The Immortals aboard the In Amber Clad were hurried through the corridors to the armory to restock on ammunition, then hurried all the faster to the hanger onto a pelican designated for them. In the dropship, they found a small group of marines and Sergeant Johnson waiting for them. The gruff sergeant gave them a respectful nod as they sat down and the marines gave them looks of awe. Neo shifted uncomfortably, unused to the strange fame that the Immortals had gained these past few years. She cursed herself for feeling like a school girl after a boy had complimented her looks and tried to compose herself, only to feel something brush across her tail. Without turning her head, she looked out of the corner of her visor and saw Shade sitting in much the same way, but his tail moving subtly. Neo smiled to herself...
Their pelican took off along with two others, heading for the ground. It was only a few minutes before the broken city of New Mombassa sprawled out before them. From this height, none of them could see any signs of covenant forces, save for the massive carrier floating over the middle of the metropolis. Leyra broke in, speaking through a secure channel and using Shade's helmet to speak to both Miranda and the team at the same time, "Intercepting a message from the carrier... it just repeats, 'Regret, Regret, Regret." With a sarcastic air, Miranda responded with, "Catchy. Any idea what it means?" Johnson, smiling and catching onto the sarcasm, added to it, "'Dear Humanity, we regret being alien bastards, we regret coming to earth, and we most definitely regret the core just blew up our raggedy-ass fleet!" Every marine on the pelican gave a shout of "Hoo-Rah!" to punctuate the statement.
Extremely annoyed by the sergeant's nonchalance, Leyra's next sentence was rather snappish, "Regret is a name sergeant," she switched back to her calm war voice, "a name of one of the covenant's religious leaders: a prophet. He's on that carrier and he's calling for help." Silence prevailed in the dropship as this information was taken into consideration, but then Lord Hood took over, "Immortals, get aboard that ship, secure the prophet of Regret. This is the only place on Earth the covenant decided to land. That prophet is going to tell us why." It wasn't a minute later that the forward recon reported in, "Immediate, grid kilo-two-three is hot. Recommend mission abort." The pilot gave the affirmation that they'd received, then looked at Johnson, who had wandered to the cockpit, "It's your call sarge."
Johnson hesitated for only a moment, "We're going in. Get tactical Marines!" Neo, Shade, Tal, and Raze all checked their clips. Neo's twin SMGs clicked against her armor as she got ready. Shade and Tal checked their battle rifles carefully and Raze hefted the sniper rifle he'd taken from the armory, making sure everything was in place. The pilot called out, "Thirty seconds out, stand by to- woah..." Shade craned his neck... and saw the problem. A large insect looking machine had moved out from around a nearby building. Four massive legs supported the heavily armored body of the machine. The machine turned to look toward them and a strange bulge on the front suddenly shot open like some sort of demented flower, revealing a pulsing green light beneath, which grew brighter as the dazed soldiers watched in horrified fascination. The light suddenly intensified and a pulsing beam rent the air, striking the pelican to the right of the Immortals, vaporizing ship and crew in one fell stroke, and continuing on to burn a section of a nearby building into glass.
The pilot of their pelican called out, "HANG ON!" A plasma turret on the back of the strange contraption was turned toward them and a stream of rapidly fired plasma bolts flew toward them. The Immortals were nearly thrown from their seats as the pilot attempted to pull them out of the line of fire, but it also put one of the engines right in the path and the dropship began to spin out of control, losing altitude by the second. Shade saw an image of the ghetto of the city looming up before with a sickening crash, he was tossed from the ship, landing several feet away, the air in his lungs rushing out.
He was numb for several seconds, only vaguely aware of being rolled over and staring up at Neo, not hearing the words she was saying for a moment, then quietly saying, "I'm okay, I'm okay. The others?"