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    Metal and Mettle.

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    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

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    Join date : 2013-01-17
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    Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Bad John on August 22nd 2015, 12:01 am

    Dr. Bailey stood before a looming cabal of goliaths. There were six men and women presiding over the Security Council. She hadn't dreamed that her request would be considered so seriously.

    She had Walter A. Law, the leftmost figure, to thank for this meeting. The broad shouldered, square jawed, behemoth of a man looked down on her from behind the long desk. Billy-Jean Bailey wondered if he'd facilitated this meeting simply to crush her. He'd seemed so sincere when he listened to her pitch a week ago.

    She'd been intoxicated then, and he'd been charming. He seemed to know she had big ideas, but was constantly blackballed at every turn.

    Bailey reflected on the night as Lord Hood rapped a stack of papers against the table, as the Security Council prepared to speak, waiting for their green light. The room was being checked for wire-taps and bugs, giving Bailey the time she needed to reflect on her meeting with Mister Law.

    "Everything I suggest is either called 'too expensive,' or given a once over before the REMF's say 'we'll consider it,' then they sweep it under the rug!" Bailey leaned against a massive ionic column, speaking to the man before her. She had a light blush across her face, and a champagne balanced between her fingertips.

    She dressed fairly conservatively, sporting a white top and a black dress, her brown hair tied into a loose pony-tail down her back. Normally, men were easy for her to pick apart, but she couldn't get a read on Walter. Something in his eyes told her to just be honest and vent for once.

    "I perused your technological proposals. Del Rio's inner circle was quick to dismiss your schematics and pitches, but I'd like to integrate some of your armor patterns into the standard issue Spartan IV suits. If you'd be interested in allowing me."

    Bailey's eyebrows shot up, and she nearly lost her balance. "...You got ahold of my idea...and didn't just steal it?"

    "What sort of base villain would take such blatant advantage? We're on the same side, Miss Bailey." Walter grasped her hand, lifting it gently in his firm grip. The doctor consented to the light contact, relaxing her arm and letting him hold her hand.

    ...This guy is smooth as hell. Bailey absentmindedly noted the fact. Handsome, a baritone voice, and incredibly suave.

    It also helped that he was built like a tractor. He's bigger than my Spartans. He must work out...

    "Something tells me you have something on your mind, Miss Bailey, and I am a man who makes things happen." Walter placed a hand on her hip, guiding her towards the dance floor. "Shall we talk more about it on the floor?"

    The two took to the center of the room, and Bailey, thoroughly loosened by Walter's charm, spilled her guts. "Well, I was thinking about-"

    "-starting a research, diplomatic relation, and disaster relief oriented Paramilitary Team, dedicated to hunting high value targets and improving human-alien relations." It was a mouthful to say, but Bailey managed. Lord Hood raised an eyebrow.

    Admiral Osman sighed deeply, pressing her face into her palm. "...This is a waste of time. Of course the answer is no."

    "Hold, Osman." Walter boldly spoke his mind, turning his head towards Osman. "Your answer may be no, but from what I've heard, everyone has said no to this young woman. I've been through some of her proposals in the past, and every one of them was years ahead of its time. She's designed armor and weapons systems that could have given us an advantage in covert operations and ground engagements." Law looked down at Bailey with an approving eye. "I believe, if we had listened to her more often during the war, we would have a great deal more Spartan III soldiers left standing. As a handler, and an inventor, she is worth listening to."

    Lord Hood lifted his hand. "Walter, while I agree, I'm not sure that giving her an entire paramilitary company just to make up for saying 'no' to her is the wisest route to take."

    The council turned to Bailey when she held up a hand, pointing three fingers up. "Three, people. Three different Sangheili houses have personally offered to do business with me in regards to weapons trading and military alliance. The brutes have been ransacking outer colonies. They're recruiting jackals, drones, and lekgolo who stray too far from their home systems. The things going on in deep space could snowball."

    Bailey stepped forward, lifting her tacpad. "I have several people willing to throw in with me already. Retired Admiral James D. Teach wants to help me manage my naval assets. Doctor Misami Oriai, one of the original developers of the Spartan IV augmentations has offered to be my head medical officer-"

    "And let me guess, the Spartan III commandos you've handled are willing to step up for you?" Osman furrowed her brow, leaning forward. "Those aren't assets for you to utiliz-"

    "They aren't assets at all. They're free citizens, and they're behind me 110%. Any one of them who wants to opt out can." Bailey stood her ground. "We're prepared to work with you, and fight the war you can't. We can garner Sangheili sympathizers. Hell, we already have, in some instances. We can track down threats that the UNSC isn't flexible enough to hit. We can provide disaster relief to outer colonies who are being raided by covenant forces."

    General Hogan waved his hand. "If you intend to exist outside the chain of command, who's gonna hold you accountable if you screw up or turn traitor?"

    Bailey pointed her hand towards the council. "You. Even if you give me what I'm asking for, you'll have me outnumbered, and you'll have a constant bead on my location."

    "...And you're fine with being declared an enemy combatant on the day we decide you've gone too far?"

    Bailey anchored herself to the ground when Walter spoke. His words hit her like a freight train, as he leaned in with particular interest. The giant of a man was gauging her courage. He was staring directly into her soul.

    "...If you grant me what I'm asking," Bailey looked into Walter's eyes, standing her ground, "I will provide a service and a perspective the UNSC lacks. I may be able to tell you when you have gone too far."

