|Outskirts of Mamore, November 1700 Hours
Several squad cars trailed behind an unmarked sedan, their red and blue lights blaring and piercing the night. They approached the rusty warehouse from all sides and Jason Miller knew they had their suspect cornered. The trail had run cold when all they found was a crashed helicopter, but the hunt was on when the forensics had identified the blood from the helicopter's landing skids. When the task force needed to get something done they'd tie Miller up on a wild goose chase and just go. That's what was supposed to happen on the night they took down the Mastermind.
It started back at the bank heist in Los Angeles. Miller was able to negotiate the hostages to safety but at the cost of letting the bad guys get away, an unfortunate event. He remembered that there were two of them, their faces concealed by black ski masks and strange attire. All they demanded was a helicopter to make their escape and they succeeded. After the heist, Miller was praised for his work and was invited to join the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as a full-time special agent. He accepted, and now he was sent to track down the suspect who threatened him and his family. How could he be so stupid! If he just let them get distracted for a little longer...
He shook the memory out of his head, feeling guilty about screwing up, but focused more on the objective; this objective would definitely make or break his reputation with the local authorities. Miller approached the warehouse door cautiously and motioned for two officers to head to the back to cut off escape. He already let this guy slip through his fingers twice, and he wasn't going to let them escape a third time. He withdrew his semi-automatic pistol from its holster, before giving a nod to one of the other officers.
Kyle Craig sat the briefcase on the table and opened it, revealing stacks of credits lined up in neat rows. He smiled to himself, satisfied that he managed to pull off the heist. He knew the note would give him a chance to bring Miller to where he needed him most, and he even studies him, figuring out that his sense of justice would allow for Craig to make his escape with the hostages intact. He touched the gash on his side from where he was injured in the crash and winced at the pain, the biofoam helped a lot and he recovered at a fast rate. He pulled out a pair of stainless steel handcuffs and cuffed his wrist to the handle of the case. He was paranoid that he would lose it, even a calculating mind like himself couldn't be too careful. Once that was done a rasp knock was heard from the door, and he motioned for one of the sicario agents to answer it. Armed with MA5 rifles, they made their way to the door and just when they were about to open the vision panel - it happened.
There was an explosion as the doors were ripped off their hinges and sent blasting forward, followed by a white blinding light from a flashbang grenade. The police task force moved in swiftly guns trained on any hostiles that were in the room. The sicarios were too slow to react in time to take out their enemies and were greeted with bullets impaling them in the stomach and shoulders. Miller entered the room just as swiftly and saw his adversary stop short. There was something strange about him though, he was calm and collected raising his hands up in the air surrendering. He held an ultimatum though: a vial of green fluid. Miller knew that it was a virus capable of killing everyone in the warehouse, but that didn't stop him from training the gun at the man's head, ready for a kill shot.
"It's over, Craig. Forensics identified who you are now and there is no more hiding. You are outmanned and outgunned."
Craig just had a smug expression on his face. "Not quite, as you can see or hear...I brought some friends. Oru 'Vanuxee, you and your pals can come out to play!"
As Craig finished his sentence, the air shimmered and pulsed, distorting until figures were visible. Several of the police took steps back, bewildered at what was happening. Three figures came out into the light, none of them human. One was an Unggoy with a satchel of plasma grenades. The other two were Sangheili, one being short but bulky, the other having a taller and slimmer frame. The taller Sangheili walked up beside Craig, wearing a Zealot harness of Hesduron origin.
The Sangheili stood right next to Craig, towering over him as any Sangheili would. "I prefer the term 'hired guns', Kyle Craig."
He stepped closer, and one officer whimpered quietly. 'Oru 'Vanuxee' looked into Millers face, intent on finding any traces of fear. Miller steeled himself though.
The Unggoy readied his plasma grenades, priming them. The other Sangheili drew a Storm Rifle, as Oru activated an energy sword - very recognizable. Oru nodded to his cohorts, and they waited for Craig to give the orders to attack.
