Finishing what you started, Part Two
Posted By: LeAtHeRnEcK<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 30 March 2002, 7:31 pm
İİİİİ"So, the new SPARTANs weren't killed when the planet was glassed. I had hoped for this," asked John, impressed by his new squad.
İİİİİ"We had them underground, in the old titanium mines - the same place you were at the end of your training," said Dr. Halsey."Have they ever seen live combat? Or are they fresh out of training?"
İİİİİ"None of them have ever come in contact with a Covenant soldier. However, they are all well versed in their tactics, and their weaknesses. They have been in ten years of training, as opposed to your eight. Those extra years were dedicated to teaching them the most effective ways to fight the Covenant. However, as you know, a classroom education doesn't mean anything until they learn how to use it on the battlefield. That's why we've put you in command of this group."
İİİİİ"Thank you, Doctor."
İİİİİThe Master Chief was worried about working with this new group of soldiers. When he was in command of his original group of SPARTANs, it was after he had trained with them for eight years. He knew what his men were thinking, and they knew what he was thinking. It wouldn't be like that with this new group. At least not for a while.
İİİİİ"Oh, and Master Chief, we have a few more people that you would like to see. Except they won't need an introduction."
İİİİİJohn saw 3 figures jogging towards him, all in MJOLINR armor. They stopped a few feet in front of him, and removed their helmets. Kelly, Fred, and Sam.
İİİİİ"Kelly and Fred were on Reach when it was glassed. However, they were in the titanium mines fighting a group of Covenant when the plasma attacks came raining down. Sam, as you should recall, was with on your mission to destroy the Circumference's navigation database. You should also recall that he was sent off into space by an explosion. 36 hours after that, when the dust had settled, he was found and picked up by a passing frigate. So here is your new squad: 3 original SPARTAN IIs (four including yourself), and 64 new SPARTAN IIs."
İİİİİ"How did so many of them survive the augmentation process, Doctor?"
İİİİİ"We studied the members of your squad who died to find out what went wrong. After picking out the most predominant factors, we worked hard to eliminate them, or find a way around them. The second time around, we only lost 6 in the process. Is there anything else you would like to know?"
İİİİİ"Actually, there is. Is Chief Mendez around?"
İİİİİ"I'm sorry John. After Reach came under attack he was sent to an alternate facility to set up camp for the next group of SPARTANs."
İİİİİJohn had a look of disappointment come over his face, but he quickly pushed it away.
İİİİİ"I need time to work with my squad before we go into combat. Where can I do this?"
İİİİİ"We had been anticipating this. We have a 60 acre combat area already set up. It is a mixture of forest and open fields. On that battlefield we have 6 full platoons of ODSTs ready for you to fight."
İİİİİ"Does my entire squad have the same MJOLINR that I have? With an AI?"
İİİİİ"Yes, they are all equipped with the same battlesuit as you. And they all have AIs. However, none of them are equipped with 'smart' AIs. Their AIs are all programmed for combat. On the battlefield, you would never know the difference between Cortana and one of these combat AIs. However, off the battlefield they are basically useless. Their only other use is as a computer specialist."
İİİİİWith this, the Chief gave these orders to his men:
İİİİİ"Meet me in the weapons locker at 1530 hours. We'll move out at 1600."
At 1530, in the weapons locker:
İİİİİ"Alright, there are 71 of us total. 4 are Original SPARTANs, who will each be in command of a squad. I'll be in command of Alpha, Kelly will lead Delta, Fred, you have Epsilon, and Sam has Omega. How you three decide to divide up your squad is up to you. There will be 16 men in each squad, plus the leader. Leaders: Break up now, and organize your squad," commanded John.
İİİİİAll of the SPARTANs then went to their assigned locations, and their leaders began to give instructions.
İİİİİ"OK, I don't know you, and you don't know me. So, to get off on the right foot, we're all going to introduce ourselves. I'm John-117."
İİİİİThe members of his squad, all 10 years his junior, went through and introduced themselves. Scott, Kat, Lynne, Ian, Jeff, Jared, Terence, Ashley, Jake, Nick, Stephanie, Pete, Tim, Laura, Danielle, and Adam.
İİİİİ"Who here can snipe?"
İİİİİScott and Tim raised their hands.
İİİİİ"OK, you two will take positions on our right and left flanks, and snipe anybody trying to get around us, trying to flank us, or any of their snipers. You will be referred to as Black team."
İİİİİ"Any heavy weapons experts?"
İİİİİLynne and Terence volunteered for the job.
