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~Chapter 6: Vortex~ “Dexter.” Fauz approached him. Dexter just finished his lunch, really good sandwich if you want to know. “What is it Fauz? Kinda busy here.” Dexter wasn’t, but he didn’t want to leave his post just in case something happened down on Installation 07. “We just got news back from UNSC Vortex. They deployed a ground team and found the clues we’re looking for.” Fauz introduced the topic. “Paladin, Biggles, Zen, and Gregor deployed and found them. We are deciphering the script now. We should have it in a matter of hours. Heracles is on it.” “Alright, that sounds great. I’ll get to the teams and let them know that the other ground parties have found it.” Dexter radioed in. “Pelican One, do you hear me? Pelican One, do you copy?” All that remained of Pelican One was Frank, Joseph, and Caboose. “Roger, this is Joseph. What is it?” Joseph answered the comms. He halted the other two to stop and stand watch. They were about half a kilometer from the pelican. Dexter slid his pistol away from him. Unloaded but was there for safety measures. “Pelican Nine found the clue. You guys are clear to head back. I advise you have Frank pilot, since he hasn’t done much for the task.” “Roger that, will do sir. Headed back to Firestorm. Pelican One out.” Joseph turned the tank around and headed back to the pelican so they could return to the frigate. “Jackson.” A voice was heard. “Jackson! Are you alright!” The voice asked again. Jackson opened his eyes, Ash stood above him. Junior helped Archangel and Magnus off their feet. Eric was missing. Nowhere to be seen. All he could remember was flying for one second, then he was knocked out the next. He saw Junior offered him his hand. Runner checked up on Magnus and Archangel, she ensured they were alright and fully functional until Junior could make it over and check for himself. “Jackson You okay?” Ash asked. “Yeah. Just out in the cold. All those thoughts rushing me at once, I just couldn’t remember. Now I do.” Jackson trailed off. “Why are you here? I thought you were in the desert searching for the clue?” “No, we got transferred over here by Dexter to figure out what was wrong since your pelican went out. We saw the ship, and decided to search. Hoping for the best, we found you eight hundred meters away. Lucky me.” Ash stated. The pelican was booted up behind them, Zeff was on the side turret, he was on watch for any flood that may sneak up on them. The rest of the crew was headed there. It was just Ash and Jackson that had yet to move. “Alright, let’s go. Hopefully we’ll find Eric later.” Jackson lead Ash back to the pelican, ironically. A figure showed up on the hillside. It appeared to be a spartan. “Ash do you see that?” Jackson pointed at the figure. “Yes, who is that? Is that Eric? We should go check out what’s up.” Ash said. She transmitted to Runner to meet them over there. She agreed, and Ash watched as she ran over there. The figure fell. Runner was close by. Ash noticed Zeff aimed at Runner, just in case. Magnus had out his sniper. “Alright, lets get up there. Another figure suddenly appeared behind Eric. A giant orange beam ripped through his neck, he was decapitated. The other figure charged something and aimed at Runner. Another orange beam hit her in the chest, she flew back from the sudden force. Yet, she was still alive. Medical assistance was needed as soon as possible. Zeff fired the cannon and Magnus unloaded the sniper. It didn’t matter. They all missed, the figure disappeared. “Junior, get to Runner asap. We’ll be there soon.” Ash helped Jackson get to the pelican. They eventually broke into a run. Between breathes, Jackson asked Ash, “What. What was that?” He inhaled and exhaled quickly. “Where did it go?” “I don’t know what that was, but we need to get going. Eric is gone, Runner will be too if we don’t hurry. Junior can’t get her back on her feet without the med bay on UNSC Amber.” Ash was close to the pelican. The figure popped up in Jackson’s face, pinning him to the ground. It’s armor peeled back to reveal a glowing orange skull. It screamed in his face. Ash ran up to kick it off, but it disappeared. “Time to go.” Ash helped Jackson up and into the pelican. “Punch it Magnus. Let’s go.” Ash commanded. Zeff and Archangel were on the turrets, it seemed like all of the flood on the Installation swarmed at them. They opened fire. “Alright, we’re in the clear. Heading back to UNSC Firestorm.” Ash told everyone with reassurance. She sat in the copilot seat and transmitted to Dexter, to let him know of their approach. ~End of Chapter 6~