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The Wraiths Chapter 3 (Part two of three) Tour
Posted By: Wiley Kimball<DarkTemplar343@aol.com>
Date: 21 July 2004, 7:18 PM

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Halo 2; The Wraiths Chapter 3(part two of three) Tour

0830, September 22, 2552/Military Calendar
/UNSC Bonhomme Richard/Slipspace/En route to Sol

       The Master Chief woke up eight hours later, feeling very refreshed. He looked over at Cortana, who was sitting in the exact same position she was when he fell asleep. He let her be, put on a set of fatigues, loaded his pistol, and strapped the holster to his belt. He then made the long journey to the mess hall, ate a large plate of something that looked and tasted vaguely like scrambled eggs, and proceeded to deck seven, to find the shooting range. When he arrived, the Wraiths were shooting at various targets in the long, narrow room. Behind them lay a table piled high with weapons: rifles, pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, grenades, even what looked like a M-41 chaingun. Oni Yazuka stopped shooting when the Chief walked in, and strode up to the table the Master Chief was now standing at.
      "As you can see, Chief, we have a few new weapons to introduce you to. We finished field-testing shortly before REACH fell, and now these weapons are being issued widespread." Yazuka stopped, and picked up a Battle Rifle. To the Chief, it looked similar to the old MA2B rifle, albeit with a longer barrel. "This is the MA5C Battle Rifle. 9.5mmx40 ammunition stored in thirty-five-shot clips, although we have double capacity ones at our disposal. Unfortunately, they're quite large and can get in the way, especially if you have to move fast. The rifles are extremely versatile, and pack a mean punch. Note the 4x zoom scope on the optics rail. Undermounts for a single M239-D 40mm Multi-purpose grenade launcher, or a standard handgrip." He popped the grip off, and attached a large grenade launcher to the bottom. He tossed the weapon to the Chief, who snatched it out of the air and shouldered it, testing the weight. It was fairly light, and the grenade launcher made a rather comfortable grip. He picked up a clip, slapped it into the receiver, and pulled back on the bolt.
      "You have both single shot and three-shot-burst," the Commander said, pointing to the selector switch. "And the weapon should compat with your battle suit." The Chief set the weapon down as the Commander picked up a submachine gun.
      "This is the P-343 Submachine Weapon. Fires 5.5mm ammunition, held in standard twenty-shot clips. Of course, ours hold more. Forty shots, to be exact." He picked up the extended clip, and slapped it into the receiver in the grip. He then pulled back on the cocking handle, and extended the stock. He handed it to the Chief, who flipped down the handgrip on the front, flipped it back up, and held it one handed like a pistol. Comfortable with the diminutive-looking weapon, he set it on the table, and looked at the pistol in Yazuka's holster.
      "What is that?" He questioned, nodding at the large weapon.
      "Oh, this? This is the SC-1 Tactical Action Pistol, commonly called the TACONE." He pulled out the large pistol, and dropped the clip. "Fires .50 caliber Action Express cartridges, very powerful rounds, by the way, held in seven-shot clips." He handed the pistol and clip to the Chief, who took them both, and slapped the clip back into the weapon. He looked on the side of the slide, and saw these words engraved into it: "ISRAELI MILITARY INDUSTRIES". He looked on the other side and "Desert Eagle .50AE" was engraved on the slide.
      'Desert Eagle?" He inquired.
      "Yup, the IMI Desert Eagle. Quite possibly one of the best handguns ever made. An almost 600-year-old design, it still is very reliable. Of course, the Brass doesn't like that name, don't know why, so we call it the TACONE. Very powerful handgun, the AE rounds make the M6D look like a squirt gun; they'll rip through metal, flesh, and energy shields, leaving large, messy holes in their wake. We've fitted them with silencers, and even have some thirteen-shot clips for when we really need them." He picked up an un-silenced one from the table, along with several clips, and a large box of bullets. "These are yours, Chief, seems we have an extra one that isn't being used right now. You can keep it," Yazuka said.
       "Thank you, Si- I mean, Shadow." The Chief said, nodding in thanks. He picked up all three new guns, and a large supply of bullets for each, and set them on a new table.
      "Before you start having fun, Master Chief, I have a few more things to show you. First up is the M239. This is a relatively simple weapon; with many different rounds it is capable of firing. Just load it, aim, and pull the trigger. First up is your standard HE grenade, simply a chunk of explosives in a streamlined case, nothing special." John picked up the grenade and looked at it. Some enterprising young soldier had stenciled the words "Can o' Whoop Ass" onto the case, and he found the same words on the box it came out of.
