United Nations Space Command Priority Transmission 09872H-98
Encryption Code: Red
Public Key: N/A
From: Codename: VIPER
To: Codename: SCALPEL
Subject: PROGRESS REPORT/SPECTER UNIT RHO
Classification: EYES ONLY TOP SECRET (SECTION III X-RAY DIRECTIVE)
/file extraction-reconstitution complete/
We've found a candidate suitable for the final slot on Specter team Rho, a man by the name of Takeda Yoshinaga. I've included his profile for you. We need conformation of his suitability for the job and we can officially form the team. After that, the only thing that remains is your approval and we can activate the team. Don't worry, I've found good people for these teams and this final candidate is no exception.
Profile: Takeda Yoshinaga
At 28 years of age, Takeda Yoshinaga is a new arrival to ONI but is well acquainted with war. He has spent ten years in the Marines and has a surplus of experience against the Covenant. He is in excellent physical shape and is mentally stable. He does not fear dying and has some notion of honor and a "good death" that apparently stems from his Japanese ancestry. He lives by the saying "There are many ways to die, but few ways to die well." A student of Bushido and numerous martial arts, he had a gift that many others did not have when he joined the Marines at the age of 18. ONI interviews with his comrades in the Marines revealed many things about his personality and various traits that I believe make him perfect for this job.
His friends have found him on many occasions sitting quietly on his cot, not moving, apparently meditating. He tries to achieve a "stillness of his soul" which has seemingly transferred to his behavior on the battlefield. He is rock solid under stressful combat conditions and has a skill with assault rifles that is rare. He also has a knack for stealth. His comrades related to ONI interviewers many times in which Takeda snuck through camp, stealing extra food and supplies for his friends without ever getting caught, by guards or even surveillance cameras. An oddity is that he keeps a pair of ancient swords with him, what seems to be a relic of his ancestors' past. ONI research has identified them as swords identical to those used by the Samurai in the ancient days of Earth. Apparently they were given to him as an inheritance from his father before he died.
He is confident in his abilities, but understands that he is quite human and is not invincible. My conclusion is that he is perfect for the job and I highly recommend him for the Specter project. He will round out Specter Team Rho well.
Press ENTER to continue.
0600 Hours, July 18, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
ONI Prowler Ship Defiance,
Inbound approach vector to Sigma Octanus IV
Takeda Yoshinaga sat in the crew compartment of the ONI prowler ship, readying his equipment for the mission to come. Around him sat the other three members of Specter Team Rho. To his right sat David Wolff, the team leader. To his left sat Chris Leyda. On the deck in front of a myriad of parts for his customizable S2 AM sniper rifle, was Jarred Baldwin, the team sniper. Since the team had been officially activated several months ago, Specter Unit Rho had been training almost constantly in order to get the unit operating smoothly as most of the team did not know each other. With time, that had changed.
Takeda knew that Jarred was withdrawn, always watching from the shadows, offering his bit here and there but never really engaging in conversation. David was strong and determined. He was the perfect leader. Chris was the social one. He and Takeda had become good friends over the course of their training. As for Takeda, he was the odd one in the group. The others were slightly amused at his insistence on taking his Samurai swords, his katana and wakazashi, with him to every place they had been deployed. Despite regulations, he somehow managed to smuggle them into the barracks every time. He never brought them on missions however. They just got in the way.
Finished reassembling his MA2B Assault Rifle, the collapsed version of the standard MA5B Assault Rifle, he moved on to his M6D SD pistol. The pistol packed quite a punch, accepting 12-round extended magazines of 12.7mm semi-armor-piercing, high explosive rounds. The SD version served their purposes better with a flash/sound suppressor. The MA2B Assault Rifle also was an essential part of their arsenal. It was light and compact while still maintaining accuracy and also could be fitted with a flash/sound suppressor as well as a scope. They would need all of these things. Their unit's purpose required such equipment.
Specter Units were designed by ONI to be used for covert operations. Falling under NavSpecWep, Specter teams were assassins, scouts, infiltrators, hackers, and soldiers all in one. Newly formed to gather intelligence on the Covenant threat, Specter teams are efficient and deadly. Colonel Ackerson himself thought up the concept of Specter teams. Though Specter Units are effective, they cannot match the incredible fighting record of the Spartans, much to Colonel Ackerson's chagrin.
Chris spoke up, "Did you guys see the battle footage of Captain Keyes taking down those Covenant ships?"
Takeda had seen the footage. A Covenant task force, consisting of a destroyer, two frigates and an assault carrier, had entered the Sigma Octanus system to launch an attack. Displaying great skill, a lot of luck, or a combination of both, Captain Jacob Keyes had single-handedly annihilated the task force and the survivors had fled out system. But before they left, the Covenant had launched hundreds of dropships and now Covenant troops had landed planet side on Sigma Octanus IV. They had taken the city of Cote d'Azur and were making forays into the surrounding territory. Takeda was confident that they would be stopped. General Kits and his Marines were standing between the Covenant and the city of Luc. He didn't expect the Covenant to last very long.
But he knew that the Covenant would be back with reinforcements. Fleeing from battle was not a characteristic common to Covenant commanders. They would be back, and with a vengeance. And that was why Admiral Stanforth had assembled the fleet here in the Sigma Octanus system. When the Covenant returned, there would be a nasty little surprise waiting for them.
"Yeah, I've seen the footage. That was some fancy maneuvering." Takeda answered.
"I don't think that's ever been done before." Chris continued.
"No Leyda, I don't suspect it has." David Wolff, the team leader said.
