Titans of Warfare- Part 2
Posted By: spartan shot<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 6 April 2010, 11:50 pm
Titan-class Supercarrier UNSC Ouranos. Unknown System. September 20, 2552.
Ever since the invention of cryonics people have wondered, can one dream during cryo sleep? Science would say no, but any who has been put on ice would say otherwise. Spartan-091 was constantly dreaming. All of them focused on the same thing, Spartan-082, Erica. Most of the dreams were about their training sessions, missions, and some even of the painful augmentations. All of these moments were perfectly captured in his mind and displayed before him every night. In his frozen state, he dreamt of one of the most important training missions for them as Spartans. The mission in the Military Wilderness Training Preserve.
Gabe stood next to his best friend. Erica looked at him, smiled, then ran down the ramp of the Pelican and into the wild. The transport's engines roared as it lifted off from the ground. Gabe thought about what John said before he left the Pelican. He told the rest that they would meet up at a preset location on their maps. Gabe knew where he was going, and it wasn't the rendezvous point. He was going to find Erica before he did anything. The two had grown very close in the past years.
"091! You're up!" said Chief Mendez.
The Pelican touched down and the ramp dropped. Gabe ran from the passenger bay and into the forest. Once he touched ground, he began jogging towards the place where Erica was dropped. He was careful to watch what direction she was in. He was sure Erica had followed the Pelican and was on her way to him. He jogged past trees and leapt over streams. The wildlife scattered upon hearing his footsteps. He ran for a good ten minutes before someone emerged from the thick green and brown of the forest. She stopped upon seeing him. They walked toward each other, out of breathe.
"You know the evac point's that way right?" Erica said, pointing in the direction he just came.
"I know" he said. "Just wanna make sure you're not the last one on that Pelican."
"Aw" she said. "Well if anyone deserves to walk back, it's you." She gave him a friendly jab to the arm.
The two started walking towards the rendezvous point.
"Hey, that wasn't my fault. If Solomon had just followed my orders then-"
"Then we would've had turkey for dinner instead of bottled water" Erica finished.
"That was two years ago. You're never gonna live that down are you?" Gabe asked.
"Until the day I die, you'll be constantly reminded of your first failure."
"Well, it wasn't a complete failure."
"How so?" said Erica as she forced her way through a bush.
"Met you didn't I?" Just as he finished his sentence, the bush flew back and knocked him off his feet.
Erica walked around the bush and helped her friend up.
"You did" she said with a smile. They continued to walk.
"Know what? I wouldn't mind walking back to base. I like it out here" said Gabe
"You would" Erica replied.
"Camp out, do a little rock climbing, some spear hunting
"Spear hunting? You know, you and Kurt. The two of you act like you haven't been kidnapped and punished with all this training."
"It's just the way I am" said Gabe.
The rest that day was a blur. Before he knew it, Gabe saw Erica get on the Pelican and his younger self follow. As the ramp closed, Erica gave him a small peck on the cheek. He touched where she just kissed him and blushed.
Again, things seemed to fast forward. This time by years. It was March 8, 2525. The night before they underwent the painful augmentations. Gabe saw his fourteen year old self laying next to Erica in a field of tall grass, not far from the base.
"You know how much trouble we could get in for being out here" she said.
"I don't care. What could they possibly do to us now? Graduation's tomorrow and this could be our last night as real human beings" Gabe responded.
"How do you know what's gonna happen tomorrow?"
"I overheard Halsey talking. She said they're gonna use some experimental drugs on us. Most of us will come out stronger and faster than ever."
"Most of us?"
"Yeah. I can only guess on a few things she hinted to, but the drugs they're gonna use might mess us up. Permanently. I can't imagine what might happen. All these years of training will be for nothing."
There was a long pause as the two gazed up into the stars.
"More reason for us to live it up right now" Erica whispered.
Gabe rolled his head over and looked her in the eyes. As the two leaned towards each other, an overwhelming bright light overcame Gabe.
"Hey! Wake up! Hello?!" a familiar voice said.
The brightness began to dim out and Gabe saw the hulking figure of a man in MJOLNIR armor silhouetted against the light. He blinked a few times and tried to fix his vision.
"What?" he asked in a daze.
"It's a wake up call" said James.
Gabe's vision was now focused. He looked around the gigantic cryo room, then at James with a scowl on his face.
"What?" James shrugged his shoulders. "Bad dream?"
