Hey everyone. I'm currently invested in an intense job hunt which means I've had a surplus of free time on my hands recently. So, for poops and giggles, I decided to spend it trying my hand at a fanfic. I wasn't normally planning on showing anyone since it's a just-for-fun thing but I figured if anyone could give me some solid feedback on a Halo fanfic it would be Bnet. Feel free to criticize away. The story is called "Ghost Town" (not intended to be a reference to the H3 map) and this is my first pass at part 1. Hopefully you enjoy at least a little bit of it. Also, bonus points to anyone who catches the firefly reference. Part 1: Gunnery Sergeant Luke Evans stared down into his muddy cup of coffee trying to focus on anything but how fatigued his limbs felt. When he had first signed up for the corps he assumed that cryo sleep would be akin to a nap from heaven. As soon as he began his cryo training, though, all his preconceived notions had dissolved, leaving only the bitter truth - Cryo sleep was not something to be enjoyed. He always woke up feeling 10 times worse than he had gone in and was always welcomed back by a continuous stream of hacks, gags, and coughs. He hated it. It'd been about 30 minutes since he had left 'the freezer' and the coughing session had finally started to subside. He tilted his head back and took in a long, deep breath. It felt good to breath easy again. Now sitting alone in the mess hall of the UNSC frigate [i]Apollo[/i] waiting for his squad, he swirled his mug in small circles, watching the coffee slosh around the inside for a few seconds before tossing it back and drinking it down to the dregs. Hopefully the caffeine would stave off his weariness until after the briefing. "How's the freezer burn, gunny?" Evans heard someone say. He turned and saw his team's sharpshooter Corporal Steven Renard strolling into the mess hall with some coffee of his own. "Still thawing," Evans said simply. Renard planted himself at the table opposite Evans. Renard was the tallest member of the squad and whenever they were face to face like this it made Evans self-conscious of the fact that he was being looked down upon. Evans had once seen Renard stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a Spartan. Those armored freaks normally dwarfed anyone who sized-up next to them but Renard had come in only a couple of inches shy. It had become somewhat of a bragging point for him. Evans noticed that Renard had already given his red hair a fresh buzz. He seemed to be handling the defrost better than Evans. "I see Rourke and Vitti are taking their time," Renard said, taking a sip of his coffee. "They better pick up the pace. Briefing is in 20." As soon as Renard said this the other half of the squad, Kevin Rourke and Dom Vitti, joined them in the mess hall. They made quite an odd coupling at first glance. Rourke was a hulking beast of a soldier. He was tall - granted not quite as tall as Renard - and built like a brick house. Dom on the other hand was barely over five foot and lean. They seemed like polar opposites based on aesthetics but the two of them meshed together as battle-buddies better than any pairing Evans had ever met. "Keep your pants on Renny," Rourke said. "We're here." "I know you missed us, sleeping all alone in that twin-sized cryo-pod and what not but we're here now, baby," Dom snarkily chimed in. Evans couldn't help but snort at Dom's remark. "You know, if you're not careful you're going to lose me," Renard said with a simple shrug of his shoulders. "Oh no! How will we ever reach the coffee grinds on the top shelf without lanky Renny around?" Rourke replied with a smirk. Despite the verbal cheap shots, Evans' squad was extremely tight-knit, even by ODST standards. They'd been through hell and back together several times and had always managed to come out on top. It was a bond not only forged in blood but drenched in it. Their squad had sent countless covenant bastards to their dear and fluffy lords. He was proud to call himself the squad's leader. "So what's the skinny, boss?" Dom asked. "We got some covies to take care of or has the UNSC finally decided to acknowledge our greatness with a surprise, all expense paid trip to the tropics?" "When is it anything besides the covenant?" Renard said without looking up from his coffee. "Lighten up Renny ol' pal," Dom said. "With that attitude the bikini beach babes will likely steer clear of you." Evans didn't say anything. The truth was he had no idea why they were here. They'd been scooped up, frozen, and shot out here so fast that no one had even taken the time to explain why they were being shipped out in the first place. Renard had a point, however. It had to be covenant. This far into the war the UNSC couldn't afford to focus on anything but the aliens. Still, Evans hadn't seen any soldiers besides his squad and the crew on the frigate. If they were here to deal with a covenant threat then why only send a four-man squad? "How about we head to the briefing and find out?" Evans finally said. "If we are headed to a beach, first round is on me." Fifteen