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~Chapter 21: Invasion - Offense~ Runner and the others watched in horror as they witnessed the destruction of their ship. That was their home. Gone. Obliterated to millions of pieces and counting. Their friends and everything were gone. Paladin, Moth, Biggles... Gone. Commander Samantha... Gone. “What will we do without our flagship?” was all Anne could make out. The others looked at her with concern as well, but none with an answer. Just sympathy. “Well, all we can do is hope. Maybe they have a plan, or maybe we will retreat.” Archangel didn’t like this feeling he had... Wait, what did he just say!? “God I hope we don’t retreat! We’re here to kill Lan Chorus. The Elite responsible for everything. The death and slaughter of majority of us, even this team original Commander’s. Sarge and Alex.” He didn’t dare to mention any of the others, such as Dumby, Gregor, Fauz, or... “Hey guys!” He seemed to be cut off from shock. “Archangel... Is that you old friend?” It sounded as if the man was going to cry. Archangel was upset that he was interrupted during mid thought, he turned around to look at the man. “Uh... Uh...” it was the name he was just about to come across in his thoughts, before interruption. “Uh... Phoenix... Is that really you?” Archangel couldn’t have been more happier to himself. “Yes, yes it is.” A smile spread across his face. “Why are you here? I thought you were among the UNSC Warlord and engulfed in the ship's flames as it was destroyed.” Archangel was happy that at least one of his old friends had made it. “Guys, there’s a broadsword leaving the bay right now. I think it might be Jackson leaving us.” Runner called out to get everyone’s attention. Which it did, resulting in everyone to approach the window and watch it as it flew away in the distance. “You know Runner, you may just be right. I wonder what might just have made him leave. I’m sure we’ll get results sooner or later.” Frank commented on her, unlike everyone else. Who watched without much care. “Anyways, as I was going to say before interruption from your girl over there... You guys might want to saddle up and prepare for Covenant ships. Turns out they brought a bomb to Warlord, and we’re pretty sure they’re going to try bringing one here and possibly the other ships. Covenant will arrive soon.” Phoenix powered up his assault rifle, as if to trigger them to do the same. “Archangel, it was nice to see you but I’m headed to the medical bay. I heard there was a Spartan in there going through some recovery. Managed to get her awake right now, but she’s still injured... If we’re still alive and this is over with. I’ll be back to see you, but I gotta... Bye.” Phoenixed rushed down the hallway towards the direction of the medical bay. Hopefully the spartan he hinted at was Ash. She definitely needed recovery, and an entire medical team operating on her definitely meant that there should be by all means a bad recovery. Even if Covenant are on board; Joseph, Junior, and Phoenix would be there to put the Medical bay entrances on lockdown. Unless the doctors or surgeons ran away from panic. “Jackson... Jackson, are you there?” It was Maria trying to contact him. He had no other choice but to answer the video feed she was trying to establish with him, or risk the possibility of her removing any aid to Ash and letting the others die. “I’m here, go ahead.” Jackson switched on the video feed to his helmet. “Ah, I see the helmet we left there for you fits. That is good.” She seemed to not care about anything but wanting to talk about the mission. How he hated her, she needed to realize he had feelings to. Not just her. “It seems that you are right on course, Covenant aren’t here yet and they aren’t to you; but if you don’t mind if I suggest, I insist hiding in the shipyard of the ruins of Warlord and using it for cover. It could help you out to reach the Covenant faster.” “As I had already planned, but thanks for informing you think I should do the same.” Jackson wanted this call to end. Not only was the mission stressful, but he couldn’t stand her face; especially the eyes. “Good, we’ll keep you updated.” Was all she had to say before she ended the video feed transmission. Jackson rolled his eyes, the women literally acted just like a naggy baby sister. “Honestly, if we didn’t need her medical resources, I would tell the woman how much of a ***** I think she really is.” Jackson thought to himself. It sounded mean, but that’s what he thought. “Jackson... Jackson... Are you there...?” This audio feed sounded bad with the static, but it was clear to read. Maybe it was just some sort of interference. He answered the call. “Yes, I’m here.” “Good, I just wanted to update you on the progress with Ash.” the static was gone, and Jackson realized that it was Junior who contacted him. “They’re going to be operating on her for another 2 hours, after that they’re going to let her lay down and recover, they think it should take 14 hours in total before she’s on her feet again.” “That’s great to hear! I can’t wait for her to be back with us, kinda needed her back there on the ground...” Jackson trailed off. “Yeah I know, I know...” Junior kinda sounded a little emotional in that tone. “Anyways, how are things going over there for you guys?” “Ah, nothing yet. Don’t see any Covenant boarding ships.” Jackson didn’t want to inform him that he was on his way to destroy the Covenant flagship and a few other ships, with a Havoc Nuke. “That’s good. I heard Warlord has been destroyed, is that true?” Junior’s voice indicated he didn’t believe it. Jackson took a deep breath, and then released it. “Yes, it’s true.” “No, you’ve gotta be pulling my leg. Don’t do this to me Jackson, I’m concerned.” Junior, feelings? Didn’t sound possible to put those two words together and make them into something physically possible. “No, Junior. I’m not pulling your leg. See for yourself.” Jackson sent a photo from his VISR to Junior’s of Warlord. “...” Junior was speechless. “It’s terrible, I know.” Jackson didn’t want to talk any longer than he had to, he wanted to hurry up and finish his mission and get back. “That’s not just terrible, that’s a nightmare... Dude, what the hell are we going to do now? We don’t have a home anymore... I... I only transferred to that ship because I wanted to replace the model of my father... Make him not look as bad as he did... Now the place to do that, is no longer there. How fantastic!” Junior hid his emotions very well, but this subject was literally the key to Davy Jones chest. The man poured his heart out over something unneeded... Then again, he didn’t know what Jackson was doing at this very moment. So he gave the trooper that. “Um, Junior. Sorry to ruin the fun and stuff, but I really gotta go. Sorry man, bye.” Yep, Jackson was done with the conversation. “Fun? This isn’t. fu...” was the last of the audio feed from Junior before he cut the transmission off. “Alright, now to sit here and focus my approach.” Jackson activated the thrusters to full speed upon exiting the horrifying shipyard of bodies from Warlord. Covenant Phantoms, Lich’s, Spirits, and boarding platforms all headed towards UNSC Ambient and the other ships. None of them stopped nor cared, (or probably didn’t see), to go and deal with Jackson. Afterall, if he did engage them. His chances of making it out alive were less than one percent. There were way too many Covenant ships above him, if he just stayed half of a kilometer below the ships, like he was currently doing, he could make it to his target. ~End of Chapter 21~