They're Random, Baby!

Fan Fiction

Taking Tritus Part One
Posted By: Dispraiser<dispraiser@netzero.com>
Date: 15 December 2002, 8:05 pm

Read/Post Comments

      The static hissed as three angered men hit the top of the TV unit in a futile attempt to make it work properly.

      “GAH!!! Bloody TV! It’s never done this before!” Shouted a European man from the couch. He was showing his European heritage quite noticeably because of his strong accent.

      “Well, who knows what this could mean, I’ll go check the wires.” Said a rather chunky man who’s plaid shirt was coated in small patched of oil from repairing the submarines.

      “Yeah, you go and do that man. Just make sure to get it working! The game’s almost over!” The European man replied angered before resuming hitting the TV. As the other man, who appeared to be a mechanic left the room through the reinforced door to prevent flooding the base if one of the walls were to give way to the pressure outside.

      A radar operator rushed in, placing a hand on the doorframe and yelling in, “Come on guys, to the battlestations we have an inbound tango, two hundred meters across!”

      “Did you warn the LFC?”

      “No, we couldn’t warn the Lunar 4 Counsel, all communications with the surface have been cut off.”

      “Well that explains the TV.”

      “Second green berets!” The radio shouted over the storm of the great spot. The storm was always there, and it severely hampered by the Great spot, which was a continual storm over the ocean. Our Pelican rumbled almost as if to match the clouds and storms however what it did was of no use, the storms deafening roar was too great for it to compete. The Pelican however swerved around as the storms intense winds kept our dropship bouncing though the air. “Report in, what is your status? Do you have a visual of the target?”

      “Negative sir, all we can see is the storm. Nothing is there at all, we’re going to attempt to land on the supply shaft!” I shouted back to the radio. The rain was pelting the outside of the pelican and it roared at a power comparable to the Pelican.

      “Rodger, when you spot the shaft make sure to report in with a status check up.” The mission operator replied, clearly disappointed that

      “Command acknowledged” the Commander replied. Throughout the night he had done much of the talking between us and the base despite that he was furthest from the radio and a naturally silent type after seeing years of front line action. He had a long history of success in most militral campaigns, which may be the reason why he was picked, because he was one of the best warriors that the Marine Corps had, once being the one man who meant the difference between victory and failure in the operation. Rumor has it that he was once a happy person, but now he is a depressed insomniac. Can’t say the same wouldn’t have happened to me under those circumstances. The pilot, who had a green glow coming from the cabin as a result of the night vision that he was using, began to speak to us, he too a little quiet, “Alright men, we’re moving into position for a decent upon the surface supply structure.” I slipped the dark green poncho out of my pack and slid it over me. In addition I grabbed some rubber boots and switched out my standard GI boots and slid them onto my feet. I put on a brimmed hat and prepared to get out of the ship. As the Pelican descended we all shared a long silence, and occasional glances at one another. There was eight of us. Myself I was Lieutenant Mitchell, my first name Caleb. I stood as a short man, and my eyes were a burning red color that seemed descendent of some light brown color. My pale skin was a result of my training in a sense, my job was to be unnoticeable, and to be a demolitions expert though I am, like all other Green Beret, well trained in hand to hand as well as short to medium range combat. I lifted the rifle and set it back in my hand, repeating the process for a few minutes. This was my lucky rifle, and its age was at least five years. The model was retired from service itself, but only because the assault rifle had been upgraded recently though I was satisfied with my current one. It had a rubber grip at the end though it was beginning to fall off from extensive usage and a short body. Resembling a hybrid between the sub machine guns and the assault rifles of current times, the gun had a shorter body than assault rifles however it had a high rate of fire and large clip with larger bullets, all characteristics of the assault rifle class weapons. The collapsible stock on the back was broken and was incapable of collapsing because of some damage that it had suffered. I had a large suppressor on the end of the rifle. Though it was said to decrease accuracy, so was firing in an automatic setting which is almost a paradox being that a gun is meant to be fired. The suppressor however was an ideal tool because if anything it helped you by not alerting your enemies though most battles now are fought in massive operations where stealth is discounted. We landed in an abrupt rumble and the back door of the cabin opened up. I stood up and stepped out onto the landing pad. The glowing lights alternated between each other, blinking lights towards the center of the landing pad where the Pelican had landed near to. The rain poured down on us though I was able to seek shelter beneath the tail of the plane long enough to grab some of our supplies and run for the door. The torrential rain continued as I ran for the door, covering my face with a bent arm though the good it did was sub-par. Stepping up to the door I set down the box and held out a wet hand to the security access panel.