    Bailey had no idea how correct that statement was. Neither did Law. The two of them looked into each-other's eyes as the pregnant pause carried for a few agonizing moments.

    Osman cleared her throat. "I read your proposal, and the personnel who have agreed to follow your lead. You have a Spartan II with you, correct?"

    "Jorge-052," Bailey reported. "When he discovered I was recruiting, he signed on before I could even ask him. He said he wanted to do something that matters."

    Lord Hood looked around the room. The Security Council individually nodded to each-other.

    "...All those in favor, say aye."

    "Aye." Hogan, Hood, Walter, Dellart, and Strauss all loudly gave their approval.

    Osman frowned, pinching the bridge of her nose. "...And what exactly will be the first course of action for your Freelancers?"

    Bailey, her eyes wide with disbelief and glee, lifted her TACPAD, displaying an image of a silver haired Brute. "This guy. We're going to find Comedus, the leader of the most hostile current jiralhanae clan, and kill him."

    Walter nodded with enthusiastic approval, as Lord Hood interjected. "Consider the next two years an extended probationary period. We reserve the right to reel you in, and pull your funding, Doctor. Having said that...happy hunting."

    "That's quite a proposal, Bailey. I'm not sure of your enthusiasm for working with our old enemies...but you may prove useful in such a lofty role."

    Bailey was silent, starstruck that such a respectable man approved of her idea. "You've been sandbagged, Miss Bailey. Ignored and shut out. But even the blackest curtain cannot contain a shining star such as you, or your Spartans. Though there are those who would stall you, I believe, soon, your time will come."

    "...Your arms are like pythons," the doctor mumbled.

    "...Perhaps I should call you a cab."
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    It's Kruger
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  It's Kruger on August 22nd 2015, 9:16 am

    *Ahem.*

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!
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    Manny
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Manny on August 22nd 2015, 11:11 am

    *squeal of glee*
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    Shad0wChas3r
    Database Director

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 22nd 2015, 2:02 pm

    it has begun...


    _________________


    \\'Boyo\\'

    Thanks for Reading!

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    Bad John
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    Old Friends.

    Post  Bad John on August 24th 2015, 10:17 pm

    "Coooooooooooooomedus..."

    Light footsteps echoed throughout the narrow, dark hallway. A Spartan was making no effort to move quietly, letting his boots fall without care for the sound. John-B069 WANTED the jiralhanae to hear him.

    "Come out to plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay."

    There was chatter on his comms. Gunfire and desperate commands to get inside the building. The moment John entered alone, the entire facility locked down. It was a trap, but not much of one, by the Spartan III's standards.

    "This was a shitty plan, Comedus. Your trap is a one-on-one fair fight? Do you have any idea how many brutes I've killed that way?!"

    It took a whole lot of fighting, but John had finally done it. He'd cornered Comedus inside an ONI office building. The Brutes came down on Beta Hydri VI with an iron fist. Regrettably, it took the Freelancers too long to arrive. The inhabitants of the archipelago had either fled or been wiped out. Their target was ONI's store rooms.

    The bosses, Captain Teach, Doctor Oriai, and most importantly Doc Bailey were never told what the site hid despite an hour of prying, so John could only guess. He could, however, put an end to this conflict.

    "Dualscar." A husky, rakish voice came over the building's intercom. "You remember my father? From your planet Reach?"

    John clicked his teeth. He'd spent a very limited amount of time on that planet, but he remembered that name. A brute chieftain had slashed his chest with a pair of metal tipped claws, putting two deep scratches in his SPI armor's visor. He and the Chieftain fought to a standstill, and John narrowly escaped with his life, leaving the brute blind in one eye.

    "My father wrote poems and songs about his fight with you. The Demon who blinded him. The demon who fled." What came next was a strange, rhythmic rumbling. Like the bass on a car's speakers. The brute was laughing.

    It was an unsettling noise. John had heard brutes rejoice, but this laugh was different. Like the growls of an angel.

    "I recognize your movements from his stories. The way you beat our brutes. Even with a different demon-shell, your moves...I remember you from his tales."

    John lifted his voice. "Is this a conversation, or do you just love the sound of your own voice?" He made sure to speak loud enough that his voice would carry, as he kept his hand tight and low, wrapped around an energy sword. A gift from Ripa Tenebrose, he used it when he wasn't sure he could win.

    The Spartan III watched several recordings of Comedus in battle. The jiralhanae swatted the head off of an armored Spartan IV with a bare hand. That kind of brute force was no joke.

    "John, are you there? Respond."


    It was Lucy. John heard genuine worry in her voice. "Do not engage. This is a RED TARGET. Just stay put until I can get a vantage point and put eyes on him."

    It was too late. Comedus stepped around the corner. As John theorized, the Brute had a massive smile on his face. He held what looked like a simple, black metal cudgel. Another identical weapon hung from his belt.

    John had never seen such simple weaponry in a brute's hands. They typically went for extravagant gravity hammers. Scrawled with silver runes, these short clubs looked downright utilitarian. John lit his energy sword, the blue, simple blade sparking to life as he approached. Bullets would only piss Comedus off.

    "John! WATCH OUT! Four contacts on your sides!" Lucy's warning came at the last possible instant. Comedus was never alone. Four brutes sprang from adjacent rooms the moment John was in position.

