Blue 4 Chapter 4
Posted By: firerwolf<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 21 February 2013, 2:47 am
The Spartans moved through the cave and Kelly brought them to a halt several meters from the cave entrance. She inched forward, scanning the area for enemies. She frowned as she spotted a knight motioning directions to a group of grunts. "We've got knights directing Covenant troops ahead," she reported.
"Why don't the bad guys ever work against each other," Fred muttered. "What kind of enemies?"
"The Covenant fought the Flood on Halo," John interjected. The Spartan IIs were silent for a moment, each one focusing in that moment on their regrets for not having been there to help. "And me if I got too close," he added.
Kelly pushed her regret aside focusing on the current situation. She had many things she wanted to voice to him when she got the chance, her regrets being part of it. "There are a couple knights, but mainly grunts and jackals."
"How should we do this?" Linda asked. Kelly made her way back to the others and wasn't surprised to find that Linda had fallen back to old habits and was looking to John. Odd to think that after all these years it would be so easy to fall back into old habits. It had been two years since Kelly had been promoted and been able to give other Spartan IIs orders. Though she was sure that it wouldn't be long after they got off this rock that someone promoted John to Captain and they all started taking orders from him again. There was something that made Kelly feel a bit bitter about that. Sure, what John had done was amazing but any Spartan would have done it. Maybe she was just annoyed that she knew how easily they'd all flock to him and give him whatever recognition they could When she and the other Spartan IIs had needed to work so hard to even become officers, let alone Commanders, in a blink of an eye an Admiral trying to get good press would promote John just to be able to have a photo-op with a legendary Spartan.
When Fred didn't speak up Kelly decided to take charge and do what she did best. As her soldiers had put it once, she'd 'run around the battlefield like an idiot.' "John, give me the rail gun." She held out her hand and was happy to note that he handed it over without hesitation. She frowned as she realized it wasn't reloaded. Kelly cut the radio channel down to just her and John. "Why didn't you reload? Don't tell me you can pick up a Forerunner weapon and know how to shoot and reload it but you can't reload a human weapon," Kelly teased.
"Didn't get a chance." John's voice was flat and Kelly wasn't sure if he had missed that she was teasing or just didn't feel like it. "Why do you need it?" He was dead serious but there was a hint of concern, unsure of what she had planned.
Kelly switched back to the team channel and gave orders. "I'm going to jackrabbit the knight on the far side. Fred, there's a knight near the mouth of the cave you can easily knife. Linda, John, take out the jackals then we'll clear out the grunts." Three lights flashed, a millisecond of hesitation from one but she ignored it. She reloaded the rail gun and moved back toward the mouth of the cave.
The Spartans moved forward and Kelly crouched, preparing to run. She checked that Fred was ready before she took off at a brisk pace. Not full speed but close to it, just slow enough the knight near the entrance would spot her. She made a beeline for the farthest knight and charged the rail gun. When she reached the other side of the area it was charged and she only had to point and release. The projectile slammed into the knight and it broke apart as the shot punctured through the metal and blasted out the back. She could hear shots from battle rifles behind her and the cries of jackals as they fell. She dodged to the side as she heard beam rifle shots try to catch her.
"Sniper!" Cortana's shout caused static over Kelly's radio. The stats on her HUD went fuzzy for a second before clearing and returning to normal.
"What's going on with the system?" Linda asked.
"The Master Chief's AI is trying to crack through my communication setup. It shouldn't happen again as I have improved and strengthened the system. There is also a phantom heading your way," Sapphire warned. "Ma'am, I'm not quite sure what the AI is trying to do. There is no reason it should be trying to break through my protection for the radio frequencies."
"Noted Sapphire, just keep them strong." Kelly made a few quick jumps and landed on the ridge beside the sniper. It only had time to let out a squawk before Kelly swung the rail gun like a bat and smashed the bird-like alien against the rock wall. "More orders from the Didact?"
"I'm surprised the Didact has managed to unify these Covenant so easily," Cortana observed. "Phantom!" the AI shouted. Kelly wasn't sure how John put up with Cortana shouting in his ear like that.
Kelly was already moving along the ridge after having spotted the phantom coming in, not to mention the large arrow on her HUD. "Sapphire, have I ever told you how thankful I am you're quiet?" Kelly peeked out as the sides of the phantoms opened and Covenant dropped out.
"You have at least one working eye, you can see enemies for yourself," Sapphire stated. "I only inform you of what has not yet been seen or what can't be seen."
"Slaughter house," Fred announced. Kelly knew what he meant, she'd heard plenty of Demon Fists call out the plan when working with the Rabbits. She sprinted back to the rock and moved in the way of John as he headed around his cover. She held up a hand and John stopped obediently.
"What are you doing?" Cortana demanded. Kelly ignored the comment and waited until she heard two sniper shots before lowering her hand. "You've given the Covenant time to flank us!" From the fact there was no reaction from John Kelly guessed the AI had only talked to her.
"Headshot grunts," she instructed before grabbing her battle rifle and moving around the cover. She came out just in time to find a grunt fleeing toward them. One burst and the small alien crumpled to the ground.
Kelly looked over to see Fred moving across the field, energy sword in hand. Linda had shot the original owner down with two rounds allowing Fred to do what he did best, wreak havoc at close range. He moved to a couple of jackals, motions precise and fluent. His foot moved so his toes were behind the closest jackal's shield and he slid his foot across the ground, forcing the shield out of the way. The blade struck forward through the enemy's chest in a clean kill. Fred pulled the blade free and before the body could hit the ground he kicked it toward the second jackal. The impact caused the second jackal's shield to be knocked to the side enough that with one clean strike the jackal was cut in two.
