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Project PEGASUS: Intermission
Posted By: (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher<anthony.peter.davis@gmail.com>
Date: 15 July 2008, 10:55 pm

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      The UNSC Orpheus was a ship, but to the men onboard the combat bridge she was a titan. Captain Rachael Vaiter watched the crew work hard at their stations, their eyes glued to the screen and their hands rushing over the console. The middle aged woman smiled as she watched the crew, her crew, work as hard as they did, trying to achieve a form of excellence that was almost non-existent in the world of Naval Crew Operations. Her blonde hair was cut simple, and her eyes stared at the view of the desert world of Cerberus.
      She saw the full, dead glory of the planet, how the desert world seem to stand still, marked by small pockets of silver and white, representing the cities dotted across it, most science housing and some residential areas, The planet was noted by either the desert color, one of gold and yellow and orange and death, and the other of black, darkest night and haunting depths. The planet seemed to be one big poem, etched across the stars with its own memory, a statue in a tomb, a tombstone in a lonely graveyard.
      She shook her head.
      “Ensign, is the operation ready to commence?”
      “Aye, ‘mam. Commander Henderson’s team is ready to go, and the Orbital Drop Pods are ready to go.”
      “Good. Launch them in two minutes. How’s our stealth running?”
      “I’m not detecting anything on the scanners, Captain. Either we’re the only ones out here, or they’re hiding, very well.”
      She nodded at the Ensign’s assessment, looking towards her own viewing pad.
      “Have the Latinas deploy her soldiers into the major city, then follow up with the Marine Divisions we have on hand.”
      “Aye, Captain. Sending orders to the Marines now. COMSCAN, anything?”
      “Negative. Tally ho on gas in the darkness, ‘mam.”
      She nodded.
      “Keep looking. They’re out here.”
      “’Mam, ODST and Spectre troops have disembarked. Pods moving in.”

      Thirty six Orbital Drop Pods moved in a seemingly unorganized formation, heat and friction ripping down the undersurface of the pod, breaking through the atmosphere. Within the rearguard pod, Sergeant William Reynolds was praying to not only God but to any sort of major deities that came to his mind as he felt his pod rip through the upper mesosphere. The replacement for a man with no backbone, the battle-hardened veteran had a lot to offer to his unit, but in-the-pod courage was definitely not one of them. His brown hair was cut loosely, but like the rest of his soldiers held it under a helmet and visor-mask, hiding his tears of pure terror.
      The only hope he had was that, if he survived, he wouldn’t be arrived anymore.
      He felt his metallic drag-chute activated, meaning he had cleared most of the dangerous stuff that could go wrong in the landing. Now, holding for dear life, he swallowed, shoving that fear down in his gullet, his head and neck shake but his eyes no longer draining himself of that sadness, that undying fear. He really was a soldier, in that one moment. The ones who take all that they can fear, hate, and flush it into his heart and hold it tight. Rojas, a white male who never really saw combat up until now, was a leader.
      And he could not show fear.
      The gyro rockets activated, slowing down the craft even more as it screamed into the sky. His HUD was now activated, showing him the battle below on a small square map. The Sergeant watched the data stream, showing him that pods had already landed and men were distributing men into their assignments.
      And then, he hit planetside.
      He had braced himself like what Stacker had told him, but he still was not prepared for the shock of the landing. He bounced up, his helmet head colliding with the back of the pod itself. He yelled out in pain, his eyes hidden but wide and open, and the pain easily shown by the tears running through his eyes. His hands curled as he fell out of the pod, trying his best not to get shot.
      All around him was fire. Dark skies were illuminated by amber waves of explosions and the red tint of dust coming from rubble. Not only was the look of death prevalent in his mind, but so was the dead body in front of him; a man holding an old rifle, his mouth and expression wide and in shock. One bullet wound was in his forehead, and it nearly caused Sergeant Reynolds to throw up in his armor.
      He thanked God that he could not smell him.
      “Bravo Company, sweep the field! Once we clear this field, we’ll get tank support! Where the hell is Delta Company?
      That had to be the voice of the short bird Colonel Hastings over his over-ride comm. Reynolds smacked his head as the pain slowly began to subside, his teeth biting down on a small, blue bead in his helmet.
      “…I see Reynolds, he’s okay.
      “Sergeant Reynolds here. I’m…alright. I guess Bravo needs our help. “
      “This is Lieutenant Rojas. Reynolds, take first and second section, move to the police station, and commandeer it. That’s going to be Company CP. I’ll assist.
      Reynolds looked over his shoulder, his HUD display firing up across his armored view-plate. Numerous blue diamonds appeared over the landscape, just outside a desert city made of limestone and some pieces of plank and – A building just exploded, the limestone and other pieces of material flying high into the sky itself, with Reynolds shielding his face.
      He shook his head as he ducked down and pressed down on a lower red bead.
      “Mahoney, Cross, get your sections and link up by my drop zone. We’re taking the police station.”
      “Roger that.
      The comm. buzzed again on Reynolds’ blue bead.
      “Reynolds, after we’ve secured the station, Captain Fox will take Delta Company to the Research Compound, where we think is the main enemy headquarters. SPECTRE Team Zero has landed in the grid. Rojas out.
      Reynolds knew that the shit was about to hit the fan.


      “Has Ackerson given into our demands?
      “Not yet. I don’t think he even knows where I am. Have you got a clear shot on his wife?”
      “Yes, I do. Shall I terminate her?
      A silence took over for a brief moment.
      “Yes. It’s time Ackerson knew he’s dealing with someone that can handle himself.”
      “Roger, I’m taking the shot.
      In his home outside of Wellington, General Augustus Lambert leaned back in his chair, a smug smile on his face as he folded his hands behind the back of his head. The sun was setting in the background of a calm ocean, and one or two clouds dotted the sky above the gentle and majestic sea. He was wearing a set of civilian clothing, sweat pants and a tee shirt, but on his desk in his study was a fully loaded M6C Standard Pistol.
      Lambert’s smile disintegrated.
      “I think I see a…
      The line suddenly shifted, as if he dropped the call, and shuffling could be heard. Breaths and grunts could be heard, a clamor of objects smacking to the ground and other noises that occupied Lambert’s ears. He was listening intently now, especially when he thought he heard the ‘pop!-isss” of a silenced weapon.
      Suddenly, the line shifted again, as if someone had picked it up.
      “Looks like your assassin isn’t going to accomplish his mission.
      The line cut.
      Lambert was stunned for a moment; the assassin was one of the best trained, a former Special Forces commando, to say the least! He didn’t know of any other sort of person, or Covenant dog for that matter, to be able to…
      Lambert smiled as he realized that only the operatives’ own cadre could of beaten him.
      He picked up the call sender and added in a new number, one that belonged to a ‘M. BETRUGER, UNSC CENTCOM’. Selecting the name, he then pressed down on the ‘CALL’ button.
      The call was almost answered immediately.
      “Betruger her--- General Lambert! How can I help you?
      “The attempt has failed. My man was killed. I think it was SPECTRE.”
      “Then what do you want to do?
      “Well, I think it should be best if we go after the man who’s leading this operation.”
      Lambert smiled coyly as he looked over at the dossier pad that was on his desk.
      “Do you know a Colonel Robert Anthony Gallagher?”