      A female voice come on, “Access verified. Enjoy your stay on the Tritus Lab Mr. Mitchell.”

      “You have a name?” I asked assuming that the voice originated from an AI construct.

      “Yes, call me Tracy.” A Tracy was a low level AI that I had heard of before. It was used only in areas that the owners of the area were too lazy to hire a real person to complete the task. The Tracy here might have been used to regulate the temperature of the rooms and to make sure that oxygen levels get balanced. But at least she was there though emotionless and incapable of the very tasks that AI is supposed to describe. I wondered however why this facility was so critical. It had an older AI and was according to our briefing only a research facility. The nerds here could have probably fixed the communications network themselves.

      “Well then Tracy, open the doors and call up the elevator.” The door hissed open revealing a dry well lit interior, which I was soon gratefully standing inside. I rested the top of the gun on my shoulder and felt for my sidearm with my free hand. It was almost a reflex from my field action to make all last minute checks before the Pelican leaves. Finding my weapons and satisfying my search I grabbed our field communication box, which we were to use to reestablish communication. We stepped into the next room as the door to the outdoor landing pad closed behind the Commander. He had a grim look on his face, though it was becoming increasingly normal to see faces like his among the Marines after fighting for so long. We were all soaked despite the coverings that we had. I pulled the poncho off and laid it down on the ground. As it hit the ground it made a clapping noise, a result of the water on the thick raincoat. I took off the brimmed hat, and following the movements of the Commander wrung it out and stuck it in the bottom of the packs that we had. I left the rubber boots one. The commander took a mine and began to set it up though in the interior of the base it was not camouflaged at all. He began to set the mine so that if anything hit it or caused simple seismic waves near it the bomb would detonate. “You know that they will see that, don’t you?”

