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Summary: Xander decides to follow Buffy up to the roof to help her fight the Master. The end result leaves he, and Cordelia on the front lines of a whole different war.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > War
Games > Sci-Fi
zTiamaTzFR181681,8911410945,9972 May 102 Nov 10No

Lost In Transition



A/N: Epic never really discussed the Seran calender at length. They've just broken the months down by season. I'm breaking it down in ninety day cycles, and this is my rough estimate of how it works:

Frost (Winter) - December, January, February

Thaw (Spring) - March, April, May

Bloom (Summer) - June, July, August

Brume (Fall) - September, October, November

(All journal entries and subsequent dialog will be the POV of the writer.)
**Miranda's Journal - 28 Brume, 15 A.E.**
Opening Thoughts -

Since this is a new journal, (I filled up the old one, like always) I guess I'll let you know a little about me. When I'm old, I'll write my war memoirs, and I'll probably forget some of this stuff.

My name is Miranda Shannon Murphy, and I was born in 5 B.E. I'm twenty years old and I just recently made Corporal. There isn't much of a difference in pay, but the little bit more will help Ma out.

I'm a third generation Gear, both my Da and his Da fought in the Pendulum Wars. My uncles on both sides of the family fought as well, even some aunts near the end.

They killed many of the Union of Independent Republics (UIR) scum that invaded our country. Rhilan was right next to the Republic of Gorasnaya, who decided they were going to 'protect us' from the COG.

We Rhi's truly appreciated them throwing us off our land so they could drill for Imulsion. Even more when they took to blowing up the Imulsion pipelines that killed so many our people, all to stop the COG.

Many of the women in my family had to watch their husbands, sons, and brothers die from what we learned only recently was rust-lung, or worse. My family took up arms against the UIR just as my brother Terrence and me have taken them up against the Locust now.

I've been on a few patrols, but I've only killed a few Wretches and Drones so far. I can't wait to get into the shit and kill more of those Locust bastards for all the things they've done since E-Day.

I was finally assigned to Bravo Company last week. Terrence is a Tech Sergeant for Echo Squad, he's only a few months away from the second treatment. I was hoping I'd be able to join up with him, but I don't have the experience yet.

I also met my Section leader already, First Sergeant Rodriguez got us all together yesterday. I can tell the Sergeant will be an excellent NCO, he seems friendly, but firm. He's also very handsome, and already has his second treatment, so I know he's experienced.

Unfortunately, he's married, aren't all the good ones? He even showed me pictures of his two kids, they are so cute! Jon Junior looks like a mini version of his father, and Ana is a little doll!

Sometimes I wish I could have kids, but then I wouldn't be allowed to be a Gear. There are a ton of orphaned kids out there, maybe someday I could adopt a few...

I just realized, this is my first entry and I've already filled two and a half pages! Terrence always said I talked too much, no wonder I go through journals so quickly!

**Miranda's Journal - 36 Brume 15 A.E.**
The entire Company got together for the first time, it was so exciting! There were over a hundred of us, along with the NCO's. We were broken down into four platoons and then eight sections, I'm in Section 3.

We have six King Raven pilots that rotate between Sections:

Second Lieutenant Gerald 'Pinky' Levitz (KR 2-9 Pilot)
Tech Sergeant Francis 'Buster' Holland (KR 2-9 Co-Pilot)

First Lieutenant Arthur 'Hound' Fernandez (KR 3-7 Pilot)
Second Lieutenant Brenda 'Killjoy' Zimmer (KR 3-7 Co-Pilot)

Captain Linda 'Tom Boy' Thomas (KR 5-8 Pilot)
Second Lieutenant Steven 'Tuna' Carroll (KR 5-8 Co-Pilot)

My Section:

First Lieutenant Martin Dawson (Section Officer 3 & 4)
First Sergeant Jonathan Rodriguez (Section Leader)
Gunnery Sergeant Jamal Russell
Corporal Davis Burton
Corporal Miranda Murphy :)
Specialist Robert Mason
Private Lawrence Hall
Private Samuel Perth
Private Paul Sanders

Apparently, Sanders was a Corporal too, but he got busted back for mouthing off to some green Lieutenant. I hope they all aren't that touchy.

We also met our Section Officer, the guy was definitely a trip. Apparently, First Lieutenant Dawson was some kind of war hero on a secret COG mission for the past ten years. That's the rumor anyway, nobody has the balls to ask.

"It's real simple Gears," First Sergeant Rodriguez told us as we waited to meet our Platoon Officer. "You do your jobs and I don't have to hear about you, we'll get along fine."

