The sterile scalpel shimmered silver under the heavy illumination of the operating room's surgical lamps. Damnit to hell, this was supposed to be easy, Patterson grumbled to himself. The plan had been so perfect; so right. That was the trouble with Spartans; they always managed to screw somebody's plans up. This wasn't an ordinary plan, and the General had worked months upon months to perfect every detail. It had taken six weeks alone to single out Fisher as his operations recovery man, and so far the ex-Helljumper had performed flawlessly in his tasks.
SUBJECT: Wow! Lucky me!
I know this'll bore you Bob, but it's interesting to me so you're just going to have to listen to it. I listen to your bitching and moaning enough. (I'm Joking, of course) We just got five live Flood specimen in the lab! Some expeditionary unit bumbled onto another ring, and this time they were smart enough to bring back some goodies for the boys in white. Sure, they may have lost twenty men, but think about how much of a leap this could be scientifically? From what we've gotten back of dead combat and infection forms, it looks very promising that there may be a way to cure all diseases. ALL DISEASES BOB! Cancer, paralysis, muscular dystrophy, AIDS, the fucking cold! And so much more. This is only the beginning. Believe you me, this is only the beginning. And this new facility, Hyperion, the one I was telling you about last week, it's so nice. Out in the middle of absofuckinglutely nowhere though. But hey, I'm cool, I can deal. Write me back.
SUBJECT: Science can be so damn frustrating.
At times like these I really don't know why I became a scientist. Two of the little buggers died today. I guess they died; I don't know what else to call it. They just sort of...popped. Down to three, and these things aren't just easy to just go out and get. So much for invasive procedures directly to them.
SUBJECT I'm surprised.
Your last reply makes me think that you actually give a damn. Either way, I'm bored and there's not much in the way of the opposite sex around here, so I figured I'll just keep on talking. Well, we implanted one today. (This is black ops stuff, and normally the e-mail wouldn't get past my computer, but it helps to be friends with the head of security. Either way, it'd be beneficial to both of us if you DIDN'T tell anyone what I'm saying.) Implanted into what I bet your asking. Well, a human. CENCOM (breaking their normal 'lets be assholes' tradition), in conjunction with ONI (which kinda scares me :D), have been kind enough to ship us several death row inmates (I suppose, ethically, that this isn't really wrong since they'd die anyway). We were hoping they'd reproduce in a controlled climate, and therefore we'd have more test subjects, but that's where things got interesting.
Nothing happened. Not visibly anyway. Not like the vids. Don't get me wrong, there was a marked change in his body chemistry (300% increase in neural functions, 400% strength increase, speed, stamina, and motor functions all showed extreme improvement), but the best part is we were right. The implant patient is completely resistant to every major communicable disease we've tried so far. (On an interesting side note, the skin has become almost armor-like, and we've been forced to give all injections in inhaler form). Cellular growth is likewise off the scales; the Flood is replacing all of the weak, old, and dying cells with fresh ones (we believe that since this "virus" interacts with the host on a genetic level, that it would potentially have the ability to cure birth defects such as sickle cell anemia and other birth disorders) -- if fully utilized this could potentially mean an almost limitless life span.
On the off chance that you did actually read any of that, I'll keep you updated. ; )
[Personal Notes: Look into possible ways of acquiring one of these.]
SUBJECT: By the hairs on my skinny skin skin.
Wildest. Week. Ever.
Apparently, and unbeknownst to us, the implanted hosts have the ability to reproduce more of the infection forms. We noticed a small fleshy sac forming on the host's skin a week ago, and in that time it has apparently formed into a fully functioning infection form. Great for science, bad for Mark Hill. At the time, nobody had noticed what had happened. The inmate had been kept for observation in his cell, and when Mark went to check up on him the little bastard went straight for the jugular. Mark was technically okay, it burrowed inside, and he began exhibiting the same beneficial side effects as before. Only this time, strange things started happening.
