Ladies Like Armor Plating

BY : FlatlinedGamer
Category: +G through L > Halo
Dragon prints: 496
Disclaimer: I don't own Halo or any of its characters. I make no money doing this.

 Zeta Halo is a beautiful place. It’s so full of life. It’s so green and lush. It’s also full of craters left behind by plasma weapons, grenades, and other ordinances. There are Banished outposts everywhere. You can’t fart without a Grunt coming to investigate.

I fucking hate it here.

My name is Private First Class Korbin Montgomery. I’ve spent the last twelve years of my life serving in the UNSC Marine Corps. Most of that was spent fighting the Covenant as an ODST. First with the 65th Shock Troops Division and later with the 105th in the 3rd Battalion. The only thing that makes me stand out among my fellow Helljumpers is my fear of heights and my abnormal levels of self-preservation. Mostly. I’m not immune to ODST levels of stupidity.

That doesn’t really matter anymore. We lost after a pitifully short fight against the Banished. Those bastards scattered us across the surface of the ring like it wasn’t shit. It’s been roughly five or six months since we had our asses handed to us. I’m surprised there’s a single living human left. Let alone eleven ODSTs. I’m baffled we even follow rank and file after all this shit. Somehow Sarge keeps our asses going. Despite the fact that he’s going bat-shit insane.

Speaking of Sarge. Most of us are Privates or Private First Class. We have one useless as hell Lance Corporal Adams. Then we have Sargent Jack Walker. He’d be a great leader if he didn’t have the self-preservation of your typical ODST. And because, again, he’s losing his shit.

Our time on this ring has mostly been spent running for our lives and hiding. That may not sound very soldierly of us, but there’s nothing left to really fight for aside from our lives. If you don’t count Sarge, none of us are ready to die yet. So we hide and we misdirect. We stay away from the Banished.

We did, anyway. One dumb-ass order fucked that up. Sarge either ignored our intel or got his directions crossed. Or just... completely checked out of reality. It could go either way, honestly. We ended up in a fucking firefight against a group of grunts. We had the upper hand with our limited ammo and somehow won the fight with no casualties. I jumped a rock for better cover in case reinforcements showed up. I did not expect there to be anything on the other side of said rock. I landed on my ass on something hard as fuck. I couldn’t believe my shit luck.

The Spartan just laid there. No movement and no sound. You couldn’t even see the guy breathing. I’d seen so many dead Spartans over the several months I’d been on Zeta Halo that I guessed he was probably another victim. His OD green armor was scuffed and dinged with visible scorch marks. Same as any Spartan, really. Alive or dead, if I’m being honest.

It’s disheartening, really. Every dead Spartan is another nail in the coffin for the rest of us. He couldn’t possibly be dead, though. He didn’t have a single visible wound on him. He wasn’t laying in a puddle of blood, either. So how could he be dead?

“Hey Sarge,” I yelled while keeping my eye on the possibly dead Spartan. “I landed on a dead Spartan.”

Sarge ran to meet me, sighed, and shook his head. “We need to ID the Spartan for our records. Roll him over.”

It was such a simple command but it took all ten of us to roll the Spartan on his back. I was the unfortunate one face to chest with his designation. One one seven.

“Shit,” I groaned. “Sarge, it’s Master Chief.”

“You sure, Montgomery?” Sarge asked. As if I wasn’t looking directly at the numbers. “He was in space last I heard.”

“Pretty sure, sir. I’m not aware of any other Spartan that shares his numbers,” I snark. “Sir.”

Sarge stood there for a while looking down at the prone Spartan. I couldn’t see his face through the visor, but I assumed he was trying to decide if he should curse our shit luck or tell me to shut up. Either was valid. “Take his helmet, Montgomery. We’ll need it for verification if we ever get off this fucking ring.”

“Sir,” I asked slowly, “are you trying to get me snapped in half by a man that is nearly three feet taller than I am?”

Sarge crossed his arm and narrowed his eyes at me. “Just shut up and get the damn helmet.”

“Is that a-”

“Yes, that’s a damn order,” Sarge snapped. “Hop to it, woman.” He walked away to coordinate the rest of the team. He left me alone. To be the only person on the team to know what Chief looked like.

“Fuuuck…” I groaned and reached down to remove the legendary Spartan’s helmet.

Something told me that this was a bad idea. We never needed anyone else’s helmet. Why the hell did we need his? The answer was that no, we didn't actually need it. Somewhere in Sarge’s brain, this was the correct thing to do. I was just following orders. I felt around trying to find how to unlatch the helmet when something registered to my sleep-deprived brain. He was warm. Like still alive warm. I found the emergency release about the same time. The seal hissed and then I shrieked as a very large hand wrapped around my right wrist. I wouldn’t call myself a coward. You just never expect a dead Spartan to grab you.

“No.”

Such a simple word. Spoken in a low, deep, raspy voice.

It freaked me out.

