Sea of Steel: Part Two
Posted By: Omniscient<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 28 July 2001, 3:22 am
Location: Aircraft Carrier Alcatraz, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
The massive nuclear-powered, jet-propelled Alcatraz stormed its way through the rough waters of the Pacific, leaving behind it a wake of mystery. Though there had been no mention of the IT device, many of the crew were aware that something out of the ordinary was going on. First, they had taken on two full extra compliments of highly trained seals from other ships in the area. Second, all the ships weapons had undergone repairs and massive upgrades, and the flight deck was stocked full of fighters and drop ships. Most people just figured they were preparing for the Covenant invasion, but only a few people on board knew of what was really going on. Of course, two were General Patrick Hall and the captain, but the commanders of each seal team had also been informed and ordered to prepare their men for battle, without giving any specifics.
The sailors were right about one thing: they were preparing to conduct battle against the Covenant. But their battle would not be fought on Earth, and that is what they had no clue of. And something only Patrick knew, was that in about one hour, Alcatraz would IT out, and be instantly replaced by the Allison, which would IT in to Alcatraz' original position straight from the assembly line. There was no crew on board the Allison, however. This was done to reduce the amount of human casualties should the IT device fail. The Allison was merely a preprogrammed robot to fool the long-range Covenant scanners.
It was five in the morning, time to wake up. Patrick rubbed his palm against his cheek and felt the unwelcome scratch of a night's worth of new stubble. Yawning, he pushed himself up, and then let himself down again, slowly. And then up again. Soon he did fifty pushups, and then finally rolled out of bed.
The bedroom and the bathroom were one-in-the-same, as all quarters were in this "space-efficient" ship, and Patrick stood up to find himself face to face with his reflection in the dingy mirror. He grabbed the washcloth from the rack and sprayed some water on it from the squeaky faucet. Likewise, after he had thoroughly soaked the washcloth, the water would not turn off completely, and it was left dripping, much to Patrick's annoyance.
After dressing into his uniform, he exited his quarters into the narrow, metal hallway. On his way to the bridge, he squeezed past several sailors who were rushing to get back to their quarters. He stopped one of them, and asked him, "Where are you going, sailor?"
"To my quarters, sir. We've been ordered to dress for battle. Ha, it must be a drill. They think we're stupid. No offense, Sir, but the Covenant fleet is still a week away."
"Yeah, must be. Go get dressed." The sailor ran off and skidded around the corner. I remember those days, Patrick thought. If only they knew what was coming. Patrick continued up to the bridge, where he met the captain who greeted him with a salute.
"How you doing this morning, captain?"
"Very well, sir. A good day for a cruise. How are you, sir?"
"Very well indeed. Mind if I have a seat?"
"No, go right ahead." After a pause, he continued. "Is IT soon?"
"I don't know what you are talking about captain. Does this thing have seat belts?" Patrick smiled a little. The captain knew the time was near, and he had ordered his men to dress in battle gear not a minute too soon. Of course, the captain figured that the reason they were dressing for battle was because they were going to have to fight upon arrival. The real reason was that Patrick wanted all men below decks. He had not told the captain this, but if anyone was left on deck, they may suffer from excessive shock when they made the IT jump. Patrick looked liked he was comfortable enough, sitting in one of control seats looking out the windows in the direction the ship was facing. "Close the windows," he ordered. The captained flipped a switch, and the windows slid closed. They had already stopped moving, an order Patrick had told the captain to give earlier. They weren't sure if IT would work while the ship was in motion, and if it did, they weren't even sure that the ship would land in water once on Halo. So it was a good idea to have the main engines off.
The Alcatraz continued to rock slowly side to side in the great ocean, very casually. So casually, in fact, that the Covenant fleet had no idea that the ship in the position of the Alcatraz on their scanner grid was now actually the unmanned Allison. After another hour of sitting still in the water, she started up her engines and drove off on a pre-plotted course. The Alcatraz had successfully left Earth via Instantaneous Transportation. But had it arrived on Halo?
A message flashed across the computer screen in the EUD Roswell headquarters: IT IS SUCCESSFUL. NO FURTHER COM.
The officer on duty, one of the men who had been seated around the table when Patrick was originally chosen EUD leader, jumped out of his seat. His coffee sloshed over his lap, but he did not notice.
"Hot damn!" he exclaimed. "I didn't even know it was time yet!" He couldn't help but chuckle to himself a little. It was rather amazing. He wished he could see the look on the sailor's faces when, all of a sudden, they appeared somewhere else. Although, they were probably all below deck when it happened, if they timed it right, he thought. Hot damn! We actually did it. Now go kick some Covenant ass!
Alcatraz had made it. The men would be briefed. They would join up with the human marines already present there, and the search for Halo's secret would begin.