You Know My Name; Sergeant Reynolds: 1 of 3
Posted By: (ENS) Rabid_Gallagher<email@example.com>
Date: 15 December 2007, 9:51 pm
The Brute held him high in the air, his rough and furry hand choking the life out of him in the deepest part of the jungle, high upon a natural bridge across two high points. The sun peaked high, no clouds, and the wind was gentle and breezy, enough to taunt him as the life was slowly choked away from him as the Brute laughed in his face. He gripped his teeth, before he made a move to grab him by the back, but he could not do it.
Because the Brute was dead.
A sniper round shot through the Brute's hard skull as if it was a hammer slamming through paper, the sound sickening but the Marine did not waste one second of his time that he was given: He felt the hand go slack and he immediately dropped off the twenty foot height onto his legs, rolling on the grass as bullets flew all around him. His cap managed to stay firmly on his head despite the roll, but that was not even fazing in his mind.
Gunnery Sergeant William James Reynolds immediately grabbed the MA5C Assault Rifle from the body of Lieutenant Conrad, prying it quickly and falling down into a one knee pose, but it was not needed. Marines that were battle-hardened from recent skirmishes stood by him, keeping watch around but the sounds of Covenant Loyalists were not heard for more than a minute. They relaxed, to an extent.
"What happened?" A voice spoke through the ambience of jungle noise, and it caught the Sergeant's attention easily. The voice belonged to Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, the Last Spartan, and he was addressing William. That caught him off guard: he had the impression that the Chief didn't talk to Marine folks.
"Brute Chieftain and a Phantom. Pinned us down
" He paused for a second, before looking at Lieutenant Conrad and the rest of Bravo.
"Killed my men." He said again, turning his head to look right at the Chief. The Chief nodded, before he and his motley crue took back to wherever they were heading. And William was more inclined to go with them than he was to sit here and wait.
"I want to help."
"Stay here for evac."
"I need to avenge them. I served with some of them since Eridanus Secundus, and I'm not going to let the last memory of Bravo be one squad of Covenant soldiers who got lucky. Sir." He stated grimly, the rest of the Marines looking at him as if he just committed a sin, not one daring to speak up to defend either Reynolds or the Chief.
The Chief, who had turned to face Reynolds when he spoke, merely shook his head and continued on, before he spoke with command and authority in his tone, shaking the fear out of everyone.
"Get rolling, then. We got ground to cover."
He sat in the back of the Pelican, relaxed, his body not trying to tense after the hellish battle through the forest. He, the Chief, the Arbiter, and Johnson had fought through two waves of assaults and took back part of the jungle that they had to leave back behind: their mission accomplished, they had no need to hold it. Nor did the Covenant Loyalists have reason to have it in the first place.
"You okay, Marine?" Johnson, his accent and tough-tone catching Reynolds' attention very easily, bringing up his head. He chose his words carefully, not trying to sound gun-ho or depressed.
"No, sir, but I'll survive."
"I'm in the same boat as you, Marine. Go see Corpsman Farrior; she'll check you out to make sure you don't need to get to Medical when we get back to the Crow's Nest."
"But, sir, I'm
"Not fine until I say so, Marine!"
"Yessir." William said reluctantly, standing up slowly and grabbing onto the upper rail above his seat for support as the Pelican made a slow turn. He shook his head before he walked down the aisle of seats to the sleeping Corpsman.
She wore a Sergeant's cap, but even with her hair covered she looked beautiful to his eyes. A small nose, pink lips, and a beauty mark on her left cheek, she slept with her head against her right shoulder, her mouth slightly open and her eyes shut loosely. Wearing the standard armor of the UNSC Marine Corps, she looked to fit it well and her relaxed position confirmed it. A pistol was on her side, her medical bag in the seat next to her, and a BR55 Battle Rifle slung across her back.
He nudged her, and she awoke from perhaps a pleasant slumber.
"You hurt, Gunny?"
"Yes 'mam. According to Sergeant Major." Reynolds said, sitting next to her, titling his head a bit in the direction of the cockpit; Johnson's current location. Michelle Farrior immediately knew, a soft smile coming across her face as she nodded in understanding. She motioned him to come closer with her two index fingers, examining his blunted armor pad that was darkened and appeared to have had a Brute spike torn through. She pushed her index finger into the hole.
"Oww! Jesum Crow!"
"How deep did it get?"
Reynolds at first did not say anything.
"You might be one of those guys who the only way we get you off the battlefield is either in a box or with a stretcher, but you better ship up and tell me what's the matter." Michelle spoke with a little smile, but a hard voice followed that did not match the smile at no length. Reynolds, however strong-willed, realized that it was futile to argue with the Corpsman, who knew more than he did about medical 'stuff', as he had always identified it with.
