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A Very Johnson Christmas: A Halo Christmas Story
Posted By: kr142616<kr142616@aim.com>
Date: 26 December 2009, 6:46 am

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"We wish you a merry Christmas..."

Sergeant Pete Stacker adjusted the scope on his S2, peering through at the distant snow-covered treeline.

"We wish you a merry Christmas..."

Glad it snows this time of year on this world, he thought absentmindedly, snow crunching under him as he shifted his weight.

"We wish you a merry Christmas..."

About a 700 meters distant, Stacker spotted movement.

"And a happy..."

A lone Elite Major parted the treeline, its glistening crimson armor reminding Stacker of a Christmas ornament. He exhaled, tightened his finger on the trigger.

"New Year..."

A shot rang out, a thunderclap in the otherwise-peaceful valley, and Stacker cursed. He hadn't pulled the trigger.

"Sorry, Pete," a gruff voice crackled over the comm. "Gotta keep the score even."

"Johnson, you son of a bitch..." Stacker growled in his Southern twang. He closed the scope's cover and looked further down the valley to where the eyepiece in his HUD showed Staff Sergeant Avery J. Johnson hid. Just barely he could make out a white-clad figure waving.

"Besides, I like my song better. Maybe I'll sing it to you next time."

Stacker pushed himself up from his position, brushing the snow from his front and removing the netting from the Mongoose beside him. "'Tween that an' if you share one of them Sweet Williams, I might forgive you."

"Deal," Johnson replied, laughing. "Now let's move to the next valley."

"So Pete, got any kids back home?"

"Two," Stacker replied from beside Johnson, the two in a more traditional sniper/spotter setup. "One's six, other's ten." He'd managed to put together a video message for them during some downtime. He hated missing them, but he'd rather be out here missing them than missing...

"You?" Stacker asked, shaking his train of thought.

"Just the lady. Got a place back in Chicago. Neither of us are ever there, though, she travels as much as me." Johnson flashed his brilliant white smile behind the stub of a chewed cigar, winking.

"Right," Stacker said, nodding. "So you did end up getting with that ONI gal, huh?"

"That's classified, Pete," Johnson replied, winking again.

"Speakin' of that, you hear Buck bumped into his old ONI lady friend there?"

"That's not classified information," Johnson said. "Poor Gunny..."

"I feel worse for his boys, m'self." Stacker smiled. "We're out here playing hide and seek, and they're stuck with a pissed-off sarge on Christmas Eve."

"Well, the Gunny knows not to mess with my boys, he'll let 'em have their fun."

"Yeah, yeah," Stacker grumbled, his thoughts going out to his own boys back in Texas. They woulda loved this snow...

"Wish I could see the little gremlins..." Stacker mumbled.

"Don't worry, Covie's gonna be through here soon," Johnson answered. "Plenty for both of us."

"Meant my kids, dumbass." Stacker chuckled. "Speak of the devil, though. Count four little ones and a big guy, six hundred meters out." As he counted off, Stacker watched four Grunts emerge from the the treeline of the far side of the valley, an Elite Minor accompanying him.

"Roger that," Johnson said. "Looks like they're tryin'a find their boss." The staff sergeant barked out a quick laugh.

"If that's so, good luck finding his head." Stacker grinned. As much as he missed the kids, he was enjoying himself. Out here on Christmas Eve, doing the Lord's work protecting humanity, he thought. And getting paid for it.

"I'm sure they'll find the stain," Johnson quipped. From the corner of his eye, Stacker saw him looking intently through his scope. He still wore that grin, though. "Maybe a few skull fragments. Mandible or two. Now, whose turn is it?"

"Mine," Stacker answered, his crosshairs centered on the Elite's head. He scanned lower, settling on the rearmost Grunt. "But you were gonna sing me that song, weren't ya?"

"Right, right. I got the blue bastard, then." Johnson coughed, clearing his throat. Then, he began to sing:

"Oh, you better watch out! You might as well pout! Go ahead an' cry! I'm tellin' you why!"

Johnson glanced over at Pete, cigar still clamped between his silly smile.

"Av'ry's gonna make sure you die!"

The verse was punctuated once again by the thunderclap of an S2. Without waiting to check on whether Johnson had made his shot, Stacker fired. His first Grunt went down, its skull shattered, and in moments Stacker had moved on to the next in line. Both his and Johnson's second shots were within an instant of each other, and Stacker only waited the briefest of instances to see his round tear into the second Grunt.

The third Grunt never had a chance. Both the sergeant's rounds struck simultaneously, tearing the little bastard to pieces. The whole ordeal had lasted maybe five seconds.

There was a long silence as the valley settled back to its former peace, unmarred save for the remains of the Covenant patrol. Then Stacker turned to Johnson:

"You're right, your song is better," he said. "And on account of it being so good, I'll let you count that last kill yours."

"How gracious of you," Johnson chuckled.

"Now, we done here?" Stacker's thoughts went back to base, where Buck's Helljumpers had had a fire going and were roasting some wild animal they'd caught in the woods earlier. If the Gunny had calmed down, they might've even managed to find some bootleg booze. And there might be a little something from the family...

"Yeah, we'll call it a night." Johnson reached into a chest pocket, producing a fresh Sweet Williams and a lighter. He handed the former to Stacker, and lit his chewed stub with the former, puffing happily. "Merry Christmas, Pete."

"Merry Christmas, Johnson."

The staff sergeant took a long drag from his cigar and laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"I'm Jewish, Pete."