The morning light broke over the crest of the horizon. A light mist hung in the air and the sound of a hundred different birds filled the forest. Laying upon a branch in the high canopies Trak Basamme looked out over the view and sighed silently.
He had lost everything, his father, his brother, his life with the Covenant and Humans. All he had now were the scars left on him by both sides. Pressing his back against the thick bark Trak traced his fingers over the three small holes in his chest, he knew he had been lucky, the only reason he wasn’t dead was because of the humans.
Looking down upon the ground he frowned, they had not pursued him deep into the woods, an act he found troubling. But, resting his head once more, Trak let all thought leave him. He would lay here until the end, the place where his life began, the place where his life had failed. The clearing now seemed more like a curse.
Running his fingers over his leg Trak frowned once more. His blade was gone. Then the realisation started to sink in. He had used the weapon on Cain. Oh why, he shouted angrily at himself mentally. Cain had never had anything but good intentions towards him and this is how he repaid them. Taking Rachael and Cain’s children had been an act of desperation; he had heard the phantom chase after him and knew that no one in the town was safe. Now he grinned at himself in a twisted kind of grimace; Cain still had his loving family to go back to. A new emotion swelled up within Trak, one he hadn’t felt since his first time at training camp, jealousy. But then, almost as quickly as it rose, the feeling sank back into his soul and Trak was left alone once more.
Putting his head into his hands Trak let out a low moan and lay upon his branch.
Cain walked purposefully through the base, as he left the medical wing a marine came running up to him, obviously on orders to follow and assist him. The young soldier didn’t look a day over eighteen and had obviously just finished basic.
“Sir, General Harrison ordered me to be your,”
“Escort,” Cain cut the man off, he had no time for this. Trak could leave soon. “Listen kid, just go back to your mates and tell the General I’ll be back by sundown. Tell him I have to meet an old friend, he’ll understand.”
With that Cain left the base, leaving the young soldier standing on the spot, obviously looking uncertain as to what to do.
As Cain moved quickly through the thick forest growth the smouldering ruins of the town could be seen dancing between the trees. Grinning Cain subconsciously thanked Trak for saving his family, he owed him everything now.
Stepping out into the clearing that had been burned into his memory since childhood, Cain stopped and looked around. Slowly moving towards the centre Cain grinned when he heard the all too familiar thump behind him.
“Hello Trak,” he said quietly, turning to face his brother. Trak made no motion towards him, his mandibles moving in and out slowly. The scars upon his chest were clear now in the bright light. A great circle of burnt flesh, punctured by three small holes. Cain winced upon seeing the torment his brother had been through in his short life. Reaching into his belt, Cain pulled out a small object.
“I think you left this,” he said, tossing it to Trak who caught it effortlessly with his right hand. Turning it to face him Cain saw no emotion, only the last vestiges of a soul and will to survive.
“Err,” Cain continued, uncomfortable with the silence, “I thought you should know that the search patrols have been called off. Harrison said you can stay, same conditions as last time.” Trak made a noise similar to a snort and turned his back on Cain, slowly moving back to the tree line.
“Wait Trak,” Cain pleaded against his brothers back, “What happened to you?” Trak stood silently for a moment, before looking behind him at Cain.
“I grew up,” he finally said, almost a whisper.
“We all grew up Trak,” Cain replied, “Why did you leave the Covenant and come back here? What happened bro?”
“I AM NOT YOUR BROTHER,” Trak exploded slamming his fist into the tree next to him. “I never was and I never can be,” he said. “Cain,” Trak looked down at his hands searching for the words, “you are a human being and I’m an elite. You have a family to go back to and I have nothing now. It was all taken from me.” Glancing up from his hands he looked for the first time into Cain’s face. He had stood silently while Trak screamed.
“I’m, I’m sorry Trak,” Cain finally replied.
“I can’t stay here any more,” Trak said as he turned once more to face the trees, “Goodbye, brother.”
“Wait, Trak, where will you go? You just said you had nothing, you can’t leave again, you may never return,” Cain almost shouted as he rushed to stand by his brother. Trak looked at Cain and placed a clawed hand upon his shoulder.
“I don’t intend to return,” he whispered. Removing his hand Trak walked off into the trees, there shadows casting him in temporary darkness.
“You know you’re always welcome on my doorstep,” Cain called after him. The shadows stopped, only for an instant, then he was gone. Cain’s only brother in life walked away into the abyss.
After a few moments Cain headed back towards the base, a definite droop in his shoulders. Hours later, looking up into the sky Cain saw a tiny speck of darkness upon the golden orange skies.
“Brothers forever,” he whispered, following the speck.
Trak sat in the cockpit of the human pelican, the second one he had borrowed. Below him the world fell away, soon the blissful skies thinned out to a black canvas, and Trak was left truly alone.
“Brothers forever Cain,” Trak whispered to himself.