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Blue 4 Chapter 2
Posted By: firerwolf<triss2008@yahoo.com>
Date: 21 February 2013, 2:27 am

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Kelly groaned and looked around. A pelican was lying on the hanger floor, banged up but overall still in good shape. Kelly was lying on her stomach and was pinned to the ground by something. She had been helping secure people into place as the collision alarms had sounded. When the ship had hit ground Kelly had not yet secured herself. She put her hands on the floor and pushed up. The metal shifted on her and she moved her arm so that it would slide down. Kelly put one hand back against what she now realized was a part of a longsword wing. She pushed it to the side and stood, looking around the hanger. A couple Spartan IVs had come loose from their security straps. The few crates that hadn't been secured down fully were lying on the hanger floor.

"Sapphire, update," Kelly ordered. She moved over to a couple of the Spartan IVs that were undoing their restraints. "Merant, help people get out of their security straps and check for wounded. Smith, go check the pelican and see if it's still operational." The two Hell Rabbits snapped to action and Kelly looked around, searching for the other Spartan IIs. Fred was helping remove a crate that had trapped a few members of the crew and Linda was organizing the medical teams that were checking for injuries.

"Infinity has crashed inside the Forerunner world. The ship is damaged and there seems to be an unidentified craft heading toward us," Sapphire reported. "There are also unidentified signals in the nearby area."

"Has the Captain issued any orders?" Kelly moved over to one of the crates and pushed it to the side. "Exactly how much damage has been done?"

"A bit but it isn't what is keeping us down. What caused the ship to crash and is keeping us in place is the unidentified craft and the planet's gravity well." Static washed over Kelly's HUD and then it snapped back to normal. "It seems that the craft is scanning the ships systems. I have had to separate myself from its databases in order to prevent myself from being scanned as well."

"Why would it be scanning the ship?" Kelly moved out of the way of a medical team. "Sapphire, give me a visual of the object." A black ball showed up in her vision and she frowned. The bottom looked like it had clean cracks that glowed an orange-red like lava. "What is that thing?"

"I cannot be sure. Commander, the Captain is putting together a team to try to scout the gravity well's location. I am guessing that you would like yourself to be placed with that team?" The AI's voice was flat but Kelly knew that it was teasing her. At least she no longer had to ask the AI if it was messing with her.

"Yes, make sure all the Spartan IIs are on that team. Tell them we already had a pelican ready to go. Do you know who's going to be leading the mission?" Kelly moved over to the pelican that the Spartans had already loaded. She set to putting the weapons and ammunition back into place and securing them down.

"Commander Lasky is leading the mission. Commander Palmer is also going to be present with a group of Spartan IVs. They have accepted your offer and have assigned the Spartan IIs to the mission," the AI reported.

"Thank you Sapphire." Kelly switched onto the team COM. "We've got a mission, Spartans. Captain wants the location of the gravity well that's keeping us in place scouted, and we've volunteered to help them out."

The other two Spartans rejoined her in the pelican. "Who else is coming with us?" Fred asked as he grabbed one of the Spartan lasers and put it in its place.

"Lasky's leading the mission and Palmer's bringing a squad of Spartan IVs." Linda looked toward her and they both had the same thought. Why would they need Spartan IVs if they had three Spartan IIs. One Spartan II was as good as a company of Spartan IVs. "There's also an odd craft outside that's keeping us in place. I don't know what the Captain has planned for that, but it's not a part of the mission."

"Are we sure that craft won't just shoot us down?" Fred moved to the pilot's seat once more and did the preflight checks. "I'd like to prevent having to jump from another pelican."

"The Captain is planning to have the Infinity hold off the attack while providing cover for your pelican," Sapphire interjected. "I cannot confirm if they will be able to handle it though, as I have no assessment of the unidentified sphere outside the ship."

"So then be ready to be shot down and forced to land," Fred grumbled. Kelly didn't blame him. The last time they'd had to drop out of a crashing pelican almost half the Spartans with them had been killed by the impact. It was also the fight that had seen their home glassed.

Kelly moved to the rear of the pelican and looked out. There were Spartan IVs and marines heading to several other pelicans which she guessed were going to be heading out with them. She spotted Palmer and Lasky heading toward their pelican. They stopped at the base of the pelican's ramp and Palmer turned back to talk to a couple Spartan IVs. Lasky walked up the ramp and stopped beside Kelly.

"You know this is my first time going on a mission with you guys. Hopefully I live up to expectations." Lasky smiled moved into the pelican. Kelly made a note that he didn't have any armor so they'd have to protect him and keep him away from the main combat if they had to. "Oh, and they're sending out some other pelicans with marines and Spartan IVs." Kelly nodded, acknowledging that her guess had been correct.

