April 29th, 2523
UNSC Ultimate Glory - Orbiting Mars - 2045
Harrison was sitting in his office, sifting through the ODSTs in training files. He was going through names, trying to get a feel of who complimented each other, and who did worse with each other. Harrison sat in his seat and rubbed his eyes. Moments later, his radio beeped. He could hear someone talk from it.
Marine: Captain, sir?
Harrison sat upright and grabbed his earpiece.
Harrison: What do you need, soldier?
Marine: The ODSTs aren’t talking; they’re doing well all things considered. Any orders, sir?
Harrison: Excellent news. Keep pounding on them…if anyone cracks let me know. In the meantime, the main thing I need you to do is completely seclude the ODSTs from their counterparts. Let them get a bit more freaked out.
Marine: Yes, sir. We do have one slight problem.
Harrison: That is?
Marine: Private Ambrus tried to escape three times already. Private Holender is also proving to be a pain.
Harrison: I figured they would. Just keep their morale down; let’s see how long they last.
Marine: Yes, sir.
Harrison cut communication with the marine and stood up. He stretched his back and looked behind him, staring into a window, staring out into space, watching the stars. He grabbed his coffee and took a sip from his cup. He smiled; he loved the taste of coffee over the stars. He began his walk to the bridge.
He stepped onto his bridge and took a seat in the command chair, the rest of his crew working on the mission parameters and monitoring the UNSC chatternet. Before Harrison could begin his usual night routine, one of the officer’s stations blinked red and beeped. The officer turned to face Harrison.
Officer: Captain. I’m detecting two incoming frigates.
Harrison: That is odd; no one is supposed to come here for at least another three weeks. What are their IFFs?
Officer: The UNSC Maximus of Blade and UNSC Lonely Apollo. I’ve cross-referenced the name with the database…and uhm, sir?
Harrison: Spit it out, Lieutenant.
Officer: These two ships were supposedly destroyed six months ago, all hands KIA.
Harrison stood from his chair, he was slightly confused, but he also knew what was about to happen. He was about to begin speaking, but then he heard a signal from the weapons terminal.
Weapons Officer: They have a lock on us; they’re firing their missiles, sir!
Harrison hit the communications device for the ship.
Harrison: All hands, brace for impact!
As Harrison spoke the words, the Ultimate Glory was hit by a barrage of archer missile pods. Its engines flared, trying to regain power, but lost. A fire blazed for only a moment on the port side of the ship, being extinguished by the vacuum of space. Another barrage hit the Ultimate Glory. The first barrage ripped away the exterior, as the second made the breaches in the hull even larger and was able to hit the interior of the ship.
The bridge dimmed as the Glory lost power, the lights flickered and they rebooted from emergency power.
Officer: Captain! Multiple hull breaches on all decks! Decks 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 19, and 21 are all venting atmosphere!
Harrison: Lock down the decks, begin evacuation! Status of the frigates?
Officer: They are moving past us…wait, no, they are coming back around! Weapons are offline and engines are faltering, Captain! We are dead in the water.
Harrison: No. Not yet. Work on getting weapons back to full power!
Harrison slammed his fist down on the communications device.
Harrison: All hands abandon ship! I say again, abandon ship!
Harrison turned to face his bridge crew.
Harrison: There is a life pod on this deck waiting for all of you. Go.
Not one crew member moved. Harrison stood.
Harrison: This is not a day for heroism! All of you get to the life pod and get down to Mars! Link up with others when you hit.
The crew members didn’t speak, they knew Harrison would go down with the ship, and they knew he would hate them if they stayed. Reluctantly, the crew began to leave and Harrison took his seat at his command terminal. He looked at the weapons status, only a dozen or so archer missile pods operational.
He only had one chance to give the guys on the ship and on the ground time to move.
Harrison began to move his hands across the terminal at rapid speed, locking onto certain areas of the incoming frigates making sure to squeeze enough damage out of the missiles as possible. An alarm beeped next to him, confirming that the frigates had a lock on. Then another alarm, the life pods on the ship had begun to launch.
Harrison smiled; he had configured the weapons system to launch on his command. His knowledge of aerospace design helped him find weak points in the frigates.
So, as the Ultimate Glory drifted down into Mars’ atmosphere, Harrison took a look around the bridge. Ten years of service, ten years of sweat and tears, ten years of one great ship.
Somehow, Harrison always knew it would end like this.
The alarm beeped again, only about 35% of the pods were evacuated, but the frigates were too close.
Harrison took a deep breath and confirmed the weapons lock.
He hit the button and the last few dozen archer missile pods fired at the incoming frigates. The missiles impacted against the hangar bays, engines, and multiple decks of the two frigates, but they continued on.
Harrison: Well…here it goes.
Harrison closed his eyes as the alarm sounded for the third and final time. A few seconds later the Ultimate Glory was struck by another barrage of archer missiles, rendering it beyond repair.
The UNSC destroyer dimmed, its emergency power not enough to get it back online.
The Ultimate Glory fell towards Mars’ gravity at full speed, the heat shields blocking out some of the fire building up.
Harrison could feel the g-forces building and he looked outside the bridge. The last thing he saw was the beauty of a planet crafted by humanity. The last thing he saw were the forests of Mars.
The Ultimate Glory hit the ground with a tremendous force, exposing sides of the ship and causing fires to ignite from the air. Every single system was dead; there was nothing they could do to power it up again.
The UNSC Ultimate Glory was utterly destroyed.
April 29th, 2523
Mars Training Grounds - 2110
Jacob was speechless; he had just watched a UNSC ship crash onto the surface of Mars…with absolutely no way to stop it. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak, he just watched. Finally, he awoke from his motionlessness and turned to his two fellow ODSTs.
Jacob: Pinestar! Nemes! Get the fuck up!
Pinestar and Nemes slowly began to rise, but as they got up, they saw the fire in the distance and threw on their gear.
Pinestar: Holy Shit Jacob! What the…
Jacob: It’s the Glory…
Pinestar and Nemes both turned to him.
Pinestar: I’m sorry?
Jacob: I saw the whole thing! The Glory was just drifting in space and then two frigates appeared, hit it twice and then it came crashing down!
Pinestar: That means…
Jacob: That means we have to move to that crash site right fucking now and secure the area!
Pinestar and Nemes both nodded.
Nemes: We should try and contact some of the other ODSTs.
Jacob: Alright…Pinestar get on—
Pinestar: No…comms are being jammed, I can’t get anything out.
Jacob: Then…it’s up to us three, and hopefully the other ODSTs have the idea of heading there, too.
The three quickly gathered their gear, dusted out the fire they had made and traveled down the hill. Jacob had taken point and moved through the forest as quickly as he could, but trying to make as little noise as possible. They were making pretty quick time, but the crash had to be a few thousand meters out.
All of a sudden, Jacob could hear the chatter of a few people; he quickly knelt in the dirt. Pinestar and Nemes did the same.
Pinestar: I hear it, too.
Jacob scanned the area with his sniper, the chatting was coming from the West and he could see a trail of smoke. He held up his hand, a signal for Nemes and Pinestar to follow.
Slowly, Jacob crept over to the smoking area. As he got closer, trees were fallen and the chattering got louder.
Voice 1: You’re kidding me Phil? Half the military force probably died from the first hit, and the other half probably died from the crash!
Voice 2: Johnson! There’s still some hope.
Jacob moved in, he could see the two naval officers arguing. Another six surrounded them.
Jacob walked over.
Jacob: Would you two please keep it down!
All of the naval officers jumped and turned to Jacob. They all sighed a breath of relief.
Voice 2: Private, it’s damn good to see a friendly face. I’m Commander Phil Farley. This is Lieutenant Johnson.
Jacob: Sir, Private Sharpmen reporting. What happened, sir?