He began complaining that he was hearing a light whispering voice in his head and feeling strange, almost iresistable urges to attack those around him. Needless to say, he was immediately quarantined. We still haven't figured out what's wrong with him. Possibly, successive reproduction of these organisms causes problems that we haven't had enough time to realize yet, but there is also the distinct (and scary) possibility that there is some sort of sub-verbal communication between the parent subject and its host with any subsequently controlled "child" subjects and their hosts.
P.S. Sorry to hear about Kathy. Good woman. Give my regards to her kids.
[Personal Notes: Research possible candidates for a retrieval operation.]
SUBJECT: Tragic, but interesting.
Well, Mark finally succumbed to the voices and went loopy. Security put him down, but not without a fight. He killed one and broke the ribs of three more. All in all Ajax (our head of security) says that they put a good thirty rounds into him. Most were lodged in his now thick, leathery skin. The autopsy was even more interesting than what we had originally believed about how they interacted with the host. The bulbous sac had been nearly deflated, and after analyses we've concluded that the thick green liquid is a heavy mixture of steroids, growth hormones, and stem cells.
The most interesting part of it all is how the actual infection form (the small, hair-like group at the bottom of the sac, that contains the creature's small brain and locomotive tendrils) interacts with the host. We've found that the tendrils have wrapped themselves around the spinal chord, and it would appear that one, longer tendril has connected with the base of the skull. Peters (our resident stuck-up, but best scientist) suggested that the form directly connects with the host's brain and its there that the genetic alterations begin. Doesn't look like it'll really matter now though. We've been ordered to ice them until a later date-- UNCOM is sending a personal team to collect them. I don't know why though, we've got an absolutely great facility, and if its secrecy they're worried about; it couldn't get any more secret. Well, it could. ;)
Slave Driver's a-coming, gotta go.
[Personal Notes: Two left. It would be a shame if they had an accident. Personnel dockets just came in. I'm going to look over them and see what I can get done.]
[C:/Administrator/ Documents/ Secured/ Operation Apotheothenai]
Operator: Fisher, Samuel. K. [SC 141]
Marine Recruit, 8th Infantry Division, 4th Regiment, 2nd Battalion (2533-2535)
Force Reconnaissance, UNMC UNSOCOM (2536-2544)
Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, UNMC UNSOCOM (2544-2550)
UNMP Prisoner ID: 1420-262-216A (2550-2551)
Court Martial Inquiry:
Charges- Disobeying a direct order that led to the death of military personnel.
Sentence- Dishonorable discharge; One year at United Nations Military Prison Camp Brickwater.
Status- Sentence Served. Dishonorably Discharged.
Psychological Analysis: Samuel Fisher suffers from "Combat Disillusionment", in which he cannot effectively operate or interact in social environments. Fisher is extremely dangerous, and often masks his hidden anger by polishing a favored black combat knife. Extremely deadly in combat operations, and will fiercely protect those he feels responsible for. Prefers the darkness; possible hidden context.
Decorations: Purple Heart, Navy Cross, Expert Pistol Medal, Expert Rifle Medal, Combat Action Ribbon,
Operator: John-117 [SF 117]
Office of Naval Intelligence: Authorization Required [Personal Decryption Key Invalid]
Psychological Analysis: Authorization Required [Personal Decryption Key Invalid]
Decorations: Purple Heart, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, , Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Valor Device), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Navy Expert Pistol Medal, Navy Expert Rifle Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, United Nations Presidential Unit Citation
Operators: Special Hazards and Infection Team
Operator A: Perez, John E. [E151]
Operator B: Wilson, Thomas P. [E452]
Operator C: Shields, William T. [E775]
Operator D: Roberts, Steven K. [E825]
Operator E: Salavera, Kioto E. [C124]
Operator: Kazchyk, Drew M.D.
Medical Corps, 2539-2553
Psychological Analysis: Psych Evaluation Unavailable
Operator: Granger, Frank
United Nations Space Command Air Force Reserve 2521-2525
United Nations Space Command Air Force Active 2525-2553
Psychological Analysis: Extremely energetic, but overall level-headed. Has very little compassion for others, and feels no regret after killing an enemy.
Decorations: Ace (11 Confirmed Kills), Airman's Medal, Air Force Cross
[C:// Administrator/ Documents/ Secured/ Operation Apotheothenai]
I) Insert Fisher at Hyperion
A) Objective Set A: Disrupt security and capture contained specimen.
