Legend Hunting Part Six
Posted By: Dispraiser<email@example.com>
Date: 11 March 2003, 10:48 PM
"It is not every day that a man so brave as Officer Daniels is born, however, it is every day that one is lost, struck down by evil. Our small town was immune to such worries, the cold, dark hands of the modern world not grasping us at that time. However, such evil would not overlook us forever, and like the serpent that it is, it has now consumed our town. A brave Police Officer died yesterday. Shot by an unknown assailant, though I can tell you that he is a victim of the modern world. I ask you all, as citizens of the decent town of Melo, to assure our future's safety by making sure that the death of Officer Daniels is the first Police Officer to die, and the last. We must all do our job, as citizens, to respect that these brave souls are willing to defend the very people that may kill them the next day. People need to take on their role as citizens, and make Melo a clean community once again. In recent times, namely the last week, two horrible crimes have been committed. The first was the murder of a child, a great sin by any measure. If this were a random event this would be acceptable, albeit a horrible thing to accept. However, this situation is clearly worsening, now that Melo has taken the burden of a second murder, the murder of Officer Daniels. Melo has corrupted, and only you, the people of Melo, may turn it to its former, righteous ways." The mayor stepped from his podium.
I stood among a crowd of no more than two hundred, all citizens of Melo. I carefully scanned the ranks of people for Jada, but failed to find her. It was only a small chance that she was so stupid as to come to a public gathering, but it was still a hope to end this mission easily. I expected the Mayor's face to dance with the flashes of cameras, but only saw sporadic bursts, the populace having no need for a press. I could tell that the mayor was a noble and proud man, his face breathing honesty. It still amazed me, though, that a man such as him could get into office, most politicians corrupt. He was correct in his speech though, the modern world took my family too. I almost felt guilty, being that I was at the center of one of those killings. In a sense however, ONI had killed this town. The Spartan was just a convenient vehicle for them to come to ruin the lives of everyone in this town.
"Nice speech, wouldn't you say?" asked Samuels
"Yeah, mayor is a great speaker. I actually trust him. Not the traditional politician up there, en (Authors note: Saying En is to an Eastern Fourite what saying eh is to a Canadian.)?"
"Yeah, I heard he writes his own speeches too." Samuels stated, I chuckled.
"Been here for what, four days, and you are already gossiping? You're alright Samuels." I rubbed my forehead as I stopped laughing, "Sorry about the car..."
"Not yet are you."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Have fun with the bill." I hated Samuels...
I continued bouncing the baseball off the wall as Samuels thumbed through a field manual, searching for a topic in regards as to what to do when 'a bounty hunter has taken the Spartan that you are hunting' section. Needless to say it was futile, this was the first situation like this, and undoubtedly the hardest either of us had been in. To find the Spartan we had to know where it is. To find out where it is we had to find the sniper, alive. To take her alive and get her to talk we needed some way to do so, and, we didn't. We had nowhere to go, and nothing to do. We were, to the truest sense, stranded. We had called up headquarters to update them on the status of the mission, all of which was a failure, and the status of Jada, which was updated, we had a motive. They gave us an update on Niklin. He was nonexistent. There was no one in the cabin when the strike teams searched it, and no signs that anyone existed under that name. How that mattered, no one knew, but if Jada knew it would decimate her plans, especially that she was able to talk to him...
"What's next?" I bounced the baseball off the wall again.
"No clue." Samuels replied as the baseball bounced back to me.
"I would like to look into this hotel. Dig though that data stick I got you."
"Oh, thanks, I've been wanting to do that." Samuels replied sarcastically. He was most likely expecting gunfights and glory on the front lines, not clerical work.
"Figured. You think I'm having any more fun than you?" I bounced the baseball off the wall again.
"At least you got to shoot at something and go parachuting. This mission has been boring for me."
"Boring, but not painful. I love bear traps."
"Good point." He had a good point as well, parachuting was fun albeit painful. I felt for the wound on my chest from my painful landing. I noted that it was gone, showing the amount of time that I had spent in the town, which had been a practical eternity.
"Hmmmmmmm..." Samuels grunted quietly.
