This is my first post ever, please be gentle and tell me what you think. If you guys like it, I will probably post more in the future. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "You! Get up, morsel!" shrieked the Jackal captain as he tossed Kyrie by her shackles into the makeshift wrestling arena the reptilian-bird-aliens had pieced together out of the native dirt, mud, and rocks of Mar Sara - all to the great applause and jeering of the captain’s unruly and undoubtedly nasty pirate crew. Kyrie winced distastefully as she became fully aware of the situation as her captors unchained her restraints and strapped her into her ballistic armor. A death match. The victor would be released, the loser wound up as dinner. Such waste of valuable livestock would usually be the last thought on any greedy Jackal slaver’s mind, but undoubtedly this raid had yielded far more prisoners than the small slave-ship could hold, and the ever bloodthirsty Jackals want for violence and flesh preceded any notion of releasing surplus prisoners. Slavery of sentient species had been outlawed in the Galaxy for nearly a century, the inter-racial legislation had its roots incepted as early as a mere decade after the Human-Covenant war, but only a fool would have believed some words spewed by a few good for nothing politicians would stop Jackal raid parties from harvesting slaves for the black market. It would be just her luck, Kyrie complained internally, that on her brief scouting run to this desolate rock and excuse of a planet would land her in the middle of a Jackal slaver raid. Of course I should have anticipated this Kyrie chastised herself with a tone of anger with a splotch of regret for her negligence as she recalled that Mar Sara’s lack of planet-side military and nomadic society marked it as a prime target for just such slaver assaults. However, no amount of regret at this point would change the events at hand. Kyrie steeled her resolution as the Jackal captain sealed her signature raven-black ODST helmet over her head. The HUD flickered to life and immediately began to run routine diagnostics - the Jackals had taken great care not to damage her ballistic armor. No doubt to sell to the damn Rebels on the Black market for even more profit Kyrie jeered in her mind, but no sooner than the Jackal pirates erupted in various shouts, squawks, and honks among other noises, as their masses parted to reveal Kyrie’s opponent: a -relative to battle ready Warriors- scrawny Sangheili youth. The Jackals clearly didn’t want to waste prime specimens on these ‘gladiator’ fights the ODST cynically muttered, mildly insulted that she, and elite shock trooper, had been labeled as ‘unfit’ as a civilian Sangheili adolescent. As she stepped into the ring and met her opponent at the center, the pirates sealed the ring around them, all jeering and trampling over each other to place their last minute bets. From what she gathered , the Sangheili was heavily favored to win, and the ODST couldn’t blame them as, now that she stood closer to her opponent, begrudgingly realized the Sangheili stood a full two feet taller than her and boasted the lean yet senewy limbs of a Mar Sara nomad. Kylie felt a rise in adrenaline, and a small hint of panic. Even the most dangerous of ODST missions hold over a 30% survival rate, yet these pirates were betting against her life 10 to 1. Surely she and the Sangheili weren’t so unevenly matched? Kylie gazed into the youth’s eyes and experienced a tang of sorrow as she saw the innocence in her fellow victim’s face, and wondered what the nomad must be feeling as he stared back into her cold, expressionless visor. Despite her emotional sympathies, Kylie’s war-hardened mentality took no hesitations. The Captain signaled the start of the match, and much to the delight of the onlooking pirates, Kylie with terrifying speed leapt at her opponent, clipping him across his double jaw with a wild jab, then carried her momentum to knock the Sangheili down into the mud with her shoulder. I can’t die here Kylie gritted as she pounded her fists into the alien’s face.Jarred out of his daze by this human’s melees and finally comprehending weight of the situation, the Sangheili roared as he swung his knee into Kylie’s abdomen. Caught off guard by the docile teen’s sudden outburst, Kylie let out a short grunt as she was bunted off the Sangheili, arced through the air, and slammed into the ground onto her back. Her armor protected her from the brunt of the attack, but the sheer force of the strike left her gasping for breath. The ODST shook off the daze, only to the sight of a nearly 8 foot alien bearing down at her with his melon-sized fists. Slowed down by the mud that had now seeped into her armor and sucked at her, restricting her every movement, Kylie raised her arms to deflect the beast’s blows. The Sangheili bore down on Kylie, ineffectively but forcefully at her kinetic-foam cushioned gauntlets. The alien’s hands quickly bruised and bled from the ferocity of his attacks, prompting him to make a quick strategic change: the alien grabbed the shock trooper’s arm and tore her out of the mud, wrapping his free hand around Kylie’s helmet. Taking no delays with the opening, Kylie jammed her fist around one of the alien’s split mandibles, and pried until the jaw snapped with a sickening crack; the dislocated mandible’s razor sharp carnivorous teeth punctured the ODST’s tactical gloves, tearing into her muscles and tendons. Both combatants let out agonized shrieks, but not allowing the pain of the injuries interrupt the fight. The fight quickly degenerated into a muddy brawl as Kylie and the Sangheili gripped and wrestled each other in the muddy ring, grunting and struggling all to the Jackal crew’s delight. The two exchanged blows over and over while tumbling the circumference of the arena - as the fight endured on, Kylie felt her trading strikes becoming weaker and weaker whereas the Sangheili’s resolution remained firm; The slough of the mud and the constant weight of the gigantic alien wore down even her highly trained physique. The attacks of the Sangheili, though severely dampened by her ballistic armor, burned her muscles and fatigued her ability. As the engagement drew on, Kylie noticed her ever more tired attacks become essentially useless against the youth's huge muscular frame, and felt more and more the damage she sustained from his relentless assault. One - to - one blow trades deteriorated to one punch from the ODST to 5 or 6 from the Sangheili as Kylie's muscles betrayed her and fell limp to exhaustion. This alien monster has so much stamina!