The Spartans mopped up the remaining grunts and secured the area. "Commander Lasky, area is clear," John reported.
"This is Captain Del Rio. Infinity is under attack. All forces are to return to defend the ship." The signal was a bit faint but the message was clear. The ship was under attack and it was bad enough they needed everyone on hand.
"We've got a pelican inbound for you," Lasky announced. "Hop on and head to the ship. We'll catch up."
Kelly looked up as the pelican descended and moved toward it. John followed behind her as they moved for the LZ. He sped up enough to walk beside her, a conscious move that allowed his hand to brush hers every couple steps. He looked to the rail gun on her back. "Why haven't you reloaded?"
Kelly was a bit surprised by the question. He was obviously echoing her tease from earlier but it was just unusual for him. "I think it makes a better cudgel," Kelly answered.
The pelican landed and Kelly moved around to the back as the ramp lowered and she boarded. She took a seat and wasn't that surprised when John sat down beside her out of habit. What did surprise her was that he moved his leg so their knees were touching. Fred sat across from her and Linda beside him. The rear of the pelican closed and they took off.
"What's the chain of command here?" John finally asked, looking around at the others. "Whose commands do I follow above whose?"
"There isn't really one person in charge, John." Fred answered. "We don't usually work together in the field any more. This is the first time in months we've even all been on Infinity. That's only because we knew this was a Forerunner location."
"I don't think the original plan was to deploy us as Blue Team, though, rather with our companies. Guess you got lucky, again." Linda looked to John and Kelly knew she was smiling. John had always been lucky and maybe his luck had been the reason why Blue had been sent out as a team this time. Maybe it was even what had caused Kelly to go back for ammunition which allowed her to meet up with John before they moved on. Either way, things were the way they were, and luck in the past didn't mean there would be luck in the future.
"The best way to deal with all of us giving orders is to just follow them as they come," Fred advised. "Though if I give you an order and Kelly tells you not to go, listen to her. Sapphire has likely picked up something I don't know about."
"Sure, that's why he should listen to Kelly first," Linda muttered. "It's not at all because once they get out of that armor we won't want to go near her room for at least a week."
John nodded but ignored Linda. He turned to Kelly a bit hesitantly. "Is your AI safe?" The question annoyed Kelly a bit, but at least his hesitation made it clear that he knew the question was going to annoy her. She couldn't believe he'd think she'd go walking around with bad equipment. She set aside that annoyance as she at least got the feeling that this time the question was more out of concern than defensiveness like before. "It doesn't sound like it's in better shape than Cortana."
Kelly was going to correct him but Sapphire beat her to it. "I have only been in service for two years. The way I speak is of my own choosing not caused by rampancy," Sapphire explained.
"The day Sapphire speaks in one voice is the day I delete it and requisition a new one." Kelly had never been shy about destroying Sapphire when the time came and the AI never took offense. John turned his gaze to the floor and they sat in silence for a moment. "What is the Didact?"
John turned to look to her, visibly a bit more tense than he was a moment ago. "The Didact is a Forerunner. It controls the Prometheans and is leading the Covenant now. The large sphere that's scanning Infinity is his ship."
Kelly considered the information. She didn't know what to think of a living Forerunner. That wasn't really something that seemed possible. "For now we focus on defending Infinity. Doesn't matter if there's a live Forerunner if we lose our ride out of here."
The Spartans slipped into silence and Kelly wondered how far away they were from Infinity. She was about to ask Sapphire when John spoke up. "What have I missed?"
Kelly waited for Fred or Linda to speak up but realized he was only talking to her. She looked over to him and frowned. "The war, the Covenant, or us Spartans? I don't think we have time on this ride for all three."
John took a moment to decide which choice. "Tell me what I've missed in your life." His leg shifted just a bit to push against her knee.
Kelly smiled, deciding where to start. "Well, Doctor Halsey took me to a planet called Onyx. It's a shield world like this place. We got there and I found out about the Spartan IIIs. I'll explain them to you later but for now it doesn't matter. The Covenant showed up and then the sentinels of the planet started to attack us, and we eventually took shelter inside the planet. We were in there for a few weeks, stuck inside some sort of slip space bubble, all while months passed on the outside of the planet. We were eventually found and brought out, only to find that the war was already over...and you were gone. But we kept moving forward. We beat down some rebellions. Later we started working with the Spartan IV project, and eventually I started the Hell Rabbits - a group that hits enemies hard and fast, then gets gone. I became a Commander in about two years, after both Linda and Fred but the Hell Rabbits are always growing and are out in the field on their own now."
There was silence for a moment before John spoke. "You have your own company of specially trained rabbits?" Kelly nodded. "You trained them yourself?" She nodded again. There was a pause before John spoke again. "Can we make sure they're the ones backing us up?"
Kelly smiled at the vote of confidence. "When we get onto the ship and away from combat, I'm going to hug you so tight." Her hand moved over and brushed his lightly.
"Ma'am, I have some things you'll wish to be informed of. First, the others are currently engaged in a conversation in which they are joking about your open affection with the Master Chief and comparing it to public sex. I would advise that you refrain from excessive physical contact." Kelly frowned at the information but otherwise ignored it. "Second, we are nearing Infinity and there are ground troops already engaged. They're fours and they could likely use your help." The AI probably wasn't trying to insult the IVs, but it had. It might have just meant that the IVs were just overrun by enemies, or pinned down by a tank for all they knew.
"All right, enough catching up and jokes about other people's 'sexual activities' in public. We've got Covenant and Prometheans to kill." Kelly stood and the others stood as well and they prepared to repel the attack on Infinity.