That's No Moon…
Things had gone smoothly so far since Boss had taken out the Stormtrooper execution squad and freed himself as well as Adams and Scorch, but they weren't out yet. Just as he'd ordered, his two companions were now wearing Stormtrooper armor and were following the rookie trooper. Boss himself acted as prisoner, so soldiers and officers passing by didn't realize any difference. To them, it looked as if Adams and Scorch were dead and the original orders were being followed.
"Are we almost there?" Boss asked quietly to the rookie in front of him. He led the way, with Boss following and Adams and Scorch tailing behind. He didn't know if he could fully trust this trooper to get them to the armory. Hell, he could be leading them to Vader's doorstep and they wouldn't know any better. However, this was their only way out, so Boss had to try.
"Almost," the rookie replied, quickly glancing over his shoulder before looking back. He sounded nervous. Because he was scared of what Boss might do, or of the trap he could possibly be leading them into? It was impossible to tell.
His question was answered soon after a few more minutes of walking. He heard Scorch shuffle closer behind him and a voice in his ear.
"He's laying a trap for us in the armory." So the kid was smarter than Boss had thought, though not smart enough to realize that Scorch and Adams would be able to hear his conversation with his superiors as they also had helmets. He must have been broadcasting on an open frequency.
Di'kut, Boss thought, already planning on what he would do when they arrived. Both Adams and Scorch were armed, but he didn't have any kind of weapon, unable to hide one in case he was searched anywhere. He would need to get out of their way so they could do their work. Or better yet…
"We're here," the rookie announced, arriving at a door clearly labeled 'ARMORY'. Boss waited patiently as the trooper typed in a pass code, then waited as the door opened. Sure enough, four Stormtroopers stood on the other side of the door, with their weapons raised. Boss didn't hesitate as he grabbed the rookie by holding onto his back plate before he could move and shoved him into the room, right into the opposing group. A couple fell, the others stumbled, but that gave them the time they needed as Boss hurled himself to the side and let his two companions mop them up. Sure enough, as soon as Boss was clear, they both opened fire and neatly picked off the Stormtroopers.
"Well, that was cleaner than I thought it was gonna be," Adams stated, walking over and checking one of the bodies at the door for weapons. "Nice idea with the distraction, Boss."
"Let's just hope our stuff is in here," Boss replied after being helped to his feet by Scorch. His squad mate entered the armory before him, and judging by the excited, "Woo!" he heard, his hopes were true. Sure enough, after walking in, he saw all three of their suits of armor in boxes along the wall.
"Well, they could definitely use some lessons in proper care," Scorch said, walking over to his own armor and seeing the poor condition it was laid out in.
"Doubt that was the first thing on their mind, Scorch," Adams replied, smiling and lifting up his UNSC Marine helmet and putting it on. "Damn, it's good to be back."
"Let's hurry," Boss said, walking over to his own armor. "Someone could have heard the firefight, so we should-" Adams and Scorch didn't get to hear the rest of the order as Boss was cut off by the intercom.
"All personnel, report to your positions. We are arriving upon the Rebel base. We'll be within firing range in thirty minutes." The three of them looked at each other in horror.
It had just become a race against time.
The hangar was a flurry of activity. Pilots left and right were jogging to their stations, trying to get to their ships, while mechanics weaved among the crowd, making some last minute adjustments. The hangar itself was large so it was able to accommodate all of the X-wings and other fighters while the doors opened up onto a view that would have been great to admire if it wasn't for their current situation.
The Master Chief and company stood in the corner, preparing to start their own separate mission, one that nobody else knew about. They would have two teams: the Chief would lead the Arbiter and Sev while Niner would take over his old squad mates, Fi and Atin. Together the two teams would split the territory around the base between them, keeping an eye out for any kind of Imperial ships or soldiers trying to land and escape the destruction of the Death Star. It was very unlikely, but not impossible that there would be survivors.
"Everyone remember the landscape?" Niner asked, looking from one member to the other.
"Yes, Sarge," Fi answered, slightly exasperated. This was Omega's first time together on a real mission in nineteen years and Niner was taking things very seriously. Too serious, Fi and Atin might say. "And I cleaned my weapon, checked my armor, and ate a big and healthy breakfast."
"Good," Niner replied. "Wouldn't want you whining about an empty stomach while patrolling."
"I think Scorch let himself get captured, just to get away from you," Sev stated, standing with his arms crossed in the corner. He hadn't been too social since the Chief and the others had returned from the meeting. While the Chief could understand what he was going through, he knew that Sev would put everything aside once the mission started.
