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JUNE, 2513
TERIBUS ISLAND
ERIDANUS II, 82 ERIDANUS SYSTEM

He was on the run now.

Elysium City was burned to the ground, and the UNSC had just unleashed a massive offensive against his forces. They were blockading his arms and contraband shipments, and most of his inner circle had gone underground.

But, despite the fact that he was hiding, he was happy.

Those under his command had taken their fight to the streets as well as other planets. Forces under his command had taken control of many provinces on Tribute, and his forces on Epsilon Eridani IV were launching attacks on Reach, the UNSC's headquarters planet.

Hell, even the United Rebel Front were performing more large-scale operations in the colonies, stealing nuclear warheads from UNSC installations.

He found that part funny; they were supposed to be heavily guarded to the point of being impenetrable. However, a rag-tag group of former Colonial Military soldiers had raided a nuclear storage facility and stole six warheads, which were promptly used against UNSC forces.

They had written those off as slipspace drive accidents.

But, everyone knew what exactly happened to those ships. That's all that mattered, really.

Running his operations out of Teribus Island had been a stroke of genius. It was remote, heavily guarded, and no one really ever went that far out of their way. His personal office and dorm was inside of an underground bunker, which was supported by reinforced concrete. Moving from there, you would have to pass through several armories and offices before seeing the daylight; that complex was surrounded by an electrified chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. Out from there were barracks, armories, and vehicle depots, and that was surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire and a multitude of guard towers.

Anyone who wanted in there would have had a very hard time with their mission, and probably would have been shot before they even reached the outer perimeter.

Today, the topic of discussion was the reprisal attacks for the Army’s assault against Elysium City and Luxor. It was brutal; anyone who the Army’s Intelligence Activity or ONI thought were insurrectionists were captured and interrogated, and then sent to secret prison facilities.

The URF's intelligence department was close to locating where those prison or prisons were, but close wouldn’t cut it. One of the biggest ways to embarrass the UNSC was to rescue every political prisoner they had, and to broadcast it on the public COM channels, especially in Epsi.

For now, they would have to think smaller.

They had intelligence that a UNSC Marine Corps General was visiting his subordinates on the colony, and to show that he was not a coward, he left his NAVSPECWAR security detail on the ship.

That made him a sitting duck.

The plan was just like when Ander had captured that Army general.

Oh god, that was glorious, thought Watts as his mind drifted to that particular moment in time.

***

AUGUST, 2501
UTGARD MALL, UTGARD
HARVEST, EPSILON INDI SYSTEM

It was a calm summer day on Harvest, the newest colony world under the Authority. A calm breeze ran through the trees that surrounded the Utgard Mall, and the fountains were serene.

Around the walkway were several men in casual dress, each of them carrying a compact submachine gun or pistol for their own protection as well as the protection of the two men who were strolling together in the park.

Both of those men were on the UNSC’s most wanted list, and they both had members of the UNSC on their most wanted list.

One walked up to the other in glasses to conceal his identity, while the other wore casual clothing with a fake mustache and unkempt hair.

"Hello, Robbie," started the man in the dark coat.

"Didn't I tell you to not call me that," replied the other. The man with the glasses released a lighthearted chuckle, and offered his hand. Watts took it.

"Nice to see you again."

"Indeed."

"I'm surprised the UNSC hasn't found you yet."

"You're surprised that the UNSC hasn't found me? Those guys are a bunch of bumbling fools. Not even their special warfare detachments could find me. I'm bulletproof, Robert. Downright bulletproof."

"Pride comes before a fall, Ander."

"And didn't I tell you to call me by my Christian name? I'm sick and tired of that rank-and-file military bullshit."

"Alright, Jerald. Don't get too cocky; the UNSC isn't as stupid as you think they are."

"You're right, Robert."

"I know I am."

"I know the UNSC is stupid."

"Jerald..."

"Don't worry, Robert. My security is top-notch, and they called off their special warfare operations on this planet last year. They gave up on finding me; my mole in ONI says that they think I'm dead."

"Yeah, right."

"Anyways, let's get on with what we both came here for. The Army general is coming to the planet for a proposal about a Colonial Militia."

"Yeah, they're raising a Colonial Militia to find you. They know you're still alive, Jerald."

"They think I'm dead, Robert. They're raising a Colonial Militia to make sure that I never happen again."

"Uh-huh."

"The Colonial delegation is arriving in fourteen hours. We'll nab our targets while they're en route to the Mall. Should be light security; just some open-top jeeps and inexperienced security guards."

"Uh-huh."

"You don't think that it'll be that easy, do you?"

"Nope."

"Why not?"

"Because the UNSC isn't full of dumbasses."

***

AUGUST, 2501

HARVEST, EPSILON INDI SYSTEM

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