A peclican silently hovered above the planets surface, its thrusters rotating. Anthony and Leona burst from the hatch, landing on the earth with a dull thud. Both turned as they looked at the landscape infront of them. "Spartan's commander wants you back at base ASAP" a marine called from behind what appeared to be a large barricade. Dibs Echo 1125 12:27, July 13, 2010 (UTC)
The tallest Spartan, Clyde, led the small unit of ODSTs up the green rolling hills as they made there way towards the allied landing spot. Behind him, his partner Clyde stood alongside the ODST commander, Darrel Mac. They both jogged fairly quitely as the group head up the hills. Not much earlier, Clyde had lectured and scolded the two, reminding them the importance of the mission. As they continued walking to their destination, the twenty or so Orbital Drop Shock Troopers accomping them chatted freely. Although, they seemed friendly, the group of battle-hardened soldiers were ready to fight and kill any enemy that stood in their way.
Continuing down the path, Clyde suddenly paused and held up his hand, giving the troopers the signal to stop moving and take position.
Fish jumped out of the Pelican and scanned the horizon. He then gave the rest of Kingfisher the go order. Fi jumped down and looked east, to him it looked like a camp or reserve. Fi signalled his team and the moved forward. Sonya zoomed in with her sniper and saw a platoon of ODSTs.
Once they had reached the camp they saw the remains of the 34th, most of them injured. Fi told the team to go around asking what happened while he found the CO.
"Sergant John Reiner, we got hit by a pack of brutes. They were using guns with weaponized Madigan's disease. I'm the acting CO, we have no officers." Sgt Reiner reported. Fi walked around and pondered the situation.
"We must stay. Brutes likely using ship camoflauge. Reported before. We must hold out and find they're ship. John-117 has done destroyed a whole ship with a platoon of Marines. We can do it with a group of SPARTANs and ODSTs." Fi announced. As Fi gave orders he wondered, why here?
- Cheers, --
Noah's spine compressed painfully as the drop pod hit the ground. Despite the pod's advanced systems for slowing the soldier's descent so that he could walk away, the fact remained that was hitting the ground at velocities that would crumple a Warthog.
Slapping the button next to his left hand, Noah blew the bolts off the door with enough force to knock out any hostile who might be standing in front of the pod. He brought his submachine gun up as he exited the pod, ensuring that the area was clear. Only once he was sure that the area was secure did he begin to speak. "This is Sierra-Delta Twelve-Eight-Seven, confirming successful entry. Over."
"Copy Delta Twelve-Eight-Seven," came the reply from the frigate in orbit. "The rest of Kobold has also called in. I'm uploading location and mission frequencies to your display now."
Noah's helmet-mounted display flickered for a moment, then displayed a new icon. Noah stared at it and blinked twice. The icon opened a topographical map in the upper-left corner of his HMD, with the location of each Spartan noted along with the Marines. Kobold was rendezvousing near the base of a large waterfall, half a kilometer to the south-west. Noah figured he'd be there in no more than a minute flat. Turning to his pod, he flipped a switch inside. The pod's tag in his HMD now turned a deep red, with a timer counting down from sixty.
Noah nodded, then turned to the south-west and began to run.
CarpeJugulum13:03, July 16, 2010 (UTC)
From the moment he'd first been introduced to Semi Powered Infiltration armor, Simon had been extra grateful for its face-concealing visor. Back when he'd still been fighting for the UNSC the visor had been an easy way for him to conceal his nerves from his teammates, although they'd usually seen through his body language and made fun of him regardless. Now that he was amongst people with less experience at reading people in body armor, the visor was an even more welcome addition to his equipment.
Adjusting the grip on his assault rifle, Simon turned his attention back to the forest clearing and hoped that he wasn't trembling through his armor. David stood a few feet away, but that wasn't what was bothering him. What was bothering him was the twenty or so men assembled on the other side of the clearing not fifteen yards away.
Inside his helmet, Diana whistled. "It's a whole wall of meat. And they look even scruffier than you do."
Simon let out a low, nervous growl at the quip but was actually glad for the A.I.'s presence. David had refused to allow her access to any of the Starkiller's systems and she had complained about being deactivated and left on the ship, so Simon had plugged her into the docking port on his prosthetic arm's upper portion when David and he had gone off to this "meeting." From there she could access his armor's systems and provide data--and insults--whenever necessary. Having her along meant that he had someone to speak frankly with; he had no desire to make David think he was any more incompetent than he already did, but Diana could be trusted to merely insult him whenever he voiced his fears to her.