"No" said Gabe. "A good one. Thanks for waking me up."
He climbed out of the cryo tube.
"It was only a dream" said James.
Gabe didn't answer.
"No" he thought. "It was my favorite memory."
Gabe reached into the locker adjacent to the cryo tube and retrieved his helmet. He looked around and saw the other crew members of the Ouranos. Some were clothed and were tending to the needs of those who had just awoken. The rest had just left their tubes. Some were dealing with nasty bronchial surfactant.
"You two!" a crew member called. "Admiral wants you on the bridge, ASAP!"
Without saying anything, Gabe and James walked out of cryonics and to the bridge. The freshly awoken naval personnel went about their duties and battled the dreariness of their recent sleep. The Spartans passed several rooms along their path. One of which was a gym. The two stopped and observed the soldiers trying to regain their strength. Marines and ODST's went about lifting weights, doing push ups, and running on treadmills. Out of the large group, Gabe caught eyes with the young ODST who saved him before the jump- Kid. He nodded at the Spartan as he used a curling bar. Gabe returned the gesture.
"Hey freaks!" said a familiar voice. "Move along."
It was the sergeant from before. He stood in the center of the room wearing a grey A-shirt. Tattooed on his right bicep was the ODST logo, a flaming red skull centered on a black HEV with a banner saying ODST beneath it. On his left forearm were the words "Feet first into Hell!" The typical ODST marks. His men slowly stopped what they were doing and gathered around him. Gabe and James looked at each other and James motioned his head down the hall. The two went on their way up to the bridge.
Upon reaching the reinforced security door, Gabe entered the code and it slid open. The bridge was unusually quiet. The command crew went about their business as Admiral Baxter observed them from the height of his seat.
"You sent for us sir?" Gabe asked, approaching the Admiral.
"Yes, just wanted to see how the two of you slept" said Baxter.
"I'm sorry, we haven't met" Baxter said to James. "I'm Admiral Baxter. What's your name? No numbers please."
James threw up a short salute.
"It's James, sir."
"Glad to have you with us Spartan."
The holographic projector on the left arm of Baxter's command chair began to glow. The AI Father Sky appeared after a shimmering light.
"Admiral, Captain Duffy is requesting permission to enter the bridge" he said in his deep echoing voice.
"Of course, let him in" said Baxter.
He got out of his chair and off the small platform. He walked to his right and stood between Gabe and James.
"For the love of God, don't laugh" he said to himself.
Just then, the door to the bridge opened up and a burly man walked in wearing an Irish kilt. His face was dominated by a thick, but short, red beard. He wore the standard captain's uniform shirt with a green and white plaid sash across his chest which matched the kilt. The captain walked right up to Admiral Baxter and saluted him. Baxter, Gabe, and James all returned the gesture.
"Dam shame about Durden" said Duffy as he lowered his salute. He had a deep Irish accent. "He was a good man."
Gabe found it very easy not to laugh. Although, the ancient traditions that Duffy followed seemed ridiculous to him.
"A great man" said Baxter. "and an even better officer."
"Some of his men are asking that we have a small service for him. A few moments of silence."
"His men? Oh God, how many survived?" Baxter asked.
"Eh, not much. Close to three hundred. Most that tried to escape were picked off by Covenant fire" said Duffy with a hint of sadness.
"Son of a-" Baxter snapped, but calmed down. He looked down at the deck, then up at Duffy. "We'll broadcast a service to both ships immediately."
"Thank you, Sir" said Duffy.
The captain then retreated into the hall.
"Commander, we're going to broadcast a small funeral service throughout the vessel. I want them to hear it on the Chaos."
"Yes sir" the officer replied. He turned to his console and typed a few things in.
Captain Duffy re-entered the bridge with bag pipes nestled against his chest. Gabe and James just stared. He stopped right behind Baxter.
"Say when sir" he said while readying himself.
Baxter awaited a signal from the commander. The officer spun around in his chair, flipped a switch on the console, and pointed at Baxter. Duffy blew into the mouthpiece and the bagpipes started to hum. The starting melody of Amazing Grace filled the Ouranos and the Chaos over the loudspeakers.
"Ladies and gentlemen. As you know, we lost many good soldiers before our jump. Not just the billions on Reach, but one of our own Titans. I know we haven't been serving together long, but as crew members of the Titans, we live in brotherhood. We must stick together as brothers and sisters. May Captain Durden and all from the UNSC Cronus who did not make it rest in peace. They made the ultimate sacrifice and they shall not be forgotten. We must honor them in our actions. In whatever beliefs you may follow, pray for those souls. Now let us share this moment of silence."
