Project PEGASUS: Intermission: The Origin of Hatred
Posted By: (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 17 April 2009, 6:02 am
28 Years prior
A meeting room.
Dull, spartan in appearance, and white in color, it was droll and held no intent of being colorful. The meeting room was not meant to draw in artists and make it look like art, but to hold critical meetings with no distractions. No windows, no curtains, only a polished wood table with comfortable chairs and a holo-projector in the middle of the table. In this room sat three UNSC Officers, all of them wearing officer ranks on their collars. The projector displayed one man’s face, a scarred and solemn man’s face, a veteran of some war.
Displaced, and now not just by war, but by time.
Both officers, sitting next to each other, wore Lieutenant ranks. One wore the dark green of the UNSC Army, but the other wore the black and gold of a Marine. They were staring at the other officer sitting at the other end of the table, a Marine as well. His name and rank identified him as one Colonel Vaez. His hair black, combed back for an austere look, his eyes green but on fire.
His stance gave him the look of a warrior.
That look was likewise for the other two officers, both wearing the same patch on the left shoulder that Colonel Vaez had; the Special Operations Forces unit patch that all SpecFor members wore. The Marine Lieutenant, identified as Lieutenant Gallagher, was clean-shaven and had no scars. He had a young face, but a serious one. His hazel eyes were much different; they seemed to glow bright, very bright, almost in contrast with Vaez’s dark, demoneqse glow of hellfire.
The one in green looked much worse.
His face was shaven, but he appeared older than Marine, age not withstanding. He was of the same age as the Marine Second Lieutenant, but his eyes were as bright as the Marine’s. His were more haunting, a very colorful arrangement of blue and sapphire, a unique preset to the optics of man. His face was muscled, defined, like a real man.
He had the look.
He was born to wear the uniform.
“So Major Tanner is dead?”
“Yes, sir.” The Army officer, identified as Lieutenant Ackerson, replied, curtly and professional.
“Who was covering the retreat?”
“I was, sir.” Second Lieutenant Gallagher spoke up, before Ackerson kicked his uniformed leg, speaking next.
“I ordered him to when I tried to make retrieval on Tanner, but he had died from his wounds. He didn’t take no for an answer, sir.”
“And the commanding officer died protecting your squad.”
Vaez gave a look to Gallagher.
“Second Lieutenant, did you purposefully disregard Tanner’s orders and tried to take the HVT out on your own?”
“I saw an opening, and I took it. He was wanted for white slavery, god da--”
“Save the drama, Lieutenant, this is a debrief, not a courtroom drama.”
Ackerson hung his head, a slight nod. The look of lost friendship was evident on him as he gave a look towards Gallagher.
“But, otherwise, the mission was complete? The team worked perfectly?”
Vaez smiled. It was cold.
It reeked of death.
“Good. SPECTRE is a success then. Your program idea is intriguing. I’m recommending that you be promoted to Captain and transferred to a new command. You, Gallagher…You left your leader for the mission. You did your job, but it endangered the team and it got Major Tanner killed. I’m transferring you back to your ODST platoon. I don’t want you touching Ackerson’s platoon ever again.”
Gallagher hung his head and bit his lip. A wave of emotion could be seen in his eyes, closed tight, holding back the tears of failure.
22 Years Prior…
Colonel Ackerson watched with a grim look as he saw the SPARTAN-II soldier, codenamed John-117, perform all of the tasks and succeed.
He sat back in his chair and rubbed his eyebrows, knowing full well that this would cut funding for SPECTRE. He had already fielded four teams, not to mention his work with PEGASUS and the other projects that ONI was testing. He knew that the success of John’s tests would prove to Vice Admiral Parangosky that Doctor Halsey’s work was proving to be more successful publicly in ONI’s circle that SPECTRE was.
He knew that the projects competed, but he couldn’t tell her how many lives that SPECTRE has saved, especially since they almost never reveal work outside of Sections III and 0. He sighed again as he leaned against his chair.
He’d have to call his wife later and reschedule the dinner date. He knew he was going to be working late tonight.
Commodore Richard Lawner entered his office, a grim look.
“Colonel, I got bad news.”
Ackerson looked up from his computer.
“SPECTRE is being divided up into NavSpecWar. It's not going to be a Army-specific program anymore.”
He clenched his fists. The tests were just updated and now they were taking his project…HIS project…away from him?!
“Who’s been given command?”
The Commodore took out his datapad and quickly skimmed it, looking for the Colonel’s information.
“One Marine Colonel Robert Anthony Gallagher…some sort of decorated commando.”
Ackerson was pissed.
“Commodore, I need to vent.”
The older officer nodded, and left the office, walking out and closing the door.