      "Next, we have your CS-21 gas grenade. It will incapacitate and disorient anything without a gas mask for a short while; hence, it has no effect on the Grunts, who have their own atmosphere rebreathers. Also, we haven't had a chance to use them against Hunters, so their effects are unknown, a pity...I'd like to see what would happen if one of those got disoriented. It could even shoot its own people.
      Anyway, this is the Napalm grenade. Just as the name says, it releases flaming gobs of Napalm everywhere, very effective against Grunts and Jackals, especially in large groups. The body shielding of the Elites are pretty resistant to Napalm, though, and don't even try to use it against a Hunter. They shrug it off like sunburn."
      John reached down and picked up the grenade. It looked like a too-wide shotgun shell, and had the words 'NAPALM' and 'shoot far away' written on it. John himself approved of the warning; he could tell you from experience that you should stay as far away from burning Napalm as possible. He set the grenade down as Yazuka picked up a new, purple grenade.
      "This," He said, "Is the EMP grenade, sometimes called the MAGPULSE. This is a tricky little weapon to use, especially in a battle suit such as yours. Fire it too close to your own location, and you can short out every electrical circuit in your suit, and even erase an A.I., such as Cortana. Used correctly, however, it can fry shield generators, and even bring plasma weapons offline. Permanently, however, so make sure you don't need one before firing. Also, keep these in something armored, as even a piece of shrapnel could set one off. I find it best not to even mess with them, although they are worth the risk sometimes." Yazuka stated, putting the purple grenade in a special case to keep it safe.
      "Next, we have your standard smoke grenade. Multi-use: use it to lay down a smoke screen, mark a target, and even spot camouflaged Elites, exactly like your standard thrown grenade, and I'm sure you know all this already, so I'll move on".
      He produced what looked like a black Napalm grenade. "This," He said, "Is a very useful little device I like to call a "Sticky Camera", so called because it will stick to almost any solid surface, and provide you a nice view of the area. Has Night- and thermal- vision, as well as a pan and zoom function. I think Noonan can reconfigure it to display on your HUD in your suit. I'll talk to him about that, see if it's possible."
      The Chief gave an acknowledgement nod, and picked up the miniscule device. "This is a little conspicuous, wouldn't you think? An Elite or even a Grunt could see this rather easily." Said the Chief.
      "Not really, watch." And the Commander hit a button on the camera. The front end of the camera popped off, and revealed a six-pronged hook. Yazuka stuck the device onto the table, and almost instantly the device emitted a kind of Active Camouflage. "Ingenious, no? Our pals at R&D apparently thought the same thing, and added a micro Active Camo system to it, which they stole from the Covenant and reverse-engineered. Unfortunately, the battery has to exert a lot of power, and the Camo only stays on for about five minutes, then it has to recharge for about three. During that time, you had better have it secure, as ONI will lynch us if we lose one of these things. They're very expensive, and we barely managed to get our hands on them " He placed the thing in a small crate, with about ten others.
      Finally, he reached into the last box, and pulled out a little teardrop-shaped device, with a set of prongs on one end, and even a small airfoil around the middle. "This is a little thing I like to call the "Bug Zapper". Shoot somebody with this, and it latches on and releases a large electrical pulse, capable of knocking an Elite out cold. As you can probably figure out yourself, these things are very hard to get, and are also one-time-use packages. Make 'em count." With that, he set the Chief off to go shoot some targets.
      He took his three new guns to an unoccupied booth, and first picked up the Battle Rifle. He checked to make sure it was loaded, yanked back on the bolt, and clicked the safety off. He shouldered and aimed at the target, a Covenant Elite, and fired a three round burst. The weapon had substantial recoil, and was very loud. The Chief looked in satisfaction at the two-inch wide hole in the target's "skull". All three shots had hit and made one large hole. He peered into the scope, and found a new target: a "Grunt". He switched to single shot, and blew its "head" off with one squeeze of the trigger. Of course, he was shooting cardboard, not flesh and armor. He was satisfied nonetheless, both at its punch and at its accuracy, which was extremely good.
      He then picked up the SMG, and pointed it at what was left of the "Elite". When he squeezed and held down the trigger, he was surprised at both the miniscule gun's noise and recoil. He emptied the clip in less than four seconds, and looked at his target: everything from the middle of the chest up was gone, shredded and lying scattered on the ground. The Master Chief looked at the weapon approvingly; its small size belied its power, and it had a decent clip size to boot.
