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Squad 47 Part 8
Posted By: Spartan 006<minorchief@yahoo.com>
Date: 29 February 2008, 2:27 am

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      Colonel Herbert Remming collapsed on the floor of the Covenant holding cell as his Brute captors activated the shield barrier. He scooted over to the wall of the cell and propped himself up. He looked up at his captors, his head was throbbing in pain, but right now that was the least of his worries. A Brute Chieftain sporting a white mohawk stepped forward and peered menacingly into the holding cell.

      "Just give us what we want and we'll end your life rather painlessly." he growled.

      Remming eyed the chieftain carefully, "In the words of General Anthony McAuliffe, 'Nuts!'"

      The Brutes stood bewildered and there was a moment of silence before the Chieftain responded. "Human, I don't see how plants are going to help you in this situation."

      "I didn't think they would." the Colonel chuckled putting his hand on his head. "It means no. You're not getting anything out of me, so go ahead and do your worst."

      This time it was the Brutes that chuckled, however be it more menacingly. "Don't worry you fool, it will be a while before we get to that." With that the Chieftain barked some orders to his soldiers and left for the bridge.

      Remming rubbed his forehead and sighed, "So much for quick and easy."

      Allicia looked down on the Mudai-Eina Valley. The valley's steep mountains seemed dwarfed by the size of the Covenant Cruiser hovering precariously close between their peaks. She seemed to be in a trance as she stared towards the alien craft. Her concentration, however, broke as she heard one of her team approaching from behind. She turned to see Camden coming towards her, cleaning his rocket launcher.

      "Sleep well?" he asked as he looked up from his weapon.

      "Not really." replied Allicia as she ran her hand through her hair. "How about you?"

      "Eh, about as good as could be expected out here." He paused to move his rocket launcher so he could clean inside the barrel before continuing, "Jude said we should be there by around 1200 today." They both looked on as Wraiths were being lifted up via grav-lift into the Cruiser. "Something wrong, Allicia? You look worried." he asked concern in his voice.

      "No, I'm good." she said trying to avoid a more specific answer. "Come on," she said with a wave of her hand in the direction of camp, "the sooner we get moving the sooner we can kill some Covies."

      The Spartan hefted his rocket launcher over his shoulder and smiled, "Now that sounds like the Allicia I'm used to."

      Back at the camp Jude had already loaded up the Warthog with equipment and filled up its tank with fuel. A few feet away stood William adjusting his sniper scope, "Hey, Jude," he asked not looking up from the rifle, "did you ever get the Intel on how many Covenant troops are supposed to be on this ship?"

      Jude answered as he went to start up the Warthog, "No, but most likely I'd say one hundred to one thousand, give or take a couple hundred depending on what its role in the fleet is." Jude ignited the engine as the Warthog gave a sickening cough, before it died.

      "Great," he said sarcastically as he threw his hands in the air, "this is just what I need." William chuckled as Jude knelt down to grab a set of tools and inspect the engine. "Aha! Here it is," he said as he pulled out a small lump of fur from the engine, "You know, they should really make these things animal proof." he said as he shaking the corpse before tossing it away. "Has Josiah finished with his 'research' yet?"

      William gave a suppressed chuckle, "No, he's been at it all night. I guess that's one of the advantages of being an A.I.. No need for sleep."

      "Yeah, tell me about it." Jude said dropping the hood with a noise that caused a flock of birds to fly off from a nearby bush. He turned around to see Allicia and Camden approaching the Warthog. "You guys about ready?"

      "Just about," replied Camden as he took his rocket launcher from his shoulder and placed it in the passenger seat of the Warthog. "Is everyone else ready?"

      "Everyone except for Josiah, I believe," said Jude as he looked towards William "Hey, William, you want to go check on Josiah?"

      "Sure, why not." he said placing his sniper rifle on his back. As the other three loaded up the Warthog, William ducked under the vine-covered entrance into the ruins. There on the ground he found the holographic form of Josiah whose rugged face strained as he swept through file after file. "Josiah, sorry to drag you away from your study of this wonderful place," William said with a hint of sarcasm, "but it's time to move."

      "I see," said Josiah as he closed off all the files with a reluctant wave of his hand, "at least I was able to gain some considerable information during my time here. I believe it would be very profitable to recommend a research expedition here."

      "Well, I'll see what we can do about that." said William with a smile as he held Josiah's data matrix. The A.I. raised his hand to the crystal and disappeared. William took his helmet from the pedestal, sliding the chip into his neural lace as he put it on. The two then made their way out through the vine-encased doorway. Outside Jude loaded the last of the necessary supplies into what space was left available in the Warthog. Allicia and Camden were already seated in the 'Hog with the former in the turret and the latter in the passenger with his arm thrown comfortably over the center roll bar.

      "Ready?" asked Camden positioning himself to ride.

