Spectre: Book Two: The Battle for Klendathu: Chapter One
Posted By: (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 30 August 2006, 2:50 pm
Admiral Donovan Hugh sat in a nearby wood chair, his Service Dress Blues present upon his uniform as his medals and ribbons shined brightly in the light room that he currently took residence in. Around him, officers lower and higher than him engaged in small talk, conversation to "cast the dhow" on weary eyed officers such as Hugh. The Admiral was never one for drama upon that of the 'epic' clashes between the Office of Naval Intelligence and the High Echelon which consisted of Admirals such as Admiral Hood and Fleet Admiral Gerald Harper.
As quiet and comfortable classical music played in the background, Hugh smiled as a man dressed in a Dress Blue "A" type Marine uniform sat in the seat next to Hugh, a smile upon his face as he would appear more relaxed than the Admiral. Colonel Robert Gallagher let his hands lapse into each other, forming a cage for his fingers to distract as he spoke, calmly and with a tone of voice that spoke that he, unlike some of the Intelligence officers, was not overwrought.
"You know when they're going to brief us?" He asked, looking up to the Admiral. Hugh sighed, looking at his watch to confirm his suspicions about his timeframe, then spoke back to the Marine Colonel.
"In the next couple of minutes, Gallagher." He said again, the fifty two year old Admiral speaking with the exact opposite of Gallagher: his tone was tired and sounded worried with the entire Hydoria incident. He hoped Brigadier General Ackerson could fill him in on the situation.
"Admiral, if the crooks at the Office of Naval Intelligence try to shut us out of this
"Colonel, I am the only one who stuck up for you during the raid on High Charity. I believe I also, again, was the only one who sided with you during the Alpha Centauri terrorist incident. So trust me, I think I've committed career suicide so it's not going to hurt me to stick up for you again." Hugh spoke, with a surprisingly warm smile to his face.
"Oh, har-har Admiral." Gallagher replied, chuckling in his own right as he stood up, the sound of a soft "bing" ringing within the Atrium of the Office of Naval Intelligence. The officers around the two, Gallagher and Hugh accompanied, began to walk towards a double door. Gallagher and Hugh walked into a normal briefing room: dark golden walls and a long, rounded table. Name-cards were placed on the table, with Gallagher's being nearing the front of the table due to his position. Gallagher walked over to his card, and examined it:
COLONEL ROBERT ANTHNY GALLAGHER
COMMANDER OF MARINE/NAVAL SPECIAL FORCES
COMMANDER OF MARINE SPECWAR
"Dammit, it's 'Anthony'" Gallagher sighed, sitting down in the leather seat. He sighed again, thinking about how easily "ONI" siphons funds from charity shelters and help organizations just to pay for the extravagant items they currently use at the moment. Admiral Hood sat next to the Colonel, and across from Gallagher was Lieutenant General Malcolm Reed, the current commander of all regular Marine forces in the galaxy.
"Thank you, gentlemen, for attending this meeting." Fleet Admiral Harper, a young looking man with blonde hair and a strong appeal look to him, spoke. Gallagher and the rest of the officers turned their complete attention to the Admiral, who was currently shifting through files upon his desk.
"As of right now, Space Command has issued to the general populace a state of emergency. The 'Bug' problem is something that is a galactic problem since the Praxium Protectorate apparently has fought with these bugs a thousand years ago. Two days ago, however, Captain Howells came across a ship." Harper spoke, pressing a button upon his desk. The lights dimmed instantly as a white screen descended from the ceiling. The image of a large, bug like object in space was seen, curved and sharp at the bow.
"Excuse me, sir, but how come none of us were informed of it?" Vice Admiral Julian DeVry, a smart and particularly young woman who rose in the ranks fast, asked with a common sense-style in her voice.
"All information on the Arachnids is handed to be personally, and after a period of decoding and processing, we then release it to the respective chain of command." Colonel Ronald Ackerson spoke, a hard tone to his voice as he looked over to the female Admiral.
