Frontline 15: Trouble in the swamp

Posted March 2nd 2006

This is Radio WRKX broadcasting, with another frontline report from the mystery ring, Halo. Today we join a somewhat damp and disoriented Suzie, stumbling about in a murky swamp with umbrella raised. Drizzle, sludge, ponds, bugs, creepy shapes moving in the mist; you name it, our Suzie's got it. And now she's got something else too! A jittery squad of Grunts and Jackals, running scared through the forest. But she's calmed them down enough for a chat, so let's go straight down to join her. Coming to you from out of the murk, it's Radio WRKX with another frontline exclusive. Take it away Suzie…

Suzie: Well, it looks like I'm not the only one lost in this swamp. Mr Grunt, you and your friends look a little lost yourselves!

Mr G: Heh, yep that's right Suzie. Actually we were already lost a good five minutes ago, and since then we've been doing quite a bit of running around in panic, which hasn't really helped much.

Suzie: Yes, I noticed that you did seem to be running for dear life. What was all that about?

Mr G: Ummm… actually I've forgotten now. Maybe we just hadn't done it in a while. Gotta keep in practice you know. Hey guys, anyone remember why we were running around like idiots?

Grunt 2: Wasn't it something to do with our squad Elite? He doesn't seem to be here any more, which is a bit worrying.

Mr G: That was it! It's all coming back to me now. Yes, old slobberchops went chasing off after one of those creepy shapes moving about in the mist, and a few seconds later we heard him scream, and somehow we just knew that couldn't be good.

Grunt 3: He's dead? RUN! Ah-ha-ha!

Suzie: No, come back you silly thing, you've already done that!

Grunt 3: Oops, sorry. Instinct.

Mr G: Now you can see why I forgot about it Suzie. Basic Grunt survival trait. Helps to forget about bad stuff, else we might never stop panicking. Pretty much the same for those smelly Jackals over there.

Jackal: Hey, I heard that!

Mr G: Heh heh. Never mind him Suzie. Anyway, I'm not speaking to him any more, he wouldn't let me share his shield to keep the rain off.

Suzie: That's mean. Here, you can share my umbrella if you like.

Mr G: I thought you'd never ask. Ah, that's better. Grunts don't like being rained on.

Suzie: I'm not too keen on it myself! At least I've got the umbrella. You don't seem terribly well prepared for the conditions though.

Mr G: Well, we hadn't really planned on getting lost out here. Or even being in the swamp in the first place. But that all changed when our dropship got shot down.

Suzie: You got shot down?

Mr G: Oh yes. Very nasty. There we were, swooping low across the forest, when all of a sudden we got a battering from below.

Grunt 2: Badda-badda-badda! Blam-blam-blam! Ping!

Grunt 3: CRUNCH!

Suzie: Oooh, sound effects.

Mr G: Er, yeah, thanks guys, very nice. 'Course I couldn't see it myself, what with being squashed into my little troop compartment and everything, but the next thing we knew, we'd come down in the swamp. The door fell open and we all jumped clear pretty sharpish.

Suzie: So you got out ok?

Mr G: Well, I had a bit of a mishap myself. Instinct kicked in and I went for a somersault dismount, 'cause I always like doing that. But the ship was at a weird angle and I got it all wrong and ended up landing face-first in a big pool of mud, which wasn't a great start.

Grunt 2: It was pretty funny though.


Grunt 2: Ow!

Mr G: Sorry, my paw slipped. And as I was about to say Suzie, things have been going downhill ever since.

Suzie: Dear me. Maybe things will look up in a while. Anyway, if it makes you feel any better I saw a crashed Pelican here too.

Mr G: Woo-hoo! Hear that guys? Keep those weapons handy: human scum on the loose in the swamp! Er, present company excepted of course Suzie.

Suzie: Yes, thanks.

Mr G: I don't suppose you know where they went, so we can go and shoot them? I'm really itching for a go on my needler.

Suzie: Sorry, no sign of them. I wouldn't be surprised if they were wandering around lost too.

Mr G: Heh! We'll soon find 'em!

Suzie: Mind you, I've got an idea there might be someone else on the scene too sometime, if he's not here already.

Grunt 2: Noo!

Mr G: You don't mean…

Suzie: Big, green and shiny.

Mr G: Shoots first, doesn't ask questions later?

Suzie: Ah, you've met him before then.

Grunt 2: Ahhhh! Cyborg is coming!

Grunt 3: I just wet myself.

Suzie: Live on air for an audience of billions, in fact. Not quite the frontline exclusive I was looking for, but I suppose I should know what to expect from you guys by now.

Grunt 3: Sorry.

Suzie: Well, I can't be completely sure he'll be stomping through the undergrowth to give you a good hiding, but you never know. Can't say I didn't warn you. But anyway, if I can come back to your dropship for a moment, what were you doing flying around in the first place?

Mr G: Well, high command thinks there's something pretty nasty going on down here, so they sent a load of our guys down to investigate. But we hadn't heard from them for a while so we came down to check up on things.

Suzie: Not doing terribly well so far though.

Mr G: Not really no Suzie. But it's definitely nasty, just like high command thought.

Suzie: Maybe they meant more than just the drizzle and all the swampiness though.

Mr G: Possibly. And there is the matter of those creepy shapes moving about in the mist. But I don't think I want to know what those are actually.

Suzie: I suspect your Elite found out, briefly.

