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Visions of Purity Part 2: The Colonel
Posted By: xitWOUND117<xitwound117@yahoo.com>
Date: 23 February 2004, 5:33 PM

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0650 Hours, September 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/UNSC Pelican dropship, near the planet Reach

      John loaded his shotgun and pumped a round into the chamber, then set it on the metal Pelican deck, next to his sniper rifle. He was still confused about his mission, but, after the Kahldana had docked for repairs, he had no choice but to go ahead and drop down to Reach's surface.
      The pilot turned around and looked at John. "The descent is going to be easier than we thought. All the Covenant ships are clustered around one area, so we should be able to land without being detected," he said.
      John nodded and the pilot returned to his controls. Soon the Pelican began to shake as it entered Reach's atmosphere. John grabbed his shotgun and rifle and held on to them.
      A few minutes later the Pelican came to a halt a few feet above Reach's surface. John got out of his harness, slung his shotgun over his back, and jumped onto the ground.
      "As soon as you contact the captain and tell him you've completed your mission we'll come back to pick you up," said the pilot over John's COM channel as the Pelican began to lift off. John turned off his sniper rifle's safety and ran towards a nearby hill.
      Suddenly Cortana said, "I'm putting a NAV point over the Novas storage facility." John was not able to bring her on his last mission, but he was glad to have her on this one. He was going to need her help. An orange arrow popped onto his HUD over the location of the storage facility holding the Nova bombs.
      John broke into a sprint. Soon he was on a hill overlooking the storage building. He brought his sniper rifle up to his shoulder and scanned the entrance looking for some sort of Covenant force. He was sure the Covenant would have taken such an obvious structure such as the storage building. He quickly spotted an Elite using the rifle's 10x zoom, but the Elite was dead, his head partly blown off. John spotted at least another twenty Covenant bodies, Grunts, Jackals, and Elites, all showing signs of combat. If all the human forces on Reach were presumed to be dead, then what killed all these Covenant? John wondered. He unslung his shotgun and slung his sniper rifle then set off down the hill.
      Reaching the bottom of the hill, John spotted something peculiar. Several sets of footprints leading towards the building were plainly displayed in the dirt. John inspected them and not only recognized them all as human, but he also determined that most of them had been made by Spartan boots. John was now very puzzled. All of his teammates had died several months ago, so who made these footprints?
      He continued on towards the storage facility, passing bodies of Covenant, some missing limbs, some missing their legs, others missing their heads, but all were full of bullet holes. Indeed, humans had been here, even after the invasion of the Covenant, John thought. Soon he came to the building's huge doors. They were twenty feet tall and half a foot thick, so there was no way John could force them open by himself. He looked around; there had to be another way besides finding another entrance. Suddenly he got an idea.
      The Spartan walked over to the body of an Elite and searched it for grenades. He found three; pocketing them he moved onto the next body. Quickly he had about ten plasma grenades. He walked back over to the storage facility's doors and piled the grenades in front of them. Then he pulled out a fragmentation grenade, pulled the pin, tossed near the pile, and ran behind a tree. Several seconds later came the deep 'THUD' of the frag grenade's explosion, quickly followed by multiple plasma grenade explosions. The ground shook as it was beaten by the pure force of the explosions while glowing hot metal shrapnel whipped past John. The explosions subsided as quickly as they started and John got up. He looked at the doors; a good portion of them had been blown away, and there was a small crater where the grenades had detonated.
      Walking over to the broken doors, he got on his stomach and crawled through the crudely made opening.
      "Primitive," Cortana remarked. John paid no attention to her as he strode over to the main control panel. He glanced over the computer displays. One display caught his eye: Countdown to Detonation: 17:42.13.
      "Damn," muttered John.
      "This doesn't make sense," Cortana whispered.
      "You're telling me," John replied. He switched on the COM and radioed the Kahldana.
      "Captain, the timers on the bombs have already started," he said.
      "Alright son, we'll send the dropship to pick you up," Captain Hollbright answered.
      "But who started the timers?" John asked.
      "No idea, but at least your mission's over."
      "Yes, sir." John was still puzzled, but he wasn't one to question things. He turned around, exited the building, and made his way back to the pickup.

      Ano 'Ikamamee marched down the hallway. He clicked his mandibles in disgust. 'Ikamamee did not like what was happening late. Then, the vermin slaughtered the execution team. And, the most enraging of all, the ship master declared that the humans were not to be harmed, by order of the High Ones. Although 'Ikamamee's hatred for the humans was strong, he could not disobey the decree of the Prophets.
      The Elite stopped near a set of doors. Two humans in olive armor stood in front of the doors, guarding. 'Ikamamee spoke to the humans, asking for entrance in his own language. He could hear the sound of the translation software in their helmets working. The guards nodded and motioned their guns toward the doors. 'Ikamamee thought the having to ask for entry into a section of a his own ship was ridiculous. He jerked his head in frustration, then continued through the doors.
      Past the doors was a large docking bay. Close to a hundred of the green-armored humans filled the bay, patrolling, unloading supplies from human dropships, and guarding various important elements. 'Ikamamee walked over to a cluster of humans.
      "Where is your leader?" he asked in his own language. One of the humans looked up and pointed to one of the larger humans. 'Ikamamee strode over to the human.
      "The High Ones demand proof of your worthiness to the Covenant. You and your team must take this asteroid, held by human rebels," 'Ikamamee said to the human leader, handing him a datachip holding the information on the whereabouts of the asteroid.
      "You must have complete control of it within the next forty-eight hours," he continued, wincing at his obligatory use of the filth's' time. The human nodded and continued overseeing various tasks. 'Ikamamee turned around and walked back out the doors he had entered the room through. He, for one, hoped that the humans would not return.

