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Project: Shadow Spartan, Chapter 6
Posted By: Agent Shade<shadow_agent13@hotmail.com>
Date: 21 July 2003, 4:27 AM

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      Sam was floating in an empty blackness, relaxed and calm. He could hear his name being called and opened his eyes. Naturally, it wasn't much different then closing them. He couldn't see a thing. The individual calling his name seemed to be close. He looked around him, but couldn't see. Suddenly, he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He whirled around and looked into the eyes of his father, John. John smiled and waved. His mouth moved but Sam couldn't hear anything. He raised an eyebrow and tried to touch him, but John floated backwards. His father continued to smile at him. Sam longed to see him again, but he continued to disappear. Suddenly, his image faded completely and new one appeared. Sam gasped. In front of him was the village his mother lived in, except it was burning. Fire roared in the slowly disintegrating houses. People ran around screaming. Sam could make out huge shadowy figures walking through the streets. He watched them all surround him, and then looked on the ground in front of him. The bodies of his mother and father lay sprawled out along the ground, filled with bullets and blood all over their faces. Sam looked at them with shock, anger and sadness. He could feel tears forming in his eyes. Suddenly, a single shadowy figure stepped forward. He was wearing MJOLNIR armor and was looking right at Sam. Sam growled and watched the Spartan take his helmet off. It was Josh. Without thinking, Sam launched himself forward, fist raised and attempted to punch the Spartan, but the entire image faded and Sam began to fall.

      His eyes opened first, and then Sam sat straight up, cold sweat covering his face. He looked from left to right and saw the contents of a Pelican dropship's troop bay. He sighed and tried to calm his heartbeat, which was thumping loudly in his chest. He stood wearily, and then walked to the front of the ship.

      Sam had integrated his AI Lancelot into the Pelican, so that he could get some shut eye. He entered the cockpit of the ship and saw the holographic figure of his AI standing on the main control console. He turned and raised his sword at Sam as he sat down.

      "Good sleep?" the AI asked. Sam shook his head. Lancelot lowered his sword.

      "Another dream?" he asked. Sam nodded, and then looked out the window. Lancelot watched him.

      "Dreams and reality are totally different Sam, what happens in dreams do not happen in life" he said. Sam nodded and bowed his head.

      "I know Lancelot, I know, but just the scene of my parents lying on the ground dead is disturbing to me. Even if you were a real human and watching these scenes of torture and death flow through your mind, you would think its real" Sam said, raising his head to look at the AI. Lancelot nodded.

      "I probably would, but I'm not a human, but I am your AI and your friend. Let's make sure that my statement of dreams and reality stays true by saving your mother" he said. Sam nodded, feeling better, then peered out the main window.

      "Position?" he asked. Lancelot's sword nudged a little as he calculated their current trajectory.

      "Grid fifteen by twenty, exactly two miles away. At this speed, we will reach the town in thirty minutes" he said. Sam nodded, watching the rolling country side pass by as the Pelican flew through the air. He stood.

      "I'm going to check the equipment crate" he said, heading towards the troop bay. However, as he exited the cockpit, he heard a small Klaxon alarm start beeping. Sam turned to look at his AI.

      "What is it?" he asked. Lancelot didn't answer at first. He turned to look at Sam.

      "Long range sensors are picking up another Pelican dropship following us, same speed as us" he said. Sam's eyes widened and he returned to his seat, typing in coordinates into a keypad in front of him.

      "Position of the Pelican?" he asked Lancelot.

      "Grid thirteen by sixteen, pretty close. At their speed, they will reach Balmora in forty five minutes" he said. Sam swore, and then took hold of the controls.

      "Full power to the engines Lancelot, we must get there first" he said. Lancelot nodded, and a second later, the Pelican fired her thrusters and zoomed forward with increased speed. Sam looked out the window and prayed the other Pelican's wouldn't do the same.

      A mile and a half away, Spartan-223; Zachary watched on the radar screen in the Pelican dropship as Sam's dropship sped up. He grinned.

      "Match their speed and velocity" he ordered. In front of him, Spartan-205; Paul nodded and their Pelican jumped forward with increased speed. Zachary leaned back and watched the single blinking dot on the radar screen return. He grinned. You can't escape from me he said to himself. The big Spartan turned around to look in the troop bay.

      Josh had given him thirteen Spartans when he was told to patrol the large capital city of Gnosis, in case the UNSC decided to try and retake the planet. Luckily, they encountered no problems at all, but since most of the Spartans with Josh were killed by this Shadow Spartan, Zachary had been ordered back to the Military Outpost.