"Kill them!" Craig pointed a finger at the officers, but more towards Miller as he bolted across the room. The officers began firing their rifles, sending bullets flying everywhere and injuring the smaller Sangheili, the floor painted with blue blood as the rounds easily ripped through his skin. The officers would then train their guns on the other Sangheili and fire in an attempt to bring down his shields. Miller took aim and fired several shots at Craig, missing a few before hitting him in the leg. Craig let out a yelp before putting pressure on his wound as he hobbled for the exit.
Oru 'Vanuxee nodded to the Grunt. The Unggoy took careful aim at one of the officers and threw, sending blue balls of plasma across the room, missing the officer, but sticking to the wall behind him. The plasma ignited in a fiery ball of bright flame, billowing outwards and constructing an explosion that shoved the officer and another nearby police to the ground. Oru could hear their bones snapping inside their bodies, and merely mused at the prospect of their pain. He turned his body to face his second-in-command, Boro 'Vasaan.
"Kill them. Do as our employer wishes."
Miller turned his gaze to the where the officers fell, they may have been either knocked unconscious or killed by the force of the explosion's deadly shock wave. He turned his gaze at the Zealot and remained calm despite the tense situation. "You crossed the line, buddy. You helped that maniac escape with the virus and you don't even know his intentions." He griped the butt of his handgun before taking aim at the Zealot. "It's over."
Oru clicked his mandibles, evidently not caring at all. "Your tenacity is commendable human, but it would have been wise to leave while you still could. It is regrettable that I must kill you."
He had no time to go for his backup pistol in his ankle holster. The mercenaries were on him that fast. The most important thing he could do in a situation like this was pay attention to the open space rather than to his attackers or weapons. The more room he could create, the safer he was. He had the wall at his back and three Covenant mercenaries closing in on him trying to fan out, trying to limit his elbow room. He looked hard to his left along the wall and at an angle to the Unggoy.
Miller took a deep breath to focus, then made his move. The police fired at Boro, drawing his attention away from the fight as Miller rolled under a blast from the Unggoy's satchel. Miller then shoved himself upon the Unggoy, knocking them both to the ground. He turned to see Oru hesitating, as if he did not want to sacrifice the Unggoy. Miller then spun around to punch the Unggoy in the helmet, causing it to release its grip on the satchel. Miller saw a chance, and snatched it, throwing it across the length of the warehouse.
"Hey! Don't you know how much those cost?!?" it screeched.
Miller pushed himself off of the Grunt and started to run towards Craig when a large bulk crossed his path. He looked up to find himself gazing into the emotionless visor of Oru 'Vanuxee. Miller whipped around to escape when he saw a dastardly sight- Boro 'Vasaan had shot down two officers and was holding a third in a headlock. Miller only thought one thing- he had to help. He started to bolt towards them when he felt a large hand grip his shoulder. It was Oru 'Vanuxee.
"I said it was regrettable that I must kill you. Perhaps I spoke too soon." Oru 'Vanuxee readied his energy sword. Many thoughts raced through Miller's head as he contemplated how he would escape this time.
He reached in to grab Oru by the wrist. With his left hand, he twisted the wrist as hard as he could. The action allowed Miller to break free from his grip, and with his right hand he hammered up under the left side of Oru's mandible. Oru reeled and Jason hit him again with his fist, this time in his throat.
"You will regret doing that, human." Oru tended his mandible and growled, cracking one of his knuckles all by itself. "You will indeed."
Oru lunged toward Miller, but he avoided the swipe, only to get slugged by Oru's fist. Oru then grabbed Miller's head, stretching it back until Miller screamed. Miller then kicked Oru in the shin, a small act of revenge, allowing him to wriggle free of the Sangheili's grip once again. Oru growled, flexing his mandibles, and sprang into action, punching Miller in the chest before grabbing his arm. Oru then put his blade up to Miller's throat to finish the fight.
"You should have listened to me the first time, human."