Farley: To be honest Private, we have no idea. The first thing we knew was that two UNSC frigates entered Mars’ system. Then, they attacked us and left us dead in the water, knew exactly where to hit us.
Johnson: And then, here’s the kicker! They came back around to finish us off!
Jacob was listening intently, trying to understand the situation.
Jacob: Sir, if you guys made it out, then where’s the Captain, sir?
Johnson and the others fell silent and looked at the ground. Farley was the only one to speak up.
Farley: He stayed behind to give the crew some time to escape…most likely killed from the impact.
Jacob checked his gear. He nodded at Farley and Johnson.
Jacob: Well…most likely doesn’t mean “is.” I am heading to the crash site to secure the bridge, sir. Private Pinestar and Private Nemes are capable fighters, they can protect you.
The group just stared at Jacob.
Farley: I’m sorry; private…you’re doing what now?
Jacob looked at Farley.
Jacob: Unless he is confirmed dead…he is still the Commanding officer of this situation…and I will find him. And if we are in a state of combat, we must get to the ship and destroy all classified intelligence before the enemy finds it, sir.
Farley: Private, do not even think about leaving this area! That is an order!
Jacob: My orders are to stick to my mission, sir! And an ODST would go find their Captain and destroy that intelligence, Commander Farley!
Farley glared at Jacob as he began to walk away. Pinestar tried to stop Jacob.
Pinestar: Jacob, they’re probably right, he’s gone…no one could have survived that.
Jacob: Well…if no one survived, then the enemy has the Intel…we’re the only hope in stopping them. And a ship would provide nice cover in a combat zone.
Johnson: He does have a point, Commander. That ship is where every lifeboat, every ODST, and any enemy will be headed…food, water, weapons, it’s all there.
Johnson paused and then added.
Johnson: And the intelligence must be destroyed. The contingency plan dictates that.
Farley: Our best bet is to wait for reinforcements.
Jacob: Comms are dead…and unless you got a transmission out before that ship crashed, no one is coming for us Commander.
Farley nodded, he stared at the ground. Moments later, he looked around at the naval officers.
Farley: Grab any equipment you can carry from the Bumblebee, we’ll make our way to the Glory. Private Sharpmen, you take point.
Jacob smiled under his helmet; he had won his first argument against a superior. Something not many people get away with doing.
He checked his gear, grabbed a bag from the bumblebee and once the others were ready made his way to the crash site. Nemes followed behind him, Pinestar protecting the rear. The eight naval officers had only a magnum on them, with probably just a clip or two. Jacob, Nemes, and Pinestar were the only military force they would use to take the bridge of the ship.
It felt like hours to Jacob, as he had to take his time slowly going over each area, making sure the officers kept up. By the time they arrived it had to have been the next morning. Eventually, they reached the crash site of the Ultimate Glory, half of it was on fire, and the other half was missing.
Farley: My God…those insurrectionists knew where to hit us.
Johnson: Goddamn traitors…those were UNSC vessels, it ha--
Jacob shushed the group.
Jacob: Would you guys please stay silent?
Jacob sighed and turned to Nemes and Pinestar.
Jacob: You got what I got on sensors? Three unknowns?
The two nodded. Jacob turned and propped up the sniper on his knee. He looked to the far right to see three marines, not ODSTs, but possible UNSC.
Jacob motioned to Nemes and Pinestar to stay behind, as he slowly crawled closer to the group.
His heart rate was rushing as he approached the group; he took a deep breath and yelled to them.
The three marines raised their weapons in Jacobs direction, Jacob was about to fire before one of them yelled out.
Jacob smiled, they were UNSC. He stood from the grass and waved his hands in the air. The three marines came rushing towards him, each of them had some bruising and cuts on their uniforms.
Marine: Private, goddamn mess this is. I’m Sergeant Petrovan. This is PFC Milod, and Corporal Wargo.
Jacob saluted to the group.
Jacob: Private Sharpmen, sir. We were coming to investigate the crash.
Jacob: Yes, sir. Myself, two other ODSTs as well as the surviving bridge crew of the Glory.
Petrovan: I see. Lead the way lad, I am going to debrief with the crew.
Jacob nodded and made his way back to the group he was with. When he arrived it seemed that Petrovan knew Farley and Johnson.
Petrovan: Glad to see you made it, Farley.
Farley nodded and shook hands with Petrovan.
Petrovan: What are you guys doing so close to the crash?
Farley: We came to secure the bridge, get food, water, medicine.
Petrovan shook his head, something was obviously wrong.
Petrovan: We saw at least a dozen pelicans head towards the prow of the ship. No way can five marines and eight naval officers with pea shooters take it.
Petrovan: Has to be. I couldn’t think of anyone else to do this.
Farley nodded. He paced back and forth, the bridge was obviously the place to be and any remnants of the UNSC force or even the ODSTs would go there. It was a few minutes and no one was talking, so Jacob began.
Jacob: Sir, with all due respect, we need that bridge. Or at least we need to get a signal out to our forces to warn them.
Petrovan: You’re correct, private. But, the crew knows what to do.
Jacob: And what about us ODSTs? We’re just training…we’re not full-blown. Our first instinct would be to head to the crash site.
Jacob: Besides! I still have men captured out there! I need to save them, too!
Farley and Johnson both looked at each other. Farley nodded and looked away. Johnson looked at Jacob.
Johnson: It was all part of the training Jacob…they were captured by UNSC marines, given the same type of armor, just painted black, and the same weapons.
It was here that Nemes butted in.
Nemes: Same ammo too? Because those marines were sure as hell shooting live ammunition at me!
Farley turned and looked at Nemes.
Farley: Repeat that…did you say live?
Nemes: They hit the tree the same way live ammo would. It was NOT concussive.
Farley shook his head. He wouldn’t believe it.
Petrovan: That can only mean one thing, Commander. Someone requisitioned them live ammunition before they left the ship. All of those men are rebels.
Johnson: Which means there is a traitor in an officer position.
Jacob cursed under his breath. He couldn’t believe it. Everything was going to hell.
Jacob: Then we have to get inside this ship…take some REAL weapons, and move to the prow. We don’t know who’s a traitor and who’s loyal.
Jacob looked around.
Jacob: I’m going to the armory…anyone who cares to join me can follow.
Jacob didn’t wait for a response; he simply turned around and headed towards the Glory’s crash site. Nemes and Pinestar both followed, behind them some of the bridge crew followed. Jacob however, could still hear voices down the way.
Petrovan: I’ll give him this…he sure knows how to take command.
Johnson: I have a feeling he’s going to be a pain in the ass for some naval officer one day.
Farley laughed and began to walk forward.
Farley: At this rate he’s going to be a naval officer.
Petrovan and Johnson both looked at each other…and then followed.
April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory – Armory - 1500
Jacob looked around the armory. There were seventeen fellow soldiers and sailors standing around. The group had managed to pick up four more on the way to the armory, all badly banged up from the crash. They were still stuck inside when the ship went down.
And by the looks of the entire ship, a good part of the crew was still inside the ship when it crashed. Crates crushed men, sailors could be seen on top of beams, and entire rooms lay empty because of a breach in the hull. So many men dragged into the abyss of space with no hope of surviving. But Jacob knew he could still save some…still save the seventeen in this room.
Even if it cost him his life.
After a few more moments, Jacob stood; he had grabbed sniper rounds and magnum rounds, along with an extra assault rifle and three magazines. He knew this training was about to get bloody. Jacob saw Johnson conversing with Petrovan. Moments later, he was approaching him.
Johnson’s voice was grimy and raspy.
Jacob: Yes, sir?
Johnson: I have been thinking of a way to get us out of this mess without risking everything.
Jacob: Why go to me, sir? Sergeant Petrovan and his marines are the right choice.
Johnson: Commander Farley is unable to perform his duties as CO right now, and both Petrovan and I have decided to task this situation to you because we need people to protect us here.
