|This article, The Flame, was written by Spartan-D042. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Vengeance exacted, Cody-B042 finally faces the reality behind what drove him to achieve his objective, and finally makes an overdue pilgrimage.
He staggered down the ramp, each step sending fire through his body, yet he did not grimace. In fact, Cody-B042’s expression remained lifelessly blank as his tired eyes remained focused on the path ahead. Every shot of agony did nothing to stop the stumbling soldier as he clenched the biofoam-sealed wound in his stomach, slowly stepping off the incline and onto the gray and glassy soil of the dead world.
He’d finally made his pilgrimage to the planet, after so long he’d finally come. Pulling a piece of cloth up over the bridge of his nose and lowering a pair of maintenance goggles over his eyes the Spartan began his trek through the wasteland before him, wind buffeting him with dust and ash.
It was almost symbolic really, he had nothing now, nothing but dust settling over the metaphorical ashes of his hatred, the fire that had fueled him so long had finally burned out. Cody had gotten what he wanted; revenge. Revenge for FEUDAL, revenge for Jamal, revenge for countless- no, he’d gotten revenge for himself. He couldn’t lie to himself, pretend this had been for them, that he hadn’t used the pain to keep his hatred alive. Had Teka Doram killed those people? Yes, yes he had, but in the end B042 knew exactly why he’d held onto that hate.
He'd been afraid. Afraid of the emptiness that now swallowed him whole.
Trudging through the gales of wind and cyclones of dust, the boots of his MJOLNIR left the glassy dirt and met a rocky path, pain radiating from the litany of wounds across his body.
The shrinks might have been right, maybe he could've avoided all this if he'd just acted like a soldier. Soldiers died, it was their duty, but he couldn't will himself to accept that. He was a poor Spartan in that regard.
He made up for it as a killer he supposed. He'd torn apart the Elite's home, men, women, children, even the livestock. Anger numbed him to any moral qualms, let him justify it as retribution instead of slaughter. Some hid behind orders as their excuse, but not him, he'd wanted this, for years it had been all he dreamed of.
But when the life left the former Zealot's eyes, there was no peace. He couldn't hear the ones he'd lost telling him he was proud, the voices of the dead had abandoned him in the wake of his madness, but perhaps he still owed them this. Maybe now they could finally be at peace.
Removing the garb from his face, B042 cast a final glance back out over Merkin’s desolate gray wasteland before turning and descending into the cave, knife in hand. With every name carved, Detrick-B204 to Daniel-A010, the Spartan felt himself to fall apart, and as the tears welling up in his eyes finally came streaming, he began to etch one final name.
Pulling the blade away he stared blankly at the wall, his grip tensing around the hilt tightly. Doram hadn’t killed the boy he’d mentored, but Cody had failed him all the same. Another brother he couldn't save.
"I'm sorry." He whimpered softly.