Anya fiddled with the ear piece as she adjusted it in order for it to sit more comfortably in her ear; she was more used to the headset she usually adorned in CIC. Just as she became satisfied with it, it came alive with static and the voice of Lieutenant Kim entered her hearing. He was addressing Colonel Hoffman who sat opposite her though her channel was open and she could hear what he was saying
"Sir, we'll be leaving shortly...we're waiting for Private Santiago he has gone to retrieve Marcus Fenix"
The breath caught in her throat when she heard his name, though she managed to start breathing again as she heard Hoffman reply although clearly displeased.
"Repeat that Lieutenant"
"Private Santiago has gone to retrieve Marcus Fenix, sir"
"Copy that...We will rendezvous with you at Embry Square and you'll receive your orders"
It seemed she wasn't the only person who thought they'd heard wrong, but how could he still be alive? She remembered when he had been sentenced, it had broken her heart and the only comfort she had taken had been from the fact that he had managed to avoid a death sentence, but that didn't mean he couldn't die in the prison. Anya thought about that and felt a dull ache, she had thought he was dead...life expectancy for an inmate in the maximum security penitentiary was at best a few years, she had started grieving for him.
It wasn't like he had given her any indication he was still alive, he had forbidden her from visiting him, she wanted to but she respected his wishes, she knew he probably had his reasons, though she wrote. Many letters had passed from her hands to be sent to him, letters in which she opened up to him more than she maybe should have...after all she didn't expect to be seeing him for forty years and that was basically life. Anya adjusted slowly in her seat so that she could better look out of the Raven, though she wasn't really taking in the passing landscape. What must he have thought of her from her letters? Did they embarrass him? She hadn't received any from him in return, not one for the many she wrote to him, and she had convinced herself that she had disturbed or angered him somehow. Those thoughts made her nervous and she started fiddling with her fingers without really noticing, internally she started berating herself, she needed to concentrate on the task ahead of her not lost in her own mind and memories.
Though her mind was determined and all she could think about was whether Dom would actually find Marcus alive, what condition would he be in if he was? What had he been through while he was there? She knew the locust had pretty much taken the prison over. Anya sighed inwardly as she tried to focus on how he had looked the last time she had seen him...it wasn't very hard she had called his image up in her mind's eye more times than she cared to count. She had always found him handsome, ever since she first saw him back when she was a cadet taking her role as a Comms officer for Operation Leveller, stealing glances at him while her Mother lectured her on what she needed to do.
Though she remembered it had been the events after Aspho that had brought herself, Dom and Marcus together as friends, Marcus and Dom received Embry Stars for their actions during the battle, Anya herself collected a Star for her Mother who had died blowing up an Asp anti-air vehicle. Of course the press had been very eager to hear her story and that of Marcus and Dom, but they had shielded her from the cameras and eager interviewers, which she had appreciated no end. While she thought on that her memories automatically brought her to the evening dinner she had been invited to by Adam Fenix, Marcus's Father; it had been an awkward night full of formality that even Marcus didn't seem comfortable with, it was clear that it was and wasn't where he belonged. The awkwardness of the meal hadn't been helped by Adam Fenix's perspectives on what they would do with their Embry Stars; he had suggested they go to a museum, she supposed that was just how people of his type did things, but no she had had enough of public grief, and it was all she had left of her mother, she wasn't going to part with it easily. That was the moment she became more confident...her mother wasn't there for her anymore she had to stand on her own two feet and stand up for herself and what she believed in, she wasn't going to be shy and quiet anymore.
Marcus had made sure she had gotten to her Mother's apartment after the meal; she'd had a few drinks along with everyone else there and Dom had offered to take her, though Marcus had insisted instead, offering his arm to her, since that evening something had grown between them. Anya poked her head out of the side of the Raven dragging herself back to the present. She noticed they were close to Embry Square now and she found that she really was nervous but even a little curious, as well as a whole array of other emotions that were pushing their way forward in her mind, but she pushed them back... she had a job to do.
