Blue 4 Chapter 5
Posted By: firerwolf<email@example.com>
Date: 2 March 2013, 2:57 am
The rear of the pelican opened as it neared the ground. The Spartans all stood at the ready, weapons in hand. As soon as it was low enough they moved forward as one unit. No orders, no words, just gunfire as they cleared out a group of grunts and jackals that were attacking the Spartan IVs near the landing zone. They were easy and Kelly enjoyed Blue Team working together like the old days. It only took the four Spartans a few seconds to clear out the enemies.
Kelly looked over the area, nodding to the Spartan IVs who all seemed to stare at John. She couldn't blame him. He stuck out like a sore thumb in his odd armor. Kelly spotted a tank and looked around for the other things he needed. She grinned as she found it. "Who's up for a little Rabbit-hog?"
"I call gunning," Linda moved toward the Warthog's turret. Kelly watched as Fred moved toward the tank as well to take the turret position.
"You'll have to tell me what a Rabbit-hog is," John pointed out. "You keep using all these terms and I don't know what any of them are."
"You'll learn them all, John. We've just been running these plans with our teams for some time." Kelly completely understood that it would be difficult for a trained soldier to come in and find out that things had changed a lot.
"You have a lot to catch me up on about that," John glanced toward the Spartan IVs. "I do want to know more about these companies you keep talking about. Though you should tell me the plan first."
"The story about the companies is a long one, so you'll have to wait till we've repelled the attack on Infinity. Rabbit-hog is when you get in that tank, I get in the hog, and lure vehicle toward the tank so you can blow them up," Kelly explained. "Hell Rabbits do it all the time with other units. Covenant is particularly stupid enough to fall for it."
"That seems dangerous," John glanced toward the tank then back to Kelly. "If you met a wraith it could destroy you and Linda with one hit. Is there no safer plan?"
"Let her go get herself killed." Cortana's voice broke as she hissed out the words.
"Cortana!" John tensed just a bit, Kelly knew it was more because he was worried then mad at the AI. He looked to Kelly, maybe worried about how she would react to the AI's words.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean that." There was regret in Cortana's voice though Kelly wasn't sure how much she trusted it. Maybe it was just because her AI couldn't lie to her that way; make its voice sound however it wanted. So much of AIs could just be a lie it was why she got along with Sapphire. The AI didn't try to make her feel a way, only involuntary actions gave away emotion and that never really affected Kelly much.
John slung his rifle over his back and it attached to his back. "I've got your back, Kelly. I trust to you be able to avoid any wraiths. Just keep your ears open." John turned and moved toward the tank to do his part. Kelly smiled behind her visor, happy to have his trust. She turned and moved to the driver's seat of the warthog.
Kelly hit the gas and they started to move over toward Infinity. The jeep bounced over the uneven ground. Linda opened fire on a pair of grunts. Kelly swerved to the side as a pair of ghosts sped toward them. She spun the jeep around and headed back toward the tank that was nearing. She moved out of the way at the last moment and the tank fired. The ghost behind her exploded. She moved around the back of the tank and saw the second vehicle be blown apart.
"Fred, I think I've found my partner for Rabbit-hog. You're officially fired," Kelly moved back on down the path to find more enemies.
"You were partnered with Fred?" There was a hint of something to John's voice but Kelly wouldn't dare assume that it was jealousy. Though that was her best guess.
"Only when blue team was around for Rabbit-hog, which honestly is only in training." Kelly moved the warthog around so that Linda could easily fire on a pack of jackals. "Got to work with what you've got."
"I Think I should be insulted," Fred muttered. "Could you leave something for me to shoot or should I just take a nap?"
"Sniper tower," Kelly announced. She sped up and passed by it, knowing that John would be able to hit it easily. Linda fired on a group of jackals at the base of the sniper tower to keep them pinned down. Kelly heard the shot and the sniper tower explode into debris. Kelly swerved to the side and barely missed a ghost as it rounded a corner. "Ghost heading your way." She moved out of the way of a second one and sped past them. She hit the brakes hard and spun the wheel as she spotted the alien tank. "Wraith!"
The wraith turned toward them and Kelly hit the gas to try to move out of the way, keep it from getting a shot. The lines of her HUD went fuzzy and her HUD went dark. "Sapphire!" There was no reply but she gunned the gas. Kelly reached up and tore the helmet from her head, tossing it to the floor of the passenger's side. She looked around and spotted the Wraith as it fired. It hit just a few feet away from the warthog. Kelly spun the wheel to head back the way they'd gone and avoid the fire from the plasma turret. The controls on the warthog went dead as an overcharged shot from a plasma pistol hit their vehicle. Shots from the plasma turrets splashed over the side of the hog and Kelly was hit twice on her arm by the fire. Without her helmet her shields were down and plasma burned the metal of her armor and her skin below.
