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The Tides of War Part 1 "As the Dust Cleared" Chapter 3
Posted By: Corbantis<ssrm3@lvcm.com>
Date: 13 February 2002, 11:43 pm

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Chapter 3

0933 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar) /
Epsilon Eridani System, Reach UNSC Military Complex,
Planet Reach, Restricted Area (Level B457) - Section Three research facility

     Spartan 068, Robert, kept his rifle ready as the freight elevator began to slow after its three-hour descent to their destination. According to the lift control panel, they had gone well beyond the lowest levels of the complex. Yeah, at least the lowest levels ONI wanted them to know about, Robert thought to himself. The elevator stopped, and its large doors opened with a grinding of gears. "Stay back Dr. Halsey." Robert said as he moved into the large corridor that opened up into a hanger bay sized room. Sticking close to the wall, he went into a prone crouch, scanning the area with his rifle. After he double-checked his motion and infrared sensors, Robert lowered his weapon and signaled the all clear to Dr. Halsey. "No one is here Dr. Halsey; it is safe." She came up to where he was, and looked around the massive room. "Is this a hanger of some kind, Robert?" Dr. Halsey asked. Before answering, Robert looked around more closely, and spotting a lone Long Sword interceptor, looked down at Dr. Halsey. "I believe so; there is one Long Sword interceptor in here." He pointed at the craft.
     "Hmmm..." Dr. Halsey murmured as she looked around herself. She spotted something, because her eyes widened. "Robert, that looks like some kind of laboratory over there." She pointed at a large, gray, square building with large, dark windows, to their right, "Maybe we can find a way to get out of here from there." "Possibly." He replied. They walked over to the structure, which had normal sized armored double doors, along with a security panel, for an entrance. Dr. Halsey entered a code into the door; it bleeped a negative tone. "UNAUTHORIZED SECURITY CODE TO ACCESS FACILITY. LEVEL 13 SECURITY CLEARANCE REQUIRED." The metallic voice of the security system announced. "What?!" Dr. Halsey said, then she looked up at Robert, "The highest security clearance is level 12, there is no level 13," she paused, kicked the door, then continued, "Damn ONI spooks. Got any ideas Robert?" She looked up at him quizzically. He thought for a moment, then, remembering he had some C-12 explosives pulled out a lump of the stuff and looked down at Dr. Halsey. "I just remembered I have my own level 13 clearance." "What?" She looked at the explosive, then her eyes widened. "Oh..."

0942 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar) /
Artificial Ring World, Bumblebee Escape Pod
Crash Down on Surface