Baxter removed his hat and bowed his head. He waited for Duffy to finish the verse of the song. Once it was done, Baxter raised his hand and signaled for a stop.
"Honor them. Remember them. And if given the chance, avenge them. Good day."
He nodded at the commander and the officer cut the transmission. Baxter put his hat back on and turned to Duffy.
"Thank you sir. I know Durden's men appreciate it" said Duffy.
"Thanks for the music" said Baxter.
Duffy looked at James and Gabe.
"I was told there would be a Spartan onboard this ship. Seeing a second one makes me a bit more confident."
"I'm here by chance" said James.
"Our luck must be changing then."
"We lost nearly six thousand men but gained one Spartan. I would hardly call that luck" said Gabe.
Duffy did not answer. He simply stared at Gabriel.
"Captain" said Baxter. "Why don't you take this Spartan back to the Chaos. Even out the odds." He motioned to James.
"Fine. It'll give my men a bit of a moral boost."
"Get moving. We don't want the Covenant catching us with our pants down."
"Aye. I'll be in touch" said Duffy. "Spartan, let's go."
Duffy left the bridge while James gave Baxter a short salute. He then looked at Gabe and nodded. Gabe returned the gesture and watched as his fellow Spartan left the ship.
"Sorry I had to separate the two of you" said Baxter. "If one of these ships goes down, I want to ensure that at least one Spartan survived."
"I'm better alone anyway" said Gabe.
"How could I forget. That's why you're here."
Baxter went back up to his seat and sat down.
"So what now?" Gabe asked.
"Now, we wait for serendipity to come our way."
"So we just do nothing."
"I know that's tough for you son, but yes. That's exactly what we do."
"Fine" said Gabe as he left the bridge.
With nothing left to do, the Spartan left for the closest mess hall. It was a large cafeteria with white tile floors and food dispensers covering most of the walls. Gabe sat alone at his table, slowly digging into his eggs and sipping his water. He watched as a marine walked by. The sight began to melt itself into one of his memories. The marine was now a nurse and the cafeteria was now a lab. The food tray that the marine carried was now a clipboard in the nurses hands.
The nurse walked up to his bed and checked an IV and the monitor displaying his vital signs. She then wrote down on the clipboard.
"Very good" she said to herself.
"Is it over?" Gabe asked weakly.
"It's over kid."
"Am I OK?" he asked as he caught his breathe.
"You did great."
"Don't worry about them."
"Erica. Erica!" he said as he fought for breathe.
Gabe snapped back to the present at the sound of several crewmen laughing at a neighboring table.
"This is why Spartans eat alone" he thought.
He got up and left the mess hall. Upon exiting, he found himself in a recreation center. The only thing in it was a basketball court and a small lounge area. Marines were playing ball as the Spartan sat down on a bench at the sideline. He just stared off at the lights on the ceiling. Again memory overlapped into reality. The light was now a moon. He had just been released from his hospital bed and was staring out into the stars.
"I knew you'd be OK" a familiar voice said.
Gabe turned around and saw Erica approaching him. Her walk seemed very awkward as she was not used to her new strength. She stood next to him and they both looked out at the stars.
"It's done" he said. "We're alive."
"I just can't believe what happened to the rest. I mean I thought Fhajad of all people would make it" said Erica.
"What can we do?"
Gabe's memory was interrupted by a sudden impact on his boot. A basketball hit his foot and rolled underneath the bench.
"Hey freak!" one of the soldiers called.
Gabe immediately recognized him as one of the ODST's from the elevator.
"Gimme the ball."
Gabe looked down at the ball, then at the trooper.
"Did you hear me? I said give me that ball!"
"Joseph chill out. Do you know what he can do to you?" a marine interceded.
The trooper turned around.
"What? He gonna kill me? Huh?"
As soon as he turned to face Gabe, the basketball hit him at lighting fast speed right in the forehead. He fell backward and hit the tiled floor like a collapsing brick wall. The other soldiers ran up and surrounded him, checking to see if he was still alive. The trooper's forehead was badly bruised. The seams of the ball left a very noticeable imprint. Gabe left the trooper to bask in his embarrassment.
"I don't need this" he thought.
