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A Marine Named Peters: Rodriguez's Gifts
Posted By: GLADIATRRR3000<GLADIATRRR3000@army.com>
Date: 28 November 2003, 9:21 PM

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       "Rodriguez? I thought you'd be... a man." Karls said.
       "Well, a lot of people think that. Until they get to know me, of course." She said, cheerfully. "You're lucky we were already on the way to this system. It could've taken us weeks to get here if we were any farther away."
       "How did you find us if we weren't at the base?" Peters asked.
       "Thermal scans. It's easy to see two blotches of heat in a frozen wasteland."
       She smiled for a moment, then looked as if she was thinking something over. "Those things back there... They didn't look Covenant. What were they?" She asked, looking at Peters.
       "We don't know." Karls said, just as Peters was about to open his mouth. "They look like zombies."
       "We'll have Aristotle look into it when we get back to the Sparticus." Rodriguez said.
       "Aristotle?" Peters asked.
       "Oh, that's our AI." Rodriguez said, looking back at Peters. "He's good at hacking into Covenant databases, and even better at helping us design weapons."
       Peters had never worked with an AI before, but he had heard good things. "You design weapons?" Karls asked.
       "Me and my team do. Almost everyone on the Sparticus is a technician, and we design and transport new weapons to systems that need them."
       "What type of weapons?" Peters asked, holding on to his seat as the Pelican hit turbulence.
       "We mainly do modifications of existing weapons, but there is one that's entirely new, and I can't tell you anything about it." She smiled. "In fact, if you tell anyone I told you that it existed, I'll have to kill you."
       Peters laughed. "What kind of modifications do you do?" He asked.
       "Make the magazines hold more rounds, add explosives to the bullets, increase the range of sniper rifles. Stuff like that." She said. "Are you a sniper?" She asked, looking at Karls.
       "Yeah, how did you know?" He said, staring not at her face, but at her chest.
       "I have my ways." She said. "You're going to like one of our prototype weapons."
       Rodriguez turned her attention towards Peters. "Why are you on this planet?" She asked.
       "We evacuated the Pegasus just before it exploded. It was destroyed by a Covenant warship." Peters said.
       Rodriguez turned back towards the pilot. "Send a message to the Sparticus.. There are Covenant warships in the area." The pilot nodded and sent the message. Rodriguez turned back to Peters. "Why were you on the Pegasus?"
       "I was... delivering supplies to their captain." Peters said, not thinking it'd be a good idea he was in trial.
       "Alright. You're a terrible liar, though. If you don't want to tell us, it's ok." She said. "We'll be arriving shortly, then we'll ask Aristotle what those things were, and then we'll equip you with some of our goods."
       Rodriguez walked to the front of the Pelican, looked back at Peters, smiled, and closed the door. Karls waited a moment, then said, "She's hot."
       Peters laughed, slouched down on his chair, and closed his eyes. "She sure is." He said, falling asleep.

       When they arrived, Rodriguez woke Peters up and escorted him to one of the few rooms they had. It had twenty cots in it, and he threw his shirt on it. It hadn't been cleaned in almost a week, and his pants were worse. He took those off, and walked into the showers. He turned on the water as hot as he could, then smiled. It felt good to be warm after spending so much time on a planet made of ice.
       He heard someone open the room's door. Probably one of the technicians that sleep here. he thought. He didn't even look as the person walked into the showers. "Ahem." The person said, and Peters turned.
       It was Rodriguez, and she was blushing, obviously trying to keep eye contact. "Put on the new uniform we made you, and go to the armory. We want you to test out one of our new weapons. Aristotle thinks it'd be better if someone who has some field experience tested it first." She turned around and walked out.
       Peters stood there for a moment, watching her walk away. Karls is right. He thought. She's beautiful. He turned off the shower, dried off, and put on the new uniform that was neatly folded and placed on his cot.