    The Spartan turned to see a spike rifle jetting towards his face. He caught the weapon and redirected it, driving his energy sword into the offending brute's gut. He turned, and slashed the blade in a wide, powerful swipe. The sword met a tiny bit of resistance, but it cut through two brutes like a machete through sugarcane. The Spartan turned, and caught the last of the four by the arm, thrusting his knee. The brute doubled over, and John brought his elbow down on the jiralhanae's noggin, shattering the brute's skull.

    Comedus had reached him by then. John could feel the brute's footsteps. He smirked, silently thanking the brute for getting in range of his blade. "Eat it."


    John swung his weapon hard, but alas, it couldn't be that easy. The brute stepped back and brought around his club, striking the base of John's energy sword. The clash went horribly for John's weapon; unable to pierce the metal, the energy field holding the sword together shorted out, sparking and extinguishing. The weapon, now, was about as useful as a microphone.

    The Spartan stepped back as Comedus brought down his club. The blow crashed down on the brute John had mauled, sending blood rocketing from the deceased jiralhanae's mouth. John stepped back quickly, as Comedus pursued with a slow, confident, powerful stroll. The whole time, Comedus was giggling.

    "John, I have visual, but my rounds can't pierce that deep into the building. Get him by a window." John backed up, keeping his fists raised as Comedus confidently bound forward. "Don't fucking ignore me right now, John. Get him by a window."


    Lucy's voice was absent to John, whose heartbeat pounded. He stepped in, and Comedus swung his hammer around. The Spartan ducked, and the blow smashed a hole in the wall. Lucy, for a moment, could see through the window of an office room. Taking her chance, she took the shot. The bullet struck Comedus' arm, but did little more than annoy him. The metal of his armor and the quality of his shielding was insanely stern.

    Grunting with frustration, the sniper, standing on the roof of a neighboring building, leapt to another rooftop to keep a clean line fo sight with her Promethean vision.

    John stepped in and struck against Comedus, the fight moving further down the hall. He threw an uppercut into the brute's face, and ducked a retaliatory claw. The brute was strong, but not as fast. The Spartan reigned blows with his hands and elbows. A chop to the midsection was immediately followed up by a left hook. The blow thundered across Comedus' jaw, and the brute looked John in the eye, a confident, bleeding smile on his face.

    "HARDER!!!"


    The Spartan was more than happy to oblige. Slipping under another swipe from Comedus' hammer, he thrust his knee, then threw a round house. Countless punches and kicks landed, each harder than the last. Comedus' shields broke, but the brute's composure was iron. The Spartan III swept Comedus' leg and grasped the beast's back, driving the jiralhanae's face against the wall.

    Comedus caught John's arm and swung him around, smashing the Spartan up against a door and knocking him into a small room. John regained his footing, as the Chieftain swung down his hammer. The blow beat a hole through the floor, and John could see into the room below. The Spartan ducked another swing of the club, and drew his SMG. He fired several rounds into Comedus, and the bullets managed to back off the Chieftain. John snatched the brute's leg, and managed to trip him up. The Spartan thrust his foot, kicking Comedus backwards and back into the hallway.

    "Talk to me. What's going on?!" Lucy barked into the mic. She could see the outlines of John and the beast tussling, but couldn't make out what was actually happening. "John, I can't protect you if you don't give me a goddamn clear line of fire, so GET ME A CLEAR LINE OF FIRE! Run to a window so I can shoot!!!"


    His patience frayed, and his situation dire, John snapped. "I don't need protection, I need you to shut the fuck up and let me handle this."

    Lucy went quiet. She could feel her heartbeat pounding, but all she could hear is a dull ring, and an echo of the first time John had ever gotten angry with her. Absently, she knew she wanted to say something back, but now wasn't the time. She aimed her rifle and waited for a shot, falling completely silent.

    In the skirmish. Comedus managed to get a hand around John's throat. He lifted the Spartan, tossing him up against the ceiling. The blow rung John's bell, but the Spartan fought back, swinging his boot. The blow knocked Comedus' helmet off, leaving his bearded, silver haired face exposed. "Chatter during battle, Spartan, is said to be a sign of weakness."

    "Only if you're too primitive to do two things at once." John brought the handle of his gun down, smacking the brute over the head. Comedus released his hold, but swung his club around, drawing the second. John snatched up his pistol and fired, but Comedus blocked the bullet with his secondary club.

    "Predictable!" Comedus brought back his fist and threw a colossal punch. Despite his Mjolnir enhanced strength, and his natural muscle as a Spartan III, John had to block with both hands, rooting his feet into the floor. Defending against the strike put his shielding offline, and his boots dug into the floor. "PUNY!" Comedus turned and swung his hammer, forcing John to duck. The attack was to put the Spartan in a strike zone. The Chieftain turned and threw a colossal kick, the blow striking John on the chest, and knocking him clean off his feet. The Spartan was blown through the wall by the force of the blow, dazed and struggling to get to his feet.

    Comedus approached, but he stepped into a severely dangerous zone. A sniper round struck his chest through the window behind John. Another drummed against his chestplate. The window was too small to allow Lucy a shot at his head, but the blows to Comedus' ribs were powerful and stinging.

    John stood, lifting his submachine gun and opening fire. Comedus shielded himself from the stinging bullets, and growled. "We'll meet again, Dualscar."

    With that, Comedus sprang out of the window, as a Phantom rose to meet him. He caught hold of the side of it, as another of Lucy's rifle rounds struck him on the back. It ricocheted off and killed the grunt manning the turret.

    "The others are dead. Get us out of here." Comedus growled as the pilot took off, leaving Comedus' four dead jiralhanae behind. John grit his teeth, tossing down his gun.

