Mission From SATU part 5: Eyes of Death
Posted By: Chuckles
Date: 15 August 2004, 8:24 AM
Mission From SATU part 5: Eyes of Death
Bones cracked loudly as a powerful hand squeezed the ODST's forearm. Looking up into the helmet of his Spartan judge, the soldier saw only his own reflection; and that reflection was screaming.
"I've told you everything, everything!" Slowly the hand opened, and the ODST fell to the ground. Not wanting to chance the sound of gunfire, the Spartan finished the soldier with a combat knife: besides, a shot to the head would have been a mercy, and mercy was not on the menu. Linda looked down at the fresh corpse with no sympathy. What he had done was inexcusable. What he had told her was beyond belief.
She had been close enough to hear the first screams, but by the time she arrived only three of the young Spartans were still alive. It was their first training since augmentation treatment, and since they were not yet used to their quicker reflexes they moved in jerky, awkward motions. She would never forget their horrified, grotesque movements as they tried to flee Ackerson's firing squad. They were all unarmed: but she wasn't.
Linda had lifted her sniper rifle and dropped the Pelican pilot with a single shot. The ODST's turned and looked at her with surprise, as the young Spartans ran to safety. Twelve hardened soldiers. One Spartan. Linda dropped her sniper rifle, and with a pistol in one hand and combat knife in the other, she waded in.
They were game, they were good, and they were willing: but she was too skilled and too fast. Linda dashed at them in a blur of slashing and firing and within seconds only one soldier was left. Tossing his weapon down, he raised his hands in surrender. Linda towered over him like a god of war; and this god was angry. Surrender? Surrender?!
Grabbing him by the neck and lifting him to her helmeted face she spoke in a voice that expressed more than even her words. "You are going to answer some questions."
Less than half an hour later she sat overlooking a large clearing. Linda was not given to emotion, but this day was too much. Moments earlier she had killed two Spartans. Spartans.
One of them had been Hogg.
They had served on a team together for almost two years, and no matter what happened, he always had something nice to say. If she had just blown the head off of her own brother it could not have been any harder. Stop thinking. Cover your ground, and report.
"Fred, you are clear to the east. How are we doing?"
"I've got Lexicus here. He's under control. Are all six accounted for?"
"Yes. Three are either dead or wounded, and the rest are pinned. I can't raise the Masterchief. He's training near the base with the other half of the group, and might not have his helmet on. I'll stay put."
"Roger. Good work Linda."
Good work? Inside her helmet, tears streamed down Linda's face.
Fred stood just inside the tree line, his shotgun leveled at Lexicus' head. "This can end one of two ways, and you know it. Either you'll call off this insane operation, or you'll end up dead." Silence. "Linda has your remaining two or three covered—don't make her kill them."
Two or three? They don't know about red team. Lexicus spoke over his com to Chuckles. "Fred caught me with my pants down, but thankfully he wants to chit-chat. I don't think they've spotted red team. Contact them and give them my location."
"Fred, you don't know what you're dealing with here. We had nothing to do with what happened to those kids."
"I already know that, old friend." Lex's blood ran cold. "And we do know what we're dealing with. You are here to kill John and I'm not going to let you do it. It doesn't matter to me who gave the order. You fight John, you fight me."
Chuckles' voice crackled over his com, "Simjanes has Fred in his sights, awaiting your order."
"Roger that." A moment before he had wanted nothing more than the ability to give that order. But Fred could have blown Lex's head off instead of trying to talk. Lexicus would give him the same chance. Besides, the thought of it made him sick.
"Fred, I've got a sniper on you right now and he is well out of Linda's range." He let that sink in, and then added, "Put down your shotgun." Fred looked around nervously. "You know I'm not lying Fred, drop the weapon."
Fred held the shotgun steady and then stated matter-of-factly, "You have two teams. I should have known. Who . . . who has me in his sights?"
"Simjanes." Lexicus saw Fred deflate. In the old west, Simjanes would have been a gun for hire: and would have done well. If Linda was unbelievable with a sniper rifle, he was just as good. If Linda showed little emotion, he showed none. Lexicus spoke softy. "Put it down, Fred."
All choices this day seemed evil. If Fred put down his weapon, he was out of the fight—the fight to save John. If he didn't, he was dead. He made his choice.
Falling flat, Fred made the first shot miss, fired his shotgun and sent Lexicus slamming back into a tree. The second sniper bullet smacked into his shoulder, dropping his shields. Leaping to his feet, Fred leveled his shotgun at Lex for the kill shot—but this time Simjanes found his mark, and a bullet tore through Fred's side. He dropped to the ground in a heap.
Lex had suffered only minor damage. Walking over, he was relieved to see that Fred was still alive. If he lived long enough, he wanted to try and explain. He had to explain.
"Fred, easy now. Here, let me ease that off—" He looked at Fred for the first time in over ten years. My God.
Fred's once handsome face was covered with old plasma scars. Years ago, that face had smiled and laughed more readily than most of the other Spartans—but he wasn't smiling now. He was coughing up thick red blood and mechanically repeating "Linda, get out! Linda get out!" Forgetting about the mission, his wounded, and even Linda, Lex held Fred's head until he quieted down. It wouldn't be long now.
"I'm sorry, Fred."
"I see it Lex. I mean, I see it." He coughed up more blood. "I never thought I would see it again." Raising his head to meet Lexicus' eyes, he said. "I remember now, and I thought I never would."
"Remember what, Fred?"
Fred coughed up more blood, and his eyes rolled back in his head. His voice was barely audible. "I remember what my parents looked like. I thought I would never remember. I thought . . . " And with that, Fred died. As his muscles relaxed and his lungs released his last breath, that breath escaped through a smile.
Linda was numb. Numb and angry. Fred had told her that he was mortally shot, and then given his last orders. It was almost more than she could take, and she could take a lot.
"Linda, there are six more than we had thought and Simjanes is among them. Ease in and take as many out as you can" he coughed, and then gurgling blood, he continued with great difficulty, "and keep trying to contact John. Ignore whatever else I say . . . get out Linda! Get out! Get out Linda! Get—" and the com went dead.
Goodbye, old friend.
Emotion fought to get the better of her, but tonight it didn't stand a chance. Her eyes were dry, her hands were steady and she had fresh orders. Angry? Oh, yes. But she wouldn't be controlled by it: she would use it.
If Linda was right, there were ten of them still alive. She checked her ammo—eleven sniper rounds. She dropped one of the rounds and mashed it into the ground with her foot.
She had to travel light. No use carrying extra ammo.