Frontline 14: I was never trained for this!

Posted February 23rd 2006

This is Radio WRKX broadcasting, hot from the developing scene of the battle, Halo. And as you join us, our very own frontline reporter Suzie Hoffenblatt has quickly located a group of survivors fresh from the recently attacked Pillar of Autumn. On the run from enemy search parties, they shelter underground beneath a strange cliffside structure of unknown purpose, and Suzie has one of the Autumn's courageous engineers on hand for a few words, resplendent in bold orange jump suit. Above ground, below ground; wherever it's happening, Radio WRKX is there. Take it away Suzie…

Suzie: Engineer Jones, good of you to talk to us. Engineer Jones?

Jones: Ahhhh! I was never trained for this!

Suzie: Oh don't be such a baby. Come on, stop cowering and get up; I can't interview you down there. You were ok a moment ago.

Jones: Sorry, I was just having a flashback.

Suzie: Ah yes, I believe you're straight off the Pillar of Autumn, which had a bit of a run-in with the Covenant.

Jones: That's right Suzie. Nasty business.

Suzie: So I hear. And what's your job on the ship?

Jones: Uh, mostly I work in a control room near the cryo-bay.

Suzie: The cryo-bay? That's where they keep this mysterious 'Master Chief' fellow, isn't it?

Jones: Yeah, snoozing away in his own little freezer.

Suzie: And what sort of thing does your job involve?

Jones: Well, I spend quite a bit of time looking at dials and stuff.

Suzie: Dials for what, exactly?

Jones: Actually I'm not really sure. I'm better with a spanner to be honest. There are lots and lots of dials though. All I can really be sure of is that when the Covenant came crashing on board, a lot of the needles went swinging about all over the place.

Suzie: That doesn't sound like a good sign.

Jones: Damn straight. That's rule number 1 in the engineering handbook: "If the needles are swinging all over the place, something bad is happening".

Suzie: So did you fix the problem?

Jones: Sure did! My engineer's training kicked in and I applied rule number 2 almost without thinking: "If something bad is happening, run away screaming and find a safe place to cower". That removed the problem nicely, from my perspective.

Suzie: I see. Is there a lot of advice in this handbook of yours?

Jones: Oh tons of it, but to be honest it's all a bit of blur to me after rule number 2. I'm a big believer in keeping it simple. Mind you, it backfired a bit in this case, because all of a sudden I'm out in the corridor and face to face with these hideous aliens that busted in.

Suzie: That must've been a nasty shock.

Jones: Well I'm looking forward to changing my underwear, I can tell you that much.

Suzie: I wish you hadn't though. Still, what happened next?

Jones: Turns out I'd walked right into a firefight. There were a couple of Marines there and they pulled me back under cover, and, well, there was a lot of shooting after that. Not that I saw much of it, because I was mostly curled up in a ball with my head between my knees quivering.

Suzie: A combat technique you so ably demonstrated a moment ago. You're a credit to the engineering corps I'm sure.

Jones: And then out of the corner of my eye I see this big shiny green thing running along, and I realize it's Master Chief, woken from his cryo-tube.

Suzie: Aha! He must've put those nasty aliens in their place then.

Jones: Not really; he didn't have a gun. Fat lot of good that was. So he settled for giving me a kick up the rear as he passed, shouting "Get up and fight, you quivering wrench-monkey!", which I thought was quite uncalled for.

Suzie: Dear me, he sounded angry.

Jones: Well, if you'd just been forcibly ejected from your bed and told to see off the Covenant fleet without so much as a bite for breakfast, you'd probably be in a pretty foul mood too.

Suzie: Especially if they didn't even give me anything to shoot with. Yes, I see your point.

Jones: Anyway, he ran off somewhere and that was the last I saw of him.

Suzie: And what about the aliens?

Jones: Luckily the blast doors came down and cut them off, which was quite a relief, both to me and my underwear. But things went from bad to worse on the ship, and it wasn't long before I ended up in a lifeboat heading down here.

