Reach Time: 11:20
Date: January 15th 2552 (4 months and 2 days before Reach falls)Location: UNSC Stronghold Storm Control The Training Forge
Jason suddenly looked anxious as two of the three teams of Spartans were now in conflict already and he stood slap bang in the middle with Cyph3r and me on one side pointing our new weapons towards Carter and the Skull Faced Spartan. He beckoned us to put our guns down, which we did but the tension never faded with the lowering of our weapons...
Jason stood still in the middle looking at the lot of us in our MJOLONIR armour, something he was in fact jealous of but also quite content with the role he played within the UNSC, he cracked his knuckles and nodded: "Right, now we're all calm," he said in a patronizing tone shooting a glance towards me "Here are the rules." He pointed towards a large white board behind him with many random scribble on it from soldiers who had passed by it in it's travels. It didn't originate from Storm Control you could tell, it had been folded up many times and moved from place to place with Kelly as he went; the rules ever evovling as he took his little experiment on the road and the board gaining a few knocks and bumps on the way.
Jason though stood proudly by it "There isn't that many rules actually..." he assured us "It's simple, no melee or knife combat just paint please, anything you find on the field is usable such as ammo, armour abilities and even some special grenades." The Spartans around me all nodded and thought hard about the rules, some noticing something long before the others until a huge Spartan as big as Rod from NOBLE TEAM stepped forward in front of his commander: "What stops us from cheating then?" he asked, a question on the tip of everyone else's tongue but not thrown out there. Kelly smiled you could see his face unlike ours and he laughed quite evilly to himself as I imagined Corbett would, John had made a monster. "Your own honesty," he said "Not really, As well as paint the balls hold a tracker that can only be removed specially by us who designed the Paint ball program and..."
There a slight unease as he pointed his own gun at his hand and simply shot it into his own palm, this gave me the definite indication that John had trained him. After the initial shot he had continued to pull the trigger but nothing had come out the gun since the first shot. You could see some people stare in amazement. I, however, smiled inside my new silver visor as I mimed Jason's next words "A small EMP wave is emitted from the paint as it explodes and knocks the gun dead until it is recharged here, so you can't wipe yourself off and continue and we can see the guns status on this screen," he again pointed to another screen which had all our names on and our gun number with it's status in big green letters saying 'ACTIVE'. I smiled as the game appeared more complex then at first glance. There seemed to be no way to cheat the system, a new challenge for me to one day conquer...
Three teleporters erupted with noise as they activated and Jason looked at us "MUSE COMPANY, first choice of teleporter, we're all gentlemen here." Tanja stepped forward and I stood hypnotised by her presence as she stood looking at the teleporters. She stepped through the one in the centre and disappeared. Her team followed and Kelly was left with the very hostile TARTARUS and NOBLE. Cyph3r moved forward with Carter and they both went for the same teleporter. The two bumped into one and other and looked at each other "Stand down Cyph3r..." growled Carter angrily trying to get past "No mate." replied Cyph3r "Get back, this is ours." The skull faced Spartan, fastly becoming my worst enemy was beginning to step forward and I blocked his path as Kelly himself split the two captains up, flipped a coin and silence once again fell. "Call it."
"Heads!" yelled Cyph3r quickly
"Tails, then." said Carter reluctantly watching Kelly's hand uncover the coin and reveal a shiny head. TARTARUS let out a chorus of laughter pushing by NOBLE TEAM and standing with their leader, Cyph3r whom stared at Carter fiercely behind his black visor "See you out there Crapter>" he smiled disappearing through the left teleporter. I looked back at the skull faced Spartan and Carter whom both seemed to be growling unlike their other calm team mates. I smiled. "Orso?" asked Rod waiting by the teleporter "You coming?" I nodded and we bothed stepped into the light and were whisked far from the entrance of the Training Forge...
My feet landed on an uneven but soft blanket of grass where Cyph3r and Corbett had obviously been waiting for me and Rod to arrive; the klaxon sounded and we now knew the game had gone live. We all ran to the nearest form of cover (a large pile of rocks) and ducked our heads in case of other team snipers. I looked at my team mates "So lads, what's the plan?"
They all looked back at me and Cyph3r already tapping his helmet laughed and replied "Wing it?" in a more inquisitive then authoritative tone. I tapped away furiously at my TACTPAD until suddenly all of our helmets were filled with the unfamiliar voices of the others team calling on each other and speaking in riddle like codes as they tactically moved through the woodland expanse. Cyph3r again laughed "That's smart Bear." he cackled "This is pure entertainment, listen to those losers." Corbett laughed behind him but Rodriguez put a giant hand on his friends shoulder and I looked as Cyph3r lowered his head "I know, I know." He said flustered in reply to Rod's simple gesture. We all looke d at Cyph3r we were two men down compared to the others. Cyph3r had a hard job cut out for him but he looked at me and nodded. I gulped, he had a crazy aura, even more then normal. "Sweet, I have an idea!"
