They're Random, Baby!

Fan Fiction

Spectre: The Hydorian Conflicts by (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher

Spectre: The Hydorian Conflicts: Prologue
Date: 23 January 2006, 6:25 pm

UNSC Skynet Battle Station
Planet Capri; Systech Corp Design. Number: GQ-346035
Troop Battalions: 12
UNSCMC/UNSCN Combined Station
12:16 USNC-Delta Time

Capri V was perhaps one of the more beautiful worlds of the United Nations Planet Commerce, a lush placid world that was the third planet of a four planet system. Sprawled with continents, the lands were separated by two oceans, with large mountains, one small desert, but mostly plains and forests. It was once beautiful, but that was once. Now, the surface was barren, a wasteland forged by years of war in an interstellar conflict, between the men and women of the United States Space Command and the Covenant. The only thing that was really of interest anymore was a rather large station, manned by the men and women of the UNSCN, the Navy Branch of the United States Space Command, and the people who kept watch on the actions on the station were members of the UNSCMC, the Marine Corps branch of the UNSC.

Inside a small office a singular man stood next to a Plexi-Glass window, his hands behind his back as he watched the stars roll by, his stance cool and calm. Behind him, sitting in chairs in front of his desk, were two people, one man and one woman. The man standing by the window had thin grey hair, closely cut, and his build was more of a Marine than a Navy operator. Slightly muscular and about five foot seven in height, his grey orbs were viewing the planet, Capri Prime, barely visible with the naked eye at the current station's angle.

Sitting in the left chair was a man, with a flattop of brown hair, cut short in military standard issue hair. He was skinny, but his body was built for it. His build was more or less a runner, and he was not skin and bone. Sitting in the chair, he had his hands together, his fingers securely between the sides of each finger, as he stared at the man's back, near the viewport.

Sitting next to him, in the right chair, was a woman. Her red hair in a ponytail, it was military textbook perfect, not a single stray lock of hair dare touched her collar. Her build average, she was sitting a bit more relaxed than the man next to her. Her facial expressions were nothing. Not one emotion was played on her face, unlike the man next to her, with the look of sorrow.

"So, anyone care to debrief me, or shall I read your reports?" The man next to the viewport spoke, turning his head so he could give a half look towards the two people who occupied his office. The man sitting down did not return a response; he only looked down at the steel floor. The woman did not return the look either; she merely looked away from him, her eyes staring at the walls around the office. The man at the viewport sighed, before he executed a perfect about face, and then made a walk towards his chair. Grabbing the arm of the desk chair, he turned it around, before he himself turned his body, setting his backside firmly into the chair, before turning the swivel towards the people who occupied the room.

"Look, I know it might be hard, but I would rather you tell me before those ONI bastards come here and start asking you. Trust me, I'd rather talk with those piss-ants, you know how ol' Gallagher loves to deal with them." The man sitting in the desk chair, Gallagher, spoke.

"I'll," The man sitting down across from Gallagher began to speak, but stopped. A small lump in his throat went up and down his throat, before he cleared it. He spoke in a Texan twang-ish voice, sounding more like a cowboy than a member of the UNSC.

"I'll give Team One's report, sir. When we assaulted the building, I sent Jones and Lancaster up to the briefing room, while I went to the electrical power systems. I kept radio contact with Lancaster, but after I sent a large electronic surge through their generators, they opened fire on the terrorists. I, I heard on the radio that they were being overwhelmed, and I ran over to the briefing room, before I lost contact half-way to the briefing room. I, I found them dead, sir. Chopped up…" He tried to speak, before Gallagher raised his hand.

"I guess that you killed the men responsible, and then secured the LGN Missile, right Thompson?" Gallagher asked. The man, Zander Thompson, nodded in agreement as he looked down at his hands. Gallagher thoughts were astray, remembering the first part of the mission: Drop in via Pelican, Secure Insertion area, Enter complex… His thoughts stopped when he looked at the woman, remembering the rest of the briefing would come later.

"Can you give me a briefing, Rebecca?" He asked the woman. The woman, Rebecca Harrison, only nodded in agreement before she began to give her briefing, in her somewhat proper Irish accent.

"We encountered heavy anti-air fire, from the old Ranger class missile launchers. Our Pelican took a hit in the starboard engine, and we crashed into the mountainside of Mount Red Lion. Following the crash I took the surviving members of my team: Jenkins, Walter, and Isaac. None of the Pelican's crew survived. We were too far away from either my objective or Hellraiser's, sir. I ordered an orbital strike on the missile plant they had under control, and I believe the John Fitzgerald Kennedy managed to blow it sky high, by the explosions from the plant itself. I was able to order in a SAR Pelican to pick me up, but we were ambushed by a terrorist cell. Jenkins and Walter were killed in the firefight, Isaac moderately wounded. The SAR Pelican managed to come in time, and I got Isaac inside, with the gunner killing most of the men. Isaac died on the ride to the hospital." She stopped there, closing her mouth shut and staring into Gallagher's eyes.

Zander spoke up, breaking the tension between Rebecca and Gallagher.

"Sir, may we leave? I need to write the reports to my team members' respective loved ones."

"No, Zander, I'll do that. But you're right, you need to leave. Rebecca, stay in here, I need to talk to you."

Zander immediately stood up, in the form of attention, his hand snapping to a salute, slightly bent so he could see the palm in his peripheral vision, in the perfect example of military bearing and drill.

"Aye aye, sir!" Zander spoke, before dropping the salute and executing an about face, walking forward. The door automatically opened, and then shut behind the man,

"Rebecca, you need to pick and hold trials for the men coming in. Chief Thompson can't handle that responsibility, and someone from Force Recon could definitely handle that. I want you…" He spoke, gruffing as he grabbed a stack of folders, his hands holding around the bottom of the stack, before placing them in front of the woman. They were only about five inches high, since they were only personnel folders who applied for the teams.

"I want you to select five people who are in this stack, and then I want you to prep for a mission. You will also need to select one Elite from this stack…"

"Excuse me, sir?!" The harsh tone of reply came from the woman.

"It's politics. Trust me, I don't want one of those aliens on the team either, but Colonel Strayer has been getting on my ass since the war ended, and he ordered me to find a Elite and put a place for him on the team. Rebecca, I'm living with it, so should you."

"I'm not becoming its friend."

