Chapter 3: UNSC Airforce mechanic
Episode 2: Crash site
Entry 264: 06-06-2527, 08:32
‘’A Longsword bomber was taken down early this morning, Wrench Hammer has been sent out to do search and rescue on the pilots and salvage what remains of the wreckage.
It is the first off-base mission Wrench Hammer since the Covies showed up, ‘bout three weeks ago.
We barely get any news on the war while on the base, which probably means the odds haven’t turned to our favor yet…
Anyway, we are about thirty kilometers south-south-west of Icarus Airbase and are now close to the crash site.’’
‘’John, get ready!’’
End of Entry.
‘’Carrigan, you patrol the southern perimeter.’’ Sergeant Rourke ordered Private AJ Carrigan. ‘’John, you patrol the western perimeter, make sure nothing creeps up on us.’’ Rourke ordered me as the Elephant transport vehicle came to a halt.
The doors opened and the two Elephants that made up for the majority of the convoy unfolded into a mobile base.
AJ and I quickly moved through the sand, not an easy task, and dropped to a knee, scanning the western perimeter.
I saw nothing, nothing but sand and rocks.
‘’All clear.’’ I said through the radio and the rest of Wrench Hammer left the Elephant, making for the wrecked remains of the Longsword bomber.1
Hector carried an large rotating saw and immediately started removing the rear hatch of the craft, trying to get inside so we could try to save the pilots.
Two medics jumped inside the moment Hector had removed the hatch.
Half a minute later they got out, shaking their heads.
Crews were silent for a few seconds, paying their respects to the dead before Rourke started giving orders again.
‘’Secure the bodies, salvage the wreck.’’ He told the team leaders, who immediately got to work.
‘’John, AJ, the two of you keep the perimeter secure.’’ He said over the radio.
I acknowledged by waving at him and got up on my feet, strolling around the vicinity, keeping a watchful eye towards the west.
After about an hour Rourke came to me, giving me a bottle of water.
‘’Absolutely nothing.’’ I said as I opened the bottle. ‘’How much longer?’’
‘’About two hours should do it.’’ Rourke told me. ‘’You want to be relieved?’’ he asked me.
‘’Nah.’’ I replied. ‘’I enjoy the silence.’’ I told him.
Rourke gave me a curious look.
‘’Don’t get weird on me, John.’’ He said.
‘’What took that thing down anyway?’’ I asked Rourke as I inclined my head towards the wreckage.
‘’Plasma fire to the engines.’’ Rourke said as he handed me a protein bar. ‘’Poor bastards never stood a chance.’’ He continued.
‘’Damn shame we didn’t get here in time.’’ I said as I noticed three body bags beside one of the Elephants.
‘’Don’t think it would have made any difference, really.’’ Rourke told me. ‘’They seem to have died on impact.’’
I shook my head as I considered such a death.
‘’I’ll leave you to your silence.’’ Rourke said and he turned away.
As he made his way back to the wreckage I turned my head back towards the west, checking to see if there was any movement.
I noticed a single cloud drift in the distance, but as I followed it something caught my eye.
A flash, like sunlight was reflected into my eye. Odd.
I turned my head a few times to see if I could get the flash to appear again but to no avail.
I decided to move a few meters closer, see if I could make anything out of it then.
Much to my surprise there was a piece of metal, about half a kilometer in front of me, barely visible.
I assumed it was from the wreckage, but it couldn’t be. It was of a different color…
It looked like a wall, a structure maybe.
It wasn’t Covenant, that was for sure.
A shed used by migrants perhaps? To hide from sand storms.
Yet it seemed like nothing was there, like it wasn’t supposed to be found.
But something was there, I was sure of it. I walked another ten meters towards the object and I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t supposed to be there.
‘’Lancaster!’’ Sergeant Rourke shouted across the sandy plains. ‘’Don’t stray too far, we need your eyes close by!’’ He said.
I was surprised at how far I had walked, I was almost three hundred meters away from the crash site.
I waved my arm at him and made my way back to the crash site, my back turned in the direction I was going, trying to see if I could spot the metal plate again.
When I was only a few meters removed from the crash site Rourke spoke again.
‘’What was out there, John?’’ He asked me as he picked up something that looked like a piece of communication hardware.
I thought about it, should I tell him what I saw?
After being on this world for months with him I still didn’t really trust him. I mean, I trusted him, but not any more than the next soldier in line.
‘’I’m not sure.’’ I eventually said, still facing the place I thought I had seen the metal plates.
‘’More wreckage?’’ Hector asked me as he flipped up his welding mask, the sweat pouring down his bearded face.
‘’No, way too shiny, a piece of glass that reflected the sun into my eyes I guess.’’ I said.
I did my best to sound convinced and they bought it.
Hector and Rourke both followed my gaze and shrugged.
Hector got back to work and Rourke went to see if others had already made some progress.
I continued my patrol, looking over my shoulder one last time to check if I could see the metal object, but no. It wasn’t there.
Little over two hours later we had secured most of the wreckage and had stowed it on the Elephants. Some minor scrap remained but we weren’t a recycling crew, we were there to salvage usable components and large sections that might be restored, so our job was done.
The men who were using the welding arcs were close to getting heat strokes and we decided to wrap things up.
The convoy started rolling, the Warthog again riding in the front, it’s turret constantly keeping guard to ensure we were safe, not like it would do us any good if a Seraph would appear, but still, it’s the thought that counts.
The two Elephants moved slow across the sand, careful not to drive directly into a sand bank. The crew of the Elephant I rode in were anxious, scared that they might be picked off by Covenant air forces.
If a Banshee, Phantom or Spirit showed up it was in for a nasty surprise though, for in the front of the Elephant lay a large metal case saying ‘GUNGNIR.’ Inside this case lay three Weapon/Anti-Vehicle Model 6 Grindell/Galilean Nonlinear Rifles, more commonly known as Spartan Lasers.
I had seen what those things did to their unfortunate victims; It wasn’t pretty.
‘’Sergeant Rourke!’’ One of the technicians said alarmed, making me reach for the GUNGNIR case on instinct.
‘’What is it?’’ Rourke asked, not noticing what I was doing.
‘’Icarus Airbase reports being under attack, sir!’’