(This is the novelization of the HALO:Reach Deliver Hope Trailer.)
1550 Hours April 22th, 2552 (Military Calendar) Luyten 726-8 System, Luyten Colony, Old Willem City
Carter-259 took cover behind a jagged piece of concrete as plasma splashed harmless into the material. He cursed at having Elite out there with good aim, and for listening to Kat.
That always got him into trouble.
“Jorge!” Carter yelled into his helmet com-unit.
“Sir?” Over the line, the commander of NOBLE team could pick up the chatter of his M274H MG.
He pulled out a stolen plasma grenade and primed it for a toss. “Give me some suppressive fire on the Red Elite on my 2 o’clock!”
“On it, Sir.”
The Elite dove behind the broken walls of a store front, kicking up some dust. Carter locked in the Elite’s location, and expertly flung the hissing blue orb into the chocking grey skies of Luyten colony.
Behind the commander, a soldier whistled “With an arm like that, SPARTAN, you could have been a pitcher on the London Kings!” Carter ignored him, instead turning his eyes to the Elite popping up from cover with a plasma grenade sizzling away on his shoulder.
“Boom…”He whispered as the blue explosion of hydrogen burned the giant alien. With the leader gone, the Jackals and Grunts scattered.
“Their bugging out! Cut’em down!” Carter dictated to the muling mass of UNSC marines and soldiers. Within a few minutes, the helpless alien legion was rattled with 7.62mm, clearing the way deeper into Old Willem City.
“Noble Actual to Noble One, SITREP, over.”
“We are three blocks for RV point, clearing our up through the ruins, sir.”
“Is the baby still sleeping, Noble One?”
Kat walked up and showed him the blank display of the ‘baby’ to the Commander. “Noble Actual, the ‘baby’ is sleep.”
“Orbital sats report the CCS is at the RV point in Unification city square, ONI estimates 7 minutes until they start putting down reinforcements directly into the city, Noble One.”
“Hard copy, Noble Actual,” He gestured to Kat, and she moved the team and soldiers up through the rumble littered streets of the second biggest city on the Luyten colony. “Don’t worry Noble Actual, we’ll get the baby to the sitter just on time for the party, sir.”
“I have no doubt, Noble One. Actual out.”
“We push them out of the highlands, and then they roll up with that thing to outflank us.” Kat complained in her thick accent to her CO. “They are sore losers.”
“The Covies fight dirty, Kat.”
“Not like I do, Commander.” The death-head wearing Emile spoke as he rushed by them.
“Emile, you’ll be Kat’s close protection detail when we get to the square,” he pointed to the overly aggressive SPARTAN-III. “You’re to get her there, no mistakes, Noble Four.”
“Thom,” Carter was flanked by another SPARTAN-III in grey/black MJOLNIR Mark V powered armor.
“Still got the jetpack in green status?”
“I always keep my shit clean, sir, you know that.”
“Good.” He smacked his armored back. “You’re the backup if the original plan goes FUBAR.”
“Understood, Commander.” Thom ran to backup Kat and Emile. That was the behavior that Carter-259 tried to foster in all of his SPARTANs, teamwork. Most SPARTANs, in Carter’s experience were lone wolves, barely able to work with their own kind, let alone normal soldiers. Like most SPARTAN-III’s, Carter had been on those meat grinder missions where 90% causality were acceptable, he wanted that to change with NOBLE. When Holland was allowed to form a rapid response black-ops team with SPARTAN-IIIs, Carter was rescued from those kinds of missions. The commander of NOBLE wanted his team to act more like what he had seen in the ODSTs and Marines, depended on one another.
That is where Thom came in. He was the backbone of the team; he was the rock that the others could depend on to back them up, provide covering fire, and pull them out when it got too thick. The last thing Carter needed was yet another voice of discontent that would argue with the plan, which is why he snapped up Thom from the jaws of Beta-5.
A group of UH-144 whirled over the heads of the ground element, brass from their door mount machine guns fell all around the team and fresh dust plumed around the fractured city.
“Noble One,” the com came to life, and SPARTAN-259 checks the sender ID tag, it was the marine FORCE-RECON element that had dropped from the doomed Halcyon-class cruiser Arcadia of my Youth.
“Go ahead Bulldog-Seven.”
“We’re high ‘n’ tight over the RV, the CCS Unquenchable Piety is deploying Banshees, and we are moving the Falcon’s in to take the heat off.” Noble Team heard the com-chat, and Carter could feel their anxiety. SPARTANs do not like to wait.
Carter twisted his mouth behind his helmet, “that means they will be deploying troops.”
“And soon, Spartan.”
“What is your status, Bulldog-Seven?” Kat asked over the open team com-channel. A-259 knew what she was doing…hatching a plan.
“We have eight marines that stand ready, Noble.”
Jun, Noble team resident sniper piped in, “and the situation on the ground, marine?”
“Small beachhead force of some Elites and their minions, with a shade cannon near where their ship will set up its transport beam.”
Kat shipped a text message with her strategy on it, Carter reviewed it, made a few changes and un-muted the active line with the RECON team. “Position your sharpshooters to cover the assault on the square, send your shooters on the left flank to drive the enemy towards us, we’ll herd them in, while the package is delivered.”
“Roger that, Noble One, we’ll be laying in wait.”
“Jun,” he looked over to the Noble team’s resident sniper, “find a perch, and help us out.”
