Recce, Chapter One
Posted By: Zombie<email@example.com>
Date: 22 July 2006, 6:22 am
United Nations Space Command (UNSC) Priority Transmission
Encryption Code: Black
From: Field Marshal Andrew Lars, Chief Executive Officer, UNSC Marine HQ
To: Sergeant Brian Dagmar, Special Reconnaissance Unit (Identification Number: 10141-026-SRB4695)
Subject: Orders for immediate deployment
Classification: Top-Secret (BGX Directive)
Good evening Sarge,
Glad I could get a hold of you through all this hell that's taken over the planet. Short and sweet mission I hope, we need something to be checked out.
Twelve hours ago, Pelican Dropship Oscar 210 went down over Siberia. She was carrying a boatload of supplies headed for Moscow in an attempt to hold back the coming invasion. The supplies we aren't too worried about, it's what took that dropship down.
Around the time of the attack, satellite imagery showed a massive burst of electronic interference in that region. The Western plains of Siberia are hell and there has never been a command post set up there. HQ thinks the Covenant have a new weapon, we need you to confirm this.
Simple mission primaries:
a) Investigate crash site at grid points:491, 922
b) Determine cause of the crash
c) Rescue/Retrieve any UNSC personnel and/or mission vital UNSC equipment
d) Remain undetected by enemy forces
That last objective is crucial, if you are discovered, there won't be any help to recover you and yours. We simply can't risk it. It's getting cold again up there, though the snow hasn't quite hit. Should be a break from the constant urban and rural conflict you've been up too lately. Captain Savard of the 'Black Hawk' will help coordinate the mission and will need mission updates that will be passed on to me. For the most part, should be a walk in the park before the shit hits the fan.
Field Marshal Lars
0200 Hours, October 14, 2552 (Military Calendar)
Siberia, Russia/ Western Siberian Plains
"Contact, wait out." Sergeant Dagmar's eyes lifted up and away from the cold steel desk he sat at and slowly lingered to a computer screen. The monitor displayed a disorientated image, bathed in night vision and constantly moving. It was a direct feed to the personal camera on Corporal Scott's helmet, who at the moment was quite low in a field and staring straight at something in the woods beyond. Dagmar squinted and leaned forward, nearly pressing his nose against the computer to see what Scott was looking at. These damned screens were extremely inefficient and even after so many complaints; the Marine Corps were still using them. Dagmar gave up, his eyes beginning to irritate him and leaned back into his folding metal chair, waiting to hear what Scott saw.
"2-1-Alpha, this is 2-1-Alpha-1, message, over," Scott's voice said in Dagmar's earpiece. The Sergeant held a finger to the headset and clicked the small button on the wire that was connected into his personal radio.
"2-1-Alpha, send, over," Dagmar repeated, going by the regular radio voice commands taught to him in basic so many years ago.
"2-1-Alpha-1, contact, grid; four-fife-niner, eight-tree-one. Dismounted infantry section in tree line, request ROEs, over," Scott reported in a silent whisper. Dagmar grabbed his map and located the intersection of the two grid points. Scott had made good timing, nearly half a kilometre away from their objective. He did a quick mental assessment of Scott's group; Privates Oliver, Murray and Victor; two battle rifles and a sniper. The enemy section most likely was 8-12 strong. Dagmar shook his head and pressed the send button again.
"2-1-Alpha, ROEs: do not engage, proceed on alternate route to objective, confirm, over," Dagmar ordered into the microphone.
"2-1-Alpha-1 confirmed ROEs, out," Scott answered. Dagmar glanced back up at the screen and could see Scott turn back to three shapes crouched in the grass. The Corporal gave them a series of hand signals and then the screen went extremely blurry as he lay down in the grass and began crawling.
The tent flap opened behind Dagmar, who turned in his chair to see his second-in-command, Corporal Lauren walk in. She carried Dagmar's massive field radio, which was giving off a faint hiss of static. Lauren held out the message phone to Dagmar. "Command wants an update," she said.