Mr G: Don't remind me! I'll start panicking again.

Suzie: Oops, sorry.

Mr G: Besides, the swampiness is already bad enough. Gotta watch my step out here. I'm only short; it's not as if I'll have a long way to sink in before I go under.

Grunt 2: Glub… glub… glub…

Suzie: Oooh, more sound effects.

Mr G: That's starting to annoy me actually.

Suzie: And then there's the moths and bugs flitting about all over the place.

Mr G: I know, those are really annoying. They keep getting stuck in my rebreather here.

Suzie: Oh, this thing on your face? Hold on, take my umbrella for a minute.

Mr G: Woo-hoo! Hey guys, look at me, I've got the umbrella. What have you got? Nothing, ha-ha!

Suzie: Ok now let me take a look at that rebreather. Yoink!

Mr G: What the? Cough! Splutter!

Grunt 2: Heh, not laughing now are ya stumpy!

Suzie: Hey you're right, you've got a few moths stuck in here. Let's see now…

Mr G: Gasp! Can't… breathe… without… thing… on… face!

Grunt 2: Yeah, but at least you've got an umbrella.

Grunt 3: Bags me have his needler if he doesn't make it!

Jackal: What's going on over here then?

Grunt 2: Nasty case of breathing equipment failure.

Grunt 3: Yeah, equipment failing to be on da face!

Mr G: Cough! Grunty… leaving… now…

Grunt 3: Heh, soon I'll be a double-needler devil!

Suzie: What? Oh sorry, here that's got them. No need to wave your paws around like that; I'll put it back on. Twang!

Mr G: Aiieee! Gasp!

Grunt 2: In da face!

Suzie: Oops, did that catch your nose? You guys really make strong elastic eh? And I'll have my umbrella back now thanks Mr Grunt.

Mr G: Gasp! No… trouble…

Grunt 2: Heh, that was even better than the somersault thing!

Grunt 3: Aw, I was looking forward to that second needler! I bet I could really murder that rotten cyborg with two at once.

Grunt 2: Yeah, you wish!

Mr G: Cough! Ow, that hurt!

Suzie: But it was educational, that's the main thing.

Mr G: Not for me it wasn't. You almost killed me! For a moment there it all started to go hazy and I'm pretty sure I saw the great food nipple in the sky.

Grunt 2: Oooh you never did!

Mr G: Did too! I was rushing up towards it, and it went on further than you could see.

Grunt 3: Ignore him Suzie, he's making it up.

Grunt 2: Liar liar, backpack on fire!

Mr G: Huh!

Suzie: Well, even if you didn't see it this time, maybe you'll all be seeing it later if you bump into that cyborg. There's a cheery thought eh? Anyway, this has all been lots of fun but I think I'd better be on my way now.

Mr G: What? You're not leaving us out here with that nasty cyborg? Couldn't we stay with you? You could say we're your backup team. We're great at teamwork. Here, just listen to this. Are ya with me?

Grunt 2: I'm with you!

Grunt 3: Let's go!

Jackal: Very quiet now.

Grunt 2: Hey, that's not your line!

Jackal: I was just borrowing it; I haven't got many of my own.

Grunt 2: Well you still can't have it; that's one of our best ones too! Buzz off ugly-mug! Go and polish your eyeballs or something.

Jackal: And why don't you go and grow some proper legs shorty! That's the last time you get any covering fire from me!

Grunt 2: Huh, you never hit anything anyway beak-face!

Jackal: That's 'cause I can never see around you, you tubby little block of lard!

Grunt 2: Oh yeah? Your energy shield's mother was a clapped out old dustbin lid from Septicus Prime!

Jackal: Ack! And your needler's mother was a three-legged porcupine from the badlands of Bleem!

Grunt 2: Oooh I'll get you for that! Nobody insults da needler! Hold me back boys, hold me back!

Grunt 3: I gotcha!

Mr G: See Suzie? Teamwork. Slight glitch at the end there with that googly-eyed misfit butting in, but the rest of it was pretty good huh?

Suzie: Yes, very impressive. I pity the Marine squad that has to deal with a crack outfit like you guys. But sorry, I've got some more exploring to do, and if I'm not much mistaken, I believe you were busy being lost.

Mr G: Well, yes, I suppose we'd better get on with that. It was going quite well until you found us. Ok, no Suzie backup team. But I don't suppose you'd give me your umbrella for old time's sake would you?

Suzie: Not likely.

Mr G: You did almost kill me.

Suzie: Oh, that was just a little misunderstanding. And I got the moths out didn't I?

Mr G: Well, plus you did also catch my nose in my rebreather. That really hurt!

Suzie: But it made for some great radio. Really, I'm sure the ratings will be excellent!

Mr G: Hmmph! Ok, here, I'll swop you for my needler!

Suzie: Well it's very pretty I'm sure, but will it keep off the drizzle?

Mr G: No, it's not really that sort of needler.

Suzie: Then I think I'll stick with the umbrella if you don't mind.

Mr G: Aw nuts, drizzle here I come. Ok, so long Suzie. C'mon guys, let's try along this way and see if we can't find us some real trouble.

Suzie: Well if you don't find it Mr Grunt, I'm sure it'll find you! Mind how you step!

Note: Looks like that squad got a dose of trouble alright. Isn't that them in the opening cutscene of '343 Guilty Spark'? Watch out guys, cyborg ahead!