Order of the Seraphim Chapter 2
Posted By: Jehkoh<Jehkoh@aol.com>
Date: 14 March 2002 9:45 pm
The serpent spreads his poison, but I shall bear justice to all.
- Blow of a Trumpet -
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Time of Day: 4:58 A.M.
A tingling sensation rushed through John's body as his eyes opened, blurs present that surrounded his entire body, but soon distinguishable shapes formed from those blurs. He saw the medical gown he was wearing, a bed, and a few walls. He felt a sore in his wrist, spotting a tube and needle placed in it. The skin along his forearm was discolored from the IV inserted in his wrist. The room was dimly lit yet there were no light fixtures. A ray of sunlight filtered through a window on the left wall. He looked toward the window through which the light came, spotting a few oak trees placed along a hill. John didn't know what the time of day was, so he looked for the one indicator that would tell him whether or not it was the morning or afternoon. To his right was a digital clock displaying the numbers "4:58" and then in smaller sized letters "a.m." John thought he must have lost his mind because he saw light at such an early time. The sun wasn't supposed to be out for another hour and a half.
The door on the right side of the room swung open and a pair of smooth, creme colored legs strolled through. John's eyes scanned up the tempting legs to see a white plaid skirt, and further up a delicate face accentuated by a frame of ash tendrils. John only heard of the nurses that fit that common stereotype of "Hell-ooooooo Nurse," he never actually saw one. Until now, that is. His face blushed with a red hue as the woman came over and primped his bed covers while he laid under them, still dressed in his patient's gown. A soft voice broke the silence saying, "Hi. How are you this morning?" John didn't know how he felt or how he should feel. He responded simply, "I'm doing fine." "That's good. You keep up the rest and you'll be out of here in no time," the nurse told John cheerfully. John asked her quizzically, "Ma'am, why is the sun out so early?" His answer to the question was, "Because in Sweden the sun's out for whole days and nights a good part of the year, and you're in Sweden." "Oh," whispered through John's lip as he sat in bewilderment. "Why am I in Sweden? I thought I cra-- Oh. Transported. Alright, well thank you ma'am." "No problem," the nurse said softly as she turned around and headed for the door. John watched her walk away and enjoyed it, then wondered if she'd ever be back after she disappeared through the door.
Location: Washington D.C.
Time of Day: 8:01 A.M.
That was him that landed? Holy shit. Is what rushed through the Secretary of Defense's mind as he watched the footage of the burning Longsword crash during the battle of Stuttgart, Germany and then a ramp lower to reveal John-117, the supposed final and dead Spartan II of the past. The United States' Secretary of Defense had good ties to the UNSC and planned on having a good talk with his friends within it.
Time of Day: 10:03 A.M.
General Gainsborough, alongside the United States' Secretary of Defense, entered the UNSC Council Chamber, still finding it funny that the UNSC had gone underground; literally. The Space Command of Earth and its people was currently residing in a subterranean base. The irony of life. "Thank you for meeting with us, General Gainsborough and U.S. Secretary of Defense Gavin Russel. We're here today because you needed to discuss something with us, am I correct Mr. Russel?" asked the Head of Council. "Yes, sir. I'd like to know if it would be possible to put John-117 back into action as soon as can be for the better of Earth? I'd like for the U.S. to fund his training and equipment and any other means necessary to get him back up and running. I'm asking you because he is under your jurisdiction and a product of the UNSC." "We know that sir, and thanks for asking us. We have no problem with that. But during his training we'll need him for questioning of his whereabouts for the last six years and what occurred on the Pillar of Autumn. Understood?" asked the Head of Council. "Yes, sir. Thank you." Just as Gavin Russel was about to walk out of the Council Chambers, the Head of Council asked him, "Would you be willing to allow for a few other Spartans to train with John-117 if other nations, including the UNSC funded for it?" The U.S. Secretary of Defense turned around, puzzled at what he just heard? Did he hear correctly? Other Spartans? There were other ones? "Yes, sir." came Gavin's reply.
Location: Military Base of Lincoln, Nebraska
Time of Day: 3:10 P.M.
