- UNSC Dusk Till Dawn -
- Slipspace -
- December 2555 -
"We've reviewed your team's mission recordings but we want you to take us through it, step by step,"
On board the frigate, ONI representatives debriefs the Spartans of Red Team individually, without armour. Jerome, Alice and Douglas are familiar with mission debriefings, but they feel very uncomfortable without their suits.
"We were assigned to infiltrate the facility where one of the Shield World's Life Support Pods was located and destroy it to prevent the Flood from spreading more quickly," Jerome explains.
Douglas's face is impassive as he recalls those moments of preparation.
"I volunteered to carry the explosives and detonation codes,"
Alice's eyes remain alert during her debriefing.
"We prepared for stealth as well as heavy engagement. The Covenant held the facility and were protecting it from the Flood. The plan was to infiltrate the structure while the two sides were distracted,"
Jerome takes a deep breath.
"After breaking away from the Master Chief's dropship, our bird flew towards the objective. The closest LZ to the main entrance was too hot, so we had to keep our distance and land a klick away. We minimized our contact with the Covenant but we had a few engagements with the Flood during our approach. When we arrived at the structure, we noticed the arrival of Sentinels who've come to sterilize any Flood host they could find,"
Douglas recalls something and adds,
"The local chatter indicated something was off. We didn't have any translation equipment but we've listened enough to tell when an Elite is angry and confused,"
"Once we snuck in the main entrance, we sealed the door behind us and left the Sangheili to protect it from the Flood. I placed a mine to cover our backs if they managed to break in,"
Alice vividly remembers the moments inside the facility.
"It wasn't long before we found Sangheili corpses with plasma wounds covering their bodies. This wouldn't have been surprising if there wasn't any sign of the Flood in the corridors. No green spatter on the surfaces or infected bodies. A few more minutes in and we figured out what happened when the atmosphere within the structure started to change. It was a mix of nitrogen and methane, perfect for Grunts to breath in,"
"Somehow, they grew the stones to betray their Elite masters and take over the facility. The Unggoy were going to make the Shield World habitable for them at the expense of everyone else,"
Jerome never takes his eyes off of the ONI officer as he tells the tale.
"The Grunts must have fallen back to the heart of the complex because we didn't encounter many of them when we breached the facility. The Flood, on the other hand, had started coming in via the ventilation systems. Our progress was slowed down when we were forced to contain the parasite before any infected bodies could reach the Life Support Pod."
"At the far end of one corridor, we saw a Combat Form being impaled through the chest by one of those new alien creatures. When it noticed our presence, it raised its head and hissed before it charged us. We opened fire and managed to slow it down before it retreated into a vent. We monitored its movements on our motion tracker as we proceeded further into the structure."
Alice shakes her head.
"We should have kept a closer eye on it. That was sloppy,"
"The mine went off at the main entrance, so we prepared for the worst and watched our backs,"
"We knew we were getting close to the heart of the facility when we found dozens of abandoned methane tanks lying on the flood. When we arrived at the door and took a peek inside, we saw more Grunts than expected waiting inside the large chamber and one of them threw a plasma grenade through the open doorway,"
"It landed on the floor and that's when I realized why the methane tanks were left out there. I told my team to engage their armour lock just before the grenade detonated and set off the tanks scattered around. The resulting detonation would have killed us,"
Jerome remembers the methane tanks exploding around himself and his team.
"Whoever was leading these Grunts was smart and we were faced with more than one problem. From what I glimpsed in the chamber, some of the Unggoy have positioned themselves on the Life Support Pod and we couldn't risk damaging or destroying it before resetting the atmosphere. We had hostiles approaching us from the main entrance and we were caught between them and a small army of desperate Grunts,"
"We couldn't find any other way into the atmosphere chamber and the Unggoy had set up a plasma cannon. They were firing whenever we opened the door. Before we could think of a solution, the alien returned and jumped me,"
Douglas recounts those brief moments when the creature had his team leader in check.
