313 - Arkady
The Elites spun around and came face to face with Prometheus hefting a grenade launcher. The leader of the Elites gave a slight growl then turned back to me, his voice filtering through his mask.
"Why are you Spartans here? A downed cruiser seems like a trivial matter for two Spartans." I nodded, rolling my eyes behind my visor. As long as it keeps me busy I don't care. I shifted my rifle and glanced past Prometheus and the Elites, seeing the command center.
"We're just ensuring that the captain maintained the Cole Protocol and purged the ship of any and all vital information or intelligence. And you are?"
"Fal 'Vadum." I nodded.
"Spartan 313, just call me Arkady. And this silent brute," I said gesturing to the other spartan "Is Prometheus." Without another word, I moved past the Elites and into the command room. While it wasn't that different from Eternal Summer, the room was covered in blood and a few of the console projectors had dents.
I set my battle rifle against the console and locked my sniper rifle on the back of my armor. Kneeling next to the captains console, I pulled away one of the metal panels. Prometheus stood next to me but made no other motions and said nothing. While I began to fiddle with the wiring, the Elites moved back into the room. I got the feeling they were edgy with our presence. The comm-line in my helmet sputtered to life.
"Spartan 313, this is UNSC Eternal Summer." Henderson spoke drawled over the comms.
"Go ahead," I growled back. The wiring sparked, bringing momentary life to the console, it then quieted.
"We just received orders to withdraw from here to aid another Frigate. Apparently it's slipspace drive malfunctioned and we're the nearest ship. We'll be back to pick you up." The captain seemed happy to be getting all the attention he was. Self absorbed prick!
"Captain there are Elites aboard the Independence. They arrived in system first and investigated the ship. It appears that the Independence's captain ordered all the airlocks open, sucking the ship clean. Only a few bodies remain. Still checking for initiation of Cole Protocol." Prometheus gave me a glance, what he was thinking stayed hidden behind his visor. I shook my head and fussed with the wires. A few more sparks crackled and the console hummed to life.
"Understood, we are still leaving to help with the distressed ship. I'm more concerned with the living than the dead." I laughed inwardly. You mean you care more for the medals you'll receive than the lives you'll save. The comm-line clicked dead.
"Lazy piece of shit," I whispered, standing and working my hands over the holographic console. Nothing seemed to make sense.
United Nations Space Command Emergency Order 098831A-1
Encryption Code: Red
Public Key: file/ First light/
From: UNSC/NAVCOM Fleet H.T Ward
To: ALL UNSC PERSONNEL
Subject: General Order 098831A-1 ("The Cole Protocol")
Classification: RESTRICTED (BGX Directive)
Current Status: <<[ File Corrupted ]>>
"File Corrupted?" The Elite's leader questioned. I shook my head, I had never seen that status appear on a ship. Suddenly the consoles LED's shifted red and the controls locked. I looked around the ship, mentally kicking myself, Shipboard A.I.
"Access to UNSC Cruiser, Independence, Denied. Please enter authorization codes." A hologram of a young female with long black hair, wearing winter furs and a fur hat appeared. She looked from me, to Prometheus, then to the Elites. The captain never executed the Cole Protocol.