Halo: The Unchained

Going to summer camp is just about the worst decision Ryan Winters has ever made. Spending three months with a bunch of idiots who think "tru dat" is correct grammar is certainly not his idea of a good time. But, according to his adoptive mother, he isn't good enough at pretending to not be a mutant. So, off to summer camp, trying to spend more time with the human persons so he can learn how to be a human person. There is only one problem:
Ryan isn't who he says he is.
In a desperate attempt to keep his past hidden, Ryan tries to navigate life at the campsite while drawing as little attention as possible. But, when an unlikely person discovers the truth, Ryan is forced to choose between the fate of the world and the life he has always wanted to live. Now, Ryan has never thought of himself as the type to help people.
Little did Ryan know, all it would take was an interdimensional messenger, his ex-best-friend, and a giant robot from hell to prove him very, very wrong.

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16. (In)Dependent Thought

(In)Dependent Thought

Tyrin couldn’t help but scoff when he saw the inside of the sad little interrogation tent. The little rotting table and questionable hanging light in the middle of the tent were clearly meant to just scare the teenagers walking in.  How cliché.  Did they seriously think they could make people talk using intimidation alone?  Well, maybe some people would fall for it—but Ryan probably wouldn’t. Something told Tyrin that the liar was smarter than that.

The interrogation didn’t even take that long.  It was just about the situation of when the locket thing was found, and what he knew about Jared Hall.  Of course, he couldn’t say anything about Ryan.  Natasha looked like she would rip the voice box out of his throat if he said anything that could give away Lucifer’s plans.  Which was fair.  Also, mildly terrifying—but fair. If he spilled, he could ruin everything. She was just being cautious.

As Tyrin left the tent, he felt a tight grasp on his arm, followed by a yank that sent him tumbling into the woods nearby.  He let out a little yell as he stumbled, trying to get his balance back together.  Tyrin frowned as he turned to face Natasha, who stood there with a smug grin on her lips.  “You’ve done well, young Lord.”  She said in that otherworldly voice she had carried when they first met.  “But there is more that you must do before your job is complete.”

Great, there’s more. Well, it sounds have been obvious that there would be more. Ryan wasn’t exposed yet, so their plan wasn’t complete. But what do they need me for? I did my thing, I planted the locket. Isn’t that enough? Might as well just hear them out. Maybe it would at least be interesting.  He stood up straighter, looking her in the eyes.  “What do I need to do next?”  I’m being strangely compliant.  

“We need to make Ryan Winters squirm. Make people suspicious, back him into a corner.  You can do this however you see fit, but don’t expose yourself to him. If they know who you are, there will be dire consequences for our Lord.”

What about the dire consequences for me? Then again, Lucifer was the man with the plan. Tyrin was just… a pawn—well, more like a tool. Something to be used and then thrown away again.  Tyrin frowned.  “But…  Can’t we just expose him?  Once they see his wings, they will know that he is Jared Hall.”  Her gaze sharpened, and Tyrin was pretty sure she was about to strike him down where he stood.

“You dare question the plan of the Great Demon King,”  She challenged, her voice cutting through him like spears.

He held up his hands in mock surrender.  “No, no, not at all.  I was just wondering the reason behind drawing this out so long, that’s all.”

“The other warriors will unconsciously start to swarm to him if they feel that he is threatened.  We need to be stealthy and slow, or they will discover our plan and throw the universe into chaos!  We can’t let that happen!” Natasha snapped her fingers, a black flame burning at the ends of her clothes until she reverted back to the form she was in when Tyrin first saw her.

He rubbed the back of his neck.  “Well, when you put it like that… It makes sense…” 

Her eyes softened a little, probably because Tyrin was no longer showing signs of questioning Lucifer’s plans. “Good. Then it seems we have reached an understanding.” Natasha crossed her arms and took a breath, looking a little exhausted. “Report back to the Seventh Realm when you are done. Just say the incantation on the back of that amulet.”

Tyrin nodded in understanding. Wait, but what about… Well, everything? How am I supposed to back Ryan into a corner? None of this makes sense. He would figure something out. There was no point in stressing over it. “Right. Will do.”