Ackerson took his datapad and threw it with all of his might out of his window, screaming Gallagher’s name.
“That fucking traitor took my project! My own brothers and sisters for fuck’s sake! DAMN YOU, ROBERT!” He screamed, slamming his fists hard, repeatedly, on the table. He growled as he relaxed back in his chair, his face contorted in anger, letting it ooze out of him like a bad habit, his hands slowly letting go of the pressure.
“This is it, Gallagher. I swear, I’ll get my program back. I’ll do everything in my power to get it back. I promise you.”
Ackerson’s ramblings to himself slowly died as he began to work, sending out mail and correspondence to his allies…
10 Years Prior…
Colonel Gallagher smiled as he read another note from Admiral Hood on the funding allocations for ONI’s NavSpecWar division. Already, he could see a slow and steady improvement in funding for SPECTRE, enough to make him a little happier. He began to look more closely at the data, seeing how he could displace some of the money to the armor development program. His hands typed as he sent another letter to Doctor Aximus on Reach, requesting more information on the GHOUL Power Armor program.
Anything to keep his men safe.
His eyes took a break from the screen to look at the array of pictures on his home desk. The first one, closest to him, was one of his entire family near a beach, the dusky sun in the background. It revealed his wife’s stunning hair, his son’s handsome face, and his daughter’s beautiful eyes. A smile crooked at the side of his mouth, turning his eyes again to look at the screen again.
An instant message popped up, from his team one commander.
Colonel, I got a note from CENTCOM. We’re passing SPARTAN in terms of functionality. Does this mean we’re getting sent to the front of the line for the GHOUL?
Gallagher thought carefully for a second, thinking of how to word his answer.
Most likely. I don’t believe that memo to be true when you compare what some of those commandos do, but I’m sure we’re getting closer to be the prototype group to try it.
Okay, good. Rebecca and I were getting a little worried. We lost some good men because of inadequate armor.
He signed off, and Gallagher nodded in agreement. Robert sighed as he leaned back in his chair, taking a look around his desk. He frowned, realizing that he didn’t have the SPECTRE team photo up on his desk.
He activated his computer’s photo files, and searched for the…
He stopped thinking as he came across an old photo, of him and his old team commander back when he first was working in SpecOps.
It was him as a 2nd Lieutenant, his arm around the shoulder of another commando, both of them covered in mud and smiling. They both wore Marine armor, their helmets now brown from the dirt and sand all over them. He was on the left, smiling, a grin that revealed his teeth. The one on the right had his arms crossed, his smile showing no teeth.
It was from Commando Physical Training Session. It was James Ackerson.
Gallagher smiled as he remembered the fond memories of his former friendship with James. The beers after hours, the work they did...
But he ruined it when he got James’ friend, and their commanding officer, killed on Cerberus some eighteen years ago. That got him kicked out of the first ever SPECTRE team, and he was glad he was given a second chance with the program, but it permanently destroyed his friendship with James. He took it from him, unjustly, but he deserved it as well. He was removed from the program because his commanding officer did a dumb move and got himself killed.
Gallagher rubbed his chin as he winced, turning the picture files off and continuing to type his letter…
Five Years Prior…
“So, you think we can do this? We can actually take them down?”
“General Howell tried it the easy way a few years ago. He failed. The war is raging, but we will bide our time. Major Gallagher here has the information and tactical knowledge to keep Earth alive while we continue to work. General Lambert has the ideology and the public face to keep it continuing to grow and his shadow forces have stopped the first, second, and third attempts of the Covenant to find Earth’s location. There are, however, some minor problems…”
“What kind of problems, mam?”
“Commander Keyes, for one. She’s one of Ackerson’s men, and her father’s name already gives her considerable clout. Plus, I’m worried about Commodore Lawner too. But, I’m sure that we can combat him if it gets to a point.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Commodore Reinfield has command of the Navy around Alpha Centauri, and it’s sizable enough if we can’t get Hood on our side. He’s the only one who I’m worried about.”
“Loyal, dedicated, and a supporter for the UNSC. We’re being stonewalled here. What about Howard?”
“General Howard was assassinated two days ago on Cygnus II. He was becoming too lax, so a few SPECTRE agents killed him.”
“A shame. He was doing very well…what is your plan then?”
“I take command of FLEETCOM and we will have it. Oh, and one more thing, Brigadier Johnson?”
“Yes, Admiral Romanov?”
A shot rang out into the room, and the sound of a body slamming against the ground was very loud.
“I know you compromised our security. You’re not one of us anymore.”
“No, Brigadier. I’m the savior of the UNSC. I'm bringing back values, and more power to the civilian, not the military. You did not think like I did. Goodnight, James.”
The pistol fired again.