"Good. Now shut up and turn around. Private Anglesey, get over here and help me take off Sergeant Reynolds's pauldron."
"But why you, Bill?"
Because, Mary, I have to.
"You won't find me here waiting, or to read your letters, or anything like a good wife. You know this well. I have not wasted ten years of my life so you can go and get yourself killed. Good cause or not, Bill, I love you. And that will never change."
Captain Robert Gallagher was excited.
He was standing tall, his back against a wall within the confines of 'Crow's Nest', and his black armor reflective as the artificial light bounced off his plating. He wore no helmet, displaying his age well enough for anyone to see. But, like all members of SPECTRE, he did not care. He had an air of superiority that no one could strip, not even the man he was about to meet when he heard the news. The Chief survived landfall, and he was on his way here.
Commander Keyes walked past him with a smile, getting his attention quickly as he snapped to a salute. She nodded and reciprocated, motioning with her head to follow as she brought it down. Gallagher nodded, and walked off with her on her starboard side. She and Captain Gallagher were the two commanding officers of the base, with Captain Gallagher in charge of Marine personnel and Keyes commanding the Naval forces stationed, with her being the primary commander.
Gallagher didn't mind it one bit.
"Captain, where are your men?" She didn't need to clarify; Gallagher understood she was talking about SPECTRE.
"The underground armory. I don't like it down there, too easy for someone to get through." He spoke with his tone at a neutral pitch, but Keyes understood what his concern meant more than he realized. She and Robert had regularly talked to each other since the War began, and he considered her a good friend.
Maybe more, but that wasn't allowed.
"Agreed, good thinking."
They were at the Pelican Hanger Bay, and he saw the site that was the returning Marine patrol. He got a good look at Master Gunnery Sergeant Johnson, Gunnery Sergeant Stacker, Reynolds, and even the mighty Master Chief standing tall next to the Arbiter.
"Master Chief, good to see you." Keyes was the first to talk, her voice soft but firm, a true leader's voice, one that only a few in the entire UNSC had the ability to adopt. Gallagher wasn't a leader, merely a commander, but Keyes easily grasped the attention of all of the soldiers present; even the gaze of the Arbiter was caught upon her. Gallagher was truly amazed.
"Sergeant Reynolds, you holding up well?"
"Fine as rain, 'mam." He reported back, but all of the soldiers realized it was a front. Gallagher, who was not the best at reading people, could hear his soft tone compared to how it used to sound, he remembered clearly the smiling man who told jokes and was always talking to his commanding officer about one thing or another. The voice that belonged to Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds was one of a sad, depressed man who hardly had anything else to live for.
"And you, Stacker?"
"All ready, 'mam. I'm good to go."
"Good to hear. I need you two to go with Captain Gallagher here to the Underground Armory and get your men ready. We're going out." She said, to all three of them, before she walked off; Johnson, the Arbiter, and the Chief in tow. Gallagher looked at the two Sergeants before he cracked a smile.
"Good to see you again, Pete. How's the arm?"
"Better than Kinsey's, sir." He smiled back, a warm one, but then all eyes diverted to Reynolds, who stood at attention and did not give a feeling off at all. Gallagher understood, and Stacker definitely understood. He lost his entire former platoon, and he still managed to fight through jungle. That was what really impressed Gallagher.
Stacker is an ODST. He never is impressed.
"At ease, Sergeant Reynolds. You two are now officially under ONI's Section IV guidelines, that being you keep your damn mouth shut while I tell you what you both need to do. Stacker, Keyes wants you to prepare a supply convoy to ship out to Voi. Reynolds, you're taking temporary command of Stacker's unit and preparing to go out into the wild and get on the Tsavo Highway. Both of your jobs are to hit the main anti-aircraft batteries along this route, so that two UNSC Frigates, the Forward Unto Dawn and the Dusk Settling, can rush in and destroy that damn
ship." He almost let slip that the ship was Forerunner, but HIGHCOM had made it clear to ONI not to divulge that information out.
"Bit of a flimsy." Reynolds replied, looking at Gallagher with hard eyes.
"Not with the Chief with you too."
"Where do you want us, Captain?" Stacker said after Reynold's outburst, quickly changing the subject to the Marine Captain. However that Gallagher was under Navy's direct chain of command he was and always will be a Marine. Stacker, Reynolds, and the rest of the Marine crew on base recognized that first, even before his ONI moniker. Stacker definitely held a bit of respect for Gallagher, since the Covenant had landed on Earth he had commanded forces from successful retreats to major victories.
