Rise To Honor - Part 11: Back In The City
Posted By: Shadow<Shadowolf16@aol.com>
Date: 26 July 2002, 2:19 am
System starting up:
System booted, connecting to ODBC intranet backbone server:
Command: Access User - Geb:Pass - ****** Root Folder T://UGDKE//mail
Accessed. You have 1 new incoming file.
Command: Access incoming file
Accessed, starting up file viewing:
Hey Dark Wolves, this is Kroeger and the Spartans. I know you guys don't want to be involved in the big war and everything, you have your own thing going on. But as you know, there's a war going on and we need your help on this next mission. Recently, we've lost control of New York City to the hands of the Government. I was once confident that we had a chance in actually surviving this war without being completely exterminated, but now that we no longer have the resources and facilities of New York, I don't think we'll pull through. This is where you guys come in. We want to take back the city, but it's too heavily guarded and too well finagled. Their main base HQ is in the Hester Tower, where their general resides. If you accept this mission, we'll be sending you guys and the Spartans into New York City via dropship. From there, you guys are to infiltrate the Hester Tower and assassinate all the lead figures in their HQ. When we hot drop you, you guys will be on the edge of the city, near the neutronium power plant. You and the Spartans are to infiltrate that facility and disable it, giving you full darkness to cover your operations. After you complete your first mission parameter, you are to move quickly and meet the local city resistance. They will be able to provide you with supplies, tactical data, and analysis of the situation. Once you guys have a clearer idea of the situation, you and the Spartans will plan out your next move in the assassination. If you succeed, we will have a dropship waiting for you at the Juti bridge, near the construction yard. Your pay will be very high, as always. This mission must be completed soon, so inform me of your decision to participate as soon as possible.
The file was originally a text file, but Jan was able to hotwire it to an audio feed so everyone could listen to what the situation was. Meanwhile, Shadow leaned in a dark corner of the room, contemplating the situation. He could always back out of this one, it'd be the smart thing to do. He didn't need money now, he had the Dark Wolves to help him out financially. They could always do easy jobs and get money that way. They all could. But something nagged in his head, telling him that backing out would be the cowardly thing to do, the dishonorable thing to do. But another told him that he had already lost his honor, he had become an assassin...a mercenary. The original voice fought back and told him that his honor was still in him somewhere. The two voices continued to bicker in his head until he made his decision. He wasn't about to be the one to let the entire human race die out. This mission was critical to their survival. He nodded to himself, and decided. He would do it.
The eerie silence that followed affirmed to him that the others were going through the same ethical battle as he was. He wondered if any of them were going to back out of this one. He watched Geb, as he sat in his chair, deep in thought. Finally, Cal broke the silence.
"So are we going to take this one or not?"
Az was quick to reply, she was always a fan of honor...just like Shadow, although she hadn't lost any in the recent year like he had.
Jan chimed in after a few seconds.
Cal looked around nervously, anyone could tell he really wasn't up to the job. A second later, Geb made his decision.
"Well, I can't leave you guys hangin' out there alone without a leader. I'll go too."
Cal sighed and slumped in his seat.
"What the hell, I'm gonna die anyway, might as well be a painful, horrid, ugly death."
Az looked to Shadow. She really was the only one that had gotten kind of close with him. The only one that understood his quietness, and his battle to keep his honor with him.
"So, you coming Shadow?"
"Your sniper will be there to cover you."
Shadow never gave a straight answer to his comrades. But it was close enough to saying yes.
"Alright then. Lets get to our Pelican and get back to that desert base that Shadow was trying to escape from to meet Kroeger."
Images flashed back to him. Images of his escape, images of his infiltration of the base. Yes, he was going back to that place. It would definitely feel awkward, to come back to the base as an ally of the one you were once an enemy with just a few days ago. That thought reminded him of something else.
"So, how long has it been since you guys rescued me?"
"1 week. You recovered fast, even for a chosen one of the second project."
"Lets not talk about our childhood, shall we?"
"Fine with me."
"I'm going to my room to work on my weapons and electronics for an hour or so."
"Sure, we got time."
