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Long Time Gone Part 44: Growing Pains (Series final)
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 17 August 2007, 2:05 pm

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OK this is the last part of this version of the series. I've recently restarted rewriting the series. I just thought I'd post what I had done just to not leave a gap from the last Chapter in Chris and Newman's conversation.

The new series will be titled something along the lines of "Long Time Gone Reveille", anyway I hope it will be more successful and hopefully be written better.


***END BS***

Long Time Gone Part 44: Growing Pains

October 12th, 2551, Sigmas Octanus IV, Office of Naval Intelligence, Fifth Orbital Drop Shock Troop Group, Advanced Camp, 1409 Hours

       "Wait, what did you say?" Said Chris taken aback by Newman's remark.
       Newman had taken several steps away from Chris before he stop and turned around to face Chris, "well it's like this," started Newman in an annoyed tone as if he didn't need to tell Chris of the plan, "instead of disbanding the unit like you and I wanted, the ONI wants to expand it."
       "Expanded?" Replied Chris somewhat shocked, then scratched his head in thought for a moment, "well we couldn't possibly expand by much, it's not like we can house anything more than three or maybe four smaller sized squads here," replied Chris looking over at the barracks; with the current arrangement of two squads of twelve, the barracks in all, only had sixteen beds free.
       "Well that was exactly what I told them, McAllen!" Responded Newman throwing his arms up in annoyance but then he laughed, "as such, we're only expanding to incorporate another squad of twelve."

       "So I presume they'll be sending us those twelve souls to make this new unit or should I go out and start handing out, help wanted flyers for a good squad leader and loyal troops?" Asked Chris sarcastically with a grin.
       "No that won't be necessary, yet…" Replied Newman slowly in an abrasive tone that caught Chris' suspicion.
       "What are you playing at?" Questioned Chris sharply.
       "Rather than have a completely new team with some squad leader unfamiliar with our dealings I thought I'd… well, I thought I'd split you and Parker up…" Newman saw Chris' jaw drop at the comment.
       "Split us up!?" Cried Chris uncontrollably, "of all the stupid decisions I've seen you make this has to be the worst, why would you split us up!?" Newman looked around where he and McAllen were in dispute, a number of the soldiers had been attracted to the exchanging of words between Chris and himself.

       "Well think about it," replied Newman in a now low, calm and collected voice, "you're both seasoned commanders and such, as so there is no point in having two Captains in the same squad, it just doesn't make sense in any Military hierarchy." Newman watched Chris nod in agreement. "I also happen to know how much you'd like to be in full command of your own squad again."
       Chris slowly nodded his head again in agreement then gave a chuckle and smiled, "that's true, sir, but tell me, who is going to command the new squad?"
       "Well," started Newman thinking, "you're both great leaders but I believe you are the better squad leader over Parker, so, I want you to head the third team, Team Charlie."
       Chris ran a hand over his face in thought then said in a somewhat angered voice, "just tell me, I'm not going to be stuck with a bunch of damn rookies, am I?"
       Newman laughed, "of course not, McAllen, come on, we'll talk about it further in the Command Centre away from the rest of the men."

October 12th, 2551, Sigmas Octanus IV, Office of Naval Intelligence, Fifth Orbital Drop Shock Troop Group, Advanced Camp, Major Newman's office, 1415 Hours

       "Thanks for joining us, Parker, please, take a seat" said Newman having summoned Alison to his 'office' in the Command Centre. The 'office' was little more than a sectioned off area of the command tent with several folding chairs, a cheap metal table and only a simple fabric curtain to maintain privacy from the outside world.
       "What is this all about, sir?" Asked Alison sitting down on the chair next to Chris; who smiled warmly at her.
       "We're expanding the unit," said Chris out of the blue, noting the look on her face that reminded him of his own reaction to the news.
       "We're what?" Asked Alison stunned.
       "Expanding the unit," replied Newman repeating Chris.
       "I heard you the first time, why are we expanding the unit?" Asked Alison somewhat aggravated to have been kept out of the loop.
       "Ok," said Newman cupping his hands in front of his face and leaning onto his desk, "ONI wants the unit expanded for a broader scope of operations; they even mentioned possible anti-Covenant activity if that is any relief."
       "Did you ask them why we are stationed here?" Said Alison.
       "Supposedly we can train in peace around here, ONI was afraid after the whole 'General Walt' incident; Reach was not suitable for the training of another squad of assassins. The rumours of our activities have become fables to the UNSC forces."
       Chris chuckled and expanded on the comment, "we're the thing that goes bump in the night for the Marines on Reach."

       Alison didn't say anything for a few seconds, just taking it all in. "So we're just getting a whole squad of existing ODST volunteers to make this third squad?"
       "Nope," stated Newman, "that's why I called you here, McAllen and I think it would be good if we divide what troops we have now into the basis of the three squads and use the new men to plug the holes."
       "Who will be in charge of the third squad?" She asked.
       "He will," said Newman nodding towards Chris who noted Alison's response was hardly like that of Chris'.
       "So I get my own unit again?" Questioned Alison enthusiastically.
       "In those terms…" stated Newman, "yes, yes you do."
       "Great!" She cried smiling ignoring the fake hurt look Chris gave her.
       "Well it's time to get down to business, you two need to go and organize who you want in your squad. Parker," Alison faced Newman intently, "I need you to make a list of which troopers you'd like to retain or remove from your squad and anyone you'd like to see in it and I'll see what I can do, you can go now."
       Alison stood up and motioned to leave only pausing to raise her right arm and give Newman a salute which he returned roughly and dismissed her.