     Sergeant Daniel O'Connor held on tightly to his seat harness as the bumblebee escape pod shook violently when the pilot fired the craft's atmospheric retrorockets. The pilot was a lieutenant and a veteran fighter pilot. "We're c'mon in fast," She yelled back to O'Connor and his men, "brace for impact, I'll try to land us somewhere soft!" It was a close call, because when the pod came crashing down after its airbrakes broke off, the bumblebee barely missed the rocky outcroppings that were only a few meters away. Unfortunately, they still hit a sharp boulder that pierced the cockpit of the bumblebee pod. The pilot was instantly killed. Daniel and his men however, were still alive and they quickly unbuckled themselves from the seats.
     "Gather your equipment, Marines!" Daniel yelled at the others in the pod. He popped the rear hatch, which slid open with a hiss. He gathered his weapons and gear, and then he jumped out of the pod. He turned to face his men who were still inside the pod grabbing their gear. "Pile out Ladies, triple time!" He barked the order at his men, and a few seconds later, they jumped out and formed a staggered line formation in front of the pod. Daniel stood opposite them; he waited for his second in command. Corporal Harris Mann promptly fell in beside Daniel. "Ready, sir!" Said Harris as he stood there. Daniel looked at his men, and then he looked around.
     They were in a roughly circular canyon that rose into a slightly steep hill that was littered with various sizes of boulders, to Daniels right. To his left there were two exits out of the canyon. The bumblebee had torn up the ground that that they were standing on pretty badly during the crash. The bumblebee was even still smoking when Daniel heard, and then saw, a purplish-pink Covenant drop ship scream over the canyon before it began to turn back to where Daniel and his men were.
     "Damn it!" Daniel cursed as he started shouting orders. "Marines, lets move into those hills, we'll be harder to kill if they can't see us behind those boulders, now move it!" He waved them towards the rocks. He checked his rifle, made sure the safety was off, and then ran up behind the boulders with the rest of his Platoon.
     It was a close call because as soon as Daniel and his men got themselves concealed well enough, the Covenant drop ship was coming down to land by the escape pod, the turret on the bottom back part of the ship sweeping the area for a target. Daniel crouched behind a fallen boulder that was a little bit taller than his midsection. He then carefully looked over the rock to see what they would be facing. The doors of the Covenant drop ship opened, and eight grunts either holding plasma pistols or needlers jumped out, followed by six jackals with their energy shields in one hand and plasma rifles in the other, four blue elites clutching plasma rifles, and one gold colored elite also carrying a plasma rifle.
     The commander yelled at the other aliens as he pointed around the canyon. The other aliens responded and spread out, obviously looking for survivors. Daniel ducked back down behind his boulder, then he whispered into his helmet's comm. link. "Marines, do not open fire until I say so," He cautiously looked back up at the aliens again, "We'll see what they do before we expose our position, is that clear?" He ducked back down again and looked at his fellow Marines. They nodded to him in acknowledgement.
     Daniel looked up again to see where the bastards were. They had stopped their search and were just standing around by the pod.. The commander elite was yelling something guttural into what looked to be a comm. link. Daniel scanned the area again, and then he began contemplating whether to attack the Covenant or find a way around them when he heard the faint growl of an engine. It was the distinct sound of a Warthog. The noise got louder as the Warthog came closer. The Covenant troops heard it too, and they were looking around, puzzled.
     A moment later, a Warthog jeep came flying over a hill and into the canyon from the left entrance. Daniel heard the taunt of one of the marines in the jeep as the loud thrumming of the rear chain gun started up and the marine manning the gun sprayed the deadly hail of gunfire at the stunned aliens. The commander elite quickly got his bearings because he started shouting orders at his troops as he fired on the jeep. Deadly blue and green plasma fire struck the jeep, but it did not even hit anyone in the jeep. The driver of the Warthog twisted and turned the jeep to avoid a volley of explosive needles, and in the process managed to run over two grunts who had needlers. Some of the other grunts that were still alive ran away in fear, but they were mowed down by the gunner of the Warthog. The commander elite was the only one left standing as the driver of the jeep drove straight at him. Right before the driver of the Warthog ran down the commander elite, the alien managed to throw a plasma grenade onto the jeep.
     The grenade firmly stuck, and Daniel could hear the loud cursing of the marines in the jeep. Before the grenade exploded, Daniel got a glimpse of the driver who was glad in a green suit of full body armor. The plasma grenade exploded, killing the marines, flipping the Warthog, and throwing the driver out of the vehicle.
     Daniel thought all the people in the Warthog were killed when he saw the soldier in the green armor get up, he also noticed a shimmering around the green armor, like an elite's shields, as the armored giant ran back over to the Warthog and flipped it back on all four wheels effortlessly, with one hand.
     Daniel was trying to remember where he saw armored giants like this one when one of his marines answered his unspoken question. "Hey, it's a Mark V!" One of the marines behind him said. Then Daniel remembered, oh what were they called? Oh yeah, Spartans, he thought as he yelled back at his men. "Okay Marines, lets give the Spartan a hand, lets get down there." His marines replied "Yes, sir" as Daniel jumped over the rock he was behind and slid down the hill to where the Spartan was. His men followed him down. The giant turned around to face Daniel. Daniel noticed the Spartan's rank on his helmet.
     "Glad to see ya', Master Chief!" Daniel said excitedly. His comm. link clicked on and surprisingly to Daniel, Cortana spoke. "Sergeant, I am sending for a drop ship to pick your men up, we could use some help finding the other survivors, could you spare any men?" Daniel nodded, called Harris over, then replied, "Sure, the Corporal and me will go with ya'." Daniel turned back to his men. "Okay marines, wait here for evac, me and the Corporal here are go' in with the Chief here," Daniel pointed to one of his men, "Son, your in charge until I get back, is that understood?" The marine saluted Daniel and replied, "Sir, yes sir!" By that time, the Master Chief was already waiting in the Warthog.
     Daniel looked at Harris, then Daniel jumped up onto the back of the jeep and grabbed the chain gun. Harris reloaded his assault rifle and heaved himself up into the passenger seat, and then he positioned himself so he could fire from where he was. "Floor it!" Daniel yelled in excitement, he loved firing the chain gun. It was exhilarating for him when he mowed down enemies with it; he loved the sheer power it gave him.
     The Master Chief jerked the Warthog forward, and as Daniel bounced up and down with every bump the Master Chief hit, he couldn't help smiling as the fresh air on this ring world whipped through his hair.

