2 days and 11 hours until Hammer of Dawn Deployment.
“...and then, bang! Half our flank was blown to sh*t. Our sniper got counter sniped and we were suddenly pressed on all sides by a Boomer... yeah, one MASSIVE
Boomer and a Reaver. By the time we started retreating towards our evac point, we realised there was only a handful of them! It was too late by then, they had managed to buy some time for some more grubs to surface but... sh*t, they were trained
man, trained! I've never seen Locust act so... organised
“Locust special forces, is that what you're sayin'? Give me a break. You sure you just couldn't see the other hostiles? Not once have we come across a handful of grubs that could match us man for man... well, grub, like what you're sayin'.”
“I'm telling you, a dozen or so of them took our squad, John's AND Dancer's squad to pieces...”
Darrius kept himself pressed flat against the wall as the two Gears retreated further and further into the distance, their voices growing weaker and weaker, echoing into the night sky.
Getting near the vehicle bay was the easiest part so far. Darrius had indeed kept his word to Grayson, he had gone for a walk around the courtyard, to stretch his aching muscles and then gone to see Clay... Of course, he had neglected to tell Grayson of the next stage of the day's plans.
Clay had been asleep the entire time but Darrius felt he had to show some respect to the man who had almost died trying to save him, so he stayed by his bedside and waited for a few hours in case he did manage the energy to wake up. Only once the sun had started to sink below the ruined cityscape had Darrius decided it was time to begin his plan.
Less than an hour later, he was ready and kitted up. He had stripped some of his armour down, removed several of the chest plates, removed the shoulder pads and took most of the leggings apart to give him maximum mobility and speed whilst still have some protection. His father's Longshot was, of course, strapped over his back ontop of a rucksack filled with supplies he would definantly need if he was to camp in the wilderness for the night. He had finished off his equipment pilfering with a hooded weatherproof cloak fastened around his neck. Not only would it help protect him from the elements but it would help camoflage him if he had to hide.
Certain the two patrolling Gears were well out of site, Darrius pushed himself away from the wall and entered the Garage.
The garage was quite empty. There was two APCs by the back doors and a single Centaur Tank had been dismantled in the center of the room, it's turret hung from chains attached to the ceiling and it's mechanical innards were strewn in a tight circle around it. Whilst it was close to midnight, he had no doubt the mechanics working on it would be back soon.
His heart sank immediately upon surveying the garage, there was no small scouting vehicle visible, except... Darrius stepped forward towards something hidden under a black tarpaulin covering.
Quickly uncovering the object, he smiled and stared at the motorcycle infront of him. Technically, it was a recon bike, designed for what the name implied, scouting or delivering messages by hand between units when communications were down. Darrius had never understood how anyone could use a noisy vehicle such as this to scout anywhere without giving the driver's position away but who was he to question such things?
Darrius circled the bike, taking in every detail. Yes, he knew how to ride one of these things. It was quite similar to his father's civilian bike. In fact, it was probably made by the same manafacturer, just different model. Indeed, the tires were heavier and thicker and most of the body work had been pulled off to decrease weight but it would serve his purposes. Swinging a leg over, Darrius sat heavily on the seat. Reaching towards the empty ignition slot, he realised he needed the key.
Frantically looking about, something glinted in the light. As luck would have it, the key was attached to a string and wrapped around the left side handlebar. A crumpled note was attached to it and scrawled in messy handwriting, Darrius could make out a cramped sentence.
'Dave, finished repairs, can't be bothered to take the key back to the motorpool offices, so I'll leave it here for you when you open up tomorrow. Cheers. Eric.'
“Thank you Eric,” Darrius said happily, snapping the key off it's string and inserting it into the ignition.
“I don't remember seeing you back on the roster.”
Darrius froze and his hand hovered around the ignition key. He knew this would happen, it had been far too easy to get to this point without any hiccups. Turning slightly, he locked eyes with Marcus Fenix and his insides clenched together. On the verge of lying outright, the ice-cool eyes burned through his confidence and left him unable to answer. Clad in full armour, he looked imposing and intimidating and he held a Lancer casually in his hands, as though it belonged there.
