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086, Irvine - Chapter One
Posted By: Vinziah Arcus<were.midget@gmail.com>
Date: 19 March 2007, 9:45 am

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Hi, welcome to 086, Irvine, some of you may remember this story being posted waaaaaay back by me but this is a completely different version. I'm not sure if rewrites are generally sort of frowned upon here or what, but this really is very different to the original. The whole thing is finished so depending on whether or not you all like this chapter, I'll put up the others.

Thanks and enjoy!

2330 Hours, January 12, 2524 (Military Calendar) /
Spartan Training Mission: Capture The Flag
Epsilon Eridani System, Exact Location Unknown,
Planet Reach

      The Spartan crawled prone through a tangle of wet vines, soggy leaves, and shimmering bushes. Moonlight glistened off a dog tag.

      IRVINE – 086 paused to get his bearing, to his right stood a forest weeping darkness. A canopy of thick branch and saturated leaf shielded the forest's dirt floor of knotted roots from the brightest of light from tonight's full moon. The forest melted away into high grass and sodden greenery. This natural abundance of life gave way quite suddenly to damp dirt and a six metre fall to his right.

      Irvine was alone. He smiled at the thought of the rest of his team. None of them would have actually wanted to join him had he given them the chance. He had snuck away from his post on watch around the Spartan's temporary campsite to retrieve the flag on his own. He didn't need the help of the rest of them. Besides, he was the oldest.

      086 was fourteen as of that morning. The Spartans were supposed to celebrate one common birthday, about six months later, but Irvine had decided to celebrate his own, even if no one else acknowledged it. He had been aged seven and a month when he was kidnapped. It seemed that in those extra months Spartan number oh-eighty-six developed an eternal sense of independence. He refused to work with the other Spartans, he refused to let himself become a military puppet and he refused to accept that his life had been taken away from him for the greater good.

      Irvine was the best in the program. He was the third most intelligent, the second most agile and the fourth strongest. By his reckoning this made him the overall most capable Spartan. So what would he need the others for?

      He continued on his journey through the grass. A trail of flattened plants lay in his wake. From anywhere over a metre away in the dark, that trail was the only evidence of the Spartan's presence. He moved with natural guile, crawling forward silently and invisibly.

      The sound of a single-seater helicopter beginning to lift off filled the air. Irvine rolled twice towards the cliff edge. His entire left side hung over the edge. As he peeked into the gulch the target base was built into the helicopter forced itself off the ground and swung around to face him. In a split second he rolled back and dug his face into the dirt.

      A flashlight beamed on to his right and drew painstakingly slowly towards his back. Irvine's adrenaline spiked, his heart rate increased by 50 and a smile tugged at his dirt-encrusted lips.

      The circle of light drifted over Irvine's motionless body and then back down the trail of flattened greenery. The pilot looked down for a second to pick up his walkie talkie. As the man spoke into the gadget he looked back at his discovery. The figure had disappeared.

      Suddenly there was an explosion of sparks from the far side of the camp and the illumination from the six ten metre high lights flickered and faded. More lights from inside tents and around the helicopter pad consecutively short-circuited.

      The pilot swore into his radio but only static replied from the other side.

      Men with cigars dropping from their mouths and disintegrating beneath their feet fumbled out of tents with Assault Rifles and fired into the darkness, the white flicker of muzzle flashes appeared randomly around the camp and bullets tore dangerously into the night.

      A flick of white illuminated a leg for a split second as it's owner sprinted with one thing more than his pursuers: direction.

      "Over here!"

      Live rounds flew past Irvine as he ran towards the flag pole, illuminated for barely half a second.

      "Torches for god's sake! Who knows what the hell you buggers are shooting at?!"

      The muzzle flashes ceased. The firing halted and murmurs broke out from everywhere around the camp.

      Finally a torch flicked on. The user adjusted the beam and waved it around the camp. Four more followed. The lights paused over hole-ridden tents and surrounding trees. One light swept up the unconscious body of a soldier lying about four metres from the flagpole.


      The other torches slowly ran up the length of the pole.

      The flag was nowhere to be seen.

      "Find him! He has to be around here somewhere, none of even those freaks are good enough to have gotten away from here that quickly!"

      Forty-five minutes later Spartan 117 woke. He checked his watch and swore. That pain in the ass Irvine was supposed to have woken the rest of the Spartans twenty minutes ago, twenty minutes could mean the success or failure of any mission. Why the hell couldn't he just behave for once?

      John pulled himself to his feet and stretched, looking through the slowly subsiding darkness at the rest of his team. His eyes slowly scanned across the group until they reached a massive oak tree. Resting at the base of the monolith was a sleeping Spartan 086, wrapped tightly in a UNSC flag.

2145 Hours March 22, 2525 (Military Calendar) /
Epsilon Eridani System, Office of Naval Intelligence
Medical Facility, in orbit around planet Reach

      Irvine's eyes flicked open suddenly, and he jolted upright. He drew a deep breath of air in shock. The cold air tasted sterile but it was refreshing and he allowed his heavy head to drop back to the pillow. His brain acknowledged the state of the air, releasing a flood of memories. He had been drugged after protesting rather violently against the operation… The operation.

      The last thing he'd seen was a blurring image of Catherine Halsey – he never called her a doctor- watching him, unblinkingly, with a deep look of resent in her moistening eyes. Then the sedative had kicked him in the gut and he'd doubled over, unconscious.

      He allowed his head to roll towards a monitor. As it did so, he couldn't help noticing the fan on the roof was broken: It was spinning far too slowly to have any cooling effect. But couldn't he feel the air flowing over him?

      He looked at the reading on the monitor. It too, he thought, must have been broken because it was kicking up at a dangerously slow rate, yet it also reported his heart was beating at a speed of somewhere between 102 and 103 beats per minute. Suddenly a shrill beep rang out and a roar of sounds followed: conversations, footsteps, a phone ringing, several toilets flushing and so much more. Irvine's hands flew to his ears at an impossible speed, not that he noticed through the din. He screamed out silently and his jaw muscles throbbed.

      The sound slowly subsided to a distant level. Irvine felt hung over the way his father used to be after coming home at four in the morning. My Father?

      The oldest of Irvine's memories resurfaced like a school of dead fish. He hadn't thought of his father in years. He was unaware such memories still existed, but on some level they must have. Images raced through his mind. Too much. His family. His Friends. His school. His Parents. His parents…?

      Too much, it was too much.

      He was too quickly aware of too much. His limbs were heavy, his muscles were weak, his eyes hurt, everything moved so slowly… so slowly...

      The monitor began to beep more rapidly. His heart rate jumped to 164 , then 187.

      A man in a sterile suit burst into the room and raced over to the monitor, he began fiddling with something over Irvine's head.

      Irvine observed, in his declining state, the curtain as it slowly swayed back and forth, losing momentum with every movement, steadying itself after being thrown aside. He turned his head up at the man. The light on the roof was very bright. It began to absorb everything else he could see and grow to fill his vision. Irvine continued to strain his eyes and watch the man. He wore tight, thin, white gloves and a mask thing over his mouth; do they have a special name for those? He wondered. What about those hairnet sorts of things?

      The man looked down at Irvine, the shape of the 'mask thing' changed and stretched which Irvine decided meant the man was talking, though he couldn't hear any words, just a long dreadful ping sound.

      The white light filled his vision, he could see nothing else.

      Too much was still running through his mind.

      Too much… Too much… Too much…