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HALO: Cydonia Thunder by UNSC Trooper

HALO: Cydonia Thunder - Part 1
Date: 9 October 2007, 6:00 pm

1257 Hours, October 3, 2552 (Military Calendar)
Solar System, Mars, aboard UNSC Omaha
En-route to Orbital Defense Platform "Olympia"

      The silhouette of the Orbital Defense Platform "Olympia" became visible in the distance as the "UNSC Omaha" Halcyon-class cruiser swept across the orbit of Mars, its thrusters charging at a steady speed, closing in on the hundred-year old Space Station idly orbiting over the Plains it had been christened after. The frozen northern ice cap glared its bright white color over the red surface of the planet – probably the only instance of any other noticeable color, besides red, being present over the one hundred and forty million kilometer-wide surface of Mars.

      Corporal Benjamin Maddock Nunez held a tight grip to the MA5B assault rifle he'd carried on the fields of Mare Erythraeum, the shores of New Mombasa, and the jungles of Voi, the weapon he grew so attached to – perhaps as much as a little boy would grow attached to his pet.

      "So, the Corps sends in a Marine task unit to dock with a Space Station floating in the void of space, rescue a handful of workers, and eliminate every single terrorist on board? Sounds more like an operation for the freak soldiers from Section Three rather than a Marine engagement." he thought as he prepped his rifle.

      His Visual Display flickered, opening the Mission Intel Briefing screen.

      "Mission status: Fire Team Yankee, Unknown / Mission Objective: Neutralize Frieden-Maurer terrorists and release hostages. Do NOT engage the enemy without proper biohazard protection. Any contact with other pirate ships in the proximity of the 'UNSC Omaha' shall be reported back to Mars Navigation Command."

      Bio-chemical terrorism, this wasn't something Benjamin Nunez was expecting to encounter in the middle of the massive offensive against the Covenant threat, while every UNSC Militia, Navy and Marine Forces were being deployed on Earth; rebel activity and terrorist strikes against citizens were the last thing the Office of Naval Intelligence would have to worry about.

      "Ironic that it has come to this." first Sergeant Jeremy Hitchcock said as he entered the briefing room of the "UNSC Omaha". The marines from Team Yankee casted a glance at their new Sergeant from Team Juliet over at Luna, revealing a slight frown on their faces – not a pleasant sight, considering the mischievous rumors that went to and fro in the 84th Regiment about his methods of command.

      Nunez stood up and saluted the Sergeant, as did the other marines. Hitchcock promptly returned the salute.

      "We're being poked from two directions, the Covenant slaughter on Earth and Frieden-Maurer rebels on Mars." The Sergeant took a deep breath, clearing his throat from the tobacco smoke of the highly-acclaimed Sweet William cigars he always carried with him regardless of locations he was being sent to. Everyone in the room was silent.

      "Background history regarding these … terrorists, is sketchy. Nevertheless, we do know their origins and combat tactics, which I'm happy to say, doesn't concern me all that much. They are a group of atheist militants, apparently idolizing the Frieden secessionist movement that took place back in the 2160's in the Jovian Moons. I'm sure all of you have learned about the Frieden rebels in school, their structure, leadership, organization, high ranks, development, and strength … basically everything they stood up for. Our rebels can't be too different from their ancestors, but there's a catch."

      Hitchcock's last sentence sparked Team Yankee's interest.

      "Bio-chemical terrorism is their area of expertise, as opposed to exerting brute force upon their victims." The marines constantly stared at the Sergeant, waiting for more relevant information to be divulged.

"Four hours ago, the air-conditioning system of the Olympia Station was sabotaged by an inside crewmember. Apparently the crewmember was an outside rebel that managed to trick the crew into thinking he was an employee of the station's technical maintenance team, which explains the contamination of the air-conditioning system with sleeping gas and the crew's incapacitation. So much for impenetrable security." the Sergeant frowned.

      "So that's how they infiltrated the station, right?" Nunez asked enthusiastically.

      "Exactly." the Sergeant nodded approvingly. "We have reason to believe that the terrorists are holding an estimate number of over fifty hostages on each section of the station." Hitchcock replied.

      "So far, the terrorists haven't made any demands, and Intelligence delegates from Mars Special Operations Command say this is the green light we're waiting for. We have to neutralize the terrorists before they get a chance to assassinate any hostages." Sergeant Hitchcock said. Five seconds of an awkward silence followed.

      "Team Yankee seems well fitted for this kind of operation, considering its impressive military record." Hitchcock said as he turned around and looked at every soldier in the room, observantly scrutinizing their gestures. Service records of the Marine Corps databases classified Team Yankee as one of the few efficient Marine Special Forces units - other than the Orbital Drop Shock Trooper divisions - capable of performing covert counter-terror operations either deployed from the air or zero-gravity environments.

      "Not as exciting as facing the Covenant, but I'm in." Nunez replied with a disappointed tone.

      "Hey, we snipers have to make a living somehow, might as well get a chance to earn some extra cash before the Covies put us out of business for good." Private First Class Nicholson said, reaching for the sniper rifle on the ground.
      Sergeant Hitchcock wasn't impressed by the marines' replies the slightest bit, showing sings of obvious disinterest towards the soldiers' thoughts.

      "Right then," The Sergeant stepped away from the table. "We will dock with the Station in approximately …" he looked at his wristwatch "Seven minutes. Your objective is to secure the insertion point as soon as you set foot on the station. We don't know where the workers are being held hostage, so pay attention to every hint of movement. The place will be swarming with rebel patrols, armed with anything from M6G handguns and silenced SMG's to BR55 battle rifles. Do not underestimate their firepower. Oh, and one more thing, we don't know if the sleeping gas has worn off yet, so do yourself a favor and put on your gas-masks, 'cause you won't last thirty seconds in there without falling unconscious, dismissed!" were the Sergeant's last words before he walked out of the room.

      "Ten-hut!" Nunez rose up on his feet and swiftly ordered the men to regroup and walk out of the briefing room, rifles swung over their shoulders.