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Long Time Gone Part 35
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 18 January 2005, 5:27 AM

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Long Time Gone Part 35: No Rest For The Wicked

January 29th, 2551, Reach, Camp Hathcock, ONI Debriefing, 1203 Hours

       Silence filled the room.

       The Kill Team stood before the board once more. Both Squads stood at attention, weapons were held low and heads held high.
The light reflected off their Combat Uniforms which were scarred with battle damage. Both Teams had seen a lot of action against their brothers in arms in the past two weeks.

       Chris was in charge of his own platoon with Alison as his second in command. The two made a good team and were respected by the rest of the platoon; Chris for his cool headedness under fire and Alison for her quick thinking.

"Once again I congratulate you all for what you have done," said a voice, "I know it is hard to do what you do but our task is almost complete..." The worried looks on the faces of the Kill Team were hidden by their visors; the ONI wasn't known to leave loose ends, especially people who had done top secret operations.

       Thoughts of suspicion filled Chris' senses. Would the ONI kill them when they outlived their usefulness? Before further thoughts could brew...

"That said," continued the voice, "we are assigning you to base security, you'll act as body guards and as such when required, Special Operations will still happen but not as often as now..." Sighs of relief went over the closed communications.

       In the past thirteen days they had killed no less than three hundred UNSC personal, with only seven of them being targets. The ONI didn't seem to have as many enemies as Chris first assumed but that was good; they could finally get some rest.

"Major Newman would you and Bravo Team stay back, Alpha may go," Chris turned on his heel, he lead Alpha Team back to the surface.

       The platoon had taken no more casualties since their fist mission. The other replacement; for Groener, was a female Orbital Drop Shock Trooper; Martha Ramirez; an elegant Spanish beauty, dark hair, dark skin and dark eyes. She had volunteered for this and was there for no longer than three days were she and Chambers together.

       Chambers and Ramirez stood at one corner of the massive elevator heading for the surface with the rest of Alpha. The two were holding each other and their helmet visors were raised; they were talking as lovers do.

       Chris turned to Alison; she was standing in front of him, she was looking at Chambers and Ramirez.

"Didn't take him long did it?" Said Chris over the Officer's channel.

"No it didn't," replied Alison; she turned to Chris, he saw his own helmeted face reflected in Alison visor, "so..." She said raising her visor as well as an eyebrow.

"So, what?" Said Chris, he removed his helmet entirely and placed it near his feet; one quick glance at the rest of the platoon saw that they were talking between themselves.

"So do you think we'll have to do much more of this?" She asked; her face was now set into a worried look. Chris stared off at the sparkling walls of the elevator shaft for a second, and then he replied.

"I have no idea, but I presume by what they said we can't have too many targets left before we're out of a job..." The words struck Alison.

"Yes, it's only a job isn't it?" She looked down and rotated her foot on the platform; like a smoker would do to a discarded cigarette.

"Don't start that killing fellow Marines crap again," Chris crossed his arms, "please just do what they ask of us, sooner or later we'll be in the thick of it against the Covenant." Chris picked up his helmet and put it under his arm.

"I sure hope so," said Alison surprising Chris, usually this would have burst into an argument, "the sooner the better, this is just depressing."

       Chris looked at her; her eyes were sad but her face tried to smile, her posture showed it all though, the affect it was having on her; on his entire Squad as a matter of fact.

They all stood around somewhat slouched, their eyes were bloodshot and they had enormous sacks under their eyes; too many sleepless nights, the faces of the dead haunted their every thought.

"I don't like this any more than you do," Chris said fitting his helmet back on and opening the visor, "but this is what they want us too do and there is no arguing with it."

"I can't help but feel like a pawn though," said Alison, "like something bigger is happening that we can't see." Chris had been having the same feelings ever since their third mission, Chris' mind swept back to the event.

       Their target had been a low ranking Fleet COM Official on the planet; his drop ship had been destroyed leaving the atmosphere by remote charges.
       Upon reaching the smoldering wreckage, technicians believed faulty fuel cells were the cause; the charges had been placed in with the fuel cells to make sure the technicians came to that conclusion.

       But no less than thirty Marine security personal had been eliminated to gain access to the bird on the landing pad. The commander was left unopposed to leave as the small post had come under attack. Communications had been taken out so the rest of Reach had no idea what had happened. That was until the report that thirty-six UNSC personnel had died in training accident followed by a Pelican exploding as it left the atmosphere.

       What had a Fleet COM Official done to the ONI? Or were they just eliminating the opposition?

       The next four missions the targets had been medium ranking Officials around the planet. They all had pleaded too not say a word to anyone about what they knew but Newman shot them as ordered.

       After the first mission they had learnt to never deploy with drop pods without existing ground support if it was available. Newman and his Bravo Team were always the first on the scene by fast rope descents from Pelicans into the target compounds.

