Disclaimer: Red vs Blue is the property of Rooster Teeth. Halo was created by Bungie and is property of Microsoft.
f"And that, my friends, is why you are here. Teamwork is essential for the smooth operation of any small business." Jack McHale said, surveying his listeners. Noting the last-minute arrivals to the seminar, he quickly added "Or the smooth operation of a color-coded military organization. You all need to work together in order to accomplish not only the goals that your organization sets for you, but also the goals that you set for yourself."
A collection of secretaries and office drones nodded appreciatively, taking notes. Jack smiled to himself; it was a good feeling to know that his words had impact, and that people would learn from what he said, and apply it for a better tomorrow. A black gauntlet shot up, Jack noted it belonged to one of the military types added to this session last minute. Jack nodded. Relying on his encyclopedic knowledge of his wards' names, he asked, "Allison, is there something you would like to share with us?"
"What if your team is totally, completely worthless?" The armored figure said, lowering her arm. She commenced drumming her fingers against the table she was seated at. "And call me 'Tex'."
"Allison, what have discussed? First, nobody is completely worthless-"
"You haven't met Blue team." Tex shot back under her breath.
"-and I want everybody to go by their first names, not a nickname or last name. I think it helps improve camaraderie. And could you please take the armor off and keep the guns out of this, please?" Jack said, smile fading. There's a few in every group, the instructor thought to himself. Seeing another trooper from Tex's group raise his hand, Jack shrugged "Lavernius?"
"Okay, you said that we have to work together and accomplish both the goals of the team, and our own personal goals, and I totally agree with you on that." Tucker said, nodding.
Jack nodded; appreciating at least someone on Blue team understood his message. "Glad to hear that. Mind giving us all an example?"
"Well, my goal is to have sex. And I think certain teammates of mine -cough- Tex –cough-, can help me reach my goal by following your goal for my team; and that is getting rid of those weapons and taking off her armor."
With an audible clang, Tex's fist connected with the side of Tucker's helmet, and the fight was on. Actually, it was less of a fight, and more of a one-sided beatdown. Jack sighed. While Leonard tried desperately to pry Allison off of Lavernius before permanent damage could be done, and Frank apologized profusely for his teammates behavior, Jack shook his head. It was going to be a loooooong week.
As the Warthog bounced across the landscape, the soldiers each mulled over their own personal concerns. Caboose tried to drown out his loneliness. First, he focused on how happy Church would be to see him again. He also thought about how the Red people were so nice to take him to meet Church. He'd have to think of a thoughtful gift to give them. Like cupcakes.
Sarge tried to ignore the fact that they had to put up with the Blue guy, focusing on how good it'd be to be back on Earth, and how happy he'd be to put a slug in between Caboose's eyes, along with the other Bluetards.
Simmons winced; putting five people aboard a Warthog was against Red Army Protocol (especially since one of said people was a Blue). And it ruined the gas mileage. At least Sarge was happy; Simmons had even been able to convince Sarge to allow him to drive the Warthog, which both ticked off Grif and kept Donut from hanging onto him.
Donut tried to ignore the fact that the blaring polka coming from the radio annoyed the Hell out of him. All-in-all, he liked going on vacation, and he heard of this one club in downtown, where all the –REMOVED TO PROTECT THE SANITY OF THE READERS-. The trip would definitely be fun.
Only one man couldn't see a silver lining in his troubles. Aside from the fact he was being dragged along for yet another idiotic mission that would end up being of no use to anyone, Private Dexter Grif had another problem. Namely, his problem was the seating arrangements that Sarge had come up with.
"Tell me again, why are we letting Caboose man the chaingun?" The orange soldier asked, seriously wondering how the Hell Sarge came up with that. Letting one of the mortal enemies get behind their gun was crazy, even by the very loose standards of sanity held by Sarge.
"Easy, Grif, I wanted to drive this time. Sarge always prefers to sit in the commander's chair…" Simmons chimed in.
"You mean the passenger seat." Grif grumbled, irked by the fact that Sarge always took that seat. The driver had to pay attention to the road. The gunner had to stand and pay attention for enemies. The guy in the passenger seat? They got to sit around and enjoy the ride. The passenger seat was made for Grif. But noooo, Sarge always had to call shotgun. As in if I don't get the passenger seat, I'm gonna blast yer head off with a shotgun, Grif.
"As I was saying, I'm driving and Sarge is in the commander's chair. And Donut…" Simmons said, gritting his teeth as he paused.
"Oh, I like where I am just fine!" Donut said cheerfully, arms wrapped firmly around Caboose.
"Um… could you maybe… move your hands up a little, Archduke Almondjoy?" Caboose asked, politeness barely concealing his awkwardness.
"Okay, why couldn't I use the gun? Or latch onto Caboose? Or be placed anywhere else on the jeep?" Grif asked.
"Got a problem with our seating arrangements?" Sarge enquired, wondering if such bellyaching counted as a form of insubordination punishable by death.
"You guys chained me to the front bumper! Of course I have a problem with that!" Grif snarled, alternatingly looking over his shoulder in rage, and looking ahead, at the rocks, cacti, and assorted debris they were approaching at 60 miles per hour.
"Damnit Grif! We have a system!" Sarge growled. Turning to the drive, Sarge added "And Simmons, stop driving around those sharp rocks. Plow straight on through!"
"Sir, yes, sir!"
"You want me to what?" Tex growled at Jack.
"I'm sure that at some point in your freelancer training, you've at least heard of trust falls, Allison." The instructor sighed. Blue team had remained obstinate throughout the session; only Frank, or "Doc" as his teammates addressed him, showed any appreciation for what they were trying to accomplish.
"Yeah, but I don't trust these guys, so I'm not going to fall on them." Tex scowled beneath her armor.