"Downstairs, the garage. Be prepared."
Where are you?
"A hell, Gunnery Sergeant William Reynolds. A hell."
Mary, stop playing.
"Every night since you left, I cannot sleep."
"No! You have caused me pain!"
William awoke with a rush, his eyes flashing open. He coughed, hard, dust escaping his throat as he pushed himself up. His armor was covered in debris, the majority of the hard stone and iron slipping off as he erected himself straight. His hands gripped his Battle Rifle with an iron grip, his eyes trying to adjust to the lack of light. He corrected this with flicking a switch on his weapon, the light fixture near the barrel shooting a beam of light far enough for his liking.
"Settle down, Marines! Someone hit the emergency power!"
"On it, Sarge!" A voice called back to him, before realizing it belong to Private Anthony Young. As soon as he heard the voice he put the image of the Private's face in his mind. He had a dark muzzle, his hair short and black, but his face scarred. Reynolds felt closer to Young than he did the rest of Stacker's platoon, merely because he is one of the few in Stacker's ODST troop to have fought in the Jericho campaign and on. Why he is a Private, Reynolds knew well.
He didn't want to tell the rest of the platoon that the penal code forbids the UNSC from promoting any convicts that have been conscripted or volunteered.
"If you can walk, get yourself on the line!" Reynolds commanded, his voice carrying over easily to the other side of the underbelly of the Crow's Nest. He saw some men shuffle over, but he saw three or four men on the other side remain sitting and wobble around. Reynolds didn't care if they were hurt or not, Captain Gallagher gave him an order and he was going to follow it.
The power came back on, and now Reynolds could see clearly. He saw five male soldiers, (his platoon), two females, and one male Spectre operative dressed in full black body armor. He looked like something out of his nephew's comic books, standing tall and with no emotion. Funny, Reynolds thought to himself as he cracked a smile. He knew it wasn't Gallagher, he hadn't come down with the rest of the soldiers.
And then he saw John-117.
The hulking human, or what used to be human in William's mind, walked next to the SPECTRE operative with his hands holding gently onto an MA5B ICWS. He stood tall, but waited for Reynolds' order. He noticed the SPECTRE operative do the same, both of the naval commandos had their eyes trained on Reynolds.
Talk about being put on the spot
"Men, we got to hit anti-aircraft Wraiths all along the Tsavo Highway, then we hit Voi and take out key Covenant triple A installations, giving Fleet Admiral Hood enough time for a strike force to slip it and attack the Prophet of Truth's base. We don't have a lot of time. Zander, Rawlings, and Landford got that turreted Warthog. The rest of us are taking the Double Tee. Chief, Henderson, you want to get in front?" He asked, the SPECTRE operative looking a little surprised when he was addressed with his last name. Reynolds only remembered because Gallagher had told him which Team was down here, and Henderson didn't manage to make it out.
"I'll drive." The Chief said, the rest of the men running to their positions. Reynolds jumped in the back on the port side, wrapping one of his hands around the end pole connecting the divider in the back of the Warthog. His other hand held onto his Battle Rifle as if it was the Holy Grail: he was not prepared to let go of it.
"I thought I told you to stay in bed, Sergeant Reynolds." A soft voice hit his ears, and a smile slowly parted on William's lips. Michelle Farrior, still with her normal equipment that she wore the last time William looked at her, and her bright eyes staring at his. His heart crumbled, his soul wavered: her gaze pierced his soul with the blades of her eyes. It reminded him too much of Mary, and he still didn't know what happened to her.
"You know me, 'mam. Can't pull me from my job unless I'm dead or wounded severely." He said, cracking a smile over his face as he chuckled. She chuckled back too, and it scared him. Even her chuckle was like Mary's, her mannerisms, all of her. It was almost as if it was Mary, save the hair and the rank and the affiliation. It saddened him, within his armor, but he did his best to not let it show.
"Who's the black armored guy?" Michelle asked, twitching her head over her shoulder to the sideseat, where Henderson had taken a seat and kept a steady eye as the Warthog exited the underground tunnel. He fired his rifle again into a fleeing Grunt, the rest of the men cheered him on.
"Luke Henderson. They call him Wolf."
"Gallagher told me he got the nickname when they were on the ice planet. You know, Carthage II. He and his squad were up in the mountains picking off Covenant patrols when they were attacked by an Elite squad and Hunters. Four of them managed to wipe out the Elites using trip mines, but, the Hunters managed to kill the rest of the squad save Henderson. One Hunter out of the four tried to rush him, but he managed to stick a plasma grenade in its underside. It died, and got the attention of the other three. He picked up his fallen demolitions expert's rocket launcher and blew them all to Hell. Got the nickname because he managed to survive out there for six days until SAR managed to get to him."