Fi scoffed at Sev's comment. "Scorch and I were the best comedy duo out there, we were inseparable."
"Yet you let him go out on his own to Mos Eisley," Sev shot back, slightly sharper than it should have been.
Before Fi could come back with a retort, however, Niner stepped between them. "Udesii, you two. We haven't even started the mission and you're at each other's throats." He then looked directly at Sev, "What happened to Scorch wasn't Fi's fault. Scorch is a commando, and he's got Boss and Adams. They'll get off the station before we blow it up."
Far from reassuring him, Sev shook his head and said, "Yet we're not putting in any effort to help them." With that, he pushed up from the wall and walked away, heading towards the exit they were taking out of the base. They all watched him go, not saying a word until Niner let out a sigh.
"You'll have your hands full with that one, Chief," he stated.
"He'll be fine," the Chief replied. "Losing brothers is hard." He felt a pang of both grief and shame. It was as if he were already admitting Boss, Scorch, and Adams couldn't make it off the Death Star in time. He couldn't think like that, for Sev's sake.
"Well, let's hope so, because we're heading out in five minutes," Niner said, motioning for the rest of them to follow. They headed in the direction Sev had taken, and sure enough when they arrived he was already waiting for them. He didn't say a word, and neither did Niner. They were soldiers, and knew when it was time to work.
"Alright, Chief, I'm heading to the North side. You take the South." The Chief nodded in reply, tracing the route in his head that he and the commando had plotted on the map. His route would take him through some thick trees and forests; his squad would need to be extra aware. Making note, he gestured to Sev and Arbiter and the two followed him out into the sunlight.
Stealth was long forgotten as Boss, Scorch, and Adams blasted their way out of the armory and into the corridor. The enemy knew where they were, and the three of them had a short amount of time to get off of the Death Star and back on solid ground. A few more Stormtroopers came around the corner and the trio expertly picked the unaware soldiers off, Scorch and Adams teaming up on one while Boss finished off the other two.
"This way!" Boss called, running to the right and away into the hallway, desperately hoping for some sign or direction that would lead them to the hangar. He had no idea where they were going at this point, just trying to get away from the hostile forces that were trying to kill them. He figured their escape was well known at this point, probably even known by Tarkin and Vader themselves, but Boss was hoping that they would be too busy worrying about destroying the Rebel base than the three escaped prisoners of war.
Several times they ran into small squads of Stormtroopers, but each time they were easily dispatched, partly due to the Imperial's bad aim and the commando's precision. No injuries happened and the three of them continued on, Boss finally finding a way to the hangar thanks to a helpful sign. After getting out of the armory's perimeter, however, things began to heat up. The Stormtrooper squads became bigger, their disparity becoming apparent as some would purposely throw themselves into harms way, trying to stop them. However, the three soldiers showed no mercy as they fought on through wave after wave.
The more they continued, the more Boss's hope began to grow. They were getting out of here, they had a plan, and they had their armor and weapons back. Boss and his old team had been in situations like this before and made it out fine, and with Scorch and Adams at his side he believed they could get through this.
This didn't mean, however, that he was letting his guard down. Around every corner they halted, letting Boss check for an ambush before continuing. It was slower this way, and Boss was half tempted to ditch the whole cautious approach plan to get there faster, but impatience was what got you killed. It didn't matter, even with doing this they were making good time, from the looks of it they were only ten minutes away.
Around the next corner, Boss was able to only poke out his head for a second before having to pull back quickly to avoid the wave of blaster fire that greeted him. There were at least ten of the Stormtroopers, most likely waiting to ambush them. The three soldiers were stuck there, with little room to return fire and no way to go back.
"Any grenades?" Scorch asked, and Boss shook his head. He hadn't been able to find any thermal detonators in the armory, or any other kind of grenade. Most likely they didn't keep them there because they figured they wouldn't need them.
"Blast, we won't be able to take 'em down like this!" Scorch said loudly over the sound of the firefight.
"Wait a second…" Adams stated, searching his pockets for something. Suddenly, he pulled out what looked like a small, dark green fruit that Boss realized was a grenade. "Been saving this," Adams said with a grin. Boss was about to ask him for it when several things happened at once. A flash bang was tossed down their corridor, forcing them to look away and shut their eyes as gunfire started somewhere else in the hallway and Adams gave a cry of pain, falling to the floor.
"Adams!" Boss yelled over the noise, dropping to the ground beside him while Scorch provided covering fire.
"I'm hit!" Adams screamed, holding his leg. Boss looked to the wound and winced, seeing how deep it was. There was no blood as the hole would be cauterized, but the flesh and bone underneath showed through, burnt black.
