Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Chapter 11

0520 hours, December 25, 2521 (Military Calendar) / Epsilon Eridani System, Reach Military Complex, planet Reach

“The Chief’s message is simple for today,” John said after brushing his teeth. “Today is a non-training day.”

All of the team leaders cheered a little, but quietly.

“The only difference is that any team that lost their flag yesterday and failed to grab their opponent’s flag, will be running the Jungle Gym from thirteen ‘til seventeen.”

The jungle gym is a miniature obstacle course behind the barracks. It begins with running through slalom poles before climbing under a log. Then, you jump over another log and have to cross a plate of polished steel with an inch of water on it without slipping. After that, you climb a rope over a wall. Once over the wall, you climb a ladder and have to crawl across a metal pole. On the other side, you run across a sand pit. In the end, you climb a ladder and drop into waist-deep water. Then, you run all the way back to the beginning and start over until Chief Mendez gets tired.

I saw Jerome shoot a glare at Jane. I didn’t have to worry because I didn’t lose my flag yesterday and got Purple’s. Maria smiled at me and punched my shoulder, though. “If it weren’t for Gary’s vandalism of your side’s turret, you never would have taken our flag.”

“Hey, don’t blame me, blame it on Murphy.”

Everyone laughed at the comment, which had become a running joke through the squad. Even Murphy used it.

I finished cleaning up and made sure my squad was squared away before heading down for morning calisthenics. Like yesterday, Chief Mendez ran us through two sets of three. Today, it was jumping jacks, flutter kicks, and dips. Again, it was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would have been. Although, my legs were yelling at me during the flutter kicks because of the leg work I did in the gym yesterday.

The run was a little more eventful than yesterday. The signal passed through the line to split and sprint. Five steps later, I heard the whistle and broke left. It was barely in time to miss the spray of an automated turret firing at chest height. It slewed left and right just enough to be able to catch us all if we were still in formation.

Gary, Jorge, and Alice were beside the turret in a couple of seconds and had it disabled before Chief Mendez passed it. Then, Jorge signaled to single-file behind the Chief as they ran up and disabled the mines that had been placed under the street. Most were fully visible, but there were some camouflaged in the bushes. In the end, they began just chucking rocks at the mines to let them detonate safely before the group could get near them.

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To read more, visit Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves on fanfiction.net.

Please feel free to post your reviews/criticisms/critiques here and/or there as I thrive on them (positive and negative).
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Chapter 12

0600 hours, December 28, 2521 (Military Calendar) / Epsilon Eridani System, Reach Military Complex, planet Reach

For the next few days, our training was as it usually is. Wake up with PT, followed by classes. After that, we ran to Painland for lunch. At Painland, we were training with the M-1953 Bell Industries Bullfrog Jump Pack. It’s use, advanced principles of its use, tactics, marksmanship, and a couple of squad tactical drills. After the training, we would run back to the barracks for dinner, and then have free time until lights out.

The most notable thing to happen was with Murphy, go figure. He landed wrong during the hopper drills and ended up falling and activating the pack again. He shot right along the ground like a missile, ending up crashing to finally stop. Lucky, he crashed into something that easily broke apart. Unluckily, it was a portable head. Hicks and Gibbs were both trying not to laugh as they hosed him off to cut down on some of the smell.

The morning of the 28th was as normal as every morning had been at first. John didn’t get any new information about the daily training. However, I knew something was up when I ran outside for physical training formation. There weren’t enough instructors, and that made me cautious. But, I still fell in like usual, listening for any potential ambush.

“Today’s mission,” Mendez began. “Will be an assault against Tango Company at their base!”

Mission briefings were generally free of surprise attacks, but that didn’t stop the Chief from using them. About a year back, we went into a briefing room and was surprised by one. Even though half the squad was knocked out by the instructor attack, we were still supposed to accomplish the mission. It’s a good thing those who weren’t shot had good memories because the Chief never stopped with the briefing.

“After this briefing, we will transit to the airfield where you will be issued cold weather gear, individual weapon systems, and a Bullfrog Jump Pack. You will be released into the western edge of the Wilderness Reserve and must make your way to the Tango Company firebase. Once there, you will secure MY flag and make your way back to the training installation! Anyone not in my formation in front of the barracks at 2000 will be listed as AWOL and face punishment! Do you understand me?”

“Sir. Yes, sir!” We all yelled out in unison. That would mean about twelve hours to complete the mission, depending on when the lift time was.

We ran to the airfield where we changed into our cold-weather fatigues in the middle of the tarmac. Nothing motivates you to change quickly like a -5 Celsius wind-chill. Mendez had us select our preferred weapons and then we were all issued Bullfrogs jump packs. Mine was the only one that had a defect, but it was just a secondary fuel line that was purposefully disconnected.

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To read more, visit Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves on fanfiction.net.

