Blue 4 Prologue
Posted By: firerwolf<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 21 February 2013, 2:11 am
The land was desolate and broken, nothing but glass where no life was fit to live. The land was impossible to recognize, possibly any of the many glassed planets. A cold wind rushed over the land and Kelly wrapped her arms around herself. She sat on the hard ground, staring out at the death and destruction before her. This was the legacy of the war, what was left behind by a quarter of a century of fighting.
Kelly curled up a bit more as the cold soaked into her bones. She wished that she had her armor, something to keep the cold out. She felt something rest on her shoulders and she was wrapped in warmth. Kelly reached up to her shoulder and she felt the cloth of the blanket. She looked back and could see him standing behind her. "Thanks." He smiled and she held a hand out to him. He shook his head and Kelly frowned. "Sit with me."
He shook his head again, taking a step back. Kelly stood up, turning toward him. He took a few more steps back and Kelly just watched him. She didn't know why he was leaving her. "I know you'll find me. Just wake up."
Kelly's eyes slowly opened, awoken by a familiar voice. "Commander, I believe you'll want to hear this." The voice echoed, each bounce back ranging in gender and pitch. "Commander, wake up."
Kelly groaned. "I'm getting up. What do you want me to hear?" Kelly sat up on her bed, not very happy to be awake.
Kelly recognized the female voice as it played. It had been almost five years since she'd heard it but she'd know it anywhere. "Forward Unto Dawn. Requesting immediate exac. Survivors aboard. Prioritization code: victor zero five dash three dash Sierra zero one one seven."
Kelly sprang out of her bed and moved and a moment later was standing beside the holotank beside her quarter's door. "Play it again, Sapphire." The message repeated and Kelly grinned. A distress call from the Forward Unto Dawn, saying there were survivors, and the call sign one one seven. "When do we head into slip space?"
The holotank flared to life and the ball of light that was the smart AI Sapphire appeared. Its echoing voice was ever calm, if not disorienting. "Crew is preparing for slip space at the moment, Commander." Sapphire shifted and Kelly could see what looked to be hints of several faces made of a sort of crystal material through the light. Sapphire was like no AI Kelly had ever met. While most had a clear understanding of what they wanted to be, Sapphire always seemed to Kelly like an AI that was caught between genders and the choice of a human avatar or abstract form. At first its ever changing voice had been hard to handle, but after a month of working together her headaches from the echoes had gone away.
"What about the Spartans? When are we set to go into cryo?" Kelly couldn't help her excitement.
"The Spartan IIs are set to go into cryo in thirty," Sapphire reported.
Kelly groaned. Once more things were not moving at her preferred speed. John had always told her that the world couldn't keep up with her pace and she'd never realized how right he was until he wasn't around to fill the time it took for the world to catch up. There was a knock at her door. "It's open," she called so the person could hear her.
The door slid open and Fred stepped in. "From the look on your face you've heard the news." Fred smiled slightly, glad to see Kelly smiling. She hadn't been smiling much in the last four years.
"You mean do I know that we've found John? Yes, I know. Sapphire played the message for me." Kelly smiled in the direction of the holotank. "First time it's woke me for something worth my time."
"I am not sure if you meant that as an insult, but it is my duty to ensure you are informed of all pertinent information and do receive orders." The AI grew brighter for a moment and then eased back to its normal brightness. It was one of the few human-like things Sapphire did. Its voice was always flat but it seemed unable to prevent the changes in brightness and color that showed emotion.
"It's not you I'm insulting, Sapphire. This is just the first time in a while it's felt like this is a Spartan mission," Kelly explained. She turned to look at Fred. "Upset you didn't get to break the news to me yourself?"
Fred shook his head. "I came here to make sure you didn't get your hopes up too high. The voice is Cortana's, but who knows how long it has been playing, if he's actually on the Dawn or if it's an attempt of a rampant AI to try to be saved." Kelly's fist slammed into his shoulder. "Ow!"
"Don't you dare say anything like that, Fred. You and I both know John and I can't believe you would dare doubt that he's alive and on that ship." Kelly glared art him, her hands balled into fists.
"Calm down, Kelly. I just don't want you to be disappointed. One of two things is going to happen. Either we go there and John is on the ship and we rescue him, or he isn't there and our hopes get crushed. Better to go in as a pessimist in this case," Fred reasoned.
Kelly shook her head but relaxed. "No, I know he's there, waiting to be found. We are going to find him." There wasn't a single doubt in Kelly's mind that John would be there, that they would find him. It was beyond her understanding that Fred could doubt that.
"How can you be so sure?" Fred asked.
Kelly frowned at him. "You know why." Fred knew full well not to question her on this. He shouldn't have even asked that question knowing the bond she had with John.
Fred sighed, giving up on trying to convince her. "All right, let's head down to the cryo bay. I know you're probably jumping out of your skin to get moving."
"Everyone just moves too slow," Kelly complained. "If they could just move as fast as me we'd already be there."
"We'll sadly the rest of us weren't gifted with your speed." Fred stepped out of the room and Kelly followed. "We'll just have to settle for as fast as Infinity can get us there."
"Not fast enough," Kelly muttered. They walked in silence to the large cryobay. It could hold hundreds of pods, each assigned to a specific crew member. With the size of Infinity's crew this was just one of several. They were usually split up by what part of the ship a person worked or lived in. The one the Spartans were assigned to was filled with technicians, officers, and a lot of Spartan IVs. The two Spartans headed to the deck that held the pods that were assigned to them about halfway up the wall of cyro pods.
Linda was already waiting along the catwalk to the pods, leaning against the railing with her arms crossed over her chest. "Surprised you aren't sprinting here," the sniper teased. "Promise that when we find him you two keep it PG."
Kelly smirked at her friend. "No promises, I'm going to try my hardest though not to hug him." At least Linda wasn't being a pessimist like Fred. After so many years of hoping to find the Master Chief Kelly needed all the support for her hope that she could get.
"Just warn me ahead of time. I don't want to see such disgusting shows of affection." Linda smiled and fell into step with them toward the pods. To Spartans just a simple hug was like two normal soldiers having sex in public. Even an open smile was considered an obscene thing to do with non-Spartans around.
They reached the technician and Kelly let Fred take the lead. She wasn't comfortable with non-Spartan IIs seeing how happy she was, and if she talked she was sure she wouldn't be able to hide it. "Spartans zero-five-eight, zero-eight-seven, and one-zero-four, reporting for cryostaysis."
The technician typed in some things on his terminal and nodded. "All right, they're all set for you."
Fred nodded to the man and moved over to the cryo pod. The Spartans all stripped and moved to their respective pods. Kelly took deep breaths, waiting for the chemicals to take effect and knock her out. Her eyes closed and she relaxed in the pod, relieved to know they'd finally be bringing John home.