"Again?" Dagmar growled, standing and approaching Lauren. Dagmar had chosen Lauren over Scott as his 2IC because Lauren and Dagmar had gone through basic together and were close friends. And of course, Lauren was an extremely good looking blonde army chick, with shiny blue eyes that would melt a man's heart. She sniggered at her Sergeant.
"Pretty vital mission Sarge," she said. Dagmar rolled his eyes and took the phone from Lauren's delicate hand.
"Zero, this is 2-1-Alpha, send message, over," Dagmar said into the headset.
"2-1-Alpha, this is Zero, send SIT REP, over," came an emotionless voice through the speaker. Dagmar glanced back at the screen, which had changed. Scott and his team were ghost walking through the forest.
"2-1-Alpha, SIT REP: Contact at grid four-fife-niner, eight-tree-one. Dismounted infantry section, given ROEs; do not engage. 2-1-Alpha-1 on course to objective, ETA, five minutes, over," Dagmar responded. Situation reports were usually given at the end of a mission, but Captain Savard wanted one every ten minutes. Dagmar had no idea why, but as he said, in five minutes, he would find out.
"Zero, roger, SIT REP confirmed, out." Dagmar looked at the headset and handed it back to Lauren.
"Goodbye to you too," he muttered, turning back to his chair and staring at the screen with dangerous eyes. Reconnaissance was delicate, especially when Dagmar was in a situation like his; behind enemy lines, surrounded on all fronts and a small squad out there on their own with not a hope of backup. Lauren stood next to Dagmar and looked at the screen with him.
"Everything all right Sarge?" she asked. Dagmar looked into her beautiful eyes, feeling a sense of calm. All of the constant situation reports were getting to him. The Captain was worried about the mission and if the Captain was worried, this meant that there was something down here that he was not telling Dagmar about.
"Yeah, what's happening outside?" Dagmar inquired.
"I have Thomson and Reynolds on full alert for the time being. We know the area to our six is friendly, so they've established an OP near the path. Provides them with full cover to enemy territory," Lauren explained. Dagmar listened to this and felt satisfied; Thomson and Reynolds were good guys.
"Be sure to update the password and light recognition," he said. Lauren nodded.
"Will do Sarge." Dagmar yawned. He felt his pocket and grabbed one of his Captain Black's cigars. Sighing, he stood up.
"Take over for me Lauren, I need a break," he said finally. The beautiful Corporal sat down in Dagmar's chair and immediately, the Sergeant noted that Lauren was feeling bad about this mission just like he was. He could tell by the way she nodded at him and sat with a stiff and rigid posture to her perfect form. Dagmar exited the well camouflaged crew tent, checking his surroundings before stepping through the shin high grass and onto the firm ground. With not a cloud in the sky, the icy night air struck him instantly and he shivered. Dagmar could not wait for this mission to be over.
- - -
Several kilometres away, Corporal Scott was not shivering at all but he sure wanted the mission to be over. The Corporal lay flat on his stomach, not a single muscle or limb moving as a small patrol of Covenant Jackals moved through the grass five feet to his front. The Jackals whispered in their alien tongues to one another and were cautious with their movement. As they passed, Scott moved his head a bit to see that the Jackals had their glowing shields up and were scanning their surroundings with intent eyes.
This same cautious attitude was noted by Scott for all their encounters with the enemy. Something had the Covenant spooked and Scott was praying that this something was not their objective.
As the Jackal's shimmering shields disappeared into the thick forest, Scott raised his head off the ground and patted his helmet with one gloved hand. Immediately, there was rustling movement around the Corporal as his team gathered in on him. Scott had his battle rifle up and leveled straight as he picked himself up off the ground and remained crouching in the damp soil. His eyes stung from beads of sweat that flowed into his eyes and his heart was racing. He turned to look at the dark, camouflage painted faces of his team.
