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Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 4
Posted By: Agent Shade<silent_shadow13@hotmail.com>
Date: 16 July 2003, 3:43 AM

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      The UNSC transport ship Galahad sat in a geosynchronous orbit over Regal V. Since the entire UNSC fleet had been destroyed because of the possibility of an everlasting peace, the only ship in the system that Vice Admiral Jameson could use as a staging point for his operations was this ship. The few outdated frigates he had recovered were off trying to find pockets of UNSC military forces that still existed, but the UNSC had done a good job of wiping out everything.

      The Galahad's main control deck had been turned into a small war room, where the admiral and his colleagues had thought up plans. Jameson now stood, looking at the data that scrolled across a large table that had been set up. Beside him, Samuel stood, still wearing his MJOLNIR-X armor. Across from the admiral were two generals, staring suspiciously at Sam. As Jameson continued to overview the data, Sam turned to them.

      "Do you have a problem gentlemen?" he asked them. The Generals shook their heads, snapping out of their trance and looking at Sam.

      "What? Oh, uhhh, no" one of them said, while the other shook his head. Sam glared at them.

      "If you are bothered by the fact that I am a Spartan standing near your Vice Admiral, then deal with it another time, there is a mission here at hand, and you are worried about trusting me" he growled. This seemed to shut them up and they went back to work, allowing Sam to listen to Jameson.

      The data that was scrolling across the table was actually a holographic picture of Regal V, with blotches of red over it.

      "Ok." Jameson began, "we've confirmed via satellite images, that groups of Spartan-IIIs are positioned all over this bloody planet. Many of them have taken refuge in old UNSC marine forts and using the air defenses there to shut down our evac dropships that we send in. We still have a few pockets of marine forces that have survived the Spartan assaults and are awaiting transportation off that planet. We've sent in a total of four Pelican dropships and they've all been shot down, which isn't good for us, so I've stopped sending them down." As the Admiral continued explaining their situation, the vision of the planet changed to show the various marine forts positioned on the planet. It then changed again to show a terrain image of a desert area. "This is the Regal desert, most dangerous of all deserts we've encountered. Non-stop wind storms, horrible temperatures, a death place. However, it's the only region that the Spartans don't have covered, which makes it a likely position for you to be dropped off. Only problem is, we don't know how to get you in there" he said, looking crestfallen. Sam knew however.

      "What type of weapons or modes of transportation are on this vessel?" he inquired. The captain of the Galahad, Commander Ian Lars looked up from his Navigational officer's console.

      "We have four Pelicans, a handful of G-11 lifepods, the armory has outdated assault weapons like MA5Bs and MA2Bs. We also have a Longsword, and a HEV" he said. Perfect, thought Sam.

      "Does that Human Entry Vehicle work?" he asked. Commander Lars nodded.

      "Yes, it was scheduled to be destroyed, but we got delayed" he said.

      "Good. Vice Admiral, I will be using the HEV as my entry vehicle" he said. Jameson nodded.

      "Makes sense, small craft, almost undetectable. The HEVs are dangerous though and have often broken up while in the atmosphere" said the Admiral. Sam shrugged.

      "Risk is part of this game Admiral. Those Spartans must be stopped" he said with a shrug. Jameson nodded.

      "All right, follow me" he said, turning on his heel and leaving the control deck. Sam followed, giving a last look at the two Generals who watched him leave.

      Jameson and Sam walked through a long corridor, passing groups of crewmembers who gaped at Sam as he passed. Jameson glared at them.

      "Go about your business" he growled and the crewmembers hustled off. The two men entered an elevator, descended three levels, and then arrived in another corridor. Jameson walked a few feet, before opened a door to his right and entering it. Sam followed and entered a larger corridor that was empty. The unique thing about this corridor was the small doors spread out along the right wall. They lead to the vessels compliment of lifepods, but the last door held a HEV in it instead of the lifepod. Jameson motioned to it.

      "Here it is" he said. Sam nodded, and then looked at the Admiral.

      "I shall report in a few hours at a time at my progress, but I assume you shall be tracing me, so it may not be needed for me to report" he said. Jameson nodded.

      "All right, you take care down there and rid us of this problem" he said. Jameson saluted and Sam returned it. Jameson turned and headed back to the bridge, leaving Sam all alone. He checked his equipment first. MA5B assault rifle, fifteen extra ammo clips, M6D pistol, ten extra clips and his plasma battle blade. Nodding to himself, he looked at the HEV.

      John had briefly trained Sam in the use of them, and from what he understood, it was quite easy. The bridge would type in the designated landing coordinates and all Sam had to do was hang on and enjoy the ride. He nodded and opened the hatch.