"Out!" Linda shouted as she jumped down from the warthog's gun. Kelly grabbed her helmet and jumped out of the passenger's side of the warthog. She rolled when she hit the ground and sprang to her feet. The ghost turned toward them and Kelly charged it. She boarded the ghost and slammed her helmet into the grunt's skull, causing the body to fly from the vehicle and allow her to take the alien's place. Kelly placed her helmet in her lap and hit sped off in the ghost away from the wraith.
Kelly gunned it toward the tank and moved around the back, stopping a few meters behind it. She watched as the tank fired and the wraith erupted into fire. Kelly slipped her helmet back on to check the systems. Her HUD came back to life and everything seemed fine. "Sapphire, what happened?"
What surprised her was a small screen with Cortana's avatar appeared. "I'm sorry, that was my fault. I didn't mean to shut your system down. I didn't think it would do that." Kelly didn't know if the words were honest but they sounded that way. Kelly was fairly sure though at this point that the AI was rampant enough she couldn't really fake those sort of things. "I didn't want to put the strain on John's suit and I thought yours could handle it."
Kelly checked over her HUD and saw that everything was fine. She checked Linda's bio-stats and saw that they were still strong so she was fine. "How much damage would it have done to John's system?"
"It would have knocked it out for at least several minutes. Yours was back up and running in ten seconds," Cortana informed her.
Kelly sighed and activated the ghost again. "Then I guess it's fine." Kelly would have rather had her system taken down where she could take off her helmet freely unlike inside the tank. Besides it was better to have the tank operator to cover you than only a warthog when a wraith was involved. Kelly hit the radio. "How's the warthog?"
"It's been destroyed. Distracted the wraith long enough for it to be taken care of," Fred reported. "You all right? You fell out of contact."
"Small problem with the equipment. I think it had something to do with Sapphire's attempts to crack the Forerunner signals." It was a lie but she knew John was listening and she didn't want him to know what had really happen. "Not a problem. Linda can snipe from the tank and I'll run rabbit in the ghost."
"No," John asserted. "Defend the rear of the tank and we'll move forward." Kelly thought of arguing, of telling him he couldn't order her but she didn't. She knew he'd been worried about her being hit by a wraith and after having verified his fears she supposed she shouldn't push it now. Not to mention she didn't want to risk being in a ghost and having her system go out again.
"I've got your six," she finally agreed reluctantly. "Sapphire, have you had any luck with that Forerunner communication tap?" She moved behind the tank and kept an eye out but there wasn't really much of a threat in a situation like this. John would be able to see all enemies ahead and would easily be able to clear them out. The likelihood that anything would be able to attack from behind was minimal.
"No luck with trying to crack it. I also do not appreciate being blamed for the actions of another AI," Sapphire added. "I have reworked the system's capacity load so that if the other AI does that again it won't cause the system to shut down."
"Thank you, Sapphire." As long as it didn't shut down her systems she was willing to take the blow from Cortana rather than have John's systems go down. Kelly watched John's back as he moved forward along the path though it was as uneventful on her end as she had expected. She could hear the sounds of ghost and wraiths being hit and eventually they moved down a ramp toward a large elevator that would care the tank up into the ship. Kelly abandoned her ghost at this point and climbed aboard the tank, taking her place on the cover of one of the treads.
The tank rose up into Infinity and Kelly looked over to see that there were Covenant inside. John opened fire on them with the tank, blasting away the hunters Kelly sat back and just enjoyed watching John as he fired on the Covenant. She slid down from her position and looked over the area, making sure there weren't any crawlers hiding. There was nothing.
"Spartans this is Captain Del Rio. Lasky radioed and told me about the extra you picked up. At least that's one mission done. Now we need to focus on the satellite that's attacking us. It's taken down our defenses and is still scanning our systems. We need it removed." Del Rio's voice was obviously annoyed.
"Can we break the connection?" Fred asked.
"The main connection is on the upper hall. There's a maintenance causeway nearby. Take the Mantis docked inside. You'll need the extra fire power." With that the communication shut off.
"What's a Mantis?" John moved out of the tank and moved over to Kelly as Fred and Linda approached her. They stared to move toward the passage that was indicated on their HUD.
"It's a robotic suit with rocket and machine gun arms," Fred informed him. "I'll take it since Linda doesn't like the lack of accuracy, it's too slow for Kelly, and you have no idea how to work one."
