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Halo: Blinding Dark

Prologue - December 2526 - Two Days Before Present

Not too far from the grand capital of Utgard, a trio of men struggled in the blistering heat. One of them, Private First Class Erran Nation, was slurping down a canteen of water as he looked into the smoky sky and studied the Danny Boy, one of the sister ships to the Spirit of Fire. Since he had joined the Marines four months earlier, he had endured sixteen plasma burns, a rundown by a ghost, a handful of beam rifle shots, four exploding Needler rounds, a Jirahanae spike driven into his left femur from behind, and a gash from the shrapnel of a Brute Shot on his left calf, all in these four months. These wounds were sustained during numerous encounters on and around Harvest. He capped his canteen, holstered it diagonally on his left hip, and proceeded to clean his M7 Submachine Gun out of boredom for the third time in the last hour.

"Okay, we have orders. According to the Captain aboard the Danny Boy, there's a camp to the west containing a dozen Grunts and two Elites. Something us and Fireteam India can take care of, eh?" Corporal Barnes said, breaking the bare silence.

"If it gets us out of here, let's go right ahead," Erran said. The three rose to their feet and began walking towards the camp, which was approximately twelve miles to the north. Erran had his helmet attached magnetically to his back and was wearing a cap with aviator-style shades. After five minutes of travel, an Albatross sank down from above to just ahead of the fireteam. The bay revealed its cargo: a Gauss Warthog. "Dibs on gun!" Erran called out. The other two looked at him, frustrated, though obliged. In Barnes' helmet, the comm set came alive with a new voice.

"Fireteam Hotel, this is Delta-Eight-Oh-Nine. Need a 'Hog?" a voice on the radio said, which belonged to the secondary pilot of the Albatross dropship.

"Thanks a bunch, Delta. We'll put it to use real fast."

"Alrighty then, have fun boys," the feminine co-pilot said. The Albatross then proceeded to return