Here's the next chapter enjoy. It was originally going to be longer but due to file corruption, I had to make a shorter and sweeter version. Nothing had actually been cut, plot wise, that is. Instead just a few extra sentences and small occurrences which were in the original write up.
Chapter 4: Blast To The Past
“Faragon?” Twilight was intrigued to learn about a new planet but she could detect no relevance in the name to anything in the dictionary. It was quite odd for something to be named with no specific meaning. Maybe that's just how humans named things. It would explain why 42 has his rather ominous name for starters but that wasn't important at the moment. 42 spoke up again and she listened intently.
“Yes Faragon, my first deployment as a Spartan, the operation didn't go quite as well as we planned.” He shifted in his seat as it seemed that the experience wasn't a happy memory. “I would rather not talk about it but I can show you. Uh, dragon kid, thing. Could you hit the lights and close the curtains.” Spike walked over to the light switch and jumped up to flick it off as the Owloysius closed the curtains using her talons. Twilight and everyone else was confused as to what exactly 42 was doing but he ignored their looks of frustration and confusion as he fidgeted with a small black box attached to the side of his helmet. An small 'click' played out and then a shaft of light beamed from the small black box and travelled across the table before hitting the wall on the other side and displayed a large black square.
“What the!?” Rainbow called out but 42 continued to fidget as he pressed several things on his wrist device. Text began to dart onto the screen and sound started playing. The sounds started as a low hum but quickly evolved into a loud whine similar to the turbines that help generate rainbows in Cloudsdale. The room hushed as they witnessed what appeared to be a moving picture with sound.
City: New Bristol
Star System: Ramesses
Galactic Location: 5,000 light years from Horse Head Nebulae
Operation: Cloak And Dagger
Campaign: Ramesses Liberation
Participating Forces: UNSC, Re-unified Covenant
Operative: Spartan A-042
Assigned Squad: Spartan Kill Team Alpha
Galactic Calender: 12-March-2554
Local Time (24 H): 13:27
The text faded to black and the image of a metal interior slowly came about. It was a small room but as 42 turned his head he could see the rest of his kill team located near and on the drop ramp as they soared over the crumbled city scape in their D77H-TCI Pelican. The view was not a pretty one. Skyscrapers lay strewn over the super highway that ran through the middle of the city and any building smaller was barely intact and most had been reduced to artificial hills. The only thing still standing, if only barely, was the massive Space Elevator. It rose high into the sky like the planet boasted a mighty horn to be used as a weapon. The Covenant had been using it ferry large vehicles to the ground like Scarab tanks and locust mechs. The UNSC had put up one hell of a counter attack with help from the cities dumb AI 'Vertex' but trying to beat back the Covenant in an all out invasion was still a difficult affair even if the odds had been balanced a little, with humanities progression and the Covenant loss of two vital members. Large platoons of marines supported by Scorpion and Grizzly tanks had pushed down the super highway to gain a reduce the Covenant foothold on the planet. If they could retake the Space Elevator then the Covenant would have the impossible task of trying to carry out the assault using only air traffic. The cities anti-air could deal with a majority of the forces with ease then. The Covenant couldn't resort to their fail safe option very easily either because although humans still had not developed ship wide shielding, pretty much every other aspect of our ships had been beefed up. Our MAC cannons were now so effective that one shot would drop a carriers shields and the second would decimate the ship by gutting it straight down the middle from nose to end. Shiva missiles had been given metal casings specifically designed to take the brunt of a plasma lance attack and 50% of the time they would. This meant that the battles for space superiority were now matched toe to toe as long as the number of ships on both sides were roughly equal.
