“Commander Hargrove, you have a visitor.”
The older man sat up in his chair, turning around to see one of his guards having escorted a soldier in advanced armor, not un-similar to ones he has seen agents from another program wear.
“And just who are you, soldier?”
The other took off his helmet, a young yet battle-worn face staring at him with blue eyes, long black-brown hair combed back over his head, a neatly shaved chin-strap hugging his face.
“All you need to know is I am an agent for the Office of Naval Intelligence.” He said monotone as Hargrove sat up, completely caught off guard by such a visitor as the soldier pulled out an ID to prove it, the name printed on it clear as day:
Major Dawning, D-6
“And just what purpose do you have here in my prison?”
“I am here to take custody of Agent Washington for interrogation by officers from Section One.”
“Agent Washington is under my custody for crimes related to Project Freelancer, of which the UNSC Sub-Committee is currently,”
“ONI is seeking information relating to research advancements that Freelancer’s Director has kept under wraps for the past several years, and we feel that the Sub-Committee does not have the proper resources and logistics to thoroughly investigate Freelancer’s various crimes against the UNSC.” Jonas replied over him, an AI appearing over his shoulder as it pulled up records with the COs name on it.
“We know what you have done to have been promoted to such positions, Chairman. You will comply with our order or face severe consequences.”
Hargrove merely stared at him, a lump in his throat, unable to argue any longer when the AI pulled up the records, revealing several coups and slandering campaigns that lifted him to his current post, ones which ONI did not consider detrimental to their own goals… well, until now, at least.
“Very well,” he said with disgust as he ordered a guard to release and escort Washington to the docking bay, Jonas slipping his helmet back on as the AI pulled up another panel for itself, the prison’s database suddenly being hacked, data being deleted without a trace.
“You or anyone here will not speak of this visit or we will rat you out. Understand?”
Hargrove only nodded, Jonas shaking his head as he turned around to leave, the AI watching his back as they passed through the doors and back to their awaiting Pelican, the pilot contacting him as he made his way to the dock.
“Did everything go smoothly, Major?”
“Yeah, just had to press my authority a little bit, if you know what I mean. We are ONI Agents, after all.” He replied with a relaxed tone of voice, his eyes on the requested soldier being released from handcuffs, a bag of his belongings being tossed to him, a medium-sized crate labeled “Property of UNSC SUB-COM” being wheeled out past him to be loaded into the transport. Washington rubbed his wrists, still trying to understand what was going on as he looked up to see an armored soldier approaching him, his brow furrowing as the guards began to walk away.
“Who the hell are you, and what do you want with me?” he asked with an accusing tone, the other simply standing before him, picking up his bag and handing it to him firmly.
“I’m a Spartan from ONI’s Delta-Six Division. We have work for you, Washington.” He said pointing to the Pelican.
“Let’s go, we will talk more on the way.”
“So… you’re telling me that the Alpha and all the other AI fragments were destroyed in an EMP blast?” Maria questioned, Simmons looking indirectly toward her, nervously mending to her wounds as Sarge answered her question, wondering where a certain lazy orange soldier had gone.
“Yeah, Washington stayed behind with him while he made Caboose and the rest of us escape with some kind of storage device, I think it’s over there… Grif! Where the heck are you?”
Maria stared at the old soldier, disgruntled by the news, but even more so, the fact that not all of the fragments have been destroyed, only those belonging to the main group of freelancers that the Director choose before everyone else for his most critical missions. Her eyes wandered around the canyon just in time to see something big and orange suddenly sent flying across her point of view.
“I didn’t mean it,”
“I’M NOT BLOND YOU JERK!”
“Oh dear…” Heta remarked, shaking her head in annoyance as she watched Dawn launch Grif with a swift kick to the groin, Sarge looking around to see the soldier he was looking crashing into a pile of crates on the side of the base, merely ignoring his groans of pain, calling for him.
“Grif! On your feet or I will personally send you back in the other direction with the butt of my shotgun through one of the man-cannons! Let that be a lesson to you on what not to say to a pretty woman.”
“Gawd, why is it always in the groin?” he muttered as he rolled over to get up, Maria getting more annoyed as she got up, almost shoving Simmons over to go over to Dawn, who by now would be trying not to cry over such petty words, but she stopped upon seeing the blue solider that the red team leader mentioned.
“What’s wrong?” Caboose asked, having walked over to find the new soldier on her knees, struggling not to cry over a petty insult.
“I’m not blond, Damnit,”
“Your blond?” the blue asked confused, but instead of an answer, he got a helmet to the face, knocking him off his feet, revealing a young, distressed face covered in messy black hair, a long red bang being pushed aside as she began to cry outright.
“Oh come on, really?” Maria thought out loud, Sarge chuckling as Grif finally hobbled on into the base to check with his CO, but not before opening his mouth.
“It’s just Caboose. He’s a freaking dumb-ass, if you haven’t noticed.”
“Says the one who got groin-launched clear though the air for making a blond joke,” Simmons remarked, but before Grif could make a rebuttal, Maria smacked him hard enough to make him tumble into a man-cannon and out of the base.
“Shut the hell up, all of you. You’re giving me a headache.” She said stressing out slightly, Sarge remaining silent as he continued to watch the antics of the single blue soldier, who was now scurrying around, looking for something.
“Agent Hawaii, you need to calm down, the blue soldier did not mean to,”
Heta didn’t finish her sentence as Dawn continued to cry, sighing once again in a growing frustration with her host’s inability to control her emotions. She looked around to see Caboose approaching her awkwardly with his hands behind his back, which got it worried.
“What do you want now?” she called out in a warning tone, but he continued to approached until he was standing right in front of her, kneeling down gently to reveal what he had in his hands: Dawn’s helmet in his right, a single flower in his left.
“Here, is this yours?” he asked with a calm tone, Dawn looking up to see the soldier she tossed her helmet at with a flower, his voice sincere, as if what she had done didn't happen at all.
“Yea…Yes. That’s my helmet. Thank you.” She stuttered out, taking it back before looking at the flower. It was freshly picked, despite a petal or two beginning to fall off. She sniffled through a few more tears before wiping her face, gently taking the flower from him.
“Are you okay now?” he asked, Dawn nodding gently. Heta remained silent, unable to express her complete and utter awe by what he had been able to do.
“Oh Caboose,” Sarge said chuckling once again watching the touching moment come to its conclusion. “He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed… come to think it, he’s like a big rubber mallet, but anyway, he’s completely harmless, couldn't even hurt a fly. Well, unless someone smashes that fly with the mallet.”
Maria wasn’t fully paying attention to Caboose and Dawn making nice, but to something glinting off in the distance, as if someone was watching him. When she focused in on it, it seemed to move, disappearing out of sight without a trace.
“Someone’s watching us. We need to get moving or else.”