Please feel free to post your reviews/criticisms/critiques here and/or there as I thrive on them (positive and negative).
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Chapter 13

0515 hours, February 20, 2522 (Military Calendar) / Epsilon Eridani System, Reach Military Complex, planet Reach

John was already in the head brushing his teeth when I got in there. I looked at him in the mirror and he shook his head no. Since Red jumped Jane, the Chief hasn’t been sending John any schedule updates on his datapad. We had no idea what to prepare for, even if just a hint.

I washed my face and brushed my teeth. My arms were still sore from yesterday. Chief Mendez had us scaling the side of the barracks and free-rappelling down from after dinner until hygiene time. My palms were still raw, even though we were using gloves.

Jerome walked in toward the end of our meeting and we all just glared. Red still hadn’t come forward. Two days of fast and they didn’t come forward. Almost two months of only having 30 minutes of free time in the evening, and they didn’t come forward. None of us would disobey the Chief and beat the crap out of any of Red Team, but it didn’t mean we had to show them that we liked them, either.

The bay lights came on and I made sure the rest of my Team was up and running. I went back and cleaned by bunk before running out to PT formation. Cross-country skiers, hand jumps (from close hand to wide arm), and leg spreaders; two sets of each. After flag honors, wind sprints at a fast run through the ten mile course to the academy.

The moment I sat down at my desk, I downed my entire bottle of water. The room hadn’t changed, but I noticed that I no longer fit in my desk like I used to. My legs could touch the underside of the table if I lifted my feet onto my toes. Also, it seemed closer to me than it did before. I looked around and could see that everything looked the same, but also different from when we all first arrived.

I just shrugged and started eating. Today was a Military History class, so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding time to study. Five minutes into breakfast, Dèjá appeared. She didn’t look any different. Still just as beautiful as the first day we arrived, and still as punctual as ever.

“Today we will be learning about one of the best fighting forces from the twentieth until twenty-second centuries. The United States Navy SEALs.”

A man appeared beside her in the standard camouflage of the time period. He was wearing a floppy-brimmed cap and carrying a submachine gun. One of the pieces of equipment he was carrying looked like some kind of oversized air tank.

“In many ways, you are similar to the SEALs.” Dèjá told us. “They were highly trained to the point of physical perfection and prepared to accomplish any mission. They were not standard forces, but the pinnacle of the Special Forces units for their country. As a matter of fact, comparing normal troops to the SEALs would be like comparing a club to a katana.”

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To read more, visit Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves on fanfiction.net.

Please feel free to post your reviews/criticisms/critiques here and/or there as I thrive on them (positive and negative).
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Chapter 14

0744 hours, May 17, 2522 (Military Calendar) / Malibu Shores System, Midway Field Base, planet Emerald Cove

DR. HALSEY’S NOTE: I am not surprised by the actions that my Spartans undertook this week. When Franklin took them back to total control, I told him that they would rebel. Even the useless ONI psychologists warned that this would happen. What surprises me is the skill they used to undertake such an endeavor. They did not have long to plan it, but it happened with such a masterful precision that I know now this program is succeeding. I have also instructed Franklin to lift the restrictions he had put them under, rather than tightening them even more. Next time, they might not allow us to find them.

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I was awoken with the sound of hissing and cold. My eyes hurt as I forced them open. Swallowing was reflexive when someone feels liquid in their mouth, but it usually helped if one had actual air in their lungs. Even after twenty times coming out of cryo, it still felt very uncomfortable. But, I still reached out and hit the inner release to open my tube.

Everyone had their cryo pods open now, and there were about two-dozen trainers standing around in the room. They weren’t here to help us, though. For the past four months, they were here to supervise and motivate us if they felt we were not moving fast enough.

After Black was released from the Brig and Red returned from the infirmary, Mendez put us on total lock-down. There were trainers in the head, trainers in the shower, trainers in the mess, and trainers in the gym. Mendez had even attempted to station trainers in the classroom, but Dèjá forbade it. Instead, he stationed them directly outside the door to listen for any voices they believed were too loud or not loud enough. It didn’t matter if they were real or imagined.

I leaned over the open grate in front of the cryo pod and forced myself to take a deep breath. I imagined that was what drowning felt like because I couldn’t get more than a bubbling feeling into my chest rather than air. I coughed and felt that fluid coating my lungs spill out of my mouth and into the ship’s sewage system or wherever it went. Once more, and I was finally able to take a full breath.

“Status report,” I said to my left.

Christy, Gary, and Corey all responded in more or less the positive, but Gary did so through more coughs with a thumb up.

“White team up,” I yelled out in unison with other Team Leader voices. It was more of a croaking sound, but it was audible.

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To read more, visit Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves on fanfiction.net.

