Halo: The Fall of Reach

Halo: The Fall of Reach

4.7 487
by Eric Nylund

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The Definitive Edition to the First and Bestselling Halo Novel, Including Twenty-seven Pages of New Material
Legends are not simply born...they are willed into existence.
Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call "home."
The United Nations Space Command now struggles to control this vast empire.


The Definitive Edition to the First and Bestselling Halo Novel, Including Twenty-seven Pages of New Material
Legends are not simply born...they are willed into existence.
Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call "home."
The United Nations Space Command now struggles to control this vast empire.
After exhausting all strategies to keep seething insurrections from exploding into interplanetary civil war, the UNSC has one last hope.
At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top secret program that could bring an end to all this conflict...and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six year old boy named John.
Halsey never guessed that this little boy would become humanity's final hope against a vast alien force hell-bent on wiping us out.
This is the story of John, Spartan-117…the Master Chief, and of the battles that brought humanity face to face with its possible extinction.
This new Tor edition will serve as the definitive version of the novel that started Halo fans reading the series, and features brand-new material, including:
Excerpts of Office of Naval Intelligence interrogations of the Covenant.
Missives and mandates issued by the Covenant
Declassified transmissions regarding the defense of Reach
A personal insight into the Spartan program
The Official Evacuation Order for all inhabitants of Reach.
Five sketches of cover art by 343 Industries artist, Robogabo

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The narration by multitalented Todd McLaren...is flexible and intense." —Library Journal Audio Review

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Halo , #1
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File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


