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January 15th, 2555 - Unknown Sector - Unknown Space - UNSC Blade - 0800 Hours
Sector One - Epsilon Eridani System - Reach - 2523
They moved through the thick forest, over streams, and around their target. Their target was to take out the assailants of Tango Company. They had done it before and they would do it again. Not to kill but simply subdue them. After doing it so many times it became second nature as it had to all of them. Years of training and barely half the age of some of the Tango Company, they were superior in every way.
Smarter, faster, and stronger. They were Spartans. Next to him another Spartan moved with him to the objective point. When they arrived at the objective it was too late for the Tango Company soldiers that resided there. As swiftly as they came they were gone. The field of unconscious soldiers left behind.
He stopped and looked at the female Spartan next to himself, his one friend among the other children. Spartan-019. Serin.
Things were different now. They were no longer Brother and Sister in arms. He was a Spartan, and she was the ONI head. Opposite sides of the street. Alien to one another. The connection broken.
The room was dark aside from the light coming from the screen which projected Serin, the Spartan stood there in full armor looking at anything but the screen. Nothing was getting out of that room, the ships AI had been locked out for this transmission.
"Are you even goddamn listening to me Spartan?" the ONI head spoke over the communications. He was brought back to reality and looked up at the screen in front of him. She had failed the augmentation process and never became a true Spartan, still stronger than the average human however but that wasn't where she was put to work.
No she was first part of Kilo-Five and then rose to Admiral and eventually taking Parangosky's place. However Serin was simply Parangosky 2.0. From being under her command she was a devout ONI follower. Cold and heartless like the bunch.
He glared at her through his helmet, "loud and clear."
Serin leaned back in her seat, "Must I repeat myself? UNSC Blade is to investigate the anomaly we detected yesterday at 1600 hours at the galaxies outer rim."
Jastis threw his arm across the air, "and what waste resources while Jul 'Mdama runs around with his Covenant remnants? For all we know he could have found what he was looking for already and you're wasting your resources on a job for some egg heads."
Her expression didn't change, no sign of anger not the slightest. "Spartan-015, as long as you work aboard the Blade, you will follow my command. Am. I. Clear?"
"I can't believe this..." he stated.
"Jastis for a Spartan you're acting like a child that isn't getting what he wants."
Jastis pointed at her, "you- you of all people have no right to call me by that name. I have sat on my ass and trained these... Spartans for the better of nearly two years now. I could be put to better use."
She stayed professional, not even that could penetrate the hard mind of Serin. "Jastis," she spoke again, "orders are orders. Now stop acting like a child and get a move on."
With that the screen erupted into blue and the UNSC logo in the center rotate. The transmission was cut. He sighed and turned over to his desk and placed his hand on the touch pad and the room lit back up and then pressing another icon on the touch pad it unlock the room for the AI Amaya.
However he didn't speak to the AI and instead just left the room. He walked through the white hall and eventually reached a small elevator and rode it up and arrived on the bridge. There in the open room the crew was working and in the center a table that could project interactive 3D holograms. "XO Smith," Jastis announced and the XO turned and faced the Spartan.
Smith was a younger man, ONI-bred. He wasn't too fond of the man being part of ONI but he had to deal with it. More so with Osman hanging over his shoulder, so he put that to the back of his mind. "Captain," the XO saluted, "finished speaking with the Ice-queen?"
"That I am. We're to investigate an anomaly that has appeared in the galaxies outer rim. I got the coordinates here," the Spartan tapped on his TAC-pad and sent the data to the XO's data pad. "Also wake up the men and woman from Cryo. It won't take us long to get there."
"I will send the alert to Cryogenics now."
Amaya had been a bit impatient with Jastis and his call. She always hated it whenever he blocked her out. She appeared on his hud as as if she was walking with him. "I still don't understand why you keep me in the dark Sir... I get all the information eventually. Even if oni has threatened me a few time about coming to know it." she said and scanned over the co-ordinates. She pulled up the space on the galactic map.
It was blank, darkened save for a a blue box in the middle of it with slipspace readings. They were very weird, going in different directions and the such, almost like a rip in slipspace. The ships mood seemingly felt a bit more nervous and worry some. "I'm going to say this now Sir, i don't like the looks of this. It's in uncharted space, or dark space as i've nicknamed it." she said, explaining to Jastis.
Voh slowly starts to stir within the cyrotube. Growling as the door opens and he slowly exit the pod. Standing up as he looks around the room. Seeing the crew awaking from the long sleep as he stretches getting use to his muscles once more. As he eyes the crew he saw some of the spartans IV. Wishing to know them better as he wonders if they are as strong as their forefathers. Needing to see it later as he heads towards the armory.
As he walks towards the armory, a few humans try to talk to him though he pay no mind to them. He has no time for small talk as he walks in. Grabbing his Commando armor as he starts to put it on. The final one was his helmet. Smiling, or what appears to be a smile on his face as he looks over it. A tally mark of all the brutes he has slain during his battles. Chuckling deeply as he slide it on. He then attach his personal energy sword to his side as he heads towards the command deck.
Most of the crew gave him a wide breath of space. Seeing or hearing stories from the pass war of what they can do. As he enter the command deck he chuckle. His deep voice echoing "Ah Demon. For what purpose have you call of us here. I hope it is for battle. It has been to long since I have drawn blood." Voh said as he head towards the Spartan. Ever since the war was over Voh was one of the few that view humans worthy opponents and welcome them.
January 15th, 2191 - Serpent Nebula - Near Mass Relay - The Tashya - 8:00 AM
Tau walked onto the Tashya's bridge as the Quarian cruiser arrived in the Serpent Nebula, home to the Citadel and the Council that claimed authority over much of the Galaxy. The screens all over the bridge showed the massive starfish-styled station floating in the purple wisps of the ether, looking quite majestic, if majesty was something that appealed to Tau.
A passing scan revealed the crewmembers of the Tashya, consoles manned by Geth and Quarian alike. It was that scene that appealed to Tau, and he committed the data his visual receptors collected to memory. The alliance between parents and children was a most favorable outcome of their war, the two species bettering themselves, and each other, as a result.