Hundreds of Grunts in green plated armor, covered with breathing apparatuses stood side by side with their fellow human soldiers. A military drill was about to commence. John-117 gawked out the window, his jaw practically hitting the floor. He was amazed that the Grunts were not shooting at the human Marines or letting out their howls of viciousness through the sun baked air. "What you see here is a product of years of psychological endearment and scientific study," Lieutenant Evans told John. Over the course of many other worldly battles and even some Earthen battles, we managed to capture a few Grunts or injured ones that we could pry information out of. Eventually someone from the UNSC, leave it up to them, had the bright idea of turning the enemy against itself. Through genetics and reproduction we've come up with what you see before you." John still couldn't believe it. His own enemy, so many of the alien race he had killed throughout his life, was now apart of his own people's military. It was quite astonishing while at the same time a small slap in the face. "One question. Don't the Grunts need a tank to breathe whatever their natural environment is made of?" Lieutenant Evans responded, "You mean the methane? Yes, the Grunts do. From what I've been told, reconstructing the breathing apparatuses the Grunts use was much easier than figuring out the Covenant's shield technology, so I'm guessing it was no big deal. The reason the Grunts wear the green armor is so that we can tell which Grunts to fire at and which not too," he ended with a chuckle. "So when are the Grunts going to be deployed in battle? Anytime soon or far off?" asked John. "Whenever needed... probably soon," answered Lieutenant Evans. "Lets move on shall we," Lieutenant Evans asked John rhetorically.
- Snuff Out -
Location: Paris, France
Time of Day: 2:12 P.M.
A small Covenant outpost was located at the site of what use to be a populated city known as Paris. The outpost was nothing great, no large amount of barracks, no building to store Wraith tanks in, no stationary guns. The only significance of this particular outpost was that it was suspected to be one of the few outposts relaying vital information between the Covenant on Earth and the Covenant flying around in space. The base was being watched by two snipers, each perched on opposite sides of the valley that the Covenant base sat in. There was a minuscule amount of movement in a set of shrubs, as a few leaves on a branch shook. That small amount of motion was caused by one of the two snipers known as Gwydion. He was using the shrubs for cover so as not to be spotted by any Grunts or Jackals that could be patrolling the area. Gwydion was spread over a roll-out bed, made of closely woven fibers as to offer maximum comfort over the pebbles and mounds of dirt he laid on. Resting on a cotton blanket to his right was one of the newly released MA6C Assault Rifles. The MA6C had a longer barrel on it, which offered more accuracy during shooting. It could also let off a quarter more of rounds in a minute than the MA5B AR. Residing next to the assault rifle was Gwydion's M6D Pistol, which had received no changes since its release by the military. Those weapons were there for his use incase something went wrong with his objective and he needed to defend himself at close range.
His rifle was mounted on a trip-pod stand that had a rotating disc for which to spin the rifle in any direction. Gwydion viewed the Covenant base through his rifle scope, which was zoomed in at 10x magnification. He swiveled the rifle from left to right on its tripod, going over the base every two minutes to make sure no threatening situations presented themselves, such as an Elite patrolling around the corner of the Covenant Communications Tower or something else of equal or greater proportions that could jeopardize the mission at hand. A communications channel opened between Gwydion and the other Sniper, "Rifle-Magnesia in, no altered sightings to report, Rifle-Magnesia out." Gwydion replied over the communications channel, "Rifle-Ulixes copies, no altered sightings here, Rifle-Ulixes out." Gwydion was relieved nothing happened yet and that soon the second phase of the operation would be executed, but still he remained tense, fervorously keeping watch over the base with his partner, Rifle-Magnesia.
Another comm-channel opened up between Gwydion and one of his fellow soldiers. "Striker-One, reporting in, prepared for second phase of SNUFF OUT, over." "Rifle-Ulixes copies, no sighting at this time, I suggest you go through with the second phase, over." "Striker-One copies, cover our ass if things get hot and thank you, Rifle-Ulixes, over and out." The comm-channel between Striker-One and Rifle-Ulixes closed and just as soon Gwydion opened one between himself and Rifle-Magnesia. "Rifle-Ulixes in, the second phase of SNUFF OUT will commence, lets cover our team, Rifle-Ulixes out." "I hear you, Rifle-Magnesia over and out." The reason Team Striker relied on the snipers for survailing enemies is that if the soldiers used their motion tracking devices they would be detected. The signals sent from the motion tracking devices would relay between any object and Team Striker, but those same signals could be picked up by a small Covenant satellite in the area that would then warn the Covenant troops stationed at the outpost of their intruders' presence. It was a risk that Team Striker did not want to take.
