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Terminal This article, Valkyrie: Part 1, was written by Simon rjh. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.

1

Wolf walked through the tight corridors of Valkyrie Base, ONI's report gripped tight in his gauntlet. He proceeded to a locked metal door, entered his password into the keypad, and removed his MJOLNIR Security helmet to allow his retina to be scanned. The door slid open with a mechanical hiss and Wolf stepped through. His team waited for him in the room beyond.

He replaced his helmet and analysed the report - the briefing on his team's next mission. He stepped into Team Valkyrie's HQ, a square room with computer consoles against the walls and an aluminium table in the centre, with a holo-projector built in. His four team members were already assembled around the table, waiting for him.

Wolf swept his eyes over the four soldiers. The one immediately to his right was a heavy-built soldier wearing steel-coloured MJOLNIR CQB armour with blood-red details. His code-name was Tiger, Team Valkyrie's close-combat specialist. He was un-matched in hand-to-hand combat, his fists capable of cracking through armour and bone. Wolf shifted his gaze to the soldier on his left, a skinny Spartan wearing light Scout armour, which suited his role as a sniper. He was called Falcon. His armour had green patches for camouflage, and his helmet had a wide visor for extra visibility. Next to Falcon was a Spartan in large, heavy armour designed to withstand explosions. The armour had dark patches where there had been burns. This was Rhino, Team Valkyrie's explosives expert, and also excellent at electronics, able to hack into most computers and unlock doors. The last member of the team was not a human. He was an ex-Covenant Elite who went by the alias of Snake. Wolf trusted Snake, unlike some of the other team-members.

Wolf cleared his head of these thoughts and sat down. He removed the data-crystal from ONI's report and set it in the holo-projector. The ONI logo appeared as a blue projection with the word CLASSIFIED superimposed. Wolf cleared his throat and spoke in a clear voice.

"Valkyrie, Wolf."

The computer matched his voice with the one on file and the ONI logo was replaced by a projection of a slim man in pale, hooded robes. The rasped "Team Valkyrie mission: Codename: HIGH-GROUND."

"Continue, Altair," said Wolf.

The AI named Altair disappeared and was replaced by a three-dimensional map of a sandy beach surrounded on 3 sides by reddish-coloured cliffs. The main feature of the projection, however, was a delapidated base with a large Anti-Aircraft site at the back.

Altair's disembodied voice said "Covenant Loyalist forces have captured this abandoned base near the city of Mombasa. As you can see, the base contains a powerful Surface-to-Air Missile Launcher, which we believe the Covenant plan to use against UNSC ships massing around Voi and Mombasa since the location of the Ark was discovered. Your mission is to destroy the SAM-Site and if possible, gather intelligence on Covenant operations. We cannot expend any additional UNSC forces to assist you, all available units are unavailable for transfer. In other words, it's just the five of you."

The map zoomed towards the entrance to the base, revealing a huge, metal gate that seemed a formidable defence. Wolf doubted that even Rhino could breach it. The map panned to different locations as Altair described them.

Altair continued "The main entrance to the base is heavily guarded and pretty much inpenetrable to all standard explosives. However, analysis by ONI Recon has shown that there are further two ways to enter the base's interior. Previous battles have damaged a section of the outer wall and destroyed a bunker overlooking the beach. These are likely to be heavily fortified, but are the best chance of entering the base's interior. The cliffs surrounding the beach have caves and ledges that will make a stealthy entrance possible, provide a suitable position to snipe from, and give cover from the two plasma turrets mounted above the gate and the tower overlooking it that is likely to contain jackal snipers. I will be joining you to provide field intel during the course of the mission."

"OK, Team..." said Wolf. "Let's get to work."

2

Deployment+ 00:00:00

"Go, go go!" urged Wolf, as the team stepped off the boat. "Any new info, Altair?"

"I may have a better way of getting into the base. It would appear that the Covenant are using the destroyed bunker to store old UNSC generators. I'm picking up an dispute between two Brutes on their COM channel: one wants to store the generators further inside, but the higher-ranked Brute is complaining about the heat they are producing inside the base."

"Are they the generators that were de-comissioned due to their instability?" Falcon asked.

"Correct." Altair replied.