Satisfied by what he stored for safekeeping, Tau faced the Quarian seated at the center of the Bridge, on an elevated chair. Gar'vosh vas Rannoch, though he preferred "vas Tashya" when he was commanding the ship even though one could argue he didn't live on it like he used to, was busy communicating with the docking authority at the Citadel when Tau entered the room. "I am well aware of the new security procedures required to dock, and for the last time I am telling you to shove them up your feeding tube! The Tashya is here on a schedule to meet with trading partners, we cannot waste time entertaining your customs agents! If they leave, and my people are left starved of supplies because of you, I'll have what's left of the Migrant fleet park itself in front of every Mass Relay in the nebula!" That was not an idle threat, while deconstruction and habitation of Rannoch had significantly shrunk the once massive Migrant Fleet, their ships still numbered in the hundreds.
"And as I have told you, we cannot let your ship dock until we have conducted a thorough sweep of your cargo holds. Foreign contamination, along with infiltrators, can't be allow-" The line clicked dead, and Gar'vosh shook his head as he looked up to Tau.
"The red tape is suffocating, don't you agree?"
"I detect no objects obstructing your breathing apparatus, Creator Gar'vosh." Tau never didn't enjoy the organics use of metaphors, as they usually stalled his processing for a nanosecond or two. "However, this unit is ready to lend assistance as I am able."
Gar'vosh uttered a guttural laugh as he leaned back in his seat. While Tau had not spent much time aboard the Tashya, he could tell that the captain was a member of the old Civilian Fleet section of the Migrant Fleet. The captains from those ships were always the more forgiving type when it came to the Geth, and it showed in how open Gar'vosh was with the Geth manning his bridge. All Quarian's knew the advantages of Geth had when assisting in ship-wide tasks, but few were willing to let them help, even if they didn't speak their bigotry aloud. "Yes, well, you could be some help to me after all..." Gar'vosh spoke after getting his breath back from the laugh. "The time it would take for these customs agents to be satisfied that the Tashya is safe to dock, we might lose our trading contracts waiting for us on the Citadel.
"That would hinder our efforts to rebuild Rannoch and the rest of the Perseus Veil." Tau suddenly began to calculate the probability as to how long the contacts would wait, compared with the expected the loses the Creator-Geth Alliance would incur to find new contacts, or harvest the raw materials themselves. However, his efforts were stopped by a wave of Creator Gar'vosh's hand.
"I know, I know, which is why I'm going to send a small party on a shuttle to the Citadel to keep the contacts talking, making sure they don't leave before we can get there. That's where you come in."
"This unit shall act as guardian to Creator delegation? Keeping them safe from any malfunctioning organics?"
"Precisely, now, get to the shuttle bay and prepare to depart. I should have someone who doesn't have their head up their excrement tube and have you cleared to land by then." Gar'vosh waved an absentminded dismissal of Tau as he returned tot he comlink, muttering several Quarian swears to probably get them out of his system.
"By your command, Creator Gar'vosh." Tau bowed his neck and turned to leave the bridge, his mind already projecting the quickest and safest routes to the delegation's destination.
---The Cryo Deck---
The Cryo pods hissed and opened as the occupants awaked from their sleep, among them, a slightly irate Spartan IV, Sarah Brandford.
"We catch up to that asshole?" she said, referring to Jul 'Mdama as she went through the final orientation checks "Not that I know of ma'am, just got orders to wake you all up"
"Lovely..." Sarah was some what annoyed with this assignment, she'd been busy pretty much constantly since she left S-IV training on earth hunting Covenant Remnants, to basically sit around in cryosleep waiting for an assignment. "All set Spartan Brandford, you'll find the Captain on the bridge." Sarah shrugged, and headed for the bridge.
A few minutes later she arrived on the Bridge "Spartan Brandford Reporting Sir. What are our orders" she said with salute before taking an 'attention' stance, hoping they'd caught up to Jul 'Mdama.
"I am sorry Am-4Y, when I am talking to her, I rather be alone for it. Don't like others seeing it. As for this mission, I don't like it either but like she said. Orders are orders," the Spartan stated as he expanded the galaxy map onto the holographic table. After looking at it for a bit the Sangheili Yoh 'Tohai arrived on the deck.
Voh spoke to the Spartan, "Ah Demon. For what purpose have you call of us here. I hope it is for battle. It has been too long since I have drawn blood."
Just shortly after that a Four arrived on deck, "Spartan Brandford Reporting Sir. What are our orders?"
Jastis sighed and turned and faced the Elite and Four, "'Tohai, I would love to tell you we were going into battle. Same for you Four, but Instead we're on inspection duty. Simple go in and investigate. "
Erik hated coming out of cryo. It always left him feeling like the morning after shore leave, without any of the fun beforehand. Normally he'd just nod to the techs that'd unfrozen him but, at Dr. Mosley's insistence, he'd been doing his best to try and be more personable. Working the stiffness from his muscles, he gave the techs a small smile, and a nod. "First one of you to make a crack about 'freezer burn' goes out the airlock." Some good natured chuckling sounded around the tubes, as Erik headed off to collect his gear.
After a few moments with the armourers, Erik was locked into his armour and on his way. Following the nav. point on his HUD he made it to the bridge quickly...and nearly attacked Voh from behind out of instinct. Stopping himself before he did and thing foolish, he gave himself and angry mental slap. Get it together man! They're our allies...have been for awhile now. Stepping up beside the Sangheili, he gave Jastis a well oiled. "Sir."
Looking around the bridge he spotted Brandford. Geez. He thought. She still looks to green she must still squeak when she walks.
Jastis once more turned to see the next arrival, another Four, "Four-Two," he stated at the man, "Once everyone gets here I will give specifics."
Amaya spoke into Jastis's helmet so only he could hear. "It's almost been a month Sir. You don't need to keep calling me by my serial number. I'd much prefer it if you called me by my name, Amaya; Besides, I think more like an organic than A.I. Anyway. But, ill be here if you need me captain." She said to him and appeared on the table with the map.
