of a Jackal and pumped the weapon as well as his legs. He soon saw Hanako surrounded by three other Elites who kept her covered at all times, she fired in between their bodies at any available target. He wasn’t sure if she was hitting anything but at least she was putting rounds downrange. He reached them and immediately told Soske about what the ODST had told him. He agreed and the three started for a Pelican.

The Pelican’s bay doors were open as the crew chief fired with the turret, marines around the ship fired from kneeling positions as Elites put wounded inside. Immediately Hanako and Pierce entered as the crew chief said something into his mike. Soon the Pelican gained altitude and sped away from the battle.

“Don’t worry son you did great.” A colonel said as he pinned a medal onto Pierce’s chest. “The battle you were involved in in Nagasaki quickly ended after we brought in a company of Scorpions. That Elite commander however died in combat as well as a number of his Elites.” Pierce thought of Soske, he had saved Hanako and him, the energy sword rested on his belt. “You’ll also have ten days of rest, sorry but that’s all you’ll get. We need soldiers on the field and you’re one of our best.”

Pierce thanked the colonel who smiled brightly and ran a hand through thinning grey hair. “Don’t worry about it; this is the least you deserve for saving that singer Hanako. I’ve never heard of her but apparently she’s big here in the orient.” Pierce had heard the news about her, how she was apparently some big time singer. Oh well, to bad he wouldn’t see her for a while. “Oh by the way, you got a visitor.” The colonel winked and walked out as a small hand opened the door.

“How you feeling?” Hanako said shyly entering the hospital room. Pierce was lying on a white bed with a bandage across his chest, a small medal had been placed on his pillow beside him.

“Better.” Pierce said as she came closer. “What are you doing here?” He couldn’t quite believe it but at the same time he wasn’t very surprised if she was as big a singer as he heard she was probably able to pull some strings.

“Like I wouldn’t see my hero,” As she said this a camera man entered the room. “and a bit of publicity. They wanna use this to help raise moral.”

“Hey could I get a shot of a kiss?” the camera man said with a smile but also completely serious. Pierce and Hanako smiled slightly, she leaned over him and they met.


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