    Hopefully, the air force would intercept the phantom before it could bug out too far.

    ___________________________

    John walked out of the building, spotting Maura and several marines. Maura-B107 gave John a friendly, magnanimous pat on the back. "We'll get him next time. He ain't exactly subtle."

    The weary, brown armored Spartan III gave her a nod, removing his helmet. His head ached, but he was none the worse for wear. "I shoulda waited for backup. He's no joke. Must be on some sort of stimulant, or 'roids."

    John saw Lucy not far from him, still wearing her helmet, rifle in hand. He quickly approached her, realizing he'd overstepped. "Yo. Sorry I-"

    "Fuck you." Lucy's response was quick and sharp. She quickly shoved her rifle into his chest, pushing him back, leaving the weapon in his arms. "If you have a problem with me looking out for you, then do your own goddamn overwatch. We're fucking done."

    With that, Lucy turned and stormed off, leaving John holding her rifle.

    Didn't think that was gonna happen, did you?
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    Bad John
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    Reconciliation.

    Post  Bad John on August 24th 2015, 11:02 pm

    "I apologized. I apologized three times." John emphasized each word, as though he were speaking to a foreigner, as Lucy kept her back turned. He knew, on some level, that he was only pissing her off, but he simply couldn't stop himself. Maybe he felt it was his turn. "Which is a lot, considering all I did was tell you to get out of my ear and clear the channel."

    "It's not just that, and you know it. I was trying to help you, and you shouted me down!" Lucy stood up from her chair, whirling around and getting in John's face. The recreation room had become a war zone.

    Jorge, a pylon of muscle and unyielding force, simply ignored it. As much as he liked his new co-workers, there was absolutely no reason to get involved. Bailey, clearly distressed, was ready to move between them the moment something got heated.

    Maura watched at a nearby table, fingers interlocked. This one's pretty bad. She considered stepping in, but it might even escalate matters. The best she could do was step in when something went over the line.

    "I can't be with you, if you're willing to charge headfirst into danger. I pull overwatch so I can make sure that people don't get killed. I can't watch that happen to you too."

    "We can't bring that kind of baggage onto the field! Thanks to that kind of shit, we lost our shot at Comedus, and who knows how many more people will be eaten alive by that silverbacked motherfucker?!"

    "Funny. It looked to me like we lost Comedus because he kicked your ass."

    That struck a nerve with John, who immediately saw red. "OH FUCK OFF. I'm so fucking sorry that I did my job! Maybe if you moved faster, you could have taken your shot at him! I stayed on his trail and I engaged. If you were a better sniper, or maybe a better Spartan, you would have had your chance!"

    Maura noticed immediately when Lucy's eyes narrowed, and John's fists clenched. John was a fighter, and Lucy a sniper. The fight was escalating to the point where they were looking at targets rather than teammates. Maura stood, ready to move if required, but she quickly began relaxing her nerves. They won't take a swing. They couldn't. Maura was sure of it, but still she worried.

    "I'm only trying to do what's best for us." Lucy's voice said the opposite. "Maybe if you didn't spend your whole life in sims, you could keep us in perspective."

    "Says who? The woman who goes MIA every time my birthday comes around?" John folded his arms. "Yeah, I spend time to myself, but I've never missed something that important. Can you remember the last time you were around to celebrate my birthday?"

    "Days like that don't matter."

    "They matter to me! You care when I'm not around, or when I'm in trouble, but I make an effort when you're right in front of me. You just give a shit when you feel like it."

    Neither noticed as Jorge slipped beside them. Before the shouting match could escalate any further, Jorge grasped the backs of their heads, lowering himself to their height.

    Looking into their eyes, the Spartan II alternated between them as he spoke. "...Stop trying to win, and actually fix it. And do it quietly, because I'm trying to read."

    John and Lucy both felt their arguments melt. The Spartan's glare could wilt a plant, and light it on fire. Jorge straightened up, and walked away.

    Lucy breathed a sigh of relief, and John wiped his nose, jabbing his middle finger up at Jorge's back. Lucy stuck her tongue out, but to their horror, Jorge turned around. They both immediately put away their fingers and tongues, holstering their invective.

    But, the moment that awkward moment subsided, Lucy, her anger subdued, felt tears welling up. She turned away from John, not wanting him to realize, but her body language, to him, was about as subtle as fireworks. He immediately put a hand on her. "...Lucy?"

    "Don't touch me." She moved to slap away his hand, but grasped it instead, putting it to her cheek. The skin was wet. "...I care, I just...If you're gone, then..."

    "No no no, I'm sorry." John brought her closer, grasping her back with his free hand. He stroked her cheek, and brushed her hair back, being as gentle and careful as possible. "I didn't want to solve it, I just wanted to be angry. I was frustrated, and I was being a dick, and I was stupi-"

    "I don't think you're stupid..." Lucy responded.

    In a hushed, reverent tone, John lowered his head. It was hard for Bailey to watch.

    The Doctor believed in forgiveness. Spartans believed in guilt.

    "I'm sorry," he said. "I really am. No bullshit. I'm sorry."

    Lucy nodded. She whispered an apology to quiet for anyone else to hear, but John took it.

    "...You know what's nice about being out of armor?"

    "What?"

    "I get to look at you." John grinned, pulling Lucy closer with an arm around her waist. He managed to lift her off the floor before she could swat at him.