"Shab," Boss swore, getting his blaster rifle and firing back at the Stormtroopers who had flanked them in this corridor. Of course, they had been planning this all along, funneling them down until they could get to a spot to trap them. However, Boss and Scorch weren't going down without a fight as they fought back fiercely, picking off the second Stormtrooper squad. Boss's shields faded and finally depleted, allowing a shot to graze his arm and penetrate his armor. It burned, but it didn't prevent him from stopping as he continued firing.
Soon, all of the Stormtroopers behind them were dead, just leaving the ones down the hallway.
Boss turned to Adams and asked, "Where's that grenade?"
"It-" he gritted his teeth as the pain nearly took over, but controlled himself as he replied, "It fell on the ground!" Boss quickly reached looked around and saw it lying against the wall. He grabbed the grenade, not quite sure how to use it, looking to Adams for guidance. The Marine yelled out, "Push the button and throw!" before he gave another cry of pain. Boss looked and saw the red button, pressed it, and tossed it down the corridor. He heard the blaster fire stop, shouts of surprise and fear right before the explosion. It was loud, rocking the hallways and sending debris down toward them. The three of them waited, silent, as the smoke and dust settled. They didn't hear any movement, and as Boss poked his head around the corner he saw a grotesque sight. Bodies lay mutilated, and upon closer examination there were some that were impaled by small bits of shrapnel. The grenade was a deadly one.
"We're clear," he reported, retreating back and bending down to help Adams. "Come on, we've gotta get out of here."
"I…I can't," Adams muttered, unable to support himself. "Just go, I'll stay behind."
"Oh shut up, di'kut," Scorch said, walking over. "You're not going to be the hero, suck it up and lets get going." Adams took a few steadying breaths, attempting to gather himself before attempting to stand up.
"You're right, I'm just being a pussy," he said, trying to use the wall to get up. "Johnson would have my ass if he saw me giving up." Boss put his hand under his arm and helped him up, wrapping Adams's arm around his shoulder. Adams gritted his teeth, but didn't say a word as he leaned on Boss for support.
"We'll be within firing range in fifteen minutes," the intercom voice blared again, and Boss realized that it was going to be a close one.
"Scorch, take point!" he ordered, Boss being unable to, as he had to help Adams. Scorch nodded and moved forward, checking the corner for safe measure. This allowed him to see the destruction that was caused by the grenade.
"Fierfek, Adams, you've gotta get some more of those!" he called, picking his way past the debris. Boss and Adams followed, the Marine tried to smile back but it turned into a grimace as his leg attempted to support him but failed.
They continued on, at even a slower pace than before because of Adam's injury. They did make it to the elevator that took them to the same floor as the hangar, but Adams stumbled several times afterward, and finally he fell to his knees.
"Shit, I can't do this," he said, falling on his hands. "I can't."
"Well, you're sure as hell not staying here," Boss replied, and before Adams could protest he picked up the Marine and draped him over his shoulders in a fireman's carry.
"Dammit, Boss!" he exclaimed. "Just leave me!"
"We're almost there!" Boss said as way of getting him to cooperate. It was true, they were almost there, but there were sure to be Stormtroopers guarding the way in a last ditch effort to stop them. "Now shut up and sit tight!" There was no way he was going to leave Adams behind; they had been through a lot in the Human Covenant war, and had been on the same job for the past nineteen years. He was as close to him as any of the rest of Delta, and Boss would rather die than abandon him. Adams didn't resist after that, whether it was from giving in or just being too tired.
"We'll be within firing range in five minutes."
"Shab," he muttered, continuing on after Scorch. Just a few more doors and they'd be at the hangar and they could get the hell off of this station. Boss's heart beat quickly; he was unable to use a weapon because of Adams and they had little time left. If they met a large group of Stormtroopers they were doomed.
As if the thought had called them up, the last door opened and no less than ten of the troopers were facing them, their blaster rifles already raised.
"Freeze!" one of them yelled, and the three soldiers stopped in their tracks. This was it, right outside the hangar and a few minutes from freedom and they would be killed. Boss couldn't believe it.
Luck seemed to be on their side, however, as something rocked the Death Star hard, sending everybody off balance. Boss, unable to stay on his feet because of the extra weight of Adams, fell to the floor. Scorch, however, held onto a pipe along the wall and stayed upright. Most of the troopers fell to the floor, a few managed to stay on their feet, but all of them stumbled and were distracted. Scorch, seeming to see an opportunity, let out a yell and leaped into the group, firing his blaster rifle at as many of them as he could.
