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Note: This book has been declared canon in a AU.

                                Grounded



Chapter OneEdit

Agent Idaho ducked behind the large, conviently placed crate, and reloaded his DMR. The troopers who were firing at him didn't really care if he was angry, or about to kick their butts.

Idaho shifted in his latest generation Recon armor, and clicked on his HUD. As it appeared, a small figure floated in the air beside him.

'This hardly seems like the right course of action,' came the voice of Idaho's AI, Lambda (Alpha's knowledge). He could be pretty annoying at times, mostly because he always had to be right.

"Actually," Idaho said as he brought his DMR to bear on one of the troopers, "I was hoping that we could just open negotiations, but now that I think about it-"

'It doesn't seem like the right course of action?' Lambda's voice was slightly gloating. Idaho scowled, even though the AI couldn't see him.

The stupid thing was, the troopers that were attacking him were simulation troopers. Rebel simulation troopers, who, through some glitch of Command, had gained extreme and deadly weaponry. So they sent good ol' Agent Idaho, their personal clean-up boy.

Idaho glanced up, and saw his partner, Agent Maryland, right in the middle of the rebels, both knives flashing. Her purple with black trim armor strangely blended in with the grey-armored rebels. Idaho smiled beneath the helmet. She was good.

A rebel ran up toward a turret, pursued by Idaho's DMR fire. His hands had just reached the turret when one of Maryland's knives slashed across his throat. He crumpled.

Idaho abandoned his post and jumped among the sim. troopers. He found himslef by Maryland.

"You okay?" he asked as he shot down several rocket launcher- weilding troopers, "don't want to lose another partner to the Sepratists.

Maryland laughed. As she did, she exposed part of her head. A Sepratist sniper climbed up, and started to aim at the exposed part. Idaho's heart plummeted.

"No!" he gasped, pushing Maryland away. The bullet launched from the rifle and slammed into Idaho's lungs. He felt as though he had been punched in the chest. His legs gave out under him.

"Idaho!" Maryland's voice seemed to come from the end of a tunnel. She ran up next to him, raised a COM unit to her faceplate.

"Allison! We're gonna need a pickup, fast!" she listened intently to the COM.

"Roger that." Tex's voice came through on the other end. Maryland sighed and pulled Idaho closer. He had passed out.

The thump, thump, thump of a Pelican reached her ears. Tex gently lifted the dropship gently to the edge. Maryland dragged Idaho through the doorway, leaned him down on a medical couch. She leaned back as the Pelican's door closed, and relaxed.

Right as the Pelican began to enter Slipspace, a Sepratist's gun launched one bullet at the ship. The slight shift caused by the impact sent the Pelican on a slightly different course...


Chapter TwoEdit

The Pelican's sides rocked as it tried to find a new path through slipspace. Tex grapled with the controls as Maryland held Idaho in his seat.

"Hold on," Tex yelled as she caught a glimpse of the control board, "it looks like we'll be coming out on some sort of... warf."

Maryland nodded, turned her attention to Idaho, who was still unconsious. For seven years they had been working toghether, and she had thought of him as the big brother she had never had. As she got older, new thoughts drifted through her when she worked with him. Thoughts she didn't like to think about.

The Pelican rocked again.

As Tex looked at Maryland standing over Idaho, she grimaced. How many Freelancers had she seen, dying because of attachment. Idaho might have gotten himself killed because of that.

Darn you, Church, Tex thought, why did you have to leave?

Idaho stirred. Maryland looked down. He moved his head slowly up, then let it fall down again. He was unconsous again.

"Okay," Tex's voice rang out, "It looks like we're gonna go down hard, so hang on!"

Maryland grabbed Idaho with one hand, clutched a saftey strap with the other.

The Pelican rocked, than screamed as it ripped through Slipspace, tearing metal. For a brief moment the Freelancers got a look at a seaside port.

Then everything went dark.


Chapter ThreeEdit

Thoughts rang around Idaho. He slowly opened his eyes. All around him were peices of the crashed Pelican. Maryland was beside him, unconsious. And Tex was no where to be found.

Idaho slowly stood up, feeling all of his muscles ache. He looked over, and gently nudged Maryland.

She came to her sinces, gasping. Those gasps brought the pain back to Idaho's chest. He used some of the training he'd been given by Project Freelancer to discover that the bullet had landed between his lungs. A flesh wound. Idaho slapped on some painkillers.

"Wha-" was the only sound that Maryland could make as she slowly stood up. Idaho grinned.

"Looks like the Pelican crashed," he said, moving his arm to indicate the whole crash site. Maryland glared at him.

"No duh, Sherlock."

"Well, if you want to be that way-"

"No, it's just-" Maryland leaned back, panted a little bit, "never thought I'd be in this kind of situation."

"I know." Idaho's trained eyes quickly swept the area for enemy troopers. There were none.

"Where's Tex?" Maryland asked.