      “It doesn’t matter. They can’t avoid it.” He said confidently. The commander, despite his own heartlessness was a great man, and always inspired whatever squad he had. He was an amazing person. Stepping into the airlock we hopped aboard the elevator and went down to the bottom floor, which took us fifteen minutes. I noted as we went down the elevator that it had a bar of lights every ten feet. The last one read 5300 feet. This station was one of the first research stations on Lunar 4. Lunar 4 was an area where lots of scientific operations were fulfilled because it was known to have many races of sentient life. Most we were able to coincide with though some of the animals we brought threw off the ecosystem. The sentient life however was nothing more than a fish or abstract bird at the most though all were reptilian. Aside from the life on Lunar 4, it was a rare planet that humans could survive one that was trapped in a two star solar system, a binary star system. One of the moons was also a very large breed. It had a thin atmosphere, and it flew very near to the top of the atmosphere leaving a trail of eclipses on a weekly basis. Perhaps the greatest anomaly of Lunar 4 is what the moons large gravitational field does to the water. Earth has tides as a result of its moons gravity, while lunar 4 has upside-down rainstorms of a sort. The gravity on Lunar 4 being about .6Gs the moon is able to lift water off of the surface of the planet and carry it in liquid form for a while before letting it go as the rotation continues. This rare event was named the torrentian, and was a spectacle enjoyed almost constantly. It also had a set of rings and a great spot, which had been storming over one side of the planet for so long that it eroded away an entire continent that was once located beneath it. Beneath the clouds of course, was an ocean, and below it was a hotbed for science, trying to figure out what could spawn a torrential rainstorm such as this. Lunar 4 had two moons as well though the two are scheduled to crash into one another in a half century. There was speculation that a missile attack on one of them could blast it out of orbit to obtain escape velocity while it hit the right time in its orbit, however few were willing to make that sacrifice because there was a high chance of errors causing the whole planets destruction. We walked down the hallway silently with a confident stride, none of us breaking the silence allowing only the noise of our footsteps to fill the hallway with noise. Our footsteps echoed down the hallway which was a metallic grey, as most of the hallways were once we got past the airlock of the upper floors. Below us was the floor, which was a metal grate, beneath it pipes ran along it marked with a variety of colors and symbols. The wall was randomly scarred with markings to signify where we were going. The facility, which was positioned over two acres of the underwater seabed was occupied by only twenty to thirty scientists at any time in the year, and therefore most of it was occupied with the various machines that kept the station powered and operational. The whir of the engines however was only a minor nuisance being that they were very well silenced by the insulators around it. At the center of the facility, a little below the actual labs, the scientists had a block living quarters. Following standard mission operations for an operation to reestablish communication we marched first to the security control room to attempt to recover the scientist. With the security cameras we could find them much quicker. Had we had an actual AI in this base rather than a Tracy model we would have been able to ask it to find life forms, however the Tracy was of near to no use. We entered the security center as the technical expert of our division sat down at the computer, waving his fingers before beginning to rhythmically smash in the keyboard buttons. We watched the monitor as a series of menus opened at unbelievable speed until he drew back his hand hitting the return key with unprecedented speed and intensity. Kicking his feet up, a satisfied look on his face he reclined the chair as the screen flashed onto a security camera shot of the cargo hold. Looking at the picture we tried to identify if anything was wrong. Nothing was out of the ordinary, just an ordinary hallway with no one within it. The next room was carefully analyzed finding the same results. Again, the next room was empty, as were all the rest. Theo only question was, where was everyone?

      A rifleman leaned a little closer and stared at the screen searching for errors. Finding none he asked a few questions, “Anyone think that maybe they all left on a mission?” a mutual nod of disconfirmation awaited him from the other seven Marines. Tracy then replied, “No, all shuttles are currently docked in the main facility. Airlock activity has been unusually low. All communications have either been jammed or have been destroyed somehow. Most systems are…” she continued on with a list of all the malfunctioning systems while we ignored her continual speech. Had she been a full AI construct she would have understood our disrespect, however she had no emotions.

      “Well, lets go probe the surrounding area. If we find even one body, we’ll come back. You, Carson, you stay here.” The technical expert raised his hand to salute the Commander. “You six, come with me, I’ll take point. Let’s lock and load men, who knows whats out there.” I grabbed my rifle and lowered the rubber side into my left hand. Bracing the but against my upper arm. I held the gun in front of me, my eyes looking over the top of the rifle covering our flank. We filed into a column and paced with a smooth commando style stride heading for the research labs. We stepped into the resting room. It was a cramped little room with a reinforced door and it had a TV, blaring static. The room was otherwise empty.

      “Alright, we’re moving into the wreck room. Watch our backs for us.” The commander whispered into our whisper mikes.

      “Copy, tell me when you step in, I’m switching cameras now.” The technician replied.

      “Um, we are already in the room. Don’t you see us?”

      “No, all visuals remain the same, no difference in the image at all. Go stand by the TV.”

      “Right, moving in.” The commander stepped over to the TV and stood waving his arms at the camera.

      “Still nothing. Something must be wrong. Maybe a technical glitch.” Said Carson.

      I looked up at the camera. One of the wires was cut out of the bundle. I gestured up at it, “Hey, the camera is clipped.”

