Reach Time: 16:40pm
Date: January 20th 2552 (7 Months and 10 Days before Reach falls)
Location: UNSC Camp HERD'S Rest in Espoz Desert
Spyder walked off with his armour still confused as to how he was to run in the orange mass. The staff still gathered around the module were beginning to grow restless and unbeknown to the other two Spartan teams NOBLE were trying to get them to stand back. Cyph3r and me waded our way through the crowd towards the front watching Carter and Emile rudely bat back the scientists. Once we were opposite them though, there was an awkward stand off; Emile went for me but Carter (for his sake) called the skull faced Spartan to stand down. "Good boy." I mocked as he growled like the dog he was. Rodriguez came and stood between me and Cyph3r with Johnathon flanking on Carter's left. Our captain didn't look happy at all...
"What's going on here, Carter?" Cyph3r quizzed pushing his way past the two.
Noble team didn't move and I pushed my way past Thom to see Kat knelt by the module welding and hacking away at the circuitry. "We needed to clear an area for NOBLE 2 to work in peace." he said once again hammering back a scientist who was trying to help, it was then that Cyph3r grabbed Carter as he was about to bat down a second scientist. Carter, stunned turned back to the white Spartan who was looking down at him with an aura of intense hatred. "You touch another one of these people and we swear-"
"We?" asked Carter patronizingly shrugging off our Commander "Now, let Kat work, how long two?"
"About an hour, Sir." came a reply. I laughed and looked towards Cyph3r discreetly tapping at my own Tactpad. Rodriguez turned away, sensing trouble on the horizon and Cyph3r nodded giving me the go ahead to do what it is that I had to do. And so I did. Tapping away at my Tactpad the module began to whir with life, it wasn't a practical failure at all it was software that had become corrupt thanks to the impact of the crash. I continued to give the module my attention and Kat herself couldn't understand what was actually going on, I smiled to myself: "Are you actually a proper techie, or are you some sort of joke?" I laughed as Xiang appeared on screen.
"Play nice children." called Holland from the screen "You're going to be working together real soon, so form up!" MUSE and NOBLE followed almost instantly, while we in TARTARUS straggled into line late. Not standing to attention; not bothered about the formality. Instead we just laughed. The rest thought took the time to look at us, shake their heads in disgust and turn back to the screen. An orange blur knocked me onto the floor...
"Wow, this is lighter then expected!" yelled Spyder offering me his hand "Get up now Orso, now's no time to be sitting." He helped me up, continuing to run on the spot. I brushed myself down looking at the new golden visor that was staring at me. "Well, you knocked me over." I groaned to myself as Xiang began briefing us on what OPERATION SHEPARD had actually brought us here for. It reminded me of when I had first met, that night on the Orchestral. Her eyes this time seemed more nervous, her face looked pale and the presence of Holland seemed to grate on her as his team did on us...
"The facility we are about to siege is a research facility specialising in Covenant technology. Chetan Woot was posted here as a scientist," Xiang took a long drag on her cigarette and the smoke escpaing from her mouth seemed to calm her the more she blew out "That's why he's here. So in order to apprehend him and his accomplice Renuku; we are going to split into mixed teams who are best fitted for the jobs that they're about to be assigned. There will be a Sniper team which will focus on recon and protect the Assault team which will knock on the front door and draw the enemy to the front whilst the Covert team will sneak in the back eliminate anyone they find and defuse a hostage situation that we have only just found out about."
"Hostages? How many?" asked Tanja
"Not sure, total staff at the base is 170 so expect around that." replied Holland
The rest of us looked at each other, a lot of people wanted to be apart of the Assault team. You could see it. The look of anticipation in their body language, the fidgeting signalling both fear and excitement. The rush of combat we'd been "programmed" for. I shuffled I could guess what was happening next, Xiang was about to announce the teams and I wouldn't be on the Assault team, I knew I'd be in...
"The Cover Team will be lead by Tanja and consist of Orso from TARTARUS; Kat from NOBLE; and Emile from NOBLE." said Xiang watching all four of us group together. "Tech's will be important if you're going to get in, cover them." I looked at Kat who already hated me for fixing the module in the first place and Emile who was already growling at me. It was Tanja who caught my attention longest; she stroked my face gently and giggled "Keep your head in the game... Teddy." I laughed but Xiang hissed at us to be quite, biting her own lip. "Assault will be joint lead..." there was a shock in all the Spartans left because the only Commander classes left were "Carter and Cyph3r with Rod, Jorge, Thom and Nora of MUSE."
"Fuck." groaned Cyph3r.
"Snipers from all teams will take the positions allocated on the map." Jun, Johnathon and the MUSE sniper who'd won them the paintball game all turned around to look at the map whilst Holland suddenly took over proceedings. "PUMA Mike Mitchell will serve as a general purpose team member floating between all three teams with intel and most importantly medic Ellen of MUSE." As all the Spartan's turned around to look at him Spyder stopped running and Ellen sheepishly moved towards him "Carry her on your back-"
"I'm PUMA not HORSE! How come Rod isn't carrying her."
"Because I'm on the front-line Spyder."
"So? You're more built for it then I am!"
"Silence!" I'd never seen Xiang as she was acting now, she seemed genuinely worried, I wasn't sure if it was Holland or not but I knew I'd never find out. I had to let it lie. It was Cyph3r and Carter (who were already arguing) who broke the hush and Xiang finished were Holland had started. "Now, your commanders will be handed miniture briefing packs displaying important information and locations. Take heed and listen. Be safe." The screen went black as the two Colonel's disappeared...
The four teams (if you included Spyder who already had Ellen on his back) split off to isolated corners. Tanja sat us around a fire, the lake water reflecting it's dancing glow. Emile grunted and Kat huffed as she turned her head from me. The sounds of Carter and Cyph3r already fighting was alot more appealing then the awkward silence I had to endure being part of my team. I would have traded in a second. "Right, whatever's happened ends now," yelled a passionate Tanja "Your mine now and I have a job to do got it!"
"I'm going to get fucking killed..." I groaned.
"Not with me around Teddy!"
"Why do you keep calling me that."
"Well, Bear. You know."
"When you two are quite finished." coughed Kat, checking her tools "So Captain what's the plan?" With that Tanja opened the brown envelope she'd been handed and smiled as she spread two diagrams and a letter out on the floor. The first diagram was of the structure with a red line showing our route and a green star which was our goal that looked straight forward. The other was the route of how we needed to get to the back ventilation system in which we would enter. Tanja found the letter more interesting though. She read it out to us even though Emile wasn't paying attention.
Your mission is to use the two routes described in these diagrams to defuse the hostage situation within the structure. You will flank round on mongooses 25 minutes after the Assault team engages the enemy. The sniper team will keep you covered. Be warned that a SPARTAN presence is indicated in the hostage facility. Treat as hostile.
"What no kisses?" groaned Emile "Kat, let's get out of here. We'll meet you tomorrow." As he went to leave a menacing tone came into Tanja's voice. "You better Emile, or I'm coming for you myself." I shuddered and Emile left. Nothing was said until Tanja turned and looked at me "Rest up, I would if I were you. We're going to need you."
"Yeah, Kat is pretty bad."
Tanja then left before I could ask her to stay. I looked down at the floor, removing my helmet and allowing my brown hair to flow down towards the floor too. I didn't move. nor stir until Spyder and Ellen sat either side of me with Cyph3r across from me. "She talks about you all the time." said Ellen cheerfully "She's glad she's got you."
Spyder and Cyph3r both pointed towards their crotches and I pretended to throw up. Ellen looked confused, she obviously didn't get the "male talk"...