Jacob smiled under his helmet and nodded.
Johnson: The ship seems pretty quiet right now, and we will most likely be able to hold out here. Petrovan and I decided we’ll go to the mess and grab whatever MRE’s we can. And then we will periodically move around the ship, evading any patrols and trying to hold out as long as possible.
Johnson: We still don’t know who’s fighting us and it would be best if we avoided them as much as possible until we found out what they are after. And until we get a transmission out, we won’t have any help or any damn clue.
Jacob: And that’s where I come in?
Johnson: Exactly, son. Head to the bridge, avoid the patrols and find out who and what we are dealing with. If possible find the Captain, send out a distress signal, and destroy the ship’s mainframe.
Johnson handed Jacob a PDA.
Johnson: Just insert that into the Admiral’s command station and it will begin the termination process.
Jacob: I can do that, sir.
Johnson smiled, the dirt on his face showed his wrinkles, he was older, much older than Jacob originally thought. Johnson then handed Jacob a small radio.
Johnson: This is a short wave radio…only about 750 meters before we lose each other. We’ll stay here for the next hour or so and then move. Contact me on this when you finished.
Jacob: Yes, sir.
Johnson smiled; he put his hand on Jacob’s shoulder.
Johnson: You’re going to be a fine ODST, son. Good luck.
Johnson turned to leave, but Jacob grabbed his arm.
Jacob: Sir, one request.
Johnson stared at Jacob.
Jacob: If I don’t make it back…either now…or at the end of this mission, tell my parents I did something…tell them I tried…
Johnson: I can do that, Private.
Jacob let go of Johnson’s arm and nodded. He held his assault rifle and turned to the door behind him. He was about to head into a combat zone with no recon assistance, no help from anyone, no radio contact. It was then that Jacob realized he was the recon, he was the help, and he was the radio contact.
He took a deep breath and walked off.
April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory – Bridge – 1300
Harrison shook his head, it pounded and he could feel burns and scrapes all over his body. He shook again and his vision began to restore itself. He was still on his ship, but he was sitting in a chair. Slowly he began to regain his senses and noted that he was in fact tied to the chair he was sitting in.
As he looked up, he noticed several ODSTs walking around, their armor was the usual color, but they had no rank, no insignia, not even an emblem to identify them as a military force. They were carrying equipment, weapons, ammo, etc across his field of view. He didn’t even know if he was still on the bridge or not. He looked to his right and his left, noticing one thing.
Captain Lev Tolstoy was tied to a chair next to him, unconscious. He could tell he was wounded, that’s when Harrison began to realize the situation he was in. He was tied to a chair, with an unknown enemy standing in front of him, walking around in the ruins of his ship…whose data core was very well salvageable. He began to look around for anything he could use to escape, a pipe from the wall, another chair, a knife.
That’s when he heard a voice near him.
Unknown ODST: Commander, the Captain’s awake.
The ODST walked over to Harrison and stood near his side. Eventually, Harrison heard footsteps and noticed a very burly man walking over to him. The man stopped a few feet directly in front of him. He held his hands behind his back, his helmet still on.
Unknown Commander: Captain Harrison. My God you’ve seen better days haven’t you?
The Commander paused and looked at Harrison. Harrison simply remained silent and stared back.
Unknown Commander: You may be wondering who I am, who WE are, why we attacked you, and why we are on your ship, right. I mean…if I were you, I’d be wondering those exact questions. Any Naval man would…
The Commander shrugged.
Unknown Commander: Then again…I don’t really look like the best naval officer right now.
The Commander approached Harrison and looked at him.
Unknown Commander: I have a few questions regarding your ship.
Harrison knew this was the next step. First take the prisoner. Secondly, play nice, some indirect threats here and there, and a mention of whom you are without giving away everything about you.
And then the interrogation…Harrison didn’t even have to think, he began to rattle off his name, rank, and service code.
Harrison: Captain Fredward Jeremy Harrison, UNSC Navy. Service ID: Foxtrot-2-Juliet-4-Hotel-9-November-3-6-2-Uniform-Golf.
The Commander chuckled.
Unknown Commander: You haven’t changed a bit, Harrison.
Harrison looked at the Commander.
Unknown Commander: Allow me to reintroduce myself, Captain.
The Commander began to remove his helmet and once he did, Harrison’s jaw dropped.
The man had a five o’clock shadow, with almost pure white hair to be so young. His face was smooth, his eyes dark and narrow, staring, unyielding. The Commander looked strong, dark, and fierce.
Unknown Commander: Commander Rowley. Commander James Victor Rowley, at your service, Captain.
Harrison shook his head and immediately began to repeat his information.
Harrison: Captain Fredward Jeremy Harrison, UNSC Navy. Service code: Foxtrot-2-Juli---
Rowley: Oh God…just shut him up, Corp.
The ODST next to Rowley nodded and slammed the butt of his assault rifle into Harrison’s face.
Harrison’s vision went black and soon after he lost consciousness.
Rowley: God damn Harrison.
Rowley turned to Tolstoy.
Rowley: Get the fuck up Lev…he’s out.
Lev lifted his head. He stood upwards and stretched his arms.
Lev: I told you he won’t talk that easily.
Rowley: I was hoping being in control of his ship would loosen his grip on reality…you’re up next.
Lev rolled his eyes.
Lev: We should have just killed him and left the ship to burn.
Rowley glared at Lev. He towered over him like a machine.
Rowley: You know…as well as I do…that’s not what they want. We need Harrison’s information…we need his crew…we need the ODST grounds destroyed…and of course, we need the armory.
Lev shrugged and pointed outside the window of the bridge.
Lev: You got one objective already.
Outside the window, Lev and Rowley could see Mars’ landscape burning; the area surrounding the ship was already black. Each passing moment more and more of the training grounds began to burn as Rowley’s troops searched the area in a Search and Burn formation.
Rowley: Now we just need the other two…
Rowley turned to Lev and motioned him to follow.
Rowley: Let’s go Captain…we’ve got work to do.
Lev nodded and followed Rowley away from Harrison.
April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory –Unknown Location – 1530
Jacob had been walking through the ship for about a half hour by now. He was trying to make his way to the bridge, but the ship had been so badly damaged in the crash, that he didn’t even know where he was in it. As Jacob walked, he collected the tags of anyone he passed, friend or foe, he had no idea.
All he knew was that these were soldiers with ID and they needed to be remembered.
The entire ship was hell compared to what Jacob knew. Jacob didn’t even know anything, and all he could do was focus on what he was seeing. Entire parts of the ship blown away, bodies strewn across the floor, crushed by crates, equipment, even a vehicle or two. The ship was still on fire, with parts of it being inaccessible for Jacob to even go near.
Jacob had never seen a crash site before, not even in the Insurrectionist propaganda films did Jacob see this amount of damage. It was new, confusing, and it made Jacob nervous. Jacob held his assault rifle high, as he couldn’t use his sniper rifle in such confined positioning. He walked through the ship, climbing over obstacle past obstacle until he ran into something familiar.
Lying about five meters in front of him was the body of an ODST. The ODST was hanging off the hull, the legs dangling over Mars’ surface below. Jacob approached the body. The ODST had a bright orange band around its left shoulder. Something all ODSTs in training were given to identify them. Jacob sighed; he knelt near the body and inspected the scene.
An M7S SMG was about two feet from the ODSTs hands. Jacob assumed that the ODST had tossed his weapon onto the hull and then jumped up, trying to get inside. Jacob inspected the ODSTs body; his back was facing Jacob as he looked over it.
Jacob then noticed something right above the ODSTs back, but below his helmet. It was a bullet wound.
Jacob: Goddamn…they didn’t even look him in the eyes.
