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UNSC Warlord: Book 4 Chapter 2

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         UNSC Warlord Book 4 :
            Rise of Tespan
 

Chapter 2: Incandescent


 

Ash stood deep inside the rotted Insurrectionist bases Barracks. The blue hue of the emergency lights resonated off the war torn walls. Pieces of the ceiling were hanging down, sparks still flickering from yesterday’s battle. The humidity clinging to the walls, wet, with a small stream of water flowing down them and into a puddle on the soiled flooring, which was cracked up and forming a pond. The lights reflecting off of it, only disgust and disaster to be seen. The sound of hefty metal footsteps echoed, off the empty room, getting louder as they came closer.

“Ash. You’ve been here for awhile. We’re ready for you, we can’t keep Samantha waiting. You know how Moth gets when we’re given a direct order.” Archangel said. Coming to a halt 20 meters away from her. He understood why she was here, but the objective was still at stake. Cajun, Runner, and Takashi were waiting outside for them at the Pelican.

“I know.” Ash let out a deep sigh. “I thought we were done with the Innies. What went wrong?” Ash just stood there. Taking in the room around  her. Distressed. UNSC Vortex vanished a few months ago from their fleet. Nobody knew why. Their Captain, Legesto and a few of the other Spartans onboard, just... vanished. “But you’re right. We need to keep moving forward. This intel. I hope it’s got the answers we need.”

Archangel nodded. “I hope so as well.” His DMR swung on his back as he turned around and pointed. “We need to head this way, it’s about 10 minutes if we walk. But we can make it in 5 if we sprint. The longer we wait, the more we’re going to worry the others. The more we’re going to worry about them. So let’s get moving.” Archangel started walking towards the exit. A spark flared a few meters away from him. Ash followed en route.

The hallways were the same in every room. Blue lights, tattered flooring, ceilings hanging down; some of them completely caved in with the walls. “I have no idea where those Innies got this equipment, but let’s hope that drive you’re carrying is enough to get us an idea on where to head next.” Archangel said softly. They continued outward. They were only a few minutes out now. He was sure Cajun and the others were ready to depart immediately. “A lead is a lead, is what I always say.” Ash said. Her Sniper Rifle rattled on her back holster as they walked towards the exit. The rain drops could be heard outside now, gentle drips on the pavement. It sounded quiet, dark, but peaceful.

 

“About time you guys showed up. Commands waiting.” Kakashi’s voice cracked in the dark, the silver lining on his visor glistened with the blue lights on the wall, forming a nice touch of iridescence. He was impatient, as always. “Cajun and Runner are in the Pelican waiting. Let’s get a move on.” The three of them exited the base. The Pelican 75 meters out in front of them.

 

“Glad to see you guys are alive!” Cajun shouted over the roar of the Pelican’s engine. He was eager and optimistic as always. That mans got a love for his ship. It was polished, their fireteams Insignia embedded in a bright blue and black on the the hull. Another, smaller, insignia underneath the glass of the cockpit. “I just fired up the old girl the second Kakashi heard you guys, if there’s any stragglers still around we’ll have plenty of time to take off.” Cajun was on the comms, the static in it still lingered but they could hear him clearly.

Kakashi, Archangel, and Ash boarded the Pelican. Runner nodded at them, “Welcome back, Spartans.” She wasn’t a big talker, especially for an ODST. She’s seen some stuff out there, but that wasn’t her reasoning. A few weeks ago she lost her girlfriend, Sliv. Sent out on an OP with another fireteam. They had a lead on a large Innsurectionist force back on Vorascus, they were to get close and confirm the intel, after a week passed they were confirmed MIA, possibly KIA. Runner never let that go. She didn’t blame the Commander for her death, she blames herself for not being able to be with her. If only she wasn’t assigned to that AI recovery back on Haradash with Osiris, Dan, and Lewith. Unfortunately they lost Lewith there too, if it wasn’t for Osiris’s improvised ordnance and engineering capabilities, they most likely would have been there with them. Lewith sacrificed himself whole-heartedly. He stood his own so the rest of them could make it through before the blast closed off the entrance and allowed them to escape on the Pelican. Even though she knew there was nothing she could have done for him to make it out, she blamed herself as well. The scar from that rogue-DMR was still scratched across her arm, like a blade sliced through her. She felt the same for Sliv. She knew she wouldn’t have been able to do anything for her as well. She just wanted to be there with her, even if it was the last time.

“Alright amigos. We’re almost back to Warlord. Moth’s expecting us. Let’s hope he’s chatty today, eh?” Cajun approached their landing bay. A large darker green soldier stood at the dock-lock. Arms behind his back, waiting patiently.

“It’s about time you show up, I was about to send your Fireteam Lord down to check on you five.” Moth didn’t seem pleased. They knew he was glad they were back, but his threats were certain. The last thing they need is Sarge and Alex down there. If there were any stragglers left, those fools would’ve blown the entire base and city apart. They’re not much of an infiltration team, as they were an Assault force.
 

“Glad to see you guys! Old Mothy here was worried about you guys! I just about had Fauz here load up the Condor, and Doc to bring his bandaids and pacifiers!” Ugh, it was him. How he was Fireteam leader, nobody knew. Sarge, Head of Fireteam Lord, stood there beside the doorway. Back resting against the wall. Their insignia embedded noticeably on his shoulder piece. Alex stood across from him, at least he was tolerable and cared for the team. He should be the one in charge. Not to mention he outranked Sarge when it came to the Navy, just not when it came to the Fireteam. He wasn’t a Colonel for a reason. The man single handedly commandeered the fireteam through an Invasion a year ago back on Installation 06. Remnant Covenant forces showed up in a new color scheme of red armor. They managed to clear the area and reclaim the crater-esque hoola hoop for the UNSC and ONI defeating the remaining forces with no casualties.