Lieutenant Junior Grade Jacob Keyes awoke. Dull red light filled his blurry vision and he choked on the slime in his lungs and throat.
“Sit up, Lieutenant Keyes,” a disembodied male voice said. “Sit. Take a deep breath and cough, sir. You need to clear the bronchial surfactant.”
Lieutenant Keyes pushed himself up, peeling his back off the formfitting gel bed. Wisps of fog overflowed from the cryogenic tube as he clumsily climbed out. He sat on a nearby bench, tried to inhale, and doubled over, coughing until a long string of clear fluid flowed from his open mouth.
He sat up and drew his first full breath in two weeks. He tasted his lips and almost gagged. The cryo inhalant was specially designed to be regurgitated and swallowed, replacing nutrients lost in the deep sleep. No matter how they changed the formula, though, it always tasted like lime-flavored mucus.
“Status, Toran? Are we under attack?”
“Negative, sir,” the ship’s AI replied. “Status normal. We will enter normal space near the Eridanus System in forty-five minutes.”
Lieutenant Keyes coughed again. “Good. Thank you, Toran.”
“You’re welcome, Lieutenant.”
Eridanus was on the border of the Outer Colonies. It was just far enough off the beaten path for pirates to be lurking … waiting to capture a diplomatic shuttle like the Han. This ship wouldn’t last long in a space action. They should have an escort. He didn’t understand why they had been sent alone—but Junior Lieutenants didn’t question orders. Especially when those orders came from FLEETCOM HQ on planet Reach.
Wake-up protocols dictated that he inspect the rest of the crew to make sure no one had run into problems reviving. He looked around the sleep chamber: rows of stainless steel lockers and showers, a medical pod for emergency resuscitations, and forty cryogenic tubes—all empty except the one to his left.
The other person on the Han was the civilian specialist, Dr. Halsey. Keyes had been ordered to protect her at all costs, pilot this ship, and generally stay the hell out of her way. They might as well have asked him to hold her hand. This wasn’t a military mission; it was baby-sitting. Someone at Fleet Command must have him on their blacklist.
The cover of Dr. Halsey’s tube hummed open. Mist rippled out as she sat up, coughing. Her pale skin made her look like a ghost in the fog. Matted locks of dark hair clung to her neck. She didn’t look much older than him, and she was lovely—not beautiful, but definitely a striking woman. For a civilian, anyway.
Her blue eyes fixed upon the Lieutenant and she looked him over. “We must be near Eridanus,” she said.
Lieutenant Keyes almost saluted reflectively, but checked the motion. “Yes, Doctor.” His face reddened and he looked away from her slender body.
He had drilled in cryogenic recovery a dozen times at the Academy. He’d seen his fellow officers naked before—men and women. But Dr. Halsey was a civilian. He didn’t know what protocols applied.
Lieutenant Keyes got up and went to her. “Can I help you—”
She swung her legs out of the tube and climbed out. “I’m fine, Lieutenant. Get cleaned up and dressed.” She brushed past him and strode to the showers. “Hurry. We have important work to do.”
Lieutenant Keyes stood straighter. “Aye, aye, ma’am.”
With that brief encounter, their roles and the rules of conduct crystallized. Civilian or not—like it or not—Lieutenant Keyes understood that Dr. Halsey was in charge.
*   *   *
The bridge of the Han had an abundance of space for a vessel of its size. That is, it had all the maneuvering room of a walk-in closet. A freshly showered, shaved, and uniformed Lieutenant Keyes pulled himself into the room and sealed the pressure door behind him. Every surface of the bridge was covered with monitors and screens. The wall on his left was a single large semicurved view screen, dark for the moment because there was nothing in the visible spectrum to see in Slipspace.
Behind him was the Han’s spinning center section, containing the mess, the rec room, and the sleep chambers. There was no gravity on the bridge, however. The diplomatic shuttle had been designed for the comfort of its passengers, not the crew.
It didn’t seem to bother Dr. Halsey. Strapped into the navigator’s couch, she wore a white jumpsuit that matched her pale skin, and had tied her dark hair into a simple, elegant knot. Her fingers danced across four keypads, tapping in commands.
“Welcome, Lieutenant,” she said without looking up. “Please have a seat at the communication station and monitor the channels when we enter normal space. If there’s so much as a squeak on nonstandard frequencies, I want to know instantly.”
He drifted to the communication station and strapped himself down.
“Toran?” she asked.
“Awaiting your orders, Dr. Halsey,” the ship AI replied.
“Give me astrogation maps of the system.”