İİİİİ"Each of you arm yourselves with a Jackhammer launcher and a SPNKr, and as much ammo for each as you can possibly carry. If they are in any type of vehicles, take them out. Your team color will be Brown. Understood?"
İİİİİ"Yes, sir!" they each yelled.
İİİİİ"Who is the fastest here?"
İİİİİKat raised her hand. Her figure and the way she conducted herself reminded John of Kelly. He just hoped that she could do the job as well as Kelly.
İİİİİ"You will be our scout. Stream the battlefield recording back to me, over the secure VidCOM channel, have your AI and my AI, Cortana, discuss a new encryption scheme they can use, so if the ODSTs are monitoring the channel, they won't be able to descramble it. Your team designation will be Grey."
İİİİİ"The rest of you are going to be broken up into three teams: Blue, Red, and Green. I will be Blue-One. Blue-Two, Three, and Four are Jeff, Jared, and Ashley, respectively. Red-One, Two, Three, and Four is Ian, Laura, Jake, and Nick. Green-One, Two, Three, and Four are Stephanie, Pete, Danielle, and Adam. Understood?'
İİİİİAs one, they all said "Yes, Sir!"
İİİİİ"Here's how it's gonna work: Blue and Red teams will mount a frontal assault on whatever we get. Engage in guerilla warfare tactics, as we are badly outnumbered. Green team will try and flank the enemy. Blue, Red, Green, and Black will all use silenced weapons. Black will carry the S2 AM Sniper Rifle. It's a large battle area, so use the longest range combination possible. Blue, Red, and Green, we'll be carrying MA5Bs using shredder rounds, with the GL4C grenade launcher attachment, supplemented by the M6D, using high explosive shells. Grey, you'll have a silenced MA2B. Everybody will also carry four fragmentation grenades on their belts. If any specific team is pinned down by suppressing fire, and we all know that's what the ODSTs are good for, call for sniper backup, or have a separate team flank the ODSTs. Brown: Once again, you have vehicles. Also, if you see any large group of them, don't be afraid to throw in a rocket or two. As we all know, we were trained to be stealthy, so do what you know. Stay in the shadows. If you move slowly, they can't pick you up on their motion trackers. Try not to move through open areas, unless absolutely necessary. Any questions? Good. Let's move out."
İİİİİAnd with that, the SPARTANs moved out of the weapons locker, and to the Extended Pelican waiting for them. While on board, John, Kelly, Fred, and Sam met up and discussed strategy. They all had their squads arranged similarly, with a few variations. It was decided that Omega would flank, while Delta and Epsilon moved in from the sides. Alpha squad would attack from the front.
İİİİİWhen the dropship landed, they began taking sniper fire immediately. However, the SPARTANs found cover quickly, and the three ODSTs who had been sniping them were taken out with ease.
İİİİİThe blue team of Alpha squad, led by John, was in a staggered formation, with Jared as the scout, 50 meters ahead of the rest. Brown-Two called down to Blue-One, and alerted him that 150 meters to his left flank was a team of ODSTs. Brown-Two said it didn't look like they were aware of the SPARTAN's presence, but advised that they dispatch of them, because they were moving fairly quickly, and they could possibly intercept Blue team.
İİİİİ"I would take them out, but I don't have a clear shot through the foliage. I'm only able to pick them up on my scope with thermal imaging."
İİİİİ"Alright Brown-Two. How many do you count?"
İİİİİ"Let's see... one, two... eleven. There's eleven of them. They're in a two by two formation, with a scout 30 meters ahead of the rest. The two rear guards are 20 meters behind the rest. They're all using standard MA5Bs, no silencers. If they fire, people will hear. So I'd suggest taking them out before they get a shot off."
İİİİİAnd with that, John ordered Blue-Four to take out the two rear guards, while he and Blue-Two took out the rest of the main group.
İİİİİ"Brown-Two, their scout is approaching a clearing. Can you take him out when he gets there?"
İİİİİ"As soon as he sets foot into the clear, he's done."
İİİİİ"Blue team: On my mark, attack the enemy... mark!"
İİİİİBlue-One, Blue-Two, and Blue-Four all leaped into action. Ashley took out the two rear guars with two coughs of the MA5B to the back of the neck. Blue-Two started at the back of the pack, while the Master Chief started at the front. John took six shots, and had six kills. Jeff took 18, and had two kills.
İİİİİ"I wanted to make sure they were dead, Chief," joked Jeff.
İİİİİ"Soldier, this is a battlefield, not a comedy club. We're not here to make jokes. We're here to win battles. If you want to be funny, turn in your armor and become a comedian. If you want to kill aliens, stay. But whatever you do, don't mess up."
