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The Rookie - Chapter 2 - The Calm Before The Storm
Posted By: The British Commando<VarneyTjv@aol.com>
Date: 4 April 2002, 9:45 pm

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Location:Briefing Tent - Military HQ
"Halo" World
Unknown system (Cole Protocol)
Date:June 17th 2054 (Earth Time), 1830 hours.

     The familiar faces of alpha squad turned to face Corporal Johnson and myself as we entered the makeshift briefing tent. It was good to see that we didn't lose anybody in the escape from the Pillar of Autumn. The Lieutenant was standing at the other end of the tent, next to a topographical map and a laser pointer.
     "Good to see you back on your feet, Private Collins," said the LT.
     "Take a seat".
     "Yes sir." I sat down in an empty chair at the back of the tent and Bubba sat down next to me.
     "Now that we are all here, I'll get started" said Lieutenant Pliskin. "Our mission will be a short range patrol. This will be the first patrol since "Halo HQ" went up, so I don't need to remind you to be double careful. Our route will be as follows" He continued, outlining a path on the map with the laser pointer. "We will leave at 2200 hours standard time under cover of darkness, so you will be issued with NVG's along with your standard MA5B assault rifles and minimum ammunition loadout. We will rendezvous at the armoury tent at 2130 hours to grab your shit. Your orders are to engage any Covies with utmost caution. The more experienced soldiers among you know what they're capable of. That's it. Marines, dismissed!"

Time:2125 Hours
Location:Outside armoury tent
"Halo" Military HQ

     The bitterness of the night was surprising compared to the warmth and almost semi-tropical environment of the daytime. The calling of the birds had stopped and everything was deathly silent apart from the muffled speaking of the Marines already inside. I had an odd feeling about this HQ. Supposedly it was built hastily, but I had seen rows of Warthogs and even Scorpions. I felt like something was amiss here, but it was probably nothing. Just my imagination running away with me again. It happens.
     As I went into the armoury, I noticed it was larger than any of the other tents I had been in. There were rows of lockers along both sides and a rack in the middle full of the o' so familiar weapons I had come to adore in training. I love armouries; they always make me feel like a kid in a candy store (figuratively speaking, anyway).
     I walked along the lockers on the left side to check if I had been designated one. I slowed down when I reached the "C" section. Carmen... no, Chester...closer, Collins... yep, that's me. I put my thumb on the scanner and the locker sprang open revealing my armoured vest, helmet, thigh and arm pads. The helmet also had the night-vision visor already attached. Looks like somebody had thought ahead for me. I strapped on my armour and collected an assault rifle plus four magazines of ammo from the rack closest to me.
     With my armour strapped on, I headed to the door of the tent to meet with the squad. I was the last to join the group and was greeted with grunts, the occasional mumble and a slap on the back from Bubba which nearly knocked me clean out of my armour!
     "All right, Marines. I trust you all remember the mission plan? ... Hm, good, lets' move out!"
     Alpha squad stepped out into the cold, and I remembered my headache.

     To be continued...

     Authors Note: Sorry for this one being a bit slow, but I promise lots of action next time. Honestly...
     P.S Any constructive criticism/suggestions welcome.