|| This article, Broken Siege, was written by Timothy Emeigh. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.
The long fight is finally drawing to a close. With the Covenant fleet that was besieging the planet finally gone, the citizens on Sirona can finally start to relax. All that remains is clearing the rest of the Covenant forces from the surface of the planet that had been left behind, bringing an end to the Siege of Sirona, a task Lieutenant Aleksandra Zaytseva is looking forward almost as much as the shuttle ride off the battle-scarred world that'll be her reward.
|1300 HOURS, MAY 13, 2548 (MILITARY CALENDAR)
Location: GROOMBRIDGE 1618 SYSTEM, PLANET SIRONA, SIRONAN MAINLAND NATURE RESERVE
As Sasha crawled through the forest of the Sironan Mainland Nature Reserve, brushing aside the thick underbrush, she kept her eyes on the target in front of her. This was the last remaining Covenant stronghold on the planet, since the aliens' fleet had abandoned them to finish the fight or die trying. If the Lieutenant had anything to say about it, it would be the latter.
She had been assigned to lead a recon mission of the site. Ever since she had crashed in this very forest almost four years prior, she had been leading missions like this, her Force Recon training proving much more beneficial to the UNSC forces on the planet than her piloting skills, as, by the time she had awoken, the Covenant fleet had already taken aerial control, and a fight in the air, or even space, was pointless. But that would soon be ending. If all went well, this would be her last recon mission, and she'd be back in the pilot's chair as soon as she returned to base, ready to ferry the surviving Marines up to the UNSC fleet that had arrived in orbit shortly after the Covenant fleet had left.
Pulling to a stop as she reached the edge of a clearing, Sasha clicked her comms on and off two times, a signal for the rest of her fireteam to come to a stop. Pulling out a set of binoculars, she scanned over the Covenant camp about a 100 yards into the clearing, watching their movements, looking for weaknesses. Having been crawling through the woods for over an hour, she was glad that she was finally in a position to get some rest, at least physically. As she settled on the edge of the forest and clearing, looking over the camp, her fireteam was spread around her side of the clearing, doing the same, all of them taking notes of what they were seeing. Sasha's was one of five such fireteams spread out around the clearing, each of them gathering the data from various angles. Yet, from what she could see, her angle was one of the most interesting.
From what she could see, the Covenant forces were all gathering around a building on the edge of the camp facing her. What they were doing, she couldn't quite tell without audio, but it seemed to be some sort of preparation. Grunts were scrambling around, setting up turrets, piling up various weapons. Skirmishers were jumping at each other, in some form of sparring. Jackals were firing at various targets across the field. Elites were conversing with each other, in some form of battle planning. Amidst it all, the power generators of the camp glowed an even more brilliant blue than she had ever seen before. It seemed they were preparing for a last stand.
She had seen enough. Putting her binoculars down, stowing them in her vest, Sasha looked over the reports the other members of her team had sent to her. Seemed everyone else had seen what she had. Signaling for them to start retreating back to the extraction point, Sasha compiled the information into a report and sent it back to base. She smiled lightly as she crawled through the forest again. The battle was already won, and she had just provided the intel to help finalize it. Waiting for her at the other end of the ride back to base was a pilot's vacuum suit and her new Pelican. She had left Force Recon for a reason, and, though the return to her past specialization was something she was willing to do for the cause of the UNSC on Sirona, she couldn't wait for her return to piloting.
By the time she had made it back to base, the assault had already ended, the last of the Covenant forces on the planet defeated. Despite all their preparation, the alien's hadn't been ready for a bombing run followed by a direct action strike by the few remaining ODST's on the surface. Now here she was, back in her flight suit, strapped into the pilot's seat of her Pelican. Running through her last minute preflight tests, Sasha was glad to be finally leaving the planet.
As she finished off her checks, the Lieutenant heard the Marines in her troop bay call up that they were filled up. Smiling, she grabbed her helmet, sealing it, and placed her fingers around the joystick. Closing the troop bay and firing up the engines, she felt the Pelican lift off the ground, and flew it out of the hangar. Tilting into the air, she left Sirona increasingly further and further behind her. With each additional meter the dropship rose towards space, her time returning to Recon was falling behind as well. This truly would be the last time she gathered intel on the ground. From now on, she was a pilot, and nothing more.