This time she spoke to the full bridge. "Greetings, I'm Am-4A. I'm the contender class A.I. On this ship." Her girly form said to the room.
Sarah already didn't like the sound of this, last 'Inspection' mission she ran turned out to be a huge waste of everyone's time. She took a quick glance at the other two that where there, another Spartan-IV, and a Sangheili, she thought that was interesting, she didn't know any of them where on the ship.
"Greetings, I'm Am-4A. I'm the contender class A.I. On this ship."
Sarah's attention turned to the Map table where the ships AI had made her self known, and gave her a nod. Awesome, another CO that's gonna give me grief for 'getting to the Spartan party late', Fan-fucking-tastic she thought, though had enough sense to remain still.
As Voh was still looking at the spartan, he heard the door open up behind him. Looking back he notice the two Spartan IV entering one at a time. Seeing how different they were compare to the leader. Seeming a bit smaller then the CO but before he could keep thinking about it he heard "Grettings, I'm Am-4A. I'm the contender class A.I. On this ship." Looking her over as he never really seen a human AI. Hearing stories about how the Old Covenant try to copy them but it never work out. He himself never like or trust the things. Seeming useless to him as he ignores it.
Voh growl as he was growing tired of talking and waiting. "Blah we waste our time with talk and searching for nothing. If your people wish to put a stop to Jul'Mdama and his deluded followers we must strike now and fast!" said as he was eager to fight something worthy. The brutes were a fine enemy but grew dull as they were to forthcoming with their moves.
What Voh'Tohai needed was another elite to do battle with. Warrior against warrior just like the olden times he heard about from his uncle while raising him. "Just like a human saying. Cut the head off a monkey and the body dies." He chuckle, not knowing he didn't get the right phrase.
"Voh, I believe it is, if I pronounced it correctly. I beleive it is a snake you were looking for, even though brutes are very similar to giant apes. And if it is any sort of intrigue to you, I'm not like the older Human A.I's, I was created using a forerunner technique and piece of technology. I still retain some of my memories from my "donner" if you would call them." She said before looking at the spartan IV.
"You must be Sarah, pleasure to meet you. For those curious about my duties, I am here for ship control, information, hacking and need be, piloting and the such. I really have no wartime experience considering I'm less than a month old. Hehe, have t even had a birthday yet." She said.
"You as well" Sarah replied, if there was one thing that always threw her it was addressing AI, she was never sure if she should put sir or ma'am at the end of it. She then directed her attention to the Sangheili
"Let's not jump the gun just yet, this could be related to Jul'Mdama" she said, more trying to convince her self this wasn't going to be pointless then actually calm Voh, and how she said it reflected this. It was really no secret she enjoyed her prior station, and was less of a secret she'd still rather be doing that, not 'Inspecting' some area that very likely has nothing to do what their enemy.
Not for the first time, Erik was glad for the mirrored visor on his helmet. As the rest talked around him, he just rolled his eyes. Great, just great. He thought. Our S-II CO's got a stick up his ass about S-IVs, the AI is an infant, and we're getting sent on a milk run...oh joy.
"Just like a human saying. Cut the head off a monkey and the body dies."
Despite what he felt about some of his new companions, and the mission, he couldn't help but smile at Voh's flub. I kinda like it...and that way seems more fitting coming from an Elite.
"And before we get to distracted, I would just like today that I will learn quickly, due to the fortunate and unfortunate circumstances that I was created in." She said and brought up a picture of a little girl, maybe 10 years old at most, in a hospital bed but with two UNSC marines hugging her and smiling. They were all staring at the camera like a family.
"This is Amy, she was diagnosed with an I curable disease a few years ago. Both of her parents served in the marines and loved her very much. Her body began shutting down three months ago and she was kept alive with the approval of her parents for a chance for her to live on. Two months ago, preparations were being finished for the forerunner artifact. Amy here was kept alive another half a month until the machine was activated. It was a quick process to begin, literally digitizing her brain and then the rest of the time to actually make sense and form into the conscience you see before you." Amaya explained to them, not giving and locations or other details, other than that picture.
She looked at Jastis for a second. "Sorry for keeping this from you captain, but the timing felt right now." She finished and turned back to the others. "I'm no smart A.I. Made from a clone that was killed by the scanning process, I'm still part human I guess. Because I can still remember that hug. Though, in my time of virtual existence, I can say that I have read a vast majority of human existence. So while I may be young, I'm not entirely useless." She said as the memory of the marines hugging the girl with the nurse taking the picture from the girls eyes played over and over behind her, the picture next to that.
Down in the Cryo-Chamber Bay, the technicians were busy with thawing out all of the people that were stored on the UNSC Blade; one such individual was a ODST Staff Sergeant by the name of Gideon Kerrigan. There was a sudden hiss of steam as the cryo-pod door opened, and out came Gideon who would of fallen if not for the technicians who were manning the controls.
"Thanks guys, felt like I was going to make first contact with the floor there for a second." Gideon remarked with a yawn as he was put through the required motor control tests that came with prolonged periods in cryo-sleep. The technicians managed to get a chuckle or two out of that.
"So what is the reason for taking everyone out of deep freeze?" Gideon then asked.
"Orders from Spartan-015, sir, he has asked for everyone in cryo-sleep to be woken up, then told to report to the bridge." One of the technicians reported, as he went over some readings on a nearby console. After the final few tests, the other technician spoke.
"Looks like your in ready and able condition to carry out whatever the commanding officer has asked you for. Should probably get yourself geared up at the armoury in case they are sending you into combat." He said as the technicians left for another pod to begin the same procedure. Gideon gave a quick nod of approval before leaving the Cryo Bay and into a elevator for the armoury. As soon as he arrived Gideon got armed and armoured up, looking over his equipment in case anything was missing.
Afterwards he made his way onto the bridge, where he saw several Spartans, a couple of Mark IV and a Mark II if memory served, a high ranking Elite, and a rather young looking A.I.
"ODST Staff Sergeant Gideon Kerrigan, present and ready sir." Gideon said as he entered, giving a salute to the Spartan-II as he joined the assembled party.
