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Halo: Heart of FireI. Ashes
The black clouds billow like raging ocean waves. There are sharks prowling the stormy brine.
Red light emanates not from the sky but from the ground. The ground is burning. It is a glassy, cracked mirror and there is hellfire spewing from the cracks.
The sharks scent more blood and loom overhead. They do not have teeth for it is their bellies that shoot pieces of the sun down to the planet below and scorch it to dust.
The force of the blast sends a wall of dust and debris and bodies slamming outward at hurricane force. Trees are peeled back and uprooted, joining the onslaught. What once was joyful and majestic and verdant is now black and charred and broken all to pieces. Smarting eyes leak tears and parched throats gurgle final curses as the wave engulfs them, stealing life away.
There is still a bit of green left but it won't be green for long (soon it will turn red and black and become burning glass because the sharks never do things halfway). The strip of green represents
KnightJorge knelt down, squatting in the dirt, and very carefully lowered one grimy hand, fingers poised for deft action. He made sure he caught the centipede-like worm before it could burrow into the ground; he had been watching them for a few days and knew they could disappear in less than ten seconds. He picked up the worm and watched as it curled up into a ball, a protective mechanism. He was fascinated by how the worm's long, segmented body wiggled as it crawled across the ground; now he wanted it to crawl on his arm. So he gingerly lowered it down to his forearm, trying to get it to unroll. Slowly it uncurled and began to explore, tickling the small, fine hairs on his arm, its little clingy legs moving in ripples.
He was quite alone at the far end of the playground, but he didn't seem to mind. At six, he was four feet tall, much bigger than the other children in his class at school. In spite of the fact that he was as smart as most third-graders, his classmates tended to label him big
The Doctor and the DI"Ma'am?"
Dr. Halsey glanced up from her work. She sat up stiffly, moving from the hunched position she'd been in for hours now, her fingers flexing as they recovered from the nonstop typing. "Ah, Chief Petty Officer, come in."
CPO Mendez hesitated for a fraction of a second before he entered Halsey's lab. It was more of a well, it looked more like the proverbial "man-cave," but was cluttered with empty Styrofoam coffee cups, stacks and mounds of paper, and various scientific oddities. He had to move carefully to avoid stepping on what looked like an important naval document, and almost tripped over a hidden stack of books. But Mendez had navigated the worst of battlegrounds as a soldier, and darn him if he was about to let a woman's mess upset his footing.
If her lab was a mess, it was a testament to the condition of its proprietor. Halsey's silver-shot brown hair hung down over her face in unkempt locks. She had dark rings around her eyes and thin lines that certainly hadn't bee
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