Please feel free to post your reviews/criticisms/critiques here and/or there as I thrive on them (positive and negative).
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Chapter 15

0900 hours, May 18, 2522 (Military Calendar) / Malibu Shores System, Midway Field Base, planet Emerald Cove

The next morning, I woke up at 0515, looked around at all the other team leaders, and decided to go back to sleep. I remember being jostled a little at 0530 when most everyone else woke up and moved around before going back to sleep themselves. I woke up again at 0900 and found about a quarter of the squad burying the dying embers of the fire. Ralph said Cyan smoked a bunch of the clams, fish, and birds for everyone for breakfast.

Everyone else got up around ten and ate. It was strange not doing PT, even stranger not having to wake up so early. But, the sun was up and it was warm. I went and hit the cat hole before diving into the ocean to wash. I almost lost my survival skin when a wave spun me around, but was able to catch it. I swam out about fifteen minutes and then back, just to do some exercise so I wouldn’t feel so bad. When I got back, everyone was doing their own thing.

A few people were weaving nets to catch fish. Some were doing the same to make baskets to hold food and live lizard birds. Anton, Corey, and five others were carving up some fallen logs to make body boards for surfing. I went with a dozen others to check out some caves at the base of the mountain. Christy caught up when we were about halfway there.

They weren’t steep, but we still tied off to a tree before rappelling into them. Sheila used the light from her magnum to see down. It was an old lava tube and ended after only about twenty-five meters or so. But, at the bottom, there was a huge mass of quartz. It turned Sheila’s light into a rainbow on the walls. It was amazing. After a while, we pulled ourselves up out of the tunnel and made our way back to camp.

We were almost there when we heard the engines approaching. A flight of Sparrowhawks were incoming and we each hit the ground and ringed up on the trees. I could see the beach and saw everyone doing the same, including a group out in the waves who just disappear beneath the tide. After a minute or two, the jets passed over and we continued what we were doing.

I got to the beach and Corey tossed me one of the body boards he carved. “Time to have a little fun, Jason.”

“Doing what,” I asked, looking at the board with a raised eyebrow.

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To read more, visit Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves on fanfiction.net.

Please feel free to post your reviews/criticisms/critiques here and/or there as I thrive on them (positive and negative).
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Chapter 16

0515 hours, September 17, 2522 (Military Calendar) / Epsilon Eridani System, Reach Military
Complex, planet Reach


The past four months have been a huge improvement. We were given back our free time and the instructors were pulled back, too. We can talk while studying, can talk in the head, and can spend most evenings working out or studying or even catching up on some sleep as we see fit! We are still going through training, but we seem to be getting into the larger stuff now.

All this month, we’ve been going over the GA-TL1 Longsword-class Interceptor. The first week was familiarization with, and maintenance of, the fighter-bomber. After that, we were each trained in the four different positions: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and engineer. Last week, we qualified on each position according to UNSC training guidelines, but we all also felt more comfortable at different roles. I was a better pilot and Christy was a better co-pilot. Corey took to navigation like it was one of his sniper missions and Gary was a great engineer (I think because he got to play with the explosive load outs more).

This morning, I woke up at 0515 with the rest of the squad leaders for the briefing while we got ready in the head. John was waiting for us, like usual. He had already brushed his teeth and wiped down his bunk, and was just waiting for us with his datapad. I brushed my teeth as we waited for Jane to get off the toilet so we could begin.

Chief Mendez sent John the training schedule this morning and it looked like the majority of the day would be spent in the simulators. We’d be flying a full mission to launch a Shiva warhead at an enemy capital ship. A full mission meant pilot rations. My mouth turned down at the thought of the nutrient paste. It tasted worse than the MRE Jambalaya.

Robert and Susan actually made audible sounds of disgust, but they were only saying what the rest of us were thinking. I didn’t mind the zero-gravity training in the simulators, but it wasn’t as good as the real thing. It just felt weird and made my stomach do things that it usually didn’t in real zero-g.

I got back into the bay with about five minutes to spare, so I wiped down my rack and then went to let the rest of my team know what was going to be happening. They were just as elated as the rest of the squad when it came to what lunch would probably be. Gary, oddly enough, just licked his lips with a smile. We finished getting ready and ran outside for PT.

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To read more, visit Halo: Checkmate, book 1 - Opening Moves on fanfiction.net.

Please feel free to post your reviews/criticisms/critiques here and/or there as I thrive on them (positive and negative).
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Is this being continued on here? Or is it just going to be on FanFiction.net?
Both. I've been in the middle of a situation for the past few months that is about to complete itself, one way or another. Expect to see some updates within the next couple of months.
 

Jason 078

Well-Known Member
Update: The situation has completed itself and I am back to writing. I had to take a break from this story for some paying writing, but I'm back now. I'm going through and reading/editing this from page one to get my head back into the game and will be posting updated chapters and new chapters fairly soon.
 
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