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Noble Team: Origins (Part 1)
Posted By: Flugel Meister<flugel_mcdougall@hotmail.co.uk>
Date: 27 May 2010, 1:14 pm

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In honour of the forthcoming game, I have written a short story based on the events that mould one character in particular.

A Halo: Reach Prequel

Jake had long been accustomed to hardship; it had been a constant factor for most of his life. Only in his earliest years had there been any form of stability and peace. Now, though, every day was a fight for survival. But that was what Jake excelled at, surviving. And that was why he was a Spartan-III.

The drop into the atmosphere of Arcadia had been typical in every way. Bone shattering G-forces pulled at every joint, muscle and tendon, and were often accompanied by a collection of distorted but comical facial expressions. Unconsciousness was not uncommon either, but for a Spartan it was simply another means of insertion, one that was covered in a blanket of subterfuge as they descended through the wisps of white cloud with another four hundred SOEIV's, each of them filled with Orbital Drop Shock troopers. But the ODST's were not there to support Jake and his fellow Spartan, Jen-146. They were simply there to reinforce the beleaguered defenders below and to mask the Spartan's insertion. The Covenant would simply think of it as another human attempt to save this battered colony. Instead of a vital mission that could shock them into talks of peace.

Jake's mission was relatively straightforward -- drop into an area of dense jungle around two-hundred kilometres north of Pirth, the once impressive capital city of Arcadia, until the Covenant had decimated it when they first attacked nearly twenty years ago. Once in, they were to head another hundred kilometres east towards a cluster of ruins that were strung around the nearby plateau in a series of circular patterns, where their objective was located. Jake had no idea what or who the target was, he and Jen were there to simply observe at first, reporting on enemy movements and strengths and, more importantly, what the Covenant were so interested in. Then they would hopefully be given the green light to proceed.

Despite the original plan being straightforward in principle, missions against the Covenant, especially high-value targets, were rarely simple in nature. The Covenant were fiercely protective of anything valuable and would place their best troops to protect it. But that was the problem. Only two Spartans, against an entire army of the best the Covenant had, on a mission that could effectively end the war. It was an opportunity that could not be missed and warranted an entire company of Spartans, not a single pair. Jake had his suspicions that Colonel Ackerson was doing his usual trick of sending Spartans off on suicide missions. He was an opportunist, in every way possible, much to the detriment of his own species. Any other commander would have sent everything they had.

Jake checked the descent vector on the SOEIV's small mission display. They were on course for the original drop coordinates, at least for now.

He chinned the secure COM channel inside his newly designed infiltration suit. "Jen, stand by for vector adjustment in twelve seconds."

There was a brief pause before her status light illuminated. She was always like this at the start of a mission, quiet. But that differed greatly from how she would be later on. Every Spartan had their own quirks and habits. Some were simply annoying, whereas others would even exhibit what could be described as useful characteristics. But Jen always started off as quiet as a mouse only to gradually turn into a member of a one-sided conversation where she never shut up. She never ceased to amaze Jake. On one occasion, about a year ago, she managed a three-hour deliberation on the subject of Spartan footwear during downtime. Even when a Covenant patrol turned up she carried on talking -- slitting the throats of five Jackals whilst describing her ideal make of shock resistant running shoes. She was infuriating. But Jake was paired with her for a good reason. They were exceptional together. Untouched by any other Spartan pair, even the Head-hunter teams measured somewhat mediocre by comparison. But that was because he and Jen had always been together, through childhood and their induction into the Spartan-III program. They could predict each others actions like no other Spartan, they compensated each other perfectly, always one step ahead of the other teams. Moving and fighting like twins. But that's because they were.

Jake tapped the joint descent switch and paired his pod with Jen's, and then pulled both of them away from the other, larger group of SOEIV's. It was a relatively new feature that allowed a commanding drop pod to control the overall drop. It could be manually overridden in the event of catastrophic failure, such as the command pod being hit be surface to air munitions.

He glanced over at the ODST's as they descended towards the ruins of Pirth. It was ablaze, with a thick column of smoke rising into the air like the trunk of a giant black tree. Jake knew his mission was suicidal in nature but in actual fact it was the ODST's that were the suicidal ones. Their mission was simply a distraction, with no hope of return.

He turned his attention back to the mission, and guided the descent towards the drop zone. They plummeted towards the surface until the braking thrusters fired and the drag chute deployed. Then they plunged through the forest canopy and hit the DZ.

To be continued...