minutes later Evans and his squad were huddled around a holotable with the Captain of the [i]Apollo[/i], Louis Friedman. The captain's appearance always caught Evans off guard. He looked out of place in an officer's uniform. Like Rourke, Friedman was a large, muscular man who would've seemed more at home in a boxing ring than on the bridge of a warship. "It's good to see you gentlemen," Captain Friedman said. "I apologize for the rather swift departure but the situation demanded it." The captain hit a button on the holo-table and a virtual representation of a planet with two orbiting moons appeared. Evans didn't recognize it. "I'm not seeing any tropical resorts," Dom said. Evans shot Dom his very best 'stow it' grimace. "This is Resnick," Friedman informed them, paying no attention to Dom's quip. "The planet is rather scarce on human population. There are only a handful of colonies on the whole planet and they are each separated by hundreds of miles." Friedman hit another button and icons showing the location of each settlement on the planet's surface popped up. Evans realized Friedman hadn't been exaggerating when he had said a handful of colonies. From what he could see, there were only five or six on all of Resnick. Evans had never seen a planet with so few people. "Three days ago at approximately 0300 hours, communication with the colony Tarrum on Resnick was cut off." Friedman said. "Because of the small populace on the planet, the lack of UNSC presence, and its distance off of the beaten interstellar path we believed that the planet had flown under the covenant's radar and that the covenant's ships had simply bypassed the planet all together." "So now they've been invaded, sir?" Rourke asked. "To be honest soldier, we're not sure," Friedman replied. Evans' squad exchanged a series of puzzled gazes. 'Not sure' wasn't exactly a term that came up a lot when discussing a covenant invasion. There were usually tell-tale signs like explosions, firefights, and covenant ships bombarding the surface with plasma. These things were hard to miss. "Once we had become aware of the situation, probes were launched to recon Resnick," Friedman continued. "This is what they found." The captain pulled up the probes' findings on the holotable. It looked exactly like a colony should. The bird's-eye-view shots showed a small city laid out in a typical grid fashion. There was no structural damage to any of the buildings, no hail of the covenant's superheated plasma, nothing. That was also the problem, though. There was [i]absolutely[/i] nothing. Even at the early hours in which the images had been taken, the streets shouldn't have been this barren. Tarrum's vista should have been alive with the bustle of civilians beginning their morning routine and making their way to work. Instead, all Evans could see were empty roads and the vacant gray pathways of the city sidewalks. There weren't even any dead bodies to indicate that they'd been attacked. Tarrum had officially become a ghost town.
10/15/2012 7:14:09 PM Permalink[quote][b]Posted by:[/b] TheSpiderChief This is the Bungie Universe forum. This is not the Gallery Forum -_- How can you type all that and not notice you're in the wrong forum?[/quote] It takes talent. Also, yeah my bad. I thought the gallery was just for drawings and videos. [Edited on 10.15.2012 11:16 AM PDT]
10/15/2012 7:06:40 PM PermalinkThis is the Bungie Universe forum. This is not the Gallery Forum -_- How can you type all that and not notice you're in the wrong forum? [Edited on 10.15.2012 11:09 AM PDT]
10/15/2012 7:01:57 PM PermalinkNo one in the squad was sure what to make of the situation. The lack of covies was welcome news, but the lack of humans, not so much. "As you can see, the entire population of Tarrum has vanished," Friedman said. "We've attempted to connect to the city's AI but it seems the power for all of Tarrum is out - backups included. Our current guess is that some sort of EMP device was triggered inside the city. We've done surveys of the surrounding landscape as well but we've turned up nothing. That's why you're here. Your squad is going to be launched from slipspace in the specially designed long-range orbital stealth insertion pods under the cover of night in order to prevent detection from anyone who might be waiting for you down there. [i]If[/i] anyone is waiting for you." Evans simply nodded. He had only used a stealth pod once before and it wasn't something he had ever looked forward to using again. While the standard HEV pods may not be a first class ride to a planet's surface, they were still far better than the stealthy alternative. Maneuvering out of slipspace in one was similar to riding out an earthquake in a cardboard box. The transition shook the rider's very bones and threatened to turn their insides to jelly. After experiencing that, hitting hard ground at break-neck speeds would be a welcome respite. "Two hours after you land the Apollo will drop out of slipspace and make contact. Based on what you've found we will then decide whether to pull you out or call in the cavalry," Friedman told