He nodded, and got up off the table. He turned to the entrance and slowly walked back to the hall. His leg still panged with slight pain, but it was starting to dissipate, and was already much less painful than it was before he had left the room earlier before. He guessed it was just the phantom pain when he woke up, and now it was wearing away. He walked back into the very dark room. The moon was full, and was shining through the open window enough to illuminate the room enough for him to do his work. He walked over to his pack. He pulled out a small toolbox, and a earset. He opened up the small compartment on the already small device, and began fiddling around with it. This device was originally used for communications with other members of the team, but he was able to get Jan to help him make it a dual-feed system. The second thread was for a more...recreational purpose. The first band was for communications between members as always, but the second band was for music. He normally listened to music during his missions. It helped him to keep cool and to keep his adrenaline going. The ear system was only a single one, where he put it in his left ear. He normally used his right ear specifically for detecting environmental sounds, such as snapping of a stick, or a gunshot. This way, his senses weren't dulled very much, and he still got his mind pumped up during the mission. It was also one of his favorite ways of spending his relaxation time. But in the recent missions at the city, he hadn't any time to repair the broken system. Looked like he had some time now. The mission coming up seemed impossible, and he'd need all the help he could get. A few bright blue sparks flashed as he continued to fiddle around with the system. After 20 minutes or so, he was beginning to get frustrated, and was on the verge of calling in Jan for help him out. But one final blue spark, and he could hear the leaking sound of the loud music coming out of the earphone. It was working now. He nodded, not smiled. He never smiled.
He placed the device back in the bag, and pulled out sniper rifle from its leaning position on the wall. He looked at the ammo count. It still had 11 shots left. He opened a hatch, all the 11 slugs poured out of it. He closed up the hatch and pulled a small, hexagonal box from his bag. The box was almost full of slugs, and he completed it with some of the remaining 11 slugs that he took out of the firing mechanism. He pulled back two cocking struts, and hooked in the box. The small HUD indicator on the rifle indicated it was at max capacity of 40 slugs. He didn't normally use the box because he normally didn't need that many shots. But this mission seemed like it would take at least all night. He wasn't going to be caught unprepared, and decided that 45 should be a good number.
As he leaned his rifle up against the wall again, he heard footsteps coming closer to the doorway. His first reaction was to grab for his pistol, but he remembered that it was only one of the Dark Wolves. Az popped her head in and nodded to him. They didn't need to converse, they knew each other like the back of each other's hands. He snatched up his bag, sniper rifle, and grappling hook pistol and followed the others to the hangar. They walked through a dark hall, dimly lit by two light bulbs. At the end of the hall was a steel door that automatically slid open as they approached. The doorway lead to the hangar. It was a complete mess. Generators, axles, wheels, chainguns, and other assortment of items laid strewn all over the place. Looks like Jan had we working on the vehicles again. He raised an eyebrow as he looked at Jan's new masterpiece. It was a heavily modified Pelican. There had been plenty of melding and refit jobs to make the vehicle smaller. They only needed 5 seats, and the extra room would be a waste in weight and target size. Two chainguns were welded to hardpoints on each side of the cockpit. Another was welded to the top of the cockpit. A mismatch of missiles were attached to the wings. The wires for firing the missiles were still out in the open. Looks like Jan hadn't had time to finish the job yet. It was fine, they weren't using the vehicle for battle anyway. In the back, the small engine were replaced by oversized G-14 interceptor boosters. They looked quite odd and large on the compacted Pelican. Oh well. Jan never went for looks anyway. She preferred performance.
The others walked to the weapons rack in the hangar, and he followed. He would need an assault rifle for close range combat. He looked at the different models, and decided that the basic MA5B would do fine for him. He could now hear the hum of the Pelican's engines, and the heat from the powering engines. He snatched up a silenced assault rifle, and picked a few extra clips on his way. He jumped in, and they could hear Cal's voice.
"And we're off...to certain death."
"Shut the hell up! We're only going to Kroeger's for now."
The Pelican rose a few feet into the air, and the engines could be heard as they began to power up. Cal looked back from the cockpit to the troop area, and yelled out to Shadow.
"Hey Shadow, this new vehicle is a doozy, you might want to strap in."
"I don't use seatbelts Cal, remember?"
