Hi guys, I have been working on this fanfic for about a month now and I just wanted to know what the community thinks of it. Enjoy! [u] Part I: Winter Storm [/u] This will be the first time that anyone outside of the military has ever heard the complete tale of operation Winter Storm. What truly happened on that small, barren world is not a tale I will enjoy telling, but it’s one that I know must be told. Although it has been just under a decade since I served in the UNSC, security protocols have forbade from releasing any information on Winter Storm to the populous. Now that the operation is public knowledge there is nothing holding me back from writing this, except my own will to not relive those terrible days. My tale begins in the year 2540, twelve years before the discovery of the artefact that later became known as instillation 04. Over the last few years the covenant had been slowly capturing systems within proximity to Earth. Military casualties were at an all time high, and the recent loss of The Honour-Bound capital ship all contributed to incredibly low moral back home. Those in the higher echelons of UNSC command feared an imminent assault from a covenant armada. For those of you that are reading this and can remember this time of dread then I need not describe it to you. Many believed that they would wake up one morning to find hundreds of covenant warships in orbit around Earth. The only thing that kept the covenant from assailing Earth was the diligent work of ODST and Spec-op forces. These crack soldiers performed some of the most essential covert operations in the entire human-covenant conflict. Looking at me now almost twenty years on you wouldn’t imagine that I would be a member of the notorious Team Bravo. Bravo performed over a hundred operations during the final thirty years of the war, dealing critical blows to the covenant. It was comprised of the most successful soldiers in the UNSC army, as well as technicians, specialists and technical support teams. I was a member of one of these tech support teams, or TST’s. I had always wanted to join the military from a young age, but had been inhibited by my weaker upper body strength. Several commanders had recognised me as being an expert in anything relating to enemy computer software. Only several years after I was permitted to join the military I was attached to Team Alpha and then Team Bravo soon after that. Despite the fact that I would not be able to beat any of my team in a fire fight, they seemed to find my computer skills invaluable when on missions. I remember it was a Monday morning when General Fullman contacted us. Fullman was the chief overseer of all special operation tasks. As well as this he was a key member on the board of UNSC commanders. When he called you on a Monday morning there were only two reasons. Either the dreaded covenant armada had finally arrived, or you were going to be sent on a very important assignment. Preying it was the latter I walked from my small bedroom (being a tech officer I was permitted separate living quarters,) and out into the hallway. Hastily I got dressed in whatever clothes I had to hand and then headed out into the corridor next to my room. When I made it to the common room / briefing area most of Bravo Team was already assembled. As I walked into the spacious beefing room several heads turned in my direction, and I also got a nod from Major Hodson, head of Bravo Team. Manoeuvring between the rows of seats in front of the small stage area I came to sit in the second row beside Dave Walter. Dave had been my friend since we were about ten years old. Dave joined the military at the same time as me and arrived in Bravo Team just a few months behind me. Unlike me, he had joined as a brilliant soldier and exceptional leader. Ironically though he seemed to always need my help with some computer or technical problem. “How are you doing Dave?” I asked. Only two weeks ago he had been involved in a raid on a covenant weapons plant that had gone bad. Two members of the squad he was accompanying had been killed and he himself had been clipped in the shoulder by a stray plasma rifle blast. “I’m doing fine. Everyone said that the suit took most of the impact and even then that blasted shot barely went into my skin. Still took me out of action for a bit though. I just wish that the op had gone better. We lost some good men in their and we still didn’t get…” Dave was cut off in mid sentence by the sound of General Fullman’s heavy boots as he entered the room and approached the stage area. From what I had been told by my comrades in Bravo Team (and what I have learned in subsequent years), Fullman had quickly risen through the ranks due to his exceptional skills as a soldier and as a commanding officer. He had apparently been appointed to his current position about eighteen months before Winter Storm. “Good morning gentlemen.” He had begun, “Undoubtedly you are all wandering why you have been