"It emerged from the vents and tackled Red-One to the floor. It grabbed his helmet and opened both of its mouths before I kicked it off. The alien swung its tail and swept my legs out from under me."
Alice shakes her head.
"I aimed my HMG at the hostile but it shoved Jerome back to the floor and hissed at me. It knew. It knew that if I shot it, its blood would melt through our team leader,"
"Luckily, Red-One delivered a hook to its face and threw it off of him. We opened fire as soon as Jerome was clear but we only got a few shots in before it retreated into the vents again."
"The Flood started catching up to us and Alice was forced to hold them at bay. Me and Red-One attempted to breach the atmosphere chamber but the Unggoy had too much firepower,"
"The Master Chief contacted us and requested a status update. I told him we were pushing through and we were going to,"
"I recommended Red-One throw a flashbang while I threw one of the packs of C-12 into the atmosphere chamber. The resulting detonation destroyed the plasma cannon and its gunner. The shock, noise and blindness confused and disoriented the other Grunts. This was our chance,"
"Alice covered our rear while me and Red-One entered the chamber. Jerome opened fire on the Grunts on the Life Support Pod while I fired my rocket launcher at groups of Unggoy,"
"We had to move quick, otherwise we would have been killed by fuel rods, Needlers and plasma grenades. These Grunts weren't turning tail and fleeing."
Alice tells her side.
"I succeeded in keeping the Flood at bay until two Tank forms entered the corridor. They covered their mouths with their armoured limbs and approached me while their infected brethren followed behind. I had to fall back into the atmosphere chamber when the Combat forms started leaping over the Pure forms to attack me,"
Jerome shares his perspective.
"When the Grunts realized the Flood had breached the chamber, they stopped firing at us and focused on the parasite, except for their leader. He was an Unggoy Ranger who leaped off the Life Support Pod and fired fuel rods at us as he was falling, Since he still had his methane tank, he was able to slow his fall before landing,"
"I had never met a Grunt that brave before. I almost didn't want to kill him but we had no choice. Douglas took him out with a quick burst to the head from his SMGs,"
Douglas shakes his head.
"We expected the remaining Grunts to panic; but instead, they armed plasma grenades in each hand and charged at us and the Flood. Alice had her back to them as she was still attempting to suppress the parasite, which left me and Red-One to take them out before they detonated near her, but he ordered me to get on the Life Support Pod, neutralize the last of the Grunts and reset the atmosphere,"
Alice thoroughly enjoyed those moments when things were at their most perilous.
"I had to reach for my Magnum and fire my chain gun one handed when the Combat Forms got too close. I shot several in the chest and sprayed the Infection Forms with heavy rounds, but the Tank Forms were closing in on me. I could almost feel the explosions behind me as Red-One took out the kamikaze Unggoy before they reached me,"
Douglas recounts how he reset the atmosphere setting.
"The controls were simple enough, but it would take time for the air to change. I grabbed my rocket launcher and fired on the Tank Forms from my elevated position,"
"There were many close calls with those suicidal Grunts. The explosions from their grenades lowered our shields and the Combat Forms fired at us with stolen Covenant weaponry. There was no cover to hide behind so I had to stay on the move,"
"Douglas's rockets took down one of the Tank forms and I finally hit the other one with enough bullets to terminate it. The rest of the Flood were relentless and I could see Stalker Forms entering the room and climbing onto the walls to transform into Ranged forms,"
"Charging my Spartan Laser took precious time but I was able to take out five of the Ranged Forms before my weapon lost power,"
"Even without the Tank Forms to cover them, the Flood kept pouring in from the entrance. Luckily, Red-One picked up the plasma cannon and assisted me in suppressing their numbers,"
"My motion sensor registered a hostile behind us, then I heard Douglas and the sound of his armour hitting the floor. After smashing a Combat Form by swinging the cannon in my hands, I looked over my shoulder and saw that Alien dragging Douglas towards a vent in the wall,"
"That creature tackled me off the Life Support Pod and the impact from hitting the ground dropped my shield into the red. The Alien tried pulling me into the vent but I was able to get a grip on the opening and prevented myself from being dragged in. When it realized this, the Alien grabbed my helmet and opened both of its mouths but I activated a flash bang. I barely escaped during the confusion and threw a live grenade in the vent behind me. I didn't stop to find out if the explosion killed it or not,"
"Before that creature knocked me off, I planted a pack of C-12 on the Life Support Pod. When I saw several Combat Forms leap over Jerome and Alice to climb up the pod, I made the call to detonate the pack and destroy the device,"
"When the Flood realized their mission was a failure, resistance became lighter. The hostiles inside the base were still attacking us but the facility was no longer a priority for them. The enemy outside the base moved on to other targets,"
"It cost most of our ammunition but we were able to force our way out and call for an extraction,"
Her words are an understatement as the Flood inside the facility were relentless.