“Online, Dr. Halsey.”
“Are there any planets currently aligned with our entry trajectory and Eridanus Two? I want to pick up a gravitational boost so we can move in-system ASAP.”
“Calculating now, Doctor Hal—”
“And can we have some music? Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto Number Three, I think.”
“Understood, Doctor—”
“And start a preburn warm-up cycle for the fusion engines.”
“Yes, Doc—”
“And stop spinning the Han’s central carousel section. We may need the power.”
She eased back. The music started and she sighed. “Thank you, Toran.”
“You’re welcome, Dr. Halsey. Entering normal space in five minutes, plus or minus three minutes.”
Lieutenant Keyes shot the doctor an admiring glance. He was impressed—few people could put a shipboard AI through its paces so rigorously as to cause a detectable pause.
She turned to face him. “Yes, Lieutenant? You have a question?”
He composed himself and pulled his uniform jacket taut. “I was curious about our mission, ma’am. I assume we are to reconnoiter something in this system, but why send a shuttle, rather than a prowler or a corvette? And why just the two of us?”
She blinked and smiled. “A fairly accurate assumption and analysis, Lieutenant. This is a reconnaissance mission … of sorts. We are here to observe a child. The first of many, I hope.”
“A child?”
“A six-year-old male, to be precise.” She waved her hand. “It may help if you think of this purely as a UNSC-funded physiological study.” Every trace of a smile evaporated from her lips. “Which is precisely what you are to tell anyone who asks. Is that understood, Lieutenant?”
“Yes, Doctor.”
Keyes frowned, retrieved his grandfather’s pipe from his pocket, and turned it end over end. He couldn’t smoke the thing—igniting a combustible on the flight deck was against every major regulation on a UNSC space vehicle—but sometimes he just fiddled with it or chewed on the tip, which helped him think. He stuck it back into his pocket, and decided to push the issue and find out more.
“With all due respect, Dr. Halsey, this sector of space is dangerous.”
With a sudden deceleration, they entered normal space. The main view screen flickered and a million stars snapped into focus. The Han dove toward a cloud-swirled gas giant dead ahead.
“Stand by for burn,” Dr. Halsey announced. “On my mark, Toran.”
Lieutenant Keyes tightened his harness.
“Three … two … one. Mark.
The ship rumbled and sped faster toward the gas giant. The pull of the harness increased around the Lieutenant’s chest, making breathing difficult. They accelerated for sixty-seven seconds … the storms of the gas giant grew larger on the view screen—then the Han arced up and away from its surface.
Eridanus drifted into the center of the screen and filled the bridge with warm orange light.
“Gravity boost complete,” Toran chimed. “ETA to Eridanus is forty-two minutes, three seconds.”
“Well done,” Dr. Halsey said. She unlocked her harness and floated free, stretching. “I hate cryo sleep,” she said. “It leaves one so cramped.”
“As I was saying before, Doctor, this system is dangerous—”
She gracefully spun to face him, halting her momentum with a hand on the bulkhead. “Oh yes, I know how dangerous this system is. It has a colorful history: rebel insurrection in 2494, beaten down by the UNSC two years later at the cost of four destroyers.” She thought a moment, then added, “I don’t believe the Office of Naval Intelligence ever found their base in the asteroid field. And since there have been organized raids and scattered pirate activity nearby, one might conclude—as ONI clearly has—that the remnants of the original rebel faction are still active. Is that what you were worried about?”
“Yes,” the Lieutenant replied. He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry, but he refused to be cowed by the doctor—by a civilian. “I need hardly remind you that it’s my job to worry about our security.”
She knew more than he did, much more, about the Eridanus System—and she obviously had contacts in the intelligence community. Keyes had never seen an ONI spook—to the best of his knowledge anyway. Mainline Navy personnel had elevated such agents to near-mythological status.
Whatever else he thought of Dr. Halsey, he would assume from now on that she knew what she was doing.
Dr. Halsey stretched once more and then strapped herself back onto the navigation couch. “Speaking of pirates,” she said with her back now to him, “weren’t you supposed to be monitoring communication channels for illegal signals? Just in case someone takes undue interest in a lone, unescorted, diplomatic shuttle?”
Lieutenant Keyes cursed himself for his momentary lapse and snapped to. He scanned all frequencies and had Toran cross-check their authentication codes.
“All signals verified,” he reported. “No pirate transmissions detected.”