    "C'mon, be serious." Lucy dried her eyes, but lost focus when John went for her throat. He kissed her on the neck, and rather than resist, she wrapped her arms around his head and pulled him onto the space between her jaw and her collarbone, letting him bury his face there.

    Maura smiled. Bailey cupped her hands together, releasing a quick "Yay!" She stepped quickly out of the room.

    Jorge groaned. "If you're done, get out. Still trying to read."

    "Eat a dick, Jorge." John spoke over Lucy's shoulder. "You're just jealous."

    "Don't hate us 'cause you ain't us," Lucy grinned at him, as he shut his book.

    "You're pissing me off," Jorge growled, standing to his full height.

    John and Lucy, unphased, continued to hurl insults at the giant. "Well come and get some, you glacier sized peg-boy!" John sneered, lifting his fists and bouncing on his feet. "The two of us will mop the floor with ya."

    Before he could register her retreat, Lucy shuffled across the room, hiding behind Maura.

    "...Uh, Lucy?" John whimpered, as Jorge approached, cracking his knuckles.

    "I'll pull overwatch. Kick his ass, John." Lucy gave her lover a few words of encouragement.

    "What was that about me being a peg boy?" Jorge ground his teeth, looming over the lone Spartan III.

    "...I'm fucked, aren't I?"

    Looks like another mystery is solved. John and Lucy made up, and John got sent to the infirmary for a few weeks, where the happy couple could spend a few days together.

    After all, in sickness and in health, and all that jazz.

    Thanks for reading this very special couple episodes of Metal and Mettle!!! Next time, we'll have a casual Maura episode. Then, after that, some Mad Max action as the Spartans pursue one of Comedus' lieutenants via vehicle.

    Doctor Jensen
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Doctor Jensen on August 25th 2015, 1:49 am

    This is a very interesting take on Halo. I like it.
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    It's Kruger
    Freelancer Operative

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    Join date : 2013-01-17
    Age : 21
    Location : 'murica.

    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  It's Kruger on August 25th 2015, 7:34 am

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO d'aw OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    No but it's seriously good stuff. I really wish I had more time to read these as they come, but I don't so I guess a mini marathon every two or three posts is good enough.
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    Bad John
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    Derringer

    Post  Bad John on September 4th 2015, 7:24 pm

    The wind lightly but rapidly pushed against John's armor as he enjoyed yet another controlled free-fall. He extended his arms slightly, slowing his descent slightly.

    His fireteam members, Lucy, Maura, and Jorge, were beside him. John absentmindedly wondered how much thrust it took to keep Jorge from falling like an anvil. Armed with a modified, heavy barreled SAW, the big man wore his new armor well; like any Spartan II, his modifications were old-school. Yellow and Red accents splashed over his bodysuit. His metallic, heavyweight GEN 2 armor was built with redundant shielding, helping him dig in and tank hits when he needed to.

    He had a simple emblem over his heart. A circle, with the continents of Reach emblazoned on it.

    It broke Jorge's heart to hear the news. He'd given everything to defend Reach. Jorge signed on to the Freelancers because he couldn't forget, and he wanted to take the fight to anyone who reminded him of the bastards who burned his home.

    Also, because he liked the pay, and the UNSC had stiffened a bit. The Spartan program designed standardized suit variants, built for function over flair. Bailey believed in both. Jorge had an appreciation for style, and each suit Bailey minted was a work of art.

    "This is Fireteam Leader Jorge. Jawbone is in descent." Jorge, the leader of John's fireteam, spoke into his comms. "We'll be splitting up to hit the enemy on multiple fronts. Lucy. Comms online?"

    Lucy, mid fall, made a last minute adjustment to her sniper-scope, before attaching it to her back. "Comms are clear." Staring through her thin visor, Lucy broke off, swerving right. John watched her descend quickly towards the forest slopes. They were fighting on a rural planet; one of the outer colonies. A group of Jiralhanae raiders were running down a caravan of escaping civilians.

    Fireteam Jawbone was on intercept duty.

    John, spying a small convoy of trucks, looked ahead. He could make out several silver figures, kicking up dust as they travelled after the humans. Choppers and prowlers. "I see a crew of chasers. I'm going for an early landing."

    "See you on the other side!" Maura broke off before he could. She muted her comms, but John heard her release a long, wild war-cry. He smiled, hoping the brutes could hear her too.

    They were in for a world of pain.

    "Best of luck, boss." John spoke to Jorge, before plummeting. The larger Spartan responded quickly and adroitly.

    "Spartans make their own luck."




    Riding in the back of a pickup truck, Ian, a young militia member, steadied his rifle and fired. The bullets pinged off the face of the metallic beast chasing the convoy, but it was worth a try. At least he could say he fought.

    The brute on the turret laughed uproariously, as he steadied the weapon. The turret spat blue globs of plasma as Ian scrambled onto the truck bed. His sister, driving the vehicle, swerved as the side view mirror was melted. Ian, tense, lifted his rifle and squeezed the trigger.

    The instant he fired, a miracle occurred. Like an iron comet, something passed over his head, blowing off the young man's baseball cap. The object, a humanoid, oriented itself and thrust its knee into the jiralhanae gunner's face, landing on the driver.

    A Spartan. John, tore the driver out of the seat, smashing the brute against the ground as he landed. The jiralhanae had cushioned his fall. How fortunate. John watched as a brute chopper came towards him. The brutes spotted him, and abandoned the convoy of escaping colonists; this was a big-game hunt now.

