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The Renegade Marines Part XII - Back Home
Posted By: Shadow<Shadowolf16@aol.com>
Date: 16 April 2002, 3:16 am

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Kroeger watched sadly, as his former comrade was left to the Covenant. Had he made the right choice by letting an ally die right then and there? But he was a renegade, an enemy to the human race, right? No. Kroeger had been constantly trying to convince himself of this, but deep in his heart, he knew that Shadow was not the enemy. He had constantly helped the team out. Why did he do that then? He had condemned one of his own races, one that had saved their lives time, and time again. He looked down, and pulled off his half operating scanner, and threw it to the ground. One of the surviving marines noticed, and spoke out to the commander.

"Sir? What's going on? You ok?"

Kroeger looked at him with a grim look, and then looked back down at the floor of the Pelican. That Shadow was a renegade he had to leave him. It was the right thing to do. Or was it? Damnit, he had so many things on his mind. He grunted, and stepped on his half-broken scanner, sending pieces all over the floor. All of a sudden, he heard a radio signal for the marines.

"Guys we're gonna be in for some chop!"

Kroeger continued to look down, not even acknowledging Jen. Where had Shadow come from anyway? How did he learn such good sharpshooting? Why didn't he join the military? Why does he hate the military? So many questions, yet none would be answered. He decided to put all of them out of his mind for now, and think about the recent battle. He had lost so many men, good soldiers, noble soldiers. What the hell went wrong? As with Shadow, he tried coming up with many different excuses for what was happening, but he knew in his heart that it was the general's fault. The general was the one that gave them false intel. How could intel be as false as say that there were less than 20 troops stationed, to being more than a hundred golden elites? Something was wrong. Either the general had wrong information, or the general was doing something fishy. His thoughts were interrupted as a soldier yelled out.

"Hey, we really whooped those damn Covenant asses!"
"Are you kidding me Joder? We got our asses kicked until that soldier came and saved our asses!"
"Hey! We were doing fine before he came. We were just having some complications."
"Complications? More like desperation if you ask me!"
"Well, I don't ask you!"
"Well, I'm telling you."

Kroeger had enough.

"Shut up both of you!"
"Sir, yes sir!"

The rest of the ride in the Pelican was slow and dreary. A tense silence was in the air, and no one dared to break the quietness. Kroeger still looked out of the open bay doors at the deep blue sea. He looked up to the sky, blue as ever, and not a cloud in a sky. He smiled, and soon drifted off to sleep.

He woke up as the Pelican began to bump and slow down. He looked out the bay doors, and they were back at the military complex. He sighed, and looked up. All the other soldiers had started chattering about their fight, and the ones they had lost.

"Did you see how Darto died? I can't believe he's not here with us."
"Yea, he was a great guy. These times of war are so sad."
"you guys, this is war, you guys are marines, stop feeling sad for yourselves."
"Ah, shut up Roda."

Kroeger started getting a headache from the constant bickering, but being so close to docking, he let them fight all they wanted. Another message came over the intercom from Jen.

"Alrighty boys, strap yourselves in, we're making a landing."

As the Pelican flew towards the hangar, the boosters went into full reverse, and then into neutral position, effectively stopping the Pelican perfectly over the hangar elevator. The Pelican's hover boosters slowly lowered their activity, and the Pelican made a descent to the ground. The Pelican opened up its landing skids, and hit the hangar floor with a thud. The marines unstrapped themselves from their seats, and jumped out of the dropship, chattering to themselves about various things. When Kroeger, the last man out, jumped from the bay doors, the elevator began to lower, bringing the Pelican down to the lower hangar.

"Jen, I'll see you at the bar."
"Roger that sir."

The marines slowly walked out of the hangar through some automatic doors, to the debriefing room. The doors swung open, and all the troops piled into the debriefing room, Kroeger being last. Everyone soon sat down, and when Kroeger took the stand, everyone quieted down. Kroeger began his speech.

"So, as you all know, our battle was a failure."
"Failure? We wrecked about 30 golden elites down there!"
"And your point private? We lost about 48 marines. You think that's a fair trade?"

The marines shut himself up, and Kroeger continued.

