(AUTHOR'S NOTES: So, after yesterday's failure to write this chapter it's time to turn it in! It's time to get this under way a new, new saga starts in Halo as Reach is about to become a battleground but first... a small cameo.)
Reach Time: 5:00
Date: January 20th 2552 (3 Months and 25 Days before Reach falls)
Location: UNSC Storm Control; Training Forge
It'd been a couple of days since the ODST memorial and the confrontation with Mrs. Peterson, another widow thanks to the armed forces and now my number one enemy. She'd been running an anti-Spartan campaign on the base post her husbands funeral but that's not why I'd had trouble sleeping recently; it'd been nightmares. Nightmares that I'd had before but had left me for a while, until my outburst. Some would call it Karma I think that after being so mean I'd been plagued as I had. However, my lack of sleep wasn't showing and that was a good thing.
I'd been spending my time at the Training Forge, Cyph3r keeping me company as he also suffered from insomnia although his was more permanent then mine and we set about training with scoped weapons. Me shooting, Cyph3r setting the targets. He seemed intentive, positive something was bothering me and he was all ears.
"So, you going to tell me what's wrong Orso?" he asked setting the target up; my eyes thinning as I concentrated on the target. My only reply was: "I'm fine." but he saw right through that and suddenly disappeared using his active camouflage. "Cy...?" I asked my communicator receiving no reply and decoy dots now filling my motion sensor to the brim. "Cyph3r...?"
There still was no reply.
With that I rose up in the air, Cyph3r materializing behind me and locking me stiff into place as he growled in my area against my struggle: "Don't lie Bear!" he yelled at me as I still tried fruitlessly to escape his lock. "I don't like liars, you've been up for four days now your not like me..." he said "You're not okay dude, c'mon." He let me go and spun me so I was facing him and I just shrugged "Alright you got me..." I joked "I ate some bad meat at the mess..."
I felt a massive force on my head as Cyph3r hit me round the noggin. I followed the force, staring now at the floor. He stood looking at me, an unimpressed aura coming from behind his visor "You'll tell me in time..."
"Will Team Tartarus please report to the Base Commander's Office!"
"Hang on, what?" replied Cyph3r to the voice that was now echoing around the base; The two of us looked at each other "We better go." was all I could muster, already half way out the door. Cyph3r caught up and we walked towards Xiang's office. The door already open with the huge orange figure of Rodriguez visible in the limelight; Xiang's face stern and Corbett tapping awkwardly on the the surface he was leaning on "Commander," he said seeing us in the doorway "Orso, not shy are you?" We both walked in and Xiang followed Cyph3r intently with her eyes. Another Spartan stood beside her whistling who I didn't even recognize. The Spartan looked at all of us. "Y'all right?"
It was then that we turned around, Xiang ready to start with the new Spartan seemingly agitated by being in the same place for too long. "Tartarus, this is Spartan Courier Mike Mitchell."
"Call me Spyderman." He added to Xiang's disgust.
"Well, he's brought us some news today after us chasing the leads on the Brown Spartan. Renuku." I suddenly remembered the Spartan whom had once buried a crossbow bolt in my shoulder, it was infuriating. I gripped hard Xiang watching my every move. "Well, well, something bothering you Orso?"
I shook my head and the Spartan although not in MJOLINIR armour, was obviously tough. He looked at me and shook his head, Xiang now leavin the rest of the explanation to him; "Oni sent me here because you're not yet on the grid. Seems as though this Renuku is on none of their records, so..." he paused leaving Xiang to finish his sentence "Seems as though WE are going to have to talk to the only person whom apart from ONI can manufacture Spartans." The tension grew more and more as pauses came and went.
"We need to talk to Catherine Halsey."
There was a sudden smash as Corbett knocked something over as Xiang said the name, he pretended as if nothing had happened but a real fear was radiating from him behind his helmet. "A falcon is waiting for Johnathon to take Tartarus to Sword Base." Xiang stated completing what she had to say, Spyderman (as he wished to be referred sniggered to himself) "He he, better get going team..." and we did, we didn't need his permission. We were off.
To the armoury we went first, picking up our normal weapon sets and armour packs. Johnathon shuffled nervously towards the Pelican, getting in the cockpit and allowing us to get into the back, me and Rod on the guns with Cyph3r kicking back to relax. I seemed to be the only curious one of the group as the engines rumbled dramatically "Um, John..."
"You have flown one of these before right?"
"In VR training yeah."
"Alright let me the hell-!"
The Falcon though was already off the floor and I couldn't have my wish, a nervous flyer anyway. I watched in horror as I was suspended over a vast valley outside the hangar. "Shit the bed, shit the bed." I repeated to myself.
Cyph3r kicked back though, music screaming from his helmet and John's voice over the tannoy annoyingly telling us the status of our journey "Estimated time of arrival sits on the Noon side without strong headwind that's in an hour's time. So just kick back and relax on air Corbett." I gritted my teeth to stop myself from calling him names but Cyph3r took a less peaceful root, ripping the PA system out of the hull and groaning to himself "Peaceful at last, I'll explain it to the maintenance team."
And that's how we spent the rest of the journey; me and Rod frosty on the guns with John quiet in the cockpit and Cyph3r kicking back, it wasn't too bad, but it was tense and all I could think of was my odd dreams. Dreams of a woman taking money as she handed over a small child. It took the force of the landing to wake me from my somehow alert day-dream. Cyph3r stepping off first and simply looking around "Home..." he whispered.
Johnathon simply gulped. Shuffling along again rifle in hand as Scientists, Staff and Soldiers alike stopped and looked at us; one being brave enough to mention that we couldn't land where we had earning a prompt "Fuck off!" from Johnathon. I looked around the place. It was so busy and Cyph3r ever eager grabbed the nearest person; this one being a small engineer quaking in his boots "Where's Halsey?"