"I'm not saying you should. He's on the team, and that's it, however." He spoke.

"But sir,"

"I said, that's it!" He raised his voice, slamming his fist on the desk, his grey eyes making intense contact with Rebecca's, long moments passing between them before, unlike other times when this would happen, Gallagher let his eyes gaze away.

"Anyways, recruit an Elite, get the men, and saddle up. We leave for another operation soon, and I fear SPECTRE will be at the heart of it…

Rebecca slowly moved her hands to the sides of her temple, and like a snail her hands slowly rubbed the skin as she tried to ease the growing pounding headache that was growing. She had gone through fourteen candidates, and so far she hated all of them. She hoped the next batch would prove better than she expected. Looking down at her desk, she saw the next folder, to which she flipped open. What she saw was average for a candidate:

Name: David Lancaster, W.
Callsign: 'Luck'
Rank: Lieutenant
Branch of Service: Navy
Age: 27
Personal Record of Medal(s): Silver Star, Bronze Star, Unit Citation, Purple Heart(2)
Injuries: Minor plasma burns to the neck, right thigh, left forearm, and right ear
Profession: Demolitions, Engineer
Security Clearance: ST-6

The rest of the dossier was personal information, like dental records and serial numbers. She did not need to read them; she turned the page to the man's history in the UNSC:

First Post: Given command of the 416th Seabee unit. At the Battle of Draconis IV, was given Silver Star for bravery under fire. Following medal, was promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant, JG. Was also awarded the Unit Citation for the 416th's participation in the battle. Following promotion, was given command of the 122nd ODST Battalion's Naval Liaison. After attack on Jangia II (the last command directive for the 122nd), was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, also promoted to Lieutenant, for courage under fire, saving the lives of Private Jacob Filial, Sergeant William Hobart, and Lance Corporal Kevin Jenkins, all members of the 122nd Force Recon unit. Was awarded another Purple Heart after onboard ship accident, moderate plasma wounds to the neck region. Transferred to the 314th Longsword Wing as supply officer. Pending new orders.

Rebecca raise her eyebrows, intrigued by the man's history. She decided, after fourteen fuck ups, she'd at least hold a meeting with the men who she chose. She placed the folder left of the pile, making it her 'Accepted' pile.
Now it was time for the choosing of the Elite. She, again, sighed as she looked over the profile:

Name: Zanka Zim'amme
Callsign: 'Red'
Former Rank: Field Marshall
Current Rank: Ensign
Branch of Service: N/A
Current Profession: Shock Trooper
Security Clearance: ST-10

The rest of the file was classified, with red lines covering the text, a classic calling card of ONI's Section IV, Black Ops. This caused a slight light bulb to pop up inside her mind. Due to this, she decided in her mind that this was the Elite that could qualify for the team. Another folder she dropped into the Accepted pile. Another she picked up.

Name: William Holtz, G
Callsign: 'Wraith'
Rank: Lieutenant, JG
Branch of Service: Navy
Age: 26
Personal Record of Medal(s): Purple Heart, Bronze Star.
Injuries: Minor leg burns, plasma
Profession: Pilot
Security Clearance: ST-4

Rebecca raised a slight eyebrow again. Usually, soldiers his rank don't have a security clearance that high. Hell, She thought. I know Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders without a security clearance that high… She shook her head, and read the short history paragraph that was allowed, the rest was colored blue, the calling card of ONI's Section III, which surprised her too because he appeared to have no background that would qualify for a Sect Three job anyways.

Fought at the Battle of Earth, both siege phases and space clean-up stages. Flew At this point, a blue stripe covered about two lines of sentences, leaving them to only her imagination. And the two lines that were covered were the only lines left, besides the words: Pending Orders. Apparently, she thought when she turned the page and coming across two letters addressed from her, they really want him in this unit. One of the letters of recommendation was from Commandant Jerry Padwell, and quickly skimming most of the letter she figured that Padwell really wanted him in the unit. The other, however, was not a recommendation letter. She quickly read it, holding it in her gentle hands.

Dear Lieutenant Rebecca Harrison, SPECTRE Team One Leader:

If you are reading this letter, than you have received Lieutenant JG Holtz's dossier. I suspect you are planning to recruit a few more men, and I want you to know that I personally want him on your team. If he does not, I hope you got a good reason.

Yours Truly,
Lord Terrence Hood, Admiral

A letter from Lord Hood? That sparked another eyebrow. She sighed, placing the folder at the top of the 'Accepted' pile. Another person, another file.

Name: Jonah Mattision, E
Callsign: 'Fanatic'
Age: 26
Rank: Lieutenant, JG
Branch of Service: Navy
Personal Rank of Medal(s): Congressional Medal of Honor, Purple Heart
Injuries: Moderate third degree burns to the left knee
Profession: Pilot, Driver
Security Clearance: ST-7

Fought at the Battle of Earth, awarded Medal of Honor when using his Longsword Fighter to engage two squadrons of Seraphs. Details unknown. Awarded Purple Heart for injuries sustained at the battle. Flew the X-103 Broadsword fighter at the Battle of Constant IV. Pending orders.

We need a new driver, and we might have to use a Longsword or two in a battle some time… Her mind wandered again, before setting the folder onto the 'Accepted Pile'. Now, she had her team all set up. She slide the folders into her hands as she walked out of the room, making an near perfect left flanking movement, before heading to Gallagher's office…

Southern Forest-Valley Corridor
Hydoria Prime
First habitable planet in the Hydoria system
Three Months earlier

The sounds of heavy breathing filled in the trooper's head, as he continued to run. His feet burning, his leg straining, he willed himself to continue to run away, away from a threat that was steadily gaining on him. A cry of terror escaped his lips as he pushed himself, the forest camouflage of his combat fatigues racing against the dense woods.

He panted, his breathing rate climbing steadily up to the rate of his heart. Suddenly, he screamed again as he arched his back, falling to the ground face first. In his back was a bone-like object, small and with narrow bumps on the backside. The sound of a clicking noise was heard, as the lonely trooper, a Private in the UNSC, looked behind him.

What he saw was six legs, their ends pointed down for speed and maneuverability. His eyes darted up, seeing the torso, which was practically non-existent. The torso was probably just a bunch of bones connecting to the two large mandibles, located on the bottom and top of the sharp head. With its only dark and black eye situated on the bottom, it was only bred for war.