I sure was happy to hear that. When I was part of a Fire Team as a private, one of the Sergeant's involved was a complete bastard. I understood the need for order and discipline, but he just went overboard.

"Now that we've got that out of the way, pull in." The big Sergeant motioned for us to come closer. "I know some of you have heard the L-T that were getting is supposed to be some kind of big deal-"

"I heard they promoted Fenix, is it him?" Burton asked excitedly, cutting him off.

Sergeant Fenix and Delta Squad had set off the Lightmass Bomb, and a year later, flooded the Hollow. Between the two offensives, they had killed thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of Locust.

I couldn't help but smile, Burton's hero worship was a little kooky, but nobody would argue against the idea. Marcus Fenix, or even his partner Dominic Santiago, increased your chances of surviving big time.

Before Rodriguez could answer, a voice called out.

"Atten-shun!" Whoever it was, their voice cracked at the end. What an ass.

All of us instantly stood as straight as possible. You never wanted to set a bad impression with a new officer, you rarely got to shed the negative perception afterwords.

"Fall in." A booming voice called to us.

As the new Lieutenant came into view, I was a little surprised. The blonde hair along with his dimpled cheeks was not at all what I was expecting. He reminded me of those old vids of the Braxton Beach surfers.

He had a Corporal trailing along behind him like a puppy. Considering the snotty look on his face, he wasn't the usual brown-noser. Probably a Councilman, or General's son, too stupid to get commission. It had been him with his stupid 'attention' call.

"I'm going to make this very easy Gears, so pay attention." He told us, as we gathered in a semi-circle around him. "My name is First Lieutenant Martin T. Dawson." He paused, as he let that sink in.

"You may have heard a few things about me, I don't give a shit. You're here to do a job, do things my way, and I won't put my boot up your ass. Understood?"

"Yes sir!" We all replied.

We watched as he pulled out a cigar, the Corporal was just too pleased to light it for him.

I didn't know which was worse, the smoke, or the ass kisser. As the nasty smoke came at us, I couldn't help but wonder what this asshole would be like in the field.

"Finally, there's a nickname some of my fellow soldiers I fought with had for me. You have not earned the right use it, are we clear?"

"Yes sir!"

"Glad to hear it. Now I have a briefing with Captain Watts and Major Tyson, I'm sure I'll be meeting you all again in the very near future."

Just like that, the man and his lapdog walked out of the room without another word. As soon as he was out of earshot, the group, minus the KR Pilots and Sergeants burst out laughing.

"Well, we don't know anything about the guy, except he'll put his boot up our asses and don't call him by the nickname we never heard of." Sanders said, as he caught his breath. "That about cover it Sarge?"

Rodriguez didn't look very pleased. "Yeah Paulie, it does."

As I watched this happen, all I could think was what the hell did I get myself into?

**Miranda's Journal - 42 Brume, 15 A.E.**
Guard duty blows. Every third night, it's the same old shit. Sit in one of the two guard shacks staring out into the blackness for something you won't be able to see until it's right on top of you.

Guard duty at Drake is like playing Vasgar roulette. Whoever's there will put up enough of a fight to let everyone else know to get ready. Problem is, they'll die in the process. The best part is, if the power goes out, like I heard happened two years ago, everyone inside is Kryll food.

The only bright side, is that I usually get to hang out with Nanya Douglas, a Staff Sergeant and Corpsman with Section 4. We're becoming good friends, and I just hope we get to keep the same schedule. Otherwise, it'll be unbearable.

"This is bullshit! This is the second time in three nights I'm stuck doing this."

I looked up from my card game with annoyance at Hall, who was pacing back and forth, as he continued his bitching and moaning.

"Maybe if you hadn't embarrassed your entire Section, they wouldn't have put you here." Nanya sniped at him. "Besides, it's not like you got anything better to do, since you lost your pay to that asshole in Section 5."

He whirled around at us. "Fuck you Douglas, that bet should'a been a sure thing!"

"Yeah Larry, it would of been nice if you'd let us know, before you set up a thrashball game with a buncha second treatment meat-heads." I added.

He stopped, knowing he couldn't defend what had quickly become a massacre. "What's a NCO doing on guard duty, huh Douglas?"

Nanya snorted. "One of my guys got a little too personal with a Stranded, 'lady of the night'. He's in the med barracks trying to recuperate from a case of TAS."

The two of us laughed at the young Private's misfortune. That egomaniac tried to put the moves on anything with a puss.

Hall could only grimace in response. I didn't blame him, a bad case of TAS, better known as 'ball burn' amongst us grunts, could get a guy's nuts clipped right off.

