Halo- Countdown to Zero
Author: AtinMando

Chapter 7
Axton Masanus

In elevator to Skyview Facility, Earth

“The surveillance tells us that the civilians were evacuated when Section Zero attacked. Unfortunately, some were shot, but only one has been confirmed dead.” The elevator slowed to a stop and the doors opened. In the control room of the facility, some UNSC Junior Officers were hard at work on the various computers. The squad carried the prisoner into an empty room. Atin took off his helmet. “All right. Kami, Nikki, go find your friends. It's about time you two see them.” Nikki and Kami thanked Atin and left. Atin stopped, and said, “Kami, wait.”

Kami stopped and turned. “Yes, Sir?”

“Tell Eric and Maryellen I said hi.”

“Yes Sir!” Kami left.

“Ok, Jon. Let's start on this. Get the info out of him, no matter the cost.”

Jon nodded. “Got it.” Atin and Jon entered the room with the prisoner.

“So, let's get something understood. If you tell us what we want to know, this will end very well. If you don't, it will end very badly. Do you understand?” Atin put on his polite, dangerous voice.

The prisoner just smiled. “You're not going to get anything out of me.”

“We'll just see about that.”

Two hours. And still, the prisoner hadn't talked. Atin was getting seriously pissed. “Ok, once again, what is your goal?” The prisoner spat in his face. Jon recoiled visibly. Atin just looked annoyed. He picked up the Section Zero rifle. It was a little bit longer than the BR55, not as tall, also. “This is a very good weapon, you know that?” The prisoner just scowled. “Good weight, good balance,” Atin looked through the scope. “Very good scope. Semi-Automatic 8mm rounds, am I right? Very nice.” Atin aimed the gun at the prisoner's foot and shot. “Little recoil. Very nice.” Atin remarked. “All right! I'll talk!” The prisoner cried. “I'll say that you are never going to stop us!” He started laughing uncontrollably. Atin leveled the rifle at his head. He fired. “We need someone to clean up this mess.” The intercom activated, and a voice said, “Spartan 38, you have a video call. Atin looked at Jon, confused, and left for the Control Room. When he got to the main monitor, an image of a man, about in his early 30s, with a cold face and dark eyes. Atin took an instant dislike to him.

The man on the monitor said in a formal accent, “Hello. For us to continue this conversation, tell everyone to leave. I will talk to only you.” Atin silently cursed. “Everyone, leave us. I'll get you when this is over.”

After everyone but Atin left, the mystery man said, “Very well. My name is Axton Masanus. I am the leader of the group known as Section Zero.”

“What!? You're in charge of Section Zero? Give me one reason why I shouldn't disconnect this link right now.”

“Because I have information that you might want. You see, you have become a pest in the eyes of Section Zero. You have interfered with our plans too many times. So I have a proposition for you. Join us, Atin. You could become a real asset to Section Zero.”

“Join Section Zero? Screw you. Why don't you tell me why you attacked Trivert and here, and why you trashed the Covenant space station system.”

“Ah. Well, we needed some information from the Covenant system. Regarding here, it is to show you what happens when you cross Section Zero. As for Trivert, some people just need to learn their place in the Galaxy.”

“You sick bastard. I'd never join you!”

“I figured you would say that. So I will give you another chance to reconsider. But before you give me your answer, you should know that I control a Tactical Nuclear Weapon from my starship orbiting Earth. If you do not give me the answer that I am looking for, I will destroy you and everyone else in that facility of yours.”

Atin considered for a couple of seconds, then smiled. “Bite me.”

Masanus grinned ever so slightly. “Very well then. Die.” The channel closed. Atin called in all the engineers. “We got a bit of a problem here. I met the Section Zero boss. And, somehow, I might have said something that could have possibly offended him somewhat. So now, there's a Nuke incoming.”

Jon smiled. “So, you got a plan?”

“Yeah. I do. Align the last resort.”

The lead engineer responded, “Mass Driver charging.”

Jon raised his eyebrows. “Mass Driver?”

Atin nodded. “Correct. There is a Mass Driver in the facility. If we fire it, it might detonate the nuke while it is still in the air. However, it is under the school. So, it will make a big hole. Still, we need a very, very lucky shot. Status?”

“75% charged. Targeting. Locked on. It looks like it will hit the nuke directly. Alert! Slipspace rupture! It looks like Masanus' ship got away.”

Atin stared at the nuke. “That doesn't matter. There will be other times. Ready Mass Driver. Set?”

“Set! Ready to fire!”

Atin yelled, “Fire!”

The whole facility shook as the Driver fired. The image of the Nuke approaching showed the Driver slug getting closer......closer.....and......smash!!! the slug slammed into the nuke and, the nuke detonated in midair.

Atin relaxed. “Good job. Now, radio the Stonewall. It's time to evac all of these people.”

“So what do you think?” Nikki asked Atin. The evacuation of all the civilians was going smoothly. At this rate, they would all be evaced in two hours.

“I think that we have enough information to bring this to Lord Hood. Maybe he'll give us some support.”

Nikki nodded. “If anyone would help us, it's him. How fast do you think you can see him?”

“I'm the Chief of Special Operations. I think that would yield some authority. In the meantime, we should help out with the evacuation. It might make this go a little bit faster.”

“I agree.”

With as many students that the school above Skyview Facility had, the UNSC Personnel arranged the students into groups based on their grades. The evacuation Pelicans had been hard pressed to get all the students out, so Atin had commanded 2 squadrons of Longswords and a squad of Shortswords to help them. Atin went over to the nearest evac group and spoke to the UNSC Officer in charge. “How are the civvies doing, Sergeant?”

The Sergeant saluted and said, “They're all really calm. Thats a good thing. And they're all cooperating very well.”

“Good. I'm going to assign some more personnel to you when they're done unloading all the necessary parts.”

“Thank you, sir.”

When the last Pelican was almost done loading, Atin rounded up the squad. “Well, here's what Nikki and I have. I'm going to take this to Lord Hood, and try to get some more ships. We can't handle this with the Stonewall alone, and I don't want to tell anyone else about this until Hood knows.”

“Why don't you just get some ships from Section Three? They should give you some ships. You're the Chief of SpecOps.” Jon said.

“Well, this could go into the field I'm worst in. Politics. This could be the largest UNSC internal breakdown ever. We don't want many people to know about this.”

“I guess you're right. We should head to the Pelican now.”


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