      He wasn't the only one ordered back. Carl, Amy and Judy were also told to return. The four of them were respected leaders of individual fire teams of at least twenty Spartans. Zach only had thirteen when he was at Gnosis, but he was given two additional Spartans by Josh for this particular mission.

      Zach's second in command sat in the pilot's seat behind him. Paul and Zach were good friends, just like Josh and Ian were. The two of them had been friends already when they were drafted into the Spartan-III program. If anything happened to him, Zach didn't know what he would do. He turned back around to face the cockpit and looked at his friend.

      "How much longer?" he asked. Paul looked at a scope near him.

      "Forty minutes" he muttered, looking up at Zach. The Spartan swore.

      "Is there any other way we can speed this thing up?" he asked, looking around him. Paul checked various schematics and systems. He nodded.

      "If we cut power to various minor and primary systems, we can increase our speed, yes" he said. Zach nodded to this.

      "Do it, Josh expects success on this mission and we are going to give it to him" he said. Paul nodded, flipped a few switches and pressed some buttons. The lighting in the ship went out, followed by the lowering the power in the life support array. Zach felt the temperature drop, but his suit compensated. With these system adjustments, the Pelican zoomed forward again.

      "They're speeding up" Lancelot reported. Sam had been resting in the troop bay, but at these sudden words, he sat up and banged his head on the overhead rack.

      "Fuck!" he yelled, both in response to Lancelot's statement and to the large red mark forming on his forehead. He walked into the cockpit again.

      "How? This is the Pelican's fastest speed" he said, looking at the control board. Lancelot shrugged.

      "They must've cut power to minor and primary systems and transferred it over to engine power" he suggested. Sam looked at him.

      "Well, how come you never did that in the first place?" he asked. Lancelot shrugged again.

      "You never stated you wished to go faster" he said. Sam's face went red and he bawled his fists.

      "Lancelot, be a good AI and SPEED US UP!" he yelled, standing up. Lancelot chuckled and nodded. A moment later, the lights went out, the temperature dropped rapidly and the windshield wipers on the Pelican fell off. Sam watched them fall, then looked at Lancelot.

      "They use power, even when they aren't being used?" he asked. Lancelot nodded. Sam shook his head, then ran into the back and got into his armor, since he was freezing in the little ship.

      "Sir, they've sped up as well, but they're going faster than us" Paul reported. Zach sat in the troop bay as well. He stood, banging his unarmored head on the ceiling of the troop bay, and then walked to the cockpit, mumbling swear words and rubbing his hair.

      "How can that be? There's only a certain number of systems you can cut power too" he said, looking at the radar screen.

      "They must've found additional systems that aren't needed" Paul suggested. Zach nodded.

      "All right, search the entire ship's data array and find those systems that aren't needed" he ordered. Paul nodded and put the ship on autopilot as he accessed a computer in front of him. Zach took a seat in the co-pilot's chair and looked at the computer in front of him.

      "Got to speed us up" he muttered to himself and began to access program files on the Pelican.

      "They're slipping out of the radar, but I'm sure they will be back" Lancelot reported. Sam shrugged.

      "Doesn't matter, we have a lead on them now, let's move fast" he said relaxing slightly in his chair.

      Zach swore out loud. He couldn't find a single system that could be taken offline. Suddenly, a single program caught his attention as he scrolled through a list of them. He looked over at Paul.

      "What's this Pelican armed with?" he asked. Paul turned and grinned.

      "Devilhorn missiles" he said, nodding at his leader. Zach grinned as well.

      "Good, bring them online and target that Pelican before we lose it" he ordered. Paul nodded and flipped a large switch box, pressing the red button beneath. Immediately, the cockpit went red as a small Klaxon alarm rang. The radar screen in front of Zach changed to show a first person view of the Pelican as it flew across the rolling country landscape. The Pelican in front of them was barely within weapons range, so Zach had to be quick. The Devilhorn missiles had been the newest types of heat seeking, non-nuclear missiles next to the Archer missiles. Zach was quite glad he had them on his side. A targeting cursor appeared on the screen and blinked red as Zach aimed it over the Pelican. He grinned, and then pressed the firing trigger. The small dropship rumbled slightly as the large missile left pod A. It flew ahead of them and accelerated at top speed after the other Pelican. Zach relaxed. He would get there first.

      The entire computer console in front of Sam started to beep alarms at him and the cockpit went red. Sam sat up.

      "What the fuck?" he yelled over the alarms. Lancelot's image appeared in front of him.

      "Missile lock on" he said. Sam's eyes widened.