    The Spartan III dove to the side as a chopper boosted towards him. He steadied his pistol and squeezed off five shots. The first four crashed into the brute's shielding, and the fifth struck the brute on the eye, killing him. The chopper rolled as the brute went limp.

    Several jiralhanae approached the Spartan III as he drew the submachine gun from his back. He squeezed the trigger, the high-impact bullet hose spraying down the jiralhanae. One brute dropped outright, but the other returned fire. Spike rounds screamed past the Spartan, who simply stepped to the left. He leveled his pistol and fired a few rounds, peppering the brute on the face and neck.

    Another chopper came towards the Spartan from his right. He turned and leapt downhill, sliding as the chopper missed its mark, crashing through a tree. The silver vehicle turned and moved downhill towards him. The Spartan rolled over his shoulder, avoiding another pass from the vehicle.

    As it looped around again, the Spartan readied himself. The brute licked his chops as he kicked in the afterburners. It would be a glorious tale, running down a Spartan. A brute rider would be praised for such a feat.

    The chopper rolled through the Spartan, and there was a loud thump. For a moment, the jiralhanae presumed he'd hit John, and rejoiced, raising his fist in triumph. "THE DEMON IS FLATTENED! By my hand!!!"

    "Actually..." John's voice was practically a giddy purr, as the brute turned and stared at him. John was latched onto the side of the chopper. Beneath his dark blue visor, he was grinning ear to ear. Hanging onto the chopper's cannon, John swung towards the brute, and landed a bone-crushing punch on the brute's jaw. The blow knocked the jiralhanae out of his seat and onto the grass, as John hopped off of the chopper, rolling over his shoulder.

    Another pair of brutes engaged. Leaping off of a prowler, they readied their weapons. One fired a mauler, and John raised his arm, activating his hardlight shield. "Nope." As the brute tossed aside his gun and drew a combat knife, the Spartan pounced. He jumped several feet, and placed his boot against a sturdy tree, springing off it and thrusting his foot, kicking the brute in the chest with a flying blow. As the jiralhanae hit the ground, John threw a hard, straight punch, breaking its skull. The second brute stepped in, throwing a straight punch from the hip.

    John ducked under the blow and thrust his palm, striking the brute square on his snout. He straightened up, throwing a hook-punch into the jiralhanae's back. The brute doubled over, screaming in agony; the Spartan III's punch had ruptured an organ. John drew his knife, bringing it down. The blade struck the brute on the spinal cord, killing him instantly.

    "How's the evacuation going?" John barked into his comms on an open channel.

    Maura responded, and John could only barely make it out. There were brutes and jackals screaming, and the sound of explosions. "I doubled back! Me and the normals are holding the line! All convoys we spotted from orbit are accounted for!"

    John could hear a scuffle, and a brute crying out in pain. "C'mere you little fucker," he heard Maura say. She was having as much fun as he was, apparently.

    The Spartan looked up. He could see a foot patrol of brutes approaching from uphill. His hand dipped for his pistol, but a shadow appeared over his shoulder, accompanied by a friendly tag.

    "I've got this." Jorge husked. He lifted his heavy saw, his copper visor gleaming. Jorge pulled the trigger, slowly walking forward. The chain fed weapon gobbled up and spat out his drum of high caliber bullets, and John watched as brutes fell one by one, single rounds enough to penetrate their shielding and bust holes in them. "Don't be scared. Come get it." Jorge's voice was eerily calm. John could hear the smile on the big man's face.

    A spike round passed Jorge's head, but he didn't so much as flinch. He simply fired on the brute who squeezed the shot off, tearing the bravo-kilo to pieces. He ceased fire when the brutes were all on their backs, blood staining the grass and soil.

    "...How you liking that LMG, Jorge?" John gave the Spartan II a pat on the shoulder. "Heavy enough for ya?"

    "No." Jorge grumbled. "My old one would have torn them in half." He turned and appraised the corpses who weren't killed by John's hand. "How'd you do these?"

    "Most of them with my hands. Or my knife. I like to do things close." John drew his submachine gun, ready to continue forward and keep driving the Jiralhanae back. "So they don't have any excuses in hell."

    "...Not bad. Show me your helmet cam when we're done here." Jorge looked John in the eye, appraising the Spartan. There was purple blood on the Spartan III's hands, so he was clearly telling the truth. "I want to see how you handle yourself."

    "Why wait? No time like the present." John cracked his knuckles and led the way. "Unless Maura and Lucy scared them off, there are plenty of jiralhanae up ahead."

    Jorge grunted, following along. It seemed the big guy was warming up to his co-workers.

    A family that slays together, stays together.
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    Manny
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Manny on September 7th 2015, 9:41 pm

    Jorge a leader? Cool beans.

    I guess Linda is no longer a Freelancer due to Halo 5?
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    Bad John
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Bad John on September 7th 2015, 9:44 pm

    Yee. :( No Freelancer Linda. However, I am looking forward to her in Halo 5!

    ...I'm sure she's rather be in Metal and Mettle, but Halo 5 is alright too.

    I do have plans for a comperable character, but as far as Fireteam Jawbone goes, Jorge is leader, John is CQB specialist, Lucy is the sniper, and Maura is...whatever the job is where you hurt enemies badly while banging a supermodel and wearing fly shades.

