Posted By: LonesomeMonster<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 8 April 2010, 6:22 pm
"The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness."--- Norman Cousins
Sleep had always been well skilled in eluding Miranda Keyes. The Cairo Space Station's bunks and heavy lids offered no rest for her. For that matter, neither did the memories of hellish conflicts and thoughts of the uncertain future that frequented the young commander's mind.
She padded across the metal floor, taking care as to not disturb anything in the cramped quarters, out into the vacant hall. In the darkness, memories buried during the waking hours dug themselves out of their shallow graves and nipped at her heels. She ran a hand through her off the collar hair self-soothingly. This temporary lull in the war had Miranda on edge. She had too much time on her hands to think and it was starting to make her squirm.
The commander picked her way listlessly through the maze of narrow corridors, barely acknowledging the night-watch that saluted to her, until she winded up in Recreation R-01. Surprisingly nothing and no one was present except for the low fluorescent glow of unoccupied video phones and the nearly seven foot tall figure leaned almost casually against the far wall.
If it hadn't been for the ungodly height and bulk, the commander would never had realized it was SPARTAN-117, staring out one of the few large bay windows into a veil of black velvet covered in twinkling diamonds.
He wore no armor, only a standard grey sweats and underarmour. (His MJOLNIR suit had been all but vaporized from battle with the Covenant.)
It was said to be unwise not to announce one's presences around a Spartan. She had heard many rumors of unfortunate military personnel making that mistake and being inadvertently (Or advertently and quite savagely, depending on whose spreading the gossip.) killed by Spartans. Of course Spartans weren't exactly favored amongst the UNSC personnel thus any rumor concerning the super soldiers should be taken in stride. Either way, she hung back a moment to drink in her first sighting of the unmasked Master Chief.
Thick cords of solid muscle made up his tall frame, the perfect masculine form. He was abnormally pale from many hours spent scuttling around in his full body suit. Numerous scars marring his flesh. Some were faded, precise lines from his augmentation procedures others were harsh, dark marks that were sutured hastily on the battlefront. Fresh bruises and healing nicks starkly contrasted with the whiteness of his skin. He was a human jigsaw puzzle in more ways than one.
Few had ever seen the Master Chief's face. To be honest Miranda didn't think there was one under that gold, reflective faceplate. He had always seemed otherworldly, too mechanical to have a face. But he did and she found it oddly charming.
Courtesy of cryo-technology, a man in his early thirties with serious blue eyes stood stargazing, dark brown hair, slightly longer than regulation length, framed his pale strong face.
Miranda was wide-eyed with wonderment. She felt compelled to learn more about this oddly charming man who wore the SPARTAN armor
Suddenly the super soldier twisted around and gazed down at her. It was only then that the Commander realized that she was eyeballing the Chief like he was some sort freak show and instantly felt a twinge of shame.
The Spartan snapped to attention. "Commander," He greeted with a salute.
Miranda looked sheepish for a moment before pushing her shoulders back. "At ease, Spartan," She said, waving a hand dismissively. "No need for formalities. Neither of us are on duty."
Master Chief's brow furrowed slightly at her words. His posture didn't slacken but he nodded and made his way for the exit.
Miranda bit her lip nervously. She wasn't running on all cylinders tonight, was she? She didn't know why she had called out to the Spartan (who was not giving her a funny look.) but she had and now she felt really stupid for it. "Hum," She racked her brain for an excuse--- Hell just words! "You
don't have to leave on my behalf."
"It's oh-three-hundred, Ma'am. I figured it was about time to turn in."
Disappointment sank like a rock in her stomach. "Oh. Well, sorry for disturbing you."
"You didn't, ma'am." He lied, stepping toward the threshold but stopped short when the Commander spoke again.
"You seemed so at peace just with gazing at the stars," a rueful chuckle, " I hardly notice them anymore myself. They used to fascinate me when I was a kid. My dad
my dad and I used to lay out in the backyard for hours and try to count them." Miranda pressed a hand to the cool surface of the window, looked sadly out the window into the star speckled blackness. To the south, near Sagittarius and Scorpios, the hub of the Milky Way shone as a dusty white haze streak. "We never got around to counting them all
"Your father was a great man."
He was," she traced a finger down the glass, connecting constellations "What about your dad?" She looked from her smudged prints back and up to the Spartan behind her. Did he even have a dad?
Master chief didn't say anything for a long time. His thick brows were slanted down from either anger at her question or from deep consideration, Miranda didn't know which. She gazed back at her tracings regretfully and opened her mouth to apologize but she didn't get the chance.
"I don't remember my father," John-117 abruptly spoke with honesty, his face twisted into grimace "but I remember my mother vaguely. She used to sit me in her lap and point out the different stars and tell me their meanings
Miranda gazed up at the Master Chief with empathy in her eyes. By the look on his face, it was obliviously that that was a memory he held with great care. It didn't matter what galaxy the chief was in or how the stars changed. when ever he looked up at the sky he saw his mother. She respected that, the small glimpse of the man behind the suit of armor.
"Maybe after the war is over you could try to find---"
John shook his head sharply. "No," he stated grimly "It's been almost fifty years
Too many 'what if's."
Miranda nodded understandingly and the pair fell silent.
"Miranda, call me Miranda."
"You said 'after the war'. You believe the war is drawing to an end?"
She nodded wholeheartedly "Yes, I don't know how and I don't know when but I know its coming to an end soon," She paused with her lips parted and added the last part in a whisper "I just hope I'll be around to see it."
A large calloused hand searched for Miranda's shoulder in the dark, and squeezed. The commander's eyebrows met her hair line as she glanced up at John. He was closer than she had expected, his eyes borrowed in to hers.
"You will, Miranda."
Damned if she didn't believe him.
A/N: Okay, first fanfic! It really didn't end up how I wanted/expected it to. I know it seems weak and rushed. They're both out of character and it's kind of weird and would never happen but hey that's FanFiction for you!