"Besides, Miranda is good company." Douglas added, as she threw a Colonel of Swords down on top of my Three of Grenades. I still hadn't gotten the hang of this damn card game.

"Hey guys, I think I hear something out there!" Perth called out, interrupting before the argument could continue.

We all went silent, it was extremely unlikely that the Locust would hit such a worthless target as Fort Drake, but we never knew for sure. I could hear heavy breathing, and what sounded like claws against the cracked pavement.

"Should we call it in Sergeant Douglas?" He asked, with a nervous look on his face.

"Give me that." Hall told him, as he snatched the night vision lenses from the younger man.

We waited in anticipation for what he might find, this could go bad real fast.

"Congratulations," He informed Perth as he carelessly dropped the expensive device back into they young Private's lap. "You almost called command over a couple of humping dogs."

Nanya shook her head. "It's gonna be another long shift girl."

**Miranda's Journal - 51 Brume, 15 A.E.**
I got chewed out, (I think?) by Dawson today. I was just looking around during drills, and he was suddenly there. It was almost like we had a 'moment' or something, I'm just not sure.

I don't know why Major Tyson thought putting an advanced training camp alongside a prison complex was a good idea, but it's not. While we're trying to go through our routines, me and the rest of the girls have to put up with the comments from those shit-head prisoners.

What I wouldn't give to go in there with a Scorcher and teach those idiots some fucking manners. I don't even know why they let them watch us, but I'll say this, they're all scared to death of the Lieutenant. He gives them a look, and they shut up real quick. How the heck did they hear of him when we haven't? Weird.

"The Locust are fucking stupid, most will come at you with no sense of self-preservation at all!" The Lieutenant yelled, as he walked the line. "That's not how we work, you do something stupid like that, I'll put a round in your leg!"

I shook my head, as we continued our drills. We already knew all this crap from basic, I didn't understand why the L-T had to keep this up. Those prisoners on the other side of the fence, with their stupid comments weren't helping things either.

I looked around at some of the others, and saw the others were similarly bored. I was actually looking forward to guard duty now.

"Murphy! You see something interesting down, the line that I don't?!" Lieutenant Dawson asked.

I almost jumped, as I turned to my right and found him standing next to me. How the hell had he done that? "No sir!"

"Yeah Murphy," One of the prisoners screamed. "Eyes front!"

Ignoring the man, The Lieutenant got in my face. "I get that you'd rather be out in the field Murphy, I can even respect that." He told me in a low voice. "But we aren't, and we do things my way. Got it?"

"Yes sir!"

"Good." He said simply, before heading further down the line. "Alright people, let's try this again!"

**Miranda's Journal - 68 Brume, 15 A.E.**
I finally got to meet up with Terrence today, I haven't seen him in almost a year! Echo Squad was passing through Fort Drake to get some rest, and get re-supplied. He'll be sticking around for at least a few days.

We decided to go out and celebrate at the local bar, Pistol Pete's. The name is kinda ironic, considering Pete was a sniper. He had to retire from Gamma Squad, after having his legs blown off by a Boomshot grenade.

We'd only been there about an hour when the trouble started. A Captain from Charlie Company was tanked, and started getting grabby. Terrence stepped up to defend me, rank be damned. Unfortunately, Captain Asshole must have brought half his Company with him.

That bastard even tried to say me and Terrence had been recruited from a fucking Stranded camp! I've never been more insulted in my life!

There were only eight of us, Echo Squad, plus me, Burton, Perth, and Sanders. None of us were going to back down, but I didn't think it was going to end well.

Then First Lieutenant Dawson showed up and wow, just wow. I know he's a hard-ass, but he really has my respect after what he did tonight.

Captain Barlow sneered. "It looks like you two just got pulled out of Montevado.

"Our father fought for the COG, and died in the Aspho Fields!" I screamed, outraged at the slur against our family.

We were slowly being surrounded, outnumbered three to one. As they closed in, a beer pitcher exploded against the wall, over the heads of some of the Charlie Company guys.

"Who threw that?!" Barlow screamed out at the bar.

"I did asshole." A familiar voice called out from a darkened corner.

As we all turned to look at the newcomer, I could hear the sound of a chair scraping against the floor. He came into the light and I couldn't believe it, it was First Lieutenant Dawson.

"Sir I-" I tried to explain, but he quickly silenced me.

"Can it Murphy." He grunted as he lit one of his nasty cigars. "Your father was at Aspho?"

I nodded dumbly, I was just happy he wasn't screaming at me.

"Who the fuck are you?!"

