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Stormbringers, part 2: fire and ice
Posted By: WildebeestNZ<wildebeest_nz@hotmail.com>
Date: 21 November 2002, 11:11 pm

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AS AGENT JARVIS descended helplessly in the chasm, he couldn't help but wonder what the ONI freaks had them doing this time. They had been told that they were on a routine reconnaissance mission- they were to make their way towards one of the Covenant research stations, obtain whatever design or weapons schematics they could find, and return to their ship for debriefing.
Everything was a goddamn "routine reconnaissance mission" when you worked for those spooks.

The air rushed past him like a storm, and his stomach heaved as he reached terminal velocity. He had done this many times before. Even so, he still found it exhilarating, and wondered if this was what it would be like to fly.

He felt himself slowing down- he realised he had reached the end of the rope length. The elastic cable tossed him up and down like a spider, until he finally came to a halt about 5 metres above the ground.

Jarvis turned around, still upside down, and swung himself towards the wall, his shield shimmering as it absorbed the impact. One hand drew his combat knife out of its sheath and slashed through the rope, while Jarvis skilfully used the other hand to pivot himself around so that he was facing the right way up. He slid feet first down the small rock face onto the soft, snowy ground.

"Don't you just love that moment before you reach terminal velocity? It's as if you're-"
Jarvis and Jenkins often thought along the same wavelength.
"Looks pretty empty in here. How far is it to the valley?"
"Around that bend there is the first line of defences, I believe. You know the drill- minimal disturbance, move as fast as you can etcetera."
The three Agents set off down the chasm, sticking to the walls.

To your average Covenant trooper, all that would have been seen was just another snow flurry. Had they looked closer, they would have noticed the blurred camoflauge outline of the three Agents in tight formation.

Luckily for the three men, these were average troopers, and this was your average Covenant checkpoint. Some of them were even asleep. An incursion anywhere on Beta Halo seemed highly unlikely to the Covenant- the humans were supposedly tied up just keeping them at bay anyway. The Agents passed through without incident.

Soon they came across a second checkpoint. It looked slightly more beefed up than the previous one, so Jenkins motioned them to stop about 100 metres from the checkpoint. Jarvis unslung his sniper rifle and scanned the checkpoint. Sure enough, there was an entire Black Squad patrolling this checkpoint. Four elites, seven grunts (with fuel rod guns) and a couple of particularly nasty-looking hunters.

"How do you propose we solve this one?"
Jed Benson, ever the thinker, unslung both his rocket launcher and looked at Jenkins, who proceeded to do the same.
"What do you think? Finish 'em quick?"
Jenkins nodded, and he and Benson crawled until they were about 100 metres from the checkpoint.
"When you see me fire, let her rip." Jarvis called out on his radio.
"Roger that."
Jarvis sighted his rifle. He pointed the targeting reticle at one of the Hunters' eyes, and grinned briefly.
Then he pulled the trigger, and hell was unleashed.

What happened next was probably one of the most brilliant five-second military manoeuvres in the history of mankind. It was a shame that almost none mankind would know about it.

The first Hunter hit the ground half a second after it was hit, by which time Jenkins and Benson had stood up and fired as well.

Several members of the troop cluster tried to dive out of the way when they saw it, but their efforts were in vain.

Two rockets slammed into the ground, their respective blast radiuses overlapping slightly, and columns of fire erupted into the air. The ground was covered in a mixture of soot, blood and body pieces.

The second Hunter, standing not far from the area where the clusters once stood, flinched from the shockwave. Jarvis subsequently punished it, with a fin-stabilized, armour-piercing Message from God. It landed in a bloodied heap next to its companion. It had sinned, because it had not followed one of the Stormbringers most important rules: no matter how much pain you take, never, ever flinch.

The three Agents looked around briefly, and ran towards the now unmanned checkpoint.