“S-sorry sir,” I stuttered, terrified that this would be the end of me. “We weren’t aware you were still alive. I mean, we even rolled you over and argued over you without a response. It’s only natural we’d continue to think you were dead.” I shut my mouth. I was just digging a deeper grave. “Sir.”

He resealed his helmet and started to stand. I backed out of his way and watched him stand. My brain apparently shorted out. Spartans are generally well over six and a half feet tall if you go by all the dead ones I’ve seen. Chief was easily seven feet. Can’t really blame a girl for being terrified and turned on.

Look, I’m 32 and an ODST. I’m far from dead.

Apparently, I’m the only one with situational awareness. No one had noticed this massive Spartan stand or heard him speak yet. What a bunch of fucking morons. Morons that left me to deal with a dead Spartan on my own.

“Easy marine,” he sighed. “We’re still on the same side. Where’s your CO?”

“Sir!” I said sharply, snapping into a salute. “Sargent Jack Walker is our lead and he’s…” I trailed off. Where the fuck was he? “Not where I left him, apparently. I’ll uh… I’ll go find him. He can’t have gone far.”

“Wait,” he practically grunted at me. “I’ll lead. There’s still Banished in this area.”

I took that to mean that his systems were still working, ‘Yes-sired’, and followed behind. I snagged my BR55 from where I’d propped it against a tree and tried to pretend I wasn’t completely out of ammo.


 

Sarge had pulled the rest of the team aside to eat without me. I was starting to think that he’d forgotten I existed. It wasn’t the first time he’d forgotten about one of us after giving orders and walking away. The whole team was running on fumes after months of getting very little sleep. We can go a few days with little to no sleep but extended sleep deprivation was a no-go. But we made do. Sarge was coming apart at the seams. He was having obvious memory issues. The whole team suspected he was hallucinating at times. He’d taken on the weight of the entire team and was suffering.

This was one of those times when I questioned his sanity. He stood off to the side, away from the team. Sarge seemed to be having an argument with someone. Most would think he was on comms but we didn’t have contact. With anyone. He was arguing with himself again.

“Chief,” I said in a low tone. “A word, sir?”

“What is it?”

“Sarge isn’t exactly all there,” I said softly. “He’s been deteriorating for a while now. We suspect he’s having episodes of hallucinations but no one on the team can say for sure.”

Chief nodded and signaled me to lead the way. I guessed now was as good a time as any to get Sarge’s attention. “Sarge, I’m back.”

“Montgomery,” Sarge said in mild shock. It was the same way he always behaved when someone that had left his line of sight under orders returned. “How did it go?”

I gestured behind me. “I woke him up, sir.”

“Woke him up, PFC?” Sarge asked in confusion. “How do you wake up a dead Spartan?”

“Erm, he wasn’t dead, sir.” My discomfort at the situation was mounting. The whole team had stopped what they were doing and were staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the very not-dead Spartan. Sarge was gaping at Master Chief as if he was staring at a ghost. In a bizarre move I can only describe as ‘distressed’ Sarge just starts screaming like he’s looking at a zombie Spartan before collapsing to the ground.

“Sorry Chief,” I sighed. “This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.”

“I guess this team is under new management.”


 

“You got that magic touch, Montgomery!” PFC Marco yelled to the entire base. Chief had led us to a Forward Operating Base a few miles from where I’d found him. He’d only recently taken it away from the Banished and it was already swarming with Marines. They had enough personnel on hand that Sarge was getting the care he needed. Well, to the greatest extent you can get on a hostile ring.

About half the team was sleeping while the rest of us tried to impose ourselves on patrol shifts. It hadn’t worked. Chief wouldn’t let anyone put us on the roster. Fact of the matter was none of us were in a good place mentally. We were all sleep-deprived and half crazy. Still, it didn’t stop the Marines from being excited at the sight of us. We’re basically a step down from Spartans in their eyes. When they aren’t calling us all assholes.

“Shut it, Marco,” I growled around a mouth full of food. MREs are nothing to write home about but we were down to emergency rations. Anything is better than that shit. “The seal on his helmet woke him up. Plus a person being near vulnerable areas.” I wiped my mouth and stuffed my trash back in the Mylar bag it came in. “What do I look like to you? Prince Charming?”

“I don’t know,” Marco laughed. “You look more like a hungry predator with the way you were watching his ass on the trip here.”

I groaned and waved my hand at him. “Say it a little louder Marco. There’s a Grunt on the other side of the ring that didn’t hear you.” The asshole only laughed harder.

“What did you do, PFC?” Private Donnelly asked in a low, serious tone. “You know we have your back no matter what.”

“Exactly what I said,” I replied in an equally serious tone. “Y’all act like I groped the man to wake him up. I thought he was dead after everything we’ve seen. Didn’t even register until I’d popped the seal that he was still warm. I thought I was going to die.”

Marco snorted and I shot him a glare before stretching out on my cot.

“Wake me up if anything interesting happens.”



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