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"Just... dust and echoes."
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This project, Operation HELLFIRE, has either been cancelled, completed, or is totally inactive. Please refrain from editing or attempting to join it. Thank you.


Oddball Infobox-1-
Operation fire

Rules

  • Rule 1: What I say goes
  • Rule 2: Try not to make dozens of posts before everybody else can reply :]
  • Rule 3: The obvious of no godmodding
  • Rule 4: If you want somebody to die, ask the owner of the character.
  • Rule 5: The RP occurs in the Necros Era
  • Rule 6: Forces will be divided up across multiple battlefronts
  • Rule 7: There is a death cap of four SPARTANS. Remember this though. SPARTANS are faster and tougher than Brutes, smarter, better equipped and even have the necessary armour to survive a direct gravity hammer impact. Try to save all your spartans for the REAL challenge later on ;]
  • Rule 8: The RP will be fought in a 'unusual' method, that will be detailed later
  • Rule 9: You can add your units up
  • Rule 10: We change phases, when I say we change phases. Comprende?
  • Rule 11: ONLY I can add music. If you add music, I will delete it.

Rules on adding new units

The SPARTAN phase is strictly for SPARTAN units and for forces supporting them, AKA Task Force Lightning. The second phase is for all UNSC forces in general, if you want information of what kind of unit to add, or how to add, send a message to my talk page, and I'll maybe help some time soon ish, hopefully.

Order of Battle

The battle will be divided into 3 phases. When they change from one to the other is my order.


  • Phase 1: Training, preparation, introductions, transport
  • Phase 2: SPARTAN infiltration
  • Phase 3: UNSC Invasion
  • Phase 4: Taking the capital
  • Phase 5: End of the Operation

Introduction

General Order 707B: This order is to be shown to all UNSC forces prior to engagement and must be destroyed after reading, and deleted from local caches, under order alpha 61

During the upcoming Operation HELLFIRE, we will be engaging the enemy on their terms, in their settlements, amidst their civilians. Due to the notorious nature of the Jiralhanae, and their natural aggression, strength and willingness to resist, the United Earth Government council passed this order. Any Jiralhanae civilians that resist the UNSC's invasion attempts are classified as hostile in the combat zones. Any civilian forces that enter armed conflict, or unarmed conflict, including physical violence, are to be classified as hostile and are treated as such. Any armed forces using civilian hostages, or using buildings vital to the civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, governmental buildings, educational buildings and such, are verified as valid targets and green light on engagement must be passed by theatre commander (battalion) before engagement commences. Targets using human prisoners of war (POW) as living shields are to not be directly engaged. If used as human shields, disengage combat and resolve situation with specialised forces to recover hostages as safely as possible. Surrendering or injured combatants are to thoroughly disarmed, bound and placed under extreme guard. Any resistance or indications of a false flag operations warrant targets to be reclassified as hostile targets, and can be engaged in combat.

Signed Fleet Admiral William T. Castle, Chairman of UNSC Military Operations

Operation HELLFIRE is the lynch pin in the much larger joint Operation FIRE. The overall aim of the Operation HELLFIRE was to decapitate the Covenant Remnant by severing their chain of command and demolishing their capital, while Remnant reserves were drawn elsewhere by Sangheili Republic, Imperium, Plainsfierian and Machina forces. While other elements of Operation FIRE were diversionary attacks, designed to draw out forces, while also destroying vital Covenant military capabilities, HELLFIRE was a mass invasion aimed at taking ground from the enemy and destroy their leadership.

The plan was simple. While diversionary operations were diverting the bulk of the Remnant forces away, the UNSC would infiltrate their core sectors with a captured Remnant ship bearing false flags and disable their orbital defence grid. Once it has been rendered ineffective, the UNSC would begin their invasion, with several battle fleets and the aim to overwhelm the Brutes with sheer numbers, and drop down enough invasion forces to simply shock and awe their way through their defences. The over all aim is to destroy their armed forces, capture the major settlements and industrial areas and take the capital, along with taking the leadership of the Remnant, dead or alive.

Force Composition

  • Task Force Lightning
    • UNSC Campbeltown
    • UNSC Eidolon
    • UNSC Highwind
    • UNSC Yggdrasil
    • UNSC Where Eagles Dare
    • UNSC Hortensia
    • UNSC Black Lagoon
    • 117th Special Operations Regiment
    • 11th SCARE Regiment, 3rd Battalion
    • 12th SCARE Regiment, 4th Battalion


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Units and Characters

Sgt.johnson's Characters

SPARTAN-290
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 117th Special Operations Regiment
Rank: Lieutenant (O-3)
Equipment: BR09 Battle Rifle, M108A1 CAWS, dual-Angel Arms Cutlass, M7B Tactical Knife
Dammit
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 117th Special Operations Regiment
Rank: None
Equipment: M9K Canine Armor

CF001

Francis Davidson
Faction:UNSC
Unit:25th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
Rank:Brigadier General
Equipement:M2A holographic forarm Grip
Spartan-A067
Faction: UNSC
Unit:Squad Athens
Rank:Sergeant
Equipement:MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System
Spartan-A099
Faction:UNSC
Unit: Lambda Squadron
Rank:Captain
Equipment: Battle Rifle 09 Scoped Rifle, Sniper Rifle System 99G-S3 Anti-Material, M108A1 Close Assault Weapon System
Mary Lee Davidson
Factin:UNSC
Unit:Battlegroup Everest
Rank:Vice Admiral
Equipement:UNSC Everest
Spartan-A107
Faction:UNSC
Unit:Lambda Squadron
Rank:Second Lieutenant
Equipement:Spartan Laser, M73D Carbine, Heavy Battle Rifle 11
Jordan Davis
Faction:UNSC
Unit:UNSC 14th Nomad Fleet
Rank:Fleet Admiral
Equipement:UNSC Shōkaku
Lily Stewart Davidson
Faction:UNSC
Unit:3th Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Expeditionary Unit
Rank:Sergeant
Equipement:MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System
Gary MacTarvish
Faction:UNSC
Unit:3th Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Expeditionary Unit
Rank:Lieutenant
Equipement:HBR-11
Spartan-A067
Faction:UNSC
Unit:Squad Athens
Rank:Sergeant
Equipement:MA6A
Spartan-A008
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer second Class
Equipement:M73D Carbine
Spartan-A033
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:BR09
Spartan-A042
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:M90D Close Assault Weapon System
Spartan-A027
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:M81C Ultra Light Machine Gun
Spartan-A019
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Second class
Equipement:Spartan Laser
Spartan-A022
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:Battle Rifle 09 Scoped Rifle
Spartan-A106
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System
Spartan-A081
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:Battle Rifle 09 Scoped Rifle


Spartan-A040
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Class
Equipement:M73D Carbine
Spartan-A004
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Second class
Equipement:MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System


Spartan-A092
unit:Squad Athens
Faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty Officer Tird Clss
Equipement:Battle Rifle 09 Scoped Rifle
Spartan-A020
unit:Squad Athens
faction:UNSC
Rank:Petty officer tird class
equipement:M73D Carbine
Genevieve Tanner
Faction:UNSC
Unit:1st Special Service Force
Rank:Colonel
Equipement:M73D Carbine,M7A Sub Machine Gun
Isabella Portelli
Faction:UNSC
Unit:1st Special Service Force
Rank:Colonel
Equipement:MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M10 Personal Defence Weapon system
Jim Ambrose
Faction:UNSC
Unit:3th Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Expeditionary Unit
Rank:Major
Equipement:Battle Rifle 09 Scoped Rifle
Steve Daniel Huang, Senior
Faction:UNSC
Unit:226th Infantry Battalion Excalibur
Rank:Colonel
Equipement:Sniper Rifle System 99G-S3 Anti-Material
Camille Stewart
Faction:UNSC
Unit:Battlegroup Everest
Rank:Captain
Equipement:UNSC Okinawa

LOMI

Riker-012
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Kilo Company
Rank:
Equipment:
Kilo Company
Faction: UNSC
Equipment: Various Weapons, Equipment, Armor, Vehicles, etc
Members:
12th Naval Squadron
Faction: UNSC
Equipment: Various Space Fighters
Members:
Dekd Nok
Faction: Kig-Yar Pirates
Unit: Kig-Yar Pirates Command
Rank:
Equipment:

SPARTAN 119

Ross East Jr.
Faction:UNSC
Unit: UNSCAF 3rd Special Operations Squadron
Rank: Lt. Col.
Equipment: F/I-905 Claymore, I-660 Spear (secondary aircraft), M98 Compact
Nanook Kalaluit
Faction:UNSC
Unit: UNSCAF 3rd Special Operations Squadron
Rank: Major
Equipment: F/I-905 Claymore, I-660 Spear (secondary aircraft), M6L Personal Defence Weapon System
David Kilgore
Faction:UNSC
Unit: 6th Armored Division
Rank: Captain
Equipment: M-1050 Brown Bear Anti-Heavy Walker Vehicle, M2A Light Assault Rifle, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M3B Combat Knife
Mattias Eriksson
Faction:UNSC
Unit: 6th Armored
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Equipment: M1000 Tiger Heavy Battle Tank, M81C Ultra Light Machine Gun, M98 Compact, M24 Tactical Axe
Michael Price
Faction:UNSC
Unit: 77th Airborne
Rank: Lieutenant
Equipment: M99C Special Application Scoped Rifle, Battle Rifle 09 Scoped Rifle, M98 Compact, M17 Ballistic Knife
Sarah East
Faction:UNSC
Unit: 77th Airborne
Rank: Sergeant
Equipment: M389B General Purpose Machine Gun, M41B2 Medium Anti-Vehicle/Assault Weapon, M17 Ballistic Knife

Actene's Characters

SPARTAN-A294
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Bravo Company
Rank: First Sergeant
Equipment: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M13 Machete, Personal combat blade, M84 Wolf exoskeleton
SPARTAN-B030
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Bravo Company
Rank: Private
Equipment:: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M6L Sidearm, M47 Sidearm, M13 Machete, M7B Tactical Knife

Norman-123's Characters

SPARTAN-G124
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: Captain
Equipment: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M90D Close Assault Weapon System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
SPARTAN-G198
Faction:UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: First Lieutenant
Equipment: M1091 Sniper Rifle System, M7A Sub Machine Gun (two), M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
SPARTAN-G222
Faction:UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: First Sergeant
Equipment: M41B2 Medium Anti-Vehicle/Assault Weapon, Battle Rifle 09, M33 Revolver
SPARTAN-G066
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Equipment: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M90D Close Assault Weapon System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
SPARTAN-G091
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: Corporal
Equipment: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M90D Close Assault Weapon System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
SPARTAN-G150
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company,
Rank: Lance Corporal
Equipment: Battle Rifle 09 Scope Rifle, M41B2_Medium_Anti-Vehicle/Assault_Weapon, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
SPARTAN-G084
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: Private
Equipment: Battle Rifle 09 Scope Rifle, MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
SPARTAN-G112
Faction: UNSC
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Ghost Company
Rank: Private
Equipment: M113 Special Purpose Rifle, M90D Close Assault Weapon System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M13 Machete
James Hafson
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Sandstorm Squardron
Rank: Technical Sergeant
Equipment: M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, B-9E Shortsword
Gordon Duster
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Sandstorm Squardron
Rank: Lt. Colonel
Equipment: M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, B-9E Shortsword
Jerry Hills
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Sandstorm Squardron
Rank: Captain
Equipment: M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, B-9E Shortsword
Kyle Stevens
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Samurai Squardron
Rank: Captain (Air Force)
Equipment: F-406 Katana, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System
Robert Stanley
Faction: UNSC
Unit: ODST, attatched to task force thunder
Rank: Major
Equipment: M90D Close Assault Weapon System, MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System, M5 Folding Knife
Han Yo Min
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Task Force Thunder, 8th Fleet
Rank: Captain (Navy)
Equipment: UNSC Mighty River

Masterchief46517

Chris Johnson
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Alpha Squad
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Equipment: MA6A ICWS, M57, M3B Combat Knife, HBR10HB-SR or M113 SPR
Kevin Johnson
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Third Platoon
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Equipment: MA6A ICWS, M57, M3B Combat Knife, M122 LMG or M90D CAWS
Alias Jackson
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Alpha Squad
Rank: Sergeant
Equipment: M2A Light Assault Rifle, M57, M3B Combat Knife, M13 Dragon Modular Assault Walker
Redmond Jacobson
Faction: UNSC
Unit: Battlegroup Wellington
Rank: Rear Admiral
Equipment: UNSC Wellington

Spartan G-23

Graham Aker
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: 25th Highlander Regiment
Rank: Colonel
Equipment: M98 Compact, MA6A ICWS
SPARTAN-G023
Faction United Nations Space Command
Unit: Kilo Company
Rank: Gunnery Sergeant

SPARTAN-501

SPARTAN-144
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: Lambda Company, 1st Battalion, 117th Special Operations Regiment
Rank: Major
Equipment:
SPARTAN-338
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: Lambda Company, 1st Battalion, 117th Special Operations Regiment
Rank: First Lieutenant
Equipment:
Katerina Nevsky
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: , 105th ODST Division
Rank: Gunnery Sergeant
Equipment: M6L PDWS, BR09, M99C SASR
Maria Williams
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: 112th Naval Squadron, attached to Taskforce Arrow
Rank: Captain
Equipment: F-406 Katana
James McHenry
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit: UNSC New York, attached to Taskforce Arrow
Rank: Admiral
Equipment: Sol-class Command Carrier

Carpe

Christian Chinnault
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit:27th Reinforced Infantry Regiment
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Equipment: BR09, M57, M3B Combat Knife
Rafael Ortiz
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit:27th Reinforced Infantry Regiment
Rank: Corporal
Equipment: AIE-486I HMG, M10 PDWS, M3B Combat Knife
Kali Britten
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit:27th Reinforced Infantry Regiment
Rank: Lance Corporal
Equipment: M12 SMG, M77 ECQCS, M7 Tactical Knife
Logan-G081
Faction:UNSC
Unit:SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, Knight Squadron
Rank:First Sergeant
Equipment: M1091 Sniper Rifle System, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System
SPARTAN-K035
Faction:UNSC
Unit:SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, Knight Squadron
Rank:Corporal
Equipment: M108A1 Close Assault Weapon System, M12 Sub Machine Gun
SPARTAN-K121
Faction:UNSC
Unit:SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, Knight Squadron
Rank:Corporal
Equipment: Sniper Rifle System 40A-O Anti Material/Anti Vehicle, M33 Revolver
SPARTAN-K159
Faction:UNSC
Unit:SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, Knight Squadron
Rank:Corporal
Equipment: M81C Ultra Light Machine Gun, M98 Compact
SPARTAN-K186
Faction:UNSC
Unit:SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, Knight Squadron
Rank:Corporal
Equipment: M7A Sub Machine Gun, M47
SPARTAN-K196
Faction:UNSC
Unit:SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, Knight Squadron
Rank:Corporal
Equipment: Weapon/Anti-Vehicle Model 6B Grindell/Galilean Nonlinear Rifle, M23 Grenade Launcher, M6L Personal Defence Weapon System

Dread

Charles-K113
Faction:United Nations Space Command
Unit:
Rank: Sergeant
Equipment: MA6A ICWS+M025 Rocket Launcher , M6L PDWS+AN/PVS-78 MONOCLE, M13 Machete.

SPARTAN-118

Section 2, Backfire Squadron
Faction:United Nations Space Command
Unit:Bravo Company
Rank: Various
Equipment: Various

Parkster

Novus
Faction: Covenant Remnants
Unit: Novus's Stalker Sub-pack
Rank: Stalker Ultra
Equipment: Stalker Rifle, Stalker Pistol , Combat Knife, Incendiary & Stun Grenades
Codename: Shadow Wolf
Faction: UNSC
Unit: ONI, Section-III, Delta-7 Division
Rank: Special Operations Commander (Captain)
Equipment: M3A S3D7 Combat Rifle, 2 M6L/S Pistols and 2 EMP & Flash Grenades

MasterGreen999

Jeremy Patterson
Faction:United Nations Space Command
Unit:Blackheart Platoon
Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Equipment: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M6B Special Operations Battle Armour, M7 Tactical Knife
Jose Marez
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit:Blackheart Platoon
Rank: Sergeant, XO of Blackheart Platoon
Equipment: M90D Close Assault Weapon System, M7A Sub Machine Gun, M6B Body Armour, M7 Tactical Knife
Tech Specialist Lambardo
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit:Blackheart Platoon
Rank: Private, First Class
Equipment: MA6A Individual Combat Weapon System, M6B Body Armour, AN/PRC-101 Radio Pack, AC5 Heads Up Display
Medical Officer Duff
Faction: United Nations Space Command
Unit:Blackheart Platoon
Rank: Private, First Class
Equipment: M90D Close Assault Weapon System, M6B Body Armour, Medi-Cell Syringes, AD-01 Defibrillator, Biofoam Canisters
105th ODST Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Bravo Company, Blackheart Platoon
Faction: UNSC
Type: Infantry Unit
Function: Provide support where needed, move the battlefront forward
Commander: First Lieutenant Jeremy Patterson
Unit Size: 36 ODST Troopers
Unit Composition: 3 Anti-Armor, 8 Snipers, 5 Grenadiers, 10 Riflemen, 8 CQB, 1 Tech Specialist, 1 Medic

117649AR

SPARTAN-B072
Faction: UNSCDF
Unit: SPARTAN-IV Bravo Company
Rank: Corporal
Equipment: MJOLNIR Mk. VIII Powered Assault Armour, M389B General Purpose Machine Gun

FightWithHonor's Characters and Units

Bear Squadron
Faction: United Nations Space Command (UNSC)
Type: Special Operations Infantry Platoon/Squadron
Function: Light Infantry operations
Commander: CAPT Marcus Conrad, UNSCMC
Unit Size: 45 UNSC SOCOM personnel (SPARTAN-IVs and UNSCMC NCOs and Officers)
Unit Composition: 3 Sections (2 Infantry 1 Special Purpose/Support)
Fireteam Echo
Faction: United Nations Space Command (UNSC)
Type: Special Operations Infantry Fireteam
Function: Light Infantry operations
Commander: Staff Sergeant Alyssa-E075, UNSCMC
Unit Size: 6 SPARTAN-IVs

Spartan 112

Krieg Squadron
Faction: United Nations Space Command (UNSC)
Type: Special Operations Infantry Fireteam
Function: Orbital insertions
Commander: Captain SPARTAN-193
Unit Size: *39 SPARTAN-IVs
Sigurd-K117
Faction: UNSCDF
Unit: Krieg Squadron
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Equipment: MJOLNIR Mk. VIII Powered Assault Armour, MA6A ICWS
Cain-K029
Faction: UNSCDF
Unit: Krieg Squadron
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Equipment: MJOLNIR Mk. VIII Powered Assault Armour, M108A1 CWAS
Boris-K069
Faction: UNSCDF
Unit: Krieg Squadron
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Equipment: MJOLNIR Mk. VIII Powered Assault Armour, HBR10HB-SR

M256

  • SPARTAN-108
    • Faction: UNSC
    • Unit: Albion Company
    • Rank: Lieutenant
    • Equipment:
  • SPARTAN-A048
    • Faction: UNSC
    • Unit: Albion Company
    • Rank:
    • Equipment:
  • Albion Company
    • Faction: UNSC
    • Equipment: Various Weapons, Equipment, Armor, Vehicles, etc
    • Members:
  • SPARTAN-075
    • Faction: UNSC
    • Unit: Fox Company
    • Rank: Lieutenant Commander
    • Equipment:
  • Fox Company
    • Faction: UNSC
    • Equipment: Various Weapons, Equipment, Armor, Vehicles, etc.
    • Members:

Roleplay

Phase 1


The two golden visors stared at each other from opposite sides of the hallway, subtle hand gestures and head motions dictating the course of action. The more petite figure tucked closer to the wall and pulled a thunder flash grenade from their assault rig, depressing the red trigger. A few seconds later, the titanium alluminide spoon clicked. The user used their thumb to flip the spoon up to the armed position, giving another click, then immediately tossed it into the hallway, not bothering to look. It bounced once, the sound echoing through the silent corridor then immediately flashed a bright silvery-white. Almost immediately there were cries of anguish from inside the corridor. The SPARTANs both ducked around the corner and levelled their rifles, firing in short controlled bursts, the flashes from their barrels illuminating across the sheen of the purple walls. They fired the last burst, the brass casing impacting on the floor, echoing once again through the empty corridors. The SPARTANS looked to each other again and nodded. They quietly rose up and crept forward, passing through the thin wispy smoke cloud generated by the combination of their gun fire and the flash bang.

“Harry, are we clear?” One asked, his voice crackling over the communications

“Yeah, patrol is down in section three-alpha, proceeding to section four-alpha to reunite with Brimstone one three.” She responded, taking the lead

Harry-B019 moved forward, slowly holstering her rifle on her IMP and retrieving the small shotgun from beneath the back and unfolding the stock and clicking it into place.

“Yari and Izzy should of called in by now.” Kyle radioed back, moving up behind her

As they moved up the corridor their motion detector gave out a short bleeping, motioning a target was moving right towards them.

“Hostile contact, left side!” Harry shouted, ducking to the right side of the corridor and levelling her gun. The bulkhead door unsealed and a Brute stumbled out, flailing his arms in the air. There was a SPARTAN on his back, one hand holding onto his helmet, the other on a blade jabbed deep into his neck and legs wrapped around its chest. It stumbled, one last gasp of breath escaping, then fell onto its chest. With a wet noise, the SPARTAN with drew the knife and calmly shook off the blood, then holstered it. Another SPARTAN entered through the bulkhead, carrying his rifle at his hip.

“Izzy, you’re late!” Kyle grunted, berating him

“Sorry Kyle, this big guy dropped a jammer right on top of it. Yaritza neutralised him though, so don’t worry.” He said, laughing it off. Yaritza said nothing and just fell back into formation.

“Heard from Jude or Lars?” Harry asked, motioning for the others to keep moving.

“They’re at Staff Sergeant Bravo One Five Five’s position, taking hostile fire from multiple hostile packs.” Yaritza replied, barely even in a complete sentence. “Then we can’t wait, we have to go back them up.” Harriet replied, leading the team further down into the corridors, towards the sound of distant gunfire.


Matthias-B155 stepped out of cover for just a moment, long enough to get a burst off from his M2A, cutting down a oncoming Brute warrior, the high power SAP rounds punching through its chest plate with a distinct crunching noise.

“Left side, shifting fire!” Lars shouted, swinging his entire upper body, and his LMG with it. He opened fire, releasing an unrelenting stream of fire down onto another pack trying to step out of cover in the cargo bay.

“Nice job Matt, total cluster fuck.” Rebecca grunted, firing her SMG from her hip, the rounds impacting across the Brute’s chest, silver-orange sparks flying off it.

“Revy, calm down.” Damien shouted, firing his SMG over an upturned crate

“Just orders.” Matt replied “The Lieutenant is supposed to be getting onto out position soon.”

The bulkhead behind them opened, causing Meg, the rear guard, to level her rifle. Harry charged through, ignoring it, leading her unit it, then bunkering down to open fire.

“Is Alpha here?” Harry asked Matthias, crouching down in cover beside him

“We though Augustus was with you?” He responded, confused

“Fuck, we lost Augustus then.” She grunted “He must of broken off and gotten pinned down.

“Fuck this.” Rebecca grunted, dropping her weapon and drawing her two pistols from their holsters. She leapt over her barricade and lunged into closer cover, then began to fire both her pistols, cutting a number of them down.

“Rebecca, get back into formation, we have to wait until relieved!” Anton shouted over the radio

Unanimously, there was a bleep from their internal mission timers.

“What the hell, we’re timing out?!” Kyle exclaimed

“I thought Motoko was bringing her section down here to cover us out? Where the hell is she?” Meg asked

“Radio is out, the internal structure is messing with longer ranged comms.” Matthias sighed

As soon as he did, Jo leapt over their barricade and followed Rebecca into the fray, followed involuntarily by Meg. However, as soon as they all charged in, they became pinned down by overwhelming fire. The Brutes surged forth, out of sight of the rest of the Section, over running them near instantly, with a chieftain slamming Meg to the floor and then knocking Jo back. As soon as they both tried to engage it, they slammed into each other, neither co-ordinating with the other. As soon as they did, the mission clock hit zero, right before the chieftain could bring down his hammer. The Brutes, the cargo containers, even the walls faded away like mist, the holograms ending.

As soon as it cleared, both Jo and Rebecca leapt up to their feet, through off their helmets, and pushing each other.

“Jo you limp wristed bitch, I had the fucking kill shot!” Rebecca grunted

“Step off you fucker, it would of crushed you straight away, you don’t have the skill to take a chieftain on that close.” Jo growled

“Fucking say that again you bitch. I dare you.” Rebecca growled, bumping up to her chest plate, intending to try and make Jo step down.

As soon as she did, Jo sucker punched Rebecca in the face, knocking her back slightly, but she immediately recovered, socking Jo right in the eye. They soon descended into a brawl, with both of them being pulled away by each other, with both teams trying to separate them.

“Settle down!” Matthias demanded, getting between them, both of them having to be restrained by four Spartans

“Go to hell Matt, you can’t even organise a skirmish without Augustus to fucking baby sit you.” Rebecca shouted, not even realising what she’d said

Matthias looked to Rebecca, knowing what she said was perfectly true. He’d allowed them to get pinned down and strung out. He stepped back, almost ready to let them brawl again.

“Lance Corporal Bravo Zero Zero One, Private First Class Bravo Zero Two Three. Report to the gauntlet immediately, I want fifty runs, from both of you.” A PA announcement run out.

Above them, in a booth, their commanding officer looked down with despair.

“HIGHCOM is being characteristically unrealistic. There is no way we can get them ready for this mission in the three weeks we have left.” Mitchell said, leaning back in his observation chair

“We have no choice. We’re going either way. Too many cogs moving, too many things in motion.” Ajax said

“What went wrong down there?” Dawes asked, looking down on the Spartans.

“Spread out too far, in unfamiliar terrain, with little or no communications. Lieutenant B312 couldn’t unite them fast enough, they kept getting pinned down while trying to regroup after their objectives. Joyeuse, upload Objective Six Oh Four Charlie, and call in Buzzsaw for their run. Let’s see if they can fair better.” Ajax said, his tone neutral “Dawes, Mitchell, you can run observation, I’m going to go talk to B312.” With that he left, his polished boots clanking on the metal grating of the booth.


Amelia B312 was sat downstairs, in the foyer for the holographic combat exercise area, looking directly at her helmet, a twisted reflection of her face dancing across its curved surface. The lift pinged, and Ajax walked through, his eyes immediately locking onto her.

“Lieutenant, congratulations, you have a dead squadron of SPARTANS on your hands.” He said in a dead pan tone, whether he was being sarcastic or quite serious was beyond Amelia’s understanding of the man.

“Sir, there’s a number of operational problems beyond my control.” She said, not trying to rise to his bait “Communications, operational equipment and the plan.”

“You think the combat plan is flawed.” He asked, sitting down opposite her, looking straight at her

“I do sir. We shouldn’t have to infiltrate it in small teams and complete smaller singular missions.” She replied, her crystal blue eyes locked onto Ajax

“You’re right in that respect, but a single surgical strike leaves us open, and reduces our mission time.”

“But in that circumstance, we can complete our primary objectives much faster and more efficiently. There are other things we can do to improve the survivability of the mission plan on contact with enemy forces. Jacking internal fibre optic lines, forming an internal battlefront, set-” She said, before being interrupted by Ajax raising his hand

“All of those reduce time available for the mission, and then exposes us to their superior numbers. That’s why we decided on taking vital systems then performing a vacuum flush.” He replied

“Then there isn’t anything I can do.” She said, getting up

“Don’t take it the wrong way Lieutenant, but this is the way it must be done.” He said, getting up and passing her

“You have excellent leadership potential.” He said almost patting her on the shoulder, but flinching at the last moment. “Don’t let your unit run rampant without you.”

He left, leaving Amelia alone. She looked back to her visor then flipped the helmet in her hands and stood up, her armour shifting. She tucked it under her arm and left to meet her waiting unit.

“Okay, I want all section leaders to run close quarters combat drills for three hours, then take a rest period.” She said to the unit, who all looked slightly disheartened at that result. She dismissed them then walked away, being followed by her XO.

“So, what’d the boss man say?” Raina asked, carrying her helmet in her hands

“That we’re following that plan, no matter what.” She replied flatly.

“Huh, well I guess we have to adapt or die.” She replied

“That’s what we do best.” Shephard replied from behind her “There’s no alternative for us.” Raina just let out a short, bitter laugh and shrugged her shoulders, leaving both of the SPARTANS somewhat perplexed by her nature.


Rebecca leaned back in the chair, keeping the icepack to her head, groaning intermittently.

“Come on Rebecca, it couldn’t of hurt that much.” Lars asked “Jo has a shit left hook.”

“No, I fell on the stepping stones and hit my head twice during the fall.” She sighed

Lars was about to laugh when the door opened up and Second Lieutenant Augustus stepped in.

“Everybody out, except Jo and Rebecca, get out.” He ordered

Everyone silently filed out of the recreation room and left just the two Spartans sitting down, both with bruised faces and black eyes.

“I heard about the fight you ladies have, and you need to sort that crap out, or I’m rotating you to different units.” He said

“What about you boss man, where the fuck were you?” Rebecca asked

“Me and the gunny got pinned down outside our objective and had to fall back. We ended up timing out too.” He frowned “That’s beside the point. I didn’t run into him and give him a black eye.”

“Yeah... okay boss man, we fucked up.” Revy frowned, looking to Jo, who just averted her gaze.

“I’m putting you on both on a team building exercise, starting immediately.” He frowned “You’re both getting dropped in the reservation with zero gear. If you aren’t back here by tomorrow morning, you’re both being moved to different units.”

With that, he left, leaving the two alone.

“Well, we better make it work...” Jo said quietly

“You know Jo, you’re a completely different bitch without a gun in your hand.” Rebecca laughed, taking the icepack off her head and standing up. She took Jo’s hand and helped her up “I don’t think either of us want to leave this sweet gig.”


12th of April, 2612, Port Midgard, Manheim, Omicron Orionis system, 1500 local time

Commodore Gabriel Lilico stood on the observation bridge between Seibzehn and Achtzehn decks, quietly observing Manheim. He leaned on the burnished steel railing, waiting the pale yellow sun seemingly rise over Manheim. As it did, he could see the silhouettes of Ruhr station and Rotweisse rise across the horizon of the planet. Numerous MAC stations blotted the view around him, with several civilian freighters rising from the surface and numerous freighters rising from orbital lift terminus stations, mostly UNSC, though the occasional deep purple, whale like hull of Sangheili transports, and even a white Imperium transport, here to trade materials of war. He rubbed his finger along the bespoke railing, until the sound of approaching footsteps interrupted him. He turned to face a vice admiral, with a weathered, pale face, greying facial hair and a scar running from his chin to right ear.

“Lilico, I’m glad you came.” He smiled, shaking his hand ecstatically.

“Good to see you too Doggett. How is ONI treating you these days?” He smiled

“You know, secretive this, secretive that. Never been busier, but it’s worthwhile work he said, grinning from ear to ear, before his smile faded “I heard about what happened on the Ullr.”

“Typically brass.” Lilico frowned “I get celebrated for losing a ship, and allot of good people.”

“Lilico, you did well.” Doggett said, reassuring him “You got over half the crew off. Considering how catastrophic and sudden the damage was, it’s damn near a miracle.”

“I guess you read ONI’s review then.” He sighed, turning around and learning on the railing

“The review was quite flattering actually, which is why you got promoted to Commodore.” He said, leaning over the rail to observe Manheim

“I haven’t been commissioned to command a vessel in 3 months, what does that say to you?” He said, interrupting him before he could reply “What it means is, desk job.”

“The reason I asked you to come up here, was on behalf of ONI.” He said

“No way am I becoming a desk spook.” He said, turning around, in revulsion

“No. ONI needs a good ship captain for a new vessel” He said, beckoning him to follow him

Lilico followed onwards to dock Dreizehn, where ONI prowlers usually parked up between combat missions. As he stepped after him, he noticed a substantially larger vessel parked there, different from the usual sleek prowlers, though not indifferent.

“ONI is handpicking you to be the captain of one of their new stealth carriers. Lilico, this is a once in a life time opportunity.” He said, leading him to the dock observation pod

“What’s it for?” He asked

“Deep strike missions in concert with special forces. You’ll be assigned to Task Force Lightning for an upcoming UNSC operation, you’ll be further briefed on taking command. Do you want to take command of her?” He asked

“How long do I have for a shakedown?” Lilico asked, looking down on her.

“Under a month. The current XO is the expert on the stealth systems.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. Tell me more.” He asked, turning to his friend, a smile creasing his lips for the first time in weeks.

“She started life out as an Odin-class Carrier. She underwent substantial upgrades to her hull structure to increase her stealth capacities. Along with that, her computer, communication, electronic and cyber warfare systems have all been improved.

“And the shakedown cruise?”He asked, still staring at her ship.

“Escort the rest of the Task Force to Arcturus, to pick up a number of special packages, then return to Manheim and make your final preparations before your first combat operation.”

“Well, last thing is.... what’s her name?” He asked, running a hand through his short, close shaven hair

“The UNSC Eidolon.” Vice Admiral Doggett responded

Lilico firmly shook Doggettt’s hand as a gesture of thanks, still looking on his new ship “Treat her well Lilico, she deserves the best.” He smiled


12th of April, 2612, Sydney, Earth Sol system, 0300 local time

There was a faint buzzing, as the phone rang, prompting Romanova to rise from her bed, struggling with her long red hair. She fumbled, reached for the phone, hitting the loudspeaker button.

“Hello, this is Major General Romanova, who is this.”

“It’s Castle, sorry for the early call Alex.” The voice responded, in a neutral voice, with faint British undertones.

“Late call Bill. Are you on Manheim right now? What time is it?” She asked, rubbing her face

“Just gone one six hundred. I thought it was two three hundred there?” He asked, his voice slightly distorted

“Yeah, plus four more hours. Good thing we don’t pay long distance, what’s wrong?”She asked

“Just got word from your man Doggett that we now have the Eidolon operational and preparing to jump to Arcturus for her shake down. Task Force Lightning is operational. Once the last few battle groups I called in arrive, Thunder will be operational as well.” He responded

“Bill, I know you’re the chairman of the security committee but... did you call for a reason?”

There was a short, distorted chortle from the phone, which almost unsettled Romanova.

“No, I do have something for you. BLACK ROOK is on the move, he told me himself. He’s send a small number of task forces to aid us. The others already know.”

“That’s good at least.” She yawned “But I need my sleep Bill.”

“I’ll leave you to it Alex. Night.”

“Night.” She replied, hanging up.

She crawled back into her bed, settling under the covers and rolled over, before a thought came to her.

“That means, they’re going in to cover their tracks. ROOK is thinking too far ahead.” She thought to herself, before shutting her eyes.

<Death to Heroes>[The Damned] [The Lost][The Forgotten]|Deus Ex Ajax

Okay ladies and gentlemen, for the first phase of the RP, you can use it to create introductory posts for your characters and units, introducing their training and such. BTW, nobody is going to be informed of the mission’s nature until they’re en-route.You have about 4-3 weeks, in RP time. Navy, marine and Army forces are positioned at Manheim and Arcturus, though ultimate gathering point is Port Midgard, Manheim.

1

Crack! The lone sound of the sniper rifle hitting a incredibly fast moving target, that was moving as fast as your average ghost in the firing range sounded out.

Crack! Another rifle fired, although it missed the bullseye.

"It looks like I win." SPARTAN-G198 said.

"It Looks like I win, SIR." SPARTAN-G124 said, frowning.

"Oh, come on. You're just jealous."

There was a silence.

"Shut up."

"Is that an order?"

"Yes."

"If I don't obey, are you going to court martial me?"

"Yes."

"Are you two retards going to quit joking around? This isn't a joke." SPARTAN-G222 snapped at last.

If it was anybody else, he wouldn't have been alive, or at least without a form of serious injury a little later. But Gary blamed him for his twin brothers death on a fateful battle on mars agaisnt the covenant. And in a way, he blamed himself too. A leader had to shoulder the deaths of the soldeirs, or in this case super-soldiers under his command. He still remembered every detail of SPARTAN-G092's death.

"Look Chieftan, cowardly demons, hiding in the shadows!" A brute's harsh voice tore through the air. The SPARTANS were on alert instantly, weapons ready. The brutes rushed in their direction. Both sides fired, bullets slicing through the air. At the time, his target, a brute captain in gold armor's shields flickered once, then died. His power armor fell off and he charged recklessly, and Norman slugged him in the chest and the brute fell. He hit him with the butt of his rifle and he fell again. The chieftan sprinted forwards, hammer raised in the air.

"SCATTER!" He screamed. The SPARTANs threw themselves out of the way, but the chieftan pivoted with amazing speed and struck SPARTAN-G091 with his gravity hammer. The hammer ripped through his SPI armor and left a gaping hole in his chest. The SPARTAN-III gagged once, fired one last burst at the brute, then died. His body went limp, and the chieftan roared in victory, raising his hammer into the air in celebration, letting his guard down for a few seconds.

That was enough time for Gary to leap forward, grab the chieftan's hammer and bash his skull open.

Norman shook his head, and focused on his shooting. He wouldn't let anyone die under his command again. Not EVER.


"Sir, twelve seraphs closing in on us."

"Affirmative." Captain Kyle Stevens called over the unit com.

There was a flash of plasma, and Kyle Stevens rolled this Katana to the side and fired this TITAN lasers. There was a satisfying boom as the banshee exploded. Kyle brought his Katana up, firing several air-to-air missiles at another banshee. The banshee exploded again.

"Sir, enemy reinforcements are moving into position."

Kyle glanced at his radar. Shit. Before he could give a response, a blast of plasma hit him, shaking this fighter. Double shit. Kyle aimed his air-to-air missiles again, taking down another seraph. Just then, the alarms in his Katana sounded, and a blast of plasma hit him. Everything turned black for a second, then the words appeared in front of him, courtesy of his neural interface.

Captain Kyle Stevens

Vehicle: F-406 Katana.

Kills: 3 Seraphs.

Method of Death: Rammed by Seraph, then finished off by plasma canons.

Replay battle? [Yes] [No]

Kyle sighed unhappily. HighCom had, for whatever reason, made their simulations so much more difficult recently. He waited, as the various members of his squad returned to reality. The dumb AI announced that they had wiped out, in total, thirty banshees and 5/6 of the squadron were killed in action.

"Alright. We better try that again." Kyle said, irritated. There was a collective groan from the members of the squadron.

"I'm getting annoyed to, but orders from above. WAY above, apparently. So get to work." Kyle said.

There was an less-than-enthusiastic Oh-Rah and the simulations started again, for the upteenth time today.
Norman-123 03:14, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

2

"Bandits, 12 o'clock, distance 60 klicks, ten smaller contacts, look like Seraphs, with twenty-five larger contacts, Probably Phantoms", Major Nanook Kalaluit said into the radio of his F/I-905 Claymore Heavy Fighter.

"Roger", Lt. Colonel Ross East Jr. responded, "Green light to engage"

Ross pressed his finger against the weapons selection touchscreen and selected his AIM-34 HORN beyond visual range air-to-air missiles. Ross then turned on the independent targeting system for the missiles, allowing him to lock on to six enemy aircraft. The lock tone filled Ross' ears as he pressed the weapon release button.

At once, six HORN missiles flew into the distance and disappeared over the horizon. Seconds later, six contacts, four Seraphs and two Phantoms disappeared from the radar.

Nanook Kalaluit, Brittni Skylar, Jean Robiechaud and several other of Ross's squadronmates fired their missiles, sending dozens of streaks of fire towards the Remnant aerial convoy. The radar showed that all the enemy aircraft had been cleared from the sky.... or had they...

Suddenly, Ross saw a massive contact on the edge of his radar, approaching fast. IFF marked it as a hostile vessel. A black dot in the distance appeared, quickly growing larger, revealing itself to be a Covenant Remnant Frigate.

"Covenant frigate incoming, burning through the atmosphere, ready your TALONs and stand by to engage", Ross East Jr. said into the radio as he selected his aircraft's TALON anti-spacecraft missile.

"You know the drill", Ross said "aim for the plasma torpedo tubes when it drops it's shields to fire."

"Incoming, more hostiles coming from the frigate, six Sera...", the transmission from John Archer was interrupted an explosion.

"MAN DOWN", Ross heard Nanook Kalaluit yell through his radio.

Ross quickly switched to AIM-11 CLAW short range air-to-air missiles fired at Seraph flying directly at him. Ross pressed the weapon release button on top of his stick. The missile flew at the alien fighter in a streak of fire, before exploding violently on impact, vaporizing the front half of the enemy aircraft.

Ross pulled back on his throttle as he pulled right, making his aircraft preform a sharp turn called a J-turn, before slamming the throttle forward to chase after a pair of Seraphs. Ross got the first Seraph in his sights and pulled the trigger. Ross's TITAN LASER fired, striking the alien fighter and blowing it out of the sky. Seconds later, Ross took down the second Seraph.

"Flight lead, be advised you have an enemy on your tail", Allie "Ditto" Allison's voice spoke through the radio. Plasma bolts flew past Ross' cockpit.

Ross pressed a button on the touchscreen. Several rocket propelled "mines" flew from the rear of Ross' fighter. The weapons behaved rather differently in an atmospheric engagement then in a space battle, rather than floating in space until something hit them, they acted more like backwards-firing missiles, homing in on the enemy aircraft and shooting it down.

Ross saw the Seraph explode in his aircraft's rearview monitor as Nanook Kalaluit reported "I've got the last two, skies clear."

"OK, time to deal with the frigate", Ross said as he readied his TALON missiles and turned towards the enemy vessel, followed by the rest of his squadron. Ross heard the lock tone and fired. Dozens of streaks of fire flew at the enemy ship, all of them going for the gap in the shielding near the plasma torpedo tube.

As the missiles flew at the Covenant ship, beams of purple light shot out from the ship, shooting down a few of the Claymores of Ross' squadron. Ross, as well of the rest of his squadron, however, pressed on, swerving to stay one step ahead of the Covenant point defense weapons. Eventually, one of Ross's missiles struck home, flying up a plasma torpedo tube and detonating the ship's plasma stores. The bow of the ship was blown off in a great fireball as Ross and the other surviving Claymores turned away from the burning ruins of the alien warship as it fell to the ground.

The surroundings out the window of his Claymore's cockpit disappeared as the simulation ended. The screen now read:

Lt Col. Ross East Jr.

Vehicle: F/I-905 Claymore.

Kills: 8 Seraphs, 2 Phantoms, One Covenant Frigate.

Mission Completed, Squadron Casualties: Six.

Replay battle? [Yes] [No]


Ross exited the simulator, and was closely followed by the rest of the UNSCAF Third Squadron.

"That was better, we completed the mission this time, but those casualty rates are simply unacceptable.", Ross said.

"What's up with HIGHCOM, setting the simulator to such a high difficulty level, The Bravo Kilos are nowhere near that good! I mean, we took down a cruiser at Kanna with no casualties, but that frigate took down more than half the sqaudron!"

"They're preparing us for something...", Ross said, "Something big", Ross then gave an exacerbated sigh, as he said "Well, lets try this again". FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

3

Three beeps, that's what he heard before Sigurd screamed towards the Earth. All he could do now is wait until he hit the ground. Looking through the external cameras, he could see hundreds of other HOPE pods descending with him, each held a brother or sister, a SPARTAN-IV. He checked the altimeter, 14,000 km from the surface. As the pods descended, he opened a channel to the other pods in his Squadron "1,500 km from atmosphere, prepare for the burn." The pods eventually cut into the plants atmosphere, and it suddenly got very, very hot inside the pod. Moments passed and the pods passed through the atmosphere, and suddenly anti aircraft emplacements opened up around the pods

"Keep on track, don't break formation."

He checked the altimeter again and it was at 20 km.

"You know the drill, form up on me when we hit the ground. We will proceed with our objective from their."

He looked at the outside cameras and saw where they were headed, it was a Covenant city, one controlled by the Jiralhanae. A Knife fighter flew in front of Sigurds pod, being pursued by two Seraphs. The fighter pulled hard in an almost vertical standstill, the Seraphs scream past not getting a shot off, and the Knife fired off its Lasers, knocking both Seraphs down before moving on. The ground got closer and closer, before the pod finally slammed into the ground. The front of Sigurd's pod shot off, he grabbed his assault rifle and rushed out, more pods landing around him.

Ten Spartans had arrived, flanking Sigurd. It didn't take long for the Brutes to descend upon the site. A small pack numbering twenty turned the corner into the street where Sigurd's section had just landed.

"This is Krieg Five One, we have hostile contacts advancing on our position preparing to engage."

Sigurd pointed down the road to the Brutes, who were advancing cautiously towards the landing zone. As they neared, Sigurd finally gave the signal to open fire. The road erupted in a firefight, as the Brutes rushed to find cover. A few made it and returned fire, forcing the Spartans to back off.

"Grenade!" yelled out one of the Spartans, who primed a M9 grenade and let it sail towards the Brutes. Some rolled out of the cover and were quickly cut down, the others were caught in the blast. "All clear!"

"Form up on me." Sigurd told the others in his section. He opened up a TACMAP of the area. Krieg 4-2 and 4-3 had landed nearby. "Krieg 4-2 this is Krieg 4-1, are you there Cain?"

"The Com was filled with the sounds of gunfire. This is Cain, good to hear from you Sigurd. Boris and his section got here but it seems they were tracked. We could use some support."

"Understood, Krieg 4-1 on the way." He closed the channel and turned to his unit "Lets move out, keep your eyes open!"

His unit had made good timing, and caught only a single Brute on the way. They had taken position left of where Cain and Boris' units were pinned. Inside what seemed to be a Covenant parking garage of sorts. Across from where the two sections were a pack of Brutes had set up a barricade, hoping to pin down and overrun the Spartans. He pointed downwards towards the enemy, and put a grenade into his MA6As attached M024.

"All units open fire!"

The section opened up. Some of the Brutes turned to face the new threat. Spikes flew past the Spartans, but the gunfire kept up. Some fell back, but were sniped down by section three's marksmen. After five minutes, no Brutes remained.

"Krieg 4-2 here, thanks for the support."

"Sigurd, on the way down I noticed a Brute convoy headed towards the main plaza, it cuts along our route, we could ambush them on the way."

"Good plan." He pulled up his TACMAP and placed a beacon on an intersection. "We can strike them here. My unit will be on this warehouse structure. Have India on this building, overlooking the area. Place explosive charges on the road and kill any survivors."


"Cain here, I see the convoy there approaching fast." The Spartan was hidden in an alleyway with his assault team, in front of where the explosives were set.

"Wait until they are right in the middle and detonate."

They waited, until the lead Shadow had passed and all charges detonated. In moments the convoy was in flames, the Shadow was thrown off to the side from the force. A Slasher IFV stopped and Brutes began to pour from its bowels, but were cut down by the Squadrons gunfire. A rocket impacted between the turret and the body and blew the IFV apart.

Within seconds a dozen vehicles were burning in the cities streets. Brutes were strewn across the pavement, one ran from a burning Crusher, its flesh was charred and it was screaming in pain. Sigurd walked over the helpless creature and spat on it, before bringing his axe down on its head.

"Good work everyone, getting reports that the city has fallen." A trio of Pelican dropships flew overhead. "Looks like this simulations over."

The area slowly began to dissolve, and Sigurd stepped out of the holographic area. Cain and Boris took up his flank as they headed for a debriefing.

"Good work on that burning Brute by the way." Cain sarcastically quipped.


"Group those shots! Your shooting worse than my blind grandmother!" Yelled out Captain James Gerard. He walked back and forth, watching as his newly assigned soldiers were missing their targets.

"Bah! Callihan! Get down here and shows these boys how to shoot!"

A scarred Marine stepped from cleaning his M6 pistol. "Yes sir." He stepped over to the weapons table and picked up an MA6A and held it tight to his shoulder.

"Step one! Hold the rifle tight against your shoulder. This helps you prepare for the recoil of firing your rifle."

Callihan fired off the rifle in quick four round bursts, leaving neat holes in the targets.

"Step two! Don't think you can go Rambo and keep your recoil steady on fully automatic. Fire in bursts and group your shots."

Callihan emptied the magazine into the targets, leaving four neat wholes in the chests and heads. He placed the rifle back on the table and stood next to the Captain.

"And that is how you use an MA6A, how you worthless shitbags ever got through basic training is beyond my comprehension. Keep training until otherwise." he turned to Callihan, who was looking awkwardly at the five recruits. "Callihan you are dismissed, thank you." He saluted, "Sir, thank you sir." and walked back to his barracks. It had been years since the Battle of Kanna, but he couldn't get the sights out of his head. Watching his friend in B Company die on the way to the beach, a squad mate torn apart by a Brute chaingun. He could handle it, but it still disturbed him.

112 04:02, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

4

5

15 April, 2612. Simulation ground 12, Bravo Company compound, Camp Sparta, Arcturus, Arcturus System

The clatter of gunfire ripped through the late night, along with several small explosions.

First Lieutenant SPARTAN-B122 and Gunnery Sergeant SPARTAN-B147 concentrated on what was happening downrange. In the current exercise, the objective was for the two teams of Section 2 troops to fight one another in a town, both simulating a loss of the Command section. So far, both SPARTAN-IV teams had performed outstandingly. But, then again, they had trained for years for this. The two SPARTANs had devised a simple system to ensure the best training for each of the Sections two teams; Darcy-B122 was in charge of training Assault team Alpha, radio code 'Backjack 2-1', while Kevin-B147 trained Fire team Bravo, with the radio code 'Blackjack 2-2'.

The simple way to simulate a kill in this competition/training was to use the sensors in the armor to lock up sections of the body if hit, and lock up the armor completely if killed, making for a fairish competition.

The Assault team was, obviously, assaulting the town, with the Fire Team holding it. The Fire Team had the advantage of height and more ranged weapons, but the Assault team had the advantage in close quarters battle, and specially trained for urban combat. Both teams already had combat experience from WARDOG, although a lot of that experience was drowned from boredom during the battle. This exercise was also a friendly competition between Darcy and Kevin, for the victor and his team would bragging rights on the loser, until the next exercise rolled around in a week or two.

Together, they watched the Assault team storm the town, and the Fire team rushing about to set up a perimeter.

Darcy chuckled evilly, as he stroked his cat Khalid, as his Assault team neared the perimeter of Kevin's fireteam.

The pair traded threats, jokes, and insults between themselves as they watched their SPARTAN subordinates fight for bragging rights. After a 5 minute firefight, Assault team Alpha ended up winning, leaving only Staff Sergeant SPARTAN-B122standing, but Fire team Bravo lost every man in the team, losing even with a heavy machine gun. But it had been close, only a well placed shot or two changed the outcome for the assault team.

Bragging rights were gained, money changed hands, and morale rose. All in all, a successful exercise.

Rainbow_Dash.pngRainbow Dash (Talk)(Contribs)  

6

"Sir, enemy reinforcements neutralized." Spartan-G066 shouted over the com

"Nice work, Spartans."

Major Robert Stanley wasn't surprised. The massive convoy of shadows would have taken hundreds of marines, plus air support to take out. But somehow, five SPARTANs had eliminated the shadows.

"Alright. Now. Get the objective. We'll cover your back." Robert Stanley shouted The "objective" was a single prophet. As if the covenant were making an answer, two phantoms flew overhead, and began flying down.

"Alright marines, we've got company. ROLL OUT THE WELCOME MAT!"

The welcome mat concisted of hundreds of rounds of fully automatic assault rifle fire, a few rockets and sniper rifle rounds, and to finish off the single brute captain ultra, a single blast from a SPARTAN laser.


SPARTAN-G066 and his fire team ran inside the building. He had to admit, the covenant had a natrual talent in interior design. If you didn't count the various paintings of glassed human worlds.

"DEMON! RUUUN!" THe shout of a grunt interupted Neil's thoughts. Maria ran ahead and slashed the grunt's methane breather in two with her combat knife.

"DIE, DEMON!" Another grunt came charging at him. Neil fired a quick burst with his assault rifle and the grunt fell. That did it for the rest of the grunts. A collective "RUN AWAAAAAAY!" was heard by the grunts, before they were shot in the back.

"Damn grunts. HATE their squeaky voices." Megan complained.

"Well, they're easy to fight. Unlike the brutes." Carl replied. As if in response to his statement, a single brute captain minor stepped out, twin brute plasma rifles in his hand.

"Demons. Your death will bring me much-" The brute didn't get to finish his sentence, on account of five guns firing at him at once and killing him.

"You know what? Scratch that. Brutes suck." Carl said.

"Just get the prophet. Never mind how much brutes suck or not, even though they are pathetic" Neil said.


They made their way across a massive purple chamber.

"One more hallway, and the we're at the prophet's chamber." Neil said. Two jackalls spotted them. One raised his energy shield in one hand, cutlass in another and charged. Neil waited until he was close, then kicked him. The cutlass went flying, and the jackall went right after the cutlass. The other jackall fired his plasma pistol. It bounced off Carl's shields, and Carl shot him. Just then, two brutes-Neil noticed that they were ultras-ran at him and his squad.

"Supressing fire." Neil ordered. The squad fired at the brutes, who flinched, howled and died.

"Now. The Prophet."


The prophet was floating in a gravity chair, a few meters above the spartans. Six Jiralhanae Honor Guards protected the prophet. There were also various brutes and jackalls around.

"It ends here, demon." The prophet said.

"It appears not." Neil replied.

"It appears SO." The prophet replied. The door burst open, and a single brute chieftan, followed by his two bodyguards, and about twenty brute captains. Dammit. Neil cursed.

"Put up a good show, demon. I want to watch." The prophet said.

"Sure. There's audience participation too." Neil replied. Then he leapt at the prophet. The bodyguards moved to stop him. BANG! BANG! Two blasts from his shotgun took down one honor guard. He meleed another one, then jumped onto the prophet's chair. He meleed him four times, then fired again at the honor guards.

"HELP! HEEEELP!" The prophet shouted. The honor guards moved in to obey him-only to be cut down.


The fight wasn't exactly one sided. Carl went down in a deadly crossfire. Maria was hit twice by a gravity hammer, and Bill took out a few brute captains before dying too.

Neil glared at the prophet, then smacked the energy shield one last time. The shield flickered and died, and Neil smiled.

"Goodbye." Then he fired his shotgun at the prophet once. Everything faded to black, and was replaced by a few yellow words.

SPARTAN-G066

Kills: 88 grunt minors, 41 grunt majors, 12 jackalls, 32 brute minors, 22 brute majors, 12 brute ultras, 2 brute captain minors, 1 brute captain major, 2 brute captain ultra, 4 honor guard brutes, 1 prophet.

Mission Cleared. Casualties: 127 Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, 3 SPARTAN-IVs.

Replay Mission?: [Yes] [No]

Neil selected "No." Then he let reality return to him, feeling a sense of happiness. Finally. The simulation they had been working on, and failing for the past week now, along with about two hundred ODST's had FINALLY been passed.

"Well, Staff Sergeant, we finally did it." Major Robert Stanley said, walking over to him.

"Yes sir."

"Did you die?" Carl asked, interupting them.

"No." Neil replied.

"Yeah. Got hit by a banshee's fuel rod cannon." The major replied.

"Yeah. Now. Guess we have another stupidly hard simulation to look forward to after the break, eh?" Neil said.

"Sadly."

Norman-123 14:56, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

7

Christian Chinnault squeezed the trigger on his battle rifle, sending a three-round volley straight through the faceplate of a red-armored Grunt. Shifting his aim, he fired three quick bursts into another target, this time the Brute leading the weaker Unggoy. The alien roared and fired a sustained burst from his spiker rifle in the marine's direction. Chinnault held his ground, firing a few more bursts into the beast. With a great howl, the Brute crumpled.

Chinnault stood and slung the rifle over his shoulder. Drawing the M57 holstered at his side, he began speaking orders softly into his COM. "Raf, Kay, move on up to my position. Raf, be ready with that big gun." Taking up a position behind a large building, he waited for the others to arrive.

Two short clicks confirmed the transmission of his orders. A minute later, two other Marines reached Chinnault's position and took cover with him. "What next, Chris?" asked Rafael Ortiz. A large, muscular Hispanic, Ortiz held a light machine gun in his hands lightly, and on his back was slung a shortened M108A1 shotgun.

Kali Britten merely checked her weapons, silent and reserved as usual. For a short, almost petite woman, she carried an ridiculous amount of weaponry- she had a submachine gun and an automatic shotgun slung on her back, as well as a long combat knife in a chest sheath.

"There's a Covie gun position ahead," Chinnault began. "Kali, you and I will move on through those two buildings to get inside." He indicated a pair of structures resembling apartment buildings. "Raf, you're going to get up on that hill and lay suppressive fire for us when I signal." Rafael nodded and stood, running to his destination. Kali drew her shotgun and looked to Chris for confirmation. Chinnault nodded, and the two moved ahead.

Kali went in first, shotgun held at stomach height. At these ranges, the 12-gauge rounds would blow a Brute in half. However, the sound alone would almost certainly doom them. Chinnault followed, pistol in hand.

Chinnault turned a corner and swore. Three Grunts sat in the corridor, playing some sort of dice game. They looked up and squealed, reaching for their weapons. Chinnault's pistol barked four times and the Grunts went down, methane leaking from their masks. Behind him Kali screamed. Chris turned to see a Brute Minor charging, mauler raised to fire. Kali lay on the ground, bleeding from the abdomen. Chris emptied the magazine into it, but the fourteen rounds did nothing but anger it. He felt a sudden pain as the blades of the weapon stabbed into his chest, then the world faded away.


Chinnault stood and swore loudly. "What the hell is HIGHCOM playing at?" he asked Kali, who stood next to him. "This is ridiculous. The Brutes in this sim moved faster than any I've ever seen, and the last one took fourteen rounds without flinching!"

Kali shrugged. "They've got some op coming up, my guess being against the Remnant," she offered- no small amount of words from her.

Chris shook his head. "Well, obviously, but if you want to look at it like that, there's no way this is just some snatch-and-grab raid. This is gonna be big. Did you see the sims? It looked like a residential area. We're fighting on their home turf."

Kali shrugged again and turned to watch Rafael, who was still alive. A monitor above him showed what he saw in the sim.

Chinnault turned and walked to the mess hall, wondering what was going down.

I am a monument to all of your... Darkness Conflicts Stories Heroes

8

"I want those tangos down" yelled Spartan-A099 A099 pulled out his shotgun and fired it full automatic round in the uncomming brutes.

"Look like i have to do all the job" Since the end of OPERATION:WARDOG the regiment were trainning harder that never be before. Highcom was planning something big something that would lead to the end on the Covenant. Of course nobody knew wath this magor operation would be. For the first time in 60 years the UNSC, the USR, the Planisfer, the Machina, and the other nation member of the AUR would launch a full scale assult to broke the back of thr Remnant.


Everyone in camp Spartan were busy every compagny had a job to do dependung of there role. Lambda squadron has just finnishing his trainning and everyone were cleanning their own rifle after a long day in reconnaissance simulation everyone were tierd and at this point they this would become even harder when it would become a real fight CF001 16:35, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

9

Jamal-002 viewed Indigo Company's fourth run at the assault course, wearing olive-drab fatigues instead of his usual MJOLNIR Mk. VII armor. Even though he had stayed in that armor for nearly the past seventy years, it still felt bulky, and it felt good to just wear normal clothes for a change.

Over the previous runs, the fire teams had nearly done things perfectly, working together to eliminate brute packs one by one. Their integrated neural interfaces allowed for each team member to know what the other team members were doing, and if one team member slipped up, their reaction times were as such to allow for a correction to be made. He had argued many times with his superior officer, over their training; had taught them to rely on no one but themselves, but Jamal wanted them to work as a team. Their preferences were shaped over countless battles - Jamal had fought with a team for most of his early military career, and his team was wiped out when they stopped functioning as a team and started going lone wolf. Ever since 2552 he had served alone, and he hated it. on the other hand had always served alone, functioning as a long-range target acquisition and elimination specialist - Sniper. It was rumored that his marksmanship had only been second to Linda, and it showed.

He watched the teams maneuver stealthily and quietly, using all of their equipment to maximum efficiency. The marksmen would drop those crazy Jackal rangers in short order, and then would begin to cover their comrades on the ground as they quickly designated their targets and dropped them before someone could say "brute". That was the peculiar thing - had fostered independent and creative thinking in each of them, and every single one of them probably could operate alone just as well, if not better as they did with a team. Jamal had fostered a team-based approach to their operations. This contrast had strangely led the trainees to act like the famous D-boys of old, capable of making snap judgement while at the same time having the capability to operate in small, precise teams.

Jamal watched as one trainee quickly mantled over a low wall, sneaking up behind a low-ranking Brute. When one of the Brutes in the simulation had seen that trainee, one of the trainee's team members used HBR11 to precisely take out the alerted Brutes while the others separated and completed their objectives. The trainee that had been spotted ended the Brute by jumping onto its back and driving their combat knife deep into their throat, cutting several major arteries and veins. All of that was done in the space of less than two seconds.

It was impressive, and it would have to be. Scuttlebutt said that HIGHCOM was planning an operation to take down the Remnant once and for all - something that he should have been privy to, but he wasn't. For now, Indigo's edge was about as sharp as it was going to get without breaking that edge.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw the door into the TOC open. It was a very disgruntled MP holding an utterly massive dog on a leash.

"What's the problem, Officer," said Jamal in a slightly sarcastic voice, chuckling at the sight.

"The problem, sir, is that this mongrel came up to my post and decided to piss on my leg," replied the MP.

"Alright, give him to me," said Jamal, while dismissing the MP.

The MP walked up, handed the leash to Jamal, and saluted before performing a crisp about face and exiting the TOC.

"Aww, Dammit. Did you seriously have to go and piss on the pogues leg?"

"Rarf!"

"Good boy," said Jamal while patting Dammit on the head, and giving him a bone to chew on before going back to watch the rest of the exercise. -- Sergeant Major Avery Johnson 19:57, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

10

12th of April, 2612, in orbit around Arcturus 2000 local time

As Admiral Jacobson watched over Battlegroup Wellington from the bridge of the Wellington, he wondered why Echo was ordered to report to Arcturus immediately after they had finished ambushing a small Remnant convoy. He figured that something big was coming as they several Battle groups in orbit around Arcturus. But what is something that even the he couldn't figure out.


As Chris checked his weapons, he know that careful maintenance would insure that they was ready for whenever he would need them. But he couldn't shake the feeling that the his greatest test of his career was near.


As Kevin lay in his bunk, he couldn't help but wonder what the UNSC was planning. All he know was that several units were amassing around Arcturus, he even heard that other forces were at Manheim.

Kevin finally couldn't take the waiting anymore, so he decided to head to the shooting range for some target practice.


12th of April, 2612, an abandoned town, Arcturus 2025 local time

As the wind blow, a M13 Dragon come around a corner and fired off two missiles followed closely by a few rounds from its M68A2 Gauss Gun. As the practice targets blazed, Alias smiled as he scored a 90% on the range. After he was done practicing he called for a Pelican to take him back to the Chicago.


The one thing that none of them knew was that one of the UNSC's finest moments was coming.

Second Lieutenant Keith Johnson 7thHelljumpers com link 23:08, April 25, 2010 (UTC)

11

War never ends. It just needs to take some breathers from time to time in order to get its wind back.

This, Shephard-A294 realized, was a fundamental truth about the galaxy, one that had been proven to him time and time again throughout his life. When he’d been huddled in an orphanage back on Mamore, the death cries of his parents and sister still ringing in his ears, it had seemed to him that everything was over: his past, his future, even his life. But he had been wrong: there had been a new life and future waiting for him, delivered by a well-dressed man asking him if he wished to help save humanity. He’d said yes; he’d agreed to sacrifice everything for the SPARTAN-III program. That simple agreement, coupled with his own stubborn resilience, had given him new purpose in a world that had ceased making sense with the death of his family.

In the calm, welcome darkness of his quarters, Shephard crouched against the far wall and casually examined his assault rifle. His bunk was directly in front of him, but he rarely used it for anything other than sleeping. Operation: PROMETHEUS had conditioned him to be ready for an attack at any moment, and the habit had carried over into all aspects of his life. To sit down was to leave oneself vulnerable to an attack, and so Shephard rarely sat down on anything. He had used walls to support himself so many times now that he no longer got aches in his knees, even after long periods of crouching.

His training on Onyx with the rest of Alpha Company had instilled in him the lethal skills and instincts that one needed to survive and succeed on the battlefield. It had given him speed, strength and knowledge. It had given him a purpose in life, a place amongst some of the finest troops ever forged from humanity’s innumerable ranks. It had given him many things, but its greatest gift of all had been his friends, his brother and sister Spartans.

He ran a hand across the assault rifle’s cold frame, his fingers caressing every niche and crevice in its surface. The weapon and many others like it had been Shephard’s constant companions on the battlefields he had traversed over the course of his career, and he made sure that it was always well-maintained and close at hand. To hell with whatever regulations there might be about unsecured firearms in living quarters; no one was going to separate him from his assault rifle.

His weapons might be the only things he kept close to him now, but an eternity ago there had also been his friends, his fellow Spartans in Alpha Company. He had trained alongside them, had made friends and cultivated rivalries with them, had mocked and outwitted the DIs with them. They had filled a void in his heart that had been left gaping open since the death of his family on that horrible, fiery day. By the end of their training, he would have gone through Hell itself for any of them, and they for him.

And they had.

On battlefield after battlefield, on planet after planet, they had ventured together into the depths of darkness, doing what others couldn’t--or wouldn’t--do. No matter what the enemy, be they Covenant or Insurrectionist, he and the rest of Alpha Company had always emerged victorious. Every time they headed into the fire, they emerged unscathed, a new victory under their belt and a new boost to their already soaring confidence. There had been nothing they couldn’t accomplish together. No challenge had seemed insurmountable to them. They had been invincible.

And then had come Operation: PROMETHEUS and K7-49.

They had landed on that miserable little asteroid and had done everything that had been asked of them and more. Wipe out the generators, render the whole facility useless; that had been the plan, and they had gone at it with all the confidence and determination that had served them so well in all the battles before this one. When the first batch of enemy reinforcements had arrived, they had kept fighting to finish the mission at hand. And when even more reinforcements had landed, when the entire company was facing enemy forces so thick that there hadn’t been a single street or alley that wasn’t swarming with hostiles, they had still fought on, ignoring their losses and remaining focused on the mission. It had been hard and it had been painful, but they had accomplished their objectives and done what they had come to do. They had won.

The only problem was that there was no where else to go after that, no way to get off of that rock. And the enemies had just kept coming like water from an open faucet.

Lieutenant Ambrose, CPO Mendez, and all of the other DIs would have been exploding with pride had they been there with them. Every one of them fought like tigers to the bitter end, just as they had been trained to do. Any other unit of grown men would have considered and even gone through with plans to give up and surrender, but all three hundred of the twelve-year old commandos in Alpha Company had waged bloody war against the overwhelming forces, never once considering the fact that they were fighting an unwinnable battle.

But they had been, and they had paid the ultimate price.

Shephard had watched them all die. Hails of plasma fire cut down fire team after fire team as the Covenant forces advanced on their positions. Energy swords decapitated those who were too slow to dodge the incoming blows and the wounded were set upon by ravenous Grunts and Jackals even as they struggled to fight on. The proud ranks of Alpha Company had been reduced to a few dozen desperate children fighting for their lives against an implacable foe. In the end, all of their years of training and experience, all of their boundless confidence and determination, all of it was useless in the face of overwhelming numbers. The friends who had become his new family had died and he had been left alone in the universe once again.

