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Immortal: Prologue
Posted By: J-117<gjm_25@yahoo.com>
Date: 3 January 2007, 4:08 am

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Prologue: So It Begins…

0700 Hours, October 20, 2552 (Military Calendar)
Sol System, Earth Defense Platform, Cairo

First Squad leader Sergeant Vladimir Kharkenov sat on his footlocker cleaning his BR55 Battle Rifle, making sure all the parts would shine as his native sun, Sol. He picked up the bolt of the rifle the mat on the floor where the disassembled parts laid. As his hand moved the oil and polish covered rag up and down the Bolt, he looked out at his squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, otherwise known as Helljumpers. Vladimir was a proud member of the 105th ODST Division, famous for the tenacity of its soldiers, yet also famous for their intelligent, efficient operations against the Covenant.

Vladimir looked out at his squad, watching them all clean their weapons as well, getting ready for the day's work of training. Today Echo Company was conducting a practice drop over Kenya in the East African Protectorate. They would be launching at 1000 hours from Human Entry Vehicles located in the aft section of the station.

To Vladimir's right lay his right-hand man, Corporal Mark Jay Wahlen of First Fireteam, a native of Utah within the North American Protectorate. Mark always had Vladimir's back, no matter what kind of trouble they got in. Mark was something of a paradox: while usually being the joker of the squad, he always remained sober and refused to take anything that would intoxicate him. He sat on his footlocker, cleaning the Oracle Scope of his SRS99C-S2 AM Sniper Rifle.

Across from Mark was Corporal Bryce McDermid of Second Fireteam, who came from the Great White North of the North American Protectorate. Bryce was the calmest member of the squad, always being deliberate and precise in his words and actions, although his sarcasm was legendary throughout the company. Having finished cleaning his MA5B Assault Rifle, went to work doing his daily push-ups in order to shake off his grogginess.

To Bryce's left was Corporal Max Bennett of Third Fireteam, who heralded from the Pacific Northwest. Max was the Tech Specialist of the squad, never failing to hack a computer system. Max had used his limited security clearance to gather what little information he could find of Covenant computer systems and was currently writing a paper on Covenant algorithms. This act alone had ticked off some of the higher-ups at the Office of Naval Intelligence. After cleaning his M7/Caseless Sub-Machine Gun he sat on his cot, writing a hypothesis on his personal notepad.

"I heard they're givin' the Master Chief a medal today" remarked Private First Class John Mueller of First Fireteam. Mark and he had grown up in the same town in Utah, but John had joined the ODST's a year after Mark. His first anniversary in the ODST's would be soon.

"What, you mean the leader of those freak Spartans?" replied Private First Class Andrew Wilson of Second Fireteam. Andrew was known for his excessive drunkenness throughout the company; however he was one of the most skilled killers in Echo Company, so Company leader First Lieutenant Travis Sink turned a blind eye to him.

"Now, now, you boys play nice with the Chief. He may be a freak in armor, but that man can get the job done. Why do you think we get attached to Spartan missions so much?" Vladimir questioned from his seat upon his footlocker.

"Because the Spartans are the only unit that's good enough to fight with us" replied Mark, looking straight at Vladimir.

"Why you are correct Corporal Wahlen. Two points!"

"Kick-ass!" Mark joked along. The men in the room laughed. It was nice to be able to relieve some pressure in their world, with constant war, and the thought of possible extinction lingering at the back of their minds.

The men soon finished cleaning their weapons and prepared the rest of their gear for their training mission. Private First Class Spencer Wilson [who was of no relation to Andrew] of Third Fireteam looked out the viewport of the barracks into the space beyond when he say a bright flash of light. He could see the speck of a ship in the distance, but it was so small that he could not determine its shape.

"Hey Sir… do you see what I see?" asked Spencer.

"I see it. Probably just another ship reporting for repairs and guard duty, there was supposed to be several ships coming in today from Tantalus IV" replied Max. Spencer looked back towards his gear when out of the corner of his eye he saw more flashes of light.

"What the hell… that's more then several ships. A lot more!"

"I hope that isn't what I think it is" coldly remarked John.

"Don't count against it Private" replied Vladimir. "I'm going to go to the C.O. to check it out." Vladimir walked ten steps towards the hatch when the PA system came on.

"This is Lord Hood. We have detected a fleet of Covenant on an inbound vector to Earth. We all knew that this day would eventually come, but we will fight the Covenant to the last man. This ends here!"

"You all heard the Admiral; it's time to show these Covies why you don't mess with Helljumpers. Oo-rah?" ordered Vladimir.

"Sir, yes Sir!" replied the men, now scrambling into high gear. The men donned their Mark V Orbital Drop Shock Armor, which was similar in design to the famous MJOLNIR Spartan armor; and grabbed their reassembled weapons. They went out the door into the hallway and proceeded to the left for fifty meters, stopping at a stairwell overlooking a corridor that bent to the right fifteen meters down.

"Third stay here. This is our fallback position. First and Second, you're on me. We shall not go back one step!" They ran all through the halls of the Cairo, looking for any targets that could appear, all the while Vladimir thinking: 'I hope to God we're right about this. If not, it's the end for us…'