      Once inside, Sam's hands were a blur as he fastened his harness, ran a few system checks, removed a few desired safeties, and then armed his pod to be ready to be blasted off. He checked the tiny computer view screen in front of him and realized that the Galahads computer had already calculated the required force to send Sam's HEV towards its landing zone. Sam hung on tight, and prayed that the pod's ceramic long enough for the chute to open.

      No sooner had the Shadow Spartan braced his boots against the bulkhead, the pod dropped, accelerated out of the ejection tube and plummeted to the planet below. Sam's stomach lurched and his heart rate spiked.

      The HEV shook violently and flipped end over end as the interior temperature rose to 98 degrees. Although Sam knew that his armor was trying to cool him down, sweat poured down his chiseled features. The view screen in front of Sam flicked on again, showing him the designated landing zone. All Sam could make out was sand flying around. As he tried to make out the surface of the desert, the HEV's skin started to slough away, revealing the alloy crash cage that contained him and his equipment. The air turned cold and seeped through the armor's vents. A moment later, the chute unfurled and assumed the shape of an airfoil. Sam winced as the pod decelerated with a bone-rattling jerk. Sam began to relax slightly as his HEV began to stabilize and he could make out the desert floor below. He waited a full five seconds, before bracing himself again.

      The HEV pod smashed into the sand. The sudden stoppage of movement, made Sam's stomach lurch again and his heart rate spiked even higher. He took a few seconds to relax, then began to detach himself from his harness and get out of the pod. As he peeled himself out and onto the sand, he swore to himself, he would never use an HEV again.

      Jameson grinned as the terrain footage that scrolled across the data table showed Sam up and okay. He was very worried the pod would break apart while descending since it was an old pod, but was glade that his prayers were answered and nothing happened. As he watched Sam get his equipment ready, a technician called Commander Lars over. Jameson looked up and watched the two converse, and then Lars nodded and walked over to the Admiral.

      "Two problems sir. One; that corvette the Spartans high-jacked is back and heading towards us. Two; a group of Spartan-IIIs must have detected the pod, since a small fire team is moving in on his position" Lars said. Jameson's eyes widened and he looked at a widened map of the area. Sure enough, a large red blotch could be seen moving in on Sam's position.

      "Shit" Jameson growled. He rushed over to the communications officer's console and pressed the radio button.

      "Jameson to Shadow Spartan" he said. There was a burst of static, followed by silence. Jameson swore and tried again. Still nothing.

      "Sir, the sand storm could be interfering with the signal" suggested Lars. Jameson shook his head and kept on trying.

      "Sam, someone is trying to contact us" Lancelot spoke for the first time. Sam stopped what he was doing and straightened himself.

      "Who is it?" he asked.

      "I do not know, I can't make out what this person is saying. I believe it's from the Galahad" he said. Sam raised an eyebrow.

      "Keep trying to connect" he said. Suddenly, Sam's motion tracker bleeped. He stood straight and froze.

      Spartan-231; Kyle struggled to jog through the thick sand as he climbed a large dune mountain. Behind him, Spartan-242 (Owen) and Spartan-229 (Jamie) climbed after him, breathing hard.

      "Jesus, this ain't fun" Owen whined as he fell over from a huge gust of wind that picked up. Kyle shook his head.

      "Come on, the pod is over here, we're almost there" he said. The three of them reached the top and crouched low. Jamie held a S2 AM sniper rifle and zoomed in on a lifepod in the sand below.

      "It's an HEV Kyle, so there's a lone marine in the desert" she chuckled. Kyle shook his head.

      "Any sign of our marine?" he asked. Jamie shook her head.

      "Negative, nothing" she said.

      "Ok, fan out, let's move in" Kyle ordered. He crouched up, his MA7B battle rifle trained at the pod as he slowly jogged down the dune. Jamie stayed where she was, and Owen went down the left side, his MA5B assault rifle up.

      Sam watched the two Spartans moved, and then sighted his aim on the sniper Spartan who hadn't moved. He uncovered himself from his hiding spot and moved in.

      Kyle stopped moving and crouched behind a piece of the pod that had broken off during the entry. He was roughly ten meters away from the HEV. Owen however was much closer and he stopped momentarily, awaiting orders. Kyle looked up at Jamie, who nodded at him. Kyle nodded back.

      "Owen, check it out" he whispered. Owen nodded and moved in.

      Sam was right behind the sniper and he watched the lone Spartan-III approach his entry pod. Sam took out a detonator and waited.