It was then, as he took cover in a gutted building, that Shephard had learned the true meaning of loss and hatred. He had mourned for his first family and hated the terrorists who had taken their lives, but this time he had the skills and equipment to take revenge on those who had orphaned him yet again, and somehow this had made his sorrow and hatred even greater. And there, as a child crouched against a wall just as he was now, an assault rifle not much different from the one he held now gripped to his chest, he had vowed to do whatever it took to make the filthy aliens pay for what they had done to his friends.

Back in the present, a small alarm chimed and claimed Shephard’s attention. It wasn’t often that he allowed his mind to wander like this, and he couldn’t quite understand why he had chosen now of all times to relive the past. But there was strength to be found there alongside hatred and sorrow and sometimes he wondered if there was any real difference between the emotions.

Using the wall to support his body, Shephard rose to his feet. He blinked laconically in the poor light. I’m wasting time. There were plenty of things he could be doing right now, from helping to monitor Bravo Company’s ongoing training sessions to practicing piloting his Wolf.

He crossed over to his bunk and seized his crumpled uniform up from the cot. Personal appearance had never been much of a concern for him, but regulations were regulations and that meant that he had to maintain some amount of military discipline. He would have preferred to express this required discipline through combat efficiency and respect for his superiors, but apparently skill and behavior alone were not enough.

With a sigh, Shephard let the assault rifle fall to the bed and began to pull the uniform over his white undergarments. The removal of the uniform revealed a straight, dark sword sheathed in a matching scabbard. It was one of the few physical reminder of the past remaining to him, a gift from the aliens who had ultimately been his salvation from death on K7-49.

Mercenaries and pirates. They had been the sort that Shephard had fallen in with after surviving on his own in the weeks following the destruction of Alpha Company. The Kig-Yar had seen a use for the tenacious human they had discovered in the ruins of K7-49, and he for them. His third “family” had been composed of a crew of the birdlike creatures, and both he and the Kig-Yar had had to strive to break down the many barriers that existed between them. With him at their side, the crew had made a killing off of piracy against Covenant ships, and in turn they had helped him hunt down the Sangheli commander leading the forces who had slaughtered Alpha Company. It had been with their gifted weapon that Shephard had fought and killed that particular demon.

But even that had not been enough. The crew had been ambushed and butchered by even more Covenant troops, and Shephard had barely escaped in his own ship, making a blind Slipspace jump into the void of space. Then, devoid of any further hope or drive, he had sealed himself in a cryo-chamber and given himself up to fate.

But that hadn’t been the end.

His uniform donned, albeit in a egregiously sloppy manner, Shephard ran a hand through his untidy black hair. Looking at him, one would have failed to guess that he was the last “original” SPARTAN-III: he was young, barely into his twenties, and his skinny arms frame bore a touch of scrawniness that would not have been looked for in a genetically enhanced super-soldier. But, despite what his appearance might suggest, he was one. Not only that, he was a sergeant in one of the most lethal military units in the history of mankind, and he had work to do.

It was his responsibility to ensure that the troops under his command were spared the fate of Alpha Company. It was his duty to help ensure that no one ever had to undergo the pain he had been forced to endure. These tasks could not be taken lightly for any reason.

Slipping a belt around his waist, Shephard retrieved a holstered M6 pistol from the bunk and clipped it on. He never went anywhere without some form of protection.

Opening the door to his room, he blinked at the sudden brightness of the hallway beyond it. Then, his vision restored, he strode out and headed for the training facilities.

There was work to be done. Actene: If This Is To End In Fire, Then We'll Burn Together

12

Novus laid there in the grass, looking up into the night sky. The rest of his sub-pack were either sleeping or guarding the small village, which they were assigned to. A waste of a perfectly good group of covert soldiers, Novus thought, but he had his orders. He laid on this hill often, sometimes thinking about what his life could have been like if he'd done it differently. However his military career was far more successful than any civilian occupation would have been. Novus gazed endlessly at the stars. He liked to link them up, even if the patterns were not official constellations. He made random images, some funny, some just plain weird. And sometimes he'd see an object that would bring back a memory.

A lot had happened in the past seven years and he was a different person now because of it. He remembered his first battle at the Human world of Kanna, then only a few weeks later, the battle at Vespera. His first two glimpses of real war. Real pain. And real death. How he survived he did not know but he was most definitely grateful for the brothers that had saved him on numerous occasions. Brothers that were not here today. He often wondered whether they were now in the stars, looking down and saving him just the same as they once were. However he repressed any religious nonsense out of his mind. He had to keep a rational clear head in life. That was the only way he had moved on from all the losses.

Many of his brothers had fallen but new alliances were formed. At the rank of Stalker Ultra, he commanded his own group of, what he considered, the best stealth Jiralhanae in the local Remnant military. He was completely satisfied with his previous placement, on this planet, but just not here in this insignificant village. Maybe the fact that it bordered a main road, leading into one of the most important cities on the planet, had something to do with his sub-pack's allocation. However he would still rather be guarding something of prestigious importance to the Remnants. Not a random village.

Despite this he carried on looking at the stars. He looked very closely. There were not any shapes or linking patterns this time, nor where there any visual signs of anything peculiar. He just felt a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach. The kind of feeling he got when a battle was about to start, when he loses a brother, when he saw the truth behind Operation: JUGGERNAUT or when he was close to death all those many unforgettable times. It made him shiver and cringe thinking about those things. However they had made him into the soldier he was today. Battle after battle, loss after loss, change after change.

He didn't know why. Or how. Or when. He just felt like something was going to change again soon.

Very soon indeed...


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The parksterLibra Team - Fermamentum Pondera
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS Australian Eastern Summer Time (GMT+11)
I would like to collaborate with some users in this RP however i'm keeping Novus alive. If you're interested in linking story lines then give us a heads up.


13

DATE: 12th April 2612; LOCATION: Camp Sparta, Arcturus; TIME: 0600

The Brute Chieftain's massive Gravity Hammer slammed down into the ground of the small purple hallway, sending two MJOLNIR-clad warriors flying backwards with the gravity burst, the floor badly dented in from the force of the blow. Yanking his hammer from its' embedded position in the floor, the Chieftain rushed towards the two Spartans and prepared to place the death blow when two sniper rounds impacted into the Chieftain's shield: stumbling back, the third Spartan fired third round that struck the shield and broke it, but the fourth missed as the Chieftain dodged. However, as he rose out of his dodge roll, the Chieftain suddenly felt a blade stab into his armpits and neck several times, and as he spun to strike this new Spartan, the soldier grabbed his head and spun it quickly to the side, and then repeated, managing to snap the Brute's notoriously thick neck. The Brute sunk to the ground, blood oozing from his neck and mouth.

Clayton-K197 walked over to the two that had been thrown by the hammer. “You two alright?”, he asked

“We're fine Clayton”, replied James-K012, “Thanks for the assist”

“Have Jared and Dillon checked in?”, asked Aubrey-K093, walking up to the others

“Nice shooting Aubrey”, said Nick-K189

“Not the time Nick”, said Aubrey, “So, have we heard from them?”

“They checked in not too long ago”, replied James, “Said they weren't encountering much resistance, but they're having trouble rendezvousing”

“Well, let's just get to the rendezvous point and cross our fingers”, said Clayton, “Best way out is to get done with this”

The four Spartans began moving out, and soon enough they began hearing a firefight: quickening their pace, they soon entered a large hangar bay, and looking out they saw a Spartan-IV assault team pinned down by heavy Brute resistance.

“Spartans never die!”, said Clayton as he dropped down from their third story position into the midst of the Brutes, killing two as he fell onto them in his multi-ton MJOLNIR.

“Nick, you're with me”, said James, “Aubrey, cover us”

Aubrey nodded, and began to pick off Brutes on the edges of the fight, careful to avoid Clayton and the Brutes immediately around him, for fear of striking Clayton. James and Nick quickly descended down to the second level, where Nick broke away and moved to take control of a turret currently under Brute control. Firing and dodging the returning fire, Nick managed to take out the two Brute guards and then jumped onto the turret, stabbing the Brute through its' jaw and into it's brains; commandeering the emplacement, Nick dispersed the Brute group with heavy fire, while James began attacking from the side with the aid of the Spartan assault team as well. Soon enough, the Brutes were all dead.

“Spartans, identify”, said James, “This is James-K012, Fireteam Knife 1-1”

“Naomi-K108, Recon Team Knife 3-1”, replied the team leader

“Naomi, have you seen Jared or Dillon?”, asked James

“Negative”, replied Naomi, “Look, we're running out of time: thanks for the assist but we're moving out. Good luck”

James glanced at the mission timer, and noted that they were almost out of time. “Roger that Naomi. Good luck”

Quickly now, James called his team together and they moved out, searching almost frantically for the weapons control center of the ship. Finally, they began to draw near and met up with Jared and Dillon, the duo facing a Brute squad.

“What took you so long?”, asked Jared

“Got lost”, replied Nick

“Shut up and shoot!”, yelled Aubrey

Within a half a minute, the Brutes were dealt with and the group moved into the room containing their objective, weapons control systems. However, even as they moved quickly to disable the systems, the door around the room began to open, and Remnant soldiers began pouring in: first came captured Unggoy, easily eliminated by the team, and then the more tricky Kig-yar pirates; next came several teams of Jiralhanae, and at last two pairs of Mgalekgolo walked in.

“Hunters!”, yelled Nick, dodging an Assault Cannon blast

Watching, James saw one of the Hunters move and smash one of the computers containing the control systems, and then saw it begin to move towards another. “They're not gonna let us get control of the ships' weapons, even if that means destroying them”, stated James, “Take 'em out!”

“Yeah, you do that”, yelled Clayton sarcastically as he punched a Brute in the face before turning to deal with yet another

Jared noted the near depleted timer and made a stupid decision, rushing forward to try and plant a grenade within the Mgalekgolo: dodging the Hunter's shield, he was quickly blindsided and thrown against the wall by the second Hunter's shield, who then proceeded to crush Jared's chest armor.

“Jared!”, yelled James, but just as he did the mission timer depleted and the simulation ended. Jared stood, coughing badly from the force of the hologram's blow; while not really dead, the hologram had still hit him with a devastating force, enough to knock the wind out of him.

“Knife Squadron, exit the simulator”, came a voice over the intercom, “Team leaders, speak with the CO immediately for critical analysis”

“S*** stupid holo-apes”, said Clayton as they walked out

“Better luck next time”, said Nick, trying to lighten his friend's mood

Clayton glared at him. “Not in real life”


Riker-012 watched as King Squadron passed through the rough simulation of the mission to come, Viggo-G132 and Elijah-G237 standing nearby as well.

“Status”, said Riker to Elijah

“They're lagging”, Elijah replied, “Engineering and Sniper teams 3-3 are a good five minutes behind mission schedule and APS is two minutes behind. Fireteam 3-1 is a minute ahead schedule however. The rest are roughly 15 to 30 seconds behind.”

“That's not good enough”, said Viggo, “They all need to be ahead of schedule; not on time, definitely not behind”

“The Admirality is too optimistic, as always. We can't get our Spartans to keep on schedule, Bravo Company's having internal fights, Joker's having leadership issues and that's just the start. We need more bloody time”

“We aren't going to get any”, replied Viggo, “We'll just have to do what we always do: survive. We're all Spartans, after all: us and them”

“Are they?”, queried Riker rhetorically. Turning, he walked out of the door and jumped into his own personal Warthog, heading for the officer's quarters of Camp Sparta's Kilo section: reaching it, he entered and looked at the group of gathered officers, noting that not all were present.

“Gentlemen and ladies, I'm instating 16 hours of training mandatory training a day: we're rolling out in a month whether we like it or not, and there's no way I'm sending out my soldiers just to get them killed. Understand?”

“Sir?”, came a voice

“Yes?”, asked Riker, spotting the questioner to be Kyle Jasper, Key Squadron's XO.

“Sir, they're already doing 13 hours of training a day. If we raise that to 16 they might break”

Riker stared directly at Kyle. “We chose these boys and girls to be Spartans. Either they survive, or they break. There's no middle ground. Any more questions?” No hands raised this time. “Good. If I'm needed, I will be in my quarters till 0830”

In his quarters, Riker looked at his few possessions, including his small collection of memories from his life: the casing of the casing of the first bullet he used to assassinate someone for ONI Section 0, the shards of the combat knife he'd used to kill War Chieftain Annanius, the V-Mail requesting his presence in the SPARTAN-IV Program, and others. But what drew his attention at the moment was a necklace, the pendant of which was a small emerald stone with the initials O.M.H. engraved upon it: picking it up, Riker examined the necklace, then carefully placed it back once again.

The necklace was perhaps his most important keepsake, reminding him of some of his most poignant memories: at one time, it had belonged to Riker's first love, a fellow ONI spook known as Codename: SHISA. Unfortunately, she was killed during the Battle of Chaos, and while Riker had come to peace with her death in time and was in love once again, the necklace always reminded him of how dear friends were worth more than many things, and how they could easily be lost.

Staring at the necklace, Riker hoped that this was the right choice. His Spartans had defeated Kig-Yar pirates, Brutes occupiers, and two Human rebel groups: however, this time it was different. They were going up against the main Remnant bastion, the capital itself: they were going to infiltrate the capital, defeat the rebels from the inside and then take on their forces alongside reinforcements. But could they do it? Were his Spartans really Spartans yet?

Riker decided not to think on it too deeply and moved to reviewing the battle statistics and plans. He didn't know how think would end up, but there was no need to over-analyze and worry. They were Spartans. What could go wrong?


“Ha!”, yelled Kevin Karaki, Op Chief of Knife Squadron

“You little -”, began Arelynn-G056, Gunnery Sergeant of Key Squadron Section 2, but she was cut off by Kevin

“I said 'ha!'”, he gloated, “Beat you again”

Arelynn slammed her fist down on the Majong board, scattering several pieces. “Stupid game”, she hissed

“Calm your a**es down, both of you”, said Brandon Smith, Knave Squadron's XO, “Don't make me pull rank over a stupid Indian game”

“It's Chinese, thank you”, said Kevin

“Whatever”, replied Brandon, before he went back to carving his wooden statue with his combat knife.

“Least I'm good at something”, came Kevin's retort, “You on the other hand just cut wood”

“What are you making anyways?”, asked Jacob Terra, King Squadron's XO

“None of your business”, said Brandon as he continued to carve, “It'll be a beautiful work of art once it's done”

Just then, Billy-G039, Kyle Jasper and Phillip Lenavitt, the command section of Key Squadron, walked in dejectedly: while Kyle and Phillip sat down silently and the latter began to absentmindedly clean his gun, Billy walked over to the nearest punching back and began to demolish it.

“That bad, huh?”, Kevin dared to ask

“Not one of the teams reached their objective”, stated Kyle, “The ASP team was taken out in the 70 seconds, and both assault teams were obliterated when they failed to work together to take out a Wraith tank, and after -”

“A Wraith?”, cut in Kevin

“They were in the vehicle depot. There wasn't much room for the Wraith to maneuver, but the Brute piloting it managed to take out multiple Spartans before the threat was neutralized, and then the explosion killed another Spartan. The remainder were picked off easily”

“Sucks to be you”, said Kevin, “Of course, Knife didn't fair much better: two teams dead, one objective completed, the others timed out. Chief call out your team leaders too?”

“Yep”, said Phillip, “And they haven't got out yet either. If it were Ajax in there, I'd be afraid he was torturing them”
“How long has he had them for?”, asked Jacob

“An hour”, said Billy, walking away from the beaten husk that remained of the punching bag. Walking briskly over to his weapon locker, Billy pulled out sniper rifle and moved to the door.

“Where are you off too in such a hurry?”, asked Kyle

“Shooting range”, Billy replied curtly, walking out. Slowly, Kyle got up and followed, heading to the shooting range where Billy sat with his sniper rifle, taking out the targets in rapid succession and deadly efficiency. Billy turned his head ever so slightly so as to see that Kyle was beside him, then turned back and continued: when he stopped briefly to reload, Kyle asked, “Which part of it bugs you more? That they didn't coordinate or that none of them made it even when they coordinated?”

“What bugs me”, said Billy as he continued firing, “Is that HIGHCOM thinks we can just throw them out there and expect things to work themselves out. During WARDOG, we had several weeks to combat the Brutes, and they were badly prepared: here, we're going into their strongest held defensive position with soldiers that can't work together, can't stay on schedule, and can't survive.” Billy paused and reloaded, then said, “I don't want HIGHCOM to treat these boys and girls like they treated me and my siblings.”

“You're afraid they think the Spartans are expendable?”, asked Kyle

“They made two and a half thousand of them”, replied Billy, staring Kyle in the eye now, “What do you take that to mean?”

“That you're an army”, Kyle stated, “Now get your men together and prove it”

With that, Kyle walked off, leaving Billy alone at the firing: turning and looking down the field once more, he fired, the bullet penetrating six targets before getting stuck in the hillside.


DATE: 12th April 2612; LOCATION: Port Midgard, Manheim; TIME: 1100

Samuel Albert Davis sat in the mess hall of the UNSC Guardian of the Universe, quietly drinking his coffee as he watched the most recent newscast by Sol: Nows reporter Anna McCorrick. Other members of the Universes crew walked about the mess hall, and Samuel payed little attention until one specifically walked over and sat down next to him.

“Any news on exactly where we're headed?”, asked the visitor

“What do you think, Jacob?”, Samuel replied, turning to face his comrade. “'Course I haven't heard anything. We're moving out to Arcturus in three weeks time and then moving out from there. Can't figure anything beyond that”

“Scuttlebutt says we're picking up NOVA's at Arcturus”, said Jacob

“I doubt it”, Samuel replied, “They wouldn't need an entire taskforce for some NOVA's. No, whatever it is we're picking up there is more important and more powerful.... and that scares me”

“Why?”, asked Jacob, “If it's better than NOVA's, it'll blow the Remnants outta the galaxy. What's better than that?”

“Sometimes, the most powerful thing can be the most dangerous”, said Samuel cryptically. Shaking his head, he said, “It doesn't matter. We aren't figuring anything out until then no how. How're the others handling the down time?”

“Fairly well”, replied Jacob, “Nick's trying to figure out how many he shot down at Syracuse so he can put the kill-marks on him and Marshall's Katana”

“That's normal”, laughed Samuel, “How's Akane holding up. She wasn't looking too good after the fight. Think she's got Pits?”

“PTSD? Nah. She's tougher'n that; she'll be fine”

There was silence a moment, then Jacob spoke again. “Samuel, does it ever strike you strange that our families have such bad luck?”

“What do you mean by that Jacob?”

“Both our parents died; your son and your daughter are dead; my brother and sister died. Just seems like fate's out to get us”

“Life's only what you make it”, replied Samuel, standing to leave. “I choose to make the best of it. You've got to make your own choice”

At that, Samuel patted Jacob on the shoulder and then walked off to check on the rest of his squad. Jacob continued to sit there, watching Sol: Now momentarily before changing the monitor from television to internet functions: clicking to view the much more interesting site known as UberN00b – Things the UNSC Doesn't Want You to Know, Jacob searching for “12th Naval Squadron

--<<Feel Deeds Awake: Now For Wrath, Now For Ruin, And A Red Dawn>>
21:43, April 28, 2010 (UTC)

14

“Cornhusker, this is Checkmate Actual. Tally three Bravo Kilos, two hundred meters, on my one, over.”

“Roger, Checkmate Actual. Cleared to engage subsonic. How copy?”

“Checkmate cleared to engage subsonic. Checkmate 1 is engaging.” A quick flurry of suppressed gunshots rattled the quiet air. “Tangos down, Checkmate holding overwatch, over.”

“Roger, Cornhusker out”


“I don’t like this.”

“Nigel, just follow me. Ok?”

Nigel nodded slowly.

The two figures inched forward slowly, each step cautious, probing. Then, the fist in the air. Halt.

The lead figure crouched slightly. Underneath the faceless titanium helmet, Nigel could imagine Armand grinning to himself. For reasons incomprehensible to Nigel, Armand liked this sort of thing.

Then he felt a quick touch on his leg. Two taps.

He reached forwards and replied. Two taps.

He saw Armand nod. He saw him shift his grip on the rifle. He saw him coil. Then, in a blur of motion, the Spartan charged around the corner. For a moment Nigel only felt fear. And then, some unseen forced propelled him into the unknown.

He found a plaza full of Brutes.

By now, Armand’s rifle was flashing. Shot after shot, burst after burst. For a brief second, the two Spartans had the advantage. They were trained, motivated, the very best. They had the advantage of surprise, and they took it.

For a brief moment, the Brutes were stunned, broken, flat-footed. Two went down, dead and others scattered, milling in confusion as FMJs tore into their scattered ranks.But then the tide shifted. The moment of confusion passed and the Brutes began to return fire. At first it was sporadic, quick, unaimed bursts from Brutes dashing for cover; but then the fire intensified.

Within seconds Armand was down, his arms and legs flailing in a tangle of webbing and armor. Nigel grabbed him behind the neck and began to pull. He felt a sting in his leg. He kept going. Somehow he managed to get the other Spartan behind the corner.

“Corpsman!”


“Hank, move your section to the left, hunker down, cover Laura’s team. Laura, take your assault section, move forwards once Hank has his men in position. Ok?

The two Spartans nodded, then moved off to join their teams. Wlad stayed put, crouching behind the low berm with Gunny Grier.

Moments later, he heard the soft rattle of gear to his left as Conic 1 moved out. Then silence. No birdsong, no far-off conversations, nothing but the wind blowing in the trees.

“Conic Actual, Conic 1 in position.” Hank’s fireteam was ready. With Checkmate blocking on the right and Conic 1 on the left, the trap was ready.

“Roger. Conic 2. Move up.” Time to spring the trap.

Then he heard it. The far-off shout of an angry Brute. They’d been spotted.

“Taking fire! Taking fire!” Somewhere off to the left Wald heard a young Spartan's shout become a panicked shriek. Spikes cracked overhead in golden streaks answered by the thump of the Spartans' automatic weapons.

Now to his right he heard the distant rattle of rifles. Now Checkmate was engaged.

The comms were flooded with chatter, static mixing with screams.

“Conic 2-2 down!....”

“Corpsman! Fuck, I need a Corpsman…”

“Here they come!...”

"...Suppressive fire! Dammit, suppressive fire!...."

"Taking fire!....""

"I'm hit! I'm hit!"

"...Falling back!"


“Gawd dammit, Marine! How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t stick your ass around a corner unless you know it’s clear. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Gunnery Sergeant!”

“I can’t fuckin’ hear you, gyrene!”

“Yes, Gunnery Sergeant!”

“That was a shitty performance on your part today. Y’all are just a bunch of goddamn coneheads. I will not tolerate that kinda shit in my section. We took fifty percent casualties out there. That means half of you fuckers got yourselves killed. You were sloppy, you were unprofessional, and that is fucking unacceptable! Do you hear me?”

The gunny stamped out the last words like each syllable was one was made of cold steel. Within minutes of leaving the sim area, a furious Gunny Grier ordered Conic into the leaning rest. They'd been there for the better part of the hour, and any Spartan unlucky enough to falter or fall had felt the wrath of the Gunny.

“You are gonna getcher balls cut off out there, if you keep fucking up like this! I expect more outta you. You are gonna get fucking killed, and that is not acceptable in my section! So when we’re done doin’ our little meet-and-greet bull session with the squadron, I am gonna PT you until you fuckin’ drop. Got that?”


The clusters of armored figures began filling into the cheaply-furnished room. Most of the young faces were tired and haggard. The faces of many were covered with small cuts and lacerations, blood mixing with sweat. And expressions were universal: defeat, exhaustion, disappointment.

“Officer on deck!” The weary Spartans scrambled to their feet as Captain Marcus Conrad, UNSCMC strode into the room.

“At ease.”

Conrad was not a tall man, but he had a presence which more than compensated for his lack of stature. Unlike many officers, he was not a distant man. He himself was a “mustang,” a former enlisted man who’d gone on to earn his bars as an officer. As prior enlisted, he shared a common, unspoken bond with the forty young enlisted men and women in the room and it was in moments like these that this common heritage was most evident.

“Ok, Bear, debrief time….I’m not gonna sugar-coat this one: we sucked out there today. We took heavy losses, a couple of our guys walked right an ambush, and our assault teams got thumped pretty hard.”

“Our comms were pretty shitty. Especially you, Conic. When you started taking fire, you spazed out, you flooded the radios, and that’s part of why you got hit so hard. There was so much shit hitting the air, the corpsmen didn’t know where to go or who was hit, the team leaders lost contact with their guys, you lost cohesion, you broke up, and you got slaughtered. We can’t do that kinda stuff. You have got to keep your comms discipline.”

“Secondly, we have gotta get co-ordinated. Checkmate was doin’ their job fine, until Conic got hit; and by then they were too far to the right to support them. That let the Bravo Kilos eat up Conic. Section leaders, be aware of what you’re doin’. If you lose touch with command element, you guys have gotta communicate directly with each other. Okay?”

“That’s all, then.”

FightWithHonor Contact me

15

15th of April, 2612, Port Midgard, Manheim, Omicron Orionis system, 1600 local time

The 112th came in low over the horizon, engines flaring as they accelerated out of the thin mountain range that bordered their target. In the distance, a looming Covenant city was visible, sparkling in the pale blue sunshine of the alien star high above. Their mission objective was to provide air support for ground troops landing in the city, and they were armed for it with less than 15 kilometers left to go. So far, it was a cakewalk.

In the cockpit of her F-406 Katana, Captain Maria Williams watched the city grow rapidly in her viewport. They were now less than ten kilometers away, and she could just barely pick out the fire trails of landing HEVs. The city was being assaulted by a full division of ODST shock troopers, who would be relying on the 112th for air strikes. The 112th normally operated as an interceptor squadron, but their days working as mercenaries had left them well versed in a variety of roles, including ground support.

“Check boards and tighten formation. Watch for AA.” said Maria as they closed on the city. It was an odd combination of low level buildings and towering, shapely skyscrapers that were reminiscent of their bulbous starship hulls. There was ample room for anti-aircraft units to hide. “We’ve got to stay on station for the groundpounders, but otherwise I don’t want anyone getting too close to that city.”

The 112th banked to the right, decelerating and turning wide around the city. They would orbit the city until the ODSTs marked a target for them, circling out of range of any Remnant ground units.

Suddenly, the voice of Mathew David, Demon 9, erupted into Maria’s headset. “Shit! Incoming Seraphs, nine o’clock high!”

Maria shifted in her seat and craned her neck to look back. Behind them, five full squadrons of Seraph fighters burst through the cloud cover, plasma cannons firing. Their engines burned wide holes in the soft white clouds as they dove, screaming past the almost motionless 112th. Plasma fire bracketed the squadron and three loud thumps resounded through Maria’s fighter.

“Where the hell did these guys come from!” yelled Demon 4

Maria had no time to answer. The Seraphs looped up sharply from their dive, reversing direction and heading straight for the squadron. Maria reacted without thinking; a lifetime of fighting in the cockpit took control. She yanked the stick hard to the right, rolling into a dive, and keyed her TITAN lasers. Twin red streaks flashed across the sky, cutting through the closest enemy fighters. More plasma fire filled the air, as the Seraphs continued their attack. Maria swore, arming her other pair of TITAN lasers and firing them into the nearest enemy fighters. Two more gutted hulks fell from the sky, cut nearly in half.

The Seraphs flashed past, giving Maria a brief second to check on her squadron. It didn’t look good. Over half of the squadron’s fighters were damaged in some way, and only a single fighter still had intact shields. Maria checked her boards and saw the Seraphs were looping around for another pass. They’d taken heavy casualties on their first pass, but they had overwhelming numbers and clearly realized how much damage they’d done to the human fighters. They were coming in for the kill now.

Maria had only seconds to give her squadron orders, and realized with a start that she had no idea what to do. The 112th had been armed for ground support, and had no air to air missiles equipped. They’re only defense against the Seraphs were their TITAN lasers, and good as the weapons were, they weren’t going to be enough. Not against four squadrons of Seraphs. Their chances in a dogfight were abysmal.

But running was not an option. There were thousands of ODSTs in the city by now. If the 112th retreated, the entire offensive would be at the mercy of the enemy squadrons. They could strafe the ground troops, prevent extraction, hover as close air support--or if they wanted, incinerate the whole city with plasma charges. The 112th was the only defense against them.

“Demons, bank right and scrub the formation. Break into flight pairs and go for individual dogfights. Keep moving and tie them up. Go.”

A chorus of acknowledgements filled her comm and the 112th broke into pairs, each accelerating individually towards the onrushing mass of Seraphs, who turned to face the human fighters once again. Maria and her wingman came straight in, while the other five pairs approached from other angles. Their approach would prevent the Seraphs from massing their fire and allow them room to maneuver, hopefully enough to get them close to the swarm. Once they were in deep, they could use the enemies numbers against them and cut off their angles of attack. It was their best chance.

The seraphs opened up with their plasma cannons, and blue-white streaks of fire flashed past Maria’s cockpit window. She rolled up, then to port, dodging a pair of shots, then retaliated with her TITAN lasers. Three of her shots connected, bringing down enemy fighters, but a fourth passed harmlessly past it’s intended target. Because the weapon was hit scan, it meant her aim was off. That alone shocked her. Her aim was never off.

Moments later, the two sides met and merged into a single group, combining into a single vicious fray. Maria tore back on the stick and threw her fighter into a dizzying climb, intending to loop around and drop it for a shot. As she climbed, however, three Seraphs broke off from the chaos below and accelerated, slipping in behind her. She dove, rolled, and pivoted, but the three of them refused to break off. She couldn’t shake them. She swore, reversed her engines, and rolled to the side, pivoting 240 degrees. She smiled. In all her time as a pilot, she’d never seen a Brute fighter stick with her after something like that. They’d be gone.

Just as she turned to come about for a pass on the enemies below, however, light and heat flashed over her. She swore and looked behind her, only to see all three Seraphs hot on her tail, plasma cannons firing. Superheated energy bolts slammed into her rear armor through her already weakened shields, boiling it away. She grunted, trying to control her wildly shaking stick as her fighter dropped altitude and pulled into a dive. Swearing, she glanced behind her at her squadron, and realized that over half of them were gone. Just as the realization dawned on her, a final plasma bolt leapt from the cannon of the lead Seraph and slammed into her cockpit. For a brief moment, there was a blinding light…then it slowly faded to black.

The simulator pulled back, revealing the sleek grey walls of the simulation room. Maria coughed and pulled herself out of the mock Katana cockpit, stretching her legs and glancing about the room. Four 112th members were already out of their sims, sitting on the couches adorning the room or, in the case of Tanner Grace and Jacki Stort, conversing near the mission summary board. Maria stepped out of the simulator, strolled over to the board, and found her name on it.

Cpt. Maria Jordan Williams.

Vehicle: F-406 Katana.

Kills: 7 F-99C Seraph Fighters

Mission Ongoing, Squadron Casualties: Five.

Replay battle? [Yes] [No]

As she watched, she noticed the casualty report grow to eight, then to nine, then to ten. She glanced about the room as the sims opened, checking who was still in the mission. Finally, the mission summary updated with it’s ending report.

Mission Complete, Squadron Casualties: Eleven.

Maria checked her board, and found the lone survivor to be Robin Lennings, Demon 11. The second to last was Jermiah Swin, Demon 8. She waited for everyone to gather around the couches in the lounge, then approached it herself.

“So what the hell happened there?” asked Adrian Juno “We just got our asses kicked.”

“Damn straight.” muttered Matt Davids “They were everywhere. I got four kills. How did we even manage to pull that one out? When I got hit, there was 20 of them and four of us. ”

Maria turned to Swin and Lennings, who both looked disappointed but, oddly enough, also appeared to be on the verge of laughing. “This’d better be good.” muttered Maria

Jermiah finally laughed, a wide smile crossing his creased face. “Well, there was a good fifteen of them on my six and one baddie on Robin, so I killed my thrust, let them ram me, and deployed my beacon right on my own hull.” He paused, as if expecting a laugh, then looked disappointed when he received only a few confused looks. “I deployed an air strike beacon, guys. Had Robin drop a few ATGs on me and let the shrapnel do the rest. Good stuff, right?”

All Maria could do was shake her head at the sheer outlandishness of the maneuver, though Jermiah did manage a few shaky smiles from some of the others. That sim had gone absolutely terrible. The 112th hadn’t flow a mission that bad in a sim in years, and never in an actual Op. It was unsettling.

“Well, as much as I know you’d all like to hear Jerry tell us about having his Katana bombed out of the sky, we’ve got work to do, demons.” said Maria “Get in your sims and run it again.”


16th of April, 2612. Simulation ground 12, Camp Sparta, Arcturus, Arcturus System, 1500 Local Time

The assault course sim was being run in numerical order, with Albion Company running it first and Omega going last, so that meant Lambda was, predictably, close to the end. By the time they were scheduled to run the simulation, word had filtered out about it’s difficulty, and the notorious tensions it had already caused in Bravo. So, when it was finally Lambdas turn to run it, he was all the more interested in how it would turn out.

Standing on the edge of the observation dais next to his CO, SPARTAN-144, Connor-338 watched intently as the SPARTAN-IVs of Lambda prepared to run the by-now infamous sim. It was changed in different ways for every team, of course, to ensure a reliable and fair testing, but the overall difficulty was kept as close as possible to the same. No one seriously thought any of the SPARTAN-IVs or their officers would cheat, but no one was going to take any chances with it either. Regs were regs, and regs had to be followed.

The mission began with a simple countdown timer, announced on the HUD of the soldiers running the holographic simulation. As soon as it began, the Lambda Company SPARTANs were in motion, advancing quickly through the halls at double quick pace…without any sound. Other SPARTAN-IV companies specialized in stealth, and some were even better at Lambda in certain areas, but Connor couldn’t help being proud. The Lambda kids had taken to SPARTAN training like ducks in the water. It came as naturally to them as any soldier Connor had ever seen.

They advanced quietly through the hallways, quickly and silently eliminating any Brute guards in their path. Connor couldn’t help but admire their precision and the how easily they settled into the role of assassins and saboteurs. Even after running around in SPI armor for half his life, where stealth meant the difference between life and death, and spending a few years contract killing select HVTs for Section 0, he still wasn’t as much at ease with it at they were.

The missions were all tailored slightly for the specialties of each company, so that meant Lambda’s objective was, naturally, to take out a hostile commander and exfil without anyone noticing. The companies emphasis on silently killing select targets wasn’t surprising, given the history of it’s top commanders, though Connor knew that the NCOs, the small SPARTAN-III team especially, we’re occasionally uncomfortable with the role. That’d didn’t stop them from going at it wholeheartedly however, and that translated into what was as near to perfection from a select target elimination point of view as Connor could tell.

And in the training sim, it shone through brilliantly. Connor leaned down against the glass wall of the observation booth with interest, watching them perform the sim. They had a timer, of course, but he could hardly tell it from the way they performed. Their role often required a certain amount of speed combined with absolute stealth, so it was no surprise they kept tightly disciplined under pressure. Still, he did see occasional moments of awkwardness as they moved through the mission as a team. They didn’t allow it to slow them down much, and they made up for it in other sections, but he saw how they paused occasionally, working out who should go first, who should perform the kill shot, who should knife the bravo kilo first. They were good in a lot of ways, but they were not a good in a team setting. Someone had once remarked that the original class I SPARTAN-IIs acted damn near telepathic as a team, and Lambda certainly did not. They were still one of the best groups in the UNSC--but in the hyper competitive SPARTAN-IV ranks, they were a bit slower than the rest.

But as they reached the point where they would split into individuals, they finally hit their stride. The hesitation, however minute, was gone. They were in their element, their comfort zone, the place where they became a sight to behold. They didn’t just continue as they’d done without mistakes, they improved. They got quicker. They became more precise. And they maintained their stealth without a single problem. Because a longer section of the simulation was devoted to the individual segments, something that minutely favored Lambda, they cleared it in 7 seconds under the time limit. The final breaches and takedowns of the targets were picture perfect, and they were all done solo. 44 HVTs were eliminated, while the rest of the company simply had to exfil. The holograms faded away and the SPARTANs were left alone in the massive simulation room, with a clear view of Connor and Leonid observing them. Connor had left the box windows untinted deliberately. He wanted the SPARTANs to know he was watching them, both to judge and support them.

Lambda Company filtered slowly out of the room to be debriefed, and Connor turned to Leonid. Him and Old Egor, as he was called, had had a bit of a rocky relationship at first, though truth be told, Leonid seemed to have a rocky relationship with just about everyone except his weapons. They’d eventually figured out how to put the things they had in common ahead of the things they didn’t, and become, not friends, but a good team at least. Connor valued Leonid’s skills and years of expertise, even if he wondered about his mental state sometimes, and Leonid seemed to value his superior people skills. Connor had been apprehensive taking a leadership role in the 117th initially, given his long line of problems stemming from getting to deeply invested in his soldiers, but having an anti-social psychopath for a CO had calmed him a bit of that fear.

“They did pretty good.” said Connor, tabbing through the statistics of the mission while video of it played in the background. “No screw-ups. Cleared it well under the time limit. Still have some issues with teamwork, but we’re still working on that. Clean knife kills and some very good shooting, particularly by Ghost.”

“It tested them on what they’re good at.” said Leonid “No surprise.”

Connor frowned. “A full on combat sim would be good, but I’m not sure we have the time. Omegas been waiting for days to have a go round, and Jared might put Indigo through it again.”

“Holo-sim them against each other. Or another company. Just get them some field time.”

Connor sighed and picked his helmet up from the table, before reaching into one of his armor’s pockets for his flask of vintage Gilgamesh whiskey. He didn’t drink any, just turned the small titanium holder over in his palm, feeling the engraved 441st Combat Company patch. It brought back good memories.

“Yes sir.” he said, walking out the door “I’ll have a simulation set up in three hours.”


16th of April, 2612. Private ODST Lounge, Aboard , High Orbit Over Point Midgard, Manheim, Omicron Orionis system, 2100 local time

Sergeant Katerina “Kitty” Nevsky knew she wasn’t the galaxies best poker player, but she hadn’t realized how bad an idea it was to play it with the other members of the before it was far to late. She looked down at her dwindling pile of chips, and checked her hand again. Shit.

“I got nothing.” she said, “I fold.”

“Again?” jeered her subordinate squad leader, Staff Sergeant Edik "Arsenic" Abelev “You ain’t too good at this, are you gunny?”

“She just hasn’t had years of th Shock Troops training yet.” mocked Corporal Benjamin "BJ" Novak “Too many years with those stuffy old 15th boys.”

“Keep it up,” replied Katerina, voice mock icy “and you’ll be doing PT till you feet bleed.”

“Come on gunny, you know we kid.” said BJ “Oh, and by the way Edik, four of a kind. Suck it.”

Edik swore, putting his cards down to show he had only a pair of twos. Kitty died a little on the inside. Her hand had been even worse than that miserable one. BJ laughed and grabbed the pot, by now a substantial sum of money. Kitty and Edik watched glumly as he counted out what had been their combat bonuses a few moments ago. So much for buying that new Eastwood Studios movie, Katerina though wryly.

Katerina glanced at her few remaining chips, the last of her money, and decided it wasn’t worth it to keep playing. Grabbing her chips up from the table, she took a swig from her iced beer and flipped BJ a 200 cR chip, which he caught deftly with his off hand even as he drained his glass of whiskey. “I’m out.” she said, stretching her legs “Beat the pipsqueak up, will you Edik?”

The Staff Sergeant merely grunted, focused on the game and winning back his bonus. Katerina smiled and stood up, glancing about the room for something to do. In the corner, some of the members of Team Three were playing an intense game of darts, while the rest of the company was scattered about the room, conversing, betting, or in the case of two clearly intoxicated young troopers, playing a seriously over-intense game of go fish. Katerina shook her head as one of them broke into a rant of curses and expletives when he lost, and drained the last of her beer.

Downtime for a elite combat unit like the came few and far between, so whenever they got R&R, they had a natural tendency to go a little overboard. Command let this slide, given effectiveness of the unit, just like it let go their control of the former all personnel lounge. The brass was smart enough to know which battles were worth fighting.

Kitty ambled over towards the makeshift bar Team Two had set up, vaguely aware that she’d likely already had a little to much to drink. She’d always held her liquor well, and the beer wasn’t all that potent, but Yahtzee had conned her and a few others into a drinking contest a few hours earlier, which she soundly won by putting twenty three shots down. Still, the beer tasted good and she hadn’t had downtime like this in months, so she figured it couldn’t hurt to unwind. Dropping a five cR chip to the makeshift bartender, PFC Russell "Hammer" Hamner, Katerina grabbed another cold one from the cooler and sat down at one of the barstools, an old Warthog seat that some clever bastard had grabbed off one of the LRVs while it was down for repairs.

She admired the array of war trophies mounted on the wall, from the hammer and helmet of a Brute chieftain to the red flag of a former Insurrectionist group, before swinging around in her chair to take note of what the other NCOs were doing. was, predictably, standing next to Lieutenant Wolf, and Mac was berating a pair of troopers who’d had the misfortune of planting a dart in his shoulder blade. The music in the background was a little to soft for her tastes, but she was just an uncultured farm girl, as she liked to put it.

Despite the pleasant atmosphere of the night, however, something still seemed off to Katerina. Maybe it was just the break from combat being to sudden and disarming, but something in her gut made her wonder if the sudden bout of R&R was a rest for something bigger to come. She hadn’t heard anything definite, but she’d overhead some people talking about a possible big push coming soon. She couldn’t help but wonder if command was giving them one last respite before sending them back into the thick of things.

She glanced over at and, who were now conversing with Captain with worried looks on their faces. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but their expressions, tense but clearly trying to cover it, told her everything she needed to know. Glancing down at her half filled beer, she handed it off to a stray marine, one of the few who’d been let in, and told him to keep it. Whether she liked it or not, she was back in combat mode. They were still technically on break, but in Katerina’s mind at least, preparation for the battle to come, whatever it was, had already begun.


19th of April, 2612. Aboard UNSC New York, Commanding Vessel of Taskforce Arrow, Contested Inter-system space, Remnant KY-92 System, 0100 local time

On the bridge of the UNSC New York, Zeus-class Super carrier and flagship of Taskforce Arrow, a broad smile lit up the face of Admiral James McHenry as the Remnant cruiser in the forward viewport exploded. The massive Mark VIII 'Tornado' Heavy MAC gun on the fore of the carrier belched fire, and a white hot slug flashed forward, slamming into the cruisers sister ship and gutting it stem to stern. The Remnant forces, a frigate and cruiser pair, had reacted quickly when Taskforce Arrow had slipped in system, but not quickly enough. The flotilla of warships had rolled over them in seconds, leaving the four smoking hulks to drift dead in space, annihilated beyond repair.

The Taskforce had been ordered to the system to assault a Remnant shipyard, though everyone in the fleet knew it was more about harassing the enemy and keeping the crew sharp than doing any real damage. The shipyards here were under equipped and poorly supplied, thanks to a series of blockades imposed by UNSC forces. It was an isolated target that would be easy pickings, and hardly worth sending thirteen vessels in to destroy. Just one more example of how the military bureaucracy functioned on a day to day basis.

The fleet accelerated in system, engines at 70% power. There was no need to rush it. The shipyard wasn’t going anywhere and the planet had no defenses to speak of. The small Remnant defense force hadn’t even gotten off a shot. It was a cakewalk. Hardly worth the fuel it took them to get in system, or the explosives they would plant to blow the shipyards.

Through the viewport, McHenry spotted the engine flares of ten Pelican dropships exiting the hangar of the New York and cruising toward the shipyard. They were loaded full of ordnance techs decked out in EVA gear, who would plant charges on the shipyard then return to the ship and detonate them. McHenry found himself actually bored, a bad thing for an officer whose job it was to stay alert and watch for threats to his taskforce.

The Pelicans began their final approach, then decelerated rapidly and spun 180 degrees on their axis to face their troop bays towards the shipyard. Admiral McHenry enlarged the image, and watched as individual EVA troops jetted out of the cargo bay and crossed the 200 meters of open space to the shipyard. A small force of Covenant EVA troops emerged, but precision fire from the Catherine Halsey eliminated them almost immediately. The EVA teams finished their task within ten minutes and returned to their dropships, which turned and headed back to the New York. They docked only a few minutes later, and half and hour after they’d eliminated the enemy planetary guard, the force headed out on an out system vector.

Behind them, the charges detonated, turning the shipyard into nothing more than a floating field of scrap metal, and the Taskforce began warming up their slipspace drives. They could have easily besieged and taken the planet, but their orders said only to destroy the shipyard and then proceed onto their next target. They’d been on continuous duty for almost three weeks now, assaulting, overwhelming, and destroying low-priority Remnant targets before proceeding to the next one. In all that time, they’d encountered only a dozen enemy craft, with several of the targets being abandoned and undefended. They still had fifteen or so odd targets left to go, and Admiral McHenry was about to order the jump to the next target when a message came in.

Puzzled, he opened it. To his surprise, it was a high priority message sent straight from a HIGHCOM office at Point Midgard on Manheim. It ordered immediate him to immediately return his taskforce to Manheim and await orders, but for what it didn’t say. McHenry had effectively ended any hope of rising beyond his current position when he berated some high level brass over it’s combat doctrine two years ago, but even so, he was usually kept well informed. He scrolled down to the recipients section, and found that hundreds of ships had received the message. Dozens of taskforces, combat groups, and fleets. Something big was about to happen, and judging by the size of the force being assembled, it would not be easy. Opening up a fleet wide channel, he broadcast the new development to the other ships in the Taskforce, and they jumped into slipspace moments later.

//Your screams blacken my soul// //I am shadow, I am death// //I am alone in the dark, but not afraid//

16

April 15 2612 Sigma Octanus For the last 3 weeks the UNSC 14th Nomad Fleet have been busy preparing themself for a top secret operation called Operation:HELLFIRE. Of course nobody knew what would be this mission only Fleet Admiral Jordan Davis relly knew what it would lead to: the end of the Covenant Empire. Everyone were busy Large part of the garison were on the ground and space squadron surch as the 77th Naval Squadron were also preparing for this unknow mission using drone has target for the trainning.CF001 20:00, April 28, 2010 (UTC)

17

Explosions rocked the battlefield as Seraphs and assorted UNSC fighters clashed in their air, their charred hulks raining to the blackened soil below. At the same moment a nearby bunker attempted to wait out the storm. After a few minutes the explosions had ceased. The door slowly opened, revealing a Jackal scanning the terrain. The dogfight was over, at least two dozen Seraphs had been annihilated; but it was a victory nonetheless, the human bombers littering the landscape.

It clicked something in its alien language, and then flung open the doors. Its lance of marksmen slowly filed out of the bunker, forming a semi-circle, scouting the area for anything resembling a target. A few moments later a few Brutes moved out as well, going beyond the perimeter formed by the bird-like creatures, shifting through the wreckage for survivors. After a few tense minutes, they concluded there were none.

"Alert the Chieftain," shouted one of the Brutes, to the Jackals. "that the battle in the air has been won! We are free to move out."

One of the Jackals shouted back, and ran inside. The pack gathered together, discussing their opinions on the battle. They talked so loudly they had yet to notice the dots in the sky moving ever closer. However, one of the Jackals noticed, and chirped an order to its allies. They backed away from their positions, leaving the Brutes to their fate.

In a few moments 3 dozen black pods had crashed into the ground, crushing the Brutes beneath them. The Jackals recognized their foe, and attempted to set up fixed shields around the bunker; they were too late. Almost simultaneously, the doors to the pods were kicked open, multitudes of black-clad troopers filing out. This was Blackheart Platoon, and they were prepared for war. Near the center of the group came a particular trooper. His face was covered in scars, his hair crudely shaven off, leaving a colorless stubble. The shadow on his face matched it. His eyes were cold and uncaring, not bothering to blink as a rifle shot flew within an inch of his face. He ducked as his men ran past him, returning fire on the outmatched birds. He reached into an ammo pouch, and opened it up, pulling out a piece of his secret stash. A Sweet William cigar. After removing his visor, he jammed it in and took a lighter from the pouch as well. As he flicked it on, a grenade stuck to a nearby soldier's pack. He threw down the lighter, leaping forward and tearing off the primed pack, throwing it behind him. It detonated a moment after, bathing the pair in blue light. As the light dissipated, he turned toward the soldier and began to shout, his face obscured by the cigar smoke.

"Watch what you're doing out here, Duff!" He barked. "Your biofoam was in that pack. Anyone here gets shot now, they are fucked! Do you hear me, Medical Officer Duff?"

The man called Duff wilted before his superior. "Yes sir, Lieutenant! It will not happen again, sir!"

"You're damn right it won't happen again!" He screamed back. "You don't have any supplies left to lose! Now pick up your shotgun and get back in the fray!" The soldier saluted, picked up his rifle, and charged.

The man with the cigar was First Lieutenant Jeremy Patterson, at the end of a very long war.


XO Jose Marez laid down suppressing fire, knocking an unsuspecting Jackal off of its feet. As its partner turned to look at it, a pistol round knocked its brains onto the bunker behind it.

Marez waved his hand, ordering his troops forward. With only half a dozen Jackals left, Blackheart was in high spirits, and bullrushed them before they had a second to process the action. Seeing the massive troops sprinting forward, the remaining Covenant routed into the bunker, slamming the door behind them.

Sergeant Marez watched this with a grin on his face. This was a victory no matter how you looked at it. He called over the platoon's tech specialist, Lambardo.

"Lambardo, patch us in to Command. Let 'em know we've routed the Covenant at the bunker. We'll be moving in to flush them out."

"That's a negative, Marez." Jeremy grunted, moving over towards the pair. "This simulation's done for the day. The men did well, at least excluding the rookie."

"Give Duff a break, Lieutenant." Lambardo pleaded. "The kid's terrified of you. We tell him this is the most fun platoon in the regiment, and then he gets nightmares about what kind of hellhole the other platoons are. We don't wanna be liars, sir."

Jeremy gave a wide grin. Somewhere beneath that shell the same man remained. "And that's exactly why we're done early, Lambardo. Rumor has it that one Lieutenant Wolf got her hands on some wine. I say it's time Blackheart crashed the party; am I right boys?"

The crowd that had gathered around him cheered, throwing primed grenades into the air.

Patterson saluted his men. "See you at the party, boys!"

The grenades detonated, killing the entire platoon in a torrent of shrapnel and lead.

Sergeant Jose Marez.

Armament: Squad Leader.

Kills: 4 Kig'Yar marksmen

Mission Objectives Completed: 1.

Unit Casulaties: 36

Replay battle? [Yes] [No]

MasterGreen999 20:18, April 28, 2010 (UTC)

18

17th of April 2612, Manheim: Training exercise

Chinnault watched as the real world vanished, replaced by sheer inky blackness. Soon the virtual world faded into view. Chinnault and his squad stood in the loading bay of a Pelican, watching as the land below swept by.

"Alright people. here's the drill," the company commander, lieutenant Rachel Peters, shouted over the COM. "We're providing a diversion for a NAVSPECWAR task force moving to destroy a Remnant fuel plant. While we provide a frontal assault, elements from the task force will infiltrate the base and place charges to detonate once we've both exfiltrated. This op should take no more than thirty minutes."

"Echo Three here, any intel on enemy force composition?" asked a soldier Chinnault couldn't identify.

"Negative Echo Three, we are going in blind on this one," replied the lieutenant.

"Figures," muttered Raf. "HIGHCOM isn't letting us off easy on this one."

"Sow the chatter, people, and lock'n'load. We hit the dirt in two," shouted Peters. The company stopped talking, everyone intent on their equipment. Chinnault pulled his combat knife from its sheath and tested the edge on his thumb. It was perfectly sharp. Of course it is," Chinnault thought, remembering this was a virtual reality. Everything was perfect.

The Pelicans settled down, raising a cloud of dust thick enough to force Chinnault to don a pair of goggles. "Alright people, go go go!" screamed Peters. The company disembarked. Chris, Kali and Raf and gathered together the junior members of their squad and awaited orders, which Peters happily dispensed.. "Bravo, take your wing around to the east! Alpha and Charlie, center with me! Delta, west. Move out!" The preassigned fireteams, including Chinnault's Delta, moved out to their areas. The Remnant might not yet know it, but they were in for a kicking.

The Pelicans had dropped the company a klick away from the site. Chinnault and the rest of Delta began their run to the site. Watching their vital signs in his command HUD display, Chinnault noticed that one of the Marines was having difficulty breathing. These sims were designed not only to test the Marines on combat situations, but also simulated problems such as health issues with the soldiers. Right now the unlucky soldier, randomly picked for this by the computer, likely "felt" the effects of his "infirmity."

Chinnault switch to the command COM frequency and told Raf, "Keep them on course. I'll just be a minute." Raf nodded. Chinnault switched back to TEAMCOM and shouted, "Alright people, Ortiz is now in charge. Paccheo, hold up." The private stepped out of the formation, which continued on around him and Chinnault.

Chinnault walked over to the young man. "Sorry son, you've drawn the short end of the stick. Looks like you're our sick man today." The soldier, red in the face, nodded. "Just fall on back to the Pelicans and report in for casevac." Chinnault patted him on the back, then turned and kept running.

What was the point of that? Chinnault thought. This is gonna be a milk run, especially with what they've been throwing at us the past few days. Shaking his head at HIGHCOM's arbitrariness, he ran on.

OOC: If anyone else currently on Manheim is interested in merging storylines, let me know.

I am a monument to all of your... Darkness Conflicts Stories Heroes

19

David Kilgore's platoon of Brown Bear Anti-Heavy Walker Vehicles, as well as two platoons of Scorpion tanks, a platoon of Tiger Heavy Battle Tanks, and a platoon of Komodo Anti-Vehicle Platforms rolled towards a Covenant armored unit consisting of seven Scarabs and about fifty Wraiths, supported by about 100 Brutes

"Everyone, stay together, we need to keep the Scarabs off those tanks, and we're dead meat if they can't keep the Wraiths off us.", David said through his radio.

"Scarabs incoming!", the voice of the Tiger platoon leader, a Swede named Mattias Eriksson said through the radio.

"All units in my platoon", lock onto your targets and open fire!"

David Kilgore pointed the turret of the Brown Bear at the lead and the second Scarab, using only his neural interface. Controlling a tank turret with one's mind took some getting used to, but Kilgore had been doing it for years, it was now second nature to him.

Kilgore fired two MGM-1 anti-walker missile at the Scarabs, one missile per walker was all he would need.

The missiles shot from the launch tubes of his AHWV and flew into the air before diving down onto the top of the Scarab. David's missiles, along with those fired from the rest of his platoon swarmed down on the Scarabs, slamming into the roof of the Scarabs right on top of the core. All seven Scarabs exploded in balls of flames as the missiles impacted.

The vehicles that had once been the worst nightmare of every UNSC marine now lay in burning ruins.

The Tigers, Scorpions, and Komodos rolled forward, opening fire. 105mm and 90mm cannons roared as they impacted shattered Wraiths left and right, beams from the Komodo's TITAN Lasers burned through three Wraiths at a time. One Wraith that came to close to Kilgore's vehicle was taken out by SABRE ATGW from the M41 missile launcher Kilgore had attached to the PALADIN weapons station.

Within minutes, the Covenant armor was routed, leaving only the Brutes. Some of them fled, others charged at the UNSC armor in a final act of defiance. Kilgore turned the turret of his AHWV to three Brutes and several Grunts and fired the M45C Heavy Machine Gun, cutting them all to pieces. The rest of the Brutes soon met a similar fate.

The screen of the simulator went blank.

Lt. David Kilgore

Vehicle: M-1050 Brown Bear Anti-Heavy Walker Vehicle

Kills: 2 Scarabs, 1 Wraith, 3 Brutes, 7 Grunts.

Mission Completed, Unit Casualties: Four Scorpions.

Replay battle? [Yes] [No]


Kilgore exited the simulator along with the rest UNSC tank crews involved in the mission.

"I thought these simulations were supposed to be tougher than usual", one Scorpion commander said

"They are", his buddy replied, "But they're still using Covie Remnant equipment, which is clearly second rate".

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

20

DATE: 12th April 2612; LOCATION: Camp Sparta, Arcturus; TIME: 2200

Finishing up the last of his battle plan revisions, Riker moved away from his desk and to his personal bookshelves: stacked within them were books, plans, reports, films, comics and a hundred other things, both professional and not. Though few and far between, when Riker managed to get brief respites from the rigors of training Kilo Company, he liked to enjoy what he considered the finer things in life, such as stories and films, particularly fantastical tales hailing from the Japanese culture of Earth. Grabbing the next to last book in the Godzilla: Destiny series, he began reading the grand drama, finding it quite enjoyable.

However, he did not have long to enjoy himself, as soon the nearby holo-pad lit up, presenting an AI's avatar. The avatar was that of a highly stylized version of the Japanese storm god Susano'O, dressed in a brilliant steel armor akin to a samurai's suit, but with a massive sword in his hand and a sun-shaped crown upon his brow. A shield was upon his right arm, a great sun-shaped image formed from metal spikes floated behind him, and the center of his form was composed of a ball of light within the chest armor, a great emerald set directly in the center of his breastplate. Riker immediately recognized the avatar as that of his AI companion, Susano.

“Riker”, said the AI curtly, waiting for a reply

“Yes Susano? What do you want”

Kami of Lambda Company would like a word with you”, stated Susano, his voice all too hauntingly similar to Lord Terrence Hood, the man from whom Susano had been made. Originally designed as a commander in a project designed to create AI-controlled drone armies, the project was scrapped and Susano would have been too had it not been for the intervention of Andrew James Lewis, then-director of ONI: Andrew had felt a certain level of respect for his former commander, and had redirected Susano to the S-IV Program as a last honor.

“Thank you Susano”, replied Riker, “Let her in Susano” Immediately, Susano's image faded away and Kami's image replaced him. Whereas Susano was a brilliant and awe-inspiring warrior in form, Kami was a brooding woman: similar though different to Cortana and Joyeuse in form, Kami glowed of grey and yellow, her tussled hair falling into her face and covering one of her eyes. Slender in form, Kami was not the buxom-blessed and well endowed avatar that some were, not even as much as Cortana or Joyeuse, but it was a style she embraced.

“Kami”, said Riker, nodding slightly

“Riker”, replied the AI, “I would like to pass on an invitation from Conner-388 and Leonid-144 for Kilo Company to participate in a full combat sim against Lambda Company. Leonid believes Lambda needs work in the area of teamwork, and believes a full-out battle sim is the best way to achieve this. So, do you accept?”

Riker smiled slightly to himself. He and Leonid had always carried a strange relationship, born from their similarities and differences: both were slightly brooding due to their past, which both revolved around ONI manipulating them to suit their own agendas; however, Riker had become “more human” over the years, whereas Leonid had remained remarkably unchanged, seemingly the same person mentally as he was in 2525, at least to the casual observer. Looking at Kami, Riker said, “I accept your offer. When shall we start?”

“As soon as Kilo can gather”, replied Kami, “Lambda's almost prepared as it is”

“Expect us there at 2230”, replied Riker

“Aye sir”, replied the AI, disappearing before being replaced with Susano after a few short moments.

“Rally the troops, I suppose?”, the AI queried sarcastically

“Let's give 'em H***”, said Riker


“Alright you lazy sons of you-know-whats, get your dadgummed hind ends out of these bunks before I blow the bunker out from under you!”, yelled Brandon Smith, raising all manner of chaos as he woke the sleeping Spartans scattered throughout their quarters.

“What's going?”, asked Charlie-K023 of King Squadron as he rushed to don his armor properly, watching the other Spartans running around like chickens with their heads cut off

“Boss's got us a date with Egor's Loners”, replied Goodwyn-K013, “Time to show them how much rear we can kick in one night”

Riker strode through the Kilo barracks, ensuring that everyone was properly prepared and fully awake, showing tough love to the drowsy by kicking them “lightly” in the leg. “Alright Riker, what's the plan?”, asked Matthew Frank, XO of Knife Squadron, as she quickly walked up beside the fast-paced commander.

“Leonid asked for a full on combat test”, replied Riker, “So we're obliging. We're going to need to be careful: this is as much a test for us as it is for Lambda. We've trained beside them every day for years, fought with them during CATECHISM, DEVIANT, WARDOG and REAPER, and I've reviewed their run-through of the mission sim: they're not lacking in ability. They're the stealthiest illegits the Spartans have ever seen, courtesy of Leonid, but they lack leadership skills: we have leadership, we just need to work on mission focus. Play on their weaknesses, use our strengths.”

“What's the sim location? Wide open combat grounds?”

“That's the idea”

“Perfect. Vehicles?”

“Some light and medium ground vehicles, a couple tanks. No air support”

“Standard hard drop?”

Riker nodded. “Only have what you can carry with you”

“Sounds perfect. A little too much so”

“Don't think this'll be easy. Lambda won't give up easy. I'm sure there will be some place designed to play against us as well”

“We'll woop 'em Riker, don't you worry about that”

“Just don't get cocky kid”

Matthew nodded and ran off to continue preparations as the Spartans and their commanders rushed about preparing for the upcoming inter-company fight. Word was passing along: fights like these didn't come often, and with the news being passed around that Lambda and Kilo were going to have it out, the other Spartan companies were having their computer wizards hack into the cameras of the simulators, linking the images to the large monitors in the various mess halls throughout the multiple barracks. This was a fight they didn't want to miss


DATE: 12th April 2612; LOCATION: Camp Sparta, Arcturus; TIME: 2245

Riker looked at the holographic map of the battlefield displayed on his HUD and noted the variety of terrains they had. Currently, he and the rest of Kilo Company were at the extreme southeast of the battlefield, situated within a large cavern hidden within a minor mountain range. Below them stretched a forest that grew westward across the theater of war, while on the eastern side there was a large river winding north to south. The battleground was predominantly made of small rolling hills covered in golden plains grass, and in the center of it was a small town. On the far northwestern end of the battlefield was roughly where Lambda Company's camp was located, placed on a small plateau in a similar mountain range.

The objectives were simple enough: the three primary objectives were to first capture the city, then disable the enemy base, and lastly to take the enemy flag; there were also two secondary objectives, which were capturing the vehicle depot in the west and the long-range mortar to the east. Each camp was equipped with seven fixed turrets to defend the base with, as well as three Warthogs, four Mongooses, and one Coyote, not to mention the few Wolf suits brought by the ASP teams; besides this, their only equipment was what they had armed themselves with. Capturing the city would be of major concern due to the fact that it housed the sole ammunition depot available to either side.

“Alright, Billy, you take Key Squadron to capture the mortar; Sean and ??, take King and Knave Squadrons to take the city, and watch your six; Dominic, you take Knife Squadron and capture the vehicle depot, we'll be needing it; ??, stay here, buckle down and set up defenses as best you can, cause you're defending this base.” As Riker passed out orders, the teams began to move quickly about, forming up and heading in the direction necessary to carry out their objectives. Riker watched them go, wondering how Leonid was dealing with things on his side of the battle


“All quiet on the western front”, whispered Naomi-K108, as she and the reconnaissance team of Knife Squadron moved towards the vehicle depot

“Roger that, keep us posted”, replied James-K012. Motioning to the others to move forward, they began to creep towards the recon team's former position, only for Jared-K025 to bring them to halt once again.

“What's up?”, asked Nick

“Thought I saw a glint on the far side”, Jared replied; fingering the COM to Naomi's team, he said, “Naomi, look to your right, far side of the complex: do you see anything in the shrubbery?”

The COM was silent a moment, then Naomi replied, “Got some bogies in the bushes alright; a couple have sniper nests in the trees. If we're not careful they – look out!”

Sniper fire was heard suddenly, cutting Naomi off in mid sentence. The smoke trails gave away the positions of the snipers in the trees, and because of this Kilo's own marksmen returned fire, the foliage about the two companies erupting as bullets ripped through them.

“Forward!”, yelled Dominic through the COM, pushing his squadron into the shadow of the vehicle depot, the two assault teams pushing into the complex itself while the sniper and recon teams fired back at Lambda's forces with the aid of the fireteam's marksmen.

Gunfire erupted from inside the vehicle depot even as Matthew and Kevin ran into the building; both dodged to the side, flattening against the walls of rooms opposite one another. However, the ASP team was close behind the two commanders, and unleashed fire with their heavy weapons, a rocket launcher unloading its' two rounds into where the Lambda fireteam had stood moments before.

“This is gonna be one H*** of a night!”, yelled Kevin, jumping into the fray as he unleashed “death” with his marksmen rifle


Locke-K098 moved quickly through the city with the rest of Fireteam 1-3, watching for signs of movement at any turn. Over his head, several sniper rounds rang out before being answered by an artillery shell: Locke could only assume that Lambda Company had gained control of a Scorpion Tank that had been parked somewhere in the city. The question was now, could King and Knave Squadrons reach the city's police control systems in order to gain the city, or would Lambda reach it first?

A rocket blasted passed right in front of Locke and exploded several yards away, causing him to become aware of a second shot and react in a split-second's time, dodging the rocket but still being hit by the aftershock. Getting up, Locke fired several rounds from his Assault Rifle and get moving, dashing out of the line of fire to catch up with his fireteam as King Squadron's ASP team moved in with their Wolf exoskeletons.

Jack-K004 and Kate-K008 moved ahead of the rest of the fireteam, both watching the front while Locke covered the back with the others remaining relatively in the center. Noting several members of Lambda rushing past the alleyway that they were currently in, Jack quickly ushered the team into one of the buildings and directed them upstairs, where they were fortunate enough to get the jump on two Lambda snipers, knocking them unconscious and “killing” them. With two less opponents to deal with and a safe area for the moment, Jack paused to check the situation.

“Sayid, which direction is the police HQ?”, asked Jack

“North north-east”, stated Sayid-K089 as he looked through his sniper rifle's scope, “I see at least one Wolf guarding from a rooftop, and there appear to be –” Sayid dropped down behind the roof's edge as two sniper rounds flew by, impacting on the door they had come through earlier, blowing it apart. “As I was saying, there are multiple snipers present”

“D***it”, said Sawyer-K015, “Why'd it have to be us versus snipers. Why couldn't we have taken on someone that couldn't pick us off at 100 yards, like Albion”

“Because then they'd pick us off at 5 feet, which is what we're supposed to do to Lambda”, replied Locke

“Hey guys”, cut in Hurley-K016, peering over the edge, “I'd suggest we get out of here now”

“Why Hurley?”, asked Jack

“Because there's a Wolf not too far off, and he just saw me. Oh crap, heavy fire!” With that, Hurley dived out of the way as the edge of the building began to explode and crumble under the weapons fire that the Wolf was wreaking havoc with. Unable to move quickly enough, Sayid and Locke were sent sailing while Sawyer dived out of the way and Kate and Jack toppled to the street below


Matthis-K067 looked over at his partner, Abbadon-K133, and nodded. Charging out, the two began pelting the Lambda resistance that guarded the main entrance to the mortar facility, and without anywhere to hide, the Spartans were sitting ducks. Matthis grinned to himself again, glad that he and Abbadon had brought their Wolves along for the ride.

Suddenly, Matthis caught a large form out of the corner of his eye, then watched as Abbadon bit the dust, even as the other Spartans rushed past them to assault as-of-yet contested mortar facility. Turning, Matthis saw another Wolf pilot, marked foe with his IFF tags: pulling up its' massive weapon, he realized it was a foe even faster, dodging to the side as the enemy pilot unleashed the heavy rifle's wrath, blasting away trees that had been standing behind Matthis seconds before

Rolling out of the way, Matthis managed to get behind the enemy pilot and knocked the Wolf's gun away: momentarily confused, Matthis began to pelt the foe with hand-to-hand combat, until the enemy regained its' senses and began to fight back. Blocking and giving blow after blow, Matthis at last placed the enemy in a choke-hold, only to have the opponent grab him and throw Matthis over his head. Slammed hard into the ground, Matthis did not have time to react before the enemy Wolf pounded his chest, “killing” him.

Laying there, his armor locked due to the “fatal damage” inflicted, Matthis could only hope his brothers and sisters survived longer and did better than he had.




