Forward Ops: En Passant
PROWLER DETENTION BAY
LASKY materializes in a dark holding cell. He rushes towards the bars, pulling against them in anger. He looks around, and sees that he is in a small detention hall with four cells. Two of the cells are occupied by DALTON and MILLER. The other is empty.
(also pulling on bars)
Hey! What is this?
I don’t know Miller. But we’re on a…
(finishing LASKY’s sentence)
… A prowler, yeah. Can’t say I’ve ever found myself on the reverse side of these bars before.
Well what’s going on? Who brought us here?
A metal door opens noisily, and all of the Infinity crew quiet and turn in its direction. A short female scientist walks down the narrow steps to the detention hall. She stops in front of LASKY’s cell.
(reading off list)
Captain Thomas Lasky, Robert Dalton, Jared Miller. Are any of you experiencing any adverse effects from your translocation?
No. What is going on?
Just another moment…
The scientist eyes him over, then moves to the next cell to look at MILLER.
MILLER sighs, but obliges.
Ma’am, are you going to tell us what’s going on here?
MILLER rolls his eyes as the scientist moves on to DALTON’s cell.
Our commander will explain everything soon. I’ll take you to see him. One more moment…
She finishes examining DALTON, taking notes on her datapad. She makes a final point, and then moves back to the door. She presses a button on the wall and the three cell doors swing open.
Follow me please.
LASKY steps out first, followed by DALTON and MILLER. They give each other a knowing glance, and then walk silently behind the woman as she leads them out the door. The detention hall opens onto a short, narrow corridor, and another set of stairs. At the top of the stairs, the corridor branches in three directions: forward, behind to the left, and behind to the right. The guards lead them straight.
LASKY, MILLER, and DALTON are all escorted onto the small bridge of the Prowler, where an unknown officer stands looking out its narrow viewports at Venezia.
Captain Lasky. Allow me to apologize, first of all, for how we had to bring you and your team aboard.
The man turns, revealing a scarred face and a white prosthetic eye. His mouth is twisted from a plasma burn, but he smiles in spite of this.
Who are you?
ONI, Section 3. You’re onboard the Prowler Dusk, which has been retrofitted by ONI’s REAP-X division since the end of the war.
And… how did we get here?
Well… Dr. McNussen can explain that to you.
The scientist, MCNUSSEN, steps forward from where she had been leaning against a console. She presses a button on her datapad and a holo display shows a Covenant spire like that seen on Reach.
The Covenant have exhibited a rudimentary understanding of translocation technology, which humanity has been trying to replicate for some time now. After obtaining Cortana’s data on the first Halo ring and establishing Ivanoff Station on Installation 03 following the war, our research was advanced significantly. All we required was an active sample of the data transmitted by Forerunner tech in its translocation, independent of a localized grid. When you recovered Artifact 091 – “The Didact’s Gift” – from Requiem, we had all we needed. 091 ended up being quite the treasure trove of information. Of course the prototype is plagued with power consumption issues, dependent on the distance over which we’re moving materials or personnel. Thus far, surface-to-orbit trials have yet to be completed.
However, ONI has seen fit to gift Infinity with this prototype, with the hope that it will provide valuable research to the UNSC. Here at Venezia, you are to perform a number of field tests with the technology, and ultimately use it to extract key Insurrectionist leaders for interrogation. After that point we have been instructed to install it on Infinity for use in future firemissions and to speed transportation from deck to deck for key personnel.
(making another note on her datapad)
If it withstands further field trials.
Why risk untested technology on Spartans and the captain of the UNSC’s flagship?
Why abduct us from our own ship?
(gesturing to a nearby crew member)
The Lieutenant walks forward and hands LASKY a datapad. He looks it over as the OFFICER continues.
Shortly after the Requiem campaign, Infinity detected a subspace transmission sending detailed reports on the skirmishes out of system… from its own location. Retroactively sifting through slipstream communication records led us to discover that this has been occurring for some time… since Dr. Halsey was brought on board.
Damn it. At one point she was able to manipulate Roland’s programming. Do you think he might still be…
… Compromised? We’re afraid that might be the case. It’s also possible she may have introduced any number of bugs into Infinity’s systems, maybe some hardware that the Engineers didn’t detect during its construction. Either way, we thought it best to retrieve you without advanced notification, at least until the bugs can be located and destroyed.
We were in Infinity’s armor bay with Crimson when you pulled us over. Where are they?
Crimson has been briefed and are awaiting your word captain. If you’re ready, it’s best we don’t waste time. We’ll get you further up to speed on the go.
The OFFICER motions to a panel on a nearby console. LASKY approaches and looks it over. He sighs, internally not wanting to jump into another op with ONI heavily involved, but he knows he has no choice.
The word is given.
LASKY presses the button on the console to send CRIMSON to Venezia.
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