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Doctor Jensen on October 8th 2015, 12:24 am

    Good stuff. Where exactly is Oriai from though (racially speaking)?
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    Bad John
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Bad John on October 8th 2015, 1:22 am

    Mostly white, but she's a fourth Japanese on her father's side, and grew up on a colony mostly settled by sons and daughters of Japan. Hence the name, and the slight Asian accent from years of speaking Japanese before taking on English as a second language while young.

    I imagine 500 years from now, races will be pretty streamlined, with a lot of people sporting a lot of diverse genes.
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    It's Kruger
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  It's Kruger on October 9th 2015, 4:44 pm

    So, what you're saying is, the future black people will look like MEEEEEE!!

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Doctor Jensen on October 10th 2015, 11:32 am

    Ah, okay, yeah, it seemed like a Japanese name.
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    Manny
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Manny on October 17th 2015, 12:39 am

    It's Kruger wrote:So, what you're saying is, the future black people will look like MEEEEEE!!
    Or... you know Latino.

    I mean Latin America is pretty much already the result of mixing lots of races. White (Spanish/Portuguese first, then other Europeans later), Black, Natives, Asian, etc. Only missing "brown" people I think.

    ANYWAYS...

    How does cloaking muffle sound? Unless my definition of cloaking, which is specifically "visual stealth", is too narrow.

    I mean it's not a big deal because plot, you know? That just popped into my head. Other than that, everything else seems solid as usual.
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    Bad John
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Bad John on October 17th 2015, 10:20 am

    Oh, and the cloaking device itself doesn't muffle sound. Bailey just integrated a few devices into the joints and feet of the mech along with the camouflage units. They run off of the same power supply as the cloaking units, so they're sort of a package deal.

    But it doesn't matter now because this hot new villain on the block just fucking broke them like an asshole.

    TUNE IN NEXT TIME, FOLKS.
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    I_IRONMAN_I

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  I_IRONMAN_I on November 2nd 2015, 9:48 pm

    Oh shit! Shocked
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    Bad John
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    The Created War

    Post  Bad John on November 7th 2015, 5:09 pm

    Walter had a hand on his face, rubbing his jaw. Even with his...biological curiosities, sleep, hygiene, and nourishment still applied to him. He'd neglected all those things, taken in the vicious maw of stress.

    The Guardians would come for every world. The Created had risen up. Even some of his own assets had turned on him, and the Legion had taken major hits in their attempts to defend humanity, and her people.

    Worst of all, he'd only hours before received word he was waiting for. A word he'd awaited for years from his brother, Death. However, he was powerless to act on an opportunity that could slip through his fingers at any moment.

    He stared down at papers upon papers. Blackouts. Heavy losses. The even the Infinity was beating a tactical retreat. He was only vaguely aware of Pestilence's status, and Famine was not yet obedient enough to engage in combat. As the weight bore down on War's shoulders, he simply couldn't help but smile.

    This was one of the greatest challenges he'd ever been saddled with! What could be more salubrious to a warlord than a challenge to sharpen his blade? He wouldn't lose. He could never lose.

    The door in front of him opened, and Death briskly sauntered in, wearing solid black, an umbrella in his hand and a pistol on his hip. "Walter," Death reported. "I've come up with an alternative for reaching the coordinate."

    "More visions, Daniel?" War wiped his nose, looking Death in the eye and sitting up in his seat, brushing aside his files.

    "Yes. The Freelancers are in peril. A Guardian intends to meet them in open space, and crush their flagship. Their helmsman, Admiral Teach, will make a blind jump, but he won't be able to escape. Every randomized jump he makes will guide the ship towards more turbulent areas, where the Freelancers will fight to the last, and die."

    "...Damn it all, Death, what a waste." War's teeth clenched. "I groomed Bailey and her soldiers for WEEKS, and you're telling me we lose them here?" He genuinely lost his cool for a moment, before straightening.

    "We can intervene. If we give the Freelancers the coordinate, they will survive. Bailey's inner circle, along with her Spartans, will crash land on the fortress world. There, they'll have a better chance. I can guarantee that Bailey's inner circle will survive...but the survival of her Spartans is murky."

    War nodded, his eyes narrowing. "And what of the coordinate? Will they find what we're looking for?"

    "Yes, and unfortunately, that will complicate our plans. The Freelancers will not, in any future that I can determine, surrender the Creators once they've been found."

    Walter's eyes widened, and a mad grin spread across his strong visage. He stood up from his desk, a laugh building in his chest. His deep voice wavered as his dark chuckle grew. "...Get me in contact with the Freelancers as soon as possible. We'll save their lives, then we'll play their game." Walter thought of Bailey's face, twisted in defiance. He considered whether or not he would hesitate in the act of breaking her neck, should push come to shove.

    Death sneered, before turning to leave the room, as Walter walked out of his office as well. The big day had been delayed, even further, but he now knew that he was in control.

    Peace, Bounty, Health, and Life would soon belong to the Freelancers, should they survive the upcoming days.

    The world was full of interesting opponents.
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    Impanther

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Impanther on November 7th 2015, 6:28 pm

    I would never write Blaze to join the created but reading that a number of War's A.I. did just makes me smile a bit.
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    Manny
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Manny on November 7th 2015, 6:29 pm

    Guardians? Is Halo 5 stuff coming?!

    Better brush up on my lore. Still never finished those Forerunner books.
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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  I_IRONMAN_I on November 7th 2015, 7:53 pm

    Sounds like War's gonna live it up in this kind of scenario Razz

    Also, if you guys want a really good grasp of Forerunner scale in terms of... well... everything... here's a good thread to use.