- - -
When the Spartans of Team Black were cleared to leave the ship's hangar bay, they were brought to the medical deck and haven't left since.
Their damaged armour was removed and brought to engineering to repair what they could and salvage anything useful from the components that couldn't be fixed.
ONI debriefed them but the Spartans were in no fit state to talk. Their mission recordings revealed more than words could tell.
Black-One stays low and slowly makes her way through the bushes towards her objective.
"Team Black, are you in position?" she hears the Master Chief over her radio.
"Affirmative. Ready to engage," she replies.
"Proceed at your own discretion. Black-Three? No overkill unless you encounter the Flood,"
"Got it, Master Chief," he replies in a disappointed voice.
Through the scope of his sniper rifle, Black-Four lays on his stomach and observes the Covenant camp from his hilltop vantage point.
The Covies have set up shop around and within two Forerunner structures near each other. They've finished unloading weapons and supplies and are starting to set up defences.
Type-30 Light Excavation/Anti-Fortification Platforms, aka Locusts, remain immobile on their four legs until the Covenant have finished fortifying.
"Four, anything new?" Black-One asks over the radio.
"Nothing unusual on my end, Chief. Two, what have you got?" Four replies.
Black-Two leans against a wall between two crates while a Grunt shuffles nearby.
"Everything here seems standard. As far as I know, they haven't received any new orders," she says.
"What about the radar jammers?" Three asks.
"I haven't located them yet,"
"Then it's eyes and ears only," One says as she takes a grenade from her UA/Multi-Threat chest piece. "Three, you in position?"
Black-Three finishes placing a tripwire between two grenades attached to two methane tanks. Surrounding him are dozens of sleeping Unggoy with tripwires and explosives tied to them.
"Just finishing up here, Chief. Give me ten seconds and we'll be good to go," he says as he carefully steps over the wires and moves out of the blast radius.
"Four, you've got us covered, correct?" One asks.
"Affirmative, Chief," he replies while tracking a patrolling Elite with the crosshairs aimed directly at his head.
"Is it party time?" Three asks eagerly as he gets in position with his SAW in his hands.
"Don't trust your motion trackers and check your corners. Team Black, move out!" One orders as she tosses her grenade.
It arcs out of the bush she's hiding in and it lands between the hooves of a Sangheili Major. He looks down and starts to shout before the explosion lowers his shield. Still behind cover, Black-One fires her Battle Rifle and puts three holes through his helmet.
The Grunts awaken and jump to their feet, unwittingly pulling the pins out of the grenades tied to them. Black-Three laughs as soon as he starts hearing explosions then he opens fire with his SAW as soon as Covies come to investigate.
"Come one, come all to your deaths, ladies and uglies! I'm the great magician Black-Three and I will saw each and every one of you assholes in half!" he yells.
"The Master Chief said no overkill," Black-Four says before putting a sabot round through the visor of an Elite Ranger's helmet.