"Oh Jesus!" The man cried out, before the thing screamed out a shrill, then it closed the two foot distance between them in an instance, sinking its mandibles into the soldier's torso. Screaming, the man tried to push them off, but the creature held tightly. Screaming still, the creature only was increasingly angry, so it squeezed harder. With an odd squish sound, the soldier snapped in half, his upper body falling off as it leaked blood, pain exploded in the soldier so badly that he glassed over, not making a sound. The creature shrilled again, turning around and scurrying onto the path from which it came

The trooper, now dead from the decapitation, held a vile in his hands. The vile, on the side labeled 'TW-43576', held inside a data-chip. The data-chip held the video recordings of all of his squad members and his squad leader. The mere importance of it

A single twelve hours later, Recon Squad 4, Twelfth Battalion entered the area. The point man, Private Carl Jenkins, bent down by the body.

"Who the hell could of done that?" The man behind him, Sergeant Frank Brutto, asked as he viewed the body of the recently slained private.

"Whatever happened to him, it wasn't in vain. He's got data in his hands." The squad's leader, Lieutenant Jean Razak, spoke as he took the vile of data in his hands. Without saying a single word, he took the data-chip in the private's helmet, and inserted it into his data-viewer, a single green square that was attached to his helmet. Since the sound and video were only visible from Razak's view, no one knew why Razak looked terrified to the bone.

"We have to get to H-Q, quickly. They'll know what to do."

Spectre: The Hydorian Campaigns: Prologue: Part 2: The Beginnings of a Platoon
Date: 10 February 2006, 12:50 am

AN: Vladimir Baranov is a character from my older series that I never got off, Tales From The Homefront. Check that out too.

The Grunt fired off a burst shot from his pistol, the plasma hitting the hard rock. The rock was scored, but did not break under the super heated plasma. Behind the rock, a man took a quick side-step and opened fire from his Assault Rifle. The burst shot was accurate, the bullets shredded the skin around the breathing mask of the Grunt's face, the bullets entering the brain of the alien. The Grunt fell back, dead.

The man was wearing a power suit. A power suit is a suit of protective armor, with a recyclable breathing system installed. It also included a temperature control unit and a visor that could be flipped down and reveal tactical data. New to Special Forces, it was a design based off the MJORNLIR armor system, except with no shield. It had double plating, based off a tougher metal than the Spartan armor but lighter. Each suit was either painted grey for the Recon units, or the forest camouflage for Spectre units. Each suit was formed to the specs of the person who was wearing them; tight around the chest, loose around the joints. Often men and women called it the 'Lineman' suit because of its design form, relating to the undershirt a lineman on a football team wears. So far, only the Spectre unit and some Recon squads were armed with the Lineman Suit. The suit around the man, however, was different. It was bigger around his chest, because of his arm and body mass, and he seemed like a powerful man.

The man himself had a crooked nose and pink skin around his neck from the helmet he wore. The helmet encompassed his entire head, and the only thing he could see was using the clear glass in front of his face, and good thing too, because his face bore a look that he could rip a Grunt's head off with just his hands. Suddenly, behind a clump of rocks, three more Grunts and a Jackal with a Plasma Rifle appeared out of nowhere.

Firing another burst shot, he hit the nearest Grunt in both the motor functions of the suit and the breathing pack located on the underbelly of the Grunt suit. If it did not die on impact from the bullets, it would die from suffocation. Turning the Assault Rifle so it was trained on the other Grunts, he squeezed the trigger. It made a sound that resembled gas escaping into the air. Looking down at the ammo counter, he noticed he was out of ammo, and he had no more spare packs.

"Damn…" He cursed, as he made a hasty backstep march, an elegant and sharp purple blast hit the ground near his foot, as he then turned and began hiding behind the rock as the Grunts peppered his hiding place with plasma fire. The soldier looked at his armament his currently envoyed, ducked from the fire from the sniper Jackal and the two Grunts. He only had one grenade left out of his arsenal, but that might do the trick. He raised his head, and cursed again as he noticed they were too far apart away from each other, retreating back to his cover. His eyes darted up, as he grew a smile while he retreated his head back to his hiding place.

What he noticed was a rock pile, above the Jackal and the Grunt's position. It was wide enough so that if the man threw the grenade behind the rock pile, it could collapse onto the Grunts and kill them. He cocked his arm, grenade in hand, and with his fore fingers squeezed the button that prepped the grenade for detonation, and threw it with all of his strength.

The brown object soared into the sky, whirling and twirling while the Grunt's noticed that it flew over them, and they chuckled before opening fire once again, thinking the human had missed them on accident. The grenade landed behind the stone pile, as it rolled closer to the mass of stone and quarry.

It exploded, causing the rocks to fly off the small cliff that was above the Grunts. The chunks of dirt and hard stone fell above the Grunts, killing them instantly as the rocks crushed their suits so badly that it compressed their body massed to flatter-than-usual surfaces. The Jackal's body was simply decompressed, as organs exploded within as they were flattened. It was an ugly site. Suddenly, the environment went dark, as then green lines appeared around a black and dark room.

The man took off his helmet, and revealed a handsome yet suave face, with jet black hair to compliment the exact opposite of the UNSC poster child. He was tall, and his body mass resembled a muscular yet not overly muscled man. He smiled at the mirror across the black room, which had the face of Zander Thompson peering from the insides, where the Control Room for the Hologram Simulator was located.

"How'd I do?" The man asked.

"Better than Matthiesson, Lancaster. I guess you have filled the role of demolitions even without a charge. Good job, you made the team."

"Thanks, Chief." He responded. Zander was not the real 'Chief', but his rank and job still qualified for that role. Being the Mustering Petty Officer often had its perks, as Zander once said. He smiled as Dave waved a hand, before leaving the room. Zander's smiled dropped almost immediately as he looked to his left.

To his left was Rebecca, but she was wearing a grey jumpsuit, with her last name and her codename: 'Stryker'. Her arms folded across her chest, she only nodded in agreement of Zander's statement. That was when a knock on the control room for the Training Room diverted their attention. The door slid open, and stepped in a man.

The man had a flattop of blonde hair, and had a face that once probably could of conveyed happiness, but now showed no emotion. Rebecca probably concluded it of ONI's training tactics.