Palmer moved up the ramp and Kelly nodded to the woman. The Commander of the Spartan IVs, as usual, wore no helmet and Kelly was starting to wonder if she even owned one. Still, Kelly liked the woman. Sure she was harsh on the Spartan IVs sometimes, expected them to get the job done without excuses, and do whatever she told them to do, but Kelly saw no problem with that. The Spartan IIs had always been expected to get the job done no matter what, so it was logical to expect the same from the Spartan IVs. Palmer wasn't the easiest woman to like, though. After twelve tours during the Human-Covenant war she was allowed to be a bit unimpressed by the Spartan IIs, at least on the outside. Palmer may have been cold and distant toward the Spartan IIs but she was that way with everyone. She'd never been outright vicious or cruel. She let the Spartan IIs be, which was the most respectful thing she could have done. She treated the Spartan IIs like they already knew what to do, didn't need the nagging.

Kelly watched as the Spartan IVs boarded the pelican, not recognizing most of them. With so many soldiers Kelly didn't know most of them, really only the hell rabbits. They took their seats and Kelly moved to one of the empty seats. The Spartan IVs all looked to the floor of the pelican, not daring to look up at the Spartan IIs. It was odd to Kelly that even though they were Spartans they still managed to make the Spartan IIs seem different. She still felt like they didn't accept the Spartan IIs as the same as them, as though they were still freaks.

Palmer was relaxed as ever. She'd dealt enough with Spartan IIs that she didn't feel uncomfortable. "So, how exactly are we going to do this? We've just got to get the coordinates and head back to the Infinity for a proper attack, right?"

"That's the plan. We don't know what's out there and hopefully the Infinity will be able to give us cover." Lasky seemed much more nervous than Palmer. Kelly wasn't sure if it was because of the mission or the Spartan IIs. "Should be just a clean-cut mission."

The pelican shifted and Kelly knew that they were being put on the launch track. The pelican suddenly shot forward and it gained speed as it left the Infinity. Kelly just sat back and waited for them to reach the location. "Sapphire, can you use the pelican's systems to scan the area. Maybe give us an idea of what might be out there."

"I am checking COM channels. I am getting Covenant signals so there are some Covenant here. I am also finding another signal that I can't quite identify. It matches no known pattern," Sapphire explained. "I will continue to monitor it. I will try also to crack the unknown signal."

"I suppose that's the best I can hope for," Kelly muttered. There wasn't much else that she could do. The one problem with being on a pelican or ship was that there was basically no control. She would have preferred heading out in warthogs, at least then she would have some control, and that was what she needed. Her mind turned to John, wondering if they would still have the chance to save him before they tried to leave the planet. She still wanted to find him, at least find out what happened to him. None of them had been there when he'd gone through the portal, to the Ark, and she wanted to know.

"Hostile fire," Sapphire announced. The pelican shook and Kelly grabbed a bar above her to keep from being thrown from the seat.

"Our wing's been hit. We have to land," Fred announced. The pelican shifted to the side and Kelly could feel that they were losing altitude. She held on tight as they darted this way and that. The pelican hit the ground and Kelly was nearly forced out of her seat. The dust settled and Kelly looked around. A couple of the Spartans had come out of their seats but Palmer had at least kept Lasky from being tossed around. She was fairly sure that they could just leave Lasky mainly under Palmer's protection and he'd be fine.

Kelly grabbed one of the battle rifles and the shotguns and then moved to the back of the pelican. The rest of the Spartans were grabbing their gear and getting ready. "Find some cover," Kelly instructed. "I'll scout out a space where we can take more permanent shelter." Kelly waited until the ramp was down before she moved out into the jungle. No one voiced any objections so she set out at a brisk jog.

The soft moss under her feet made it a bit harder to move quickly but she was able to compensate after so many years of combat and scouting. She wound through the trees and darted around rocks and roots. She spotted a tree that wound up and connected with more trees. She moved for it and could run up the tree trunk. She stopped as something appeared on her motion tracker. She raised her battle rifle and swept the area. There was a bit of movement and Kelly saw what it was. The thing wasn't natural, she was sure of that. It looked to be made of a shining silver metal and the joints of the metal parts were the same glowing orange-red. Its body resembled that of a salamander or gecko, but its head was just a pair of pincers. It turned toward her and it fired some sort of glowing shots. Kelly dodged the fire, aimed, and shot. The three round burst hit its head and the thing fell apart.

Kelly moved up the tree and looked down at the pieces that were lying on the forest floor below. "Sapphire, what was that thing?" She raised her rifle and zoomed in. As she had expected it was all smooth and without seams.

"I cannot identify the creature but I have sent the video of the encounter back to the other Spartans. Commander Lasky would like you to return to the pelican," Sapphire explained.

Kelly looked back toward where she'd come and then looked back up the trees. "I will if I find more," Kelly decided. She started back up the tree and winding roots. The entire place seemed all connected and she could get up pretty high. She continued to go up, moving from tree to tree and finally reaching a metal opening that lead into a large room. She stopped outside of it and glanced into the open passage. It was a medium hall that was about three meters tall and about ten meters wide. She glanced around at the columns, searching for more of the odd enemies. "Sapphire, tell them I think I've found a good shelter."