"Scorch!" Boss yelled, trying desperately to find his weapon to help his comrade. Scorch was going crazy, downing five Stormtroopers and knocking a few more over. However, it wasn't enough as one got to his feet and aimed his blaster rifle. Boss finally found his rifle, which had fallen in the blast, and dove for it. Picking it up, he immediately turned towards the fray, just in time to see the trooper shoot Scorch point blank in the back.
"No!" Boss yelled, watching as Scorch fell to the ground. He opened fire as soon as Scorch was clear, downing another four. One more was left, but Boss couldn't aim at him in time before the Stormtrooper opened fire…
That's when a blaster fired behind him, and the last trooper fell to the ground, clearly dead. Boss looked over his shoulder and saw that Adams had grabbed his blaster and fired. He smiled, but that last action seemed to have sapped the last of his energy as his eyes closed and he passed out. Boss quickly got to his feet, unable to check on Adams until he saw Scorch.
No no no, he thought, as Scorch still hadn't moved from where he had fallen over. Kneeling down beside him, he turned his squad mate over onto his back, expecting the worst.
Scorch gave a cough and stated, "I ain't dead yet."
Boss closed out his eyes and gave a sigh of relief. He had just been reunited with Scorch, it would be too soon to lose his brother now. After the feeling passed he looked down and replied, "Scorch, you suicidal maniac, I thought you were dead."
"Shields took most of the blow," Scorch answered, leaning forward. "Still hurts like hell, though."
"Can you walk?" Boss asked, standing up and helping the other commando to his feet. "I can only carry one."
"Yeah, I can," Scorch replied, his left arm hanging uselessly at his side. Upon closer inspection, he saw that there was a large black mark on the back of Scorch's left shoulder.
"Come on, we don't have much time," Boss stated, grabbing Adams again and moving into the hangar.
It was mostly quiet as the Chief led his patrol through the forest, the thick foliage absorbing much of the noise around them. He and Sev moved slowly, trying to keep as quiet as possible as the Arbiter, with his active camouflage, scouted ahead. The Chief hadn't heard any warnings from the Elite and assumed everything was okay.
Sev, on the other hand, hadn't said a word since they had started their patrol. The Chief remembered how much trust Sev had placed in him, and how he had failed to rescue Boss and the others. While the two of them were alone, he figured he'd say something.
"Sev, I'm sorry-" he started.
"Don't," Sev replied almost instantly, as if he were expecting the Chief to say something. "It's not your fault, things just happened faster than I thought." He was quiet for a few moments, then stated, "I just thought we'd have more time." The Chief knew what he meant; the Rebels hadn't expected the Empire to show up so soon; they seemed to have followed the Millenium Falcon directly to this location. If there had been more time, the Chief could have led an assault to rescue their comrades. But that wasn't how things had turned out.
"Niner here." The voice was sudden, cutting into their conversation. The Chief could tell he sounded excited, and could guess what news he had before he continued, "the assault was a success. The Death Star is destroyed." The Chief didn't say anything right away; he knew what this meant for Sev. He laid a hand on the commando's shoulder, hoping he could be semi comforting as Sev became the last member of Delta Squad.
"Wait," Niner said, and the Chief waited breathlessly. "I'm getting a report in… a ship just escaped from the wreckage, and is heading towards your area Chief." The Chief and Sev exchanged a glance through their visors.
"Give me the coordinates."
"Scorch, strap Adams in!" Boss shouted over his shoulder as he attempted to keep the ship steady. After the final firefight with the Stormtroopers they had hopped onto the only Imperial ship in the hangar, one of the Lambda class shuttles. They had made it off the Death Star, but just barely. The explosion caused by the Rebels' assault had dinged their ship, causing the engines to overheat so now Boss was fighting to keep control. Adams had been set down on the bench, and Scorch was now propping him up and hooking the belts and straps securely around his chest and wait.
"Boss, how bad is the damage?" Scorch asked as he worked.
"Don't know," Boss replied truthfully, unable to full comprehend the readings on the ship. "Bad enough that we're going to have a bumpy landing." He had to get the ship to slow down otherwise when they hit the atmosphere their ship would be disintegrated and all of this would be a waste of time. Boss fought hard, typing in controls and pulling on the yoke. Finally, the ship slowed, but the entrance was still harsh as the ship rocked as if hit by an invisible force. Boss' chair groaned as the impact sent him backwards, but the metal held as Boss leaned forward and fought to get control again.
"We're heading towards the planet!" Boss yelled, still trying to get the ship to go slower. They may have made it through the atmosphere, but they still had the landing. "Hold on!" He pulled with all his might, barely getting the ship to slow down to the speed it needed. If it hadn't been for the trees, they may have ended up crashing after all. The foliage and leaves slowed down their approach enough to when they landed in the clearing they just skidded across the ground, taking a minimum amount of damage.