Natasha didn’t say anything more before she simply vanished into a cloud of black smoke. Apparently, that was a perk to being a Servant of Lucifer—they could use their magic to send themselves back to their master without having to bother with troublesome things like portals or amulets or incantations. It sounded pretty cool—in an “I sold myself to the Devil and now I have to do everything he says, but hey, I have these cool magic powers now” way.

Tyrin’s mind blurred for a moment, and suddenly he forgot what he had been thinking about. He shook his head as if he was trying to shake the fuzz away, but he still felt a little light headed. Well, might as well just go back to the campsite and try to think of a plan. Tyrin kept his eyes locked on the ground as he walked, not really thinking about anything in particular. Suddenly, Tyrin found himself colliding with someone walking in the opposite direction.

He stumbled backward, just barely catching himself before looking up to see who it was he had run into.  His eyes fell on October, who had been knocked over by the force of the collision. October? What the hell is he doing in the woods? “Sorry, man. Didn’t see you.” He said quickly, holding out his hand to help October up.

October took Tyrin’s hand and stood, shrugging as he wiped the dirt off of his shirt- which was silly, since his shirt was black and you couldn’t see the dirt anyway. Tyrin thought he saw October hastily shove something into his pocket, but he didn’t get a good enough look. “It’s all good. Don’t worry about it.”

Tyrin looked at October curiously for a few moments. October had always been a little jumpy—always hiding things, always sneaking off in the middle of the night. He probably thought that Tyrin never noticed—but hell, they share a bedroom. It was a little obvious when your roommate was scrambling out the window in the middle of the night. “What are you doing out here?” He asked suddenly, against his better judgment.

October tensed a little, then shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans. “Nothing, just lookin’ for a place to get away for a bit. It’s a real hell hole in that cafeteria. I guess I can ask you the same question, can’t I?” Something in Tyrin’s gut told him October was lying, but he didn’t press the guy any more than he had to. He had lived with October and his family long enough to know that if October didn’t want to tell someone what he was really doing, he wasn’t going to.

But it wasn’t time for brotherly bonding. He had to focus on the mission. Exposing Ryan was the number one priority.

Suddenly, a strange feeling swirled in the pit of Tyrin’s stomach. It was warm, and somehow… Familiar. It’s them. But who is them? I don’t know, but I know it’s them. But that’s stupid. How could be possibly sense someone’s presence if he didn’t know who they were? Clearly, he was imaging things. But it feels so real.

It feels like… Home.

An image flashed through Tyrin’s mind for a split second—Ryan and Gigi running off to the lake. Then, he thought of the plan. Making people suspicious of Ryan is the end goal, right? Well, sneaking off in the middle of an investigation is suspicious… There was no guarantee that they would be doing something worthy of suspicion. But it is worth a try, right? Maybe he’ll fall in and expose himself or something.

It could work. Maybe it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t hurt to try. Maybe it would. What about that strange feeling? That was nothing, a figment of his imagination. It’s worth a try anyway.

“I just came from the Lake. Went over there to get away from the crazy. Since everyone’s all shoved in the cafeteria, no one is over there.” He said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the forest path that led to the rocky shore.

October looked at the path thoughtfully. “Ah. Well, that makes sense.” October moved to leave, going the wrong direction. Tyrin frowned. Guess I’ll have to try harder. This was a bad idea—but maybe it isn’t. I can’t know unless I try.

Tyrin patted his pockets and let out a curse. “Fuck—hey, man, I think I left my phone out there on the dock. It’s almost time for me to get called into the shit show for the whole questioning BS, and you know how our parents get if I don’t check in with them when they text.” That was stupid. What if October realized Tyrin had already done the interrogation? October isn’t nearly that observant. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was gone before we even lined up to go into the cafeteria in the first place.

October frowned, looking off in the direction he had been walking with a strange sense of urgency. “Well… I guess I can run and grab it really quickly…” Knew it.

Tyrin patted October’s shoulder. “Thanks, man. I totally owe you one. Remind me to cover for you next time the ‘Rents want us to do spring cleaning.”

October grinned. “Well, I guess there are some perks to helping out your step-brother.” He gave Tyrin a little two finger salute—which was kind of like this weird thing they did whenever they made a deal with each other—and started walking in the direction of the lake.

See? I know what I’m doing. October would find Ryan and Gigi and maybe something will tip him off that Ryan is suspicious as hell.

He hoped. 

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