"Shut up." He told the Captain, before turning back to me. "What was your father's name Gear?"

"Sergeant Major Shamus Murphy." Terrence told him proudly.

The Lieutenant gave my brother a nod. "He fought with Major Stroud, didn't he?"

"Yes sir, he was helping to protect one of the Stompers when she was killed. He died trying to recover her body, before those UIR bastards could get their hands on her for their propaganda vids."

"Now I could be mistaken, but didn't Major Stroud run Charlie Company?"

"Yes sir!" I replied enthusiastically. "She was posthumously awarded for their efforts. Major Stroud was awarded the Embry Star, and our father was given the Sovereigns Medal, he was her top NCO."

Dawson turned back toward Charlie Company, blowing smoke in their faces. "Now don't you pricks feel stupid?"

Most of them did look pretty sheepish. Young, dumb, and drunk... I bet most of them were probably good guys, just backing their idiot Captain.

"Clear out!" The Lieutenant's voice boomed.

They quickly followed the order, a few even offered us mumbled apologies as they left. What had been an angry mob was quickly whittled down to just a few. A red-faced Captain Barlow, a Second Lieutenant, and a couple of Privates. Probably fucking brown-nosers.

"What's your name Gear?!" He walked up to Dawson and got in his face. "You're on report as of now!"

The First Lieutenant simply smiled. "Ya know, I gotta wonder how a dickless son of a bitch like you ever got a commission. Any man that's gonna grope a lady, 'specially a Gear, don't deserve the rank he's got."

Captain Barlow took a clumsy swing at him, which the Lieutenant easily blocked. He countered with a punch to the stomach, and ended with another to the jaw.

The Captain stumbled back into a table, upending it, before landing on the floor covered in beer and pretzels.

Barlow's remaining supporters moved forward to intervene.

"If you boys-" Terrence started.

"And gal." I cut in, staring down the raven-haired Second Lieutenant.

"Thank ya sis." Terrence said, before continuing. "If you take another step, you'll be needing a stay in the medical barracks."

The odds now in our favor, eight to five, they weren't so confident now.

I turned to watch as Dawson crouched down and grabbed Barlow by the front of the shirt and pull him until they were nose to nose.

"You wanted my name asshole? It's Mongo."

The Captain visibly paled upon hearing this. I couldn't figure it out, it was a weird name, but nothing to piss yourself over.

"So you heard of me?"

Barlow simply nodded several times.

"Good, that saves me some time. If you ever put your hands on any of my people again, I'll fucking kill you. Got it?"

Another round of nodding followed.

Dawson simply let go of the shirt and the Captain fell back against the up-turned table.

He walked back to his table and quickly gulped down his beer, before heading toward the entrance. "Stay out of trouble Murphy." He told me, before disappearing out the door.

"That was crazy." Perth said simply.

I couldn't agree more.

**Miranda's Journal - 79 Brume, 15 A.E.**
I'm so glad we got transferred out of Fort Drake. It's about fucking time too, other then Pete's, there wasn't shit to do there.

We've been doing patrols out in the badlands going from one Stranded camp to another. The COG is always looking for new recruits, instead, we just get the same old crap.

These Stranded seem to think they can somehow survive without us fighting for them, yeah right. Yesterday, we were in one of their bigger camps, called 'Shitsville'. And these people wonder why we have no respect for them?

Anyway, us and Section 4 were trying to do some recruiting in the market. You have to go in groups, cause you never know when these people are gonna get angry over nothing. Then, multiple E-holes opened up in the middle of the place!

The whole thing turned into one big cluster-fuck. Aren't these Privates supposed to have some actual combat experience before they get placed in a Company?

All I'm going to say is, If I EVER see Private Toner again, I'm putting a bullet in his worthless head.

"But they killed my parents and little sister!"

I sighed, how many times did I have to hear this kind of story? It got really depressing after a while. "Look kid, I feel for you, but you're too young to be a Gear."

"I'm gonna be fifteen soon!" He yelled defensively. "I want out of this place!"

I couldn't blame him for that. We were all walking around here without our helmets, because we looked 'friendlier' that way. Too bad this whole place reeked of piss and shit.

"Alphonso!" A voice called out.

I looked over the kid's shoulder and saw a woman, running toward us. She looked to be in her seventies, but these days she could have been in her forties.

The kid turned toward her as she grabbed his arm, he struggled to pull free.

"Alphonso, come," She shook her head repeatedly. "You will not join these people!"

I decided to end this before we started getting a crowd. "Ma'am, we're not-"

The hateful glare I got in response ended that conversation. It disgusted me, how ungrateful the Stranded were.

