Recovery Team Alpha: A Marine's Story by Andrew Zimmerman
Recovery Team Alpha: Epilouge
Date: 21 February 2010, 5:02 am
Personal Journal Entry//Private Lines, Jack A.
2552, Spetember 21st (Military Calendar)
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I never dreamed in my life I would see war, never in a million years. Especially a war this bad. Sure the Innies were bad, but at least they have our technology, our thinking, the same tactics that we do. So many men and women have died, lives wasted. And for what? Just to prolong humanity's existence for maybe a week longer? I don't think that we will last much longer. I'm getting so tired of sitting around, for the most part that's all that we do. The days here have grown longer and longer. Sometimes I feel like they never end. I finally saw my first combat with the Covenant today, and I really wish that I hadn't. They are ruthless, evil. Our objective was to reccover team Gamma's mission logs after we lost contact at 0300 hours. We were sent down in a moddified D77 Pelican dropship, specifically designed for our recovery op. We touched town at 0530 hours, had to hump through miles of rough terrain and battle scarred wasteland. We assumed the Covenant had gotten what they came for and left. When we got to Gamma's last known location we found a body, Corporal Miller; his body covered in plasma burns. I guess they still haven't found an armor that can match up to the Covenats' weapons systems. We ended up finding the rest of the team about half a click away. Their bodies charred from plasma, some of them hardly recognizable. We tried to find video logs, but their helmets were either as fried as their bodies or missing. We reported to command and we had our rendevous. We headed back, picked through the bodies to find anything useful when we found coporal Miller's helmet. We retrieved the log and sent the information back to our superiors. We started our long walk back to our bird when it started raining. Apparently it was a good enough cover for a Covenent ambush party to get us. An Elite warrior jumped out from his hiding place brandishing a plasma sword, and donning bright gold armor. It gave a war cry, then grabbed commander Jaque. The commander told us to shoot, but it was too late. The Elite brought the sword up into Jaque's torse, then froced it upward, cutting him in half. We all opened fire on the golden bastard, and he seemed to dance as the bullets riddled his body, leaving gaping bullet holes for his purple blood to exit his body. We looked up in time to see a rain of green orbs, discharged plasma from the grunts above. We disperced, taking out the grunts with almost perfect unison. We all rushed to our fallen commander's lifeless body. We grabbed his log and double timed it out of there. There was no need to retrieve his body, it would have only slowed us down. at 0615 hours we made it back to our bird, dusted off, and returned to our frigate. I've spent the last hours in the simulator and in the library, studying the Covenant. The ambush was quite common amongst other maneuvers. Jaque's memorial/funeral is tomorrow, if we don't have another recovery mission to do. We go on standby tomorrow at 0600. And our new commander is coming from HIGHCOM, odd. Maybe there are bigger things in store for our recovery team. Hopefully we can win this war, Reach has fallen, the outer colonies have all been glassed, and I believe Earth will fall. But that's just me. This war is a pointless fight, and I am growing to miss the days back home. Life was so simple back then, school, girlfriends and friends. God! My birthday is in two days! I can't believe I'm going to be 20! It's been two years since I shipped out for basic! Life moves by so fast when you're sitting in space waiting to do recover ops. But I need my rest, and I need to prepare for tomorrow. Weapons prep, armor cleaning and prep, and I have to go with private Saunders later to help with our pelican. Damn pilots are always worrying about their birds. I kind of wish I could've been a pilot. Life would most likely be so much better. But anyway, I really do need my rest. Until my next log, Lines over and out.
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Recovery Team Alpha: Chapter 1
Date: 9 March 2010, 1:09 am
Aboard frigate, Last Turn, shuttle bay
September 22nd, 2552(Military Calendar)
Private Jack A. Lines sat in the shuttle bay of the frigate. His team had received a new commander straight from the ONI, commander John Bradly. The rest of his was busy cleaning and packing the dear for the mission, loading up their supplies and personal weapons and armor into the belly of the pelican. They hadn't said anything, but they were all still upset about Jaque's death. And if they had had the time he was sure they would have taken more time to honor him. Bradly stepped out of the cockpit of the pelican along with the pilot.
"Men! Let's move it! Double time! We need to get going!" he barked at them.
"Yes sir!" they all replied in unison.
They all piled into the troop bay, the ramp thundering under their heavy footsteps. The pilot turned on the engines and the bird came to life; the ramp was brough up and sealed for the quick space flight to the surface of the planet. Bradly, standing in the COM hallway between the troop bay and the cockpit, turned to his men.
"I'll be sure to breif you once we get going. Make ready, 'cuz it's gonna get hot!" He closed the door behind him and sealed it. Sargeant Jackson turned to Lines and the other member of their team, Corporal Burns.
"What do you guys think of Mr. ONI up there?" he asked sarcastically.
"With all do respect sir, fuck that guy! Why do we need an ONI spook around our op?'' Lines bitterly replied.
"Amen to that Sarge!" Burns yelled over the roar of the pelican. Just then Bradly came over the ship's intercom.
"Men! Our work today will be simple, even for you. During the battle on reach a frigate, Last Hope, was shot down on the surface. We are ordered directly from what's left of HIGHCOM to retrieve its NAV database and destroy it. Or destroy the ship, whichever is easier to you. She crashed planetside at 0500 and we expect high Covenant resistance. Keep in mind we have air and ground support from our planetside base, Snowcap. We need to be quick. In and out, am I clear marines?"