The men facing them were for the most part unkempt and raggedly dressed. Most had body armor of some sort, but most of it looked like cast-off marine gear or cheaply made commercial products. But in spite of their hodgepodge getup, all of the men were carrying rifles that, while old, looked like they worked. And Simon had spent enough time in the galactic underworld to know that a banged-up antique of a weapon could kill you just as easily as a state-of-the-art firearm could.
"I hope Kahn knows what he's doing," Simon muttered tersely, sweeping the rest of the clearing in case more men were trying to flank them. "These guys don't look friendly."
"He's the one who arranged this meeting," Diana replied. "They must have agreed to it since they're here. We don't have to start worrying until those guns actually come up."
"I'm filled with confidence," Simon shot back before looking down to make sure his knees weren't knocking together. Every single man opposite them had the eyes of men who had killed before and would do it again in a heartbeat.
The days since they had landed on Beta-14 had consisted of ensuring that the Starkiller was well concealed and making short reconnaissance runs around the surrounding area. Simon had yet to even lay eyes on a Sangheili and David had never been forthcoming when it came to his mission plans, so the four million credits this job had promised seemed no closer than they had been back on New Ceylon.
And now, to make matters worse, there was a UNSC task force sitting pretty up in orbit and--if the Starkiller's sensors were to be believed--UNSC troops airlifting and helljumping down to the surface. Simon had been operating on the assumption that the UNSC believed him to be dead ever since he had emerged from cryo-stasis almost four years ago, but the presence of government troops never failed to make him nervous. All he needed was some jumped-up ONI agent or one of his former SPARTAN-III comrades to recognize him and get him back on ONI's hit-list.
David had seemed unconcerned by the UNSC's presence ever since they arrived; all he'd said on the matter was that they'd need to "keep their heads down" before arranging this meeting with men that Simon could only assume were either pirates or very run-down mercenaries.
David stood a few feet away from Simon, his arms folded over his chest. He had neglected to don the helmeted body armor that had become his trademark and instead wore a dark jumpsuit with one pistol holstered at his waist and another in a shoulder holster below his left arm. Everything about his posture indicated that he was relaxed, and yet Simon still got the feeling that the man was still coiled and ready to spring into action at a moment's notice.
Across the clearing, one of the men detached himself from his comrades and began to cross over to David. He was better dressed than the others, wearing what seemed to be a full rig of ODST combat armor, sans the helmet. The armor had repainted a dark shade of green that made it resemble a standard marine's rig. He was unarmed save for a pistol at his side.
David's hands fell to his waist as the man approached. Although he made no sign of reaching for either of his pistols, the approaching man still wavered and seemed to glance back at his assembled compatriots as if to make sure they were still there.
"Relax, Stanley," David said, breaking the frigid silence that hung over the humid clearing. "I'm not going to shoot you right in front of all these goons you brought along. And since we're sorting out who's not shooting who right now, I suggest you have your snipers come out and join us as well. Let's start cultivating trust early, shall we?"
The man--Stanley--wiped his forehead with the back of an armored hand. "I'm just tryin' to be cautious, Kahn," he shot back in a voice that was an odd cross between a whine and an assertion. "I can never tell with mercs like you."
"I'm not here to take you out," David assured him. "Though from the looks of things, you and your crew don't look worth a very large bounty at the moment. Now, the snipers if you don't mind?"
Scowling, Stanley made a sharp hand gesture without taking his eyes off David's face. Simon nearly jumped with surprise when two men rose from the foliage on either side of the clearing and reluctantly stepped forwards. They both carried cheap sniper rifles and wore armor coated with leafy facsimiles of gillie suits.
"Interesting," remarked David offhandedly. "Don't you agree, Mordred?"
Simon's surprise quickly turned into embarrassment. He and David had been here almost an hour before this gang had shown up and he'd failed to see the snipers creeping into position. He quickly turned on his infrared and scanned the area, but picked up no heat signatures besides those of the men already visible.
Stanley peered around Kahn, his brow shooting up an inch when he caught sight of Simon. "Who's this guy?" he demanded. "And what's up with that stupid name?"
"What Mordred calls himself is his own business," replied David. "I hired him on as an extra gun on my current job. Which brings us back to why I called you up."
"The great David Kahn takes on partners?" Stanley asked incredulously. "I thought you tried that for a year and--"
"Six months, actually," David broke in impatiently. "And Mordred's the one I was partnered with. This is a one-time deal."
"And what exactly is this job that has you taking on partners?" Stanley inquired. "I know I've helped you out a couple times before now, but if it's got anything to do with these UNSC assholes you can leave me out of it. They're laying into everyone they run into; I don't need them coming down on me and my boys as well."
"It doesn't have to have anything to do with the UNSC if we all play our cards right," David replied. "I don't want contact with them any more than you do. They've never been very good at the whole "live and let live" thing; it's bad for business."
