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Attack on Installation 06, interlude
Posted By: Jake Trommer<wedgefan@comcast.net>
Date: 21 June 2008, 1:54 am

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Attack on Installation 06
Cairo Station, Earth, Sol System, 2553

      Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood stood on the bridge of the Cairo, staring out at the endless stars, and shook his head. When the Human-Covenant War had ended, he had assumed things would settle down, and humanity could finally live in peace.
      Of course, that hadn't been what had happened.
      Some members of the Sangheili had apparently decided to continue their campaign against the humans, along with their intendant species. The Arbiter had informed Hood that Fleet Master Rtas 'Vadum had already dispatched a task force, personally led by the Fleet Master, to hunt down and eliminate these rebels. Hood had a good deal of respect for the Sangheili leader, and his warrior second-in-command, but the Admiral simply did not know how much he could trust either one.
      On top of this situation, a Recon Longsword pilot had shown up on the Cairo, requesting a meeting with Hood, claiming that he was from Admiral Harsoth's fleet, and that Harsoth had found another Halo.
      Hood sighed. Best to get this over with. The sooner this new Halo was destroyed, the better...only this time, the Master Chief wasn't going to be able to help out.
      Hood swivelled to face Gunnery Sergeant Pete Stacker, his Marine adjutant, and a veteran of all three Halo campaigns. "Gunnery Sergeant?"
       "Yes Sir?"
      "That recon pilot who's shown up, where is he?"
      "Pilot country, Sir; ONI gave him temporary quarters there when they found out what he was here for."
      "Get him up here, Pete. We might as well find out how bad the situation is."
      "Yes Sir."


      An hour after the pilot's debriefing, Hood called for a convocation of the UNSC High Command.
      "The report is conclusive," Hood began without preamble, "there is another Halo ring, and it appears the rebel Sangheili are trying to gain control of it."
      All eyes turned to face the Arbiter, who was the Sangheili representative on the HighCom staff; the warrior-leader had stated he could not entrust this position to anyone else. "I know what you are thinking," he began. "You no doubt blame me for this."
      The battered Colonel James Ackerson, still recovering from his time as a Brute captive, stood up. "You damn well bet we do! These are your people, you should be able to control them!"
      Hood sighed. It was wholly predictable that Ackerson would be the one to talk. With his archenemies Dr. Catherine Halsey and the SPARTAN-IIs missing in action, he had decided to focus his vitriol on the Sangheili.
      Major General Nicolaus Strauss interrupted. "Stow the bullshit, James. You want to yell at someone, do it to the holo of Halsey we all know you have in your room."
      The HighCom staff chuckled at that; even the Arbiter let out a noise that could be considered a laugh.
      "Gentlemen," said Hood, "please. We need to discuss what to do. It is obvious Harsoth requires more ships; the question is how many."
      Admiral Tim "MAC gun" McDonald, representative of the Navy, leaned forward. "A Halo installation has to be top priority. I recommend a full battlegroup. At least."
      The Arbiter nodded his assent. "Fleet Master 'Vadum will no doubt like to assist as well."
      Hood looked at Strauss. "We will definitely need ground troops. How many men can you spare?"
      Strauss waved at the Arbiter. "His ships are no doubt packed with warriors. One Sangheili is worth at least five Marines."
      Ackerson glared daggers. "I take offense to that. My soldiers outwitted the Sangheili numerous times---"
      "After being drugged up and indoctrinated from a young age, Colonel." Strauss looked at Hood. "At least a battalion. Maybe a regiment. Plus an ODST unit or two."
      All eyes turned to faced General Hugo Silva, representative of the ODSTs. The General's son, a battalion commander, had been KIA on the first Halo; scuttlebutt had it that Major Silva had been trying to smuggle Flood specimens back to Earth, and his second-in-command had had to kill him in order to prevent that.
      General Silva said nothing for a few seconds, he simply gazed around the room. "I can supply at least a regimental combat team. My son's memory will demand nothing less."
      Everyone fidgeted, especially the Arbiter, who had commanded the Covenant forces on the first Halo.
      Hood coughed. "Very well, then. It is the conclusion of the High Command that a joint human-Sangheili task force be sent to relieve Admiral Harsoth?"
      Everyone affirmed, except for Ackerson. A sly look was playing over the Colonel's face, and Hood did not like it. "Just one question," asked the ONI officer. "Who leads the task force? 'Vadum, or one of us?"
      The tension in the room could be cut with a knife and served on crackers. All eyes were on the Arbiter and Hood.
      Hood hesitated for the tiniest fraction of a second, then answered. "Ship Master 'Vadum shall command. He has more experience attacking Halo rings than we do, not to mention the knowledge of our foe's tactics."
      The HighCom looked satisfied with the answer, save for Ackerson.
      "Is that all?" asked Hood. "Are you sure, James?" There were some chuckles at that. "Very well, dismissed."


      Two hours after that, the joint task force under Fleet Master 'Vadum and Admiral Hood (who had elected to personally oversee the fight) departed for Tharidanis. The fight for Installation 06 had begun in earnest.