Halo- Countdown to Zero
Author: AtinMando

Chapter 5
New Blood

In Orbit above Planet Tempest, Arcturus System

“I don't like the look of this place.” Solipsil said.

“Neither do I. But this is the place that the new squad member is.” Atin replied.

When Atin's ship touched down, there was immediately a guard on station.

“Identification now, sir.”

“I am Commander Spartan 38. Here to get Lt. Commander Jon Williams.

“Um, yes sir. This way, please.”

“No way. It can't be you, Atin?” Jon said as he saw Atin.

“Is that the way you talk to your superior officers, Jon?”

Jon saw the Commander insignia on Atin's uniform. “My apologies, sir for not identifying your rank!”

“It's all right. I have a proposition for you. Now, I'm not going to lie to you. I need a replacement squad member because one of my squad got ambushed by some people who have super effective technology ambushed her, and now she's in the hospital.”

Jon put his face in his hands and laughed out loud. “You know how stupid that sounds?”

“Yes I do. But you're the only one who can do it. What do you say?'

“You think I'd turn down an offer to do SpecOps with you? Of course Ill do it. But it's not up to me. You're gonna have to talk to my CO.”

“Don't worry about it. I get my orders directly from the Brass. This is NavSpecWar. We can get pretty much anything we want.” Atin walked to the CO's office and opened the door.

“Hello, Commander. I am Major Caldwell. What can I do for you?”

“ I hate to say this, Major, but I'd like one of your soldiers. Lt. Commander Williams.”

“Ah, he's one of my best soldiers. But what's the story with him? He's a soldier, a damn good one, but he's in the Navy. What's the story?”

“Well, it's a long story. To be brief, he's in NavSpecWar. Naval Special Warfare. They use the Naval Command Structure, but they're trained for SpecOps warfare. They're the best.”

“I see. Well, fill out the transfer papers and he's all yours.”

“Thank you, Major. Goodbye.”

Atin walked back to Jon's area and said, “Good news. You're now Zeta 5. Gongrats.”

“Sweet. So I'm NavSpecWar again. In the best squad in the whole UNSC, getting the best tech, weapons, and training. So who's the enemy?”

Atin laughed out loud. “Whats so funny?” Jon asked.

“The enemy? ONI.”

“What!? ONI!?”

“Thats right. ONI Section Zero. They were behind the attack on Trivert. And that was just a diversion. Who knows what their real objective is. So, you still in?”

“Of course. “

“Good. Pack your things. We leave immediately.”

“Copy that. Give me 10 minutes.”

“Right. Good to have you back.”

“This is strange. I don't like it.” Solipsil looked worried. And when a super-powerful, rampant AI looked worried, it wasn't good.

“What did you find?” Kami asked.

“Coordinates. Star maps, and the travel time for Sigma Octanus IV. Also, refrences to the Deep-Space Artifact that the Apocalypso found. Both had something to do with the Forerunner. This isn't good. Section Zero's going to play with fire and get us all burned if they play with the Forerunner artifacts.”

“How many security checkpoints do we have to pass?” Jon asked.

“Just one more. Then, an elevator ride.”

“Oh, joy.”

When Atin and Jon finally got to the Control Room, they were both getting annoyed. Jon had to register himself at all 10 security checkpoints. But they were finally there.

“Ok, here we are.” Atin opened a tall vault.

“Wow.” Jon said when he saw what was in the vault.

“This is MJOLNIR Mark VI armor. It has been calibrated to allow normal, unaugmented humans to operate it without the armor overpowering them.”

“You serious? Normal humans can wear Spartan armor now?”

“Well, yes. But this calibration is extremely expensive. We only have a few of them available.”

“Still, thats insane.”

“Yeah, it is. Lets get you fitted.”

“All right, team.” Solipsil said. “With the data I gathered from Charlotte's suit, and the analysis from Jon's skills, I devised a new training program. We are going to train longer, harder, and better. It's gonna be the worst training yet, but we are going to be ready. For anything.”

“Is she always like this?” Jon asked Atin quietly.

“Not usually. She just likes being in control.”


Solipsil's training pushed the squad to it's limit. With it, they got to know Jon and be able to work with him better. But he still didn't replace Char.

“So, what was Charlotte? In the team?” Jon asked.

“She was the team sniper and medic.” Atin replied.

“Oh, a sniper. What rifle did she use? The SRS99D? Or the C Variant? Cause I still know people who use the C Variant. They say the higher rate of fire makes up for the decreased accuracy, but I like the D Variant, even though it has increased recoil. What do you think?”

Atin looked impressed. “Well, I do like the D Variant. But Char didn't use either. She used a custom BR55 HB-SR.”

“What? A sniper that didn't use a sniper rifle? Hmm.....interesting. She must be good with it.”

“She was great. The best shot I know with the BR55.”

“What is the BR55 HB-SR? What does that stand for?

“It stands for Heavy Barrel-Special Release. The heavy barrel reduces recoil and increases accuracy. But the Special Release? That means that every part of the rifle has been improved and modified. Only a couple have been made.”

“Wow. So how did Charlotte get one?”

“Well, it was mine, but I gave it to her after I found out how good a shot she was. She and I have almost the same eyes, so the optics didn't need any adjustments. She loves that weapon.”

“You ever wonder why she loves it?” Nikki asked as she walked in.

“I don't know. Shoot.” Atin replied.

“Well, here she is, a girl going to a school in a backwater planet, with nothing exiting going on, and suddenly, it's attacked, and a War Hero comes along and gives her a custom rifle and enlists her in the best squad in the whole UNSC. She idolizes you.”

“Hmm..thats an interesting viewpoint.”

Jon cut in. “Wait, so what rifle do you have now that you gave yours to Char?”

“Oh, I got another one. I have connections. But it wasn't easy. And it wasn't cheap.”

“I guess not. But thats the price you have to pay for a powerful weapon.”


Suddenly, an alarm klaxon blared. Solipsil appeared on the holopanel.

“You're not going to like this. A new Section Zero attack.”

“Where?” Atin asked.

“Earth. The Skyview Facility.”

“Damn. Damn! No!”

“Yeah. Sorry. But the good news? Most of the Civilians have been moved to the facility below. They're safe for now.”

Jon looked confused. “Isn't Skyview just a school?”

“Well, it is, but under that, there's a UNSC Command Facility. They must have known that. But to me, Kami, and Nikki, it's personal. All three of us went there at school. Squad!”

At once, the squad shouted, “Sir!”

“Suit up! We're going down there to stop the Section Zero attack on Skyview!”

“Sir! Yes Sir!”


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