An Elite Minor and his Grunt assistant make their way through the storage area inside one of the structures when a flash bang detonates near them. Blinded by the light and deafened by sound, the Sangheili shoots his Plasma Rifle in every direction. His shield starts taking hits from an automatic weapon but he can't tell where it's coming from. When his shield is low enough, a knife is plunged into his neck and pulled out, spilling his noble blood onto the floor of the sacred temple.
Black-Two takes her pistol and shoots the Grunt in the head, then covers Black-Three as they make their way further into the building.
They find a Sangheili Officer named Lor 'Tyon standing in front of a Comm Node. Lor takes his Plasma Rifle in hand, spins around and fires bolts of superheated plasma at the two demons. They easily dodge his rounds and open fire on the Elite. The Assault Rifle and SAW make short work of his shield and bullets penetrate armour, flesh and organs before the Sangheili collapses with a pained smile on his face.
They check their corners before Black-Two approaches the Comm Node and uses her upgraded Interrogator to translate the recent communications on the screen.
"I've got this. Go!" she tells Three. He reloads his SAW before stepping out of the room.
It takes a few more minutes for the Spartans to clear up the rest of the camp. Black-Four observes the dead through his scope and reports to his team whenever he sees a body showing signs of life. One and Three are then more than happy to put them out of their misery with a few bullets or a swift plunge of their knives.
"Black-Two, anything to report?" One asks as she approaches the Locusts.
"There's a lot of correspondence between a General Sasu 'Etyom and an Officer Lor 'Tyon. So far, I'm not getting much of anything other than the reports we intercepted during recon. Prepare, fortify and stay vigilant,"
"Nothing on what they're looking for?" Three asks before he steps on a broken Plasma Pistol. He looks down curiously at the weapon before he moves on.
"Negative, except the General is offering words of encouragement and praise to this Lor 'Tyon,"
Black-One examines one of the Locusts.
"Three, get over here," she orders as she takes a close look at the plasma cannon.
He double times it across the camp until he's by her side.
"What is it, Chief?"
"Take a look at this vehicle and you tell me if there's something odd about it,"
"You mean anymore than the fact that it's a Covie piece of shit?"
"Yes, now get over here,"
Three shrugs and ducks under one of its four legs.
"You know, I always thought Two and Four were the inquisitive ones of the team," he says.
"We're here to gather information. You're the heavy weapons expert. You tell me if there's something wrong with this Locust,"
He examines the underside of the vehicle.
"It looks like someone removed the cooling system and firing mechanism. What the hell? That would make the machine useless," he says.
"Check the others," she orders and raises her Assault Rifle.
Three makes his way over to one of the other Locusts while One sweeps the area.
"Four, can you see anything?" One asks over the radio.
"Nothing but blood and bodies,"
"Two, status report," she orders as she approaches a weapons crate.
"Almost finished here. I still can't find anything useful and the last message had only one word: Nishum, which translates as either intestinal parasite or worm,"
One picks up a Needler but none of the pink shards are sticking out of the back of the weapon. She drops it and takes a Plasma Pistol, only to find out its battery is completely depleted.
"No ammo?" she muses. "Why would they fortify a camp site with sabotaged equipment and useless weaponry?"
Inside one of the structures, Black-Two catches a glimpse of movement beside the Comm Node and sees a short, transparent figure moving back.
"Evil human," comes the unmistakable voice of a Grunt.
A fuel rod detonates on Black-Two and throws her across the floor. She grabs her pistol and fires in the direction of the cloaked Unggoy. The bullets pierce the Grunt's arm and methane tank. The active camo deactivates and Two succeeds in shooting it in the head. As the Unggoy falls, its fuel rod gun flashes briefly before it explodes.
Luckily, Two is out of range of the blast but her shield has been depleted. Lying on her back, she hears a sound and looks to her right to catch a glimpse of an energy sword floating in the air next to her.
One and Three hear the sound of the fuel rod and they raise their weapons as they start towards the Forerunner structure.
"Two, come in!" One shouts over the radio.