       "What about you?" Asked Newman looking towards Chris as Alison slid the curtain closed as she left.
       "What about me?"
       "Who do you want in your squad, since you have no one to keep or get rid of, so who do you want?" Questioned Newman in a laid back manner.
       "Well," started Chris rapping his fingers on Newman's metal table in thought until Newman narrowed his eyes as a sign for Chris to stop, "I'll definitely need a good Sergeant to keep it all together, how's me taking Russel off your hands sound?"
       "It's fine, just look after him, you hear?"
       "Don't worry, us Aussies look out for each other," Newman smiled at the comment, "as for any others, I'd take Jeebs, Elliot, maybe Ramirez and probably Veil, that is if they are willing of course."
       "That's fine by me but have you and Chambers had a falling out or something?"
       "Not at all, sir, I have my reasons for keeping him with Parker," Said Chris
       "Well it may just seem a bit suspicious for him if you've got his mistress in your squad but not him."
       "Ha!" Cried Chris in laughter, "no way in hell, sir, Ramirez is as loyal as an old dog with it comes to her and Chambers' relationship."
       Newman let out a laugh at the comment as well. "Well as long as they agree, anyone else?"

       "I don't really have any other concerns for who else goes into the squad." Responded Chris.
       "What about Flemings?" Asked Newman.
       "What about her?"
       "Well, ever since Henderson upped and died on her she hasn't quite been the same," Chris grunted in reply, he too had noticed this, "the only time she seems normal is around you."
       "What?" said Chris puzzled.
       "Come on, haven't you seen her at night, alone in her bed, she's still crying herself to sleep, the only time she seems on top of it all is around you."
       "Not sure that will go down well with Alison somehow, sir," responded Chris shaking his head in sadness at the thought of Jess crying herself to sleep.
       "Nothing like that, come on, you think you're God's gift to women sometimes," said Newman humorously, "I bet it's purely professional, I say she just responds best under your leadership, that's all."
       "I sure hope so," said Chris, "so when do the new troops arrive?"
       "In around a month, evaluations are still in progress, seems this is a tough job to get into, they're even combat testing the volunteers now!"

       Chris snuffed a laugh at the comment. "Must be popular too if evaluations are still underway?"
       "Indeed it must have been, although quite strange but at least we get the cream of the crop then if so many applied for Covert Ops." Said Newman smiling at the prospect of prize, hand picked soldiers joining his unit.
       "Yep," said Chris leaning back, "it should be good, anyhow I should probably get going, I'll have a word or two with Chambers about Ramirez then get back to you on the squad list."
       "Alright, I'll see you later," replied Newman as Chris got up and left.

       Chris found Chambers on guard duty at the main gate; as the Kill Team was not on mission, instead of wearing ODST drop suits, they wore standard ONI battle gear – jet black helmet, jet black anti-projectile body armour including arm and leg armour over dark grey fatigues.
       "Hey, McAllen," said Chambers as Chris approached the main gate, "I, err mean, sir!" Chambers gave a stiff salute which he held for about half a second before he started laughing. "Friend or foe?" He asked ridiculously with a smirk before lowering his rifle, "what's cracking?"
       "Well," said Chris batting the rifle's lowered barrel away from him, "don't know if you've heard, but there's going to be some changes around here."
       "Changes?" Grumbled Chambers, "but we haven't even gotten used to this hole as it is and we're changing it already?"
       "No, not like that," said Chris, "orders from up top, we're expanding to three squads of twelve."
       "Where're we getting the extra meat from?" Chambers asked.
       "Well it will still be a month or so before they arrive, in the mean time Newman wants to split the existing two teams into three teams and use the new arrivals to fill the gaps."
       "We keeping the group together?" Asked Chambers, Chris knew all too well who was in the 'group', Chambers, Ramirez, Alison and himself.
       The smile vanished from Chris' face giving Chambers a quiver down his spine, "well, Mike that is why I'm here, Newman is splitting me and Alison up, we each have our own unit again…"
       "Shame really," said Chambers butting in, "you two made such a good team, well at least you still got me to kick around, eh?"
       "Again… something I came here to talk to you about, Mike, I took Russel as my Sergeant, I need you to stay with Alison," Chambers' face went blank for a second as if he had just had the wind taken out of him.
       "What?" He said initially in shock, "you're splitting us up? After all we've been through?" Chris nodded solemnly.
       "I want you to stay with Alison, look after her for me, but that isn't the half truth, mate, I also want Ramirez in my squad…"
       Chambers' eyes narrowed in what seemed to be anger but it faded momentarily, "well, I really wish we could have stayed together but if that is what you want then ok, it is ok by me, but you should probably ask her. If she says yes, take her, but you look after her for me, and I'll watch Alison for you, alright?"
       "Deal," said Chris extending a hand towards Chambers who promptly extended one of his own and they both shook on it under the diminishing sun..