"Fuck me." Johnathon groaned sarcastically
"Fucky you!" replied Cyph3r
"That's what I said..."
"No you said Fuck me..."
"GUYS!" I yelled, trying to break up the little bitch fight the two seemed to be having "What are we going to do...?" Cyph3r looked around and nodded once again "Right, we're on a hill, so..." he pointed to the hill top "Corbett set up, up there and we'll act as a ground team provide support." Corbett nodded and I smiled as I realised that it was actually a good plan and Johnathon determined to have the last word in the two's argument vocalised his opinion: "That was good Cy, for you." Johnathon disappeared up the hill and Cyph3r was left swearing to him. The three of us setting of in the opposite direction, down the hill with our guns ready. "Stay frosty." Rod reminded me awkwardly trying to comfortably wield the tiny gun in his giant hands.
It was eerily quiet moving through the forest canopy, Cyph3r at the head, Rod on point we moved slowly only hearing the occasional burst of air from other high-tech paint ball guns. With Johnathon's scope always on us, we felt strangely secure but still remained "frosty". We could hear the sound of a battle getting closer and closer, and the voices of the enemy radio indicated as much.
"Carter, it's Kat!" came one voice "Me, Six and Five are pinned down by a MUSE breakaway team, requesting assistance!"
"Negative Two, We're also under heavy sniper fire, EMILE GET DOWN!"
"Fucking A, Corbett." chuckled Cyph3r
"Why thank you." Came Johnathon scaring all of us as we didn't expect him to reply "Careful, Emile and Carter have fallen back to your position, Ammo crate about ten clicks. Go get them, there's two of MUSE out thanks to your's truly so two are still wandering about somewhere."
"Thanks for the heads up." I croaked as Johnathon stopped. He instantly clicked off and his high powered sniper could be heard whizzing past us. We dived down on the floor, waiting for whatever it was he fired at to reveal itself. With my heart in my mouth, I simple waited Rod next to me looking mountainous still as he lay on his front. "Move slowly," said Cyph3r shimmying along on his belly silently "Quietly too."
We all began to move forward again, me and Cyph3r were silent and nimble. However, Rod sounded like a fully revved warthog as he dragged himself along. Continuously apologizing as he went on. A twig snapped high above. We all froze, looking upwards. "Johnathon..." whispered Cypher "John, Johnny, John John, Corbett, Corby, Corman?" he just battered the radio with names until his sniper, busy himself answered the call "WHAT!?" We all let out a cry of pain as the sound fed back in all our helmets and that was when all hell broke loose. I hadn't noticed the quiet breathing on the enemy channels. It was a NOBLE signal, apparently coming NOBLE FOUR Spartan A329 Emile. I couldn't see him but I could hear his slow breathe creeping through my whole body. "My position's been over run... gotta move sending out hologram..." panicked John.
Corbett then came running out the bushes, looking straight ahead. Odd, it was but then I remembered. Cyph3r did too but it was too late for poor Rodriguez who was already running towards his other team mate which in fact was not his team mate but a copy, a hologram. Paint balls flew towards the Hologram and Rod, skidded to a halt as the two MUSE COMPANY members stared at him guns ready, about to take the shot. "Shit." was all Cyph3r could muster as he took his gun to his eye, me following suit and pulled the trigger. A second was all we needed.
With a splat the paint found its mark on Ellen (the medic of MUSE COMPANY) and another I did not recognize. They pulled the triggers of their own guns to find them unresponsive and us about ten feet away from Rod and the now disappearing Hologram let out a sigh of deep relief. Johnathon, came out of the bushes as well taking us back to full strength. "Bloody hell Rod," yelled the sniper "that was close!" The four of us, Johnathon low on ammo made our way towards the ammo crate he'd spotted, it took merely minute now we were off our stomachs and back on our feet. The forest once again fell silent. "I can't believe I only started with four bullets..." moaned John taking as much ammo as he could "That Kelly bitch has got a lot of explaining to do..." I had tuned out of the conversation the other three were having about Corbett's lack of ammo and how there was now only two MUSE left in the game Tanja and their own sniper. I looked toward a paint "rocket launcher" and grabbed it with the ammo. The twigs in the trees snapped again, cascading leaves down to the floor "For god sake..." yelled Cyph3r. There it was again, the same shallow breathing. It made me shiver.