       Chris and his Alpha Team usually landed somewhere between thirty seconds to a minute later and gave the much needed strength to the attacks, they also dropped extra pods loaded with nothing but ammunition.

       After the mission had been 'completed' and they were going to extraction, Newman got members of Bravo Team to use their SPNKr and demo charges to destroy the pods.

       It was becoming difficult for the ONI to put 'Training Exercise Gone To Far'.

       But it seemed the up coming mission had no need for his men. Not that Chris cared; they could all use the rest.

       The elevator hit the surface and they Squad broke up; heading for their personal quarters.

August 14th, 2551, Space, Undisclosed Location, 1203 Hours

       After three months of relative peace and quiet, and after Bravo Team's last mission; which they had done flawlessly. The Kill Team was back in action.

       It was to be their first anti-Pirate operation. This band it seemed, had picked up the wreckage of an ONI Spook's Prowler; the pilot; who was alive, as well.

       They threatened to kill the man if they weren't allowed safe passage through a naval blockade in the sector. Of course they wouldn't get it but the ONI had bought some time by saying they would take it too Fleet COM; but they were only stalling as the Kill Team was sent it.

       Chris' platoon was inside a concealed Pelican drop ship. Their orders were to attack the lower sections of the pirates' vessel, taking pressure off Major Newman's assault from the upper decks and from where the Spook was being held, this was a rescue mission.

       Chris sat with his buckle done up, game face on. The platoon was ready to move on Newman's orders.

"How many of them are there s'posed to be?" Asked one of Chris' men.

"Not, sure," Chris checked his 'emails', he had one from ONI Central Intelligence. It had basic details. Rough estimates of strength and a set of schematics which Chris forwarded to his engineer. "ONI, believes somewhere between fifty to one hundred."

"Jeez, a hundred! That all? A ship that size could house at least five hundred..."

       The Pirate's ship, christened the 'Geiger' had once been a UNSC frigate but now served their dark deeds. The vessels in the naval blockade watched the Geiger sit several thousand kilometres away; its weapons systems were reported armed and ready.

       The Kill Team's two Pelican drop-ships were inside a debris field that experts claimed would wash past the Geiger.

       Chris had everyone enable life support systems on their newly acquired Sealed Atmosphere suits incase something went wrong. They had 15 minutes of oxygen inside their suits once separated from the Pelican's life support.

       The new suits replaced the old uniform. The helmet looked the same except for the fact it was now air tight and had a breathing apparatus attached to the area around the chin.

The suits were also equipped with the A-12 Jetpack Jump Units. The small upside down 'V' shaped device is placed between the wearer's shoulder blades and was flush with the armored vest it was built into.

       The females of the group were disgusted that their new uniforms were figure hugging and the males weren't.

       The debris field neared the Geiger, a warning siren sounded inside the Pelicans.

"Reports of enemy weapons charging!" Screamed one of the Co-Pilots, "Incoming!"

       A massive barrage of Archer Missiles rained down on the debris which consisted of large sections of a destroyed UNSC ship.

       The Archer missiles impacted on the remains of Titanium Battle Plate; leaving only scorch marks where they exploded. But the explosions rocked the whole field. Some explosions sent smaller sections drifting out of the field.

       Chris regained his senses after the initial shock waves. His Pelican had been badly shaken by the explosions. Chris called for a sound off of his men. They were fine despite some bruises and bloody noses.

       Red warning lights and sirens were still wavering in the small troop area of the Pelican.

"Turn that shit off!" Barked Chris at the pilot, he complied.

"Ah, Captain?" Said the pilot; he was a youngish man, his young face turned back and store at Chris' visor, he didn't look happy.

"What!" Snapped Chris, he was trying to get into contact with Newman.

"We're drifting out of the debris field..." Chris stopped and turned to face the pilot completely.

"What, we're off course?" Said Chris.

"That's about it, sir." Chris was in the cockpit now, he store out of the windshield and saw the section Newman's Team was in still on course.

"OK we'll have to break the cover of the debris sooner," Chris had to think, "tell the blockade we'll need a small distraction, some Long Sword fighters should do the trick."

"Roger that," said the Pilot consulting with his radio.

       As Alpha team drifted more off course, Newman and his Pelican were only five hundred kilometres off the targets starboard side and drifting rapidly.

"Major Newman, come in," said a voice.

"Newman here, talk to me," Newman checked on his Troops, gave them a smile and a pat on the shoulder, no one was going to die today if he could help it.

"Alpha Team has drifted off course," Newman cursed, "they can't break cover of the debris that far out, they'll be too easy of a target, so we've sent a task force of Long Swords to distract their systems whilst both Teams make their approach."

"Aw, you shouldn't have," joked Newman looking out of a port hole; he could see the light reflecting off twenty or so inbound Long Sword fighters.