Jacob again assumed whoever killed the ODST did it as he was just climbing up the hull of the ship. They just shot him, in cold blood.
Jacob took a deep breath and flipped the body over. He inspected the front of the body and grabbed the ammo he had for his sidearm. Jacob then reached under his chest plate and grabbed his dog tags. He looked at them and read the name.
Jacob: Private James Lopel.
Jacob nodded, he knew the ODST from a brief talk during a training exercise. He was a nice guy, Earth-born, two brothers in the Corps, and a family back home. The little chat they had didn’t say much, but Jacob knew he had potential.
Jacob: I wish I could’ve gotten you out of here James…
Jacob sighed and tucked the tags in a pouch with the dozens of others he had. He stood up and checked the surroundings. It was still clear as Jacob kept walking towards a two-way intersection. That’s when he heard voices approaching. He immediately dove towards the left, behind a few crates and went prone. Jacob looked over one of the crates and watched as two ODSTs, who bore no rank or emblem, walked into the area he was in.
ODST 1: I don’t know why we have to check this area again. We just did a patrol here fifteen minutes ago.
ODST 2: You heard the Commander. Nonstop patrols until all 75 ODSTs are accounted for.
Jacob’s eyes widened when he heard that. Whoever these people were, they were after him and the others.
ODST 1: Oh, fuck that.
The ODSTs stopped in the middle of the room. The first one sat on a crate and removed his helmet, pulling out a cigarette from his pocket.
ODST 1: It really is bullshit, this whole thing.
The ODST stuck the cigarette in his mouth, but continued to talk.
ODST 1: They should have just sent in a mole and got the information that way.
The ODST began to try and light his cigarette as the other spoke. Jacob shifted upwards, getting a better look and listening even more.
ODST 2: Well…it wasn’t just for the information Harrison had. It was for destroying the training grounds, too.
The ODST shrugged.
ODST 2: They’re just trying to distract the UNSC and the UEG a bit before they make their move.
The first ODST took a long, steady drag of his cigarette when he finally lit it. He grunted.
ODST 1: Bah! I still call bullshit. We’re using two of our most recent frigates to do this. When all we really need is one, plus Misriah Armory is right here, we could literally just hit that for weapons.
ODST 2: Quit your bellyaching. Orders are orders.
Jacob watched as the second ODST approached Lopel’s body. He chuckled and pointed his gun at the body in front of him.
ODST 2: At least we get to kill some people.
The other ODST laughed and jumped from his seat, walking over to Lopel’s body, and smoking his cigarette.
ODST 1: Who got this one?
The ODST knelt near the body and took another drag.
ODST 2: I think it was Big Al.
The first ODST laughed and stood back up, stretching his arms and tossing the cigarette out the side of the ship.
ODST 1: Of course it was.
The ODST turned away and grabbed his helmet, sliding it back on his head and grabbing his weapon.
ODST 1: Now, let’s go. This area is clear.
The second ODST nodded and turned around, following the first ODST out of the room. Jacob, after a few minutes, finally stood up and surveyed the area.
Jacob: So…Harrison’s data, destruction of the training grounds, and us. Possibly even the armory, too.
Jacob: Son of a bitch.
Jacob had little time before the next patrol would go through, he would have to find his way to the bridge and find Harrison. Jacob watched the ODSTs leave the area and knew that the quickest route to the bridge would be to the right.
Without wasting any more time, Jacob hurtled over the crates he was hiding behind and took the door to the right. As he walked forward, he could hear the faint sound of movement, and lots of it.
Jacob kept walking until he reached another door; he stood next to it and then peered inside of it. Jacob’s eyes widened as to what he saw. It was room, one he had recognized as to being right near the bridge. But, instead of being empty and devoid like the others, it was full of dozens of unmarked ODSTs. The ODSTs were carrying anything from radio equipment to ammunition across the room. Jacob continued to look inside, looking for anything related to his objective. He knew he wasn’t on the bridge yet, but he could do something.
He could send out the distress signal if he got near the radio equipment. But he couldn’t just walk in there and pretend to be one of them. His uniform did, after all, have emblems on it. Jacob sighed and turned back into cover. He thought for a moment and looked around the room. And that’s when he saw it.
About five feet in front of him was a black crate. Jacob immediately read the crate, and like a gift from God it was exactly what he needed. On the side of it, the crate simply read:
“ODST Uniforms – Unmarked – Ready for Processing.”
Jacob grinned, his luck was finally turning; he ran to the crate and immediately opened it. Inside was ODST armor, all of it black with no emblem or insignia in sight. Jacob smiled and immediately began to dawn the armor. A few minutes passed when he finally placed the new helmet on his head, linking it with his old HUD.
He set his sniper on the ground; he would come back for it later if needed. He took a deep breath and grabbed his assault rifle.
The next thing he did was head straight for the room.
Jacob simply walked inside and approached the first radio he could see. So far no one was saying anything and people simply walked by him, carrying on with their daily lives. Jacob smiled under his helmet. He was in, and thankfully no one had approached him---
ODST: Get over here!
Jacob turned to see a large ODST pointing at him, and nudging him over to him. Jacob took a deep breath and jogged over.
ODST: I don’t know what the hell you think you’re doing, but I got something for you.
Jacob simply nodded, his heart was almost beating out of his chest and he began to sweat.
ODST: The Commander needs a few ODSTs to transfer Captain Harrison to the brig with his other soldiers. Commander Rowley needs some ODSTs to do it, and you’re one of ‘em.
Jacob: Yes, sir, I can do that.
The ODST nodded and pointed into the next room.
ODST: Then move it soldier!
Jacob nodded and jogged off into the next room, he was even closer to his objective than he could have dreamed. All he had to do was sneak the PDA into Harrison’s command terminal and then escort the Captain to the brig and bust him out.
Jacob looked around and noticed most of the people in the bridge were doing something, too focused on their job to even notice Jacob enter. Jacob looked around and looked for Harrison’s command terminal. It was about five feet in front of him. To his left, he could see a group of ODSTs, about seven of them, forming up in front of someone tied to a chair.
Jacob knew who the person was. It was Captain Harrison, and he looked like hell. Just as Jacob was about to proceed to his terminal, he heard another voice call to him.
???: Over here!
Jacob turned and then jogged over to the group. Leading the group was an ODST without a helmet.
???: Alright, that’s eight. You men know your objective; get Captain Harrison here down to the brig. Kill anyone else you see on the way down.
The ODSTs all nodded as the two in the middle grabbed Harrison by his arms and hefted him upwards, forcing him to begin the walk.
???: Enjoy your stay, Captain.
Harrison grunted, continuing to walk past Jacob and the other ODSTs.
Jacob formed up in the rear with the ODST next to him and followed the group towards the brig. He watched the command terminal pass him by and sighed. He was so close…
One Hour Later - 1645
Jacob, along with the other ODSTs he was with, had managed to bring Harrison to the brig after a painful process of maneuvering through debris, fire, and bodies. It took them a lot longer than expected…
Jacob: No wonder they wanted eight men…
Eventually however, they put Harrison into the second cell and shut the doors behind him. The door was solid steel and only had one window in the center of it. Harrison simply sat on the cot and stared at the floor. Two ODSTs were already waiting, guarding the other door.
The ODST group turned to each other and faced their Commanding Officer.
ODST 1: These guards cell duty is up…we need two more.
The ODST who was in charge pointed to the ODST standing next to Jacob and then pointed to Jacob.
ODST 1: You two, stay here. Six hour shift before someone relieves you.
Jacob and the ODST looked at each other and nodded as the other six ODSTs left. Jacob looked around the area, the cells all seemed empty. He continued to scan the environment until the ODST spoke to him.
ODST: So…I’m Al…but everyone here calls be Big Al. I haven’t seen you around, you just drop in?
Jacob looked at him. Big Al…the killer of Lopel.
