Sea of Steel: Part 8
Posted By: Omniscient<email@example.com>
Date: 15 August 2001, 9:32 PM
Location: Aircraft carrier Alcatraz, somewhere on Halo.
The Captain was sitting in the bridge with General Patrick Hall. They had not spoken very much since the seals had departed. They both had solemn looks on their faces, like something had happened that was unbelievable.
"Coffee?" the Captain asked, not even looking over to Patrick.
"Sure," said Patrick. The Captain stood up and walked over to the coffee machine in the back of the bridge. While he was pouring two cups, a message came through from Griffith.
"Go ahead, Griffith," said Patrick.
"Ar, hey thar matey. Mission successful. We met up with our marine comrades. We took zero casualties, but I'm afeared I can't say the same for the marines. We're returning to the ship. These boys need some new hardware bad."
"Roger. We'll send the drop ships to pick you up. But Griffith-"
"The Captain and I need to meet with you and the other commanders as soon as you get on board. And bring whoever the marine leader is, too. This is serious. Hall out." Patrick hung up the line and sat back in his chair with a long sigh. "I'll take that coffee now," he said to the Captain. The Captain brought it over and sat down in the chair next to him.
"I don't quite know how to break it to everyone, Patrick. I'm not sure that I even believe it myself," said the Captain.
"Neither am I, neither am I."
Location: Beach near aircraft carrier Alcatraz, somewhere on Halo.
The drop ships launched from the Alcatraz as Louis' men stepped out of the forest and onto the beach. No one even noticed the noise of the massive engines, as all the men were talking enthusiastically with the marines, asking all kinds of questions about Halo and how long they had been fighting. The marines were also asking about how the hell that big ass ship got here. Everyone was happy to see new faces, and willingly told of all their great adventures. The marines had also picked up some things from the Covenant. One thing, was how the Covenant told direction on this ring-world. It was divided into four sectors - North, South, East, and West - and each sector was divided into one hundred sections, and each section divided into one thousand grids. From the marines, the seals learned that they were near the center of sector W. Louis was talking with the marine commander as they walked up to the water. "Well, I guess I oughta thank you for helping me out back there," said the marine. Then he looked out and noticed the ship. "Holy crap-that thing can fly?"
"Ha, not exactly. Don't worry, everything will be explained once we get you and your men on board. Oh, and you're welcome. I'm sorry about the casualties you took. Your men were brave to tough it out this long. It's going to be a pleasure to work with your team." Louis knelt down and splashed some water from the lake onto his face. It tingled. The drop ships had reached the beach and were slowly lowering to the beach. It took five minutes for everyone to load up, and then the drop ships lifted off and soared low over the water back to the Alcatraz.
Location: Aircraft carrier Alcatraz, sector W, Halo.
General Hall was on the deck to personally meet the marine commander, who introduced himself as Sergeant Gale, Bruce Gale. He was actually from the Army, but his airborne platoon had been transferred to the Pillar of Autumn early in the war. No one ever actually told him why. Whatever the reason, he soon found himself in command of the Marines as well, and it had nothing to do with rank, but he adopted the name. Now all the men that served under him were known as marines. It didn't matter where they came from, they were the Halo marines.
"Well, that is a interesting bit of history," said Patrick. "But I am afraid that we do not have time for all the formalities. Sergeant Gale, I need to talk with you and the other commanders in briefing room one. Louis, round up Griffith, Renault, and Rawlins and meet me there ASAP."
"Yes sir," said Louis. He waved to Rawlins who was within site, and radioed Griffith and Renault, who still had their helmets on. They jogged over, and together with Seargend gale they followed Hall to the briefing room. When they arrived, the Captain was waiting for them.
"Gentlemen," said Patrick, "please, have a seat." The five commanders pulled up chairs and sat down. Patrick continued, "I don't know how to say this, exactly. The captain and I have thought this over, but have not discussed it with anyone else yet. We received a message from Earth." He paused. "The Covenant fleet arrived, and Earth could only wait for them to transport to the surface because the fleet had taken out all of the defense satellites and, as you know, our fleet failed in an attempt early on to destroy theirs. Anyway, gentlemen, the Covenant never transported down to the surface. All of the ships in their fleet turned right back around and headed for Halo after making sure that Earth could no longer put up a fight. Except for one. That one carried a new weapon."
It was the Captain's turn to speak. "What the General is getting at, is that Earth was destroyed approximately ten hours ago. Completely destroyed, by one ship. And the rest of the Covenant fleet is intending to destroy every last human being alive."