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This Is Our Land - Chapter 4
Posted By: Carson Woo<chinamancarson@yahoo.com.hk>
Date: 18 July 2011, 12:01 pm

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"It is a poor soldier who insists on seeing things not as they are, but as he wants them to be. One day reality hits, and his illusions fail him, and he dies stupidly. What honor is there in that?"
—Thel 'Vadamee, in Halo: The Cole Protocol

Chapter 4 - Infiltrate

Captain Edward Buck
[34281-19203-EB] [Orbital Drop Shock Troopers Special Ops Division]
Joint Operation : THE STORM
STATUS : Active

September 8th, 2559, 2103 Hours
Elite Carrier Shadow Of Intent In Orbit Of Doisac

The trip on the space shuttle to the Shadow of Intent was disastrous. A supposed ten-minute trip turned into a seven and a half hours of waiting and with 'Romumee insulting Humanity, saying that 'Humanity would be dead if the Elites didn't rebel against the Covenant, and will be dead if one day the Elites declare a war which should be declared now.'

Romeo tried to return the insults, but was stopped by Captain Buck. Buck told him that 'Elites weren't worth the glorious Humans to correct them.' Mickey joined, insulting the Elites on using the shuttles with heavy armor to travel to surface (which caused the waiting), rather than dropping directly with Entry Pods.

Things got worse when 'Romumee introduced the Squad's newest addition, Private Aquino to the ODSTs, who seemed to be obeying the Elites rather than Buck. The Squad were angered and tried to teach Aquino a lesson, when Buck told them that his sixth sense told him that Aquino was just pretending, and his déja vú was always correct.

However, Buck must admit that Aquino looked like a rebellious  teenager, with his hair slightly over Marine Corps protocols and his helmet missing. But Buck thought that to pass the ODST selection, one must obey orders and have above-average abilities. Therefore, he settled on the idea that Aquino was just pretending.

When metal groaned and the shuttle halted, the visitors and 'Romumee exited. 'Romumee greeted his fellow Elites who stood guard at the shuttle bay, then jogged away to a gravity lift after secretly speaking with one of the two guards.

The another guard approached the ODSTs and asked for their identity chips. The Squad obeyed, and gave the Elite their chips, which were stored inside their brand new Mark II type of the LEGOLAS Powered Assault standard issue armor, which was just issued to ODSTs a few weeks ago, while other standard marines were still equipped with the Mark I ones.

The LEGOLAS armor offers a large array of features, including the Energy Shielding technology, EVA thrusters, a motion tracker and an updated radar jammer, which can be deployed along with the Active Camoflauge on stealth missions like capturing enemy leaders, disarming bombs, etc. Basically, it was just a MJLONIR Mark VI Armor, but weaker than the MJLONIR which was exclusively used by the Spartans.

The guard accepted the chips, and processed them in a computer connected to the Elite and Human military personnel library. The guard matched the data on the chips and on the library. He took samples of the ODSTs' DNA, and soon the system revealed that the ODSTs are the ones who they claimed to be.

"According to the system, you are the ones due to meet Commander R'tas 'Vadumee of the Special Operations Divison." the guard announced. "The Commander will be available in a few minutes time. Meanwhile," the Elite pointed at a gravity lift besides the one that 'Romumee travelled further inside the ship. "Please go through that lift and exit at level B3. At that level Special Operations Officer 'Zukamee will lead you to the waiting room. I will personally accompany you on the lift to ensure your safety."

The guard returned the chips which the marines slotted back into their armor. Although he knew that the guard was not ensuring his safety, and was just watching them, Buck said," Thanks," and the Squad followed the guard into the Gravity Lift. 

Once the Squad and the guard walked into the purple beam, an invisible hand pulled they up. Mickey whistled as another beam, pushed them horizontally into the level tagged as Level B3. The visitors exited while the guard continued up the lift. The marines were greeted by the officer named 'Zukamee, who introduced himself.

"Welcome to the Shadow Of Intent," 'Zukamee welcomed the marines, "I'm 'R'ais 'Zukamee, commander of the Shadow Of Intent's Security Team." The Elite extended his hand. Which Buck shook. 

