Operation: Share the Love (pt1)

By Brian Morden (a.k.a. *Ar-Isildur)

If you haven't already, you should catch up by reading the prologue of this narrative before reading part one.

It sits on the edge of our dreams.

The Omnistation.

When we first received word about it many months ago, we became fanatically excited. Blinded by our greed, we attacked its location the very next night, and sought to steal it.

We got our asses kicked.

As is recounted elsewhere, the aftermath of our failure was devastating. skot departed shortly after we arrived back at the Complex, and Crystal soon followed. A little-known oddity about the Complex is that when there are fewer (or greater) than 7 members of the Complex ... strange, inexplicable things start happening ... too often to be coincidence. The power completely shut off no less than 6 times for several hours each time (and the webmaster would spend the entire time terrorizing us with his glowing eyes and maniacal laughter .. that's nothing unusual for him, though). Doors would jam for no reason at all. Printers would start printing random pages off the internet. One time, SilverBrin found a dead pigeon buried deep in his evening cake. That one was especially disconcerting. However, all of these strange occurrences stopped once we added both Jester, and Djof, to the roster.

The remaining Complex members who had taken part in the raid avoided discussing it openly for many many weeks afterward. But frustration over our failure eventually gave way, and we were soon heatedly arguing over what went wrong that horrible night. Some of these arguments nearly came to blows. Things in the Complex were tense, especially for Jester and Djof, who were new and had not taken part.

Finally, nearly 2 months ago, in the middle of the night, and during one of the most vocal arguments yet, we all reached an agreement. We would wipe over the bad memory of our previous effort by attempting to steal the Omnistation once more ... only this time, we would do it right.

This time, we would not fail.

* * * * * * *

The first thing we did was have Psyrixx send a polite and eloquent letter to Bungie, requesting additional man-power, weapons, and munitions. When we got our reply, Psyrixx read it aloud:

Dear Psyrixx,
It is with regret that I must inform you that the "G men" are unavailable at this current time, and none of the other employees can be spared, as we are currently hard at work with Halo 2 and Phoenix. We would let you borrow the Defense Drones as per your request, but they are for Bungie HQ only (Jason's word, not mine). So as far as help in the area of man-power goes, we will have to pass. Sorry.

"Well that's just great!" I yelled. "That place is a bees' nest! And I hate bees!"

I began to leave the room, when Psyrixx stopped me.

"Wait Ar! There's more!" He said. He cleared his throat and continued.

However, regarding equipment, I think I can help you guys out. I have managed to upgrade the Psyjnir Complex from a level 3 equipment clearance to level 5. Subsequently, I placed an order to have some of this upper level equipment shipped to the Complex. The shipment should get there in a week or two. I think you will all be quite pleased.
Happy hunting!
Sincerely,
Matt Soell

Two weeks later, an 18-wheeler with the "Bungie" logo pulled up, and dropped off a Warthog, 7 gigantic crates, and another letter from Matt Soell .. which read:

Dear Psyrixx,
This shipment contains the following:
1 Revision C Warthog (mounted with a 5-shot rocket launcher, as opposed to a .50 cal chaingun, it's an excellent anti-vehicle weapon)
4 WSTE-M Combat Shotguns
2 M19 SSM Rocket Launchers
MA-75B Assault Rifle (Prototype) (tell us how it performs, it's ready for battle testing)
10 .45 Magum Mega Class Pistols
2 S2 AM Sniper Rifles
25 (x1) Rev C Warthog Rocket Launcher Rounds
60 (x2) WSTE-M Combat Shotgun Shells
14 (x2) M19 SSM Rocket Launcher Packs
30 (x52) MA-75B Assault Rifle Clips
16 (x7) MA-75B Grenade Launcher Clips
50 (x8) .45 Magnum Mega Class Clips
20 (x4) S2 AM Sniper Rifle Clips
Use as much, or as little of this cache as you wish. Good luck!
Sincerely,
Matt Soell

We were ecstatic. It was fully twice as much weaponry than we had hoped for. Immediately, we began nightly brainstorming sessions on how best to accomplish our goal. We eventually agreed on a plan.

Jester (designated Gollum) would go in early, armed with a silenced SOCOM for silent, but deadly killings ... and 2 WSTE-M Combat Shotguns (along with a hefty supply of shells) incase the action got hot. His job would be to disable all the security cameras in the entire area, which were all monitored and controlled from a terminal in the basement of the mansion.