The pelican lurched forward out into the blackness of space, two Longsword escorts at her port and starboard side. They silently left the shuttle bay of Last Turn, Burns staring out at the frigate from the pelican's rear viewport. Lines pulled out a pack of cigarettes, a taboo substance in the UNSC. He handed one to Burns and to Jackson; it was their team's tradition to smoke before a mission. They each pulled the lighting strip, inhaled, and exhaled in unison. Jackson staring at his cigarette before yelling,
"Never gets old eh, marines?"
"Never in my lifetime, sir!" Burns replied.
"Oo-rah!" Lines added. The pelican suddenly jolted hard.
"Plasma mortars! Evaisive manuevers! Buckle up back there!" the pilot screamed of the intercom.
Lines felt the pelican turn hard to port to avoid a collision, the mortar exploding next to the bird, which jolted again. Lines tried to strap himself in right as the starboard engine to a direct hit. He heard the engine whine loudly, then die out. Then, freefall. He tried to buckle up but he couldn't quite get to his harness. Just then the D77 leveled out, giving him his gravity back. All three marines strapped in and braced against the
"We're in a glide for the moment marines! Brace for impact in ten seconds!" Bradly screamed over their team's private COM.
The pelican glided down to the surface, fast; its hull flaming and tearing apart as the rapid descent was to much stress on the flimsy hull. It hit an airpocket, causing it to fall straight down. The pilot tried to hold her, but he was not stron enough. She hit nose first, rearing upward only to spin and flip in random directions until finally landing on her tail section, which tore off as soon as it hit the ground. The D77 rolled a few more times before it finally landed on its belly between two rocks just overlooking a cliff, a trail of debris in its wake, smoke billowing from its remaining engine.
Lines woke up, his vision blury and his head hurt like no other. He was leaning up against the bulkhead at an awkward angle; he readjusted himself to better see the extent of the crash. Once his vision cleared, he noticed a large crack in it. He pulled his helmet off his head, examinating it. Compromised, the data log input was smashed as well as his visor. He tossed it aside, checking on Burns and Jackson; once he knew they were ok, he checked his weapon locker.
* * *
Bradly awoke suddenly only to face a large fall to the ground below. He somehow landed on the windshield of the pelican, his harness broken and twisted. He breathed in deeply, the exhaled. No pain, good, he was intact. He called out for the pilot, but there was no answer. He slowly moved to the pilot's seat to discover a figure slumped over the controls, blood oozing from his mouth. Bradly checked his pulse, nothing. Bradly shut the pilot's eyes and made his way to the COM hallway between the troop bay and the cockpit. He pried the doors open and stepped into the dark hallway. The radio was dead, and so was the beacon; but it wouldn't matter, if he used these devices his mission would be compromised. He stepped back into the cockpit to retrive his MA5C assult rifle and his ammo belt. He then walked over to the control pannel for the co-pilot, and he shut off all elctronics to the pelican and removed his mission cooridinates. He stepped through the COM hallway again and then pushed open the troop bay door.
* * *
Lines, Burns, and Jackson had already gotten everything in order; the weapons were in a pile and other various things were in different areas of the troop bay. Lines was just about to go check on the commander when the dim red lights in the troop bay flickered and then died. The power must have been cut off; headlamps flicked on, all except Lines's due to the fact that he did not have a helmet anymore. A figure stepped out of the COM hallway and stood there, observing. Commander Bradly looked around the troop bay, making sure his men were alive and well.
"Report!" he demanded.
"We're all accounted for sir! Alive and ready to fight!" Jackson said, speaking for the team.
"Burns, hit that door release! We're moving out!" Bradly ordered.
Burns walked over the the ramp of the pelican, lookingt the viewport to make sure nothing was going to sneak up on them; then he hit the "Hatch Open" button on the bulkhead. The ramp slowly descended, sheading light on the four marines; their arctic camo shimmering in the sunlight. The ramp lowered all the way and the team silently proceeded; Jackson on point and Lines bringing up the rear. Lines scanned with his sniper scope. There! On the horizon, and cloud of something, moving towards them at a fast rate.
"Sir? There's something out there.'' Lines reported to Bradly.
"Can you make out what the lead vehicle is?"
Lines squinted into the scope, pushing its visibility to the max. He managed to make out a tiny little white spek leading the cloud. It's stubby shape bumping along the rough terrian; a turret mounted to the back with a marine gunner.
"Warthog convoy sir. I guess they saw us crash" Lines said.
"Great, that just makes this more complicated." Bradly replied.
They went back into the pelican to rest up while waiting for the convoy. Lines, Burns, and Jackson smoked while Bradly examined the terrain of the land. Within 15 minutes the convoy had arrived at the crash site. The lead warthog stopped and a large man stepped out of the passenger seat. Lines could make out the shimmer of green armor with white camo painted on it. The figure was easily seven feet tall, maybe more. He picked up something from the seat, a helmet, a placed it over his head; making him appear as a machine to the confused marines. He slowly approached them. Lines got a better look at this figure. He had thought they were myths. Even with his clearance he had never heard much about these soldiers. They were built for war. Specially designed armor to withstand Covenant weapons, and expert fighting skills to top that off. Very few people got the oppurtunity to meet one of these soldiers, and most likely the ones that had were no longer living.
"Holy shit, Sarge!" Burns said. Lines stood there awestruck, and whispered to himself but loud enough so everyone could here.
"It's a Spartan!"