As Oru spoke, the rev of a large engine echoed through the warehouse. Oru turned to spy Craig exiting the warehouse, and mused through his helmet. Miller could see Boro holding the limp body of the police officer, strangled to death. The Grunt had set aside his equipment and was rushing outside. All of Miller's men were dead. Oru turned his eyes back to Miller and dropped him. Miller gaped in confusion when Oru suddenly twisted his arm and bent it, sending a snap throughout the building. Oru let go and departed with Boro. As he left, he said his last words to Miller, "Until we meet again, human."
Miller tried to scream in pain or call for help, but he couldn't. He couldn't even imagine the threat that was on the loose now. The virus was gone, taken by Craig. And there was a new enemy now. He willed himself to stand up, just now realizing the pain his broken arm brought him. He turned to the exit and hobbled off. At least he had another clue now. Whoever the Sangheili and Unggoy worked for would help him with that.
"I got to get over there," Miller said as he stretched his limbs and prepared to run. The getaway vehicle had to be half a mile away at least, but this would be worth it. He pushed himself and jetted to his destination, jumping over small potholes, dodging insects that wanted to suck his blood clean, and pumping his legs as fast as they could go. He saw Craig boarding a Spirit dropship, assisted by the Grunts that was aboard. Using his free hand, he lifted his pistol to take aim and fired, missing, as the rounds bounced effortlessly off the Spirit's shields. He heard the click of his pistol and realized that it was empty before tossing it to the side.
The Grunt spotted Miller and cried out to his comrades, alerting them to Miller's presence. The Unggoy hurriedly pulled Craig up into the ship, while a Jackal bounded next to them, wielding a Beam rifle. Miller swore before ducking as the shot missed him, and hid under the grass, forcing himself down near the creepy-crawlies of the undergrowth. He heard several more shots ring out around him, presumably to draw him out. Miller stood up when all was finally silent, and wiped a worm off of his hand, rubbing off the moisture. He looked up to see the Spirit leaving, the doors to the troop bay closing. The Jackal spied him and laughed, a screechy voice ringing out across the area.
"Good luck findin' your way back home! Ha, ha, ha!"
Miller's fists tightened, and he turned to nurse his broken arm, wincing at the pain. Oru 'Vanuxee really was strong. "Damn, I should be more careful with myself. Much more."
As he spoke to himself aloud, he could hear sirens ringing. Two police cruisers pulled up, and one screeched to a halt, while another did a loop around, finally stopping. The local police chief exited the first and marched up to Miller. "Did you get him? You had better, 'cause I specifically ordered you not to go!"
"No, sir. The bastard got away with his new friends."
The chief muttered under their breath, irritated with the response. "You have any idea where they're going? A direction? Anything?"
"They went east, chief. That's all I know. Now, I recommend we should go. My arm hurts like hell right now, sir," Miller said. "Hmph, fine then," retorted the police chief. Miller and the chief climbed into the cruiser and sped back to the station, while the other cruiser zoomed east. Miller grimaced, at both the pain and knowing that Craig had escaped. He would get Craig next time though. He knew he would. He had to, if he was going to protect all the innocent people out there.
Now aboard the Spirit dropship, Craig pulled out his datapad and punched in a few numbers on the touch screen, inputting a password. The screen faded out, then back in with the home screen. He began to swipe left a few times before coming up with some files. He tapped the folder and then an icon. A map of the planet displayed and he zoomed in viewing the city's infrastructure. He swiped some more, attempting to find the location he desired, the hideout.
"Alright, we go here."
He got up and headed over to Boro, the ship's pilot, and showed him the location. Boro gave a nod and set course to the safehouse, while Oru 'Vanuxee walked up behind Craig.
"The Flame expects its payment in three days' time, Kyle Craig. Lord 'Skivich has extended his generosity far enough for you."
"Sure thing," Craig replied, walking back to his spot.
The criminal sat back down now thinking about his next move. Already, his thoughts had begun to merge around one idea: meeting with his old friend, now adversary, David King. Had King forgotten the promises Craig had made over the years? Maybe not. But had King grown just a little complacent in the meantime? Maybe so. In any case, King was going to die and die badly. There would be a reckoning and Craig made sure to see it through.