A red light flashes over their HUD display. Suddenly fuel rods are being fired on them from all directions. They activate their Armor Lock and crouch down as the green explosives detonate on their temporary invincible shields.
Black-Four remains calm as he observes the scene through his scope. Whenever he sees an energy sword activate, he uses past experience to determine where the transparent Elite's head will be and fires a sabot round through it.
He pauses when he hears an explosion behind him. He switches to his Battle Rifle, stands up and turns around to face the pair of Sangheili who set off his trip mine. Without their shields and active camo, Four puts three bullets into the head of one Elite but the other dives and rolls towards the Spartan with sword in hand. Four jumps off the hilltop before the Sangheili could bisect him with his blade.
"This was a fucking setup!" Black-Three yells as he attempts to evade the barrage of fuel rods. He fires his SAW in a sweeping motion and succeeds in hitting several camouflaged Grunts.
Black-One scores three head shots with her Battle Rifle while she contacts her squad.
"Team Black, regroup and call for extraction!" she orders before she realizes the radio is full of static. She swears when she realizes their comms are being jammed as well.
The sight of a shimmering figure next to her is the only warning One gets before she moves to the side when an energy sword appears above her and slices downward. The blade cuts through her shield and burns through the side of her helmet before she grabs the invisible arm holding the weapon. She breaks the wrist and forces the Elite to drop the sword before she kicks him in the chest as she releases the arm. The Sangheili roars before Black-Three fires one of his Magnums and puts a bullet through his head.
One reaches down and tries to pick up the energy sword but the weapon deactivates as soon as the Elite's body hits the ground. She suddenly recalls the old failsafe some of the Sangheili used to keep their enemies from using their sacred blades.
Three's SAW lies on the ground with its ammo completely spent. He holds his two pistols and fires almost blindly at the invisible forces surrounding them while he stays on the move. One fires her Assault Rifle at two floating energy swords before she grabs a grenade from her chest piece. She drops it in front of her as the Elites quickly close in before she engages her Armor Lock again. The small charge in her equipment is enough to withstand the blast and remove the rest of the Elites' shields.
Once she's free from the lock, she rolls to the side to evade her enemy's uppercut before she grabs her combat knife and slices through the tendon at the back of the Elite's left hoof. She hears a pained roar, then she moves toward the other Sangheili but the warrior swings his blade and melts through her knife. She uses the opening to tackle her adversary to the ground. With no time to reach for her weapons, she instead grabs the Elite's four mandibles and rips them off. One jumps and rolls off before her enemy's wounded comrade can retaliate.
With their injuries slowing them down, the Spartan reaches for her Battle Rifle and finishes them off with two bursts to the head. She ejects her spent clip and reaches down for another magazine, only to realize she's out of ammo for her BR. A fuel rod explosion to her back throws her on top of a dead Elite. She grabs the corpse, lifts it up and turns it to face her attacker. The meat shield takes the next fuel rod for her and blows into pieces.
Running low on ammo for his Magnums, Black-Three spots a pair of fuel rod guns on a weapons crate and he dashes towards them. He grabs one of the guns and pulls it out, but then it starts flashing before detonating violently. The blast throws him onto the ground with his shield depleted and burns covering his armour.
With his ears ringing and his vision obscured by the green explosion, he fails to notice the Elite towering over him. The Sangheili warrior raises his energy sword as his prey shifts his position on the dirt and the Elite stabs the Spartan through the chest.
Three grabs his pistols and fires blindly at the cloaked figure above him until the active camo deactivates and a bullet penetrates the gums at the top of the Elite's mouth. The sword deactivates upon the warrior's death and Three discards the useless weapon while clutching his chest. He thanks God the Elite missed his heart and spine.
Black-One's armour is covered in Sangheili blood. She wipes some of it off of her visor before she grabs her Assault Rifle, crouches and fires bursts in the general direction of where her attacker was. She receives a kick to the damaged portion of her helmet and loses consciousness. A camouflaged Elite attaches his fuel rod gun to his back and takes his energy sword in hand.