"Why don't you trust your allies?"
"Well, let's see... Church fails at… everything, really. Not only is he the worst shot I've ever seen, but he's also a terrible leader; and that's not even the half of it. Seriously, I remember that when we used to date-"
"How is that relevant now?" Church cut in, angrily.
"Then again, I can't really blame him for his failures as a leader, considering who he has to lead…" Tex shot a glance at Tucker.
"Oh yeah? Well at least I never got myself killed!" Tucker snapped back. "By Donut!"
"You want me to fight again? I will kick your ass." Tex growled, cracking her knuckles. Behind her, Church shook his head and tried to ignore what was going on.
"I'm a lover, not a-" Tucker was once again cut off by a gauntlet-clad fist contacting his jaw at high speed.
Doc looked around. Somebody had to salvage the situation. Standing stock still, arms crossed against his chest, he yelled out "Guys! I'm going to fall!". He leaned backwards, letting gravity carry him into the arms of his teammates.
Unfortunately, nobody bothered to catch him. With a resound clang, he landed on the floor, hard. Jack shook his head as Allison continued punching Lavernius, who continued to toss out misogynistic insults between groans. Leonard turned and walked away while cursing, stepping over the prone form of Frank, who continued to lay on the ground, moaning. Memo to self: Never open up the seminar to a military organization, ever again, Jack thought to himself.
Lopez la Pesado hummed to himself as he did his appointed tasks, mechanical joints clicking as he tightened bolts and screws. He was aware that he was working on something stupid for Sarge, but at the very least, the blowhard's obsession with keeping the project secret meant that Lopez was allowed to keep far, far away from that idiot. And the other Red idiots. And the Blue idiots.
His audio receptors began to make out a sound coming from over the ridge. Blaring, horrific. It was a polka. Which meant that the other Reds were coming. "Maldito…" (Goddamn it), the robot muttered.
With a screech, the Warthog came to a stop outside of Lopez's work area. One of the Blues was behind the cannon, the pink one was doing… something behind the Blue, and the orange one was tied to the front bumper, his armor scuffed and dented in multiple places. Lopez was surprised at how this all still made sense to him.
"Hey, Lopez! How're things shapin' up?"
"Hola imbeciles…" (Hello morons) Lopez sighed. He had long since realized that nothing he said made a difference, because nobody there understood Spanish. "Es hecho." (It's done). Gesturing at the Caboose, Lopez added "Puedo matar la idiota azul." (I could kill the Blue idiot).
"Hello, Mister Robot." Caboose practically growled. "If you were wondering, Sheila is fine. Shiela is very fine." Caboose then whipped around, looking at the others expectantly.
"Um… why are you staring at us?" Simmons asked.
"Oh… yeah… usually if I say something like that, Tucker would say that thing he always says…"
"Permítame por favor para matarlo." (Please let me kill him.) Lopez requested in his monotone at Sarge. He quickly added "Y usted." (And you).
"So, why did you drag us out here?" Grif asked, struggling to unchain himself from the bumper.
"Easy, men." Sarge said, crossing his arms against his chest and speaking dramatically. "I figured that one day, the insidious Blues-"
"What does that word mean?" Caboose asked, curiously.
"Cram it, dirtbag! As I was sayin', I figured the Blues'd eventually get scared and run away. So I had Lopez here make us a shape shuttle! And lo and behold, when the Blues do get scared and run away-"
"I am still here!"
"I said cram it! Anyways…" Sarge said, pointing at the spaceship with a sweeping hand motion "…this is our ticket to get to where the Blues are. So, men, and Grif, and Blue, let's get to getting'. Lopez, if I remember correctly, the blueprints only had room for five people, right?"
"So, we don't have enough seats on this bird. One of you will have to stay behind. Men…" Sarge paused, letting tension build. "I know you all want to be there for the ultimate destruction of the Blue menace." Sarge glanced at Caboose, before adding "Or want to go be with your friends as they dig their own graves. But one of you will have to stay here and hold the fort."
At this point, Grif had taken his helmet off and had resorted to chewing on the chains that held him to the warthog's bumper. He hoped to get loose and run far the fuck away. Staying in Blood Gulch sounded nice. Sarge'd be gone for a while; no more insults, or death threats, or staff meetings, or push ups.
"And so, with a heavy heart and… hey, where'd Lopez go?" Sarge asked, worried.
"Espero que ustedes no se vuelvan, pendejos." (I hope you don't come back, assholes.) Came a yelled reply, over the horizon. Grif silently cursed the robot for stealing his idea.
"Adios to you, my amigo." Sarge said, saluting the retreating droid. Clasping his hands together, he directed his attention back to the ship. "Men, we are about to embark upon a great journey. One that will see our hated enemies brought to their final judgement!"
"Are we there yet?"
"Damnit Caboose, we haven't even gotten into the ship yet!" Sarge growled. The Red commander, the Blue idiot, Simmons and Donut climbed aboard the shuttle. Suddenly, Sarge remembered that they forgot something; the all-important meat shield. Sticking his head out of the shuttle again, he yelled towards the orange soldier chained to the warthog "Grif, quit playin' around and get to yer seat!"
Across the ever-distant void of space, a force had been set into motion. Unimaginably powerful; it had beaten fleets of thousands. Unbelievably ancient; a timeless chorus, intent on singing victory everlasting. Insatiably hungry; it had consumed an entire galaxy of flesh and mind and bone. Utterly unstoppable.
And now the fools have gone to war, with bloodshed as their aim.
But all there is that they hold dear, soon I shall come to claim.
Author's Note: I used free online translation for Lopez's lines, so if you can understand Spanish, and find that Lopez's lines make no sense, I'm sorry.
Also, I would like to greatly thank Haley and Casa for doing a beta read on this chapter.