"Mam, Lieutenant Junior Class William Holtz, reporting for duty." He said, with no bravado or cheer inside the cold shell. His hand went to a brisk salute, and stood there motionless as Rebecca and Zander looked him over. After a minute of silence, save the clicking and computer sounds, Rebecca gave him a salute.

"Colonel Redwing said I could forgo the training and give you a demonstration." He said, softly in a once loving voice that was now too, cold and hard. With a nod from Rebecca, Will looked to his right and looked intensely at the notepad that Rebecca had left on the nearby computer. It suddenly levitated, before it made a loop-de-loop as it descended back into its original spot.

"Psi Ops?"

"Correct, Chief Thompson." Will replied, soft and hard, as he stared into the man's eyes. For a while, nothing was spoken until the sound of Rebecca clearing her throat.

"So, Lieutenant, did you meet Lieutenant Colonel Gallagher yet?"

"Yes, I have. He told me to report to you."

"Since Colonel Redwing told you not to perform the training drills, you made hit the bunks, and get some sleep. Big mission in the next three days, Lieutenant Junior Grade. On the mission, sleep is a prize. Use that prize sparingly now."

Without a word, the man brought his hand to one, perhaps agitated, salute. Rebecca returned it, before he made an about face and exited the room. Zander breathed a sigh of relief.

"I never trusted those psychics, especially ones in the Naval Intelligence Sector. Worse, I don't trust that guy either. How the hell did he enter the program again?"

"He's a pilot, and we're short of private pilots. He had letters of recommendation from Commandant Padwell, which surprised me because he is a psychic, and a letter from Lord Hood himself doesn't usually go with a Psycho." Rebecca told Zander as she leaned against the nearby computer terminal. A Psycho is the term for a Naval Intelligence officer within the Psi-Ops program, referred to the psycho term because most had weird personalities.

"You're sure he's a Psycho? I've seen Psychos, and I can definitely specify that his character doesn't tell me that he's one of them."

"He's too quiet, I know. But, he could do that trick. That's enough for me. Mission briefing at oh eight hundred hours. Be there" Rebecca said, picking up her notepad. She smiled at Zander one more time, before she made a bee-line towards the door. The door was on automatic hydraulics, which meant it opened for anyone close to the proximity unless it was in lockdown. She stepped through, and made a turn around the entrance to the door, walking down a hallway.

Currently, they were on station on board the UNSC BB-21 United States of America, the newest ship and class to the UNSC ship designs. The Battleship was the largest ship in the fleet, barely within mass regulations to go through Slipspace, and had a impressive armament of eight MAC cannons, and twenty Havoc Missile pods, powerful missiles that were faster and thrice as powerful as the Archer Missiles. The United States was the only one in its class, however, since it cost a fortune to build and arm the ship, let alone pay the personnel onboard the ship.

When the Spectre unit was first assigned to the United States, Rebecca was stunned when she first walked her hallways. Now, she was still impressed, but that awe feeling washed itself away. She came to the elevator, circular and open to personnel. She stepped in, her fingers pressing the numbers 3 and 4, meaning Deck 3, Level 4. Soon, gravity pushed her down as the elevator shot upwards for a brief second, before it suddenly stopped. She was here.

The door opened to the biggest hallway she saw. Her eyes darted to the men and women of the military units that had their barracks here. Level 4 was the Barracks, for both the Marines onboard and the Spectre unit. The only person she recognized was Jonah Matthiesson, the driver for the team, and Ensign Anthony Davis. Anthony was tall, six foot three, and had blonde hair cut in a flattop. He had a suave form to him, and was particularly handsome. He already had a reputation for being a bad boy, and was probably the most guy that girls on the ship had their eyes on. Anthony's job in Spectre was the team's field medic, and was the senior advisor to Lieutenant Commander Gallagher's medical officers.

"Hey Stryker!" She heard the gleeful cheer of Anthony's words, as he waved at her. Smiling, Rebecca walked forward, but she cut him off at the last second.

"Briefing's in oh eight hundred hours. Get some sleep, all of you."

The briefing room was small in nature, but the meetings it sometimes held in its walls were huge by comparison. Right now, only three people were inside its walls at the moment, waiting for the troops to file in. Standing in front of a long table, with enough chairs for twenty people on each side, was Lieutenant Colonel Anton Gallagher, in his Marine BDU, with Rebecca sitting down in the first chair on the right of Gallagher, papers in her hands, and a man wearing the Marine BDU uniform himself. On his BDU was the nametag: RAZAK.

The man, Lieutenant Jean Razak, was a man of average build, but for his rank he looked old. He was at least forty five, with thin hair that was once red but now was going grey. His face was tired looking, like it had seen more battles than the man had cared for, and his eyes, they were different. Rebecca could barely even look at him, the eyes just held too much death and sadness for her.

Apparently, Gallagher did not feel the same way.

"Jean, its good you found this. I'm surprised your Psycho didn't find it first." Anton said, making small talk as he looked over at Jean, a smile on his face. Jean, who surprised Rebecca, smiled back.

"Carl is better than most Psychos I know, Anton. At least he's able to keep up with the enemy around me."

"Ooh. Ouch. That hurt." The Marine replied, with a smile. From Rebecca's limited readings of their files, they both graduated from the same college, West Browning University in Michigan, and fought together in the same unit against pirates until six years before the attack on Harvest. Gallagher proceeded up the chain of command, while Jean Razak left the service to teach. He was enlisted, and given a commission because of his command experience and his combat prowlness. The major difference, however, was the mechanical forearm and hand that Jean Razak now wore due from a plasma sword fight with an Elite. The report did not go into detail, but somehow Jean Razak managed to use electrical wiring to fry the Elite's shield systems, causing it to overload in an electrical-caused explosion, killing him and disabling the forearm and hand of his right arm.

The little thought of Gallagher going up the chain of command that popped up in her mind she nearly regretted it. She remembered hearing about the Battle of Wolf V, a planet in the Wolf Major system about twenty two light-years away from Reach. He led an armored battalion into combat, with only him and two other tanks escaping the battle and trap. Naturally, ONI, and moreover Brigadier General William Ackerson, blamed him for the actions and demoted him from the new rank in the United Nations Space Command 'Commodore' to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. The fact that he was not dishonorably discharged was because of Admiral Hood and William's brother Major General Edward Ackerson.

"Kidding aside Anton, I want to know what the boys upstairs want to do with us."