21

17th of April 2612, Manheim: Training exercise

Chinnault caught up to Delta in a few minutes. Hitting the dirt next to Raf, he whispered, "What do we have?"

"We've got eyes-on at least twenty Baby Kongs, plus Grunts and Jackals," Raf replied, shifting his heavy machine gun to the side and pulling his sidearm. "Snipers are in position, waiting for Peters' signal to fire."

Chris nodded, calculating odds in his head. Delta had thirty Marines total, and each Brute down there was worth at least three of them. The snipers would need to make every shot count, and even then it would be a tough battle. And Even if we're not entering the complex, he thought, we'll need to take every single one of them down for the SPECWAR team to make it in.

Switching to the TEAMCOM, he began issuing orders. "All snipers, target one Bravo and be sure to down it. Riflemen, make groups of two or three and concentrate fire on one target. Support gunners, just let loose." Chinnault rolled onto his stomach and wriggled to the top of the hummock they hid behind, bringing the scope of his rifle to his eye. "Wait for Peters' signal," he ordered, and waited.

The minutes dragged by. The "heat" from the programmed sun made Chinnault's uniform stick to him. He longed to reach back and scratch his back, but he held his position. Staring down his scope, he focused on one Brute. The alien carried a Pinner rifle and had a long, scimitar-like blade slung over his back. Chinnault let his reticule drift onto the Brute's face, let the dot rest over his eye.

Peters' voice crackled over the COM, shaking him out of his semi-aware state. "All units, fire at will."

The harsh crack of the company's sniper rifles began in earnest. Chris squeezed the trigger on his rifle and watched as the Brute stumbled backwards, the bullets arrested by an energy shield. Chinnault felt a shadow fall on him and turned to see Raf standing with his machine gun in hand. The gun roared as it sent fifty-caliber rounds down the slope at four thousand rounds per minute. The Brute fell, this time permanently.

Chinnault opened fire again, this time on a Jackal drawing a bead on one of his snipers. The bird-like alien squawked and collapsed in a shaking heap. "Watch your fire, Marines!" Peters roared. "We have a cloaked NAVSPECWAR team in the area, avoid own goals!"

Raf sighed and ceased firing his machine gun. Unslinging his M10 sub-machine gun, he brought the weapon to his face and picked off one of the Grunts. "Milk run, Chris," he said. "Milk run."


Chinnault opened his eyes and stood from the sim-chamber. "Well, that was surprisingly easy," he said to Kali and Raf, who were also standing nearby. The unit had suffered no casualties, and Paccheo had been successfully casevaced.

"With the sims we've been running, going up against someone who has no clue we're coming doesn't seem to make sense," Kali pointed out.

"Yeah, the last few made it seem like we'd be part of some massive invasion," Raf agreed. "Are they just trying to get us complacent? Make the next one sting even worse?"

"If they are, it won't work," Chinnault said. The others nodded.

I am a monument to all of your... Darkness Conflicts Stories Heroes

22

0530 Hours, April 17th, 2612 (Military Calendar) /

Arcturus System, Arcturus, Camp Sparta, Ghost Company Barracks

Neil rubbed the sleepiness from his eyes, trying to resist the temptation to punch a hole in his ever-so-irratating alarm clock. He switched it off, and got up, stripped and stepped into the shower. A cold shower brought him to his senses, and he put on his uniform and headed for breakfast.

"Hey Sarge." Megan greeted.

"Hi. Finish your breakfast and we'll continue with training." Neil replied, trying to sound all-business like while his mouth was full with the bland porridge the mess hall served. It was not lost on Megan.

"You know, you should finish your food then talk." Megan suggested. Neil glared daggers at her and continued eating.


"Alright, today, you will have to work together with an assault team from Delta Company on a simulation. Crap. Five SPARTANs walked inside.

"Okay, here's the plan. You ghost wimps stay out of our way, and we-" The Spartan didn't finish on account of Maria slapping him, then kicking him in the groin. The Spartan, in which Neil decided to nickname smart-mouth howled in pain, and the four other Spartans went into fighting stances. As did Neil's fire team.


"Yeah, this inter-company thing sucks." Linda commented.

"Can't help but agree." Fred replied.


0909 Hours, April 17th, 2612 (Military Calendar) /

Manheim System, Manheim

Sandstorm Squadron swooped in the air, twelve shortswords flying in neat formnation. Captain Gordon Duster brought his plane around, then shouted in the TEAMCOM.

"I'm marking the target on the screens of all navigation officers. Over." The shortswords made their way across the various plains of whatever rural area the simulation had dumped them on, when a squadron of banshees suddenly jumped them.

"We'll make work of them in no time." An Airman shouted over the com, just as the very airman's shortsword exploded, falling to the ground.

"Fail." Senior Airman James Hafson muttered.

"Stow it, airman." Gordon Duster ordered. He brought his shortsword in a evasive flip, while the rear gunner fired the rear turret at the banshee. The banshee exploded in a spectacular fireball. Slowly, the bombers fought their way out of the banshee squadron.

"Begin carpet bombing operations." He ordered. The varioius crew on his shortsword began to work, and before long, bombs hit the massive covenant army.

"Head back to base." A few moments later, the shortswords landed, and everything vanished.

Captain Gordon Duster

Equipment: B-9E Shortsword

Kills: Numerous

Mission Failed (Enemies not completely eliminated). Casualties: 8 Longswords

Replay Mission?: [Yes] [No]

"That was, to put it bluntly, PATHETIC." Captain Gordon Duster announced. "Two-thirds of you got shot down in the mission. What if this wasn't a sim. Two thirds of you would have broken-hearted families, and the mission wasn't even completed. Your flying was sloppy, you engaged enemy air forces poorly, and we barely made it back to base alive. Now GET BACK TO WORK, YOU SONS OF BITCHES!"


1345 Hours, April 17th, 2612 (Military Calendar) /

Arcturus System, Arcturus, Camp Sparta, Simulation Room 35

Janice watched the brute chieftain lumber about. She raised her sniper rifle, preparing to take him out. Once she had taken out the chieftain, Norman would storm the chamber, iniate the self destruct seqeunce of the space station and run. We make a good team. The t were very good friends, and worked well together. She sometimes wondered if their relationship could go anywhere, but he shoved that thought out of her mind. They had a siumulation to pass. They would then meet up, hijack a phantom and escape. Gary would try and sabatoge as many hostile seraphs as he could. Bang! Bang! Bang! The shots rang out, and the chieftain fell. The remaining two brutes jumped into the air, just as Norman ran inside, clutching a shotgun. In seconds, both brutes went down.

"Head to the hangar. I'll mark it with a nav point. Over." Norman ordered.

"Yes Sir." Janice replied.

Janice ditched her postion and made her way down the hallways of the massive covenant space station, the Gate of the Vengeful Path'. She pondered the stupid name of the brute space station inplented by HIGHCOM for about two seconds, before firing her twin sub machine guns at a single brute who was dumb enough to stupidly charge her. She then continued running, making sure to avoid the corpses of brutes that littered the area. She opened the doors of the hangar, emerging at the the second floor that overlooked the actual hangar, only to find the brutes already engaged on the bottom floor. Norman and Gary were already there Janice switched to her sniper rifle, and got a brute who was coming at Norman from behind. She hit a brute with the butt of her rifle that tried to attack her, then fired a burst with her sub machine guns. Blood spurted from the brute's wounds, and he fell to the ground She then got back to the task at hand-sniping brutes in their own hangar.


"Area secure, let's bug out," Norman said. They jumped inside a phantom, and left the ship. Just then, two seraphs came at them.

"Man the turrets!" Norman shouted. "I'll take evasive action." Streaks of plasma cut through space. One Seraph blew up, and the second one got off a few hits, damaging the phantom's hull before being taken out. Norman hit the accelerator and the phantom flew away.

SPARTAN-G198

Kills: 76 Grunt Minors, 44 Grunt Majors 21 Brute Minors, 15 Brute Majors, 2 Brute Captain Majors, 1 Brute Chieftain, Two Seraphs

Mission Completed, Casualties: None.

Replay Mission?: [Yes] [No]

Janice stepped out of the sim room. It felt good to finally defeat a simulation on their first try. Recently, HIGHCOM had been greatly increasing the difficulty of the training missions.

"Feels good to win." Norman said, silently approaching her and echoing her thoughts.

"Yeah. It sure does."

Norman-123 03:58, May 1, 2010 (UTC)

23

12th of April, 2612. Simulation ground 12, Camp Sparta, Arcturus, Arcturus System, 2245 Local Time

Connor had to hand it to his CO. The man might not have the best people skills, but damned if he wasn’t a good tactician. Connor, clad in two tons of bulky MJOLNIR armor, was currently concerned with speed, not stealth. They were a good deal away from the main combat zone and the other objectives, to the far north of the city and west of the mortar facility. The open fields made stealth almost impossible, even for the skilled Lambda operators, so speed was their only option, at least until they reached the forest a few hundred meters east of them.

Behind Connor was Phantom Squadron, clad in similar armor and easily keeping up. They were running at a steady pace in full combat gear, but none of them showed signs of slowing. They all followed quietly, alert for danger and weapons prepared in case Kilo was a little more clever than they’d thought. So far, however, that didn’t seem to be the case.

Immediately after beginning the situation, Leonid had predicted the strategy he believed Riker and Kilo would be using. Maybe it was years of hunting people down for a living, where getting inside someone’s head was as valuable a weapon as a rifle or knife, or maybe it was their similar backgrounds, but Leonid, despite his detached and almost emotionless state, seemed to jump into Riker’s shoes with very little difficulty. As Connor and him had surveyed the battlefield, Lambda watching quietly behind them, he’d pointed out the objectives around the field, and how he thought Kilo would deploy. Two squadrons to the city, one to each of the secondary’s, and one to guard the base. Standard, safe, and well intentioned. But hopefully futile.

They’d deployed immediately to counter Kilo. Rather than trying to match their strategy and rely on the raw combat muscle of their troops, both Leonid and Connor had agreed to a more nuanced plan, designed to distract, confuse, disorient, and hopefully demolish Kilo. And Connor’s role now was directly part of that plan.

On his HUD, a green acknowledgment light flashed twice over Banshee Squadron’s readout, the in position signal. Checking his HUD, he saw that Banshee, Squadron Four, was now entering the mortar facility and securing the southern entrance--just as planned. Connor and Phantom ran on for less than a minute, when gunfire rang out, close by. Over his comm, Connor heard Banshee platoons southernmost scout, SPARTAN-L140, speak over the comm in an icy calm, eerily flat voice.

“Enemy contact two hundred meters south of the objective.”

Connor smiled, and picked up the pace. Kilo had acted just as Leonid had predicted and walked straight into their trap. Connor checked his HUD again, and marked the route he and his squadron would take. It was a serpentine path that wound southward from their current position, into the forest…and directly behind the attacking Kilo squadron. Activating his armor’s built in active camo generator, he watched as the squadron behind him followed suit and melted into invisibility.

The lure was out, and they had a bite. Now it was time to reel them in.


SPARTAN-G145, Scott to his friends and Captain to everyone else, sat as still and silent as he could manage in the thin line of trees and bushes surrounding the eastern entrance to the vehicle depot, the only way inside. He knew his job, knew what was depending on it, and knew what he had to do. He would not fail, and neither would his SPARTANs.

He shifted slightly, edging his B509 Battle Rifle forward and glancing through the fire control scope he had attached, already linked to his under slung grenade launcher. Inside the depot, half of his force was hard at work preparing for what was coming. They’d manage to reach the depot before Kilo, but Scott knew they wouldn’t be far behind.

Spread around Scott was one Section from First Squadron, better known within the regiment as Ghost Platoon. They had set up sniper nests and gun positions in the foliage surrounding the eastern approach, but they couldn’t activate their active camo because they would need it later, leaving them much more visible. Normal soldiers probably wouldn’t have noticed them, but Kilo Company were SPARTANs just like themselves--no normal soldiers.

Suddenly, ahead, Scott spotted movement in the bushes, and slowly moved his Battle Rifle towards the location. He wasn’t the only one. Three meters away, he saw one of his marksmen, SPARTAN-L064, move his rifle slightly. The small shift prompted more movement from the tree line, and Scott suddenly felt the familiar urge of adrenaline through his veins as his body prepared for combat, even if it was only a holographic simulation.

“Problem.” said L064, voice inflectionless. “Enemy contacts, one hundred fifty meters to the east. Probable squadron size. Hostiles have taken notice of our position and are reacting. They’re moving to establish superior firing positions.”

Scott had only seconds to make his decision, but it was a luckily easy one. Allowing the enemy to move would put both the plan, and the lives of his troops in danger. That could only be stopped one way.

“All teams, Captain G145 reporting. Open fire.”

Green LEDs burned across the rim of his HUD, and moments later, without a single verbal exchange, Section One open fired. Bullets filled the air and cut through the foliage around the hostiles as gunfire sounded around the compound as Ghost began it’s attack. Scott fired a burst from his BR09 that drilled a Kilo SPARTAN straight in the chest, damaging his shields but barely slowing him down, and followed it up with several more until the target was smart enough to take cover. For a moment, Lambda seemed to have an advantage, a decisive lead--

And then that moment ended. Gunfire ripped into Ghost’s ranks as Kilo retaliated, opening fire and charging forward. A pair of Wolf exoskeletons, piloted by the Kilo ASP Team, bounded forward, spraying heavy machine gun fire into the trees and slicing on of Scott’s fire teams to pieces. Scott emptied his magazine, fired a grenade from his launcher, then reached for another mag, and considered the situation. With less than a single Section remaining, and more Lambda SPARTANs going down every second, there was no way they could hold out against a squadron sized force. Thankfully, they had two advantages. The first was that Kilo didn’t know Scotts force was so tiny.

And the second was that they didn’t need to hold out anyway. Firing his battle rifle, Scott keyed his comm, establishing a channel with all of his remaining forces. “Execute phase two.” he said. “Fall back.”

Moments later, a resounding boom echoed behind him, as the Combat Engineer teams inside the vehicle depot blasted out the rear wall as an exit. Scott rolled to his feet, emptying another mag and finally wounding a Kilo SPARTAN, and sprinted away from the vehicle depot. All around, what was left of his force followed suit, pulling away and laying down suppressing fire to cover their retreat. Several of his SPARTANs were hit and wounded as they retreated, but there was no time to stop for them. Their only objective now was to get as far away from vehicle depot as possible--specifically to a hill close to the base that they’d set as their rendezvous point--and let Kilo believe they’d won a victory over them.

Then, once they believed they had the depot under control, and they brought their troops inside to mount up, they’d trigger the explosives on the building and send the whole thing crashing down. It would deny Lambda the vehicles, but it was a sacrifice they were willing to make. It’d taken most of Scott’s troops--only a handful were left--but they’d done their job.


SPARTAN-144, Leonid, ducked and rolled as a grenade launcher round flashed over his head and detonated on the wall behind him, showering his shields with shrapnel and making him flash like a roman candle. Coming out of the roll, he leveled his LAR and let off a long burst in the direction of the incoming fire, making the enemy grenadier duck for cover in the burned out ruins of what had formerly been a nicely built, pleasantly red house.

Behind him, his security team open fired, sending a hail of rounds toward the target. They were usually tasked with the protection of the whole Company Command Team, but because that force had been split apart, with the Operations Chiefs commanding the base defense and 338 leading the flanking maneuver, they’d be tasked with protecting him. The security team had been handpicked by Leonid and 338, from the best soldiers in the company. They were supremely qualified.

It showed. They moved quickly and efficiently, securing flanking positions and hammering the attacking enemy with gunfire. The would be assassin’s shields flared, failed, and died. Armor piercing rounds struck home and the lone soldier dropped, armor penetrated in a dozen different places. He was out.

Leonid automatically reloaded his LAR, then turned to the security team and beckoned them to follow. They had to keep moving. The ammo depot had been secured by advance elements of Reaper Squadron, but it was coming under heavy fire as Kilo tried to push towards it. Riker’s team had already secured the police station and gained control of a significant portion of the city, and Leonid’s force was being pushed back through the streets towards the depot. Leonid had assigned four teams of combat engineers to fortify it as an emergency holdout position, but they weren’t finished yet. They would have to hold off on falling back to it until the emplacements were completed. That meant they were attempting to hold the street around the depot from Kilo Company forces with a mixture of heavy machine guns, explosives, and insta-crete barricades, most of which had been taken from the depot.

Leonid took off at a dead run, sprinting towards the depot, security team close behind. As he rounded a corner and emerged onto the street parallel to the ammunition depot, Leonid caught sight of the battle ahead. Across a line of battered, hastily insta-crete fortifications taken from the depot, Reaper Section Two was under heavy attack from a Kilo company force. They were trying to hold the road on the northern side of the depot, and weren’t doing to hot. Riker’s SPARTANs were advancing from the east, darting in and out of cover and moving up on the Lambda position, while two Wolves hung back in the background laying down suppressive fire. Leonid himself had four wolves at his disposal, with two taken from Ghost Squadron and two from Reaper, but they were positioned on rooftops, providing suppressing fire on Kilo forces on their own side of the city.

The Kilo Company forces were pushing steadily forward, and despite their best efforts, Lambda seemed almost powerless to stop them. This is what Leonid had feared. Though they worked excellent independently, their effectiveness was reduced more and more as their force got bigger and bigger. They were coordinated, skilled, and with a keen eye for tactics, but they hesitated, got in each others way, and didn’t delegate their fire as good as they should have. Kilo, by comparison, looked like a single, well oiled machine as it pushed forward, teams covering each other instinctively in cover to cover formations.

That ASP Team wasn’t doing Lambda any favors either. As Leonid watched, four Kilo SPARTANs broke into the open, sprinting boldly across the street to an advance position near a broken down fence. Three SPARTANs from Lambda rose up behind the barricade and were about to unleash a torrent of machine gun fire, when one of the ASPs put a sustained burst into the center of their group. One SPARTAN went down straight away, while the other two dropped to the ground, wounded badly. Beside them, a fellow SPARTAN rushed to tend to their wounds, as a rocket fired from the under slung launcher on one of the wolves’ MB67 Assault Rifles blew a hole in the barricade and showered the troops with falling rock. Leonid was about to open a channel and call for heavy support when one of his SPARTANs beat him to it.

“Reaper Two Lead, requesting immediate AM sniper support.” said the Section Two leader, SPARTAN-L168. His voice, admirably, showed no sign of the strain that he must have been feeling and kept the company wide flat, icy tone. “Kilo Company ASP team, One hundred sixty five meters east of our position, eliminate.”

In his HUD, Leonid watched the status indicators of one of the sniper teams begin to move, repositioning to get a clear line of fire on the Wolves. Moments later, two shots rang out in quick procession, striking the Wolf suits directly in the chest and penetrating through to where the pilot’s head was positioned. Both suit slumped to the ground, eliminated. Kilo turned and shifted it’ fire towards the rooftops, and caught one of the snipers before they could escape. Leonid felt a moments anger at the stupidity of the sniper teams for staying in the line of fire for so long, but managed to control it. There’d be time later. For now, he settled with dishing out as much damage to Kilo as possible and ran for the barricade, reloading his LAR.


The sound of gunfire had been growing for quite some time, and by the time Connor’s squadron had looped around behind the attacking Kilo force, it had risen to a crescendo that Connor imagined could be heard for miles. Sprinting through the forest with his SRS99G cradled in his arms, Connor weaved through bushes, ducked around trees, and ran straight through undergrowth as he ran for Banshee Squadron’s position. Behind him, the rapidly moving and cloaked figures of Phantom made the forest seem to waver and shift in and out, making the active camo more of a gesture than an actual necessity. If Kilo wanted to see them, they would, regardless whether or not his SPARTANs were invisible or not.

The mortar facility was ringed by forest on three sides, with the tree line a scant six or seven meters away from the entrance. The entrance itself was flanked by a pair of guard towers and was wide enough to fit a Scorpion tank, making it hard to defend. Banshee had the vast majority of it’s squadron placed around the entrance, with only a small rear guard to defend the western entrance. Kilo was pressing hard to the south, leading the charge with a pair of Wolves and an infantry charge, though Jason had managed to ambush the walkers with his own Wolves and eliminate them. Still, they were outmatched by the Kilo Company forces, and were having to steadily retreat to avoid taking casualties, which they’d done remarkably well so far.

Kilo’s rear guard had apparently been intended more as a formality than anything, something that made Connor wonder if they’d forgotten who they were dealing with. Maybe Kilo had thought their penchant for stealth only extended to urban environments, maybe they hadn’t thought Lambda would be bold enough to ignore the city, or maybe they were just stupid, but whatever the reason, they were woefully unprepared for Connor’s attack. The first warning they received was when they spotted the dozens of cloaked figures sprinting through the trees towards them, less than fifteen meters away, and by then it was far to late.

As the closest sentry raised his rifle to fire, Connor darted forward, drawing his combat sidearm in one fluid motion and dropping his shoulder on the surprised enemy. The impact of the two ton SPARTAN was dead center and drained it’s shields with a satisfying pop, and as the Kilo trooper fell to the floor, Connor leveled his pistol and fired three rounds in quick succession straight into his visor. The silenced pistol coughed three times and the helmet faceplate shattered, bullets ripping into the forehead of the target. Connor holstered his pistol and glanced to either side quickly, confirming all the sentries were down. The Lambda troopers, trained for years at assassination, had all performed even better than he had. No reports had been issued, and they still had the element of surprise, at least until one of the Kilo soldiers checked their TEAMCOM and realized their entire rear guard was gone.

Lambda needed no instruction on what was next. Connor had told them the plan already, and one explanation was all they’d needed. They drew their rifles, armed their grenade launchers, and checked their light machine guns, ready for the next phase. It was time.

“Go.”

On Connor’s one word signal, Phantom burst from the forest, guns blazing, and charged Kilo’s rear flank. The enemy squadron turned in surprise, momentary confusion quickly giving way to a stark realization that things were about to go straight down the shitter. Then, predictably, all hell broke loose. Grenade rounds, fired from the launchers of Lambda team, detonated in the center of Kilo’s ranks, taking down three and making their shields burn bright gold. Machine gun fire from the heavy weapon NCOs cut across them, and then Connor drew his MA6A and charged straight in, assault rifle burping rounds. Alongside him, charged heading straight into the fray. Despite all the chaos of what was going on, all the explosions, all the gunfire, all the “death”, no one said a word. The hardest thing for Connor to get used to when working with Lambda was the silence, the consistent quiet that they exhibited whenever combat began. It was eerie, in the center of a war zone, to hear absolutely no chatter at all. But it was one of Lambda’s signature trademarks.

Kilo finally shifted their fire towards Lambda, swinging around en masse to bring their weapons to bear. But, behind them, Banshee took the opportunity and open fired, cutting into Kilo’s rear with massed gunfire. Caught on both sides, and outnumbered two to one, Kilo didn’t last long. Combined fire pelted them, breaking shields and penetrating armor, dropping SPARTANs left and right. Several Kilo members attempted to break away, running south, but they made it no farther than a few meters before sniper fire slammed into their rear and brought them down. The few Kilo Company members left emptied their magazines and used whatever ordnance they had, but even the damage they did with that wasn’t enough. Lambda closed in around them, overwhelmed them from all sides, and brought them down with brutal efficiency.

As the last enemy soldier fell, Connor took a second and scanned the Company-wide roster. While it wasn’t as bad as he had feared it might be, it was still not good. Scott’s small force of a Section and a half of Ghost Squadron was almost completely wiped out, and was down to a single Fireteam and Scott himself. Leonid’s force in the city was being hammered by the numerically superior Kilo Company, and Banshee and Phantom, under his jurisdiction, had taken fifteen casualties, all but one from Banshee.

There was no time to waste. Clicking off the roster, he beckoned to Jason-G013, Banshee Squadron’s commander, and Mason-317, Phantom’s. Gathering them up, he explained the next section of the plan and made sure they knew their roles. Ten minutes later, Phantom was geared up and ready to move out, and Banshee had taken up their position in the mortar and had it crewed and ready to fire. With the second phase of the plan complete, Phantom headed out, marching now to a far more important objective.

//Your screams blacken my soul// //I am shadow, I am death// //I am alone in the dark, but not afraid//

24

Three pairs of boots clattered on the immaculately polished floor. They were in nearly perfect step, a fact that owed its existence more to habit than to design. Long hours of military training and drill made everything, even walking, instinctively uniform.

However, a careful listener would have noticed that two of the walkers were shuffling slightly in order to keep in step with the third. It made sense; after all, they both had a full foot on the shorter man.

The hall they were passing through could have been on any base anywhere in the galaxy. Along both sides of the tiled floor were long rows of cheap, faux-wood office doors, each tagged with a brass plaque or plastic card. From the open offices came the sounds of ringing phones, tapping keyboards, and conversations of varying volumes, the loudest usually issuing from the nearest Sergeant Major’s office.

The walls between the doors were cluttered, covered in odds and ends from all over the galaxy. There were the loudly-painted mottoes and mascots, the squadron zaps, the proudly-framed challenge coins, the polished trophies, the bulletin boards and the official portraits and CSVs of stern-faced officers and NCOs.

“Well, looks like we’ll be leaving this shortly.” The tallest, darkest figure spoke, half to himself, half to his companions, a mingled hint of longing and excitement in his otherwise measured tone.

“Hmmph.” The next tallest snorted, nearly colliding with the flagstaff above the CSM’s office as he did so, ducking with only inches to spare. “Until HIGHCOM tells us, we know nothing.”

“Word from Patton says we still got time. Granted, it’s probably not much, but we need to use it." The shortest man finally spoke, the authority in his voice overriding his inferior stature. "I talked to the XO this morning; he managed to get us some time in Tac 5. Get your sections ready, we go in at 1300 sharp. Sim Chief doesn’t like it when we’re late.”

“Aye-aye sir.”

“Ok sir, Conic will be ready.”


The lines of armored figures shifted nervously. “Hurry-up-and-wait” had been the mantra for the day. The squadrons ahead of them had finished behind schedule, the power had gone out once, and now the holotank was down…again.

Bear’s last run in the simulator had been a bitter disappointment, and the young Spartans wanted another crack at it. And so they waited impatiently in their battle rattle, cracking quiet jokes and talking tactics in small, huddled knots.

Finally, they heard the whining hum of the hologenerators, a sound which was met with cheers, hearty laughter, and muttered grumbles of “finally.” Without waiting for a command, the forty-odd Spartans rose in unison, clicking and rattling as they made their final gear and weapons checks.

“Take your places! Take your places!” The team leaders were yelling, pushing their Spartans into disorderly files behind the simulator’s twin doors.

There was a gentle hiss as the pressure between the holotank and the room was equalized. And then the shouting started.

“Go! Go! Go!”


Leo was the first through the door. Weapon at the ready, he quickly assessed the situation. Bear had been deployed in a small ravine, its sides overgrown with grass and weeds. Broken and rusting packing cases were scattered on the ravine floor, relics of the planet’s more prosperous age.

But the landscape was quickly interrupted by an even less pleasing sight. Partially silhouetted on the ridgeline ahead were two Brute sentries. For the moment, their backs were turned. “Checkmate 1-1 has two Bravo Kilos, on my one. 50 meters”

“Checkmate 1, engage. Do it quiet.”

The radio’s crackling voice had barely cleared from Leo’s ears when he heard two muffled pops from behind him. Ahead, the Brutes slumped, dead.

“All callsigns, this is Cornhusker Actual. Conic, fan right. Checkmate, fan left. We’ve got a job to do.”


Craig crested the ridge and hit the ground with a gentle thud. Shouldering his rifle, he peered through its scope with a keen eye. Ahead was the bunker complex, an ugly network of pillboxes and hulking concrete mounds.

“Alright Craig, whaddya got for me?” Trig was practically bouncing off the ground in his excitement. He could see Brutes ahead, and he wanted one. “Come on, who can I nail?”

“Two Brutes, on my two.”

“Yeah, I see ‘em.” Trig had his rifle against his shoulder and his visor on the scope. Already he was settling down and the long hours of range time were kicking in. For a few moments they waited, waiting for the radio to crackle. And they heard it.

“Caltrop Arrow, we’re ready. Go ahead.” “Firing.” The rifle cracked, once, twice, three times; and with each shot a Brute went down, a neatly singed bullet hole in his chest.


Nigel dragged himself through the tall grass, his webbing tugging with the ground as he crawled forwards. Pausing, he glanced back to make sure his overloaded Bergen wasn’t protruding from the awkwardly-animated foliage. “Only a few more feet,” he thought to himself. It’d been a long crawl, slithering through the weeds, always on the lookout for booby traps, constantly probing with a combat knife in search of buried “Bouncing Betties.” Partly to Nigel’s disappointment and partly to his relief, there had been no mines.

Then, all hell broke loose. From somewhere behind him, he heard the rumbling bark of a machine gun mixing with the angry crack of sniper rifles. Overhead, tracers snapped and hissed. This was the moment.

“Come on!” Nigel heard the shout and scrambled to his feet. All around him, other Spartans were doing the same. The bunker entrance was just ahead. Sprinting forward, Nigel fired a few blind bursts from his carbine, before sliding to cover behind the reassuring concrete bulk. He took a few seconds to catch his breath, and then glanced around. Armand was right behind him. Their eyes met, exchanging a wordless message. Nearby, other teams were stacking up, crouching in neat files.

Nigel rolled around the corner. Within seconds he had the charge in place. He’d daisy-chained three SMACK canisters together and slapped them right on the sheet metal doors only weak point: its hinge.

Punching the timer, he bellowed a “clear!” warning and scrambled back around the corner. Within seconds, the charge detonated, blowing the multi-ton door clear off its hinges.

The assault teams were through the breach before the smoke even cleared.


The atmosphere in the dingy briefing room was the polar opposite of the one which had inhabited it just days before. Spartans talking with animated hand gestures were in every corner, recounting their latest kills to equally enthusiastic comrades. They were boasting, cheering, and laughing. It seemed like everyone slapping teammates on the back, high-fiving squadmates, congratulating themselves for the day's accomplishments. Morale was through the roof and it seemed that everyone was smiling or grinning, indeed, even the normally livid Gunny Grier was beaming.

They were so rapt in celebration it took Captain Conrad several minutes to quiet the squadron to settle down enough to get a word in edgewise.

“Well, guys, looks like we did it. I just finished talking with the Sim Chief. We killed almost a hundred Bravo Kilos, took our objective with time to spare, and we did it with zero casualties. It wasn't perfect and it wasn't easy; but I'm still damn proud of you. Bear, the drinks are on me tonight!” FightWithHonor 02:28, May 3, 2010 (UTC)

25

Gunnery Sergeant Malcolm "Mac" Lennox, Special Operations Command, Special Warfare Company - he wasn't sure what the nomenclature was anymore - was obviously irritated. He had been reading his copy of A Soldier's Tale for about the twenty-fifth time when two rookie troopers had "accidentally" thrown a dart into his shoulder blade. The pair were replacements for the losses suffered at Baikal, and both of them had very little actual combat experience under their belts; a Remnant clean-up operation here, a few raids there. He decided to take this time to teach the FNGs about the values of patience, situational awareness, good aim, and staying cool under fire.

"Which one of you had the bright idea to throw this dart in my direction," questioned Mac. His bright blue eyes seemed to pierce the souls of the two rooks, and neither of them answered.

"I'll ask again. Which one of you had the absolutely genius idea to throw this in my direction?"

After about five seconds of silence, one of them finally spoke up.

"I... I did, Gunnery Sergeant," stuttered the one on the right, whose insignia identified him as a Private First Class, and whose nametape read "COSGROVE". He was Team Three's computer specialist, and had enlisted into the Marine Corps following a failed semester at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was bright, but he'd need watching.

"Cosgrove, may I ask why you chucked this weapon in my direction?"

"I... I didn't mean to, Gunnery Sergeant. It slipped out of my hand, Gunnery Sergeant."

"Cosgrove, may I ask how it slipped out of your hand? Do you have the grip of a small animal? Did your mind not completely process the action it was performing? Did you not have a firm grasp of where your target was, or are you just a complete dumbass?"

Cosgrove began to sweat, and body began to tremble. His pale skin also turned red from the embarrasment, and his buddy, Lance Corporal Byko, took a huge gulp as his eyes darted around the room.

Mac figured they had suffered enough embarrasment, and his cold demeanor soon warmed, and he cracked a smile.

"Relax, you two. If you get stressed out over me questioning you, how are you ever going to survive an interrogation at the hands of rebels or baby kongs? Both of you are dismissed, and make sure you aim this time."

The dynamic duo remained at Attention until Mac began to walk away, and they fell out of their ad-hoc formation, returning to their festivities. Mac returned to his personal cot in the corner of the ODST lounge, flipped to the exact page he had left on, and began reading again. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his former Platoon Sergeant, , and his lover, , conversing with his Company Commander. Rumor had it that they were about to end the Remnant once and for all, and by the expression on their faces it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. At that time, an old saying creeped into his mind.

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.

-- Sergeant Major Avery Johnson 14:12, May 4, 2010 (UTC)

26

The satchel charges detonated, tearing the room’s doors off their hinges in a flash of smoke and noise. Before the dust had a chance to even begin to settle, they were in, weapons blazing. Each member of the assault team selected their targets with practiced ease as each one cut down the surprised Brutes on the other side of the now-obliterated door.

Within seconds, the entire pack had been eliminated, leaving the six SPARTAN-IVs in the assault team to step nimbly over the bodies and make their way to the other side of the room. Two took up positions on either side of another, slightly larger door while a third examined the portal.

“Damn.” His expression was hidden behind his golden visor, but the annoyance was clear in his voice. “Looks like they’ve reinforced this thing with armor on both sides; that must’ve been what these tangos were trying to do with the one we just breached. It’ll take more than just a basic charge to take this thing down.”

With an audible snort, another Spartan stepped forward, his armored hands reaching into a large bag slung on his hip. “You’re such a dumbass, Sarge. If the Bravo Kilos are using more armor, then I’ll just use more bombs.”

The first speaker reluctantly stepped to the side, allowing the demolitions man a clear path to the door. “Still carrying way too many explosives,” he commented wryly. “One of these days you’ll take a hit to that bag, and then we’ll find out just how much you really like fire.”

The demolitions expert—Hamish–laughed as he produced several large charges from his bag. “Other people get blown up; I just shrug it off.”

“Just get this door open.” Hector, the team’s leader, nodded to the rest of his squad. “Alright Narya, let’s do this.”

Hamish stepped away from the door. “Brace yourselves, this one’s gonna be big!”

Assault Team Narya assumed their formation, weapons at the ready. A moment later, the door was replaced by a massive fireball that tore the reinforcing armor apart and caused the shields of the Spartans flanking the door to shimmer. Just as before, they dove in, selecting their targets and blazing away.

There were more Brutes this time, and they, unlike their deceased brethren, were ready for the attack. But the room they defended presented very little in the way of cover, making most of them easy targets for the breaching Spartans. Bullets and shotgun pellets tore through armor and flesh, killing most of the targets before they had a chance to fire back. Easily dodging hails of sloppily aimed spiker and plasma rounds, the team continued its grisly work, reducing the defending pack to a pile of bleeding corpses in less than thirty seconds.

Hector thumbed more shells into his shotgun. “Spread out and check for survivors.”

The team complied, each member checking his or her weapons as they did so. They hadn’t left much to inspect, and they moved with a casual, almost cocky, sense of ease.

One of their number slapped a clip into his standard MA6-class assault rifle. It was a rarity among assault Spartans and technically against regulations, but he still carried it into combat, wielding it with the same lethal ease that his brethren used with their shotguns and submachine guns.

Reaching down with the weapon, he used its affixed bayonet to roll over a dead Brute. As he did so, he heard a grown from the body underneath. One of the Brutes was still alive.

His body tensing, the Spartan shoved his weapon’s bayonet in the injured warrior’s face. But rather than snarling or attacking, the wounded Brute merely raised both arms upwards; he was surrendering.

The Spartan’s finger curled around the trigger, but he didn’t fire. After a moment’s hesitation, he reached down and grasped one of the outstretched arms to haul the Brute to his feet.

In a split second, the Brute was on him, his powerful arms clawing at the Spartan’s neck. With a cry of surprise, the Spartan fired his assault rifle into the attacker’s chest—just as a burst of SMG bullets tore the Brute’s head off.

Every member of the team whirled on the commotion, weapons at the ready. When they saw that the problem had been taken care of, the relaxed—for the most part.

“What the hell just happened?” Hector demanded furiously.

“Percy tried to take a prisoner.” James-B153 lowered his still-smoking SMG. “I took care of it.”

Hamish laughed coldly. “You never learn, do you Percy? We don’t take prisoners. Especially not Brute ones.”

Percy-B030 straightened. “He surrendered.” He fought to keep his voice steady and certain of itself, but it still trembled a little from the surprise of the attack. “What else are you supposed to do?”

“Kill him,” James responded. “Kill him and get on with it. Don’t fall for such a dumbass move like that again.”

The squad carried on after that, killing more simulated enemies and accomplishing their objective without taking any casualties. But Percy remained quiet during the remainder of the exercise and did not speak until they had returned to their quarters to rest.

--Actene

27

There was a long silence between the two fire teams. The silence lasted a few akward seconds, and then one of the members held out his hand to shake.

"Let's pretend that never happened and do the damn sim."

"Sounds good to me." Neil said grudgingly.


Fully automatic fire shreded through the covenant purple chamber, ripping apart unfortunate brutes and grunts, who seemingly did little dances with the bullets before they died. It really was like dancing. Norman thought. The gunfire was the music, the brutes danced to the bullets before dropping dead on the ground.

One of the brutes groaned. Just as Norman was about to finish if off with his combat knife, the brute made a groan.

"Stop, demon. I surrunder. Just-" Norman stomped on his arm, breaking it. The brute howled in pain.

"Where is your prophet, brute?" Norman demanded. The brute looked furious and he cringed, as though he was fighting with himself. Loose his honor, or loose his life. It was a hard choice for a brute.

"If the next words out of your mouth isn't a location, your neck is next." The brute clearly decided on honor, because he swore at Norman.


His neck made a crunch as it snapped under Norman's boot.

"Dammit Norman, interrogating brutes never work." Janice said over the com.

"It was worth a shot. Besides, this sim isn't over until we get the location of the prophet."

"I think the way you're supposed to do it is blast your way around this dammed base until you find the data."

"Well, I'm supposed to be good at thinking out of the box." Janice didn't reply, and the duo moved towards the blast doors.

"C-7. Now." Norman ordered. Janice pulled out a C-7 canister and sprayed the door. Both Spartans ran back, and the door exploded off it's hinges. One grunt saw the spartans and screamed.

"AAAAHHHHH! DEEEMOOON! RUUUUN AWAAAY!" Norman threw a plasma grenade onto the grunt, and it stuck. The grunt ran towards his comrades, who had moved forwards-and blew them all up.

"I love it when grunts do stupid things like that." Norman commented. A single grunt survivor made a mad dash away from the spartans, screaming about demons. Norman saw the grunt's white armor. An ultra. He ran forwards the grunt and grabbed him.

"Where is the Minister of Biology?" Norman demanded. The grunt sqeaked in terror.

"Me just a grunt! Brutes don't tell me-"

"You're a ultra. You should know SOMETHING."

"Me don't know..." Janice drew her combat knife and placed it on the methane tank pipe.

"You don't know?"

"EEEEEEKKKK! ME KNOW, ME KNOW! MINISTER OF BIOLOGY IS ON Divine Justice! Please no kill me!" Just as Janice was about to kill the grunt anyway, everything faded to black. The typical message informing them of their sucsess in the mission flashed.


"What happened? Why did it end?" Janice demanded.

"We had to find the location of the prophet-not kill him, not find the location of the covenant database." Norman replied, a smug look on his face. Janice glared at him for a second. Then she relaxed.

"I really, really, really HATE it when you're right."

Norman-123 13:17, May 6, 2010 (UTC)

28

DATE: 13th April 2612; LOCATION: Camp Sparta, Arcturus; TIME: 0045

“Status!”, thundered Riker, seeing numbers dropping from his roster like flies

Susano's avatar appeared in the corner of Riker's HUD. “Vehicle depot captured successfully with only a section of casualties, and the city is still contested with two sections down, but we've got Leonid's group cornered. All forces at the mortar station have been eliminated by Lambda.

“D***it”, hissed Viggo, looking up from his small portable computer's statistics and reports; facing he Elijah, he said “The b******s killed Billy”

“Elijah”, said Riker, grabbing the Spartan-III's attention. Generally, Riker attempted to separate himself from the S-III's in his company, even Viggo and Elijah, due to his personal prejudice against all III's. However, right now, Riker needed his assistance.

“Sir?”

“I need your help”, said Riker, “Susano, what's the count on enemy casualties at the depot?”

“Almost all”, replied the AI after a moment, “Estimated only 8 survivors”

“They're planning something”, said Riker, “Elijah, you're the closest thing to Leonid that we have: so, what would you be doing in his place?”

Elijah was silent a moment, thinking deeply as he looked at the available tactical data. At last, he spoke: “Leonid's definitely got a plan. Maybe a plan within a plan. I don't think we really won at the vehicle depot: they were there first, they had set up positions, and yet they retreated. Something isn't right there. And they've taken the mortar from us: that thing can reach pretty much anywhere on this battleground, and, despite the slow reload speed, it's going to have deadly accuracy. They can use it to pick us off if we're not quick enough. The city's in a tight spot now: the mortar can begin firing at any minute, Leonid will likely divert forces from the mortar to the city. If they get reinforcements, we could be screwed.”

“Then what do you suggest we do?”, asked Riker

“We have three options, as far as I can see: we can stay like we are, and we'll likely lose, so I don't suggest that; the other two options are either to push forward, or to pull back and hold out here.”

“Thoughts on the secondaries?”

“We're likely to lose the vehicle depot somehow. The mortar's already lost, and I doubt we'll regain it”

“What I wouldn't give to have a couple of Merlins right about now”, cut in Viggo, “Then we could just fly over to their base and drop in, cause confusion, blast the place and call it done”

Riker stood quiet for a moment, then said, “Time to alter some enemy plans boys. Evie, get my Warthog!”

“Yes, sir!”, said Evie, head of the security team.

“What're we doing?”, asked Viggo, confused by the sudden decision of his CO

“We're gonna do what you said Viggo”, replied Riker, giving one of his uncommon smirks, “Cause confusion and blast the place. Then we'll call it a day”


Dominic looked at the progress as his remaining two sections examined the vehicle depot and prepped the vehicles within: so far, the squadron had managed to arm and ready three Scorpion tanks, two Warthogs, and five Weasels and had moved them into the clearing outside the depot so that they could be moved immediately if need be. There were a dozen more vehicles inside the depot, but Dom had decided that they would simply ready them, as their small numbers would not allow for every vehicle being manned and used.

However, as he watched the progress, Dom suddenly received a transmission from Riker. “Dominic, do you read, over?”, he asked

“Dominic here. What do you need Riker?”

“You've got five minutes to grab what you can and pull out”, stated Riker

Confused, Dom asked, “Sir, may I ask why? The depot is secure”

“That's just the problem. Something's wrong. I don't know what their plan is, but Lambda isn't going to let us have the depot that easy”

Easy?”, replied Dom, “Sir, with all due respect, I just lost an entire section over here. They didn't go down without a fight”

“I know Dominic, but reports say the enemy retreated. Now, my order still stands: you have five minutes to pack up and move out. Rendezvous with me at the NAV marker. Riker, over and out”

Dom shook his head, not quite understanding what was going on: however, he wasn't going to question a direct order, and so he called over Matthew from nearby.

“Matthew, Riker's calling for a regroup, so we've gotta pull outta here in five minutes. Get as many of these vehicles armed and ready as you can, got it?”

“Got it”, replied Matthew, nodding curtly before he hurried off to spread the word

Inside the base, James-K012 lugged three more gasoline cans over near the vehicles, then turned and went back for more. Yet, as he moved another group of gasoline cans, James noticed something stuck to the wall behind several more: placing down his current load, James moved more of the gas cans aside, only to discover numerous charges of explosives, wires leading out in seven other directions, and the timer counting down from 30 seconds.

“Everybody out!”, yelled James, running quickly towards the exit, “This place is gonna blow! Out, now!”

“What about the engineer team?”, asked Sora-K001 as he made for the exit

“No time!”, replied James, looking back to ensure that his comrades were all coming as well

Kevin Karaki stood outside near the already primed vehicles, and watched in confusion as Spartans stormed out of the building. Just as he was about to yell for order, one of the Spartans spoke up.

“Everybody back!”, yelled James from the midst of the crowd, “Get the vehicles away from the building! The place is gonna blow in a few seconds!”

Kevin reacted immediately, jumping into the nearest vehicle and turning it on, then bolting away from the depot. Around him, Spartans hopped into and onto the other vehicles, driving them away from the building as well: however, in just seconds, many of the vehicles, both occupied and empty, were sent toppling forward by the shockwave, trees falling over and Spartans sailing through the air as the explosive blast of the depot's detonation sent the entire building either crumbling to the ground or sailing into the air.

Dom looked back at the wreckage of the building, then checked his squadron's roster: another team's worth of Spartans had been eliminated by the blast, and four more were wounded badly. Looking around, he saw that many of the vehicles that were already out of the depot looked as though they'd still function, which would be good for whatever plan Riker had.

And just as he thought of Riker, the CO chimed in on the COM. “Dominic, what happened?!”, he asked urgently

“Explosive detonation of the depot”, coughed Dom, “Lambda rigged the place before they took off. We lost six Spartans and four are wounded, but we have a few functioning vehicles. Continue to rendezvous as planned?”

“Copy that. Continue to the rendezvous ASAP. We'll be waiting. Good luck. Riker, over and out”

Dom staggered to his feet, pushing building wreckage off himself, and then gave orders. “Alright Spartans, on your feet!”, he barked, “We ain't dead yet”


Jack-K004 shook his head as he tried to regain consciousness, hearing voices in the distance. Focusing and trying harder to reinstate his senses, Jack at last saw Hurley standing over him, yelling his name.

“Jack! Jack, are you all right?”, asked Hurley, “Jack!”

“I'm fine Hurley”, said Jack, coughing. Sawyer stepped over and pulled him up, then handed him his gun. “Thanks”

“No problem, Doc”, replied Sawyer, using one of his trademark nicknames, “Boss Man says we've got Egor on the run: he's holed up in the ammo depot. Time to get over there, now that you're back”

“Sounds good”, said Jack, nodding, “Lead the way”

Soon enough, the team met up with combined forces of King and Knight Squadrons, all of them surrounding the ammunition depot from a block's distance, keeping a wary eye out for the two remaining Wolves that Leonid had posted to provide suppressive fire against Kilo forces. The depot itself was a medium-sized building, but now it had heavy machine guns, portable Gauss turrets, missile pods and insta-crete barricades set up all around it, and, perhaps worst of all, the cameras within that would usually be hooked into the police station's visual network had been disabled, leaving Kilo to only guess how many Lambda members were left, or what they had done to the inside of the building.

“So, what's the plan?”, Sawyer asked Ben-K126 as he fell into position with the rest of the team.

“Well, going head first gets us killed”, said Ben, “But at the same time, we can't bombard it or we might blow the whole thing up; it might even take us with it. So instead, they've got the engineer teams trying to dig under it”

“You can't be serious”, said Sawyer

“Now why would I lie about something like that James?”, asked Ben, using Sawyer's proper name, much to his chagrin

At the back of the Kilo blockade, the commander sections of King and Knight Squadron consulted, looking over the situation. “We need to deal with this quickly”, said Brandon Smith, Knight's XO, “If we don't, Leonid might call in reinforcements”

“We're gonna do this the safe way for now”, said Sean, King's CO, “If we rush in head first we're all gonna get killed, and if we bomb them out we're likely to set off the depot and blow this half of the city away, ourselves included.”

“So that's why you suggest we dig our way in?”, asked Logan-G081, Ops Chief of Knight, “I say we take out the Wolves and break in through the windows, then crash through their front door while they're distracted. We've got the forces for it”

“You do not understand”, cut in Klaus Goulet, the Ops Chief for King, his Austrian accent thick as he spoke, “We are fighting a man who thinks like a machine: for every action we can take, he has planned a counter. But, we have the advantage now: they can not operate well as a unit, while we can. We will coordinate our efforts, and blow them to h***”

“What about the other squadrons?”, asked Jacob Terra, XO of King, “If Lambda reinforces, we're screwed. We don't know exactly how many they –”

Jacob was cut off however as a transmission from Riker cut in. “Joint King-Knight forces, this is Riker, do you copy, over?”

“This is Sean, Riker: we copy. What do you need, over?”

“Change of plans men: separate two sections and have them rendezvous at the NAV marker immediately”

“D***it, not now”, hissed Brandon, but not where his voice could be heard over the COM

“Copy that Riker”, replied Sean, “We'll be sure to –”

Whatever Sean would have answered was lost, however, as suddenly a building two blocks away from the command section exploded, showering debris everywhere and sending Spartans to the ground. “What the h*** was that!?”, yelled Logan-G081

“Sean, do you copy, over?”, came Riker's voice through the COM, “Sean, can you hear me, over? What is the situation?”

Sean coughed as he rose to a crouch. “Mortar shell just blasted the building”, said Sean, right before he covered his face as another shell hit a building. “What's the status on our forces at the mortar?”, he asked

“Neutralized”, replied Riker in monotone, “Sean, I'm going to need those two sections ASAP. Send them and get yourself somewhere safe, copy?”

“There isn't anywhere safe!”, yelled Brandon

“Copy that Riker. Sean, out” Snpier shots suddenly rang out, coupled with heavy fire from the two Lambda Wolves: moving quickly, Sean ducked behind one of the insta-crete barricades nearby for cover, then turned on his COM and spoke. “Attention, King Squadron Section One and Knight Squadron Section Two: pull back immediately. The Lieutenant has ordered for you to rendezvous with him at the coordinates I am broadcasting to you now. Move out ASAP. Go!”

Pulling up his marksmen rifle, Sean began to open fire on the Lambda forces, picking off the snipers and turret gunners as possible: all around him, he saw select groups of Spartans begin to strategically retreat backwards, until at last they reached side streets and dashed off to the rendezvous with the rest of the force behind the primary blockade.

Whatever his plan is, I hope it works, prayed Sean


Riker looked at his forces as they watched the two sections from the city approach the river-side rendezvous point: he now had over two squadrons worth of SPARTAN-IV's now, armed with two Scorpion tanks, three Warthogs, three Weasels, two Mongooses and two Wolves. He knew it wasn't much, but they were Spartans: they would make do with what they had, and still win.

Riker knew his plan was crazy, but at the moment he knew he needed to do something that would throw Leonid off: he knew how Leonid was, how he got into his enemy's head and predicted his every move based on what he knew of him. So Riker decided he'd let out a part of himself that he'd kept hidden for a long time: the darker, more vicious side.

Leonid had never had a chance to see that side of him properly: just glimpses here and there when Riker needed to let off steam. However, for the most part, Riker had managed to keep that slightly crazy side of himself buried for the better part of 60 years now, long enough that Leonid had never truly seen it. And if he hadn't seen it, Riker believed he couldn't anticipate it's actions properly.

“Riker”, came a female voice, breaking Riker's thoughts. Turning to look, Riker smiled slightly, but tried to keep his demeanor professional as Miranda Talavera, Krieg Squadron's XO, approached him. Despite the fact that the two had taken a liking to each other during an odd turn of events that claimed Miranda was trying to sabotage the SPARTAN-IV Program, this was a battlefield, and fraternizing with the other officers was not the proper thing to do, especially when it came from the company CO.

“Miranda”, said Riker, nodding curtly, trying to keep his smile under control

“Riker, what are you doing?”, Miranda asked with a sense of confusion and concern, “I thought the point was to hold the base and stay alive, not abandon the base and charge into the jaws of death?”

Riker smiled. “Trust me, they won't be capturing any bases”, said Riker, thinking fondly of the explosive trap that was awaiting Lambda should they enter their base cavern, “If they try and take that base, the entrance will cave in and it'll take them a while to dig through, more than enough time for us to complete our current move”

“And what exactly is our current move?”, asked Miranda

Riker grinned, then raised his hand and waved forward, yelling “Move out! It's time to take the enemy base!”

Around him, the Spartans both mounted the vehicles and proceeded on foot, with Riker's Warthog at the front of the assault on Lambda's base. Looking on his HUD, the map display showed his force heading towards the hill-top plateau ahead, and he noted with pride that the diversion detachment of scout-sniper teams was closing on the base from the west side, out of the mountains.

If all went as planned, Riker's force would strike the Lambda base like lightning, wipe it out, and then double back to the city and capture Leonid's force, which by then would likely be reinforced. After that, it would be a simple matter of assaulting the mortar facility, and then the battle would be theirs!

Pluvia Occumbo Nex!”, cried Riker


LOMISig2
Lordofmonsterisland — There are... no strings... on me...
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — US Central Time Zone
OK 501, you have two options and the choice is up to you: either you can end this battle with your next post, or you can go ahead and post once again and then let me finish it or (wait, this is a third choice; oh well) you can turn the tables on me somehow and make it last another round. Your choice.

Oh, and for those that didn't catch it (or for those that don't know if I meant it or not), yes, Viggo just made a South Park reference



29

Sarah East exited her drop pod. Immediately, hails of plasma and spiker fire flew from a pair of Shade turrets of the corners of a Jiralhanae-controlled bunker, as well as the countless Brutes. Sarah jumped behind a low wall as she removed an M66 Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher from her shoulders. Sarah waited for the Shades to cease firing to vent excess heat. Sarah then raised RPG and fired at the right turret. The rocket impacted the gun emplacement, sending it up in flames. Lt. Michael Price, Sarah's immediate commanding officer shot the gunner of the second turret with an M99 Gauss sniper rifle. The Jiralhanae manning the gun was vaporized in a red mist. Sergeant Winters, the unit's demolition's expert fired his M23 Grenade Launcher, raining high explosive shells on a squad of Jiralhanae and Kig-Yar firing from the roof of the building, killing all of them in seconds as the squad's other sniper, a Japanese woman named Rika Minami shot picked of a pair of Jiralhanae through the bunker's window firing slits with her HBR-11 with 10x scope.

"Jackson, Smith", Price yelled, "get a couple of grenades into the those firing slits. Everyone else, give 'em cover!". Sarah slung her RPG over her back and got out her M389 General Purpose Machine Gun. Sarah's GPMG and the weapons of the other ODSTs blazed as Smith and Jackson both ran up of the side of the bunker and tossed an M9 grenade each into the building. As the grenades detonated Winters ran up to the door and placed a breaching charge before he pressed the detonator. Jackson unslung his M108 ECQ Shotgun from his shoulders and entered the room first, filling startled a Brute and three grunts with flechette rounds as Smith took out a pair of of Brutes with his M10.

Suddenly, the door to the roof of the bunker burst open, and Sarah was knocked off her feet, her GPMG thrown across the room as a Smith's whole upper body was smashed to a bloody paste by a Gravity Hammer-wielding Brute Chieftain. Jackson raised his M108 as the Brute charged at him and fired off half a magazine in full auto at point blank range. The Brute, however, was merely deshielded as it brought the hammer down and Jackson, before splitting Minami's skull in two with the blade on the back. The Jirahanae Chieftain turned to Sarah, blood covered Gravity Hammer in hand. Sarah drew her M17 Ballistic Knife and pointed it at the neck of the Brute. The apelike alien laughed at the puny blade the human woman before it had drawn to challenge it's massive hammer. Sarah, pressed the firing button on the side of the knife. A spring in the handle released, launching the blade across the room, lodging itself in the Brute's neck. The alien clutched it's neck before it fell to the ground, dead.

The bunker, the dead Chieftain, and the ODSTs all vanished, replaced with a black screen on Sarah's HUD as the simulation ended.

Staff Sergeant Sarah East

Weapon: M389 GPMG, M66 RPG, M17 Ballistic Knife.

Kills: 1 Shade, 8 Grunts, 5 Jackals, 2 Brute Minors, 1 Brute Cheiftain.

Mission Completed, Unit Casualties: Three.

Replay battle? [Yes] [No]

Sarah selected "no" and exited the simulator along with the rest of the squad.

"East", Michael Price said, "Excellent shot with the ballistic knife. Smith, Jackson, Minami, that Chieftain got you guys by surprise, don't let that happen again. If that happens on the next mission, you won't be coming home alive!"

"Yes Sir, Understood Sir", the three ODSTs said in unison.

"Dismissed!", Michael Price said to Sarah's squad, before they filed out of the simulation chamber.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

30

12th of April, 2612. Simulation ground 12, Camp Sparta, Arcturus, Arcturus System, 2315 Local Time

Kilo Company’s HQ was, just like Lambda’s, well positioned to repel an assault. While Lambda’s command center was located in the open, at the top of a flat plateau, Kilo’s was positioned in the interior of a massive cave formation, buried into the side of a mountain range that stretched along the entire east side of the battlefield. The entrance was a craggy hole in the side of the sandstone rock, large enough to fit a pair of Scorpions, and was accessible by numerous trails that wounded up the side of the mountain, joining up at the top to create a small area of flat, open ground in front of the base. The whole approach was a spot rife for ambushes, so Connor had assigned Phantom Platoon to be especially cautious ascending it, and use their active camouflage generators as much as possible. But, oddly enough, there seemed to be no need.

Scrambling up the side of a small drop-off, Connor glanced behind him to make sure none of his SPARTANs had broken stealth. Sure enough, they were completely invisible, making him resort to activating his IFF tracker to determine their position. They were spread all up and down the slope, moving up the trail individually to avoid clusters. The platoon was moving up along to separate vectors, each using one of the trails to the far north or south, to provide flanking support if needed. Connor’s group, Element One, consisted of Section One and parts of Section Three, while the second group, under command of Mason-317, consisted of Section Two and the remaining parts of Section Three.

They had been anticipating heavy resistance from Kilo, and had positioned themselves to provide crossfire support, but they’d received no contact and the ascent was being eerily uneventful. If it wasn’t for the fact that they had confirmed intelligence that Kilo’s base was there, Connor would have thought they were at the wrong target.

Phantom Squadron continued up the slope, moving slowly and making sure they weren’t seen. The troops guarding the base were fresh and likely expecting some sort of raid, and Connor’s force had already made their way across the entire battlefield and participated in combat. Coupled with the seven turrets the base would have at it’s disposal, surprise, or at least speed, would be a key factor in their success.

After almost fifteen minutes of slow climbing, Connor’s force reached their target. They went prone and slowly crawled forward, edging themselves over the lip of the slope and onto the flat ground to get a clear view of the base’s interior. Though Connor’s view was limited, he could tell it was a standard pre-fab UNSC command post, with emplaced turret defenses and Kilo Company SPARTANs on patrol. Glancing to his right, Connor activated his tracker and saw Mason’s group arrive in position as well. In the corner of his HUD, Connor clicked his acknowledgement light green, and immediately saw Mason’s flash green as well. It was time.

“Go.” said Connor

In silence, Phantom Platoon rose and began their attack. Assault Teams rushed forward, CQB weapons readied, while the fire teams moved in behind them. Sniper teams covered the advance, firing on the closest patrols and bringing down multiple targets with headshots as soon as the engagement began. Connor drew his MA6A and joined them, springing forward and firing in controlled bursts into the mass of enemy targets. Kilo, to their credit, reacted almost instantly; they spun towards the entrance, if they hadn’t already been facing it, and open fired on the charging, half cloaked Lambda troopers. Shields flared, popped, and frizzled on both sides, as Lambda closed the gap towards the entrance. One Kilo trooper primed a frag grenade and tossed it forward. It skittered to a halt in front of one Lambda soldier who rolled swiftly to the side and continued running as it detonated behind him in a cloud of thunder and smoke.

Kilo began to pull back, retreating towards the base and firing sloppily aimed bursts behind them as they backpedaled. For a moment, Connor thought proudly that his SPARTANs had done the impossible, and taken Kilo by complete surprise.

Then he remembered why it was impossible.

The defense squadron were fresh, rested, and highly intelligent. They hadn’t known for sure Lambda was coming, but it wasn’t a hard guess either. Their attack would never shock them enough to prevent a strong defense. There retreat was a clear sign something more was at work--something very bad for Phantom platoon.

With a jolt of fear, Connor suddenly realized his mistake. It was a classic, textbook trap, and Lambda, even with all their training, experience, and caution, had walked right into it. Glancing up at the ceiling, his fears were confirmed. All across the ceiling, well camouflaged but visible to an experienced observer, were explosive charges. Dozens of them. Enough to bring down the whole mouth of the cave--the same mouth of the cave that Phantom was about to run right under.

“Stop!” yelled Connor, “Move back! The roof is wired to blow!”

Lambda had been drilled since day one to react to orders instantly, without question or debate, and immediately halted and turned away. At that moment, the Kilo forces must have realized their trap had been discovered, and detonated the explosives. A series of concussions boomed across the cave mouth, collapsing it in a avalanche of cascading stone. Lambda turned to retreat, sprinting to get away. Connor and the fire teams made it away, but one of the assault teams wasn’t so lucky. Before they could get clear, a torrent of rubble slammed into them, burying them under hundreds of tons of simulated stone.

As the last bits of stone settled and the dust cleared, Connor turned to survey the damage. What he found was not good. The entire mouth of the cave was blocked by rock, ranging from small pebbles to boulders the size of a Warthog LRV. From the direction of the slide, Connor could tell the collapse had been carefully engineered to keep any rock from injuring Kilo Company forces or damaging the base. On the other side, it seemed to have been specifically designed to block the entranceway with as much rubble as possible.

Connor swore quietly to himself. Phantom had no digging tools and excavating the entrance by hand could take hours. But the plan also hinged on eliminating Kilo’s base, which meant they couldn’t just up and leave. Connor tried contacting Leonid on the radio, but received only static. His radio must have been damaged, or they must have already been putting phase three of the plan into motion. Connor was on his own.

Turning back to the collapsed entrance, Connor activated a platoon wide comm channel, addressing the silent Lambda SPARTANs. He quickly issued orders detailing which groups would act as sentries and which groups would dig. As soon as the roles were established, Phantom Squadron jumped into motion. There was work to be done, and they had to do it fast.


Laying motionless atop the northern hill, active camouflage engaged, Scott-G145 couldn’t help but wonder if they could pull this one off. Everything had been going smoothly according to plan, until of course Kilo decided to throw a wrench in the works and send everything to hell and a hand basket. From the sound of things on the radio, Squadron Two was having trouble accomplishing their task of capturing the enemy HQ, Four was having difficulty zeroing in their mortar, and Five had lost half of it’s troops when they’d been cut off and surrounded by Kilo Company SPARTANs. Add that to the motorized Kilo Company force heading straight for their base, and Scott had to wonder what else could go wrong.

In this distance, a growing dust cloud could be seen approaching as Kilo headed for their position, armed to the teeth with vehicles. Maya-G257, the Squadron Three CO, currently assigned to over watch and positioned nicely on the ridge to the west, had informed Scott that the force included everything from Scorpion tanks to warthogs, heavy vehicles that the wounded Ghost Platoon had neither the weaponry nor the manpower to confront. They’d been counting on those explosives to take out the vehicles, but apparently Kilo had gotten them out before the charges detonated.

The plan had been to lure Kilo in with several wounded members of Squadron One, while elements of Squadron Three took positions on a nearby hill and ovewatch on the ridge, with a small team moving south on the ridge in order to ambush any Kilo company scouts who tried to move through the mountains. The healthy members of Squadron One would take up positions on two other hills, forming a triangle around the lure. The idea was not a complex one; lure them straight in, and open fire from the high ground on the surprised infantry. Given the usually complex and detail oriented nature of Lambda’s plans, Scott had been hoping that the simple, relatively obvious maneuver would be overlooked for it’s sheer lack of subtlety. Given the size of the force facing them, however, he had to wonder if it would even make a difference.

Still, there was no backing out now. Kilo Company had stopped for a brief moment, scanned the area, and quickly located the lure team, who were making a convincing show of limping back to the base. Their wounds were real after all--or at least as real as a holographic simulation could inflict. Watching them closely, Scott could tell Kilo had hesitated a moment, as if sensing the trap that lay beyond. Moving past their hesitation, Scott watched through his targeting control scope as they accelerated, this time moving at a full speed combat pace. The warthogs raced ahead of the Scorpions, chain guns leveled on the wounded Lambda troops. Scott noted that they were loaded down heavily with infantry, and realized with a start that they weren’t just facing forces from the depot--Riker had pulled troops away from city to mount an attack. He wasn’t as gullible as they’d thought.

Scott thought about calling Leonid, but decided against it. If all was going to plan, he would already be out of radio contact by now, and all it would do would pointlessly give away his position. Checking his ammo, he made sure his attention was focused on the approaching Kilo forces. They were less than two hundred meters away from the injured team now, and closing fast in their LRVs. Scott eased into his scope and watched as the injured team turned, perhaps looking just a bit to surprised, and fired off a few badly aimed bursts. The few rounds that made contact bounced off the reinforced front armor, doing little damage. Kilo moved in for the kill, and raked the chain guns in a long line across the line of Lambda troopers. Their shields popped within moments, and they fell limp to the ground seconds later, armor perforated in a dozen spots.

The hogs rolled up to the bodies, checking to make sure they were down. One Lambda SPARTAN had managed to survive the attack, and a single Kilo soldier exited the side seat of his hog and executed with a swift pistol round to the faceplate. Meanwhile, the Scorpions rolled forward, doing their best to catch up with the Warthogs. Scott slowly sighted in and activated the targeting software in his fire control scope, linking it to the few heavy weapons specialists in the ambush force. He highlighted his three remaining Fireteam Special Weapons NCOs and flared a Scorpion tank for each of them. There was no time to select targets for anyone else; they’d have to pick them out for themselves on the fly. Activating his grenade launcher and lining up a quick shot on a nearby hog, he clicked on his comm unit.

“Open fire.”

The words hung in the air for the briefest of moments, and then all hell broke loose.


Moving silently and discreetly across the landscape, two SPARTANs headed quietly towards their objective. They arrived to find it deserted, and set to work with only the occasional background noise of chattering rifles to keep them company. Their job was deceptively simple, a normally easy mission made complicated by the necessity of doing it both fast and with perfect stealth. They were less than three hundred meters from the city, and if they were discovered, their time to live would shrink rapidly.

Placing the charges along the length of their target, they double checked their handiwork to make sure the detonators were secure. They were using improvised bombs crafted from remote triggers and several units of C-14, making them far from ideal examples of reliability. And just like maintaining stealth, any break in their dependability would have dire consequences for the engineering team.

The two SPARTANs silently finished their work and stepped back to momentarily admire their handiwork. Satisfied, they loaded up whatever gear they had displaced and headed south towards their next target. They arrived in less than five minutes, prepping it just as they had the last one and placing their charges with machine like precision. Repeating the same process as before, they again repacked their equipment. And headed south. They were on a tight timetable and still had to reach two more objectives and return to their vantage point, all before Phase 3 began. There was no time to waste.


Jacky-359 normally wouldn’t have resented having her leadership usurped by Leonid, but something about today seemed to be an exception to that rule. She’d always had a bit of a temper problem, being prone to emotional outbursts when angered, and being forced to fight Kilo Company was really accentuating it.

Crouching near one of the reinforced windows of the ammo depot, Jacky checked the ammo in her BR-09’s magazine before rising and open firing. On the street, four Kilo Company troopers who’d been trying to advance dove for cover, shields sparkling as her fire strafed across them. They probably could have kept moving and still made it, but they were being unusually cautious; not taking any severe risks, slowly advancing and keeping Lambda pinned, as if waiting for reinforcements. Which, of course, they were. Lambda hadn’t missed Kilo’s mass withdrawal from the city, and it was obvious that they were converging on their base, but at the same time, they were powerless to stop it.

