|| This article, Spartan Officer, was written by Sonasaurus. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.
|| This article, Spartan Officer, is currently under active construction.
| Date Published
|| March 24, 2010
|| Unknown (Incomplete)
| Author's Rating
|| Unknown (Incomplete)
| Previous Story
|| Halo: Eternal Enemies
|0500 Hours, February 19th, 2569 (UNSC Military Calendar), aboard UNSC Destroyer Aurora Borealis, in orbit above planet Sanghelios
"Wake up, Blue Team," said Lieutenant Commander Felix Martel, entering the Spartans barracks. "We're here, and Captain Feng says we're wanted groundside ASAP."
The others awoke immediately. They had been sleeping in shifts with uniforms on. The Aurora Borealis, being one of the first destroyers created by Dark Space Shipyards, had rushed them from Syndicate-5 to Sanghelios in a matter of hours, so they decided not to go through the hassle of entering and being taken out of cryotubes.
The Spartans quickly put on their armour and grabbed weapons, which were stored on robotic dollies placed around the room, and he took them to the hangar. They found the dropship pilot waiting for them, who had already been cleared for departure and waited for them to climb on board. As their Pelican was deployed and flew away from the Aurora Borealis, Felix could see the Independent Crusader hovering close by, the frigate having accompanied them with another battalion of Marines waiting on board in case things got bad, and another destroyer, the Cheyenne, which had brought a SPARTAN-III team here a few days ago.
The Lieutenant Commander wondered what the Delta Company Spartans were like. He had heard things about them in the few years they began taking part in the battles. Ezekiel hadn't revealed much on the few occasions they met, but judging from the fact that they were making every effort to overcome the Fallen, it wouldn't be long before he and Blue Team found out.
The Lieutenant wasn't present at Sanghelios at the moment, but the team here, Phoenix, was apparently the best tactical strike team in the Company. Maybe that was why they were sent here.
The pilot delivered the Spartans to the surface quickly, next to a vehicle depot where a Sangheili squad was meeting them. As they disembarked from the Pelican, Felix spotted the leader, and recognized the gold-armoured Zealot immediately. The Spartans approached the squad.
"Good, you are here," said Sona 'Demal, who was holding a COM and had obviously been communicating frequently in the last few minutes. "We do not have much time." He spoke into the COM.
"They are here, Fira. Is Autel with the Spartans?" There was a pause. "Okay. Where are you waiting? I will send them with 'Pyron." Cutting the connection, the Sangheili turned back to them.
"I will need your Commander to come with me. The others are to meet Autel's squad at a ridge. The other Spartan leader says he needs you for tracking." Almost immediately, a Phantom pulled out of the depot and opened its hatches. The senior Spartan exchanged nods with Blue Team, who climbed on board without further ado. The vehicle flew away, its cloaking device distorting its lustrous green hull. As the sound of antigravity propellers faded away, Sona beckoned to the Lieutenant Commander, and they climbed into a military ground vehicle parked near one of the streets. One of the Sangheili took the controls, and the others piled in. It made a sharp turn, and they sped quickly down the road.
"It is good to see you again, Felix. Were those all the Spartans sent here?"
"Yeah. The officers still haven't forgotten what happened the last time we were here, I guess. Commander Montrose was nervous enough being the one to fly us here."
Sona gave a slight smile. "I do not think you will be accused of such things under the circumstances. The elders wouldn't dare...especially not on these Spartans."
"Are they that terrifying?"
"They are...very unusual. It is difficult to say what makes them so."
"I'll take your word for it. Where are we going?"
"There is someone I am taking you to see. This will not take long. I thought you would be the best Spartan to get this done."
The rest of the trip was rather quiet, and Felix took the time to observe his surroundings. It could prove to be an advantage later, because he could already see that things had gotten nasty here. Sanghelios was much more different from the last time he had been here. Judging from the severely damaged buildings that lay along the streets (some were torn down altogether), the closed-off windows, and the general tense feeling that was present in everyone here, the war had obviously taken quite a toll on the Sangheili. Although activity seemed to be a bit more subdued, and the urgency that was present last time wasn't so heavy now. So the war was winding down.
The vehicle came to a stop at what seemed to be a makeshift combat facility. There were young aliens engaged in weapons practise or fixing their equipment. No one seemed to have time to talk. The oldest one present, a strict-looking alien, was walking around and giving them advice.
"Nadi 'Andal, the Spartan commander is here," Sona said clearly over the sound of the din. The trainer turned away from a pair of Sangheili and walked over. His expression wasn't exactly friendly.
"Your Spartans have proven to be very resourceful," he said in a neutral tone. "Many are glad of their presence."