Something was causing him to flashback at the most inconvenient times. If he got sidetracked like this in a battle then he'd be screwed. His entire life was about being a soldier. He was trained to kill and not feel anything. Only, he could feel. That was what set him aside from the other Spartans. Of course they all had feelings, but they were trained to never, not even in the most dire circumstances, show them. This training had somehow not affected him. Instead he put all his feelings, all of his emotions, into Spartan 082. With her gone, Gabe was now more confused than ever.
"Spartan 091 to the bridge, on the double" a voice on the loudspeaker said.
He finally had somewhere to go and something to get his mind out of the clouds. He wasted no time in getting up to the bridge and finding out what his new orders were. He passed the security door and approached the Admiral's chair.
Baxter did not answer. He just pointed out of the viewport. Gabe turned and saw a small planet out in the distance. It was covered by a gray rocky terrain and very small oceans.
"What planet is that?" asked Gabe.
"We have no idea" said Baxter.
"Why did you send for me then?"
"There's a Covenant Assault Carrier within the atmosphere. I'm not moving the ships out of this position lest they find us and report back to wherever they came from."
"What do you want me to do?" Gabe asked, getting straight to the point.
"I'm sending you down in a Prowler. Your objective is to find out what they're up to."
"What sort of firepower we looking at down there?" asked Gabe.
"Can't be sure. Standard armament, maybe a Scarab. If they find you then there's no way we can risk extraction. You'll be on your own."
"I'll be fine" said Gabe. He began walking to the bridge's exit.
"Spartan!" said Baxter.
Gabe turned and looked at the Admiral.
"Come back alive."
Gabe said nothing. He slowly nodded and left the bridge. Within minutes he was on a Prowler on his way down to the strange new world. He sat in the cockpit of the stealth vessel and watched as the pilots slowly flew through space and into the atmosphere. Once they were within, the Covenant carrier was visible.
The alien ship hovered over the gray mountains. The violet aura of a gravity lift was seen leaving the ship's underbelly and disappearing behind the mountain peaks.
"This is far enough" said Gabe. He got up and walked to the back of the ship.
"We have our orders sir. If you become compromised then we must pull back to the ship" said the pilot.
The hatch of the Prowler opened up. The ship flew down to an altitude of twenty feet. Before the crew could give Gabe the go signal, he leapt from the Prowler and hit the ground rolling. As he picked himself up, Gabe watched as the stealth vessel disappeared into the clouds. He brushed off the gray dust from his chest plate and turned in the direction of the Covenant vessel. With nothing but a sniper, and MA5B assault rifle, a combat knife, and four grenades he set forth against an entire carrier full of Covenant.
Gabriel began hiking up one of the small mountains with his sniper at the ready. The ground beneath him constantly gave away and fell to the bottom in an avalanche of dark rocks and clouds of dust. He managed to avoid completely falling to the base of the mountain and eventually made it to the summit. Storm clouds slowly rolled in with small flashes of heat lightning.
Gabe looked out at the Covenant ship. The only things standing between he and it were at least ten dry canyons all lined up as if a gigantic creature scratched the surface with it's claws. The formation of the canyons shocked the Spartan. It was very strange for the ground to form this way. He took aim at the carrier with his sniper. Banshees patrolled in circles around it starting four canyons away from the ship.
The Spartan then focused on getting across the canyons. He looked down the small mountain on which he stood. He jumped down and slid down the rocks and gravel, causing a small avalanche and creating a cloud of dust. He managed to keep his footing until he came to a cliff edge. Without thinking, he jumped off and fell thirty feet down into the canyon. He landed on one knee. His shields had taken a small toll from the fall but it was nothing serious. He got back up, ran to the next canyon wall, and began climbing. The wall of this canyon had many holes and alcoves, giving him something to climb on.
Upon reaching the top of the canyon wall, he saw had at least a hundred yard run in open space before the next canyon. He started to sprint as fast as he could, trying to avoid being seen by the Banshee patrols and any possible snipers. Gabe reached the other side without being spotted. He looked down into the next canyon. It was completely barren like the last. He began climbing down the wall. With no difficulty, the Spartan made it to the ground, reached the next wall, and began to climb again.
About half way to the top, Gabe heard a soft hum. He could not see anything, but he knew exactly what it was. A lone banshee was headed his way. Just before the alien glider passed overhead, Gabe tucked himself in one of the caves in the canyon wall. He watched as the patrol vehicle flew back to the first canyon which he crossed.