On the southern side of the valley bits of grass moved in unusual patterns along the ground. One of those patches of grass sprang to its feet on the ground, waved its arm over its head and pointed to the largest of the three central buildings. Small shimmers of light reflected off of the figure's arm and legs, as well as the helm it wore. Two more patches of grass came alive as they rose quickly, their feet stampeding on the ground as all three of the camouflaged soldiers dashed in the direction of the building suspected to be the base's own little Headquarters. Surrounding the buildings in the center of the outpost were five barracks, any of which housed either Grunts, Jackals, and Elites. Gwydion watched Team Striker move to the barracks closest to them, one of the soldiers crouching while the other two stood, all three of them using the wall as cover. "Striker-One in, is anything around the corner Rifle-Ulixes?" "Negative, Striker-One. Continue moving," replied Gwydion. The Striker team remained still for a moment longer, no doubt asking Rifle-Magnesia if anything was on the other side of the barracks to their rear. Team Striker hustled to the past three barracks, ready to run past the fourth just as Gwydion noticed a Grunt stepping out the barracks' door.
"Striker-One, halt! Grunt to your right, coming out of the barracks. I suggest you avoid him or if need be take him out quietly." The Grunt walked along the broadside of the barracks, till finally reaching the end, where Team Striker had just been. The only thing separating the Grunt from the Striker team was forty feet of barracks and two walls. All three soldiers of Team Striker heard the relentless sniffing of a Grunt that they had heard so many times before. The sniffing sound grew louder. A five foot creature that looked like a large dog waltzed around the corner of the barracks, right into the butt of Striker-Two's MA6C Assault Rifle. The Grunt flew back three feet before slamming into the ground. Striker-Two quickly moved past the edge of the corner into sight of anything that could be around, grabbing the Grunt by its left leg and pulling him behind the wall that Team Striker was using to hide. "Slick, Team Striker, very slick," came from Gwydion's mouth as a grin formed under his helmet. Getting those little bastards was often a pleasurable treat for all the ruches they often stirred up in battle. "No other enemies in sight, you're free to move, Team Striker." The lead figure, obviously Striker-One, raised his arm to his shoulder and made an open palm, spreading five fingers and pointing past the barracks with two. Team Striker again dashed past the barracks toward the large building that lay in the center of the base. All three soldiers stopped by a corner of the building directly next to their destination.
An open comm-channel was established for all of the five soldiers to listen in on. "Anything in the area guys?" "No just dir - wait, two Elites exited the Cov-HQ, one major (red), the other a commander (yellow), and they're walking directly toward you... guessing about 20 yards from your current position. Get ready." Team Striker didn't respond over the comm-channel so that they wouldn't be heard and detected. A soft crunch against the dirt that the base laid on was heard by all of Team Striker as Elite footsteps made their place in the dried soil. Striker-Three looked down the other end of the 150 yard long cubed building, knowing that to get to the other side of it would take too long and to have their snipers pick the Elites off would warn the entire base of their presence. Striker-Three tapped -One and -Two on the shoulders to get their attention, then ran out from behind the cover of the wall right past the two Elites, getting their attention as well. Gwydion had been watching the whole time through his scope, hoping Team Striker wouldn't get into a hazy-fray of plasma and bullets. As he saw Striker-Three run out from behind the building, he noticed the look of alarm in both of the Elites' faces as their eyes widened and they suddenly charged Striker-Three. He continued to watch as Striker-One and -Two ran behind the two Elites just as they were lifting their arms toward Striker-Three and were about to fire off a few plasma bursts into his shield. Suddenly the two Elites dropped toward the ground, but before the bodies managed to touch the dirt, they were each scooped up by the arms of Striker-One and -Two.
Team Striker continued to head for their designated locale, even with Striker-One and -Two still lugging the corpses of the Elites and -Three taking the lead. Team Striker made it to the entrance of the Covenant headquarters. Striker-One and -Two dropped the bodies they had been carrying and took position on either side of the rather large door that acted as an entrance. The motion sensors picked up movement from the two members of the Striker team and automatically opened, obviously not designed to distinguish between Covenant or humans. Striker-Two took note of that thinking that the Covenant must be so arrogant as to think that humans would never make it to this point of their little outpost. Over the comm-channel Striker-One whispered, "Phase Three of SNUFF OUT commencing as we speak."