"A good Hmmmmmmm or a bad Hmmmmmmm?"
"A confused Hmmmmmmm." Samuels replied. "This hotel isn't."
"Well, when I was searching the files I found only a few, three, one registry for every guest."
"Well, why even have a hotel?"
"Same thing I was asking. So I closed my search and I found many more files. The three I had originally were Martinez.xls, Nichols.xls, and Samuels.xls, all nearly empty spreadsheets. These were only basic registries, a number or two in regards to who we were and where to bill. I was confused, the data stick was nearly full. I realized that it was because of my search, I had used the word hotel. I figured that I would find files like registry.exe, other xls files, but I was amazed at what I found. This is no hotel."
"Well, what is it then?"
"It is a guerilla headquarters. Built a month before you arrived. I'll get some peeper images from HQ to verify this, but that could be why it looks so nice in here, it is new."
"Yeah, right, and I am Lioke (Authors note: This story is having bountiful reference to the past of Lunar 4... Lioke is the Socialist leader of the Eastern Hemisphere whose assassination sparked the second world war of Lunar 4. His handling of the formation of the great spot caused his people to love him as they would a hero or a god.). You may be good with computers, but your jokes suck."
"This is no joke." Samuels replied. "Come look. These spreadsheets and documents they have, maps, all of them detailing attacks, guerilla actions, all illegal activities."
"What are the chances!" I raised my arms up in the air, looked up and slowly spun, "What are the chances that this mission would suck like this!" I looked down, "Samuels, you will pay for this. Scapegoat..." Samuels looked up at me, slightly disturbed and resumed scanning the files.
"Well, these terrorists, they are everywhere. Last I heard they were banding together. Forming the Neo Covenant."
"Well, that's an original name, er, I mean lame... Aliens, have been mauling us for fifteen years, losing a war with them..."
"Actually, sir, the word Covenant means an alliance... Sort of... So Neo Covenant means New Alliance, it makes perfect sense."
"Well, they aren't getting any brownie points for inventing the name in that case. Couldn't they just have called themselves the new alliance?"
"Whatever. Send those documents to headquarters. They might like to see what they can salvage from it. Maybe that has some plans for future attacks, or a list of cell members."
"Cell? No. This is huge. The Neo Covenant is a unity of just about every terrorist or extremist to ever exist. Think global. Think thousands, millions even. They are a threat that even our armies could hardly contain. They are almost a nation, hardly cells."
"Right, well, in any case, this would help them. If nothing else it can tell them when to increase security."
"Yeah, sure, I'll send it to them. But anyway, we have just found out about a terrorist building. Should we do something about it?"
There was a long silence, "I hate loving the UNSC. We have to do something about it, I guess. What should we do though?"
"You hate a lot, don't you?"
"Not when I have someone to take it out on. By the way, about the car... If they can't find it can they bill me?"
"Damn it! What did you do to my car!?! He quickly ran to the window and pulled down the shades to see an empty parking place where his car used to sit.
I pushed the video sunglasses that Samuels had lent to me, against his best logic and waited as the elevator hit the bottom floor. I smiled knowing that with one little "accident" I could make Samuels cry. But I had a mission, and there was no time for personal satisfaction. My footsteps echoed as I walked through the lobby. The only extraneous noise was a soft whir that I heard, no doubt the security camera silently watching my movements. I continued, though, and walked up to the desk at the center of the lobby. The man was already alerted to my presence, though I did not recognize him as either of the former clerks. These terrorists were careless. I made sure to get him to look directly at my face as the camera within the glasses silently took a half dozen pictures so that Samuels could begin to flag terrorists for the UNSC to hunt down.
"Hey, I was wondering, do you know where a repair shop near here is? My car, it got vandalized, all keyed up and stuff. It could use another paint job, and I figured I would get it fixed while I was here." I said. I was hoping that he wasn't very alert as to who owned the Speedstar as he was to watching the lobby.
"Oh, surprised you didn't see it. Sam's Auto Repair, just down near the Krunchy Krisp down there." He replied friendlily. I almost felt bad because I marked him for death... Almost.