Kilo still outnumbered them, and had good positioning around the depot; Lambda could repel them easily enough, but they had zero chance of leaving via the streets. It was the whole reason Leonid had implemented Phase Three, and the reason he was no longer anywhere to be seen. Despite Leonid’s assurances, Jacky couldn’t help being a little nervous; with all the ordnance in the warehouse, they were literally sitting on a ticking time bomb. Kilo had stolen their idea and already sent scouts below ground through the sewer system to try and find a route into the depot, but Lambda had already sealed and set traps, blocking them off. If they were going to get inside, they’d have to do it above ground.

A burst of fire from the street below made Jacky duck back into cover, shields glowing. She couldn’t tell where the fire had come from, but apparently another member of her team had; one of the buildings below crumpled as a Lambda SPARTAN let loose with a mounted gauss cannon, smashing it to pieces and sending the attacker running for cover. Jacky smiled in satisfaction, but it disappeared when she realized the four Kilo troopers from earlier had moved forward while she was distracted. Cursing quietly to herself, she primed her grenade launcher and sent a round downrange, scattering them but doing no real damage. The round detonated and left a gaping hole in a lime green house behind them, and Jacky switched to her rifle without bothering to reload the grenade launcher. Watching the Kilo troopers dart into cover and wait out her assault, she sighed. It was going to be a long night.


SP501 SIG2 Image
Spartan 501//Your screams blacken my soul// //I am shadow, I am death// //I am alone in the dark, but not afraid//
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Pacific Standard Time
Ok LOMI, there’s my post. Go ahead and have your forces annihilate the guys on the hills and take the base, but do have them get roughed up a little bit, and if possible, have the over watch group up on the ridge pull an epic final stand before being rolled over. Then, you can continue your update right up to the point where you breach into the ammo depot. After that, cut it off, if you will. I’ve got a special ending in mind for the poor sobs left in the depot. Rest assured, I’ll be sure to make sure everyone inside it gets eliminated. Oh, and one more thing. In case you didn’t pick up on it, those two SPARTANs were Combat Engineers from my Squadron at the mortar, and they were placing explosives on the bridge. I’d like to humbly request that the first set of explosives activate and cause a bit of annoyance for your troops, but that the second ones will fail to detonate. After that, feel free to roll across the bridge and stomp all over the Combat Engineers. They’ll be in the lime green house on the outskirts of the city that is to the far west. Good luck,


31

Neil watched the mission objective scroll across the screen, taking in every word. Both fire teams were to deploy in hornets to a covenant city. They would deploy in hornets, engage enemy banshees and take out a anti-air craft battery. He felt everything fade to black for a seconds, and then the holograms appeared.

Neil was standing next to a hornet, his teammates also standing behind him.

"I call pilot." He said quickly, and jumped inside the hornet. He powered the systems up, and then watched it fly. He was joined by a second hornet, also packed with Spartans. The ones from Delta Company, no doubt. Six F/A-110 Axe fighters whized pass them. Neil powered up the systems and began to fly faster. Suddenly, warning lights began to flash. Banshees swooped in on them. Neil junked left, dodging fire for a second before spraying his LAAGs and the banshee. The banshee rolled, and he hit the missiles. The heat-seeking missiles slammed into the banshee, turning it into a fireball. A second banshee got on his tail for a second, before the combined armor pierceing rounds of his team sent the banshee packing. Neil kept up the fire on the banshees until they were eliminated, and then brought his hornet to the ground and jumped out. He took out his assault rifle and began scanning the highway. Nothing. The place was clear. Suddenly, a red NAV point appeared on their HUD to their east. He smiled. At least they still had recon on his mission.

"Move out, head for objective." He ordered. The SPARTANs began to walk towards the objective in a quick, yet careful manner.

Resistance was light on the covenant highway. It didn't help that the recon plane simply alerted them to whatever enemy was coming. A single brute on a chopper came driving towards the SPARTANs. Maria distracted him by firing at him, and then Will got behind him and boarded the chopper and finished the brute off with his own craft's weapons. The SPARTANs continued walking. Twice they encountered grunt patrols and twice a bunch of dead grunts lay behind them as they moved on.

As they went on, resistance got heavier. When the reached the outskirts of the covenant city, a single prowler lay waiting for them. Neil and Carl went right, Maria and Will went left and Megan threw a grenade at her feet and took a few steps back. The prowler went straight for Megan, who dodged left. The prowler flipped over as the grenade detonated, and two brutes crawled out. They were killed quickly.

"Two wraiths up ahead, better watch out. Oh shit, there's-" The recon plane's pilot was cut off, and suddenly, a loud, high pitched sound broke out. Banshees swirled in the air above them. Neil counted at least fifty. Their air support turned quickly into a bunch of comets streaking towards the earth. A vampire swooped overhead, and a pair of banshees flew down to dive-bomb them. Plasma bolts charred the ground. Megan's shields flickered angrily as a burst of plasma fire hit it. Carl threw a plasma grenade up into the air, and it stuck to the banshee's wing. The plane exploded in mid-air.

"Let's get out of here NOW!" Neil ordered. Megan fired her rocket launcher and took out another banshee, and they sprinted into a brute's house. A single unarmored, but still angry brute roared at them and charged. Neil fired his weapon at the brute and it went down.

"Now what?" Maria said, as the building shook.

"Sir, recomend we find better cover." Carl suggested.

"Noted." Neil replied. The roof began to cave in.

"Let's find better cover." Neil ordered. The SPARTANs ran out of the house.

"Smoke grenades, NOW!" Neil ordered. Someone tossed a smoke grenade, and the banshees were momentarily stunned before they just began pouring fire randomly. The SPARTANs ran. Megan fired a rocket and took down another banshee, and they sprinted into a alley.

"We can't do much with banshees bombing us to bits." Neil pointed out. Just then, the com cracked.

"What's your situation?" We're almost at the objective, but then our hornet got shot down and we lost three people." The Delta Company spartan said. You could tell by the tone of his voice that he wasn't happy to announce he'd lost 60% of his team.

"All of us are still here, but we're pinned down at the moment by some banshees. They took out our air support."

"Yeah, about fifty banshees showed up all of a sudden and began a massive slaughter in the air. We've got no way to strike back other than launchers, and those won't last long."

"Affermative."

"Alright, keep in touch."

"Affermative. Over and out."

Norman-123 13:52, May 16, 2010 (UTC)


32

2310 HOURS, APRIL 12TH, 2612 (LOCAL TIME), ARCTURUS SYSTEM, PLANET ARCTURUS, SIMULATION GROUND 5

All members of Albion Company knew of their el-tee's eccentric habit of hacking into everything with a 'SECRET' sign on it, including the programs for the simulator. But this time, as Fred dove behind a simulated rock just before the spot he had stood on was painted with glowing-hot spiker rounds, he thought that this time, their tech-savvy CO, Laszlo, had gone too far.

When they had begun, the battlefield had taken the form of an insurrectionist encampment, with the company's objective being to silently obtain data from the central computer inside. However, the moment they had reached the database, the whole simulation ground turned into a rocky hillside with Covenant troops in all directions. As he took proper cover behind the rock like his teammates, Fred thought that he could have sworn that he also saw a four-legged scarab walker in the distance.

Fred could hear his team leader, Jack-A151 curse silently before ordering the team to rise out of cover to provide suppressive fire. Exactly three point two seconds later they took cover again as the enemy focused their fire on the rock. Spiker and plasma rounds grazed the rock's edges, melting away segments of it each time. Sounds of gunfire from both alien and human weapons could be heard, mixing with the injured shrieks that, judging by the sounds, were mostly alien, but also one or two Spartans who had been too surprised to find cover quick enough.

While reloading his half-emptied MA6A assault rifle, Fred paid attention as the company's leader for this battle sim, XO Tom-B292, issued a company-wide order.

”Platoons Epsilon through Rho execute formation A-1 on marked locations X and Y. Lambda provide heavy suppressive fire, rockets, grenades, missiles. Omega execute formation S-5 on location z. Commence on my mark.”

Fred immediately recognized the maneuver; formation A-1 meant that the designated platoons would immediately assault the targeted locations and then go into cover again once the platoon providing suppressive fire had wasted their mags. Meanwhile, the formation S-5 group would quietly and without drawing attention take an unconventional route and cleanly seize location Z. From there, the enemy would either temporarily redirect their focus on the captured hill, giving the other Spartans the momentum to swarm locations X and Y, or, they would keep firing at the assault groups, letting the stealth group attack them in the rear and give openings for the assault groups. Either way would, hopefully, give the Spartans more solid locations to entrench themselves on and deal their foes some casualties.

However, they had to be quick; if they took too long executing the maneuvers, the scarab in the distance could catch up to them and fry them all before they had properly settled in good enough cover. The risk was great, but Fred couldn't think of anything better to do, so he simply double- and triple-checked his weapons and gadgets as he prepared himself for the impending order to charge. He exchanged quick looks with Jack, Maria and Lena before the green acknowledgement light from Tom lit up their HUDs. The instant it did, Albion Company moved as one, scaling the hills with guns blazing.


2312 HOURS, APRIL 12TH, 2612 (LOCAL TIME), ARCTURUS SYSTEM, PLANET ARCTURUS, ALBION COMPANY CAMPUS

Laszlo closed his hacking software and turned back to the main viewscreen, where his subordinates had started to leap out of cover and attack the simulated enemies, only to take cover again behind a new set of hills a few meters ahead, beginning a firefight. Classic formation A-1/B-5 combination he thought to himself, but silently commended his second in-command for having adjusted to the drastically different battlefield and issuing new orders so quickly. The IIIs were not quite at the IIs' level, but Laszlo thought that Tom was actually very close to himself on the food chain.

To his left, the blue-hued avatar of an ancient Greek soldier appeared, hovering over the projector pedestal in which the AI had currently stored itself and adding a bluish light throughout the dimly lit room. “You are an evil man, you know that Laszlo?” it asked, crossing its hairy arms and maintaining a somewhat stern look.

“Why?” Laszlo replied, trying to cheer up the AI by ending the statement with a smug grin, which failed miserably. Before the AI could answer, a red-haired and grey-eyed woman standing on Laszlo's right interjected.

“Y’know, the lightshow has a point” she said in a slightly Italian tone, gesturing to the AI, Odysseus, who now stared angrily at her for being interrupted. She ignored it. “I’m sure your subordinates are very tired by now with you constantly changing the simulations.”

“Combat is unpredictable” Laszlo said simply, in a rare streak of seriousness. “They have to be ready for anything.”

“That’s a commendable thought” Odysseus added, “but how often does a rebel base suddenly shapeshift into a rocky hillside full of Covenant?”

“Oh, you know rebel bases are like that; they stand there, looking like an ordinary base, until you’re inside; then they turn into a cliff or something. Gives the intruders sore feet, right?” Laszlo answered, back to his joking demeanor. “Then again,” he added, interrupting the AI “it’s good for testing my skills too, you know? The spooks added another security layer to their simulation network last week, after all. This way, I get to keep my tech-savvy skills sharp, and the spooks know that their encryption can still be broken; everybody happy!”

“Except for the poor sods in the simulator.” the woman replied, pointing towards the screen where the battle was still raging. Laszlo chuckled quietly when she said that, but didn’t respond. Instead, he turned his head to Odysseus’ avatar.

“Make sure to record it all” he told the AI. “I want to watch it all later, see how well they handled it.”

“Why won’t you watch it now?” the AI asked, now with a curious look.

“There’s something much more exciting going on elsewhere” Laszlo replied with his usual grin, then turned back to the woman on his right. “Wanna watch it with me in the mess hall, Aurora? I might even hold out the chair for you this time.”

“Hmph” Aurora grunted, “I thought I dedicated 60-plus years to telling you to just call me Aura?”

“Might I remind you that much, if not most, of that time was spent in cryo sleep?” Laszlo countered. “I fear I’ll need another year or two to fully learn the lesson. Now, you failed to answer my question, madam; will you or will you not watch two Spartan companies tearing each other apart in a mock battle with me?”

“When you put it that way, how can I say no?” Aurora said. “But only if you hold out the chair properly like a good little boy this time” she quickly added with a smug grin. She then followed the Spartan out of the room to the dark corridors outside, leaving the AI avatar and the active viewscreen the only moving things in the room. After a while, the AI shut down its avatar and continued with its tasks.


2315 HOURS, APRIL 12TH, 2612 (TRANSLATED COVENANT CALENDAR), PIOUS ASCENSION SYSTEM, PLANET PIOUS ASCENSION, TAURUS PACK FIGHTING GROUND

Solidus stared down at his fallen opponent, panting heavily, which only added to the musky feeling in the room. At the other end of the room, several others in the pack sat, exchanging various trinkets and belongings they had used to bet on the fight. At last half the small audience proceeded to cast angry glares at Solidus; he knew that they would try to make his life sour for a while.

Though skilled, Solidus was a very new addition to the pack, and many of the senior members resented his quick ascension in the rank ladder. Solidus guessed that they thought he was Chieftain Taurus' favorite and thus hadn't earned any of promotions. But he knew that, although Taurus had specifically requested him to be transferred to his pack, he had to fight for everything he gained just like the others; he just did it better.

Ignoring the hostile glares and cheering looks in the audience, he wiped some sweat from his face and then began walking out – intentionally walking on his unconscious opponent's face as he did so. He strode through the entrance and continued briskly down the hall. He only stopped briefly when he approached a window – or rather, just a hole torn in the wall to let in some air into the otherwise suffocating passage – where he looked out for a moment, taking a unit to watch the stars on the clear night sky.

As he did so, in one short instant, he suddenly felt something. As if something in the distance was approaching he thought to himself. As if something big was coming. Shrugging it off as a hallucination caused by fatigue of spending a whole day sparring, he carried on through the hallway towards the pack's quarters. He had earned himself some rest.


(Hurray for foreshadowing :P)

Survivor of the Old Guard

33

DATE: 13th April 2612; LOCATION: Port Midgard, Manheim; TIME: 0130

Alice Peters sat to the side of the large board for the Vorenus game Telkaz, watching as seven members of her squadron played the alien game, and she doubted that she could have been more confused if she'd suddenly discovered she was a Grunt and Earth's moon really was made of cheese. No matter how much she tried to understand it though, the game continued to boggle her mind.

“What's the point again?”, Alice asked

“To win”, replied her brother Joshua, whom she was sitting beside. She proceeded to punch him in the shoulder, which gave her the gratifying response of a girl-like yelp.

“There are seven players”, stated Phillipe Roache from across the table in a matter-of-fact, “Four teams: the tyrant, the rebels, the people and the enemies. The tyrant is only one player, but he has the second most forces. The people are numerous but weak. The rebels are armed but few. The enemies are both numerous and armed. The tyrant must defend the throne and control the people, the enemies and the rebels must seize the throne and stop their rival, and the people must defeat the tyrant, reign in the rebels and kill the enemies. It's quite simple once you understand it”

“Sure...”, replied Alice, perhaps more confused than before

“Think of it as an uneven, four-way game of chess”, said Roy Drake as he moved one of his piece to eliminate one the “rebel” pieces, belonging to Joshua and Aaron's team. “Basically, you must defeat your opponents: however, you must also capture the capital and the city to win”

“OK.... what about the little pieces of tile you keep getting?”

Shogunai eose”, came Akira Yuki's reply in Japanese as another piece from the “enemies” team was eliminated by the “tyrant”

“I can't help it that I haven't played this as long as you!”, retorted Rex Summeral, obviously versed in his comrade's language

“Not you”, said Akira, and then pointed at Alice. “Her. The little tile pieces are called gemga, and are given for each strategical point you take or each enemy you kill. Every two, you may gain a lesser army member; every five, a greater army member; every seven, a great warrior”

“Ah”, said Alice, a blank look on her face, “I still don't get it”

Shogunai eose”, repeated Akira before knocking over one of the “tyrant” great warrior pieces

“Hey!”, objected Clyde Davis. Akira merely smiled.

Walking into the room with Marshall Drake and Mary Cragin, Robert Nicholas Summers Jr. – or simply Nick to his friends – saw the Telkaz board on the table and quite literally moaned. “Not this again”, he whined, “Can someone please say you're winning?”

“Asking who is winning in this game is comparable to asking for the meaning of life”, said Rex, “You'll receive a dozen answers and none of them will be certain”

“But I'm winning”, affirmed Clyde

“How can you tell?”, he asked. Pointing to Roy and Phillipe's “people” pieces, he said, “It looks like they have more pieces”

“They do”, replied Clyde, smiling smugly, “But I'm winning”

“I am still so confused”, said Alice

“Don't worry about it Alice”, replied Mary, “I've known Roy for as long as I can remember and I still can't figure it out”

“And you never will”, joked Roy, smiling as he continued to play

Mary simply shook her head and sat down on one of the couches nearby, then turned on the computer monitor and began to play her favorite artists, centuries old hits by people like Hannah Montana, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Eats World and, her absolute favorite, Linkin Park. As soon as Linkin Park's music began to come out of the speakers, Roy gritted his teeth in distaste.

“Please, can't you find anything else to play?”, he begged Mary

“No”, she said, giving Roy the same smile he'd given her earlier.

Soon, the other members of the squadron found their way into the room as well: first Nathaniel Walters and Justin Cragin Jr. walked in – with Justin commenting on his sister's bad choices in music – and joined Marshall and Nick in a game of Judgement Infinity: Platinum Edition multiplayer, and soon after they were followed by Nick Tatopolous – who received a customary mispronunciation of his last name by Akira – and Akane Yashiro, who proceeded to flop her goth self onto the couch next to Mary and hijack her computer, changing the music tracks to a large playlist of head-banging rock music.

At one time, Mary would've attempted to murder whoever was foolish enough to do something like Akane had just done, but over the years Mary had gotten used to the girl's behavior, and the two had come to mutual agreement and understanding, which some went so far as to call friendship – the girls, however, were not among that number. Understanding Akane well enough, Mary simply ejected the the USB drive that contained her music and moved to a different computer across the room.

Much later than the others, Samuel walked into the room alone, heading straight for the large game table, where Akira and Rex's “enemies” were closing in one the “tyrant”. However, at the last moment, Clyde moved and eliminated three of Akira's pieces, prompting rage from the Asian: he was about to yell in Japanese at Clyde, but Samuel beat him to the punch.

Shogunai eose!”, he yelled at his cousin Clyde, only to receive a laugh in response and a rude glance from Akira. “What?”, he asked innocently, “That would've been the gist of what you'd have said”

“It would have meant something quite different”, replied Akira adamantly before he turned back to the board and furiously sacrificed two more troops in assaulting Clyde's position

Samuel, meanwhile, proud of his “accomplishment”, suddenly saw Akane in her depressed state and went over to speak with her: even though he knew she was unlikely to say anything back to him, Samuel was the squadron's leader, and therefore he saw the well-being of his comrades as one of his responsibilities. Sitting down next to Akane and her music-blaring computer, he asked, “Want to talk about it?”

Akane pretended not to hear him.

“Look”, continued Samuel, “I know it's not easy, but you have to deal with it: you're going to kill people, and they might be people that you think you know. I know it's probably hard for you, raised in the underground of Fell Justice with kids from just about every species, but you've got to realize they aren't your friends. You're going to have to kill them: if you get lucky, it'll just be Brutes; if not, then you might have to kill some rebels”

“You talk like they aren't human anymore”, said Akane

“They did something wrong, and now they have to pay for that choice. They could surrender or defect before the battle, but they don't”

“Because they think it's right”, said Akane, glaring at Samuel now, “I was this close to joining the URF until they raided Bast and then burned it. If they hadn't done that, or if I had gone sooner, I'd be a rebel right now. Would you have killed me Samuel, without any thoughts or regrets?”

“Don't think I don't have regrets”, said Samuel, “You don't know what I go through, what nightmares I have. Don't think I don't have regrets. You didn't lose your parents to rebels; you didn't have your children die; you didn't lose your wife to a freak case of cancer. Don't talk to me about regrets. You chose your path: by your own account, you ran away from home, so if you made the wrong choice, it's your mistake. Now shape up and get your head back out of your butt, soldier, or I might just beat into such a pulp they won't be able to figure out what you were”

And with that, Samuel got up and walked to the nearby sim-deck, turning it on and entering a combat program, leaving Akane to listen to her heavy metal: the music seemed strangely distant and quiet now, and she couldn't help feel a little pity for her commander, and realize that perhaps she'd been wrong.

Shogunai eose!” Akira rang out one last time as Clyde won, and they began another round


DATE: 13th April 2612; LOCATION: Camp Sparta, Arcturus; TIME: 0215

Riker jumped from his Warthog with only seconds to spare, surviving the blast but being thrown forward: landing, he regained his senses quickly and pushed himself off the ground, charging forward and opening fire upon the Lambda defenses. Pushing forward by sheer tenacity, Kilo and Lambda's casualties were almost even with Lambda having lost several more members: although Riker couldn't entirely agree with Leonid's idea of delegating the injured to guarding the base, they held their own surprisingly well, but they were still in a bad position due to Kilo's superior numbers.

Riker wasn't surprised that the Lambda forces had been able to spot him and hastily coordinate a counter-attack – after all, he had just drove a mechanized force nearly half the size of his company across barren grass plains and straight to their doorstep – but he was more than glad that Leonid had apparently not anticipated such an attack. More and more, Riker was allowing himself to let out some of his well-caged emotions, releasing his old persona from the Great War's heyday, pushing his forces into the base's heart like a raging animal.

Driving his own soldiers towards the enemy camp, the Warthogs had eliminated most of the front line of defense before half received blown engines or hijack-induced crashes, while the Scorpion tanks managed to obliterate most of the defensive turret network before one was destroyed and a second suffered significant damage. Prompted to relegate the essential vehicles to a support and suppressive firing position at the battle's edge, Riker's forces took full control of the attack, having already made their way two-thirds of the way up the hill: taking casualties despite their best efforts, the Kilo Spartans continued their relentless march up the hill, firing upon the Lambda Spartans at every chance and continually moving to avoid as much fire as they could.

Quickly attaching the M025 Grenade Launcher to his BR09, Riker opened fire on one of the turret emplacements, causing the gunner to rip off the turret and roll to the side before returning to his firing position, only to be forced back as Miranda Talavera and a fireteam from Krieg Squadron provided suppressive fire on the Spartan. Over the COM, Riker yelled “Into the breach!”, then ran forward towards the turret-wielder's position: jumping towards him, he tackled him as he came down and twist his neck, rolling into an upright position and blasting two more Spartans full on with his M77 Mini-Shotguns.

Behind Riker, the rest of the Kilo Spartans began filing in, each covering the others as they rolled forward like an olive green wave of death. James-K012 and the rest of his fireteam moved forward in the wave, James and Clayton jumping forward and going into close combat before being followed by Dillon and Jared in mid-range rifle support and lastly Nick and Aubrey in a further back support position. Dashing out of the line of fire from one of the defensive turrets, James rolled back up and came very close to death before Clayton stabbed his Combat Axe into the Lambda Spartan, stopping him from bringing his shotgun to bear fully. The blow still launched however, glancing James' shoulder and knocking him back: Nick and Jared moved in to cover James, while Clayton and Dillon quickly picked off several more attackers as they moved him behind one of the base's pre-fab buildings.

“I'll be alright”, said James as he tried to stand again, only to wince slightly

“No, you won't”, stated Aubrey as she pushed him back down and rapidly set his shoulder in place, placed a splint and injected bio-foam. “Stay behind us”, she said firmly, then got up and continued the relentless push.

Miranda Talavera used her talents of speed and agility to her advantage, jumping and dodging Lambda Spartans when they believed they had her for sure: somersaulting over another Spartan, distracting it long enough for a Kilo fireteam to take them out. Yet, as a turret ripped through three Kilo Spartans, Miranda turned just in time to see Riker knock her out of the line of fire and throw his Combat Axe into the attacking gunner, the axe lodging itself into the Spartan's neck.

“Thanks”, muttered Miranda.

“Any time”, said Riker as he helped her up and then dashed off to continue the fight. Kilo's wave had managed to break into the actual base structures, spreading out through the pre-fab buildings on a search and destroy mission. Lambda fought valiantly, taking down Kilo Spartans often, but whereas Lambda was each a powerful assassin on their own, Kilo was unstoppable as a team, a nigh invincible force of combined will and power, and for every Kilo Spartan killed by Lambda, one or two Lambda Spartans fell.

Dashing through the combat, Dominic did his best to avoid the gunfire and moved as quickly as he could through the camp and towards the main command structure. Coming towards the building from the side, Dom stuck his head around the corner and located the sentries posted at the door: dashing out, Dom closed the distance and killed in rapid succession, snapping the first sentry's neck, dodging the second's attack before punching him in the face and blasting the third with a shotgun shot to the chest.

Convinced the area of safe enough, Dom entered and reactivated the computer system, then quickly placed Susano into the system. Riker hadn't been a fool: he'd expected Lambda to try and eliminate him during the assault, and they were trying their best to do so; knowing Riker would be watched closer than HIGHCOM, Dom had taken Susano and was given the mission to take control of the base's defenses and other systems.

“Give me a minute”, said Susano, “I'm almost through. Leonid was no fool with his cyber-defenses, but he's no Ajax or Laz either. Almost – Dom, look out!”

Turning, Dom saw Scott-G145 charging towards him from a few feet away: raising his arms in defense, Dom had just enough time to block Scott's blow, but it still sent him skidding two feet backwards; retaliating, Dom and Scott began to throw punches and kicks faster than any normal human being could do. Finally, Dom appeared to have gained the upper hand and moved to grab and snap Scott's neck, only for Scott to react in a split second and stab Dom with his combat knife.

Yet, the victory was only momentary, for as Scott moved to extricated Susano from the computer, Riku-K077 moved in and ended Scott's existence with a quick marksmen rifle shot to the faceplate. Ensuring the foe's death, Riku moved to the computer and checked on Susano's status while the rest of his team secured the building.

As the base defenses began to turn on the Lambda Spartans, Kilo gained a final upper hand, killing foes and driving many back as Lambda moved in a retreating fashion. Riker was at the lead once again, driving the forces out of the base and working to ensure that they were thoroughly beaten. Yet, as they moved, Riker's COM channel crackled to life with news from the scout-sniper division that had moved through the mountains to the west.

“This is Ivan-K034”, came a Spartan's voice, “We've got a detachment of Lambda forces on a ridge over here. More reinforcements are piling in, and they're laying down suppressive fire. Orders?”

“Hold position”, replied Riker, “We're closing in on the ridge now. Keep them busy as long as you can. Riker, out”

Kilo continued to push forward, and as they reached the bottom of the ridge area the scout-sniper teams had indicated, Riker realized that they were in for some serious resistant: a steep climb covered with good sized boulders, Lambda was positioned in such a way as to be able to fire on them as they came up from any angle, while Kilo could hardly get a shot at their positions. Knowing only one thing to do, Riker ordered a full own assault on the ridge, hoping his superior numbers and fresher troops would be able to win the position and eliminate Lambda's detachment.

Slowly, Kilo's soldiers pushed up the ridge, Lambda raining down fire the entire time, forcing Kilo to carefully hide behind the boulders for most of the climb; at times, they would find a Lambda Spartan waiting in ambush, and a firefight would break out, but would end soon enough with Kilo continuing to move. At last, with an order from Riker for the scout-sniper teams to charge the ridge, Kilo broke onto the flat top and began their final fight at the base.

In his mind, Riker had to give Maya-G257 credit for being able to inspire her troops to such a degree of viciousness and will to survive: though Kilo pushed forward, the Lambda Spartans were incredibly valiant, firing from behind their fortifications and taking out numerous Kilo soldiers before Riker even realized where the well-camouflaged position was at. Riker's plan was to attempt to slowly wear the group down and then break in with only a handful of survivors left at the end, but, as the plan moved along, Lambda decided to unleash hell and go out with a bang, charging from their position into the jaws of death, intent on taking as many Kilo Spartans with them as they could.

Charging forward, the forces clashed in a storm of chaos and carnage, shots fired everywhere, fists and melee weapons clashing and killing, Spartans falling back, moving forward, and collapsing dead. Some Spartans were lucky: Elijah fought with a fury born of Dom's death, and he moved with such speed and deadliness that he avoided harm; Riker, however, received a handful of wounds from both bullets and knives, but continued to fight as well as he could. Around him, both Kilo and Lambda Spartans proved their tenacity by continuing to fight with weeping wounds: one Kilo Spartan was stabbed and torn through his stomach area, but he managed to kill Lambda soldiers before dying; likewise, a pair of Lambda Spartans continued to fight after being stabbed in multiple spots and having limbs broken, until at last they were killed with a final blow.

All around the ridge, carnage reigned, bodies piling to the point where Viggo could not help but think of the ancient Battle of Bloody Ridge on Earth during World War II's Guadalcanal Campaign, where so many soldiers fell they were stacked into massive mounds on the ridge battlefield like barricades and obstacles. Here, it was little different: more soldiers died, and then with a roar magnified by the hill's echoing acoustics, a large group died simultaneously with a combined grenade blast caused by Lambda.

And then, silence. It ended. The deadly firefight was at last over, and the remaining Kilo Spartans quickly scavenged the bodies for ammunition and weapons before heading down into the base camp. As wounded were tended to and the camp was checked for supplies, Riker moved to the command structure and began to review the situation with Susano, who now had full control of the camp, officially completing one of their two primary objectives.

“How many of us are left?”, asked Riker

“Roughly half the force”, stated Susano grimly

“Supplies?”

“Enough”, said Viggo, “But we're down to one Warthog, two Weasels, a Wolf and a badly damaged Scorpion tank when it comes to vehicles.”

“Hardly what we need for taking out the city garrison”, said Riker. He sighed. They'd accomplished the objective, thrown Leonid's plan off-balance slightly from the looks of things – or so he hoped – and now he had to decide what would be their next move.

“Alright”, Riker said at last, “I want every turret, mounted gun or weapon that can be uplinked to a computer system brought out and set up around this camp. Susano, you are base defense: Assault Team 1-1 will be your only back-up.”

“Roger that Riker”, replied the AI, “Do I continue to provide intel support?”

“Yes, unless this base comes under attack, as then it will be your mission to ensure its' protection or, if need be, destruction”

The AI hesitated. “Sir?”

“You heard me Susano. Denial of resources: they already can't have our base, so if we try to take this one, we'll ensure they can't have it either”

“Understood”, said Susano with less than enthusiasm

“Viggo”, continued Riker, “Get the troops together: we're moving out”

“What about the wounded?”, asked Viggo

“They're coming too. Load them up with bio-foam, patch their wounds where needed, and move out”

“Yes sir”, said Viggo, walking out of the building


Elijah ran ahead with two scout-sniper teams, ensuring that the group was safe from enemy ambushes: they were nearing the bridges that spanned the river, and they wanted to ensure that they weren't ambushed, as such would spell certain death, as delay would give the mortar time to zero-in on their location. So far, their had been no troubles with moving the force towards the river, but Elijah was not one to think Lambda was preoccupied.

Moving forward, Elijah crawled slowly and noted that the bridge ahead seemed deserted: changing to infrared on his sniper rifle's scope, Elijah still saw no forces, and hesitantly pronounced the bridge clear. With great speed, Elijah's group dashed forward towards the bridge, hoping to cross it and reach the safety of the far side as quickly as possible; around him, the few remaining vehicles revved up their engines and rolled onwards, and the other Spartans dashed behind them as well, some not as quickly as others.

Yet, as they crossed the bridge with great speed, Elijah could sense within his bones that something just wasn't right. And then, he realized what it was.

From the corner of his eye, Elijah saw movement in a house on the far shore, not far from the city itself: then, he noted that the brush on the ground seemed slightly misplaced, and as he looked closer towards the bridge, he noticed something unnatural on the bank. Wires.

“The bridge is rigged!”, he warned, speeding up as he did, “Get off the bridge!”

The Spartans didn't need to be told twice, but despite their haste they weren't fast enough and the first set of explosives detonated below them, causing a large portion of the bridge to detonate. Spartans and a Warthog were send flying, toppling into the water dead, but the bridge was still in a shape where one could cross, and as they reached the other side the second set of explosives detonated – however, the detonation was not quite as expected, causing merely partial explosions that merely rocked the bridge, but did no permanent damage.

The Kilo force stormed off the bridge, and as they came Elijah noted two stealthy shimmers in the air attempting to escape from the lime green house in which he had seen movement earlier. Raising his sniper rifle and tagging the shimmers with markers, he linked the markers to the other scout-sniper teams and opened fire: for a brief moment, nothing seemed to be hit, but then shields began to flare and pop, and suddenly two soldiers were visible; the first went down from the sniper fire, but the second disappeared behind the lime green house, only to be destroyed with the house as the Scorpion launched a shell at the hiding point.

Riker nodded with satisfaction as the large group rolled into the city. Activating his COM, he said, “Sean, Santa Claus is coming to down. Prepare to deliver the present”


“Sean, Santa Claus is coming to down. Prepare to deliver the present”

“Alright everyone, we've got move orders!”, yelled Sean to his forces. Suddenly, the streets came alive, the relative calm of before being pushed aside for the gunfire chaos of the present storm. All around, the Kilo forces stormed forward, opening fire on the Spartans within the ammunition depot while they moved forward, using the wreckage in the streets for cover: even the fire of the mortar could not stop the group, with the explosive blasts striking the city all around them, blowing buildings into rubble.

Closing in on the depot, the fighting intensified, the turrets and missile pods of Lambda reigning down destruction upon the advancing Kilo army as they slowly advanced through the cover of the debris. Yet, as they advanced, the assault suddenly lessened as Lambda was forced to divide its' attention and focus on both the city detachment and Riker's own force that was now closing in.

Moving forward, Jack-K004's fireteam opened fire on one of the turret emplacement's, eliminating the gunner only for another to take their place: before they could attack again, however, they were forced to dodge as the mortar shell blasted apart the building they crouched beside. Looking about, Jack immediately noticed that Kate, Sawyer and Locke were now thrown across the street, while Sayid sat dead beside him and Hurley was unconscious on the ground. Dragging Hurley to the side, Jack ordered to the rest to continued while he tended to Hurley.

From the other side, James-K012's fireteam moved into the open and likewise began to attack, moving cautiously forward and picking off Lambda Spartans in a much more reserved manner. Covering each other, the team advanced, wounding or eliminating their foes in a methodical fashion almost, as if they were a well-oiled machine. As Aubrey's sniper rifle rung out, striking a Lambda sniper, Clayton and Dillon unleashing fire into a window, causing them to be promptly reprimanded about the danger of stray explosives going into the depot.

And then, all the Spartans stopped and tensed. There was a pause, a moment of calm before the final storm. Then, with a single word, Riker ordered the final defeat of Lambda and the taking of the depot: “Go”. The order hung in the air for a split second, and then the entirety of Kilo surged forward towards the depot in full assault mode, all hell breaking loose.

And as the front door of the depot fell down and troops surged in, everything fell to pieces.




34

There were two sharp raps on the door.

“Come in.” The man at the desk didn’t even bother to look up. A grinning face appeared from around the doorframe, “Hey Mo, you got a second?”

“Wlad, do I ever have a minute?” The dark-skinned man’s voice with tinged with tired frustration. It’d been a long day of briefings, exercises, and phone calls, and Moana still had other work that badly needed to be done. Wladislaus’ interruption was, at least for now, unwelcome.

“I thought you’d say that,” the man in the door slid into the room, helping himself to a seat on the desk. “So, how does it feel?”

“How does what feel?” Moana glanced up from his half-completed requisition form; his bass voice poorly concealing his mounting frustration.

“Wearing these,” Wlad explained, tapping the gilded bars on his collar for emphasis. “You know, being an eltee, an officer.”

Moana shook his head slowly and turned back to his unfinished paperwork. “You don’t wear your rank on your collar, Wlad.”

“Thought you’d say that.” Wlad’s tone was quiet now, a rare note of reflection creeping into his slight Slavic accent. “You worried?”

“Checkmate’s ready. We’ll do our job,” Moana voice was coldly confident.

“This is so much bigger than anything else we’ve ever dealt with. If these are even close… I dunno…” Wlad sighed resignedly. “I dunno.”

“Wlad, we’re ready. You’ve seen us in action,” Moana coldy opined, his tone slightly defensive.

“Mo, I don’t doubt it. It’s just…” he trailed off. “…hell, what am I saying? You’re supposed to be the worry wart.” Chuckling, Wlad gave Mo a friendly slap on the shoulder. “See you over there, okay?”

“You got it. Now get out of my office and let get something done.”

Grinning, Wlad stood and headed for the door.

“Wait, Wlad.” The Slavic Spartan stopped in his tracks at the sound of Moana’s voice.

“Yeah?”

“Take care of yourself out there.”


“Jesus, man. How much you gonna eat?” Shaun’s tray was piled high with a mound of hopelessly nondescript chow.

“Yeah, how much you got in there, dude?” Abdul echoed, glancing at a particularly unappetizing clump of shit-on-a-shingle. Spartans were known to be big eaters, but eight servings of anything; especially mess hall food, was…a bit much.

“Birds gotta fly, Covies gotta die, I gotta eat.” Shaun grunted good-naturedly as he carefully set his mountain of food on the table before seating his massive frame into a suspiciously flimsy folding chair.

“Been working on your catchphrases?”

“Why yes I have, boss,” Shaun replied, glad that someone was finally noticing his literary efforts.

“Well, keep working on ‘em.” Duke’s comment deflated Shaun’s hopeful expression, a reaction which brought a poorly suppressed wave of laughter from Abdul and Jorge.

“Hey Duck, any word?” Abdul asked, stuffing a spoonful of food into his stubble-ringed mouth.

“Like a tomb, Dub. Company’s sayin’ nothin’” As the team leader, Duke was supposed to be “in the know,” so the team usually came to him to confirm the latest word from the wildly-speculating rumor mill. Today, however, Duke had nothing.

“I’m staring to think they’re never gonna tell us.”

“Naw, they’re gonna tell us soon.” Jorge seemed oddly assured of this fact.

“Hey, if you weren’t fuckin’ broke all the time, I’d give you odds on that one.”

“Naw, think about it, man. Everytime we go on a major op, we get a bunch of bullshit. Y’know, tell us to bring lots of rain gear and then, whaddya know, they send us to a fuckin’ desert.”

Shaun mumbled something; but his mouth was too full of food to tell if he meant it as a protest or as an agreement. Seemingly obvious to Shaun’s monosyllabic remark, Jorge continued.

“Yeah, we’re starting to get all kinds of crap from Battalion now. ‘No tapin’ magazines together Spartans. Write a nice big will for the relatives you don’t have. Be sure you bring condoms…’”

“Condoms, man. You plannin’ to fuck a Bravo Kilo, man? They even have women?” Shaun rejoined incredulously, having gulped down the last of his oversized mouthful.

“That’s just disgusting,” Duke moaned in mock-protest.

“Naw dude, for the rifles, keep the water out. Put ‘em over the barrels.”

“Yeah, we know Dub. Don’t explain the joke.”


Trig squeezed the trigger, gently forcing the curving metal tongue backwards. In response, the rifle cracked, wildly bucking into Trig’s shoulder as the shot’s thunder echoed over the range. A kilometer away, a puff of dust appeared.

“Hit.” Craig’s Scots accent was curt and clipped.

“Damn rayt. Blew that fucker’s head off,” Trig replied, admiring his work through the high-powered scope. The target’s head was hanging but just a few tendons.

“Next target. On my one. One klick.”

“Ah see it.” Trig’s rifle swung right, hovering for a moment before unleashing a sharp crack. Craig watched the target explode in a pink cloud.

“He’s dayd,” Trig drawled triumphantly, “yep, he’s dayd.” Trig stuffed the rifle into its camouflaged drag bag, “come on, let’s go.” Trig tossed the bag to Craig and loped downrange to inspect the product of his shooting.

“Bloody cowboy…” Craig muttered, reluctantly heading after Trig at a gentle jog, “the rangemaster will have our heads for this one…”

The two Spartans quickly ate up the kilometer to the targets, weaving their way around rows of bullet-pocked instacrete barriers and forlorn stands of scrubby bushes. Given his headstart, Trig reached the target first, chuckling in self-congratulation as he caught sight of it. Craig was just a few seconds behind. What he saw made him blanch beneath his visor.

Somehow, the pig had survived. The bullet had torn into its stomach, spilling kidneys, intestines, and guts into the reddening dirt. A wound this savage would have killed most animals; yet by some combination of toughness and misfortune the pig was still alive, squealing in agony.

“Ah gawt you, di’n’t ah?” Trig mockingly chuckled. Evidently, something about the dying hog struck Trig as funny. Still laughing, he unholstered and charged his sidearm. Holding the weapon at arm’s length, he emptied it into the squirming pig’s head. The large-caliber bullets tore into the flesh, sending chunks of bone and brain in all directions.

Craig could only shake his head.


Nigel squinted, trying to line his fuzzy sights on the blurry target just a few meters away. Several anxious seconds ticked by until finally, he thought he was lined up. Squeezing the trigger, he let off a quick burst, sawing the weapon sideways to increase his chances of a hit.

“No, still right of target,” Armand observed casually, “you check your sights?”

Nigel nodded in mute response. In the last half hour, he’d blasted away three whole clips at the target, each time without scoring a single hit. It was maddening.

Most other Spartans enjoyed shooting and most were coldly critical of the few among their ranks who were poor at it. Nigel usually avoided the firing range, unwilling to endure the jibes and cold stares his poor marksmanship elicited.

Why can’t I be more like Armand? He generally hits what he aims at.

Armand, unlike Nigel, was a masterful shot. But despite his superior level of skill, he was surprising compassionate towards his inaccurate teammate, viewing his friend’s inability to hit the broad side of a barn as just another one of Nigel’s many eccentricities.

“Come on Nigel, my friend. We try again?”

Nigel nodded, blinking.

What’s the matter with my eyes?

It was a question he’d had to ask too many times.


The fitness room was packed. Dozens of muscular figures grunted on weight machines, pounded the treadmills, or beat out endless sets of pushups on torn workout mats. The air stank of sweating humanity, muggy, humid, and cloyingly hot.

Gunnery Sergeant Mark Grier forced his way past machines and perspiring Marines, heading for the rusty weight machines along the discolored back wall. What he saw was moderately disappointing: each of the weight machines was taken.

Impatient, Grier glared at the nearest Spartan. At first, the young man was oblivious to the Gunny’s acid stare; but he soon became aware of the eerie sensation of being watched.

“Oh,” the Spartan mumbled somewhat lamely, rolling off the bench to make room for the Gunny. Grabbing his sweat-stained towel, the Spartan headed off for the showers. He never made it.

“Devil dog! I think youse forgot something!” Grier snapped. The Spartan obediently halted in his tracks and turned to face the Gunny.

“Yeah?” the Spartan asked casually.

Grier stormed towards the slouching man, dwarfed by the tall Marine, yet wholly undaunted by their difference in sizes. Jabbing a finger into the Spartan’s chest, he bawled, “Marine, I gots three things to say to youse! Number One! Kindly don’t leave yo’ perspiration lyin’ all over the place. I don’ts want to pump iron in a lake of yo’ stinkin’ sweat. ‘Taint sanitary!” Grier grabbed the limp towel from the Spartan’s hand and waved it dramatically under his chin, “You gots this! Kindly use it! Point Number Two! Whenever you sees one of yo’ superior officers, kindly give them the time of day! ‘Good mornin’, sir,’ ‘nayce to see you, gunny,’ that kinda sheeyat. And if you just happen to be feelin’ extra nice after yo’ beauty sleep,” Gunny jabbed his finger again for emphasis, “you could give the rank a little respect! Saloot them, Marine!” Grier paused to catch his breath before continuing with his tirade.

“Number Three! Don’t stand there like some kinda limp-dicked, pussy-faced, cock-suckin’ tree-hugger. Stand at attention!” The Spartan stiffened, baffled and somewhat terrified by the Gunny’s onslaught.

“Ahh, is there some kind of problem here?” a female Spartan appeared at Grier’s shoulder. The young woman seemed to be the team leader of Grier’s unlucky victim.

Grier turned, facing the newcomer with a ferocious scowl. “Yo’ damn rayt there’s a problem. Devil dawg here can’t git his act together. Evidently we don’t saloot the rank no more.”

“Uh,” the woman paused, her expression slightly confused, “you’re wearing PTs…sir.”

“Don’t make no difference what I’m wearin’. Devil dawg here ought to know what his officers looks layk. Don’t matter whether I’m in skivvies or mah gawdamn dress blues.”

“Sir, there’s over a…” the woman stammered in protest.

“And that’s another thing. Don’t’ give men none of that “sir,” sheeyat! Ah works for a living! Ah am Gunnery Sergeant Grier to you, Marine!”

“Gunny…”

“Do not ‘Gunny’ me. That’s mah name when I’s feelin’ friendly. Ah am not feelin’ friendly!” Gunny watched with satisfaction as his helpless target cringed slightly. “You should know the voice, the face, the rank, and the name of every man, woman, and little baby in this company! If you can’t even do that nows, in the relative comfort of this nice cosy garrison, how the fuck do you expects to obey yo’ chain of command in a firefight when youse don’t even knows what they looks layk!” Grier scowled, curling his limps into a snarl, “Now get outta mah sigh and unfuck yourselves. Youse fucked up mah whole mornin’!”

The moment Grier stopped talking, he realized how quiet things had become. The once noisy room was deadly silent. No more grunts or body blows from the grapplers. No more panting breaths or clanging weights. No more humming treadmills. Grier glanced around, searching for the cause of the silence. The entire room was staring at him, awestruck, terrified, and disapproving; yet morbidly curious.

“Hmph,” Grier snorted, and, his rant ended, he stormed towards the door, sending clusters of onlookers scattering like flustered pigeons.

Once again, Grier had upheld his reputation…

Author’s note: Ajax, will you start the darn campaign already? Everyone's getting itchy trigger fingers... FightWithHonor Contact me 23:11, May 24, 2010 (UTC)

35

A few months ago, Bauxite ONI Headquarters, New Les Baux, Bauxite, Gamma Berthier System

The door to the ONI officer’s immaculately cleaned and modernly decorated room hissed open, as it split apart down the geometric lines, which connected the two metal sides in times of privacy. A middle aged, tall and muscular man walked in wearing grey and orange Nike trainers, dark blue vinyl jeans and a orange hemmed and sleeved grey long sleeve t-shirt.

“Casual?” The ONI officer inquired.

“Off duty sir.” The man replied. He then sat down on the angular red leather sofa, which lay perpendicular to the officer’s.

“How was her majesty?” The officer switched off the holo-screen and asked.

“Beautiful… actually. The cruiser dropped out of slip-space on the dark side of Saturn. The sun came up over the planet’s horizon and lighted up the rings and all. Then after the sightseeing, the ship made it to Luna’s civilian docking station. I got shuttled to Sydney in less than an hour and quickly got my gear ready. Night had fallen by this time over the western pacific, so the conditions were brilliant. The Harbour Bridge and Opera House were in view from my balcony. The CBD was lit up nicely too. Anyway, I made my way downstairs, three floors, and knocked on the door. The target answered, and I instantly got him unconscious by the sleeper: just a quick pinch to the shoulder. Dragged him to his bed, tucked him in and injected the poison. Made my way up to my room, after making sure nothing looked out of place in the target’s apartment, and went to bed. Post mortem of the body won’t pick up any of the chemicals. They’ll blame it down to natural causes. Went for a swim the next day at Bondi Beach, overrated as hell but the ladies were soaking up the sun topless so it wasn’t all bad. Then flew back here.”

“Beautiful indeed… I see you like to enjoy yourself on covert high target operations. Any nice photos?” The officer asked with an obvious tone of rhetorical sarcasm. “Well your next assignment isn’t as pretty.”

“Ah, no worries, I was hoping for something with a bit more ugly.” The man had a surprising aura of confidence and humour around him. Not many men had that, given the past they had lived.

“Try this then.” The officer handed over the personal glass-panel touch screen to the large man. The man curiously poked and skimmed his finger on and across the panel as he read quickly through the files. The officer watch the man’s facial expressions, waiting for the dynamite to go off.

“HOLY SHIT, you have to be kidding me?” The man put the screen to the side and shot up. The officer stayed sitting.

“Sit down. Now.”

“Sorry sir. It was a shock, that’s all.” The officer smiled at the man’s remark.

“Shock? Is that all?” The officer asked as the man’s eyes started to swell, ever so slightly, with tears.

“Why sir? You know full well what went down all those years ago. Are you actually serious about this?” The man pointed at the screen but the officer didn’t reply to the question, only asked another.

“Do you remember Operation: JUGGANAUGHT? Do you remember what happened?”

“Of course sir, how could I forget.”

“He’s there, on Pious Ascension. Ready for you. I know you’ve been dealing with internal affairs since and because of what happened, but you need to listen. You know this target better than anyone else. You’ve got a score to settle and the price on his head is far greater than HIGHCOM or the Remnant Council realise.”

“With all due respect sir, you have to be crazy. It’s been years since I’ve gone out of home turf and into the battlefield.”

“It’s simple, and anyway you have two months to train. However there’s a catch.”

“As always.” The man quickly muttered. The officer ignored it.

“I want him alive. Dead is no good.”

“Jesus, you do know how to extract the urine don’t you sir?” After sighing, looking up and contemplating for a few seconds, he made a decision.

“Okay, I’ll do it. Under one condition though: I go solo. I’m not having any of my men KIA on that place, because I sure as hell know that they won’t survive there.”

“I was hoping you were going to conclude that. Actually I had betted on it. You’re different, and you know that’s the only reason why I can send someone like you on a mission like this. Training commences tomorrow, we have no time to waste.” The officer stood up and shook the man’s hand.

“Thank you sir… for this. I won’t let you down like last time.” He saluted to the officer, turned and started to walk out.

“Oh, Conan, one last thing.” The man stopped and slowly turned, surprised by the use of his first name. The officer continued, “When was the last time you saw Jake?” The man opened his mouth and stumbled for words.

“Sir… I… I’m not sure…”

“Well you'll be glad to know that he is also off to the Remmies capital too. Maybe you'll bump into him.” The officer smiled, then he turned and sat back down at his sofa. The man turned too and walked out, door hissing shut behind him. Tears welling in his eyes, he paced along the corridor, down the stairs and across the courtyard were the ONI monument fountain stood majestically, spraying water in symmetrical patterns. He looked up, past the monument, and into the sky. The evening sun had started to set and Bauxite’s moon-remnant ring glistened slightly from the reflecting light. Behind it Baux was at half crescent, lights from the moon’s stations also finding their way through the small asteroid field, atmosphere and into the man’s eyes.

A tear seeped and ran down the man’s slightly aged face.

Conan realised then that even SPARTANS can't help but cry sometimes…


Present time, Village on the outskirts of a large city, Pious Ascension

Novus stumbled around in the makeshift armoury, inside the village’s town hall, which now served as their military base. The civilians didn’t mind, they were happy that protection was there. The gut feeling still hadn’t gone. He was worried. He snapped out of being emotionally weak and concentrated on calibrating his Stalker Rifle. He had spent the last year or so customizing his own Nailer, to suit is specific tastes. Custom blade, scripture on the side, re-working of the internal mechanics and upgrades bought directly from Pyroneous Industries. Silent and deadly, he raised his masterpiece into the light. It shone brightly off the weapon’s crafted and sharpened blade. “Beautiful… actually. I quite like what you’ve done. Surprised the chieftain hasn’t said anything.” One of Novus’s pack-mates said, as he strolled into the armoury room.

“He’s too busy bragging about his gravity hammer to give a shit about my weapons.” Novus replied normally, but with intentional humour. The other Brute laughed.

“Why are you preparing it though? Routine maintenance doesn’t require this much attention.” The younger Brute inquisited.

“Do you remember last year, that time Granvus stormed over to start that fight. You remember me telling you beforehand that you should watch your back that lunch time, for some reason. I had no clue what was going on, or what was going to happen. But it happened.” Novus finished with his gun, placed it down and turned to the other Brute.

“What so you have another one of those ‘bad’ feelings?”

“No. I have a worse one.”

“How much so?”

“Too much so my friend, way too much…”


Libra Icon
The parksterLibra Team - Fermamentum Pondera
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS Australian Eastern Summer Time (GMT+11)
Nothing awesome people, just some more prep for both my characters and something to fill the time until our mighty leader gives the go ahead for phase 2.



36

Rear Admiral Han Yo Min felt as if a constricting arm was crushing his chest as he hugged his 5-year-old son and wife goodbye. He knew very well that this could be the last time he saw them in person. He tried not to think about it as he headed for the UNSC Naval Base on Io. The two ODST security guards emotionlessly asked for his identification. They scanned his fingerprint and his I.D, and then let him in. He boarded his a pelican, and then rose up to the UNSC Mighty River. He boarded the Thor-class Cruiser and headed for the bridge. Several crewmembers or marines saluted as he walked past. On the bridge, he sat down on his captain's chair. His XO, Lt. Commander Thomas Harry greeted him.

"Commander, what's our status?" Han Yo Min asked.

"Sir, we're almost done loading up."

"Good."

Han Yo Min took out his datapad and lost himself in a sea of files and reports for about twenty minutes, and then gave the order.

"Battlegroup Mighty River, this is Rear Admiral Han Yo Min. Prepare to jump to Manheim. Out."

Han Yo Min got a last glance at Io before the ship vanished into slipspace.


Neil's shields flickered angrily AGAIN a banshee got in a lucky hit.

"We need to take out those banshees." Maria said at last.

"But how?" Carl replied.

William threw a plasma grenade and it stuck to a banshee which was trying to dive-bomb them. The banshee exploded mid-air.

"We need some serious anti-air weapons." Megan said. She tosssed away her rocket launcher. "I'm out." She explained. The fire team made their way down another street. A banshee fired it's fuel rod canon at the group and they scattered. It exploded, and a SECOND banshee swooped down at them from another direction and fired. Then, as though to add the icing onto the cake, a wraith mortar flew towards them. Megan threw a bubble shield onto the ground, and the mortar exploded on the shield.

"We have a way to take out those banshees. We need to borrow that wraith." Announced Neil. Green lights flashed on this HUD as his team ackknowledged the order. The headed for the direction of the wraith mortar. The mortar fired again, but it missed. Four banshees circled the air above them, firing their plasma canons. The team ran for cover. The banshees did not relent. Neil felt his energy shield, and the house his team had taken shelter in give way.

"MOVE!" He shouted. The banshees pursuited them, peppering them with plasma. A brute with a fuel rod gun came rushing at them. Neil stuck him with a incendinary grenade and his team fell back. The brute exploded. Megan picked up the fuel rod gun and aimed it at a Banshee. A second later, a wrecked banshee fell to the ground. The other three banshees broke off. Megan fired two shots. The first missed, but the second hit another banshee square on. The banshee went down. However, before they could celebrate, about sixty brutes came towards them, lead by a chieftain with a gravity hammer.

"FALL BACK, FALL BACK!" Neil shouted. The chieftain smiled, and then attacked. They scattered as the gravity hammer hit the ground. William threw a plasma grenade that the chieftain batted aside. Two Captain Minors opened fire on Neil. Neil fell back, shooting in bursts with his assault rifle. Both Captain Minors went down. He saw blimbs on his motion tracker as the chieftain got behind him. The chieftain raised his hammer and brought it down, smashing through Neil's weakened shields and killing him. His screen went black.

37

29th of April, 2612, Camp Sparta, Arcturus, Arcturus system, 2100 local time

Mel cautiously looked to the other faces gathered around the table, their faces half obscured in shadows and the dark, hazy smoke slowly rising from the cigarette hanging from her lips. She looked down to her hands, at the collection of cards in front of her, then tucked the cards closer to her chest. She looked to the other faces of the table then let loose a crooked grin. She lay down her hand of cards, spreading her fingers across them so as to flatten them out.

“Full House.” She cooed

Kelly brushed a stand of hair behind her ear then laid out her hand.

“Four of a kind.” She smiled, placing down her hand

Melanie rolled her hands into balled fists and placed them to the top of her head, rolling her body forward and gritting her teeth.

“Kelly you bitch!” She shouted out loud

Kelly just chuckled as she leaned forward and pulled all the chips towards herself, forming a nice little pile, leaving the prospective piles around even. Fred collected in the cards and began to shuffle then, flipping the last card in the pile over his hand repeatedly in a needless card trick.

“Okay, is this going to be the last hand for the night?” He asked, finishing the shuffle

“Yeah, once Elise gets here, we’ll head out.” Kelly said, sorting her chips out, piling them up in order.

Almost as if on cue, the door unlocked and hissed open, with Elise walking through the door, followed by Ajax, stepping through behind her.

“Ajax, you’re coming out for the drink?” Fred asked, bemused

“No, I’m your designated driver for tonight, I’m just waiting in here with Elise.” He said

“Ajax, indulging in Poker?” Mel laughed, her tone laden with sarcasm “I thought you didn’t like games of chance?”

Ajax just looked to her, frowning, then crossed his arms “Poker can be explained as a collection of probability equations, but it comes down to deception.”

With that, he pulled out a chair and sat down.

“Deal me in.”

The SPARTANS looked to each other, then to Fred. Fred just shrugged and dealt the hand, giving out two cards to each of the SPARTANs.

“The rules are Texas Hold ‘em, no bet limits.” He announced, giving himself one last card then deploying the community cards and the flop cards.


Melanie cautious observed her own deck, then turned to observing the other SPARTANS and glanced quickly to the community cards. She pushed a pile of chips forward and gave out her trade mark lop sided grin.

“I’ll raise the bet.” She smirked

She looked to Kelly, who just frowned and raised her bet as well.

“Kell, you’re poker face is lousy.” She smirked, leaning back

Fred raised too, with the last of his chips, and then turned to Elise. Elise threw her cards in and leant back.

“I fold.” She said, pouting.

They all turned to Ajax, who pushed in his dwindling amount of chips.

“I raise.” He said, his tone neutral, his face unflinching. This frustrated Mel more than anything else, his poker face being far too good for her to gauge. Then again, he’d lost every single hand up until now.

A new card was played, and Melanie raised again, pushing all of her chips in, with Fred and Kelly following suit. Ajax raised as well, flipping his last chip onto the pile. Melanie just smirked, placing down her hand.

“Straight flush.” She smiled, her canines showing in a vampiric smile.

Kelly and Fred both collectively sighed at the same time, throwing in their cards, both having failed their hand, while Ajax continued to look at his hand.

“What’s wrong Ajax, wondering why you mathematical formulas have failed you?” Melanie laughed, leaning back in her seat.

“Remember back when Halsey taught us to play?” Kelly though, her mind wondering back

“Yeah, it pissed off Mendez to hell.” Elise smiled

“Especially when Sam and Mikey started betting cigars they stole off the Chief.” Fred said, nostalgia forming a grin on his face

“Enough reminiscing mother fucker, DEAL YOUR HAND!” Melanie shouted, banging on the table, now getting impatient

“Ajax looked to Melanie, then gave an uncharacteristic smile. He lay the card downs down by the community cards and pulled out three cards from the hand.

“Royal Flush.” He said, looking to Melanie.

“You sneaky little fucker...” She said, her jaw gaping

“You sharked us...” Kelly said, looking at the results.

“Poker is about deception more than probability.” He said, pulling the pile over to himself “You can pay me back in short collections if you want.”

Melanie stood up, her chair falling over and walked out, more angry that she’d lost than anything else.

After tidying up the poker set, the others walked out to the waiting Warthog TT, which was quietly humming away on the side of the road outside the officer mess. Ajax proceeded to climb into the driver’s seat and strapped himself in.

“Can’t we get in a disciplinary action for using military assets for personal use?” Kelly said, leaning over the back frame

“Who is going to have the balls to try and take us into a military court? For one, we cost more than all their successive checks, and for a second, Ajax would screw then with legal loop holes, right?” Elise said, climbing into the passenger seat.

“Sure.” Ajax said, not really listening to the conversation, seemingly staring off into space

As soon as Fred climbed into the back, Ajax slipped the hog into gear and was about to pull out with a siren began to wail out over the camp.

“What the hell, is this a drill?” Melanie asked, standing up inside her Warthog.

As if to answer her, the alarm stopped and a PA announcement began.

“Now hear this, now hear this. The 117th Regiment is now on full alert, prepare for immediate space lift.” The announcement rang out, across the entire camp.

“Looks like drinking night is off.” Ajax said, sitting up. “I’ll drop you off at your respective camps.”

“Fine, step on it!” Melanie said, kicking the fire wall between the passenger and driver compartment.


Atticus stepped through the doorway, into the barracks, watching the Spartans empty out their lockers and trunks, pulling out their gear and clothing, stowing it in duffel bags and IMPs. They were picking up their weapons and stowing whatever they needed in their bags. Atticus stepped past one of his section leaders trying to stuff a uniform into their bag.

“Are you ready for air lift?” Second Lieutenant?” He asked, stepping forward to avoid another SPARTAN struggling with a duffel bag.

“Another ten minutes.” She replied, stuffing the last of her uniform into the bag.

“Well, step on it, the unit is ready to mobilise, we’re waiting on you.” He said, leaving the barracks. Outside the rest of the squadron had gotten out and were loading their gear onto warthogs and other transports. He saw his operations chief, Kris, loading up Atticus’ own things onto the back of a hog, squaring away the gear for transport. He gave a hand motion for them to begin moving the transports out, to get to the air strip, then climbed into the back of a waiting Warthog with his squadron leaders.

“Did any of you hear what we were being mobilised for?” He shouted over the sound of the engines. They both shook their heads, though Kris leaned closer to he could be heard more clearly.

“Probably a mission to Covenant territory, it would explain all these simulations for the last few weeks.” He replied

Atticus took a moment to ponder as the Warthog manoeuvred out of the camp gates in the convoy and to the nearby air strip. He could already see the heavy Petrel dropships touching down, with many smaller Pelicans and Merlins finding their way to the ground. The convoy pulled up onto the air strip, parking near a gaggle of waiting Pelicans. As Atticus climbed from the back, he scanned a group of SPARTANS already sat down in the close area, most of them he recognised from first Squadron. He climbed out, just as his unit got out and began squaring down with them, chatting with their comrades and moved to the closest one, kneeling down.

“Where’s your squadron leader?” He shouted over the haul of the Pelican engines He pointed over to one of the waiting Pelicans, where he could just about see her silhouette outside the cabin. He dropped his gear with Kris and moved over, stopping beside her, leaning on the frame of the Pelican’s door.

“Amelia, you got any clue what this mobilisation is about?” He asked

She shook her head, not even giving him a verbal response. She then turned back to the hologram sitting on the edge of the pelican blood tray.

“Ma’am, the Petrel is there for our armour units, they’re being brought over now.” The hologram replied, bringing up a flat pane detail of their approach.

Atticus leaned on the Pelican and looked back to the pack of SPARTANS sat on the tarmac.

“Is the boss on his way down?” He asked, trying to coax a verbal reply from Amelia.

“He’s getting on the last dropship up, he wants to micromanage the entire company’s space lift. He’s over with squadron 5 right now.” She replied, turning away from the Pelican. She took a short walk over to the SPARTANS and gave a motion in the air for the Pelicans to cut their engines. Once they’d cut off, she turned to her unit “Okay First Squadron, get loaded up, unit loading doesn’t matter. Just get the gear stowed and get sat down, we want the entire company up in under an hour.

The responded, getting up and climbing onto the backs of the Pelicans. They immediately stowed their gear in the over head folds and pulled out the seats, setting down. As soon as each one filled up, the crew chief would close them up and the Pelican would taxi away from them and take off, immediately jumping to hypersonic speeds and breaking the atmosphere as fast as they could. As the last SPARTAN of first squadron loaded up, a truck carrying the MJOLNIR units arrived, along with a collection of Cyclops exoskeletons. They pulled the gear down and carefully loaded them into the back of the Petrel, fitting MJOLNIR units for the entire company into the back of the Petrel. The back ramp closed up and soon enough, its engines emitted a supersonic screech, allowing take off. Amelia stepped away from the last drop ship, her hair blowing wildly from the engine’s back draft and over to Atticus.

“The Commander wants us all on the same transport as well.” She shouted

“The squadron leaders?” He queried

“Yes. Once you’re squadron is on, come find me, I’ll find a Merlin ready for airlift and requisition it.” She said, walking away. Atticus turned to watch her leave then looked back to his unit as another wave of Pelicans touched down and the last section arrived

“Okay, enough gawking, let’s get everybody loaded!” He shouted, motioning for them to get on board.


Ajax stepped down from the Warthog, tapping the bonnet to motion for the driver that he was clear and he could leave. He walked behind it and up to Captain Keller, as she watched over the loading of the Warthogs. One of the SPARTANS was directed them with luminescent batons up the load ramp of the Petrel. On a second Petrel, they began loading up the Wolf suits onto the Petrel, complete with their maintenance units, which they were still hooked up to.

“Keller, how long until our mechanized component is loaded?” He shouted over the roar of the engines, startling Keller.

“We’re at around sixty-eight percent capacity, another Petrel and we’ll have the entirety of the heavy units loaded up.” She replied, keeping one hand on her marine cover t prevent it being blown off by the engines.

“Fine, when you’re done, find the other squadron leaders, I want you all on the same transport for the space lift.” He shouted, his voice easily beating the engines.

Keller gave an okay symbol with her fingers and went back to sorting the Warthogs. Ajax moved, just as one of the Petrels took off, the wind billowing around him from the back blast from the engines. The other companies were part way through their air lift as well, heading up to their orbital target. He observed the last of four Squadron take off, heading straight up then began to manage three’s lift off, making sure they got everything on and ready. As he moved through Bravo’s lift zone, which was rapidly emptying, one last Merlin waited down on the ground, with Atticus sitting on the blood tray. As Atticus saw him approach in the darkness, he climbed up into the Merlin. Ajax tossed his duffel bag to Atticus, who stowed it over their heads then sat down in seat. Ajax climbed into the opposite seat and checked over his shoulder.

“Okay, squadron leaders all onboard?” He asked

“All accounted for.”

Ajax motioned for the crew chief to close up the hatch and get her airborne. The Doors closed, immersing them into darkness, though a moment later the red interior lighting came on.

“I’m only going to say this once, so listen carefully.” He said, pulling the lock bars down in front of himself, locking him into position “We’re being mobilised for a new high priority campaign. All ONI has told me is we’re facing a short term military campaign, with the navy being mobilised for invasion.”

“Invasion? Invading what, exactly?” Atticus asked

“ONI hasn’t told me anything more than that, except that we’ll be fighting Brute defenders in Covenant controlled terrain. That’s why we were running simulations for fighting in Covenant warships, and fighting ground battles. I have no idea what ONI is preparing, so stay on your toes.” He said, just raising his voice enough so it could be heard over the sound of the entire dropship rattling as it exited the atmosphere.

“What do we tell the SPARTANS?” Keller asked

“Nothing. We’re all getting briefed tomorrow.” He shouted over the howl of the engines “Just keep everybody at high alert, we’re going to be taking them into hostile territory.”

The team leaders nodded in response. As soon as the drop ship breached orbit Ajax released his roll bars and stood up, heading over to the co-pilot, leaning over his back to observe what was ahead of them. There was an Odin-class Carrier, though none quiet like any he had seen before. The lines were less obvious, the whole entire hull plating was sleeker, closer in design to a Covenant ship, and was a deep black, making it difficult to see, despite its hazard lights being active. As the dropship approached, holographic landing lights activated, guiding the dropship in to a waiting shuttle bay. The Merlin swung in, passing through the bulkhead doors then turning to make a landing, touching down gently, its landing gear recoiling on landing to absorb the impact. The Merlin’s doors slid back, the plating folding up and stacking to the side. Ajax immediately stepped off, bowing his head to get in, followed by the other commanding officers. They were immediately faced with a small delegation of sailors, there to guide them to their temporary quarters. The Cos followed them, with little other choice on the warship.


Ajax sat back in the plush chair, facing the holographic interface of the computer system, idling tapping on screens before attaining the page he wanted. He leaned back, reading it. As his eyes gently scanned over the page, the door gave a door buzzer chime.

