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|This article, The Life of War - Book 2 - First Blood, was written by Ghost sangheili. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
Chapter Six: Preparations
Purity of Spirit was not unique, not by a long shot. But it was a marvel of engineering and design. Pryo was always interested in how cruisers and carriers worked on all levels. The artificial gravity, the ability to enter slipspace, and other abilities he did not yet understand. The journey through slipstream to Eayn was average on the scale of most jumps. Even then, it took more than one hundred Sangheilios days.
While most soldiers spent the trip in a special form of a coma, Pryo decided to try to understand the ship. He had gone throughout the cruiser and observed it's inner workings. Many times he encountered Unggoy tapering with devices, inspecting them, or trying to fix them. He had developed a liking to them. The Unggoy loved the thrill of fighting, as long as they survived. There were so many of them too, he couldn't recall meeting the same one twice through out the entire journey. In talking with them, he had learned a lot about their culture. And they appreciated his interest, they appreciated getting to interact with something other than an occasional Huragok. Pryo learned that the Unggoy claimed they were the smartest race of the entire Covenant because they actually ran away when a battle threatened their lives.
Pryo spent the last third of the the jump asleep. An electronic pulse through his spine was used to wake him up, as is done on most cruisers. Pryo would've rather woken up slowly, but the pulse made him fully awake in an instant, and gave him an awful head-ache. Once he awoke, he and every single soldier on the cruiser came to an assembly hall. Every Huragok, Unggoy, and and Sangheili soldier was there. Even Varas was present, and the Mgalekgolo pair was present. As Pryo walked in and turned to go up the aisle, the ship's AI appeared on a small projection unit.
The AI spoke first. "Shipmaster?"
"Set a course for the city, all weapons on standby. Drop the main gravity lift at the west node. Adjust the cruiser's gravity to match that of Eayn."
"All directives understood. Carrying out."
"Do not alert me of completion until I am on the bridge."
The AI vanished. The conversations was very quick, Pryo could hardly understand it. He moved up the aisles, he joined Reko. In only a few more moments, the entire auditorium was filled. No on was speaking, the only sound was the hum of the cruiser's engine.
"We are decelerating was we approach Eayn, the Kig-Yar home. It's gravity is 61% that of Sangheilios, the gravity this cruiser is set to. It make take some time to be accustomed to the difference."
Pryo noticed he felt lighter, and the Unggoy weren't slouching as much.
"A group of Kig-Yar have committed many acts of heresy. They attacked, and took a fortification containing large amounts of personal firearms, large explosives, assault vehicles, and an assault gun carriage. Fortunately, they killed everyone at the base who knows how to operate them. They took the base armed with Plasma Pistols, and snipers. What they lacked in strength and ability they made up for in numbers. At the end of the battle, 56 Sangheili dead, 27 taken prisoner. 173 Unggoy dead, 2 taken prisoner. The plan is as follows."
A large hologram appeared behind him, it mapped the area around the base.
"They are holding in the central communication tower. There are multiple towers in the nearby cities, we think they may have sharpshooters there. Under the cover of night, we will search and take all three nearby towers as quietly as possible. All operatives will be using active camouflage. Three Phantoms will go to each tower, nine total. Twenty Serpahs will fly in the area. Two will escort each Phantom, six total. The infantry Majors have assembled their teams, as have the pilots. They will be listed on the panels as you exist. If your name appears, head down to the hangar. The Phantoms are departing in five units."
The hologram disintegrated, Varas stepped back. Slowly, soundlessly they all moved out of the auditorium. The Huragok had little business with combat. They operated holopanels. Most names were in red, some in green. Individual's whose names were in green were directed to the hangar. As he made his way over, he saw his name in green symbols.
Chapter Seven: Surprise, Surprise...
He was stunned. He had joined the military only so recently, and was already heading into combat. Perhaps it wouldn't have come as such a shock if he hadn't been planning his time on the cruiser, not in combat. He made his way down to the hangar his, mind racing. He was overcome with a sense of mortality. He couldn't deal with the fact that, very suddenly, he knew that tomorrow was no guarantee for him.
It must have been showing, he heard a voice alongside him. "Is everything alright?" It was Ikor.
"I am fine, I just did not expect to be entering into combat at this stage."
"There is no need to worry. All those thoughts will disappear. You have great credentials, you are masterfully creative and tactical on the battlefield. That's why I selected you to my squad."
Pryo was overcome with a mix of emotions. He was honored to be selected, but also angry that, because of this individual, his life was to be at risk. He continued to walk to the hangars, he refrained from saying a single word more.
Chapter Seven: Surprise, Surprise...
"Slow speed, too fast with these atmospheric conditions."
Ikor now had the Phantom on auto-pilot. Pryo had been in Phantoms before, but he heard an unusual noise. It sounded as if small stones were constantly hitting the hull, and an occasional, rumbling explosion was going off in the air. He, multiple warriors, and some Unggoy stood still in the Phantom. Ikor paced among them. All the Unggoy seemed to be scared. All but one. Every time an apparent explosion went off in the distance, he laughed. Not just a snicker, he laughed hysterically. He wore the white armor of the Ultra rank.
"Settle down, Mep." Ikor ordered, but with complete calm in his voice.
The Unggoy silenced immediately. "What make those big booms?"
Ikor stood near the cockpit of the craft. "We are attacking during an electrical storm. The currents have masked our approach. We will land on top of the towers, and move through the levels disposing of all threats. They have spilled our brother's blood, for that they shall see no mercy!"
"Leader, these towers are huge. How can we expect to clear every single level?" Pryo was hesitant to ask, but he was so nervous that he felt he had to to relieve his nerves a bit. Ikor was slow to answer.
"It's a stretch I know, but I did not make these plans."
The Unggoy named Mep jumped into the air raising on arm. In Eayn's gravity, he could jump his own body height. "Do you have an idea, Mep?" The only reason Mep got any credibility was his rank. As an Ultra, he had killed more foes than some Sangheili officers.
"Use turrets to shout out windows, find what levels they hide!"
Ikor cocked his head slightly. Pryo was dumbfounded. The Unggoy was incredibly smart, and Unggoy lacked a reputation of intelligence.
Ikor move into the cockpit. He pressed a single command on the holopanel.
"Circle objecive structure, blanket sides with turret fire."
"Acknowledged, carrying out."
Upon hearing this, Mep leaped into the air and laughed hysterically. For some reason, even Ikor seemed to hold the utmost respect for Mep. Pryo couldn't figure out why, but he know there must be some reason. "Open sides" Ikor yelled.
"Acknowledged" came from the familiar voice.
On each side, a flap opened slowly, and the setting came into view.
They were circling a massive tower. It's shape was a tight oval, growing thinner as it ascended. the sleak shape then gave way to a completely flat roof, and a tall antenna coming up from it. Pryo looked at the horizon. Eayn's sky was a dark gray, and liquid was pouring from the sky in torrents greater than anything he had ever seen. All around him, electrical currents extended from the sky down to the ground, causing a loud rumbling explosion.