"No Auntie, I want to kill Locust." The boy insisted, as he continued trying to pull free from the woman's grip without hurting her.

The ground started to rumble, I had a bad feeling about what was coming.

"Emergence hole!" Someone screamed, and the panic was on.

To my left, maybe thirty feet away, I saw a screaming crowd. A cloud of dust was rising from the ground. It would only be a short amount of time before the Locust started pouring out it.

I pulled the Lancer from my back and could hear some of the Gears screaming for the Stranded to clear out. I turned back toward the kid and his aunt and realized they were still arguing. Shit.

"We've got to-" Another rumble started and the three of us were thrown off our feet. The ground was sinking into itself directly behind the old woman.

I quickly got to my feet and pulled the kid up to his. I turned toward the aunt when a thick, gray arm came loose from the dirt and latched onto her ankle. She started screaming as I grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her back.

Alphonso went to grab her other hand but I stopped him. "Go get help kid, I've got her!" I dropped the Lancer and grabbed her with my other hand.

I watched him run toward a Private from Section 4, facing away from us. The kid was yelling at him as he ran toward him. The guy was just standing there, he must have been green as grass for this kinda brain-lock.

"Get your ass over here and help me Private!" I wasn't sure I could even be heard over the gunfire.

Suddenly, there was a hard yank and the woman was ripped from my arms and into the hole. She quickly disappeared into the loose earth. I was pissed. I looked over at the Private who's ass I was gonna ream.

Alphonso had reached him and slapped the guy on the shoulder to get his attention. The kid must have startled him, because he turned around and caught him in the face with a wild swing from the butt of his Gnasher.

I watched him aim down, probably not even noticing it was a kid. "Private no-'

Did I just watch the last members of a family die?

**Miranda's Journal - 86 Brume, 15 A.E.**
I ran into Toner today at camp, I had warned Nanya to keep him the away from me. Apparantly, she told him to request a transfer, but the arrogant little prick didn't take her seriously.

He was strolling toward the mess like nothing even happened, a big smile on his face. I ended up beating him bloody, he probably would have had a chance if I hadn't blind-sided him, but I gave him the same chance that poor kid had.

I ended up getting a mark on my file, plus guard duty every night for two fucking weeks. It was worth getting my hands on that bastard though. I hope that scar on his cheek from my ring is a permanent reminder of me.

"Is that the guy you were telling us about Murphy?" Mason suddenly interrupted, as we sat around, shooting the shit.

"What guy?" I asked him, trying to ignore whatever joke he, and Sanders were trying to set me up for.

"Fuckin' what's his name... Toner."

I immediately looked up at the use of his name, and saw the guy acting like nothing had happened. That boy didn't have anything left from the chest up, and this guy didn't care at all.

Something in me just snapped, I stood up, but someone grabbed my wrist.

"Think twice about it Miranda." Boyle, a fellow Rhi from Section 4 warned. "Toner's a bastard, but he isn't worth it."

I yanked my arm free and headed toward my target. "The hell he isn't."

The idiot still didn't see me coming, even as I headed straight at him. Several others saw what I was going to do, but said nothing. They all knew what Toner had done, and held no sympathy for him.

"Hey Toner!"

He turned just in time for his jaw to catch my fist. Before he knew what hit him, I had him on the ground and was busy kicking the shit out of him. Nobody stopped me, instead, they just watched the beating continue. It didn't end, until an MP finally grabbed me from behind, and pulled me off of him.

It didn't matter though, I'd made my point, and hopefully, Toner would never forget it.

**Miranda's Journal - 12 Frost, 15 A.E.**
Nanya's dead, I can't believe she's fucking dead.

KR 3-7 and 5-8 were blown up in mid-air. We took a nasty shot... Pinky and Buster barely managed to land us on the ground, they're both dead. Burton and Mason are dead too.

I don't know where Dawson, Rodriguez, Hall, or Sanders are. The Raven was on fire, we bailed out on different sides and took off. For all we know, they're dead too. We've got to move again, more later.

I massaged my temples, as I tried to block out all of the noise in the King Raven. Between the rotors and the music, The Dross Head's song, 'Fuck the UIR!' my head was splitting. Who knew the L-T was into those guys?

We were flying over some city called Oltura, the COG wanted us to see if there were any Stranded to recruit, and to try and spot Locust positions before we invaded, once Thaw started. I just wanted to get back to my rack, and grab some much-needed sleep.

:Lieutenant Dawson, it looks like we've got some stranded down on the ground!: Buster's voice came over the comms. Even with the headphones, he had to yell to be heard.