      "What?! How?" he asked.

      "The other Pelican must be a warhorse, I don't know, they just happen to have missiles" he said. Sam nodded.

      "Do we have any decoys?" he asked. Lancelot shook his armored head.

      "Fuck, all right, prepare to be yanked" Sam said, running into the troop bay. He grabbed his helmet and immediately fastened it on. He rushed back into the cockpit where Lancelot was ready. Sam reached into a data slot below the AI and grabbed hold of the processor cube inside. Lancelot's image faded and the cube was in Sam's hands. He immediately inserted the cube into his primary data slot on his helmet and felt Lancelot's cooling presence arrive.

      "You have fifteen seconds to get out of here" he said. Sam looked at the ramp that was closed at the troop bay. It would take him at least a minute to open it. He shook his head.

      "Will the missile destroy the Pelican?" he asked.

      "Not likely, since we're moving at a large velocity" Lancelot answered. Sam nodded, then ran back into the cockpit and strapped himself in.

      "Here it comes" Lancelot said. Sam tightened his harness and held on tight to it, praying his luck would hold.

      The single Devilhorn missile zoomed forward and smashed right into the tail of the Pelican, ripping it completely apart and sending the Pelican into a nose dive to the ground below. Sparks flew in the cockpit and a view screen in front of the co-pilot's chair exploded, showering the area with glass. Sam watched the ground rapidly approach as they fell. He was shaking so hard, but managed to rip off his harness and climb out of the cockpit. He jumped into the first seat of the troop bay and strapped himself back in.

      "What are you doing?" Lancelot asked.

      "A nose dive like this will crush me had I stayed in the cock pit" Sam merely said, hanging on for dear life.

      "Right" Lancelot said. Without warning, the Pelican smashed nose first into the ground, plowing through it. Sam felt the bulkhead to his right disappear and before he knew it, he was flying out of the Pelican and smashed onto the ground, blacking out afterwards.

      Zach grinned as he saw a tower of smoke begin to billow into the air in the distance. The Pelican on the radar was gone and Paul reported the elimination of their target. As they flew by, Zach could see the main bulk of their destroyed Pelican burning in the meadow. He grinned.

      "Well, that will slow him down. Reactivate those systems you took offline Paul, we don't need to worry about racing there now" he said, laughing. Paul nodded and pressed several switches. The lights came back on and the temperature rose to normal. Zach leaned back and relaxed. It was going to be a good day.

      "Sam? Can you hear me? Samuel, get up!" Sam could hear Lancelot's voice but couldn't reach it. He was floating again in the empty blackness. The same image of his dead parents arrived. Sam shook his head at it.

      "You're not real! This isn't true!" he yelled. However, no sound came out of his mouth. The Spartans appeared again and began to jump on him. Sam was swallowed up in the blackness.

      "No!" he screamed and sat up. Immediately, he felt pain sear through his spine and he lay back down. He opened his eyes and saw sun shining down on him. Birds were singing nearby and Sam felt like he was home. However, when a trail of smoke appeared in his field of vision, he knew he wasn't. Sam sat up again and felt no pain. He looked straight ahead and looked at his destroyed Pelican. Shaking his head, he slowly stood up. His legs were weak from the fall, but he was able to regain his balance after falling once. Lancelot's presence returned.

      "Phew, thought you were dead" he said. Sam shook his head.

      "Can't get rid of me that easy" he said and began to walk towards the wreckage of the Pelican.

      "That Pelican passed us, but has reduced its speed. They will arrive at the village in ten minutes" Lancelot reported. Sam swore.

      "How about me?" he asked.

      "That depends on whether you walk there or run" he said.

      "I will be running Lancelot" he said. Sam heard his AI chuckle.

      "Then it will take you around twenty minutes, maybe less" he said. Sam swore. It twenty minutes, his mother could be dead. As he searched around, he found the equipment crate filled with his required weapons. He picked up a MA5B assault rifle along with eleven extra clips of ammo. He also acquired a M6D pistol. Holstering the pistol and slinging his assault rifle, Sam stretched his legs and jogged on the spot for a bit. He took in a deep breath, and then readied himself.

      "Twenty minutes, time me" he said to Lancelot, who laughed in response. Without a second thought, Sam took off, sprinting away from his Pelican and zooming through the meadow. It would definitely be a long twenty minutes.

By: Agent Shade

~*Author's note*~

      I realize this is shorter than normal, but I'm also working on the Shadow Spartans series, so I'm going to try and keep this kind of short. Hope you enjoy.

~*End note*~