Striker-One and -Two rushed through the door, each taking a position on either side of the door with their rifles raised and their gloved fingers over the triggers, ready to mow down any unsuspecting Covenant in their immediate vicinity. "No sight of the enemy, Rifles. Cover our backs as we locate and extract the information we need, Striker-One out." Striker-Three, still outside of the doorway, grabbed both of the fallen Elites by the foot that -One and -Two had dropped and pulled them into the building through the door, leaving them to the left of the doorway so that the bodies wouldn't be intercepted by the motion sensors. A long corridor awaited Team Striker as they gazed around their surroundings, only seeing a few walls and nothing else. They advanced toward the corridor, with Striker-One taking lead, running down it swiftly, the bottom of their boots tapping against the metallic floor as they did so. No enemy forces had made contact with them as they blitzed down the corridor. Smaller hallways branched off from the one they traveled down, but they kept a straight path, finally arriving to a massive room that held a large, semi-circular holopanel. Striker-Two asked Striker-One over the comm-channel, "How'd you know to come down here?" "I didn't," answered Striker-One. Displayed along the holopanel were the colors of pink and purple and buttons of green and red. Striker-Three thought of Easter and Christmas combined as he looked at the panel. Striker-One moved to the middle section of the half-ringed holopanel, extracting a small, flat, teal colored square from his protected neck and placed it inside what looked to be a slot in the holopanel. A holographic projection of Grimnir, a "smart" AI, rose from the holopanel. "Ah, good job, Wolfgang," said the figure covered in a sleek, black leather trench coat armed with a German Bastard sword in his fair skinned hand, black Jersery-material shirt covering his chest, black slacks covering his legs, black leather belt with a golden buckle around the waist and black commando boots covering his feet. Long, whispy hair dark as night fell onto his shoulders, while the piercing pale-stone cut blue eyes gazed toward Striker-One, whose armored body was still covered in the grassy camouflage. Two diversely different styles of attire were in the room, and all of Team Striker thought Grimnir had the most interesting of the two.
"Thank you, Grimnir, just make sure you do your job," Wolfgang told him in a stern voice. "Give me a few more minutes..." ordered Grimnir. Team Striker stayed alert as Grimnir searched for and obtained the Covenant information. "Got what I need. Lets ski-dattle," Grimnir said in enthusiasm. The holographic image of Grimnir faded and died. Wolfgang reached for the slot where the flat square popped out and placed it back into his neck through his MJOLNIR II armor. "Striker-One here, we're ready to roll, Rifles." Gwydion reported over the open comm-channel, "There's a problem outside, Striker-One. It appears a few patrolling Jackals made their rounds and came across that Grunt you guys left behind earlier. All those barracks are empty now 'cause all the Covenant forces are outside and looking for whoever took care of that Grunt."
- My Kingdom For A Horse -
"There's ten squads of Grunts of the lowest rank, three squads of Jackals consisting of Minors and Majors, and only one squad of Elites, mainly made up of Majors. I've already called in a Pelican Dropship, so don't worry about that part. Just get out of there alive. Me and Rifle-Magnesia will supply cover fire," said Gwydion to Wolfgang reassuringly. Wolfgang asked over the open comm-channel, "Can you start taking the Elites out now and afterward the Jackals?" "That's a roger, Striker-One. Rifles ready to blow some Covenant to hell and back. Over and out."
Team Striker came back down the hallway from which they came, arriving to the first room, but this time it was filled with Grunts. Wolfgang let go of his MA6C Assault Rifle with his left hand, holding it steady in his right hand while reaching for a fragmentation grenade on his belt clip. He grasped the frag-grenade firmly in his hand, knocking the pin off of it with his thumb and then swinging his arm into the air, his hand releasing the grenade resulting in it to sail through the air at his opponents. The fragmentation grenade landed in the middle of all the Grunts. Before it could go off, however, Wolfgang already had his gloved finger on the trigger, releasing round after round into the two squads of Grunts, watching after several seconds a majority of them fall to the ground while at the same time many of them flew upward, almost touching the Covenant's towering ceiling. The other Grunts that Wolfgang had not disposed of himself were already mopped up by Striker-Two and -Three. Team Striker stepped over the aliens' dead bodies as they made their way to the door, exiting cautiously.
Gwydion watched the Elite Major drop through his scope, landing helplessly next to a pack of Grunts, all of which yelled in terror and waddled hurriedly in different directions, scattering like roaches. He reverted to his rifle's 2x magnification to get a broader visual of the plain on which the base was set. Gwydion thought the Grunts were the most pathetic form of any soldier to have existed in the known universe, and he wasn't alone in that theory either. Gwydion scanned the field of Covenant for another Elite to take out, quickly finding one. He zoomed in on it at 10x magnification, taking careful aim for the head. If he made contact with the head, he wouldn't have to worry about spending another round on it. Gwydion hated to waste rounds, especially on shots he could take pride in. Just as Gwydion fired his S2 AM Sniper Rifle, letting a round loose on his target, the Elite jumped sideways and opened fire on something that wasn't in Gwydion's scope's peripheral view. The round landed in the Elite's lower leg, angering Gwydion that he had missed. Just as he was about to fire at that same Elite again, a white streak tore through the air right where the Elite stood resulting in the Elite's body to go limp and fall to the ground. "Had you covered there, Rifle-Ulixes. Rifle-Magnesia out."