      John stormed onto the bridge. Captain Hollbright stepped in front of him.
      "What is the meaning of this, soldier?!" shouted Hollbright. "I told you to report to the cryobay! We're going to jump soon!"
      "Captain, there are still men down there!" John answered, frustrated and confused.
      "What, on Reach?" the Captain asked.
      "Yes, sir. I saw their tracks in the dirt. They must have been the ones who set set the timers for the Novas."
      "Son, this isn't my business. Colonel Ackerson told us to pull out and jump back to the Earth system, so that is what I'm going to do."
      "We can't just leave them down there!" John yelled.
      "Watch it Master Chief! You do not tell me what I can or cannot do!"
      "Sir, there are men on the surface. Why are we just going to abandon them?!"
      "I don't know, but we have orders. Now get to the cryobay!"
      John whipped out his M6D pistol and pointed it at the captain's head.
      "Men, draw your-" Hollbright started, looking towards the bridge officers.
      "Don't take out your weapons. All of you know as well as I do that I could kill every single one of you without getting scratched. I don't want anyone to get hurt, but I must know what is going on," John said grimly.
      "So what do you want?" Hollbright asked, his face twisted with anger.
      "I want to talk with Colonel Ackerson."
      "Alright," said the captain, "Lieutenant Brevins, establish a video and audio feed with Colonel Ackerson."
      "Y-Yes sir!" the Lieutenant said. The captain glared at John while the Lieutenant set up the connection, anger burning in his eye.
      "Video a-and audio feed connection established, s-sir!" Brevins said a few minutes later.
      Colonel Ackerson stood before John on the main view screen, his back to the Spartan.
      "Captain, I'm assuming you have an explanation for this interrupt-" Ackerson started as he turned around. He halted when he saw John pointing his pistol at Hollbright's head. The Colonel stared in shock for a few seconds.
      "Master Chief! What are you doing?!" demanded Ackerson.
      "Colonel, there are men still alive on Reach, including Spartans. We must send them help!" John replied. Surprise flashed over Ackerson's face, then quickly changed to anger.
      "How do you know this?!" said Ackerson.
      "There were footprints in the dirt near the Nova storage facility, most made by Spartan boots. It was obvious there were people still alive, the Covenant guarding the building were all killed by bullets and the Novas were set to blow by someone."
      "That is not evidence enough. You have orders to pull out, now do it!"
      "Sir, my men are down there!"
      Ackerson laughed. "John, you have proven yourself most useful in the work I needed done. Indeed, this last piece of information is very interesting, and will need further investigation. But not only has your usefulness come to an end, you have now made a nuisance of yourself. Those are not your men, despite what you may think, but you will not find out anything about them."
      Suddenly Ackerson's voice was audible over the Kahldana's intercom, allowing every Marine on the ship to hear.
      "Soldiers of the Kahldana," said Ackerson, "this is Colonel Ackerson. I order every one of you to stop at nothing to kill the Spartan John-117! This is imperative; he threatens to hinder our efforts to defeat the Covenant! Kill him, or all of you will be court marshaled."
      With that Ackerson disappeared from the view screen. The bridge officers stared at the Spartan in fear, not daring to reach for their sidearms. John had no idea what Ackerson was up to, but he knew it wasn't in the best interests of the UNSC. Ackerson must have his own agenda, he thought. He wanted to find out what was going on, but for now he had to get off the Kahldana and get to Earth...somehow.
      Keeping his gun aimed at the captain's head, John backed out of the bridge. Once he was out of sight he ran down the hallway towards the lifepods. Two Marines stood guard near the first lifepod. They jumped in surprise when they saw him running towards them and they pointed their assault rifles at him. John holstered his pistol and raised his hands.
      "Don't shoot and let me pass and I won't hurt you," John said. The Marines looked at each other, nodded, and lowered their weapons. John ran past them and opened the lifepod doors. After they slid open he walked in and punched the button that closed the doors. Then he threw himself into the pilot's seat and launched the lifepod.

      A large figure stood before Ackerson on his holographic projector.
      "You did not inform me that there were still survivors on Reach," said Ackerson. The figure laughed.
      "You did not ask," it answered. "And besides, they are being hunted as we speak. But now it is our turn to ask why information was withheld. You did not tell us one of your ships was heading for one of the ring worlds. One of your super-troops has destroyed one of our most holy structures."
      "Hmmm... I did not send any ship or troops to any of your ring worlds," replied Ackerson. "It probably wasn't under my command. I'll look into it; I'm just as interested as you are as to who destroyed the structure."
      "See that you do, human."
      "How are my soldiers doing?" Ackerson asked.
      "The Ship Master of the Herald of Justice, Ydu 'Rulalemee, has reported that none of them have been harmed and they are about to embark on the Holy Ones' mission."
      "Good. You will not be dissapointed by their performance."
      "We shall see," the figure finished. The view screen snapped to black as the video and audio feed was severed. Ackerson stood up and stretched.
      "How did it go?" a voice asked behind him.
      "Perfectly. He doesn't suspect a thing," Ackerson answered without turning around.
      "And what of the prototype?"
      "He will be dead soon enough."