Boss rocked forward in his seat, the metal underneath finally giving way and sending him face first into the console. His armor took the brunt of the damage, but he struggled to get the chair off of him as he unstrapped himself. Finally after a brief fight with the leather he was able to get out and he pushed the chair off, rolling onto his back. Boss let out a breath as silence descended and he leaned up to check on Scorch and Adams. The two of them were still safely strapped in their seats and okay; as okay as they could be with the injuries they had sustained in this hell of an escape. Scorch gave him a two-fingered mock salute.
"Nice flying, Boss."
The Chief and Sev ran quickly through the foliage, jumping over logs and bypassing trees as they made their way towards the crash site. If the ship contained any members of the Imperial army, they would need to be obtained immediately. However, the two of them had higher hopes: that Boss, Scorch, and Adams were aboard.
As they ran the Arbiter appeared beside them, his active camo deactivating.
"I heard the news," he stated simply, letting them know he didn't need an explanation. The Chief nodded in response, his pace unwavering as they continued on. It didn't take long, only about five minutes before they got close. The Spartan signaled to his squad to take it slow, just in case of enemies, and they snuck closer, making sure to stay out of sight.
The ship looked like a mess. The wings were all bent out of shape, the nose was crushed after the landing, and the back looked burnt and melted as if it had been caught in the explosion. The three of them took positions around the ship and waited, watching, as the door opened. The landing ramp seemed to descend painfully slow as his team aimed their weapons, waiting for the members to exit. That's when a voice broke the silence.
"Boss!" Sev yelled, leaping from cover into the clearing before the Chief could stop him. Sure enough, Boss descended from the ship, carrying an unconscious Adams in his arms. Scorch followed him shortly, his left arm dangling at his side as if it were unusable. Seeing who was aboard, the Chief and Arbiter left their cover and followed Sev into the clearing.
"Look at this, Sev is capable of showing compassion," Scorch stated in mock disbelief, raising his arm in a weak greeting.
"Shut up, di'kut," Sev replied, taking care not to hit him because of his injuries. Instead, he wrapped an arm around his teammate's shoulders, obviously thrilled to see them alive. As the Chief got closer, he saw that all three of the newcomers were injured in one way or another, Adams having a particularly nasty wound on his leg.
"Why am I not surprised?" Boss asked, looking directly at the Chief. The Spartan was especially happy to see Boss alive; the commando and him had been through a lot. Boss was the one who had volunteered to go with him on his suicide mission into the Ark. The Chief hadn't expected to leave alive, and while Boss had known that, he still went purely out of loyalty. The Chief drew two of his fingers across his visor in greeting, one usually reserved for Spartans. It was how they would communicate an emotional outburst that couldn't be communicated through their armor. Boss nodded back, unable to return the greeting because of Adams but understanding what it meant.
"We need to get Adams into the Medical Bay ASAP," Boss stated, looking down at the Marine. After the Chief had spent all his time around the Rebels, it felt strange to see someone donned in UNSC Marine armor, even if it was outdated. "He's stable, but he took a beating on the way out."
"It looks like you all did," Sev said, concern creeping into his tone as he took in their appearance.
"Nothing bed and rest won't fix," Scorch replied, "Now, Sev, carry me back to base."
"I'm not carrying your lazy backside all the way back to base," Sev retorted, dropping his arm back to his side, the concern gone as he turned to walk away.
"I'll lead you there," the Chief stated before the two of them could continue on.
It was good to be back.
Author's Note: The Chief and Boss are back together! I've always enjoyed writing while the two of them are fighting in the same place, they've been favorite characters of mine for a while. Well, hopefully this will get me to write faster… Except for the release of that one game, Halo: Reach. You might have run by it a couple of times, I've heard it's pretty cool.
Well, that and college will be taking up a lot of my time as I'm in my sophomore year. It's crazy that I started this series when I was 13. Time goes by fast… You should read this, and then go back and read some of the early chapters of Halo: RC that I haven't revised yet, talk about making an improvement.
Alright, now I'm just rambling. Again, I thank you guys so much for being so loyal and putting up with me. Reviews are my writing crack, they really do keep me going. I could have given up on this long ago, but you guys always keep me going. Not to mention this story is just fun to write. :) I just want to say this isn't the only story I work on, I have about two others (three now, as I am starting a Mass Effect one), which partially explains the longer updates. Anyways, I'm just making excuses, thanks a ton for reading and I hope to see a review!