The small craft sped through space towards its destination, the sole occupant lying back against the cushioned seat, slowly twirling a small blade in his fingers. Outside the view port all Trak could see was darkness, tiny pinpricks of light the only measure of distance. The Slipspace drive hummed in the aft of the ship, a rhythmic purr that put Traks mind at rest, so he could plan what he had to do next.
Cain must die. The thought echoed around Trak’s head as if it was the only thing in the Universe that mattered. But for Trak it was the only thought. Trak had got his life back on course and then Cain had to come and ruin it all. Well this time Trak would get his revenge.
He had no way of finding out exactly where Cain was, but he could easily draw him out. Everyone has a weakness, just waiting to be exploited.
The console screen beeped, the harsh sound jolting Trak from his slumber. He was about to exit Slipspace. Reaching for the control stick he tapped a few buttons and the slurred lines of stars resumed their precise positions. Engaging the scanners Trak quickly located the planet he wanted and set a course.
Ahead a small ball of rock grew in size until it filled the entire view port. The lush green hills and swirling blue oceans looked beautiful from this height. Small pockets of artificial structures were dotted around the surface, those on the dark side of the terminator glinting from the many artificial lights. Entering the atmosphere Trak headed towards one of the smaller cities, the memories in his head guiding him to where he needed to go. Although many years had passed he could still recall the general location of his previous home on this planet. His life was just beginning the last time he came to this planet, now he came to finish it.
The Triumphant Glory moved through space, its massive frame supporting over a hundred million tonnes of reinforced metal bristling with state-of-the-art weaponry.
Captain Anderson stood on the bridge, vast banks of monitors complementing the enormous external windows. He rested his hands on the main control panels and let out a sigh, he hadn’t slept in over two days, his crew even longer.
“Sir, Slipspace ruptures detected around Sigma Octanus IV, unsure of numbers yet. FLEETCOM reports that we are nearest to the system,” an ensign to his side reported.
“Ship status?” the captain inquired, already knowing that they would have to go into battle, even with a limp.
“Main super MAC cannon at 85, all archer missile pods have been restocked, decks E and F have breaches along the port side, but they have been sealed off. Slipspace drive at 50, engineering says any more and it’ll blow. Manoeuvring thrusters unresponsive.
“Great,” Anderson muttered, “Set a course Hawkins, tell engineering I need 75 on that drive if we’re going to have a chance of saving those people.”
“Aye Sir,” Hawkins replied, leaving the Captain alone once more. Looking down at long-range sensor reports Anderson contemplated what actions he would take. The most recent data showed only two ships, a small light transport vessel and a military frigate. An unusual pairing he thought.
“Sir, engaging Slipspace drive now, Estimated Time of Arrival one hour,” Hawkins announced from his seat. Reaching down Anderson tapped in a few commands and opened a COM channel with the marines below.
“Lieutenant Johnson, please report to the bridge immediately,” he spoke, before ending the channel. Within minutes the powerful form of First Lieutenant Cain Johnson stepped onto the Bridge and saluted the Captain.
“Sir, Lieutenant Johnson, reporting as ordered, Sir,” he said smartly.
Returning the salute Anderson looked over the sensor data, it showed the first ship entering the atmosphere while the second orbited above. “Lieutenant, the Covenant are invading Sigma Octanus IV again. I know it’s your home world, so I’m putting you in charge of ground assault. The first vessel is expected to put down near New Cote d’ Azur within the next ten minutes. You will lead your troops in and destroy any hostiles, I’ll take care of the orbiting forces. Any questions?”
“Sir, why send two ships and only let the smaller one land? It doesn’t make sense, Sir.”
“Nothing in this god dammed war makes sense. Now load up, you have thirty minutes to prep before departure.”
“Yes Sir, lookin’ forward to it, Sir,” Cain replied before walking off the bridge and riding the elevator down.
As he walked Cain felt something slip into his heart like light spearing through the darkness. It was fear mixed with an anger born of desperation; his family, his whole family was on that planet and no Covenant bastard was going to take that from him or so help them.
“Ship Master, there is an infidel warship on an intercept course, it will be here within sixty units,” a young elite spoke up.
Ship Master Ruis’ smirked as he stood upon the elevated control platform of the bridge. Below him elites rushed around to ensure the ship was in perfect working order.
‘Good,’ Ruis’ thought to himself, ‘Maybe this cursed mission won’t be a total waste.’
“Have they detected us,” Ruis’ asked the same elite quickly. “Yes sir,” the elite replied almost instantly.
‘Well there goes the chance of an ambush and quick slaughter’ thought Ruis’. “Very well, charge all weapon banks and await my command, Omabi will have to deal with the heretic on his own. Contact him and tell him to report now,” Ruis’ ordered before moving away to the centre holo-screen. The topography of the planet below his feet moved across the screen in front of him. The planet resembled his home world with a frightening similarity, if not for the alien colours it would be Sangheili. Behind him the purple doors flashed briefly before sliding away to reveal a red armoured elite entering the room. Walking briskly Omabi stood before his Ship Master and bowed his head in respect.
“Father. Why me?” Omabi asked before his father could speak. Ruis’ Basamme stared down at his son with almost the same level of hate he had for his youngest son.
“Do you dare to question the Prophets will!” Ruis’ whispered in a harsh tone so that only Omabi could hear, “The Prophets send you to reclaim the honour of the Basamme name and you ask why! I was grateful to have even been given the chance. I wonder if you both have bad blood, Domadre never showed any weakness, not in body or mind.”
“I am sorry father,” Omabi mumbled still keeping his head lowered.
“How many warriors are you taking,” Ruis’ asked, trying to change the subject to a degree.
“Only six others father, all the best in my legion.”
“You have great faith in the Gods,” Ruis’ said to his son as he smiled.
“I have faith in my comrades,” Omabi replied before he knew it. His fathers backhand sent him flying to the floor. The crew on the bridge turned to look at the commotion, but one glance from their commander sent them back to work.
Picking Omabi up by his throat, Ruis’ spoke to his son as though the very hatred he had for Trak spilled out between his mandibles. “Don’t you ever, ever cheek me youngling. Get out of my site now, you have twenty units to leave this ship and don’t come back until that wretch is dead! Or I will have lost two sons to the foul infidels.”
Releasing his grip Ruis’ let his son fall to the deck before turning his back on him and returning, once more, to the holo-screens. Only this time he didn’t take in a thing he saw.
Picking himself up of the floor Omabi lowered his head once more before leaving.
The night was motionless, there was no breeze to ruffle the long rice fields, no moon to shine down upon the vast lakes. There was only a silent hum as a small ship landed in a forest clearing. Beyond the tree line lay a small town, the wooden shacks replaced with concrete dwellings over the years that had passed. As the engines powered down the night was returned once more to darkness.
Stepping out from the ship Trak looked into the sky, the sleek form of the Covenant cruiser drifting by overhead. It would not be long now, he thought to himself. Whatever would happen would be over by dawn.