Zanzibar: The Waterworks-Chapter 11
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 28 June 2004, 2:48 AM
Author's Note: This one is a little boring, I think, but I can't help it. I'm trying to leave a little suspense to keep you guys reading! Anyways, enjoy, or whine in the comments section and refer to your own crappy series. Just kidding. OR AM I?!?! I'll leave you to ponder that...
The hallway shook and groaned in sympathy as heavy chunks of instacrete fell in droves; bedrock from above formed heaps on the floor. Soon, there was no hallway left-only a pile of rubble and stone.
Fred pulled his legs out from under a slab of concrete and stretched his legs to be sure that they weren't broken. They were fine. "Everyone okay?" he inquired.
"I'm fine, Blue One," responded Kelly.
"I'm...in a little trouble." Will sounded like he was in pain.
Fred shook his head to clear it, hoping he didn't have a mild concussion. "What's wrong, Two?"
Will replied, and Fred could hear the gritting of his teeth. "I got my legs stuck in the debris. Can't get out. Can you see me?"
Fred scanned the new wall that had trapped him, with only a locked door as his other escape alternative. "Negative, Will. Where'd you go when you got out of the way?"
"Side passage, adjacent to you. About fifteen feet away from where I saw you last."
Fred swore. Kelly was a good fifty feet in front of him, and Will was trapped without any help. He set to work on the electronics that locked the hatch in front of him. "I read, you, Blue two. Don't worry, we're on the way. Kelly, do you have any way out of your current position?"
"Yes, there's a hatch on my left. I got your position, I'll come around and get you out of there. Give me five."
Fred gave up his attempt to hotwire the keypad and sat against the rubble, utterly fatigued now that the adrenaline was fading. He hadn't gotten more than ten hours of sleep in the last week-the brass had the Spartans everywhere, trying to defend key locations on Earth. "Roger that, Blue Three. Waiting for you here." He keyed Red Team's COM freq and spoke into the channel. "Master Chief, Spartan-104 reporting in. We've got a snag over here."
The Chief holstered his plasma sword and stepped over the now headless body of a SpecOps elite. Fred's message rang clear in his helmet. "Go ahead, Fred."
"A corridor collapsed and we got separated. Spartan-087 is close to rendezvousing with me, but Will got stuck under some of the rubble. This is going to back our time schedule up a little bit. The Covenant resistance is getting stronger."
"Roger, Blue One. Recover Will and continue your mission. That reactor is as important as this one."
"Good luck, Red One."
The Chief paused. "I'm not sure if luck has anything to do with it, Fred. Spartan-117 out."
A Grunt waddled around a corner behind them and squeaked in surprise. Williams nailed it with a three round burst from his battle rifle. John snapped his COM unit to his team's channel and halted his team.
"Cortana and I have been discussing a plan on how to get in the construct once we get down to the cavern. I think this is the best chance we have, under the current circumstances, and will require extreme coordination. Go ahead, Cortana."
"Thank you, Chief," the AI replied. "This is the overhead schematic of the cave, from what I've pieced together." The 3D image floated in the corner of the Spartans' HUDs and the black operatives' eyepieces. "This river runs directly through the facility, and can get us into the cover of the structure undetected. If the Spartan team goes underwater, we don't have to cross the open area, and we get around the Covenant patrols." She highlighted the body of water.
Williams interrupted. "Ma'am, how is my team going to get to the facility? We can't breathe underwater, you know."
"Your team can activate their active camouflage units and sneak along the riverbank. Linda will be covering you from here if anything goes wrong." Cortana highlighted a precipice perched precariously above the facility. "She'll be borrowing one of your camo belts to get up there, of course."
One of the ops grumbled and handed Linda his light-bending unit. "Don't break that, or my CO will have a conniption fit."
Linda nodded and looped the belt like a bandolier over her shoulder. Cortana continued outlining. "Wait for the Chief and Grace to clear opposition so none of your men get killed. The operative that doesn't have a camouflage unit can cover our exit."
The SPO grinned. "No need, ma'am. These fancy things break a little easy, so our CO decided we needed to pack an extra." He pulled another belt out of his duffel and tossed it to his operative, who buckled it around his waist.
John didn't like the fact that the op leader didn't let him know of the spare, but let it slide. He was Ackerson's lackey, after all-you couldn't expect them to tell you anything.
"The nearest river access point is about five hundred meters to the northeast. I'll outline the route for you, Chief." The schematic of the cavern was replaced by a maze of crisscrossing tunnels which had a route marked through it in blue. John grimly advanced down the cave to whatever awaited him and his Spartans. He was afraid of what he might find...but he was ready.