Voh listen to the AI as she told her story. A bit interested as he never knew how Ai were made by humans. Though he merely kept to himself. He heard the door open as more of the crew began to show up. Looking to the new comer as he spies the ODST. Knowing their kind from before as they use to drop out of the skies to try and get behind enemy lines or be deploy to counter-act enemy forces.
"ODST Staff Sergeant Gideon Kerrigan, present and ready sir." He heard the ODST say before giving off a salute. A odd gesture Voh thought as the ODST return to his normal standing position.
He return focus on the AI as they still wait for any more of the crew to show up before starting up the mission. Wondering how many operatives were on the ship. He also starts to wonder why so many soldiers were put on this ship if this was suppose to be a normal inspecting mission.
As his Cryo tube hissed open Murphy stumbled out, groggy. He waved the tech off and went straight to the head to take a piss. Murphy had learned that if he didn't pee first thing out of Cryo, it would be a bad day for him. He stumbled back into the bay and ran the mandatory tests.
Funny looks were coming his way, as they always did when Murphy stepped out onto a new warship deck. While everyone else was in their standard military garb, Murphy wore baggy, khaki cargo shorts, a soft and comfortable blue t-shirt with a happy face printed on it, and hemp sandals to complete the outfit. His wrists were covered in hemp bracelets laced with beads, and his neck sported several necklaces of a similar style. If it weren't for the military ID hanging around his neck, Petty Officer Ryan Murphy probably would have been ejected into space for being a stowaway. If it weren't for the scars and muscles that quickly set him apart, he looked as if he was just another guy from San Diego.
Pouring himself a cup of coffee from one of the drink stations, Murphy walked towards the bridge, trying to shake the grogginess from his head. As he reached the bridge, he saw that he was probably the last to arrive. Spartan Jastis-015 sat in the captain's chair. Murphy recognized him from various ops that he had undertaken. Whether or not Jastis recognized him was an altogether different story. A female Spartan was also in the room and caught Murphy's eye. He decided that he'd have to get to know her later.
Murphy leaned against an instrument panel and took a sip of coffee.
"Alright, it's way too fucking early for this to be courtesy call."
The looks to his wardrobe were the same as those in the Cryo bay, except these were war fighters, and from their looks they ranged from puzzled to downright angry. Murphy held up his ID.
"Petty Officer Ryan Murphy, Office of Naval Intelligence. I am not here, I do not exist, blah, blah, blah." He looked around. Typical reaction. He hoped they wouldn't punch him like some other crews. "Let's get to the good stuff."
Erik's mind just glazed over as the AI talked about itself, he really couldn't care less. What did snap him back, was when the ODST walked in. Always nice to have another real shooter . He thought. He knew they were waiting for at least one more, and he hoped it was going to be either another ODST, or even better, another S-IV. He was more than a little disappointed when a shrub walked in.
"Petty Officer Ryan Murphy, Office of Naval Intelligence. I am not here, I do not exist, blah, blah, blah. Let's get to the good stuff."
While he understood they're necessity, Erik had always had little use for ONI. He'd been part of more than one Op. that got screwed up by some ONI spook trying to play a tin god, so he viewed them all with suspicion...until they either proved their worth or fucked off. Giving P/O Murphy a second look, his opinion of the man raised slightly when he saw some of the scars. Well at least he's been over the hills and through the woods, not some limp dicked desk jockey.
November 17th, 2552 - Sol System - Earth - Kenya - 1200 Hours
"Get if off of me!" the ODST yelled as the plant-like creature attempted to assimilate him. Jastis ran over to the ODST, ripped off the creature and stomped it under his heavy foot. They had just arrived in Voi as the flood-infested covenant ship had arrived and crash landed. The Spartan had arrived with a batch of ODSTs. They acted professional despite the tension between ODSTs and Spartans and he respected them back. Not many would willingly drop from orbit in a tin can.
"The Flood have reached this far, damn," one of the ODST's commented.
It was nothing like anyone had fought before, an alien race that just assimilated everything. It had been awakened and now was on Earth. The squad grouped up and they were messaged by High COM, "Alpha-Squad, you're to safely get Bravo-squad out of the thicket. After such you're to reach the Chief and back him up. Remember the Elites are on our side now, so no shooting them. Command out."
Jastis looked at the squad, "you heard them. Let's go free Bravo-Squad. Remember don't let the Flood grab you. Call out all of them."
"Roger. Let's kick some alien ass!" Another ODST exclaimed.
"Ooh-rah!" The rest yelled out while the Spartan stayed silent.
They moved through the Kenyan Jungle thicket and shot them the various flood-forms that attacked them. Killing them was easy enough however it got tricky when some actually shot back at the squad. Not accurately but still deadly to ODST's with no shielding like the MJOLNIR had.
On his HUD he checked the map of where Bravo squad was. A beacon was placed at their position and it was sending an SOS to the surrounding areas. It was in a small facility just south of their position. The ODST's while not on the level of a Spartan were admirable in their efforts and not a single life had been taken. Eventually through the trees they could see the small facility, it was run down and had been damaged recently with plasma scarring its exterior and interior.
However when they arrived it was silent. They expected Bravo to have contacted them on radio but nothing. "I have a bad feeling about this..." an ODST softly spoke what was on everyone's thought.
They hugged the walls on both side of a door, and then the Spartan ran in looking to his left and right with his flash-light on so he could see. Wishing he had the VISR that new helmets had. In the darkness nothing stirred. He signaled for the squad to come and keep on alert. The beacon was coming from two floors below so they moved towards the stairs when they started to see barricades that were built up but still intact.
The soldiers looked at each other and climbed over the defenses and found no traps. Below the next floor was barren with no bodies, guns, or anything. Nothing. It wasn't long before the quietness was starting to put the ODST's on edge. "What the fuck happened..." one spoke.
Finding the next stairs they found once again another barricade still intact and once more the climbed over them and walked down the stairs to the floor where the beacon was. It was dark. Even more so than the previous floors this had some light from the outside reaching inside. Not even the flashlights could reach the other side. The Spartan held out his arm and the ODST's stopped in their places.