:How many?!:

:There's a girl trying to wave us down, the boyfriend doesn't look too happy about it though!:

:Fuck 'em, we got more important shit to deal with!: Dawson growled.

:You got it, heading toward Bronson's Canyon now!:

:Burton, get on that chain gun, soon as you see grubs, light it up!: Gunny ordered.

:You got it Sarge!:

I looked on with envy as Burton grabbed the trigger handles on the huge gun, ready to fire at the first sight of gray skin. Lucky bastard.

:We're coming around on a seven-zero-niner.:

:Shit man, they're dug in deeper then a Montevado tick!: Buster exclaimed.

Burton opened up, screaming obscenities at the grubs like they could hear him. I didn't blame him though, two years ago, the Locust had dragged his wife off for food. I couldn't think of a worse way to go.

:Take plenty of pictures, then we're outta here.: The Lieutenant ordered as he looked out the opposite side of the Raven from Burton, disgust written all over his face.

:Already happening, we're just finishing off the- What?!:

:What's going on Holland?!: Dawson questioned.

:Tuna on 5-8 is reporting mortar crews! Taking evasive action, hold on tight!:

All of a sudden, there was an explosion somewhere above us, shaking the entire chopper. Shortly after, we got hit. The Raven pulled to the left suddenly and we started to slide.

I caught my balance, and saw that Burton had swung out on the chain gun, and he was hanging by one hand. :Burton, hang on!: Perth and I grabbed a hold of the other handle and tried to swing him back in.

:3-7 and 5-8 are fucking gone, we're going down!: Buster screamed.

The Raven cut back hard right, as Pinky and Buster tried desperately to get us on the ground. All I could do was watch in horror, as Burton lost his grip, and fell to his death. :We lost Burton!:

:Just hold on Murphy, there's nothing we can do now!: Rodriguez tried to reassure me.

:We're comin' in hard, get ready to bail!: Pinky screamed.

:Oh shit!:

We bounced of the street several times, knocking into old cars along the way. Our momentum didn't stop until we crashed into the corner of a building, destroying the whole front of the chopper and killing our pilots instantly.

When I opened my eyes, I saw Mason lying next to me, his neck was turned at a strange angle. Then I noticed the Raven was on fire. I grabbed Mason's wrist and tried to drag him out of the burning chopper, but someone grabbed my shoulder. Turning, I saw it was Gunny Russell.

"We got to get out of here Murphy!" The big man screamed, as he tried to yank me away.

I struggled to break free, I didn't want to leave him behind. "But Mason-"

"Forget 'em, he's gone!" Russell then dragged me down the street, as Perth covered our escape...

**Miranda's Journal - 12 Frost, 15 A.E.**
Perth and me are sitting in some abandoned house, hiding from the Locust right now. With nowhere to go, I figured I might as well write down what's happening. Gunnery Sergeant Russell said we should head toward that building with the smoke coming out, now he's dead.

It's sick, but I always wanted to see a chainsaw duel, and it finally happened. Russell even won, not that it fucking matters now though. This was supposed to be another routine mission. See if there were any Stranded to recruit, and do a quick fly-over to see the Locust defenses, what the hell happened?

"Move your ass Private!" I screamed as I fired on full-auto at anything with gray skin. We were being chased down by Drone's, Bolter's, Sniper's, and Cyclops'. They were trying to cut us off any chance they got.

Perth was trying to play war-hero right now, and I wasn't going to let that happen. On leave, a few of us flew out to Narcusti, a small town fifty miles from Drake. Perth grew up there, and his mother invited all of us over for dinner. After meeting that wonderful woman, I wasn't going to deliver his tags home to her.

As soon as he was close enough, I dragged him back into the alley that Gunny and I had taken cover in. I didn't know how close we were to the house with the smoke, but I just hoped the Stranded there would help us, rather then shoot at us.

Perth got a whack on the back of his helmet. "Quit trying to be a hero dumbass!" Sergeant Russell ripped into him. "You don't need to be that far behind to cover slack!"

As I continued to return fire, taking out a Bolter, I hoped the Sarge had a plan. The longer we stayed here, the more time the Boomer's had to catch up. That was the last thing we fucking needed.

"Murphy, let's go." I nodded, and back down the alley, Lancer at the ready. We could hear the boots pounding, and the Locust's grunts as they got closer.

Suddenly, there was a loud band, and the sound of a chainsaw running. Turning around, I saw Russell knock Perth aside as he brought his own Lancer up against a Cyclops coming out of a doorway. I watched in awe as the big Gear and Locust fought back and forth to kill the other.