"You've haven't read the report?"

"Not yet. You usually add little snippets of action into it that always causes me to smile. Today, I shall not smile. Instead, I shall remain vigilant to the cause of not laughing. And I mean, today I will be like a rock."

"Good, because what you found is so serious, I cannot make a joke about it."

"That's what you also said about the mission to Alpha Centauri, to reclaim that planet. Then, near the end you slipped in something about mutant clowns and how they molest little Grunt babies with dead bunny feet and Colon Blow."

"That was an entirely different issue, Ackerson wanted to come along, remember?"

Dawning comprehension was drawn on Jean's face.

"Oh yeah! I remember Zooliger coming behind him and yelling 'Oh my god, the Mutant Clowns! They've got their dead bunny feet! They've got their shit all on the walls! Run!' and boy, did that scare the piss out of Ackerson!" Jean yelled, roars of laughter erupting from Jean's and Anton's mouth.

"Good times, Jean. Good times…"

The door opened, and in filed down the men and women of the United Nations Space Command's elite and special warfare units. They were very different, with the Spectre units on the right side of Gallagher looking like tired yet happy and good humored soldiers. The men and woman on the left side of Gallagher looked like tired souls, their happiness taken away from fights. However, this reminded Rebecca of her old times fighting the Covenant, you're always better off duty than on duty.

Besides, if anything the Recon units have more experience than most of the Spectre people, they were the first to use the Combat Suit, and they saw the most action of all of the Special Forces units currently enrolled with the United Nations Space Command Armed Forces, or the U-Saf as it was called.

"Good morning, gentlemen, and ladies. Due to the data found from Private First Class Edward Collins on Hydoria Prime, Fleet COM has ordered a special operation into the planet. At the very moment, only three officers excluding us know about the program. That is Fleet Admiral Hood, Vice Admiral Preston Cole, and Brigadier General James Ackerson."

At the sound of the name, most of the men except for Holtz moaned, but Rebecca knew that Holtz did not have much love for Ackerson either by the sound of his short sigh.

"The mission is of serious nature, and shall not be talked about to anyone except for the fore mentioned officers and yourselves. Now, that malarkey is out of the way. Let's begin:

"Three months ago, Private First Class Edward Collins and his Marine Recon unit went into jungle recon. From the data we've gathered, he was ambushed by creatures we have not encountered. However, Mister Collins was able to take out two of the creatures with an SMG, but he had run of ammo, and fled until he was dismembered. Now, the purpose…"

Gallagher continued, but Rebecca stopped paying attention. Instead, her eyes went to the line of Recon men and woman that were sitting there.

Her eyes first went to the man sitting next to Razak, a tall man with brown hair and a rather handsome face, the last name 'RICO' written on his BDU. However, he was only a Private First Class, and apparently was Razak's aide de camp by appearance. In the hands were a small stack of papers, briefing information most likely. She smiled faintly as she moved her eyes to the next name.

This man had blonde hair, but seemed bigger than the other. She noticed that this man had a slight belly, and a pissed off look to his face as he gripped a pencil. Wearing his BDU, Rebecca could clearly see the name 'BRUTTO' on his uniform, and the Sergeant's stripes clearly shown on his arm. She moved her eyes on.

Now her eyes rested on another man. This man had red hair, and a complexion that reminded her of a Texan. His blue eyes seemed to conflict with his red hair, and the scar that extended from his chin up to his left eyelid. He also appeared in the way that Razak had, with a deep sorrow yet a funny complexion and a hidden shield of emotions. Rebecca's eyes then went to the Corporal's stripes on his arm, and with the stenciled name 'GOSSARD' on his BDU.

The other woman, Isabel Flores, was in Sickbay right now, and enjoying quiet R and R with the hospital's resting places.

"Also, I have some news to report. UNSC Ground Forces are now designated 'Mobile Infantry' and will be referred to as such. Navy's the same, so no new fancy name for Spectre."

A murmur of fake moans went into the room, causing smiles from both sides of the briefing room.

"Spectre, you have received four new members. First up is Nova Anmei'ee, an Elite from the Praxium Protectorate. Her transfer from her army is to train Special Forces units on how we do it ourselves. Zanka, Rebecca, was pulled and is on leave on Earth for additional training, so don't expect him to come back soon. But, as far as I care, they're both permanent.

"Second is Lukas Van Heilienburg, a native of Bonn. He is your radioman and logistics operator, as well as the new supply officer for both Recon Squad 4 and Spectre Team 12. He's also one of the survivors from the German Campaign two years ago on Earth."

The German Campaign was an operation to retake Germany from the Covenant when it was invaded by the Covenant a second time. Twelve Mechanized Infantry units were sent in to attack the Covenant forces and retake Germany from their hands. The major battle that took place was the Battle of Hill 312, a hill twenty two miles west of Berlin where two forces, the 21st Mechanized Infantry Division with its support unit, the 5th Army fought with Covenant forces led by Praetor Elysian, a Brute with a nasty disposition. The Humans won, but the only remains were two tanks and twelve men after an orbital bombardment by the Covenant Ship Reconciliation's Pride.

"The third newest member is Lieutenant Junior Grade Vladimir Antonavich Baranov. Vladimir was one of the Russian men and women who volunteered to cross the Volga River on old boats to retake the city. He is a Covenant vehicle operator, and also proficient with Covenant plasma weapons and flying vehicles.

"Finally, a new member to Spectre is also a former member himself. When Commander Richard Henderson comes in, you treat him with proper respect and the attitude, else Wolf will surely come and kill you in your sleep. And I am not joking. Chief Zander, you are no longer Team One commander, due to the fact that Wolf has had more experience than you and he is a higher rank. And, Zander! Stop whining!"


"That's right. Now, listen up. Get some rest, but be prepared for drill at oh nine hundred hours tomorrow. Teamwork will be tested, so better prepare. Now," He said, clearing his throat as he then straightened his back.

"When I give you the command to be dismissed, you will be dismissed! Men, dismissed!"


Spectre: The Hydorian Conflict: Part 3: Insertion
Date: 19 May 2006, 3:26 pm

"John, get the team ready in five." Razak ordered, with Rico nodding in agreement as he picked up his weapon. Jean Razak smiled as Rico turned around, the mere thought of Johnny ordering a squad was new but he knew he had to. However, it would not be easing since the death of Doc over a span of a couple of months. It shook them all, but it shook Brutto, the Ship Sergeant, the most. He was harden, mean, unforgiving. True, he wasn't exactly the opposite, but he was not as mean and would occasionally let things slide, but now, Razak just didn't know. He hoped he would come out of it, but that was asking the impossible at the moment.