"I haven't met all of them yet, but I certainly hope so." Felix could feel Nadi's hostility, although he couldn't tell why.
"But just to be clear: I do not wish for your team to obstruct us in any way."
The Lieutenant Commander raised an eyebrow. "And why would we do that?"
"We have differences; I have heard something from Ship Master 'Demal about a fight between a Spartan and a Sanghe—"
"Right," the senior Spartan said coolly, looking over the young Sangheili. "And you tell me this out of your authority as...a trainer."
Nadi's expression tensed. "Be very careful, human. You are on our planet, and will be subject to our will."
"Sure. As long as you don't try to lock us up again, we won't have a problem with that." As he turned away, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye and heard Sona shout out. Spinning back swiftly, Felix caught the trainer's wrist and twisted it. He shifted his hold to the alien's forearm and yanked him towards himself.
Sona's fingers were on his Energy Sword. Every trainee had stopped what they were doing, and stared. The facility was quiet.
"Now, you listen to me," the Spartan officer said in a low voice. "We're here because the Sangheili need all the help they can get. You can't do this on your own, and we've come out of our own free will. The last time we were here, things didn't go so well and your friends had the nerve to accuse us of assisting the Fallen. The UNSC was willing to forgive you that time; I wouldn't bank on them to do it again. So while we're here, I'll trust you to keep your prejudiced opinions to yourself if you don't have the guts to fight on the front lines." He let go, shoving Nadi to the ground. Without a backwards glance, he left the facility with Sona.
As they returned to the vehicle, the Zealot said, "This is why I brought you here. You have a knack of being very...persuasive."
Felix did not smile. "Some of your kind just don't learn."
"Do not worry about him; there are very few that still do not trust the humans, and they will change your minds once they hear of your encounter with Nadi."
"I guess. Where are we going now?"
"I need your help with something. Then I will take you to meet Phoenix Team."
He sounds almost as if he's taking me to be executed, the Spartan thought. But there was something different in the Ship Master's voice. Not fear. It was awe.
|0530 Hours, February 19th, 2569 (UNSC Military Calendar), State of Konar, Sanghelios
The vehicle to a stop as they pulled up to another team of Sangheili. As the driver deactivated the energy latches and the soldiers all bailed out, Felix followed Sona up to another Zealot. The Field Master was looking out from the cluster of abandoned buildings where his squad was taking positions. There were snipers and portable turrets placed around the area. He surmised that they had moved positions several times over the last few hours but were held up at each stop.
"Congratulations on your promotion, Taszar," Sona said as they joined them. "The elders are studying the Light of the Abyss as we speak."
"I wish it had told us more," the latter replied distractedly, still scanning the ruined streets warily. "The Fallen are stationed all over this part of the State. A lot of the civilians have been evacuated. A lot of them wanted to stay and fight."
"I have noticed. Why did the Fallen choose to reside here?"
Taszar's expression darkened. "Many of the Konar family have allied themselves with them."
"So we have to deal with them all."
"Then what's the problem here?" Felix cut in, ignoring the glares from some of the Field Master's subordinates. He was never hesitant to get all the facts in a tactical situation, even if he was the only Spartan among a team of Sangheili.
"They have taken hostages," Taszar replied. "I'm sure you remember how the Fallen do not mind resorting to dishonour in war."
"There is still some honour to them," Sona pointed out. "Under the leadership of Urei 'Cazel, they did not employ methods as deceitful as when they were spearheaded by Isto 'Vadum."
"The lesser of two evils. It makes no difference now, since we have almost won save these last few errands we have to deal with. We must rescue the hostages, regardless of how few they number."
Felix admired the Sangheili's code of honour. Never leave a man behind. He remembered John-117 telling him about a mission Blue Team took on Sigma Octanus IV a long time ago, how they had risked their lives to rescue twenty survivors being held captive. They had a choice to destroy the city Côte d'Azur and get it done with, but they hadn't.
This is why we had to make an alliance. We have our differences, but what's important are our similarities.
"What is your plan, Commander?" asked Sona.
"Normally we would breach every potential room with hostiles and captives and use flash-bang grenades," Felix said. He was familiar with hostage situations, but in this case, caution was the key. "But judging from the layout of the homes here, sound travels very easily. And if we make a big commotion, the Fallen will realize what we're up to, execute their hostages, and prepare to engage us without the burden of keeping an eye on their captives. So, we have to do it quietly. Your weapons make too much sound, so we'll use these." The Lieutenant Commander had sent for a Warthog full of silenced weapons earlier. "They're UNSC weapons, but it's a small price to pay for the lives of the civilians."
A few of the Sangheili looked like they wanted to protest, but Sona made the decision for them by taking an MA6A Assault Rifle off the jeep and screwing a silencer onto it. The squad moved up one by one to the vehicle to select their weapons.