      Finally, he loaded the magazine of the Desert Eagle, slapped the clip home, and pulled back on the slide. It snapped back with surprising force, taking John slightly off guard, but nothing visible. He sighted on another target, a simple bull's-eye, went to a two-hand grip, and fired. The gun's recoil was considerable, but so was its punch. An inch-wide hole appeared on the center of the target. John looked satisfied at the sight of that, and wondered how well the ancient design would hold up in this era. Suddenly, he heard the voice of the A.I., Alexander, come across the 1-MC:
      "All hands, prepare for reversion to normal space in fifteen, repeat, fifteen minutes. We are approaching Sol now, and will be docking with the UNSC refit station, Vigilant after we rendezvous with the CCS Lucifer and the Admiral has a talk with our new allies. However, we don't know their motives yet. This could be a trap. Be ready for anything, repeat, anything. That is all. Alexander, out."
      Another message came out of the speakers in the target range: "Attention, Master Chief and the Wraiths: the Admiral wants you to accompany him onboard the Lucifer. You are to get suited up, but bring minimal arms: pistols and SMGs only, no rifles, explosives, etc. Also, there will be no need for vision equipment. Pack light. Master Chief; you are to report in full MJOLNIR armor. Avoid bringing Cortana if at all possible; we don't want her getting captured if this hits the fan. You are also instructed to pack light, same weapons as everybody else. We don't want to look like an invasion force when we come aboard. These orders come directly from ADM Mangles. Be ready and in your Pelican in ten minutes, all of you. Alexander, out."
      The room was suddenly a flurry of activity as the Wraiths stowed what gear they didn't need, and moved it to the adjacent Armory station. John, however, went back to his quarters. When he got there, he saw Cortana standing, waiting patiently for him.
      "Nice to see you moving around, I was beginning to think you were stuck in that position." The Chief said, as he put on his underarmor, and began clasping pieces of the bulky system to himself.
      "You wouldn't believe the amount of information I had to sift through; Covenant Battle net data, Halo core data, not to mention all the data on this ship. I've been catching up with the times, and a lot has happened over the past three weeks." Cortana replied. The Chief was pleased to see she had returned to her normal purple color scheme, no longer flashing green and red. She had become....different when she was in the core, and had a much shorter temper, not to mention an attitude. He had only seen her hologram twice since he pulled her from the core, and he had been either too busy or too sleepy to notice her return to normality. He finished putting on his suit, and grabbed both of the SMGs he had gotten in the armory, and strapped them to the back of his belt. He put the Desert Eagle in its holster, and clipped it around his waist as well. He then put on his helmet, choosing to leave Cortana on the ship as ordered, where she couldn't be captured if the operation went sour.
      Right on time, he arrived at the black Pelican, and boarded it. The Wraiths were already on board, and Malloy was standing at the front of the troop compartment. When the Admiral arrived, the Spartan snapped to attention and called; "Admiral on deck!"
      "As you were," Mangles ordered even before all of the Wraiths had come to attention. "Malloy, lets get this bucket moving. Exiting Slipspace in thirty seconds."
      "Aye, Sir" was the pilot's response.
      The massive ship slowed, then dropped out of Slipspace roughly two-thousand kilometers from the moon, and soon after, the CCS Lucifer arrived right next to it.
      Before the UNSC had a chance to broadcast, the voice of ADM. Mangles came across the FLEETBAND; "All UNSC personnel, this is Admiral Kevin Mangles, security code: Bravo-Echo-Theta-Gamma-Two-Four-Niner-Zulu-Omega. Do not, repeat do not open fire on the Covenant ship." The voice of Admiral Stanforth answered:
      "Mangles, what the Hell is going on? Why is there a Covenant cruiser on Earth's front porch?"
      "I'm not entirely sure myself, Admiral, we're going to have an on-board meeting with whoever their Captain is to find out what the situation is. I'll put you in touch with Alexander, and he'll explain what is happening. Mangles, out." He clicked off the COM. "Well, Malloy? What are you waiting for? An invitation? Lets get to that ship and find out just what in the name of God's green Earth is going on."
      "Aye, sir. Proceeding on course two-eight-niner to rendezvous with Covenant ship." Malloy was all business, unlike earlier on the bridge. He swung the Pelican out of the docking bay, and lined up with the ship. He then changed the COM to the band they had received the transmission from earlier.
      "Attention, Covenant cruiser: This is Admiral Kevin Mangles of the United Nations Space Command, and Captain of the UNSC Harbinger class Bonhomme Richard. Respond if you will." The Admiral said. John tensed up as he heard the voice that came back in response a few moments later.
