(AUTHOR'S NOTES: Told you today would be a busy day and my laziness would spawn productivity. I dunno what it's about at the moment. I like the new Punk Goes Pop album; check it out it has Asking Alexandria, The Word Alive and Woe is Me on it. It's a good bit of tuneage. Ok...
Let's start this off!)
Reach Time: 06:00 am
Date: January 21st 2552 (7 months and 10 days till Reach falls)
Location: Tartarus Tent, Camp HERD'S REST in Espoz Desert
I was woken up with a start; Cyph3r held out a hand to help me up in my daze and as I looked around for my helmet my eyes began to adjust to the twilight that always accompanied the early hours of the morning. It was Rodriguez in the corner whom broke the silence: "Good morning." he said rubbing his own head.
I looked around again after picking up my helmet; Johnathon was no where to be seen and my leader as if psychic answered my thoughts instantly. He tapped the side of his helmet "Sniper team left early this morning at the guard swap; they've ambushed and taken the positions they're now waiting on us." He exited the tent followed by Rodriguez. The earliness had made me forget again that I had a job to do but what was more worrying was that it was with Tanja, the gunfire I could stand but her presence made me feel... vulnerable. I had never liked feeling vulnerable. Yet, when I exited the tent now seeing the world through my helmets silver visor she just beckoned me forward. I took only small steps towards my new team, the two NOBLEs huddled together rather then standing with the new outsiders. I gulped...
"Right, Emile you'll be driving and as you and Kat are so attached she'll be your buddy," ordered Tanja in s soft but authorative tone "Orso's driving me, remember 25 minute delay and as soon as we get the green light. Hit it, don't stop, don't hesitate, don't even think and if you need to go toilet hold it because you slow me down and I'll shoot you myself!" It wasn't exactly the best motivational speech, it did more to scare me then raise my morale (if anything could this early in the morning) and Emile seemed more focused on me. I just glared back at him half in anger the other half in annoyance. Kat dragged him away to their mongoose leaving me and Tanja alone. I suddenly got all afraid again. She turned towards me with her hands on her hips and simply asked me "Are you going to stand around all day?"
"Well, no ma'am. Ladies first ma'am."
"How gentlemanly of you Orso." she retorted walking past me towards the quad bike; this new Tanja (well not new, it was her "leader persona") would take some getting used to compared to the gentle one I'd seen before but I knew she was in there as everytime she looked at me that same feeling of being seen through was still there. Like it had been in that awkward hospital moment. She hopped on the back of the quad bike and held onto one of my shoulders "You keeps doing that ma'am and you'll get me all a fluster." I joked.
"Keep your mind on the road, you filthy animal."
I pulled back on the throttle and the bike lurched forward, The assault team were ahead being dropped off in civilian vehicles rather then UNSC ones; in order to not draw attention to ourselves. As the road forked ahead they went their way and we went ours seperating once again into our small units. I felt uneasy with Emile's eyes constantly boring into the back of me (or Tanja as she was on the back) but I fought through it only being mildly scared when Cyph3r rang through my ear; "Orso, it's me on the Tartarus secure channel!" he yelled making me panic and swerve slightly "Xiang says keep this open and keep an eye on the NOBLEs she has a bad feeling." I didn't like working on a hunch but Xiang had proved to be a formidable person despite her sex and if Cyph3r trusted it; I would too. The only problem was I couldn't look at Emile for too long or I'd hit him. That wouldn't be very discreet at all. Tanja held on tighter to me as I sped up to reach our destination. I must admit I liked it but thanks to my visor the smile was a private one to myself.
"Stop it Orso, you're not here to play kiss chase." groaned Corbett high above me watching the valley like a hawk "We have a job to do."
The Mongoose skidded to halt on a ridge that over looked the whole of the valley the facility was and which we would follow all the way to our entry point in the facilities service areas. While we were parked waiting eagerly, the Assault team could be seen moving faster towards the compound only speeding up. There was no sign of them attemtpting to stop but instead a mass exodus from both vehicles before they ram raided the front of the facility with a huge explosion probably from grenades and shook the whole area. Rocks fell from above us and the explosion could probably be heard from back at Storm Control. I could hear giggling over the comms as Cyph3r's voice rang out with a sarcastic "Knock Knock?"
"25 minutes starts now get used to the rest." growled Tanja from behind me "Ready?" We could see the Assault team falling back from the burning debris of the two vehicles and taking cover behind the rock formations littered around the area. Alarms sounded and many militia members whom we'd chased out of Storm Control emerged from the facility; there was something not quite right about the weapons they held but the pointed them towards the Assault team, I squinted and zoomed but I couldn't make heads or tails of what they were carrying. I was just to far away. Tanja squeezed me from behind and I remembered we were on a timer. I waited patiently, revving the engine every now and then as the tension mounted.
The guard edged ever closer to the debris putting out the falmes quickly; you could see Cyph3r give Rod the nod of approval and Thom and Nora followed suit they engaged the fire crew without mercy mowing down the unsuspecting team easily. It was when fire was returned at them that all hell broke loose. Pink spikes whizzed by Cyph3r's head and he swore prefusly "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON THEY HAVE COVENANT WEAPONS!?" Blue blobs stuck to the rocks that the team hide behind blowing the former boulders into tiny grains of sand. I gulped and I'm sure the others who wanted to be in the Assault team suddenly retracted that wish. "Xiang," I asked my communicator "Is there something you aren't telling us because somehow, they have superior tech and they're monks and farmers?"
The colonel didn't reply but Holland took the time to gloat to all of us that he was superior in this moment "It's a research facility into Covenant tech; it has a weapons cache." Tanja growled at Holland and I thought about Xiang; it seemed as though they'd sent us into a trap knowingly. I grasped at my throttle "How long?"
"7?" Tanja answered confused
"5," gloated Kat in the same manner as Holland.
I growled and looked at the Assault team, Rod giving the enemy hell every time they decided to poke their heads up. Cyph3r and Carter were looking at each other in a heated exchange as well as blowing off a head or two when the need arose. It was only three minutes till the end of the opening play, the majority of the force was reported to be repositioning towards the front gate. We were drawing them in, the snipers picked off a head or two at their own leisure. It almost seemed lazy. John even let out a yawn and a cheeky comment "You know, I wish I was on the ground now."
"You really don't!" yelled back Cyph3r ducking "Orso, shouldn't you be moving by bloody now?" I looked down at my tactpad and without a second thought pulled back on the throttle and led the way to the back entrance. The opening play was over and it was time both sides made their best moves...