them. "We'll be within range in one hour. Be ready by then. Dismissed." The squad spent the next hour collecting their gear and stowing it within their respective pods. They put on their armor, made sure that their weapons were loaded and ready should they be met by any resistance, and reviewed the topography of the city and the surrounding lands. As they waited, the squad discussed their own theories on what exactly was happening on the surface of Resnick. "Maybe the covies have decided to go cliché with their tactics," Dom said. "How so?" Renard asked. "Abductions," Dom replied. Renard rolled his eyes at this. "That so? You think they're probing everyone too?" Dom just shrugged and chose not to push the idea any farther. Evans got the feeling that Dom knew how outlandish it had sounded when he had brought it up. They all did. At the same time, though, Evans couldn't help but think that, as ridiculous as it sounded, the covenant resorting to abductions seemed to be the only thing that was able to fully explain the situation. How else could an entire city of people, even a very small one like Tarrum, simply disappear without a trace? The covenant was behind this, Evans was sure of it. He just didn't know how or why. Just then the warning light in the pod hanger came on signaling that they were close to the drop point. "All right, boys. Get to your pods and strap in. It's go time," Evans barked at them. Each member of the squad slammed their helmets down on their heads, clambered into their new stealth pods, and sealed them shut. Just as Evans closed his own pod his radio crackled to life. "We're approaching the drop zone troopers," Friedman informed them. "You find out what's going on and you get your asses back here, is that understood?" "Sir, yes sir!" they replied in unison. "Good. Now go get it done. Friedman out." With that, the harnesses keeping Evans' pod in place detached and he felt acceleration pull at his entire body. His pod shot away from the frigate, out into slispace. His pod began to shake uncontrollably as it attempted to break back into normal space. Evans grit his teeth and gripped his hand holds so tight that his knuckles turned white. Inside, he could feel his organs bouncing off of his ribcage. A punctured long would be an awfully bad way to kick off a mission. He hadn't missed this. There was no up or down in space but at least in normal space you knew which direction your landing was. In slipspace it just felt like tumbling aimlessly; like tossing a baseball into a dryer. He'd heard horror stories of stealth pods that had never reappeared from slipspace. Evans tried not to think about it. Every bump was a reminder, though, and it was hard to concentrate on anything else. Thankfully, with one final lurch his pod entered normal space. It still shook but by comparison to his short trip through the alternate dimension the vibration now was like a soothing massage. Evans switched on his comms and asked for a roll call to make sure everyone had made it in one piece. "Still here, sir," Renard said "A-okay, Gunny," Dom replied. "Still in one piece as far as I can tell," Rourke said. Good, the hard part was over. Evans allowed himself a quick sigh of relief then set his mind back to the mission. "We'll be hitting atmo' any second. You all know the drill," Evans told them. The instant the four stealth insertion pods broke Resnick's atmosphere, flames instantly began to lick at their lead foil coating. The internal temperature of Evans' pod sky rocketed to a sweltering 150 degrees and beneath his all-encompassing body armor, beads of sweat began to run from every pore. Between the heat and the size of the pod's cockpit, which possessed all the maneuvering room of a coffin, Evans couldn't help but liken himself to a microwave dinner. "Is it odd that I actually find my pod being on fire and hurling towards the surface at terminal velocity comforting after that trip?" Dom asked over the radio. "Don't worry brother, I'm right there with you," Rourke said. Evans silently agreed with them. This was familiar. This part he knew. Then his mind switch backed to the colony quickly coming up at him. He'd never been on a mission with as little intel as this one - that worried him. They'd find out what happened, though, and if the covenant were behind what ever happened to the people of Tarrum, his squad would make sure that they paid for it. He looked out of his pod at the ever-approaching ground. The view below had transformed from a mesh of greens and browns to a full blown landscape with building, mountains, and forests. He was moments from touch down. His pod's chute had already deployed and his thrusters had just engaged. The pod slowed considerably but the landing would still be rough - it always was. Evans braced for impact. The pod slammed into the dirt and caused an eruption of dirt and debris that sprayed several meters in every direction. Evans popped the hatch off of his pod, grabbed his M7S sub machine gun and jumped out with his weapon raised. He was ready for whoever and whatever was waiting for him. End of part 1