      The commander walked over and looked up at it squinting, “You’re right…” he said slowly as he tried to figure out what wire it was. “It looks like it’s the main video one.” He said, looking away from it. Moving the mike a little closer to his mouth he said, “Carson, we’re calling the mission off, we didn’t find anything other than that the video is clipped. We didn’t know what you’re seeing but…” There was a short pause, “Carson?” No reply. The commander said a little more panicked, “Carson! What’s going on?” Again there was a pause just as before. “Come on team, we have to get to Carson and find out what’s wrong.” He ran out the door signaling for us to follow. We paced double time down the hallway to the communications room where the surveillance set up was located. Carson’s body was lying limp on the keyboard hitting the “G” button. His neck was snapped. Three prints on the sides of his neck were found, two on one side and one on the other, a forefinger and thumb. Hopefully…

      “Alright, so we have determined this. He is dead.” A group nod replied to my rhetorical question. “He had a snapped neck.” Another nod came from the remaining six others. “And we have no idea what could do this.” Another nod of confirmation replied to my question. I lowered my head as the Medical Specialist busily worked examining the body of the dead Marine. He was lying out on a cold metal table in the medical bay. He ran a series of X-rays, though none told too much more. “And one more thing, how much force was applied?”

      “Well, more than any human could supply.” The medic replied only half attentive to me though I am sure that he was telling me the correct answer to my question.

      “So are you saying that the Covenant are down here?” I asked knowing that an Elite was strong enough to damage a human so.

      “Lets just say that I’d like to see the Elite that could do this.” The medic replied though now he was taking the role of a coroner. “Well, there’s only one way to fid out what did it.”

      “YEAH!!! Let’s go get it!” said a linebacker type man who had a large assault weapon. My briefing was strictly limited to technical failure being our main nemesis. The linebacker type man was Private Hagen, and from what I was able to gather through my limited knowledge of most of the crew, he was a loud, overzealous type that was unordinary noisy relative to the rest of us. He must have had a very hardy personality to not be effected by the intense terror of combat.

      “Not yet, let’s figure out that anomaly in the computer system. I would have asked him,” the commander gestured to the dead Marine, “but as you can see I won’t be expecting an answer back. So, anyone have any idea as to why the Tracy unit can’t figure out why Tracy is useless now? All she does is tell us the obvious, why can’t she tell us what the problem is?” He looked at each of us quickly checking to make sure that we were all as baffled as he was by this situation. Satisfied with his search, which maintained that he was still up to date with the rest of the squad, it left him with a small boost of confidence. However, it also meant that we were all sub-par and stranded in an unfriendly environment.

      “I am not reporting any problems because there are none.” The Tracy stated.

      “See what I mean!” the commander yelled, agitated by the incompetence of the Tracy unit.

      “Yeah, I see. I think that we should call off this mission. We need to know at least what we’re up against; can you get the Pelican in here to pick us up?” I said.

      “I don’t know. I’ll call them in. Unpack the communications kit.” The commander said, inserting his personality’s natural commanding tone into the last sentence.

      “Sir!” I said in acknowledgment with an acute noise and I began to unpack the high power radio that I had. Finishing I handed the headset to the Commander.

      “This is the Tritus insertion team, anyone there Delta team?”

      A static filled reply came over the radio unit, “Yeah, we have your signal, it’s a little weak.”

      “Well, yeah, we are projecting it through a mile of water.”

      “Storm activity spiked recently too.” The pilot replied, “There’s some odd disturbance in the north quarter of the storm, its throwing everything off.”

      “Ah, well something unexplainable is going on here too. One of our crewmen turned up dead and we are seeing some security anomalies. No bodies so far. We have no idea what killed him though, he has a fractured spinal cord at the neck, he died instantly.” The commander said. He went into a little bit of excessive detail in his answer though.

      “Sorry commander, but the storm is only getting worse, could you hold your position for another day or two, we don’t have a window to get in, the storm is too intense for us to fly though.”

      “Could you send in an ODST to back us up?” the commander asked, almost pleading with the pilot.

      “No, sorry, all ODST teams are having their station refitted for polar drops, they are out of service currently. Good luck men.” The pilot replied.

      “Just great… Well, listen, if you get an opportunity, come and pick us up.”

      “Rodger that, Pelican insertion craft out.” The radio resumed its static as we all sat for a minute, pondering what to do.