İİİİİBlue-Four didn't speak unless absolutely necessary for the rest of the mission. John watched as the scout hit the ground, with a bullet to the back of the head courtesy of Brown-Two.
İİİİİBlue team proceeded through the forest, until they were interrupted by Kat:
İİİİİ"Master Chief! You need to see this! Look at what I'm seeing!"
İİİİİJohn thought that he wanted to switch to the streaming video, and it immediately showed up on his HUD. What he saw sent a surge of fear throughout his entire body. The ODSTs had a huge arsenal of heavy artillery. The Chief counted a half-dozen Scorpion tanks, 15 Warthogs, and dozens of chain guns, set up to guard the perimeter. What John could not see were the 4 Mosquito helicopters in the center. Each Mosquito was armed with three 50mm chainguns, and 16 air-to-surface rockets.
İİİİİJohn opened a COM channel to all the SPARTANs, and delivered the following message:
İİİİİ"This is Alpha Blue-One. All SPARTANs are to meet at rally point gamma in 15 minutes. Out."
İİİİİWhen all the SPARTANs had arrived, John streamed to them what Kat's battlefield recorder had captured. If John could see their faces, he was sure that there would be a look of astonishment on them.
İİİİİ"Obviously, our strategy is going to change now. We will no longer be working as four separate groups. We will work as one squad, in four teams. Alpha is now Blue, Delta is Red, Epsilon is Green, and Omega is Black. Our 8 best snipers will set up around their position, and take out as many people as possible once the op starts. If you see someone in a tank, or trying to get in a tank, send them to meet their maker. The same goes for the Warthogs. We have 8 SPNKrs and 8 Jackhammers. All the second generation SPARTANs on Red team will be assigned one or the other. Your mission will be to take out any vehicles you see moving. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT shoot at any vehicle that isn't in motion. If at all possible, I'd like to be able to take some of them and use them to our advantage. Green team, you're going to be in charge of taking out perimeter defenses. If possible, just disable the fire control computer. I'd also like to be able to use some of these chainguns, if we can. These weapon emplacements have motion and heat sensors, so enable your temperature masking, and move slowly. If they begin to fire on you, shoot out their ammo. Black team, you are to set up a one quarter kilometer perimeter, because we all know that as soon as these ODSTs come under attack, they're going to call in as much backup as possible. As soon as we can, we'll augment your perimeter with these chainguns. Blue team, we'll be mounting an assault on the vehicles. Any vehicle you see that isn't manned by an ODST or another SPARTAN, you are to take. In the case of the Warthog, plug your AI into its console, and let it drive. You are to then hop onto the back, and pump as much lead as you can into anything that isn't SPARTAN. If you're manning a tank, use only the chaingun on it, if at all possible. But don't hesitate to blow shit up if you need to. The assault and the sniper portions of the op will commence on my mark. Any questions? Good. Move out!"
İİİİİJohn waited until everybody was in position, and surveyed the situation. There were at least 300 Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, the best troops in the UNSC, aside from the SPARTANs, 6 Scorpions, and the Warthogs. A count of the chainguns revealed 68 set up along the perimeter. "Great," John thought, "one for each of us." He opened up a COM channel, and counted down.
İİİİİBlue team all sprinted towards the vehicles. There were three Warthogs, unattended, that were all picked up quickly by the SPARTANs. Lynne, Terence, and Adam all took out their AIs, and plugged them into the console. Lynne and Adam drove near the SPARTANs, providing suppressing fire, while Terence took it upon himself to mow down every single ODST he saw, so his AI drove him around the vehicle area, with his chaingun roaring. Then it came: two Mosquito helos flanked the SPARTANs, with their chainguns blazing. Each hit of the 50mm ammo reduced their shields by about one quarter. While Blue team dove for cover, Blue Leader called for support.
İİİİİ"If they're relatively low to the ground, put slugs into their heads! Those things can take a hell of a beating, so even if they land hard, we may be able to use them. If they're at a high altitude, it means they're going to fire their rockets; Red team, blow them out of the sky!"
İİİİİJohn figured that while the helos were in the air, with bullets flying everywhere, it might distract the ODSTs enough to steal another few vehicles.
İİİİİ"Kat! While those Mosquitoes are still in the air, I need you to go make a run for a Scorpion. Hopefully there will be some confusion, and you might be able to slip in."
İİİİİJohn switched COM channels, and called his snipers.
İİİİİ"You need to provide some cover for Kat. If she can make her way over to a Scorpion, we can have some heavy artillery of our own. Pave the way for her."