Across from the troops on the side of the Arckangel VTOL were the Spectre men. David Lancaster silently slept, with Jonah leaning against seat, his eyes closed and his breathing steady. The Elite, Nova Anmei'ee, wore black armor to match with the special suits that the Humans wore. She was not sleeping, but however was remaining perfectly still, thinking beyond the moment. Vladimir Antonavich was sleeping in his seat, next to Lukas as he too slept soundly. Zander was not sleeping, but was pre-occupied with thoughts as he held a book in his hands, The Message To Garcia seen on its border. William was not sleeping, and not awake. He was in a quasi-state between the two, resting but aware of his senses. The only one truly awake was Wolf.

Richard Henderson was originally born Luke Edward Henderson, and lived on Terra in Ohio farm country, helping his father and brother with the farming and live stock. When he wanted to join the United Nations Space Command at the age of sixteen, he was not allowed by his parents and he gotten himself into a fierce fight with his father, ending his relationship with them. He soon left and entered the service. And look at me now…

Luke had scars upon his face, seen from his armor's view plate, but his armor also had the special symbol of a lion, a spear in its hind but a piece of meat in its jaws. This was the symbol for the Honor De Exordinaire, a French award given to men and women who fought in two battles as a Special Forces member and was wounded each time. This was one of the highest honors to receive, since in order to earn the award you must have a record of honor and valiant service, and a record of leaving no man behind. The award to Luke, however, meant nothing right now.

His mind had been shot to Hell since the last Spectre engagement, with him and Vanessa leading the then active Spectre unit into the final battle of the Covenant-Human war, with the Spectre units killing the Prophet of Justice. However, all but him, Vanessa, and Kenneth Idaho, Callsign 'Warsaw', were the only ones who survived the operation, besides their mission assistant Daniel.

In fact, Luke thought, Danny's probably the assistant attachment for this operation too. He always thought of Daniel as a little coward, with a smile and a disposition to fight. When he was on the planet, however, Daniel proved his worth by shooting and killing the rebellious Barry Charles. He then flew a Pelican into the breech and saved him and the other two Spectre 'Veterans'...

I owe him my life... He thought, and a small gasp escaped his lips. I will thank him when I get the chance… He thought to himself, before he looked around the room, trying to find things to take the mind off the mission. His eyes scanned the room, until they fell upon Jean Razak, who gave him the thumbs up. Wolf returned it, receiving the signal on their personal communications that officers had to each other within the unit.

"How's Anton holding up?" He heard Razak's voice almost immediately as he flipped the communication's switch on his arm.

"You know him. He was once a Marine, he sweeps it under a rug and moves on. I've tried to get him out of his funk, but then again, you do know Gallagher."

Soft laughter, in chuckles, came in his reply.

"Yes, I do sir."

"Come on, Razak, you've done more than me and you actually got out of the service. I should be saying 'sir' to you."

More chuckles.

"I know you should, and you should still be with another unit. Why are you back?" He asked, his tone changing right in the middle when he spoke, a drastic change in his happy tone to a serious tone with the snap of a finger.

"Gallagher asked me back, and I said I would. Just this mission or maybe I should help out with the rest of the tour. Either way, it's not long."

"Something tells me you're here for a reason undisclosed. I'll find it out, sooner or later, so let's leave the matter at that."

Wolf's spine tingled with a bit of fear, and annoyance. It's not my fault Section Eight doesn't fill out those who don't need to know.

"Good afternoon, troops. I am Daniel Jackson, mission assistance for this operation, and I will be your eye in the sky. I will be monitoring heart rates, and give comments if needed. Good luck and Godspeed." A voice in his suit said. Jean's private comlink turned off, which clicked a switch in Wolf's head that Lieutenant Razak did not want to talk further. Rico shouted orders to his men, while Vladimir did the same to the Spectre soldiers. All of the soldiers within the Arckangel hooked a circular clipper onto a wire, standing up with Wolf the first nearest the bulkhead door.

"Thirty seconds to drop, Spectre. Forty five seconds to drop, Roughnecks." Daniel's voice came into the intercoms for his suit, and the rest of the crew. The back bulkhead door to the Arckangel's cargo bay opened, rushes of wind entered the Arckangel as men hoped their device would stick to the wire.

Wolf counted down the seconds, but felt the glare that his men were giving him. They were depending on him to do his job, he was an original Spectre. Eight, seven, six, five…

"Sang the glory of the soldiers, the glory of the Soldats Vaillants!" Wolf yelled in the all unit TAC-COM, before he saw the green light next to him flash. He pushed himself out of the Arckangel, the force of the jump made him close his eyes, though he knew they were protected by the helmet he wore.

He felt strangely at peace. Feeling the wind behind him was a feeling he only felt three times in his life as a career officer, and the other two involved him getting shot at by the men on the ground. This time, however, he let the setting sun shine on his falling figure, before the altitude meter reached nine hundred feet on his helmet's HUD.

The parachute sprang out immediately, with Wolf pushing up his arms to grab onto the parachute harness, the parachute now in his immediate control. Wolf pulled to the left as the parachute caught the low winds, but the parachute complied as Wolf aimed for a stretch of dirt that had cover along its pathway.

He broke into a run as he touched the land. While he was jogging, he clicked off his main chute and pressed a button on his suit, which released a smaller cargo storage area open, dropping a small reserve chute. The cargo area closed, with Wolf already securing his weapon and flipping the gun's safety to off. He checked the scope of the BR55, and smiled in satisfaction.

"Wolf, got an enemy patrol coming up your way. Reading…One Brute, two Jackals, and a squad of Drones flying air cover. Wait…scratch that, the Drones are heading towards Rico and Gossard's position, they got automatic weapons so they should be able to contain them if they're discovered." Daniel's voice came into his helmet, to which Wolf jumped into the nearby trench that ran alongside the road.