"From now on, I request that the information be passed on to the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Marine Intelligence Center. We've been getting hardly anything from the Office." Colonel Gallagher spoke up, his tone like that of Ackerson. Except you could tell it was forced, merely for effect.
"Preposterous!" Ackerson replied, his eyes glaring down at the seasoned veteran with hate scoring through his eyes.
"I have to agree with Colonel Gallagher: for the measure of safety we cannot allow one Intelligence center to hold all of the data. Em Aye Cee can hold all of the data's copies, but I want someone supervising the transaction, if we decide one." Hugh spoke, once again coming to Gallagher's rescue.
Both sides of the table interrupted in arguments, each side spitting flame and cooling the shots at them with precision. They were political officers, not like the four officers near the front of the table. Harper clicked off his microphone and motioned them to follow. The officers at the table were now bitching like no one has ever seen, not even noticing the four plus Harper leave the room.
Following Harper into a smaller, more compact and realistic briefing room, the four sat down. Gallagher sat next to Hood once more, with General Reed on his right and Hugh sitting behind him. Harper smiled, looking at the four.
"Currently, you four are the only ones who risk their careers on battles and wars. Political officers like Ackerson and DeVry don't, you see. Now, I bring to you the information that ONI held from us." He said, pulling out a picture from a briefcase. On the large and rather faded picture was a flying bug, bullets being torn through him but he was flying at the camera man with two Marines near the camera. Gallagher noticed the patch on the men's shoulders, and smiled when he realized it was Force Recon. Reed noticed too, and smiled.
"Didn't know ONI could hold files on Special Forces. Marine special forces, to boot." Reed spoke, in a Texan-like drawl.
"They can't. But we all know they do actions that are always against regulations. Why do you think I always hand information to the Marine Intelligence Center and leave ONI for weapons development?" Harper asked, which drew a chuckle from Gallagher and Hood.
"Can those flying creatures enter space?" Admiral Terrance Hood asked.
"No, they're atmospheric and a Skyhammer can match them in power and speed, but Force Recon there only managed to find one. I have this to show you why these bad boys are a threat." He said, pulling out a small sound recorder from his briefcase. Holding it gingerly in his hand, he pressed the 'PLAY' button down firmly with his right thumb.
"Jesus Christ, Donovan! Shoot! God damn, there are millions of them! Command, we need Evac now! Do you hear me!? Oh god, oh no! Someone, help me!" Screams began to take place, which then Admiral Harper clicked the "STOP" button. Grimaces on the four men were evident on their faces, Harper's a default neutral.
"Command sent an excursion team back to retrieve the squad. Only bits of blood and Sergeant David Crusoe's index finger were still there."
"It's just a new whole Covenant, isn't it?"
"I'm afraid that's what it looks like.
The SPECTRE recreation room was a large thirty by thirty foot room, darkly lit with dark yellow and green lights. A sound system, a large plasma screen, a pool table, and numerous arcade games were located throughout the room as tools that some Spectre members use to relax after a mission.
Currently, SPECTRE Teams One and Three were in the room having fun. The team leaders, Luke Henderson of Team One and Luke Manfred Holtz of Team Three, were playing the pool table while the rest of the team members worked on the arcade systems and watched the Galactic News Network.
Luke Holtz was an English nobleman, knighted for his daring raid into the Royal Palace when Earth was first attacked by the Covenant in full. His age is forty two and a Colonel in the UNSC Marine Corps. He was tall, six foot three, and with a full head of blonde hair combed over that could be perceived as rather sharp. He seemed the more relaxed team leaders, but had a nasty streak of being cool and sharp in the field.
"Anyone have an idea of our next mission?" The sweet and sensitive voice of Galit Bluma Jacizotiz, Team Three's female Jewish medic and a Captain in the Marines, rang out into the room. With brown hair that was tied into a ponytail, her face beamed beauty in the dimly lit room.