“Come in.” He said, his tone elevated to get through the bulkhead. The door opened with a hiss and Elise stepped through, the doors closing behind her. She tapped the light switch on the wall, immediately illuminating the room.

“Anything you need El?” Ajax asked, looking over to her

Elise walked over, pulling out the opposite chair and sat down, leaning forward on the overly ornate glass table.

“Yeah, I’m just wondering about this mission.” She asked, interlocking her hands and rest her chin on them.

Ajax flicked off the screen and stood up, walking over to the wall. He tapped a few commands into a keyboard there and a holographic window appeared, showing an image relayed from an exterior camera. They were still in the Arcturus system, as shown by the giant orange star at the core of the system, and the deep lime green colour of Arcturus IV, a massive gas giant orbiting the distant sun. They must have been heading to the inferior jump point of Arcturus, to slip out of system quietly. Ajax stood at ease in front of the window, gently gazing out as the stars seemingly glided past them.

“Isn’t it obvious by now Elise?” He said, not turning to face her “We’re invading the Covenant capital.”

Elise cocked her head at him, then crossed her arms “I’m sorry, I don’t believe the UNSC would be that fool hardy.”

“Early this week I put out some feelers. I gave Kasr a ring, at the Fortress of Solace.” He replied

“You rang Kasr live, at the Urs system? That must have cost a heap.”

“I wrote it off as military expenses.” He said, his face creasing into a sly smile “Once I rang though, they immediately rerouted me to a Republic battle station stationed out in the veil.”

“The Veil? That’s pretty much the front line. The Sangheili are hiding a station in there?” She replied

“When I finally got through to him, he couldn’t tell me anything.”

“Kasr was being stingy?” She asked, curious “Tats not like him.”

“Couldn’t not wouldn’t. He dropped a few hints, despite his reticence. There’s a fleet gathered at the station, ready to move out at a moments notice, sailing under the Imperator’s command.”

“Well, that’s of no surprise, the Sangheili like to be alert.” She said “Though that is good coincidence.”

“I put out a line to DeRagen too. He told me he didn’t have time to talk, he was busy mobilising his unit for a campaign. Pax did the same to me too.” He said, still looking at the hologram “Since I don’t have any contacts in the Imperium, I did some research. Turns out there was news coverage of a sizeable Imperium war fleet mobilising.”

He finally turned back to Elise “The entire Alliance is mobilised for a campaign.”

“If that is so, a frontal assault on the Capital with that many ships would be suicide. We’d out number them, yes, but we’d have so many ships we wouldn’t have any breathing room. There’d be more blue on blues than anything else.” She said

“I doubt everyone is going for the capital. Chances are, the rest of the fleets are going to form a new battle front, cutting deep into vital Covenant systems, trying to draw out Covenant reserves, opening them up for an assault on the capital.”

“And that’s where we come in?” She asked

“Yes, we’re probably going to sledgehammer right into it.”

Elise took a moment to think it through, then gave a cheeky grin “You’re never wrong about these things. I’m going to go tell the others.”

Elise walked out, leaving Ajax on his own again, giving him time with his thoughts. He hit the light switch again, steeping the room back into darkness. He sat down, bringing the computer screen back up, and looked at it intently. There was an email, from an anonymous sender, with only one sentence in the letter.

SHE HUNGERS

Ajax deleted the message and shut down the computer. As soon as he did, Joyeuse’s holographic image sprang up on the opposite chair, leaning back in the blush leather, her legs crossed.

“What was that?” She asked, cocking her head in curiosity

“Nothing for you to care about Joy.” He said, pouring a glass from a pitcher of water on the table

Immediately, a holographic image pane of the email appeared in her hands “Should have deleted your cache data Ajax.” She said, her voice filled with glee. However, her rose-red complexion turned a lighter shade of pink, her face going pale.

“Ajax what is this?” She asked “Does Elise know?”

“No she doesn’t, and she doesn’t need too.” He said, taking a swig of the glass.

“Ajax... this is bad. Did you at least tell Section Zero?”

“No, it’s not their problem.” He said

“Yes it is Ajax. I’m sending this data to ATHENA, right now.” She said “We can find the results when we get back.”

Ajax just rested his head in his hands and just mumbled ‘fine then’.

Joyeuse sent the data and closed the sheet down. She then looked over to Ajax, her expression attempting to convey care. Ajax looked to her and then just smiled.

“You know, you look so much like her.” He said, his face lighting up with nostalgia “It’s uncanny.”

“Well, I am a product of her flesh and blood. I’m in effect Catherine’s daughter.” She said, leaning back and resting her arm on the arm rest, and leaning her head on it, like Halsey often would.

Ajax smiled for a moment, then it faded, and he rocked his head forward. Joyeuse looked to him, concerned.

“You know Ajax, she was never angry at you, in the end. She seemed to just... understand. She seemed proud.” She said, trying to console him.

“I wasted my time searching for a dead man, rather than be with the closest thing I could call a mother in her final hours. I’m an awful son.” He said

“Ajax, she was proud of all of you, no matter what. Not just as successful subjects, but as the people you became, of what you achieved.” Joyeuse said

“Now hear this, now hear this. Preparing for slipspace transition in five minutes.” The announcement rang out from the internal PA.

“Joyeuse, I’m going to get some sleep, I’ll see you at the briefing, in the morning.” He said, pushing the chair back and heading over to the bed. He pulled away his shirt, revealing the scars, the memorial tattoos and the strange, alien devices buried under his skin.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then.” She said, scanning over the marks before flickering off.

Ajax climbed into the bed, lying down on his back, looking up. He knew the nightmares would return tonight.


Amelia quietly walked through the dark barracks, her superior eye sight illuminating the darkness well. She scanned the sleeping SPARTANS, bed by bed, before observing an empty bed at bay three, with an emptied out bag. She kneeled down, checking the tag on the bag and frowned. Augustus. She got up, walking towards the barrack exit, and tapped into her neural link.

“Gilgamesh, is Augustus in the armoury?”

“Very perceptive of you ma’am. Yes he is.” The A.I. responded

Amelia walked quietly out of the bulkhead, ducking her head under the low port and into the corridor. She walked across the corridor, her boots clanking on the titanium plating and went through another bulkhead into next room. As she stepped in, she immediately saw Augustus sat at a table, his rifle disassembled on the desk. She walked up and crossed her arms, looking at him disapprovingly.

“Shouldn’t you be asleep Lieutenant?” She asked

“Sorry ma’am, couldn’t sleep.” He said, focusing on his disassembled rifle. He had a cleaning kit laid out beside it, allowing him to clean the system with excellent precision. The MA6A only required maintenance every six months, even in high stress combat environments, but this didn’t seem to stop Augustus.

“Are you afraid?” She asked, immediately drawing his attention. He looked to her, then back to his rifle. He slid the high stress recoil system over the bolt assembly, then pushed it back into the lower receiver.

“I can’t describe what it is ma’am. Maybe it’s just jitters.” He frowned “I’m probably just nervous for the next operation.”

Amelia-B312 leaned back on the desk behind her and looked to the young SPARTAN, her expression dour and serious.

“If you go into combat like this, you’re section is going to feel it, and it’s going to make them nervous and then you’ll start to lose people. Being this nervous isn’t like you Augustus.” She said, her tone not taking the edge off him “Go into battle like the outcome will be victory.”

“How do I manage that ma’am?” He asked “I don’t have the experience or the courage you do.”

“You have a good head on your shoulders, and a keen intellect, with a good non-com backing you up. It’ll come to you with time, and victory. Failing that...” She said, pausing for a moment “Stick behind me.”

Augustus just smiled, pushing the upper receiver onto his rifle, securing it with a click.

“Ma’am, I like the sound of that plan.” He smiled, sliding the Rail Interface System back into place with a click. He thumbed the charging handle, sending it flying forward with a click.

“You can’t rely on me, eventually you’ll have to take them out on your own.” She replied, checking his work

Augustus just smiled and placed the rifle back in its cabinet, shutting it, locking the bolts on it. Amelia didn’t say anything, leaving as quietly as she had arrived, leaving Augustus alone with his thoughts. She walked back down the corridor to her own quarters, stepping in and locking the bulkhead door behind her. She walked in, removing her boots and trousers, then flicked off the lighting. As she prepared to climb into the bed, a hologram flicked on, on the desk of the room. The hologram took the form of an ornately dressed man of Middle Eastern descent, with a long blade, which flickered with ethereal energies and code.

“Is something wrong Gilgamesh?” Amelia asked, sitting up for a brief moment

“Ma’am, SPARTAN-B139 returned to his bed.” He said, his tone flat. Amelia just stared at him, then turned over

“Good night Gilgamesh.”


Anton-B141 hit the keyboard on the bulkhead door, opening it up with a hiss. Anton walked through into an almost packed briefing room, being greeted by a wave of faces. He shuffled the glasses on his face, trying to find a seat, when Matt stood up, waving his arm. Anton picked his way through the crowd towards Matt and sat in an empty seat beside him.

“Where have you been Anton?” Matthias asked, his East Indian accent highlighting the ‘T’.

“Sorry Staff Sergeant, couldn’t find my glasses.” He said, looking to the front

Matthias turned to him, leaning back in his chair “Those glasses aren’t even real Anton.”

“Maybe, maybe not, but I prefer to have them with me.” Anton frowned

Matthias shook his head, laughing, then turned to the front “When is the Commander getting here?”

“He’s probably still getting the briefing ready. The boss man is meticulous.” Anton said, looking straight ahead

“I wish he’d hurry up.” Revy said, leaning her arm on the back of her chair and twisting her head over the back

“Rebecca, excited about a briefing?” Matt asked, leaning forward

“Yeah, he’s gonna tell us who to kill and where, of course I’m fucking excited!” She smirked

As if to silence them, Ajax entered the briefing room. He got up to the desk at the front and immediately interfaced with it, with Joyeuse hologram appearing beside him. He clicked a few buttons then looked to Bravo Company.

“You all know I’m not one to mince words, so I’ll make this to the point. HIGHCOM is planning a large scale invasion of the Covenant capital of Pious Ascension. We’re being assigned to Task Force Lightning, who will be going in before the main fleet.” Ajax said, bringing up a hologram first of the Covenant system, then the planet of Pious Ascension.

“Current naval reserves stand at over seven hundred warships and a combined garrison of seven hundred thousand infantrymen, complete with armour and air elements and the possibility of almost one hundred and fifty thousand Jackal auxiliaries. There’s also a predicted four hundred thousand militia and insurgent forces. In addition, they have almost two hundred orbital defence satellites modelled roughly on the defensive systems of Earth, and another two hundred groundside artillery positions intended for engaging potential invaders.” Ajax said, rotating the hologram, bringing up a number of cities and military complexes “Civilian population runs at estimations of six million, with several high density areas based around heavy military industry. There a number of military fortifications on the ground, along with a large number of less permanent military defences built around major settlements. We are expecting up to half a million human non-combatants used for manual labour by the Brutes as well, so we’re exercising care. The terrain, almost globally is sub-tropical grass lands, with the rainy season just ending as we make landfall.”

Ajax shut down the hologram of the planet, closing it and brought up an image of the orbital defence grid.

“None of this matters in the end though, as it isn’t our primary objective.” Joyeuse interjected, walking in front of the hologram, then took flight, hovering around the planet, before highlighting one of the stations, enlarging it.

“This has been identified as the station, Destinies Herald. Early reconnaissance indicates it operates as an orbital command centre for the defensive grid, and directs the home fleet. This mission, codenamed Operation HELLFIRE, requires us to take and disable this station, to disable the planetary defences in preparation for landing.” Joyeuse said, skipping through schematics of the station. She flipped through to a holographic representation of a number of ships, including two Loki-class Frigates, the extensively modified Odin-class Carrier they were on, two modified Horus-class Light Carriers, a Minerva-class Prowler and a single CCS-class Battlecruiser “We’ll be going in on this, the UNSC Campbeltown. She was a Covenant Battlecruiser, captured in oh-eight after she was disabled by an electromagnetic weapons deployment. The surviving ship has been sat in a UNSC shipyard ever since then, being refitted for a false flag operation such as this. We’re riding in on this thing straight into the Destinies Herald, with the rest of the task force shadowing us.”

“As part of the first wave riding shotgun on the Campbeltown, we’re riding with Alpha, Charlie and Kilo. We’re expected to secure the landing for the other companies, so we can over run the station as quickly as possible. Once everybody is onboard, we’re going to disable the station and take the defensive network offline, paving the way for the navy.” Ajax Said, crossing his arms “Do you have any questions?”

Nobody asked questions, annoying Ajax at their lack of curiosity, more than anything else.

“Predicted resistance is just under two regiments of Brute auxiliaries. Poorly armed, poorly trained, no real combat experience. Don’t let that fool you though. They’re still vicious Brutes, and they’re eager for blood.” Joyeuse added in, trying to keep them from getting too cocky in combat.

Ajax looked to the crowd one last time and scowled.

“If you don’t have any questions, then you’re dismissed.”

The company quietly left, with Ajax feeling like cracking open their skulls and showing them what colour their brains were. Ajax quickly left in the direction of his quarters, Joyeuse following in tow.

“You still annoyed about them not wanting to ask questions?”

“I’ve always taught them to ask when they want to know something, they’re trying to get over it...”

“Maybe not. Maybe it means they are now wise enough to know what they need to, to get the job done.” Joyeuse replied

Ajax turned to her, stopping in his tracks, then smiled a little bit

“Perhaps. We’ll see when we hit the target. What’s our ETA to Mannheim?” He asked

“Five minutes. We’ll dock at Port Midgard, then transfer over to the Campbeltown.” She replied bringing up a schedule

“And then?” Ajax asked, stopping at his quarters

“We have a two day journey to Pious Ascension. The main fleet will be following behind us by seven hours.” She said

Ajax walked in, opening his foot locker and lifting out his duffel bag.

“So just a seven hour window?”

“Actually, it’s more like five, since we have to travel in system.” She corrected, making Ajax glare at her, causing her cheeks to flush pink

“It’s going to be close enough as it is.” He frowned, retrieving an ornate walnut case from his foot locker. He carefully released the silver clasp locks, lifting it up, to reveal the two ornate revolvers. He caressed the electroless nickel plating, the engraved righting then the custom moulded hand grips. He slipped ‘Daemonica’ out of its resting alcove and into his hands, feeling the weight of the weapon, then lining up the sights, checking their calibration.

“Are you taking those things into combat?” Joyeuse asked, cocking her head “Aren’t they a little too ornamental and precious to waste in combat?”

“We’re SPARTANS. We only buy each other practical things. We all knew if we bought each other firearms, they’d be going straight into combat with us.” Ajax said, resting it again. He shut the case and a shadow of a smile flickered on his face. Joyeuse analysed this, drawing reason it was either the thought of the SPRTANS, or the thought of being in combat, with her cognitive processes leaning to the latter, by a 57% majority.

Ajax laid his things back in the foot locker and shut it. He turned to Joyeuse and crossed his arms.

“We’ll be going in with all pistons firing.” He said, looking at her, straight in her eyes “Clear your non-essential data for extra RAM for electronic and cyberspace.”

“Okay, I’ll run a defrag with it. I’ll be fully operational in three hours.”

With that, her hologram flickered then faded away. Ajax sat on his bed and pivoted into it, lying flat on his back, looking to the ceiling, loosing himself in thought.


The bulkhead opened up with a soft hiss, sending in a shaft of light into the darkened room. A solitary figure stepped in, their armoured hand fumbling against the wall. The hand made contact with a holographic interface, and tapped the button. The room was lit up by lighting from the floor, the light scattering off the purple plating. One of the lights flickered for a moment, then the fluorescent tube exploded, sending up a flicker of sparks.

“This thing is a heap.” Kyle said, kicking a dented wall panel.

As Harriet walked in, the bulkhead gave a soft whine, and the upper third of the bulkhead closed slightly, forcing her to duck.

“We’re supposed to pilot this into Covenant territory? I’m already getting doubts.” She said

“What about your boundless enthusiasm?” Kyle said, turning back and smiling.

“Screw that. I’m going up to the cargo bay. It fucking stinks, but at least there’s room to move.” Harriet said, almost ducking back out of the bulkhead

“We can’t, it’s mostly filled with guys from Alpha, and I doubt there’s any room now.” Isaac said, dropping his gear

“What about the officer’s deck?” Harry asked, beginning to get frustrated

“Charlie got in there an hour before us, there’s no way we’re getting in.” Kyle intoned

As soon as he said that, a panel behind them was blasted clean off the wall, a torrent of coolant pouring out.

“Fuck, we have a coolant leak too?” Harriet said, kicking the panel

Donnie-B154 stepped in, ducking under the bulkhead. He looked at the leaking coolant pipe, with Kyle trying to fix it, then to Harriet.

“Hey guys, mind if I bunk with you guys?” He asked

“Be our guest. This place isn’t exactly worthwhile.” Harry said, shrugging her shoulders

“Aw, it ain’t all bad.” Harmony-B016 smiled, ducking under the bulkhead, two large cases in hand “We’re right beside the pressure hull, about ten metres away from one of the secondary docking rings.”

“What does that mean, other than being highly vulnerable?” Kyle asked, his barely disguised sarcasm becoming more apparent.

“It means, genius, when we dock with our target, we can get in there, first.” Harmony smiled, her wide grin visible even under her visor.

She laid down her cases by the wall, and flipped one open, the olive green polycarbonate plating flipping open to reveal a padded interior with an alcove filled with an old, beaten up Rickenbacker 13000X bass guitar. She pulled it out and removed her helmet. She sat down, crossing her legs, and began to pluck at strings, emitting a faint chord. Donnie removed his helmet as well and pulled out a camping stove and rations.

“Right, who’s hungry then?”


Ajax thumbed the lock on the bulkhead then stepped back, waiting for it to open. The lower two thirds opened seamlessly, but the upper third only retreated halfway then jammed, emitting a flourish of sparks as its systems whined. Ajax ducked his head under the bulkhead, stepping into the storage room. The lighting had been turned down, with the only lighting coming from the pair of camping stoves. A number of Spartans were camped down around the room, inspecting weapons, playing card games, talking to each other.

“Everybody settled down?” He asked, looking across them. There seemed to be a unanimous nod in response. Ajax walked in, kneeling in front of one of the stoves “What’s cooking?”

“Rations, I think we have spaghetti meat balls” Alfred-B080 said, tapping the boiling ration packet with his knife.

Ajax unsheathed his combat knife and dipped it in, spearing a meatball and retrieving it. He bit into it, chewing on it for a moment before swallowing.

“Typical rations, they’re chewy.” He said, finished the rest of it, seemingly mulling over the taste. He cleaned the blade off and sheathed it. He stood up and walked back to the bulkhead

“Lieutenant B018 is running a shooting range in cargo bay delta. Other officers will also be drill exercises, sparring and a workshop down there and in the conjoined gamma cargo bay.” He announced “While this is non-optional, I request that you run at least one exercise a day. We are flying blind into an unsupported combat mission, you need to be sharp and ready.”

He turned and left, shutting the bulkhead behind him. As he walked down the corridor, the internal intercom rang out that they were breaking dock. Almost six seconds after that, the ship rocked violently. Ajax tapped his manual comm link on his neck, bringing up a direct connection to the bridge.

“What the hell was that?” He demanded

“Sorry Ajax, the reaction mass control valve jammed wide open, number four engine nearly slagged itself, but we have it under control.” Melanie replied, a soft chortle in her voice. Ajax steadied himself and tried to get moving again, when another shock rocked the ship.

“Okay, what was it that time?” He asked

“Okay, that’s slightly more serious, compartment beta-four just reported explosive decompression, and we’ve lost localised control and power control to the ship’s prow.”

“Okay, I’m heading over there.” Ajax said, replacing his helmet with a hiss


Ajax doubled up against the door, four SPARTANS from various companies backed up behind him. He prised open the panel beside the door and took out his knife, using it to accurately manipulate the crystal matrix inside.

“Everyone engage internal tanks, I’m about to blow the door.” He said, jamming his knife delicately in there.

“You know Ajax, if you just pulled out your hard link, I could interface and unlock the door electronically.” Joyeuse whispered into Ajax’s neural implant

“No thanks, I prefer to do things manually.” He said, bypassing one last defensive layer and unlocking the bulkhead. The door opened, immediately sucking air out with a high pitched whine. The bulkhead retreated into the walls, allowing them to step into the breach.

“Visual damage report?” Melanie asked over the radio

“Patching you into my cameras now.”

Ajax panned his head across the room, looking at the buckled, torn wall plating, spewing coolant. The coolant was leaking into minor hull breaches in the pressure hull beneath them. The fibre optic power control cable was severely damaged by the explosion, resulting in it being severed. Ajax walked , scanning the room.

“Looks like there was a build up of explosive gases in the coolant exchange pipe, must have gone straight up.” Joyeuse said, frowning

Ajax walked in, manually sealing off the leaking coolant, then moving to the severed cable and beginning repairs, while the others sealed the damaged hatches, trying to render it air sealed again

“News on the fibre optic cable?”

“It’s salvageable.” Ajax reported in, beginning his repairs

“What about the forward coolant reservoir? We have half our entire tank in there.”

“Negative on that, the pipe is severed, it’s unlikely we can repair it unless we salvage the parts or have spares.” Ajax said, monitoring the damage, angling his helmet to show her

“Fuck, we won’t have enough coolant to run weapons and we’ll struggle to keep shields operational.”

“Take off nonessentials. Lights, emergency generators, weapons, gravity lifts. Weapons aren’t necessary. As long as we keep life support, engines and shields running, we just need to make it to that station.” He replied, finishing up the repairs. Almost as soon as he did, the lighting died down.

He exited, locking the bulkhead behind him and navigated back down the corridor, his armour highlighting the dim red emergency lighting. In the darkness, he could see Jamal-290 approaching him.

“Is something up Lieutenant?” Ajax asked, observing his mannerisms in the dark

“Secondary systems in beta just offlined, we’re trying to reboot. It means our technical gear in the cargo hold won’t work.”

“Okay, run it off a Cyclops suit, if worst comes to worst. The reactor should keep the gear going for the duration of the journey.”

Almost on clock work, the ship began to rattle as it entered slipspace, vanishing from normal space, heading towards its target.


S013-Banner
Ajax 013 - <Death to Heroes>[The Damned] [The Lost][The Forgotten] ObscurumVictoria :
TALK - Greenwich Mean Time
Sorry about the general wait, and then consequent 'mehness' of this post, had pretty severe writers block. However, SPARTANS have set out as part of Task Force Lightning. Albion, Bravo, Charlie and Kilo are on the Campbeltown, a captured Covenant CCS-class. Other companies are distributed through the escorting UNSC Eidolon, Yggdrasil, Where Eagles Dare, Highwind and Hortensia. The bulk of the main UNSC forces are still gathering and preparing at Port Midgard, with them preparing to set off in 7 hours to follow them in. SPARTANS are going to capture the space station that controls the planetary defences, so the fleet can invade with relatively evened odds. By this point in time, the allies are already beginning their strikes, so Remnant forces are going to become disorganized (more than they were) and confused.



38

Hopefully everything held for the two-day journey into Remnant space.

At least the ship wasn't falling apart at the seams, like the old UNSC Hollow Men. Jamal was aboard the ship on its last voyage; it had somehow managed to literally fall apart on a combat mission, and all hands save Jamal were lost.

The only reason why he survived the catastrophe was because his suit was vacuum sealed –

- And because there was a Covenant-occupied moon with an atmosphere nearby.

One SPARTAN against multiple Brute packs? Not even a fight, thought Jamal.

He chuckled at the incident, and continued servicing his BR09 rifle, making sure that everything was in order.

The barrel was clean and lubricated, and Jamal had it modified to be free-floating. That made it more accurate. He would have to zero the optics on the Campbeltown's range, and much to his chagrin, in the dark. After making sure the underslung grenade launcher was working properly, he set his rifle back onto the rack and picked up his shotgun. After making sure the red-dot sight functioned, and making sure that it was cleaned and maintained properly, he set it aside and went to a briefcase that was labeled: "DO NOT TOUCH".

Those were his babies – two specially designed Angel Arms Cutlasses – which were heavily modified M57 pistols.

He knew that they were perfect, since the last time he touched them was right before they boarded the Campbeltown. He closed the case, bent down, and pulled his knife from its sheath.

He held it in his left hand, felt the weight and balance, and then threw it at the wall. With a satisfying sound, it had embedded itself, blade first, into the walls of the captured battle cruiser.

Still got it, he thought, and he placed the knife back into its sheath after retrieving it.

After quickly tidying up his personal quarters in a routine that was embedded into him since his younger days, he stepped towards the automated door, and accidentally kicked open a box of rations.

Meh, I'm hungry.

He collected up several of the rations – some sounded rather delicious, and others he knew were not so delicious – and took them into his quarters for chow-time, which it strangely was.

He cut open one of the boxes with his knife, and then checked the contents.

The main meal was Meatballs with Marinara sauce, and Jamal decided to dig in, using his knife to stab the meatballs and deliver them into his salivating mouth. -- Sergeant Major Arnold Lewis, UNSC Naval Special Warfare Development Group[COM] 16:32, May 27, 2010 (UTC)

39

29th of April, 2612, in orbit around Arcturus, Arcturus system, 2200 local time

As Admiral Jacobson was overlooking the daily reports when he caught a glimpse of a small Task Force heading outsystem. Soon after he got new orders to head for Port Midgard at Manheim immediately. He then ordered the entire Battlegroup to prepare for an immediate slipspace jump to Manheim.

Second Lieutenant Keith Johnson 7thHelljumpers com link 16:50, May 27, 2010 (UTC)

40

Ross East Jr. stood at the front of the briefing room, the rest of his squadron seated before him. "I've brought you hear to relay new info I just got from HIGHCOM.", Ross said, "I have a message from Admiral William T. Castle regarding instructions for the next operation on this flash drive. Most of it is directed at ground forces and doesn't really apply to us, but, in any case, I've been ordered to show you this.". Ross inserted the flash drive into the port on the computer. There was only one file on the drive, an video file. Ross clicked on the file. At once, the screen was filled by the image of Admiral William T. Castle, UNSC military chairman. After a second's pause, Castle said:

During the upcoming Operation HELLFIRE, we will be engaging the enemy on their terms, in their settlements, amidst their civilians. Due to the notorious nature of the Jiralhanae, and their natural aggression, strength and willingness to resist, the United Earth Government council passed this order. Any Jiralhanae civilians that resist the UNSC's invasion attempts are classified as hostile in the combat zones. Any civilian forces that enter armed conflict, or unarmed conflict, including physical violence, are to be classified as hostile and are treated as such. Any armed forces using civilian hostages, or using buildings vital to the civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, governmental buildings, educational buildings and such, are verified as valid targets and green light on engagement must be passed by theatre commander (battalion) before engagement commences. Targets using human prisoners of war (POW) as living shields are to not be directly engaged. If used as human shields, disengage combat and resolve situation with specialised forces to recover hostages as safely as possible. Surrendering or injured combatants are to thoroughly disarmed, bound and placed under extreme guard. Any resistance or indications of a false flag operations warrant targets to be reclassified as hostile targets, and can be engaged in combat.

Signed Fleet Admiral William T. Castle, Chairman of UNSC Military Operations

When the video disc finished, Nanook Kalaluit spoke up. "Yes, Kalaluit", Ross responded.

"By 'their own settlements and civilians', does that mean were going for Pious Ascenscion?"

"Yes, Major, that's exactly where were going. We will be headed there within the next seven hours, so get your Claymores ready to transfer aboard the UNSC Warrior, our Spears have already been delivered. As soon as the SPARTANs have captured the space station that control's their orbital defense, were going to be going to be spearheading the aerial assault, gaining air/space superiority, taking out priority ground targets related to the Remnant armed forces, infrastructure, and leadership, and providing close support for UNSC ground forces."

"Now, unless there are any other questions, you are dismissed", Ross said as he finished answering Nanook's question. Excited chatter erupted among the men of Ross' squadron as they filed out of the room. After they were all gone, Ross pulled the flash drive out of the computer placed it on a table. He removed his M98 Compact Machine Pistol from his holster and, in compliance with the orders given with the flash drive, destroyed the drive by striking it several times with the bottom of the handle of his pistol, smashing it into several pieces. Ross then swept the fragments of the flash drive into his hand and tossed them in a nearby garbage can before leaving the room. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

41

Mwenye-K035 idly rolled a coin across his knuckles as he lay on his bunk. Kilo's defeat of their Albion counterparts had left him satisfied, even if he had been a casualty. Didn't even shoot me, he thought, scowling. A chunk of the bridge that Lambda had blown had struck him in the head. The computer had ruled him combat-ineffective and taken him out of the sim. "Wasn't even a kill shot," he murmured and stood, slipping the coin into a pocket on the front of his utilities.

Stepping out of his quarters, he almost walked into Kristján-K121, one of the few snipers in a company specializing in shock tactics. "Hey, Kris," he said, clapping the other Spartan on the back. "You ready to roll?"

Kris shrugged. "I hope so, my friend," the tall Spartan said with a thick accent. "There's not all that much room for sniping on a space station, you know?"

Mwenye nodded. "Don't worry, I've got your back," he said. Clapping Kristján's back once more, he continued on his way to the ad-hoc mess hall that had been set up on the former Covenant starship. He'd heard rumors of meatballs, and this merited further investigation.


Logan-G081 sat in the mess hall and slowly ate his plate of meatballs, his thoughts filled with planning for the upcoming mission. Kilo ought to do well in these circumstances, he thought. We're trained for this. Quick insertion, smash stuff and then exfil... I've been doing this since the last war.

So why am I still worried?

Standing, he lifted his unfinished plate on walked to the door, dropping the food in front of the first Spartan he walked past. Before the surprised soldier could utter a word of thanks, Logan was out the door and out into the corridor. Brushing past a lanky, dark Spartan- what's his name? Mwenye? - Logan continued until he reached his quarters. Normally he shared them with another Spartan, an exec from Charlie, but for now it was empty. Walking to his bunk, he picked up a long, slim object wrapped in olive green cloth and slowly unwrapped it. It was a katana he'd acquired years ago. Drawing it from its sheath, Logan began to slowly move, flowing into his normal training regimen. He'd mastered the form decades ago, but still practiced it for leisure. The quicker movements were actually quite intensive, though. As he picked up speed, Logan felt his pulse increase.

The blade hummed as it whistled through the air in faster and faster arcs. Logan closed his eyes and let the blade move itself. He'd spent hours familiarizing himself with the room when they'd boarded so that he could do this without hitting a wall.

Finally, Logan slowed the blade down. In a quick movement he sheathed the blade and rewrapped it, wiping his face on the cloth. He checked the time- it had been twenty minutes. God, I'm hungry, he thought, and left for the mess hall again.

I am a monument to all of your... Darkness Conflicts Stories Heroes


42

The SPARTAN-filled Pelican soared into the air, flying towards the Loki-class Stealth Frigate UNSC Where Eagles Dare. The pelican landed in the hangar, which was already mostly filled with pelicans, katanas and the ocaisonal claymore and buzzard. Norman-G124 and Gary-G222 climbed off the pelican, along with the other SPARTANs and walked in an orderly fashion to their quarters. They passed the occaisonal marine/pilot/naval crewman on the way to their quarters.


Battlegroup Mighty River exited slipspace directly into the 16th fleet's formnation. Before the Great War, this would have been impossible. But now, they neatly appeared into formnation. The journey from Earth to Manheim had been a fairly short one, lasting about two days, and Admiral Han Yo Min had gotten a decent ammount of rest, not to mention reports. His datapad was happily emptly for once as he exited his quarters. He looked out of the viewport and saw Sandstorm Squadron docking on his own ship-the UNSC Mighty River.


An Elite
Norman-123 - (Insert witty phrase here):
TALK - Greenwich Mean Time
{{{text}}}


43

The Quetzalcoatl-class Ultra Carrier UNSC Warrior hovered over a massive concrete loading pad as long as the six kilometer long ship itself. Hundreds of fighters, bombers, dropships, attack, and other aircraft and spacecraft docked aboard the vessel as David Kilgore looked up at the vessel. Kilgore sat at the controls of his M-1050 Brown Bear Anti-Heavy Walker Vehicle, one of thousands of vehicles of all types. There were more Brown Bear AHWVs like his own, as countless other tanks, tank destroyers, mobile artillery, mobile AAA and SAMs, MLRS, walkers and exoskeletons, engineering and recovery vehicles, Coyote variants, Warthogs, trucks, and countless other vehicles drove around the loading pad to get to one of the ship's dozen of medium and heavy cargo elevators or to offload personnel at one of over fifty loading towers, structures hundreds of feet tall that lined the edge of the loading pad, these structures connect to vessels in order to load and unload personnel onto large ships such as the Warrior. In a few vehicles in front of Kilgore's AHWV, a marine sergeant sat in a Warthog equipped with a loudspeaker, playing the role of a "traffic cop", directing vehicles into lanes of traffic delineated by traffic cones, bound for various entry points to the ship.

"All APCs, trucks, Transport Warthogs, or other vehicles transporting personnel are to take the left lane to the loading towers, you will be directed to your assigned tower. After offloading personnel, report to the loading elevator directed", the sergeant said, before continuing, "All supply transport truck, including flatbeds carrying Warthogs, Mongooses, Wolves, or other light vehicles should take the left center lane, where they will directed to either the medium or heavy cargo elevators depending on the weight of the load in question. All Scorpions and other vehicles of a mass of up to 75 tons should take the right-central lane and report to the elevator directed. All super-heavy vehicles, including Tiger heavy tanks, Tortoise heavy APC, Elephants, and Ogre Walkers should take the far right lane directly to the heavy cargo elevators."

Kilgore waited as a column of Tiger Heavy Tanks, Ogre Battle Walkers, and Tortoise Heavy APCs rolled into the right lane. As soon as the heavy armor was through the intersection, the "traffic cop" sergeant waved Kilgore's platoon of AHWVs, as well as two platoons of Scorpions, a platoon of Monitors, and a battery of Bombardier self-propelled guns through the intersection. Kilgore drove his AHWV up to a second marine NCO, who lead directed him to a heavy cargo elevator reserved for the 3rd Armored Division's specialist vehicles- tank destroyers, anti-walker vehicles, engineering vehicles etc. Kilgore waited as the football field-sized elevator slowly raised a number of Deathstalker SPAAGs, Wolverine mobile SAMs, and Fattail SAM/AAA vehicles. After about five minutes, the elevator returned to the ground as Kilgore's AHWV platoon, along with another AHWV platoon, a Komodo laser tank platoon, and three platoons of Monitor AVPs, a total of 24 tanks, parked on the elevator platform and were lifted a couple hundred feet to the UNSC Warrior. The elevator came to a stop inside a massive "parking lot" of tanks inside one of the ship's cargo bays. Kilgore's AHWV was directed into a "parking space" up against the wall of the cargo bay. With his vehicle parked, Kilgore exited the hatch of his tank and pulled out a map of the UNSC Warrior. The nearest stop for the tram line that ran along the spine of the ship was located just on the other end of a corridor running between the cargo bay and a hanger. Kilgore entered the hallway. Through the door into the hanger on the other side, he could see a parked F/I-905 Claymore Heavy Fighter with the name "Lt. Col. Ross East Jr." written below the cockpit window. Kilgore turned away from the the hanger door and headed down the hallway along with a few other marines, pilots, and navy personnel into a the crowded tram station. There, David Kilgore leaned against a wall and waited for the next tram. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

44

The UNSC 14th Nomad Fleet was on the move. The UNSC had now a plan to finish the Brute on their Capital world. The Spartans were already on the ground clearing the way to the invasion force. The UNSC 8th Marines Expeditionary Force will be one of the 8 other expeditionary force that would lead the main invasion force. The 14th fleet had the order yo join the closeest system the refuels and rearm than they would join the invasion fleet.CF001 00:28, June 3, 2010 (UTC)

45

30th of April, 2612, Officer‘s Quarters, UNSC Eidolon, In Transit, 0800 local time

Connor let out a heavy sigh and slumped in front of a video monitor, lifting his feet onto the desk in front of him and easing into the well padded chair. The officer who normally inhabited the room must have had a taste for comfort, something Connor could hardly begrudge him, and he had to admit it was a nice spot to relax, if only for a moment. The last few hours had been chaotic, hectic, and more than a little confusing. Connor, who’d seen his share of combat scrambles, was nevertheless a little on edge. He could hardly imagine what some of the younger SPARTANs must have been feeling, underneath their façade of icy indifference.

Then again, he thought as he clicked on the monitor, Maybe they don’t feel anything. Who knows?

Connor glanced about his cabin, the small room that would be his home for the next few hours. A small room that seemed no bigger than a supply closet, it was more than a little cramped, even with only the bare essentials. Connor had forsaken normal duty regulations and brought most of his gear with him into the room, rather than leave it with the company storage, and now he was regretting it. A sniper rifle, assault weapon, and two boxes of attachments, extra kit, and ammo did little to make the small space any less cramped.

Turning back to the screen, Connor grabbed his flask and looked it over, before returning to the task at hand. Lambda’s sim against Kilo had gotten cut short by the mobilization order, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t still insight to be gleaned from it. The simulated battle had been almost over anyway, with things squarely in Kilo’s favor. Fast forwarding through the recording, Connor watched the skirmish progress, trying to understand where things had gone wrong.

The nice thing about simulated battles was that because it was all computer generated, it was automatically copied in three dimensions. Moving around the field from a detached perspective, Connor watched his team get the drop on Kilo at the mortar, Scott’s team get nearly wiped out, and Leonid’s force at the city slowly get pushed into a corner. Frowning, he accelerated past the events, watching Scott’s team ambush Kilo at the base but get overwhelmed. Flicking the perspective back to Leonid, he watched the crafty commander and his forces covertly escape from the city through the sewers, leaving behind a remote detonated bomb. Peering over the screen with interest, he observed as Kilo mopped up Scott’s force, destroyed Lambda’s base, and returned to the city, losing significant forces to the bomb blast but still managing to escape with most of their vehicles and heavy weapons. Fast forwarding again, he watched Kilo return to their base, pinning Lambda between their forces.

Connor smiled as a clever SPARTAN from Squadron Four used a mortar shell to blow his way through the avalanche of rock in front of Kilo’s base, but the simulation ended before he could see the end of the final battle. Scrolling around the battlefield, Connor realized that Lambda would likely have been annihilated by the numerically superior, vehicle armed Kilo forces, and sat for a moment, still wondering where their problem had been. It was obvious enough; their plans, while complex, had gotten too many of their troops killed, and their emphasis on causing casualties for Kilo had made them overlook the other elements of the battle.

Connor sighed and closed the screen, staring at the darkened display. The simulation had done what it was designed to do, test their skill at open combat, and it had proven they could communicate with each other if they needed too, but Connor was still wary. They’d done well on the sim, but they were now going into a much bigger fight, a much more important battle. Attacking the Remnant capital. He hadn’t believed them when they’d announced it at the briefing; it was still hard to swallow. Things were going to be very, very tough. Reactivating the computer and turning the simulation recording back on, Connor knew they’d be pushed to their very limits. Looking over his flask again, Connor finally took a short sip and returned to his work.

EDIT: Oh yes, and thanks to painkillers: worst, post, ever.

//Your screams blacken my soul// //I am shadow, I am death// //I am alone in the dark, but not afraid//

46

DATE: 30th April 2612; LOCATION: UNSC Campbeltown, Slipspace to Pious Ascension; TIME: 0200

Riker moved his pieces across the Telkaz board once again, eliminating another one of Viggo's Tyrant-team pieces, who in turn could only move and defeat one of Benoit Jutras' People-team pieces. Riker smirked to himself as he saw Viggo's veiled disgust at the maneuver and his inability to get reprisal: Riker then silently signaled Laz with his eyes, leading Laz to move into a position to trap Jacob Terra's Enemy-team pieces.

“So, I hear you kicked Leonid's hide”, said Laz; then, smirking, he added, “By the skin of your teeth anyways”

Riker just shook his head: Laz had been a last minute addition to the game, stopping by to check in on Riker as he did at random; arriving, he had taken the place of Francesca, who'd willingly given him the spot in the game since she had never played before. Riker couldn't help but wonder if he should have left him out: Laz could, at times, bring up rather awkward conversations, ones that could possibly embarrass him in front of the other officers.

I'd kill Laz if he said the wrong thing in front of Viggo and Elijah, thought Riker, his distaste for the III's coming to mind.

“Well old man?”, cut in Laz, “Losin' your edge?”

“Leonid puts up a good fight”, said Riker, “But he's not good enough to lead a company like clockwork. And besides, you're not exactly all sharp yourself: Susano tells me that Fred and Maria are down in the armory, checking the weapons, if you catch my drift”

Benoit Jutras snickered from across the table, but was quickly stifled by a quick kick from Steve Downes

Laz remained silent a moment as he made his move, eliminating Jacob's pieces before Riker, in turn, eliminated several of Elijah's, ending the People-team's stay completely. “Well, sometimes there are some things you ought to turn a blind eye too”, said Laz at length, “There's always a few things that don't matter a whole lot in the long run, you know?”

“All I know”, said Riker as he overran Viggo completely, finishing him off, “is that there are some things that you probably ought to deal with now, before they get out of hand”

“I think there are some things you ought to deal with too”, replied Laz, finishing off the last of the Enemy-team, leaving Riker and Laz the sole remaining players – the winners of the game.

Riker got up for a minute, then walked over to his supplies and pulled out a deck of cards. “If you don't mind gentlemen, would you mind giving us some privacy?”, he asked. Each of the others made an affirmative, and walked out of the room, living only Laz and Riker in the small quarters.

Riker began dealing the cards. “Now”, he said, “Let's see what you meant by that comment: what exactly do I need to deal with?”


Jared-K025 plucked more strings on his guitar, only to have Nick-K189 begin to try to sing along, producing several terrible off-key notes: Jared placed the guitar away carefully, at which point Nick dejectedly pulled out his portable music player and began to listen to it. Looking over to his side, Jared saw James-K012 lean back against the curved wall of the hangar, an eReader in his hands.

“Really James?”, asked Jared, “You brought an eReader?”

“Yup”, replied James without looking up

“At least tell me it's a war book”, said Clayton-K197, crossing his arms

“Wrong there: it's called The Outsiders. It's about social outcasts on Earth in the mid-1900's”

Clayton snorted. “You know what a good book is?”, he asked, “What Once Was Lost.... Now there's a good book if I've ever seen one: talks about finding the Forerunner portal on Earth back in '52 and all the riots and small wars that took place. Real interesting stuff that”

“No variety”, said James, “Typical Spartan”

Clayton became visibly angered by the comment, and quickly got up and walked over to a different area of the hangar, sitting down with another group of Kilo Spartans. “You shouldn't have done that”, said Dillon-K150

“And why not?”, asked James

“You know he's got issues with being called typical”, replied Dillon, “He thinks it compares him to those mindless Remnant soldiers”

“Well, he should get over it”, replied James, becoming frustrated, but before he said more he looked around and suddenly noticed that Aubrey was not with them. “Where's Aubrey?”, he asked

“I'm not sure”, said Nick, “Last I remember seeing her was when we all put our stuff in here”

“What about you two? Did you see her?” Jared and Dillon shook their heads. James muttered a curse under his breath. “I swear I'm gonna kill that girl”, he said as he got up.

“Where're you going?”, asked Jared

“To find Aubrey”, James replied as he walked briskly away from his team

“I'll go with him”, said Nick reluctantly as he slowly got up, “Better make sure they don't kill each other” Jared and Dillon stifled laughter at the all too true statement

Moving through the rest of the Kilo forces, James began to look for his sister and ask the others if they had seen her: sometimes, he would get a response, with someone saying they'd seen her with one of the other groups, but then James would arrive to find she wasn't there anymore. Eventually discovering she was no longer in the hangar bays, James moved out to the rest of the ship, passing only a few Spartans in the dilapidated halls as he made his way throughout the ship, until at last he arrived in the dimly-lit delta cargo bay: there, at the far end, he saw the shooting range, and saw Aubrey-K093 practicing in it.

“Aubrey, where have you been?”, James demanded, his sister hardly flinching as he suddenly came up behind her and began yelling

“Here”, she said simply

“And you just decided not to tell me, or anyone for that matter, where you were?”

“No”

“And why is that?”

“Didn't think it was important”

“Aubrey, both as your brother and your commanding officer, I am responsible for you, and as such I need to know where you are at all times, which means –”

“Oh, stop trying to sound like my father”, griped Aubrey. The comment cut deep into James, and for a moment a fury was created by it, an unstoppable one that caused him to move to strike his sister.

“Enough!”, hollered Nick as he pushed in between the siblings. “Separate before I call the Lieutenant on you!”

Startled by Nick's behavior, James backed away, then turned and walked to the nearby sparring arena. Turning to Aubrey, Nick said, “You know you should have told someone where you were”

“Why should I have to?”, asked Aubrey, frustrated, “I can take care of myself without anyone's help”

“I know. But he can't. You're all he has left Aubrey: do you want him to end up like Sawyer? You know how he is, and that's because he's lost everything he ever cared about: if something were to ever happen to you, that is what would happen to James. Try and think about that for once”

“I do think about it Nick! But James needs to learn that the world doesn't end with me”

“Maybe it does for him”, said Nick simply, then he walked off


Locke-K098 pulled out his backgammon board and set it in between himself and Walt-K033, then began to set the pieces out. “So, is it like checkers?”, asked Walt

“No”, replied Locke, “No, it's a much better game than checkers”

“Don't listen to him, Shortround”, said Sawyer-K015 with an air of self-importance and sarcasm, “Mr. Clean places a lot more value in things than they really got”

“That's just what you want to think, James”, said Locke, using Sawyer's first name, something that the wannabe outlaw hated. Turning back to Walt, he explained the game a little more: “There are two players, two sides: one is light, the other is dark”

Then he leaned forward and said, “Walt, do you want to know a secret?

Walt nodded slowly.

Locke leaned a little closer, then said, “Desmond says 'brother' too much”

“Aw, come on”, bemoaned Walt, playfully punching Locke in the arm, Locke smiling back at his jest. Sawyer was shaking his head in disgrace when Miles-K147 walked up to him.

“Hey, Jim?”, Miles said, trying to get his attention.

“Well, howdy-do Hutch”, said Sawyer, actually pleased to see Miles, one of the few Spartans he got along well with. “Whatcha needin'?”

“Looks like a fight's brewing between some of the Knight members”

“Ah h***, them again?”, asked Sawyer in disgust, standing up from his seat, “Fine, I'll go make 'em lay off”

“Thanks Jim”

“Yeah, yeah... wish I knew why I got stuck as sheriff 'round here”


In a corner of Hangar Bay Beta, Ben-K126, Juliet-K163, and Richard-K071 sat huddled together, discussing plans for the upcoming battle. “Bravo is hitting the station first, aren't they?”, Ben asked in his dry, haunting voice.

“To the best of my understanding, yes”, replied Richard, “If we move quickly, we can be the second ones in, but Charlie has just as good a shot at it as we do”

“What exactly is our job in the plan?”, asked Juliet

“Same as everyone else's”, said Ben, “Rush in, shoot all the Brutes, then take over the vital systems. HIGHCOM isn't exactly original, in case you haven't noticed yet”

Juliet shook her head sadly for a moment. “Richard, what's our status?”

“Everyone's accounted for: no injuries, yet. We haven't to use any of the mobile suit's reactors as a power source yet, but we may need to before the trip is over. Overall, everything seems a little too perfect, compared with the status of the other companies: I'm actually surprised the hangars held up as well as they did”

Ben looked at a piece of rusted metal plating peeling off the wall and poked it, causing the metal the rock up and down, ripping off the wall a little further. “Oh yes Richard, it's obviously in perfect condition”, said Ben sarcastically; after a moment's thought though, Ben realized a true question, and asked, “Richard, do we have any intel on what sort of forces to expect in the station?”

“Shouldn't be much in the way of a fight”, said Richard, “We're not expecting much above Captains”

“Alright”, replied Ben, “Thank you, Richard”


“I could use some help over here, hot shot!”, chastised Brandon Smith as he watched his forces be demolished by enemy forces.

“I'm trying!”, replied Kevin Karaki, “They've got me pinned down! Doris, where are your men?”

“I'm working on it boys!”, Doris-G300 yelled back, “They're working their way through the woods, but Miranda's snipers are exactly making this easy... dadgummit, I just lost another one!”

“Steady Miranda, keep your men in check”, Logan-G081 stated calmly over the team COM, “Push them into the trap, not straight through it”

“I'm trying, but they're not making this easy!”, countered Miranda Talavera, “Arelynn, is the trap ready yet?”

“Almost”, said Arelynn-G056 as she watched the engineering teams work on the final pitfalls and explosives, “Just a little mo– crap, Keemy's flanked me! We're trapped!”

“Kyle, I need air support”, Keemy Schuckenbrock evenly stated

“I'm working on it”, said Kyle Jasper, “But Phillip isn't gonna give up this air strip easily”

“I'll be there soon, Kyle”, said Matthew Frank, “Me and Ammadeus have almost pushed through Lorraine's tank division on the far side, and we should be reinforcing you shortly”

“James, I'm about to pull out and blow the place”, said Phillip Lenavitt, “Do we have a secured fall back point?”

“Roger that, the mountain cavern is secure. It will be safe for you and Lorraine to pull back to”

“Understood, expect us shortly”

And so went the constant stream of tactics, assaults, counter-attacks, defensive orders and requests for support, all moving back and forth between the officers as they ordered their troops into position to attack their foes, the four teams all vying to defeat the other three. Ammunition was spent, locations were secured and lost, and men were killed, with vehicles exploding and aircraft crashing from both brute force and sabotage.

As the company's security team walked into the room, Morgan-K120 walked towards the group of officers, separate into their four teams and crouched over individual portable computers. “The Frontlines 5?”, asked Morgan, leaning over Brandon's shoulder to see what he was doing, “Man, I love this game! Can I play?”

“No”, was Brandon's curt reply

“I still can't figure out why you prefer this over sims”, said August-K197

“Because sometimes its' nice to kill other people with soldiers that listen to your every word”, replied Keemy, “Dadgummit Kyle, where is that air support?”

“T minus 30 secs”, replied Kyle, “The aircraft are in the air, but we're trying to keep Phillip corralled”

“Good lord, you're all hopeless”, said Bridget-K049

“Well I'm sorry if some of us actually like to have fun!”, Phillip hollered over at Bridget, then cringed as he sacrificed most of his troops by detonating the charges in the airfield.

“Darn you to Hello Kitty, Keemy!”, cried Arelynn as the air support and Keemy's forces over ran her, moving towards Doris' own forces, both sides being sniped upon by Miranda

“Phillip, Lorraine, the area's secure”, said James-G023

“I'm not gonna make it”, said Phillip, “Kyle and Matthew have the last of my men cornered”

“I'll be there shortly”, replied Lorraine, moving the remains of her armored division towards the mountain stronghold James had secured for them.

August walked over to one of the nearby crates, opened a small holo-generator, then, with a little work, he hooked it into the computer network that the officers were playing on. “At least we can watch a somewhat good combat sim”, he murmured as Meagan-K165 came over to watch beside him.

And so it went. Players began to drop off in a short amount of time, however, and James-G023 was one of the first. Moving over to where the security team sat, he began to watch the others finish up their match, and soon he was joined by Logan-G081.

"Hey Gunny?", asked Evie-K181 at length.

"What is it, Evie?"

"Mind me asking a question?"

"Shoot"

"I don't mean to be pushy, but it always strikes me that you III's don't seem to get along like we IV's do"

"What's your question Evie?", asked James impatiently, waiting for the inevitable

"Well, did something happen between you all? I mean, why is it you don't get along?"

"Evie, you need to pay more attention to your history", said Logan-G081; turning to James, he asked, "Mind if I take over? I know you don't like to explain it" James nodded, so Logan continued: "Evie, ever looked at a roster of III survivors? You realize how few of us there are? Most of us died, and most of us had to watch our teammates die in front of us. We became loners, thinking only of surviving, and then everything was suddenly over and we didn't have anyone to fight: so, we either became border patrol, or we joined Operation: SAVIOR, or, for a few, they became mercs and rebels. We were Spartans: there wasn't much of a life beyond war."

"And then, they told us we were training new Spartans", said James, taking over suddenly, "And they stuck us all in this program together and expected everything to sit well. It doesn't. Each of us is an individual, and almost all of us has forgotten teamwork. It's not easy to work together with someone just about like yourself. So, does that answer your question Evie?"

"Yes sir", she replied, "I'm a little sorry I asked"

"It's never wrong to ask Evie", said James, "And don't worry: I doubt you'll ever end up like us" But in his heart, James wondered whether that was true or not.


DATE: 30th April 2612; LOCATION: UNSC Godzilla, Port Midgard, Manheim; TIME: 0300

“Ready for war?”, asked Nick as he dropped heavily into one of the seats next to Mary Cragin. “Come on, you can't help but get an adrenaline rush”

“I think I'd do a lot better if I didn't have people like you asking me “are you ready? are you ready?” all the time”, replied Mary, turning her music up louder

“For goodness sakes Nick, leave her alone before she turns that blasted music up any higher!”, groaned Roy from across the table

“I agree”, said Akira, taking another swig of his beer, belching as he placed the cup back down

“I thought you liked my music Akira?”, asked Mary

“Maybe I do”, he said slyly with a smirk, a sign of his drunkenness

“NOW HERE THIS, NOW HERE THIS, WE WILL BE ENTERING SLIPSPACE WITHIN THE HOUR”, came the voice of the announcer over the PA system.

“Ya'll heard him ladies”, said Jacob Harrison, “We'll be blasting Brutes in about two days time”

“Your overly happy”, said Rex, “You didn't find yourself a lady friend, did you?”

“No, so shut up”, growled Jacob, “I can be happy, can't I?”

“Yeah, it's just unlike you”, said Nick

From across the table, Samuel watched Jacob secretively as he silently cleaned his Magnum pistol: although he didn't know what it was, he could tell that something was up with Jacob, and that it was something major. Not wanting to cause trouble, Samuel decided simply to watch Jacob and try to figure out what had happened through observation: they were going to be in slipspace for two days and then they'd be in battle for who knows how long, so he couldn't do anything stupid for a while yet. Silently watching, Samuel continued to clean his Magnum.




47

0151 HOURS, APRIL 30TH, 2612, IN-SLIPSPACE, CAMPBELTOWN (CAPTURED CCS-CLASS BATTLECRUISER), LOWER DECK ARMORY

Fred put aside the whetstone he always used to sharpen Kate and studied the machete knife in great detail, like a small child inspecting their meal for onions or beans or other things it disliked. After a while he was satisfied and stuffed it back into its sheath with precision. He looked up and saw Maria busy tinkering with a trip mine; no doubt an attempt to increase its explosive radius. Feeling warm and fuzzy with just being near her, he leaned back against a weapon holder, letting off a satisfying sigh.

“What're you so happy about?” Maria said, looking up from her half-disassembled mine. She had no doubt heard his sigh. Quite a surprise; Fred constantly wondered why she didn't go deaf while continually experimenting with loud explosives.

“Why wouldn't I be happy?” he replied, giving her a shining bright smile. “I'm doing what I like most in my favorite room on the whole ship, not to mention I'm alone with the girl of my dreams: this is life.”

“Right, let's forget our impending fight with evil space apes that want nothing more than to kill us and then make pendants out of our toes.” the brunette-haired Spartan sarcastically remarked while slotting back some pieces into the mine, carefully adjusting them to take their respective places.

“Probably the teeth and the fingers too” Fred added. “And then make some scary voodoo-soup with our eyes and blood as main ingredients.”

Maria chuckled at this before sticking the last component back into the mine. “Last I recall” she jerked back “the Covvies didn't believe in voodoo-crap.” She then checked the device thoroughly before she carefully stacked it on top of the other mines.

“You never know, they could've changed their mind.” Fred got back up on his feet, stretching himself to maximum and thinking about how good it would be to go back to the team's cabin and sleep. But some part of him told him to stay and continue the conversation a bit longer.

“At any rate, we could just skip the battle” he jokingly remarked. Maria smiled sarcastically at the notion.

“Right, we could flee to Eridanus, live in sin, eat cake and drink wine for the rest of our lives.” She retorted as she removed all the tools from the bench – or the Covenant equivalent, anyhow – she sat on.

“I guess you're right” Fred laughingly said. “Being a Spartan isn't so bad. Most missions get you aroused and in a good fighting mood in time before you shoot people out to get you. It's an acceptable existence.”

Fred suddenly sensed that when he said aroused it sparked a reaction in Maria's unpredictably exciting mind. He looked at her, seeing she had a radiant grin on her pretty face to accompany the penetrating green eyes. For a moment, the room was silent, Fred waiting for Maria's reply.

“You know” she started, “I get aroused by other things than combat.”

Fred could tell something big and interesting was coming up. “Do share what other things gets you aroused, my dear miss.” he replied in a fake-gentleman tone. “I am dying of curiosity.”

The female Spartan's grin did the impossible and got even wider, while her eyes became filled with desire. “Come over here, and I can...show you.” she encouraged.

Fred now knew perfectly well what she wanted, causing his heart rate to increase rapidly. It would probably break a dozen regulations and earn them both an eternity of solitary confinement if they were caught, but he knew he wanted to do nothing else right now. A small, semi-sensible part of his mind objected, however.

“Are you sure?” he asked, deciding to act on his doubt this time. “I mean, if we're caught, then-“

Maria quickly put a finger in front of his mouth, silencing him mid-sentence. “Then we won't get caught.” she retorted, then leaned in with her head to his ear. “And stop second-guessing me about what I want; it turns me off, dammit.” she continued, her voice now just a whisper. She leaned back and grabbed the blushing man in front of her firmly with both hands.

“Now come here, tough guy, before I lose my patience!”


0213 HOURS, APRIL 30TH, 2612, IN-SLIPSPACE, CAMPBELTOWN (CAPTURED CCS-CLASS BATTLECRUISER), KILO COMPANY OFFICER QUARTERS

“I mean a certain Hispanic hottie who I know you fancy.” Laz replied to Riker, usual grin on his lips. He then picked up his cards and arranged them in ranking order, while Riker sprawled out the rest of the deck on the table – the foolproof sign for Go Fish. “Got any twos?” he quickly added.

Riker twitched a little, and handed over a card. Judging from the half-second delay, Laz could tell he was somewhat taken aback by the statement. “Miranda? What about her? And got any sevens?”

Laz cursed quietly as he handed over his two sevens, but returned to his usual smile when he replied. “You know what I mean. You've gotten very sweet on her lately.” He placed heavy emphasis on the 'very'. Before Riker replied, he asked for fours – to no luck.

“I don't know what you're talking about.” Riker said as Laz picked a card from the 'pool'. “Got jacks?”

“One.” He handed it over, and Riker then placed it and the other three from his hand on the table, having formed a book. “But you're not fooling me. Was it during that betrayal incident? Speaking of which, you didn't thank me for risking my csacsi for your sake.”

“Sorry” Riker grunted back, discreetly trying to change the subject. But Laz kept staring at him, waiting eagerly for the answer. “I'm NOT in love with her, if that's what you're suggesting.” Riker said harshly, though Laz detected a minimal blush. “I simply trust her more now, that's all.”

“Yeah right.” Laz rolled his eyes in sarcasm. “Anyway, why haven't you made a move yet? I mean, it's not like she'll be the one running straight into your arms. The female creature is curious that way; they want the men to make the first move.”

Riker didn't answer, much to Laz's chagrin, though he ultimately decided not to push the issue. Under relative silence, the two continued the game for some time, Riker taking the obvious lead with eight books to Laz's four. Riker had by then already won for all intents and purposes, but they silently agreed to play along until the end.

Surprisingly, Riker was the first to break the silence, after winning the last book. “How is 'he'?” he asked. Laz immediately realized who he meant.

“Well enough.” He replied. “Ben says he's begun to eat out the kitchen, so I guess he grows like he should.”

Riker now looked dead-serious. “You know it was irresponsible of both of you, right? Having a kid?” The tone reminded Laz of how Mendez would teach the young Spartans about responsibility.

“How so?” Laz retorted, not at all surprised by the question; it hadn't been the first time his unlikely friend had said the same thing.

“You know why” Riker started, now with an annoyed tone, “I've told you this before. It breaks the regs, for one. They're there for a reason, you know.”

“They are?” Laz jokingly replied, trying to brighten up the mood, but Riker didn't relent. Laz knew how to steer away from the subject, however. “Anyway, you just scold me for that because you're worried about my well-being, my non-smiling friend.”

Riker raised a surprised eyebrow, taken aback by the retort. “That's not important, Laz, you need to think about the consequences of your a-“

“AHA!” Laz interrupted, smirking wickedly; knowing that he had Riker now. “You're in denial! I know I was right. Little lieutenant baby-face cares for his little clown friend.”

Riker started blushing, but too little for it to have been noticeable for any non-Spartans. Laz caught it however, and started to exploit it. Minutes passed, and the discussion turned to wholly different topics.

But as Laz left to return to his quarters a while later, he started having fatherly worried thoughts about his son. His son, who was somewhere in the Inner Colonies, taken care of by someone who was actually in any position to do so, and not himself – who would be lucky if he even got to see him once. As he got under his soft and warm blanket, tears streamed down his face.

He knew what a terrible father he was.


(There ya go, Lomi. It's not very well written, but I was in a rush; I wanna start writing on my upcoming article again as soon as possible. Anyway, it may still suffice for now)

Survivor of the Old Guard

48

James let out a deep sigh as he walked towards the weapons rack. He began to take down the weapons he’d need to use. After constant close calls throughout his life, he couldn’t help but constantly check over his weapons before combat. The first thing he took out was his machete, an old relic of his service in the Human-Covenant War and the early parts of the Remnant War, it was still shining and free of scratches with the words Ivgvolo Myrmillio etched into its handle. A small, almost invisible grin cam across his face has old memories temporarily flooded back into his mind. He almost drifted off until he remembered what he was supposed to be doing. He tested the machete, making sure it was sharp, before he sheathed the machete and attached it to his waist before he took out his M57 and disassembled it. After finding it in working order, he reassembled it and put it to the side. After doing the same with his M73D, he checked to make sure he had the right ammo. Satisfied with his weaponry, he sat down as the small snippets of Evie’s question came to his mind. It’s not that I can’t work with them, it’s just… his mind trailed off as a melancholic feeling of nostalgia swept across him. Shaking his head, he sat down and slumped up with his back against the wall. Grinning, he closed his eyes as his mind wandered to past battlefields.


Colonel Graham Aker paced back and forth through the command room in a state of nervousness. The upcoming battle was going to be his first “real” battle as CO of the regiment, and he began to fear that he wouldn’t live up to his expectations. As his XO gave him the report, everything was in order, yet it still couldn’t shake away the feeling.

“Sir, is everything all right?” Asked his XO.

Graham looked up, realizing that his state of nervousness was beginning to have an effect on his men. With a deep breath he looked at his XO and gave his reply.

“Yes, everything is fine.”

Graham sat down and took a deep breath before dismissing his men. He looked over the report one last time before he felt a slight air of relief and looked up at the ceiling.

“Well, I guess it’s just natural…” He muttered to himself as he took a nap. He had a feeling the upcoming battle was going to be a long one.

--SPARTAN-G023 Spartan IIIViae Cohors Gamma Sparti Limes Manipvlvs Myrmillio 00:15, June 6, 2010 (UTC)


49

Michael Price lead the rest of this ODST squad into a cargo bay aboard the UNSC Warrior. This was, however, unlike any other cargo bay on the ship. Strewn throughout hanger were a bunch of heavy duty mechanical tools, a variety metal objects that appeared to be oversized furniture and storage units of Machina origin, several computers and other electronics, similarly oversized, but appearing to be custom-built UNSC machines rather than Machina equipment, a number of weapons, including a few that appeared to be designed for use by Wolf Armored Assault Suits, and what looked like a custom-built oversized M23 Grenade Launcher, that judging from the 102mm missile and rocket cases stacked around it, fired the the same 102mm rockets and missiles as the M41 Missile Launcher. In one corner of the room, what looked like two Machina with frames in UNSC colors and a Wolf AAS.

"Sir", Cpl. Winters asked, "I thought we were going to a briefing"

"We are", Price responded, "HIGHCOM informed me that I was to briefly introduce you to our support on our first drop. These are CH-01 and CH-02, Kirk and Rene, former SPARTAN IIs who were crippled in augmentation, places in framed through Machina technology, and the guy in the 12-foot frame is CH-07, Sergei Milanich, an ex-Marine crippled by a Jackal Sniper, placed in frames in similar manner."

"I thought he was a Wolf", Sarah East said.

"I get that alot, but we are actually products of the Human Cyberization Project. The idea of building a frame similar to a Wolf was actually my own", Sergei said.

"Either way", Kirk said, "Thanks for the introduction, Lt. Price. I would shake your hand, but I would probably crush it!", The cyborg in front of them joked, before continuing, "We will be dropping in with you and providing heavy support"

"HIGHCOM is yet to give me details of the operation, only that it is, as I you were briefed before we left, on the Covenant Remnant capital of Ascencion, but wherever we're headed, these guys will come in useful, they have an impressive combat record in previous operations, between us and these three, we should be able to take on anything the Covies throw at us.", Price said. That comment earned an enthusiastic "OORAH!" from both the ODSTs and the cyborgs.

"Now, before I dismiss you, I am going to allow the CHs to explain their capabilities.", Price said.

"Thank you, Lieutenant", Kirk said, "I am a equipped with a heavy assault frame, equipped with an M122 light machine gun and an M41 missile launcher, as well as a couple of M025 Rocket Launchers in my wrist." As Kirk spoke, He deployed his armament. The entire ODST squad looked impressed.

"I am equipped with a CQB variant of the frame", Rene said as she retracted her weapons, "I am armed with a an M556 GL and M43 full auto shotgun in my shoulders and an M1O SMG in one wrist and a wrist blade based off the M7B Tactical Knife in the other."

"Finally, I mentioned before that I use a frame of my own design", Sergei Milanich said, "My frame is intended to play a role similar to a Wolf AAS. I can use standard Wolf Weapons, but my favorite is this:", Sergei walked over the oversized M23 and picked it up. "Custom six-shot missile launcher, designed by the same Machina engineers that put me in this frame. I've taken out six Wraiths in as many seconds with this thing."

When Sergei finished his description of the weapon, Price said, "Unless anyone has any question, you are dismissed."

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

50

Norman and Gary dropped their things on their bunks in silence. After a few seconds, Norman walked out, heading for the recreation room. A few soldiers were already there. Norman spotted Janice, along with a bunch of other SPARTANs, watching a holo and laughing uncontrollably.

"What's going on?" He demanded. He looked at the holo, and saw why. He cracked up too. A SPARTAN-IV computer genius had decided to upload a virus into the combat sim replays, resulting in dead grunt bodies to explode into confetti. It was admitedly hillarious.


"DAMMIT, Carl. How did you get SO MANY DAMN CATAPULTS!" Neil shouted at his best friend.

"Skill." Carl replied.

"You know, I did most of the work." Maria pointed out.

The entire fire team were staring at computer screens, furiously tapping the keyboard. It would have looked like they were working incredibly hard, but in reality they were playing a medival video game.

"GOT OWNED!!!" Bill suddenly shouted, as all six screens faded to black, before three words "Red Empire Wins" appeared on the screen. Bill, Carl and Maria cheered, Neil, Megan and Kate cursed.

"Another round?" Neil asked.

Just then, a voice sounded over the PA.

"ETA is in one hour, please prepare to die when the ship is blown into a hundred pieces by the covenant defence grid. Thank you." There was a nervous chuckle, as there was a fair chance that the Covenant would dect and blow the ship to hell. Then a different voice sounded.

"This is you captain speaking. Apologies for the ship's AI's...lack of protocol. The ship will not be blown apart under my watch."