"Oliver, map. Victor, provide cover," Scott whispered quickly. Private Victor, one of the best snipers Scott had seen, moved five feet away and lay down in the grass, his camouflaged combat uniform blending him into the foliage perfectly. Oliver carefully retrieved their map, while Murray handed Scott his flashlight and then turned his back to them, scanning their rear for any movement. Oliver opened the map onto the ground and Scott clicked on the flashlight, moving the red beam to all the markings that he and Oliver had scribbled on.
"Where did we make our last contact report?" Scott asked. Oliver traced a finger along the lines of longitude and latitude and then pointed to a dot, with an 'X' running through it. Scott nodded and quickly checked his compass. "Bearing of 0431," he muttered to himself, checking the map again. With a red tipped marker, he traced a line exactly one inch away from the dot and 'X'. Scott stared at his line, perplexed by what he'd discovered.
"Orientate the map for me," Scott ordered Oliver, who took out his own compass and maneuvered the map so it pointed north. Scott did a quick check on his compass, to make sure that he wasn't following a back-bearing.
"Same bearing I have Corporal," Oliver whispered to Scott, glancing up at his team leader.
"This doesn't make any sense. Victor, do you see anything?" The sniper raised his head slightly and shook it twice before lowering it back into the grass. "Fuck, the objective should be right here," Scott growled, looking around him hopelessly.
"What is the objective Corporal?" Murray asked.
"Command thinks the Covies have a new weapon, a form of EMP. Knocked out a Pelican and it crashed basically right here, according to our given grid points," Scott explained.
"Should we report in?" Oliver asked next, grabbing the phone to the radio strapped onto the back of his tactical vest.
"Report on what? That an elite group of pathfinders are lost," Scott said, shaking his head. They had triple-checked the bearings, the grid points, the magnetic declination, everything that could possibly screw up a reconnaissance patrol. The coordinates given were four, nine one and nine, two, two. Scott glanced down at the map and sure enough, they were at the exact coordinates.
"Corporal, contact," Victor suddenly whispered. Scott turned his head, and could already see the same patrol of seven Jackals moving towards them.
"Shit, everyone get down," Scott growled, crawling forward and laying beside Victor. The Jackals were on the same path as before, and Scott noted that it took them less than five minutes to complete a full patrol. Their leader was keeping things tight, that way nothing slipped through.
The lead Jackal held onto an Elite plasma rifle, odd weapon choice since the Jackals usually stuck with plasma pistols. But this Jackal had its pistol strapped to its side and seemed slightly more relaxed then its comrades who were moving slowly, ensuring that the ground they stepped on did not give away their position. That didn't matter too much since their shields were lit and were humming loudly. Stupid birds.
Scott felt someone grab his boot and he turned his head around. Murray looked at him and pointed his hand to the team's 3 o'clock direction. Scott followed his hand and could see a single shadow moving towards the Jackals.
"What the fuck," Scott barely said, his body freezing completely as the shape stopped. The Jackals were nearly past Scott and his team, but were approaching this motionless shape. The darkness was affecting Scott's vision and sure enough, he lost sight of the shape. What the hell was that?
Without warning, the lead Jackal carrying the plasma rifle was grabbed by something above it and lifted into the trees. The Jackal screamed violently and its plasma rifle fired twice. However, the weapon dropped to the ground, followed closely by a blood-stained energy shield.
The rest of the patrol raised their weapons towards the tree and fired randomly, screaming at one another in the process. Scott's mind was racing, but he and his team kept their heads down for the time being. The radio on Oliver's back was loud with static as Sergeant Dagmar no doubt requested a report. Scott motioned his hand across his neck to Oliver, who nodded, muttered 'Wait out' into the phone and then shut off the radio.