"You must be Captain Buck. The Supreme Commanders and Commander 'Vadumee are expecting you." The Squad followed 'Zukamee into a large conference room, where a group of Elites equipped with purple armor along with a purple cloak that wraps around and over the shoulder cauldrons were sitting on their seats while whispering to another. The talks ended as the marines entered. 

A few Elite Ultras in fancy headdresses stood guard on both sides. Buck recognized them as the Elite Honorguards, who originally were assigned to protect the Prophets, but were reassigned to guard conference rooms where high ranking Elites were present. The Honorguards reached for their Energy Swords when the Squad entered, but quickly released the Swords after the Arbiter waved them to stand down.

An Elite wore an sliver antique armor, different from the others. Buck realized that the Elite was the Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee, the only Elite that he respects. The Captain quickly told the Squad quietly to respect the Arbiter. The Squad complied.

One with the purple armor wore a red cloak rather than a purple one, and the other Supreme Commanders seemed to have respect and fear for the red cloaked. However, Buck didn't know who was the red cloaked. 

"Commander 'Vadumee will be here soon," 'Zukamee told the Squad, and then left the room. Buck was about to ask why was there a group of Supreme Commanders, but gave up asking when 'Zukamee quickly retreated out of the conference room.

Although all of the Squad except Aquino, who was just fresh out of the ODST war college, were reluctant to salute their former enemies, they saluted with showing discontent, at least not that much to be noticed. The Elites returned their salutes, and suddenly the room was quiet and everyone's heartbeat could be heard.

The Supreme Commander with a red cloak, named 'Lgfamee, broke the silence. "Take a seat," the Commander said, "Please. Half of the War Council is here, to discuss with you on the capturing mission of the Prophet inside that Brute city, named Takhem, which you will start tomorrow." there was a commanding tone in the Elite's voice, which failed to please Buck.

Buck motioned the Squad to remain standing. "According to my knowledge," the Captain crossed his arms, a gesture which caused disapproving sounds in the council. "We are human, and are a part of the UNSC Marine Corps, which means, we don't take orders from some jackass aliens," Buck secretly sent a signal to his Squad except Aquino, a massage to ready their radar jammers and weapons.

"We take orders from the Corps and the UNSC, we take orders from humans. You got that?" Buck pulled out a seat and crossed his legs. The Squad did the same.

A smile touched 'Lgfamee's lips. "You've got a lot of bravery to say that," he smiled. "However, General Tyson allowed us to borrow your squad. In fact," the General stood, "he allowed me to have complete control over your squad which is now ours."

'Lgfamee handed Buck a tablet. Buck accepted it, and read scrolls of information as sweat ran down his head inside his helmet. The reader not only confirmed the Supreme Commander's claim, but also stated that 'Lgfamee, now revealed to be an Imperial Admiral, a second-in-command of the Arbiter, can do whatever UNSC commander can do, and must be treated as one, along with the Arbiter.

Captain Buck motioned the Squad to stand down and sit properly. "Very well," Buck said, "What do you want us to do?" Buck just finished when R'tas 'Vadumee entered the room and smiled.

"Seems that you've got the situation under control," 'Vadumee said he saw the ODSTs sitting obediently. "I'm not required now. Please  proceed."

After the Commander left, the Arbiter and 'Lgfamee revealed the plan - not a normal Special Operations one, but an exciting one. The talk made the ODSTs nervous, but also looking forward to the mission. The ODSTs were nervous because, 'Lgfamee told them, that Humanity's and the Elites' ships, military, money, everything were locked on Doisac.

If Buck's squad, supported by a squad of Elite Special Operations Officers, cannot capture the Prophet and at least a Brute Chieftain, they are doomed to perish under possible Insurrection attacks and other attacks from the remaining Covenant, scattered all around the galaxy.

The fate of Humanity and the Elites rested on their shoulders.

"Not exactly green; no ODST is. But if I didn't think he could do the job I wouldn't have him on my six. He doesn't say much, but I don't care. I just need him to listen."
—GySgt Edward Buck, Halo 3 ODST ViDoc 


Aboard UNSC Pony Express, Main Drop Bay
September 9th, 2559, 2236 Hours (UNSC Military Calendar)
2533 Hours (Doisac Standard Time)

.                                                                           .                                                                                                   

"This Galaxy is vast; its wonders and beauty are almost unfathomable. But the galaxy also hides dark secrets, some of which have lain dormant since the beginning of time itself. There is a danger in secrets, both in seeking and in knowing. Some things are meant to be hidden from view. Some mysteries defy understanding, and sometimes even the things we think we know are untrue. Some secrets should remain untouched."
—Cortana in the Cortana Letters

The UNSC Pony Express was a UNSC Mako-Class Corvette. As of 2552, it was the fastest ship available to the UNSC. Although it was not the fastest ship now at 2559, it remained a reliable ship in speed when it is needed.

