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Long Time Gone Part 13
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 3 September 2004, 11:03 AM

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Long Time Gone Part 13: Are We There Yet?

       The city was clean, well in military terms that is, there was no longer any rebel soldiers alive in the city but they dead ones didn't exactly leave a clean area... It was Saturday, if it were a normal day most people would be still in bed trying to get rid of their hang over from the previous night, but not this morning. Everyone had to chip in to clean up the tragedy that had besieged their fair city. Bodies were burnt or buried, weapons were collected and most were so old they were destroyed on the spot by several tanks driving over piles to crush the weapons beyond recognition.

For Chris McAllen and Michael Chambers it was a prick of a morning. They had just seen Alison and asked how she was and just left the Aide Station of the MCP (Mobile Command Post) when Gunny ran over from the Mess Hall, he was panting, he wasn't exactly the fittest Gunnery Sargeant in the Corps.

"Chambers, McAllen, better get your shit together, there's a small Frigate heading for Reach tonight, we got to leave now if we are to Reach Alexandria from where it's leaving." Gunny having said this took a deep breath, it was like taking a load of his chest as he successfully remember word for word for what Hans had told him to tell the troops. Chris could already see the Shock Troopers getting their gear and throwing it into the back of some trucks.

"But we only just got here," moaned Chambers, "we officially have another days leave."

"Well whatever you had just got revoked," remarked Gunny, taking another breath, "division has said for all Shock Troop platoons across Earth to board the nearest ship bound for Reach, we got some Covenant Sonsa' Bitches to kill, boys!"

       Three minutes later the two platoons were piled into the trucks, well there were still several Shock Troop non-combatants mainly mechanics and the medics, Gunny said they will be leaving soon after them, but they will be boarding a different ship. Chris wondered about saying good bye to Alison but held it back, she would be alright, with this war she is better off not knowing another man who will most likely die...

The trucks rumbled off down the unsealed roads causing the men to jot around on their stiff wooden bench like seats. Corporal Geoff spoke up for second time in six hours.

"For Christ sakes, its 2549! Can't these bastards pave their roads!"

No one really commented back, they all sat their heads resting in their arms, thinking, thinking of where they would rather be. Their weapons had been stowed in containers ready for the next two flights. The truck rumbled up the main street of the city where Marines could be seen mopping up the last of the enemy, throwing grenades into possible hot spots, the group had taken fire once but it was a wide burst from a lousy machine gunner.

They reached the small airport on the other side of the city and boarded a large cargo plane inbound for Alexandria. They all hopped on board, their trucks were left on the tarmac. After a brief flight check they were airborne.
For Alexandria.
For Reach.
For their new home...

       Alison was woken by someone near her bed, it was the two medics with a stretcher.

"It's ok, Parker, we gotta' go," said the one who had treated her wounds.

"What?" she said groggily, "where?"

"We're going to Reach, miss!"

It was almost 5 pm when Alison's small plane landed at a hospital where marines who we once wounded and had healed up and were ready for combat. The men and women would be shipped back to Reach for a great offence that rumoured about the entire human race. Alison, the two medics and the other non-combatants had gotten them selves a spot on that flight tonight. The other troopers wouldn't have fitted.

       Rain poured down at Alexandria, drenching everything, including the men arriving at the military air port in open flat bed trucks...

"This sucks!" Cried Chambers, "I thought Africa was meant to be a big dust bowel!"

"Not entirely," said Michelle, her hair wet under her cap, "Some regions of Africa are the wettest in the world with some of the highest rain counts as well!"

"So you're just saying its stiff shit that we got here and it started raining?" Said Chris looking at the faces of the men in his truck, some smiles and some laughs broke out at the comment.

"Yes, Corporal, precisely!"

Chris saw the ship's thrusters first, protruding out of an extremely big hanger that dwarfed the small combat vessel. We're going to Reach in that? Thought Chris, not really have seen any other space ships or what ever they called them.

They were waiting for the rain to lift first, to give the pilots a good view of the sky on their way up and out! The Shock Troopers were ushered inside the ship that was almost the as long as two football fields (AFL fields) and stoop almost 90 feet with out it's landing gear engaged. They went towards a guest 'room' as the crew called it. The so called 'room' was bigger than the last two barracks Chris and Chambers were in... COMBINED! One of the techs had said it was designed to feed and shelter almost 60 men and their equipment. A small cargo bay ensured that they would travel with either 18 Warthogs or 4 Scorpion class attack tanks. But for now all it held was provisions, ammunition and the squad's personal belongings.

Chris sat down near a table and felt the cold sensation of his wet pants touching the cold metal seats. The Captain's voice came over the intercom, his voice was young and energetic, he was a pretty young officer to be commanding a Leopard class Frigate.

"All hear this, all hear this. Foxtrot and Tango units of the Shock Troopers please head towards your bunks and hold on. Cyro will not be required as the journey will take only a few weeks. Anyone willing to be cyro'd please report to Sargeant Gilliland and you will be processed. Anyone who has just eaten... be prepared for your clothes to change the colour of the food you just ate... That is all."

The Troopers went to their bunks, most of them had experienced leaving the atmosphere before but in Chambers' and McAllen's case they hadn't. None of the troops wanted to be Cryo'd. What ever that was thought Chris sitting down on his bunk; he had lost to rock, paper, scissors with Chambers and gotten the bottom.

       Half the continent away Alison was being strapped into Cryo by some techs, she hadn't been Cryo'd before and the techs just said that it was simple and there was a 99.9% success rate. Great she thought just my luck and I'll be the 0.01%... Alison had been given her Black uniform like Chambers' and Chris' but it was different to theirs a little bit. It seem not to be as thick as the other ones but she didn't know that her uniform was a snipers whilst McAllen's and Chambers' were Grenadiers/Rifleman uniforms. She had the same shoulder patch but didn't know that it was the same as the others.

She wanted to protest but the tech shut the lid and no sooner was she unconscious and ready for storage with the other soldiers.

       Chris was unlucky though, he actually had to fell the ship launch. It was hell, his stomach felt like it had made friends with his toes. His blood also seemed to like his feet, making him feel dizzy and disorientated. He looked around the room, the other Troopers were in the same state, so it wasn't just him! Chris wished he could have seen the Earth for one last time, for he had the feeling he would never see it or his family again...

After what felt like an hour but was only 10 minutes the ship broke the atmosphere and headed for Reach, charging into hyperspace. Tearing a hole for everyone to see, the beauty of space travel....