The Jackals were backing away from the tree and one took control, ordering the rest to seize fire. Something shifted in the trees and suddenly, the mutilated body of the abducted Jackal fell to the ground. The Jackals glanced at one another, not knowing what to do. Scott suddenly saw the same shape he had seen before descend down a tree trunk and grab one of the Jackals by the neck. The Jackal's mouth was covered and blood suddenly exploded from its neck. As it fell, the other Jackals turned, but the shape was already behind them. There were three silent coughs and two more Jackals fell, their heads exploding like watermelons. A third Jackal spun around and a small, almost invisible bolt of plasma struck its shield.
The remaining three Jackals turned to run, but the shape moved to intercept them. A brilliant beam of energy appeared out of the darkness and like a sword, cut the lead Jackal in half. The other two targeted the single energy sword, but it came down upon the next one's head, and then slashed across the final Jackal's neck. The two corpses collapsed and the sword remained high in the air as the Jackal's bodies began to erode and stink of death.
Scott patted Victor's shoulder, pointing at the sword and then made a fist. Victor nodded and sighted the energy sword in his sniper rifle. Scott glanced back at Oliver and Murray and patted his helmet. The two privates cautiously advanced beside their team leader, who had his eyes on that sword. It wasn't moving; it remained high in the air. Scott turned back to Oliver and Murray and raised his arms out in front of him, the signal for an inverted 'V' formation. The two privates nodded and moved to a 45 and 145 degree angle off of Scott. The Corporal then raised his hand up and motioned to the sword.
"Don't fucking move!" The trio stood and aimed their weapons at the sword. The brilliant light blinded Scott from seeing the rest of the body, but he knew something was there. He began moving forward, Oliver and Murray keeping pace with him.
"Disengage the weapon and advance one to be recognized," Scott ordered. The sword did not move. Scott followed with basic challenge procedure.
"Disengage your weapon and advance one to be recognized, this is your last warning," Scott repeated, flicking off the safety of his battle rifle. Once again, the sword did not move.
"Oliver, Murray, provide cover," Scott ordered as he cocked his weapon. The two privates stepped out of their loose formation and flanked the sword. Scott fingered the trigger and peered down the sight of his weapon, preparing to fire.
Without warning, the sword disappeared. Scott, Oliver and Murray fired, but missed the shape that moved away from them in a second. Scott crouched down, roaring for his team to regroup. Oliver screamed as something slammed into him. The private was propelled into the air, his body slamming into the trunk of a wide tree, the radio exploding in a cloud of white smoke.
"Victor, take him out!" Scott ordered. Murray was firing randomly into the trees, and slowly moving towards Oliver's unconscious body. The beam sword suddenly reappeared behind the private. Murray turned and raised his rifle, but the sword slashed at his neck. Private Murray didn't even scream as his head rolled backwards in the grass and his body slumped forward.
There was a loud crack from behind Scott as Victor sighted the sword and fired. The shape that held the sword roared like a bear and stumbled forward. Scott kept his weapon up, squinting into the light and trying to make out just what this thing was. It wasn't Covenant and it sure didn't sound human. Black blood was oozing from the bullet wound and the shape appeared to be on one knee. The sword was still slightly raised and Scott could feel the shape's unseen eyes staring at him.
The sword was suddenly thrown like a javelin, right at Corporal Scott. The man only had time to gasp, just as it sunk into his chest and protruded out his back. A sensation like no other entered Scott's body and mind. He fell to his knees, registering nothing. No pain, just empty numbness. He could barely here Victor screaming and firing the rest of his ammo into the shape. Through blurry eyes, Scott could see something massive appear and collapse to the ground.
Suddenly, his brain exploded with thoughts and memories. Scott saw his childhood, his parents consumed in fire from the invasion, his friends tortured and executed by the Covenant. He saw boot camp, he saw more friends destroyed by the war, he saw his true love taken away from him, and he saw himself dying. Anger, like he never felt before filled his mind; a burning fire that was growing in size. And while this happening, Scott could feel something take control of him. He was nothing anymore, just a thought, a memory. What was happening to him?
Corporal Scott collapsed without a single other word
TO BE CONTINUED