       He was at the armory in five minutes. The door automatically opened when he walked up to it, and what was inside surprised him. There was a huge obstacle course laid out, surprising large for the somewhat small ship they were in. "Hello." Said a voice that sounded as if it was coming out of a radio. Peters turned and saw that it was the AI Rodriguez had mentioned. It was dressed in Greek robes, and wore sandals over his transparent feet. "I am Aristotle. You must be Private Peters, recently demoted from Lieutenant."
       "Um, yeah. That's me." Peters said, looking at the AI. "So where's the new weapon?"
       The AI smiled. "You're all business. I like that in a person. Well, in a real person. Sometimes AI's get on even my nerves. Follow me." The AI floated down a walkway, and turned right. Peters saw that there were projectors all around the walls, which allowed the AI to "walk" from room to room. The AI walked through a closed door. When it opened for Peters, he saw that Rodriguez and a team of techs were standing there, with a somewhat small gun, some armor plates, and a handful of grenades.
       Peters walked up to Rodriguez. "Your AI is a little..."
       "Spirited?" Rodriguez butted in. "Well, we were lucky to get a 'smart' AI to help us with the weapons. He may seem a little angry for a while, but that's because he got in a fight with Alexander, the AI that controls the ship."
       "Over what?" Peters asked.
       "Well, Aristotle believes that we're heading straight towards an asteroid. Alexander thinks that there's nothing in our way. Sometimes Aristotle needs to prove his point that he's more capable of thinking than other AI's." She turned towards the table holding the weapons. "Alright. So, now I'll show you what these are."
       A loud BANG! Sounded behind him, and Peters turned to look. Karls was standing there, a sniper rifle in his hands, and he was crying. "It's.... it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." He said, wiping the tears off of his face.
       "We gave your friend one of our most popular mods." Rodriguez said. "We make some of our bullets with explosives inside. More than usual, but less than a grenade. It's all timed, of course. Once the shell casing is removed from the actual bullet, a small timer, set for ten seconds, starts. The dart on the front of the bullet sticks to the target, and once the timer goes off... bang! Five of these are capable of bringing down an Elite's shields. One downside, though. If the bullet gets jammed, it sets off all of the bullets in the magazine, and you get one hell of an explosion."
       Peters nodded, looked at the table, and was about to ask what those things were, when Rodriguez started talking again. "This small sidearm..." She lifted up the small gun. "Is a modification of your normal M6D pistol. The 2X magnification is increased to 5X. Also, the magazine is increased from 12 bullets to 20. They have the explosive features, of course. It can also take regular magazines, as well."
       Peters whistled. He had always like the regular sidearm, but this looked so much better. Rodriguez continued. "These little pieces of armor fit on your shins and forearms. They have tracking devices, and can repel small amounts of plasma. Just make sure that if you're under heavy fire, you don't think these will make you invincible."
       She walked farther down the table to the grenades. "These," She held up a grenade. "are grenades. They're explosions are twice as big, and they send of twice as much shrapnel. They're great for taking down a big group of Covenant that are tightly packed together."
       Peters nodded, grabbed the sidearm, and put it in his hip holster. He put the armor on his shins and forearms, tightened them, and shook them once to make sure they were secure. Then he walked over to the grenades, held them up to see how heavy they were, and attached them to his grenade belt. "Follow me to the obstacle course." Aristotle said, gliding back towards the door. Peters looked at Rodriguez. She nodded, motioned for him to follow the AI, and walked over to Karls.
       Peters looked forward and jogged to catch up to the AI. The AI brought him back to the obstacle course Peters saw when he had first entered the armory. "First up is target practice. The new explosive rounds cause a little extra recoil. You need to learn to fire with it." The AI walked up to a table, and 75 feet in front of it was a target.
       Peters walked up to it, pulled out the sidearm, and took careful aim, when an alarm went off. The room turned red, and Rodriguez ran out of the other room, holding an assault rifle. "Aristotle, what's going on?" She yelled.
       "You know that asteroid I thought was in our path?" He asked.
       "What about it?" Rodriguez asked.
       Aristotle looked as if he was reading something, opened his mouth wide, and looked up. "It's a Covenant Frigate. It'll be right on top of us in ten minutes."