Chapter 3: High Level Data
"Why don't we try pressing this button?!" Caboose questioned by the computer in his infinite curiosity like that of a two year old. Washington as always did his best to keep the young soldier from causing any trouble. "Caboose, don't touch that."
But like always he touched it anyways. "Um, Agent Washington, the screen went black."
"What did you do?!"
"Grif did it."
"Dude, you cannot blame your shit on me!" Grif shouted from across the canyon. Washington was impressed at Grif's hearing as he called the orange soldier over the radio. "How did you even hear that?"
"I have ears of decentanium."
"Right, Caboose step away from the computer," Wash said with a stern voice. With a small whimper Caboose stepped backwards, Washington studied the state of the machine and determined it was simply shut off. Hopefully my work was saved. He turned it back on and suggested that Caboose goes out to help Carolina.
Inside Red base, Simmons was busy fixing the base computer. Sarge walked in to study the progress. "How's it going in here Simmons?"
"Considering how trashed our computer was, I would say pretty good."
Sarge studied the various components lying all over the floor in a mess. "Do you need any help in here? I could get Grif to finally do some useful work."
"How about Donut?"
"He would probably just stick his thumb in something thinking that it's a rabbit sir, he may end up short circuiting the components that way. I don't see how that would be productive."
"Good point, well I guess I will leave you to it then Simmons."
Sarge walked outside to see a very disgruntled Lopez fixing their broken Warthog. "How goes it here Senor Lopez?"
"[Go away, I don't want to see your face right now. Looking at it only reminds me of all the times you have broken the vehicles I have worked hard on. It reminds me of the times you trashed on my works of art.]"
"Yes it is a nice day out today isn't it?"
Lopez stared at Sarge for a few minutes before shaking his head in fatigue, too tired to even dedicate any processor power to argue any more. "[Stupid old man.]"
"Thank you for noticing, I have been busy working out lately."
Donut ran up from behind the two in tears, manly girly tears. "Sarge, our garden is ruined!"
The red leader stared at their garden patch, the soil and vegetables were in tatters thanks to the debris. "Was it ruined by an explosion?"
"I don't think so, it was probably just the debris."
"Hmm, who would ruin a garden by falling debris? I mean at least make it an explosion!"
"That's not really the point," Donut steered the conversation back on track only to hear an ambiguous grunt from Sarge as he moved on. Doc came by Red base looking for Sarge. "Hey Sarge, how's your shoulder doing?"
"Much better than yesterday thanks to you Doc. By the way, what happened to the guy we captured?"
"I just finished operating on him," Doc replied earning a silent and a questionable look from under Sarge's helmet. "What?"
"You didn't leave him in pieces on the table now did you?"
"Please Sarge, I may be crazy but I'm not as crazy as Dr. Grey."
"Point noted," Sarge replied walking away. Doc watched the garden and couldn't help but just walk away. "Nope, not dealing with that, I'm out!"
Across the canyon Caboose ran a few laps with Carolina. To her surprise when Caboose asked to help her, she thought to use him as a training dummy, but he was giving her a run for her money. Gotta say that I'm impressed Caboose, she pondered just as he left her in the dust by several miles. The surprising thing was that according to Caboose, this was his 'easy' mode.
Inside of Blue base, Washington studied the disk data going from file to file. Most of the data he had come across thus far was nothing more than plans to abduct Tucker. He certainly did think things through. I guess he wasn't lying when he said his plans are calculated, Washington browsed to the next file. Before he went onto another, his whole body froze at what he could tell were coordinates. Where does this lead do? Washington brought up a galaxy map and inputted the coordinates. According to the map, the location was located near the edge of the galaxy just like Chorus.
The coordinates pinpointed to a void. There is nothing there, or is there? Washington pondered recalling that in Locus' plans, Tucker was to be transferred to a space colony station. Maybe that base is just off the grid perhaps. Washington saved the map data and moved onto the next file. His surprise only grew in quantity with every file he saw after that. This data, why would he encase it in here? This is some very valuable stuff. Washington called everyone up on the radio and had them gathered in Blue base.