"They must've seen those dust clouds" he thought to himself.
In the darkness of the cave, Gabe heard the clacking of small rocks falling. He turned around and activated the lights on his helmet. The cave went much deeper into the wall of the canyon. Unsatisfied by his curiosity, the Spartan followed the small cave hoping to find an exit to the next canyon. His suspicions were correct. He killed his helmet lights and looked out into his next obstacle. For a second, an image of himself climbing an obstacle wall during training flashed into his mind. Quickly, he blinked the thought away.
"No. Not here" he thought.
His thoughts were interrupted by a deep voice not to far off in the distance. He looked to his left and a lance of four Grunts lead by an Elite turned a bend down the canyon. Gabe moved back into the cave and waited for them to pass. Once they were close enough, he began eavesdropping on them.
"We will find him soon. You shall all be rewarded" said the Elite.
"We search this spot before! He not here!" said one of the Grunts in a high pitched squeak.
"Quiet you lazy runt! He's here. I can smell his fear. He knows that he is our prey. The Prophet will be pleased."
Gabe watched as they were about to pass the cave in which he sat. Confusion swept through his mind. There was a Prophet nearby and somehow it knew he was there. Just as he thought this, one of the Grunts stopped and began sniffing.
"Wait!" he said.
Gabe hid behind the wall of the cave, making sure that they didn't notice him.
"He in here!" the Grunt said. "This cave! I smell him!"
"What are you waiting for? Get in there! Make sure" the Elite commanded.
"What!?" a Grunt asked. "He kill us!"
"Do as I say! Or face my own wrath!"
Gabe slowly peeked out of the cave. He was relieved to see that they were not talking about his cave and were instead about to enter one opposite his in the base of the cavern wall. The little aliens slowly and cautiously crept into the abyssal hole and disappeared in the darkness. Now was his chance.
Gabe slung his sniper and backed up into the cave. He then got a running start and leapt out into the canyon. In mid air, he withdrew the knife from the sheath on his chest and readied it for attack. He landed on the back of the Elite and drove the blade into it's neck.
"Who's the prey now?" he whispered as the alien breathed it's last.
The Spartan raised his head and looked into the cave. He got up and went in after the Grunts. Upon entering, he saw the orange armor of the rear Grunt. Quietly, he crept up behind it and snapped it's neck. Just as the bones cracked, the next Grunt stopped in it's tracks and slowly turned. Upon seeing the spectral figure of the Spartan, the little alien squealed for a split second before a knife soared into it's skull.
The next two Grunts quickly turned around upon hearing their friend scream. They saw Gabe and began firing their plasma pistols. The Spartan jumped between them and palmed each of their heads in his hands. Slowly, he began to squeeze. He heard their bones crack and did not stop putting pressure until their bright blue blood gushed from their faces. They both collapsed on the cave floor and twitched lifelessly.
Gabriel shook his hands until most of the blood had run off. He then grabbed his MA5B, hit his helmet lights, and walked a bit deeper into the cave to see what the Grunts were investigating. He only took three steps before something on the floor that both confused and disturbed him.
The light from his helmet caused a glare to form on the faceplate of a MJOLNIR Mark IV helmet. Without thinking, Gabe grabbed it from the rocks it sat on and inspected it. The faceplate was cracked and the inside was caked with blood.
"Friend of yours?" a voice from the darkness asked.
Within the matter of a second, Gabe dropped the helmet and aimed his rifle to the source of the noise. A man walked down a small slope and towards the Spartan.
"Take it easy. I'm on your side" said the man.
Gabe examined his features. He was middle aged with shoulder length hair and a short grizzly beard. Lone grey hairs dotted the thick brown of his head. He wore UNSC battle armor.
"State your name!" Gabe demanded.
"Relax Spartan. Can't you see I'm human?"
Gabe slightly lowered his rifle.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"How bout you tell me who you are first."
Gabe stared at this guy. The man sat down on a pile of rocks and looked at the Mark IV helmet on the floor.
"That helmet belonged to a Spartan named Douglas-042. Not a bad guy for a Spartan. I'm guessing you knew him."
"It's Chief Petty Officer Gabriel-091. Yeah. I did know Doug."
"Where are we?" Gabe asked. "and who are you?"
The soldier smiled.
"Sergeant John Forge of the UNSC Spirit of Fire. Welcome to the Seventh Circle of Hell."