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The Martinez Tales, Part I: Martinez
Posted By: stan<stanrl@lycos.com>
Date: 17 August 2003, 5:27 AM

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      The salty scent of sea air hung over the convoy of warthogs as they maneuvered their way across the grassy bluff. For Lance corporal Raimundo Martinez, it brought back memories of home. Right now, however, his thoughts were far from the small fishing village where he grew up. Right now Martinez was about to enter into battle.

      Forward scouts had spotted a Covenant landing party touch down on the beach three miles ahead of their current position. Martinez and his squad had been dispatched to check out and, if possible, eliminate the aliens. Armed with their assortment of missiles, assault rifles, grenades, and side arms the men were anxious to see what lay over the ridge.

      For Martinez, this was his third such outing. Since crash landing on this ring construct that the men had taken to calling Halo, Martinez had seen more action then ever before in his career. It seemed like a whole division of alien infantry had followed them here, when in reality Martinez knew that there couldn't be many more aliens then there were humans. However as far as the men were concerned, the numbers were irrelevant. Outnumbered or not, the humans were definitely out gunned. That fact however did not cause Martinez to panic; in fact he enjoyed this part of his job.

      Raimundo Martinez liked killing Covenant. He had spent his entire adult life doing nothing but training for that very thing. At age 20, he was mature enough to realize the grave situation his race faced as they tried to stave off annihilation. He didn't see himself as a savior or a hero; he figured all humans felt the same way he did. Martinez just wanted to do his part, and that meant doing anything to help defeat the alien scourge. That's why he joined up right out of school, and that's why he was sitting on a speeding infantry vehicle rushing headfirst into combat. He wanted to kill the Covenant. Right or wrong, he didn't care.

      Martinez considered himself a good person and a good soldier. Earth born, he was an oddity to his fellow marines. Most in his platoon had never seen Earth, and Martinez found himself constantly answering questions about the home planet. Being from Earth helped fuel his hatred towards the Covenant and the image of his beautiful planet being overrun by the alien scum made him fight all the harder. In fact, he considered his single most important goal to do everything in his power to make sure that the aliens never found his home.

      For that reason Martinez was very nervous as he rode into battle. He knew of the Cole Protocol, the random escape vectors that ships used when entering slipspace in the presence of an enemy. Designed to keep the location of Earth a secret from the Covenant ships implementing the protocol should, in theory, never be followed by Covenant forces. Martinez was sure that Captain Keyes had implemented the protocol as he piloted his stricken craft from the ruins of the Reach system, yet they had been followed. He knew that if the Covenant could follow them to this ring construct on a blind jump, then they could just as easily follow a ship to the Earth.

      That however was not the only thing nagging at Martinez mind as he prepared for the fight ahead. From the beginning of this little expedition reports of odd Covenant activity had been trickling down to the troops. It seemed as if the Covenant were searching for something. Something that must have been important given the amount of troops they were committing to it. Some of his fellow troops had begun speculating that maybe the Covenant knew of some super weapon, perhaps left by whoever had built this obviously artificial artifact. If that were the case, Martinez realized, the consequences of such a discovery could be disastrous to the Earth and its people. For that reason Martinez was determined he would do everything possible to ensure the Covenant would never find what they were looking for.

      Martinez knew that as one soldier of his low rank he couldn't possibly stop the Covenant from completing their goal, but that would not stop him from taking down as many covenant as he could on this damned ring world, even if it meant sacrificing his own life.

      As he rode speeding down the bluff he rechecked his weapons and relished in the salty sea air, ready to throw a wrench, no matter how small, into the Covenants plans.