Their mission was simple. They were to land on Sigma Octanus IV. They were to observe the Covenant forces and try to identify new species of Covenant, how they fought, and what their weaknesses were, if possible. They were to investigate the possibility of a Covenant warrior race of field commanders. After identifying and confirming such commanders they were to assassinate them if possible. And to do that, they were going to go straight into the lions' den: Cote d'Azur. The city was swarming with Covenant, making it the ideal place to accomplish their mission. ONI wanted documentation confirming rumors of a new alien race, and the Specters were the perfect force to accomplish that.
Takeda stood and started pulling on his armor. It was all black, as befitted the armor of a stealth unit. It wasn't really armor in the context of the Spartans' MJOLNIR armor, as it was much lighter and weaker. It was meant to give its wearer the best combination of maneuverability, stealth, and strength that was possible. It included a helmet that had night and thermal vision abilities.
He gathered his weapons, ammo and his combat knife and slung them in the appropriate places. He slung his MA2B over his back and slid on his helmet. He was testing the various functions of the helmet. He tested night vision and thermal vision and confirmed that they were working properly. Around him, the other team members were doing the same. Everything was in order. They were ready. The battle of Sigma Octanus IV had already begun. Now it was time to make their entrance.
0800 Hours, July 18, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sigma Octanus IV, jungles outside of C'te d'Azur
The Marine firebases were destroyed. It was hopeless. Takeda had seen it with his own eyes. He had seen hundreds of dead and dying Marines lying helpless in the mud as the Covenant patrols wandered around the killing zones, finishing off the wounded. Early that morning, the Covenant had launched a series of massive assaults on the firebases surrounding Cote d'Azur. Though taking heavy casualties, the Covenant had wiped out all the Marines in the surrounding area.
There was nothing the Specters could have done. They merely watched, gathering intelligence. They had discovered two new species of Covenant: the field commanders whose existence they were supposed to confirm and these armored behemoths that carried huge shields on their left arms that seemed as thick as starship battle plate. And they had watched, unable to do anything, as these new species had methodically annihilated the Marines.
Now they were on their way into Cote d'Azur. Once inside, they would gather intelligence on these new species up close and fulfill the next part of their mission: assassinate them.
It was slow going. The jungle foliage slowed them down considerably. They walked in a staggered line, with Chris taking point. Suddenly, Chris froze, then sank slowly into a crouch. He raised his left hand and tightened it into a fist, signaling the others to scatter. The team melted away into the foliage.
"Covenant patrol," Chris whispered over the comm. net, "They're coming straight for us."
"Hold your fire until my command. If it is a large patrol we leave it alone. If it's small, we take it out." David ordered.
Takeda unslung his MA2B Assault Rifle and slipped off the safety. He peered through the leaves of the plants that concealed him, looking for a sign of the enemy. Thermal vision would not help here. Everything was hot in the jungle. He had to rely on his eyes. Then, something moved. From behind a fern came one of the Covenant Grunts. He was the point man. The red-armored little alien sniffed the air, panning his needler back and forth. Satisfied that it was clear, he signaled for the rest of the patrol to move up. Five other Grunts stepped out of the foliage, followed by one of the field commanders, which Takeda had already nicknamed Elites. The Elite stood more than eight feet tall and wore shiny blue armor. He carried a plasma rifle. The patrol started to move forward.
Here was a chance to kill one of the commanders! Takeda readied himself for David's command. When the point Grunt had passed David's position, the order came.
Takeda sighted the nearest Grunt and pulled the trigger. There was a cough from his rifle as he fired a suppressed burst of 7.62mm armor-piercing bullets. The rounds blasted through the head of the Grunt, spattering light blue blood across the armor of the Elite. Three more coughs sounded from his teammates' concealed positions, the sounds barely audible over the sounds of the jungle and the rain. Three more Grunts yelped and gasped in pain as they died, collapsing all around the Elite.
The Elite froze for a second, then brought up his weapon as the point Grunt turned in confusion over what was happening. Takeda did not give the Grunt a chance to think things through as he fired another short burst into its chest and neck. Methane escaped from the ruptured breath mask of the Grunt's environmental suit as it clutched its neck, gripping the hole in the mask and the blood that poured from the wound. The Grunt would suffocate in a few moments as its small, weak lungs collapsed on themselves, but another burst of weapons fire from the shadows mercifully cut it down. All that was left was the Elite.
Cursing in its language, the Elite started firing blindly into the foliage with its plasma rifle. The superheated plasma struck trees, and branches and leaves, but none found the Specters. Takeda and the others Specters unleashed a barrage of full-automatic weapons fire at the Elite. The rounds hammered into it, but started bouncing off. It's got energy shields! Takeda thought. The Elite ducked and dodged, keeping up its plasma bombardment until his shields finally flickered and died. With nothing to stop them now, the 7.62 mm rounds tore through its armor and into its flesh, riddling its body. The Elite howled in pain, doubling over. Clutching its stomach, it crumpled to the ground.
Silence fell once again upon this section of the jungle. Takeda emerged from the trees and walked over to the Elite. It was still breathing. Dark purple blood stained its shiny blue armor, making it look dull and dark. The Elite coughed and blood oozed from its mouth. Takeda stared at it for a few minutes, then put his gun to its head, and pulled the trigger. More of the purple blood splashed across the leaves.
"Come on. We've got to move. We made too much noise and there are sure to be more Covenant in the area." David said.
Takeda slung the MA2B Assault Rifle across his back and joined the rest of team. They still had to sneak into Cote d'Azur. Things had been easy so far. They were about to get much more difficult.
To Be Continued