He held his breath, but then relaxed slightly as he breathed slowly. He forgot about the suit! It could take a lot of punishment before it perished, which is why he loved the idea so much. He waited in the trench, his suit muddy with natural camouflage as the Brute came around the corner of his eye, looking up from the trench. He reached for his BR55, but he noticed it had its ammo cartage missing. It must of fell out during his descent into the ditch. He cursed himself silently as he saw it on the side of the dirt path.

"This is Wolf, my ammo is out of reach. Reading hot on enemies. I need help, ASAP."

"This is Holtz. I read you, coming in."

The Brute heard the noise of the Arckangel's engine, as it turned his head to face it. The massive engines blew air into the faces of the Jackals and Brute, but they each just looked at it. However, something odd happened. The massive Brute stood still with a blank look on its face, before it fell to the ground, clutching his head as the two Jackals looked in fear, cowering a bit. Suddenly, the Brute's head swelled to the size of a medium sized pumpkin, before it exploded with an odd 'Pop! sound. The Arckangel then ascended back into the air, and turned towards the south before it zoomed off.

The two Jackals turned around and sprinted away, but then they dropped to the ground almost immediately as they did so, loud sounding cracks heard in the air.

"All clvear, sir. I got them good." The voice was Lukas', the deep Germanic accent imbedded in his English almost clashing greatly with his tone. Wolf smiled, before he clicked in a clip of ammo.

"Lukas, Arr Eee O your position and hook up with me."

"Rvoger, Wolf. I'm coming in onto your six."

The complex's doors slowly opened slightly, and soon a pair of fingers on each side of the door, one of the pair was human and the other was alien. Soon, in a matter of seconds, the doors were half-way opened, and the alien figure was that of Nova and the human was Rico, only by his rank and name on his suit was he identified. With effort, finally, the doors were fully opened and the rest of the Spectre Team filed in.

The main reception room was a mess, as so to speak. Filled with over-climbing vines and such, it appeared to be overtaken by rust and the jungle in absence of a cleaning and maintenance crew. In the middle of the floor were bodies, all of them Covenant by nature, and one human.

Rico and Henderson were the first to enter, both being point-men for their team, and such as they made a clean sweep of the room. Luke pressed his com once, and Johnny did the same for him. The teams filed in, with Henderson and Rico looking at the bodies in silence.

"Jesus Christ…" Bruno said, shaking his head as he saw the pile of bodies in the middle of the floor. Gossard turned his helmeted head away from the assemblage.

"Look at the human and that one Brute by the corner. They have rather large insertions into their heads." Nova comments, bringing her Plasma Carbine down. Ensign Davis, perhaps the lowest ranking man in the group second to Nova in terms of United Nations Space Command Regulations but perhaps one of the more important men on either team because of his profession as a Medic, bent down to his knees and inserted his index and middle finger into the hole in the head of the human. An odd facial feature appears on his face, before he walks to the other one and repeats the process.

"Absence of brains. Only partial matter left. Whatever hit these guys was either hungry, or trying to absorb matter itself."

"Excuse me?" Lancaster asks, in his deep and crass voice.

"An alien bug species was discovered on Centauri VI with some of the traits I'm seeing here. Each bug had a long incisor, using to make a hole into the victim and suck out all of the matter from a small hole within the incisor itself. Before, when we caught some, they acted like any other stupid bug species. But, when conditions are set upon it after it had newly acuired brain matter, it acted differently than it did before. It expected the normal things to happen as would via regulations inside the training session. As if it learned how to adapt to the enviroment."

"How do you know this?" Gossard asks, quietly and in a calm voice.

"I was a member of ONI's Section Six, Medical Research. They produced an enzyme that you find in one of the vitamins you eat on a daily basis, I believe it was a nuclear element, and it broke down after awhile, but it helped with your digestion system."

"Beside the point, Doctor, what happened here is somewhat the same?"

"Nearly. The incision here is larger, and it seems that whatever did this was a hell of a lot bigger than the two foot aliens on Centauri Six. I would bet my reputation on it...if I still had it to begin with."

The team exchanges glances between each other, which was then Henderson and Nova knew that the team was getting lanky.

"We need to cover the base. Me and Nova will head down the first corridor, Lancaster and Heilienburg will take the second, Holtz and Zander can take the third. Lieutenant Razak, take your men and Davis, make sure you divide them up. I need them to cover our six while we handle this."

"Excuse me, sir, but why do you guys get to find action?" Rico asked, holding his MA5B in a tight position around his hands. Henderson smiled, shouldering his BR55 onto his shoulder with the self-made strap.

"We're Spectres. We always hide in the shadows."