1025 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar) /
Epsilon Eridani System, Reach UNSC Military Complex,
Planet Reach, Restricted Area (Level B457) - Section Three research facility

     A loud "KA-BOOM" Reverberated throughout the hanger bay. It was followed by an equally loud clatter of the metal doors against the outside concrete hanger floor. Once the smoke began to clear, Robert heard the security system announce, "UNAUTH...... SEC..TY CO.. TO ACC... FACILITY. LEV.. 13 SECU...TY CLEA..NCE REQ....." The system tried to say it again, but the system panel sparked, caught fire, and blew up. The panel was toast. Robert grinned, he loved explosives. "Dr. Halsey, we now have access to the structure." He announced as Dr. Halsey coughed, and fanned away the smoke from her face. "That always works to, I guess." She stated as she and Robert walked toward the building, and went inside.
     Inside the building it was easy to tell that it was, in fact, a laboratory of some sort. There was a locker room that had equipment, two long tables parallel to each other on opposite sides of the entrance. The tables had scanning equipment, various tools, and strange looking devices that looked like Covenant technology were also on the table. But what caught his eye was a forest-green MJOLNIR power armor suspended on a ceiling hook. "Ma, am, you better take a look at this." He pointed at the armor as he approached it. It was about the same as his, except the fusion backpack was much smaller, and the armor plates, as well as the shield emitters, looked different somehow.
     "So this is what ONI was doing down here," Dr. Halsey stated as she approached the armor. She grabbed the arm of it, and seemed surprised as she studied it. "This armor is lightweight, and theses shield emitters are smaller," she pointed at the small notches in the arm, "than the ones on your suit." She let go of the arm of the armor, then she walked over to a plasma screen that was part of the wall next to the MJOLNIR armor. "Maybe the ONI scientists recorded their data here," she said as she activated the control panel below the screen. The plasma screen came to life, and as Dr. Halsey activated a series of log entries, the first log entry began to play.
     The scientist who recorded the log entry was a middle aged man with gray hair and a short beard matching his hair. As the man spoke, Robert noticed the man had a heavy French accent, "We have completed our study of the Covenant technology provided by the ONI spooks, and I am very excited about the results, once we have determined how to integrate it into our technology, we will have no problem improving the MJOLNIR power armor system created by Dr. Halsey." The log ended, and before the second could start, Dr. Halsey skipped ahead a few entries, then let it continue. The same man began to speak again. "Success!" the man exclaimed as he held up the gauntlet of the new MJOLNIR armor, "We have deciphered the Covenant technology and have been able to create a much stronger version of the MJOLNIR armor." He ran his index finger along the forest green armor of the gauntlet. "It is surprising that this new armor plate is ten-times stronger than the titanium battle plate used on our warships, it is also very lightweight. The completed armored suit, when weighed, only weighed 1/2 a ton, also the shield emitters can produce an energy shield around the suit that is as strong as the shields used on the Covenant battle ships!" He put down the glove, then he began rambling on about how he managed to decipher the alien technology.
     Dr. Halsey clearly heard enough, because she deactivated the log entries.She turned toward Robert. "Well, well, well," Dr. Halsey said, as she walked over to the armor again, "Looks looks like those ONI bastards did something right for a change." She looked at the armor, then at Robert. "You think it'll fit you?" asked Dr. Halsey. Robert Considered this, then nodded his head. "Good." Dr. Halsey said as she opened a panel on the suit, pressed a few buttons, and closed it. The suit opened up.
     Robert deactivated his suit. He stepped out of the armor, walked up to the new armor, and put himself into it. The armor was lined inside with form fitting gel that immediately conformed to his body and adjusted to match his body temperature as the armor automatically sealed itself around him. He turned around to face Dr. Halsey. "How do you feel?" She asked him as he stood, motionless.
     "Never felt better." Robert replied.