"I gathered you all here because I think you should see what is on the data disk Locus provided us with," Wash said first playing the video. Then he began to browse through the files leaving everyone either in shock, surprise, disgust or simply dumb-founded. The contents regarding their enemy were the most revealing things stored in the disk. Simmons looked around the room and knew they all felt the same. "Can we even trust this data? I mean it is from Locus."
"We have a second source who we intend to run this by," Wash replied as he turned to Carolina. She understood the signal. "I guess I will put on my meanest face."
"Okay, I'm already scared," Caboose commented looking away. Grif shook his head at the blue soldier. "Caboose, you are always scared of her."
"Ah that's not true, I'm only scared of her most of the time."
"I feel so much better hearing that, thank you," Carolina sarcastically replied. She exited to the lower levels leaving the others to ponder their next task. Simmons happily went back to fixing the Red base computer, and he already had several upgrades in mind thanks to the equipment he salvaged from the ships. Grif was the second one to leave. "I have a date with some S'mores."
Donut left to help Lopez with the Warthog and Sarge went about his daily tasks. Doc stayed behind to study Wash's leg and ensure it was healing nicely. Caboose looked at the dispersing crowd. "So it's a break? Okay, see you guys later!"
Carolina walked down below to the holding cell they kept the enemy soldier in. She stopped to see the enemy lying flat on his belly staring at the wall. She unlocked the door getting his attention. He picked himself up slowly scooting into the corner. She stopped a few steps away from him, and took notice of the shivering body when she cracked her knuckles. "We have a few questions for you. If you don't answer them, then I will be firmly planting my fist in your face. Answer them and you will be fine. Understood?"
"Yes, scary lady…"
Scary lady? Off to a good start I see, Carolina pondered feeling a nerve pop up on her forehead. She held out a digital pad displaying the coordinates given to them by Locus. "Where do these coordinates go to?"
The enemy soldier stopped shivering in his spot. His whole body was still. Looks like these maybe the real deal, Carolina pondered. The soldier raised his finger at the data. "Where did you get that?"
Carolina applied pressure to one of his knees. "Answer my question or else."
"T-They lead to a space station."
"Name of the station?"
"Ri-Ri-Rise of Justice."
"Good, I'm guessing that the people aboard this station are part of the rebel group."
The enemy soldier nodded his head as she strengthened her pressure on his knee. "Yes, but not all of them."
"Some are just tr-trying to live a normal life."
"So if I understand this right, your rebel group has decided to involve innocent people in your conflicts?"
"Th-they were already involved from the very start."
That would confirm Locus' data then. But since Locus is working for these guys, can his words be trusted? She pondered easing off and locking the door behind her. "I will be back later."
"Yeah," the soldier said in a demeaning tone. "I bet you will."
"What was that?"
"Nothing miss scary lady…"
Carolina walked up to where Wash was busy scouting through the other data. He noticed her climbing up the stairs. "Get anything out of him?"
"The information from the prisoner matches the one we got from Locus," Carolina replied and Washington turned to look at the monitor contemplatively. "But, can we really trust their words?"
"What do you mean?" Wash asked. She looked down at the ground in deep thought. "I mean that they both are the enemy. What if it is just a means to manipulate us?"
"We don't have any other leads at this point."
"I know, but it still feels wrong."
"Maybe so, but I doubt our prisoner would want to lie if he values his life, or at least his sanity from Caboose."
Carolina let out a small laughter of amusement. Washington looked back at the data as Carolina walked to his side. "How is your leg?"
"It's better than yesterday. What about you?"
"Slowly getting better," she replied. Wash then suggested as he studied a data file. "It would probably heal quicker if you didn't exert yourself through training right now."
"What can I say? Training waits for no one."
Washington looked to his right to see the contact number for the UNSC ship they originally arrived back on into Blood Gulch. He walked over and activated the galaxy wide broadcast features on the nearby transmitter. Carolina stared at him curiously with her head tilted. "What are you doing?"
"Making an important call. Tell the others to pack up. We will be leaving soon for these coordinates."