      “Any ideas?” the commander said, sounding more aggressive than before. Everything was going against his will.

      “Well, we could hide from whatever is loose down here, or we could kill it.” Said another demolitions expert, who was named Lieutenant Markson I believe. He had a very silent personality and this was the first thing that I had heard him say the entire mission.

      “Whatever? Nope. We aren’t running from it. They knew about this, I’m sure of it. That’s why they sent us in, they figured that we could take it down, and are we about to let down the LFC?” the Commander said.

      A general shout of agreement came from the group of us. The commander was great at striking up courage among us in times of need. “So where do we start, do you wanna limit its water supply by taking over the cafeteria and break up into shifts?” said another Green Beret, Sergeant Mark O’Conner, who seemed to be more of an intelligent Green Beret. “We can set up a small camp there. From what I have seen there is only one door into the room, and we could easily set up a security perimeter. It would be easy to defend one door after all.”

      “Good idea. Alright men, unless you have any better ideas lets pack up and move” The commander said.

      “I have an idea, lets go get our deceased friends gun.” I said, shocked at the cold heartedness of the statement. “And then decide what to do with the body.”

      “Yeah, we might need the ammo.” Said Hagan. We packed up our materials and left for the control room. Stepping in we looked for the gun.

      “Well, about that whole finding his gun thing. Where is it? Did we already take it?” I said. We hadn’t found the gun anywhere. It was as if we had already picked it up, or as if something had taken it. Sliding the helmet around to relieve an itch on my head I awaited my answer. The commander looked under the desk, and finally content that we had searched everywhere looked up.

      “Someone here have it or something?” he asked.

      A general series of nods and grunts meaning no signified that the gun was gone, for good. No one knew where it was, though we all expected that it had it. How do you make something that can snap a human neck at its faintest whim deadlier? Give it a rifle. Now not only did we have a hyper deadly mystery creature on our hands, but it’s armed. “Wanna get to the cafeteria. Quickly?” Said Private Hagan. A series of anxious nods and many approving nods answered his question.

      I woke up to someone jabbing at the side of my arm. “Caleb, it’s your shift. Get up. You and the commander are on duty.” I slowly began to see my vision clear as I awoke. I hadn’t slept very comfortably; I was sitting in a chair leaning forwards on a table. I wiped some spit from the side of my mouth and moved to the defensive bunker like set up that we had; some tables flipped on their sides lined with our materials. A gun nest of sorts was set up by the side of the door that was nothing more than another flipped over table and a few guns within it. The commander was also being alerted as to the shift change though it looked as if he didn’t get any sleep at all. I stood up, wiping the grogginess from my eyes and walked over to the gun nest sliding on my helmet and sitting down behind the gun nest. I leaned back on the chair and kicked my feet up onto the barricade as the commander began to stand up. He yawned for a few seconds then lowering his arms grabbed his rifle. Realizing that I had forgotten my rifle in my grogginess I walked over to the gun rack that we had, actually an oven, and slid mine out of the top row, observing the room. It was a square room about 40 feet across at any given point. However there was also a kitchen area in the furthest corner with a band of equipment and stove type machines that extended almost all the way across the room, leaving only small portions of room to move through on either end. My trust rifle in hand I headed back for the door’s gun nest and sat back down in the chair, relaxing as the horrible screeching noise of a chair moving towards me got closer and closer. The Commander, moving towards the gun nest, dragged a chair behind him with one hand and the other held his gun, a rifle similar to mine but with a much better scope and suppressor. It was also in much better condition, as the stock was completely collapsed, something that my gun couldn’t do and it also had a larger magazine, as I could tell by the extended handle. Sitting down he kicked his feet up on the barricade to match me. He was also great at becoming a Marines best friend because unlike most other commanders, he had not yet developed a superiority complex and general hatred towards most of his subordinates. He extended a fist towards me and I did the same, both of us hitting each others fists as a symbol of friendship. I folded my arms after setting down my rifle. He still held his though. He was acting pretty suspicious recently, as if he knew something. “So, enjoyed your stay on Tritus?” he said, knowing that my answer would not be any reports of anything fun having happened.