Team Striker had made it past the building next to the Cov-HQ when they saw an Elite Major drop to the ground in front of them, a plasma burst flying right past them. "Whew, that was close," shouted Wolfgang to his teammates over the crack of a rifle firing. Team Striker continued to run toward the barracks closest to them, each member of the team removing a fragmentation grenade from their belt, snapping off the pins, and hurling them over the barracks in a blind hope that the grenades would land in the crowds of Grunts and Jackals. Two of the three grenades each landed in the center of a pack of Grunts and Jackals, while the third grenade only landed to the far side of a squad of Jackals. Wolfgang counted to two and then ran outward from behind the barracks' wall and around the side with his team into the horde of Grunts and Jackals just in time to see five Grunts lift off in multiple directions, two of which flew directly at the Striker team. Wolfgang side-stepped to his left, dodging the airborne Grunt as it yelled its last scream of pain, while bringing his MA6C Assault Rifle up to his shoulder, squeezing off a few rounds into the crowd of Grunts that ran around eachother in blind confusion as to what just happened.. Striker-Two and -Three crouched on their knee, a Grunt's body sailing over their heads as they let bullets tear through the same bewildered Grunts. A trio of Jackals far to the front of Striker team flew sky-high as a cloud of dust and fire rose from the ground. A pile of Grunts' dead bodies began to form in front of Team Striker. It was a sickening sight to behold as the enemy just landed on one another in death.
After a few seconds the Grunts began to re-group as an Elite Commander ran onto the scene of the battle. There was no isolated place to take cover in against such a large amount of Grunts on the now blood-soiled battlefield. Everywhere Wolfgang looked, Grunts were present. He never thought of this battle as challenging, because truly it wasn't. It was a slaughterhouse for the Covenant. But the fact remained, there was no cover because the enemy was everywhere. Wolfgang and his teammates heard the distinct, low barks of an Elite giving orders to his troops. Between two barracks stood Team Striker and about forty to fifty of the enemy Covenant. Wolfgang yelled to Striker-Two, "I need you to get against that wall over there on the right," as he pointed with his fingers to the barracks' wall. Wolfgang turned to Striker-Three on his left and shouted, "And I need you against that wall," pointing to the opposite barracks. Striker-Two and -Three both lifted off their feet and made a mad dash for their newly assigned positions, both of them crouching with their assault rifles in their hands, fully loaded, watching the Covenant group into their battle formation. "Rifles, I need you to start picking off any stray Elites, and definitely the Elite Commander in front of us," Wolfgang sputtered over the open comm-channel as the first few rounds of plasma fire began coming his way. Only half of those Covenant shots were any good, and he easily avoided those with his quick footwork. "Alright, team! Grenades no--" a distant roar that was growing everpresently louder cut through the air between the Covenant and Team Striker as faint whistles were heard, growing closer, and closer till finally the ground the Covenant troops were standing on was turned over. The squealing of Grunts in a frayed panic and the low, gurgling yell of an angered Elite were heard immediately after and were just as soon extinguished by another two explosions lifting the Covenant into the air while pushing other enemy troops farther into the ground.
The terrified Covenant soldiers held down their triggers as they met death, releasing plasma bursts everywhere. One of the stray shots hit Striker-Two in his chest, erupting in a flame of jade, but barely scratched through his shield. Corpses flew over fresh ones as rubble and dirt landed on the fallen warriors of the Covenant. The bodies of Jackals were strewn about over an Elite, and the blood of all the Covenant were splattered everywhere, some of it on Team Striker's camo and armor. The distant roar was now directly behind Wolfgang and his team. Team Striker looked over their shoulders to see the Pelican dropship that just saved them from wasting all their munitions. Over a new communications channel came the words, "Ready to move out when you are." Wolfgang scanned the hills surrounding the valley for Gwydion and Jehkoh as well as any left over Covenant units. A minute later the two snipers arrived at the Pelican dropship, hopping in with their large cotton blankets wrapped up, each blanket carrying a sniper rifle and other armaments of their user's choice. Wolfgang held his MA6C Assault Rifle up to his shoulder, looking to his left and right continuously as Striker-Two and -Three boarded the Pelican. With no sign of the enemy left and everyone on board, Wolfgang climbed into the Pelican, ready for liftoff.