"This doesn't seem right," as the Spartan pointed at the beacon which was just sitting on the ground. A red light blinking which gave not enough light to illuminate the room but just enough to spot. "why is the beacon just sitting there on the ground?"
Jastis looked at the soldier, "a possibility. More than likely."
Taking out his magnum the Spartan aimed into the darkness and shot in various directions. Suddenly the sound of the bullet piercing flesh echoed however it wasn't met by a marine groaning but instead the roar of the familiar combat form. Still on the stairs the Spartan yelled out, "fire!" and pulled out his Assault rifle and began to fire. Flood began to rush at them but they were all being taken down.
However then it happened, from behind on top of the stairs flood began to pour out and overwhelm the squad. It was a trap. A goddamn trap and he had just led his squad right into it. A Spartan making this mistake? Damn the Flood.
One by one the ODST fell, the Spartan trying to save them but not able to react to the Flood increasing numbers. He was stronger and faster than the flood. But he was one among hundreds. Shortly after all that remained was the sole Spartan, his entire squad KIA.
In the darkness the Spartan fought the hordes of flood. The bullets fire lighting up the room and appearing all around. Grabbing the shotgun from a flood he pulled it away and then shot the Flood form with it. From there he pushed away the Flood and rushed back up the stairs and through the barricades. Up again another fleet of stairs to the first floor. Flood were all around him.
The mission had failed. Bravo and Alpha were gone. Running out of the old facility with flood attacking him he moved into the jungle and then made his way after a bit back into Voi's main city. Couldn't even contact Command. In the attack down below his suit had been damaged and the COM systems had been ruined. The Spartan could hear over the COM channels that the Elites or Sangheili were about to glass half of the continent to contain the flood.
Not wanting to get stuck in it, he began to make his way to the Shadow of Intent. Stopping at a corner he looked out, he could see some bodies of brutes being infected by the flood. With his M90 Shotgun he rushed out at the infected, and began to rein bullets upon them. Infected forms ran at him at all angles, so he kicked them, and hit them with the butt of his gun to destroy them. A brute infected slammed into him, and sent him flying to the ground; the Spartan regained his focus and blasted the infected brute as it jumped on him.
Getting back up, the augmented soldier continued down the military complex, making his way through rooms full of flood. It was horrific, seeing all the damage and infected, it was as if he had stepped into a horror film, where there was no clear way out, and "damn the flood!" He yelled out as he threw his empty shotgun away and pulled out his M6G Magnum sidearm and shot at the infected forms coming at him. Reloading he made his way to the outside where he noticed a pelican still active, and various marines and some ODSTs running towards it.
Flood were surrounding the pelican, and the Spartan ran over to assist. Picking up a downed soldier's BR55HB SR Battle Rifle and shot at the closing in Combat Forms. As the marines and ODSTs got into the pelican, the Spartan was the last one to get in. The pelican closed its door and then flew into the air. One of the marines who was sitting down, with blood over him, and breathing heavily spoke to the Spartan.
"Spartan... Thanks for the assist, I am Private Dunham," the marine looked relieved, as the other marines and ODSTs did.
"No need to thank me, only doing my job. Is this going to the Shadow of Intent?" Asked the Spartan as he wondered up to the cock pit. The driver nodded, and the Spartan then saw the Shadow of Intent and various other Sangheili controlled ships starting to glass the continent. It was ironic, they had feared being glassed, as many worlds had been, but in this case, now they were being saved by having to glass part of the continent.
He also saw the Portal, the giant forerunner structure that the Covenant Prophet Truth, went through on his Forerunner dreadnaught. Could they win this war? The thought plunged into his mind. He began the mission in a squad and left alone.
January 15th, 2555 - Unknown Sector - Unknown Space - UNSC Blade - 0900 Hours
His mind went back to reality having had ignored everything. But now everyone was here. The two Fours, 'Tohai, Kerrigan, and the Spook. "It's time to explain our op," he turned to face the table behind him and signaled everyone to circle around it and they did such.
Pressing keys the galaxy map appeared on the table in full 3D, "yesterday at 1600 hours ONI detected an anomaly at the galaxies outer rim. Our job is simple, go in and see what the hell is going on." The map zoomed in on the section he was talking about. There wasn't any data on it. "As you can see we don't have any data on it. So we're going in blind. It's really that simple. In case something happens I want everyone to be combat prepped and in the hanger in the next hour."
He didn't finish there, "with our new slip-space drives it won't take we long to get there. So that's the run-down. Get ready and we will check out what is going on." He finished with that but then turned to Amaya, "Am-4Y, how much longer till the drive is ready?"
Voh was growing tired of waiting for everyone as he was about to speak out about it, he heard the door opening up and the last member of the party was here. Looking him over as he was judging the human before him. Hardly no armor or military gear like the others. Sipping on something to drink while he stroll in here late.
"Alright, it's way too fucking early for this to be courtesy call. Petty Officer Ryan Murphy, Office of Naval Intelligence. I am not here, I do not exist, blah, blah, blah. Let's get to the good stuff."
Voh could tell he would not like this man, not one bit. Growling as he look towards the CO in what he going to do with this one. Noticing he wasn't saying much so either he was in deep thought or he didn't care about whats going on. Holding back from saying anything for now as he wants to hear about their mission more.
"Its time to explain our op,"
He heard the CO said as he return his attention to the commander. Listening in on what he had to say. As the commander drone on about what the humans found, it annoyed Voh a bit. "Blah wasted time on our part. Doing childs work when we should be heading into glorious battle." He commented as he cross his arms. Looking around to see who agrees with him or not.
Murphy didn't wait around the bridge to hear the rest of the formalities. Instead, he turned and walked off the bridge and into the narrow, winding corridors of the ship. Deep in the bowels, he found what he was a looking for - a small door with a lock. He pressed his keycard against the lock and it blinked green. Murphy stepped inside the compartment, his home until this operation was over. It was cramped and dark, but it was his. A small rack had been set up for him to sleep on, and two armored boxes containing his gear and personal things were in the middle of the compartment, taking up most of the space. Murphy pulled his fatigues and chest rig from one of the boxes, and his boots from the other.