He winked his green status that blinked at Carter, and rushed off in the ruins, while Noble team took to their assault position.
“Jun, what’s the field ahead like?”
“The enemy as a nice little setup, stationary shield generators, and they’re building an anti-gravity tower, and some Shades.” His claim voice made it seem like he was describing a printing rather than the alien that had been wiping humanity out.
“And their numbers?”
“About four Elites and the rest are a mix of grunts and jackals.”
“Emile, hit the formation with your M319.”
“I’ll give’em little taste of some 40 mike-mike.”
“Noble, this is Bulldog Three, I got about four Jackhammer missiles, I help you soften them up, Spartan.”
“When Emile starts put the grenades down range, we’ll hit them on the right flank, and Bulldog hits the right. Got it?” Five status blinked green and Bulldog confirmed with a tap-tap on the SPARTAN’s headset.
“Let’s go Noble.”
The Covenant position was saturated with withering incoming fire. Rolling fireballs and impacts of bullets cut through the alien position. Secondary explosions were detonated; spinning grunts up into the air, as Noble and the Bulldog Recon Marines stormed the shattered remains of the city square.
Sensing the moment of being completely routed, the aliens came from cover and attempted a bold frontal assault. Despite, their VISR, the chocking black smoke for fire lit by the thermal wash from the plasma barrage, darkened the square. Marines and SPARTANs poured into the fury with Covenant rushing to meet them.
Kat-320 armed her Misriah Armory constructed medium fusion destructive device, carrying it like a football down the field of battle. The LED red timer started clicking down, and she single-handedly pressed the attack towards the gravity-lift.
Running through the chaos of the combat zone, she pumped out 12.7mm rounds from her M6G pistol, trying to ignore the buzzing Banshee over head. Some of the marines that she ran past fired their rifles at the swooping alien aircraft. Falcons also tried to keep the alien fighters at bay while the female SPARTAN reached her objective.
Behind them, Jorge laid down a thick metal blanket of 7.62mm from his machine gun, while the mix of army and marines rushed in leapfrog pattern, spraying the Covenant that popped up. The grunts were pushed at the barking of their Elite masters, right into the lines of fire from the soldiers.
Then an Elite Ultra jumped on a piece of building, Kat swung her pistol towards the imposing figure, she did her protects. A single shot rang out, bursting the Sangheili warrior’s head into a blueberry hued mess.
She and her package was safe for the moment.
The Banshee made a tight loop back to the group of SPARTANs, firing off a green bolt of fuel rod energy, impacting directly next to Kat, launching her into a cartwheel. Thom was thrown back, while Emile was tossed into the remains of a building.
Pain filled Kat-239’s entire body, expect for her right arm, and that had her worried. The only thought that pushed through the screaming was the micro-nuclear device clicking down to Armageddon. She could not call for help, or even see out of her helmet, everything was cracked and she tasted blood.
Thom jumped to his feet, he let loose several rounds out of his DMR to cover his downed teammates. Once he was over Kat, he witnessed the situation.
Two minutes until detonation flashed on the tiny screen, Kat turned her head to the bomb as a signal to the SPARTAN above her. Thom-293 understood and scooped up the device. Relief hit Kat, as Thom activated his jetpack. It was unfair, this was her mission, she had planned it, and forcible convicted Holland and Carter to take the mission.
Now, she was broken…lying on the charred ground, while the battlecruiser hovered over the city, mocking her attempt to swat it out of the sky.
Would she pass out, or would the nuclear explosion end her life?
No, she thought, Thom was the backbone, the one you could count on. He would get it done.
As the lone SPARTAN-III rocketed up to the organic warship looming above, she knew the mission would be completed…she thought as the waves of pain overtook her.
Pressing the jetpack to its upper limits, Thom bolting from the fighting on the surface to the imposing looming figure of the alien warship, the light from the gravity lift pointed his way.
He entered the craft with little effort, and used the remaining fuel to make best speed towards the heart of the Covenant landing force. The great speed at which he was traveling, allowed him to easily run pass any threat.
18 seconds clicked off.
Thom stood on a balcony over the loading bay in the belly of the beast. There before him was an Covenant army of thousands coupled with all the familiar war-machines. With only ten seconds left on the nuke, he looked at fuel level of his jet pack.
The red light was on, Thom would not have enough to power down to the surface.
It was clear what he had to do.
One second was left on the counter; Thom tossed the nuclear device directly into the very heart of the CCS-battlecrusier’s landing bay. He had just one second to use gravity, dropping out of the shielding layer before the explosion overtook him. If he was outside of the CCS’s energy shielding Thom thought of the math as his feet rushed him to escape.
One SPARTAN for thousands of Covenant….
Just as he jumped into the skies of Luyten, blinding white light engulfed him.
Over the smoking funeral pile that was Old Willem City, a new temporary violent sunrise powered by 16 kilotons of explosive power.
“Thom…”Kat’s weakened voice was clear over the com, as Carter’s visor cut on a protection mode to shield his eyes from the nuclear blast.
“The ones who come out on top are the ones who have been trained in the hardest school” Jorge said while bowing his head, and Jun emerged from his position.
“He’ll be remembered.” For a moment, the team of Übermensch remained quiet, with the sounds of distant combat echoing over the ruins.
“C’mon, Noble,” Carter motioned to Kat, “We got one down and one missing.”
There in the moment of victory over the dirty skies of Luyten, Noble team gathered up their wounded member, and mourned the other missing from their ranks forever.