B) Objective Set B: Disrupt security and release contained specimen.
II) Forge transfer documents for docketed personnel.
III) Contain SF-117's personal AI
IV) Insert Team
V) Ensure infected host (SF117- Most likely to survive contact).
VI) Eliminate all team members (except for SF117 and Fisher).
VII) Extract infection form from SF117.
[Appendix F- Military Tribunal: Evidence C141]
The plan was solid. Patterson would force a contamination at the Hyperion complex, courtesy of Sam Fisher, and send in his specially organized team to contain it. After the Spartan was infected, Fisher would ex-filtrate the compound with the infected host and proceed directly to surgery. By the time everything was over, John would wake up in a military hospital without ever being the wiser. But, unfortunately for Patterson, that's not exactly what happened.
Everything had gone smoothly during the first mission; Fisher infiltrated easily enough, and all hell broke loose. Two security guards would never see their wives or children again, but that couldn't be helped. His original plan was to capture one of the two remaining specimen, but that just wasn't possible. The critters were held in a bullet-proof container, and could only be accessed through the primary security complex. After backtracking across the facility he'd managed to sneak into the main security terminal, but that's when shit hit the fan.
Shift change meant that all incoming guards were required to personally inspect their sectors; which meant that the primary security complex would be swarming with active, and very lethal, guards. Two of which appeared at a most inopportune moment, and left him escape that didn't involve their untimely deaths. Needless to say, the bullet fire was quickly noticed, and Fisher was required to break containment and run.
Two other guards received minor wounds from the skirmish to get out of the building, but nothing serious. Fisher had, much to his surprise, taken three bullets in the back; fortunately his thick Safe-Corp body armor had kept the small caliber bullets from doing any damage. The ex-Helljumper worked his way up a set of cargo containers before hopping the twelve foot tall security fence and running the three miles to the extraction.
As a result of the containment failure, the hybrid man flood and six infection forms had escaped into the compromised compound. In a matter of hours there were seven newly inflected flood forms storming through the normally pristine hallways and attacking everyone in sight. None of the victims were killed outright, but kept just alive enough to be infected without being a problem.
Patterson's personal A.I., Caliph, had been kind enough to reroute the outgoing containment alert from going to Central Command, and instead found itself as a small, blinking icon on his personal computer. The General quickly gathered the soldiers using forged documents, sent them on their way. Originally, Fisher would incapacitate the unarmored Spartan with one of several devices, and drive him straight through the unguarded fences and to the small city three miles away. The plan was working brilliantly until the Warthog Patterson had arranged for the mission (gathered through back-side deals with a mechanic who didn't want to know what it would be used for) died in a smaller city only one hundred fifty miles out.
There was the twist that he'd been waiting for. The kink that always waited for the worst possible second to show up. Fisher was forced to drop the still unconscious soldier at a small airport terminal before making his inconspicuous disappearance. Caliph quietly, and invisibly, watched as the confused Spartan contacted his own AI and arranged for a meeting place. He was picked up by an unknown female driver and taken to the small, closed health clinic that inevitably served as the site of the surgery.
Cortana was fire walled behind Caliph's cleverly erected firewall, and was never aware of what had happened. Caliph alerted Patterson to the clever backdoor escape route she'd plotted for herself, and the general used her every step of the way. He set himself up to look like an innocent bystander, and with the help of his crafty computer friend, put himself in as many "right place, right time" locations as possible. Of the three places he went before the train station, he'd casually left hints of his final stopping point. Luckily, Cortana arranged for John to pick the general up so that they could learn what he knew about the mission, and that's where fate left him--
--standing alone in a thirteen meter by eighteen meter operating room with a semi-conscious Spartan on the slab and a dead physician dirtying the floor. He grinned to himself as he began the sloppy incision, but his bemused happiness turned quickly from confusion to anger as the scalpel refused to cut through the skin. John's flesh would only dimple from the pressure, and the infuriated three-star surgeon tossed the instrument across the room. He grabbed a bone saw from the dolly nearby, and shivered slightly at the grinding metallic sound it produced as he turned the device on.