İİİİİJohn flipped back to the Blue team COM channel, and barked "Go Kat, go!" He watched as she dashed to the nearest Scorpion, and bullets pinged off her shield. She finally got in, as started firing away with the chain gun. John watched as a group of ODSTs all hit the ground at the same time.
İİİİİ"I got it! Where should I go with it?"
İİİİİ"Back behind us. Try to shoot down a Mosquito or two while you're at it!"
İİİİİTerence pulled up next to John, shouting "Get in! Get in!" John hopped into the passenger seat, and Terence filled him in.
İİİİİ"Chief... there's more Mosquitoes, and more unguarded Scorpions! I figured you and I could head over there, and pick up those Scorpions, and plug our AIs into the Mosquitoes."
İİİİİ"Sounds good. Have your AI get us over there as quick as it can. Cortana, I want you and the other AI to take down those two Mosquitoes still in the air. Then have Terence's AI fly to 1500 feet and act as a satellite. I want you to come back down; I need you here, you're the only smart AI we have."
İİİİİ"Yes, Chief. I know you can't do it without me."
İİİİİJohn decided to ignore her remark and carried on with his mission. Just then, a Mosquito that was hovering about 5 meters in the air, 15 meters away, hit the ground. The ODST was hunched forward, with blood streaming from his neck. John rushed over, checked to see it was in good running condition, and proceeded to pull the bloody ODST from the cockpit; he had a bullet hole straight through where two parts of his armor meets. John instructed Blue-Eight to pilot the craft.
İİİİİ"Terence, what's the name of your AI?"
İİİİİ"Chanza," replied Terence.
İİİİİ"Chanza, could you stream the video from the Mosquito's onboard camera to my HUD? Use the same encryption scheme that Kat's AI used to stream her battlefield recording to me," ordered the Chief.
İİİİİ"In a second. I need to download the encryption information from Cortana... done. Commencing the stream now."
İİİİİJohn surveyed what was happening, and then saw what he was looking for. The ODSTs were massing an assault force with their remaining vehicles and all the soldiers in the area behind the structure in the middle. He counted 3 Scorpions, 13 Warthogs, and the last remaining Mosquito. There were at least 200 soldiers, all armed with MA5Bs and frag grenades. He forwarded the recording to all the other Blue team SPARTANs, along with Red and his snipers.
İİİİİ"Once again, we're outmanned and outgunned. However, we're going to level the playing field. Blue-Eight, take down their Mosquito. Snipers, find anybody in a Warthog, and turn his uniform red. Red team, blow up those tanks. Don't worry about minimizing damage; in fact, maximize it. We don't want anybody else to decide to climb in. Blue team, we'll be mounting an assault on their ground troops. There's 200 of them, and 17 of us. Use your grenades liberally. Blue-Ten, I need you to get into that other Mosquito. Use the chainguns on the troops. We also have three Scorpions. Blues Twelve, Thirteen, and Fifteen will man those. Your job will be to supplement Red team in their anti-tank mission. After the enemy tanks have been eliminated, go onto the troops. Be careful using rockets against them, because the Scorpion's 90mm rockets cause a huge amount of splash damage, and we'll be in there. The remaining Blues will"
İİİİİ"Chief, you're going to want to see this," chirped Chanza, "I'll stream it to your HUD again."
İİİİİJohn's visor once again showed him an aerial view of the battleground. Chanza highlighted a region one eighth of a kilometer outside of the perimeter Black team had set up. It showed a platoon of ODSTs marching towards the SPARTAN's position double time.
İİİİİ"Black-One, there is a platoon of enemy troops approaching your position quickly. They are currently one eighth of a kilometer from you, and closing. I recommend fortifying your defenses over there with some SPARTANs from the other side, and extra chain guns," radioed the Master Chief.
İİİİİ"Yes, sir!" replied Black-One.
İİİİİJohn switched his COM channel back to the one he was previously on, and continued his briefing.
İİİİİ"As I was saying, the rest of Blue team will be responsible for mopping up the troops. Blue-Three and Blue-Seven, you'll each man one of our Warthogs. Plug your AI into the dashboard, and get the lead into the air. Any questions? Good. Let's roll!"