      "Admiral Mangles, this is Ship Master Loki 'Lukammee of the Covenant Imperial Navy, Master of the Lucifer Cruiser. I understand you are approaching my cruiser in a black dropship. You have permission to board us. We are lowering shields now. Proceed when ready."
      "Thank you, Ship Master. Beginning our approach now." Mangles then looked at Malloy, who was skeptical of flying into a Covenant ship with minimal armament, and too much faith in this "Loki 'Lukammee". "Easy, son. Stay calm. Just fly straight and level." He then looked as a series of lights on the ship outlined a docking bay. "Looks like they have rolled out the red carpet and invited us in. Let's not disappoint them." He said.
      "Aye, Sir, approaching now. Get ready, ETA two minutes."
      Yazuka stuck his head into the troop bay. "Two minutes," he said, and held up two fingers.
       The next two minutes felt like eternity to all aboard the dropship. Finally, Malloy lined up with the docking bay, and set the dropship down on the cold purple metal. The containment field closed behind them.
      "Well, let's get to it. Price, you and Malloy stay here and guard our exit." Yazuka said. He reached into the weapons locker on the Pelican and pulled out an M6D pistol, which he loaded and handed to the Admiral, along with a holster. "You may want this, Admiral."
      Mangles took the pistol, pulled back on the slide, thought for a second, and handed it back, grip first. "If I need this, we'll be dead anyway. Come on, let's go." With that, he opened the troop bay door and stepped onto the surface of the bay, and the rest of the troops followed him. Malloy pulled a shotgun from the locker, pumped it, and stood at the doorway, looking tense. Price sat next to him, holding a pair of SMGs. Yazuka looked around.
      "Where are they? Nobody seems to be home." He commented, shifting uneasily. He kept checking his SMG, making sure it was full, and glancing around.
      "There." John said, and pointed at a door on the opposite side of the bay. It flickered and opened, and out stepped an Elite in white armor, a black cape with red trim hanging off his shoulders.
      "Admiral Mangles, I am Isao 'Namoree, personal bodyguard to Loki 'Lukammee. Please, follow me." With that, he turned and walked back the way he came. John took point, and Admiral Mangles followed him, flanked by the rest of the Wraiths. They followed the Elite through almost a kilometer of corridor, and finally came to a door, where Isao stopped, and stood aside. The door opened and the humans walked in. Standing on the platform of the bridge was the gold-armored Loki 'Lukammee. His arms were folded over his chest, and a pair of Hunters, who were not curled up, but stood at attention, eyeing the humans intently, flanked him. 'Lukammee looked at Admiral Mangles, and gave a subtle signal to the Hunters, who stepped back.
      "Humans, welcome to the command deck of the Lucifer. You are the one called Mangles, am I correct?" His voice was deep, and he spoke almost perfect English.
      "I am, and you must be Ship Master Loki 'Lukammee, I am honored." Mangles said, coming into a little bow.
      "Rise, human. There is no need for formalities here." 'Lukammee said, unfolding his arms and walking forward towards the Humans. "Now, I'm sure you are wondering why we are even having this meeting...." Suddenly, he was cut off as a stream of plasma came from a doorway on the other side of the bridge. Immediately, John drew his pistol and stood in front of the Admiral, while the rest of the Wraiths drew their pistols and fired at the doorway. John watched as the figure ducked around the doorway, and he immediately leaped off the platform, hit the deck running, and tore after the interloper.
      "I don't know who he is, but I'd say he's having second thoughts!" Mangles shouted. He watched as the Spartan leaped off of the bridge, and looked at Yazuka. "Well, don't just stand there! Go after him, Commander!" He yelled.
      Yazuka gave a quick "Aye, Aye" and pointed to Arkadeyevich and Loiselle, snapped his fingers, and then pointed to himself. He turned and ran after John, and the Russian and Frenchman followed him, slapping fresh clips into their pistols as they went.
      Meanwhile, John was struggling to catch the shooter, who he believed was a red-armored Elite. He bounded through the corridors, leaping over Grunts and Jackals, who immediately jumped out of the way. He aimed his pistol and fired off several shots, but the alien spun around a corner at the last second, and the bullets struck the wall, leaving large holes in their wake. John snapped around the corner, and found himself in a two-tiered loading bay. He swept the bay with his pistol. In it were three Wraith tanks, several Ghosts, and a pair of Banshees. Strangely, no Covenant were around. The Chief checked his motion tracker; no contacts were on his tracker. He heard a clink and turned around, just in time to see the Elite come out of the shadows behind him, pulling back to swing his plasma rifle like a club.