An Elite
Norman-123 - (Insert witty phrase here):
TALK - Greenwich Mean Time
Grunt Birthday Party reference. XD.


51

Slipace rupture. UNSC 14th Nomad Fleet exit the slipspace and enterring relay between the UNSC territory and OPERATION HELLFIRE. The 7th Raptor group escorting the UNSC Shōkaku composed exclusivly of F-218D Super Sabre. The full scale invasion was set for the end of the week and the 117th Regiment of spartan were about to hit the Brute capital hadly.


"Identification"
"14th Fleet request permission for rearm and refuel." said Davis
"Request granted"
"Good we have 75 ships to refuel"


For now the only thing the last thing the Fleet has to do was to wait the signal from the spartan regiment to lauch the invasion with the help of several other Fleets. CF001 01:06, June 21, 2010 (UTC)

52

"What are ya doin man!" yelled out a Spartan, another falling to the ground. He was pinned, and being beat on by one of the female Spartans of Krieg. She had tripped him up, causing him to fall on the hard Covenant metal. The squadron had made a small arena, and were placing bets. The female kept hitting him, slamming her fists into the face of her opponent.

"Alright, alright! Break it up you two." called out the referee, who was also Section Two's medic. He walked to the now bleeding Spartan and checked his cuts. Nothing major, but he still needed to be patched up. He slapped him on the back, "Get up, your good."

The wounded Spartan walked away, looking over to his opponent. She was surrounded by the other females, who were congratulating her. She caught his gaze, smiled and winked at him.

Ragnar, flanked by his XO Annabelle. The two were both in their armor, Ragnars painted with Nordic runes, painted in the distinct color of Brute blood. He applied the paint every day, each time a spiritual and relaxing event for him. Annabelle wore a specialized variant of the MJOLNIR armor, made for the S-IV officers. Hers was the standard green, but the faint purple light from the ship made it look a dull green. She hefted her helmet, letting her brownish hair hang. In front of them were the Squadrons commanders, the beautiful Grace-193, the deadly Miranda Talvera, and the secretive Hans Autry.

"Ok Spartans break it up, save your energy for the Brutes." Grace spoke, her voice slightly elevated.

"And someone teach Mike how to fight." Miranda spoke. The squadron chuckled, except for Mike of course.

"So whats the plan?" Cain-K029, Section Twos commander said.

"From what I have gathered, we are going to be boarding a Covie station above the planet. From there, we board our pods and drop down as the vanguard for the invasion. From there, not really sure." spoke Grace.

"ETA?"

"Not sure, whenever the order is given. Could be in an hour, could be in three years if the Slipspace jump goes awry." Grace spoke, some worry in her voice.

"Understood. Until then, Krieg, be in combat ready status 24/7. I want us at the forefront of the attack!" Ragnar yelled, loud enough for the squadron to hear.

"Yes sir!" the squadron resounded.


Tiwaz rune
Spartan 112The Chosen, The Fated, The Enforcer, The Marine, The Officer, The Baron, The Mercenary, The Hero, The Warrior, The Champion
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS
Eastern Standard Time
Pretty sure you all can catch the joke eh?



53

The Campbeltown’s docking bay was alive with activity. Pelicans and Petrels and were congregated by the dozens in every corner of the bay, their engines idling in a chorus of mechanical whines. Red-faced officers and NCOs bawled orders; but their futile attempts to sort out the chaos only added to it.

Every deck was alive with uniforms. Lost Spartans loaded with duffels, backpacks and weapons jostled past Navy technicians in the crowded corridors, desperately combing the alien ship’s bewildering maze of passageways in search of a place to bunk. Bright-jerseyed flight deck personnel frantically waved glowsticks, struggling to launch and recover the steady stream of olive-drab dropships entering and exiting the landing bay. Meanwhile, Marines press-ganged into stevedoring swarmed over the idling dropships, their boots clattering on the deckplates as they hastily unloading crate after crate of rations, ammunition, bottled water, and the thousand and one other pieces of kit and gear required by a battalion on the eve of combat.

Moana did his best to ignore the chaos; but it was a rapidly losing battle. He glanced at his PalmPad for the hundredth time, idly wondering if Baphomet would ever get over his perpetual psychosis long enough to posting Bear’s quartermaster report. However, his musings were quickly cut short…

“Moana!” Turning at the unexpected sound of his name, the Maori Spartan spotted Captain Conrad weaving his way towards him through the crowd.

“Yes, sir?”

“Is everything offloaded yet?” Conrad had to yell to make himself heard over the din filling the bustling hangar bay.

“Almost, sir! The last of the armor’s coming off now,” Moana shouted in response. Then, glancing at his PalmPad, he added, “We have another problem.”

“Well, what is it?” Conrad asked, his words edged with impatience and frustration at the news of this new snafu.

“One of the Wolf suits blew its knee motor, sir. Short of a machine shop, no fix.”

“Great,” Conrad noted sarcastically before pausing to weigh the best course of action in his already overwhelmed mind. Finally, he spoke. “Ok, we gotta leave the Wolves behind, then.” While having two Wolves was a battle-wining asset; having only one was a liability, a tactical white elephant.

“Ok, sir. I’ll ask around. See if another Squadron wants the spare.”

“Get us squared away first, lieutenant. Then see what you can do,” Conrad responded. “Now get this gear stowed and get back to the Squadron,” and with that, Conrad disappeared back into the swirling crowd.


Nigel’s legs stuck awkwardly from the tangled nest of cables and wires spilling from the service conduit. In front of him, the dim glow from his headlamp cast a web of shadows across the wall of the cramped tunnel.

“Armand, could you pass me the soldering iron, please?” Nigel asked in his usual quiet tone, before weaving his hand back through the mess of wires. A few moments later, Armand deposited the small tool in Nigel’s waiting hands and the Dutch Spartan was quickly back at his work.

Depositing dabs of molten silver on an exposed wire, Nigel carefully began splicing severed strands of fibrous metal. It was a difficult and frustrating task; but Nigel viewed it as a vast improvement over his normally crude job as a combat engineer. Too much of his job was blasting bridges or breaching walls, duties he found crude and tiresome. But today was different, today, he got to build.

Shivering slightly, Nigel went on mending broken cables, reconnecting severed lines, and sealing leaks. Thanks to sloppy work by Navy technicians and the already poor condition of the battlecrusier, virtually the entire space aboard the Campbeltown allotted to Bear Squadron was inhabitable. Broken heating had resulted in spectacular formations of ice clinging to nearly every bulkhead, and thanks to several short-circuits, not even the emergency lighting was functioning.

But finally, Nigel managed to finish his patchwork. Worming his way out of the duct, Nigel got stuck several times, and had it not been for a series of Herculean tugs by Armand, he probably would have remained so.

Once free, a panting Nigel flashed a quick thumbs-up to his companion. Interpreting the wordless gesture, a grinning Armand turned the glowing beam of a penlight towards an access panel on the bulkhead and flipped a few switches on an access panel. An instant later, the dark passage sprang to life.

Light filled the passageway, exterminating the cloaking darkness which had ruled only seconds before. An artificial wind began to flow as blowers and air vents stirred the stale air. And the frost began to melt, dripping down the bulkheads to form forlorn puddles on the deck.

“Most impressive.” Armand’s remark was only perhaps only half-sarcastic. Restoring power, heat, air, and light to a totally alien vessel after only a few hours work with minimal tools, was a remarkable feat. The Campbeltown was still a rust-bucket; but at least for now, it was livable.


“Man, you know where the head is?” Shaun’s face was pinched in discomfort.

Duke wordlessly pointed towards a cramped closet recessed in one of the rust-streaked walls. The toilet-like contraption inside was badly corroded and streaked with stinking purple grease. Evidently mothballing the heads had been very, very low on the priority list of the Navy techs who’d prepped the Campbeltown for the mission.

“That?” Shaun asked incredulously. Duke nodded, not even bothering to look up from his neatly field-stripped M12. Shaun gulped. Every bodily instinct was screaming at him to avoid this miserable excuse for a toilet; but his bladder was holding his body hostage.

Soon metallic crashes and rattles were filtering from the closet, with every crash accompanied with an even louder stream of profanity. By the sound of things Shaun and the john weren’t getting along. But eventually things became quiet, disturbed only by a gentle gurgling sound.

And then the air was rent by a bloodcurdling scream. A terrified Shaun smashed through the flimsy screen covering the head. With another scream, he smashed face-first into deck, his ankles ensnared by a tangle of pants and skivvies.

“What the-?” The team was on its feet in seconds, scattering gun parts and half-eaten rations in their rush to reach Shaun.

“What happened, dude?” Abdul asked frantically, grimacing at the bruises which now covered Shaun’s dark skin.

It took Shaun a few moments to catch his breath. “The damn space toilet tried to eat my dick, man!”

“What? That ain’t…”

“I’m telling you! Just look at the f***ing thing!” Shaun gestured towards the offending toilet, by now little more than hopelessly broken pile of putrid wreckage which was emitting a forlorn gurgle. Then, nervously whispering, he hesitatingly asked, “have I still got my, well, y’know...?”

“Don’t worry; you’re still a man, Shaun. Now stop caressing your balls and help me find my f***ing spring,” Duke gave the dazed Spartan a friendly slap on the back before turning to gather the scattered remains of his weapon.

Grumbling, Shaun pulled his pants up. “All I know is that I ain’t usin’ that thing no more.”


Gunny Grier swore to himself as he wrestled with the jammed hatch. In Grier’s brief absence from his cabin, the door had spitefully decided corrode itself half-shut. Finally, a frustrated boot to the hatchway solved the problem, bashing in the offending piece of sheet metal clear into the cabin in a shower of dust, rust, and paint chips.

Coughing, Grier stepped into his cabin, only to be confronted with a sight that further spiked the irate Gunny’s blood pressure.

A few minutes later, Grier stormed into the large storage compartment which, due more to size than to its amenities, had been press-ganged into use as a squad bay.

“Devil dogs, could you kindly explain to me, whats this is?” Grier held a small, nondescript brown object aloft in a gloved hand, scowling at the confused Spartans scrambling to their feet. One pale-faced Spartan opened his mouth to speak, only to have the livid Grier cut him off.

“This is a piece of sheeyat! And I do nots mean that in your over-educated, limp-dicked metaphorical sense. This is a literal piece of sheeyat!” Grier made an angry gesture with the lump of feces in his hand. “I wants to know how it gots in mah cabin.” Grier shot a hateful glance around the room. “Oh, I sees, nobody wants to admit it…Well--”

“Uh, Gunny, I…”

Grier spun at the sound of his rank. “Whats do you have to say for yourself, Marine!”

“I…ah…” Shaun, spluttered. "I took a dump in your cabin. I...I didn't know it was yours, honest! I was dark and I...the head tired to kill me and I...."

“Devil dog, stop your ramblin'! Youse gots extra duty nows. Grab youself a toothbrush. I wants to see mah smilin’ face on mah cabin deck, ‘fores I gets back!”

“Yes, Gunnery Sergeant!”


“Come in.” Conrad’s response to the knock at his door was largely automatic; after all, he’d always had “open door” policy. But what he saw when he looked up were hardly the griping clerks or who gruff NCOs usually visited his office.

There, filing into his room were three figures. Two tall, one short. Bear’s section leaders, each with a grave expression on his face.

“What can I do for you gentlemen?” Conrad asked, seating himself atop the dented packing case that passed for a desk aboard the Campbeltown.

The man who spoke first was the shortest, the only non-Spartan among the trio; but still the most obvious spokesperson. 2LT Beckett O’Dell was one of the best-spoken men in the company, a pale-faced Ivy League graduate who’d somehow ended up in the Marine Corps.

“Sir, Gunny Grier’s behavior is becoming a problem,” O’Dell stated grimly, “All this yelling, reaming out my Marines, chewing out people for not saluting. You’ve seen it, sir. It would be one thing if he was a DI at Parris or at Quantico; I could understand that; but Grier isn’t wearing a smoky bear now. I had the impression that combat outfits cut that boot crap pretty quick.”

“What you’re giving me is an annoyance, Lieutenant, not a life-or-death problem,” Conrad replied, his voice edged with a slight reprimand.

“Captain, sir, morale is in the shitter, ’cause of the Gunny. My Marines are starting to take their eyes off the ball. I’ve talked with Grier, no dice. Sir, we’re going into combat with an NCO I don’t trust.”

“That’s a very serious charge, Lieutenant,” Conrad retorted. Swiveling to one of the Spartans, he called him by nickname, “Ig, any thoughts?”

Somewhat reluctantly, Wladislaus agreed, “I’m with Beck on this one, captain.”

Conrad turned to the darkest of the Spartan “Mo, is that your opinion as well?”

Unhesitating, Moana answered, “It is, sir,”

Conrad, sighed quietly to himself. Here, on the eve of battle, his section leaders, his frontline officers were confronting him with what amounted to a mutiny, an almost insubordinate request to get one Marine to tell another to shut up.

“Alright, I’m gonna shoot straight with you here on this one. I agree with you. What Grier’s doing, how he’s acting, is unacceptable. But you all are mature. You’re wearing bars for a reason.”

“In Greir’s eyes, you’re just a bunch of slick-sleeves playing at being officers for the weekend. He’s been in the Corps longer than you’ve been alive, and he knows it. You can order him around; but the only way you’re going to get his respect is if you earn it.”

“Now, you can walk out of here right now and tell Gunny to cut the chickenshit. He’ll obey; but you’ll be exchanging a lot for his obedience.”

“Gunny’s got a thick skin; but he knows how to hold a grudge. You cross him in public, he’ll sandbag and come back to bite you. Be patient and try to stop problems from happening before Grier can get his teeth in them.”

“At the end of the day, you both want the same thing. Grier doesn’t want dead Spartans anymore than you do. He wants you boys to become killers, to become the best. The reason he’s hard, is because out there, out where we’re going to fight, it’s going to be even harder. We’re sweating today so we don’t have to bleed tomorrow. Even if it doesn’t seem that way, Grier’s on our team.”

“Besides, we’ve got bigger problems to worry about. We're rolling in the morning.”

FightWithHonor Contact me 00:29, June 28, 2010 (UTC)

54

30th of April, 2612, Port Midgard, Manheim, Omicron Orionis system, 0130 local time

As the CO's and officers of the various ships in Battlegroup Wellington were talking, Admiral Jacobson come to the front of the briefing room and motioned for everyone quieted down. "As everyone here knows we've been sitting around wondering what HIGHCOM has been planing, well I can finally tell you... we're to cut the head off of the Remnant. The various members of the AUR are going to initiate diversionary attacks, designed to draw out forces, while also destroying vital Covenant military capabilities. Finally the UNSC's going to perform an invasion of Pious Ascension, the Remnant capital to take out their leadership. Are there any questions?"

As Commander Clark stood up he asked "Sir, if we're going to take the Remnant capital, aren't we going to have to get past their orbital defenses first?"

"No, the 117th Special Operations Regiment will take out their orbital defenses, then we come in and take the capital. Anything else?" Jacobson replied.

Nobody else asked any questions, which meant that everybody know the importance of the meeting.

"Ok, one final thing before we get ready to leave; I've been ordered to show you this." Redmond inserted a flash drive into the port on the computer. There was only one file on the drive, an video file. Redmond clicked on the file. At once, the screen was filled by the image of Admiral William T. Castle, UNSC military chairman. After a second's pause, Castle said:

General Order 707B: This order is to be shown to all UNSC forces prior to engagement

During the upcoming Operation HELLFIRE, we will be engaging the enemy on their terms, in their settlements, amidst their civilians. Due to the notorious nature of the Jiralhanae, and their natural aggression, strength and willingness to resist, the United Earth Government council passed this order. Any Jiralhanae civilians that resist the UNSC's invasion attempts are classified as hostile in the combat zones. Any civilian forces that enter armed conflict, or unarmed conflict, including physical violence, are to be classified as hostile and are treated as such. Any armed forces using civilian hostages, or using buildings vital to the civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, governmental buildings, educational buildings and such, are verified as valid targets and green light on engagement must be passed by theater commander (battalion) before engagement commences. Targets using human prisoners of war (POW) as living shields are to not be directly engaged. If used as human shields, disengage combat and resolve situation with specialized forces to recover hostages as safely as possible. Surrendering or injured combatants are to thoroughly disarmed, bound and placed under extreme guard. Any resistance or indications of a false flag operations warrant targets to be reclassified as hostile targets, and can be engaged in combat.

Signed Fleet Admiral William T. Castle, Chairman of UNSC Military Operations

When the video disc finished everyone, started talking about what this meant, but they quickly silenced when Jacobson started talking again.

"You've all been been given your individual orders," as an assistant handed out folders to everyone, "and I expect you to be prepared to jump within an hour. And remember that we be be fighting on their turf, so be prepared for anything. Dismissed."

As soon as everyone left Jacobson pulled the flash drive out of the computer and following orders, smashed it with the butt of his pistol then swept the remains into his hand and threw them into the nearest trash can before leaving the room.

Second Lieutenant Keith Johnson 7thHelljumpers com link 02:13, June 28, 2010 (UTC)

Phase 2


29th of April, 2612, En-route to Pious Ascension, 0400 local time

Ajax sat quietly in the near empty room, quietly inspecting his gear. His entire arsenal was laid out on a sheet, disassembled and cleaned. He quietly began to rebuild the weapons, softly clicking the parts together with satisfaction, rebuilding the arms with expert care and precision. He finished rebuilding the last firearm, his shotgun, and looked down the sights, checking they were properly aligned. He placed the gun down and leaned back. He smiled, satisfied with his work, until the door hissed open. A gaggle of SPARTANS ran in, a sense of emergency about them.

“What's wrong?” He asked, rising up

“Call just came out sir, one hour to slipspace exit.” Gunnery Sergeant Warren told him, arriving at the back of the crowd. They had stored the empty Wolf suits in this room and now began leaping into the cockpits, clambering in and beginning the power up sequence.

“Is bravo still spread out through deck four?” He asked, picking up his weaponry

“Yes sir, the entire unit just went on full alert.”

“Okay, meet us down there, I want us ready and stacked up a half hour before docking, at the least.”He announced, holstering his pistols.

“Will do sir.” Warren answered, grabbing a hold of the inert arm of his Wolf and using it to pull himself up and into the open cock pit. He sat down, feeding his arms into the manipulators and activating the primary power up sequence the side mounted console. Immediately the fusion engine kicked into life, the two linked battery cells jump starting it. The thigh plating closed up, sealing his legs in, while the thorax plating shut in, locking in his lower half, and the security brace locked in above him, securing his upper body. The chest plate came down slowly, immersing him in darkness for a few moments before the internal holographic interface kicked into life and began running diagnostics and began booting the central computer system.

Ajax left as the Wolf units began to boot up. The entire ship seemed to come alive, with SPARTANS and navy personnel rushing to their stations. He passed a gaggle of Navy Engineers keeping the ship alive, desperately fighting a severe system malfunction and then down to deck 4. Upon coming into the primary cargo exchange bay, he smiled. Nearly the entire company was mobilised and armed, ready for combat.

Ajax walked down the ramp, placing his helmet on with a hiss and then got to Jamal, who was organizing one of the squadron's armaments.

“Lieutenant, are they ready to go?” He asked, shouting through his helmet above the din of the SPARTANS

The lieutenant gave a nod.

“Okay, once we lock, I want you to take third and fourth squadron to objective bravo, I'll take first and second to alpha with me. Take B154 and B028 with you. If you see Dawes, tell him to grab B142 and hold up with Squadron 5 at our entry zone, cover our backs.” Ajax said, rocking his head over to Jamal's ear to make it clearer.

He nodded, walking away to inform the units. Ajax moved away, picking his way through the crowd towards B312. He could already see the Lieutenant stacking up her units against the air lock, ready for entry. He picked across them until he reached the Lieutenant, stood by the side of the airlock, leaning on the adjoining wall.

“Ready to go in first?” He asked, to which she responded with a quiet nod.

“Okay, I'll lead the entry with you.” He said, stacking up on the opposite wall, drawing his rifle. He turned back to the company and opened his comms.

“Okay, once we're in there, comms will be reduced to only short range, so I'll say this only once. Watch your corners, trust your team leaders, keep alert and stay alive.” He announced

The company responded with their pseudo battle-cry of 'Obscurum Victoria' and collectively prepared themselves for combat.


At the very edge of the system, a slipspace portal opened, a swirling mass of ethereal blue-purple fire. Through the portal, several ships arrived, burning through into the real world. As soon as the cleared the rapidly collapsing portal, the majority of ships faded from sight, their distinctive hulls vanishing into the darkness of space. The last ship, a battered and weathered Covenant Battle Cruiser lazily lumbered forward, its repulsor engines leaving a hazy blue wake behind them. The ship plied forward, attracting attention of Covenant warships in the system, curious as to the newcomer. The moment they began to hail them with video links, the ship activated it's holographic bridge mock up, allowing it to respond with perfect ease. The Covenant patrol ships accumulating around it peeled off, leaving it free reign to make it through the system. The ship was in the clear. It pulled ahead, closing in on the large station hovering in low orbit about Pious Ascension. The Campbeltown gracefully manoeuvred closer to the station, requesting docking for immediate repairs to critical systems. The Brutes weren't going to say no to a injured warship limping home from far flung raids, were they?

Commodore Gabriel Lilico stood on the bridge of the Eidolon, watching the Campbeltown for ten kilometres back.

“Sir, she's just began dock procedures.” His XO announced, looking other the communication logs.

“Okay, I want you to signal the other ships to initiate blanketing jamming across the entire system, send the apes back to the stone age.” He announced, turning back to the main view screen.

“Keep us still at least ten kilometres from the station. Once they give the handshake signal, leap right on it.”

His officers nodded, initiating the ship's electronic warfare protocols. Lilico stared right ahead and the image of the Campbeltown and tightened his posture. This was the most dangerous phase of the operation.


Ixalus approached the docking port, moving with his repair crew, mostly formed from a collection of Grunt and Yanme'e slaves. He barked at them to move their gear forward, with the Brute slave master barking crude insults and orders at their underlings.

“Quickly, we are to begin repairing this ship for the Great Holy War!” He bellowed, making the Unngoy flinch.

The alarms of the air lock rang out as the final cycle began, then the door unlocked, unsealing. A haze of white mist filtered out of the air lock, masking it for a second. Inside the air lock was pitch black, with even Ixalus' enhanced vision finding nothing in the darkness.

“Who hides there?” Ixalus shouted, demanding to know who was in there, stepping forward, hand reaching for his spiker.

Two metres to his left, one of his warriors walked forward, still oblivious to the fact something was not wrong. There was the sudden sound of objects thudding into the young warrior, causing him to shake violently, a faint bloody mist emerging from his chest, right before his chest cavity violently exploded outwards, his internal organs and fragments of bone spray outwards. Immediately, a hail of bullets cutting down his second in command. Ixalus raised his arm to protecting himself while drawing his carbine, firing off snap shots randomly onto the bulkheads, generating intense golden flares as he did. He turned to run as his youngest pack member took a round to the side of his jaw, fragmenting inside his jaw and blowing the entire thing off. All of a sudden there was a heavy blow to the back of his knee, forcing him to tumble down to a kneeling position then a forceful pull on the edge of his helmet, rearing his head upwards, exposing his neck. He looked up to see a number of hexagon shaped plates of what appeared to be solid light fragment and fade away, revealing a creature of night mares, with sleek green armour and a pitiless, dull golden visor reflecting his own terrified face. Immediately, he pulled a knife from his shoulder sheath and wedged the blade into his neck, cutting off his major artery and windpipe. Hot blood suddenly flowed from the mortal wound, as the demon giggled the blade in his throat, exasperating the wound. He tried to scream, but only a gurgled whimper emerged from his blood filled lungs. The SPARTAN wrenched the blade from his throat, allowing a fine spray of blood to escape in several timed pulses before petering out to a weak trickle. Ixalus fell onto his face, the cold floor covered in his warm blood. The SPARTAN cut the blade through the air, sending the blood clinging to it splattering on the floor then sheathed it.

“Okay SPARTANS, fan out!” He shouted, leading a group ahead of him. The SPARTANS filed out in all directions, keeping low, firing from the shoulder as the engineering crews desperately tried to hold onto the docking ring.

Ajax moved ahead, picking through the maze of cargo boxes. Rifle in hand. Behind him, Amelia-B312 followed up, a number of SPARTANS bring up the rear. As Ajax cleared a number of boxes, he bumped straight into a Brute, who immediately took hold of his rifle, trying to wrestle him for it. Ajax kicked him on the inside of his knee, producing a wet cracking noise, dropping him down with a pained roar. Ajax then shifted his rifle to the Brutes face and upper chest and squeezed the trigger from the hip, firing fully automatic into the Brute's chest, shredding him. Ajax kicked the body over and brought the rifle back up to his shoulder, swinging it to face a Brute moving to cover on his flank. Both he and Amelia opened fire, cutting the Brute down and clipping his comrade. The Brute crudely aimed his carbine over the brim of his cover, firing madly at them, with few Spikes even coming close. Ajax pulled a Fragmentation grenade from his webbing, depressing the electronic pin, arming the grenade with a distinct 'click' then threw it with a under arm through, bouncing it off one crate to land right behind the brute with two seconds left on the fuse. The Brute leapt out, screaming as soon as the grenade went off, filling his back with shrapnel, the blast blowing him several metres over the crate.

Ajax raised up, checking the immediate area through the back up iron sights on his SUCOG, before quickly diverting his eyes to check his immediate vicinity with the motion detector.

“Clear!” He shouted, lowering his rifle to his hip, before moving upwards to the stair case heading to the upper level of the docking ring.

“Multiple targets on the second floor, prepare to clear.” Ajax said, stacking up at the bottom of the stairs, several SPARTANS crouching around it. Ajax looked to one of his personal Security Team, Harmony-B016 and motioned for her to move forward, while he drew a flash bang.

“Sergeant, you have point.” He said, depressing the electronic pin, causing the spoon to click. He threw the flash ban up the stairs, hearing it clatter on the floor before emitting a magnificent screeching noise. Harmony immediately clambered up, a M7A SMG in each hand She cleared the stairs and dropped to a crouch, firing both of the guns wildly lacing many unsuspecting and blinded Brutes with a hail of dead munitions. Ajax followed up, firing off the last of his battle rifle magazine with short, accurate bursts. The others followed, virtually executing the stunned creatures. As The finished the forces on the balcony off, they stopped to reload, for a moment, with Ajax slipping his empty magazine out to the floor with a clattering noise then pulling a new one from a chest pouch, pushing it in with a click, then thumbing the charging handle forward, pulling the first round into the chamber. As he did, there was a distinct buzzing noise, before the shout rang out

“Drones!”

Ajax's motion tracker went mad as the suddenly burst from the vents, swarming over them. Ajax immediately dropped his rifle, letting it hang on it's sling then drew his right hand side arm and combat knife, firing into the swarming critters, lashing out with his blade, using it like a spear. Amelia immediately pulled her bayonet out, almost decapitating one of the bugs. One of them flew onto Harmony, trying to madly claw at her face. She elbowed it, square in the jaw, cracking it's chitinous exoskeleton then pulled out her tactical axe. It tried to fly away, its wings desperately beating but Harmony grabbed a hold of it's leg, pulling it back then repeatedly slamming the axe into its back, cutting through it's hide and splattering her with green ichor. Ajax fired into the closest drone, the explosive round burrowing into the soft carapace of the creature and exploding deep within it, sending forth a green mist. This was followed up by another round into its head, almost blowing it clean off. Ajax turned his upper waist, keeping his legs rigid and his arms stiff as he raised his iron sights to a second drone, strafing right, firing bursts from it's plasma pistol. He pulled on the trigger twice in quick succession, the upper frame recoiling back, the cylinder turning like clock work. The two rounds burrowed deep into it's chest before the delayed warheads detonated, almost blowing the creature in two. As Ajax turned to a second target. One of the Drones latched onto his left arm, trying to claw at his face. He punched it square in the chest, it's carapace shattering and collapsing. It tumbled over its heads onto its back, struggling to get up. Ajax stomped on it, its entire chest cavity collapsing, sending his boot two inches into it's weak chest cavity with organs splattering onto his boot. A drone landed on his back, trying to claw at Ajax's face to avenge its fallen comrade. Ajax rested his revolver on his shoulder and fired, the explosive round killing it outright. As the last of the drones fled, Ajax carefully picked his shots and fired a round into the back of a fleeing Drone, shredding its back and wings, sending it tumbling to the ground in pain. Ajax pulled on the cylinder release catch and tilted his pistol back, letting the expended rounds drop from the cylinder. Ajax pulled a pouch open and withdrew a fast loader, feeding the revolver mechanism with a fresh array of rounds. He flicked his wrist, shutting the cylinder then pulled on the slide, aligning the barrel.

“Are we clear?”

“Motion tracker clear.”

Ajax placed his revolver back in its holster and organized his weaponry, holstering his rifle on his IMP and drawing out his shotgun. He motioned for his unit to stick close behind him as he stacked up to one of the connecting corridors leading to the interior of the station. He thumbed the stock release and pulled it out to the midway lock point and released it, letting it lock. He brought the stock to his shoulder, keeping the weapon pointed down. He motioned for one of the SPARTANS to get the door then stacked up behind it, pulling the selector to full auto. The door hissed open, leading to a pitch black corridor. Ajax's night vision activated by mental reflex and he briefly moved his hand forward to activate the night vision LASER on the foregrip of his shotgun.

“Targets?”

“Negative, its too dark.”

“Movement is a negative.”

“Wait, heart beat is getting something... multiple targets, dead ahead!”

Ajax swung his shotgun from his hip, sweeping across the area, before his enhanced reflexes caught sight of movement. He rocked the shotgun's butt against the crook of his arm and steadied his posture, all in a fraction of a second. He held down on the trigger, firing from the hip, sweeping his shotgun across the corridor. The muzzle flashed with vibrant red-orange muzzle flashes, sending long trails of fire into the room from the igniting incendiary flechettes. Shells rapidly ejected from the ejection port, followed by a trail of smoke, with smoke oozing from the dust cover. Ajax released his finger from the trigger. The shotguns barrel leaving a thick trail of grey smoke from it.

“Clear. Move up, cover the angles.” Ajax said, moving forward, stepping over shells and rapidly spreading pools of blood. Underneath his feet were torn bodies of brutes, their flesh shredded by the deadly hail of armour piercing flechettes. They stepped clear of the line of bodies, with somebody grabbing the door, opening the bulkhead leading to the interior station. Ajax took the lead, moving into the lightened station, scanning for targets.

“Its all quiet.” Harmony said, walking up behind him

“Won't be for long. Look sharp, we have objectives to complete.” Ajax said, moving forward to back up against the far wall, creeping along it. The unit kept behind him,following up cautiously, avoiding direct contact.

“We have pings on the motion detector, 15 metres, right.”

Ajax moved up the corridor, keeping his shotgun to his shoulder. He swept left, spying the target, a curious minor. He raised his shotgun and fired, the flechette shells tearing into his upper chest and skull, splintering into razor sharp barbs and tearing right through him. The Brute immediately dropped, killed outright. Another two brutes came to investigate the noise, weapons still holstered. Ajax fired two rounds into the closest and immediately shifted his aim to the second, firing a single shell into him, sundering their bodies. He moved forward into the main service corridor just as the rest of the pack arrived, withdrawing their arms.

Ajax took cover as far forward as he could, throwing a flashbang into their midst to slow them. He leapt from cover, planting his shotgun to the chin of a stunned Brute and firing, splattering his cerebral matter all over the ceiling. He kicked the twitching body in the chest, clearing it and fired rapidly from the rip into the pack, taking out a number of them, and wounding others. He ducked behind a crate, pulling the release catch and letting the smouldering drum drop from the gun. He drew a new one and slid it in with a soft click. He pumped the shotgun, loading the first shell just as the other Spartans opened fire, with a hail of fire erupting over the cover.

“Joyeuse, how far are we from the command centre?” He radioed in

“If we follow this central corridor, another three dozen metres, we'll hit the outside bulkhead, but estimates put resistance as substantial.” Joyeuse responded “Want me to plot an alternate route?”

“Positive, direct second squadron to pull the flanks, we should move faster.” He said. Immediately, he could see Atticus peel off and moved up the side corridors, followed by his squadron.

“Okay, lets push up, we need to reach that command centre soon.” Ajax shouted, the squadron behind him rising up to push forward.

Under a hail of Spiker fire, the unit pushed forward, moving carefully up the corridor, getting off snap shots at the defenders. The brutes were caught in cross fire as Atticus hit them on their flanks, the Spartans taking up positions in the gallery and firing down on them, slewing many of them. Ajax moved forward, keeping pace with Atticus advanced, while the squadron moped up, taking down stragglers.

Soon enough, they'd breached the second bulkhead, just as they had finished setting down the defences. They'd shifted cargo containers into makeshift cover, mounted turrets behind them, giving them a wide range of fire. The moment the bulkhead opened, they fired into the gap, forcing the Spartans to duck on the sides of the bulkhead.

“Lieutenant, can you position fire on them?” Ajax asked over the radio

“Negative, they have us pinned too.”

“Fine them.” Ajax said, motioning to his unit “Get launchers forward, point detonation in cover on my mark.”

A number of Spartans moved up, preparing their grenade launchers to point detonation by their heads, then leapt from cover, firing into the room, the grenades exploding in the midst of the rudimentary defences. The Brutes were torn apart in a hailstorm of fragmentation, their screams echoing through the room. Ajax leapt out, moving forward, his shotgun raised to his shoulder, scanning for targets. He briefly glanced to his motion detector, seeing it clear of targets. He moved to the door, opening the control panel and reaching in, tugging on the internal cables.

“Okay, be ready to storm the control room. Watch your targets, we want it intact.” Ajax said, up to his shoulder in the wall, tugging on cables. He finally pulled on the right one and the door released. Brutes inside were scrambling to operate the inside systems, just as the SPARTANS stormed in, firing accurately on their targets. Ajax followed in, monitoring as his Spartans gutted their targets. As they finished up, Ajax moved over to the central interface console and pulled the dead brute from it, he briefly wiped off the blood and pulled out a jack from his helmet, plugging in the Covenant compatible jack. In a moment, there was a flood of information into the system, transferring Joyeuse into the local mainframe. The hologram of planet and it's defensive systems faded, replaced by a hologram of Joyeuse. She burst into reality in a flare of red light, stretching as if to emulate getting out of a cramped space.

“Finally, we're in!” She said, settling down to examine the interior systems. Ajax disconnected the jack and allowed it to wind back in into it's receptacle.

“Spartans, spread out, for a perimeter.” Ajax ordered, placing his shotgun down by the console and pushing the Brute corpse off the chair. He sat himself down, almost swallowed by the massive seat and began to activate the console, bringing up a holographic display.

“Okay, are you interfacing with the primary communications.”

“Negative, they have layers of encryption. It will take some time to break down their firewalls.” Joyeuse responded, tapping on illusionary displays on her holographic pedestal “A brute force attack won't work and will only raise alarms.”

“Want me to draft in back up?” Ajax asked, working around the stations internal systems.

“Negative, I'll breach the back door.”

“You work on hijacking the orbital satellites, I'll gain control of the station.” Ajax said, beginning to access the systems, hacking the central mainframe. As he worked, a series of red alert messages appeared on screen. Ajax tapped a few more holographic keys before swearing under his breath.

“Joyeuse, are you getting the same errors?” He asked, trying to get around them

“Yes, somebody just manually locked us out of the mainframe. Corrupted systems are unaffected, but I only made headways on communications. Command and control modules are locked out.” She said, almost agitated

Ajax stood up, moving to the door way and grabbed a hold of the shoulder of Second Lieutenant Motoko-B056.

“Lieutenant, I want you to form a team, go to the mainframe room two levels down and reinitialise the station's systems.” He said, his voice slipping through the synthesisers on his helmet.

She nodded and moved from cover, tapping a number of Spartans and marking them to follow her. Ajax moved back to the desk, working on bypasses.


Motoko crept along the ventilation duck, using her hands to balance herself in the circular tube, trying to stop herself from rolling. She approached the vent and carefully lifted it up and slid out, sliding along the inside of the vent. She activated her cloak, and slipped down the gap, landing near silently on the floor. She loosened her rifle from the sling and slid the stock out to the furthest locking position and brought the interface online. She was followed by several more Spartans, who cautious looked around.

“Aren't we near Charlie's AO?” Zara asked, scanning the rear

“Negative, they should of already descended to their secondary objective.” Donnie replied, walking forward

“Cut the chatter, fall in line.” Motoko ordered, moving forward

Motoko crept forward, rifle raised five Spartans clustered behind her. She moved forward, checking the area ahead, keeping her rifle up to her shoulder. The tunnels down here were darkened, with the internal lighting switched off, leaving on the pale red emergency lighting.

“Spartans, you're twenty metres from the objective. Take another left.” Joyeuse radioed in

“Any intel on the room?” Syaoran asked, bringing up the rear.

“Negative, the security systems were cut off too.”

Motoko turned the corner, scanning up ahead, her passive LIDAR mapping out the corridor. Ahead there was a shaft of clear white light shining in. She moved up, looking into the mainframe room. Two Brutes feverishly worked, disconnecting electronic systems and locking out the mainframe systems electronically. She motioned to Syaoran and moved forward, drawing her blade. She took old of the Brute's helmet, Syaoran falling in synch behind her and stabbed it in the eye, the knife penetrating through the orbit into its skull, penetrating it's brain, while Syaoran forced his blade into back of the Brute's skull under its helmet and into its brain. Both the Brutes spasmed violently before the Spartans let them down gently.

“Donnie, Zara, Syaoran, get the mainframe back online, Yaritza, unlock the systems from down here, get them back online. Anton, cover the door with me.” She said, moving to the door, covering the empty corridor

Zara moved up to one of the data stacks, releasing the locks and pulling it from it's chilled receptacle on the floor up its full height and began to reinitialise the server. Behind her, Donnie began to reconnect the fibre optic cables that linked this room to the rest of the station. As they worked. Motoko's motion tracker gave a soft 'bleep'.

“We have motion, three targets, moving forward.”

Anton brought his machine gun to bear, steadying it.

“I don't see anything, are you sure about the elevation?”

“Five more. I'm sure.” She frowned, scanning the darkness

At the last moment, it clicked.

“STALKERS!”

She opened fire, the rifle's muzzle flaring wildly in the darkness. Ahead of them, active camouflage failed under a flurry of rounds. The brutes charged forward as Anton started firing, with brass flying from his gun and bouncing off Motoko's pauldron. The fastest Brute took a few rounds to its chest plate and closed faster than they imagined. Motoko hit the emergency lock on the door, stepping back to let it seal. The Brute leapt forward, blocking the door, holding it open with a tremendous roar. Motoko raised her rifle to its chest and fired at such a close range that the muzzle flash burnt its fur. The bullets thundered into it, fragmenting inside its chest and tearing it apart. It fell back, purple blood splattering from its wounds onto Motoko and stumbled away. allowing the door to shut. The door slammed shut, the manual locks block, just as the other Stalkers reached it, beginning to batter on it. Anton smashed his fist into the door controls, crudely jamming them.

“What now?” He asked

“We reinitialise the systems. Once Joy has the security systems, she'll know we're in trouble.” Motoko said, sliding the magazine release forward and rocking the rifle sideways, letting it drop. She pushed in a fresh magazine, letting it lock, pulling the lock back into place and cocked it.

“There is another access port being used.” Yaritza said in a flat tone “They are attempting to disable the mainframe”

Motoko moved over to the second console, wiping blood away from her face. She began to tap on the holographic interface, frowning as it cut to a live feed of a Brute working on a computer system.

“I won't be outsmarted by a ape. Yaritza, write up a wyrm, fast as you can, get it into their systems, have it release the magnetic confinement on the plasma conduit in that room. Cook him alive.” Motoko ordered, trying to block the Brute's intrusions. Yaritza nodded and plugged herself in, created a simple but effective wyrm and brought it in as part of the security feed.

Immediately, on the live feed, Motoko could see a vibrant blue explosion before the camera feed cut dead. Before she could begin to enjoy the sight, there was a hissing noise at the door. She peered around the data stack to see a torrent of sparks emerging from the door.

“The Brutes are cutting through the dead locks. Work faster, we need Joyeuse to know we're in here.” She said, quickly tapping on the computer.

“Why don't you just radio her in?” Zara asked

“We're in a Faraday cage, we'd never get a message out.” She frowned, barely looking up from her console.

Zara finished her work up then pushed the data stack down, a thin mist rising from it as it slid back into the refrigerated receptacle. The others finished up as they did, while Yaritza and Motoko worked on unlocked the last of the systems.

“How close are we to completion?” Syaoran asked, facing the door, his weapon ready.

“Okay, unlocking the last barrier and.... done.” Motoko said, finished the job. She turned her rifle on the door, preparing to fire on the Brutes. They cut through the first of the deadlocks, the molten metal running from the wounds in it. They began to cut down to the second, burning through it with frightening pace. They got to the bottom, ready to pull open the door, when the outside rang out with gun fire and pained roars. Things were silent for a moment before the door was forced open. Motoko's unit raised their firearms to the door way to the grinning skull of Alfred's helmet.

“Lovely to see you too.” He grunted, getting his leg into the gap to push the door open to its full length. He backed up to the two other Spartans, waiting by the end of the corridor to the access vent. He kneeled down interlocking his hands to give them a lift up to the vent. After they were all in, Motoko leaned out, giving Alfred a pull up into the vent. Alfred replaced the vent cover, before turning to follow Motoko out.


Motoko looked out from behind the pillar, observing Brutes across the open plaza and then motioned to Zara and Anton to make a run through the open. They ran across the open as Spiker rounds flew over their heads. From the covering position at the top of the plaza, the Spartans fired down suppressing fire, cutting down a handful of Brutes. Another group of Spartans ran across, skipping over a torn hunk of metal where a grenade tore apart the floor. Motoko and Alfred were the last to go, with Motoko firing from the hip at the Brutes, trying to pin them. She made it to one of the pillars and took cover, dropping a magazine from the rifle, with smoke rising from the flash hider and then ejection port. She reached the lip of the plaza, ducking by Augustus.

“How close are they to taking the mainframe?”

“Another five minutes, they say.” Augustus said, firing another burst

“Can we hold out that long?” Motoko asked, firing a 25mm grenade, air bursting beside a Brute's ear, sending fragmentation into its skull.

“Roughly two hours, seventeen minutes and thirty four seconds, according to my estimates.” Gilgamesh replied in their comms.

“Not our idea of reassurance Gilgamesh.” Augustus frowned, firing a sustained burst down onto a Captain that strayed from cover

Back in the control room, both Ajax and Joyeuse worked feverishly on the systems, trying to take control of the station's systems. Ajax bypassed another layer of security, unravelling another layer of the station's cybernetic defences.

“Okay, we have internal security control Joyeuse, throw all wireless controls online, we'll give local commands to AI control.” Ajax said, adjusting the commands

“Okay, patching the communications array in. Once Jamal's unit takes it, I'll have full access to the array.” She said, moving around holographic displays “We'll have every orbital battery offline. I'll knock their sensors out too, make it difficult for their ground side batteries.”

“Now, we just have to wait for the others to complete their objectives.” Ajax said, pushing the chair back and picking up his shotgun.

Joyeuse watched him from the corner of her eye as he moved out of the bulkhead into the war zone outside, already hearing the noisy clatter of his shotgun. She turned back to her holographic components and continued working on bringing them down.


S013-Banner
Ajax 013 - <Death to Heroes>[The Damned] [The Lost][The Forgotten] ObscurumVictoria :
TALK - Greenwich Mean Time
Okay ladies and gentlemen, that is the beginning of HELLFIRE phase 2. Now, each company that's boarded the station from the Campbeltown are splitting into three groups Squadrons 1 and 2 go with CO and preform objective Alpha, 3 and 4 with XO to preform objective Bravo and 5 secures the docking ring. Here's a list of objectives for the battle ahead. Objectives are:
  • Albion
    • Alpha: Secure Docking control to allow the influx of other SPARTAN companies
    • Bravo: Secure Hangar control and the various hangars to prevent fighters or dropships fleeing to alert Brute forces
  • Bravo
    • Alpha: Secure control room and hachttp://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/central/k mainframe
    • Bravo: Secure communications array
  • Charlie
    • Alpha: Secure reactor and protect from saboteurs
    • Bravo: disable gunnery control to prevent shipboard gunners firing warning shots to the rest of the fleet
  • Kilo
    • Alpha: Disable any docked transports and prevent them leaving
    • Bravo: Capture sensor array and disable it

Now, go forth, and cause some mayhem.



56

Aboard the UNSC Warrior, Slipspace, En route to Pious Ascension

Sarah East sat in the first row of seats in the briefing room, in front of her stood Lt. Michael Price, standing in front of a large holographic projector. In addition to East's squad of ODSTs, three others stood at the back to the briefing room, the three CHs, humans in Machina frames, Kirk, Rene, and Sergei.

"All right ODSTS", Price said, "I am here to inform you about the our first mission in the assault on Pious Ascension".

Price turned on the projector, which immediately showed a large hologram of the planet Pious Ascension, the Covenant Remnant homeworld. The image zoomed in to to the largest continent on the planet, and then, to a major city, though not the main capital city, and finally, to a series of bunkers and anti-air and anti-ship turrets located on the the outskirts of the city.

"This is anti-air defense battery #7, around the Remnant fortress of Sacred Truth, one of seven surrounding the city at a 20 click radius. The main armament of the fortress consists of three light Energy Projector turrets".

The hologram switched to display a 3D view of one of the turrets as Price continued, "These are our primary targets. While not as powerful as their ship-based counterparts, these guns can still cause severe damage to our ships. The easiest way to take them out would be with an explosive charge placed in the core, highlighted in red on the holo-display."

The core of the Covenant anti-ship turrets glowed red in the hologram as Price spoke. The hologram then changed to show a twin-super heavy particle beam cannon emplacement equipped with a pair of heavy Needler AA guns on top.

"These are multi-purpose twin particle cannon turrets capable of attacking light warships, aircraft, and in an emergency, ground targets, the turrets are also equipped with secondary heavy needler turrets for further air defense.", Price said. "Our secondary objective of the mission is to destroy, disable, or capture the these guns. Be advised that it may be advisable to capture, rather than destroy these secondary batteries, as they can be turned to fire on any Covenant forces that may attempt to retake the battery." The hologram changed again, showing a Covenant Anti-Air Wraith Tank. "Be advised that there also may be Anti-air Wraiths and other vehicles located near the base. We are to destroy or capture any vehicles we run into", Price stated, "Once we have completed out objectives, the we are to hold the battery until armored forces arrive at which point we will join the assault on the base. Air support will be sent in as soon we neutralize the air defenses. Unless you have any questions", Price finished, "You are dismissed".

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

57

It’s time to finish what we started.

Shephard didn’t bother waiting for his SPARTAN-IV subordinates as he followed the two flashbang grenades through the door they were breaching. His helmet’s visor dispelled their disorienting effects and he brought his assault rifle to bear on the Covenant inhabitants of the room as they stumbled backwards, howling in pain as the grenades’ bright light burnt their eyes. The rifle blazed and the Brutes and Grunts began to fall as the bullets punched through their armor and tore into their flesh.

The SPARTAN-IVs were with him now, but Shephard was only held in check by his own intense training. He issued orders and formed hand signals that stemmed from instinct alone, as his mind was occupied by a much more pressing matter: revenge.

The ammunition counter on his MA6 hit zero, and Shephard paused to reload as the SPARTAN-IVs finished mopping up the remaining Covenant forces.

“Keep it moving,” he ordered. “Be thorough.”

It wouldn’t do for any of these animals to escape death today. Not after what their kind had done to his friends. You’re all going to burn today, you filthy aliens.

Normally he would have fought from the cockpit of his Wolf frame, but for this op he wanted to oversee things from the ground. To him, this was a redo of Prometheus. He had been infantry then, so he’d be infantry now. But this time it would be the Covenant who were on the receiving end of the slaughter. For all the stoicism he put on as his mask, Shephard was very close to feeling giddy with satisfaction.

“Sergeant,” a SPARTAN-IV broke in. “There’s a hallway on the other side of this door.” He indicated a portal across from the one they had just breached. “We’re reading lots of tangos on the other side, at least twenty, probably more. I think they’re setting up defensive positions.”

“Alright.” Shephard strode over to the door. “How’s the rest of the operation going?”

“All teams are reporting success. No changes in the operation plan.”

“Good. Check your weapons; we’re going to take out the hostiles in the hallway.”

The corporal paused. “But sir, our orders are to advance down that way.” He pointed at another door that led away parallel to the hallway.

“We’ll kill everything in that hallway first,” Shephard said. One of his armored hands clenched tightly around the assault rifle while the other made a quick check of the weapons stored on his armor. His pistol at his hip, the machete on the back of his waist, and his personal blade on his back were all right where he had clipped them. “Get your grenades ready and follow my lead.”

The Spartan still hesitated. “Sergeant, with all due respect we don’t even know for sure what’s really in that hallway. Besides, if we take too long the operation plan could be thrown off--”

“Save it.” Shephard motioned his subordinates to prepare to breach the hallway door. “This won’t take long. We’ll be back on track within five minutes. No teams seem to be headed for the hallway--it’s dangerous to leave a bunch of enemies lying around like this.”

“Uh, understood Sergeant. But aren’t we still disobeying orders?”

“There’s a difference between disobeying orders and showing initiative. We’re doing the latter. Now get ready to breach.”

“Roger.”

Behind his helmet, Shephard licked his lips. “Breach in five.”

They blew the door and followed up with flashbangs, just like before. Shephard was again the first person through, spraying away at the assembled Covenant soldiers as they were stunned by the grenades.

It turned out that there were lots more than just twenty hostiles. Shephard didn’t have time to count as he and the SPARTAN-IVs cut down the surprised aliens, but there had to be at least two full packs of Brutes in the hallway without even counting the Grunts and Drones that were hanging around them.

His assault rifle emptied, but instead of reloading Shephard just drove the weapon’s bayonet into the nearest Brute’s throat. Leaving the weapon lodged there, he drew his sidearm and began taking potshots at Grunts and Drones while the SPARTANs kept their focus on the Brutes. The clatter of assault weapons and the hum of plasma and spiker fire filled the corridor as the Spartans steadily drove the Covenant warriors back.

His sidearm out of ammo as well, Shephard grabbed a nearby spiker and fired the remainder of its clip into the veritable wall of enemies that seemed to loom before him.

“Sergeant,” the corporal yelled. “More of them behind us!”

It seemed that the enemy had been more prepared for a breach than they’d expected. “Take half the squad and deal with them!” Shephard barked. “The rest of you, follow me!”

Throwing caution to the winds, he discarded the spiker and drew his blade from its sheath on its back. This was the perfect close quarters situation to use it in.

The other Spartans rushed in alongside him as the firefight became a brutal melee. They beat, crushed, and stabbed the enemy with the buts of their weapons, their knives, and even their bare hands. Shephard was in the middle of it, his wickedly sharp blade finding openings in the Brutes’ power armor and slashing through them with ease. Drawing his machete, he slit one warrior’s throat while decapitating a Grunt with his blade.

Suddenly, he found himself ahead of the other Spartans. Before him stood a Brute Chieftain, its eyes agleam with a hatred that was reflected in Shephard’s hidden eyes. The chieftain clutched a gravity hammer; that weapon would tear the Spartans apart in these close quarters.

In the past, back when he’d had only SPI armor for protection, such an enemy would have been a deadly threat. But now Shephard was clad in MJOLNIR, making him faster and stronger than ever before. Dodging past the chieftain’s hammer, he kicked the hulking creature’s legs out from under it, then hacked off one of its arms as it fell. The chieftain howled in pain and tried to grab at Shephard with its remaining hand, but his machete cut through its wrist and pinned it to the deck. A slash to the chest finished the creature and left it a bloody, barely conscious mess.

Standing over his defeated opponent, Shephard realized that the shooting had stopped. His squad had eliminated the rest of the enemy, along with their reinforcements.

“Sergeant?” It was the corporal from earlier. He indicated the corpses around them. “What about the wounded?”

“Did any of ours get hit?”

“Negative, sergeant.”

“Put these bastards out of their misery.”

“Understood, sergeant.”

The order was given, and shots rang through the corridor once again as the Spartans carried out their grisly work. The corporal turned back to Shephard. “We’re a little behind schedule now, sergeant. We should probably regroup with the rest of the squadron back at the control room.”

“Agreed,” Shephard glanced down at the gasping chieftain. “Have everyone get ready to move.”

He brought the tip of his blade down to rest on the chieftain’s exposed forehead. “They really are vermin, aren’t they?” he muttered darkly.

“What was that, sergeant?”

“Nothing.” Shephard pushed the blade through the chieftain’s head, splitting it like a ripe fruit. “Let’s move out.” Actene: If This Is To End In Fire, Then We'll Burn Together

58

"Go go spartan lead the way!" The Squad Avalanche stormed out the drop pod and headed to the nearest objective, a village of Brute. Spartan-A099 grabed is shotgun and dispatched is men. "Squad 1 and 2 secure the village find anything, weapons, intel, anything that could help us again our enemy. We must clear this sector for the invasion fleet."


UNSC 14th Nomad Fleet, in route to Pious Ascension. Brigadier Genral [[Francis Davidson

The 8th Expeditionary Force were being for the first time breif for the mission. "Today we will lead the largest assault since the great war for the first time a UNSC assault armada will storm a Remmnant planet, their capital world, Pious Ascension. The Alliance of United Race is leading the assault. At this moment im talking to you the 117th Spartan Regiment are already on the ground clearing everything they can before our arrival. For the last week you have been trained for this mission without having any clue. Our force is composed of 8 expeditionary force, around 80,000 men. but we are not alone, other member of our alliance have launch, few hours ago a divert assault to stop dead our enemy. In few day it will be hour turn, be ready to fight. YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO GETTING THERE AND KILL THEM ALL!" CF001 02:21, July 8, 2010 (UTC)

59

"Spartans, form up. Watch your corners." Grace whispered over the TACCOM. While the rest of Kilo proceeded into the station, Krieg had orders to secure the docking ring. When they boarded the ship, the Remnant forces inside were taken by surprise. Many fled, hiding in the dark nooks and crannies of the station. In the front of the squadron were the two Wolf ATAAS Suits. The lead Wolf, piloted by Norton-K014, was a urban camouflaged machine of war, carrying a MB81 Close Assault Weapon System, or to a sane person a chaingun. The other was piloted by Amy-K161, who was unlikely to ever have been thought to be a Wolf pilot. Her suit was standard, and she carried a MB67 OICW.

The squadron approached an open section of the station. The two wolves stopped, scanning the area. They detected no movement. As the two stepped in, the sounds of Brute weapons echoed.

"Incoming!" Yelled Grace, who rushed behind a crate.

A fuel rod hit Nortons Wolf, causing him to stagger. He regained his balance and let loose with his gun. Causing the Remnant forces to keep their heads down.

"Krieg 2, move up and drive them out of cover. Krieg 1 and Krieg 3 keep up the fire, don't let them target Krieg 2."

"Move, move, move!" yelled Cain-K029. Behind that helmet, he smirked. He was aching to spill blood.

Ragnar-K117, Section 1s leader, fired an airburst grenade over one of the barricades. It exploded, sending a rain of shrapnel onto a Grunt unit. One managed to rush out, before it was cut down.

He saw Section 2s tags next to the larger of the barricades. It was a well fortified bunker-like structure. Several Brutes were firing out of it, however in seconds it was penetrated, and one of the Spartans burned the Brutes out.

"Move up!"

The Spartans charged, a few spikes landed around, but were quickly silenced. Only a few Brutes remained, and to the shock of the Spartans, they dropped their weapons in surrender. Ragnar and Boris, Section 3s leader, slowly approached the three Brutes. They were poorly armored, probably Minors.

"If you even attempt to attack us, we will cut you down."

Slowly they approached. Ragnar noted the slightest movements. Fingers, they nodded occasionally. As Boris took out his restraints, two rushed. One at Ragnar, the other at Boris. The other stayed where it was, it didn't want to die this day.

Ragnar quickly removed his axe and sliced the charging Brute across its throat. The head slid off, and plopped to the floor. A gunshot rang from the rafters, taking down the other Brute. Above he saw that the Squadron's best marksman, Eizo, and his spotter Massah were hanging up there. He gave a slight nod and Boris restrained the surviving brute.

"This is Grace-193, we have secured our section of the docking ring. We have a single Brute prisoner, Minor, ready for pickup."

"So, what now?" Ragnar spoke to the Captain.

She removed her helmet.

"Now we wait for the rest, then we drop down on the planet."

One of the Spartans picked up a Firegun, caught offguard by the weight.

"Lets just hope they don't know what we've done yet."

Spartan 112 20:28, July 13, 2010 (UTC)

60

Unknown time, Unknown ONI stealth vessel, En-route to Pious Ascension

The cockpit of the stealth vessel conformed to the overall style and theme of the ship; black and grey, lit by red lights resembling bright fireflies frozen in time. The interior was covered with metallic panels, some as bases for the orange holographic displays, towards the front and side of the small room, which further illuminated the control centre of such a deadly craft. Compared to much larger and louder warships, this ONI vessel's firepower was virtually negligible, however weaponry wasn’t needed on covert operations. Even the latest UNSC ships with advanced scanning systems would have trouble spotting the vessel, let alone unorganised and soon-to-be shocked Brute warships. However this phantom craft had no time for brutal space fights, it had a more important job to undertake.

"Well that’s the letter sent to the bad-ass ape we're gonna capture. Hopefully he’ll understand and do as he's told." There was uneasy silence after Conan had spoken, caused from a previous argument. "Anyway, why aren't we rendezvousing with the main attack fleet?" He inquisited, trying to break the silence. He pressed the exit button on the holographic display, which suddenly zapped out of existence, once showing the letter. As the commanding head of special operations for Section Three's Delta-7 Division, he never ventured into such high value operations without knowing everything he needed, and more often than not wanted, to know.

"We have a different mission, in case you hadn't realised. The other attack fleet will be entering system guns blazing and so that won't be good for our safety or disguise. Plus the time and cost to go there then to Pious Ascension is an unnecessary expenditure for Delta-7." Akela, the commanding head for D7’s intelligence and logistics echelon, answered bluntly and to the point, obviously still angered from the earlier argument.

"Whoa okay, so D7 are getting stingy and you’re getting menstrual; I get it." He replied dryly without even making eye contact back.

"You know I can always file for a divorce and an official behavioural complaint if it makes you happier?"

"C’mon I was joking with ya love. They call it humour."

"Oh, that’s why I laughed then?" She shot a glare at him, trying to kill the immature humour. "This is a vital mission for the UNSC, let alone D7, and all you can do is cause arguments and then joke around?"

"I was trying to improve the mood okay? Just relax a bit, everything's gonna be fine. Sneak past heavy planetary defences, orbital insertion through a thick atmosphere, wipe out enemy forces and capture an extremely skilled bad-ass ape. What could possibly go wrong?"

"Was that a serious question, because I've had enough of you fucking around?" She was almost at breaking point, and then Conan finally realised that maybe his current attitude wasn't best suited for the current circumstance. He moved over to Akela and knelt down beside her seat, holding her hand and looking her in the eyes. Those crystal blue balls that had seen so much war and death still remained innocent and clear as if love and happiness were the only things that had ever passed through them; however they welled up with slight tears, which tried to escape to convey her current fear.

"I’m sorry baby, it's just how I cope with it all. You know me, if I didn’t crack a joke out now and again then I’d end up like Chief back in the day!" She let out a slight smile from amusement:

"I love the way you still call him Chief..." The smile faded from sudden reminiscent upset.

"Well he is to me, he is to all of us."

"No. He was, and only to the two of us." There was a dead silence and Conan moved back to his seat. "Look, I'm sorry... it's just he's going to be there. How long has it been since you last spoke to him, or even saw him? Not to mention the fact that you haven’t been on an external operation since... since..." She looked at him, not wanting to finish the sentence. Conan turned his head and looked straight at her, tears waiting to form in his eyes too, but he stopped them for her sake.

"You’re worried aren't you? You’re worried about me?"

"Of course, we've been together since we were kids. Aren't you worried?"

"I'm shitting myself, if I'm gonna be honest. I've been in simulations for the last two months and I still don’t know what I’m really gonna be up against. And no, I don’t remember the last time I saw him. Last time we spoke was back in 58 after Wolf Squad got shut down. Then I vaguely remember seeing him at the 50th Annual Great War Memorial in 2602. We shot one glance at each other then instantly turned away. Then this whole operation; I really don’t know babes. I haven’t been on Remnant turf in years, not after what happened." Then what happened hit him and he paused, looking down at the floor.

"Hey come here, you’ll be okay." She reassured him, putting her arms out as an invite for a hug. He moved over to her and hugged her. "We’ll be okay, all of us." She whispered softly into his ear. Then something clicked in Conan’s mind.

"All of us?"

"Yeh, us two..." To anyone else nothing seemed out of place, yet Conan knew she was hiding something.

"No. You said all, as in more than just us two? What are you saying?" He looked at her confused and worried, uncertain about what she was hiding.


Current time, Small village, Pious Ascension

"C'mon brother, show us what you're hiding?" The Captain Ultra asked as Novus was still configuring something inside a black crate. He'd been there for over half an hour and after the Captain had lost all of his tokens, from the semi-final round of a game of Galliots , he had ventured over to inspect the quiet Stalker commander. (The most accurate comparison of Galliots is a Jiralhanae equivalent to a fast-paced tactical version of Human Poker)

"Hold on, I've nearly finished assembling it." Novus replied with a sense of struggle as if this assembling required strength. Something from inside the box made a metallic click and came to life with a quick high pitched hum, which then settled to a drone many octaves lower.

"By the gods, what have you got in there my friend?" The Captain looked puzzled but stayed back. If it were any other pack member, especially one of a lower rank, the Captain would have frowned upon secrecy. However, over the last two years both Novus and the Captain had acquainted and the Captain knew better than most people that Novus was a secretive man. Although the same rank level, they were rarely deployed alongside each other. The Captain was part of Hellus’s Pack who had visited the village for a public morale boost and a military workshop for the younger villagers. This was their last night in the village and they had set up beds in the local function halls. One of these halls was where the Captain and his immediate defence team were staying, although normally Novus’s Stalker team would occupy it all. Due to their long friendship Novus was welcoming of the Captain and, even though in the same room, they respected and kept separate their teams for practical and personal reasons.

Novus stepped up from the black crate, Pyroneous Industries' orange symbol painted on the front, holding something with both hands. He turned around to face the Captain with a smile on his face. A smile emerged on the Captain's face too. They stood there examining the masterpiece in Novus's hands. A custom made, titanium-platinum alloy headed, sabre-gravity battle axe took the limelight of the two Brutes, and suddenly stole the gazes of other personnel in the room.

"Magnificent... absolutely majestic yet so lethal. My brother, I’m awestruck! How on Diosac did you even afford such a piece of materiel?" The Captain carried on inspecting the shining weapon.

"Saved my wages, put a deposit down. Oh and then there was the raid on that Jackal pirate ship where we took back loads of PI ordinance and weaponry and gave it to its rightful owner. That got me in their good books." Novus couldn’t stop smiling at it.

"It even has your name engraved on it! I must ask though, how does it balance?" As well as awe, curiosity and shock displayed on the old Captain, a moment of fear crept its way into him too. It glowed a fire-warm orange around the glossy metallic blades and shined everywhere else without any surface imperfections.

"I’m not too sure. I got my contacts to specifically craft the handle, counter-weight and length to best suit my size and combat style. Let’s see hey?" Novus grinned then instantly started swivelling the axe around, hand to hand, he then spun around himself and at the full turn followed through with the axe into the air where it rapidly spun like a helicopter blade. As if that wasn't enough, Novus snatched the axe to stop it, circular orange vapour dispersing from the ring that it formed while the weapon was spinning, then he flipped it out and back into his hand to change its position from above him horizontally to by his side vertically, as if it was just a light combat knife. Instantly he threw it around his back to his other hand, spun it around from hand to hand again then stopped it by hitting the head against the floor. Orange mist and sparks erupted from the small impact area with a hiss and crackle then shortly faded away. Unscratched the axe made its final journey as it was chucked up slightly and rotated 180 degrees, grabbed by Novus’s right hand and swiftly flipped backwards over his head and onto his back; where the holster grav-pads instantly recognised and connected the shaft of the weapon to him.

"Impressive Novus, your skills have improved since Ballistoss Prime." The pack Chieftain Hellus complimented as he walked into the hall. Instantly all the Brutes in the room stood up or jumped out of their seats, straightened up and hit their right fist onto their chest to salute the Cheiftain.

"Thank you sir." Novus said firmly and honourably.

"At ease soldiers, back to what you were doing." The Chieftain commanded. The various bustling activities and conversations continued. Novus and the Captain settled too. "I do say it’s a brilliant piece of engineering that, and a fine axe-man to accompany it too. Maybe one day you’ll be fit for a Hammer!" The three of them, along with a few others who overhead, laughed at the Chieftain’s optimistic humour, however deep down Novus was unsure what was funny about it. Give it time and he’ll be the best Chieftain in the galaxy, he thought to himself. Then again, maybe he was being naive and overambitious, letting the compliment get to his head.

"I plan to Chieftain, one day maybe." Novus smiled and so did the Chieftain.

"So young yet optimistic and skilled. Just watch yourself out there; you never know what might happen next. Anyway, I came here to give you this Novus." Hellus handed over a blank holo-pannel, which read:

HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL. FINGERPRINT AND RETINAL VERIFICATION NEEDED TO ACCESS.

"It’s from an unknown source, tagged as an urgent high priority, from the High Ministry of Military Security. What confuses me is that it’s addressed to you. Skilled with an axe or not, it seems out of place for a Stalker." The Chieftain looked concerned more than anything, jealous almost.

"Let’s see..." Novus pressed his finger onto the red rectangle and it lit up green after a second of scanning. He lifted his finger off and the holograms rearranged themselves to form two red circles. Novus looked into them and faint lasers shot from out of the panel and into his eyes. The lasers died and the circles turned green too. The hologram changed once again, this time into the form of a slowly scrolling letter, which read:

Novus,

The Ultimatum Switch Protocol is now in effect. Under high priority order Alpha-Nine-Two, you are to prepare to meet with Shadow Wolf tonight. Failure to follow said order and its subordinate agreements will result in death. This information is to be kept secret under all circumstances, violating this will result in death. The fate of your personnel and other combatants is undeclared; stay alive at all costs even at the expense of others.

Greatest apologies and regards,

Its time.

Shadow Wolf.

Once read the hologram flickered and became distorted. It dissolved and finally disappeared. The whole holo-pannel shut down. It was nothing but glass. Novus kept a straight face, not because he had to, but because he didn’t know what else to show. He didn’t know what to think. He didn’t know what to feel. However he did know that all of the odd bad feelings that he had been getting all now made sense. Then the Cheiftain spoke.

"What was it Novus?"

"With all due respect Chieftain, I’m not at liberty to say."

"You must be taking the piss young one? Are you serious?"

"Unfortunately so, however I can tell you something." Novus added in before the Chieftain became enraged.

"What?"

"We need to get the villagers in a safe place, in the basements and underground levels. We need to mobilise any vehicles, suit up and prepare for battle. Your pack is best off defending the central Town Hall and the local Stalker teams, including my own, will make a covert perimeter around the village. We’ll be attacked tonight, I don’t know who by, how big this force will be nor do I know where they will be attacking from. However we must prepare the best we can, we don’t have much time. Once all of that is done we should alert other packs in the surrounding areas." Novus looked straight at the Chieftain, confidently and calmly.

"No. That’s ridiculous! There’s no way..." The Chieftain laughed, rather than shouted.

"If we don’t we will all die, civilians included."