summoned here so early in the morning.” As Fullman continued on his normal introductory spiel I began to wonder, superior officers always treated us in Bravo Team as equals, whilst other soldiers in the UNSC were looked down upon by their superiors. It was then for the first time that I realised the true weight of the reputation of Bravo Team on my shoulders. I had rarely doubted if joining the military had been the right decision but that morning I came to realise just how important my being in the squad was. If I failed, then humanity might possibly be doomed. As Fullman ended his pleasantries I was shaken from my thoughts and returned to reality. “Now lets get down to business. Over the last few months we had sent out teams to gather intelligence on a particular moon orbiting the Nexan system. On this moon is a particular covenant POW camp known as Fortain. The intel indicates that the name means ‘Cold’. This is an adequate name as the camp is located in a tundra wasteland that covers about 60% of the Moon’s surface. As I am sure many of you may have already guessed, we are planning a raid on the Fortain camp.” At this point Fullman paused, allowing his words to sink in. I had been on assault missions before, but never to a POW camp or any other enemy held facility. Beside me Dave was nodding his head slowly in approval; he wanted to hit the covenant on their own turf as much as anyone in the room. “The facility,” Fullman had continued “Covers an area of about a square kilometre. Most of the area is taken up by work areas and labour stations. There also appears to be moderate security systems in place, so you will have to watch your backs when you get there. From the size and type of covenant ships that visit the moon we have assumed that Fortain should hold about 300 – 500 prisoners at any one time, with maybe 50 – 75 security staff. Unfortunately we have no intel on the names of prisoners being taken to the camp; nor do we know how they are treated. From other covenant POW camps we know that the elites don’t look too fondly on human prisoners.” At this point Major Hodson stood up from a row behind me. “Do we have any visual intel on the facility sir, or was this all gathered from written files?” “Well no.” Fullman had continued “We don’t have any direct visual intelligence because the majority of the camp is underground. It lies about twenty to thirty metres beneath the moons’ surface. I know this may come as a surprise to some of you but I have full confidence that Bravo can pull this off.” “And what exactly are we going to do sir, free the prisoners?” This question had come from a younger member of our squad, Curt Gord. Other members of the squad murmured their agreement. How could we get 300 odd prisoners out if we were a squad of 20 soldiers and 3 support techs? Fullman though didn’t appear effected in any way by the question. “Gentlemen, your job is to neutralize as much of the guard as possible. We have several transport ships standing by in nearby systems to transport the prisoners to safety once we have the facility. In the event you can’t neutralise the guards completely then another tactical team is waiting to finish the job. At the moment the covenant army is spread quite thin throughout the galaxy. The last thing they are expecting is an attack at a remote prison camp. I know Bravo Team can do this.” With that Fullman began fielding several questions regarding security, squad tactics and so forth. Although I always find it hard to remember exactly what he said in closing, I believe it was something like this. “This operation, which we are calling Winter Storm, is essential to our war efforts. If the covenant loose the Fortain camp then we will prove to them that nowhere is safe anymore. You have all been chosen for this mission because you are the best humanity has. The UNSC is proud to have Bravo Team and we are proud to have you fighting for humanities survival against the blasted covenant. We will win eventually, but for now we must be content with small victories. Good luck to you all.” And as quickly as he had arrived, Fullman walked off the stage and out of the room. I remember Major Hodson addressing us and saying that more in-depth briefings would be given en route to the Nexan system. While I was leaving Dave tapped me on the shoulder. “Ben, I don’t like the sound of this, things just don’t add up. Why are they brining you, a tech guy, on a purely military operation? And also why do they need a spec ops team when a normal assault team would probably be better suited to this type of work?” “You know Dave,” I had said “I’ve been thinking the exact same thing.” With those few words we left the briefing room and headed off to get changed and suited up for our immediate departure to the Nexan system and the Fortain camp. If only I’d known what was awaiting me upon my arrival at Fortain. [Edited on 01.20.2009 2:30 PM PST]