"Who knows? Perhaps we found some hor'a'cho news." Vladimir softly replied, sitting on the couch next to Team Three's sniper, Aksinya Vladimirich Pataof. Aksinya had long, brown hair that matched a face deemed relaxing and soft upon the eyes. Skinny, her clothes matched that of a true sniper: short and hung loosely, but hid a body that was able to kill.
"Some of the missions we've been receiving were blo'hah in detail." She replied, her thick Ukrainian accent hanging loudly in the room. Anthony, across the room on one of the arcade machines, would laugh out loud to that. Team Three's medic, Abele Giuliano Vitale, would not take notice as he pressed down a few buttons on the arcade, Anthony's side of the screen turning red with 'blood'
"Damn. You got me!"
"Doesn't take much." The man replied, his Italian accent barely noticeable in his tone. His grey hair matched his personality: quiet, calm, but yet demanding and honorable. The forty two year old Major had seen enough combat to be regarded as the second best man for covert operations, the first being Gallagher himself.
Across the room, talking in a small group, Team Three's Alastar Patrick McAnderfell and Hanke Mathis Breckdroff would chat openly and rather jovially to David Lancaster and Lukas von Heilienburg. Alastar had a face that projected proud and glorious battles, the scars adorning his, perhaps, once handsome face. Hanke had a muscular face, one that spoke of how he keeps his body in tone. Alastar was smiling, his chestnut hair cut short, while Hanke had his blonde hair cut in a flattop.
"So, Knight Rider, what did you guys do?" Henderson asked, pushing the pool stick into the number seven ball. The seven ball hit the far right side of the pool table, staying there.
"We came across a colony of bugs. We were lucky that Mister Jackson managed to fly in a Pelican to save our butts. Dunno how he did it, either." Luke, or by his callsign "Knight Rider", replied, pushing the stick on the number three ball and smiled as it entered one of the holes.
"A colony of them?!" He said, dropping the stick. All of Team One turned their heads towards Knight Rider and Wolf, with Team Three sighing.
"Ten-hut!" The voice of Vladimir and Abele ringing out into the room as Gallagher stepped into the room. Donning his full uniform, he appeared like a fully fledge officer than the softie SPECTRE commander, which was odd for the rest of the SPECTRE teams.
"As of oh eight hundred, we are on a state of emergency. Admirals Hugh and Hood have assigned you a new mission: wipe out the bugs on their home planet. Twenty four Marine divisions will assist you by attacking in a massive, planet-wide offensive. The Roughnecks will assist you directly on this mission by lending you cover and entering within the 'Hive'."
"The 'Hive', sir?"
"The capital city of the Arachnids. I suspect to perform to your best, and outshine everyone else who is on this mission. Good luck, gentlemen, and god speed."
Spectre: The Battle of Klendathu
"Two minutes!" Wraith spoke, holding back onto the stick as Jonah flipped back the reentry shield toggle, the heat around the Pelican not entering the troop bay. Jonah looked to the outside, and saw the mass of Pelicans and Arckangels, the ODST drop pods, the flights of Longsword Bombers and Broadsword Assault Fighters; it was more than he ever saw for an invasion.
"Look at it, Wraith." He whispered, his helmet registering the actual amount of fighters and Pelicans on this descent pattern. Flicking forward the Paragon Initiation switch, the Pelican shuddered as it slowed down immensely while Jonah watched with awe as over six hundred Pelicans did the same.
"Don't mind it, let's just do our job and we'll be okay." Wraith replied in a hush tone, flicking the communicator to the Troop bay.
"This is Wraith. Piloting down to main insertion point. We--- Woah!" He yelled, pulling into a negative Gee pull. A wing of the flying bugs pulled near the Pelican, shooting out spores and acid towards the Spectre Pelican. Right behind it, the Roughnecks' Pelican shot out fifty caliber bullets from the cannon under its nose. The bullets tore through the bugs, with the Spectre Pelican pulling back on its trajectory.