The Sangheili contemplates whether to end the demon's life swiftly with a stab through its single heart, or sever the warrior's head from its shoulders and keep it as a trophy? Perhaps both. As much as he loathes humans, he is a warrior and he shall grant the demon the respect it deserves.
Bullets narrowly miss him before others bounce off of his shield and he turns his head in the direction of Black-Three. The Spartan empties his Magnums in a vain attempt to protect his leader. Then more bullets arrive from one of the Forerunner structures. Black-Two and Four have emerged and they're firing at him. Four switches to his sniper rifle and fires through the Elite's fuel rod gun. The Sangheili feels a moment of fear when he sees the flashing light behind him before the weapon detonates and ends his life.
Two and Four regroup with the rest of their team, despite numerous injuries and severe burns covering their armour. One quickly regains consciousness, shakes her head and lifts herself up in a crouched position.
"Fireteam Black, status report," she asks.
"We almost got our asses handed to us," Three says as he limps over while clutching his chest.
Two drops to her knees, removes her helmet and coughs up blood, then she puts her helmet back on and helps One up.
"This place is worthless," Two says. "One of the Elites said they knew we would come,"
Three looks behind him at the Locusts and all the equipment lying around.
"Fucking hingeheads," he says.
Four passes additional Battle Rifle ammo to One and she quickly reloads. Two starts to open up the medkit attached to her thigh but One shakes her head.
"Not here. We need to get back to the extraction point and call for evac,"
Three looks around and asks, "Are there any weapons we can use?"
Two looks down at a Needler on the ground that has been cut in half. All the other weapons lying around are sabotaged as well.
"They didn't attack us right away. They made sure there was nothing we could salvage," she says.
One hangs her head and says, "I checked a weapons crate earlier. None of the weapons had any ammo and their batteries were empty,"
Three grunts and says, "Those assholes who attacked us used fuel rod guns and energy swords. Both weapons were known to have failsafes. They wanted us to run out of ammo. We can't even use the Locusts,"
One places a navigation mark on their HUDs. "Let's move out. We have to get out of range of the jammers before we can call the Pelican,"
As Team Black starts to leave, Two notices something moving into view from around the structure. Her visor zooms in 5x and she sees three bulbous creatures on stubby legs making their way to the nearest corpse.
"Chief, recommend we triple time it, now!" she says.
One, Three and Four hear the detonations of Carrier Forms and they look behind them to see the battlefield flooded with Infection Forms.
"Agreed. Move it, Spartans!" One yells.
Team Black does its best to cover their tracks as they know the Flood will inevitably be in pursuit. When they arrive at the extraction point, the Spartans make sure it's secure before they radio the Pelican.
"Charlie-97, we need immediate dust-off,"
"Affirmative, Team Black," the pilot replies. "How was the party?"
"It sucked," Three answers.
"Really?" She sounds surprised. "Now I'm happy I missed it. ETA is two minutes. Charlie-97, out."
Two checks on Three's chest wounds but he waves her off.
"Relax. Biofoam patched me up,"
Four looks through the scope of his sniper rifle and studies the route they took to get to the ETA. He checks the hilltop in the distance for signs of pursuit from the Flood.
"No signs of enemy activity, Chief," he reports.
Two signs when she realizes something. When the others look at her, she tells them,
"If the Flood infect the bodies of those stealth Elites, they'll use their active camouflage against us,"
Four immediately returns his attention to his scope and searches for shimmers in the air.
The sound of Pelican engines gets closer as the dropship approaches. Two raises her pistol to the sky when another possibility hits her. Soon enough, her instincts prove true when a Phantom deactivates its active camo and fires explosive rounds and plasma bolts on the approaching Pelican.
The human dropship sustains critical damage and the starboard thruster takes several hits from the heavy plasma cannon. The thruster catches fire and loses power.
"Mayday! Enemy contact appeared out of nowhere! Fuck, my bird can't take this shit! She can't stay in the air!"