"Commander, you need to head back to the pelican." Kelly frowned at Lasky's voice. She'd found shelter, she didn't need to head back to the pelican.

"I've found shelter, Commander. This place is large enough for all the recon teams to take shelter in. Have you made contact with the other pelicans?" She moved through the hall, searching for any enemies.

"The other pelicans were all shot down. There are wounded and casualties from the other pelicans and a few of our crew is injured," Lasky reported.

"Sapphire, give them a nav marker for this location. I'm going to look around for any way to secure a door or something." Kelly started to move through the structure, moving along the walls and looking for any sort of controls.

"Commander-" The rest of what Lasky said was lost as there was a flash of light beside Kelly. She turned to face it as the light spread and a humanish-looking unnatural enemy appeared. Kelly raised her rifle and fired, the rounds hitting the enemy's personal energy shield. The thing fired a weapon and Kelly darted out of the way as the shots hit the wall behind her. She fired until she saw the energy shield shatter away from the thing. It tucked it's legs together and pointed its arms straight down and the same light that had caused it to appear worked in reverse and it vanished.

Kelly looked around the room trying to figure out where it went. "Commander Lasky, I've made contact with another hostile. It fled but they are dangerous." There wasn't a response over the COMs before there were two flashes of light and two of the large enemies appeared. Kelly fired and moved out of the way of their shots, trying to take them out. She ducked behind a column and reloaded her battle rifle before popping back out. There was now only one of the enemies. She fired on it and the enemy returned the fire.

There was a flurry of movement to Kelly's side and she turned just in time to see one of the large enemies raising a blade. Kelly moved and stopped it, her hand gripping the creature's wrist. She grabbed the metallic arm tight and then kicked out. Her fist slammed into the enemy's torso and the arm came free. She spun the arm in her grip and ran forward, stabbing forward with the blade. It pierced the mechanical foe and the two both disintegrated into small bits of bright hot metal that vanished.

The second enemy collided with Kelly, pinning her to the wall. Its helmet split open revealing a burning, partially transparent, flaming skull. Its jaw opened wide in a scream. Kelly's fist moved forward, punching toward the skull. The thing backed off enough that it released Kelly. She moved forward, her hand gripping the back of the enemy's skull and put her feet against its torso. She pushed with her feet and the head snapped clean from the torso. Both pieces disintegrated.

Kelly looked around the room and spotted a series of lights. She crossed the rooms to the controls and looked them over. "Which one is the 'close doors' button?"

Kelly turned toward the entrance, battle rifle at the ready, but stopped as she realized that the new arrivals were Spartans. "Kelly, what happened? Lasky said he lost contact with you." Fred moved over toward her and then looked around.

Kelly waited until all of the Spartans were through the doors and then hit the symbol that was indicated on her HUD. The doors slid close, sealing them in. "Everything's fine. I was just finding shelter for us all and clearing it of all enemies."

"All right, get the radio up and working, I want a distress call out to the Infinity," Lasky ordered. One of Spartans moved to the task and started to work with a radio. Lasky looked to Kelly and frowned. Maybe he was upset she had ignored his orders, or maybe he had actually been worried about her when he'd lost contact. "If we're going to get out of here we'll need a space that's big enough for an LZ."

"Sir, we have more incoming friendlies," a Spartan IV announced. "They say they have wounded."

Kelly looked to the rear of the structure and frowned at the opening into the jungle. "Sir, we have a hole in the rear of the building. Enemies could come through it." Kelly was sure that they could just teleport in like the large ones had.

Lasky nodded, acknowledging the information. "We'll have to post spotters back there to ensure we aren't flanked. You wouldn't happen to want to volunteer for that as well? You're the only one that's seen the enemies here."

"Yes, sir," Kelly nodded and moved toward the rear tunnel. She looked back as she realized that Linda was following her. "He doesn't trust me to follow orders, does he?" Linda shook her head just a little bit. The two moved along the tunnel until they found what seemed to be an opening. They both fell to their stomachs and crawled forward.

Ahead of them was a large area, large enough that several pelicans could easily land in it. "I think we just found a possible LZ," Linda muttered. Kelly agreed but frowned as she spotted the grunts and jackals milling about the area.

"Commander Lasky, we have sights on a suitable clearing that could be used as a landing area for pelicans," Kelly reported. "It's crawling with Covenant, though."

"Understood, we're still trying to make contact with Infinity. We've almost got the radio working and the rest of the friendly forces are arriving. Keep an eye on the Covenant there but don't engage." There was a hint of hesitation in Lasky's voice.

"Understood sir, we'll keep our distance." Kelly switched off the COM and looked around. She motioned to some roots that lead up to a rim around the area. "We can climb up there and keep an eye on these guys." Linda flashed a green light and the two female Spartans climbed the trees up to the layer. Kelly lay down on one of the thick trunks of a tree and set her battle rifle in place. She made sure to keep an eye on her motion tracker in case any of those mechanical enemies showed up. They both settled in to watch the Covenant and wait for their next orders.