"Don't know. I think she was thrown somewhere else in the crash."

"Oh."

"Yeah, and it looks like we've got company."

Idaho readied his DMR as three Sepratist troopers walked closer to the crash site.


Chapter FourEdit

Tex woke up, and there was light all around her.

What tha- was the first thought that entered her mind as she slowly stood up.

Finally, it all came back to her. The ship, the crash. Everything. Now where the crap was she.

She was in a room that looked like it had been made of crystal. Strange computer consuls pointed out from the walls. As she neared one, a strange voice emnated out of one of them.

"Hello, reclaimer," the consol said, "you have come to take possesion of the ship, then?"

"What? I-" Tex paused to think for a minute. "Wait, what ship?"

"The ship, of course," the consol said, "the dreadnaught that will take you to the Halo Rings."

Tex leaned back to process this knowledge.

If the ship was what she thought it was, she needed to get Idaho and Maryland here, fast.

But where were they?


Idaho and Maryland had made a temporary camp around the crashed ship. As the fire they had built died off, Idaho reached up, and slowly removed his helmet.

"No point in following regulations." he said.

Maryland watched as he undid the clasps, pulled out the disk that held Lambda, and inserted it into his shoulder clip. As the helmet fell away, she got the first glimpse of Idaho.

Brown, stringy hair. Stubble form wearing his helmet too long. Green eyes.

"C'mon." Idaho chided, grinning, "take your's off."

She nodded, and removed hers. Short black hair, brown eyes, and freckles met his gaze.

"Well," Idaho laughed, "when they said to now your trainee, I didn't now they ment know know."

Maryland smiled.


Chapter FiveEdit

Tex tried the number again. And again. Why weren't Idaho or Maryland answering.

She tried one more time. This time it connected.

"(Cough) Hello, this is Freelancer Agent Idaho."

"Idaho, I need you and Maryland down here."

"Tex?"

"Yeah. I've found a cavern of some kind. I don't no why, but I think I need some others here."

"Gotcha. We're on our way."


A few hours later, both Freelancers made it down the tunnel.

"Took you long enough." Tex grumbled.

"Hey," Idaho snapped back, "it took us a long time to find this place. It wasn't exactly easy, you know."

Tex nodded, turned to the consol.

"Tell them what you told me."

"Hello, reclaimer. I am terminal 344 Charred Royalty. Are you ready to activate the ship?"

"The ship?" Idaho asked Lambda what it ment.

'I assume it means a Forerunner articafct, but I cannot be certain.'

Tex nodded. "That would make sense."

At that moment, several rumbles echoed through the tunnel.

"What the-" Maryland asked as she turned around.

At that moment, thousands of Sepratists stormed into the tunnel.


Chapter SixEdit

Idaho pulled Tex and Maryland behind one of the terminals, and pulled up his DMR. Bullets whipped through the air as the Sepratists open fired.

Tex pulled out an assault rifle, as Maryland launched herself forward, knives flashing. Three troopers had their throat's slit, and another had a knife in his gut.

Tex layed down suppressive fire, bullets flashing from the gun. Idaho leaped toward the terminal.

"How do you activate the ship?" he yelled as the Sepratists continued to pore in.

"The proper code word is required, reclaimer."

"Uhm... Halo?"

"Correct, the shield has been lowered."

As Idaho turned, a wall in the center of the room slowly slid open. A large ship appeared in the entryway. Idaho gasped, then turned back to his fellow Freelancers.

He ran up right next to Tex. "Come on!" he yelled, "I've got the ship ready, lets' go!"

"No!" Tex yelled, "grab Maryland and go, I'll hold the rebels off."

"No time to argue," Idaho responded, ducking to avoid a rocket, "we have to go, now! I'll get Maryland."

He jumped into the mass of Sepratists, his DMR blazing. As he fought his way through them, he caught sight of Maryland. She was stuck between several troopers.

"Mary! I've got the ship ready! Let's go!" he yelled.

"No!" she yelled, "you go!"

He grabbed her shoulder. "Think of Delaware."

She started, then nodded. As they got near, a Scorpion rolled in, and Tex pushed Idaho into the ship. "No!" Maryland cried as the ship took off. Tex grabbed her and pushed her down.


Chapter SevenEdit

In the aftermath, UNSC soldiers swarmed the area known as Longshore. Tex and Maryland stood apart, Maryland staring at the clouds, the still visible trail of the Forerunner ship.

A UNSC trooper walked up to them. "It's allright, you can go," he said. Tex and Maryland nodded.

As they walked off, Tex asked, "Who's Delaware?"

Maryland smiled, said, "He's Idaho's son."

Tex's eyes winded, then she smiled. "Your's too?"

Maryland didn't answer.

"You think he'll come up all right without a father?"

Maryland shook her head.

"He'll come back," she said, "He'll come back."


End of Book One.Edit

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