Finally, Gunny got the better of the thing, shoving it's chainsaw aside, and cutting the things head in half down the middle. "Perth, grab that thing's ammo and move." He jammed a frag into the doorway and moved forward.

I stayed with Perth as he grabbed up the ammo and shoved it into any available compartment he could find. A Drone suddenly appeared in the hallway the Cyclops had come out of, I quickly shot him down. "Enough Private, go."

We headed in the direction Russell had gone, and heard an explosion and scream. We rushed forward and around the corner, a Grenadier was standing over him, a Gnasher in hand. He looked up, just in time for Perth to put three rounds of buckshot into him.

Reaching the big man on the ground, I could see his right leg was gone, and there were several large holes in his armor. "What hap-"

"Get the fuck out of here, now." He insisted, as I tried to figure out where to start.

"I'm not leaving you like I did Mason." I turned to Perth, who was just standing there in shock. "Keep watch, anything comes around that corner, take it's fucking head off."

Perth fired several shots, but had to slam the Gnasher onto the back of his armor and pull his Hammerburst rifle, since he had no time to reload.

"Mason's dead, so am I." Russell growled. "Get him," He jammed his finger repeatedly toward Perth. "And get out of here."

An explosion came from the alley we'd just been in, there was nothing else between us and them.

"Murphy, you're never gonna be able to drag me outta here and get away."

I heard a scream, looking up, I could see the Private clutching his right arm. Tears streamed down my face, I didn't want to leave anyone. My father couldn't even leave a body behind.

"I'm gonna make it real simple for you."

I heard two clicks and turned around to see Gunny with a frag in each hand, both were primed, all he had to do was let go. I took off my helmet and leaned down, giving him a kiss on his cheek. "I'm sorry." I whispered.

"Perth, we're out of here!" I called, as I replaced my helmet.

The young Private finished off his clip, reloading as he came toward us. He looked down and saw the two grenades. "What's-"

I grabbed his arm and yanked him away. We finally cleared the alley, and out into an empty street, when we heard a Locust scream.


"Fuck you!" Russell screamed, then the ground shook as twin explosions rocked the alley.

"Come on," I pulled Perth by his good arm. "Let's find a place to hole up for the night."

**Miranda's Journal - 13 Frost, 15 A.E.**
We found Dawson and those Stranded today. The guy was burned up real bad, he said he had a run-in with a Flame Boomer. It looked like he'd crawled toward the Stranded for help, when he just ran out of energy. I doubt they ever knew he was even there.

The fucking Flame Boomer caught him on the left side. His left arm, and that side of his face, are a total loss. The surfer boy looks are gone. I wanted to talk to the Stranded for help, but he said no, he insisted I use one of those ESB's (Electrical Synapse Blockers) on him for the pain.

I am NOT a Corpsman, the only reason I even had that thing is because Nanya's right-side armor compartment wouldn't stay closed. I tried to follow the directions, but the Lieutenant was in so much pain, he grabbed it when I wasn't looking, and shoved it into his own skull.

He seems to have calmed down, but it was supposed to go in at the base of the skull. Who knows what the effects are going to be long term?

By the time all of that was done, it was dark, and we couldn't tell what house the Stranded had gone into. Perth wanted to start banging on doors, but that's a great way to get shot. We'll just have to find them tomorrow.

"Murphy, look." Perth grabbed my arm to get my attention.

On the ground, face down on the street, was a Gear. As I hurried toward him, I saw the markings of a Lieutenant, it was Dawson. After reaching him, Perth and I flipped him over as gently as possible.

The Private gagged as we got a look at what had happened to the man, I didn't blame him. Something had melted the skin off of his left arm and face, and the scorch marks on his armor were black as night.

It didn't take much to realize the big man had a nasty run in with a Flamer, either a Boomer, or a Grenadier. I just didn't know what we were going to do about it.

"Are those the Stranded we were looking for?"

Looking down the street for the first time, I could see two Stranded dragging another armored body, at first I thought cannibals, but then I realized they had dug graves. Since when did they give a shit about Gears?

"Fuck." A voice growled behind us.

I whipped my Lancer around, and realized the L-T was awake. I stayed low, not wanting to get the Stranded's attention until we knew more about them.

"What happened Lieutenant Dawson?" Perth asked as we came up to him.

"Fucking... Flame- Boomer." He managed to grunt out.

I could tell he was in agony, I'd gotten a small burn from the pilot light on a Scorcher during boot camp, and I'd thought that was painful. By pure luck, I had one of Nanya's ESB's on me, as well as a few other things, but I wasn't qualified to use them.