“I...,” Darrius trailed off under the big man's stare. Marcus took a few steps forwards until he was a mere foot away from the motorbike. “I-I just need to borrow this. I'll be back before I'm meant to be on duty.”
Marcus didn't reply, he didn't have to. He was a senior officer and had just caught one of his fellow Gears in the process of essentially deserting his unit and stealing COG property for a personal errand. It mattered not that Darrius was technically off-duty.
“You won't make it to Corren in time.”
Darrius blinked a few times. How did he know what he was planning? Was he that easy to read?
“Who said I-,” He began but again, he stopped as Marcus shook his head. He didn't even seem that angry but Darrius couldn't tell what he was thinking.
“Just put the bike back and I'll forget I saw anything,” Marcus said quietly.
“I can't. I have to do this.”
“This isn't a game,” Marcus reached over and grabbed Darrius' wrist in one hand. Darrius tried to pull his hand away but Marcus squeezed his hand slightly and he couldn't budge even an inch.
“I'm not treating it like one, Marcus,” Darrius said. “I have to do something. I know I can do something.”
Darrius ears burned slightly in embarrassement. His argument was coming across as rather childish, as though he didn't understand the full scope of what he was doing.
You don't though, do you?
A small voice said in the back of his mind
“In just over two days, you'll be able to do nothing,” Marcus replied, keeping a firm grip on Darrius. “A whole city's worth of Gears can't break through Locust lines and you think you, on your own, can do that?”
“I have to try!” Darrius half shouted, his frustration boiling over. “I can't sit here and do nothing, Marcus. It will take me less than a day to reach Corren, enough time to scout about, see if I can find anyone then get out. One man could make all the difference in the world, and you know it!”
Marcus didn't reply. Darrius knew he was wondering what he was getting at, so he continued hurriedly.
“Marcus, don't look at me like I'm just some kid who doesn't know what he's doing.”
Marcus' eyebrows raised slightly but he let Darrius continue.
“You did the same thing at Aspho Fields. I know it didn't happen the way the media made out and from what you said yesterday and how you acted then, I know that it was more than just a heroic last stand on that bridge. I don't know what really happened, my dad didn't tell me much and I respect the bond he has with you and the other Gears not to tell me details like that but I don't believe for one second you don't understand what I'm trying to do. Are you telling me that you wouldn't defy your orders to try and save your best friend? Or your father? Because both of mine are out there and I'm not going to just let them die.” Darrius said, his voice almost a whisper. Marcus' eyes narrowed and Darrius could see a terrible anger contained within them. For a split second, he thought Marcus might hit him and he was suddenly afraid that trying to connect to him emotionally had backfired.
Slowly, however, Marcus' iron-grip lessened and he let his hand fall down by his side. Exhaling loudly through his nose, he pointed towards the exit doors at the back of the garage.
“I expect you to be back in two days,” Was all he said before he turned and walked away.
Darrius watched him press a finger to his ear as he reached the the outside door.
“Yeah... No... No, don't worry Dom, I'll explain later. I'll see you in five,” Marcus said as he left the Garage.
Darrius sat back on the bike and breathed a huge sigh of relief. By rights, Marcus should have hauled him away. He could have easily and Darrius wouldn't have been able to do damn thing but he had relented.
He realised he was shaking and almost laughed uncontrollably. This was twice now he had come close to apparently p*ssing the Sergeant off and he realised the idiocy of the whole thing. Marcus was the one man Darrius could honestly say he was scared of and yet, Marcus didn't go out of his way to intimidate anyone. He was a very dangerous man but also a very intelligent and, Darrius suspected, a man who cared more than he let on. He didn't need to know him to tell he would be doing the exact same thing Darrius was about to try and do.
Flicking the key and letting the engine roar into life, Darrius hoped he wasn't making a big mistake.
You are... but it's not going to stop you, is it?