Wolf paused for a second, thinking. "OK, Team, slightly altered plan. Falcon is going to go up to that ledge, as we planned, but this time, he's not aiming for the snipers straight away. He's going to put a bullet through the generators then kill the jackals. You OK with that, Falcon?"

"It'll need some fast aiming, but I'm up to it."

"Excellent. The rest of us will proceed through the caves, and wait in cover near the broken wall. Once Falcon causes the distraction and the Brutes' heads are turned, we rush in and kill the Brutes on the turrets. We then proceed to the rear of the base and Rhino will plant the charges. We get out same way we came in, and stealth it back to the boat. Clear? Good."

Deployment+ 00:16:43 "Falcon - in position. Await your signal. Snake, draw your sword. It'll come in handy against those Brutes. Rhino, explosives OK? Good. Tiger, ready to kick some ass? Excellent..."

Falcon's COM link opened. "Party starts in 3...2...1..."

A muffled crack of a rifle preceded a huge ball of fire coming from the bunker. The two follow-up shots were drowned out by the fire and roars of the Brutes. Two Jackals keeled over in the far tower. Wolf, Tiger, Rhino and Snake climbed throught the smashed section of the wall. Wolf and Rhino waited as Tiger and Snake crept up behind the Brutes manning the Plasma Cannons. Both Brutes were gaping at the mess in the bunker. Tiger pulled his fist back and punched one of the Brutes in the back of his head, crushing its skull. The other reacted just in time to see a glowing blade sticking out of the front of his chest. Both Brutes slumped to the floor.

Altair spoke. "All lookouts neutralised. I have discovered a utility pipe large enough to crouch through running to the rear of the base. Its entrance is just by the damaged wall section."

"Excellent," Wolf replied. "Tiger, Snake, you two go through the pipe. Me and Rhino will go through the main complex."

Tiger nodded and turned back towards the pipe, Snake following. Wolf and Rhino moved past the bodies of the dead Brutes, towards a concrete building.

"Wait, stop!" said Rhino. He had spotted a heavy switch on a wall. "This is the gate control. It might provide a quick exit, before the fireworks go off."

"Open it. Tiger, Snake, status?" said Wolf.

"We are through the tunnel," Tiger replied. "Snake killed the Brute guarding the end, didn't even see us coming. We can see what looks like an ops centre up ahead, permission to take a detour from the SAM-site?"

"Granted. Get as much info as you can."

Wolf switched off his COM and followed Rhino through the building, listening to Altair's directions.

Deployment+ 00:19:29

Snake followed his human companion out of the room with the pipe and ran across a narrow, exposed walkway to the room that they had agreed seemed like a base of operations for the Covenant Loyalists. Snake was nervous, the fortress seemed too empty, but the Brutes always believed that numbers outweighed tactics. Where were they?

Perhaps this doubt had raised his alertness. That is why he motioned for Tiger to stop before entering the ops centre. Was that an armoured foot peeping out of the threshold of the door?

As if to answer his thought, a black-armoured Brute Chieftain stepped into view, raised its hammer and roared a battle-cry.

3

Deployment+ 00:19:38 An alarm blared from the wall-mounted klaxons in the base. Wolf raised his Assault Rifle and swept the room with its targeting reticle. He cursed the lack of cover here and motioned for Rhino to draw his sidearm. A Brute emerged from the far side of the room and raised its weapon. Wolf fired three short bursts at the creature's chest, knocking it off-balance. Rhino put two pistol rounds into the Brute's muscular neck, and maroon blood dribbled from the wound. The alien gave a throaty gurgle and fell forward.

Wolf moved forward and put his back against the wall where the Brute had appeared from. Rhino joined him. Wolf looked round the corner with his gun raised. Clear. A short, metal staircase led down to a small hallway, with an open door at the end. Through the door was their objective - the SAM-site.

Wolf proceeded down the staircase, the sound of his feet clanging on the metal was muffled by the relentless alarm.

Deployment+ 00:20:38

The Chieftain swung his hammer at Snake, who dived off the walkway and hit the ground about 8 feet below. He rolled to his feet to see the Chieftain leap down, aiming on top of him. Snake dived to his right and the shockwave from the Brute's Gravity Hammer knocked him back. Tiger was busy fighting three Brutes simultaneously, so wouldn't be able to assist Snake. The Brute charged at Snake, hammer raised.