The Pelican veers off course and slowly descends over a hilltop a mile and a half away.
Black-Two aims her pistol at one of the Phantom's gunners and fires. The bullet rips through the Grunt's skull and emerges on the other side, spraying his bright blue blood everywhere like an explosion of confetti.
The bay doors open up and invisible forces leap out and descend through the gravity lift. Energy swords seemingly activate in midair.
Black-One takes a grenade from her chest piece and throws it at the estimated landing area for some of the hostiles. The resulting explosion reveals four Elites and kills a Grunt. The Sangheili leap and roll out of the way before the Unggoy's fuel rod gun detonates.
One of the Elites quickly returns to his hooves before his head is severed from his neck. Purple blood lands on a shimmering figure that growls at both Covenant and UNSC forces.
The Spartans use up their remaining ammo before making a break for it as the invisible Flood forces attack. The ones that are visible soon join their brethren and leap into the fray. The Unggoy and Sangheili turn their attention to the parasite. The Elites slash through visible Combat Forms before their swords reveal their locations to the camouflaged hostiles and are quickly overwhelmed. The Grunts fire fuel rods and obliterate several Elite Combat Forms but they lose their nerve when they see former Unggoy leaping over their projectiles and slashing them with whip-like tentacles.
The Phantom fires down at the Flood before the agile creatures leap all the way up to the bay doors. They climb inside and slaughter the remaining gunner. The pilot realizes the threat the Flood could pose if they possessed a dropship with active camouflage. The brave Elite arms a plasma grenade in his hand and roars in defiance as his mutated brothers enter the cockpit.
An explosion later and the Phantom falls out of the sky.
The Master Chief suddenly contacts them.
"Team Black, report,"
"Not a good time, Master Chief!" One replies. "Our bird is down, we're out of ammo and we've got a mob of freaks chasing after us!"
They can hear the howls of the Flood not far behind them. The Combat Forms are able to keep up with MJOLNIR and Spartan-enhanced speed. Despite their injuries, Team Black pushes themselves and run as fast as they can to the Pelican crash site.
"Once we reach the Pelican, we secure it as fast as we can and unload every weapon on board against the Flood," One orders.
"Chief, I have an alternate proposal," Four says.
"We grab what we can and destroy the rest. If we leave weapons and ammo lying around, the Flood can use them and overwhelm us. From what I can see, the Pelican is not in a defendable location,"
None of the other Spartans want to agree with him, but when they see the crashed Pelican in the middle of an open field, they realize that Four is right. They reach the smoking wreckage and open up the weapons locker. Two goes into the cockpit and checks on the pilots, only to find them both missing and the windshield has been broken through from the outside. She lifts her foot up and finds a small puddle of drool on the floor.
"Two! Get back here and reload!" One orders.
Three grabs an Assault Rifle and a handful of clips for it and for his Magnums. Then he piles grenades over the weapons cache. Four trades his sniper rifle for a shotgun, then picks up a single box of cartridges.
As soon as Four sees another shotgun rising into the air, he fires immediately and blows an Elite Combat Form into visibility. The body slumps against one of the dropship's seats and drops its weapon.
"Team Black, move out!" One orders.
She takes the last grenade from her chest piece and drops it among the pile of weapons. The Spartans dash from the Pelican crash site seconds before it explodes, taking out weapons and any Combat Forms caught in the blast.
From that point, their mission recordings detail their efforts to stay ahead of the Flood, with several close encounters that nearly cost them their lives.
Fortunately, Falcons manage to catch up with them and pick them up shortly before the Shield World was sealed off for good.
- - -
On board Samus's gunship.
The bounty hunter listens to the holographic form of Iona recount her story of what happened in the Forerunner network.
As soon as she's finished, Samus processes what she's learned before contacting the Dusk Till Dawn.
"As soon as we're out of Slipspace, I'm coming aboard. I'm ready for the debriefing,"