"In her...L..L...L..Lab." replied the man terrified
"Oh man up pussy," replied Cyph3r "What you got to be scared of me for? Actually, don't answer that." He signalled for us to follow and we followed him around; not sure how he knew his way but he got us where we need to go. The door flew open and everyone entered but something unexpected stopped my progress, I'd ended up behind Corbett who decided to freeze in the doorway. I tried nudging him and called to him but nothing moved him: "John! Corbett?"
"Is that you Johnathon?" came a stern voice from the room...
"Yes ma'am..." he replied shocking us all as he took off his helmet, his coiffed hair, blonde shining in the twilight as the woman whom coaxed him out hid behind a shield "Doctor."
The first time I'd ever seen Corbett pay respect was at a moment I thought it impossible and Cyph3r even took off his helmet and rubbed his own head a confused look on his face. "So it's you as well..." said the woman "I don't recognize the other two, aren't you going to introduce me Johnathon?"
Johnathon shakily snapped his attention which had been at the floor to the woman and I laughed to myself taking off my helmet and Rod did the same; "This is Team Tartarus," Johnathon whimpered "Commander Cyph3r, Warrant Officers Orso and Rodriguez." The woman nodded at the two of us at the back, Rod whom had fallen back with me looked at me confused. We didn't know her. "None of them are mine, save you Johnathon, I'm still quite surprised you haven't killed them yet..."
"Are you still angry about that Doc?" asked Johnathon "I've grown up now, please..."
"No. I haven't"
"I hate to break up this bitch fight and everything," said Cyph3r stroking his ginger beard and now rocking on a chair "But we're hear for a reason, maybe you know of our plight dear Doctor, I have a rash I want you to check out...HA HA HA!" He rocked back further on his chair as he laughed and the woman looked unimpressed at his jests "You're going to fall off that." was her only reply
"No I won- WOAH WOAH!" The next thing was a huge crash and Cyph3r as predicted fell to the ground. Halsey coughed, Johnathon shuffled back and I looked on. "You there, the green one!"
"Why have you four come hear?" she looked at me with an intense stare, I flicked my hair out of my eyes and met it, she seemed as though she was actually scanning me and I wasn't going to give the game away: "We're not you but there's a Spartan out there running about who isn't our Catherine (I added some venom to the fact I used her first name) care to explain?"
The Doctor at first said nothing but looked horrified and glad at the same time "Renuku, he lives?" she asked. Cyph3r pulled himself up from the floor and Johnathon like a mouse squeaked "Yes." The Doctor then errupted into a flurry as she paced quickly, bursting out random facts like "they could still save the project" and "that al wasn't lost." Cyph3r though growled and in his temper picked up the desk that his chair was situated with and threw it into the back wall causing a commotion that made security rush in guns ready to fire at us. "Now that I have your attention," laughed the Commander "Will someone mind telling me what the fuck is going on...?"
The security dropped their weapons once they realised they didn't stand a chance and Halsey stood mesmerized by us all "You're not... conditioned?" she groaned curiously "Well, well... I'll tell you everything. if you promise one thing Captain WOLF."
"What would that be Doc?"
"You," she said pointing at him "Will come to me again."
"To be studied."
The commander took a fraction of a second to think the proposal over and agreed and Halsey began her tale as to the creation of Renuku and another whom was his ally.
"Top brass wanted to seperate ONI from the military," she told us "So we were set to if possible create the Spartan IV more then two times the power of a Spartan III; which involved augmenting already exceptional adult subjects and Renuku was one of the only ones to survive. He was better then we ever hoped for, maybe actually too good, before we could finish the program and collect the final data he stole a proto-type MJOLNIR armour and escaped."
"Ha ha, sounds like you fucked up Doc."
"Watch your mouth Johnathon."
Like a beaten dog the sniper retreated. Halsey though was not done "Another Spartan assigned to be part of my research team; Chetan Wooton also escaped. he has been Renuku's ally since their escape... actually." The doctor disappeared for two minutes and re-emerged with two discs in her hand posting them through the field in a special box designed to keep her safe. Cyph3r grew all the more agitated; "What the hell are these?" he roared his anger getting the best of him "Stop speaking in riddles dammit!"
"Take these to Xiang, one has all you need to know about Renuku and Chetan; the other is valuable intel, very valuable she'll want to see it. Now, leave!"
Johnathon was first out the door but she called him back while we all waited outside, when he re-emerged he was white as a sheet and sweat profusely "Oh my god," he whined "Why, why? WHY CAN'T SHE JUST LET IT GO!?"
"I heard that!"
"WOAH!" we all yelled, jumpy at the ghostly Johnathon. In the confusion though, Cyph3r had somehow snuck off. "I'll take John back, you can track Cy, go get him." ordered Rod.
Cyph3r appeared on my motion ensor quite quickly thanks to his communicator I could easily track him thanks to my skills but I found him in an odd place, helmet still off and crouching in a corridor. I was unsure of whether to approach him or not but out of nowhere he beckoned me closer. "We ready already?" he asked. I simply nodded and I smiled under my helmet almost completely forgetting my nightmares, the Commander stood up put on his helmet and walked by me putting and arm on my shoulder "This is where it all began for me," he laughed "I was found here after living here on the orphanage by a man whom was attacking this base to get food. Without this place I'd of never become what I am today and met you and my friends."
I felt awkward and shuffled.
"Orso," he said "It's time to let go I think; if what happened had never happened think where you'd be now."
He left me to my thoughts...
"Just think about it."