During the Battle of Earth, the Pony Express was at Earth fighting the Covenant. After receiving a message from Dr. Halsey, Lord Hood planned on sending the Spartan-IIs to Onyx aboard the Pony Express, but they opted to instead capture a Covenant destroyer, the Bloodied Spirit, which was faster than even the Pony Express.

(Refer To Halo: Ghosts Of Onyx)

The Pony Express' commander, Commander Martin Cobley, received orders to drop ODST troopers to Doisac during the battle. Given a role as a support ship when produced, the corvette was used directed in battle, especially during run-and-gun missions after dropping the troopers.

Among the two hundred drop pods in the huge drop bay, only six pods contained human soldiers. However, ten Elite SpeOps pods were also lined up in the drop bay. The Elite Squad was personally led by Commander R'tas Vadumee.

As Commander Cobley, the commander of the Pony Express gave the go-ahead to the Elites and the six ODSTs, Buck immediately keyed the com package, and told his marines, "Time to dance, troopers," and punched button to drop. The ODSTs followed, along with the Elites.

As the shadow of the Pony Express slowly moved away from the troopers, the pods began to enter the atmosphere. Their anti-gravity thrusters slowed them down, and luckily no one has dug his own grave yet.

"So far, so good," Buck contacted Commander 'Vadumee. "However, it seems that the drop zone is hot. I repeat hot." 'Vadumee didn't understand the marine's military slang, but understood after seeing the images sent by Buck.

He was about to reply when Mickey cut him off. "Gunny," he told Buck, "I'm picking up lots of signals above, big ones. They match Covenant...a capital... Sh..... Wa..... Torpedo.... Expr..... Corve......"

"Say, again," Buck asked Mickey,"You're breaking up!" 

Buck was rewarded by static. He moved the pod's external cameras around, and was shocked when he saw none of the pods. He tried to contact the Elites and the marines, but none answered.

Soon. He felt a wash of static. He looked up, and realized that a Brute ship was shooting his pod with a pulse plasma turret. The Titanium-A armor saved him, but it was enough to knock him off course, and crash with another pod. 

Buck, after seeing that all of the pods were crashing down to the Brute city, screamed as they were about to crash into a Brute base.

.                                                                                                          .

Commander Martin Cobley
[17367-24983-MC] [UNSC Navy]
Joint Operation : THE STORM
STATUS : Unstable

Up in orbit, the Pony Express was about to link up with the rest of the 256 Combined Fleet, when a Lieutenant reported, "Commander, the sensors sensed about 50 Brute ships coming this way. However, scans showed that none match the database."

Cobley frowned. He issued an order to back off, but soon, another Lieutenant cried,"Commander, we've got visual!" 

"Aft cameras! Weapons, charge the MAC. Remove safeties for the Archers. Comms, contact HQ. Tell them that we have enemies on screen." Cobley ordered.

A series of 'Aye,Aye's answered the Commander. But the Commander cannot hear them anymore. A bullet from his M6D Pistol ripped through his thigh and into his heart. Death was immediate.

Why? Because on the aft cameras, twelve Covenant super carriers with twenty Plasma turret was shooting the Fleet and the Pony Express. Soon, most of the fleet was destroyed.

The Covenant had launched a major counter-attack, and no one want to face the coming damnation, including Commander Cobley.

Even Spartans wouldn't want to do so.


"Most of the crew - not to mention your fellow jarheads - will be leaving the ship in lifeboats. They'll ride to the surface in air conditioned comfort, sipping wine, and nibbling on appetizers. Not you, however. Oh no, you're going to leave the Pillar of Autumn in a different method. Tell me boys and girls... how will you leave?"
—Major Antonio Silva, aboard the UNSC Pillar of Autumn.

"We go feet first, sir!"
—Shock Troopers' response. 
Halo : The Flood