"I have seen these in action before," remarked Taszar. "They are very effective compared to the weapons you had during the Covenant war. The improvements the UNSC has made are impressive."
"We've had this series for a while now," Felix replied, picking a BR60 and several clips of ammo. "I think they're about to replace most of these with newer models. The MA7 prototypes are currently being tested." He removed the scope and attached an adaptable sensor in its place. The device would transmit a first-person view of where he was aiming, but without the necessity of looking manually through the scope. If things got messy, he could take out multiple targets accurately even if he was firing from the hip. The smart-scope was issued to many UNSC weapons in the arsenal, but most Marines preferred to use manual, which was more agreeable with their reaction time.
The Lieutenant Commander waited for all the Sangheili to gear up. When they were ready, he said, "We'll split up into teams and assign tasks for everyone. Here's how we'll do it..."
"The snipers are ready," Sona said over the COM. Felix lowered his scope.
"Good. How many hostiles in the first building?"
"Six. We have a clear line of sight on four of them."
"Acknowledged." He had sighted the same number of enemies, but he wanted to make sure. "There could be more in the area, so let's move quickly."
The Ship Master gave the order. "Fire."
Four silenced rounds flew through the air, leaving not so much as a trickle of smoke trailing behind. The separatists fell within a second of each other, blood spraying from their entry wounds. The window held as the bullets punched through without shattering the glass. To their credit, the hostages acted quickly. They ran for the only door, one of them ramming it open and running into the darkness. The remaining two Fallen, caught by surprise, tried to give chase, but were cut down by more sniper rounds before they could scream. What little noise there had been was quickly enveloped by the silence.
Felix lowered his rifle. "Well done." No one apart from the snipers had needed to fire, and with any luck, the rest of the Fallen hadn't heard the commotion. "Taszar, get two of your team to look for more enemies in the vicinity. Everyone else, let's move on."
The next few attacks were just as successful. Some of the rescued captives headed away from the state, some joined their group. Although they weren't armoured, they seemed able to handle weapons well and were willing to find payback. After making several attacks, they arrived at a multi-story building that was on the other side of a hill.
There were at least eleven separatists inside and outside the building, and the hostages were being held in one of the corners. Assessing the situation for a full ten seconds, he tagged three Sangheili with BR60s over the tactical COM. "Aim your guns down the hill. On my mark, we're going to neutralize the ones outside. Snipers, get the ones inside. Three...two...one—"
"Enemy!" shouted Sona. The sound of automatic plasma fire echoed through the district, and one of the Sangheili's shields glowed as it absorbed the impact.
The Lieutenant Commander resisted the urge to turn to face the new threat, deciding to take out the Fallen outside the building instead. If they got away, they could raise the alarm. Better to deal with them while they were in range. The three Sangheili had thought the same, and fired their weapons in sequence, dropping the hostiles one by one. The snipers hadn't been so careful. The arrival of the Fallen distracted them, and half the shots went wide, dropping only two of the separatists inside the building.
One of the Sangheili Taszar had sent to watch for enemies had caught up, joining the skirmish in close proximity. The hostages inside the building engaged their captors, wrestling for weapons or fighting hand-to-hand. Felix growled in frustration. Everything was falling apart. Stealth was gone now. But they had to carry on; it would do no good to back off during an unexpected firefight, there was even no time to think.
There was a scream as one of the Sangheili inside the building was thrown out a window. Whether it was a hostage or an enemy, Felix couldn't tell. He turned his attention to the Fallen that had rushed them. There were only eight left, then five, then three. The surviving separatists turned; for a moment, it looked like they were going to run for it. Then they raised their weapons again, and rushed the senior Spartan.
Felix set his Battle Rifle to full automatic and shot one of them down with the remaining rounds in his clip. But the other two kept coming, and his magazine was now empty. He reached for his sidearm—
The blurred blades of an Energy Sword was barely visible in the dark. But in a single heartbeat, the two hostiles lay dead on the ground. The soldier deactivated his camouflage, and put his blade back on his side. It was the other Sangheili that had scouted the area.
"A group of them spotted the bodies in the first district," he said to Taszar. "We killed as many of them as we could quietly, but some of them escaped."
"You did what you could, Zehr'tul," the Field Master replied. "But we should move to the next building now. How many hostages have survived?"
Felix counted. "Three," he said with a wince. "They fought their way out."
"We have to move into the last district," Sona said. "Before the Fallen find us here."