"Sweet Mary, that's intense."
"I know." William replied, after recounting the story Gallagher told him. They went over a small hill, the front end of the Warthog slamming into a Brute and punching his body into the ground. The Brute's body crumbled like paper as the Warthog smashed bone and muscle, causing a few grimaces from the rest of the men onboard.
William flicked on his radio.
"Chief, when we get to the Highway we wait for Stacker. Roger?"
A grunt peeled out behind a rock. William pulled his rifle upwards into firing position and let loose a burst round into the head of the stupid creature. It whelped and collapsed. A cruel smile formed on the vengeful Sergeant's lips, finally getting the revenge he wanted.
The revenge he needed.
There is only one thing left for me to do, in this world.
"What is that?"
Mary, I loved you more than any husband can do. But if you cannot love me because of my job, then you don't really love me at all. I'm sorry, Mary, but I can't love you anymore.
"I. Hate. You. Do you understand, William? Nothing in this world will stop me from that. Not even your own death."
Master Gunnery Sergeant Pete Stacker exclaimed as loud as he could as he and the rest of the wounded soldiers hid up on top of one of the metal tents used for work projects, Brute Chopper fire raining down on them from the Brute's death machines. Laughs from the Brutes only made the anger in Stacker rise and boil his blood to the point of his hands gripping the MA5B ICWS' stock so hard that it broke chips of it off. He jumped up and fired a few shots from his rifle into the head of a Brute, his helmet taking all of the shots. It dazed him, for a brief moment, which was all Stacker needed.
A spike grenade flew from his hands.
The spike grenade stuck on the Brute's leg, the creature realizing that he had been marked for death. He merely stood still, a smart thing, but for Stacker's luck a Chopper was passing by. The explosion shoved the Brute who had been spiked backwards into the pilot, who was knocked off. The Chopper, however, kept moving forward with its same speed. That Chopper smacked straight into another Brute death machine, destroying both of them in one fiery explosion.
"Lucky!" One of the ODST troopers exclaimed as he peppered some of the Brutes attempting to surround them with Battle Rifle fire. Stacker, however, knew that it was only a matter of time. The aliens outnumbered his forces four to one, the twelve Brutes beginning to scream out in victory as they came closer.
Help, however, arrived.
By wheels of Warthog.
A Troop Transport Warthog and the normal recon model careered out of an opening of a rock wall, marked by trail divets and little tiny light buoys. Stacker watched as the 'Trooper' released fire from all sides, the Brutes taken by surprise and cut down like weeds in a farmer's field. It was almost as if they were Grunts, a small patrol being hit by a two man team: The Marine's recon Warthog was running over fleeing Brutes with a quickness. It was unreal, unrealistic. Stacker couldn't believe it.
"Sergeant Major! Good to see you!"
"Corpsman Farrior. I need your help."
"Roger. Chief, stop the Trooper near that tent. Gardner, get our bags."
Stacker watched as the Trooper came to a halt outside the tent, in the back Corpsman Farrior and her other medical attaché jumped off and headed towards the tent. The Trooper, with the Chief and Gunny Reynolds noticeable in the back, then took off for the main connecting road to Voi. Farrior and Gardner climbed up to the top with the medical equipment on their back, a strong feat for normal looking human females.
"Tara, that's Stacker alright." Michelle responded to Gardner's inquest. A smile cracked on Stacker's face.
"Good to see you, 'mam. I got three men in desperate need, but the rest of us can wait. Just bones broken in places that don't matter."
"Roger. Tara, get that guy over there. Don't want to amputate his other leg."
An Elite stood tall, his Energy Sword activated in his right hand. His golden armor shined bright, and it seemed like he was done with questioning. Reynolds could only hope that it would be quick, and painless. He was a Marine, and he had betrayed nothing. His ring finger was gone, his middle finger on the opposite hand was too, but he had remained quiet. The pain was terrible, but he let no sound escape. If Earth was discovered, then all of it was gone.
He never figured he would die on Jericho.
The Elite roared, and rose his arm.
He prayed to make sure his Mary would live a long life of happiness.
The Elite crumbled like paper.
A sniper round from a nearby patrol, no doubt. Reynolds immediately pushed himself up and ran, as fast as he could, as both plasma fire and bullets flew into the air around him. Not one amount of pain hit his body, no bullet or plasma hit him, he was as if untouchable by God himself.
He would live, today.
But what about tomorrow?
End of Chapter One