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SPARTAN III Ch 1: This is War
Posted By: Winters<PMOH_Winters@hotmail.com>
Date: 18 February 2004, 7:28 AM

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Spartan-362, Aeris, was possibly one of the most unusual in the group of fifty-five SPARTAN IIIs. Unlike many of the other Spartans, Aeris wasn't exactly comfortable with killing. Actually, she wasn't quite sure of that for having to suppress the feeling for the last 27 years. 27 years of long hard training since age six. Now, many of the past events seemed like a blur, like they had happened a lifetime ago. Since the day she woke up find that her room was gone, surrounded by Marines and other six-year olds, to the excruciating pain of the surgical implants. Aeris had just one goal now. Fight the Covenant and save Humanity.
Like many of her fellow Spartans, Aeris remembered exactly what she was doing when news of the destruction of Reach. She was on Earth, in an undisclosed training base sparring with Spartan-324, Gus. Since then, she and her fellow Spartans were told to pack their equipment and ship out to the UNSC destroyer Medal of Honor.
The Medal of Honor was a marvel of human engineering. It was so new, its halls still reeked of industrial grade chemicals, and the engines gave a hearty roar as they were broken in with the ships systems. It was armed with hundreds of Archer missile pods, multiple 50mm turrets, a top of the line MAC gun, and several meters of Titanium A to defend itself. For the next two weeks, this would the SPARTAN-IIIs new home.

Aeris sighed. The thing she hated most about space travel was the sheer boredom and repetition being cooped up in a small starship in the middle of Slipspace, especially for one trained to fight on the ground for her entire life. Finally, the ship comm beeped and blared, "All Spartans, report to briefing room B-7." Aeris quickly gathered up her gear, beckoned for Gus, MikeZero, and the other nearby Spartans to follow, and sped off to the briefing room.

The briefing room was a dark, clean area. Chairs and desks were arranged in a large circle around a central podium and holoprojector. Quickly and efficiently, the Spartans, even scattered throughout the entire ship, somehow managed to get to the briefing room all at the same time, marching in step and taking seats classified by designation number. Once all 55 Spartans sat down, the Captain and an AI standing in the middle of the room began to speak.

"Good morning, Spartans. I am Captain Mahoney, commander of this destroyer, and I will be briefing you on this mission." Mahoney then began to pace around the podium. "I know many of you are itching to prove yourselves in combat, and is your chance, but don't think that just because this is your first mission that it'll be easy." Mahoney stopped. "I don't expect to see all of you back."
None of the Spartans budged or flinched. If they were bothered, they hid it very well.
"Anyways." Mahoney continued, "This is the planet Sigma Alpha, just outside of official UNSC space. Sigma Alpha is of strategic importance because ONI is running a top secret research base over there codename: HOLLOW BASTION. As of two days ago, Sigma Alpha belongs to the Covenant and HOLLOW BASTION soon to follow. We have no idea of the condition of the Marine garrison there, but we know that they are holding the fort. We don't know if they can hold much longer, so we're sending you in to extract the research team, the Marines, and any other survivors."
Wolfman, their squad leader, raised a hand. "Sir, our method of insertion and extraction?"
Mahoney stopped, and almost smiled, at the Spartan's promptness.
"Insertion will be by drop pods, the same kind the ODSTs use, and Pelicans. Extraction will be by Pelican only."
Aeris almost frowned, not at the fact that they were using a very risky form of insertion, but at the mention of the ODSTs, or Helljumpers. The rivalry between the Marine elite and the Spartans was legendary, and their views were often shared by their commanding officers. Meanwhile, Mahoney picked up a remote and activated the holoprojector, displaying a three dimensional map.
"You will all be separated into three groups. Red, Blue, and Green groups. Red group will come down first, on this Covenant outpost as a diversion. Don't worry about anti-aircraft fire, we'll be sending down several "dummy" pods to draw their fire. While the Covenant are busy trying to figure out what's happening, Blue and Green teams will come down in Pelicans. Blue team will be deployed at HOLLOW BASTION to shore up the defense there, while Green team lands at these hills over here, where they can support both teams. Once Blue and Green teams set down and get in position, Red team will pull out with Green team supporting and fall back to HOLLOW BASTION. There, you will rendevous with Blue team and any survivors, destroy the base, and get to Extraction Point Alpha, just 2 kilometers away out of range of Covenant defenses. There, you will be extracted and taken back to Medal of Honor. Remember, once the attack starts, Medal of Honor only has approximately 48 hours to stay in position before Covenant reinforcements can arrive. Also, you may have noticed this AI next to me. This is Joshua. Fleet Command was kind enough to donate an AI for this unit. Joshua's primary directive is in tactical planning, but he's also a 'smart' AI, so he can do any sort of task you ask him."
Mahoney took one last look around the room.
"I know this mission is going to be tough, but that's why we're sending you in. Because you are the best of the best. Show those Covenant what Hell really is. Dismissed."