"So boys, what happened out there?"
"We didn't expect such a shitload of enemies to be int here waiting to wreck out asses!"
"Ditto with that!"
"Quiet down boys. Yes, the intel was bad, and I need to speak with the general about it. But what else went wrong?"
"We split up! That screwed us over big time!"
"Yes. Correct private. We split up, and our forces became weaker, and thanks to that, we lost a whole squad without even knowing it."
"Well, I'd say we really screwed up then. Eh?"
"Yes. Alright. I know you guys are tired, go wherever you want. I'm sure I'll see most of you at the bar after I speak with the general. Dismissed."
"Sir, yes sir!"

The fidgety troops soon got out of their seats and loudly filed out of the room. Kroeger smiled as they left, and he was by himself in the debriefing room, in total silence. 113. All of sudden, the doors swung open again, and a familiar voice could be heard.

"Commander? Commander! Kroeger! You made it. I heard from the other squad in the battle that you guys were ambushed. I'm glad to know that my favorite commander is still alive and kicking."
"Thank you Johey. How's the old 113th doing?"
"We're doing alright. Our new commander isn't that great. We'd love for you to come back and command us."
"I don't think you do. The past few battles have been complete hell for me."
"Don't worry. Remember, we're the 113th, the elite of the elites man. We fear nothing."
"Guess you guys don't."
"Well, I gotta scoot. I'll see you at the bar. Ok?"
"Alright man."

As the old friend left, Kroeger picked up his pulse rifle and holstered it, while he walked out of the debriefing room to have a little talk with the general. He walked out into the hallway, through a few security doors, and into the general's room. He was angry at the guy, and wanted some answers.

"What the hell was that?"
"Commander Kroeger, I don't know what you mean."
"Don't know what I mean? This is what I mean!"

Kroeger shoved a list of casualties of all the troops he had lost.

"I am sorry for your loss, but what does this have to do with..."
"You gave me the shittiest intel I've ever seen. You told me no more than 20 troops. What we got was more than a hundred golden elites. Either you're intel is screwed up big time, or we need to talk about how honest you're being to an old friend."
"All right Kroeger, you're right. There is something wrong. I'll tell you. I just learned recently, but it seems the highest levels in the military complex are being run by government agents themselves. I'm not supposed to know this, so I'm making a big risk here telling you this. We could be monitored right now. Look, the government gave me the wrong intel on purpose to lead the best commander into a trap so you would be killed, and the major threat to the government would be gone. The sad truth is that the government wants peace, and they're doing it by making an alliance with the Covenant. No one but you me, and the highest government officials know. The elites were planted there for your execution. Fortunately for you, an old acquaintance of mine showed up to save your ass."
"You know him?"
"Lets just say we've met in the same way you met him."
"So the government and the Covenant are in league with each other. Never would have guessed it. I mean, the government is corrupt and all, but I never thought they'd stoop as low as to ally with the enemies just to save their lives."
"I know, but the important thing now is that you get out of here. The government wants to kill you directly now. They want to assassinate you as soon as you move to your next mission. I can't do anything for you, my power is limited. All I can do for you is give you 4 battalions. That gives you 400 troops, 10 scorpion tanks, and 20 warthogs, plus plenty of ammunition for your troops. I will give you a mission for you to be sent to attack a huge Covenant base with your 400 troops, but instead of going to your mission, I will upload a spot for you hide low for a while, until you feel that you can come out and fight against the Covenant and the government. I can't do anything more for you other than give you those troops and equipment as well as dropships to ship all the hardware. I'm sorry it had to turn out this way. I'll try to contact you once in a while. Good luck Commander."
"I see. Thank you. You're doing too much already."

The two shook hands, and for some reason, Kroeger felt it was the last time he'd see the general.

"Now go to the bar or someplace for now, until I can get everything prepared."
"What about the 113th, and my other squads?"
"Don't worry Kroeger, I haven't forgotten about them. All your loyal troops will be sent with you. I'm not sending you with any strangers."
"Thank you sir."
"Don't call me that. You don't have to anymore, you're a renegade, just like Shadow."

Kroeger was very surprised that the general even knew of Shadow, let alone his name. He smiled, and walked out of the general's room, contemplating how his escape would turn out.