      The Chief didn't have time to shoot, but instead dropped the pistol, and grabbed the Elite's arm. He gave a twist, and threw it over his shoulder onto the ground. The alien spun around on the ground, threw his leg out, landed a kick to his knee, and hopped back up, striking out with his fist at the staggering Spartan. The Chief saw stars on the peripheral of his vision as the Elite struck him in the jaw, and as he tried to stand up, the alien hit him square in the gut. The Chief staggered back, clutching his stomach, and then was knocked on his back by another kick, this time to his helmet. He almost blacked out, when he heard the coughs of several silenced pistols, simultaneous with the sound of plasma fire. He looked up in time to see the shields flare, die, and entry wounds appear in the Elite's chest. Gouts of blood sprayed out of the exit wounds in its back, staining the deck behind it. It gave a roar, collapsed, twitched, and then lay still. Arkadeyevich walked over and put a final shot in its forehead. Loiselle grabbed the Chief's hand, and assisted him in getting to his feet.
      "Nice shooting, all of you." The Chief said. He then looked over to where the plasma fire had come from. Standing next to a Wraith was a pair of black-armored Elites, plasma rifles in hand. Immediately, they moved back into the shadows, turning on their active cloaks. The Chief heard the sound of footsteps, and turned to see Isao 'Namoree coming into the bay, a plasma sword in each hand.
      "Impressive, humans." He commented, eying the body on the floor, sitting in a pool of blood and brains.
      "Who were they....Isao, wasn't it?" Yazuka commented, pointing to where the Elites had disappeared.
      "They are one of our hunter-killer teams, sent on patrol to watch for traitors like him." He said, pointing at the body in disgust.
      "But, aren't all of you traitors to the Covenant itself?" Arkadeyevich asked.
      "We are not traitors," he said. "We are simply tired of being pawns of the Prophets. We see no real reason for this war on you humans. I served as a bodyguard to a high-ranking Prophet, and I heard nothing that justified this war. Not one thing." He finished. "Come, we should be returning to the bridge." With that, he deactivated his swords, clipped them to his belt, and turned around, his cape swishing behind him. John caught a glimpse of a white Plasma Rifle holstered on the small of his back. With that, the four humans holstered their weapons and followed 'Namoree back to the bridge. The two Hunters were curled up, their spines sticking straight into the air. Loki 'Lukammee and Admiral Mangles were in conversation with each other, and the rest of the Wraiths stood tense, looking for signs of trouble.
      "So, I assume you eliminated that little annoyance, Isao?" 'Lukammee asked.
      "Actually, Excellency, it was the humans," he replied.
      "Is that so? Interesting. Who was it?"
      Arkadeyevich answered this question: "It was a red-armored Elite-" He was cut off by Loki.
      "We are not "Elites" as you call us, we are the Kro'zk." Lukammee said. "We are native to the planet Nasz'ks, second planet in the Ha'smok system, a five star system where it is night only three units of the rotation, with a rotation being five-hundred divisions, and twenty units making up a division."
      "I understand. Anyway, it was a red-armored Kro'zk. He was amazingly fast, from what we could see, and took a lot of punishment before it went down. Thanks to a hunter-killer team in the bay, we were able to kill it before it killed the Master Chief" Arkadeyevich said, pointing at the Spartan II.
      "You are one of the ones called 'Spartans'?" 'Lukammee asked. "Yes...I have heard about you Humans. You have killed thousands of Covenant soldiers each. I heard reports that our forces captured a few of your comrades during the battle for this 'REACH'. Interesting that our soldiers survived long enough to take them prisoner." 'Lukammee said.
      John felt surges of relief, anger, and hope all at once. "The Spartans, would you know where they are being held?" He asked the Ship Master.
      "There are rumors that they are being held on the pride of our fleet, the Divine Rapture, but these are only rumors. Of course, you can feel free to investigate them, as this ship will be at the head of the invasion force. I would not recommend going near that ship, however. It has four of our long-range plasma beams, dozens of plasma torpedo launchers, and countless pulse laser turrets. It carries a full three Flight Wings of fighters, and carries enough soldiers to take over any of your planets. It is an invasion force unto itself. It would be impossible to get aboard, much less rescue your fellow Spartans." 'Lukammee finished.
      "Impossible is what we Spartans were made to do." John said.