"What exactly did the letter say?" The Chieftain was getting angry and other men were completely listening and in shock too.

"I can’t tell you however it most certainly did not specify details on the attack, merely implied that there was going to be one." Novus knew that he was pushing it, both with the orders he must now follow and with Hellus’s patience.

"Sir, I’ve known Novus for two years and I’ve fought alongside him many times. I know him better than anyone here and I know for sure that he would never say such things unless he had an extremely good reason too." The Captain bravely supported.

"I second that sir." Novus’s second-in-command said as he walked forward from the corner of the room. The other Stalkers gave their approval too with a ramble of "ayes" and "safes".

"SILENCE!" The Chieftain roared at the Stalkers, unimpressed by their disrespect yet support for their commander. The Chieftain looked at the Captain, then at the Stalker Major next to Novus, and then back at Novus.

There was an uneasy long pause...

"Okay, I want you all ready, set up in the north section of the village. I’ll take point in the town hall and deploy the rest of my solders in defence positions. From the north you’ll be able to cover the main road that enters the village, from the motorway, and comes down to join the town square outside of the hall. You’re our first line of defence, as any attackers will most likely come from the north. We’ll set turrets and barricades up on the roads and snipers the shrine towers. However Novus, if this information is wrong, then I’ll use that fancy axe of yours and end your dream of becoming a Chieftain. Do you understand?" The Chieftain glared into Novus’s eyes, which still tried to convey confidence with all their strength.

"Yes sir, I promise what I say is the truth, and I understand." With that the Chieftain turned and walked towards the exit. He stopped and turned around again facing all of the soldiers in the hall.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU LOT WAITING FOR?" He shouted, and instantly everyone shot up and started to clean up and get suited for battle. Hellus walked out muttering under his breath.

"Let’s do this brother." The Captain said. "Like every other time we've fought alongside."

But Novus knew that this would be the last time...


Unknown time, Unknown ONI stealth vessel, En-route to Pious Ascension

"I’m..." She struggled to tell him. "I’m... pregnant Conan. You’re gonna be a dad." She had tears sliding down her soft cheeks but with a slightly upset expression on her still-young face. Conan was speechless, face lit brighter than the stationary fireflies in the roof and the sunset holograms on the panels around them.

"That’s... that’s... it’s amazing Akela! I... I don’t... I don’t know what to say!?" He looked at her for a moment and then hugged her tight. "I can’t believe it!" He said in a muffled way as he spoke into her shoulder. He peeled back after a few seconds in concern about her misery. "Why aren’t you happy?" His smile dropped off his face like a lead balloon from a skyscraper.

"It’s just... when will all these operations stop? What happens if Commander Smith finds out, he merely let us marry? We can’t bring up a child in these conditions anyway. One minute you’re here, the next you’re not and regardless of that; I’m always busy with paper work and meetings. And I always worry that you might not come back." She was crying completely now, scared and upset, with Conan holding both of her hands looking worried too. "I know you’re strong and I know you’re brave. You always get the job done but it doesn’t hide the fact that you’re still human. This operation could... it could go wrong." She started to get serious. "The simulations are made by us, so who knows what the real forces are like down there, especially since our mole got caught and killed the other month, things could have changed since then. Our intel is way off, compared to what it usually is for other ops. So many extraneous factors and variables and so many things that we just can’t test or calibrate. We’re practically sending you in blind." She stopped, an overload of worries and fears just racing around in her head.

"Listen to me, and listen carefully. Out of everyone, even since the Gamma days, I’ve excelled. Through Wolf, I kept things perfected, even after Leon went rogue. Then as head of SpecOps, I’ve performed beyond expectations. I know you worry, and it’s natural for you to do so, but don’t let it get in the way of you thinking straight. You’ve got to make decisions up here; you’ve got to call the shots. If you really think I’m going in blind then you need to be strong baby. You need to be my eyes and ears when I’m down there and I need you to be clear-headed and calculated when doing so. I promise I’ll be okay on Pious if you promise to be strong for me up here." Conan looked at her, still holding her hands trying his best to reassure her.

"Okay... I can be strong." She said reluctantly while wiping away the tears.

"All right then." Conan smiled. She returned a smile. "I'm gonna head off and get some sleep, I got a lot to think about now." He said as he kissed her on the cheek, stood up and walked towards the door.

"You promise you’ll be okay?" She asked before he went through the door.

"I promise, with all my heart." He said gently and from the heart. He walked out and down the small corridor to his quarters, and thought:

Making a promise is one thing. Keeping it will be the biggest challenge I've ever faced...


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TALK CONTRIBUTIONS Australian Eastern Summer Time (GMT+11)
That’s all for Phase 2 from me folks: setting the scene, adding some mystery and building on sub-plots and relationships. Hope you enjoyed it!


61

Ross East Jr. stood at the front of a briefing room aboard the UNSC Warrior, addressing the UNSCAF Third Squadron about their first mission of the Battle of Pious Ascension.

"All right Third Squadron, this is it, in a few hours we will begin the final battle against the Covenant Remnants. What we do here with will go down in history.", Ross said, earning much enthusiasm from his squadron. "I have received our first assignments from HIGHCOM. Our first mission is to aid in the destruction of the Brute naval forces in orbit around the planet.", Ross continued, "We will be dividing into two groups."

"I will lead group one, consisting of myself, Skylar, Merton, Archer, and Allison.", Ross said, "We will be flying in F/I-905 Claymores, armed with air-to-air and anti-spacecraft missiles. Our mission is to escort the second group, destroy any Remnant Seraphs we encounter, and engage any smaller capital ships with TALON missiles."

"Kalaluit will lead group two, consisting of everyone not listed as part of group one, You will be piloting I-660 Spear interdictors. Your aircraft will each be armed with a single RETRIBUTION nuclear missile.", Ross said. At this, an almost maniacal grin appeared across the faces of several of Ross' squadronmates.

"You get the fun job of nuking any Remnant capital ships we run into.", Ross continued, "Now, unless you have any questions, you are dismissed" FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

62

The passageway was so densely packed with armored bodies, Conrad had to elbow his way along, a six-foot plus Marine dwarfed by the mere teenagers clustered around him. By now, some forty or so Spartans were gathered along the worn metal walls of the hall, crouching, standing, or kneeling wherever they could find room.

A few were smoking, sneaking forbidden puffs from Sweet Williams before resigning themselves to the metal confines of their helmets. Others checked weapons or webbing for the hundredth time that day, somehow dissatisfied with perfection, while still others cracked nervous jokes, displaying all the false bravado a scared teenage warrior could muster.

But when they saw Conrad they fell silent, their ranks parting to let the older Marine through. Quickly weaving his way down the line, Conrad did his best to fake a confident smile. Every eye was watching him, looking to him for some cue. And a few Spartans grinned back, flashing thumbs-up to the CO as he passed. The message in their gestures was clear: Bear was ready for battle.

Reaching the front of the passageway, Conrad found his team and section leaders huddled in a last-minute council of war, murmuring among themselves in nearly inaudible tones. Seeing Conrad, they abruptly adjourned, and turned to acknowledge their commanding officer.

But before they could salute or offer any other military formality, Conrad simply extended his hand. Moving downed the line of armored figures, he shook the hand of every officer and senior NCO. Entweiler, Marin, Cordell, De Klerk, O’Dell, Wlad, Moana, Grier. Today, trust would count far more than any salute.

The Conrad turned to face his Spartans, climbing atop an aged service crate some tech had left to rust away in the godforsaken corner of the Campbeltown. Looking down, he saw a sea of young faces, each one drawn and determined. Now was no time for windy speeches…

“Bears! Oorah!”

The reply was like thunder.

---

Moana winced inwardly as the Campbeltown’s spaceframe groaned, protesting the control thruster’s latest hissing volley.

He’d honed every fiber of his mind and body to a razor-keen edged, and having to “hurry up and wait” was filing away his dwindling patience. The human behind his warrior image was leaking like stuffing from a torn sofa. Angry that these at the betrayal of these unwanted emotions, Moana twisted his face into a scowl. By now it was taking a considerable amount of willpower for the Maori Spartan to remain calm.

I came here to fight, not to get stranded in space…

But an instant later, the grumbles stopped.

With a metallic rumble, the station’s giant docking arms embraced the Campbeltown battle-scarred hull. Elsewhere, other sounds murmured, the reluctant whine of despooling plasma turbines, the click of connecting umbilicals. But the loudest sounds of all came from the Spartans.

All along the line, weapons rattled as the green-clad warriors readied their arms for battle, deadly musicians tuning their instruments for the grim symphony of battle. And then, the sound they’d been waiting for.

With a hollow, ringing clang, the Campbeltown settled in her moorings, weariness leaking from every fitting as she finished her final voyage. Ahead, a hatch hissed, streams of ghostly condensation flowing into the ship’s cold interior as the internal pressures equalized. An instant later, the hatch rolled open.

Moana was through the door in an instant, senses tense, feet barely touching the station’s antiseptically clean deckplates. In his headlong rush, he almost collided with a pair of Drones struggling to connect an improvised umbilical to the Campbeltown. With impersonal, mechanical precision, Moana peppered the stunned aliens with two three-round bursts, leaving the Drones to die in a pool of blood and blasted chitin.

And the squadron plowed on, moving quickly and quietly towards their primary objective, weaving a path through service passages and massive vents, charging forwards like deadly ghosts. In the distance, the Spartans could hear muted pops and the occasional muted scream, as the other Spartan companies went about their dirty work.

But these were secondary sounds, distractions from the here and now. For the forty young Spartans the world outside their gilt visors became strangely simple, a basic formula of targets and rifle sights. Time seemed to detach itself from reality, twisting and compressing itself, grasping the station’s polished walls as they rushed by. And so, like sleepers in a deadly dream, they charged forwards.

Resistance was light. Any brave enough to fight back died quickly, and the cowards discovered that they couldn’t outrun bullets. Within minutes of leaving the relative safety of the Campbeltown, Bear had reached its objective: central gunnery control.

Ducking through the narrow hatch into the control center, Moana’s section was confronted by chaos. Here, deep within the armored bowels of the station, the gunners had imagined themselves safe, removed from the dirty work of killing, free to “fly desks” is the peaceful corner of Remnant space. Now war was staring them in the face.

The response was utter and total panic. Terrified crewmen fled from their consoles, scattering chairs, papers, and half-eaten meals across the deck. A few Brutes had the courage to fight back; but most fled, clawing through the miserable collection of Jackals and Grunts fleeing towards the escape hatches.

Pumping the trigger of his LAR, Moana gunned down a roaring Brute gunner, catching the apelike alien with a lethal burst to the throat. Swiveling, his finger tapping a staccato rhythm on the trigger, he downed two wailing Grunts.

And then, silence. No alarms, no screams, nothing but the fading gurgles trickling from the shattered trachea of a dying Brute.

The surprise was total, their victory complete…for a moment.

---

The door smashed down like guillotine, instantly pulverizing armor, flesh, and hardened bone. All along the hall, similar hatches slammed shut, instantly cutting the file of Spartans moving along the hallways into impotent, isolated pockets.

Deep within the station’s metal bowels, some nerve had been tripped. Some silent alarm had forced the station to panic stations, to slam its near-impenetrable network of blast doors in an effort to protect the ship. But no matter the cause, the effect was clear.

Bear was trapped, diced into three ragged groups by the intruding doors. Conrad, with most of the squadron was trapped in the rear. Wladislaus and a handful of Spartans in his section were trapped in a small annex tantalizingly close to their control room objective. Moana’s section was in even more perilous circumstances.

The twelve men and women of Checkmate were imprisoned inside the control room, a space which might soon be swarming with hordes of angry Brutes.

Even for Spartans, bad odds.

And where the other companies trapped like this as well, pinned down by the very battlefield they were fighting on? Or where they free, able to charge and fight? But now, Bear had no time for such grim speculation, for even the worst possible scenario paled with what now confronted the young Spartans.

Thrashing and screaming, one young Spartan was wedged in the control room hatchway, his leg crushed between the blast-door’s forged petals. His eyes were wild with agony beneath his depolarized visor as he vainly tired free his crush limb.

Two Spartans quickly rushed to their comrade’s side, trying to manhandle the young man free; but they stopped just a quickly as they had begun. The leg was immovable, gripped by a vise weighing over a ton. Brute force would only cause more agony.

Jesus, even the station is trying to kill us…

Moana’s mind desperately sought a solution, shifting with almost detached coldness from possibility to possibility before a single second could lapse. For an instant, all sense of seemed to flee from the Maori Spartan’s head, and the bitter calculus of combat lead the charge.

The leg appeared hopeless; a mess of crushed armor, bloody flesh and splintered bone mingling with the fitful froth of the biofoam another Spartan was applying in a vain effort to halt her teammate’s plunge into shock.

Combat amputation? No, dammit, corpsman and the engineers are back there somewhere. No answers here…

A dozen ideas raced through Moana’s mine in half as many seconds, and then at last, the solution.

“Wlad!” Moana shouted, trying to carry his voice over the whimpers and screams of their trapped teammate.

“Yah?” The answer came back in tense tones, muffled by the foot of solid steel between them.

“Break out e-tools,” he ordered.

What!?! But on both sides of the door, Spartans obeyed, their confused expressions invisible behind their visors. They carried the shovels more out of habit than necessity. But as strong as they were, no Spartan could dig through steel…

“Now push!” Snatching an unfolded tool from the hand of a bewildered teammate, Moana wedged the small shovel’s blade in the small gap between the door’s petals. The confused expressions disappeared.

A moment later, Spartans on both sides of the door had their tools in the gap, straining every muscle and sinew. The shovel’s flimsy blades began to warp and twist. The mute doors remained unmoved. Had they failed?

But slowly, with a reluctant grinning sound, the doors began to move, millimeter by millimeter, until two Spartans in the control room were able to drag their wounded teammate clear. No sooner had the limp leg slithered free, then the doors slammed tight again with a ringing clang, as if it already regretted releasing its prisoner.

Yet for the moment, the worst was past. Almost every radio frequency was crackling with messages of success.

Objective taken. Surprise total.

The station was now in Spartan hands.

FightWithHonor Contact me 15:11, July 26, 2010 (UTC)

63

DATE: 30th April 2612; LOCATION: UNSC Campbeltown, Pious Ascension; TIME: 0200

Riker waited silently. He knew that within seconds, their time to move would come. Around him, other commanders from Squadrons 1 and 2 prepared themselves, readying for the oncoming assault upon the station. Nearby, Billy and Dominic were talking in hushed tones as they often did before deployment; Phillip, Kevin, Matthew and Kyle were also gathered together, more than likely discussing strategy instead of the more random discussions of Billy and Dom; in various other positions, Riker noted the other officers readying their weapons and double-checking their armor.

There could be no mistakes. They had one chance. A single slip-up could cost them everything.

No one intended to be the fool that failed.

Of the four companies being inserted via the Campbeltown, Kilo's mission might make or break the other objectives: first group, Riker's section composed of Squadrons 1 and 2, was tasked with disabling the docked transports and preventing any ships from leaving the station; second group, led by Viggo and consisting of Sqaudrons 3 and 4, was to capture the sensor array and disable its' use by enemy forces. Simple enough, but highly critical to success.

With a lurch, the ship stopped. Mechanics whirled. Everyone waited, intently listening for the final sounds of the process that would signify they were docked. Then, with a definitive clicking, the Campbeltown docked with the station completely.

“Go” The single word order was uttered in a hushed whisper, but it was the only thing needed to unleash death upon the station.

Like a plague, the Spartans flowed through the nearby airlocks, silenced shots flying from their array of weaponry to fell the oncoming Jiralhanae and Kig-yar that had come to examine the ship's cargo. They dropped, the noise of the massacre hardly noticeable: and then, with the obstacles eliminated, the troops scattered.


Locating the hangar bays had been simple enough; disabling the transports themselves would be an easy task. What could cause complications was what was in the small, crowded rooms: filled with cargo crates in large numbers, numerous Spirit and Phantom transports hung in the gravity clamps on the second level, with numerous other larger transports attached via docking rings to the outside of the hangar arm; however, what truly worried the Spartans was the large number of Jiralhanae and Kig-yar in the hangars, particularly the groups hanging in the central area near the Phantoms and Spirits.

James-K012 and his team slipped into the area and crouched behind a large group of cargo crates, waiting for the order from Dominic. Once Dominic and Billy confirmed that all members of their squadrons were in place, Dominic would give the signal and all the teams would rush forward and begin the assault, attempting to confuse and distract all of the enemy forces long enough for them to disable the transports so that no one could escape. However, the timing had to be perfect, or it would fail.

Looking at his comrades, James could practically see Aubrey and Clayton's eagerness to attack, despite their faces being completely hidden by the polarized visor of their helmets: as Clayton tried to steal a glance at their foes, James quickly signaled him to stop, which Clayton reluctantly did. Now wasn't the time. Just a little longer.

As James turned back to look at Dillon, Jared and Nick crouched behind another group of crates nearby, he cringed as he saw a Kig-yar walking towards their crate: it hadn't seen anyone just yet, each one well hidden from view, but the Kig-yar was visibly sniffing the air and drawing closer to Nick's hiding place. James held onto his Battle Rifle a little tighter.

If the Jackals come much closer, they'll find Nick. Yet, if he killed them now, he could compromise the mission. But if they found Nick, the mission was compromised anyway, and they could possibly lead to Nick becoming wounded. James raised his rifle, still struggling with the decision.

The Kig-yar walked within a foot of Nick's position. He stopped and sniffed, making a slow chuffing noise.

James waited, placing his finger on the trigger slowly. So slowly.

“Execute!”

The word from Dominic came as a saving grace to James, as he immediately fired on the Kig-yar as the team rushed forward into the firefight that was erupting, the Spartans taking the Jiralhanae and Kig-yar by surprise en masse. All around, Spartans rushed forward, several teams plowing straight through the sea of foes toward the transports while the others provided suppressive fire.

And all about, controlled chaos reigned.


Jack-K004 and his team moved quickly through the small corridors with the rest of King and Knight Squadrons, though the teams were all cordoned off within the facility by the walls around them, not able to see or interact with each other. They were all on their own in this, each soldier depending on their own team alone.

Sayid-K089 moved forward to Jack's right. He was their key on this mission, the one among them who was most essential. Locke and Sawyer would get them to the sensor array, Hurley and Kate would suppress the enemy, but it would be Jack and Sayid who were going to have to capture and disable the mechanism itself.

“Sawyer, Locke, T-minus 60 seconds till we reach the breaching point. Once we're in, Hurley and Kate, get into the positions and make sure there's suppressive fire if needed. Sayid, we'll have roughly two and a half minutes to shut down this section of the array before reinforcements arrive. Everyone understand?”

Five affirmatives sounded.

Jack stood to the right-hand side of the door, leveling his battle rifle to watch for any possible assailants, though the corridor was currently empty save for the well-hidden corpses of the three Kig-yar guards at the end. Besides him, Locke leaned towards the door, waiting anxiously for Sayid to complete the breach: on the opposite side, Sawyer waited in a similar fashion.

In a split-second reaction, the hack was completed and the door whisked open, Sawyer and Locke charging into the room, killing the first few Kig-yar swiftly through neck-snapping and throat-slitting, but after the fifth the alarm of the Remnant soldiers was raised and the race against time was on. Sawyer and Locke continued to push through the aliens like a beam of light through a dark room, with Kate's sniper shots and Hurley's explosive ordnance taking down numerous individuals ahead of the main, four-Spartan assault.

Leaping over one of the Jiralhanae commanders and stabbing him in the back, Sayid dashed for the control panels, rapidly tapping into the array's network while Jack furiously worked to protect him and keep foes away from the small area that house the controls. A large blast killed a half a dozen combatants and quickly made way for Kate and Hurley to rush into the area to aid in the fortifying of their position, with Sawyer and Locke still continuing their hand-to-hand combat.

Then, in a moment's time, the foes were all dead. Sawyer typed furiously at the keyboard, doing his best to hack the system quickly and effectively, knowing this was based on speed more than anything. If they were lucky, no alarm had been raised and no one would come to check out the sector for five minutes; however, with the teams doing their work across the station, it was unlikely that any team would have more than two minutes.

And so, they waited.


Pirate Lord Dekd Nok regained his momentarily lost balance as the gravity lift aboard his flagship, Wrath and Fury, ceased carrying himself and his Black Claw bodyguards upwards, setting them on the purple floor of his cruiser. He had been called to Pious Ascension to discuss his involvement in a planned offensive against the Humans, but he had become furious when he'd learned his payment would be cut in half for “failures in service in recent time”

Dekd could see this would end badly. The Remnant was falling apart at the seams, civil war was imminent once again among the Jiralhanae, and reports from his scouts claimed that Demons had been spotted once again, especially at the Human world Hannibal III, where the Jiralhanae had been killed and their large cache of Human slaves lost. Now, Deliverance's pet Jiralhanae, Grand Chieftain Cassius, had informed Dekd that their pay would be halved over the losses caused by his own species of moronic apes.

May they die continually in the after-life, thought Dekd. As much as he was want for more treasures, there were no more options: he would withdraw his forces as soon as this council of war was ended. He had already been doing so discreetly for some time now, ever since Vespera in fact, but now he would begin in earnest. Then the Remnants would see how much they needed his men.

Neg'T, head of the Black Claw, approached Dekd. “My lord”, Neg'T said in the appropriate fashion.

“Neg'T, old friend. Please tell me we have good news?”

“I am afraid not, my lord”, Neg'T replied. He hesitated, obviously not wanting to state the situation.

“Then speak quickly”, commanded Dekd sternly. If you were anyone else, I would tear off your arm this instant

“An old cruiser has docked with Destiny's Herald – nothing unusual except that I checked and it's been out of contact for almost five years now. Since the vessel's initial message upon entering the system, it has made no more communiques. I sense ill tidings”

Dekd thought on the matter momentarily, then spoke. “Send one lance of scouts to the station. No more, and only scouts. I will not lose good men if you are correct that something is afoot.”

“Of course, my lord”, said Neg'T, already walking towards the hangars, “I will send them immediately”

Moving quicker than before, Dekd made his way to the bridge, where he immediately looked for the navigations officer. “Plot a course to the far side of the planet, away from the Destiny's Herald immediately”

“Yes, my lord” In a moment, the ship lurched forward, set on a course to the planet's opposite side, in an attempt to escape the possibility of death. Dekd may have been a lover of combat, but he was no fool: there was trouble afoot, and the Kig-yar's age old art of traitorous escape had yet to fail him in all his years.


Riker-012 looked over the hangar bay in front of him, the carnage of the piles of dead bodies barely fazing him. The situation was under control for the moment: all the hangars had reported in that they were all secure, all the transports disabled.

“Susano”

Immediately the A.I.'s avatar appeared in the lower-right corner of his HUD. “Yes Riker?”

“Status report”

“Viggo reports all but two teams have successfully captured and disabled the sensor array. The last two nodes will be following shortly.”

“And the other companies?”

“Joyeuse is reporting completion for Bravo Company. I haven't received the reports from Odysseus or Baphomet yet.”

“Understood. Keep me updated on that and any enemy troop movements you can pick up: Remnant WarNet, radar, anything.”

“Will do Riker.” And with that the A.I. disappeared.

Riker looked over the situation again. They were right on schedule, and things were running smoothly enough. But the likelihood of everything going perfectly just seemed far too unlikely to Riker: at any moment, Riker was sure that something was going to go wrong, though he didn't relish the forethought. But he couldn't deny the facts.

And so he kept watch.




64

29th of April, 2612, above Pious Ascension, 0930 local time

The crude axe swung through the air, generating a distinct noise as it piercing the air behind it. Ajax ducked under the blow, the axe missing his head and thrust his fist forward, like a pile driver. The noise of something audibly popping rang clear in his audio receptors. The Brute screeched, dropping down to its knees, holding its cracked groin plate where Ajax had hit. Ajax rose back up to his full height, gripping its chin and the back of its head then twisting its neck in a brutal motion, its neck cracking as it was forcefully dislodged from the cranium, tearing the brain stem. It was killed instantly, its pained roars instantly quieting. He pushed over the body and looked to the other SPARTANS as they put the last of the Brutes to death.

“Squadron, form up on Rally Point Bravo Three.” He announced making the motion for it with his hand.

The squadron fell back through the hallway, stepping back over the bodies, guarding their rear cautiously as Ajax walked back into formation, his shotgun raised up with his firing hand. Since Joyeuse ran into the last barricade of network defences, Ajax was sending out reconnaissance in force assaults, trying to keep them off balance and map some of the lower areas. Every bulkhead in the station had been dead locked, meaning blowing them out of the station's airlocks was no longer a viable option. As he fell back to the internal battle lines, picking past a number of piled bodies outside the control room, he dropped the shotgun, letting it rest on it's sling. So far the attempt to keep them internally confined had worked well, nothing outside the station had been alerted, and the comms blackout kept them running silently. He moved past a pair of sentry guns and opened up the door into the command centre, stepping under a number of leaking pipes on the ceiling. The area had turned into a war zone, with the majority of Brutes hitting them head on here, or trying to take out the reactor. They must of barely even noticed any other attack, or were just too single minded.

“Joyeuse, situational report?” he asked, upon entering the room

Her hologram sprung up, a burst of red light emitting at the base of the projector.

“It seems I'm onto the last barrier. I'm running six strings against it simultaneously but not getting much in the way of success.” She frowned, leaning on the nearest console, idly prodding at it.

Ajax walked over to the desk, pulling a hard line jack from the receptacle on the back of his helmet and retrieved a universal jack for transfer into Covenant systems from his chest pouch. He plugged it in and accessed the system himself.

“I'll run opposite lock against it.” He said, patching in “If we run two simultaneous attacks against it, it will break in record time.”

Ajax began to feverishly type on the keypad, observing scrolling code in alien text. It began to break down, with the system billowing under the attacks and broke, unravelling the station's controls. One by one, servers began to remotely unlock, the entire station opening up to their control. Ajax removed the jack, the wire rapidly spooling back into his helmet with a soft whirring noise, before it clicked back in. He picked up his rifle and rested it in the crook of his elbow.

“Joyeuse, the station is yours, priority one is taking all those gun stations offline.” He order, returning to his full height. “I want maximum awareness among all units.”

As he stood up a ball of burning plasma exploded on the bulkhead door, sending molten shrapnel through the breach.

“Two Hunters in the plaza, moving up ahead of a Brute force!” The radio crackled, the sound of gun fire punctuating it.

Ajax ran up to the door breach, stepping through, molten metal dripping onto his shoulders, causing his shields to flare up in defence. He moved out wards, keeping low as short bursts of Spiker fire fired over the heads of the collective SPARTANS, keeping low behind their cover.

“Sir, you have a plan?” Lieutenant B056 asked, firing off her Carbine around the corner.

“Try to plant grenades behind them, flank the Brutes, me and 312 will take down the Hunters.” He said, nodding to The lieutenant. The officer responded in time with a quiet nod.

“Okay sir, we'll drop suppressive fire straight down the middle.” She replied, bursting from cover and firing from the hip. Behind her, another SPARTAN burst out with his LMG, firing onto the lead Hunter. The steady thumping noise of his M122 was responded by the sounds of ricocheting munitions bouncing off the armour. The Hunters bunkered down their shielding moving up to protect their more delicate, exposed parts. SPARTANS moved down each side, throwing off grenades and firing on the Brutes, causing them to scatter. Ajax leapt over the nearest barricade, followed by Amelia. Ajax ran forward, pulling his pistols from his thigh holsters, Amelia following suite right behind him. The Hunter saw him straight away, breaking its phalanx to bring its shield into attack position, swinging it in an attempt to clothesline him. Ajax immediately dropped to his knees, the momentum he built up keeping him going. He arced his back as far rearwards as he could, his shoulders almost touching the floor as he skidded forward, sparks escaping from his knees. He straightened his arms and began to fire both his pistols into its gut, the rounds burrowing into the worm like entities, expanding then exploding inside it. He skidded right between its legs, bringing his pistols to sight it's exposed back, firing off more rounds into it, the beast's plating vibrating as it bellowed in agony. Ajax quickly holstered his pistols the moment his momentum wore out and rolled sideways, avoiding a over the shoulder swing, the floor crumpling on impact with the Hunter's shield. Ajax reached over his shoulder, grabbing the butt of his shotgun and pulling it from its holster and into his hands. He immediately scrolled off the safety and raised it to his shoulder as the Hunter came around to face him. He began to fire off shots, stepping backwards, luring it in towards him.

As Ajax skidded past the first hunter, the seconds attention was drawn to Ajax, watching him as he skidded by. It turned back in time to see Amelia running to it at top speed. It tried to bat her away with its shield but she cleared the Hunter with a cartwheeling somersault, coming to face its back as she landed on it, grabbing onto a spine to keep on it. Its spines rattled trying to shake her off, with it bucking its back wildly. She held tight, pulling her knife from the sheath on her shoulder and wedging it into its neck, the blade sticking in. She wrenched it back, exasperating the injury into a gaping wound, orange blood pouring from it. She held onto the knife and pulled her pistol, firing onto the exposed flesh on the back of its head at near point blank range, the rounds burrowing into its neck and exploding, combining with the knife injury to just about blow its head off. It stumbled, its head hanging on by a threat rocking her off the front, her knife coming free with it. She landed on the grated floor, the metal buckling with her. She was dazed, if only for a moment then looked up, seeing the creature bleeding over her, blood splattering off her visor. She rolled sideways, avoiding the falling behemoth. She rolled straight to her feet, hitting the side of the barricade and taking cover around the far edge of the parapet, dropping the empty magazine out of her side arm. She looked around the edge to see the second Hunter slowly walk to Ajax, its shield covering its exposed chest. Ajax carefully back pedalled, firing off one of two shots to keep it cautious. As it closed the distance, it lunged at him immediately, sweeping its shield upwards. Ajax side stepped it, the shield passing his face by mere millimetres then rolled to the side as it was brought down. He stomped on the shield and aimed his shotgun at the exposed arm joint. Holding down the trigger, spewing forth a torrent of flechettes in a hail of smoke and gunpowder, black shells ejecting from the shotgun with each shot. It let out another deep shriek, its arm barely holding on. It clumsily swung at him with its Assault Cannon, missing him narrowly. Ajax ducked and delivered a uppercut to its exposed chest, his fist immediately tearing into its gut, his arm disappearing up to the elbow inside it. It screamed in pain, rocking backwards. Ajax placed a boot on its hip and took a handful of wriggling worms inside its gut and wrenched his arm back, blood spraying forth from its wound, a fine mist coating Ajax. The beast stumbled back and fell down,blood foaming from its wounds and spilling into the grating below. Ajax threw down the handful of still wriggling worms and shook his forearm slightly, the blood dripping off.

“Messy enough?” Joyeuse teased in his ear

“We're SPARTANS. We have only two settings. Quietly massacre and loud massacre.” Ajax responded, his tone flat.

He retreated to cover and held onto the drum and flicked the magazine release, the drum falling out. He patted his chest pouch for a fresh magazine, his hand eventually finding one. He flipped up the pouch top and looped a finger into the MagPull and pulled out the magazine, slotting it into the shotgun until it clicked. He pulled back on the cocking handle, observing a shell being loaded into the firing chamber via the opened ejection port, before letting go, cocking the shotgun. He held the shotgun close to his chest and leant on the pillar as the gunfire died down.

“Don't fall out of position. Hold your ground and do not follow.” Ajax radioed in, stepping back along the damaged pillar line back to their barricade. Up ahead Amelia was wiping blood from the Hunter from her face, trying to clear her visor.

“Lieutenant, you have tactical command, try to keep them in position.” he said, 312 nodding in return. Ajax stopped back through the damaged bulkhead into the command room.

“Okay, the Wyrm is uploaded to 67.5% of orbital stations, though ground side stations will remain unaffected, aside from losing sensor control.” Joyeuse reported in

“Okay, keep me updated on the status.” Ajax reported in, stepping towards the central pedestal. He moved up to one of the seats, pulling it around it sit down. As he did, the entire station rocked, the lights flickering. The station's gravity weakened for a moment and then came back to normal strength.

“What the was that?” Ajax asked, tapping on the nearest panel, the computer remaining unresponsive.

“Somebody just cut a number of internal comm lines, I'm having trouble organising a diagnostic.

“Hey Ajax!” The radio buzzed, Mel's obnoxious voice filling his ear.

Immediately, his visor displayed a closed communications uplink, with a portrait of Mel appearing with a diagnostic of her speech patterns and personal status

“What just happened?”

“We had a... uh... accident.” Mel said, her voice trailing off


Mel kept her finger pressed on the radio button on the under side of her helmet, tilting her head as she stepped under the leaking cooling pipe, blue coolant splattering on her shoulders.

“Yeah, some Stalkers infiltrated our perimeter and hit the main coolant systems with a full clip of Fuel Rod munitions. We have coolant leaking everywhere. We have about thirty minutes before we suffer a HELLHOUND destabilization, give or take a few seconds. Power is down all over the station.” She said, breaking into a shout to direct a number of SPARTANS to activate the halon fire defence system.

“Try and keep power on the communications array.” Ajax reported, his voice distorted by the electromagnetic interference from the reactor.

“We're already allotting it, but we need to start pulling out now.” Mel replied,shifting a pile of debris from a panel so she could retrieve her A.I “Can you get everyone on the horn about that?”

“I'll delegate it to Joyeuse. I'll see you on the ship.”

Ajax quit the channel, leaving Melanie contemplating her plan of attack.

“Okay, listen up fuckers, get our Wolves and engineer teams down to Cobalt, do anything it takes to get them out of there. We'll all rendezvous at Rally Point Gladius and get the fuck out of here, comprende?” She shouted, to a overall, and enthusiastic grunt.

Melanie smiled under her visor, her half slanted grin almost reaching ear to ear.


Ajax ducked as a wall plate flew over his helmet, smashing off a panel and flipping into the air and landing behind him. Another plasma conduit had gone, leaving a gaping, burning maw in the room.

“Jamal's team is on the way out now, they'll be out well in time. Brimstone is near the first rendezvous point, Buzzsaw is covering our back. When are we pulling out?!” Joyeuse buzzed in his ear, as Ajax hammered on the controls.

“Not until the Wyrm upload is complete and everybody is off.” Ajax said, working as quickly as he could.

A pair of Brutes ducked under the bulkhead on the opposite side of the room, immediately spotting him. They turned to him, raising their rifles, ready to drop him dead. The lead Brute suddenly stumbled back, a splatter of blood coming from the back of his head. The second didn't have time to react as two rounds hit him in his chest, burrowing through it's armour with ease. It fell down, going into death throws. Domino-B142 was positioned beneath a fallen panel, firing on them. More flooded it, with Kuze and Harmony laying down suppressive fire onto them. Ajax reached for his pistol lying in front of him, empty casings sprawled out on the console. He reached for his revolver, grabbing it and rising up, lining up the luminescent iron sights and firing off a first shot, landing a round in the Brute's knee, nearly blowing its knee off, sending it down screeching. He delivered a coup de grace shot to its neck, blowing it open and killing it. He squeezed off the next four shots, finding their targets with ease. He ducked down, opening the cylinder and rocking the pistol back twice, dropping out the empty casings. He pulled a speed loader out fitted in a new load and flipped the cylinder shut, leaping back out and firing another two shots, cutting one down.

“Wyrm is at ninety percent!” Joyeuse responded, her holographic visage taking cover with Ajax.

Ajax flipped out to take another snapshot when the station suddenly lurched sideways, rocking the SPARTANS sideways. A number of explosions erupted across the room, including one by Brute Lance, knocking them straight out of combat. A number of pipes fell from the ceiling, dislodged by the violent explosion, fell onto Dominique's hiding place, pinning her.

“What the hell just happened?!” Ajax shouted above the sounds of the fires breaking out in the room.

“The engines just gave out, the station's orbit is decaying!” Joyeuse reported, we're going to enter the upper atmosphere in about six minutes. To add to our problems, we'll explode in ten.”

“You're full of all kinds of great news, aren't ya?” Harmony laughed

“Kuze, Harmony, get Domino out then make a run for the station's exit.” Ajax shouted, pointing them in her direction “I'll hold the fort until the upload is finished.”

“Ajax, predictions mark I won't finish it in time.” Joyeuse said, panicking.

“Joyeuse, through out predictions and do the impossible, you can find some way to up the bandwidth.”

Joyeuse nodded slowly, unsure of herself then her hologram vanished, returning to working on her upload.

Ajax picked up his rifle and stood up out of cover, the scope brought up to his eye. He immediately brought it on to the closest Brute and opened up with the battle rifle on full automatic, casings flying from the ejection port. The others vacated the room, leaving Ajax alone as a number of Brutes pushed in. As the rifle ran dry, he leapt between two aisles of consoles onto his side, ripping out a magazine and fitting in a new one. He crouched back up and fired on a Brute trying to get towards the central console, the four round burst stopping it dead. Another burst from cover to reach the central console. Ajax leapt to the console and leapt through the air, clearing the centre of the room, a four metre gap and landed on the Brute with his knees, its rib cage collapsing. He rolled off, firing on its comrade, strafing it from its left knee to the right shoulder, almost chopping it in half. He rolled up to the next closest one slicing up the butt of his rifle to the Brute's Spiker, knocking it out of its hands then hitting it in the chin with the butt stock, breaking its jaw. It stumbled back, allowing him to punch several rounds into its head. A second Brute leapt at him, trying to cut him with the bayonets on his carbine. Ajax kicked upwards, knocking the Carbine from its hand then delivered a spin kick to its face, knocking it sideways. The third Brute tried to skewer him, resulting in Ajax parrying the blow with his rifle, breaking its elbow with the butt stock and firing into its knee, dropping it down. He stepped behind it as it fell, pulling the rifle to its neck, choking it. He tightened it, the Brute's claws feebly pulling at it, resulting in a cracking noise as it's windpipe collapsed. He kicked its struggling body away. Preparing to reload his rifle when another trio of Brutes stormed up to the left entrance. Ajax picked up one of the dropped Spikers, immediately firing at them off hand, filling the leading captain with red hot spikes and incapacitating his point guard. The Brute stumbled backwards as his comrade leapt out, enraged, determined to get close and avenge his commander. Ajax tossed the empty Spiker into a roll, grabbing onto the receiver then threw the weapon forward like a dart, striking the Brute in the chest. The twin bayonets cleaved through his armour and carved into it's chest, knocking it back onto it's back. It gurgled in pain, both blades penetrating lungs.

Ajax stepped back, surveying the room, taking a moment to eject the empty magazine and reach for a new one. He cautiously patted around to the back of his rig, finding a magazine, his last. He retrieved it and slid it into the rifle, thumbing the charging handle forward.

“99.99 percent, and, upload is finished. I sped the download up by almost three hundred percent. Pretty good right?” Joyeuse said, brimming with pride.

Ajax didn't respond to her as he ran over to the console, ranking her data crystal chip out of the receptacle and slamming it into the back of his helmet.

“No thanks?”

“There's no time for that.” Ajax grunted immediately building up to a full sprint out of the room, rattling his rifle back on its sling.

“Room temperature has risen by nearly 10 degrees. We better get a move on before this station lights up.” Joyeuse said, her voice ringing in his head

Ajax leapt clear over the barricades, rolling on landing and began to run as fast as he could, leaving indents on the metal floor behind him. He took a corner, skidding as he did, sparks erupting as his armour found no traction. He turned to face the main corridor going all the way down to the docking ring. The entire corridor seemed to waver, moving up and down like it was swaying in the wind. Ajax couldn't tell if it was from structural failure or from the heat, but neglected to stay long enough to find out. He ran forward, keeping low and aerodynamic, hitting almost 70 kilometres an hour, clearing the corridor as the walls crumpled and exploded around him. Ahead, in the docking ring he could see the last of Bravo hold up outside the docking port, firing on Brutes desperate to escape the falling station. Ajax hit almost 88 KPH as he leapt the railing going onto the docking ring, hitting the floor hard and rolling straight through the bulkhead.

“Was that the Commander?”

“Yeah, he's the last one we're waiting on, lets break and fall back!”

The lead SPARTANS backed up, patting the rearguard on the shoulder to mark their exit. They followed behind them into the ship, punching the button to shut the door. The bulkhead closed and the entire docking module began to retract. With Ajax picking himself up and limping back into the ship, followed by the cautious SPARTANS, stilling facing the bulkhead.

“Okay we're all aboard, we can break dock!”


Lilico breathed a sigh of relief.

“They're all aboard and the fleet arrives in ten minutes!” a ensign reported

“Break off the descent and take cover with the strike fore!” He ordered, the ship whining as it came out of its descent, the entire super structure groaning to keep her stable. A plasma sheath formed around the shield, marking them for every hungry warship around them. As the station fell beneath them, leaving trails of fire behind it, elements of it splintered off, burning up behind it. The station suddenly detonated, the HELLHOUND destabilization sped on by the sudden fall. In a orb of fire, the station exploded, sending forth a corona of blue light and a massive electromagnetic fallout followed behind it. The ship rocked under the pulse, its cloaking and shielding suddenly failing, though nearby enemy warships stuttered to a stop. On the planet below lights in cities began to go out, one by one, with the entire hemisphere fading.

“Sir, EM pulse took out our shielding and sensors, weapons are offline too.”

“Switch over to optical, keep us going forward on full burn, we make for the asteroid field before the chasing ships find out what happened!” He ordered

The engines flared, the petal like nozzles widening to accompany the blood red flare jettisoning from the engine, trying desperately to get the ship some distance from the disabled warships.


Phase 3


29th of April, 2612, edge of Pious Ascension system, 1200 local time

At the edge of the system, against the inky-blackness of space, a wound suddenly developed, in the fabric of space. Billowing outwards, a wing of blue-purple fire, revealing a black centre, with bolts of searing lightning lancing inside. As it continued to widen and grow, the blue-grey prow of a warship ploughed through, followed by another, followed by another. Soon, dozens of ships were pouring through the slipspace portal, with over four fleets gathering in the system. The ships began to fan outwards, focusing around the monolithic Dreadnaughts at their centre. The ships manoeuvred and began to move forward, encroaching on the outer most world.

On the bridge of the UNSC Hood, Fleet Admiral Karl Winters stood, leaning over his command pedestal, overlooking the bridge, as numerous officers directed the flow the fleets. As the ship steamed ahead, the displays projected a number of spectrum outputs, mapping the system in real time.

“Admiral, we have a fleet forming a staggered line above the secondary colony in the system.” The ship board A.I., Duke, chimed in, the clanking plates of armour on its helmet denoting movement of it's 'lips'.

“Are they flanking against the colony?” He asked, tucking his hands behind his back

“As per their usual tactics when we come to liberate a occupied colony. The aim is hoping we don't fire on our own colonies and people.” Duke responded

“Except that isn't our colony. The brief didn't mention intent to capture the second colony, did it?” Winters asked, turning to his XO and the AI. Both shook their heads. His face creased into thin smile.

“All ships, green light to engage. Don't hold back.” Winters ordered, thumbing the command channel.


Fleet Master Grakus sat on his throne, festooned with trophies and bones of fallen foes, looking to the curved frontal screen.

“Tell the whelps to hold their position, we'll force them into a close battle, where we have the advantage!” He howled to one of his bridge officers, who immediately began relaying the orders to the fleet “Their compassion and righteousness will be their downfall!”

He began to laugh, a deep and hearty rattle, rocking his head back just as the lead Cruiser to the port of his Assault Carrier exploded, a 3000 ton gauss slug just about tearing it in half and continuing on to the planet below.

“What just happened?!” He bellowed, leaping up

“The human ships opened fire, we're overwhelmed!”

“They... they actually fired on the colony?” He yelped, his voice weakening

“My mate and cub are on the surface....” one of the bridge officers said, his voice trailing off

Grakus was slack jawed for a few moments as UNSC ships fired upon them, before snapping out of the stupor “Bring us about and charge our guns, we'll pull back to Pious Ascension, pool our strength!”

As the Assault Carrier came about, in came under a flurry of MAC rounds, trails of fire several hundred feet long slamming into its shields. The silver shielding flared up, the contoured shape becoming visible under the strain of battle. The ship lurched to the side, desperately trying to come about. Ahead of the ship, a Carrier suddenly came under the concentrated fire of a battle group. A slug pounded into its starboard spire, the round vaporizing and billowing out into a ball of superheated gas, instantly igniting and ionising the air inside the ship, causing a fireball to sweep through it, blowing out several decks, setting fire to the very super structure of the ship. Numerous smaller rounds bombarded the ship, penetrating the armour, causing great rents in its hull, burning air pouring from the wounds. Lasers lashed out, cutting into the hull, generating a torrent of plasma inside the ship from the vaporized armour. A heavy slug slammed into the bulbous nose, the slug carrying through to escape from the other side, dragging with it most of the innards of the ship, pulverised and smashed, burning. Another slug slammed into read, smashing into the reactor. A violent explosion engulfed the entire ship, sending burning remnants spiralling towards the planet.

The Assault Carrier tried to accelerate past its numerous exploding escorts as munitions hit the ship, its shields struggling under the onslaught.

“Our shields our failing, they've dropped to only twenty percent!”

“Hold steady, with have to make it to Ascension!” Grakus howled


“Admiral, it appears the cads are trying to flee the field of battle.” Duke said, drawing his sword in challenge

“He's right, the Assault Carrier is rabbiting!”

“Don't let that bastard get away!” Winters shouted

“This is the Manassas, we have her in our sights.”

On the flank of the Hood, a Nemesis-class Cruiser came up, firing its Ion cannon. A spear of bright blue light crackled out, arcs of purple electricity cackling around it. On impact, it immediately burned through the shield, hitting the hull, the kinetic impact immediately generating a explosion on impact, burning through multiple decks, billowing outwards. The ship immediately lost all inertia, its engines cutting out, lights across the hull cutting out around the impact. The Hood's main gun immediately fired, giving a echo like a ringing bell through the ship. The slug slammed into the nose, bisecting through the whale like prow and strip of hull connecting it, giving a spray of shrapnel from the wounded ship. The ship lurched, its nose falling away. A LASER bisected the gut of the ship, burning through the reactor and launch bays, sending jets of molten metal out of the opened maw. The reactor exploded, plasma spilling out, burning, melting the ship as it burned. The ship exploded straight down the middle cracking down wounds caused by previous attacks, snapping the ship in two down the middle, with the nose already tumbling. They fell into a decaying orbit, among the wrecks of dozens of other ships, falling into the atmosphere.

“Sir, last of the fleet just pulled out. The main Brute fleet is gathering above the polar region of Pious Ascension.” Winter's second in command reported

“They've learned. We'll face them head on. Their change in formation leaves their ground side positions wide open to landings.” Winters announce, looking to the view screen of the Brute fleet. He turned back to the image of the burning fleet falling to the planet. On the surface he could see a vast black cloud covering the planet, with super volcanoes being visible from orbit, spouting ash and magma into the air.

“Duke, give me a prediction on the damage of the planet.” He said quietly

“Repeated MAC strikes have generated immense seismic and volcanic activity, with planet wide eruptions and earthquakes on nearly twenty-one on the Richter Scale. Volcanic ash and debris has formed a continent wide ash cloud that will cover the planet for almost ten years. Massive fires and volcanic activity, mixed with ash clouds that are hundreds of degrees hot and high wind speeds generated by the activity will produce continent wide hyper fire-storms, immolating the surface. Chances of surviving this disaster of quite frankly biblical proportions are zero.” Duke said, running hypothetical calculations

“Works for me” Winters said, switching off the view screen as the planet fell into darkness, the first hyper fire-storm beginning to form around the impact centre.

The fleet peeled off, moving to face the Brute fleet forming above Pious Ascension's polar region.

Winters leant back in his chair, thumbing the button for the command communication channel.

“All battle groups, you have full autonomy to engage the enemy forces at will. I want our Assault Carrier groups to make landfall immediately, to gain us a landing one.” He said, cutting off the comms line. He leant back in his chair and then pointed to his executive officer. “Sound the charge.”

“Aye, aye sir!” he laughed, turning to the weapons control officer “Fire the main gun!”

The Hood's main gun fired, the entire ship rattling. The slug tore through the closest warship, a cruiser straying from it's lines, obliterating it in a single blow.

“All ships, ADVANCE!”


Ajax loaded the kurz round into magazine, pushing the fistful of battle rifle rounds into the magazine, one by one. He pushed the last round in, a squash head round and placed the magazine into the last empty pouch on his chest rig. He thumbed the charging handle forward then switched the safety on. He held onto the optics rail, using it to carry the weapon, as he walked out of the armoury, now restocked. His leg was still still from the run and fall on the station, but it didn't bother him enough to adversely effect his combat ability.

“Are you sure about this Ajax? A hot drop at dawn is going to be a risky move.”

“I'm sure. The Marine landing teams are going to be flying right into those orbital guns unless we take them offline.” Ajax said moving through the bulkhead door then down the short flight of stairs. Jamal, Dawes and his squadron leaders stood around a holographic table, displaying a map of a ground side defensive installation.

“Look at this thing, the entire structure is haphazard.” Atticus grunted, pointing out to the forward installation “This thing's firing arc sweeps right over its own trenches. Brutes have no idea how to make a proper defensible position.”

“But we're still looking at a deeply entrenched enemy. Their communications and advanced weaponry will no doubt be offline from that EM pulse, but that force is still armed, and on alert. We need to take the guns offline before they even have a chance to fire on the incoming Marine landing groups.” Ajax said, pointing to the predicted landing zone “We'll drop a klick out, walk in. Try to get as close to the emplacements as we can before we open fire. Get flamers up front, burn them out. Any qualms?”

The officers looked to Ajax, giving a uniform nod of compliance. Ajax walked away, heading towards a open pod, loading his firearms in the two side racks and climbed in, sitting down and pulling the harness down. The door shut ahead of him, the bolts sealing. He tapped on command console, opening up a comm line direction to Commodore Lilico.

“We're ready for drop Commodore.” He said, carefully resting his hands on the joysticks.

“Okay, we'll initiate drop, coming over the drop zone in one minute.” He replied, his visage moving on the screen

The crane lifted his pod away into a cluster of waiting pods, waiting like a colony of bats clinging to a cave ceiling. Beneath them the drop bay doors receded, revealing the deep green and blue land beneath them.

“Any inspiring words for the drop down Commander?” Atticus asked, his voice laced with underlying sarcasm

“Don't die.”

Ajax thumbed the engines on, his pod immediately firing off. More pods followed after him, streaming off with trails of blue exhaust flame behind them. The pods fell into the atmosphere, a sheath of plasma forming around the external shielding. Ajax's pod rattled violently, the temperature increasing inside the cockpit. As the pod stormed past the upper atmosphere, it burned through into the upper clouds, burning as it did.

“Mesosphere breached, initiate stealth procedures!”

As Ajax's lead pod thundered down, the shielding flashed and faded, the trail of fire dissipating with it. The shielding reinitialised, rings of blue light running its length.

“Internal temperature and external temperature are secure, cutting exhaust flame, preparing to coast.” Ajax said, flicking the rockets off.

“Ajax, we're on course for the DZ, no need to deviate. Looks like those guns are still off line. We have SATCOM coming online.” Joyeuse responded in his ear.

The parachute on the pod deployed, yanking it back, with Ajax's head snapping back in the pod. The pod encountered brief drag, slowing dramatically before the parachute ripped clear off. As it approached the final fifty metres, the retro thrusters activating to bring it to a gentle stop, tumbling through the treeline and smashing into the boggy ground, crushing tree roots and sinking into the ground. Ajax took a moment to survey the landing and gave a sigh.

“Landing successful. Well done, we're alive.” Joyeuse joked.

Ajax hit the explosive pins, the door exploding off its hinges, the heavy titanium-ceramic door smashing off a tree trunk. Ajax lifted the harness and stepped out, stopping his head. He pulled the assault rifle clear and into his hands, scanning the immediate area. He activated the helmet's internal night vision, casting the area in a hazy green colour, the moon illuminating a near white colour. He briefly initiated a LIDAR scan, the entire area briefly coming under the scrutiny of his LASER detection before he confirmed it clear. He pulled the shotgun from its receptacle and hitched it to his back pack. He stepped forward, cautiously, his boots sinking into the swamp, scanning from left to right. As he stepped forward, another pod crashed in to his right, almost four metres away, spray him with mud and turf. He fell backwards into the swamp,dropping down to his knees briefly before regaining his bearings. The pod door exploded off and a SPARTAN climbed from the inside, briefly scanning the outside before spotting the Commander.

“Oh shit, Commander, are you okay?!”

Ajax stood up, brushing himself off “I'm fine Murphy. We need to get to the rendezvous point though, ASAP.”

Murphy nodded, falling in line behind Ajax. He moved forward, the SPARTAN falling in synch with his commander. He breached the lip of the hill, spotting numerous SPARTANS gathering against the lip of the opposite hill, over looking the bunker complex. He crawled up to the lip where Dawes was lying down on the wet grass, lying beside Domino, looking through her rifle scope. Ajax went prone beside him, lying on his left shoulder so he could face him.

“Sergeant Major, what's the situation over there?” He asked

Dawes pushed over the rifle and gave a nod in the direction of the base. Ajax took a Hard Line jack and plugged it into the scope, directly interfacing it. He scanned over the bunker complex, where the Brutes had set up numerous rudimentary lighting systems, illuminating their defended position. He scanned across the bunkers before illuminating the scope into night vision, displaying the faint outlines of numerous plasma cannons at the top of complex, silhouetted against the rising sun.

“We'll be attacking into the sun, but at least they decided to illuminate their positions far us.” Ajax frowned, passing the rifle back to Domino.

“Sun rise won't officially hit us for another forty six minutes, so we still have time.” Joyeuse responded

“Okay, open a short range War Net server. I want Blitzkrieg squadron to provide suppressing fire. Backfire and Blackout on each flank, take out those flanking bunkers. Brimstone and Buzzsaw, we'll advance straight down the middle, under cloak.” He announced over the the radio “Don't be afraid about hitting them with heavy weapons.”

Ajax crawled up to the lip of the hill to look over, as Blitzkrieg formed a line of readied firearms on it.

“Fire heavy weapons on my mark.” Ajax said, initialising his ready light. As the units got into position, he gave his ready light a green flash. A storm of fire erupted, with grenades, anti-personnel missiles and thermobaric rockets erupted from the SPARTAN position, blanketing the Brute positions and bunkers in heavy fire, showering anybody near a opening or out of cover with shrapnel and intense over pressure weaves. Ajax initialised his Active Camo, his armour vanishing and leapt over the hill, skidding down the steep opposite side. Above him, gun fire opened up, munitions firing over his head. He charged forward, knowing Brimstone and Buzzsaw were at his back. His adrenaline kicked in, giving him a combat high, narrowing his focus into whatever idiot Brute decided to stand in front of him.


S013-Banner
Ajax 013 - <Death to Heroes>[The Damned] [The Lost][The Forgotten] ObscurumVictoria :
TALK - Greenwich Mean Time
Okay ladies and lady boys. I finally found the time to get this done while shouting profanities for lack of Reach. Needless to say, the invasion has began. Navy boys, feel free to blow the shit out of some warships in orbit. Marines will spearhead the landings so the Army can land and get stuck in. Ahead of them the 117th Regiment is dropping in to knock out as many defences as they can. Most of the northern hemisphere of Pious Ascension has been hit by a EM Pulse, leaving their defences, and most of their advanced weaponry, offline for the time being.



65

"All units", Ross East Jr. said through the radio of his F/I-905 Claymore Heavy Fighter, "I have located our target up ahead, damaged assault carrier in flight toward the north pole of Pious Ascension, roughly 150,000 clicks within the lunar perimeter, roughly level with the 60 degree north latitude line and climbing, target is accompanied by a pair of frigates, also heavily damaged".

"Roger, target confirmed", Nanook Kalaluit, Ross's squadronmate, currently leading a group of four I660-Spear interdictors armed with RETRIBUTION nuclear missiles.

The Third Sqaudron assumed a diamond formation, with Ross's Claymore in front. The other five Claymores made up sides of the diamond, with the Spears in the center. The entire formation flew towards the stricken carrier with the sun at their backs, a tactic that would be familiar to a pilot of the First World War, and yet, a tactic that still had it's uses even in this era of long range missiles and advanced detection system... particularly if you target happened to have it's sensors disabled by an ion cannon blast.

Up in front of them, Ross spotted about thirty small dots on the RADAR, Covenant Seraph fighters. "All units, I have bandits on my scope, about 30 of 'em, dead ahead.", Ross said, "They haven't spotted us yet. Ready your AIM-34s and... announce our presence."

Ross brought up the locks for his AIM 34 "HORN" long-range missiles and squeezed the trigger. At once, six missiles were released from his aircraft, flying into the distance in streaks of fire. A swarm of missiles from Ross and the rest of this squadron blazed towards the alien fighters.

Seconds later, Ross could see the RADAR blips representing his missiles collide with the hostile contacts, at which point both contacts disappeared. At the same moment, thousands of miles away, about a half of the enemy spaces craft were struck by a UNSC missile and exploded in a ball of flames.

The remaining Seraphs turned towards Ross' squadron, flying in from directly in front of them. "Incoming enemy aircraft", Ross said as he selected the AIM-11 CLAW short-range missiles, "All fighters, Engage at will".

Ross squeezed the trigger on his flight stick, sending a pair of CLAW missiles at the two nearest Seraphs. Both aircraft exploded as the missiles impacted. Ross pulled the throttle of this fighter forward as he made a high-speed turn into the path of another Seraph attempting to make an attack run on the bombers.

Ross fired a blast from his aircrafts twin TITAN lasers into the Covenant aircraft, taking it down with ease. Seraphs and Claymores spiraled around at high speeds in aerial duals as missiles, lasers, and plasma flew everywhere. A Seraph tried to come up behind Nanook Kalaluit's I660. Ross turned to help his comrade, but as he prepared to fire, the enemy Seraph had already been destroyed, having impacted a space mine released by Nanook's SUBTERFUGE mine dispenser.

One by one, the alien fighters were picked off without a single casualty for the Third Squadron. Ross launched a missile right up the tailpipe of a retreating Seraph as the battle concluded.

Shortly after dealing with the Seraphs, Nanook Kalaluit announced "We're in missile range, permission of fire".

"Fire away", Ross said simply. A RETRIBUTION nuclear missile flew from the bomb bay of each of the Spear, flying toward the enemy carrier. The missiles impacted in a bright flash and ball of flames, the intense heat of the explosion melting through the hulls of the already damaged carrier and its escorts and rending the enemy ship apart by the force of the blast, releasing its glowing blue plasma stores into space as the plasma storage tanks and conduits ruptured. The fireball was short-lived, quickly burning up the oxygen in the ships, though the ball of glowing plasma lasted much longer. When the plasma finally dispersed, the carrier was nothing but a cloud glowing, half-molten metal fragments.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

66

"All Samurai Units, I've got bandits on my scope, headed straight for the Mighty River. Let's do the admiral a favour and not let 'em get any closer." Kyle Stevens said over the intercom. He fired his thrusters and sent his Katana at the Seraphs. He targetted a Seraph, and fired. An AIM flew through space. The Seraph engaged evasive manuvers, managing to evade the missile-only to get sliced in half by his TITAN Lasers. Stevens switched targets to the Seraph's wingman and fired his TITANs. The Seraph juked, and the shot only grazed it. The Seraph responded with a burst of plasma, which caused his shields to flicker. He sent an AIM at it, and this time, the Seraph didn't survive. It exploded, and the turned into a fireball that quickly burned out due to the lack of oxygen. Debris, leaking plasma, spun where the Seraph used to be.

That was the last of the Seraphs. Stevens opened squadron com.

"Report" He ordered.

"Two, here."

"Three, here."

"Four, here."

"Five, here."

"Six, here."

"Seven, here. I fucking ran out of AIMs already."

"Eight, here."

"Nine, here."

"Ten, here."

"Eleven, here."

"Twelve, here. I'm out of AIM's too."

"Good. Stevens replied. So those alien fools didn't kill anyone. Seven, Twelve, return to the Carrier to restock on missiles."

"Yessir."

"Samurai Squadron, Covenant Frigate approaching your position. Recomend you let us handle this." Captain Angela Torris, Captain of the UNSC Never Gonna Give You Up's voice came over the radio channel.

"Copy that, Captain." There was a pause, then several MACs flew through space, and slammed into the Covenant frigate 12,000 kilometers away. The frigate's shields overloaded, and three dozen Archer Missiles followed. The point defence systems on the frigate took down several, but a half dozen slammed into the frigate, and the frigate exploded.


"Squadron, we will be deploying to lovely island desiginated as "Charlie-Victor-Hotel, as the Covenant name is untranslatable." Norman announced to his Squadron. "We all will be deploying via [1]. Our objective on the island is a base for Covenant artillery. Our objective is to capture, or if not possible, destroy this artillery. Resistance will be medium to heavy. Any questions?"

None of the Spartans moved.

"Very well. Head to your pods, and prepare for launch."


Jake-G102, followed by the rest of his section dove down to Charlie Victor Hotel in their HOPE pods. He watched as Norman, Janice and Jake accelerated to the front, and then continued waiting.

"This is Hotel 252 to all Grave units. There has been a Scarab, plus multiple escorts sighted in Charlie-Victor-Hotel. Repeat, there has been a Scarab plus multiple escorts sighted in Charlie-Victor-Hotel."

"Shit!" Lieutenant Janice's voice came over the com. "New objective, first section. Jake, take your section and neutralize that Scarab and it's escorts. We can't do jack with it breathing down our backs."

"Yes ma'am." Jake said. He smiled, then switched channels to his squads.

"Fire Team Bravo, I want you to focus on the Scarab's escorts. Charlie, take out it's legs."

"Hang on. Sir, I recomend you do NOT bring your HOPE pods to land near that Scarab. Speaking from experience, those Scarabs can blow your pods out of the sky before you land." First Sergeant Hunt's voice came over the com.

"Noted, Sarge. Grave-1, keep on current course. Hotel 252, if you can drop any heavy weapons near us, it would be nice."

"Copy that, Spartan."


Jake's HOPE pod landed on a beach. Gunnery Sergeant Harper's pod landed a dozen meters away from his own. The Scarab was in sight-a monster in the distance.

"Let's move towards it." Jake ordered. He grabbed his weapons from the pod, and moved. Harper followed him.

"Grave 1-1, this is Grave 1-2. We are approaching Scarab and escort. We have confirmed visual on five Wraiths and dozens of Choppers, in addition to infantry."

"Copy that, Grave 1-2. We are approaching Scarab. Wait for Grave 1-3 to arrive at Scarab."

"Grave 1-1 and Grave 1-2, this is Grave 1-3 Actual. We have sighted Scarab as well. We have heavy weapons targetting Scarab legs now."

By the time the exchange was over, Jake had reached the Scarab.

"Grave 1-2, are you in position?" Jake asked.

"Affermative."

"Good. Engage scarab."


Spartans burst from their hiding spots, firing rockets and lasers. They slammed into the Covenant vehicles, turning them into fireballs. Wraiths responded with turret fire and their massive mortars, but the Spartans had picked their spots well. They dove back behind thick trees and rocks, and returned fire. The Scarab turned it's cannon at Jake's general direction. Jake remained behind cover. His job would be to board and destroy the Scarab-we would wait until the legs were down.

The Scarab fired. Jake felt the heat, and the rock he was hiding behind melted. Jake jumped away, and locked his armor. The strength of his shield flared, and the Scarab blast bounced off his armor. Once his armor lock faded, he threw himself out of the way. He could see Harper doing the same. Just then, one of the Scarab's leg's faltered. It crumpled to the ground, and Jake sprinted at the Scarab, Harper following. He jumped on board the Scarab, shooting the poor grunt who tried to stop him in the face, and stripped two plasma grenades from it's corpse. He jogged up onto the Scarab's deck-and the sight of a Hunter made him pause.

Only for a second. He jumped over the hunter, and Harper dove back down to the lower level of the Scarab. The hunter turned to face him, and harper ran out, firing his assault rifle into the Hunter's exposed back. The hunter lurched forwards, and Jake jumped over the hunter again, and fired a point-blank shotgun blast into the orange worms not protected by the hunter's armor. The hunter's corpse flew a few feet forwards, and collapsed.

"Keep moving."

He headed to the engine room of the Scarab. He was about to break the shield that protected the reactor, when a furious roar from another hunter interupted him.He whirled around, stuck a plasma grenade to the hunter's exposed orange bits and engaged his armor lock. The grenade exploded, sending charred worms flying out, and burning a hole in the wall of the Scarab, sending worms leaking out. He threw a punch, breaking the shield. He was about to raise his fist to throw another punch, when he found himself being lifted off his feet by the hunter he had just killed.

"What the fuck-"

In one horrifying instant, he realized why. The hole blasted in the wall had sent many dead legelko worms out, but many more living ones had too, crawled out and crawled into the hunter's body, reviving it. The hunter threw him into the air, and fired his assault cannon. The blast slammed into his chest, but his shields absorbed the blast. He screamed in pain. Harper hearing him over the COM, glanced into the engine room-and had his head torn off by the hunter. Jake fell to the earth, and struggled to his feet. He blinked once to clear his vision-and saw a Brute with a Nailer Rifle pointed at his head.

The brute fired.

Norman-123 07:16, September 20, 2010 (UTC)

67

Near the fortress of Sacred Truth, Pious Ascension

Though you could not see them through their active camouflage, a squad of ODSTs, lead by Michael Price crouched on top of a hill near one of the anti-air batteries defending the the Covenant citadel of Sacred Truth. The ODSTs were accompanied by three humans in Machina frames, former crippled SPARTANs and Marines given mechanical bodies by the Human Cyberization Project.

"It seems the AA guns are still offline from the EMP attack", Price said, looking at the base through his M99CA1 gauss sniper rifle. There seem to be some Wraiths, Shades, Prowlers and Revenants by the trench line that they have back up and running. On my mark, East, and Charlie Hotels Milanich and Kirk open up on the vehicles and fortifications with their missile launchers, Minami and I will pick off the enemy Chieftains and other high ranking Brutes while the rest of you fire your grenade launchers at the trench line. After we bombard the trench line, Milanich will lead the charge."

"Everyone select your targets", Price said as he took aim at a Brute Chieftain wielding a Gravity Hammer through his rifle's scope as Minami took another high-ranking brute. Sarah East raised her M41 missile launcher and locked onto a Wraith as the CH-01, Kirk, deployed the 102mm missile launcher from his cybernetic body and aimed at another Wraith. Sergei Milanich, the Russian Cyberized human in the large 12-foot-tall frame raised his custom six-shot missile launcher as the rest of the ODSTs readied their underbarrel or standalone grenade launchers, or else loaded explosive slugs into their assault shotguns as CH-02, Rene, readied her M556 grenade launcher mounted in her cybernetic shoulder.

"OPEN FIRE!!", Price yelled as he pulled the trigger on his M99, sending a 5.4mm Gauss slug into the Brute Chieftain at such speeds that its body was vaporized in a red mist. Sarah East fired her M41 missile launcher, sending a SABRE anti-tank missile flying into the air and down onto the roof of the alien tank. The Wraith erupted in a ball of flames as Sergei Milanich fired off all six missiles from his custom six-shot launcher, destroying six alien tanks in as many seconds. The cyborg had not lied when he said was capable of such as feat. Wraiths, Revenants, Shades, and Prowlers exploded up and down the trench line as East, Kirk, and Sergei's missiles. Brutes dropped left and right as Michael Price and Rika Minami picked them off with expertly aimed sniper fire. Sgt. Winters, the demolitions ODST, opened up on the Covenant trench lines with his M23 Grenade launcher, blasting away Brutes and light vehicles left and right as Smith and Peters did the same with their underbarrel launchers, as did Rene with her frame mounted M556, and Jackson with his M108 shotgun's explosive slugs. The entire Brute trench line was engulfed in flames as the withering barrage struck the enemy.

