|1127 Hours, January 4th, 2556
URF Hydra, Strident-class Heavy Frigate
Watts System, Independent Space
The heavy doors to the training deck clanked open, allowing General Miriam Bakos inside. The wide room was a mish-mash of battlefield mockups, shooting ranges and assault courses, used to give the United Rebel Front’s fighters some kind of preparation for real battle. The usually-busy chamber was now empty, save for a single figure beating the life out of a robotic dummy in the corner.
“I thought you’d be here!” Bakos called across the room, removing her cap.
An incredibly tall, muscular man in black clothing glanced towards her and approached, boots thudding loudly against the metal deck. The bright lights above gleamed off his bald head as he wiped it with a towel. He halted a few feet away from her and stopped, clasping a pair of robotic hands behind his back.
“Hello Miriam,” he nodded courteously.
“Magnus.” She returned the gesture. “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this place so empty.”
“I needed some alone time.”
“I’ll bet. You not going to celebrate?”
Magnus shook his head, walking over to a nearby bench, where a datapad lay atop a pile of printed reports. He held it up for her to see, displaying dozens of reports from his various contacts across mankind’s rebuilding colony worlds.
“I don’t have the luxury of time, Miriam.”
She shook her head, smiling. “I’ve read your report, Mag. At least two dead Spartans and riots across multiple worlds, all because of you. Even if we lost the NOVA bomb, we’ve still made advances in other areas.”
Magnus shrugged, pulling a pair of gloves over his prosthetic hands. As the United Rebel Front’s top field agent, it was his job to light the spark of rebellion against the UEG throughout the colonies, pushing for total independence from the rich and powerful of Earth. He turned, crossing his arms before speaking to his only friend.
“You want to know why I’m not stopping?”
“Take a good look at me.”
He didn’t have to show her anything; Miriam knew the man was all prosthetics and circuitry from the waist down, his body a mess of life support systems and armour plating. While a marvel of engineering, it also marked Magnus as abnormal; a freak. She understood why the man preferred to operate in absolute secrecy.
“The UNSC did this to you?” she wondered.
“No. the URF made my cybernetics. I’m talking about this.”
Magnus rolled up his sleeves. Across his forearms were deeply-embedded surgical scars, clearly wounds from long ago. The precision and symmetry made it clear that this wasn’t the URF’s work, but something from much, much earlier in Magnus’ life.
“It’s what those bastards did to make me what I am,” the man’s voice betrayed a brief flicker of genuine emotion.
“So that’s why you’re always in the field. You want revenge.”
“You want colonial independence, Miriam? Go for it. I’m just in this because I want to make the UNSC come crashing down. It’s not revenge I want. It’s justice.”