Anya grabbed the small pile of papers that she had tucked in a compartment beside her; they were varying maps of the area which she would use to guide the squad until she got back to her monitors at Command. If they needed guidance before she got there she had to be able to give them the assistance they needed...their lives could depend on it. At last their Raven landed with a little jolt, and Colonel Hoffman got up and ducked out of the side to stand and wait for Delta's chopper. While they waited she continued to check and recheck the maps, but caught a glimpse of the Colonel as he paced around outside. She was distracted by her maps for a moment when she tried to make sense of the Colonels actions. She knew the man well, she had been working with him for the majority of the Locust/human war, deciding to leave Marcus in the prison had been something she would consider out of character. Anya didn't allow herself to ponder on it too long and returned her concentration on the maps in her hand.
Ten minutes later and she heard the sound of another Raven, even over the noise of her own she could hear it and her heart rate quickened...would he really be there? Or was she about to find out that she had started grieving for good reason? Delta's Raven landed and she realised she had actually stood up, maps forgotten as she clamped her eyes on the helicopter, it landed and then a figure ducked out and under the rotors to come face to face with Colonel Hoffman. It was him she could tell by the way he moved and the fact she had caught a glimpse of a bandanna...he was the only man she knew who wore one. The conversation that passed between the Colonel and Marcus was inaudible for her and she expected the others as well, though she knew from the body language of the two men that they were going to be at odds with each other for some time.
Colonel Hoffman took Lieutenant Kim in order to give him his orders, she already knew what they were and she had all of the information she needed in order to guide them through it safely. Something blipped behind her and she turned to check the little monitor in the Raven only to notice that a group of Locust were heading for their location. She decided she had better inform the Colonel, though she decided she would get out of the Raven to give her message, she really wanted to check that her eyes weren't lying to her, that and for some reason she wanted to make sure Marcus knew she was there.
"Sensors are picking up enemy movement...sir, close by"
She took a glance at Marcus only to find he was already looking at her, for a second their eyes met holding each other's gaze before it registered in their minds who they were looking at. He really was there, he looked tired she thought to herself, and there were more lines in his face than she remembered, but the most prominent thing that caught her attention was a long jagged scar down the right side of his face. The expression he held interested her, for once it was oddly readable and she could see the surprise there, though there was something else she couldn't quite place. Before she could even try to place it however, a sound caught her ears and she turned in the direction it had come from. Just as she spotted a locust drone run across past some pillars, gunfire exploded around Colonel Hoffman and Lieutenant Kim, with additional bullets clanging off of the Raven around her. Ducking quickly she jumped back up into the cover of the Raven unable to do anything but watch the Gears she would soon be in charge of fight off the assault.
The locust drones were grimly determined, it amazed her just how frenzied they were in battle, even now they were continuing to stream down the stairs despite the onslaught of Lancer ammunition they were being greeted with, not for the first time she wondered just what their motives were. As she watched Colonel Hoffman debriefed the Lieutenant taking shelter behind some sandbags, in the corner of her eye she saw Marcus stand up and fire across the stairs, there was anger there or something else, something he needed to get out of his system. An explosion flashed and she instinctively tucked herself back into the safety of the helicopter, and she stayed there until she heard Colonel Hoffman refer to her.
"But the Lieutenant here will be feeding you Intel"
"Yes Sir and the smart thing to do right now would be to leave" She replied taking a cautious glance out of the Raven
It was a true statement, but she knew it was also a light hearted one...she couldn't be heard to be nervous or anxious when it came down to communicating with Gears, she had to be the voice of calm and stability, she was there to guide them through the crap and get them on the other side in one piece. It was a role she took very seriously indeed, she knew the cost if she failed and failure wasn't an option for her anymore, she had learnt that the hard way, as all CIC officers did.
At last the gunfire stopped and her ears stopped ringing, she watched as Colonel Hoffman marched over to Marcus, again she couldn't hear what was being said but it was obvious that whatever had transpired irritated the both of them equally. She hoped that they might eventually gain a level of understanding between them but she knew it would take time, that's even if Delta managed to succeed in their mission. No, she knew they would succeed, they had to... humanity was holding its breath this was their last chance, she wasn't sure if there would be anymore after this one.