|1604 Hours, May 8th, 2557
Designation 'XF-109', Joint Occupation Zone
It had taken over nine hours of relentless searching, but they had finally found what they were looking for.
"Look at the size of that thing!"
Standing atop a grassy hill, a figure in red armour whistled appreciatively towards the towering structure in the valley ahead. Two others stopped by his side, also taking a moment to stare.
"This must be the place," said Marco-035, patting his red-armoured friend on the shoulder. "I take back what I said earlier - you do have good instincts for finding things."
Jax-007 nodded. "Of course I do. We calling it in, Chief?"
Beside them, a Spartan in black was checking a datapad for any strange energy readings from the alien structure ahead. Looking incredibly well-preserved, its outward appearance was that of a huge rectangular slab, its sleek exterior shining in the afternoon sun. Hidden away and surrounded by mountains, it seemed to shimmer when looked at. Seemingly satisfied, the Spartan stowed his pad away and activated his COM.
"This is Sigma One to the UNSC Kushan. We've located the Forerunner site and are marking our location, over."
A voice replied moments later. "Copy that, Sigma One. We're sending in our retrieval teams, ETA fifteen minutes. Out."
With their mission more or less complete, Jax sat down and removed his helmet, as did Marco. Kane-098 did not join them, shooting the pair an annoyed look as he stood with arms clasped firmly behind his back.
"Look at this place," Jax waved a gauntleted hand. "Whole planet's totally untouched, aside from that thing."
"It's not much to look at," Marco shrugged.
"No appreciation for natural beauty?"
"One planet's more or less the same as any other."
Jax pointed towards the Forerunner building. "So what's that thing, then? An ancient depository of alien lore, or whatever their equivalent to a refuelling station is?"
"Haven't a clue."
It was at this point that Kane suddenly spoke up. "See those crenellations near the top? Looks like those we've seen on relay stations to me. Could mean Sentinels, which is why the pair of you should put your damn helmets back on."
"That so?" replied Jax, scratching his stubbly beard with an ever-present grin. "Any relay stations of theirs had those scrambler things on, or whatever they're called?"
Jax was referring to whatever field surrounded this Forerunner structure, which had made satellite observation or conventional topographical searching nigh-impossible. The only reason the UNSC knew anything was here was because translated records from another site had said so. After they had pinned down the site's location to a certain continent, Sigma Team had been among several teams dropped in to look for it, and through sheer luck - or Jax's instincts - had stumbled upon it already.
Kane shook his head. "No."
"Huh, must be important then."
"I'm taking a look," said Marco at last. "Might as well scout the entrance before we go inside."
Seeing no point in arguing, the others followed him downhill towards the monolith, Kane muttering something properly scouting the area beforehand. After testing to ensure they wouldn't be disintegrated by the energy field with a thrown rock, the trio of Spartans stepped through and approached a large set of doors, etched with glowing silver lines. A console by a nearby wall lit up, and Marco immediately reached out to touch it.
"No, wait!" Kane barked.
It was too late. It flashed red before his fingers reached it, and two nearby walls split open. Within the darkness, glowing blue eyes flashed up one by one as the facility's Sentinels came online. It looked like they weren't welcome.
"Not a rest stop, then," Jax remarked as they drew their weapons.