Tiger drew his shotgun smacked the oncoming Brute round the head with its butt. The brute staggered back, but its ally was practically on top of Tiger, who squeezed a the shotgun's trigger, driving a shell into the alien's torso. The Brute roared in pain and held its hand against its bleeding chest. It flailed wildly at Tiger with its other fist, and the third Brute jumped on Tiger's back.

Tiger screamed in rage and grabbed the head of the Brute on his back. He quickly flicked his arms to the side, and felt the Brute's weight subside after he had snapped its neck. The other two Brutes charged at him. Tiger loaded his shotgun and aimed it at the wounded Brute's face.

The Chieftain swung his hammer low, trying to sweep Snake's legs out from underneath. Snake jumped and arced his sword at the Brute's neck. The Chieftain dodged and stepped back to attempt another lunge. This time though, Snake was too quick. The Elite crouched then leaped into the air. The Chieftain held his hammer like a baseball bat, with Snake as the ball. Snake brought his sword down onto the Brute's free arm, and neatly sliced through the the gap between the Chieftain's shoulder plate and the armour on its arm. The arm hit the floor with a sickening thud and the Chieftain roared in pain. It staggered, but still managed to swing its hammer before it lapsed into unconsciousness. Snake tried to sidestep but the hammer connected with his shoulder.

Snake felt a lance of pain rush through his body, he flew backwards as his vision clouded.

4

Deployment+ 00:21:29 "The SAM-site is directly ahead," said Altair. "There is also a cache of human weapons in a store room behind it. The rocket launcher may be useful in our escape."

Wolf and Rhino ran to the SAM-site, sweeping their weapons around to check for Brutes. Rhino crouched at the base of it and unloaded the explosive charges. Wolf looked at the NAV marker Altair had placed on his HUD, indicating the location of the weapons cache. He jogged towards it, and was about to enter the store room when motion out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. It was Snake, soaring through the air and crashing into a stack of pallettes. Tiger was fighting two Brutes, and the body of another lay at his feet. Wolf drew his Battle Rifle and took aim.

Tiger planted his feet firmly on the concrete floor as the Brutes charged at him. The wounded one was closest, and Tiger put a shell into its ugly face. The Brute recoiled and fell, its face a mass of blood. The final Brute punched Tiger, who lost his balance. The Brute aimed its gun's bayonet at Tiger's face, but before it could bring the spiker down, a burst of fire knocked its helmet off. Tiger glanced to his right and saw Wolf aiming his Battle Rifle at the Brute. Tiger lashed out with his foot and connected with the Brute's shin. The alien gave a howl of pain as his leg broke and then Tiger used his other foot to knock the Brute off-balance. Wolf fired another 3 shots into its head, and it stopped moving.

Wolf helped Tiger up. "You hurt?"

"Nah, you know me - invincible."

Wolf sprinted to the pile of smashed pallettes and called for Snake. Snake opened his eyes and slowly got to his feet. "I am hurt. But I will live."

Rhino's voice came in across the COM. "Charges set, detonation in four minutes."

Falcon's voice cut through. "Guys, there's a shitload of Brutes coming in from a couple of Phantoms. Permission to open fire?"

"Denied," barked Wolf. "I don't want them to see you. How many are there, approximately?"

"I'm not sure, I'd guess at about nine. There's two on Choppers and four sharing a Prowler. The other three are legging it."

"OK, Team," said Wolf. "We have a new objective. Commandeer that Prowler and ride it out to the boat. Falcon will meet us there."

"Brute Chieftain!" shouted Altair. The Chieftain that had duelled with Snake had regained consciousness and was chrging towards them, its hammer held in its remaining hand. There was no way they could take it down when Wolf was the only one holding a weapon.

Suddenly, streak of light flashed towards the Brute and an explosion blew it apart. Wolf looked behind him to see Rhino approach, calmly reloading a rocket launcher.

"I found that weapons cache, and thought this might come in handy. We need to get out of here, now."

"I've thought of a way to take the Prowler," said Wolf. "Drag the bodies of those Brutes into view of the gate. Tiger, Rhino, hide in that doorway near the pipe entrance. Snake, come with me to hide in the ops centre. Here's what's gonna happen..."