Suzie: I think I saw your lifeboat back in the valley; and it didn't look in the best of shape either. Lots of supplies and stuff scattered around.

Jones: Yeah, we landed with quite a bump. Place looked pretty appealing though; trees, hills, a nice stream and everything. For a moment there I wished I'd brought my fishing rod with me. But then we saw an enemy dropship coming in and that's when we hightailed it outta there to look for cover.

Suzie: And here you are.

Jones: Yeah we just made it, but the aliens were chasing all the way and saw where we were going. Got us trapped. There seems to be a bit of a stand-off at the moment.

Suzie: Actually that may not last long, according to one of the bigger fellows outside. I think he was starting to get restless waiting for you to come out.

Jones: Not one of those eight foot monsters? You talked to one of those?

Suzie: Oh I talk to everyone, that's my job. He didn't seem such a bad chap. Well, obviously quite keen on giving you a good roasting, but he is the enemy after all, so it only seems fair.

Jones: Well that makes me feel a whole lot better. As long as he's a nice chap, what's a roasted spleen among friends? Hell, by the sound of it I'm surprised you didn't invite him down for tea and biscuits.

Suzie: You've got biscuits?

Marine: We've got some chocolate. Does he like chocolate?

Jones: Yeah, chocolate! Maybe he'll let us go if we give him some chocolate!

Suzie: Hmmm, I doubt it. I'm pretty sure he likes his food a little more… how can I put it… fleshy.

Jones: Oh great. I wish you hadn't told me that Suzie. "Dear mom, having a super time in space. Eaten by aliens, wish you were here".

Suzie: Sorry. Actually there's something else I've got to tell you, he wanted me to pass on a message.

Jones: Uh huh. What's that then?

Suzie: Well, it went on for quite a while and he was licking his lips a lot and doing a lot of descriptive gesturing, but if I can paraphrase, it goes something like this. "ARRRRRHHH!" Bap!

Jones: Ow! You hit me with your microphone!

Suzie: That was the best I could do, on account of not having a fearsomely enormous plasma gun called 'Mr Exterminator'. I think he's quite keen on delivering that part of the message personally.

Jones: Ahhhh! Every man for himself!

Suzie: Oh snap out of it you big sissy. You've got a gun of your own haven't you?

Jones: What, this little thing? Didn't seem much use on the ship.

Suzie: Well, not with your 'curled up in a ball' technique anyway.

Jones: If I had my favourite spanner I could maybe brain a few of the little guys, but it got left behind in the rush. Probably gone for good now.

Suzie: Aw diddums, I'm sure mommy will buy you another one. Well maybe you won't need to brain anyone. I bet Master Chief got off the ship; he could be heading this way even as we speak.

Jones: Yeah, so he can give me another kicking I expect, the big bully!

Suzie: It's all for the greater good.

Jones: Everyone's picking on me. Even you! Why do you have to talk to me anyway, how about the Marines over there?

Suzie: Well, you had such a nice bright outfit, it drew my attention straight away.

Jones: Huh, you and the Covenant, the way those shots were whistling past my ears on our way here.

Marine: Damn useful decoy too buddy! Heh heh!

Suzie: Especially with that big target circle stuck to your back.

Jones: What? Ok, which one of you jokers put that there?

Marine: Don't look at me buddy.

Marine 2: The thought never even crossed my mind.

Marine 3: Hey, would I do a thing like that?

Jones: You see what we engineers have to put up with Suzie? What the hell am I doing here?

Suzie: Well plainly not much, but I didn't want to be rude.

Jones: I didn't join the Navy to die like this!

Suzie: Why not look on the bright side? If you make it to retirement without getting toasted alive, they might give you that commemorative gold-plated spanner they promised.

Jones: Oh whoop-de-do! I rest my case.

Suzie: And thanking you for your time, I rest my microphone. Bap!

Jones: Ow! You did it again!

Suzie: Just to keep you on your toes in case that big fellow pops down shortly. Watch out for his teeth mind!

Jones: Ahhhh!