Nice to see someone else going for the first person approach. Nicely written, although your range of volcabulary could be a little wider. I shall put this in my fan-fic data base.
[u] Part II: First Blood [/u] I can remember very little from the time I left the briefing room to the time The Aegis arrived in the Nexan system. At some point before we left Earth, Bravo Team was introduced to Alpha Squad; under the command of Colonel Arthur Keyes. Major Hodson informed us all that Alpha was a crack assault team and that we would be working together on operation winter storm. Although cooperation is something strongly encouraged by the UNSC, I was apprehensive of this new squad. Bravo was used to operating without interference and the last thing we needed on a high risk mission was a new squad to deal with. But despite protests from several soldiers (on both sides), Alpha and Bravo became a single unit. Yet after several days of being aboard The Aegis we began to get along. Or as Dave so eloquently put it, “We’re either going to be hugging each other or tearing each others head off by the end of this.” As far as I know no one tried to hug or rip heads off, at least not when Major Hodson or Colonel Keyes were around. Despite my initial fears the ten selected members of Alpha squad did seem able to hold their own in a fire fight. Unbeknown to me at the time, Alpha’s prescience on the mission might have very well saved countless lives. On the sixth day out from Earth we arrived in the Nexan system. The system itself was a collection of about four dozen moons orbiting a massive gas giant, which a soldier by the name of Hammish Gibbs informed me had once been a great covenant colony, which had subsequently been destroyed when two smaller planets collided to form the gas giant. After a further day we came in orbit around a small moon, about a third the size of Earth’s natural satellite. A summons came soon after for Alpha and Bravo team members to assemble in the ships briefing area. The Aegis was a small ship, favouring speed over firepower, so it didn’t take long for us to be assembled. I remember Major Hodson beginning the speech. “As I am sure most of you are aware, we recently established an orbit around Shak’ta, the moon that the Fortain camp is based on. Now for this operation we are going to split into three teams of ten. Team 1 will be made up of five Alpha squad and five Bravo squad members. Team 2 likewise. Team 3 on the other hand will have the remaining Bravo team members in it. I know that some of you may not be entirely happy with the decision to rearrange squads but there is reason in our madness. Teams 1 and 2 will be leading the assault on Fortain, so they will need the assault skills that Alpha squad posses.” I looked over at Dave and saw that he was not entirely settled. From experience I knew that Dave disliked running missions with other groups, and now he’d been told that he was going to have to work with Alpha during the raid. The briefing continued quite uneventfully. Although I won’t record exactly what transpired, I will briefly mention some of the important decisions that Major Hodson and Colonel Keyes came to. Teams 1 and 2 were going to lead the assault, whilst team 3 would remain on the surface until called for; or to prevent any elites from escaping. Dave and I were put in team 2, under Colonel Keyes’ command. Major Hodson took command of Team 1 and Hammish Gibbs was given command of Team 3. We would drop in a canyon adjacent to the camps back entrance. Intelligence indicated that this entrance was only lightly guarded by a few small patrols. Once in the facility, Team 1 was to head to the prison blocks while our team was to head towards the control room. Once the majority of the guard had been eliminated we were to contact The Aegis, which in turn would communicate with the waiting transport ships. In theory it seemed so easy. Thirty of the UNSC’s best soldiers assaulting a poorly defended POW camp in the middle of nowhere. During the final stages of the briefing I realised why I had been dragged along on winter storm. The Major was hoping that we would be able to access the covenant computer network from the camps control room. This would enable us to find out more about those being kept at the camp. When the briefing was over Dave came up to me. “Look Ben, I’ve got a bad feeling about this mission. Don’t ask me why but it doesn’t seem right. That briefing just made me even more nervous.” I merely nodded at him and walked to the armoury. Once in there I received my armour, assault rifle, magnum and two frag grenades. The armoury technician informed me that Major Hodson had forbidden anyone to give me a battle rifle because there was no way I would be able to aim with it. At least with the assault rifle I could pull the trigger and spray bullets into the covenant. I simply laughed. It was typical of the Major to send ahead orders such as not allowing me to have certain weapons. He did however permit me to have grenades, which was an