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Zanzibar-The Waterworks: Part 8
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<hockyfreak5@yahoo.com>
Date: 22 June 2004, 7:39 PM

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      Author's Note: I know that all you guys apparently really liked my 343GS series. So I'll make this short. Basically, I covered everything I wanted to cover in the first chapter. I tried to make a second chapter, and it looked like CRAP. And I'm not kidding, it looked like crap when you crap it, eat it, then crap it a second time and let it sit in the toilet for a week. So I just want to know if you guys want me to work a little harder and make the chapter better, or just leave the first chapter and call it a single. Leave a comment. Or, if you want to route all your spam to me because you are bitter and cynical, the address is hockyfreak5@yahoo.com.

      Also, I know this chapter had no action whatsoever in it, but I'll make it up to you the next one. Thanks for reading, and gimme some feedback on errors and junk.


      John was rocked back onto his heels as a three round burst from a battle rifle dropped his shields by a quarter. The blur, he quickly realized, was a human! "All Spartans, hold your fire!"
      The order came to late for Grace, however, who had already let a salvo from her own rifle leave the barrel. The active camo sputtered, and the SpecOperative fell onto his back. The rounds themselves left deep dents in his chest's armor plating, but it held.
      "Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed. "All ops, hold position!" He walked around behind John's cover and looked at the Spartan in awe as he rose to his full height. "Dear God in heaven..." he muttered. John could understand why. He and his Spartans were all at least seven feet tall.
      Grace swiveled around to see another three operatives appear out of the shadows, holding their rifles in an "at the ready" position. They cautiously approached John and his team, which was common-Anybody under the command and acting on the orders of Colonel Ackerson almost always looked at the SPARTAN-II Project as a flaw.
      "Figures," muttered one of them. "We never had the priority with the other Admiralty."
      "Damn it," whispered Linda on a team COM channel. "What is Ackerson getting onto?"
      John swore when he found the selfish Colonel, he would make sure he was discharged from the Navy.
      "Active camouflage, in perfect working condition," said Cortana in awe-or was it admiration. "It looks like Ackerson's bunch were able to reverse-engineer it from the Covenant remains."
      The first man John had run into looked him straight in the visor without flinching. "I am Second Petty Officer Clarence Williams. I assume you're here on Hood's orders?"
      "That's right, Officer," replied Cortana, before John could respond. "Moreover, we have priority in this mission. The operative's eyes narrowed, then widened in surprise as he watched his eyepiece HUD. Apparently, he wasn't expecting whatever Cortana was showing him. She continued. "This is a direct order from HighCom, and furthermore, Spartan-117 outranks you. Therefore, we have tactical command over this mission...over you." John watched, opened his mouth, then shut it. Cortana was doing great without his help. He watched the SpecOps team as Cortana's contribution sank in. "So I am ordering you to relinquish command, and withdraw your forces from this mission. Is that clear?"
      One of them took off his helmet and threw it. "Crap! I should've known that you freaks were gonna kick us off this op!"
      Williams didn't like this statement either. He leaned closer to John and sneered. "I don't care whether your orders came from a three-year-old playing war or God himself! I am not stopping what I started!" He pulled his pistol and pointed it at John's chest.
      Instantly, all his Spartans had their rifles trained on Williams and his men. John knew they could kill the ops before they had even thought about pulling the trigger.
      He waved them down. The UNSC needed every man they could get to help fight.
      Faster than lightning, John grabbed the pistol and ripped it out of the SPO's grasp, then bent the barrel at a ninety-degree angle to the handle. He returned it, butt first, to the still shocked officer. "What were you saying?"
      Linda stifled a laugh over the COM. Williams was shaking like a dog, but he remained resolute.
      John sighed. He hated live wires, especially Ackerson's live wires. They never quit dogging him and his Spartans. This was that SOB's fault, the self-serving bastard...
       "Listen, I know you and your men are on this op, and want to do it. It's a privilege to serve for the UNSC. I know that your men have been through hell getting in here, and getting out will be worse. But my team is more capable than yours on this mission."
      The officer pulled out a cigarette and pulled the self-lighting tab. "We stick together. We'll be stronger as a force in one." He let out a cloud of stinking smoke. John watched in disgust; smoking was unhealthy, it limited visibility, and it clogged his motion sensors.
      "Negative, officer," replied Cortana. "A bigger team will be harder to conceal, and we need stealth on this mission. We can't go in guns blazing against a force like the one in the cavern."
      Williams laughed. "With all due respect, ma'am, me and my team were trained from our conscription to slip in and out. We were made, we were born, for this mission. And our active camo units will help," he added, patting his belt and the Marine "battery sack" that hung from it.
      John swore again, knowing it wouldn't help. Williams had stayed stubborn despite threats, negotiations, and a direct order. He was staying.
      "Agreed, then. You follow my team. But let me make this clear," John said firmly. "You will obey every one of my commands without question, and with immediacy. If you contradict any of them, I will send you back with to a court-marshal and a swift discharge. Is that clear?"
      Williams drew up to his full height and snapped a salute. "Sir, yes, sir! Me and my team will do everything we can to support you and yours!" John smiled. At least he wasn't like Locklear.
      "Alright, then." John motioned his team up, the SPO dropped his cigarette and squished the remains under his boot, and the SpecOps team disappeared from view. He noted four friendly tags remained on his motion tracker and formed an infantry square behind his Spartans.
      They waited while one of Williams' operatives punched an access code into the door control panel. "Nice work, Cortana. What the hell did you show him to shut him up?"
      He knew the AI would be grinning if she was in her holographic form. "Oh, a little something that looked like a UNSC command file. From Hood himself."
      he door slid open, and John stepped to his position as point guard. Linda followed on his left, Grace on his right, and the operatives followed behind. They took their first step into the place called Waterworks. The next moment, a plasma bolt whizzed by John's face.