42 shifted his attention back to his team and observed them as they each prepared for the combat drop in their own way. A-012 was sitting on the seat closest to the drop ramp and was attaching various clips of ammunition for his MA5D Assault Rifle and rocket packs for his M41 MAV/AW Rocket Launcher. A-034 was standing right on the tip of the drop ramp and 42 couldn't help but feel that was a stupid idea as a sharp turn could easily knock him off. 34 was fidgeting with a particularly long combat blade. If it was any longer it would be considered a short sword but he couldn't care less about how brutal his Spartans wanted to be to the Covenant. They were sick and twisted bastards to humans to vice versa was always considered acceptable. You could often find 34 right up in the action with his blade in one hand and his personal brute mauler he had taken during his time as an ODST, in the other. Last but nowhere near the least was A-073. He sat on the joining point between the drop ramp and the actual bay as he tweaked his M363 Sticky Detonator. Finishing his work he popped his helmet back on and stood up to join 12 in the corner. 34 turned around and did likewise. That just left 42 to finish his preparation. He had opted to go in light and stay fast on his feet. His weapons of choice for this op were the M7 Caseless Sub-machine Gun and the S5-AM Sniper Rifle. He usually chose the older SM2 counterpart over the newer S5 model but the S5's higher calibre would greatly assist in the jungle of concrete they were bound to fight through. The M7 had been attached with a holographic sight and an extended barrel for tighter accuracy. Clipping a mag onto the side of the gun, 42 then flipped it to the other side and pulled the cocking leaver back to reveal the first bullet inside the chamber. He let go of the leaver and it slid back into place with a small 'chink'.
Satisfied that all preparations were ready, 42 stood up and walked over to the other by the drop ramp. At that moment a male voice chimed in through the Pelicans on-board speakers.
“Okay Alpha team, you know the objective. Locate, secure and extract Vertex from the city's data hive and be on the look out for keep personnel. The Coveys may know where earth is but ONI will be dammed if they learn the location of every other new colony we've formed. The drop zone is in sight now, prepare for a heated landing zone. Arkhammer out.” With that the coms went quite and the Pelican swooped over the landing zone. It was a small courtyard for a local University and covies were garrisoned inside the building while marines were trying to retake the key asset. Of course the entrance to a data hive would be below a University. What place could be better than the hub of local ingenuity and intelligence. Arkhammer swung the Pelican around so Alpha team were facing away from the large building and the chin mounted rotary chain gun opened up on the purple bastards taking cover behind barriers on the main steps. The Pelican lowered to about two metres off the ground and they all jumped out and landed next to a group of marines taking cover behind a collapsed statue of Wallace Fujikawa. The Pelican bobbed slightly from its lessened weight and the pilot spoke once more before lifting off.
“Once you've secured Vertex, radio me and I'll come and pick you up.” And with that Arkhammer rose into the air and gave a final strafe with the chain gun before turning around and flying off towards the UNSC frigate 'Cobalt', which was resting in atmosphere and dispensing troops for the UNSC counter attack. 42 looked across to the other side of the courtyard and saw another group of marines taking cover behind a similarly collapsed statue of Tobias Fleming Shaw. One such marine was yelling through a com piece and 42 tapped into the communication line.
“This is Sergeant Michael Travis requesting heavy land support to break the stale mate at New Bristol university. I repeat, requesting heavy land support at New Bristol University. Mission objective is critical and must be completed asap to comply with the Cole Protocol. Is anyone reading this!?” 42 chose that moment to chime in.
“Don't worry Sergeant. Spartan team Alpha is here to provide the heavy land support.” the marine shot up from looking at his transmitter and looked across to 42 and the other three Spartans.
“Are you shitting me, they sent Spartans! Looks like our job just got a thousand times easier. Alright Spartan, you lead and my men will follow.” Sergeant Michael cut the com and waved his hands to his squad. They looked at him after getting low in the cover and listened as he explained the situation. The squad on 42's side were given and equal briefing before they all formed up into a more tactical formation and preped to press the assault on the building. 42 turned to the rest of team alpha and gave an intricate dance of hand gestures. Picking up the communication easily the fellow Spartans nodded and went their separate ways to enact the complicated battle plan. 42 mounted the statue slightly and cloaked himself with active camouflage. Levelling his S5 on the head of a Jackal sniper posted by the pillar furthest to the right he tagged it with an icon which flashed a large number one to the rest of alpha, through their HUDs. 73 flashed his green acknowledgement light and lined up a shot on the Jackals head with his M395 DMR from his concealed hiding place along a ditch which had presumably been dug by a stray beam from a Scarab tank. 42 shifted his attention to the centre of the enemy formation and tagged the area with a bright two. 12's acknowledgement light beeped and finally 42 designated a path for 34 to get up close and personal with his combat blade. With the stage set 42 himself lined a shot up on the Elite Ultra whom was commanding the forces from the relative safety of several pillars pulled down to make neat bunker at the top of the stairs. His reticle falling between the eye pieces of the Elite's helmet, easy kill.
