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~Chapter 23: Finish~ Ash watched as Junior and Joseph were eliminated by the Stratego within seconds. Marines and ODSTs ran in to assist, but were killed by the two soldiers that remained. The team had to move quick, they knew if they eliminated those soldiers, the Stratego would just bring in more. If they didn’t, they’d get killed bringing down the Stratego. There was no other options. They were in a tough situation right now, one they wouldn’t win but they wouldn’t lose. Magnus was at the face of the Night right now, his bullets did no harm to it. Only the armor. Ash watched as the knight knocked the weapon out of his hand, then use the incineration cannon to dispose of him and everything he had. Runner ran over to Ash and got behind the cover where she was hiding. Tears streamed down her face, the same thought was in her mind as it was Ash’s. They were going to die. They knew there was no other way. Ash looked Runner in her eyes, “It’s just you and me now. Everyone else is dead. Archangel, Anne, Jackson... They’re dead. I know we both will meet our fate here soon. But let’s not go down without a fight, see if we can save this ship even if we can’t save ourselves.” Ash forced a smile on her face. “A..Alright. I..Guess we can do that.” Runner looked at her with hope, “I wish things went differently. I wish I would’ve got to know you better.” Ash looked at Runner, in attempt to keep tears from rolling down her eyes. “Here, take this. I’ll be right behind you.” Ash handed her a shotgun. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll be behind you to do the rest. I promise.” Ash gave her a pat on the back. As Runner ran towards the Knight, Ash pulled the pin off one of the grenades on Runner’s belt. She stood back, a tear rolled down the cheek of her left eye. “Ash?” Runner called out, terror in her voice. “Ash!?” Runner was face to face with the Knight Stratego. It was too late to go anywhere, the Knight went to swing. The grenade exploded, as well did the others. Blowing the Knight Stratego to bits. Leaving the two Soldiers. Ash wiped the tears from her face and stood up with the pistol Magnus had given her. She made sure it was ready, and that these two Prometheans would be the end. --------------------------------------------- Jackson ran up to Verite. Sword in hand, he swung while Verite blocked. Verite swung while he blocked. This battle would go on for awhile, unless they stepped things up. Either way, the timer on the bomb kept ticking. “Y’know, for an Elite. You’re pretty good. I’ve killed about as many of your kind as much as you use grunt’s for cannon fodder.” Jackson smirked at the Elite. Verite grunted in hatred, “I’ve killed many of your kind as well. With my hand, and in the destruction of your planets.” Jackson didn’t like that response. He unleashed the anger in him with the movement of his swings. Verite hated this demon, his anger was triggered more by the fact that he could have killed him, but decided against it. The damn demon was supposed to just die and rot in the wasteland of the Brute’s. “Not bad yourself, but you still got what’s coming for you.” Jackson taunted the Elite. “You’ll see!” Verite swung his sword as Jackson blocked it, then kicked the demon in the chest, he swung his sword again. Removing Jackson’s arm with a clean swipe. Jackson stared at the Elite, hatred in his eyes. “You cheated. That is not fair.” “I will determine what is fair and what is not fair, demon. Now you will die an undesiring and unrespectful death. You’ll have what’s coming to you.” Verite went to swing, but Jackson jumped out of the way. “Well, all I needed to do was buy myself some time.” Verite seemed confused at what Jackson was saying. “This was supposed to be a round trip, but it seems my time has come to an end.” Verite just stared at him, confused... Wait. The bomb. Verite screamed right before it detonated, which is exactly what the last thing Jackson wanted to hear. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ash walked up towards the Soldier’s. Weapon at the ready, the two Soldiers stared at her with their weapons lowered. “Human!” As Ash went to quickdraw, she was stopped. Penetrated by a hot, warm, sharp object. “Ughnuhuhhuh...” Ash couldn’t move, it didn’t feel right. What happened? “You think you could just run away, come back, blow up one of my ships, and then think you could leave? Well I’ll have you know I do not take this sort of behavior in an acceptable manner. Your death is just a matter of the correlation. Soon will be your ship and the rest of your friends.” Lan Chorus said in a hasty matter, pure hatred rushed through him as he drug the sword out of Ash and through her on the ground. She watched as more Elite’s came in and killed the Soldiers and pushed for the command deck. Ash laid there in a pool of her own blood. Waiting for the last seconds to pass... ------------------ Ash opened her eyes. A bright light was in her field of vision as were three other people standing over her, two of them were in a lab coat one was in an ONI Jacket. “The simulation is incomplete, and she has failed her objective. What makes you think she’s worthy of joining our Spartan team, Doctor Halsey?” Must have been the ONI Jacket guy. “The simulation is meant for them to fail, but she has by far made it even further than most Spartan’s have. For the exception of a few of them, regarding Blue and Red team. I think she’ll fit in nicely.” Halsey responded. “But what if she fails like she did her objective? We’ve had other Spartan’s make it as far as her, such as T-031 Jackson and S-034 Archangel, but they were a loss on the frontlines a couple days after.” The ONI seemed like he wanted to discard of her into the waste can. “It’s alright, Thomas. This one is special. I know she’ll make it far. You just have to trust me. I’ll work with her, and hopefully she can be one of the best soldiers out there you’ll need her to be.” “Very well, do what you must. We believe the Covenant are headed to Reach within the next few days. I hope she’ll be ready by then.” The door slammed shut and everyone left, the lights went out leaving her in the dark. “It... It was all a simulation...” Ash cried. ~End of Chapter 23~ ~Book 3: Complete~