      “No, it’s been hell sir. I hate it here, I don’t know why anyone wants to come here.” I said with no tone to my voice, still staring strait forward almost as if paying no attention to the commander.

      “Well, don’t worry, it can only get better from here on…” the power flickered and then shut down. We looked up in the dark and watched the lights to see if they would flicker back on. With no results we turned on the flashlights of our guns and ran over to a few of the other men, waking them and activating some of the flares that we had. The Tracy however was still functional, complaining in its computerized voice about how we only had a few hours of oxygen left with the power down and that repairs to the engine room were imperative or we would freeze. I was paying no attention to it as I walked over to the next person, the large man, who was a linebacker looking type with broad shoulders and plenty of muscles coating him that were noticeable even through his many layers of Kevlar. I shook his shoulder.

      Shaking his shoulder again I said “Get up!” I shook his shoulder again, and seeing no response I reached up to his face to slap it quickly to wake him up. When I hit his face, his head flopped as if hardly connected at all off to the side. He was dead. His rifle was gone.

      “So we have another down, and his rifle missing. The same MO as the last, it must have been the same creature. It must have snuck in during the thirty or so second that the power was out, killed him and got out silently! Anyone know what the hell did this!” the commander said, he was acting to be angry, however, he was not doing a very good job at it. His naturally kind personality was showing through. We were in the cafeteria still, and we still had our flashlights on. It was pitch black otherwise and none of the usual humming was in the background. From my limited understanding of the situation, we were down here with no power, no escape, and limited time for survival, be it because of the cold, the suffocation. Or it.

      “Why don’t you tell us sir?” I said defiantly, hoping that my theory that he knew something, which was basically unfounded was correct.

      “What exactly do you mean by that Caleb,” a first name basis, I hope that’s a good sign, “Are you saying that I did this?”, going fine so far, not so harsh of a reaction as I had expected, “Lieutenant.” And so the first name basis leaves, that wasn’t a good sign.

      “No, I’m saying you’re in on it!” I said, hoping that if he did know something an angry tone would force him to speak.

      “In on what?” he replied, a sincerely angry tone with his voice, “Lieutenant.” Maybe I was wrong about the whole ‘superiority complex’ being missing after all.

      “In on this, it must be some conspiracy or something, I mean what, do sea monsters just appear on sea labs with enough knowledge to steal a firearm and know how to snap a mans neck? No, and it wasn’t human or covenant, we’ve already been able to loosely figure it. So what is it? You’ve been acting pretty strange recently you know. Staying up all night guarding the door, and you seem to know a little more than anyone here does.” I said.

      Angrily he replied with a lower tone of voice, “If I knew that some hyper deadly creature was down here, and that I would be stuck with it. Do you think that I would come here?” He had a good point.

      “Alright, I’ll shut up, but on one condition, you vow that you are telling the truth.” I don’t know what I expected. Was he going to say that he wasn’t telling the truth after he had so obviously denied having any knowledge of such a thing? Nope, I really just used this as a way to lighten the social impact that this would have on me. I was probably now the outsider of the whole group.

      “Ah, looks like someone here is sleep deprived. I just finished saying that I don’t know anything dumbass!” the commander replied, his statement starting slow and accelerating as it went on. “Now you listen to me lieutenant, if you want to make it out of here alive, you need to make sure that we all watch out for each other, and I somehow doubt that’s what you just did.”

      “Sorry sir. Looks like my hunch was wrong.” I still thought I was right though.

      “It’s okay Lieutenant.” I’m pretty sure that he added on the Lieutenant just to show me that he was mad.

      “Ah, great, but we need to get the power back up. It’s getting cold in here, and it’s a little scary. With that thing and all, you know?” I said waving my arms a little.