Rod, though remained high spirited and began to move forward again. "NOBLE Leader this is four, I have TARTARUS in my sights, preparing to engage." All four of us suddenly grasped the weapons in our hands as a brown blur fell onto Rodriguez sending the man mountain rocketing to the floor and standing on top of him continued to shoot him continuously in the back of the neck where the armour was least, in order to inflict the most pain. I primed my launcher, aimed and Johnathon began to over towards Emile who was now just gloating over Rod whom he'd turned round and was now bullying on the floor. Rod was trying to get him off desperately but Emile had him pinned his knee tightly locked into the giants back and his whole weight pressed on the Giant Spartan. I fired, Emile moved slightly and Corbett soon became my paint missile's now target. It hit home.
Two Tartarus down, two to go. One by accidental friendly fire. Corbett was lived he threw his gun on the floor and I looked up "Sorry, I missed."
Emile though turned towards us now me and Cyph3r and The rest of NOBLE team had also arrived Jorge also taking a hit from my paint missile. It was now Carter, Kat, Emile and Thom versus me and Cyph3r. I gulped but all of a sudden two bullets found their marks on Thom and Kat; Tanja now emerged from the shadows with Jasmine her sniper at the other side. "Jun's gone carter."
A mexican stand off three pairs but Emile still pinning Rod to the ground bullying the giant with physical blows now. I don't know what came over me. I just threw down my gun and charged straight at Emile, a sickening crunch as I wrapped around him and pllucked him off my friend and slammed his back into a tree. The rest stood in horror as I mimicked the blows to the face Emile had given Rod, continuously pounding him against the tree, hearing his helmet knock against the tree's bark and rumble the whole mighty oak. I felt paint hit me but I didn't care, I just continued, heard shouting behind me but didn't stop. Crater tried to pull me off with Cyph3r headbutting him in order to get to me first Tanja, screaming for me to stop and her sniper quickly picking off all the others left in the game. I just couldn't stop...
Jason soon arrived and shot into the air with a 'real' shotgun, Xiang stood beside him. "Put him down Orso..." she growled as she saw me, she looked at Rod who;s helmet was slightly cracked and dented as he got up and removed it, revealing his brow slightly curly hair. "Ouch." he groaned watching Emile flop to the floor as I let him go and walked away. "THIS IS NO WAY-"
"Don't you dare lecture me about things Carter..." said Xiang quietly but all the more menacing "Your team member disobeyed the rules and took a SICK pleasure in torturing one of my team members, don't you dare lecture me about right, wrong or protocol soldier." I hadn't noticed that Cyh3r had his large machete to Carter's throat at all. Everyone was around now, all the "dead" players came back to our location looking towards the tree which now had a Emile's head sized dent in it and at Rod's helmet. They could see what was going on and Jun, NOBLE's sniper stood beside Corbett "Same as always, eh, Johnny?"
"Better believe it Jun."
We were all marched from the Training Forge, into Xiangs office. and she sat us all down NOBLE on one side and TARTARUS on the other. A cold air swirled through the dark room. "I'm fed up of this," said the Base Commander lighting a cigarette "I cannot take this stupid rivalry anymore! do you understand." I didn't understand but nodded anyway but Cyph3r growled "Cyph3r, do you understand?" He shook his head and leaning back in his chair, not even looking at the Xiang now "Fuck this, he's an asshole, they're all assholes."
"Excuse me?" yelled NOBLE all rising from their seats.
At Xiangs word they did as commanded and I watched in amazement "We have a funeral tomorrow a massive memorial, you lot ruin it and I swear to God... I will have you all punished the harshest you have ever darn seen!" I gulped, Cyph3r shrugged it off and Carter got up.
"We don't have to listen to this," he replied "These lot are rude, arrogant and obnoxious with no regards to rules. What Master Chief ever saw in you WOLF I have no idea?"
"Remind you of anyone you know?" I said gesturing towards Emile who's skull face was strange in the rooms twilight state. "You will listen, this is my house and my rules." squawked Xiang "Now all of you get the fuck out!" We all began to walk out single file, heads hung all except Cyph3r who seemed rather impressed with himself. "And Cyph3r..."
"Just because you're screwing me doesn't mean you can screw WITH me, I will cut off your testicles and make you eat them."
The rest of TARTARUS laughed as Cyph3r quickly sprinted out of the room and quickly took the lead on our retreat back to our quarters...