Jacob: I’m Jacob. And yeah…I took the last bird out.
The ODST nodded as he took a seat near Harrison’s cell. Jacob did the same, sitting across from him.
Big Al: Oh, so you’re with Ninth Platoon?
Big Al: Ah, well, good for you. Ninth’s got a good commander.
Jacob simply nodded as he looked around.
Big Al: Hey, don’t be so jumpy, man…cell duty is always quiet. Not much happens
Big Al yawned as Jacob nodded and sat back. Big Al put his weapon on the table next to him and stretched in his chair.
Big Al: I’m part of the First Platoon…unfortunately for us; our CO was replaced by Rowley’s second in command, some big ex-UNSC guy who was still with the UNSC planning this whole operation.
Jacob nodded; hopefully he could get as much information out of this guy before he noticed him.
Big Al: I dunno. He seems like an alright guy. Uptight though, like most ODST Drill Sergeants are...
Jacob’s eyes widened. ODST drill instructor?
That could only mean one person on the Ultimate Glory. That would mean it was Tolstoy.
Big Al looked around.
Big Al: Not much to do for the next six hours.
Jacob: Unfortunately not.
Jacob paused. He had to know for sure.
Jacob: You get anyone since ya dropped?
Big Al: Yeah, I got one when we were still on the “shoot-to-kill” order. Some ODST trying to climb into the hull. Shot him right in the back of the neck.
Big Al smiled; Jacob could see it through his visor being dimmed.
Big Al: He got one of our guys before going down though…he was basically making a one-man assault on the ship.
Big Al shook his head.
Big Al: Stupid idea to climb before shooting though.
Jacob nodded, even though on the inside he wanted to kill Big Al right then and there, he knew he would have to wait. In order to get Harrison out, he would wait until Big Al was asleep. Just as he thought this, Big Al yawned.
Jacob: Hey man, I can take first watch. Get some rest.
Big Al nodded, he rest his head on the wall behind him.
Big Al: Yeah…I think that’d *yawn* be best. I haven’t—
Without finishing the sentence, Big Al fell asleep and started snoring. Jacob stood up and rolled his eyes.
Jacob: Fucking bastard.
Jacob looked around the area once more, it was all clear. He approached the cell door and looked inside the window. The only thing he saw was Harrison sitting on the cot staring at the ground. Jacob used his finger and knocked on the glass window. Harrison looked over, he raised an eyebrow.
Harrison: Who the hell are you?
Jacob smiled underneath his helmet and dimmed his visor, revealing his face. Harrison stood up and approached the window.
Jacob: Private Jacob Sharpmen, I’m one of the ODSTs that dropped for training.
Harrison, for the first time in at least 24 hours, smiled.
Harrison: By God, you're a sight for sore eyes.
Harrison looked around the area.
Jacob: Don’t worry; the other guard is asleep. It’s just me and you.
Harrison sighed a breath of relief and backed away from the window.
Harrison: What’s the situation then, soldier?
Jacob shrugged, he shook his head.
Jacob: Not good, sir. Everything is scattered, and I’m sure you know the situation with your ship.
Harrison simply nodded.
Jacob: I managed to group up with your bridge crew after the ship crashed; Commander Farley and Lieutenant Johnson. There’s about seventeen of us regrouped inside of the ship, periodically moving every half hour or so. Other than that, sir, I have no idea what’s going on. Dozens are dead…including some of the training ODSTs, and whoever these guys are…
Jacob motioned his hand over to the ODST sitting in the chair.
Jacob: They know what they’re after.
Harrison: Do you?
Jacob smiled and nodded.
Jacob: Actually yes.
Jacob paused as Harrison moved closer. Jacob held up three fingers.
Jacob: Three things…The destruction of Mars’ training grounds, some type of data pertaining to you and your studies I’m assuming. One of the ODSTs also mentioned the Misriah armory, and finally…Us, the ODSTs in training. What I heard was that whoever these guys were, they wanted to distract the UEG and UNSC for something big.
Harrison nodded and rubbed his forehead.
Harrison: The destruction of the training grounds, my data, and even the armory I can understand. But the ODSTs are a different story.
Harrison shook his head, he looked at Jacob.
Harrison: Right now, who gave you your current objective and what was it?
Jacob: Lieutenant Johnson asked me to do four things. Find out who these people are and what they want. Find you, send out a distress signal, and destroy the ship’s mainframe.
Harrison: Good. I’m glad Johnson still understands the contingency plan.
Jacob raised an eyebrow.
Harrison: Right, you wouldn’t know...
Harrison: The contingency plan I am talking about is called “The Final Stance.” It is, for all intents and purposes, the plan put in purpose when the commanding frigate goes down from Insurrectionist forces with soldiers scattered and data still available. It is, the only thing that keeps a force of several thousand scattered soldiers and sailors under the chain of command. It is the last thing keeping us together.
Harrison paused again and looked at Jacob.
Harrison: You need to do what Johnson said. Get a distress signal out and destroy this ship’s mainframe. He gave you a PDA right?
Harrison: Good, just insert that PDA in my personal terminal in my office and the bridge’s main terminal. Hard to miss, huge device right in front of the Captain’s chair.
Jacob: And what about you and these people?
Harrison: Leave me until the other two objectives are completed, I won’t do much good strutting about. If anything falls into these people’s hands we are done.
Harrison: As for them, try to get as much information as possible. When you’re done, regroup with your team and come back here.
Harrison: That ODST said six hours until the next shift change right?
Jacob: Yes, sir.
Harrison: That means you have four hours. Destroy the mainframe, send the signal, regroup with your guys and get back here. And keep it as quiet as you can, first sign of trouble, they’ll come running to me.
Jacob nodded. He looked at Big Al.
Jacob: And Big Al?
Jacob turned back to Harrison, who was simply staring at him.
Harrison: You signed on for this, Private. I…I know it won’t be easy. It never is, Jacob.
Harrison turned away, going back to sit on the cot. He didn’t say another word. It was all up to Jacob now.
Jacob, however, stood entranced in the window. For several moments he just stood there, before finally turning to look at Big Al. He looked at the ODST sitting there, in the chair, snoring. He was just doing his job, just working for whoever these people were.
He shook his head; he knew what had to be done.
Big Al chose to work for these people; he chose to work for enemies of the UNSC. And even if he didn’t choose, he is still living the lifestyle. He is still murdering his comrades in cold blood. Jacob rolled his shoulders and removed his combat knife from his forearm. Jacob approached Big Al, standing directly in front of him. He took a deep breath and then raised his knife upwards.
He shook his head.
Jacob: Fuck this training.
Jacob simply did it; he shoved the knife directly into Big Al’s throat. The ODST didn’t even have time to respond, as soon as the knife hit the back of his throat, he was dead.
Jacob backed away, removing the knife from Big Al’s throat. He shook his head. His knife and hand were completely covered in Al’s blood. But, he couldn’t think twice about it. Jacob turned around and immediately left the brig. He scraped his knife on his arm to get the blood off and then sheathed it. He had to head to the mainframe and destroy it. He had to stop whoever these people were from getting Harrison’s information and he had to send out a distress signal. The UNSC needed to be alerted as soon as possible.
Jacob headed straight back the way they had come from. He knew for a fact that they would start data-mining Harrison’s personal office as well as the bridge. The first thing he needed to do was get to Harrison’s office, if he did that, he could destroy his data and work his way towards the mainframe.
April 30th, 2523
Crash Site of the UNSC Ultimate Glory – Harrison’s Office – 1750
Jacob looked around, for the most part, he had evaded almost every single other ODST in the area. He was right on schedule and he was right outside of the door to Harrison’s office. Inside would be Harrison’s personal terminal and everything he had, every piece of data that the enemy wanted was inside this room.