İİİİİAt that moment, Blue-Eight released an array of rockets towards the enemy Mosquito. As they impacted, there was a ball of fire in the sky that looked like a nuclear explosion. 6 of the ODST Warthogs came charging towards the SPARTANs, with their chainguns rattling away. John primed a grenade, held it for a second and a half, and tossed it into the gunner's area of the lead Warthog. As soon as it impacted, it blew, sending the soldiers and the Warthog straight up into the air, landing on the Warthog to its right flank. Flashes came from the muzzles of each of Blue team's silenced MA5Bs, and ODSTs began littering the battlefield. From first sighting to last death, it took 12 seconds flat for the SPARTANs to dispatch of the 6 Warthogs charging at them. That left 7 Warthogs and 3 Scorpions in the back. John opened a COM channel to all the SPARTANs, with the exception of Black team.
İİİİİ"Throw everything you have at them now! All rockets, grenades, all the Scorpion firepower, and the Mosquitoes! Take as much out as you can now, people and vehicles. Shoot for 15 seconds, then cease fire. At that point, the Blue team members who are on foot and in the Warthogs will advance, and take out the rest of them. After the fifteen seconds of heavy artillery, the Mosquitoes are to go and reinforce Black team on the perimeter. Start now!"
İİİİİFor fifteen seconds, it seemed as if the Covenant were attacking Reach again. The temperature soared, and the MJOLINR's visor sunshade automatically went to full darkness, but even with that the brightness was too much to handle. The noise was deafening inside the MJOLINR, and John wondered what it sounded like outside, with no protection.
İİİİİThe explosions ceased, and just as the remaining ODSTs thought that it was over, 9 SPARTANs charged their position, along with two Warthogs. In another minute, everything was dead.
İİİİİ"Blue team! Triple time it over to Black's position, I'm sure they'll be glad to have the help stopping the advancing ODSTs. Red team, double time it down here to pick up any ordinance you can use for your launchers."
İİİİİBy the time they got there, it was over.
İİİİİ"Chanza, how it is looking up there?"
İİİİİ"All clear. That was the last of the ODSTs. Nice work, may I add," replied the combat AI.
İİİİİJohn knew that the end of a battle was always the most dangerous. "Don't let your guard down," he reminded his SPARTANs. Then he heard a sound he dreaded: The howling of Banshees in the distance.
İİİİİ"Chanza, where are those Banshees?!"
İİİİİ"They're approaching from heading 085. They just took off, they must've been hidden somewhere."
İİİİİ"How many are there?"
İİİİİ"Two dozen. It seems that they've been collecting these from battlefields for some time."
İİİİİJohn reopened the COM channel to all of his forces. "Here's what we're going to do: Red team, I hope you collected a lot of rockets. Take down what you can. Snipers: If a Banshee is low to the ground, and isn't directly over any of us, snipe out the pilot. Any SPARTAN that has a Banshee near him that isn't on fire is to take it, and use it against the remaining Banshees. Just remember to amplify your "Friendly" marker. Any ground forces, shoot out the anti-gravity pods on the outsides of their wings. And finally, all Mosquitoes except Chanza will engage the Banshees. Chanza, how long until they're close enough for use to engage?"
İİİİİ"SPARTANs get ready!"
İİİİİAs soon as John saw the first Banshee, he opened fire on it with his pistol. He lodged two high explosive rounds into the anti-gravity pod on the left wing. It started to barrel roll out of control, and hit the ground, exploding. The first round of rockets was now closing on the Banshees. Six impacted and 6 Banshees hit the ground. A low flying Banshee was headed straight for John - he started to run, but the Banshee was too fast. All of a sudden, the howling behind him stopped. He turned, and the Banshee was lying on the ground. One of the snipers had taken out the pilot; John opened the cockpit up, pulled out the pilot, and got in. The cockpit automatically closed over him, and he took off. He then remembered to amplify his "Friendly" signal, because getting shot down by his own troops would be at the least embarrassing. There were two Banshees flying in close formation in front of him, so he pulled the trigger on his fuel rod gun, and they both barrel rolled in different directions before hitting the ground. Ten Banshees accounted for, 14 to go. The second salvo of rockets took to the air, with seven of them finding their targets. Only seven Banshees left. Snipers found their mark on four more, and those four were occupied by SPARTANs relatively quickly. One of the friendly Banshees began firing on an enemy Banshee, which John also began to fire on. It hit the ground in flames, nearly hitting Kat, but her amazing quickness saved her. From over a ridge a few hundred meters from John, the two Mosquitoes popped up, and launched their rockets at the remaining Banshees, ending the conflict.
İİİİİ"All SPARTANs return to the dropship! Triple time it! All captured air units are to have AIs piloting them, and in formation around the dropship, providing cover from enemy fire! Our destination is back at base, stay with us until we have landed and exited the dropship. At that time, you are to land, and be extracted from the vehicles. Move out!"