“Continue to monitor them, please.”
An awkward thirty minutes passed. Dr. Halsey was content to read reports on the navigational screens, and kept her back to him.
Lieutenant Keyes finally cleared his throat. “May I speak candidly, Doctor?”
“You don’t need my permission,” she said. “By all means, speak candidly, Lieutenant. You’ve been doing a fine job so far.”
Under normal circumstances, among normal officers, that last remark would have been insubordination—or worse, a rebuke. But he let it pass. Normal military protocol seemed to have been jettisoned on this flight.
“You said we were here to observe a child.” He shook his head dubiously. “If this is a cover for real military intelligence work, then, to tell the truth, there are better-qualified officers for this mission. I graduated from UNSC OCS only seven weeks ago. My orders had me rotated to the Magellan. Those orders were rescinded, ma’am.”
She turned and scrutinized him with icy blue eyes. “Go on, Lieutenant.”
He reached for his pipe, but then checked the motion. She would probably think it a silly habit.
“If this is an intel op,” he said, “then … then I don’t understand why I’m here at all.”
She leaned forward. “Then, Lieutenant, I shall be equally candid.”
Something deep inside Lieutenant Keyes told him he would regret hearing whatever Dr. Halsey had to say. He ignored the feeling. He wanted to know the truth.
“Go ahead, Doctor.”
Her slight smile returned. “You are here because Vice Admiral Stanforth, head of Section Three of UNSC Military Intelligence Division, refused to lend me this shuttle without at least one UNSC officer aboard—even though he knows damn well that I can pilot this bucket by myself. So I picked one UNSC officer. You.” She tapped her lower lip thoughtfully and added, “You see, I’ve read your file, Lieutenant. All of it.”
“I don’t know—”
“You do know what I’m talking about.” She rolled her eyes. “You don’t lie well. Don’t insult me by trying again.”
Lieutenant Keyes swallowed. “Then why me? Especially if you’ve seen my record?”
“I chose you precisely because of your record—because of the incident in your second year at OCS. Fourteen ensigns killed. You were wounded and spent two months in rehabilitation. Plasma burns are particularly painful, I understand.”
He rubbed his hands together. “Yes.”
“The Lieutenant responsible was your CO on that training mission. You refused to testify against him despite overwhelming evidence and the testimony of his fellow officers … and friends.”
“They told the board of review the secret the Lieutenant had entrusted to you all—that he was going to test his new theory to make Slipspace jumps more accurate. He was wrong, and you all paid for his eagerness and poor mathematics.”
Lieutenant Keyes studied his hands and had the feeling of falling inward. Dr. Halsey’s voice sounded distant. “Yes.”
“Despite continuing pressure, you never testified. They threatened to demote you, charge you with insubordination and refusing a direct order—even discharge you from the Navy.
“Your fellow officer candidates testified, though. The review board had all the evidence they needed to court-martial your CO. They put you on report and dropped all further disciplinary actions.”
He said nothing. His head hung low.
“That is why you are here, Lieutenant—because you have an ability that is exceedingly rare in the military. You can keep a secret.” She drew in a long breath and added, “You may have to keep many secrets after this mission is over.”
He glanced up. There was a strange look in her eyes. Pity? That caught him off guard and he looked away again. But he felt better than he had since OCS. Someone trusted him again.
“I think,” she said, “that you would rather be on the Magellan. Fighting and dying on the frontier.”
“No, I—” He caught the lie as he said it, stopped, then corrected himself. “Yes. The UNSC needs every man and woman patrolling the Outer Colonies. Between the raiders and insurrections, it’s a wonder it all hasn’t fallen apart.”
“Indeed, Lieutenant, ever since we left Earth’s gravity well, we’ve been fighting one another for every cubic centimeter of vacuum—from Mars to the Jovian Moons to the Hydra System Massacres and on to the hundred brushfire wars in the Outer Colonies. It has always been on the brink of falling apart. That’s why we’re here.”
“To observe one child,” he said. “What difference could a child make?”
One of her eyebrows arched. “This child could be more useful to the UNSC than a fleet of destroyers, a thousand Junior Grade Lieutenants—or even me. In the end, the child may be the only thing that makes any difference.”
“Approaching Eridanus Two,” Toran informed them.
“Plot an atmospheric vector for the Luxor spaceport,” Dr. Halsey ordered. “Lieutenant Keyes, make ready to land.”