Jacob raised his assault rifle and hit the keypad on the side of the door to open it. The door flew open and Jacob stepped inside as the door shut behind him. Inside were four enemy ODSTs. Two of them looked up at Jacob, who lowered his weapon immediately and walked inside. Jacob was heading straight towards the two ODSTs in front of him.
ODST: What do you want?
Jacob looked at the ODST and walked towards him.
Jacob: Boss thought you guys could use a hand.
The ODSTs laughed.
ODST: With that exactly?
Jacob shrugged. He noticed the ODSTs behind the terminal were scratching their heads; they were obviously having trouble with the terminal.
Jacob: Well, for starters, moving this process along. I can tell your boys don’t really know what they’re doing.
The ODSTs behind the terminal grunted and shrugged, both of them taking a seat on the chair and table. The other two ODSTs laughed and moved out of the way for Jacob. Jacob walked up to the terminal and in the most casual way he could, removed the PDA he had on him and attached it the terminal with a hard uplink.
The ODSTs weren’t paying attention to him. They simply let him do his thing.
ODST 2: You hear what Rowley wants us to do now?
ODST 3: Yeah, the attack on the armory, right?
Jacob turned his head ever so slightly, as he watched the download and data wipe commence.
ODST 2: Yeah, said if we could get our hands on the equipment and stock there, we’d have more than enough armament to take out the UEG’s headquarters.
ODST 3: That’d be pretty easy all things considered.
The ODST nodded.
ODST 2: Definitely. He’s got the security codes from that UNSC guy. I don’t think an all-out assault would work well, but he is the boss man.
Jacob sighed; he looked back at the terminal. These two ODSTs just confirmed the fact about the armory, wherever it was, they were about to take it down. Moments later, he looked up at the other two ODSTs were walking out of the room.
ODST: We’re going on patrol. You guys will be good right?
The ODSTs nodded, as did Jacob. The two ODSTs left the room, leaving Jacob and two others inside. Jacob continued to type away at the computer, rapidly moving through some files and other things of importance, trying to speed the PDA process up. It was around this time that Jacob had noticed the other two ODSTs had stopped talking. Jacob turned around to see them both staring at him, weapons in their laps.
The ODST on his left shrugged, while the one on his right spoke.
ODST: Just trying to figure out which platoon you’re with.
Jacob: The Ninth.
Jacob spoke bluntly. Immediately he realized that may have been a bad idea, considering the members of the Ninth platoon would know each other. What if these two ODSTs were part of Ninth? What if they were about to see—
ODST: Funny you say the Ninth. My buddy here is from the Ninth and he doesn’t recognize you one bit.
Jacob inhaled deeply. It was just as he thought. The two ODSTs stood upwards and began to approach Jacob.
ODST: I’m from the Ninth, too. The platoon leader actually and I don’t recognize you at all. Now…who exactly are you?
Jacob didn’t have any more time. Who knows where the rest of his team was, and who knew how much time he would have before the mainframe was broken into. He had to do it.
In a flash all of his training came back to him. In one fluent motion Jacob moved to the side of the ODST closest to the desk and grabbed his head, smashing it against the desk. Jacob removed his knife just as quickly as the second ODST turned to face him. He smashed the knife upwards, into the ODST’s jaw and subsequently his skull. The ODST dropped backwards as the knife slid out.
Jacob turned; the first ODST was lying against the table. Jacob shook his head.
In a flash he slammed the knife down into the ODSTs visor, killing him instantly and causing the knife to become imbedded in the desk underneath.
Jacob backed away slowly, he was covered in blood. He closed his eyes and shook his head. He had taken three lives in a matter of just an hour or two. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Exhale. Deep inhale through the nose.
Exhale through the mouth.
Jacob opened his eyes just as the terminal beeped. He couldn’t stay here. He dashed over to the terminal and made sure everything was wiped before removing the PDA from its slot. As he did the entire terminal off-lined itself. It was done; at least, Harrison’s personal data was gone. Jacob turned around and looked at the ODST on the ground. He fell to his knees in front of him and grabbed his tags. It was then that he saw a strap of grenades wrapped around his waist.
Jacob: These will come in handy.
Jacob grabbed the grenades and wrapped them around his waist. He stood upwards and turned around. Jacob darted around the desk and headed straight for the door. Jacob hit the keypad with his fist and immediately opened. He walked out, as casual as he could, and headed for the bridge. Jacob knew exactly where to go, he had studied the layout of the bridge deck before they even left Reach.
Left, 100 meters down, take a right. Up the staircase, turn le---
In front of him were at least six ODSTs, all moving towards him. If he turned around it would look too suspicious. Jacob’s only choice was to keep walking, he was so close.
He didn’t even realize that the ODSTs might notice the blood stained on his armor until he was only a few feet away. He clenched the assault rifle in his hand so tightly that he could hear his gloves stretch.
As Jacob began to walk by, one of the ODSTs began to yell.
ODST: Looks like this one got his kill!
The other ODSTs began to chant, and before Jacob even realized what was happening, he was high-fiving some of them. He nodded as much as he could, and high-fived or fist-bumped anyone that reached out to him. They all congratulated him on his “kill” and kept walking. Jacob did as well, he took a deep breath.
He was in. The bridge was right in front of him. He was right there.
That moment of joy was almost immediately smashed when he heard the ODSTs start to head downstairs. His heart skipped a beat, if they went to the office….
Jacob only had one word on his mind.
In just a few seconds, he went from a casual walk to an incredible run. His heart started racing, his body started pumping, his head started pounded. He needed to get to the bridge and wipe every single byte of data he could. It wasn’t until he was inside the bridge that he slowed his walk. Jacob didn’t even look around, he saw the terminal and he headed straight for it. There had to have been at least two dozen enemies in there, none of whom were paying attention to him.
Jacob took a deep breath as he approached the bridge’s main terminal. It was exactly where Harrison said it was; in front of the Captain’s chair was a huge terminal that stretched from one end of the bridge to the other. Jacob surmised the first, second, third officer, and so on, would be stationed on this terminal. That was the mainframe.
Jacob looked around and casually stuck the PDA into the first uplink he could find in front of the Captain’s chair. Immediately, the screen lit up and began to download and delete necessary files. The termination was beginning with at least two minutes left to go.
Jacob nodded and turned around; he began to walk around the bridge. Hopefully, the ODSTs who cheered him on before wouldn’t return any time soo—
ODST: Ninth Platoon leader’s dead!
Jacob’s eyes widened, he could feel his heart stop. The voice was coming from down the hallway. Jacob looked around, what could he do? Where could he go? Jacob could hear the footsteps getting closer, and he could see people stop working and look towards the hallway.
Jacob knew that these ODSTs would question him. It didn’t help that he had left his knife lodged inside one of the ODST’s throats.
Jacob shook his head, he had to move. Now.
Almost without realizing Jacob began to back away into the crowd that was no forming near the hallway. He moved slowly, stepping backwards as he approached the door to another hallway.
Thankfully, he told himself, all that studying of this level was about to pay off. As soon as Jacob was clear, he entered the door closest to him and was in an empty hallway.
Jacob could still hear the ODSTs in the other room as he stood there, wide-eyed.
ODST: What do you mean dead?
ODST: I mean there is a knife wound right above his neck stretching into his skull. Along with his second in command being impaled into a fucking table!
Jacob shrugged proudly; he had managed to kill both the Platoon leader and his second in command.
ODST: Who did that?
A few other conversations broke out; Jacob couldn’t hear a damn word. He started to back up again, into another hallway a few feet from the first door. Jacob checked his time, it had been three minutes. The PDA was surely done.
That was when he heard a very distinctive voice yell over the others.
???: Never mind the fact that they’re dead. Would someone care to explain why there is a PDA in the main bridge console?
