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Halo 2:Warfront Chapter 2
Posted By: Adlin Yusman Yusoff<ayusman@bigpond.net.au>
Date: 16 September 2003, 10:58 PM

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0530 Hours, December 21, 2552 (Military Calendar), East African Protectorate, New Mombassa.

The wind was blowing foul air into the military complex-the burnt odour of scorched Earth. Soldiers were working around the clock to secure the new military base after the bombardment crippled Fleet Command Central in Geneva. There was a general mood going around the complex and it was spreading around fast-the feeling of impending doom lingered around every personnel on camp. Soldiers were trained to go through emotional distraught with a level of professionalism, but the general air of things weren't helping one iota either. Lieutenant Commander Phillip Jaro was in charge of welcoming the platoons which were arriving from Geneva. According to military sources, Geneva was obliterated, thankfully all Navy and Marine personnel were evacuated as soon as they received reports that the Covenant were using their Terra Formers to level most of Earth's planetary response forces. Just as Jaro was about to enquire on the arrival time of the first Naval platoon, he was rudely interrupted by the distinct rumble of Pelican engines. He counted four of them-three less than what he expected. As soon as the Pelicans landed, the troops hustled into order.

"Sergeant Keyes commanding officer of Naval Platoon Orion, reporting as ordered sir."
The soldier commandeered a crisp salute, which was returned in kind by his XO. Sergeant Keyes was a fairly well built man, but he didn't look a day over 25. The lieutenant commander could see that he was a fairly good looking man, and if it were not for the grease around his face and his war torn battle fatigues-and the fact that the UNSC was in dire need of any able bodied man-he wouldn't be here giving him the salute.

"At ease Sergeant, I just got wind that you were being transferred here, congratulations on your promotion."

"Thank you, sir. Sir, we lost three birds en route when we were ambushed by a squadron of Banshees about 30 clicks from here. We tried to wipe em out, but we lost 2 Naval dropships and a Helljumper Pelican in the process." Keyes said.

"What about the rest of evacs? Did they get out in time?" asked Jaro.

"The Joint Chiefs were removed prior to the attack, but our operational capacity is down by 30 percent- they really pulled one over us sir." Replied the Sergeant, straightening himself slightly.

"Are the Chiefs headed here?" asked Jaro, getting more agitated by the minute. He was clearly frustrated that he wasn't there to fight with the others.

"No sir, they are headed to Mozambique, the provisional outpost for Earth Central. Some of the world leaders are en route there as well." Replied the Sergeant, his body now stiffer than before-he looked as though he was straining under his military fatigues.

"Understood Sergeant. Now I want you to clear the field and direct your troops to this base right here," Jaro pointed to a large complex which looks somewhat like beat down garage. "Debriefing begins at 0700 hours, so I want you and your troops to take a good rest for a few hours, you all deserve it," his voice growing louder at the last few words.

Just as Keyes was done shipping his platoon into the makeshift barracks, he turned to face Jaro.

"I'm sorry if this is out of line sir, but I was wondering if Fleet Command had any news on my father? His name is Captain..."

That's it. That's who this kid was. He was Captain Keyes' son. He never knew the Captain, but from what he had heard, the Captain was one hard-core son of a bitch.

"Unfortunately, inter stellar transmission's been down since the Covenant bastards came to our front lawn, so we haven't heard anything from the Pillar of Autumn since she left the Epsilon Eridani System. Sorry I couldn't have given you better news son, you look like you could use some." replied Jaro.

Keyes was clearly affected by the lack of news about his father, but tried to remain adamant.

"How long have been a soldier son?" Jaro asked, his expression lightened.

Keyes breathed a sigh and said, "Since the Covenant declared war on us sir, I was enlisted."

Jaro eyed him and realized that he probably had other things planned for his life, but the war took a toll on everyone. Goddamned Covenant, he thought. He placed his hand on Keyes shoulder and told him that he was a brave soldier and a good man, and that he shouldn't be brought down by negative thoughts. "Keep a sharp mind and a big heart," he said, "You're gonna need it, we all do."

As the Sergeant paced himself to the makeshift barracks, Jaro put his hand over his eyes and watched the sun rise- such beauty, he thought, and he swore that he was not going to let the Covenant rob him and his kind of the daily pleasures they experienced-even if it was as passing as watching the sun rise and set each day. Just as he was about to head to the command center he was interrupted by the buzzing of his communicator.

"Jaro, we need you back here on the double, we've got some good news for a change." Said the voice on the other end.

"What is it about Admiral?" asked the Lt. Commander, his heart beating faster.

"We just received a feed from a UNSC lifeboat off the rings of Saturn," said the Admiral, clearing his throat, "It's Cortana, the AI from the Pillar of Autumn, she's bringing back a survivor."

A survivor? Yes, clearly that would be good news, but not as encouraging as he would've hoped. The Admiral must clearly have been distraught by the war to be so excited over a single survivor. Just as he was about to ask who the survivor was, the voice continued his sentence.

"Phillip, it's not just any survivor," said the Admiral, his tone brightening.

"It's a Spartan."

A Spartan? He thought they all died during the battle for Reach. But even if what the Captain says is true, what is one lone-albeit genetically enhanced soldier going to do against a horde of Covenant forces? He had heard stories about the Spartans' strength and agility but he had yet to see one in the flesh. Assuming the Spartans were as strong as they were said to be, they only have one of them, and he's going against some impossible odds. May fortune favour the brave, he said under his breath and marched his way to the Command Center.