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Data - Part One
Posted By: Mark Lieberg<malieberg@msn.com>
Date: 7 June 2011, 3:57 am

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1823 Hours, July 02, 2552 (Military Calendar)
Southern Rebel Compound, 10km from Base Charlie
Planet Levosia, 26 Draconis System

      Two acknowledgment lights blinked ─ then an explosion.
      In a split second, three Spartans, augmented armored super soldiers, moved in unison and rapidly stormed the room adjacent to their position. Lights went off and smoke filled the area.Nine muffled sounds were heard and then silence.
       "Threats neutralized," signaled Kathy, Chief Petty Officer Spartan-201. Lowering her rifle, she turned to face her team. The gold visor helmets of the other two Spartans nodded and began searching the room.
       "I'm still a little confused why command wants us down here looking for data when we could be top side repelling the ground forces." Richard, Spartan-231, stated while rummaging through files undisturbed by the forced entry. "Rebels or not, they aren't the biggest threat to us right now."
      Walking towards the other end of the room, Kathy pulled away an overhead curtain revealing a safe the size of a car.
       "Whoa," muttered the teams' third member, Willis, Spartan-184. "Is that what I think it is Chief?"
      Richard and Willis walked towards the safe and stood behind Kathy. The Chief walked up and around the massive container, pausing at one of the ends.
       "Whatever it is, it must be what ONI wants us to investigate, secure and destroy." She took a knee and examined the keypad interface. "Willis, do you think you can crack this?"
      Stepping up to the interface, Willis pulled out a data scanner from his pouch and activated it. Nodding sideways, he replied, "Not a chance. This thing is voice activated," motioning to the three men lying on the ground dead, "maybe we should have saved one of them?"
      Richard chuckled, "What's the fun in that?" Pulling out of his own pouch, Richard retrieved a small pack of C-12 explosives. "Chief, may I?"
      Kathy took a step back and gestured towards the safe. Placing the device on the keypad, the three Spartans moved to the opposite side of the room. A loud bang for a small piece of clay reverberated in the room.
      Stepping forward to examine the keypad, Richard gave a thumb up and pulled open the now unlocked door. The inside was empty, save for a small table at the other end; something that was definitely not common for a safe of this size. Activating his light, S-231 walked into the mini-room and towards the table. On top of it was a desktop laid on its side.
       "Chief, you better take a look at this."
      Staring at the table, Kathy noticed it only had one visible input connection port– a data chip. "You're right Richard, this better be worth it." Pulling the chip out of the desktop, the Chief stored it in her security pouch meant for only valued objects of interest.
       "Let's get out of here and rendezvous at the extraction point," ordered Kathy.

      Back tracking their route from the underground compound, they reached their destination – a landing pad hidden by foliage of meter high grass.
       "Pop smoke and signal for evac," the Chief commanded as she examined the surrounding area. It was hard to not spot three two and a half meter tall machine looking beings such as themselves, but Kathy knew the smoke would give her team the extra cover.
       "The Commander wants to speak with you sir," Willis informed.
      Kathy looked up into the sky, seeing faint hints of red smoke beginning to fade away by the dying breeze, and activated her com-link embedded in her helmet.
       "This is the Chief."
       "Chief, this is Commander Hutchinson. Did your team find what we were looking for?"
       "Affirmative, we have the package. Requesting immediate evac."
       "Negative," replied Hutchinson, "you are to link up with Juliet-Oscar-Five and commandeer their Pelican."
      Kathy frowned.
       "From there you and Juliet-Oscar-Five will retake Orbital Generator thirty-two-alpha. I'm sorry, but it's either this or risk losing our way off this rock. Hutchinson out."
      The Chief could hear Richard mutter, "and that was my last can…" after Commander Hutchinson dropped his link.
       "Okay, we have a new objective." Kathy stated as she slung her rifle and pulled out a holo-map of their current area.
       "He's a disgrace of a Commander, sir." Richard added looking at the holo-map the Chief pulled out.
       "Keep it to yourself Richard. We've got more important matters to deal with."
       "What about the data? What's in it?" Willis asked curiously.
      The Chief shrugged and tapped the holographic map to display Juliet-Oscar-Five's position. "Hell if I know, but we are not going to press the issue. Understood?"
      Richard and Willis nodded. The holographic display let out a small bleep and a circle appeared hovering above a set of coordinates. The picture, pixilated, slowly became focused and began playing a real-time feed of the area.
      Richard pointed at the map, "Looks like those boys got themselves dug in pretty deep."
      Kathy stowed the map into her pouch and unslung her rifle over gripping the barrel. Taking a step forward toward north, she turned her head, even when she knew her team could have heard over the team channel, and said, "Let's double time it. New mission objective is to rendezvous with jay-oh-five and secure their Pelican.
      Move out!"