       They powered past the debris field effortlessly and made strafing runs over the Geiger, letting loose hell with their auto cannons and Archer missiles. Minimum damage resulted but the ship's weapons targeted the sleek nimble fighters harassing its flanks.

       The small Long Swords were like flies on a dead carcass. Exploiting every weak spot and pummeling the ship from top to bottom.

"Heard you could use some support," said a voice over Newman's network, he checked the incoming signal, "look aft, sir."

       Newman looked out behind his Pelican and saw Chris' Pelican. He could even make out McAllen in the cockpit of the drop-ship.

"OK, Teams, we're closing in on the Geiger," Newman switched too his close support channel, "thanks flyboys but its time for the grunts to get to work." The Long Swords broke off contact, drawing with them a stream of fire.

       The Pirates didn't see the two Pelicans break from the nearing debris field and split up, one heading to the top of the Geiger whilst the other went low.

       The enemy opened fire on them but it was too late, they had both set down at their locations; which were carefully chosen to put them where weapons couldn't reach. The Techs had been right, enemy fire couldn't touch them at the landing zones.

       Chris disengaged himself from the Pelican's life support and opened the rear door. Chris led his troops out into space; they engaged magnetic soles on their boots and made contact with the hull.

"Major, this is McAllen," Chris directed his men too a pre-selected area on where to initiate the hull cutting, "we're in position and ready to engage hull breaching."

"Roger that, McAllen," said Newman, "start cutting as soon as possible, we're just about to start ourselves. Remember; make a lot of racket to keep them off us!"

"Not a problem, sir," said Chris turning to his squad, "Alison, get a move on, we need to get in there!" Alison was huddled down near the control panel to their hull breaching laser.

"Give us a second, will you?" She waved a hand in protest.

       Alison initiated cutting and got everyone to run back with her.

"Holiday!" Said Chris to their pilot, "Get your ass out of here!"

"Roger, Captain, good luck, guys!"

"We were born lucky, man!" Said Chambers.

       The instant the laser finished cutting the last millionth of a millimeter, the piece of cut away armour plate and the laser were blown away from the vessel with such force, that God must have done it himself.

       They say you can't hear anything in space, well they are right, but Alpha Team could feel the vibrations through the battle plate. The massive amount of air being overcome by the atmosphere shook the lower sections of the ship.

       Large objects pummeled out of the hole at the speed of light, large machines, small machines and the Pirates unlucky enough too be in there.

       Soon the vibrations stopped as the atmosphere took control of the breached area.

"Alright, ladies, let's move!" Chris led his Squad through the hole into a large office type area. It had once contained a computer lab but the machines had been ripped from the walls and thrown into space.

       Chris moved towards the massive door that sealed the atmosphere from the rest of the ship, luckily it acted as a two way air lock.

"Henderson, you're up," said Chris standing back from the door. Corporal Karl Henderson approached the door with a silver small briefcase, M7 in hand. He knelt down next to the console for the door and placed his case down too but then paused.

"Ah, if anything starts to float away can you grab it?" He asked. The question puzzled everyone until he opened the case and several items floated out and headed for the hole. Some of the items included a pencil, screwdrivers, connector cables, an eraser and an old issue of Galactic Girls.

       Several of the ODSTs grabbed the items. Chambers grabbed the pornography magazine much to Martha's disgust.

"Thanks," said Henderson, he snatched the magazine off Chambers and turned back to try and hack the door. He pulled out his knife and used it to wedge off the panel covering the electronics for the door and started to work his magic.

       Chris checked in on Major Newman, his team was at the same stage but they would wait inside the airlock until McAllen's team had caused sufficient confusion.

"There we go," said Henderson standing up with his brief case, lights flashed green on the air lock as it begun to cycle. A few seconds later a barely audible groan echoed through the bulkheads as the door opened.

"Sounds like this things going to fall apart if it gets anymore shit kicked through it," stated the Engineer of the Squad, Tom Veil.

"What ever, Veil, let's just do what we came here to do," said Alison.

"Yeah," said Chambers as he pumped his shotgun; but it could not be heard in the atmosphere, "kick some ass!"

       After they piled into the somewhat large airlock they closed the rear door. A counter on the wall started to click over during the cycling, venting the atmosphere from the airlock and then pressurizing to have the same pressure as inside the ship.

"Lock and load, they know we're here now," Chris drew his SMG and made sure it was loaded up before replacing it back in the holster.

       A ping noise similar to that of an elevator or microwave sounded as the pressure equalized.

"You can disengage self contained oxygen, now," said Alison reading the oxygen level in the airlock.

       The artificially enhanced air had never been so good. They all took deep breaths before continuing.

"Opening the door in 5," Henderson stood near the control panel on the inside of the air lock, "4, 3, 2, 1..." The door hissed apart and they were in...