Once this was done, SilverBrin, myself, and Djof (designated Team Bunny, everyone but SilverBrin complained) would attack the heavily guarded mansion head-on in the Rev C Warthog. SilverBrin (Bunny One) would be driving, I (Bunny Two) would be in the passenger seat providing anti-infanty power with my fully loaded MA-75B (along with 14 spare rifle clips, and 4 spare grenade clips), and Djof (Bunny Three) would be manning the rocket launcher. We would attack head-on, and attempt to draw off as much of the mercenary forces as possible, and keep them occupied. The Rev C Warthog was a formidable vehicle, with it's rocket launcher and upgraded armor and engine. It was virtually impervious to small-arms fire. Only the most powerful of rifles could hope to penetrate its armor, and even then it was still unlikely that they would hit anything vital (warthog related, or human). The upgraded engine gave the warthog a slightly faster top speed, despite the heavier armor.

From there, Psyrixx and Moljnir (designated Team Spartan, everyone but Psyrixx and Moljnir complained) would move in. Psyrixx (Spartan 1) would assault the back of the mansion, armed with dual Berettas, and an M19 SSM Rocket Launcher (with 4 spare rocket packs strapped to his belt). Moljnir (Spartan 2) would sit just inside the woods, covered with camouflage netting, armed with an S2 AM Sniper Rifle (with a flash suppressor added to it, and 7 spare clips), and a Desert Eagle as a sidearm. Moljnir would provide covering fire for Psyrixx, and would keep the area secure.

The Webmaster (designated Dragon) would patrol the area several miles away in our modified Night Hawk helicopter. He was to stay in this area, unless one of the teams called for backup .. in which case, he would (hopefully) fly to their rescue. No one complained about his call-sign, but every one complained about him getting to use the Night Hawk.

It was Jester who first noticed the flaw in our plan.

"Hey, uh, guys ... about our plan of attack..." he began one night, over dinner.

"No! We are not going through this again!" Shouted Psyrixx. "The Webmaster is IN the Night Hawk! I don't care how little you trust him! He's all we have!"

"That wasn't what i was going to.." replied Jester.

"YEAH dewd!" SilverBrin interrupted. "I mean, I can think of a million people who i'd RATHER have in the Night Hawk than Webby. we can't do anything about it. But you don't hear ME complaining about it!"

"But that's not what.." started Jester.

"SHUT UP JESTER!" I screamed. "I am trying to eat here!"

"Fine! Fine! When you guys are on the field of battle with bullets raining all around you, and suddenly realize that you have NO MEANS of making off with the Omnistation, you'll feel really stupid!" Shrieked Jester.

Dead silence.

"Shit.." remarked Psyrixx.

"Double shit.." added Moljnir

"Triple shit.." agreed Djof.

"Quadruple shit.." I chimed in.

"Hang on guys, be right back, I have to shit," said SilverBrin, as he left the table.

Jester had a point. It was plain that there were too few of us to carry out this mission successfully. Psyrixx was on the verge of tears. But then Djof suggested we ask Subnova for help. At first, pride got in the way of our decision-making, or rather, Psyrixx's. "I work alone!" Psyrixx said. When we politely informed him that this was not the case, he left for his room in a huff. The next day, however, pride had given way to desire, and he informed us that he had written and sent an email to Deimos (the founder and current leader of Subnova) in the wee hours of the morning.

That afternoon, Psyrixx got a reply.

Hey Psyrixx,
I see what you are trying to accomplish, and I agree with your belief that there are too few of you to pull off a successful theft. If it was just an assault, you'd be golden ... but where's the fun (and profit) in that, eh? ;)
Here's what we'll do.
After Team Bunny (strange name for a team) accomplish their goal of drawing off the enemy forces, I, and two other hand-picked subnova members, will swoop in from the back with my highly-modified Spectre. It is a very capable vehicle. Once the remaining opposition is eliminated, two, or possibly all three of us, will break into the house, and load as much of the Omnistation as we can into the Spectre. We ask that you and Moljnir cover us during this time, as we will be very vulnerable to attack. Once we have crammed as much as we can into the Spectre, we'll make our getaway.
If you have any problems or questions, please do not hesitate to write back.
-Deimos

"Well that's it then," said Psyrixx, "we have now broke a long tradition of working alone. I feel ill."

"C'mon 'rixx, Subnova isn't all bad. Deimos is a decent guy. Hell, he made me an admin on his hotline server," I replied.

"That's not a sign of decency.." Psyrixx said, distantly.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I responded.

"Your mom," he replied. That was my cue to drop the subject.