      "'Lukammee, how big can we expect this invasion force to be?" Admiral Mangles questioned.
      "A majority of our fleet will be engaged, led by the Divine Rapture, and accompanied by our other Flagships. Expect the number of cruisers to be in the hundreds, and the Supercarrier fleet to show up some time in the engagement.
      "Great, we're Class-A fucked then." Yazuka commented. " The fleet will be fried with the first salvo. We won't be able to touch them."
      "Even so," Mangles said, a hint of defiance in his voice, "we WILL fight. Humanity has been resisting too long to simply die now."
      "What assistance could you provide us, Ship Master?" The Admiral said.
      'Lukammee thought for a second. "Well, I could offer strategic advice, and my ground forces would be more than willing to assist in defense. I will need to contact your Fleet Master and help devise a battle plan. Of course, you also have the use of my ship to augment your rather impressive fleet."
      "That would mean you need to meet with Admiral Stanforth. If you come with us I could introduce him." Mangles replied, looking at the holographic screens, which displayed the Human fleet, with the Leviathan in the center. The whole planet was ringed by MAC guns, shipyards, and battle cruisers A pair of cruisers were approaching the Lucifer and the Bonhomme Richard. He watched as a shuttlecraft departed from the lead cruiser and approached the Bonhomme Richard. "Well, it would appear our welcoming committee is en route, so should we leave now?"
      "Yes, Human. I am eager to meet your Fleet Commander. Let us depart now."
      "Copy that. Wraiths! Lets move." Yazuka yelled. And with that, 'Lukammee, Mangles, the Master Chief, the Wraiths, and Isao 'Namoree made their way to the docking bay where Eddie Price and Dan Malloy waited with the Pelican dropship. As they approached, however, yet another Elite tried to kill 'Lukammee. Before any of the Wraiths knew he was there, however, 'Namoree had his ornate Plasma Rifle out and was saturating the bay with plasma. The assaulting Elite ducked and dodged the plasma, advancing on the party with plasma sword at the ready. He was stopped in his tracks, however, by a long burst from Price's SMGs. The rounds tore through the shielding on the Elite before a shotgun blast from Malloy put the creature down for good. Loiselle put several pistol shots in the Elite, just to make sure. The party all climbed aboard the dropship. The Wraiths took their usual positions, and the two Elites stood in the middle of the troop bay. During the ride back to the ship, the Wraiths asked the two aliens many questions about their experiences in combat. Isao in particular had many interesting ones, being a Commando Squad Master and expert Infiltrator. He had been around before becoming the bodyguard to a high-ranking Prophet and then to Loki 'Lukammee, whom Isao had saved from a grisly death several years earlier. Finally, the Pelican glided into the docking bay and settled down on the deck. They opened up the bay to find none other than Admiral Stanforth waiting for them. At his side was Colonel James Ackerson. Mangles gave a look of extreme disgust upon seeing the Colonel, whom he rated at the very bottom of Humanity. John and the Wraiths came to attention and saluted the Admiral, who immediately returned the salute, and immediately asked for a word in private with Admiral Mangles and the two Elites
      Commander Yazuka approached Colonel Ackerson, who reluctantly came to attention. Yazuka stood there with a look of deep disgust on his face, not returning the salute. "Colonel Ackerson. I must say, I was extremely disappointed when I learned the Covenant hadn't turned you into a puddle at REACH. Of course, you always could weasel your way out of trouble." Ackerson just stared with hate back. Yazuka gave a snort of revulsion, and shook his head before returning the salute and walking off. He cracked his knuckles and stood waiting with the Wraiths and the Chief until Adm. Mangles and Stanforth, along with the two Elites, were finished talking. Finally, the group came over and addressed the rest of the men in the bay.
      "Well Master Chief, Admiral Mangles here tells me an interesting story regarding your whereabouts the past few weeks. I must say, It's a pleasure to have you back." Stanforth said.
      "Thank you, Admiral Stanforth. It's great to be back." The Master Chief replied. There was a snort from Ackerson's direction.
      "A problem, Colonel?" Mangles asked.
      "No, sir." He sneered.
      "Enough, Colonel." Stanforth said. "Now, our new friends tell us that we are facing a massive invasion fleet in less than 48 hours. While this may seem hopeless, I have a few surprises for these Covenant sons of bitches, no offense" he added, looking at the two aliens. "If we could make our way to the bridge, I'd like to show all of you a few things." The Admiral finished, turning on his heel and starting off towards the elevator that would take him to the command deck, and the rest of the party fell into step.