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1725 Zulu, November 17th, 2552 - Voi, Kenya

Lance Corporal Tom Gerencer released the missile pod's handles, and wiped his sweaty hands on his Battle Dress Uniform. He admired his handiwork; bagging a pair of Ghosts and a Chopper wasn't that bad, considering the amount of targets there had been. His company had been tasked with defending a foothold in a large factory warehouse, that led to a Covenant Anti-Aircraft position. His platoon had drawn the less-then pleasant task of defending the warehouses front entrance, from a elevated embankment just outside the warehouse, defending it with small arms and a trio of missile pods.

He stared out at the twisted wreckage of the Covenant Scarab, smoldering in the sand of the dry lake bed. The way the Master Chief just took out the leg joints of the Scarab, boarded it, had proceeded to kill the Covenant troops on it, and then knock out the power core before sprinting away... the Marine could not believe humanity was at the brink of total annihilation with soldiers like the Chief.

Hell, he thought. Nobody can believe that we as a species are facing imminent death.

The Lance Corporal watched the SPARTAN-II warrior walk over to an incoming Pelican and meet up with that Elite he was renowned for being with.

What was his name?, he thought. Arbiter or something like that. He didn’t care one way or another; because Elites killed more of his buddies then he really wanted to remember.

Gerencer took advantage in the lull in fighting to grab a few magazines for his BR55 and reload his weapon, and have a look around at what was left of his squad. The platoon medic was busy stabilizing the wounded, and the company chaplain was giving last rites to the dead and dying, and he only counted 12 marines in his platoon even alive after three hours holding the area. When he looked back up half a minute later, he received one hell of a shock when he saw the Elite and supersoldier towering over him and his missile pod.

He quickly recovered from his surprise, and pointed at the door, leading into the interior of the factory's storage warehouse.

"We've got this area locked down, sir. Follow us, we’ll get you through,” he reported.

He let go of his trusty missile pod, and called out to his marines to get inside the building, walked to the door, and keyed it open, to the surprise of the wounded, pistol-toting marines inside. They must have been neglecting to guard the door properly. He waited for the marines, the Chief, and the Elite to all file into the building, before the Lance Corporal keyed it shut.

Inside, the SPARTAN, the Marines, and the Arbiter marched down the hallway, and into a makeshift triage bay, covered with about a dozen wounded marines and a few wounded civilians, tended by several grim-faced Marines. One of the wounded marines, with extensive plasma burns on over half of his body was crying out for morphine, and one of the marines tried to calm him down, while another marine prepared to inject him with painkiller.

In the corner, the 27-year old platoon Lieutenant, already with grey hair and dozens of scars of his arms and face, gathered what was left of the platoon and the few surviving marines from another platoon, into a semi-circle, and explained to the troops the situation. The the entire company was to be extracted as soon as possible, due to 69% losses, and that they were to set up defensive positions at the aid station, until Pelican extraction arrived in a few hours.

The El-tee ordered the platoon to remain at the aid station, and to aid any troops on guard, if need be, before dismissing the platoon. In the furthest corner, by the door, leading to the warehouse actual, a trio of marines gathered around the only UNSC field radio still intact, and the Lance Corporal spotted another figure, one that shouldn’t be there.

Gerencer walked over to the radio, pulled the figure aside, and began talking to the AWOL Corporal Perez, just as the Master Chief and the Arbiter left the aid station, towards the distant sound of gunfire.

“Corporal Perez, where’d you disappear off to? I haven’t seen you since New Mombasa, last month, when we were fighting that fuckin’ Scarab,” the Lance Corporal remarked, somewhat surprised. He thought his friend had died in the Covenant Crusier’s in-city slipspace jump, like most the other troops in the city.

“Holy shit, Tom! You are still alive! Well, the In Amber Clad was kind enough to pick me and a few other guys up, just before that cruiser ship jumped. Had a little fun at some strange-ass alien ring, and fought some non-Covenant freaks-of-nature. Loads of fun. We managed to get back with Commander Keyes, the all-mighty Sergeant-Major Johnson, and a few other guys. All in all, it was one hell of a crazy month," Perez explained.

"Oh, by the way," Perez added. "What did you do to become a Lance Corporal again? 'Cause I remember reporting to a Sergeant Tom Gerencer, back in Mombasa, not a Lance Corporal..." he quipped, to the dismay of Gerencer, who shot Perez a nasty glare.

"Well, lets just say, after getting outta Mombasa on the last Pelican out, I decided that if I was going to die, I was going to get me some pussy," he began, with a grin slowly spreading across his face, as he thought back to the events. "So I took two weeks of unexcused leave, from the desperate defense of this planet, to get myself...erm, laid everyday for those two weeks for, ah, free, in various small towns and villages in the Kenyan part of the East African Protectorate. Until the Marine Corps caught up with me, and bought me in." Gerencer paused, listening to the radio for a second, before continuing.

"They gave me the choice of the firing squad, or demotion and immediate return to the field. So, since I'm still alive, I suppose you know which one I chose. Not much of a choice anyhow," the Marine concluded, somewhat unhappily.

The two talked a little more, before going their separate ways.


  • Thanks to Sgt.johnson for the original idea. Thank you AJ! =p