As the ODSTs and CH's finished launching their barrage of explosives, Price said as Jackson reloaded his shotgun with incendiary flechette shells, "Everyone except Minami, back up the attack, stay behind the Charlie Hotels. Minami and I will provide sniper cover. Go!"

Sergei Milanich slung his multi-shot rocket launcher over his shoulders and drew a 9.5mm Personal Defense Weapon designed for use with Wolf armored exoskeletons in right hand as he raised a three and half-foot oversized machete, truly more of a sword, in his left hand as Kirk and Rene readied their primary weapons, Kirk's 7.62mm machine gun and Rene's M43 full auto shotgun.

Sergei charged forward, PDW blazing, mowing down the surviving Brutes with a hail of fully automatic fire as Kirk did the same with his machine gun. Sarah East fired her M389 LMG from the hip, adding to the hail of lead. Brutes, Jackals, and Grunts were chewed to pieces by the fusilade of machine gunfire. The Covenant troops tried to fire back at Milanich, but their Spike rounds and plasma bolts just bounced off his twelve-foot titanium body. Even a direct hit with a spike grenade did not phase the cyborg. Grunts, Jackals, and even some of the Brutes fled as the ODSTs and CHs drew nearer, only to be picked off by Price and Minami's sniper fire.

Sergei Milanich reached the trench line, shooting a Brute to his right and impaling a brute on his left with his oversized machete. Milanch then kicked the dead Jiralhanae off his blade and slashed through a squad of Covenant troops, hacking off limbs and heads and crushing bones with his titanium fists and feet.

Jackson and Rene-002 jumped into the trenches, shotguns blazing, sending blasts of incendiary flechettes into the enemy, blasting away large chunks of flesh and blood, and even setting a few on fire. One of Jackson's flechettes hit an Unggoy's methane tanks, sending it up in a ball of flames, taking out an entire squad as Kirk, East, Peters, and Smith mopped up the rest of the enemy with their machine guns and assault rifles.

Price and Minami joined the rest of the squad, before they crossed over the Jiralhanae trenches, now littered with bodies and punctuated by burning, destroyed vehicles, into the ring of the AA turret bunkers. The few Covenant that had survived the battle in the trenches fled across the base, into the AA turret bunkers on the other side of base.

"It matters not where they you choose to die!", Sergei Milanich shouted at the fleeing Brutes, getting out his six-shot rocket launcher and loading it with six thermobaric rockets. Milanich raised the launcher and took aim at the first bunker. Sergei squeezed the trigger and fired a rocket straight through the door of the bunker. The fuel-air warhead exploded inside the bunker, sending it up in a bright ball of fire, blowing it up from within. Sergei repeated this performance with six of the other bunkers, killing of the inhabitants and destroying the bunkers.

"All right" Price said, search the remaining structures, make sure there aren't any other Brutes hiding here." The ODST team split up and searched the other structures, finding them deserted save for the occasional Grunt or Brutes, which they easily dealt with. After the base was secured, Price ordered Winters to place an explosive charge on the core of the central Energy Projector battery.

Ten minutes later, the ODSTs and CHs gathered a safe distance from the battery. Winters activated the remote charge, sending the energy projector turret up in a flash of fire and plasma.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

68

Crouched amid the shattered consoles of what had been Gunnery Control, a handful of armored warriors peered anxiously through the choking smoke. All was still. No computers whistled, no alarms shrilled, and only the muffled death rattles of dying Covenant trickled from the haze.

Yet was this the silence after the storm, or was it merely the eye of the hurricane? Anxious seconds filtered by; yet no moment brought the Brute soldiers or riot gas. And with every passing instant, the nervous fears of the young Marines faded away. The SPARTANs had won.

But they were victors within their own prison. Behind them, a line of hatches had slammed shut, crushing one SPARTAN and trapping many of his comrades outside to their thinly-held objective.

“Checkmate Actual to Cornhusker Actual, target secure. Request hatch status, over?” Moana snapped into his radio, strain leaking beneath his forced calm.

The muffled reply barely registered in his helmet. “Checkmate Actual, Caltrop’s working on a crack now. Stand by.”


Behind the steel hatches, a handful of SPARTANs clustered around one of the massive doors. Armand and two other SPARTANs had a Halligan tool in the crack, grunting as they struggled to budge the multi-ton door. The massive forged petals reluctantly shifted a centimeter; but not a fraction more. This was going to be a long day. .. It took another hour of struggling, hammering, and cursing before the SPARTANs were able to pry open the last of the sealed hatches. Filtering through the hatches, the weary Marines exchanged handshakes and the usual bull.

“What took you sonsabitches so long? This place smells like shit.”

“What, you all crapped yourselves when you saw those Bravo Kilos?” Jorge retorted.

Another Spartan answered with only half-mocking disgust, “naw, it’s those Grunts, they fuckin’ stink like walkin’ turds.”

“Yeah, well that’s ‘cause they breath methane, dumbass. You sleep through Basic?”

“Can it, ladies.” Almost instantly, the joshing stopped. “Battalion wants us back at the IP. Engineers, take five; get these guns offline, then rejoin us. The rest of you, on me. Keep your eyes peeled.”

“Alright, you heard the skipper! Let’s move!”


Moana’s eyes darted over the flickering HUD with practiced economy, his mind soaking up critical information even when the rest of him was at a dead run. Bear was “falling back” to the Insertion Point, although most of the SPARTANs, Moana included, preferred to think of it as a “advancing in another direction.”

Scanning the holograms passing along his visor, Moana tried to gather what was coming next. Most of it was chatter between AIs and officers, but finally it came: a quick flash from Jeanne on the rim of his HUD.

!ALERT!

|<CORTEX TO COMMAND CALLSIGNS>|

<COBALT TO REJOIN CHARLIE AT IP. PREPARE FOR DIRTSIDE OPERATION ON 117th REGT. TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY. STAND BY FOR COMING BREIFING.>

|<CORTEX OUT>|

So that’s were they were headed…. FightWithHonor Contact me 01:44, October 11, 2010 (UTC)

69

Josh crouched behind cover, watching the advancing Easy Company spear-head the advance of the Marines and Army. Josh was the Security team leader for the Company, and so was positioned near Kelly for the duration of this fight. He didn’t mind it, but often longed to be in the thick of it with his old team - Xiphos. But that was an age ago, this is what he was meant to do now.

Kelly rose, “Josh, on me.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He responded, “let’s go,” he barked at his team.

The Security team moved quickly, rifles raised - checking roof-tops and balconies alike. Kelly at its head - leading by example. Josh had to admit, he admired her more than the Company XO, Padráig, he found him a little abrasive and slow. But, he lead well, and that was all that mattered at the end of the day…Kind of.

Pelicans zoomed overhead, the Anti-Aircraft fire dotted the air with small black clouds, most pelicans weren’t hit, but, one or two occasionally were hit with glancing shots; nothing too serious. The tides had definitely changed since The Great War.

And with that thought, Joshua had a nostalgia fuelled trip back to the days he liaisoned with ONI, he drifted back to Operation:Conigito Purgatiio, where he’d first met Padráig, and the Flood. The mission had made him even more callous and introverted, he still had nightmares, vicious nightmares. Why won’t they stop?

Josh was quickly brought out of his stupor by the sound of a SPARTAN-IV shouting: “Brutes, 2’O Clock!”

Josh turned, and dropped to his knee. Finger hovering over the trigger. The named Brutes emerged. It was a female and her cub. Josh had never seen a female member of the Brute species before, this was an odd sight indeed. The cub reminded him of a small brown bear, back on Earth. He was, in its own way, cute.

“Don’t fire,” Kelly said softly. “We’re to leave unresisting citizens alone.”

The team moved forward, the sounds of the fight became more and more clear. They were nearing the front; Josh didn’t realise they’d fallen so far behind; or that Easy and the Leathernecks had pushed forward so quickly. Perhaps the Covenant in their hubris had never expected the UNSC to launch such an audacious attack on a Brute colony, and left its defences weak and unprepared. Such arrogance had no place now, the Covenant was nothing but a ember of its once glory.

The team reached the front, plasma zinged around and UNSC Marines moved from house to house clearing them. Padráig was in the thick of it, tackling two Brutes while the rest of Easy had the task of taking the huge spire in the centre of the town. He faintly saw Amy lead her platoon and its entrance, he longed to be at her side. But, he once again pushed the thoughts aside. Kelly and the team crouched behind a wall, and surveyed the ensuing battle.

“Orders, ma’am?” Josh asked.

Kelly pondered the question for a moment.

“Alright Josh, go assist the Marines, I’ll help Padráig assault the spire.”

“Aye, aye, ma’am.”

Josh quickly relayed hand signals and the security team formed up. He moved forward, firing quick bursts into the Brutes on the other side of the plaza. They were retreating, slowly, and chaotically. Marines began advancing on the main square, where some of the fighting Brutes still in the City Centre had retreated too, whereas countless others had fallen back into the spire that dominating the skyline.

“Look out!” A Marin shouted.

Josh looked around; he saw it too late. A Pelican had been hit and was spiralling down towards him and his team.

“Shit! Move!” Joshua (Talk) (Contribs) 22:11, November 14, 2010 (UTC)

70

Near the Fortress of Sacred Truth, Pious Ascencion

David Kilgore drove his M-1050 Brown Bear Anti-Heavy Walker Vehicle towards the Covenant base in the distance. Kilgore was part of an offensive by the Third Armored Division to break out from the landing zone and secure the fortress of Sacred Truth. The fortress itself consisted of a central citadel housing command structures and communications equipment, as well as defensive turrets, shield generators, and summits, tower-like pads for Covenant VTOLs such as Banshees, Gougers, and Phantoms. Surrounding that were a number of barracks, warehouses for storing armored vehicles, and an airfield for Seraphs and other fighters, all surrounded by a line of walls and plasma turrets. Outside the base, seven anti-air bases armed with particle beam, light energy projector, and AA turrets, all connected to the rest of the base by underground tunnels.

Now, however, the fortress was a shadow of it's former self, with the AA bases captured and the guns destroyed by ODST squads, soon after, squadrons of Katanas and Axe fighers and Shortsword Bombers had swept the skies of the base's compliment of aircraft, disabled the shields with orbital EMP bombs, and bombed much base in smoking ruins. The citadel had huge hole blown into the sides, almost all of the turrets were destroyed. The base seemed completely deserted.

But looks quickly proved to be deceiving. Several Covenant Heavy Plasma Mortar turrets, also known as "mega turrets" rose from retractable positions around the edge of the base. The turrets all fired off a three round burst of plasma mortar shells. The plasma rounds landed on the first dozen or so Scorpion tanks, sending up in flames.

David's radio crackled to life: "Lt. Kilgore, I need you AHWV to take out those heavy turrets or we'll be pinned down here!"

"Roger", Kilgore replied as he turned the turret of his Brown Bear at the Covenant gun emplacements. "All right men", Kilgore said to his AHWV platoon into his radio, "Everyone pick a turret and take it out".

Kilgore acquired a lock on the alien fortification and squeezed the trigger, sending an MGM-2 missile flying towards one of the turrets. The missile, originally intended to engage heavy Coveant Walkers such as Scarabs, proved just as effective against the "mega turret". The plasma mortar emplacement erupted into a ball of flames as missiles of the rest of his AHWV platoon did the same. In less that a minute, they had picked off the turrets from beyond the range of the Covenant mortars and were continuing forward.

The advance of the Third Armored was again delayed the rise of seven Scarabs from the underground tunnels beneath the Covenant Base, followed by about several platoons of Wraiths, Locusts, Mutilators, Ghosts, and Revenants. "Dammit!", Mattias Eriksson, the commander of the Tiger Heavy Tank platoon cursed through the radio, "They must of kept all there armor in the bunker during the bombings. Try and take out those Scarabs before they get into firing range."

"Consider it done", Kilgore said as he squeezed the trigger three times, sending a three of missiles flying out from his vehicle's launch tubes, each one tracking a different Scarab. All three missiles made contact with the top of the Scarabs, sending penetrator rods through the Scarab's armor and detonating an explosive charge in the walker's interior. All three of Kilgore's targets, as well as those of his allies, exploded from within as their cores overloaded from the shock of the missile impact.

The Covenant Ghosts and Choppers sped ahead of the rest unit, trying to avoid the UNSC Scorpion and Tiger tanks and go for the lighter vehicles and infantry behind them. Most of the light vehicles, however, were cut down fire from UNSC tanks. Kilgore readied his vehicle's co-axial M247H2 machine gun and opened fire on a few that escaped the big guns of the UNSC armor, riddling the hover-cycles with bullets.

With Scarabs destroyed, there was little for Kilgore's AHWVs to do, save for machine gunning the occasional Ghost or Chopper that came to close. For the rest of the battle, Kilgore simply looked on as the guns of Scorpion and Tiger tanks, the Gauss Cannons of Monitor AVPs, the missile of Cobra LRVs, and the lasers of Komodo AVPs blasted through the armor of the surviving Wraiths, Locusts, and Mutilators.

With the Covenant Armor destroyed, the Marines, Army soldiers, and ODSTs poured into the surviving structures of the base as several tanks and APCs entered the tunnels to clear them of any Covenant waiting inside. After a couple hours wait, Kilgore heard the news he'd been waiting for. Sacred Truth was theirs. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

71

Major Robert Stanley took cover behind a wrecked banshee as a shade turret opened up on him. The shade, and five others were located up on a ridge overlooking the mountain pass him and his Company was trying to pass through, and was doing a damn good job of pinning them down. If that wasn't enough, a large group of Jackals casually were picking them off from the high ground.

Troublesome. Extremely troublesome. That mountain pass was one of the only ways to assault the Covenant base called the Fortress of Everlasting Strength. The Covenant, realizing this, covered the passes with shades and snipers. The Company he was taking command of was tasked with taking the pass.

Two rockets flew from a specialist, and flew towards a Shade. However, as the man exposed himself, a beam rifle shot punched a hole through his helmet and killed the man. However, the rockets continued along, and slammed into a shade turret. The shade exploded, turned into a fireball and vaporized a few Covenant troops.

"BANSHEES!" An ODST shouted. Sure enough, a pair of banshees were bearing down upon their position. It wasn't the first time the Covenant had attempted to strafe them with banshees. A few times, they had been shot down by rocket launchers. Other times, they flew off after killing a dozen troops. A man with an SPKNR launcher fired a rocket at one banshee. The banshee rolled to the left in an attempt to dodge the shots, but the pilot was too slow, and the rocket nailed the banshee dead center and exploded. Debris rained down onto the ground. The man ducked as a Beam Rifle shot scorched the air where his head had been seconds ago. The second banshee, despite the loss of his wingman, continued the assault. He fired his fuel-rod cannon at a boulder a few troops were hiding behind, and their energy shields flared. A few shots from his plasma cannon finished them off. As the banshee tried to break off, two dozen men fired AP rounds at the banshee. The sheer volume of rounds was enough to rip through the banshee's hull and damage it's engines. The banshee fell towards the ground and exploded.

With the banshees down, the UNSC men focused their efforts trading fire with the Jackals. Dead Jackals and dead ODSTs fell to the ground, lying still, enraging their respective comrades. Two more rockets flew at two shades, and two shades exploded. Any Covenant near either one was burnt to a crisp.

That left two more Shade Turrets. Stanley poked his head out and unloaded a series of three-round bursts at a Jackal armed with a carbine, and the Jackal flinched, and fell. He ducked again as plasma tore after him, hitting his shields.

Another thing he was very thankful for. Energy shields. If he had been wearing his old armor, he'd be a corpse, his upper torso just burned to a crisp. With his new energy shields, he was instead ducking behind cover, waiting for them to recharge.

The tide of the battle was quickly turning to the ODST's favor. Despite the Covenant's advantage of having Shades and the high ground, the superior marksmanship of the ODSTs evened it out a bit. The shades were being destroyed gradually with rockets and grenades.

After a few more minutes, the Jackals and shades were wiped out. "FORWARD, MEN!" Stanley shouted. "The Covenant have been waiting for their express routes to hell, and it would be rude to make them wait any longer!" With that, the company of ODSTs moved up. A lance of grunts found themselves between the ODSTs and their objective, a heavy plasma battery. The grunts were brutally gunned down. As they moved on, they encountered a mixed convoy of Ghosts, Choppers and Revenants.

Although not for long. A pair of Sparrowhawks were flying overhead already. The Covenant were trying to head back to their base, which was protected by several AA batteries. The Sparrowhawks couldn't follow them, so they were trying to do as much damage as they could, and it was working. By the time the convoy had gotten far enough away that the Sparrowhawks couldn't follow, the convoy of two dozen vehicles was down to two.


Max waited to die. It was almost humiliating, he mused. He should have remembered that about Scarabs and Hunters-they both used Lekgolo worms.

He heard a pained scream, and realized it wasn't his. The brute about to finish him roared in pain as a combat knife was stuck in his neck. Neil-G066 threw the brute off him, and held out a hand. "Need some help, sir?" He asked. Jake took the hand and pulled himself to his feet. He could feel the biofoam injectors sealing his wounds. He picked up his assault rifle and looked around. A trio of Brute Captains were making a final stand by a boulder, but they were gunned down.

"Grave 1-3 is boarding that Scarab already." He said. "We should get out of here, they should-"

"Guys, get the HELL out of there, that Scarab is about to blow!" Someone shouted. Five Spartans jumped down from the Scarab, and the section began running away from the Scarab. They ran for the hills, and the Scarab exploded. Max felt the heat on his back and he kept running. He opened a com channel to Norman. "Sir, Scarab is offline." He paused, then continued. "Harper is dead."

The reply was instant. "Good. Make your way up to the Covenant base, we're going to assault it now."


Norman turned off his comm. He couldn't help but wonder how Harper had died-the man was, as far as he could tell, a good soldier. He might have to have words with Max later. He focused on the more immediate problem-a small pack of Brutes and Grunts. He fired at two grunts with his battle rifle, and two grunts went down from head shots. A brute roared at him and fired red-hot explosive nails at him. He fired several rounds into the brute's chest, and the brute's power armor overloaded. He shot the brute in the head, and the brute fell to the ground, dead. Five grunts moved up at the Spartan's position, and Norman threw a frag grenade. The grenade exploded in the middle of he grunts. He fired twice again with his battle rifle, finishing off the surviving grunts.

A Gold-armored brute Captain jumped upwards, and swung his gravity hammer at him. He dodged just in time, hammer missing him by centimeters. Janice fired a sniper shot into his chest, wiping out his power armor. He fired a burst at near point-blank range into the brute's head, and the brute's head exploded. The brute hit the ground, dead.

A few remaining grunts screamed and ran. One grunt, in his terror, lost all concept of direction and ran straight into the Spartans. Jake fired his assault rifle into the grunt, and the grunt fell.

After a running into a few more Covenant patrols, they reached one of their many targets. A pair of Covenant tyrants were situated on a hill, firing upwards. The Anti-Air batteries could reach high orbit, and were no doubt making life difficult for the navy. Nearly a hundred brutes, grunts and jackals were defending the two artillery pieces.

Norman, Janice and Jake had donned camouflage cloaks, and were observing the hill the two tyrants were on. Norman looked down on the scope of his battle rifle, and placed his crosschairs on a Jackal sniper's head.

"Engage." He ordered. Three shots rung out, and three Jackal snipers fell. The trio quickly selected other targets and fired. Covenant guards fell. More Covenant rushed out, but couldn't see them-yet. They fired again and again, and by the time the Covenant were beginning to shoot in their general direction, they had killed a dozen aliens.

A jackal fired a beam dangerously close to Norman's head. He located the Jackal, and fired a burst at him. The jackal fell.

"Let's move forwards." He ordered. They crept towards the hill, picking off Covenant along the way. By the time they had reached the foot of the hill, at least a third of the Covenant defenders were dead. Norman switched to his assault rifle as he moved up the footpaths. Six Jackals, shield gauntlets in hand moved upwards. Norman tossed a frag grenade, and the quick Jackals dove away, while two slower jackals were turned into gory chunks of flesh. Norman gunned down one who had rolled away and exposed his side. The rest were killed by Janice and Jake.

The three continued up the hill. A file of grunts jumped when they saw them, and turned their backs and ran. Instead of inconveniencing them by wasting their ammo and damaging their shields, instead they just wasted their ammo gunning the fleeing grunts down. A brute with a brute shot charged them, only to be put down by the two Spartans and one Nightstalker's combined fire. Norman waited for his shields to recharge, before moving on again.

AS they reached the top, a Brute Chieftan, surrounded by his bodyguards rushed at them. Janice fired a full sniper rifle clip into the Chieftan's body, taking out his shields. Norman and Jake fired their assault rifles fully automatic into the Chieftan's armor. The Chieftan leapt into the air, and swung his hammer at Norman. Norman rolled out of the way, but the shockwave threw him back a few meters. He continued shooting however, and paid the brute back by killing him. The bodyguards, enraged by the death of their leader, only fought harder. It didn't help. They were promptly gunned down. Norman ran inside one of the Tyrants, tossed aside a Grunt that was in his way, and gunned down two guards. He pulled one of the brutes manning the tyrant off and stabbed a knife into a chink in the brute's armor.

The second Tyrant was already clear, thanks to Janice and Jake. He took out a data crystal, and placed it inside the Covenant firing controls. Instantly, ONI's hacking software got to work, clearing the Tyrant. While he waited, he began issuing orders. "Me and Jake will re-purpose these Tyrants. Janice, use your sniper rifle and discourage any Covenant from approaching." He ordered. Janice muttered something about his intelligence level-, clearly pissed off that she couldn't use the anti-air battery. He then opened a comm channel to local air force units. "This is Grave Actual, we have captured two Tyrants. We're trying to clear up the skies a bit." "Copy that." A calm, deep voice replied. "Buzzard on the way."

After a few minutes, the hacking software finished its dirty work. He removed the data crystal and got to work.

The controls were pretty familiar-he had trained in using them before. He located a wing of Vampires, patrolling the skies. He fired. Three blasts of plasma streaked out, and he glanced at the monitor. Three Vampires fell out of the sky. He waited for the gun to recharge, and fired into that squadron again. Another three Vampires exploded in mid-air.

He activated the scopes on the Tyrant, and peered into the orbital battle. A Carrier was trying to land troops, although it was being delayed by a Covenant destroyer. He targeted the destroyer, and fired. The plasma blasts didn't take out it's shields, but it definitely did damage them. He fired again and again, damaging the destroyer even more. He saw a MAC round slam into the destroyer, and the shields on the destroyer overloaded. He finished the destroyer with a few blasts. The Carrier descended onto Pious Ascension.

He returned to an atmospheric view, and targeted a pair of Banshees. The heavy plasma rounds tore them apart. Two Phantoms were headed for the island Grave Squadron was attacking, until he targeted and destroyed them.

A single Buzzard, escorted by a pair of Axes were approaching the island. The Axes helped in clearing the skies, while the Buzzard rained death from above.

It was amazing. Norman had seen Buzzards at work before, but it never failed to impress him. A convoy of Wraiths, rolling up the beaches was suddenly torn apart by a single AGM. About fifty brutes, who were attempting to re-take the hill were suddenly on the receiving end of a few 105mm rounds. Corpses flew in all directions.

It was beautiful.

Norman-123 14:39, November 18, 2010 (UTC)

72

29th of April, 2612, Pious Ascension system, 1200 local time

Sigurd checked the systems on his drop pod, ready to land on the surface of the Covenant Remnant world of Pious Ascension. Hours ago, Sigurd and his SPARTAN brethren captured a space station in orbit above the planet, rendering it defenseless. Now, the Spartans were prepared to be the vanguard of the invasion of the planet by the UNSC. Sigurd and Kilo Company were to drop near the north of the planet to secure it so that UNSC Marine forces could deploy on the planet. Krieg Company, of which Sigurd was a member of, was to destroy a battery of plasma anti air cannons.

Sigurd placed his MA6A inside the pod and strapped in. The door shut, and was moved to the pod bay. From what he saw, almost a hundred pods were set and ready to drop. A countdown appeared on Sigurd's Heads Up Display, thirty seconds and counting down. He braced as the countdown rushed to zero, then gravity took hold.

As the pod fell, Sigurd reviewed the plan of battle. Sigurd and his section was to land south of a lake, and regroup with the squadron at the base of the plateau where the cannons were located. He monitored the squadron, noting a spike in blood pressure in his team member Amber-K179. At 3,000 feet the pod jerked as the drag chute deployed. A short while later, the chute detached and the pods breaking rockets engaged. By then, Sigurd could make out the terrain, and saw from a distance away their objective.

The pod was rapidly approaching the ground. A flash of light drew Sigurd's attention as one of his section's pod breaking rockets suddenly flashed and extinguished. The pod hit the ground hard. The other sections pods followed suit.

Sigurd grabbed his rifle and immediately headed towards the runaway pod. All his section's lifesigns were green. He opened the pods hatch, and a dazed SPARTAN emerged. It was Alexander-K132, the sections medic.

“Damn breaking rockets failed on me.” he said, still dazed.

Sigurd slapped the Spartan on the back and rallied his other Spartans.

“Didn't make sure the rockets were wired properly, I guess.” Ren-K011 said, walking behind him.

“I didn't have time to make sure, being yelled at by your commanders tends to rush things.”

“Quiet down, you lived that is all that matters. Just make sure to try and avoid it next time.”

Alexander nodded. The section began its hike to the plateau.


29th of April, 2612, Pious Ascension system, 1232 local time

“Glad you could make it.” The Squadron's leader, Silve-251 said as Sigurd and the rest of the section marched up.

“Noticed that one of your pods breaking rockets failed.” she said with a sour tone.

“We've taken that in stride” Sigurd said, taking a quick glance at Alexander “Won't happen again.”

“Alright, lets get to work.” A map of the area appeared on the Spartan's HUDs. Red markers appeared near the enemies anti air battery.

“Probes have scouted the area, pinged a decent sized force of Jiralhanae supported by Unggoy slaves. Section 1, you will be the ones to plant the demolition charges on the cannons, Cain and his section will be supporting you. Boris, I want you and your section to stay back and provide fire support and watch our back. Probes also showed some patrols near the area, don't want them hitting us in the back.”

“Ma'am, if I may, how exactly do you expect us to get there?” William Paul, Section Two's XO spoke.

“First and Second sections will be climbing the cliff, allow you to hit them from their least guarded area. Me, Miranda and Hans and Section Three will take a small path up and hit them from the other end.”

Several of the Spartans looked up the cliff.

“Lets move, command wants this battery down so that ground forces can arrive.


29th of April, 2612, Pious Ascension system, 1240 local time

Sigurd climbed up the cliff, using the proper equipment. Around him were two sections of Spartans. All ready to kill. The cliff took the Spartans ten minutes to climb.

“Section one in position, ready to strike.” Sigurd spoke over TACCOM.

“Section two in position.” Cain-K029 spoke.

“All sections in position, strike now.” Silve commanded.

Sigurd and his section moved. Nearby, Cain flanked around the third anti air cannon and began to engage. He heard the yells of Brutes and Grunts as they rushed to engage. As they prepared to attack, Section Three opened fire on the confused enemy.

Sigurd turned the corner and entered the first anti air battery. A Brute Major saw the Spartan and fired at Sigurd. He dodged, and quickly neutralized the brute.

“Alpha on me, Charlie go destroy the second anti air battery.”

A green ping indicated the fire team confirmed the order and they moved to attack.

“Michael, get a charge on the power generator.”

The fire team formed a perimeter around the Spartan. The Jiralhanae captain in charge rallied his scattered forces, and they began to counterattack. A large pack made their way to Sigurd's location, and the fire team engaged.

“Charge placed.” Michael yelled, moving to engage the approaching Brutes.

“Alright lets get to the third cannon.”

“All units this is Krieg Actual, we have been engaged by Jiralhanae returning from patrol.”

Sigurd and the team began to leave the cannon, a fuel rod struck nearby, sending one of his Spartans spinning. The team returned fire as Sigurd checked, shields were down but luckily the Spartan was alive.

“Krieg 1-1 this is Krieg 2-1, got heavy weapons setting up near your position. We will provide covering fire.”

A barrage of gunfire erupted, decimating enemy forces in front of Sigurd.

“Move, move!” Sigurd yelled, pointing towards the third cannon. As they passed the second they were joined by the second fire team. They rushed inside the cannon, and placed the final charge.

“Krieg-1-1 here, charges placed.”

“Understood, we are still engaged, may need some assistance here.”

Sigurd and Cain rushed to aid the third section. Spikes were flying around the two sections, but they made it to section three's defensive position. Sigurd peeked over a rock and saw their opposition. A large Jiralhanae force was moving up the path, and was supported by a Locust walker and a pair of Prowlers.

“Every time we try to hit that Locust it begins firing on us.” Silve said, scorch marks dotted her armor.

“I'll have my weapons specialist hit it with the laser, but we will need some covering fire.”

Sigurd loaded a M304 HEAT grenade into his rifles underbarrel grenade launcher.

“Everyone, covering fire!”

The entire squadron opened fire, Sigurd fired his grenade launcher, hitting one of the Prowlers and destroying it. Fenrir exosuits ripped through Jiralhanae infantry. The Locust began powering its beam, but a laser pierced the walker, causing a massive explosion that destroyed the walker. Jiralhanae began scattering, and cut down on the path. Minutes later, the squadron ceased fire as the last Brute was killed.

“Well that was fun.” Cain spoke with a slight chuckle.

“What is our next objective, Lieutenant?” Boris spoke with his stereotypical Russian accent.

“Once ground forces land we will get new orders. For now we will set up a defensive position and wait.” Silve commanded.

"Great. More waiting." remarked Alexander.

Spartan 112 17:28, November 18, 2010 (UTC)

73

April 29, 2612, 0025 hrs local time, near Tkurtian Jy Anuknt ("Hall Of Penitence"- Covenant Political Prison), 124 kilometers north of the Fortress of Sacred Truth", Pious Ascension

Michael Price and the rest of his ODST squad crept through forests outside the a Covenant prison under the cover of darkness. The prison's Jiralhanian name none of the squad, save for Jackson, who had training in the Covenant language, could properly pronounce, but was easily enough translated into English as the Hall of Penitence. The building consisted of a large concrete wall topped with sharpened metal spikes, surrounding a square prison yard. Four towers stood at each corner of the prison, each manned by a single Kig-Yar Sniper armed with a beam rifle. In the center of the prison was a small building that housed the entrance to an underground cell block The ODST's mission was to infiltrate the prison and free and Unggoy spy working for the USR as well as the other prisoners and exfil them back to the UNSC lines via Merlin and Pelican Dropships.

Price and the squad's other sniper, Sgt. Rika Minami, crept up to a position on the edge of the woods.

"Two Kig Yar, Beam Rifles, one in each tower, we'll have to take 'em out at the same time, I'll take the right, you go for the left", Price said, "On Three. One. Two. Three".

The silencer on Minami's HBR-11 reduced the report of the rifle to a dull thud as it took down one of the Brutes, while Price's M99, which was set to subsonic mode to avoid creating a sonic boom, was a Gauss weapon, so it created no sound at Price dropped his target.

Price motioned for the squad to move up. "Activate your G-Packs and active camouflage", Price said, "We're jumping over this wall, half the squad, come with me and take the first tower, everyone else, follow Jackson onto the second".

Price seized the controller for his anti-gravity pack and switched it on as he flipped the switch on the left wrist of his armor which activated his active camouflage. Price and the rest of the ODSTs activated their anti-gravity equipment, flying up over the spiked battlements of the walls and onto the top of the two west towers of the compound, completely hidden by there active camouflage. Price got out his silenced M98 Compact Pistol and M3B Combat Knife as his Active Camo ran out, followed by Sarah East, armed with a silenced M81 ULMG, and Winters, armed with a silenced M12 SMG.

"Jackson", Price whispered into his radio, "Descend from the tower and join on me near base of the southwest tower".

"Roger", Jackson replied, "We're Oscar Mike".

In only a couple minutes, Price's squad had rendezvoused with Jackson, Minami, Smith, and Peters. So far, that had met no opposition. Price led the squad around the southwest tower, peeking around the corner to the next section of walkway.

"Kig Yar in the southeast tower has his back turned. Second Jackal patrolling the wall, back also turned. I'm going in, don't follow", Price said, "Minami, when you see that sniper drop, take out the northeast sniper.

"Roger", Rika said as he took aim at the northeast sniper, keeping her peripheral vision on the southeast sniper, waiting for Price to take him down.

Price crept out from cover, combat knife in hand. He silently walked right up to the patrolling Kig-Yar, which still was facing the other way. Price seized the unsuspecting alien by the beak, pulling it's head backward and exposing it's neck. Price ran his knife across the creature's throat, it's purple blood spraying everywhere as Price sliced it's throat. Still the sniper in the tower turned it's back, expecting its foes to come from the outside.

Price moved as quickly as he could into the tower without compromising himself. Price climbed up the stairs and crept up behind the Jackal, which began to turn just as Price pushed it off the tower. The Jackal fell off the tower and was impaled by several of the spikes covering the edge of the lower wall, killing it instantly.

As soon as Cpl. Rika Minami saw the Jackal fall off the tower, she squeezed the trigger, taking out the northeast and final sniper with a single round to the head.

"Corporal Minami", Price said through his radio. "I need you in the top of the southwest tower. I've spotted several targets in the courtyard with my thermals. Stay hidden under the battlements until I give the order.

Within a couple minutes, Minami was on top of the tower. "I've got a total of seven Covies on thermals.", Price said, "I'll two Bravo Kilos those parked Shadows, You go for the two Kilos near the entrance to the underground cell block, then we'll deal with those two Jackals and the Brute by the main entrance, I'll handle the Kilo and the Kig-Yar on the left, you nail the on the right. On three... One" Price lined up his shot at the first Brute near the parked Shadow. "Two... Three!".

Price squeezed the trigger, the electromagnetic coils in his rifle activating, sending a slug flying into the the head of the first Brute. The first Brute fell to the ground, dead. The second Brute drew it's Spiker looking around to see where the shot had come from. He would never know where his attacker had fired from, Price's second shot hit the Brute right between the eyes, dropping it to the ground.

Price turned his rifle on the Covenant troops at the main entrance and squeezed the trigger, dropping first one of the Kig-Yar, as Minami took out the second. Price adjusted his aim and fired at the Brute near the main entrance. The alien's head exploded in a reddish-purple mist as the final Jiralhanae fell to the ground.


"All personnel", Price said, "Prison Yard is clear. Ready your Grav-Packs, Troopers, we're going jumping down into the yard. Join on the entrance to the cell block".

Within five minutes, Price's ODST squad was stacked up against the entrance to the cell block. Price and Minami both slung their rifles over their shoulders and readied silenced M7A SMGs, before Price said, "Weapons ready, we're going in. East, take point."

Sgt. Sarah East opened the door to the cell block. Inside was a room with a checkpoint manned by three Brutes and several Jackals. East raised her silenced M81C and fired a burst of several rounds into the enemy, the Jiralhanae's shield was quickly depleted and several rounds impact the alien's chest and head. The Jiralhanae fell to the ground at once.

One of the Jackals make a sqawking sound, alerting the others to the ODSTs, but, before as the he drew his Plasma Pistol, East cut down the Kig-Yar and two its fellows with a burst from her machine gun, staining the walls of the room with alien's purple blood.

Winters came in on East's other side and fired several three round burst from his M12 SMG, dropping a Kig-Yar with each burst, before de-shielding and killing a second Brute with a longer burst.

The final Jiralhanae charged at Winters, the bayonet of it's spiker raised high, poised to strike. Winters took aim at the Brute and pulled the trigger. His M12 SMG let out only the click of an empty chamber.

Winters removed his M24 Tactical Axe from his side as took a horizontal swing at the charging Jiralhanae, embedding the spike on the back of the axe in the Brute's side. The alien roared and swiped furiously at Winters, who rolled out of the way just in time, pulling the axe out of the Brute's side as he went.

Winters got up, axe raised, and lunged at the Brute. The blade of the Tactical Axe struck the Brute's skull with a crunching sound. The Jiralhanae's body went limp and fell to the floor as it's skull was split in two.

Moments later, Price yelled "Room Clear!". Winters pulled his axe out of the skull of the fallen Brute and re-sheathed it, before picking up his SMG from the floor and loading a fresh magazine.

Price walked over to a gravity lift in the center of the room. "Troopers, join on me", Price said. The ODSTs obeyed at once.

"According the data we got on this place, the prison's central guard office and armory should be just below us.", Price said, "Winters, reverse this grav lift."

"Roger", Winters said as he started pressing buttons on a nearby holo-panel. A few seconds later, Winters stated "The lift is reversed, sir".

"Throw in flashbangs at my mark, we're going loud from here.", Price said.

"Excellent", Jackson commented as placed his silenced M2A Carbine over his shoulder and got out his M108 Automatic Shotgun.

Price, East, and Peters all readied a flashbang.

"1... 2...", Price said, "Three!"

At once, all three ODSTs dropped their flashbangs down the grav lift. The grenades exploded on the floor below in a blinding flash and a deafening bang, stunning the occupants of the room.

Jackson jumped down the grav-lift, shotgun at the ready, closely followed by the rest of the squad. Jackson set his shotgun to full auto, and, in a long burst, swept it across the room, perforating three Kig-Yar and two Jiralhanae with incendiary flechettes. The area around the wounds smoldered as the incendiary agent in the flechettes burned, widening the wounds and filling the room with stench of burning alien flesh.

Behind Jackson, Peters fired his M12 SMG at a pair of Kig-yar, cutting them down, as Price shot a Jackal at point blank range with his M98 and seized a second Kig-Yar by the neck, pulling it down backwards onto the floor and putting his knife through its eye.

"CLEAR", Price yelled.

The ODSTs looked around the room, it was a small room with windows on all sides looking out over a three-level underground cell block, with cells lining the walls and a central common area. central room itself had a series of monitors and control panels on one side, with an armory on the other.

"Nice arsenal.", Jackson said, Examining the armory, which was stocked with numerous weapons: Spikers, Brute Plasma Rifles, Pummelers, Nailers, Plasma Pistols, Personal Defense Gauntlets, a couple Beam Rifles, and a single Jiralhanae gatling machine gun, known as the Firegun because of its tendency for the barrel to heat up quickly.

Suddenly, a buzzing sound filled the room. "Looks like they know we're", Sarah East yelled, "Drones, looks like there could be more than 30 of 'em".

East ran to the window and began firing he LMG into the Drone swarm as Jackson joined her, armed with the Jiralhanae LMG from the armory. Price, Winters, and Peters grabbed Jackal shields from the armory and took cover, firing out from behind them as Rika Minami took aim with her HBR-11 battle rifle and took down a Drone with a well-aimed burst.

Minami racked up several more kills in a similar fashion as East and Jackson's machine guns blazed, taking down Yanme'e left and right, bullets tearing off limbs, wings, and heads or even completely blowing Drones in two.

The rest of the squad shot back with their SMGs, some of them taking cover from the drone's plasma fire behind captured Jackal shields.

As Jackson's Brute LMG blew the last of the Drones out of the sky, shredding one of them so thoroughly that it was reduced to a few chunks of exoskeleton, the "Firegun" lived up to its name, shooting out a jet of flame a foot out of the heat vent, almost singing both himself and East.

"Won't be using that again", Jackson said, throwing the weapon to the ground and retrieving his shotgun from his back.

"I'm... relieved", East said.

Suddenly a spiker round flew within inches of the right side of Sarah East's head. The superheated metal spike kept going and embedded itself in the wall behind them.

"More Bravo Kilos", East said, "Lower floor".

A pack of about ten Brutes armed with Spikers, Plasma Rifles and Nailers stood below them, firing up into their position. East raised her M899 and fired a short burst at one of the Brutes, putting three rounds in its chest, dropping it, before she scored cut down two more with a long burst. Minami took aim a the lead Jiralhanae, a captain and squeezed the trigger of her HBR-11, firing a single 10.5mm round. The bullet pierced shield and helmet as the Brute's head practically explode, before picking off two more Brutes.

Price took careful aim with his M99 Sniper rifle and squeezed the trigger. The magnetically accelerated round blew through first one Brute, then two, and finally three, reducing their upper bodies to a red mist. As Minami eliminated the final Brute.

"Everyone except Minami and Jackson", Price said, "Get down to the lower floor and find that Unggoy. He should be in solitary confinment, down the hallway on the north end of the room. The rest of you, help me figure out how to work this intercom. I'm gonna try and tell these prisoners to remain calm and that they'll be rescued as soon as the dropships get here.


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
I have decided to divide the liberation of the Covenant prison into two posts, assuming someone else decides to post here within the next few days. If not, unless Ajax disapproves, the long post will continue.



74

"Covenant banshees interceptors incoming!" His comms officer, First Lieutenant Ronald Chan shouted. A wing of the Covenant spacecraft made a beeline towards his Carrier. Most of his fighters were off launching attacks either on the Covenant fleet, or providing air support against Covenant ground forces.

"Pascal, kindly direct the attention of some our point defense guns to those banshees." Yo Min replied.

"With pleasure." Pascal was the ship's AI, and in a momment, the FIRESTORM on the ship came to life. Flashes of red covered the cameras, and when they cleared, they left nothing remaining.

"All hostiles eliminated." Pascal replied. "Admiral, more hostiles approaching. Both Seraph and Banshee-class." A few short holes in slipspace were openned, and dozens of Covenant fighters swooped out. The FIRESTORM openned up again, and there were more flashes of light.

"Shields at 70% and dropping, Admiral." Pascal announced. Yo Min continued to stare at the fireworks display outside the ship. It looked like the FIRESTORM was keeping the Covenant fighters a safe distance away from his Carrier, although some of them got through.

"Shields at 60%." First Lieutenant Tanya Park declared. "Some bastard rammed us at 44.34% the speed of light. But anyway, a Covenant frigate has joined the attack. Permission to engage?"

"Do it."

"Firing MAC Cannon." The "Tornado" Heavy MAC Cannon mounted on the ship fired and the ship shook. A round slammed into the Covenant frigate and chewed right through its shields. The ship was blasted backwards from the hit. It returned fire with plasma torpedos, and a few of them nailed his ship.

"Shields at 30%." Pascal declared. "Admiral, this will significantly delay our push to low orbit in order to deploy troops."

"Archers away!" Park shouted. Archer missiles flew right at the damaged Covenant frigate, detonating on contact. A series of explosions sent the frigate spinning repeatedly, and a few more blasted the ship apart. Parts of the ship ended up spinning so fast they tore themselves apart.

"Covenant Frigate destroyed." Park declared.

"Its pretty obvious." Yo Min replied irratatably. The rest of Battlegroup Mighty River were pushing on ahead now, slowly pushing towards the planatary surface.


"Sandstorm squadron, T-38 AAA Battery is offline. You are cleared to engage. Repeat, you are cleared to engage." With that, a trio of Shortswords swooped towards the force of Covenant.

"Bombs away." Captain Jerry Hills said. All three Shortswords dropped a chain of cluster bombs, which rained down upon the Covenant forces. A chain of explosions, sounding somewhat like rolling thunder, and then what was once a Covenant base became a large amount of rubble.

A single vampire began flying straight for them, heavy needler spitting needles. Several of the needles flew directly for Jerry's shortsword, and he flipped the thing around. "FIRE, DAMN YOU!" He screamed at his gunner. He missed his previous gunner-he had been promoted, and ended up commanding his own plane instead of just being one of his gunners. His replacement was this kid, practically fresh out of the academy.

"Already on it, sir!" Second Lieutenant Eugene Rock replied, and the M980 fired red lasers at the Vampire. They burned straight through the ship, slicing it in half.

"Kill confirmed." Rock said.

"Good work, kid." He replied.

Norman-123 07:35, December 17, 2010 (UTC)

75

D-Day, Pious Ascension System
3rd Marine Regiment, Second Battalion, G Company

The transports descended from the ship towards the planets surface. Around them, hundreds of ships exchanged fire. Plasma from Covenant craft smashed into the shields of UNSC warships. A single frigate rushed ahead and caught a destroyer with its shields down before returning to support. The Pelican that Callihan was inside began to take evasive maneuvers. From the cockpit he had heard the pilot request assistance, Seraphs were tailing them. A quick response followed as missiles streaked across the cockpit, and a pair of Super Sabres streamed past.

"That was close." he said to a nearby marine, who was visibly scared. He was new, and this was his first combat operation.

The 3rd Marine Regiment continued their descent, breaking through the planets atmosphere. Things suddenly warmed up, before the craft began regular flight to their landing zone. Cleared hours ago by SPARTAN-IVs, the regiment was to make their headquarters inside a valley, surrounded by plateaus. The Pelican began to descend and the marines within stood. The bay door lowered and the marines rushed out.

First off was Captain James Gerard, Second Battalion G Company. He overlooked the area, mostly flat except for the plateaus that dotted the sky. "All platoons spread out, form a defensive perimeter." He gathered with the other battalion commanders in a landed Petrel.

"Command wants us to set up our base of operations within the valley. For now set up defensive fortifications and patrol the surrounding area. Don't need a couple of snipers to hit us while we set up." spoke the lieutenant colonel. James rose to speak "Sir, any plan after we set up?" The lieutenant colonel nodded. "Once we have our assets we will be pushing towards a Covenant held city. Supported by the rest of the division."


City of Necius' Keep
3rd Marine Regiment, Second Battalion, G Company

"Keep your head down!" Callihan shoved the privates head down behind the damaged section of wall. A hail of spikes flew overhead where he was seconds before. The assault on the city had recently begun. However, the city was better defended than expected. It did not slow the marines advance however, the 3rd Marine Regiment assaulted from the south with support from the divisions artillery batteries.

A Pelican arrived and began to fire upon the Brutes in the street. Under the covering fire, Callihan's squad advanced towards an fortified building where another squad took refuge. A marine took a peek outside "Lucky us." He checked his head mounted display's map, seeing the battalion push forward. The rumbling of a Warthog marked the arrival of a convoy. The squad headed outside and mounted up.

Rolling down deserted streets, the convoy finally stopped and its marines disembarked. Callihan and the squad moved down the street, towards a large structure. Overhead a pair of Axe ground attack aircraft roared past, their rotary cannons ripping apart a pair of Prowlers that had turned the corner to attack the convoy. The squad continued their advance, neutralizing a pair of Brutes that had foolishly emerged onto the street.

They stopped near their objective, tasking cover in an alley. Sergeant Walker pointed to Callihan "Move your fireteam up to the structure, we will give cover." Callihan nodded "On me!" and rushed down the street. They had made it, turned and signaled for the rest of the squad to advance. A couple streets down he saw another squad of marines prepare a perimeter to allow nothing in, and nothing out. The squad stacked up on a large, ornate door made of a dark, alien metal. One of the squadmembers attached a breaching charge on the door and formed up. The charge exploded, sending rubble flying within. Sergeant Walker threw a flashbang, waited for the bang, and the squad rushed in. A pair of Brutes still stood, taking a dozen rounds before falling. Callihan stepped in something viscous, the remains of an unlucky Brute who had been caught in the charges explosion. The squad split up once more, Sergeant Walker and the first fireteam clearing the lower levels of the structure, while Callihan and second team cleared the top.

Room by room, Callihan and his team cleared out the remaining Brute defenders. Finally they were stopped by another door, much like the one at the front of the building. Callihan and the squad attempted to open it, but it was reinforced and barricaded on the other side. He heard Brutes, some laughing, some simply growling in wait. "Everyone step back." the team took positions down the hallway, and Callihan loaded his underbarrel grenade launcher with a high explosive grenade, more than enough to destroy the door and any fool lucky enough to be standing near it. "Fire in the hole!" The grenade flew from the launcher with a satisfying *Poofh* and sailed into the door, blowing it from existence.

A firefight broke out. Spikes flew from the doors and the marines returned fire. A spike grenade landed near one of the squads privates, the one Callihan had saved. The marine quickly grabbed the lodged grenade and hurled it back, just in time and with the explosive pointed right into the doorway, sending tungsten spikes flying into the defenders. A few minutes and the defenders ceased firing. One of the marines cheered, but it was short lived. Through the smoke a very large, heavily armored brute emerged, wielding a massive hammer.

"Fall back!" Callihan yelled as the brute roared and charged at the marine. He ducked underneath a lateral swing that would have taken his head off, rolling away and firing into the Brute. The 7.62x51mm rounds pinged off the Brutes armor as it regained its balance and swung again. Callihan leaped to a nearby column, and avoided the hammers blow. Now his fireteam rejoined the fight, picking off the Brutes shields bit by bit, until they snapped. The chieftain yelled as the rounds dug into his flesh. Callihan took the opportunity, loading another grenade into his launcher and kicked the brute back. Rolling towards his squadmates, he fired the grenade and hit center mass, blowing the chieftain apart. Gore stained the hallway, but the fight was over. From his communication he heard the voice of Sergeant Walker "What in the hell was that?" Callihan heard a single gunshot from Walker's end, indicating they had also found resistance. "Brute chieftain, sir. He's dead however, probably the grenade you had heard." He heard laughing "Alright then, we have secured the structure, regroup in the front entrance. And bring a piece of that chieftains armor as well."

Callihan removed the damaged helmet from a pulpy mass that had once been a head and returned to the entrance. "Good work squad, this sector is secure. Were to hold it down against any counterattacks." Walker looked to Callihan, and then to the helmet. "Corporal, I have a feeling a promotion will be in store when we return to camp." This put a smile on Callihan's face. The marines took positions within the structure, awaiting new orders.


D-Day, Pious Ascension System
55th Naval Light Fighter Squadron (Griffin Squadron)

"All fighters prepare to launch in T minus five, four, three, two, one...." A computerized voice counted down the launch from the carrier hanger. Engines roared to life and lights flashed. Inside the cockpit of his Super Sabre, Lieutenant Colonel Erich Richthofen did his last second check and braced; "launch." The Super Sabres roared from the hangar, assisted by the carriers catapult, flinging him into the inferno over Pious Ascension. He saw dozens of ships exchanging fire, nearby a Covenant frigate exploded from a MAC strike. "All Sabres form up on me."

The Super Sabres entered formation and began their patrol. Finding targets wasn't hard, the space between the capital ships was filled with fighters and bombers from both sides. From the corner of his eye he saw a flight of Pelicans and Petrels heading to the planets surface. From his communications systems he heard a request. "This is Pelican Alpha 251, we have Seraphs after us could use some assistance." Richthofen banked his aircraft to approach the craft. "Alpha 251 this is Griffin Squadron we are inbound." He switched to his SQUADCOM "Squadron got some marines that need help, Seraphs inbound." He heard his squadron confirm the order and hit his afterburners. He saw the Seraphs on radar, still out of range for the marines but quickly closing the gap.

"Griffin you are weapons free, I repeat weapons free." With this, Richthofen fired the first shot. Missiles streaked across his field of vision. The Seraphs broke off their attack and attempted to evade. Missiles stuck their shields, overloading one and destroying it. The others broke to attack Griffin. Richthofen's wingman, René Barkhorn broke through the comms, "Bogeys incoming, attack vector on us." The squadron split off into pairs of two, engaging the Seraphs in a close range dogfight. Richthofen pursued a lone Seraph, lasers flashing and striking the craft. A beam struck the Seraphs impulse drive, sending it into a wild spin before exploding, and quickly dissipating. "Bagged one."

The rest of the squadron fared just as well, the last Seraph was destroyed with no losses. "Alpha 251 you are clear all the way, good luck down there." The pilot reaffirmed, and streaked through the atmosphere. Griffin reformed its formation. A voice came over the communication systems, it was the captain of their carrier: “This is the UNSC Combine requesting assistance, we have a flight of Covenant attack craft on an attack vector on our craft.”

“This is Richthofen, we read you and are moving to engage.” The engines of the Super Sabres rumbled, and they turned towards their carrier. Defensive cannons were already engaging enemy fighters that preceded the attack. Richthofen checked his radar, and saw the formation. 10 craft sped towards the carrier, they were old Draugr-class Bombers used by the old Covenant. Richthofen knew what damage they could do against an enemy craft, their specialized plasma torpedo launchers were capable of dissipating shields and disintegrating a starships hull.

But the craft did have one weakness, they were slow, especially compared to the Super Sabres. Breaking past escort craft, the squadron reached their prey. “All fighters open fire, don't let them get close to the Combine.” Lasers flared and missiles launched towards the bombers. As shells impacted their shielding, the missiles followed short, breaking them. The Sabres roared through the formation, quickly turning around for their second attack. From the corner of his eye Richthofen saw four new targets on his radar, Seraphs.

“Spartan, Ceaser, Demon, Valkyrie, keep those Seraphs off our back.” The pilots confirmed and banked to engage the fighters, while the rest of the squadron continued their pursuit. Richthofen and Barkhorn; Baron and Angel, were at the lead. The distance closed, until Richthofen heard a blaring noise. He had a lock on the rear craft, and fired a missile “Fox One.”

The missile separated and rushed to its target. It smashed into the Draugr, the gasses within exploding and plasma venting. The rest of the bombers broke away, however it was too late. Missiles found their targets and the Draugrs were eliminated. The four Seraphs also faded from his radar. “Griffin form up, excellent work.”


29th of April, 2612, Pious Ascension system, 1630 local time
Krieg Squadron, Kilo Company, 117th Special Operations Regiment

"Krieg Actual this is Krieg 3-5, we have spotted a large convoy moving towards the valley." Alain wiped the dust from his visor, clearing the vision. A convoy of vehicles: Dozens Prowlers, Choppers, a trio of Crusher assault transports, a pair of Wraiths, and a Mutilator heavy transport. They were moving into the valley, where the 3rd Marine Regiment set their camp up. It would take them time, but they would crush the still small marine camp. "How long do you think until they hit the marines?" Alain checked his visor once more, overlaid the convoys location on his TACMAP, and calculated the time. "I believe two hours if they maintain their speed."

Surrounded by the rest of the squadron, Silve checked the map. She noted a small canyon between two plateaus near their location, one the convoy would have to pass. "Understood, hold your location and keep me updated." Foxtrot's comm line cut to prevent the enemy from finding their location. Silve rounded the leaders of the squadron: her own command squad consisting of Miranda Talvera, Hans Autery, and the ONI spook known only as OTACON. Following shortly came Ragnar-K117, Annabelle Kent, Cain-K029 and William Paul. Last came Boris-K069 and Adolph Schwartz. She nodded and a private communication line opened between them. "A Brute convoy is moving towards the 3rd Marine Regiments camp, expected two hours until they hit. They can't hold out, simply too much for what they have on the ground at the moment. So we will lay a trap." The tactical map on their visors showed the passage that Silve noted earlier. "We will spring it here. Boris, I want your sniper teams to set up at the top of this plateau" a marker appeared, it was low lying but provided a clear view of the area, "and have your engineers place a web of anti tank mines." Boris simply nodded, turning towards Adolph who sent the orders to the section.

Silve then turned her attention towards Ragnar and Cain. "You two will set up at the base of the plateau. Fire on my order, target the heavy vehicles first." The pair nodded, but Ragnar stepped forward "Ma'am, can we get any support from the marines?" Cain chuckled "You really think we cannot handle these Brutes, Ragnar?" Ragnar turned to glare at Cain "You know we have used much of our ammunition during the first assault. And what would it bother to get support?" Silve nodded "I will see what I can do. I believe an artillery regiment has been set up, hopefully they are active. Alright, you have your assignments, see to them."


29th of April, 2612, Pious Ascension, 1720 local time
Krieg Squadron, Kilo Company, 117th Special Operations Regiment

"Got em in my sights, LT." said Annabelle Kent, second in command to Ragnar-K117. Ragnar looked from his cover, seeing the dust kick up from the Brutes vehicles. The vehicles were within weapons range, but the Spartans were well covered, and the Brutes themselves seemed to always forgo night vision equipment. Through the breeze, Ragnar heard Silve "All units, you may commence your attack."

Ragnar fired a high explosive grenade at a Prowler, impacting its side and sending its passenger apart in half. Explosions racked the convoy, a laser ripped through the Mutilator, sending it sideways into an escorting Chopper, crushing the hapless driver. In the distance he heard the rumbling of artillery, and moments later their shells stuck the convoy, sending vehicles and their occupants in multiple directions.

The convoy stopped and its passengers disembarked, firing wildly at the Spartans location. They took cover behind what little there was. The Spartans kept up their assault, while Ragnar kept covering fire, Cain and his section advanced. The Brutes turned their attention, firing on the advancing Spartans. However Cain made sure his section knew how to use close quarters weapons, almost all of the section carried a form of shotgun. They slaughtered the Brutes, their weaponry ripping them apart. Many more were dropped by third sections snipers.

Within minutes, the convoy was in ruins. Flames shot wildly into the sky, smoke had blocked the planets moon from Ragnar's sight. He checked his section, not a single wound. "All hostiles eliminated." One of section thirds snipers, Eizo-K103 spoke. Silve broke through "Well done everyone, I believe thanks for the artillery is in store for our friends in the 12th Marine Regiment." A shotgun was fired into the sky, fired from second section's location. Ragnar smirked, he knew who it was that fired. "So ma'am, what are our orders now?" Ragnar let the empty MA6A magazine slide into his hand and he retained it into his ammunition pouch. Silve came over TACCOM "Everyone regroup and we will wait for pickup, we will be waiting for the final assault."

Spartan 112 13:50, January 25, 2011 (UTC)


76

April 29, 2612, 0055 hrs local time, near Tkurtian Jy Anuknt ("Hall Of Penitence"- Covenant Political Prison), 124 kilometers north of the Fortress of Sacred Truth", Pious Ascension

Sarah East exited the gravity lift, followed by Winters, Peters, and Smith. The gravity lift landed the ODSTs in a sort of central courtyard area surrounded on all sides by cells, with a hallway leading into out of the room to the north, toward the kitchens and shower room facilities, and beyond that, solitary confinement and an execution chamber.

As the four ODSTs landed on the lower floor, a second squad of Jiralhanae and Kig-Yar ran in through the door. One of the Jiralhanae pointed at East and the four ODSTs, pointing his Nailer rifle at them and shouting at the rest of the squad. The Brute, however, had not spotted Price and Minami, who were still keeping a look out from the window of the third floor window with sniper rifles at the ready.

A shot from Price's M99 blew the head off the Brute Captain leading the squad, as Minami picked off another Brute. At the same time, East and the rest of the squad opened up with their weapons, cutting down the alien squad down.

"CLEAR!", East yelled, before moving forward into the hallway. Sarah East kicked down the door on the left side of the hallway, LMG raised. The ODSTs poured in, but found no enemy in what turned out to be filled with alien shower and bathroom facilities in a state of disrepair.

"Room Clear", Winters said, "Doesn't look like this shower room has been used in ages."

"Figures", East said, "Kilo's don't care to much about hygiene".

East and the rest of the squad moved on to the entrance of the kitchens and burst inside. "CLEAR!", East said, again without firing a shot, "Look's like this room's also empty.

East moved to the end of the hall, followed by the rest of the squad, and stacked up against the door.

As they stacked up, the prison intercom crackled to life. Jackson and Price had got it working, and Jackson was now speaking in the Covenant language. The translator device in East's helmet revealed the meaning of his words: "Attention all inmates, military forces of the United Nations Space Command are in the process of liberating this prison. For safety reasons, the energy barriers on your cells will remain active until the building is cleared of enemy forces and extraction transports arrive. Please remain calm."

"Get a breaching charge on that door", East said.

Winters places the charge, and a few seconds later, detonated it on East's command. The doorway exploded inwards, hitting a Kig-Yar in the face, killing the alien instantly as Winters ran in, shotgun a blazing, taking out a stunned Jiralhanae and a couple of Jackals, as Smith and Winters went right, taking out a pair of Jackals. Sarah East went to the left, firing a burst of fire from her LMG that perforated a lone Jiralhanae.

"CLEAR!", East yelled.

Smith walked along the rows of metal cell doors in solitary confinement. "Ma'am", he said, "We have a problem here: our Unggoy is missing."

"Me know to where he are, human", a high pitched voice said from the slot in on of the doors used to deliver food, it was an Unggoy, from the sound of it, with only a rudamentary understanding of English.

"Where is he!?", East asked.

"Two Brute take him down hall, You go fast there or they kill him soon", the Unggoy said, sticking his hand out the slot and pointing down the hall, to a door at the end. Sarah East had been briefed on the layout of the prison, she knew all to well where that lead, to the execution chamber.

"Thanks!", East said to the Unggoy, before turning to her squad, "Everyone, stack up".

Seconds later, Winters placed an M390 Breaching Charge on the door and detonated the explosives, blowing the door open. East and Winters went in first. Four Jiralhanae, armed with Nailer Rifles or Plasma Repeaters stood in the back of the room, straight across from the door, with a Brute Chieftain standing at the side. A single Unggoy was tied to a post at the front of the room, standing before the Jiralhanae firing squad. Behind the Unggoy was a pile of corpses, mostly Unggoy, Sangheili, and humans.

As the firing squad raised their rifles, Winters opened fire with his M108 full auto shotgun, firing of a hail of flechettes and rifled slugs, tearing holes through the Jiralhanae and even blowing off limbs and head, splattering the walls in Jiralhanae blood.

East, Meanwhile, turned to the Jiralhanae Chieftain and fired a burst of fire from her M81C, depleting its shield and putting a several rounds in it's chest, dropping it to the floor.

"CLEAR", East yelled as she ran over to the bound Unggoy and deactivated the energy shackles that held him to the post.

"Thank you", the Unggoy said in perfect, albeit high-pitched English as he got up and walked towards the exit of the room, "You have to get me out of here, I have intel about the locations and layout of secret Remnant military installations and data about the current whereabouts of Prophets and Brute Chieftains that I have to transmit...."

Suddenly the Unggoy stopped speaking and said "Watch out!", as he picked up a Nailer Rifle from the body of one of his would-be executioners and took aim at Jiralhanae Chieftain, who, as East saw, wasn't quite dead. The Chieftain had a Pummeler pistol it it's hand, about to fire of Unggoy and the ODSTs, when several Spikes embedded themselves in the Chieftain's head, killing it instantly.

Winters looked to the Unggoy, who held a Brute Nailer rifle, taking aim at the dead Chieftain.

"Nice Shot", Winters said.

"Thanks", The Unggoy said simply, "Have you secured this facility?"

"Yeah, we took out all any hostiles we encountered.", Sarah said.

"Good, but I'll keep this until I leave, just in case", the Unggoy said, motioning to the rifle in his hands.

As the Unggoy finished speaking, Sarah East spoke into the radio.

"Lieutenant Price", East said, "This is East, we have secured the prisoner and are making out way back to your position".

"I read you, East", Price responded, "Reinforcements and exfil dropships have just arrived. Bring the Unggoy up to the surface, then we'll hand things over to the regular forces, they'll get the rest of the prisoners freed and loaded."


April 29, 2612, 0355 hrs (military calender), Space over Pious Ascension.

Ross East Jr. and the rest of the UNSCAF Third Squadron flew out of the hangers of the Quetzalcoatl-class Ultra Carrier UNSC Warrior, along with countless other UNSC fighters. The squadron were all piloting Claymores this time, armed with a combination of interceptor and anti-spacecraft missiles.

Ross and the rest of the squadron flew in formation with the rest of the formation of hundreds of Super Sabre, Katana, and Claymore fighters, towards a massive flight Covenant fighters approaching the Warrior at a range of about 50,000 kilometers.

"This is the frigate UNSC Golden Sword to all UNSC fighters, we have the bandit's on our scope.", a voice said through Ross' radio, "Looks like about 200 Seraphs, 400 Space Banshees, and 50 Phantom Gunships. You are cleared to open fire. Good hunting."

"You heard the man", Ross said into the radio, "All units, prepare to deploy Copperheads on my mark, take out as many as we can at long range."

"Roger", Ross heard several voices respond in unison as he brought up the locks for his Copperhead beyond visual range missiles. Ross flicked the arming switch and pressed the launch button on the top of his flight stick. Six Copperhead missiles streaked off into the distance, along with hundreds of other missiles, launched by the aircraft of his and other squadrons.

Ross looked down at his RADAR screen. Covenant contacts began disappearing from the RADAR screen left and right as the missiles hit their marks. Perhaps as many as 100 Covenant spacecraft had fallen, and he couldn't even see the enemy yet. Those that survived split apart.

Ross pressed a button on the control surfaces of his aircraft. His RADAR expanded into a three-dimensional hologram showing the space in range of his RADAR as a sphere around his aircraft. As the Covenant aircraft were now about 10000 click away. The RADAR showed a force of about 50 Space Banshees, 25 Seraphs, and 10 Phantom Gunboats flying above the UNSC squadrons, trying to fly downward from above. Well... above is not quite the right word.. There is no true up and down in space.

"All aircraft, follow my lead and prepare to engage", Ross said.

"Roger, following", He heard Nanook Kalaluit, his wingman's voice through the radio, moments before the rest of the squadron responded. Ross pulled up on the stick, turning at a complete 90 degree angle. Suddenly, "up" became "forward" as Ross and the rest of the squadron blazed toward the flight of Covenant aircraft. On his RADAR, Ross could see the other UNSC squadrons in the UNSC aerial armada deployed from the Warrior turn in various directions to engage different flights of the enemy air force.

The enemy aircraft were close now, Ross could see the bottoms of dozens of Banshees, Phantoms, and Seraphs. They had no idea they were there, he had achieved surprise.

"All units", Ross said into his radio, "Engage at will"

Ross fired off a Gorgon missile at one of the the Seraphs, the missile struck the bottom of the fighter and blew it apart in a ball of plasma and fire, which quickly fizzled out into a debris field do to lack of oxygen. Ross fired a second missile at yet another Seraph, with predictable results. Ross's third and fourth missiles took out two more Seraphs as the last two he fired in that pass disposed of a pair of Phantoms.

As Ross launched his missiles, Nanook Kalaluit fired off seven Gorgon missiles of his own, blowing apart three Seraphs, three Phantom Gunboats, and a group of four Banshees with one missile, catching the other three in the debris field of the fourth.

Jean Robiechaud and Brittni Skylar took out a few Phantoms and Seraphs a piece as the rest of the squadron blasted apart still more alien aircraft with their missiles.

As Ross moved in within few kilometers of the alien aircraft, he fired off his Claymore's TITAN lasers, the laser beams melting holes through first one Seraph, then another as the Banshees began to break off and dive on his squadron. Ross and the rest of the Third Squadron cut through the swarm of Banshees and Seraphs, the enemy's plasma cannons bouncing harmlessly off their shields.

As Ross and his squadron finished off the Covenant flight, Ross got word on his radio that a Covenant Battlegroup consisting of a Supercruiser, two CCS-class battlecruisers and four frigates was approaching. No sooner did Ross get this news as several energy projector shots streaked past Ross's squadron, impacting on the shields of the UNSC Warrior and it's escort cruiser, the Warbringer.

The shields of the ships held as the Warrior's four turreted MACs turned to fire on the Covenant ships. The Frigates Juno, Utah, and Omaha, the destroyers Final Charge and Call of Duty, and the Cruiser Warbringer turned their forward guns and missile pods on the Covenant vessels, as the Large Cruiser UNSC Warspite turned it's two turret MACs on the hostile vessels.

The UNSC ships returned fire. Ross saw from the heavy MAC of the Warbringer impact the shields of frigate downing it instantly. Numerous smaller MAC rounds hit the entire battlegroup, as Ross saw a missile streak from the Frigate UNSC Juno.

Ross saw a flash of fire as the missile, clearly a Retribution nuke, impacted, destroying two of the frigates and deshielding the battlegroup. At that moment, radio message came through from the UNSC Warrior. "All UNSC fighters with Spectre missiles are to fire on the surviving Covenant vessels, namely the Supercruiser and one of the CCS cruisers. Ross immediately pressed the launch button and fired off his entire payload into the stricken vessel. Thousands of Spectre and Archer anti-spacecraft missiles impacted the two cruisers, wrending them apart. The battle in space was won, without a single loss for the Third Squadron or Battlegroup Warrior. It was hard to believe these same aliens once brought humanity to the brink of extinction. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

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