He quickly changed into his fatigues and put his chest rig on and assault pack on. He lifted the steel under the rack to reveal the storage compartment underneath, where his rifle and sidearm were kept, along with his ammo mags and knives. Murphy had decided to leave his blouse in his assault pack, and stay with a simple brown t-shirt under the chest rig. He slid elbow and knee pads into place to protect his joints, then put on his ball cap and walked to the hangar to meet the others.
As he walked, Murphy wondered how his specialty of information containment would play into this. It was odd for ONI to send him on this op, but Murphy pushed it to the back of his mind. He really didn't want to think about killing his new cremates just yet.
He was the first in the hangar, so Murphy started doing transition drills. Switching from primary to sidearm, then back again, over and over. Murphy had done this hundreds of thousands of times, both in drills and in real scenarios. But he still practiced to stay fresh. No sense dying over something a rookie can do. His mind turned back to the Spartan in the briefing. He wondered how she would respond to the dark, dank "spook house" (as they liked to call their little rooms tucked away in ships). Probably not well, he assumed.
Amaya had began preparing the drive as soon as she got her hands on the co-ordinates. The drive was fully warmed up as of now. "Sir, the drive is ready on your command to jump." She announced to the whole bridge, but then switched over to his internal helmet communications, so only he could hear her. "I still insist that you call me Amaya, my serial number makes me feel like a tool instead of a sentient being. But as to what i wanted to talk about, i'd like to make a request. I would like full control over ship manuverability after we complete the jump. If there's any sort of pull into this anomally, i would like the best chances of escaping. And statistically speaking, i have far better reactiontinmes than any human aboard this ship, yourself included sir. I'm also directly linked with the engines and thrusters, so there's no delay from once i decide to make adjustments, until i actually impliment them." she said.
As their new CO explained the mission, Erik shook his head silently at the top brass' miss management. Hey we've found a weird anomaly, but instead of sending a bunch of recce. drones at it, 'cuz you know it's in SPACE, let's send a bunch of soldiers.
"Blah wasted time on our part. Doing child's work when we should be heading into glorious battle."
He couldn't help but give a quiet chuckle at Voh's response. At least he wasn't the only one who felt this was a waste of time and talent. "... So that's the run-down. Get ready and we will check out what is going on." "Sir!" He said, saluting Jastis again, before wheeling about and making his way back to the armoury.
Upon arriving he saw Murphy going through transition drill, and with the ease and precision at which he was doing them, Erik had to raise his opinion of the shrubby ONI spook. Heading over to his archway, he had the techs remove his helmet and the top half of his armour, before peeling him out of the top of his body suit, and tucking it away like the unworn top of a set of coveralls.
His upper body bare, Erik snagged a small tool kit and made his way to a nearby workbench, where he proceeded to start working on his artificial forearm/hand. "Would you like one of us to do that?" One of the techs inquired, after seeing what he was doing. "No, but thanks for the offer...it's my body, I should know how to fix it." It was only a minor issue, but the last thing Erik wanted was for it to become a major one in the field.
Sarah listen to the briefing and just signed "I have to agree with the Sangheili here, least partly. This seems like an extremely poor use of the ship and her crew." she said, while thinking 'Fucking seriously?! and these idiots wonder why people mock 'military intelligence'.... as she saluted, and excused her self to get ready to stand around star gazing.
Sarah made her way to the armory to collect her gear, not that she thought she was gonna need any of it, truth be told she felt she'd be equally productive if she was still in cryo-sleep. When she Arrived she found that 'Naval Intelligence' Officer and the other S-IV, she thought about 'saying hi' but didn't, she just grabbed her gear and started going through the checks, saving the Plasma Sword for last.
"Yesterday at 1600 hours ONI detected an anomaly at the galaxies outer rim. Our job is simple, go in and see what the hell is going on." Jastis said as the map itself focused in on a particular section of space, which looked completely barren "As you can see we don't have any data on it. So we're going in blind. It's really that simple. In case something happens I want everyone to be combat prepped and in the hanger in the next hour." Gideon looked over the map data, or lack thereof, and listened to what their commanding officer was saying. As he listened to the vocal complaints of the others that had assembled, he had to agree with what was being said.
"Listen, whilst I agree with you guys on this mission being a somewhat waste of our time and talent; something like this is more suited to the science or reconnaissance teams, but we're going to have to bite the bullet and just go along with it for the time being. Who knows, there might be something worth it, and we're not going to get anything done by arguing." Gideon said, trying his best to remain neutral in the conflict.
"If anyone needs me, I'll be down in the Hangar Bay loading up." He then added as he left the room.
Voh grunts as he hears the female Spartan agree with him, somewhat. As well as the ODST gave his opinion. Finally just nodding and grunting out a bit as he leaves. Heading towards the armory as he grabs the rest of his gear. Grabbing his plasma grenades and covenant carbine. Putting his grenades at the side while the carbine was attach to his back. Looking back at the rest of the group as they were either getting ready or training.
Voh then try to find a place to be by himself to mediate. Finding a small area as he got on his knees and calm himself. He would be training with his sword but he knows no one else on board to have one. He also would not give up one just for training uses. The sword has to be earn and he see no reason to give any of his extras up yet.
Another reason is that a blade drawn demands blood of some kind. It was how he and the rest of his kind were train in swordsmanship. As Voh mediates he starts to breath in slower. Not as annoyed he was earlier as he starts to relax. He trust his superiors with their choice in sending him here. If this will help with relations with Humans and Sangheili then so be it. He stays in his meditate state until he was call for or someone disturbs him.
People began filtering into the hangar and splitting off into different corners. The first to arrive was a Spartan Murphy didn't recognize. Spartans and Operators had never seen eye-to-eye, even though they both fell under ONI's command. Then again, Operators were generally disliked by everyone. That was a huge reason they were a secretive, highly selective, and tight-knit community. But he was the only spook on board, so Murphy decided it was best to make friends with the soldiers around him. Or at least try.
The Spartan had taken off most of his gear and was working on his artificial arm. Murphy made his way to over to him.