John nodded and they moved into the passage. Kelly hung back and John stayed beside her, allowing Fred to move forward and hit the controls. The Mantis rose up and Fred climbed in. "That's a Mantis," Kelly informed him. She looked around the area and moved down a side ramp. "I've got rocket launchers down here." She grabbed both of them and moved back to Linda and John, passing one to John. "We'll cover his back." John nodded and took the weapon.
The Spartans stood back as Fred moved the Mantis forward and fired on the hanger door to the passage, breaking it open. Once the doors had been blown apart Fred moved the Mantis down the ramp. The Spartans followed as it walked and fired on Covenant that were milling around the area. Linda made a motion and pointed toward a catwalk that ran along the upper edge of the pathway. Kelly nodded and they moved over to it.
The Spartans hung back a bit and allowed Fred to do his thing, using the Mantis to clear the passageway. The mech was easily powerful enough to take care of anything that got in its way so the Spartans were more looking back down the way they'd come. "I got an update from Kelly about what she's been doing. How have you been, Linda?"
Linda stared down the scope of her sniper rifle, focusing on the path behind Fred. "Much the same as Kelly, except without the pining. Stuck in Onyx, found, the whole thing with the retirement and forcing our way back in. Now I've got my assassination sniper teams that I train."
Kelly inwardly cursed, knowing that she hadn't told John about exactly what had happened with the Spartan IV project. John turned toward Kelly and she sighed. "I'll explain it to you later."
"Short version is: having the fact you're a six year old kidnap victim that only ever knows being a soldier looks bad for the program. Luckily if you show them you've got something they can't pass up, you can keep yourself around." Linda turned and moved down the catwalk, following the Mantis.
John continued to stare at Kelly and she knew he was asking for an explanation. "We get that thing off our hull first, and then I'll tell you about it." Kelly didn't really want to think about that time, but she'd explain it to him if he wanted. She preferred to think of the UNSC as the loyal group who wanted her to survive like she'd been told, not the organization that had treated them like a problem at that time.
They just followed the Mantis until it reached an elevator to get to the outer hull of the ship. The Spartans jumped down and joined Fred on the elevator. "You enjoy that thing way too much," Linda remarked.
"I do enjoy the Mantis," Fred agreed. "At least I have more etiquette than the IVs."
"Spartans, it's Lasky," Kelly was at least glad to hear the Commander's voice. He seemed to be fine if not in combat mode.
"Go commander," Fred replied shifting the Mantis a bit so that it was turned back toward the door that would open up into the outer hull.
"We've identified several Covenant jamming devices on the outer hull," he informed them. "It's most likely what's keeping the Infinity systems off line. Take them out so we can get our COMMs back on line."
"We're on it, commander," Fred reported. "I'll take care of one if you three can take care of the others," Fred proposed. "Hope you didn't waste any shots."
"How could we have? You didn't even leave us something to shoot," Kelly shot back. She moved to the door and readied her launcher. It slid open and they moved forward down the passageway. She could see John out of the corner of her eye, moving with her and she made sure to stay at a pace he could match. The door to the outer hull opened and Kelly looked out at the space. There were defense cannons and she could see the jammers set near each. She took aim and fired, the rocket streaking through the air and slamming into the jammer. She fired a second rocket and it did the trick, causing the device to explode into fire. She moved out of the way and the Mantis moved forward to take out the middle jammer. The third and final jammer was already destroyed by the times he looked over.
Kelly and John reloaded and there were four shots from Linda and an elite and two jackals fell. Kelly switched out to her battle rifle and focused on the jackals and grunts down below. "Jammers down," Sapphire announced. Kelly looked up to see the defense guns move and target a series of Phantoms that were coming in. Fred took aim at banshees and the Spartans moved to attack the troops that disembarked from the phantom.
"The rate at which that thing is scanning our systems just doubled. I think they know what you're up to," Del Rio informed them.
"Only a few more minutes," Cortana announced. Kelly had just started to ignore it, though the bit of static on her HUD was annoying. She fired on the grunts and jackals as they came into her sights.
The Spartans cleared the area out before Del Rio finally radioed them again. "Captain Del Rio to Blue team, we're reading MAC network back on line but our EM relays are malfunctioning. You'll have to initiate the link manually."
Kelly moved toward the controls, sweeping the area for anything that might still be around to attack them. Fred climbed out of the Mantis and they stood beside the controls. John hit the panel and the main MAC gun before them fired, hitting the Didact's ship. The sphere backed away and sped off over the lands.
The Spartans stood and Kelly didn't really listen to announcement that things were clear. She didn't understand how a Forerunner could be pushed back so easily. They made the Halos, the Ark, and this world. Something about it all just felt wrong to her.
"You want to catch me up?" John asked. Kelly looked to him and sighed. Kelly nodded and they turned, heading back into the ship.