John checked over his armor and looked over his weapons. He didn't know yet what might be ahead of him but he'd chosen some of the more reliable weapons. A magnum, assault rifle, a DMR, and a shotgun. John had thought of taking heavy artillery but he had decided that a rocket launcher or Spartan laser would be more of a burden than assistance. He had yet to meet an enemy his chosen weapons weren't effective against. His armor was newly upgraded to Mark VII systems and he hoped they would be enough. John had been given a rundown of the new features and upgrades but he would have to adapt to them in the field as he went. As he understood it this armor was the final form of the MIJOLNIR, what Doctor Halsey had always wanted it to be so her trust it.
"Are you sure that these weapons will be effective?" Captain Lansar said as she moved into the room. The woman had short cut blond hair and dark brown eyes. There was a scar on her right cheek and her face showed signs of aging dispute how young she actually was. "We don't know what's down there."
"She's down there," John replied, reaching out and retrieving the data chip from the table. Someone had put a chain on it but there was no reason to have done so. The only thing he wore around his neck were his own dog tags, and if he tried to sit it under his suit as well it would be uncomfortable. He looked to the Captain who was watching him. There was a slight look of frustration which was normal as people couldn't tell his emotions behind his helmet. "None of these weapons have ever failed me."
The Captain nodded and looked toward a screen showing data on the planet below. "We can't get too close to the planet. The last ship that got close was shot down. The planet was quarantined until further notice, probably until Infinity can come smack it down if it attacks." The captain sighed and shook her head. "I'm probably going to lose my ship for this, once they catch up with us. I hope that this is worth it."
John looked down to the data chip. "As long as your communications officer is correct. He's sure about the signature on the transmission?"
"Communications officer Malik is the best there is. He is the one that translated the signal and figured out its source. It came through on a Forerunner channel from the planet, just barely anything there, but he caught it. I would stake my life on him being right."
John nodded, satisfied with her answer. "Then it will be worth it," he assured her, thing running absently over the token in his hand. As long as there was a chance he could save her it would be worth it.
"Well...we'll drop you whenever you're ready," the Captain said, a bit out of place, unsure of how to excuse herself. It wasn't uncommon as even Captains seemed to feel outranked by him. He was t even an officer but they saw him as a legend, which elevated him to a position akin to the Arbiter in the Sangheili leadership structure.
"I appreciate this. I can't abandon her, not after everything that we've been through. I owe you a personal favor for this." John said, turning his gaze to the Captain. There were no words for how much it meant to him that she was putting her career on the line to help him save her.
The woman smiled and shook her head. "Actually, I'm paying back a favor," she corrected him. "You probably don't remember, after everything you've done, but I was just a pilot at the time. My bird was shot down and you Spartans saved me. I made a request and you agreed to it." John cocked his helmet to the side, not quite remembering. "I asked you to be sure my squad, who I was going to pick up, made it out alive. I'd lost radio contact with them and i never would have forgiven myself if my mistake had cost them all their lives. When they got back to the ship there was only one casualty and they said you made sure they were my squad. You told them I was all right and what had happened." The Captain sighed and clasped her hands behind her back. "You probably don't remember."
"Omega Squad?" John asked. The Captain looked to him, surprised. "Pinned down by a group of sniper Jackals, but we had a better sniper. Got them out of there before the Wraiths showed up. I remember them."
The Captain smiled and John could see how genuinely happy she was. "You actually remember them." Her voice gave away how amazed she was that he remembered her team. John nodded and the Captain stood up a bit taller. "Well, I'll leave you to your final preparations. Just signal when you're ready to head down. Good luck, Master Chief."
With that the Captain took her leave. John waited until the door was closed before he let himself prepare mentally for what he was about to do. He wasn't supposed to be here, he wasn't even supposed to have left Earth, but when he'd heard they'd gotten a signal and he'd found out her signature had been tagged to it he knew he couldn't stay away. He had to find her, had to save her. He gripped the data chip tightly and closed his eyes.
He couldn't fail, not this time, not again. He had to protect her, rescue her, no matter what the cost. John slipped the chip into a pouch on his belt and turned toward his weapons. He grabbed a cloth cloak and started to wrap up his weapons. It would keep them close and made them easier to carry. The cloak would also come in handy based off of the environmental scans of the planet. From the scans the planet had large portions that were desert; and not only could he use the cloak to protect his armor from harsh sandstorms which might damage the electronics, he could also use it for camouflage as his green armor might stand out if there were any local species that might find him to be food. John secured all the weapons and extra ammunition for all of them. He wasn't sure yet what he would meet or if he even had a way off planet once he got down there. He made sure his weapons were wrapped up tight and let himself have a moment to think. John pulled his helmet off and set it on the table beside the bundle. He looked to the information on the screen. "I know you're down there," he muttered. "I can feel it." He smiled just a bit. "We always had that special bond, and I can feel it now." He was aware of how stupid it was to be talking to nothing but he felt like she could hear him, like she always could. It was as though he could always feel her, always hear her, like their minds were linked. Science said that wasn't true, and logic said it wasn't true, but he didn't care. It was like his instincts, just there, guiding him.
"I failed you the last time I saw you. I didn't protect you, just let you slip away. I won't let that happen this time. I promise I'll get you back, protect you. Even if most of the time I need you to protect me." He reached over, grabbing his helmet again. He felt a new confidence, a determination to not fail again. He hesitated for a moment and slipped his fingers under the under layer of his armor, grabbing the chain, and pulling his tags out. There were three tags on his chain and he passed over the two that were his identification. He focused instead on the one that had been hand made. Palmer had given it to him before Infinity had left on their mission. On one side she had scratched on the infinity symbol and on top of it had scratched 'IV'. She'd told him it was a symbol that he had the loyalty of Infinity, and the Spartan IV. He flipped it over and ran his thumb over the other image. When he'd asked Palmer about it she'd only grinned and walked away. John just stared at it for a moment before he slipped the tags back under his suit and slipped his helmet back on.
John tucked the bundle of weapons under his arm and moved out of the room toward the drop pods. "I know you've waited for me, too long for me, to come get you...but just wait a little longer." He felt stronger than ever as he walked down the hallway. "I promise I won't leave you again, I won't abandon you. I won't let you suffer alone." He reached the pod and put his bundle inside. John moved into the pod and took a deep breath. He hit the seal button and his hand went to his chest where he knew his tags were under the armor. "I'm coming for you, Kelly." He thought of the rabbit scratched onto the metal. "I'm coming, Bunny."