"Time for an oil change, huh?" He said, sitting down on a crate across from the Spartan. He held out his hand. "I'm Murphy."
"Time for an oil change, huh? I'm Murphy."
"Hmm?" Erik said, looking up from his work. He had a tendency to zone out when he was prepping for a mission, and thus had completely missed Murphy's approach. Looking at the extended hand, Erik blinked a few times before he realized what was happening. "Oh..sorry." He finally said, reaching out and shaking the extended hand. "Hamman...The wrist gets a bit sticky sometimes after cryo, so I gotta play with it a bit."
January 15th, 2191 - Serpent Nebula - Near The Citadel - The Tashya - 9:00 AM
Tau had been standing by the departing shuttle for exactly 50 minutes, waiting for the Creator delegation to gather what they require and board the shuttle. He expected the Creators to be in more of a rush, but hadn't factored in the variable that they weren't expecting to have to leave aboard a shuttle instead of just disembarking off the Tashya
The sound of footsteps attracted Tau's attention, and he turned to see the final negotiator arrive in the hanger. Tau gave a nod of acknowledgement, as he noted that organics enjoyed being noticed, and boarded the shuttle with the final passenger. "Tau to Creator Gar'vosh vas Tashya, the shuttle is ready for launch. Are we cleared to depart?"
Tau noted the busy signal for 0.5 seconds before Gar'vosh responded. "Yes, delegate shuttle, you are cleared. Dock at presidium hangar 012 and proceed at your own discretion."
"Acknowledged, shuttle now departing the Tashya" With a wireless signal beamed to the Geth piloting the shuttle, the vehicle rose from the hangar deck and slid out into the Nebula. From a window, the Quarians looked at the massive station in awe, admiring the very place that banned their kind from holding any kind of station hundreds of years ago. However, Tau noticed the obvious structural damage the Citadel Wards still held from the aftermath of the Reaper War. Even though so much had changed, there was still so many pieces left to pick up.
Gideon arrived at the hangar after collecting his SRS99-S5 AM Sniper Rifle and M7S Submachine Gun from the armoury, thinking it would be a little overbearing if he had brought them to the mission briefing. He saw that several of those that been at the meeting had already arrived and had split off to various sections of the room. Inside the room itself there was only a few vehicles, which made sense given that a Prowler was more of a stealth ship than a front line fighter craft.
Specifically there were a couple of Warthogs that were equipped with a M46 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun, two Pelicans and a Hornet; not much, but given the size of the ship, it was good enough. Gideon carried over his equipment, and parked himself over by the Warthogs, and began to load up his weapons for what ever lied ahead. He thought about trying to make some conversation with some of the others, but it looked as though everyone was busy.
"There'll be time for talking once this operation is under way." Gideon said to himself.
Everyone left to get ready but Jastis stayed on bridge, "Amaya," he spoke with disdain, "send the ship through slip space."
Her holographic model glared at her and then responded, "Yes Sir, Activating slip space in 3... 2... 1..."
A blue tinted rip in space appeared in front of the ship and slowly the ship went through it until it was all together in. Inside slip space the outside looked like nothing, blackness. However to the AI she was able to see where they were at a moment's notice. Everything was still, it sometimes felt like they weren't moving despite it being so.
The new Forerunner tech was quite amazing. It wouldn't be long before they arrived. With the new tech slip space time was cut down two-fold. Thirty minutes later they were nearly there but suddenly something happened. A red pulse went over the ship and it began to shake.
"Am-4Y what is going on?" The Spartan exclaimed.
"Sir, something is interfering with the ships slip space. We need to drop into real space, or we're all going to die."
He slammed his hand on the side of the table denting it, "do it now!"
Suddenly ahead of the ship he could see another tear in space showing them the exit and the ship slowly was coming out. The ground in the deck was shaking horribly, even worse as they exited with people barely able to stand. The XO continued holding onto the table to stand.
Eventually they exited not before the red alert lights began to flare and a sudden jerk, "Sir, how could this have happened!?" The AI exclaimed.
"J-Jastis... I can't feel the rear half of the ship... It's just gone. Something went wrong and the portal closed... The rear half of the hanger... Just gone..."
"The hanger! Get everyone still alive out of there!"
"Right away sir!"
"XO, what do we still have?" He spoke as the ship continued to shake.
Rapidly the XO typed, "Captain, we lost half of the hanger, medical, cryogenics and among various other rooms! We still have the engine room intact but fires are spreading and it's difficult to put them out!"
"Damn!" however that wasn't the last of their already huge list of problems. The Spartan spotted something outside the windows ahead, something large. Walking swiftly he moved past the table and XO and stood looking at the window.
"What. Is. That?"
Outside the window he could see a sort of station that reminded him of High Charity but smaller and still intact. It was glowing red at various parts. "I can't deal with this right now," he spoke as he turned away from the glass and towards the table but passing it once more, "XO you have the bridge. I am going to go down and help with the fires!"
"Sir, yes Sir!"
"Everyone get out!" A marine exclaimed as the people still alive ran for their lives. Before the other half of the hanger had been cut they were already running as it had been slicing up even before they exited. So by the time it came off everyone had a breather on but they were trying to salvage what was left.
Voh'Tohai felt the ship shake and saw the red light blinking. Hearing the alarms as he wonders if they were under attack. Hoping slightly as he gets up from his meditate stance and runs towards the bridge. As he makes his way there, he looks out a window to see they weren't in slipspace no more. Instead a station that look like High Charity was in his view but instead of its purple and blue coloring, this one was reddish lights and the station look more like a barbaric then elegant like the Covenant one.
Grunting as he continue his way towards the command bridge he will ask about that later once the situation is under control. "What is going on Demon. Are we being under attack and why did we leave slipspace?" he ask as he look at the CO wanting answers. Wanting to know before he went off to help with the ship and to see where he will be best suited in whatever situation everyone was in.
"Omega Docking Control, this is transport Athran requesting docking authorization."
Mara leaned back in her chair, her arms folded. Omega ran its docks like most things - badly unless you threatened or bribed them, and Mara was too strapped for credits to drop a bribe and Athran was too poorly armed and shielded to blow a hole in the side of the station in a fit of pique.