Spectre: The Hydorian Conflicts: End of Prologue
Date: 23 June 2006, 6:21 am

      "Wolf?" Lukas asked, in his Germanic accent that rather was forced off his tongue. His voice procured over the radio at a mild tone, but somewhat surprised Wolf. He tapped Nova's shoulder, giving her the signal to stop in the Medical Bay, the room they were currently in, as he grabbed his radio.
      "Yeah, Lukas?" Henderson replied in a barely audible whisper, which explained him holding the radio close to his mouth. Nova slumped into a crouching position, her Covenant Carbine snug into her shoulder as she kept the watch in front of them, which happened to be the operating room.
      "Me and Lancaster here found another dead body. Brute, and it's brains are missing like the rest of them. I don't know if this is a relief, or something like a harbinger of things to come."
      "I'm not liking this either. Me and Nova are checking on the Medical Bay. What is your position?"
      "Deck twelve. Mechanical Engineering."
      "All teams, report."
      "This is Razak. Rico and Gossard are keeping watch down by the main doors; Davis is going into the Secondary Medical Bay, while Brutto and myself are in the Officer's Lounge."
      "This is Zander. Me and Holtz are coming up on the Hanger Deck…Entering the main hanger now, will report when inspection is complete."
      "Roger that, Chief." He deactivated his radio, then looked at Nova. With a simple notion with his head towards the Operating Room, Nova moved silently towards the door. With a kick of her leg, she bashed the door opened as Henderson followed suit. His own weapon was trained upon the area in front of him, but even his senses told him to stop as he viewed the scene in front of him.
      The huge beast he saw in the microfilm of the jungle run was eating upon a human body. To Luke's eyes, he was chewing with his giant vertical pincers upon the body of a dead doctor, his pale and open stare frightening the pair while they viewed the hole within his head.
      Luke, almost immediately regaining his senses, then fired upon its back. The fire erupted from his BR55's barrel into the back of the beast, which almost immediately turned around in a complete one eighty degree turn. This was when Luke met his eyes with the one, ugly and black eye that the creature had. With a roar, it then broke into a sprint as it sprained across the room.
      Nova, with one shot, fired a small round into the eye of the beast. The way she was standing was at a certain enough angle to fire one of the rounds straight into the brain of the beast. In mid-run it collapsed in front of Luke, toppling over as it slammed into a table, knocking over the chemical components that were upon it.
      The body began to melt under the volatile chemicals, but Luke was not minding that as he slumped down towards the floor, his body feeling exhausted.
      "Are you alright, Luke?" Nova asked, extending out her hand to help him up. Luke, nodding in the affirmative, grabbed the hand as she pulled up. He was back on his feet, but then clicked on his radio
      "Lancaster here. Lukas is out cold, and we fought one of those things from the video file…It takes one burst into the optical region, and it's down."
      "We found that out too. Is he okay?"
      "This is Davis, heading for your position pronto. Wolf, I suggest we prep one of the Pelican's in the launch bay."
      "Sound advice, Davis. Holtz, did you…"
      Suddenly, Holtz's voice cut through the radio static, his radio being more powerful."I did, Commander. Mister Jackson and Jonah are bringing up the Arckangel, and Chief Thompson is currently providing cover fire while I am bringing him i—
      "Damn bugs! Come get some! Come get some!"
      Wolf looked at Nova, and the shared glance of a mission completed went through their eyes. Wolf then doubled clicked his microphone, making it an all unit TAC-COM.
      "This is Commander Henderson, to all Spectre and Roughneck units. The mission is a success, and we are extracting…now! Get to Deck Two, and into the Hanger Bay. Only one entrance, and we should be able to hold them off there!" He said, turning off his communication's tab as he looked at Nova.
      The Elite was on her knees, with a medical saw as she quickly cut into the skin of the beast itself. Taking a vial, she took the dripping green blood that was slowly oozing out of the saw cut, and had the dripping blood ooze into the vial itself. She looked over to Henderson with a nodding look, as she was standing up with the vial now in one of her protective suit pockets.
      "Mission Accomplished. Let's get the hell out of here…"

      "Get down!" Lancaster yelled, while Jonah instinctually jumped to his stomach as bullets from Lancaster's Assault Rifle Mark 2 shot out into the eye of one Bug who happened to be behind Jonah. The frail pilot looked up at Lancaster, who grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back into the large Hanger Bay. One Bug followed, which caused its death by Lancaster as bullets, again, shot out into its eye.
      "Jesus, Flyboy! You're gonna get yourself killed!" Lancaster roared, pushing him into the Troop Bay of the Arckangel, as he fired off rounds from his rifle onto the charging enemy. In the back of the Arckangel, near the cockpit itself was Davis hooking the onboard IV to Lukas. A groan escaped his lips, a large wound from his stomach bled slowly.
      "Where in God's name is Henderson?!" Lancaster bellowed, turning his head towards Razak, his rifle reading empty. Lancaster, ignoring Razak's "I don't know!" threw his Mark 2 at one of the advancing Bugs in a hooked arc, causing the butt of the rifle to slam into its eye. It reared up, falling backwards as Luke and Nova entered the Hanger Bay. They were firing widely, shooting the Bugs while the rest of the team cleared the way ahead of them.
      Nova fell to the ground, tripping over a dead Bug's corpse as she was dead-sprinting down the access-way. Wolf, seeing her fall, immediately about faced and grabbed her forearm, jerking her upwards as he pushed her into the troop bay. Grabbing onto the rail on the port side of the troop bay, he used his other hand to fire off rounds into the Bugs below.
      The Arckangel flew into an ascent pattern, as Lancaster pulled Henderson in before the bay doors closed tightly, making the hold air tight. The men sighed and relax themselves, knowing a mission completed was always a good feeling. Vladimir sat on one of the chairs, while Rico sat right next to him. Razak and the rest of the Roughnecks sat next to each other, so Wolf and Lancaster made a beeline next to Rico.
      "This is Daniel Jackson. I want to inform you on a job well done, and a possible three day pass once you arrive back at Sanctuary. Good job, boys. Let's hope we do better next time out." The voice of Daniel spoke in their communication's hub, causing a few whoops and cheers.
      For Wolf, it was just another day on the job.

      UNSC Skynet Battle Station
      Planet Sanctuary; Systech Corp Design. Number: GQ-756635
      Troop Battalions: 5
      UNSCMC/UNSCN Combined Station
      2:56 USNC-Delta Time

      The debriefing room was cold, unforgiving, and at the very least quite down right scary. At least, that's how it is always for David Lancaster. He sat in his chair, along the long and yet skinny table that lead up to Lieutenant Commander Gallagher, Lieutenant Razak, and Admiral Donovan Hugh. Hugh was a quiet and somewhat odd man, when Lancaster looked upon him, at least. His face was emotionless, yet his eyes darted across the room, looking for something to take his eyes and just place them on.
      "Mission was accomplished, thanks to Wolf and Nova on their quick thinking. We got the information that we needed, but that was the good news. Admiral?" Gallagher began the briefing, but Hugh stood up, and coughed.
      "Two days ago, we found a planet within former Covenant-held space that was, under the Office of Naval Intelligence, covered with trillions upon trillions of those beasts you found upon Hydoria. The planet is now under quarantine, and we have alerted the populace through Section II's propaganda campaigns."
      "You think it's wise to alert the populace about this super-bug?"
      "Good question, Lieutenant Harrison. And yes, we think we can. Here…" Hugh spoke, taking out his briefcase. Placing it upon the table and flipping open the switches, the briefcase snapped open. He took out a picture of a long, elegant ship in high orbit around the planet Hugh mentioned. The planet had a purple atmosphere, but huge rolling fields of black were present.
      "Sir, those black fields, are they…"
      "Arachnids. Yes. That ship is another one of those things, except for the fact that it loaded and unloaded Arachnid warriors on a few more planets near Sol. We're going to stop this threat right now, and we can't keep it a secret for long. Someone always blabs, and someone will. We're alerting the Praxium Protectorate, and we shouldn't have a trash bag of allies in this war."
      "Thank you, Admiral Hugh. Spectres, Roughnecks, get some sleep. Have fun, contact your families. I'm giving you two weeks leave to do this, then we head out for war."