      William knocked on his helmet, "We're ready."

      "Good," replied Jude hopping into the driver's seat. "Let's go then." he pushed the ignition switch and the engine started up, two small birds flying out of the exhaust as it sputtered. Jude looked back as they flew off. "I wonder what else I have in this thing?" He put the 'Hog into gear and waited as William mounted his Mongoose and started off ahead of them.

      After five hours of navigating through the thick jungle terrain the squad had found few signs of the UNSC presence in the forest. Footprints, tire tracks, and possibly even tracks made from the treads of a pair of Scorpion tanks, but the makers of the tracks were nowhere to be found. Information given to them involving the whereabouts of the Marines in the area was only general, their base's position kept secret by keeping it mobile. It took the Spartans nearly two hours after finding the tracks to find any of the actual Marines, with William coming across a lone Marine on the makeshift dirt road around dusk.

      "Hey," the Marine asked rather loudly as he walked towards William's Mongoose, "Who goes there?"

      "Spartan-175, marine." replied William as he shut off the Mongoose's engine.

      "A Spartan, eh? Man, we're sure glad see you, sir. Captain Peterson couldn't have waited much longer. We were thinkin' that Covenant Cruiser will be launchin' any day now."

      "How far to the rest of your company, marine?"

      "They're about half a click away, sir. Would you like me to show you?"

      "Not yet, marine, we'll wait for the rest of my squad, then you can lead the way." said William as he turned back and activated his comm., "Jude, can you hear me?"

      "I read you loud and clear."

      "I've come across a marine from the company we're looking for. As soon as you guys arrive we'll continue on."

      "Okay, I'll relay that to the others." Jude replied, shutting off the comm. Within a few minutes the Warthog was waved off the jungle trail where William and the Marines had been waiting then the squad, accompanied by a marine, drove the rest of the way to the Marine camp.

      After arriving at the Marine camp, the squad was asked to meet with Captain Peterson. He had been trying to hold off the Covenant launch until the Spartans arrived to complete their rescue mission. After a quick debriefing from both sides they gathered in the Captain's tent to discuss a plan on assaulting the vessel.

      "I've had some time to think this over," explained Peterson as he unrolled a map of the Valley on a fold-up table, "We only have a limited amount of vehicles to work with so I believe a diversionary maneuver would be best for this situation." He stepped back and allowed the Spartans to move closer and observe the map. William made a gesture at the map while the others nodded. Must be using comms.. Guess keeping up their air of mystery is part of the job. Jude reached down and tapped his finger on a portion of the map showing the ridge near the Cruiser, and ran his finger to another nearby ridge on the opposite side. Camden reached down and pointed at the grav lift under the Cruiser, and Allicia gave him a pat on the shoulder. "Well?" asked the Captain as he stepped towards the Spartans, "Any input?"

      William looked up from the map. "We'll need two flanking positions on these ridges," he said pointing back down at the ridges on the map. "We could place our Scorpions here on the western ridge, and a group of snipers and rockets on the south-eastern one."

      "And I guess we'll use the grav lift to gain entry?" inquired Peterson as he leaned over the table.

      "Not exactly," replied William as he stepped back from the map. "the Covenant will be quick to respond, and will probably have a few troops on the ground already. Even if we did get up the lift we would be dead if they tried to send down troops."

      Jude stepped forward and interjected, "Captain, am I correct in noting that you happen to have a Hornet that you've been pulling along with you?"

      "Why yes, but it's been out of commission since our last battle involving some Drones. We believe it's the stabilizer, but our engineers can't seem to pinpoint it exactly."

      "Captain, would you mind if our A.I. and I took a look at it. It may come in handy if we can get it in the air."

      Peterson thought for a moment, "No, 258, I don't see any problem with that. My men can take you to it now if you want."

      "Wonderful." replied Jude. He turned towards William who unplugged Josiah and handed him over. Jude patted William on the shoulder as he passed to follow the Captain's men outside.

      William turned back to the map and continued to reveal his plan. "If 258 can get that Hornet working it will greatly increase our chance of success. We could use it to lift 396 and 332 above the Cruiser." he said pointing to Camden and Allicia respectively, "From there they could cut their way inside, find the Colonel, and make their way to the grav lift."

      "Wait, I thought you said the lift was too dangerous?" Peterson asked with concern.

      "Coming from below, yes, but it is much safer going the other way." The Captain nodded his head agreeing. "Well, Captain, does it sound reasonable?" he asked with confidence.

      "Spartan," Peterson said as he leaned forward on the table, "coming from anybody else I'd call it crazy, but that's probably why they sent you." He jotted some orders down on a notepad and handed it to one of his men who ran out of tent soon afterwards. "We'll attack at sunrise; have your Spartans ready by then. Let's just hope this works, 'cause by the time we figure out if it won't it will probably be too late to do anything about it."