Ah, for the good old days of running with the Harriers.
"I copy that, Athran, how're you doing today?" A voice came back that was so sleepy and deliberate she wasn't sure if he was drunk or high as a kite. "Afraid we're all full up today, come back again later."
Mara just stared out the viewport for several seconds, seething quietly. "You're...full up. Omega. Is full."
She turned off the comm. "Bosh'tet." She flicked it back on. "I have a hold full of skald fish on ice, special delivery for Aria. But my refrigeration unit isn't what it should be, and I'm already running a bit late. So you want to let me land or you want to be the one Aria has a little chat to about why she missed her dinner after she finishes with me?"
Long wait. He was probably thinking it through.
"Oh look. A space just opened up. Proceed to-"
Athran, small craft that she was, was suddenly swept aside like flotsam in a storm as space itself heaved and tossed like the ocean. Mara sat up, grabbing her controls and fighting with the craft to bring it around. "Keelah!" She stared at the readouts, absorbed them in a second, and came up with a plan. Main thrusters were offline and she was spinning towards Omega, impact in one minute twenty seconds.
She flicked her controls to the main drive core's controls and dumped every available joule into the eezo - weapons, barriers, life support, everything she could muster except maneuvering thrusters. If it took long enough to fix this that oxygen became a problem she was already dead. A flick of her hand and she was back at her controls. Forward starboard maneuvering jets fired, and she watched as the nauseating swirl outside her viewport resolved into a clear image of Omega getting very large in front of her. Then a second flick and all her forward maneuvering jets fired. With the amount of reactive force they put out combined with her craft's now-miniscule mass her momentum was negated quickly.
"Keelah..." She panted. She flicked back to the core and restored it to standard power settings, bringing her barriers and life support back online, then brought her craft around to see what the hell had just happened.
A ship. Not much of one - not anymore, anyway. It was...
Keelah, it was an ugly ship. Even if it hadn't been bisected, it looked like someone had taken Turian design philosophy and dialed it up until the gauge broke, all angles and boxy structure.
And then there was the fact that it had gotten split in half.
Mara had seen some interesting FTL fuckups in her time, including a Mass Effect core failure while in FTL - fortunately she wasn't aboard at the time, but the bright blue-white flash of cherenkov radiation cooking the crew and frying the ship had been burned into her eyes and her mind. But she'd never heard of anything like this.
She was already figuring it out in her head, though. Maybe a partial drive core failure? Mass Effect field only able to encompass a portion of the ship, leaving the bow behind? That'd make sense. But then again...Mara began scanning the ship.
Odd. It definitely wasn't a Council vessel - design aesthetics were wrong for one thing, but for another the tech was all wrong. Odd signal on her radar - the outer edges seemed to have some kind of stealth plating, but the opened inner part was bouncing back just fine. No surprises there. Heat-sinking tech of some kind, too. It didn't trigger her thermal sensors. Odd technology - missile tubes? Not loaded with disruptor missiles, either. Conventional munitions.
She pulled up another sensor screen, curious.
No sign of Mass Effect fields. Absolutely no mass alteration whatsoever. No sign of eezo - and with their ship split in two, they weren't going to be able to hide it.
She had to get a look inside.
And she was the closest ship to it. So she'd better hurry. She opened up her comms again and focused a tight-beam transmission to the crippled ship.
"Damaged ship, this is transport Athran, to anyone still alive. I am offering assistance, request permission to board and give aid!"
Of course, on the other end, they'd hear something closer to,
"Bosh sulan kos adanna swi," A brief pause. "Kava leyya Athran vasa nri uthara'shi nolac."
She set the message to repeat every fifteen seconds if she didn't get a response, then brought her maneuvering jets online to take her closer to the wreck. It'd be about two minutes before she was in range, so she took the time to check the seals on her suit - all good - and secure her weapons, sliding thermal clips into her Carnifexes before strapping on the holsters and sliding her Black Widow onto its clip on her back.
"Voh, we've lost half the ship. Something with the anomaly messed with the slipspace drive." Amaya said, trying to conserve what she could after such a loss.
She said then played the incomming message to the bridge. "unknown language. I'm going to attempt to order them to keep their distance." She said and relayed a message back. "Hold your Ground. Approach any closer and the weapon systems online shall terminate you without hesitation. Your ship does not meet any sort of identifications in our system. So i repeat, hold your ground. " The A.I. sent in standard english. She ran down the weapons systems, mini-mac was obviously off line, however, she could fire the missiles. Damn decent amount of them too, however, the ship wouldn't survive any sort of a fight.
She then messaged the rest of the crew. "Any surviving members, make your way to the bridge or help with the fires in the slipspace core room." she broadcasted. Then, she messaged Jastis. "Sir, another craft is approaching and i have warned them to hold their distance. Any orders Sir? or leave it to the XO?" Amaya said, then a large shudder shook the ship again.
Luna had just departed Omega and was warming up her little ship's engines. A large and heavy modified fighter, enough for her to be fast, stealthy and small while having enough speed and protection to get her places. The asari punched it and the small craft set off for the relay. CRuising at a fairly fast speed, the ship was zooming along as meant to, but then every single reading on the control panel spazzed out. A shockwave hit her ship, disabling the controls and appearing before her; the remnants of the blade.
The asari slipped on her helmet, finishing the seal on her armor and pressurized it, bracing for impact. The craft slammed into the ship, lodging itself right where cry used to be. Luna's cockpit was busted and pressurized explosively. She groaned, thankful for her suit.
"Another ship has seemed to have lost control and slammed into us." Amaya said on the bridge and To JAstis, keeping him updated.
Luna kicked out the rest of her cockpit, and stood up, looking around. "What in the name of the Goddess above happened?" she said to no one, but over the comms. Looking around and finding something that represented a door, she glowed blue with her biotic aura and forcivly opened a bulkhead, the air in the corridor rushing out as she stepped inside of it. Releasing her grip on the bulkhead, it slammed shut and the room automatically re-pressurized.
"Someone forced their way into the ship already... i believe its the one who crashed into us." Amaya updated.