improvement. * * * It was cold, very cold. That’s one of the things that sticks in my mind about the moon. All around me I could see an expanse of white snow, and the occasional glare of a rifle scope as it reflected the light from the red giant star at the centre of the Nexan system. For about an hour our squad walked through the barren tundra. Occasionally we came across an artificially dug cave or a small checkpoint station. When we saw a small mounted patrol on ghosts speed towards us it took less than a few seconds for three soldiers to pull out their battle rifles and take out the ghost pilots. It was then only a small task to dispatch the disorientated grunts and jackals that took up the rear. When we reached a small cave with a large wall running its length we stopped. Major Hodson signalled for five men from team 1 to enter the nearby guard station. About five minutes later a section of the wall separated and the men exited the station. One of them had a small purple blood stain on his left arm. “Alright then,” Major Hodson had said “The entrance to the camp is in this next valley. When we reach the entrance and neutralise the guards I want half of team 3 to return to this outpost. The remainder should scatter themselves around the valley. Ensure you set up relay beacons so those inside the complex can communicate with The Aegis. Also scout around and neutralise any checkpoints within the valley.” With that Major Hodson advanced through the wall and out into the valley. I followed team 2, taking up the rear. Dave was somewhere in front of me. He often took point on the missions that I went on with him. The valley looked decidedly different than the rest of the tundra. A line of cliffs seemed to encircle it, isolating the area. At points on these cliffs were large reflective panels, which Major Hodson said were used to trap solar energy and power the underground instillation. The entrance itself was cut into the side of the mountains. There was only one apparent entrance, which was blocked by a shield and defended by about two dozen elites, jackals, grunts and several hunters. It was now that Alpha squad proved their worth. Two members of the squad rested rocket launchers on their shoulders; aimed, and fired. The screaming projectiles impacted straight into the hunters and a group of grunts. The surviving covenant only had enough time to register what had happened before two more rockets hurtled into their midst. I then noticed that about four men had broken off from the main group and had taken up positions on a nearby ridge. They now sniped the remaining elites, as well as those that were scrambling towards ghosts and a wraith tank. Whilst the snipers cut down anyone trying to escape, the remaining six members of alpha squad advanced on the covenant with assault rifles, battle rifles, shotguns and smg’s. Within less than two minutes, the supposed ‘back door’ was under human control. As Bravo moved in towards the entrance, I heard Keyes commenting that the covenant hadn’t put up much of a fight. Beside me, Dave nodded and then turned to me, “He’s right you know. I would have expected the covenant to be a bit more vigilant. A force of that size shouldn’t have been wiped out that easily.” “Maybe they were lazy?” I suggested “As General Fullman said, they won’t be expecting an attack on their own soil so to speak.” Deep down though I found that I was agreeing with Dave; it had been too easy. Putting these thoughts out of my mind for a while, I focussed on the shield door. Clambering over a hunter’s body, I manoeuvred myself so that I was facing a control console in the facilities entrance. As I worked on breaking the relatively weak firewall defences, two members of my squad came and covered me. Although some people might think that something like this would be disconcerting and a distraction, I had gotten used to people watching over me as I worked. Suddenly from a parapet on the second level of the entrance building a sniper shot came. Turning from the panel I saw a member of Alpha squad fall to the ground, blood spraying from a wound just below his waist. A short volley of return fire ensued and the body of an elite fell from the parapet and landed in the snow just a few feet from where I was working. Following my training I had ignored what had happened and I finished breaking into the security mainframe. A few seconds later the shield door shut down. “The plasma blast ripped through the top of his left leg,” a soldier was saying, “There’s no way he can help us on the mission but we should be able to treat him down here. I will have the med-team on The Aegis standby just in case. Team 3 then began to slowly file away from us, back to their predetermined positions around the valley. The wounded soldier was also taken with them. We were now alone. Just before I entered Camp Fortain I remember looking back at the body of the elite sniper and wandering if we would soon be joining him in death.