Copyright © 2001, 2010 by Macmillan

Meet the Author

Eric Nylund has written three novels based in the Halo video game universe: Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, and Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, as well as the epic mythology incarnate series that begins with Mortal Coils and All That Lives Must Die. He lives near Seattle on a rain-drenched mountain with his wife, Syne Mitchell.

Eric Nylund is the author of Halo: The Fall of Reach, Halo: First Strike, and Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, as well as the epic mythology series beginning with Mortal Coils and All That Lives Must Die, and The Resisters series for middle-grade readers. Born in the Los Angeles area, Nylund grew up in the mountains and pine forests of Truckee, California, and the Joshua trees and rattlesnakes of the Mojave Desert. He earned degrees in chemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara and U.C. San Diego before leaving his Ph.D. program to become a writer. Besides writing his novels, he is the Director of Narrative Design at Microsoft Game Studios. He lives near Seattle on a rain-drenched mountain with his wife, Syne Mitchell, and their son.

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Halo: The Fall of Reach 4.7 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 487 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Halo: The Fall of Reach Have you ever wondered if there were aliens that want to destroy mankind? Well, if not that is going to be what happens in this book. There is a new race called the Covenant and they're ready to kill all of mankind, and you, along with it. First of all, humankind has increased and has now gone into space to find colonies for humankind to live. The UNSC [the military]; are trying to build a super human called a Spartan [A super soldier that can go on a mission with more than hands on experience, and more combat training]. One of the kids is named John and is abducted and forced into the UNSC along with 35 other kids. They are being transformed in to the super soldier that they are soon to become. First they must get prepared to fight the rebels, while they are trying to take supplies and use them against the UNSC forces while the Spartans finish their training they are given an armor that increases their speed, their strength, and their jumps. There's a new force arrives at one of the outer colonies and uses super heated plasma to glass the planet. But the covenet is not here for fun their here for blood! But once the UNSC forces get a hold of this they start going to work on their plan to destroy the Covenant forces. Also get the planet they lost, back. But the Covenant shielding is too strong and that's when the Spartans come in. I would like to tell you the rest of the book but I can't. I would rate the book five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book basically tells you what the Master Chief does before and during the Fall od Reach. while Noble team(Carter, Kat, Jun, Emile, Jorge, and Six) are busy fighting on Reach,s surface, the Master Chief is securing data before the covenant get to it. If you love the Master Chief, you'll love this book.
The_One More than 1 year ago
This is a must if you are a fan of the game.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good for all halo fans. If you like to see the master cheif in action than this is the book for you. Tthe game reach itself is a breathtakeing firstperson shooter experience. Add thos guy STARDU5T LEGEND
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having played the games, i always wanted to know more about the cetral characters and story. This book will help you understand and allow you an unprecedented look into Master Chiefs personality, the covents first attack and how the world of halo came to be. I highly recomend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thia book is one of the awesomest books ive ever read. Its just so awesome, is is to awesome for some people (not). Its so awesome that everyone should read it. Its just awesome. Its way better than any book. Well, maybe not awesomer than some books, is just as awesome as some of the other halo books like Halo The Flood, Halo The Cole Protocol, Halo First Strike, Halo Ghosts of Onyx and stuff. It is so much better than even the game call of duty (good thing). Its just too awesome for COD boys and all. The game halo is also better than call of duty..........and awesomer than any other game. The book is even more awesome than call of duty. You can get Halo 3 and be John-117, the team leader and beat the Covanant's (that is if they have butts). Itsjust so AWESOME that if you rate it 1- star, you have problems. Yeah. Its that awesome. Its so awesome how the just keep pwning the Covys. They get pwnd so badly, and they take over the space station thing, and they make a random jump and they find the ring planet of halo. And once again, Its just awesome.?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a great book. I am glade it had John 117 in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is exiting ,it suits my taste. Just trust me, it is worth the money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I say that this book is awesome!!!! My favorite part is when the iroqois crashes into the covenant ship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Need to read for halo fans
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of my favorite books of all time, but seeing that I am a big Halo fan, I may be a bit bias...but even if you do not know anything about Halo or anything in the Halo universe, I believe that you will still enjoy this book. It introduces readers to John, better known as Master Chief or Spartan 117, and gives him a back story, it explaims how the whole Spartan Project came to be, introduces the alien race known as The Covenant (even a few new ones that Halo fans didn't know about), and lastly, it tells the story of the destruction of the planet called Reach. This is the prequel to the first Halo game and ends exactly where the game starts, and luckily for the people who are not gamers, the next book "The Flood", is pretty much the entire first Halo game in book form, so don't feel discouraged from reading this just because you aren't a gamer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've only read all the reviews on this book and one guy actualy makes since, and doesn't sound like a complete moron. Other than that yes im a gamer to and i'll play you but i haven't played reach in a long time thanks to Skyrim, but point is there was one person who noted this bok is awesome and others just gamertags. The last one noted the book is good and put his gamertag down, but post sonethin bout the book to get other fans to read it, not saying im not i will, oh do i intend to. If eny of you guys want to my gamer tag is BloodHunter. Naw im just joking but if you want to know my gamertag be smart on your posts.