      “Yeah, first priority is the power, because otherwise it won’t matter if we kill that monster it won’t matter if we are all dying anyway. Lets head to the reactors. Use night vision, we want to hide as much as possible. Oh, and two of you get on heat vision, the things tracks will stick out in this cold if it comes near us or ahead of us. That is if it’s warm blooded.” Following orders I reached up to the part of my helmet directly above my forehead and flipped down a headset in front of my eyes. A slight high pitch noise temporarily chirped as the green screen within the night vision goggles activated. The rest were following suit, as I could see with my increased visual abilities. I flipped off my flashlight on the rifle and instantly saw visual ability increase. We formed a lose pentagon shape with the extra unit taking the rear and progressed through the hallway nervously, careful to check everywhere for the creature. We finally got to the reactor room, and found that only a manual disabling of the reactor was used. If this beast was truly filled with intentions of killing us it would have destroyed them, it was playing a game. The commander sat typing into the computers, which he had used a battery kit to operate. He was trying to fix the power systems, and seemed to be doing fine, tough his language was unusually vulgar. I walked up behind him apologetically.

      “Commander, sorry about before. It was out of line. I think that I was just taking out some free floating anger on you, sorry.”

      “It’s okay Caleb, “and so the first name basis returns. YEAH!!! “I understand. I have to admit, I don’t like it down here any more than you do. It’s okay. Really.”

      “Well as long as it’s all fine, I want to ask you something. Is that ok?”

      He sighed. “Yeah, fine. But listen, I’m not in on this. All I know are rumors and myths about this place.”

      “Rumors? What kind of rumors?”

      “All sorts. Things like that this is a facility for testing new super weapons, and that they have some cloning experiments going on down here, you had the internet mindcast, right Caleb?” the first name basis again, looks like he wasn’t too mad.

      “Yeah, I had the mindcast.” I replied.

      “Oh, well a year or two ago, when this facility was made public the rumor mill was churning. It was all over the mindcasts. I’m amazed that you didn’t see anything on it. Ah well, anyway, there was a half dozen or so major rumors, the largest of course that this wasn’t real, and I believed it.” He waved his hands around pointing at random things, “I think that it’s real now. But anyway, I have no idea which one to trust now, but I think that it might be a super weapon launch facility. Some terrorists must have struck here, really good ones. Once I found out that this place was real, and that something was wrong I signed up. I mean, it’s not just every day that you get to go inside the government’s most secretive publicly announced facility. You know that I picked this team myself, right? I figured that you guys wouldn’t tell anyone about what you find down here. If someone asks you, those two dies in a friendly fire accident or some other accident. Give few details, but when you do, give lots. I know that it’s immoral to lie, but over the last 20 or so years the UNSC has had to cut a lot of corners and tell a lot of lies, so don’t worry about it. It’s for the better good, so god will forgive you.”

      “Sounds like that was more of a speech than an answer Commander, nice work. Oh, and I did hear those rumors now that I think about it. I think that I followed that it was a geothermal power plant, like the government had said. I was always that kind of guy, you know, trusting.” I said.

      “Yeah, real trusting. You don’t even trust your commander. Don’t you remember back on Reach? You and me, we were at the top of the academy. We got turned down for that Spartan program, both of us. Well, we were both selected, but later they booted us, before we even got there. I wonder how that’s faring now.” He said. I think I remember that. “We were practical brothers after all those competitions between us and the others. I don’t know why we were kicked out of the program, but I think I’m glad about it. Probably went under anyway, and being in the Green Beret is much more prestigious.” He was obviously hoping to see me agree that the Spartan program was some cheap thing, not as good as the Green Beret. I hardly remembered it myself.

      “Ah, I’m sure that they ended up in the intelligence field or some ancient archeology. Sucks to be them. But anyway, thanks for forgiving me, you’d better get back to work before your battery runs dead.” I walked away. No response was expected. You see, the Commander and me had a strange relationship. We rarely ever talk, however we both consider each other friends that we trust in even the deadliest of all situations. I walked off and grabbed the radio, attempting to restore communication with the surface. I carefully unpacked the pieces of it and grabbed the communication headset. “Control, we have another man down, things aren’t going good down here! We need extraction asap, anyone within range?”