      Owen looked inside and saw nothing. The equipment crate had been opened, but everything was gone. He spotted two extra clips of 7.62 armor piercing rounds, which he scooped up. He then circled the pod twice, then looked over at Kyle, shrugging.

      Sam grinned and pressed the detonator.

      Kyle nodded at Owen and ordered him to fall back, when suddenly, the pod erupted. Kyle covered himself behind the piece of metal as a ball of huge fire rose into the air. Owen was blown to the right, his MJOLNIR armor in pieces around him.

      Jamie gasped and watched Owen's dead body hit the sand dune a few meters away and didn't move. She circled around, looking for a target, then was tapped from behind. She turned and saw the big black Spartan standing over her. She gasped again into her activated radio, then saw black.

      Kyle stood, looking at the burning pod, his mouth wide open. He turned to look at Jamie's position, but saw nothing. He raised an eyebrow.

      "Jamie, where are you?" he said into his radio. No one answered. He tried an additional four times, and then ran up the hill himself to find her. When he got to the top, he found her dead body sprawled out along the sand, her sniper rifle gone. Kyle froze. He knew his enemy was targeting him right now. He would have to be quick, but he could do it. He dropped his battle rifle and pistol, hoping that would make him run faster. He took in a deep breath, then rolled to his left, just as two sniper bullets flew at him. He rolled all the way down the hill, stood, and ran, not even bothering to look back.

      Sam grinned and watched the Spartan run. He targeted the last two sniper rounds at the man's legs and fired.

      Kyle felt the bullet impacts, then lost the feeling in both his legs. He fell forward, doing a face plant right into the sand. He groaned in pain, turned over and saw his legs a few feet away from him. He gaped at them, then looked up at the mountain he had been on and watched a figure in black armor approach him. He awaited his death, but it did not come. The figure in the black armor stood over Kyle, staring down at him. Kyle gaped at him.

      "You're...You're a Spartan?" he asked. He heard the man chuckle, then he crouched beside him.

      "Here is what I want you to do. When Josh comes and picks you up, you tell him, that the Shadow Spartan did this to you and your men. You tell him his turn will come as well" the man said. Kyle merely gaped at him still, then shook his head.

      "What?" he said. The Shadow Spartan chuckled again, then shouldered the Jamie's sniper rifle and walked off. Kyle caught a glimpse of a sword strapped to his back, then saw nothing. He groaned in pain, then activated his radio.

      "This is Kyle, I'm hit, and I need immediate evac" he said, then felt him lose all consciousness and faint.

      Jameson stood over the data table and grinned as he watched Sam walk away from his target.

      "And so it begins" he whispered.

A few hours later...

      Josh climbed out of the Pelican dropship and trudged slowly through the desert sand. A few feet away was Spartan-231; Kyle, who had reported in that he was hit and needed evac. Josh shook his head as he approached the Spartan and crouched beside him. Kyle was unconsciousness. Josh took off his helmet, revealing the Spartan's frozen features. Ian crouched on the other side and shook the man. Kyle's eyes opened and he looked around.

      "Oh thank god, Josh" he began, but Josh held his hand up.

      "What happened?" he asked. Kyle gulped.

      "I was ordered to investigate a lifepod that had crashed here with Jamie and Owen. When we came, we found out that the lifepod was actually an old Human Entry Vehicle, used by the Helljumpers. Owen went to investigate it, then the pod exploded and he was killed in the blast. I tried to find Jamie, but she had been killed at the top of that mountain there. Then, whoever stole her sniper rifle, used it to blast my legs off and I fell. Someone named the Shadow Spartan is on this planet. He said that what he did to Jamie, me and Owen, he will do to you" Kyle explained, looking up at his leader, who was slowly shaking with anger. Ian, who had left briefly, returned and shook his head.

      "Jamie and Owen are dead" he said. Josh looked at Kyle.

      "What was this person's name?" he asked. Kyle looked at him, frightened.

      "Shadow Spartan" he repeated. Josh stood, looking at Ian.

      "That was what John was working on" he whispered. Ian merely looked at Josh. He then looked at Kyle.

      "What do we do with him?" he asked. Josh looked at Kyle, who was confused and looked at the two of them. Josh shook his head.

      "There's no point, dispose of him" Josh said, walking off. Kyle looked at him, mouth open, and then looked at Ian.

      "But, you can't?" he started, but Ian raised his pistol and fired off one round, hitting Kyle in the face. The legless Spartan fell silent and Ian walked back to the Pelican, which lifted off. Josh sat in the back, clenching his fists.

      "So, he wants to play does he?" he growled...

By: Agent Shade