"Thanks for the quick save, Bravo Twelve Four."
"No problem, Eagle Fourteen Nine." The voice of Bravo Twelve Four's female pilot rang out into the helmets of Jonah and William. Seeing the red marker on the land, which was located in the middle of the rockiest region that was dominated by caves and small hills, William swore as he pulled back on his flight stick, with Jonah punching a red button. The LAAG Warthog dropped from its hold, with the Pelican now hovering mere inches off the ground. The back Troop Bay door opened, and the SPECTRE forces jumped off the Pelican.
The air was thick with a musky smell, the air breathable but the land forbidding. The ground had a deep violet color to it, with the sky dark as doe's eyes. It was black, cold, relentless. Every member of Spectre on the field at the moment knew this was going to be a tough battle. Suddenly, more Pelicans began their descent near the SPECTRE landing zone.
"Let's move!" Wolf yelled, with Knight Rider and Galit, her callsign "Hammer", following him into the Warthog. The rest of the Spectres, with their assigned duties, went off on their way. The Warthog's engine started up, the rumbling of the pistons shaking the Warthog for a brief second before it would stay seemingly motionless. Hammer jumped into the side-seat, her Battle Rifle held steady as she waited. Knight Rider climbed up into the gunner's seat, pulling back on the activation switch before the click of the machine turret activating rang out.
Wolf pressed down on the pedal, the Warthog zooming forward down a path, with Hammer keeping her finger on the trigger. A squad of Arachnids ran towards the Warthog, but Galit opened fire from her Battle Rifle into one of the bugs' eye. It squealed, and tried to fight back but the fire from Knight Rider on the LAAG proved too much for the squad, with the Warthog still pushing forward.
Three of the flying bugs were in hot pursuit, firing their acid spores at the Spectre Warthog. Knight Rider turned the LAAG around in a three sixty, firing heavy caliber bullets at the flying beasts. The bullets shredded into them, but two of the bugs managed to evade, and were moving too fast for Knight Rider to get a fix.
"They're too fast! I can't get a lock!" He yelled, watching the bugs to see if they would slow down. Suddenly, as the Warthog drove in a dirt path between two cliffs, bullets crushed into the bugs, the large rounds passing through the bugs but causing damage within the body of the acid-spitters. The bodies fell to the ground, the impact causing the soft but yet durable cadavers to flatten out, before exploding in pieces. The sound of another Warthog engine, the transmission loud and sweet to some soldiers' ears, was heard before a Warthog LAAG appeared out of thin air, coming down from the opposite trail at the opening of the path from the cliffs.
"This is Roughnecks Two Four Zero, Corporal Rico here."
"Good to hear you, Rico." Wolf responded, lining up next to the Roughneck's Warthog on its driver side, Knight Rider shooting its bullets into the bugs that would try to overrun the pair of vehicles.
"This is Rasczak." The team leader of the Roughnecks, Lieutenant Jean Rasczak, talked gently into the immediate Special Operations tag-communiqué.
"This is Wolf, what's your sit rep, over?"
"Negative on report, recommend we make to Cave Site A before we're overrun by the mass of these bugs
" Rasczak spoke, his vehicle suddenly going over the dead cadavers that tried to put themselves in front of the Warthog.
"Roger, Roughneck. Coming up on site now. Hold on tight!"
The deep and seemingly non-ending hallways of the Marine Intelligence Center were hardly occupied by anyone who dared to come out of their office during the battle far, far away. General Malcolm Reed was a daring man. He had a stack of papers in his hands, a folder marked "TOP SECRET", and his combination cover tucked in his left hand. Opening the door to an office marked, "CAPT. VANESSA BROWN", he quickly stepped inside.
Inside, a red haired woman with a small frame but callused hands and bruises all over her body sat behind a desk with a computer as she typed at a very fast pace. She stopped, immediately, when she saw the General step into her office and, literally, drop/i] the stack of folders and files onto her desk.
"It's SPECTRE. They're in deep shit."