“Well then, now that you’re reacquainted with your fireteam. Let’s get back to the objective.” Moth didn’t care for the talking, he held his hand out. “The drive.” Ash walked up and handed it to him. “Good. You got it.” He turned away and walked past Sarge and Alex towards the Observation deck, where they all assumed Samantha was prepared for him with the ships AI, Heracles, ready for any decryptions and security bypasses they would need.

“That man could smile more. Maybe a night out on Skyloft would be cheer him up.” Cajun said, walking passed them towards the Observation Deck. “Well, better go see what the surprise that thing is.” He continued forward. “Agreed. Let’s get a move on, Fireteam.” Sarge stood up straight. “Commanders going to want us there for this.” Everyone formed up and walked towards the deck. Archangel and Ash kept side-by-side, Kakashi and Runner behind them, Alex and Sarge in the front.

As they approached the Observation deck, the blue hues from the room could be seen down the corridor. Like back down at the base, but it glistened bright and off the walls, ceilings, everywhere. Ash looked at Archangel, then turned her gaze forward. The Commander was waiting for them.

“Well, I see your team was successful once again. Congratulations you guys.” Samantha stood in front of the holo-projector. Heracles was decrypting the data at that moment for them.

“Commander, the intel you provided doesn’t seem to provide anything except this insignia.” Heracles seemed both confused and concerned at what he was looking at. “Take a look here, this is all we got.”

A projection appeared forward. It was a little static, but they could makeout what it was. Two cutlasses were crossed over a star with what seemed like snakes slithering from bottom to top, meeting in the middle. It was unique to say the least, but they’ve never seen it before.

“And are you sure that this is all that is there to offer us?” Samantha looked impatient. She was sure there would be more to this than just some dumb Insignia. Heracles lowered the projection from the screen, “Just a second, there seems to be one single audio file... Here I’ll play it.”

The insignia popped back up, an audio-frequency underneath it this time. “Soren, is everything going okay over there?” A mustered, but deep voice crackled. He didn’t seem concerned. “Sir, we’ve got an entire UNSC Navy Fleet here. I assume friends of yours? Regardless, we’ll try to hold our own the best we can. This equipment you gave us is outstanding. I’ll make the best use of it. If we can’t hold our own, I’ll make sure they bleed.” The reciepients voice was clear, it had a sinister taste to it. Serious. He wanted blood and he expressed it well. “Regardless of what you think you can or can’t do isn’t up to me. Boss wants you here tomorrow. Take the underground trail system we setup for you, take the Broadsword at the underground cave once you reach it and exit outside of the concealed cliffside. Don’t bring anyone with you. That’s an order.” The first voice was still a little staticy, but it seemed like he was done. His message was delivered. “We’re meeting at Fahro’s Temple. I’ll send you the coordinates. You are to be there.” The other voice drowned out, dissipated. Runners eyes glowed up at the sound of Fahro. “Of course he does. Perfect timing on his part, I do say. I’d gladly die here. I want to see that ******* bleed. I’ll leave here immediately after I give the orders out tomorrow morning. The troops will be armed, and I’ll be out.” The audio ended.

“That’s... all there is Commander. I can get you the coordinates, but we already know the location of the Temple.” Heracles wasn’t sure where to go with this, he was just waiting for the Commander. “That’ll be all Heracles. Thank you.” She said. Her voice stoic. She turned back towards the fireteam, they all stood to the left of her.

“Alright you guys. Time to go back to Fahro. We’ve got our lead. This is the confirmation we needed from our last failed OP.” Commander turned to walk away.

“Maam, if I may speak.” Alex spoke up for the first time. “I do believe the other caller, on what I assume was the sending end, did sound familiar but I can’t place my brains fingertips on it.” Alex was well known throughout the UNSC. It was bound to be a stray voice he heard somewhere before, but it most likely was just him thinking he heard it before more than anything. It was just so distant.

“Well, Alex. This is why we have the intel. We’re going to go to Fahro and check it out for ourselves. We’ll see when we get there.” Moth spoke for the Commander. She nodded at him and continued out of the room. “You guys get yourself situated. We’ll be at Fahro in approximately 14 hours. Make sure you’re ready when the time comes to shine.” Moth turned to leave out of the Observation Deck as well. No one was going to hold him up for a conversation about the matter. Why would they?

“Well, that’s that you guys. Guess we’re going back to Fahro.” Alex sighed with relief. “Runner, I hope this isn’t too much for you. Let’s get some rest, eat up, and we’ll gather tomorrow at 1500 at our Landing Bay.” Alex and Sarge left the room. Runner just kind of stood there. She was ready to head there. See what happened. Maybe Sliv was still alive, just compromised. Hopefully not captured and just hiding out. She had some hope for this. It was like a dream come true, she couldn’t wait to reunite with her best friend of life.

“Well you heard the man, let’s go get some rest.” Archangel looked over at Ash. “You ready to head to our bunks and get some rest?” Ash looked at him, her face covered in dust and dirt. She smiled. She was happy to finally lay down and get some sleep. She’s got some stuff to soak in.

The teams left out in the their normal groups. Archangel and Ash headed to the bunker. Kakashi and Runner headed to the Commons. Cajun headed back out to their landing bay to make sure their Condor was prepped and ready to go. Fauz was sure to be there doing the same already. What a great day, he thought. As he walked back. They finally got themselves something they were searching for, and he got to go work on the big guns.

~End of Chapter 2~

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