42 paused a moment and took a large inhalation of air before squeezing down the trigger. The rifle stock kicked in his shoulder with the force of a donkey buck and the bullet whizzed through the air before burrowing into the skull of the unfortunate Ultra who had no idea what was coming. On cue the rest of his team fired their own weapons as they heard the definable 'crack' of a bullet leaving his gun. 73 popped the snipers head and 12's rocket flew right into the main cluster of enemies. 34 closed the distance quickly through the pre-designated path and unleashed havoc in close quarters. 42 watched as 34 mounted a piece of cover and swiped his leg across the face of a Skirmisher. Demounting his sniper rifle from the statue, 42 hopped down and signalled for the marines and his fellow Spartans to cross the small no man’s land. The various soldiers left their cover and sprinted across open ground, receiving next to no incoming fire thanks to the brilliant distraction 34 was providing. The Marines and Spartans moped up the remaining forces on the outside with ease and proceeded to stack up at various doors and windows. 42 took a place by the front door and swapped to his M7 as Sergeant Michael took a position behind him.
“Hey Sergeant, give me a flash.” 42 motioned his fingers on his left hand pointing it backwards as to indicate for said device to be placed in his open palm. Michael obliged and placed the small metal canister in his hand. Pulling down the priming leaver and pulling the pin, 42 barged the door open with his right shoulder and gave the Flashbang a small underarm toss. Taking cover again 42 quickly heard the primary detonation followed by a cacophony of secondary flash charges setting off. The group of soldiers took this as their chance and rushed in through the main entrance and various smashed windows. 73 was the first to fire as he arced a Sticky Detonator round across the main lobby and onto the face of an unsuspecting Elite. The round detonated followed by the sounds of brain matter and flesh splatting on the walls and floors which surrounded the immediate area. 42 dashed quickly up to a large desk and pulled it over to provide better cover as three Marines followed in his wake. All remaining covey forces had regained a sense of the situation and were now bearing down on them with their remaining might. Needles and radioactive projectiles soared through the air followed by the slower travelling plasma globules. 42 could hear the desk practically melting as the plasma burned a path through on the other side. When it came to cover against plasma fire, anything short of two inches worth of solid concrete did almost nothing. 42 rose and peppered a trio of grunts who had gotten a little cocky. The rounds flinging from the M7 made swift work of their skulls as they collapsed among the other bodies of fellow Covenant and Human civilians who had the misfortune to still be in the university upon the arrival of the Covenant strike force.
The Covenant were starting to fall back as the last Elite in the room fell under the sheer weight of fire power being pumped into his body, effectively turning him into a rather accurate depiction of Swiss cheese. Grunts, Skirmishers and Jackals all bolted up the stairs which ran either side of a large oak door at the other end of the room. They needed to proceed through that door but someone needed to take care of the remaining Covenant in the upper building so none tried to sandwich them. 42 signalled for a squad regroup and motioned at Sergeant Michael to join the group as well.
“Good work so far team. We need to secure the Super Intendant in the sub-levels but we also need someone covering our rear and escape.” 42 pointed to Michael. “Michael, you and your Marines are to secure the upper building. Think you can handle that?” Michael nodded and left the group to round up his men.
“Alright ladies, listen up. Spartan 042 has assigned us with the critical task of securing their backsides. So we're going to show them Marine power and babysit their rears as they advance through the lower tunnels by securing the rest of this building. Is that understood Marines?” His little speech was met with a group howl from the blood thirsty warriors. “Hmmmph, damn right I am.” 'Crack'! Everyone turned to the large set of double doors as they splintered slightly while something battered them from the other side. 'Crack'! The sound reverberated again and 42 already knew what it was.
