Phoenix Logs/Campaign Logs/The Graveyard

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Palmer, Nathaniel J. Archaeologist, Lamb Research Center. Personal Diary Date: 11/28/2558

Fifteen of us managed to escape the attack. I still don't know if anyone else made it out.

We were returning from a survey expedition when we heard the first explosions.

I ran back, following the plumes of black smoke rising into the evening sky from just over the bluff. Sounds of UNSC gunfire were soon drowned out by the too-familiar whine of plasma weapons, confirming our worst fears.

As we looked down at the horror below, we saw several hulking outlines move amongst the shadows. Jiralhanae, I think. Brutes. They were everywhere. The air was filled with the smell of burning ozone as a couple of bright, electric blue shapes arced their way toward us. We scattered as the plasma blast hit, vaporizing the trees nearby and showering us with ash and debris.

We instinctively turned and ran. My ears were ringing and the ground shook, but we somehow managed to stay together. I yelled at everyone to keep moving, to not look back no matter what. But when the firing stopped I couldn't help myself, I turned around and witnessed the orbital plasma bombardment of our home firsthand. It didn't last long. I didn't need to. But the finality of it will be forever seared into my memory.

We've been on the run for three days now. The grime and smoke and ash clings to our clothes, our hair. We sleep in shifts, but not for very long. Every sound wakes us with a start and we expect to see the enemy bearing down on us.

We don't know where we're going but we've found some temporary shelter amongst some old wreckage from the last time humanity was here - skeletons of the past.

I can't help but think of the people we left behind. Will the Ark simply clean them away as it repairs itself? As if they never existed, layering fresh grass and fauna over their graves until the scars are no longer visible? They should not be forgotten. I think of you and I pray we are not at war again.