"Oh, thanks." I nodded and left the building. Stepping outside I drew in a breath of the fresh air. The forest created an aura of freshness that I hadn't known when on my routine missions in the cities. I walked down the alley behind the garage (which I clearly knew where it was before) and sat down in Samuels' car.
"Samuels, got an ID on the terrorist?" I asked into a small concealed microphone I carried.
After a short pause Samuels replied, "Yes, we have an ID. Michael Martinez. He's already reported to be among another terrorist group. It had many names, but never an official one, but it was absorbed by the larger Neo Covenant forces a year or two back. This confirms that this hotel is actually a frontline type base It was set up a while back, and peeper network rewinding shows that this base was built by well identified terrorist Alan Roguriez of the Neo Covenant."
"Alan Roguriez?" I said, interrupting, "He was the clerk on my first night here. That nice guy let me stay for free?"
"Well, I suppose he could have. But anyway, this hotel was, only by law, nonexistent until the night after you stayed. They probably expected to never get a guest, and did. He didn't charge you because he couldn't. But anyway, this hotel has a basement and only one way down. You'll never guess how..."
"No, I actually find this funny... They have a secret staircase. Like a little kid. But we did another search and neither Jada nor Niklin is in any terrorist organization, they are both, according to our details, telling the truth, besides the whole... Not existing thing... In Niklin's case. So we have to assume that they are telling the truth until they verify otherwise. But this terrorist group, the Neo Covenant, they have a very strong hate for the UNSC. They are against the Spartans. They hate the Spartans. They, like the early days of cloning have religious objections. And though we aren't cloning them yet, they clearly got downwind of some info that ONI might have tipped them off on. Leads me to the conclusion that their sole purpose here is to capture the Spartan. Some Peeper rewinding also showed that there are, or rather were five terrorists. They came back from the woods one day with only four. So we have seen all of them but one. Think you can take em'?" he asked. He knew my reply though.
"Yes. I can kill anything."
"Didn't get the Spartan."
"Well, I could've."
"No. You couldn't. But moving on... We got the layout of the base. They have some minor, but effective security protocol phases. The first thing you need to do is to get a palm print scan passed, should be easy enough and will eliminate one of the four when you take them. Either that or I could write a data stick hack, but that is a little higher risk, because chances are they would spot you regardless."
"Wait, where is this secret staircase?"
"It is hidden under a floor panel in the center of the lobby. It is offset about a meter to the left of the center of the chandelier."
"Oh. Well, in that case, plan A. So, I grab the guy at the desk, drag him to the floor panel, and then?"
"Well, you should probably hold him up while you pull out the floor panel. I'll come in on this one to back you up also, so I could keep him busy while you set up for his role. From here you could kill him and use his lifeless body to activate the thing--"
"I like A." I interrupted.
"More chance for flaws in the plan. If you can take him alive it would eliminate the threat posed by the scanner sensing life as well as just his palm prints. Anyway, I chose B for you there, much safer. After that you can pull up the hatch that opens up a bomb-shelter-like room. The one you saw on the security camera I trust. In fear of the peeper networks, most likely they began to move visual barriers into place after they completed only a small portion of the room, so I can't tell you too much about its layout. They installed some shields in the roof of the room, so we aren't getting any Xray images or heat readouts. The place could be an ambush in wait, but if you can, we want to salvage as much of the room below as we can, particularly if Alan Roguriez is down there. As I stated, though, we have no idea as to what is down there, so we could just be sending you on a suicide mission into a gun turret." He said.
"And you hate my plans!?!" I shouted.
"Your plans are stupid, but I have to admit that this one takes the cake. All I can tell you is that the room is about twenty feet underground. I might give you a frag grenade just in case, but I'd much prefer to take one of them alive for questioning and salvage the computers. I want you to go back to the hotel though and get a telemetry readout of Michael for us. I want to see if he has any forms of electronically radiated ID signals coming from him that would make a turret ignore him." He said. I was glad, over the past week or two I had began to take the hotel as a replacement home. "Even I would much rather play it safe with your life than send you to get ripped apart by a machine gun." He continued. "One more thing before you come back."
"What?" I asked.
"Take good care of my Speedstar..." I chuckled quietly... He did give me the keys...