      “Negative Berets, you will have to hold out on your own, the storm activity it swelling up in the north quarters still, something it throwing off the wind.”

      “Well the damn power at the station is out! We’re running on night vision here, is there any way that you could get anything in, please!” I pleaded.

      “Sorry, but I can’t get in, it’s like a tornado with one bad ass attitude. A stream of water is actually touching the Narcos moon. It’s really freaking out up here on the surface. Any leads on the scientists?”

      I continued my plead ignoring his question, “Delta, is there any way that you could get in here? Remember before we were in the academy?” I can’t believe that I’m playing this card. “Remember? Your promise?”

      “Aw damn you! I was hoping that you forgot years ago!”

      “Do you remember what you said?” I asked just for the sake of making him feel obligated to come help me.

      “Yeah, I remember. But that was back in the days when we were paid to kill people, when we were in the Yakuza! You can’t hold my word for that!”

      Before I was a Marine, I held a much less honorable job. I was a Yakuza hit man despite my total lack of Japanese heritage. “So promises have a statute of limitations now, what did you say?”

      “Ah, I said that I would always make sure that you made it out of your missions alive, but those types of things are almost rhetorical man, you know that! It’s like saying good luck or something like that!”

      “Listen, I owe my life to you. Remember that one time. I had hit my mark. A swift shot to the head, but the cops were closing in on my position with a full SWAT squad. They almost made it up the elevator, and you had a clean slate up till then. You killed two men for me that day and got me out by the skin of my teeth. You saved my life, and we all need an encore here now. Some of us will die today, and no one wants that, so here’s the deal. You’re gonna get us now, or you never will. If we don’t contact you for twenty four hours consider us dead.” Striking up sympathy was something that I was good at despite that my moral fiber was unusually low.

      A long pause ensued. “Alright. I’ll be ready in six hours. Be on the landing pad within thirty minutes of that time or I’m dustin’ off without you. By the way, Caleb, how many times do you plan on playing this guilt trump card?”

      “As many as it takes. Thanks man, I owe you one.”

      “About twenty by now…” his voice snapped off along with the red indicator light on the front of the radio. I stood up and slid the pieces carefully into the box.

      “Hey guys, I got us a ride, we have six hours to get out of here, got an ETA on the power fixing up?”

      “Yeah, thirty minutes. Just keep me covered. Set up some more flares going and get rid of the night vision. I think I heard something.” Said the commander calmly despite that he probably had plenty of fear within his spirit now.

      I reached up to flip us the night vision goggle as a sudden grunt appeared to my left. I spun around and looked over. A short person, not a grunt, no covenant actually was before one of the men and had an arm drawn backwards, the other just an inch or so from the mans upper leg cage. He collapsed, clutching his chest. Private Hagan, who was also standing in awe fired a few rounds at it, and from what I saw every one of them hit, twelve or so in total, but the beast was only mildly effected by the impact of the bullets. Slowly turning its head towards our group it grinned. I could see it clearly in the night vision as it disappeared near to instantly. “What the hell was that! I clipped it with a half a magazine from this gun and nothing!” said Hagan.

      Lying on the ground was Lieutenant Williams, who I ran over to check on. I leaned over to where he was lying and checked his pulse, “He’s still alive, someone have a medkit handy?” I yelled. I grabbed him by the shoulders and slid him over to one of the generators, propping up his head. There was a large blood puddle near where he was lying, hopefully from the enemy. Propping his legs up it spun around to see if anyone was getting a medkit. Hagan grabbed one and tossed it to me. Flipping the case open I grabbed the portable x-ray viewer. Scanning up and down his body I found no apparent damage besides a crippling broken leg.

      “I asked a question, answer me dammit, what was that! It’s invincible! Is it some new king of Covenant soldier?” yelled Hagan, clearly scared out of his mind by the beast, whom of which had all the traits of a legend, yet it was real, it was something that truly existed. It was as scary as finding out that the monster under your bed is real. The kind of terror that the Humans on Harvest must have felt.