"So who are you here to deal with?" Stanley asked suspiciously. He still sounded as if he expected David to pump him full of lead at any moment.
"Not with any of you pirates," said David, confirming Simon's suspicions about Stanley and his gang. "or with smugglers or Innies. We're paying a visit to the Path Walkers. Heard of them?"
Stanley shuffled his feet. "Of course we have," he muttered, eliciting nods from the rest of his men. "What's that got to do with us?"
"You're the closest group to our LZ." David began to pace, casually circling the nervous pirate. "Even if you're laying low, you have to know something about these aliens."
Stanley shrugged. "When I heard about 'em, I sent some scouts to investigate. None of them came back, and we were afraid those Path Walkers would come after us. But they never did. We've steered clear of them since then. Can't say we know any more about them than you guys do."
"That's a shame," David remarked. "but it just means we'll have to work a little bit harder to get what we want."
"Well, if that's all we'll be off--" Stanley began, but froze when David raised a hand.
"We're not quite finished," he said. His voice was even, but there was an edge to it that made even Simon, his partner, want to flinch. "You and your boys look like you've been seeing hard times lately."
"You have no idea," said Stanley, eager for someone to complain to. "The UNSC's cracking down on smuggling, and the Jackals are cornering the pirating business. We haven't had any cash coming in for months. The best we can do is steal from some of the smaller gangs on this rock, and even those pickings are slim. Mark my words Kahn, it won't be long before you mercs are scrabbling for jobs too. You'll be feeling a little pinched yourself soon enough."
"Some of the less... proficient practitioners of my trade may suffer from this crackdown you seem all worked up about." Now Kahn's voice was as frigid as an ice planet in a blizzard. "I, on the other hand, will not."
Stanley flinched, then seemed to realize what he'd done and attempted to regain his composure while remaining apologetic. "Yes, yes, of course you won't feel it. Slip of the tongue on my part, that's all. Don't know what I was thinking--"
Behind the two men, couldn't help but be troubled by the pirate's words. Yes, David wouldn't see any change in the amount of contracts he was offered, but what about him and Diana? They were hard up for work as it was without the pickings getting any slimmer.
As if sensing his concern through his bio-monitor, Diana cut in over his helmet's radio. "Relax. Once this job's done we won't have to worry about getting jobs for a while at the very least."
"Yeah..." Simon replied, then tried to focus back in on David and Stanley's conversation.
"You want us to do what?" Stanley was demanding. If he hadn't seemed so afraid of David, Simon might have assumed that the pirate was actually angry with the infamous mercenary.
"You heard me," said David impatiently. "We'll be extracting a target from the Path Walkers. If things get hot, we might need you and your boys to lend us a hand."
"Are you nuts?" Stanley snapped. "We've barely got enough 'Hogs to fit all of us and we've got exactly two rocket launchers total. You expect us to come rescue you from the middle of a shitload of squid-heads?"
"This can't be all the men in your group," David said, resuming his pacing. The other pirates were shifting nervously now. A few had even started to back away. "And I'll make it worth your while. Five hundred thousand if we wind up needing you, maybe more if you do a good enough job at pulling us out."
Simon saw conflict in Stanley's eyes and had been in similar situations enough times to know exactly what the pirate was going through. His instincts for self-preservation were doing battle with his own greedy impulses.
It seemed that greed won out because Stanley seemed to deflate a little and nodded. "Alright. Five hundred thousand, you say?"
David nodded. "That should be enough to get you back on your feet, don't you agree?"
Stanley nodded, as did several of his assembled minions.
"Now get back to wherever the rest of your gang is and keep your heads down until we call you." David turned away from the pirates and strode back over to where Simon was standing. The meeting was over.
David picked up his carbine from where he'd left it on a nearby stump. "That went well," he commented, thankfully failing to mention the snipers. "Let's get back to the ship."
"That five hundred thousand is coming out of your cut, right?" Diana asked suspiciously over Simon's helmet intercom.
"Of course," said David, shouldering the carbine and scanning the path they'd come from. "What difference does that make when I'm already collecting six million after this is over? Besides, scum like Stanley will probably accept less than half of that if I put a little pressure on him." A hint of distaste entered David's voice. "There are plenty of mercenaries like that as well. The clients always try to drive your price down when it comes time to collect. I never accept any less than what I signed on for, but I've know of plenty of mercs who'll go for as little as ten percent of the original deal. Life lesson, Mordred: never get into that habit. If you don't have the minerals to stand up to your own employer than you've got no business in this line of work."
"I'll bear that in mind," Simon said, falling into step behind the older mercenary. "Will our split-jawed employer try that on us?"
