In the spring of 2468, rebel activity on Harvest were at its peak. The highly trained and respected UNSC fighting force was taken by surprise at the rebel's knowledge of guerilla warfare and their understanding of the close-quarters urban environments that made up most of the battlefields of the era. The rebels called for the military to leave many of the colonies, or civilians would be targeted. This demand was ignored. On June second, gunmen raized three cities on the coast to the ground, right under their protector's noses. The following morning, against protest of its members, the chairmen of the United Nations pulled all military personnel from Harvest.
When we go out on deployments, we tell our families goodbye, take care of things that need to be done, eat out at the most expensive place we can find. We do this because we know, no matter how long our deployment lasts, maybe a week, maybe a year, we know there's a chance we might not come back. For most soldiers, the thought of not coming home scares the living shit out of them, but not us. We are elite, therefor invincible. We live by the motto: big sky, little bullet.
December 4, 2468
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
It wasn't usually hot around here, but today it was scorching. All we had on were our brown under-shirts, woodland-camo pants, and of course our boots. The week was slow, nothing out of the ordinary, just a few patrol missions. Our CO ordered us to be close to our bird because the flight might be moved up on the schedule for a training mission, but my crew and I didn't want to waste our two days of leave, so we unfurled a few lawn chairs, a cooler, and a radio and sat 'em up on top of our squadron's hangar. Good enough, I thought.
"Nice day out, isn't it?" said PFC Rodney, kicking back one last sip from his cantine.
"Yeah," I said, feeling the sweat slowly roll down the side of my face.
"B-e-a-utiful", added my co-pilot Joe with a half smoked cigar stuck between his lips.
"This waiting sucks," I mumbled, reaching over the radio for a bottle of water from the ice box, "how long until we get to shoot something?"
"Not long," Rodney answered, lying back in his chair as he pushed his sun glasses closer to his eyes.
Joe turned and gave us both this weird look, like one out of a Hollywood movie, and sternly said "we're pilots, we leave the shooting to the Rangers, Hoo-ah?" We both cracked a smile and replied with a "hoo-ah".
The three of us just dazed off to the sound of Aerosmith playing on the base inter-comm.
I was only asleep for an hour or so, but I had the strangest dream. I was on Earth, but things weren't the same. There were cars, planes, trains just as there had always been, but this was differant; I was on old Earth. I was in the desert, some old third-world city. Nobody there seemed to notice my existence. The people were walking around going about there lives, with one exception. I saw a man sitting on the floor, facing towards were a wall once stood. He wore a very familiar uniform, with two patches on his shoulder. A red, white, and blue flag was easily recognized, but the other was a little harder to understand. It was a picture of a half-man, half horse creature, with the word Night-Stalker enscribed below it. The man looked over at me, and my heart skipped a beat as I read the man's name off his vest.
I awoke with a start, sweating, and I held onto my chest to make sure my heart wouldn't burst through it. It only took a few seconds for me to realize that I was back in the real world, our barracks to be precise.
"You were makin' some pretty weird sounds man." Rodney said, standing next to the A/C vent to cool off. "C'mon, it's the staff sergeants birthday and we're taking him somewhere."
"How old is he going to be?" I asked, rubbing my eyes.
"Oh, forty, something. We'll be outside."
I took a sip from my cantine, changed into my casuals, and met Joe, Rodney, staff-sergeant Willis, and a Delta sergeant Franks that saved our asses more times than we can count.
"It's about time you showed up!" Joe said, as he threw a balled up gum wrapper at me.
"Shut up. Where are we going anyways?"
"To a bar off base, then maybe to the Movies," Replied Rodney "Joe's got the hots for one of the actresses."
"You mean one of the actors," corrected Franks, while everyone broke out into laughter, including Joe.
The four of us walked about a mile to a little shack overlooking the airfield. The place was a little ghetto, but they had good stuff. Of course it didn't matter because none of us were aloud to drink on duty, so we just stuck with peanuts, three rounds of pepsi and a half-assed birthday cake for the man of the hour. Once we cleaned out the place, we caught a cab to an old Rave in the center of town. Our movie of choice: Black Hawk Down. The movie was an oldy, it was on film, but that didn't take away from it being an awesome flick. It was the most fun we had all day, until the lights went on half way through the movie and a voice on the inter-comm blasted.
"Now here this, now here this, all men from Alpha and Bravo company of the one-sixtieth are to report to your company commanders. Get some soldiers. Get some!"
"What the fuck man?" Rodney shouted as he chucked a handful of popcorn at the silver screen.
"We're going to fucking war," replied Joe with a blank look on his face.
"Hell yeah," added Willis, "hell, yeah."
It wasn't long before we could barely hear each other over the roar of the audience in the theater, some pissed about the movie but most cheering due to the fact they were finally going to see some action.
It's funny, really.
The movie was just starting to get good.
December 4, 2468
Fort Campbell-Flight-ops briefing room
All of the officers of Alpha and Bravo company were herded into a room about the size of a highschool class-room. Once there, we were each given a folder filled with god knows what, and told that they can never leave this room.
There was a strange feeling in the air, one we have only experianced a few times before. We were excited, sure, but something was differant, I just couldn't figure it out. We soon learned curing our boredom came at a high price, too high a price. Guilt, that's what it is.
We weren't in there for five minutes when a tall man with a cocked nose and greying hair walked into the room.
"Gentlemen, three hours ago, we lost contact with our embassy in New Richmond. We sent in a recon bird to find out what's what, and they came back with these photos."
We peeled the red tape off our folders and starred at photos of blown up buildings, burning cars, and bodies in the streets.
"Intel suggests that anywhere from three-hundred thousand to one million civillians were killed."
Everyone's faces went pale white, and I struggled to force the words out of my throat.
"Who did this, sir?"
"I was getting to that, Lieutenant."
All I did was nodd accordingly.
"There was a mutiny within one of the insurgent cells on Harvest. Their commander in chief was killed in the attack, but it stirred up the hornets nest," he took off his pilot sun-glasses and threw them onto the table, "his top general is responsible for the mutiny, and we have confired reports that say he succeeded in his coup attempt. He sent his army on a rampage throughout the capital and is the man responsible for the shit you see there." He sighed scratched his head. "The UN is taking serious fire from this and is organizing a task force made up of the elite members of the UN Army to go in and fix what they broke. Tomorrow we go. You will be the first to fight gentlemen, don't let us down."
Everyone there knew that the fighting was still a ways a way, and even though we go, the UN has to get a majority vote so we can flip our safety switches off.
First to fuckin' fight