The Lieutenant limbs went rigid as he tried to deal with the pain, I could see tears coming from his good eye, and he was definitely trying to repress a scream.

"Sir," I paused, not sure how to explain things while he was in the condition he was in. "I'm not sure what to do, I've got one of these ESB's, but I don't-"

"Use it." He ordered.

I was really surprised, I was just never really sure what he was thinking. "But sir, I-"

"Murphy, you owe me."

I watched as his breathing increased, the pain must have been pure hell.

"Okay." I told him, as I pulled the thing out from one of my leg compartments. I carefully unwrapped it, and started to read the instructions. I wasn't going to fuck this up.

"They're bringing back another body." Perth interrupted.

"How many?" The only people still missing were the Sarge, Hall, and Sanders. I hoped at least one of them was still out there.

The young Private shook his head. "Looks like three."

"Fuck-" I looked down to get the ESB, and saw it was gone. That was the only one I had! I scanned the street desperately, trying to see if it had rolled off of the plastic. Then I saw it in the hands of Lieutenant Dawson. "Sir, I don't think that's a good idea."

He turned to me, his remaining good eye staring right at me. "I can't take it Murphy." With that said, he plunged it into the back of his head. Immediately after, he had some kind of seizure.

I tried to hold Dawson down with one hand, while using the other as a cushion for the back of his head. I saw Perth just standing there, watching this go down.

"Private." I hissed.

Broken from his shock, he jumped in to help. Between the two of us, we were able to hold him down until the seizures stopped.

"Come on Perth." I told him as he helped me pull the big man up between us, each throwing an arm around our shoulders.

"What about them?" He asked, motioning back toward the Stranded with his head.

"We'll contact them tomorrow, let's get going."

**Miranda's Journal - 14 Frost, 15 A.E.**
This is bad. Everything is going completely out of control, and I don't know what to do about it. Since the Lieutenant regained consciousness, he's been acting crazy, and it's taking everything I've got just to keep things from getting worse.

Last night, while he was still out, I checked the three graves the Stranded had dug. It's Rodriguez, Hall, and Sanders. Which is fucked, since Perth is just a kid, any one of those guys could have really helped with Dawson.

Now, he wants me to go on patrol and leave Perth at the warehouse. I'm amazed he knew the streets it was on, we had a heck of a time finding it anyways. I'm hoping MAYBE, I can talk some sense into him on patrol. More when I get back.

"But Lieutenant, those Stranded might need help." I plead, as we walked down the street, looking for signs of Locust activity.

"Those people are nothing but fucking animals." He growled. "The most they deserve is a bullet, now drop it."

I was shocked to hear this coming from him. While he definitely wasn't the warmest man in the world, he'd never been so indifferent about a non-Locust before, not even Captain Barlow.

"You're starting to worry me, that ESB wasn't implanted properly, and I think it's messing with your head." There, I said it.

He suddenly whirled on me, grabbing my shoulders and slamming me against a wall. "Listen you bitch, I'm in charge here. Those Stranded left me to die, once the Locust have thinned out, we're going to kill the lot of them, and take any supplies they got."

"Sir," I said hesitantly, he glared down at me, waiting for my response. I just hoped he'd actually listen. "They buried Rodriguez, Hall, and Sanders, even left the COG tags, instead of trying to sell them back to the families. I don't think they knew you were there."

"Are you fucking stupid?!" He asked as he shoved me, to the side, almost causing me to fall over. "They're the ones that killed them!"

Oh shit, he'd completely lost it. Between the burns and the ESB, his brain was fucking fried. What was I supposed to do, shoot him? That was a great way of getting put in front of a firing squad.

Distracted with trying to figure out what to do, I never saw the punch coming. Before I knew it, I was on my back, with the L-T standing over me.

"You really disappointed me Murphy, I never thought you would be a traitor."

Before I could make any kind of argument in my defense, I saw his boot coming down at my helmet.

A/N 2: I have tried to be as accurate as as I could, with how the COG and the Gears work. But there were still a fair amount of gaps to fill in. Wherever possible, I filled them in with current military structure.

A/N 3: In my attempts to 'pretty up' my chapters a bit, I used some code that made this story un-viewable to some of my regular readers. This was not my intention, and as you can see, I have removed all of the offending code. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Disclaimer: The song 'Fuck the UIR!' is owned by The Dross Heads, and the COG Propaganda Department. Non-sanctioned use of this song will result in a ten thousand credit fine, and/or a sentence of two years hard labor.


The End?

You have reached the end of "Headhunters" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 2 Nov 10.

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