S-117 More than 1 year ago
HALO: The Fall of Reach is a sci-fi book that takes place in the future from 2517- 2552. At the time it was written, it was a prequel to the first HALO game. At the end of the book, it is about the most recent HALO game; HALO: REACH. The book switches view between 2 people: Captain Keyes and Master Chief Petty Officer John, SPARTAN 117. In the beginning of the book, John is 6 years old when he is chosen to begin his training for the SPARTAN program. SPARTAN's are the first super soldiers humanity created. The book spans his training and some of his earlier battles leading up to the Reach Engagement. Keyes was a navel commander on a destroyer. His space battles are later in the book, but are what I find the most interesting parts of the book. They appear that way to me because I had never read about giant ships drifting in space and blowing each other to kingdom come. I absolutly love this book. If I could rate HALO: The Fall Of Reach out of 5 stars, it would be 6. I would recommend this book because it is amazing to see how far we have come in 552 years. This is literally the best book on the planet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a great book, but being a navy rotc cadet i just cannot get past officers saluting enlisted, not to mention spelling errors
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only read the sample and thats insane so cant wait to get the full version :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the start of it all. Cortana had been looking for the ultimite super soldier. She studied many canidents, but one stood out all the others, and he had something else all the others didn't... Luck... was she wrong?
Robertmitchell82 More than 1 year ago
To me this is the best book I have ever red. The plot to this book takes you to john as a child to as an adult and the other spartens. Just if you want to know spartens are super soliders. Any way this is my all time favorite book because usally I hate to read but I was looking at this book and I just loved the book after a chapter. You couldnt get me to put it down. This book is a thrilling action book it always seems to be a battle field. So I reccomend this book to any and all book lovers.
Josh-Herndon More than 1 year ago
This is the prequel to the very loved halo trilogy. It is a good book to find out more about the story or if you are in the mood for a good book you wont find this book in the school library but in a pulic library. Well the story is that john was kidnaped from his home world reach by Dr Haisley and enlisted into SPARTANII with seventy-five other children. Sadly when the kids go through some alteration only twenty five kids make it and john is one of these kids. During a mission they discover a alien race tha has been study them for some time which leads to the cole protocol. Following the cole protocol they discover this ring world which leads to the poular first halo game. I give this book a five star and you can find it in audio books or the regular book a barnes and nobel
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever played the video game Halo. My favorite character is Spartan 117. Spartan 117 is also called master chief . He was trained since he was the age's of 5 and 6 then stopped at the ages between 18 and 25. His real name was John. This was a technique that Romans used to train the soldiers. Eventually he got to wear a suit that had double the strengths. He watched as a normal marine use one and when he used it his arms, legs, and limbs all just burst ed. When he tried it he started slow but still got it good. Now he is like a solider how can't be stopped by anything. Now his problems are little but can grow more or less as he goes. He feels that since that his friends 'other Spartans' are dead he thinks it's all his fault. Because they were in the same squad. He even thinks of them as brothers and sisters. When they started training with 165 kids now only a hand full remain alive. He feels this is his problem and fault for that. His trainer tells him that it's not your fault that is how you win the game, you have to survive. I would and he would probably feel really sad and/ or full of guilt. I would feel the same if I know some kid for so long and play, train together I would feel a brotherly or sisterly bond with them. I think the kind of reader who would like action, little drama, guns, high tech equipment and the game Halo would love this book. Halo the Fall of Reach is a great book to read it's long but really good. The author Eric Plunders really is a good at building suspense and detail. I don't know but I say he is the best at Halo and beat all three so far. All the characters are close to each other because they trained since they ere kids and played to. Also they went on missions together, some might be brothers or sisters.
Anonymous 11 months ago
This book was worth the $9 i spent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mostly cuz it has the flood-respond to EDDIE if you agree
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing, yes it is alot ofpages but it is worth the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love halo and destiny and i would want more people to play the game with me so my gamertag on xbox 360 IS darkwolfDEATHJL headline a "review" with darkwolf and your gamertag and ill clear some of my friends list space also put in the review if your a guy or a girl good luck and have fun this has be darkwolf sighning out PEACE ma friends