Overhead, Linda watched with horrified silence as the doctor was shot. She turned for the observation room's single small gray door, but it was already open. Standing in all black combat dress was a man she'd never seen before; his already-leveled pistol making barely audible zips as three rounds were fired. Her chest instantly exploded in pain, but it went just as quickly as she passed out. The round that struck her forehead was stopped by the titanium grafts Doctor Halsey had so kindly provided, and although the shot wasn't fatal, it had impacted with enough blunt force to temporarily knock the Spartan back to basic training.
Groggily, John watched through shaky and distorted vision as two small red spatters coated the overhead observation room's window. Linda's body made a dull thud against the partition before sliding to the floor; leaving a trail of smeared blood behind her. The disheveled sound of electric motors seemed far off, but the sudden influx of pain was all too real.
Move soldier! The voice was mental, but not his. But he was never one to disobey an order. His muscles flexed against the thick yellow straps that bound him against the operating table, and they gave way quickly. The pain dissipated and the now wide awake Spartan finally saw the sharp, twirling blades spinning near his waist. Patterson cursed loudly, tossed the machine onto the floor, and trotted quickly to the door. Tiny ceramic slivers were flicked into the air while the tiny mechanical utensil made energetic circles on the ground. He glanced up once more, and saw the same icy eyes that had stared him down on the Pelican during the Hyperion insertion; in his hand was a silenced pistol. He grinned, turned to the limp female figure at his feet, and fired two more shots into her. The black clad soldier quickly disappeared.
John raced through the metallic double doors of the operating room and into a small corridor that ran along its side. There was a stairwell at the end of the hallway; he rushed up the single story in three seconds flat, and was standing at the center of a long, wide hallway. Thirty feet down and to the left was the room brightly declared as 'Observation A', and at the end of the hallway stood Fisher; almost challenging him.
Save her. Now. He'll get his later.
John rushed into the observation room and over to one of his closest friend's lifeless body. To say her vitals were weak would be an understatement; they were practically non-existent. He carefully hoisted her into his arms and carried her downstairs and placed her onto the same table he'd almost been dissected on. Stabilize her; I have already begun the reproduction process. It will require five days. One-Seventeen wasted no time in plugging her into all of the nearby equipment on hand. The whole bunch of it was antique by military standards, but it was suitable for his needs. He did the best he knew how under the circumstances; first by soldering closed the small capillaries that spidered through her lungs and then intubating them. After applying a thin coat of artificial skin to her wounds, and carefully removing the bullets he could safely recover, all he could do was wait.
The waiting was the toughest part. It always was; no matter whether it was five hundred years before Christ or twelve thousand years after his death. The adrenaline always kicked in during the fighting and training, but there wasn't anything to help during the waiting. For five days all he could do was patiently stroll the hallways; barricading the primary entrances and booby trapping those nobody would have any business using in the first place. All the while a small sac grew off of the left side of his abdomen; enlarging from the size of a quarter to finally a full three quarter credit. It casually dropped off during his sleep.
She will be well soon. The broodling has successfully connected with her body.
I'm here. A little out of it, but here.
But how can I--
Her body is being repaired in the same manner yours was. To a greater extent, of course, but nothing she hasn't willingly conceded to. Through our bodies you are able to speak with each other consciously, but verbal communication is not required.
Are we linked in any other ways?
Because the broodling attached to her spine is an extension of myself, and therefore an extension of you, you are able to directly control her if you so wish. Though I will warn against doing so without her explicit agreement. Such an action would force the broodling to assume direct and forceful control over her nervous system, and begin the slow deterioration of her bodily functions as her brain ceases to control the lower functions we are incapable of controlling.
It's okay; Spartans never disobey orders. Even subliminal
In his mind's eye the quick flash of a smiling wink could be felt. He was comforted to know that everything would be okay, and that his Spartan would be in above-top shape soon.
We'll get 'em.
It was the closest thing he'd get to a 'Thank You' from her, or any Spartan for that matter.
I know we will. Now get some rest. That's an order. We have some stops to make before we hit the road.