Jacob inhaled deeply. He knew that voice, but he had to be sure. Slowly, he began to walk back to the door, assault rifle clenched tightly in his hands. He approached the door slowly as heard people began to chat in side conversations.
That’s when he saw him, standing there in front of the terminal, PDA in hand.
It was Lev Tolstoy.
His commander, his fellow soldier, his friend.
Lev: We have a mole in our ranks, soldiers. Weapons up. Visors dimmed. Fan out.
Lev looked at the PDA in his hand and strapped it to his belt. Jacob cursed softly, he needed that PDA. Jacob sighed and it was then he realized that Lev may have removed it prior to its completion of the wipe.
Lev: Shoot to kill orders are back on, gents.
Jacob watched Lev turn away and head down another hallway; most likely towards his office he was given. The bastard was still using the ship as a command center. Jacob shook his head. He only had one choice.
He looked to his belt and saw the grenades he had picked up earlier. Jacob was going to have to destroy this mainframe the old fashioned way. He took a deep breath as he watched the ODSTs fan out and began searching the immediate area.
He put his back to the wall and looked at the ceiling, breathing heavily.
Jacob thought to himself, he wondered if he was actually able to do all of this. He had taken three lives already, one on an order, and the other two because he had to. He could kill. Surely, he could do that. But was he ready for this?
He remembered what he had seen just a day earlier. The Ultimate Glory’s crash, the destruction of so much, the deaths of dozens, fallen comrades, captured officers, traitors. This was war, the war they never showed back home. This is what he signed on for. As an ODST this is what he would have to encounter every day. It was this, this war that was causing humanity to teeter. The insurrections moving from planet to planet, asteroid to asteroid, destroying things humanity tried so hard to gain.
Jacob thought about so much in what seemed like only a few seconds. His parents back on reach, his dad most likely about to start planting and his mom getting ready for the new season, selling the goods they had left at the market. His friends, Texas and Tiffany, wherever they were he hoped they were doing a bit better than he was. His home, his cozy little life back on Reach, farming and hunting. His brother, Dallas, God only knows where he was, but he still thought of him. He still remembered that he was an ODST, that he was fighting the same fight. Jacob took a deep breath. He was ready. It wasn’t because he had killed, or because he had thought of his parents, brother, friends, and home. It was because at this instant. The instant when he took the badge of the UNSC and was sent on board a star ship, when he finally left Reach…that he realized:
Jacob Sharpmen was born for the UNSC.
Jacob smiled and nodded his head. He exhaled slowly as he pulled the pin on the first grenade in the belt and tossed it into the middle of the room, directly in front of the bridge’s console.
There was a loud explosion as all three grenades went off, destroying the console and killing anyone within five feet of the blast. Jacob nodded, dimmed his visor, and flicked the safety of his rifle.
He broke from cover and scanned the room, it was smoky. He activated VISR mode and everything lit up instantly.
Three enemies on the left, four on the right, two moving in on the console, another two at the far end, and a final three near the door he needed to enter. Fourteen enemies. He had killed at least four in the blast.
Jacob didn’t begin to shoot, he took it as a more relaxed approach and acted just like anyone else would. He moved into the smoke, weapon raised, hoping no one would approach him.
Hoping no one would shoot him.
To his luck, no one did. He moved to the other end of the room and watched as everyone began to form up on each other. Jacob saw his chance as the three ODSTs near the door moved and formed up with each other. He took the chance and darted.
This caused him to become the target however, as the ODSTs on the far end of the room called him out and began firing.
ODST: He’s running! Shoot him! Shoot him!
Jacob ran low as fast as he could as he could hear the bullets fly by him. He got right up to the door and hit the keypad, the door flung open and he moved to the other side. Jacob didn’t waver, he took the butt of his rifle and slammed the keypad on the other side of the door, causing it to malfunction and close as bullets started to hit it.
Jacob took a deep breath. Not too bad, all things considered.
He turned around, rifle raised, and headed down the hallway.
Tolstoy’s office was the third one on the left. Why he could remember details like this, Jacob would never know. But he knew for a fact that Tolstoy had his desk facing the large window. He would stare out at the stars, a constant reminder of how little he actual was.
Those were often the talks Jacob had with Tolstoy. That humanity was so insignificant, no matter how far they had come. We were a speck of sand on a beach. Jacob didn’t believe that. Not for one second. They were the sandcastle on the beach, standing tall and strong against the adversary of the stars. He believed that. He fought for that.
Jacob turned into the doorway, his weapon raised. The office was empty, but Jacob could see the PDA sitting on Tolstoy’s desk. It was right there. Jacob walked inside and approached the desk. He went for the PDA, but as soon as he put his weapon down, he could hear the click of a magnum against his head.
Lev: Stand down, soldier.
Jacob didn’t move. He stood there, frozen. His old commander was now holding a gun to his head, with all intent to kill him.
Lev: Back away, slowly.
Jacob backed up. He didn’t want to take any chances.
Lev: Drop your rifle.
Jacob let the rifle drop to the ground next to him. He was disarmed, with only his magnum sitting in his side holster.
Jacob didn’t move. He could feel the gun press against his helmet.
Lev: I said turn!
Jacob knew what he had to do. The same takedown that Tolstoy taught him on the way over to Mars. Jacob turned around, sweeping his feet under Tolstoy’s. Tolstoy lost his balance, falling backwards; Jacob used his momentum to grab Tolstoy from falling and throwing him into the desk in front of him. Tolstoy hit the desk hard, he was out cold.
Jacob backed up. He had the chance to kill him, to end his traitorous existence.
But he couldn’t. He remembered what his father had said to him a few years ago.
“True courage is not the ability to take a life, Jacob. It’s the ability to know when to spare one.”
Jacob nodded. He could not kill Tolstoy, not now, and definitely not like this. He simply moved over his body and grabbed the PDA, sliding it into his bag.
Jacob grabbed his weapon and then turned around. Just as he was about to leave, he realized something. The fact that he just opened fire on this ship, secured by these insurrectionists, would cause everyone to go on alarm. They would search the entire ship.
They would move Harrison.
They would jam all communications.
Jacob shook his head.
Jacob darted out of the office. He had to find his team. He had to check on Harrison. He ran off and headed the opposite way he came from. He would have to double back to make sure he could get away safely. He knew he wouldn’t be able to get a distress signal out, not any more.
Jacob was focused on finding his friends and getting his Captain off this ship alive. He only hoped he could do it. For himself and for the future of this entire operation.
April 30th, 2523
The UNSC Lonely Apollo above Mars – Bridge – 1800
Commander Rowley was on board the bridge of the Lonely Apollo, he had given command to Tolstoy on the ground until the ODSTs were counted for and the invasion on the armory would begin. He would hope that Tolstoy would be able to handle it, with nine platoons under his command, he most certainly could.
Rowley was on the bridge, finishing up a conversation with one of his officers when the general alarm sounded.
Rowley: What is it?
One of his officers turned around.
Officer: The alarm has been sounded on the ground. Ninth platoon leader and second command are dead. The crew on the bridge is currently under fire from an unknown assailant.
Rowley: Goddamnit. Cease all communications on the ground. Reinforce their position with tenth and eleventh platoon. Get a squadron down to Harrison, I want him moved and taken to the Blade. I want that entire ship searched and secured immediately!
The officer nodded and turned around, everyone on the bridge was now scattering around to get the orders out. Rowley on the other hand stood still. The alarm was piercing his ears and he was angry that somebody, or a group of people, had gotten onto his bridge. His plans and the plans of his organization were being pushed backwards.
He would have to go to drastic measures to accomplish what his CO’s needed to be done. He would have to initiate the attack on Misriah armory as soon as the other platoons on the Maximus of Blade were ready to launch.
He would lead the attack personally; allowing Tolstoy the time to get the rest of the ODSTs in their hands, along with destroying the rest of the training grounds. It had to be done, in order for everything he worked for up until this day to be worth it. Rowley had no other choice but to speed up the operation.