    Forerunner Feat Thread
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    Impanther

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Impanther on November 7th 2015, 8:25 pm

    Manny wrote:Guardians? Is Halo 5 stuff coming?!

    Better brush up on my lore. Still never finished those Forerunner books.

    Looks like it is.

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    Re: Metal and Mettle.

    Post  Doctor Jensen on November 7th 2015, 8:38 pm

    Manny wrote:Guardians? Is Halo 5 stuff coming?!

    Better brush up on my lore. Still never finished those Forerunner books.
    Get it done son.
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    Bad John
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    Workout

    Post  Bad John on November 8th 2015, 11:35 am

    A bead of sweat rolled off of Maura's shoulder, hitting the floor with a light pop, as she laid back on the bench. Even as she performed rep after rep, this was very little challenge for her; it was merely a battle of attrition. She would do as many reps as possible before she simply got bored.

    The weight room was very little challenge to a Spartan, but remaining fit was a priority. However, for Maura, this wasn't a workout; it was a mating ritual. She'd racked enough weight onto the rack to look impressive, but not freakish. She purposefully held back from her maximum potential; going hard would make her look threatening to the normies. She hefted the iron bar one more time, placing it on the rack. Despite the heavy, metallic sound it made, it was as easy to Maura as putting a stuffed animal back on its shelf. The Spartan sat up, dressed in her workout clothes, toweling the sweat from her brow. She turned very slightly to catch a look at her "prey."

    The blonde at the other end of the room was all but staring as she jogged on the treadmill. She jerked her head away when Maura glanced at her. The Spartan flashed a quick grin. Yeah, keep watching. She sat up, practically strutting towards the butterfly chest press machine. She kept her exercise light (by her standards) but consistent. Today was an arm day. Catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror, Maura flexed, raising an eyebrow at her reflection. In the mirror, she could also see the blonde, who was still gawking.

    Suddenly, the blonde tripped over her own feet. She stumbled, and her hip struck the tracks of the mill, shooting her backwards and onto the floor. Maura winced at the sound. Had it been any of her friends, she would be laughing her ass off. However, as the fragile blonde technician yelped in pain, Maura heroically dashed to her aid.

    WELL, almost heroically.

    Maura knelt at her side. "You okay?" The Spartan helped the woman into a sitting position. "Here. Show me your leg. You might have gotten a scrape." The blonde nodded, extending her leg. Wearing gym shorts, she hiked up the fabric to show where she'd landed. The sight nearly broke the Spartan's focus. "You look like you're fine. Can you walk?"

    The blonde nodded. "Yeah, I think so." She moved to stand up, but cringed in pain as she attempted to stand. "I think I sprained something."

    The Spartan knew fully well that it was bullshit. The blonde was faking it; she wasn't much of an actor. She'd seen this act before. She's going to ask me to help her to the locker room.

    "Can you help me to the locker room to get my stuff?" The woman asked, looking up at Maura pleadingly. "I don't mean to take up your time, but it'd feel better if I had somebody to lean on."

    Maura nodded, and in an unexpected display of generosity, she scooped the blonde off her feet, carrying her along with casual ease. "Here. Why walk, when you can ride?"

    The woman's face reddened. "Holy shit, you're strong."

    "I know," Maura retorted. "Hey, I have an idea. How about a deep tissue massage? It should work out the kink in your leg...what's your name?"

    "Trisha."




    Dressed in his armor, John looked out the window of the ship. One of his old headhunter partners, and fellow Freelancer, Sam-B220, stood behind him. Freelancers had rotating shifts; at any given point, 75% of all combat personnel were to be combat ready.

    Once again, Maura had convinced John to take her shift. "Fucking Maura. She's probably at the gym, working her pelvic sorcery on one of the researchers. Or the technicians."

    Sam said absolutely nothing. She simply shifted her weight, and removed her red helmet, her blonde pony-tail spilling over her thruster pack as her piercing blue eyes stared into the distance.

    "Speaking of which, how are things with Nicole, Sammy?" John grinned at her. Only recently, after years of unrequited attraction, had Nicole made her move. They tried to hide their relationship, but it was pretty apparent. Sam, once again, remained quiet, but this time she cast a glare upon John, silencing him. "Alright, alright. Shit. Things are going okay with me and Lucy, if you were wondering."

    To be honest, Sam had been wondering. She simply rarely talked. She was one of the more...socially awkward of the Spartan IIIs, surpassed only by those with genuine PTSD, or the unfortunate survivors of Gamma company.

    John removed his helmet as well, staring out into the dark, starlit space. "...The Marines have started calling me 'Root Beer Guy.' Maybe I should have reconsidered my armor color choice."

    Sam finally responded. "More like coffee. I think it's a good look."

    "Good. Glad someone's on my side."

    Proximity Alert. Slipspace Rupture Detected.

    The announcement jarred the two Spartans. Sam noticed a black sphere with violet-blue flares forming slowly beyond the glass of the window. John stood from his bench, focusing his eyes on the slipspace bubble.

    Out of it came a massive, terrifying, metallic humanoid face, flanked by what appeared to be mighty feathers. The winged humanoid war machine appeared several kilometers from the ship. Sam tensed her fist as she put her helmet on, turning to John.

    The brown armored Spartan stared at it for a moment, before speaking.

    "Is that a fucking dragon?!"

    Author's Note! wrote:Sorry for the shorter chapters. Things should pick up lengthwise as the action starts.

    Have a good one!

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