… Kylie’s rugged determination quickly deteriorated to a mild panic as she contemplated how, without her armor, she would hardly have even lasted half this long against this beast. Kylie’s arms seared with exhaustion, her HUD alerted her that her muddy brawl had dragged on for a whole 9 minutes and 32 seconds. Her ballistic armor bared cracks and strains from the alien’s brutal onslaught, and her ODST insignia were all but hidden under layers of Martian mud from the dirty brawl. Kylie’s mild panic escalated onto frustration and fear as her vision blurred and her breath came ragged from the physical excursion. No… I don’t want to die!… I.. I can’t… Her fear was quickly augmented as a bloodcurdling siren alerted her “Warning! Armor breached!”. Kylie felt a sudden rush of cool and refreshing air in a crevice around her neck as the heat and sweat of battle that had built up underneath her armor exchanged with the alien planet’s atmosphere: the Sangheili had broken the seals to her helmet and was working hard on peeling off the jet-black headgear that at this point boasted several cracks in the visor, stained with blood beaten from the ODST’s chest out of her mouth. No… I.. I need to get away… not like this.. The soldier’s lungs gasped deeply for the fresh air outside of her stale helmet, though each breath was interrupted with ragged cries and raspy breaths as the beast continued to ravage her with an unceasing onslaught of punches. ..am I… is this where I die? Such a pathetic way to pass.. not alongside my battle brothers nor for any meaningful cause… Kylie’s face burned with humiliation as she heard the crowd jeering on “Ha! Thank Jral’khan! The girl’s meat will be far more tender than the Nomad’s!” Am I, a proud ODST warrior, just some alien delicacy? Sensing that victory was at hand, the Sangheili grabbed Kylie by her small chin and pulled her to her knees, and drew a knife he had concealed in a small satchel. Thats cheating! Kylie wanted to scream, but through her exhaustion the words would not leave her mouth any louder than a raspy whisper. Kylie’s arms, drained of all their strength, spasmed helplessly at her side as she attempted to raise them and remove the Sangheili’s grip from her face. Her ergonomic gauntlets which, mere minutes ago had felt like an extension of herself now weighed down on her like cinderblocks. How come I’ve never noticed how heavy this armor is?.. Kylie’s opponent brushed her short, messy, brown hair out of the way of her face, revealing her hazel green eyes to the Sangheili. In the background, she could hear the onlookers cheering the youth on, “Go on! Do us a favor and skin her for us!” I will not end up as some bastard creature’s food… this is not right… I don’t want to.. Now we see eye to eye the Sangheili seemed to express wordlessly as Kylie gazed back at the alien’s black beady eyes. This civilian Sangheili, had he not only so easily defeated an elite shock trooper, was now humiliating Kylie with notions of camaraderie and sympathy to which Kylie felt no returned feelings. You split-chinned bastard… I shouldn’t be the one to die! It should be you! It’s your people they’re after! I’m not supposed to be here! Kylie’s thoughts raced in sporadic directions as from the corner of her eye she saw the glint of the Sangheili’s blade raise towards her neck. No! No! NO! NO! Kylie screamed internally as her life flashed before her. Her childhood friends, her first live concert, her first kiss, her boot camp, her proud and ceremonial induction to the prestigious ODST. She had so many experiences and life and had so many more to live, Please don’t kill me.. not now.. I have so much to LIVE for.. The alien’s melon sized hand wrapped itself into Kylie’s hair and pulled her head back to reveal her soft and tender neck, and looked directly into Kylie’s face with what seemed like a relieved look in his eyes. No you bastard!… This isn’t fair!..YOU DIE! NOT ME! NO! With a last burst of her energy, Kylie raspily whimpered, far more pathetically sounding than she had intended, bolstering her humiliation,“… please.. no..I don’t want to die..” The Sangheili, showing no intention of conceding his victory, slid his knife in a clean motion across Kylie’s throat. Kylie’s vision blurred to static as she gurgled and bubbled blood through her mouth and the slit in her neck as she attempted in vain to draw oxygen into her lungs. Blood streamed from Kylie's mouth and throat, staining the mud which had caked ontop of her armor into a dark maroon paste. Kylie could feel the life drain from her, and her eyes remained focused on the alien's face: her killer, not a covenant radical or a terrorist, but a mere nomadic boy. As even more blood coughed out of her orifices, she thought of nothing but the damn shame that she had been slain by such an unassuming opponent in such a pathetic fashion for such a pointless reason. Kylie's eye's, though she attempted to keep them focused on her killer's face, uncontrollably tilted upwards. I.. I'm dying.. Kylie gagged as her last breath failed to pass through the wound in her neck, and soon enough, Kylie’s vision slipped into darkness. Her body never crumpled to the ground, she simply remained seized in rigor mortem on her knees as the Jackals around her deceased body danced and celebrated, calling dibs on various parts of her body they would later consume during the ensuing feast.