The platform suddenly shook and began to rise. The ceiling of the hangar zipped open as the Pelican began to rise to the roof. The platform stopped as it came even with the top of the roof, and shadow watched as the Pelican began to start moving. All of a sudden, the powering up sound was replaced by an enormous explosion of heat and gas.
"What's wrong now Jan?"
"Er, I'm figuring it out now Cal, gimme a break."
Jan jumped off her seat, and bowled out of the hatch door. She flipped up the Pelican to the engine systems.
"Shut the damn things off will ya?"
"Shut them OFF!"
Cal smiled snidely, and responded.
"God damnit. Someone tell him to shut off the G-14s."
"Cal, stop playing games."
Cal flipped a few switches on the system and pulled down on the throttle.
Jan opened up the top hatch of one of the engines and began fiddling around with the wiring. After a few minutes, a thump could be heard from the inside, and she jumped back off the Pelican and jumped back inside.
"This should work now."
The Pelican rocketed forward, jerking everyone near the open door of the ship. Shadow was nearly thrown off his seat, and would have fallen to his death if he hadn't been able to keep his center of gravity. They pulled up, higher and higher, the sight of the HQ becoming smaller and smaller. He looked through the window, and looked down at the town where the HQ was stationed. The small town was surrounded by forest, protecting it from any nosey outsiders looking for trouble. Plus, the townsfolk didn't really care about what the Dark Wolves did in their HQ. So, it was a practical location for the Dark Wolves to place their HQ.
"How long is the ride?"
"With this baby, 20 minutes."
He nodded and continued to look out the window, his nose pressed up against the glass. After 20 minutes of sitting in a stupor, looking out the window, Shadow finally noticed that the Pelican was slowing down. He looked down to the desert base. It was quiet now. No chainguns trailing his path. No missiles coming at his face. Damn, the guards even hailed him as a friendly. He looked down, and saw the remnants of 2 warthogs from the battle that they had neglected to bring back to the base for salvage. The Pelican, halted to a stop, and began lowering down to the pad on top of the base. All of a sudden, one of the engines died out partially, and the Pelican jerked to a crooked position.
"Jan, how about working OUT the kinks, not putting more in?"
"Sorry, I didn't have enough time, ok?"
The Pelican finally landed on the pad and everyone jumped out and ran to the main command center. Shadow led the way, he had been there already. They walked through a pair of sliding doors, through two corridors and to the second door on the right. Before they walked in, Spartans were sitting neatly and quietly in their rows, looking straight at Kroeger. As the Dark Wolves barged in, their heads turn in unison towards the rag-tag group of assassins. Kroeger's voice chimed in.
"How nice of you to join us."
Shadow looked to Kroeger and gave him the finger, then walked to the back, leaning in a dark corner of the room. He liked being out of the way, unnoticed. Kroeger smiled in return, and looked to the Dark Wolves.
"Well, you are already briefed, let me introduce you to- "
Geb interrupted rudely.
"Kroeger, we've already worked with John and his team. Lets just get going."
"Alright, Spartan III's, we'll get down to buisness."
Geb looked at Kroeger with surprise.
"How long have you known?"
"I figured it out a few days ago, Geb. But don't worry, we're not the government."
It seemed Kroeger was onto them now.
"So, you guys better get on the mission."
"Aren't you coming with us?"
"No, first, I'm a general, and we don't go into battles. Even if I did, I would never keep up with you and the other Spartans."
"Ok, lets get this fuckin' straight Kroeger. We're not Spartans. Those godamn hybrids over there are."
Geb pointed an accusing finger towards Kelly.
"Hey, I resent that. You're just jealous because we are enhanced and you're not."
"Bah, you guys needed the damn enhancing. We didn't, we're fine without those damn augmentations."
The two groups were about to go at their throats when Shadow intervened.
"You guys are like little children. Settle our differences some other time guys, we have a mission to do."
The Dark Wolves grunted, and the Spartans nodded. They quietly shuffled out of the room, and retraced their tracks back out to the landing pad on top of the base. When they got up there, extreme wind bit into Shadow's face. Sand wretched as his skin as he strained to see what was going on. He looked to the Spartans as they quickly walked to the Pelican that was hovering in the air. Oh right, they had helmets to protect them from the damn winds. He smiled and trotted up after them, the other following him. They all jumped aboard and were off to a nearly impossible mission.