“HUNTERS! Take cover!” Everyone sprang for various pieces of durable cover as the door exploded outwards and large chunks flew across the room and two hulking blue masses lumbered in through the newly formed cavity. The two Hunters roared and levelled their canons on the most immediate object which happened to be Sergeant Michael. He didn't even have a chance to shout out as he was engulfed in green flames form the impact. 42 looked at where Michael had been standing and only found a charred mark on the floor. Quite literally nothing was left of him. Not even his god damn dog tags. The presence of the Hunters was quickly followed by the emergence of three foes clad in red armour while wielding plasma blades. It was easy to tell that they were Zealots and the one in the middle was evidently the leader as he brandished a metal bar which curved back over his head in a similar fashion to a Roman centurion. The Zealot motioned several things with his hands before the hunters took off after the Marines while the Zealots pounced on 42 and his fellow Spartans. The gap was closed to quickly and the fight quickly became that of hand to hand or blade to hand in this particular case.
The lead Zealot jumped the cover and kicked 42 square in the chest, it didn't do much as Sangheili used their appendages for swiped rather than jabs as they have claws. Being kicked by and Elite was similar to be whacked by the hind leg of a large cat without actually being gutted by the razor sharp claws. While lots of force was being applied it was more of a slow yet powerful pushing motion rather than a quick knock. 42 turned this to his advantage grabbed the leg, severally surprising the Zealot and twisted before it could do anything more. If the Zealot could see 42's face, it would be scarred shitless by the absolutely maniacal grin 42 had plastered over his face at the thought of an easy close up kill, against a Zealot at that! 42 drew his knife as the Zealot fell flat on his face and brought the blade into the air with the intention of skewering the Elite's brain like food on a stick. The Zealot had other plans however and leapt away from 42 as he brought the knife down. The Zealot spun round and brandished his signature Energy Sword. 42 flipped the knife into a forehand position and motioned for the Elite to try it. The Elite obliged with the usual full headedness which encompassed all Elites honour filled minds.
The Elite closed the distance and gave a right hook with its blade in hand. 'Too predictable', 42 thought but as he blocked with his left arm an unexpected move was played by the Elite. As their forearms came into contact the Elite purposefully let go of his blade sending it flying in the general direction of 42's head. The blade was not exactly travelling at tremendous speeds but it buried itself in the side of 42's helmet, piercing his cheek and sending a burning sensation up the entire left side of his face. 42 screamed in pain and kicked the Zealot backwards as he stepped away himself. His tongue burned as it tasted boiling blood filling his mouth. It didn't get very far before the intense heat of the blade cauterised the wound mere seconds afterwards but 42 still had the problem of a burning hot blade sticking from the side of his face. Gripping the handle, 42 proceeded to pull the blade from the wound and roared in pain as each passing microsecond felt like an eternity spent inside a blistering star. The blade eventually came free from his face entirely and 42 stared at the blade and the rather confused Zealot standing behind it in his blurring vision. The once victorious smile on the Zealots face turned sour rather quickly as he realised his gambit had not paid off. 42 looked at the blade then the Elite, then the blade again. He shrugged and tossed it back to the Elite.
The Elite was confused as the Demon deactivated the blade and tossed it through the air back towards the original owner. The Elite was impressed, no other Human had ever shown this level of honour but he would also pay dearly for his level of stupidity. The Elite caught the blade expecting an easy and honourable fight but was quickly cut short of the notion as he realised something bright, blue and sticky had followed behind the blade hilt and now was attached to his chest. Thezar could not even iterate an ancient Sangheili swear before the bright blue orb erupted and vaporised most of his midsection while sending the rest of his remains across the room.
42 quite literally had to suppress the urge to laugh himself to death as the moronic Elite fell for his trap like a gullible rabbit to a poisoned carrot. The hilt of the blade flew back in his direction and he caught it swiftly from the air with one graceful movement before activating the blade. Looks like he got to keep it after all. He spun round and fired at the last remaining Zealot with his SMG in his free hand. One of the other Zealots was already dead from the joint effort of the other three Spartans and the Hunters had been taken care of, quite quickly with sustained focus fire from the Marines. 42 holstered his SMG once more and examined his first addition to his currently empty stockpile of personalised weapons. The hilt was crafted masterfully and the internal battery looked modified: probably for a longer lasting charge. He shrugged and pocketed the item before removing his helmet and quickly nursing his wound while the squads of Marines paid their quick ans final respects to Sergeant Michael.