The weeks crawled by, as we slowly got accustomed to our new weapons. The MA-75B was a heavy weapon, even unloaded; but, I found that with practice, I was starting to get the hang of it. The Magum Mega Classes were huge pistols - and justly so - they could take the head off of a person if hit. Both the sniper rifles and the rocket launchers were heavy as well, but Psyrixx and Moljnir seemed to be able to handle them fine. They weren't complaining at the least. The WSTE-M combat shotguns were heavy, AND difficult to reload. To this day, I am not quite certain how Jester manages to do it with a flip and a *click* of the gun. For SilverBrin, Djof, and myself, the rev C warthog was love at first sight. The three of us would spend hours on into the night on level 9 practicing maneuvers, until we were a well-oiled machine.

Finally, the day arrived when the group from Subnova was set to meet us at the Complex for a quick briefing. Afterwards, we would commence the long drive down to the target area.

Subnova arrived precisely on time at 7:00 pm PST, just in-time for a late dinner. The two other Subnova members Deimos had brought along were "Have Blue", and the mysterious "2 and 2 make 5".

It was a joyful meeting, and dinner was especially good. Even the Webmaster came up from his hiding hole to join us. I had already met Deimos and Have Blue at Macworld New York, but I had not yet met 2 and 2 make 5 in person. I found him friendly, but he mostly kept to himself. He told none of us his real name, and when I asked Deimos (off to the side, after dinner) what it was, he said he didn't know either.

After dinner, we remained seated at the dinner table to go over the plan one last time. It didn't take too long - Deimos must have already filled the other two in.

"... and after team Bunny lures the defending forces a sufficient distance away, that's when you will move in, with myself following." said Psyrixx.

"...yes, the three of us will be using the Spectre for insertion and extraction. We will be known as team Spectre, with myself being Spectre One, 2 and 2 make 5 being Spectre Two, and Have Blue being Spectre Three" Deimos responded.

There was a brief pause.

"... Hey, uh, Deimos? About the Spectre ... uh ... is that the vehicle you arrived in?" Inquired Psyrixx.

"Yes it is, why?" Deimos said.

"... Well ... hmm how do I put this ... it doesn't look very, uh, combat capable.." Psyrixx said, carefully.

"Appearances can be deceiving, can't they?"

Deimos sat up straighter in his chair.

"I'm glad you asked. The Spectre has a top-mounted retractable plasma turret that automatically tracks and fires upon hostile signals within several hundred yards of the Spectre. It has a very large battery capacity, but if it runs out, there is a drop-down chute inside the Spectre that can convert any substance into usable plasma. We have a box of 'AOL Free Trial' CDs on the back seat for just that purpose. Hehe, yeah finally found a use for them. The Spectre is also completely covered with an energy shielding system, and bullet proof armor/glass," Deimos detailed.

Stunned silence. Psyrixx was staring at Deimos with a look of absolute jealousy.

"Oh, it can also fly," added Deimos.

"WHERE!?" screamed Psyrixx. "WHERE DO YOU GET THIS STUFF??"

"From Bungie, where else?" Replied Deimos. He looked affronted.

"BUT HOW??" Psyrixx shouted, his voice breaking. He was clearly upset.

"Pallor is my sister, we have a level 8 equipment clearance," Deimos responded, keeping his cool.

"... oh ... no problem ..." Psyrixx said, even though it was obvious he did have a problem with it.

"Anyway, we will be loading the omnistation into the Spectre while you, Moljnir, and the Spectre's plasma turret keep us covered. But just in case, I will also be armed with a Rail Sniper Rifle, a Pulse Pistol, some Shock Grenades, and a Force Lance," Deimos continued.

Another awkward silence. Psyrixx was seething. Have Blue, seeing this, cut in with probably the worst thing he could possibly say.

"I will be armed with an MA5B Assault Rifle, a Tech .50 Fusion Pistol, some frag grenades, oh, and a Super Soaker 100," he said.

The dam burst.

"I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! WE HAVE WORKED SO HARD FOR BUNGIE'S TRUST FOR YEARS, AND THIS OTHER GROUP THAT IS LESS DEDICATED TO BUNGIE'S CAUSE THAN US HAS ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY 3 LEVELS HIGHER THAN US!" Screamed Psyrixx. "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU PLAN TO DO WITH A SUPER SOAKER 100 ANYWAY?"

"One never knows when a healthy stream of water might come in handy," replied Have Blue, clearly shooken up.

"AND YOOOU!!" Psyrixx howled, turning to 2 and 2 make 5. "WHAT SORT OF AWESOMELY DROOLWORTHY WEAPONRY ARE YOU DECKED OUT WITH!?"