There was a sense of urgency among the team now. Taszar assigned more of his team to trail them from all sides. The Lieutenant Commander stayed alert, watchful for the enemies that could appear at any moment. When they arrived at the easternmost district, he said, "Alright. Listen, we have to be quick. Snipers—"
Without waiting, the one of the four Sangheili put a hasty round through the window of a building, taking one of the Fallen through the head. Alarmed, the hostiles moved into cover, as more appeared in the alleyways.
Felix clenched his right fist, holding back his irritation. "Wait for my signal before you fire."
Taszar apparently decided not to keep his own temper in check. "Idiot!" He snarled. "You have needlessly put the lives of your fellow Sangheili at risk! Can you not learn to be calm? You always exhibit such recklessness!" The sniper's shoulders sagged slightly, and he looked ashamed.
Sona was already issuing new orders to the team. "Move into the district, take out any enemies you see!" As the senior Zealot put his MA6 rifle on his back and took out a Plasma Repeater, he said to the Lieutenant Commander, "I don't think there is much point in stealth anymore. The best way we can free the most captives is if we separate forces and strike fast."
"Agreed," the Spartan officer said, taking the silencer off his rifle. "Let's see how well we can do it."
|0750 Hours, February 22nd, 2569 (UNSC Military Calendar), State of Cazal, Sanghelios
"One hundred ninety-four Sangheili."
"What?" Sona asked.
"One hundred ninety-four Sangheili," Felix repeated. "That's all the Sangheili we rescued. I expected...more."
"Seeing such dwindled numbers is unfortunate. But it is war."
The Lieutenant Commander didn't contradict him. But as he gazed out into the streets in the State, he wasn't sure how to feel. For the last three days they had gone through the province, raiding Fallen sites and freeing the hostages. Many of them hadn't survived.
Now that they were done with the rescuing, they made a stop at the State of Cazal, where Phoenix was currently defending with the help of Autel's team. Sona brought them around the outskirts, and they worked their way into the city, rounding up any stragglers still hanging about. The enemy forces were being pushed back day by day, and suffered many losses.
Felix had heard about the things that the five-man Delta team had done. They fought tirelessly, racking up more kills than Blue Team and any other allies in the area put together, completed missions that would have taken the efforts of an entire platoon of Sangheili. And he had a feeling that it was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Spectre they were riding on made a turn on the street, which was littered with various objects, but completely empty of civilians. The scene looked even more hectic by the bullet holes and plasma burns that peppered the walls. There was blood on the ground, but all the bodies had been cleared away. There was a makeshift olive-green stand in front of a building where two Marines guarded the entrance.
"Drop me off here," the Lieutenant Commander said. The driver stopped the Spectre, and the Spartan officer stepped off the vehicle. Sona curled his fist over his own chest. "Thank you for your help, Commander. May fortune be with you."
He gave a curt nod. "Good luck, Sona." The vehicle drove off, disappearing down the street. Felix approached the stand, and the two NCOs saluted. "Lieutenant Commander, sir!"
He returned the salute. "No fighting here, then?" During a battle, UNSC soldiers were not allowed to salute in case they identify the officers to enemy snipers.
"No, sir," one of them answered. "This area has been clear for the last two days."
Felix entered the building. From the look of the structure, it looked like a large market. Faded signs were hanging around the walls, some of the tables had been shifted aside, and the smell of fruit lingered over everything. The IU forces had re-purposed it into a temporary regrouping facility.
There was a single Spartan who was looking over a map with two Sangheili. Approaching them, he checked the supersoldier's identification. SPARTAN-D339, CHIEF PETTY OFFICER, PHOENIX TEAM, DELTA COMPANY There was no information on his name. Frowning slightly, the Lieutenant Commander said, "CPO SPARTAN-D339?"
D339 turned so quickly he looked as if he had been expecting him. He snapped to attention, and saluted. "Sir!"
Felix returned the salute. "At ease. Good work on taking out that Fallen base."
"Thank you, sir. Was there something you wanted?"
The Spartan officer scrutinized him. He seemed normal enough. For a moment, he wondered if this was the leader of Phoenix Team that he had heard so many talk about. "I wanted to meet you," he said truthfully, "find out what you're like."
D339 thought about this for a moment. "That's new, if you don't mind me saying, sir."
"I suppose it is." Felix realized that what intrigued him wasn't how the Delta acted, but what he couldn't see from his own point of view. The Lieutenant Commander had always been good at reading body language, tones of voice, and individual behaviour that he could even tell what the SPARTAN-IIs were thinking most of the time. But D339 was...different. There was something about him that he couldn't quite put his finger on, and even the sense of veiled dangerousness that surrounded so many of the Spartans weren't present around this one. If D339 controlled his emotions so well that no one could understand him, then it had to be a testament to how extraordinary and unpredictable he was.
Are all the Deltas like this? Or is it just Phoenix Team? Or maybe...maybe it's just him?