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Long Time Gone Part 30
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 24 December 2004, 5:16 AM

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B] Long Time Gone Part 30: Where to now?

November 8th, 2550, Reach, Camp Hathcock, the bar, 0023 Hours

       It was Alison's last night at Hathcock and Chris wanted to make the most of it, they sat by themselves in the bar. Talking quietly between beers and laughs.

       Chambers and Susan sat half way across the room; Chambers couldn't help but feel Chris' pain of leaving her again.

"Well maybe you could get transferred?" He said looking into her eyes but not trying to look like an idiot.

"They'd never allow it," she sighed.

"Ah, I know that," started Chris, "I just wished we had met some other time, some other place."

"Maybe we will..." Said Alison, resting her head in her arms.

"Well just remember I love you," said Chris, "I always will and if you need me, I'm just a call away, sure I won't be able to come and see you for awhile but we can still keep in touch..."

"Thanks," she said leaning over and kissing him, "feel like doing it again?" Chris didn't say anything for a second.

"No, no, this is better," he noted the look on her face, "I don't mean it that way, I meant just sitting and talking, it will be a better memory when I'm lonely..."

"As long as we have each other you'll never be lonely, Chris." Chris looked into her eyes, he believed her, he really did...

November 8th, 2550, Reach, Camp Hathcock, the bar, 0900 Hours

       Chris held her tightly despite the pain of a sharp edge on her armour chaffing his chest.

"Goodbye, Alison," he said, "I love you..." Alison hugged him just as tightly back.

"I love you too," Alison kissed him on the lips, "good bye..." With that she climbed into the back of the lorry with other Troopers who had finished the training.

       She waved all the way until Chris couldn't see her anymore. Part of him felt like it had just died, love has never been so painful... Then he remembered with Michelle, it had hurt but he knew there was nothing he could do with her now.

"You going to be alright, man?" Asked Chambers offering a cigarette.

"You never smoked..." Said Chris pushing away the carton.

"And I still haven't," Chambers put the pack away, "its just a good luck charm, that and because you can trade stuff for smokes in desperate times..."

"Always thinking, Michael, always thinking..." Chris walked back to his barracks, he had an image up on his HUD; it was of Alison and himself, both smiling and having a fun time out on the range.

       Chambers stood back; watching his friend sulk off, if hurt him just as much as it hurt McAllen.

"The universe is against you, so good luck, buddy." Chambers started to whistle as he walked off to find Susan.

       The next two months went by quick enough, recruits going in and out. Chambers and McAllen were also almost at the end of their training time.

January 5th, 2551, Reach, Camp Hathcock, ONI briefing centre, 1301 Hours

       "We need to gather a Special Forces squad of ODSTs," said a voice from the shadows. Captain Wallis Newman stood at attention. He hated ONI briefings...

"You can relax, Captain," said a voice.

"Thank you, sir," said Newman, "permission to speak?"

"Granted" said a female.

"Aren't ODSTs Special Forces to begin with?"

"Yes and no," said another voice, "they are Elite Marines but they are certainly not the type we need."

"Yes," said a voice from the shadows, the bright light covering Newman was causing him to sweat even more, "that is where you come in Captain." Newman was wondering what they wanted a lowly Marine Captain for.

"We are aware of your previous actions and we congratulate you," whispers broke out for a second amongst the shadows.

"Thank you, sir" Newman felt a wash of pride run over him, the ONI rarely gave thanks or recognition.

"We need an experienced officer not afraid to be out numbered almost ten to one, who can keep secrets and will follow orders without question, we know you will do well to serve Human kind."

"You, from now are a Major, congratulations, a platoon of our best handpicked are waiting for you on the surface, you are also to organize another platoon, you can select any UNSC personal.... Oh but the Spartans are strictly off limits..."

"Spartans..." breathed Newman, he had seen Spartans but never interacted with one.

"That will be all, Major, contact us if you need anything..." The chamber fell silent and Newman felt the eyes watching him as he left.

"First stop, Personal..." Said Newman walking to the elevator, he had a long ride ahead of him.

January 6th, 2551, Reach, Camp Hathcock, Leaving Camp Hathcock by lorry, 0001 Hours

       Chris sat up in bed; thinking. He couldn't sleep. He had been waiting for this day since he had left Shock Trooper training. At 0900 hours, Chambers and himself would be on a lorry bound for a combat posting. Chris couldn't hold back his excitement... or fear.

       He was excited that he was going to be able to fight but scared of what awaited him.

January 6th, 2551, Reach, Camp Hathcock, ONI Personal, 0855 Hours

       Chris and Chambers stood at attention in the presence of Major Newman.

"Well," started the Major, "I know you guys want a 'normal' combat posting but," Newman stopped, taking in a bewildered looks on the two men's faces, "I need to gather the best I can and you two fit the criteria for my assault options, of course if you accept you will have to face an ONI hearing to see if you are eligible to be part of such a highly skilled unit..."

"I'm in..." Said Chambers, Chris looked at his friend.

"Me too..." Chambers looked at Chris, he gave a smile with teeth showing.

"Good, good," said the Major, "here are your new orders, and I'll see you after the hearings... hopefully." Chris took his orders. He noted the ONI 'seal of approval' on the top. He felt honored to have a chance to be all he could.

January 6th, 2551, Reach, Camp Hathcock, ONI briefing centre, 1311 Hours

"You do know that withholding any information can be charged as treason, Sargeant McAllen?" Asked a voice from the shadows.

"Yes, sir" said Chris standing at attention, the light's heat was absorbed almost too well by the black materials on his uniform.

"Alright, let's begin shall we?" Chris knew it wasn't aimed at him. Whispers broke out from the shadows.

"Do you follow orders?" Said a voice, Chris felt like saying what an idiot they were, of course he followed orders, he was here wasn't he?

"Answer the question, Trooper," demanded another voice.

"Err, yes, sir, I do follow orders, sir," Chris' hand unconsciously drifted for his holster, he checked the action and hid it by pretending he was adjusting his belt.

"Are you certain?" Asked a sincere voice.

"As sure as I can possibly be, ma'am."

"Then why are you in a relationship with a one, Alison Parker? Are you not aware of the orders every UNSC personal is issued when they join up? No relationships between personal."

"But ma'am..." Started Chris.

"Silence!" Demanded another voice.

"Sir!" Snapped Chris.

"What is your excuse for this, this breaking of orders?"

"No excuse, sir, I'm only human..." Chris thought that might cut him some slack.

"Hmmpf," said another voice, "that is exactly why we are in this current situation!"

"Never say that again, or you will have hell to pay..." threatened a member of the board.

"Yes, sir..." apologized the voice.

       Chris felt a little left out, standing there in the spot light, dressed in full Fallschirmjäger combat attire including Flecta camouflage fatigues and black armour.

"On with the point of this hearing," said the authority figure of the board, "Sargeant McAllen, are you prepared to carry out orders without question?"

Chris stood there, staring into the shadows; he wished he had worn his reflective lens jump goggles to hide his eyes from 'them'.

"Sir, I am confident that I can and will carry out my orders to the best of my ability to serve my country, race and planet well, so help me God." Chris let out a breath of relief having said the statement.

"Understandable, Sargeant," mummers began to spread amongst the board, "that will be all..."

"Am I in?" Asked Chris.

"We will get back to you, Sargeant" said someone. With that Chris turned on his heel and headed for the door, he was glad to get the hell out of there...