Rowley: Send the word to the Blade, deploy all engineering teams to the training grounds, and destroy it. Now.
The officers stopped moving for a few moments, sending in the engineering teams without knowing what truly was down there was something unexpected from Rowley. Yet, they followed his command and sent the word out. Rowley hoped in that instant that he wasn’t making a mistake.
At least an hour had passed since the alarm was sounded. Rowley had moved to his office and had begun to prepare his officers for the invasion of the armory. The main objective was to kill all workers on site, acquire all weapons and equipment they could get onto the ship, and then destroy the entire armory. The operation would deal a major blow to the UNSC, the UEG, and the civilian populace’s morale; along with the equipment would bolster their entire output of weapons and equipment.
Rowley was explaining the infiltration part of the operation when one of his officers came through the door.
Rowley turned, as the officer saluted. Rowley nodded.
Rowley: What is it?
Officer: Our boys downstairs found eight naval officers, along with twelve ODSTs and marines.
Rowley smiled immediately.
Rowley: Bring them here.
The officer nodded.
Officer: They are en route now Commander.
Rowley nodded and dismissed the officer. The Naval officers were most likely part of Harrison’s bridge crew. The rest could either be new ODSTs or marines already stationed on Harrison’s ship. Either way, this was a big deal. They now had a large portion of Harrison’s crew, along with twenty-one, plus the new additions, ODSTs in training. Twenty plus candidates, Rowley only hoped that a few of them were the ones his Commanders wanted.
He returned his attention to the officers in his room.
Rowley: Like I said, the assault begins in two days. Tomorrow morning, Sergeant Octov and his squadron will infiltrate the armory with a delivery. Tomorrow night, at approximately 2100, Octov and his men will set explosives up throughout the entire armory. Three hours later at zero hundred, they will set off the explosives. Third and fourth platoon are coming in from the North gate, with First and Second on the West.
Rowley paused as the officers acknowledged the events.
Rowley: Five, Six, and Seven, will be placed at any possible exit. Orders are to kill anyone on sight.
Rowley paused once more and hit a few buttons on the holotable. An image of the armory came up with a several landing pads being highlighted.
Rowley: Eighth and Ninth are in charge of dismantling and moved weapons and equipment to the landing pads, our pilots will start pick-ups a half hour after the explosives go.
Rowley hit another button, lighting up a singular building.
Rowley: My squad and I are going here. Inside should be the armories CEO. Orders are to bring him back to one of the Chairmen for a little talk. He’ll remain on the Blade until further notice.
The officers all nodded. They understood the events and were ready to debrief their men.
Rowley: Return to the Blade, brief your men. Launch time is in twenty-one hours. Dismissed.
After a few minutes, Rowley was left in his office alone. He sat on the edge of his desk, smiling. The day had actually turned in his favor, all things considered. He was proud of that. Rowley knew he could count on Tolstoy to turn things around, regardless of that ODST who knocked him out. He chuckled at what Tolstoy said to him a half hour ago. He was so angry, swearing to himself that he would kill the ODST that knocked him out. Leaving him there, still alive. To think, that ODST didn’t even have the guts to kill him, he was quite ashamed.
Rowley shook his head, he refocused on the present, at the operation at hand.
He didn’t want to fail this mission.
He didn’t want to lose to the UNSC.
April 30th, 2523
The Ultimate Glory’s Crash Site – Unknown Location – 2045
Jacob had been moving through the Ultimate Glory for almost three hours. He had checked on Harrison, who had been moved by the time he got there. Big Al’s body was gone, too. At least they care for their dead. Once he was there, he double backed and made his way to the mess hall. He had to find his team, all seventeen of them that were still down here, grouped together. Vulnerable.
Jacob continued to listen as he walked though. Every now and then he would hear an explosion, or some gunfire. He was hoping that it was just to destroy the training grounds. He was hoping that whoever these people were they weren’t slaughtering his friends.
By the time Jacob reached their last known location, they were gone. Jacob had assumed this, but he would find them nonetheless. Next stop was the mess hall, and after that, anywhere inside this God forsaken crash site.
Jacob recognized the area they were in last. It was one of the many armories inside the Destroyer. Jacob looked around; he knew this one because he spent almost all his time on this one. The fourth and smallest armory on the ship, located three levels below the Mess hall. Jacob nodded, the crash site was in total disrepair past the sixth deck, but anything above that was intact.
Jacob left the armory and walked towards a staircase, to his luck, it was still in good condition and Jacob managed to get to the second deck in no time. He moved out of the staircase and towards the Mess hall. As Jacob turned into the mess hall, the first thing he noticed was the bodies. There were so many of them, piled on top of tables, on top of each other, buried beneath large objects. Jacob cringed, how many dead soldiers were in this place because they couldn’t get to the life pods in time?
Jacob came back to reality when he heard someone cough loudly. Jacob turned around, and lying against the wall a few feet away was Private Milod, one of the marines he had met earlier. Jacob immediately flung his assault rifle onto his back and ran to Milod’s side.
Jacob: Private, can you hear me?
Milod looked upwards at Jacob and smiled. Jacob grabbed his pack off his back and dug into it for the first aid.
Jacob: Hang in there man. I’m gonna help you.
Jacob looked up and grabbed a knife he had in his boot. He cut open Milod’s shirt and was surprised to see several bullet wounds, a lot more than he imagined. Milod lifted his hand and grabbed Jacob’s arm. Jacob felt the coldness of his hands and saw the amount of blood Milod was covered in.
Milod: They took them…to their frigate.
Jacob nodded, he grabbed Milod’s hand. They must have been attacked after they moved to the mess. Milod was the only one from the group still here, so the rest…The rest were on the frigate.
Milod: You ha—have to go. They ar—are looking for all of…you.
Jacob shook his head.
Jacob: I’m not going to leave you here.
Milod nodded, taking Jacob’s arm and moving it to the sidearm at Milod’s side.
Milod: No, you’re not, Private.
Jacob hands touched the gun. He looked at Milod, dimming his visor so he could his face. He shook his head, his expression overwhelmed with grief.
Milod: I’m not going to ma—make it, Private. Too mu—much blood. And you…you can’t…
Jacob: I can’t risk having you wounded out here.
Milod nodded, Jacob understood. He had to do it, he had to put Milod out of his misery and finally face the facts. It wasn’t training anymore. It was real life. People were going to die.
Milod: My name…name is Lawrence Milod. From Harvest. My parents live there.
Jacob nodded, he knew what Milod was asking. He smiled and grabbed the magnum.
Jacob: I’ll tell them…and I’ll do this clean.
Milod nodded, he smiled. Jacob grabbed the knife he had placed to the side. He looked at Milod, holding his cold hand in his left hand, as the cold steel reflected his face in his right hand. Jacob pressed the knife against Milod’s chest. Jacob saw Milod’s necklace, seeing the Cross dangling in front of him, he nodded.
Jacob: God speed, Lawrence.
Jacob pressed the blade into Lawrence’s chest in one fluent push. Lawrence took a deep breath and smiled. Moments later, he was dead.
Jacob removed the blade and cleaned it. He grabbed Milod’s tags and sat there for some time. So many people were dead, dying, captured, or out there lost. He was alone…again. Jacob had to do something. It had to be big and it had to be done quickly.
Jacob darkened his visor and stood upwards. He grabbed his assault rifle and looked around.
Alright…they want a war.
Jacob clicked the safety of his assault rifle and left the mess hall.
They’ll get a war.
That concludes Part 2. Part 3 is in the works and we have barely scratched the surface.
First post has been updated with length and any necessary information.
Any guesses, concerns, or otherwise advice?
Leave it in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Last edited by Hells Sniper; 10-22-2013 at 02:32 PM.