Deployment+ 00:25:17. Detonation in 00:02:43

The Prowler drove through the heavy gate, its gunner keeping a lookout for the human forces. He spotted two Brute corpses at the rear of the fortress and grunted a command at his fellow soldiers.

"Choppers - wait by the entrance. Prowler, investigate those bodies."

The Prowler hummed forward, the passengers clinging to the sides searching for threats. The vehicle stopped by the bodies. "Passengers - get off, find the Demons!" growled the gunner. He swept the area with the cannon, and spotted the glow of an Elite Energy Sword. He was about to shout a warning when his head was shot off.

Deployment+ 00:26:02. Detonation in 00:01:58

"Now!" shouted Wolf, as he reloaded his Battle Rifle. He had aimed perfectly, hitting the Prowler's gunner in its temple, where its helmet did not protect it. Tiger and Snake ran out of cover. Tiger delivered a punch that could dent concrete to the Prowler's driver, who fell out, howling in pain. Snake swiftly decapitated one of the bewildered passengers, and Wolf fired another burst of fire into the chest of the fourth Brute.

Tiger mounted the driver's seat and the engine roared into life. Wolf threw the body of the gunner out and got in the blood-stained seat. Rhino and Snake hopped onto the passenger seats.

"Let's go," said Rhino. "I've only got one rocket left, I'll try to make it count."

Tiger turned the huge vehicle around sped for the open gate. A Brute Captain stood in the way, its voice blaring through their helmet translators.

"There they are! Use the Chopper to block their exit!"

The Captain stepped backwards to let a Chopper roll into place, its sharp blades making ramming impossible.

"Now what?" shouted Tiger.

"Hang on!" replied Rhino, aiming his rocket launcher. The rocket belched out of its tube and flew straight and true. The Chopper blew apart, shrapnel flying everywhere.

The Brute Captain stood his ground, barely flinching when one of the Chopper's bladed wheels span past him. He fired the dual spikers at the front of the armoured Prowler, to no avail. Tiger accelerated and felt a jolt as the Brute crumpled when the bow of the Prowler smashed into it. The Prowler sped on, with the remaining Chopper in hot pursuit.

"Brute with a fuel rod cannon up ahead!" yelled Falcon over the COM. "I can't get a good angle to shoot him!"

Wolf swivelled the plasma cannon and fired relentlessly at the Brute. Another Brute attempted to board the Prowler but was cut down by Snake's sword, the two neatly cut halves of the Brute bouncing away.

"I got him!" said Wolf as the fuel rod cannon wielding Brute keeled over backwards from the barrage of plasma.

"I can't shake this Chopper!" yelled Tiger. he was right, the Chopper's spinning blades were inches away from the Prowler's rear-mounted driving seat.

"Those blades will cut you in two!" said Snake. "Faster!"

"It...won't...go...any...faster..." groaned Tiger, seemingly urging the Prowler on by the force of his words.

"We'll have to stop before we hit the water, this thing isn't designed to get wet!" said Rhino.

Wolf pounded the Chopper with plasma, but it didn't leave a scratch.

"We're not gonna make it!" screamed Tiger, over the roar of the two vehicles' engines.

Suddenly, an unmistakable crack of a sniper shot was heard, and the Chopper swerved to the right. The body of its occupant fell from the driver seat, rolling down the beach from the momentum.

"Yes!" shouted Falcon.

"That was f***ing brilliant, Falcon, you legend!" shouted Tiger.

"Falcon, good job," said Wolf. "Get back to the boat, before any reinforcements arrive!"

"Roger that. On my way."

Tiger slowed down as they approached the gently lapping waves near the boat mooring. Falcon sprinted towards them, sniper rifle cradled in his arms.

Altair spoke. "Detonation in 10 seconds."

Wolf started the boat's engine, double-checked everyone was on board, and sped away.

"5...4...3...2...1...Detonation." said Altair.

A bright flash of light erupted from the base followed by a torrent of sound. Multiple fiery explosions broke away from the initial one as the Covenant generators throughout the base exploded.

"Scanning..." said Altair. "SAM-site destroyed. Mission accomplished."

The boat sped away from the destroyed base, its bow cutting through the gleaming blue water.

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