"Most likely. The trick is to ignore their bullshit and stick to the price you agreed on. They hardly ever argue after they see you've got enough spine to stand them down."
They walked in silence for several minutes. Both of them kept their weapons scanning the tree and bush-studded landscape in case some less friendly pirates saw two mercenaries traveling on foot as easy prey.
"So," said Simon, breaking the silence. "When do we start recon on the Path--"
He never finished the sentence. Suddenly David was flinging himself to the ground and it seemed like a good idea to follow suit. Following David's eyes, Simon saw one of the worst things imaginable.
Several yards away, mounting the crest of a hill, was a group of men dressed in instantly-recognizable MJOLNIR armor. Simon and David were directly in the path of a squad of Spartans, and with them a platoon of ODSTs. Actene: If This Is To End In Fire, Then We'll Burn Together
Holy shit, i feel like i've sprained something. Oh well.
Doug-103 stepped out of a SOEIV, and grabbed his SRS99. He looked around, analysing his surroundings. The surface of C329t wasn't unfamilar. It slightly reminded him of Reach, where he was born. He looked to the left and to the right. Nothing was around, just...nothingness. He cocked his SRS, making a thunk sound. He sprinted to regroup with the others.
"Must be something around here......"
I have never given up before. I never will. 11:46, July 18, 2010 (UTC)
“Slipspace rupture detected!” Lieutenant Yvony called from his station. Chatter on FLEETCOM was full of similar warnings as the enemy fleet entered the battlefield.
“All hands general quarters!” Commander Jehuty ordered, “get that MAC fully charged, prepare to slave Archers to targets, and synchronize targeting solutions with our battlegroup.” Experienced hands tapped at the holographic stations as chatter on the bridge shifted to more combat oriented and orders to the various departments of the ship. Commander Jehuty swiveled his chair around as the tac-holo came online, displaying the planet Beta-14, the New Mombasa, the rest of the fleet, and the approaching enemy fleet.
“MAC fully charged, Archers primed and ready for targets, receiving firing solution from cruiser Xavier Fire.” A line appeared on the holo display connecting the New Mombasa with a covenant destroyer, along with a countdown timer.
“Show all firing solutions,” Commander Jehuty requested. Several lines shot out from the human fleet connecting to the enemy fleet, several on single targets. Jehuty knew his frigate didn't have the power to take out a destroyer, but concerted fire from two destroyers would put some serious hurt on the enemy.
“Firing MAC... NOW! Archers released.”
“Never knew you,” Juhuty muttered as he felt the shudder of the MAC gun firing, sending a 30 ton DU slug out into space. On the holo display ships opened fire, streaks of white painting the darkness of space. A few seconds later covenant shields flared brilliantly as MAC rounds and archer missiles impacted, causing them to fail. Staggered fire obliterated several ships, while other were heavily damaged. New Mombasa's MAC was a solid hit, knocking out the destroyer's shields in time for two more MACs to turn it into space debris. Cheers were heard on the bridge and on FLEETCOM as the enemy forces were reduced by half.
“Its not over yet,” Jehuty commented grimly. But for now, long developed tactics might carry the day.
On the ground Rose was picking up the space battle on the com, growing increasingly anxious about meeting up with the rest of her team.
“Contact!” one of the marines yelled, pointing at a wraith tank appearing out of a woodline.
“Rockets front and center!” the Sergeant ordered. Marines with SPNKR launchers stepped up, sighting on the target and letting loose with both barrels. Six rockets streaked, arced as the wraith tried to dodge, and impacted the tank, causing it to explode into a fireball of plasma.
“More on the way!” Rose reported, sighting human tanks, wraiths, and infantry clearing the woodline. “Fleet command, this is Rose D-4140. I have confirmed sighting of human forces at grid Hotel Echo 3324, advise, hostility shown.” As she finished a human tank round shot past their position. “Advised, we're pulling back and linking up with the rest of my squad.”
“You heard the lady,” the Sergeant ordered. “Rockets cover our retreat, everyone else, fall back to the woods. Last one out shut off the water.” With that joke the rocket marines shot off their last rounds while Rose cracked away with he sniper rifle. Sangheili and humans alike fell to her withering and accurate fire, forcing them to scatter and find cover. As soon as she completed her second magazine, she turned and took off after the marines.
Later on Rose's group was traveling through the forest in a tight V formation when they heard the sounds of other humans. Everyone stopped, taking cover or kneeling down as they watched around them. Rose took the initiative, whistling a six note tune all Spartans knew from training on her com and external speakers. “Oliver? Clyde? You guys around?”
Flame-124 16:55, July 25, 2010 (UTC)