"An M1 Garand rifle," 2 and 2 make 5 replied, disturbingly calm.

"I AM SO SICK OF THIS! WE WORK LIKE DOGS FOR BUNGIE AND THIS IS HOW THEY REPAY US! I ... wait ... what did you say it was?" Psyrixx said.

"An M1 Garand rifle," replied 2 and 2. "Standard issue rifle for American GIs from 1936 up until 1957. Semi-automatic, gas operated, .30 caliber rifle with a spring loaded 8-round en bloc clip. The clip is loaded into an internal box from the top, and automatically ejects after the 8th round is fired, emitting a distinct 'ping' sound. The ammunition belt used for the M1 Garand during WWII had ten pockets, each containing one of these 8-round en bloc clips, making for a combat load-out of 80 rounds. I will be wearing one of these belts, and will be keeping an extra one in the Spectre 'just in case'."

For the third time this meeting, there was a prolonged, dead silence. Psyrixx was absolutely dumbstruck. The anger that had threatened to make Psyrixx spontaneously combust, seemed to have given way to bewilderment. I saw Deimos out of the corner of my eye, shaking his head, eyes downcast.

I decided that somebody needed to break the ice right the hell now, and since

nobody else was making an offer...

"Hey guys! Wanna see me light my farts on fire??"

* * * * * * *

It was a 17 hour trip down to the target area. We loaded the Night Hawk (and the Webmaster) in an 18-wheeler, the rev C warthog and the rest of the Psyjnir crew in another 18-wheeler, and the Subnova crew in their Spectre.

The drive was extremely long and boring - interrupted only three times by stops for meals, and once or twice for gas. It wasn't too bad sitting in the back of the trailer. We all brought small air mattresses, and were able to stretch out.

* * * * * * *

I was in the middle of a dream involving Jennifer Love Hewitt, Natalie Portman, and lots and lots of flying pigs (?) when i was shaken awake by Psyrixx.

"Suit up! We will be moving in about 15 minutes! Here's some coffee!"

I grabbed my pack and clambered to my feet, stumbled to the edge of the trailer, and then fell the 3 feet to the ground. Wide awake now, I took in my surroundings.

We were in a grassy clearing, surrounded by trees. Several lights were lit from both top edges (along the rim) of both sides of each trailer, generating just enough visibility to see fairly clearly. Psyrixx and Moljnir were already dressed in their blacks and body armor, and were working on getting the warthog out of the trailer. Jester was nowhere to be seen. SilverBrin and Djof were in the process of changing ... I decided I better change as well. As I donned my blacks, I continued to survey the scene. I found the Night Hawk just in time to watch the Webmaster turn the motor on. The rotors began spinning .. it would take a good couple of minutes for them to get spinning fast enough to take off. I found the Spectre, with Deimos and Have Blue standing outside in what looked like purple (?) battle-armor. I began to put on my own body armor. when the p assenger door of the Spectre opened, and out popped 2 and 2 - decked out with a complete American GI uniform, circa WWII.

I decided it would be a bad idea to keep staring at him like I currently was, and stopped.

"Where are we?" I asked Psyrixx. I was now fully dressed.

"In a clearing, about 12 miles from the target zone," replied Psyrixx.

"Where's Jester?"

"He's currently infiltrating the mansion. Last I heard from him, he had just broken inside. That was 15 minutes ago. I think I better try to contact him ... there shouldn't be all that much interference inside the mansion."

Psyrixx went off to the front of the trailer to obtain the radio and contact Jester. Thinking that I should be doing something, I grabbed my MA-75B, loaded it, then placed it, along with all the spare magazine and grenade clips, inside the warthog. I loaded my Magnum Mega Class, holstered it, and grabbed a few extra magazines. I continued to look around, and out of the corner of my eye saw Psyrixx rushing back, terror in his face.

"Oh no oh no ... MEN!" He yelled. "Jester's radio is not responding! That can only mean one of two things. One .. the radio has been shot and is no longer functioning. Two, he's been captured, and they turned off the radio. Neither are good news! We have to move NOW!"

Immediately we set to work with final preparations. Within two minutes, we were speeding towards our destination.

We had never yet lost a member of the Complex, and we certainly did not intend to start.

* * * * * * *

Ok, so we lost skot and Crystal... but uh, they don't count. At least I don't think they should. I mean, none of them did much for the betterment of the Complex... well as far as I know. I mean, they might have done some stuff when I wasn't here... ah fuck it, nothing becomes important until I take a personal interest in it...

Continue to Part 2