A Broken Ball of Glass
Date: 23 September 2008, 2:53 am
August 4, 2658
Spartan IV Training Facility (Earth)
"Marvelous, isn't he?"
Admiral Winters looked at the man who had spoken, then back at the Spartan. The Spartan, clad in dark grey armor, moved with incredible speed and precision. Concrete blocks shattered under its fists, it fired its weapon with incredible accuracy. Winters turned back to Franklin Peters, the man who ran the Spartan IV program.
"So," Winters began, "What have you accomplished?"
Peters smiled, "Well the subject, S4 is what we like to call him, is a clone. His DNA is harvested from the finest members of the Spartan II and III programs done years ago." He pointed at a screen in front of him, "His augmentations are light-years ahead of any Spartan program, whether it be from our earlier ones or the Imperial program."
Winters scowled, he hated any mention of the Empire. The Empire had broken off from the UNSC in 2602, deeply xenophobic; they resented the UNSC alliance with the Elites. Contrary to the expectations of UNSC high command, the Empire had thrived, its military and economic power surpassing the UNSC's.
Peters noted the look on Winters' face and quickly changed the subject, "His armor is also a marvel, Mjolnir Mark IX to be exact. Its shields can absorb a direct rocket hit, and it enhances the wearer's speed, strength and endurance a hundredfold. It has the ability to temporarily create a domed shield and can project a high powered laser which is powerful enough to destroy a tank. Naturally of course, these functions take up quite a bit of power." He smiled, "Is this all you wanted to know, sir?"
The Admiral shook his head, "Just one more thing, how large is the Spartan IV program? I understand that quite a bit of money has gone into it."
The smile faded from Peters' face, "Just one." He mumbled.
"Just one, sir." Peters glanced back at the view screen, "We did not anticipate the cost of the armor, nor the augmentation."
Winters frowned, "We have reports stating that the Empire has roughly 1,000 Spartans in their army. How are we supposed to match that with only one?"
Peters regained some of his confidence, "The Imperial Spartan program is designed to make large numbers of super-soldiers in a short amount of time. Fortunately for us, they have used obsolete augmentations and armor for their Spartans. In addition, their training program has gone for only 3 years, ours has lasted 20. And finally, the Empire has 'indoctrinated' their Spartans through extensive brain washing and brain surgery; this lowers their ability to fight effectively with other ground troops. Don't worry; a single Spartan is enough, for now."
Winters lit a cigar, "You better be damn sure Frank. Damn sure."
November 23, 2660
The Middle East, Earth
Outside a Shield Generator Complex
A rocket hit the ground right in front of S4, propelling him into the air. The Spartan hit the ground hard, his training took over instantly. He rolled to the side and stood up, quickly accessing the situation. An Imperial tank was roughly 100 meters away from his position. Behind it, Imperial troops, partially concealed because of their jet-black armor, opened fire with two heavy machine guns.
S4 knew how critical it was to defend the shield generator; it was only thing protecting the Super MAC guns orbiting Earth. Without the MAC guns, Earth was defenseless. The joint Imperial/Brute fleet would sail in unopposed.
S4 clicked on his radio, "Cover me!" Instantly the marines behind him shifted their fire towards the enemy. S4 ran forwards, firing his rifle. Two Imperial soldiers collapsed, blood spurting from their wounds. The Spartan picked up speed, he leapt onto the tank. With superhuman strength, he bent and twisted the barrel, then wrenched the hatch off. The tank crew inside yelled in fear and disbelief, then a grenade silenced them.
S4 turned away from the tank and practically bumped into the behemoth standing in front of him. An Imperial Spartan, wearing Mark 8 armor, growled, almost animal like at him. S4 reacted instantaneously, shoving out with both hands. The three-ton Spartan was flung back, but it stayed on its feet. It opened fire with a chain gun, the noise thundering over the sound of battle. S4 ran, narrowly avoiding the bullets. He hurled a magnetic grenade which latched onto the Spartan's armor. A grunt of rage turned into one of pain as the grenade detonated. The enemy collapsed, smoke seeping out of its armor.
S4's radio crackled, "All troops fall back to the landing pad, we're gonna make a last stand there!"
When the Spartan reached the landing pad, he was met with a sorry sight. The original 3 companies which had been assigned to guard the generator had been reduced to no more than 3 dozen men and women. A pelican was seated nearby. A young Sgt ran up to S4.
"Sir, we've been given orders to evacuate you." The Sgt pointed towards the pelican, "You're to go or risk a court-martial. That was a direct order from Admiral Winters himself, sir."
S4 nodded, "Trooper, good luck." He turned away and entered the pelican. As it lifted off, he felt something die inside of him. Hope? Maybe. This brutal war had already lasted 2 years, with the UNSC being beaten back all the way to Earth. The looked down at the pitiful band of soldiers who had remained on the base, he knew none of them would survive the next hour.
The young Sgt, whose name was Reynolds, turned to his squad. "Men, I know each and everyone of us have just went through hell back on that field." He looked at his soldiers, tired and dirty. "The Empire boasted they would take this generator in 2 days, it's been nearly 3 weeks. We've choked them with their own goddamn words." He pointed to the sky, knowing that he was trying to convince himself too, "Any minute now the 1st and 2nd fleet will arrive and rain all sorts of shit over the Imps."
A massive roar, one that could only have come from a ship's engine split, split the sky. Reynolds smiled, "You see, we're going to burn those sons of bitches back to their holes." He turned to the Corporal crouched next to them, "Do we need to give them any coordinates first?"
The Corporal shook her head, "Those aren't ours' sir." Reynolds stood up, he could see it now. None of the ships bore the greenish grey colorings of UNSC ships. A collection of jet-black Imperial ships and purple Brute ships hung from the sky, blotting out the sun. Reynolds closed his eyes; he knew what was coming next.
Admiral Winters watched the Earth burn. His ship, The Normandy, coupled with the remnants of a battered UNSC/Elite fleet waited near Jupiter. The enemy did not even bother to attack them. Plasma burned from the Brute ships, boiling away the oceans, melting the land. In a further act of defiance, the Imperial ships launched MAC rounds at the glassed surface of the planet. Shattered glass of blasted miles high into the atmosphere, then it rained onto the surface.
The Admiral hung his head, he did not look at the broken ball of glass that was before him, he did not look at the bridge crew behind him, and he didn't even look at the faceless, armored Spartan next to him. He saw nothing. He had failed, Earth was no more. The enemy had won.
Beside the Admiral, S4 clenched his hand into a fist. It wasn't over, he would repay the billions murdered on Earth even if it cost him his whole life. He knew that neither he nor the UNSC would surrender, but rather they would die fighting.
Winters turned to his staff, "Tell the fleet to pull back, we're retreating to Sanghelios." Then he looked at the Spartan, "This isn't over, not by a long shot. We'll keeping fighting or go down swinging. This war is just beginning."